Morgan Rhodes

Heat Rocks, EP 14: Bosco on Erykah Badu's "Mama's Gun"

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Bosco

The album: Erykah Badu: Mama's Gun (Motown, 2000)

Bosco was an artist that Morgan knew, from jump, she wanted to get on the show. A Savannah native who's now an L.A. transplant (by way of Atlanta), Bosco's been steady climbing the ranks in the music game and has had a breakout year in 2017, especially wiht the release of her full-length, b.

For her pick, Bosco wanted to revisit one of the formative albums that shaped her imagination as a kid: Erykah Badu's sophomore album: Mama's Gun. If Baduizm helped put Badu on the map, Mama's Gun - which was produced by the same Soulquarian team also working on D'Angelo's Voodoo and Common's Like Water For Chocolate - firmly established her as the preeminent queen of what was then called neo-soul and these days seems better described as future soul. Our conversation touched on many aspects of how Badu and her sound landed on people's ears back at the turn of the century and how it continues to reverberate today.

More on Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun

More on Bosco

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Mama's Gun unless indicated otherwise):

  • ”Bag Lady”
  • Bosco: b. “Castles”
  • Erykah Badu: Baduizm “Apple Tree”
  • ”Other Side Of The Game”
  • The Roots: Things Fall Apart “You’ve Got Me ft. Erykah Badu and Jill Scott Live”
  • Res: How I Do “How I Do”
  • ”Cleva”
  • SZA: Ctrl “Normal Girl”
  • ”Time’s A Wastin”
  • ”…&On”
  • ”Didn’t Cha Know”
  • Bosco: b. “Free”
  • ”Penitentiary Philosophy”
  • ”A.D. 2000”
  • ”Orange Tree”
  • …&On
  • ”Kiss Me ON My Neck”
  • ”Booty”
  • ”Green Eyes”
  • ”In Love With You Ft. Stephen Marley”
  • Erykah Badu: “I’ve Been Going Through it All”
  • ”Orange Tree”
  • …&On
  • ”Kiss Me ON My Neck”
  • ”Booty”
  • ”Green Eyes”
  • ”In Love With You Ft. Stephen Marley”
  • Erykah Badu: Erykah Badu “Amerykahn Promise”

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

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 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!

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, EP4: Shea Serrano on DMX's "It's Dark and Hell Is Hot" (1998)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Shea Serrano

The album: DMX: It's Dark and Hell Is Hot (Def Jam, 1998)

This week, we are joined by Shea Serrano, contributor at TheRinger.com, author of both The Rap Yearbook and the brand new Basketball (And Other Things). For his heat rock, he choose DMX's smash debut LP, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot. *woof*

During our conversation, we learned how it was Shea's grandmother, of all people, who introduced him to DMX and how that album became the formative soundtrack for him as a teenager. Shea drops wisdom nuggets on the nature of pain in DMX's persona and how this album marked a repudiation of the direction hip-hop was headed in during the jiggy era.

More on DMX and It's Dark and Hell Is Hot:

More on Shea Serrano:

Show Tracklisting:

  • DMX: "Get At Me Dog" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • Mase: "Feel So Good" Money Talks
  • DMX: "Fucking With My Dogs" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • DMX: "Catching The Same Hell"
  • DMX: "Look Thru My Eyes" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • DMX: "Ruff Ryders Anthem" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • DMX: "Prayer" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • DMX Feat. Eve "Dog Match" Let There Be Eve...Ruff Ryders First Lady
  • DMX "Crime Story" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • DMX "For My Dogs" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • 50 Cent "Wanksta"
  • Mase "24 Hours To Live" Harlem World
  • DMX "How's It Goin Down" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot

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


11-2-17 Update!

In our episode, I (Oliver) credited the album for helping introduce Swizz Beats to the wider world. That's true insofar as "The Ruff Ryders Anthem" was one of Swizz's first big hits. However, it's the only song on the entire album that Swizz worked on. Most of the album was produced by Dame Grease and P.K. and in my haste, I didn't do my proper discographic research to give credit where it was properly due.

Heat Rocks, EP3: Ann Powers on Madonna's "Like a Prayer" (1989)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Ann Powers

The album: Madonna: Like a Prayer (Sire, 1989)

This week, Morgan and Oliver are joined by Ann Powers of NPR Music and author of the new book, Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music. Together, the three dug into Like a Prayer, Madonna's critical breakout album form 1989. As Ann lays out, Madonna had already established herself as an MTV-era mega-star with her previous albums but Like a Prayer, with its then-controversial sexual politics and surprising personal candor, marked a new level of artistic ambition.

