Oliver Wang

EP95: David Ma on GZA's "Liquid Swords" (1995)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
David Ma

The Album: GZA Liquid Swords (1995)

Music journalist David Ma has been in the game for a long time, writing for The Guardian, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Source, and many, many others. He's also the host of Dad Bod Rap Pod, a hip-hop roundtable discussion show from the Bay area. When he told us he wanted to talk about GZA's debut solo effort, Liquid Swords, we knew we were in for a good conversation.
We talk about GZA's new jack swing beginnings, his role within the Wu-Tang Clan, and his seemingly endless vocabulary. Even within the Wu's solo efforts, Liquid Swords stands out, with its gritty production, complex lyricism, and hard-hitting flow. It stood the test of time and still bounces, Shogun Assassin samples included.

More on David Ma

More on Liquid Swords

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Liquid Swords unless indicated otherwise):

  • I Gotcha Back
  • Liquid Swords
  • Wu-Tang Clan: 7th Chamber - Part II - Conclusion
  • GZA: Come Do Me
  • Swordsman
  • Gold
  • Raekwon: Ice Cream
  • Method Man: I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need
  • Notorious BIG: The What
  • Shadowboxin'
  • Dr. Dre: Stranded on Death Row
  • Liquid Swords
  • Willie Mitchell: Groovin'
  • Liquid Swords
  • Cannonball Adderly: Aries
  • Gold
  • Ann Peebles: Trouble, Heartaches, & Sadness
  • Shadowboxin'
  • Gold
  • 4th Chamber
  • Labels
  • B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)
  • The Genius: Feel the Pain
  • Wu-Tang Clan: Clan In Da Front

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP94: Gavin Turek on Carole King's "Tapestry" (1971)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Gavin Turek

The Album: Carole King Tapestry (1971)

LA singer songwriter Gavin Turek's relationship with Carole King's Tapestry album began in her childhood, listening to her father play virtually every song featured on the piano. He taught her the notes, the chords, the vocals until the earth moved under her feet and made her a die hard fan.

She joined Heat Rocks to discuss what made this album fire, the west coast leanings of Tapestry, Carole's lyrical approach to the realness of relationships and why having a cat featured on your cover art is lit and progressive.

There are so many heaters on this album, she had four favorites. Listen in and you'll understand why.

More on Gavin Turek

More on Tapestry

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Tapestry unless indicated otherwise):

  • Way Over Yonder
  • Gavin Turek: Frontline (TOKiMONSTA Remix)
  • I Feel the Earth Move
  • (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
  • Aretha Franklin: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
  • So Far Away
  • Smackwater Jack
  • Tapestry
  • It's Too Late
  • Carole King: Locomotion
  • Will You Love Me Tomorrow
  • The Shirelles: Will You Love Me Tomorrow
  • Donny Hathaway: You've Got A Friend
  • Aretha Franklin: Medley: Precious Lord, Take My Hand/ You've Got A Friend
  • So Far Away
  • Gary Portnoy: Cheers Theme
  • Where You Lead
  • Where You Lead (Gilmore Girls version)
  • Joni Mitchell: California
  • Tracy Chapman: Fast Cars

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP93: Art of Sampling #2 with Thes One on Nas's Illmatic (1994)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Thes One

The Album: Nas Illmatic (1994)

In our first episode from our four-part Art of Sampling series, we focused on one of the classic sources of samples from the mid-80s: the James Brown anthology, In the Jungle Groove. For #2, we wanted to turn our attention to an album whose use of samples helped influences sampling culture and for that, we went with a giant celebrating its 25th anniversary this year: Nas's debut album, Illmatic.

So much has been said about this LP over the years, we shouldn’t need to make a case for it but here’s the short version: it’s not simply considered one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time but it’s universally lauded as one of the greatest debut albums in any genre, least of all given the intense hype around Nas leading up to it. Befitting that anticipation, Illmatic drew, really for the first time, a Dream Team-esque assemblage of some of New York’s finest producers including Q-Tip, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor and L.E.S. Their production decisions, including the samples that powered their now iconic tracks, marked one peak in hip-hop’s golden era of sample-based production.

To help us break all this down, we invited one of Los Angeles’s finest: Thes One, half of People Under the Stairs (and composer of our theme song!) While Thes generally doesn’t like talking about other producers’ work, as a 16 year old hip-hop head hyped for Illmatic when it dropped in ’94, Thes brought his insights as both a producer and fan, and we touched on everything from the use of nostalgia in sample choices, how Nas’s flow worked with different beats, and why DJ Premier’s “bubba chip” drum programming was a game changer.

