Heat Rocks

Hosted by Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes, every episode of Heat Rocks invites a special guest to talk about a heat rock - a hot album, a scorching record. These are in-depth conversations about the albums that shape our lives.

Our guests include musicians, writers, and scholars and though we don't exclusively focus on any one genre, expect to hear about albums from the worlds of soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, Latin and more.

New episodes every Tuesday on Apple Podcasts or whatever you get your podcasts.

Subscribe to our website updates for exclusive bonus content (including extra interview segments, mini-episodes, etc.)

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What Is YOUR Heat Rock?

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As we near the end of the year, I'd like to do something special for our listeners.

What's one of your heat rocks?

Record up to two minutes of you waxing poetic about one of your favorite albums and send it to us. We'll share your picks with the rest of our listener community! What we're asking for is:

  • Your Name + Where You're From
  • Your Heat Rock choice
  • Your Fire Track off that album

    Two minutes max please!

  • EP12: "The Prequel Episode" feat. Loren Kajikawa on Dr. Dre's "The Chronic"

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    Show: 
    Heat Rocks
    Guests: 
    Loren Kajikawa

    The album: Dr. Dre: The Chronic (Interscope, 1992)

    This is a special "prequel" episode, originally taped in December of 2016. Back then, Heat Rocks was just a mere glint in the eye Morgan and Oliver. All we had was a basic concept: how about a podcast devoted to doing deep dives into an album? We invited Univ. of Oregon musicologist Loren Kajikawa, author of Sounding Race In Rap Songsto help us tackle one of the most important albums of the last 25 years: Dr. Dre's The Chronic, which just so happens to celebrate its 25th release anniversary today (hence why we timed to put it out now).

    For our listeners, you'll notice that while this episode shares some familiar aspects with our regular Heat Rocks shows, there are some differences. For one, we hadn't come up with our format yet, especially in having our guests pick a hot track, sleeper jam, etc. We had also toyed with a little "Context" section - complete with its own jingle! - that we eventually abandoned because it was superfluous (Oliver did have fun making the jingle though). But overall, we think you can easily see the seed of Heat Rocks even in this very early attempt. Hope you all enjoy it and we're so happy to finally share this, one year later.

    More on Dr. Dre's The Chronic:

    More on Loren Kajikawa

    Show Tracklisting (all songs from The Chronic unless indicated otherwise):

    • Fuck Wit Dre Day
    • Nuthin' But a G Thang
    • Leon Haywood: I Want To Do Something Freaky To You
    • Public Enemy: Bring Da Noise
    • Above the Law: Livin' Like Hustlers
    • Let Me Ride
    • The Roach
    • NWA: Niggaz 4 Life (From Efil4zaggin)
    • Lyrical Gangbang (feat. Lady of Rage and Kurupt)
    • Stranded On Death Row (feat. Kurupt and Snoop Dogg)
    • Rat-A-Tat-Tat
    • Dr. Dre: Deep Cover (feat. Snoop Dogg, from Deep Cover OST)
    • Tupac and Snoop Dogg: Amerikaz Most Wanted
    • The Day the Niggaz Took Over
    • Bitches Ain't Shit

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

    Heat Rocks, EP 11: Suzi Analogue on Missy Elliott's "Da Real World" (1999)

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    Show: 
    Heat Rocks
    Guests: 
    Suzi Analogue

    The album: Missy Elliott: Da Real World (Elektra, 1999)

    Artist and producer Suzi Analogue originally hails from Missy Elliott's native state of Virginia though these days, she's rooted in Los Angeles, having come up within the city's beat scene. Suzi wanted to talk about what she described as the "underdog" album, Missy's enormously successful yet somewhat forgotten sophomore album, Da Real World, one in a string of five back-to-back platinum LPs for Missy and her production partner, Timbaland. We talked about Missy's creative genius and what that meant for a young girl, growing up in VA.

    More on Missy Elliott and Da Real World:

    More on Suzi Analogue

    Show Tracklisting (all songs from Da Real World unless indicated otherwise):

    • All In My Grill
    • Suzi Analogue: Wildflower (from Zonez V3)
    • Mr. DJ
    • Missy Elliott: The Rain (from Supa Dupa Fly)
    • You Don't Know (feat. Lil Mo)
    • Stickin' Chickens (feat. Aaliyah)
    • Timbaland and Magoo: Up Jumps the Boogie (from Welcome To Our World)
    • Timbaland and Magoo: Clock Strikes (from Welcome To Our World)
    • Bus A Rhyme (feat. Eminem)
    • Crazy Feelings (feat. Beyonce)
    • U Can't Resist (feat. BG and Juvenile)
    • She's a Bitch
    • Beat Biters
    • We Did It

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

    EP10: B.Slade on Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814" (Recorded live!)

