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SNL Cast Shuffle

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Looks like Horatio Sanz, Chris Parnell and Kenan Thompson are out at SNL. Darrel Hammond is still in negotiations. Parnell's a wonderful comic actor, but I imagine he's just come to the end of the line. Best of luck to him going forward.

Edited to add: Sanz says as far as he knows, he's coming back. You'd expect that with the success of Boat Trip, he'd be eager to leave, but I guess you just can't predict what these mercurial celebs'll do.

Lupe Fiasco Watch Continues: "I Gotcha"

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Pharrell is rocking like a "guy who works at a resort" look in this clip...

The Small World Podcast

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Yesterday I spoke "on-air" with Joseph from The Small World Podcast. Small World is a show dedicated to interviews with people around the world, and from all walks of life.

Joseph was a wonderful interviewer, certainly the best I've encountered in the podcast sphere, and if you're interested in getting some background on the show, it's certainly worth a listen.

Senior Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore

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The Daily Show is scrambling to replace the folks they've lost in a continuing talent drain. Besides the departures of Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrel, Rob Corddry recently left the show to focus on his new FOX sitcom. (side note: if you watch the pilot, check out the funny titles Jordan wrote on Corddry's character's videos). Rob's brother, Nate, left the show for "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," and Ed Helms is headed for a regular role on NBC's The Office, and while he's not leaving, that's got to cut back on his Daily Show screentime. All of this leaves a bit of a vacuum, which TDS has been gamely working to fill.

Two Sound of Young America guests, Demetri Martin & John Hodgman have performed ably in limited roles, but some of the other correspondents the show has mixed in have been a mixed bag.

Last night, TV writer and actor Larry Wilmore was given a slot, and I think knocked it out of the park with a desk piece about low-quality racism. There's never really been a black voice on the show, and Wilmore's exceptionally well qualified, with a resume that stretches from In Living Color to The Office.

Here's the piece (thanks, Nick):

Know where you stand.

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Haven't you always wondered where your home media market ranks? And how it compares to rival media markets?

I know you have.

Luckily, the good people at Neilsen Media Research have done some media research and answered the question. Here are the results. (Click the download link on the right for a full list.)

By the way:
San Francisco Bay Area #5
Monterey Bay Area #124
Hattiesburg #165

Podcast: The Symphony with Masta Ace and Patton Oswalt

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This week on The Sound of Young America, it's The Symphony of awesomeness.

Patton Oswalt is a great pal of The Sound of Young America. His fame as a standup comic has come to rival his celebrity as co-star of The King of Queens. He created the tour and television series "The Comedians of Comedy," which aired on Comedy Central. Most recently, he was cast as the lead in the upcoming Pixar animated film "Ratatouille."

Also, we dip into our archives for a 2004 interview with rapper Masta Ace. He helped define hip-hop as a member of The Juice Crew in the mid-80s, then struggled with the industry for ten years, releasing several critically acclaimed but only modestly commercially succesful LPs. He most recently released "A Long Hot Summer" and "Disposable Arts," two story-driven concept albums. Each was acclaimed by hip-hop fans and critics.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Transcript of this week's show

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Additional Links
Comedians of Comedy Tour Dates
Previous TSOYA Patton Interview (MP3)
TSOYA: The Great Communicators with Patton (Realaudio)
Patton's favorite songs on KZSC's The Collector's Item

Incidental Music by DJW

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Digable Planets "Blackitolism (9th Wonder)" & "Dial 7 (Axioms of Creamy Spies)"

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I think between middle school and graduating from high school, I must have listened to Digable Planets' album Blowout Comb 25,000 times. I interviewed Ladybug Mecca a couple years ago, and I told her that record changed my life, and it's true. Still stands with Sly & the Family Stone's "Fresh" as my favorite record of all time. Sounds better every year.

I didn't even know the album had two videos -- they terrified people when they went from "cool like dat" to "I stands in the face of oppression / with my sisters and brothers / no slippin' no half steppin'" and tanked big time.

Sparks "Something for the Girl with Everything"

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A little discomfiting, a lot awesome. Thanks, Hound.

I wrote a letter to the New York Times.

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I'm getting sick of the way the MSM torques the story of Outkast to fit into their misguided ideas about what's good and bad in the group's music. (quick guide: rap stuff = bad, singing stuff = good)

I was excited to read this piece in the New York Times Magazine about Outkast, but I ended up so annoyed I wrote this letter (reprinted below, given that it's basically Dungeon Family Week and all):

When I saw that the Times Magazine featured a piece on Outkast this week, I was delighted. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on the group a few years ago, and believe there are few groups in any genre who can match 'Kast. The piece itself, unfortunately, did not live up to my hopes.

In order to tell his apparently pre-ordained story, which amounted to "the further apart they grow, the better the group gets," Mr. Dee offered a complete misrepresentation of the group's early career. The group's first three records, and particularly ATLiens and Aquimini, their second and third releases (which Mr. Dee dismisses out of hand), are generally considered within the hip-hop community to be their best. On those records, they represented themselves as much more than just "two dope boys in a Cadillac," as Mr. Dee asserts. Indeed, they offered one of the most complex identities of any popular music group of the time. Their complex relationship and personae have always been part of their music. Outkast may have had their first gargantuan pop hits with Stankonia, but they were interesting and important well before the pop world picked up on them.

My impression from reading the piece, frankly, was that Mr. Dee doesn't actually like hip-hop. Otherwise, why would he be so strongly privileging other forms? I'm tired of the mainstream media feeding me the "hip-hop is so limited, but this guy mixes hip-hop with XXXX!" line. And goodness knows that if Mr. Dee was a hip-hop fan, he certainly wouldn't write anything as silly as this:

"In their brand of Southern hip-hop there had always been traces of the more outward-looking, less preening, light-on-samples rap of bands like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest."

You would be hard-pressed to find two more sample-heavy groups than Tribe and De La, while Outkast have used live instrumentation extensively from the start. Indeed, while Mr. Dee seems to find the presence of producer/vocalist Sleepy Brown on Big Boi's hit "The Way You Move" a "telling" sign of dissension within the group, it was Sleepy who both played and sang on the group's first hit, "Players' Ball." And of course, his comment implicitly devalues preening and samples, two of the basic building blocks of much hip-hop music.

Mr. Dee's piece is very well written, but it demonstrates clearly that he has no idea what he's writing about. Comments like the one quoted above betray the fact that he is only too happy to apply rock & roll values to the hip-hop world.

Within your very building, you have one of the most insightful urban music critics in this country, Kelefeh Sanneh. Maybe you should have run this silly piece by him before you put it in the newspaper of record.

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