More on Thes One

More on Illmatic

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Illmatic unless indicated otherwise):

  • The Genesis
  • N.Y. State of Mind
  • Michael Jackson: Human Nature
  • It Ain't Hard to Tell
  • It Ain't Hard to Tell (Demo)
  • DJ Day: It Ain't Hard to Tell (Remix)
  • Large Professor: It Ain't Hard to Tell (Remix)
  • Common: Resurrection
  • Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park)
  • Parliament: Come in Out of the Rain
  • One Love
  • One Time 4 Your Mind
  • The Gap Band: Yearning for Your Love
  • Life's a Bitch
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Lyrics to Go
  • Represent
  • Lee Erwin: Thief of Bagdad
  • Represent
  • Cameo: Hanging Downtown
  • Group Home: Supa Star
  • The Heath Brothers: Smilin' Billy Suite Pt. II
  • One Love
  • The World Is Yours
  • Ahmad Jamal: I Love Music
  • The World Is Yours
  • Monty Alexander: Love and Happiness
  • Apache: Gangsta Bitch
  • The Beatnuts: Let Off A Couple
  • Reuben Wilson: We're In Love
  • Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park)
  • N.Y. State of Mind
  • Halftime
  • Milly and Silly: Gettin' Down for Xmas
  • Long Red: Mountain (Live)
  • Pete Rock and CL Smooth: Good Life
  • Represent
  • Jay-Z: Feelin' It
  • Main Source: Looking at the Front Door

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP91: Comeback Albums and Mailbag Special

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Show: 
Heat Rocks

We here at Heat Rocks took a break from recording episodes in order to recharge our batteries. We thought we'd celebrate our return with an episode partly dedicated to our favorite comeback albums.
In the second half, we rummage through the Heat Rocks mailbag and answer listener questions about great debut albums, summer jams, the weirdest record sleeve finds, and more!

Show Tracklisting:

  • Mariah Carey: Butterfly
  • Dr. Buzzards Original Savannah Band: Cherchez la Femme/ Se Si Bon
  • Mariah Carey: Breakdown
  • LL Cool J: Mama Said Knock You Out
  • LL Cool J: Milky Cereal
  • Jay-Z: December 4th
  • Jay-Z: Dirt Off Your Shoulders
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Black Spasmodic
  • A Tribe Called Quest: We The People...
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Solid Wall of Sound
  • D'Angelo: Send It On
  • D'Angelo: Devil's Pie
  • Brandy: Brokenhearted
  • Joe Budden: Pump It Up
  • Young Gunz: Friday Night
  • Jay-Z: Show Me What You Got
  • The Rebirth: This Journey In
  • The Internet: Wanna Be
  • Missy Elliott: Sock It 2 Me
  • Digable Planets: Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)
  • Digable Planets: Black Ego
  • Prince: Diamond and Pearls
  • Cissy Houston: Warning - Danger
  • Floyd Anckle: Hey Pocky A-Way
  • Johnny Nash: Cupid
  • Chaka Khan: Caught in the Act
  • Skye: Aint No Need

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Pop Rocket: The Final Episode

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Show: 
Pop Rocket

**Warning - this episode contains lots of tears**

For the final episode of Pop Rocket, the panel convene to give listeners one last All About, one last Jam, and they look back at the past four and a half years, and all the various milestones they’ve shared with one another and their listeners while doing the show--marriages, deaths, birth, book deals, finding a new home, and so many other memories. It’s raw. It’s wonderful. In addition, we’ll hear phone calls from listeners and friends of the show about what Pop Rocket meant to them. Plus, Guy shares the best abortion joke he’s ever heard.

Lastly, Wynter and Karen reveal their new, upcoming podcast, and how you can stay in touch with them beyond Pop Rocket.

ALL ABOUTS
Margaret: Broad City series finale
Karen: Gentleman Jack
Wynter Veep
Guy: Long Shot

That's My Jam

Margaret: George Harrison-If Not for You

Karen: The Postal Service - Such Great Heights

Guy: Christine Anu, David Hobson - Now Until the Break of Day

Wynter: Sid Vicious - My Way

Announcement
Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh have a new podcast in the works called Waiting to X-hale


Waiting to X-hale Podcast

Waiting to X-hale is a brand new woman-of-color driven podcast hosted by Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, and Karen Tongson, revisiting the pop culture and transformative social issues that defined Generation X. Our discussions, debates, and instructional interludes will let you see your favorite (and least favorite) aspects of GenX culture in a way that sheds new light on both then, and now. A special preview episode is dropping in early June with regular episodes recurring after Karen returns from her book tour in July.