More on Madonna and Like a Prayer

More on Ann Powers:

Tracklisting:

  • Madonna: "Like A Prayer" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Like A Virgin" Like A Virgin
  • Madonna: "Till Death Do Us Part" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Express Yourself" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Act Of Contrition" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Love Song" Like A Prayer
  • Prince: "Computer Blue" Purple Rain
  • Madonna: "Cherish" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Dear Jessie" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Promise To Try" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Keep It Together" Like A Prayer

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

Heat Rocks, EP 2: Phonte on Intro's "Intro" (1993)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Phonte

The album: Intro: Intro (Atlantic, 1993)

This week rapper, producer, and songwriter Phonte (Foreign Exchange, Little Brother) joins Oliver and Morgan to talk about R&B group Intro's 1993 self-titled debut album. The release was part of the changing tide of R&B music, when slow jams were giving way to more uptempo hits and singers were exchanging suits for Timbs and jeans.

Phonte shares about what Intro's brand of new jack swing meant to him as a teenager learning about life in Greensboro, North Carolina. Don't get him wrong: he was a hardcore hip-hop head, but he grew up both in an R&B household and in the church where singing was a big part of his musical formation. Phonte breaks down the group's influence on his understanding of songwriting, lyrics, and the balance between uptempo and down-tempo songs. He also discusses the album's mature themes, crediting them for helping a young brother's macking game.

More on Intro

More on Phonte:

Tracklisting:

  • Intro: Love Thang
  • Intro: Let Me Be The One
  • Jodeci: Forever My Lady
  • Brick: Dazz (1976)
  • Heavy D & The Boyz: Mr. Big Stuff
  • Jade: Don't Walk Away (1992)
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Award Tour
  • Mary J. Blige - You Don't Have To Worry
  • Intro: Come Inside
  • Intro: Why Don't You Love Me?
  • Intro: Ribbon in the Sky
  • Intro: One of a Kind Love
  • Faith Evans: Reasons
  • Intro: Ecstasy of Love
  • Intro: So Many Reasons
  • Intro: Don't Leave Me
  • Intro: It's All About You
  • Foreign Exchange: If She Breaks Your Heart (feat. Yahzarah)

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

Heat Rocks, EP 1: Joi on Betty Davis' "They Say I'm Different"

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Betty Davis/Joi
Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Joi Gilliam

The album: Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different (Just Sunshine, 1974)

This was one the pilot episodes we recorded in the spring and when we left the taping, we turned to one another and knew this show had potential.

The pairing of artist and album came from Morgan and it was inspired: the undersung Betty Davis, one of the most original and fascinating figures of the 1970s, being feted by future soul artist and Dungeon Family-affiliate Joi, an artist very much cut from Betty's cloth but a generation later. We had a fantastic conversation about the importance and uniqueness of Betty and what she's meant, especially, to waves of Black women artists who've followed in her path in the 40+ years since.

On a personal note, this also meant a lot to Oliver because he's written three sets of liner notes on Betty Davis albums (including They Say I'm Different) and interviewed her extensively as part of that. He forever holds a torch for her.

More on Betty Davis:

More on Joi:

Tracklisting:

  • Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different
  • Joi: Freedom (Pendulum Vibe, 1994)
  • Betty Davis: Git In There
  • Brides of Funkenstein: Party Up In Here (12", 1979)
  • Vicki Anderson: Message From the Soul Sisters (7", 1974)
  • Betty Davis: 70s Blues
  • Betty Davis: Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him
  • Ice Cube: Once Upon a Time in the Projects (AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, 1990)
  • Betty Davis: He Was a Big Freak
  • Joi: If I'm In Luck, I Might Get Picked Up (Amoeba Cleansing Syndrome, 1996)
  • Betty Davis: Don't Call Her No Tramp

Get to Know Heat Rocks Host Morgan Rhodes!

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Maximum Fun's newest show Heat Rocks debuts on Tuesday, October 3rd! Yesterday, you learned a little bit about host Oliver Wang. Today, we'll introduce you to host Morgan Rhodes!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I've been a music supervisor for five years and in radio for ten, both as a music programmer/DJ and as a music critic. I'm currently working on Season 2 of Dear White People which airs in the spring of 2018. I love working around music.

What led you to create Heat Rocks?

I'm so talkative when it comes to music so initially I thought about having a show where Oliver and I talk about the songs and albums we love. Then I thought it might be interesting to create space for artists and scholars to be generous, to speak well of other peoples work. It's been incredibly rewarding listening to artists and scholars we are fans of wax poetic about their personal heat rocks.

What are you most excited for people to hear on the show?

I'm most excited for people to be as surprised as Oliver and I have been at the albums our guests have chosen. Their heat rocks have been wonderful surprises.

What's one thing that's surprised you about the process of making this podcast?

I had no idea Maximum Fun's studio was so cool. It is small but mighty!

What's your personal heat rock?

Wow. How much time do you have?

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