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    Show: 
    Heat Rocks
    Guests: 
    B.Slade

    The album: Janet Jackson: Rhythm Nation 1814 (A&M, 1989)

    This episode is the edited version of our special live launch party we held on Nov. 11 in Los Angeles, as part of the Voyager Institute. We were joined by Grammy-nominated soul artist B.Slade, a self-described "Rhythm Nation-pedia" who, indeed, brought incredible insight and knowledge to our discussion of this seminal Jackson LP. How many people can name every single dancer in Janet's "Miss You Much" video? Exactly.

    It was a delightful conversation and having the live audience was great. It was our first time taping in front of an audience but hopefully won't be our last. Thanks to all those who came out and to those who couldn't, we're happy you finally get to listen to this.

     

    More on Janet Jackson and Rhythm Nation 1814:

    More on B.Slade:

    Show Tracklisting (all songs from Rhythm Nation unless indicated otherwise):

    • Intro from "Rhythm Nation"
    • "Interlude: T.V."
    • B.Slade: Alright 2016
    • "Knowledge"
    • "Interlude: Livin'...In Complete Darkness"
    • "You Need Me" (b-side of the "Miss You Much" single)
    • "Miss You Much"
    • "Alright"
    • Beyonce: "Freedom"
    • "Rhythm Nation"
    • "Miss You Much"
    • "Love Will Never Do"
    • "Someday Is Tonight"
    • "Living In a World They Didn't Make"
    • DeBarge: "Love Me In a Special Way"
    • The Carpenters: "Close To You"

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

    Heat Rocks, EP 9: The Shacks on The Sapphires' "Best Of" (1960s)

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    Show: 
    Heat Rocks
    Guests: 
    The Shacks

    The album: The Sapphires: Best Of (Heritage, 1994)

    This week, we are joined by The Shacks, the NYC-based duo of singer Shannon Wise and producer Max Shrager. Maybe you heard their cool cover of The Kinks' "This Strange Effect" on that Apple ad this fall? Or maybe you were already up on them from their EP, released by Big Crown? Either way, Max and Shannon threw us a curveball with their choice: a 1994 compilation of nearly two dozen sides recorded in the mid-1960s by The Sapphires, the obscure-ish R&B trio of Carol Jackson, George Gainer and Joe Livingston that recorded with Swan and ABC-Paramount before dissolving circa 1966. We talked about the unique sound of The Sapphires, the roots of Philly soul, and what it's like to dig through the crates to figure out your own sound.

    This episode was both the first time we had a group in the studio, which was fun, and the first time we tackled an album from the 1960s. Hopefully, it won't be the last, for either.

    More on The Sapphpires and their Best Of anthology:

    More on The Shacks:

    Show Tracklisting:

    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Who Do You Love"
    • The Shacks: The Shacks EP "This Strange Effect"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Lets Break Up For A While"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Gotta Have Your Love"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Evil One"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Come On And Love Me"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Your True Love"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Evil One"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Your True Love"
    • Edison Lighthouse: Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Hearts Are Made to be Broken"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "I've Got Mine, You Better Get Yours"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Evil One"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Who Do You Love"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Slow Fizz"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Baby You've Got Me"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Hearts Are Made To Be Broken"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Let Break Up For A While"
    • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Gotta Have Your Love"

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

    Bonus Beats for EP8: Ernest Hardy on Sade's "Love Deluxe"

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    Our conversation with Ernest Hardy about Sade's "Love Deluxe" was fantastic but it did run just a bit long so we sliced off this bit, a tangent partially about Sade's popularity amongst house DJs/producers.

    Listen here

    Heat Rocks, EP 8: Ernest Hardy on Sade's "Love Deluxe" (1992)

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    Show: 
    Heat Rocks
    Guests: 
    Ernest Hardy

    The album: Sade: Love Deluxe (Epic., 1992)

    This week, we are joined by cultural critic Ernest Hardy. Oliver first got to know Ernest through his remarkable writing in the LA Weekly and other outlets, some of which has been compiled into his Blood Beats Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 collections. For this episode, he chose Sade's Love Deluxe, which came out 25 years ago this fall. Ernest's deep love and appreciation for Sade was readily apparent to both Morgan and Oliver and it produced what we think is one of the most insightful episodes we've taped thus yet. We really loved this episode, we hope you do too.