For more information, sign up for the Waiting to X-hale newsletter, and follow the show on Twitter:
@waiting2xhalepd

With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler, Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh

Produced and edited by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

EP86: DJ Rashida on OutKast's Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
DJ Rashida

The Album: OutKast Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)

Antwan (Big Boi) Patton and Andre (Dre) Benjamin began collaborating in 1992 and paired their genuis presenting it for the world to see on their debut project SouthernPlayalisticadillacmuzik which released on LaFace records in the spring of 1994.

LA’s own DJ Rashida sat with us to talk southern charm, the musicality of this album, black consciousness through the lyrics, what made the interludes so compelling and why this album stands the real test of time.

More on DJ Rashida

More on Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik unless indicated otherwise):

  • Hootie Hoo
  • Arrested Development: Tennessee
  • Call of da Wild
  • True Dat (Interlude)
  • Welcome to Atlanta (Interlude)
  • Ain't No Thang
  • Funky Ride
  • Ain't No Thang
  • Claimin' True
  • Crumblin' Erb
  • Myintrotoletuknow
  • Flim Flam
  • Git Up, Git Out
  • Player's Ball
  • Player's Ball (Reprise)
  • The Roots: Proceed
  • Society of Soul: E.M.B.R.A.C.E.

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there.

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP85: Moby on Joy Division's "Closer" (1980)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Moby

The Album: Joy Division Closer (1980)

Moby has been in the game for over three decades, making punk, electronic, alt-rock, dance, and everything in between. When we heard he was coming on Heat Rocks, we had no idea what album he'd pick, but we knew it was going to be some absolute fire.

Joy Division were pioneers, blending genres and helping create and popularize the sound that would become post-punk. Unfortunately, Closer would be Joy Division's final album. On May 18th 1980, just weeks before Joy Division's first tour in America, lead singer Ian Curtis took his own life. Factory Records released the album a few months later, and the remaining members would go on to form New Order.

We sat down with Moby to talk about post-punk, the wildly varied music scene on the East coast in the 80s, and the shift from Joy Division to New Order. We chat about Ian's deteriorating mental wellness and Moby's own experiences playing with New Order and covering Joy Division songs. Grab a chair, this conversation goes deep.

Moby's new book, "Then It Fell Apart" is out now. Cop it at your local bookstore.

More on Moby

More on Closer

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Closer unless indicated otherwise):

  • Twenty Four Hours
  • Moby: Natural Blues
  • Heart and Soul
  • Joy Division: Wilderness
  • Decades
  • Atrocity Exhibition
  • Nolan Porter: Keep On Keepin' On
  • Joy Division: Interzone
  • The Eternal
  • Moby: New Dawn Fades
  • Atrocity Exhibition
  • Twenty Four Hours
  • Isolation
  • Atrocity Exhibition
  • The Nonce: Mix Tapes
  • Elliott Smith: No Name No. 5

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find on there.

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP83: Karen Tongson on The Carpenters' "A Song For You" (1972)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Karen Tongson

The Album: The Carpenters' A Song For You (1972)

dulcet (adjective) used to describe a sound that is soothing and soft, like the dulcet harmonies in a 70s pop song or the dulcet tones of a harp.

It seems like Karen Carpenter invented dulcet tones. Her velvet buttery vocals floated and soared on songs like "We've Only Just Begun", "Top Of The World", "Close To You". Alongside her brother Richard, she created a signature sound built around layered arrangements and harmonies.

Our guest, Pop Rocket's own Karen Tongson, sat with us on Heat Rocks to deep dive into the Carpenters seminal, Close To You, their second studio album released on August 19th, 1970. We talked about what made Karen Carpenter's voice inimitable and extraordinary, how the Carpenters invented the power ballad, Karen's enunciation and lower register, and listened to acapellas that made us all swoon.

Karen's book "Why Karen Carpenter" makes its debut on June 1st and will cover all the ground we didn't in this episode, sans music, but Heat Rocks recommends that you listen to music of The Carpenters in prep!

More on Karen Tongson

More on A Song For You

Show Tracklisting (all songs from A Song For You unless indicated otherwise):

  • Hurting Each Other
  • Goodbye to Love
  • The Carpenters: We've Only Just Begun
  • Donny Hathaway: A Song For You
  • A Song For You
  • Piano Picker
  • Crystal Lullaby
  • I Won't Last A Day Without You
  • Diana Ross: I Won't Last A Day Without You
  • I Won't Last A Day Without You
  • Intermission
  • The Carpenters: Rainy Days and Mondays (isolated vocals)
  • Goodbye to Love
  • Road Ode
  • I Won't Last A Day Without You
  • Top of the World

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP82: Sy Smith on Meshell Ndgeocello's Plantation Lullabies (1993)

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Guests: 
Sy Smith

The Album: Meshell Ndgeocello Plantation Lullabies (1993)

When Plantation Lullabies first hit the scene back in 1993, there wasn't anything really like it. Meshell Ndgeocello was a bald, badass, and bold woman with bars talking about sexuality, racism, and gender relations while paving the way for neo-soul music and artists.
Plantation Lullabies gave us many, many things, and Sy Smith (who has played alongside Meshell for years) came by the studio to talk to us about it. We discuss the impact it had on neo-soul, the shades of funk and go-go throughout the record, and the freedom it offered to black America.
Settle in, because this episode and this album are essential to any Heat Rocker.

More on Sy Smith

More on Plantation Lullabies

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Plantation Lullabies unless indicated otherwise):

  • Soul On Ice
  • Sy Smith: Sometimes A Rose Will Grow In Concrete
  • Dred Loc
  • If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)
  • Picture Show
  • Shoot'n Up and Gett'n High
  • If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)
  • Plantation Lullabies
  • I'm Diggin' You - Like An Old Soul Record
  • Dred Loc
  • Call Me
  • Untitled
  • Meshell Ndegeocello: Nocturnal Sunshine
  • Meshell Ndegeocello: Rush Over
  • If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)
  • Soul On Ice

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find on there

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Heat Rocks EP80: The Art of Sampling #1, James Brown's "In the Jungle Groove" (1984)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks

The Album: James Brown: In the Jungle Groove (1986)
This is the first of what will eventually be four episodes, released quarterly, that focus on the art of sampling. As Morgan explains in this episode, sampling isn't simply a key aesthetic within pop music styles, especially hip-hop, it's also an important way through which the past becomes present, allowing us to rediscover artists of yore. No artist in the 1980s benefitted more from this than James Brown.
By the end of the decade, Brown's long funk discography had seemingly been mined thousands of ways over but if you had to trace things back to a ground zero, you'd find In the Jungle Groove, the 1986 compilation from Polydor that practically felt designed for sampling, especially by highlighting some of Brown's fiercest and funkiest tracks, complete with new edits and remixes, none more far-reaching than "Funky Drummer," a former 45-only jam that the comp not only released in its full form but also took Clyde Stubblefield's iconic breakbeat and looped it into its own standalone track. 
For our inaugural Art of Sampling episode, we revisit In the Jungle Groove and talk about both our favorite songs off the comp as well as our favorite uses of those various tracks. Listen to how we give it up and turn it loose.  
More on In the Jungle Groove

Show Tracklisting (all songs from In the Jungle Groove unless indicated otherwise):

  • Funky Drummer
  • Digable Planets: Where I'm From
  • N.W.A.: Fuck Tha Police
  • Public Enemy: Fight the Power
  • Funky Drummer
  • Nas: Get Down
  • The Incredible Bongo Band: Apache
  • Nas: Made You Look
  • Masta Ace Incorporated: Boom Bashin'
  • George Michael: Waiting For That Day
  • Skull Snaps: It's A New Day
  • The Winstons: Amen Brother
  • Public Enemy: Bring the Noise
  • Funky Drummer
  • Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose
  • Talkin' Loud And Sayin' Nothing
  • Keek and Qagee: Don't Say It, Sing It
  • Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose
  • Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved
  • Gang Starr: Gotch U
  • CeCe Peniston: Finally (Remix)
  • Full Force: Ain't My Type of Hype
  • Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved
  • Hot Pants
  • I Got To Move
  • Showbiz and AG: Diggin' In The Crates
  • Cypress Hill: How I Can Just Kill A Man (Blunted Remix)
  • Funky Drummer

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find on there.
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

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