    More on Sade and Love Deluxe:

    More on Ernest Hardy:

    Show Tracklisting:

    • Sade: No Ordinary Love
    • Massive Attack: Blue Lines
    • Smith and Mighty: Too Late
    • Sade: King of Sorrow
    • Sade: Pearls
    • Funk Brothers: Since I Lost You (Instrumental)
    • Sade: Cherish the Day
    • Sade: Feel No Pain
    • Sade: When Am I Going to Make a Living
    • Sade: Clean Heart
    • Sade: Pearls (Live, Hollywood Bowl)
      Sade: Bulletproof Soul
    • Sade: Somewhere In My Sadness
    • Sade: Kiss of Life

    (Also, this episode was edited by co-host Oliver Wang!)
    If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

    Heat Rocks, EP 7: Anil Dash on Prince's "1999" (1982)

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    Show: 
    Heat Rocks
    Guests: 
    Anil Dash

    The album: Prince: 1999 (Warner Bros., 1982)

    This week, we are joined by Anil Dash, the tech entrepreneur and activist whose love for The Purple One is legendary. He takes us into the Heat Rocks deep dive for Prince's 1999, the album that marked his new wave turn. All three of us share tales of our older family members being scandalized by the sexy-sexiness on the album. Mmmmmm...spicy. 

    More on Prince and 1999:

    More on Anil Dash:

    Show Tracklisting:

    • Prince: 1999 "1999"
    • Prince: 1999 "Delirious"
    • Prince: 1999 "D.M.S.R."
    • Michael Jackson Thriller "Thriller"
    • Prince: 1999 "Little Red Corvette"
    • Prince: 1999 "Lady Cab Driver"
    • Prince: 1999 "Something in the Water"
    • Prince: 1999 "Free"
    • Prince: 1999 "All The Critics Love U in New York"

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

    Heat Rocks, EP 6: Ill Camille on Common's "Like Water For Chocolate" (2000)

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    Show: 
    Heat Rocks
    Guests: 
    Ill Camille

    The album: Common: Like Water For Chocolate (MCA, 2000)

    This week, we are joined by Los Angeles rapper, Ill Camille. She picked Common's Like Water For Chocolate from 2000, a moment that marked the Chicago's turn towards becoming a hip-hop elder statesman, backed by the production might of the Soulquarians crew. Camille's love for the album runs deep and during the course of our taping, she'd bust out Common's rhymes, line for line.

    More on Common and Like Water For Chocolate:

    More on Ill Camille:

    Show Tracklisting:

    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "6th Sense (Feat. Bilal)"
    • Ill Camille Heirloom "Black Gold"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Nag Champa (Afrodisiac for the World)"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Geto Heaven"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "A Song For Assata (Feat. Cee-Lo Green)"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Funky For You (Feat. Bilal & Jill Scott)"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "The Light"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Thelonius (Feat. Slum Village)"
    • Georgia Ann Muldrow: "Untitled/Fantastic Remix"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Dooinit"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Time Travelin (A Tribute to Fela)"

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

    Heat Rocks Live Taping with B.Slade, 11/11/17 in downtown L.A.

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    Date: 
    11/11/2017 - 16:00 - 18:00
    Show: 
    City: 
    Los Angeles
    Venue Name: 
    Resident DTLA (428 S. Hewitt St., Arts District, Los Angeles)

    Heat Rocks Live Show/Launch Party with B.Slade, talking about Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814

    We wanted to wait a month or so before throwing our launch party and we're teaming up with the good folks at Voyager Institute for the occasion. We will taping, live, an episode of the show, featuring local Los Angeles singer/songwriter B.Slade and for his heat rock choice, he wanted us to get into Janet Jackson's hit 1989 album, Rhythm Nation 1814. 

    Voyager Institute's full slate begins at 4pm with our live show starting around 5pm on Saturday, November 11th.

    The venue is: Resident DTLA located in the Arts District. The event is free (but 21-and-over) and RSVPs are encouraged!

    For those who can't make the taping, fear not: it will be aired at a later date.