Heat Rocks

EP99: Raphael Saadiq on Earth, Wind & Fire's "That's The Way Of The World" (1975) + Remembering Nipsey Hussle

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Raphael Saadiq

The Album: Earth, Wind & Fire That's The Way Of The World (1975)

On March 15, 1975, Columbia Records released "That's The Way Of The World" the sixth studio album of Earth Wind & Fire, a band of 10 members who fused rock, jazz, funk and soul. The album sold five million units, and won a Grammy for the single "Shining Star" (Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group). Produced by Maurice White and Charles Stepney, the album focused on EWF's familiar themes, spirituality, oneness, love.

Oscar and Golden Globe nominated composer Raphael Saadiq joined Oliver and Morgan in studio to talk That's The Way of The World and all the things that made EWF iconic including, Philip Bailey's falsetto, Maurice White's mysticisms and drum heroics, Charles Stepney's production and the harmonies that caught his ear and his attention and the happy feelings the band's music inspired in his own musicianship as a youth growing up in Oakland.

You'll want to catch this one. Because Reasons.

And stay tuned after the interview for a special segment celebrating the life and music of Nipsey Hussel, who would have turned 34 this week. Rest in power, Nipsey.

More on Raphael Saadiq

More on That's The Way Of The World

Show Tracklisting (all songs from That's The Way Of The World unless indicated otherwise):

  • See The Light
  • Raphael Saadiq: So Ready
  • Earth, Wind & Fire: On Your Face
  • The Jacksons: Show You The Way To Go
  • Al Green: I'm Still In Love With You
  • B.B King: Heed My Warning
  • War: Why Can't We Be Friends
  • Rick James: Bustin' Out
  • 2 Men, A Drum Machine and A Trumpet: Tired of Getting Pushed Around
  • Funkadelic: (Not Just) Knee Deep
  • Earth, Wind & Fire: Love Music
  • Earth, Wind & Fire: Love's Holiday
  • Earth, Wind & Fire: Imagination
  • Earth, Wind & Fire: Yearnin' Learnin' (Live)
  • Minnie Ripperton: Les Fleur
  • Africano
  • Earth, Wind & Fire: Can't Let Go
  • All About Love (First Impression)
  • Shining Star
  • That's the Way of the World
  • Shining Star
  • Happy Feelin'
  • Reasons
  • Shirley Murdock: As We Lay
  • Erick Sermon: Stay Real
  • Earth, Wind & Fire: Boogie Wonderland
  • The Emotions: Don't Ask My Neighbors
  • Ramsey Lewis: Sun Goddess
  • The Randy Watson Experience & Bilal: Can't Hide Love
  • Nipsey Hussle: Hussle in the House
  • Nipsey Hussle: FOREVER ON SOME FLY SHIT
  • Nipsey Hussle: They Roll
  • Nipsey Hussle: Face the World
  • Nipsey Hussle: Shell Shocked
  • DJ Khaled: Higher

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!

EP 96: Jimetta Rose on Rufus & Chaka Khan's "From Rags to Rufus" (1974)

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Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Jimetta Rose

The Album: Rufus & Chaka Khan From Rags to Rufus (1974)

Los Angeles soul singer, Jimetta Rose, has been making music for a long time, working with artists like Talib Kweli, Meshell Ndgeocello, and Shuggie Otis. Her velvety smooth vocals and thoughtful writing made her a force of nature in the LA music scene, bodying anything from R&B to jazz, to rap, and so much more.

Jimetta was on a journey, searching for a Chaka Khan dance record, and on her way there, found the funk. Jimetta sat down with us to talk Rufus and Chaka Khan's "From Rags to Rufus." We discussed the origins of Rufus and their transition to funk, the impact Chaka had on the band, and why her voice resonates with women from all walks of life, including a young Jimetta Rose.

More on Jimetta Rose

More on From Rags to Rufus

Show Tracklisting (all songs from From Rags to Rufus unless indicated otherwise):

  • I Got The Right Street (But The Wrong Direction)
  • Chaka Khan: I Know You, I Live You
  • Chaka Khan: Stop On By
  • Chaka Khan: So Not to Worry
  • Donna Summer: Dinner With Gershwin
  • Ray Parker Jr.: You Can't Change That
  • Eddie Kendricks: Girl You Need A Change Of Mind
  • You Got The Love
  • Rags to Rufus
  • The American Breed: Bend Me, Shape Me
  • Walkin' In The Sun
  • In Love We Grow
  • Sly5thAve: Let Me Ride
  • The Golden Gate Quartet: Swing Down Chariot
  • Swing Down Chariot
  • Walkin' In The Sun
  • Swing Down Chariot
  • Smokin' Room
  • Tell Me Something Good
  • Prince: I Feel For You
  • Chaka Khan: I Feel For You
  • Ain't Nothin' But A Maybe
  • Sideways
  • Smokin' Room

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!

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

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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!

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

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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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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!

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

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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!

Heat Rocks EP77: Illa J on Prince's "Dirty Mind" (1980)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Illa J

The Album: Prince Dirty Mind (1980)

Dirty Mind, Prince's third album, arrived on the scene in the late fall of 1980, and brought with it a salaciousness we hadn't known heretofore. The album, a mix of punk, funk and disco allowed Prince to play with gender and genre as well as sexual innuendo and double entendre.

Beatmaker and producer Illa J sat down with us to talk about why Dirty Mind for him is an all time heatrock, what makes the album impossible to stop bumping and how Prince was on time and ahead of his time all at the same time.

This episode was short and sweet - just like Dirty Mind. Check it.

More on Illa J

More on Dirty Mind

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Dirty Mind unless indicated otherwise):

  • Uptown
  • Illa J: Enjoy the Ride
  • Partyup
  • Dirty Mind
  • Prince: Controversy
  • Dirty Mind
  • When You Were Mine
  • The Bangles" Manic Monday
  • Sister
  • Partyup
  • When You Were Mine
  • Head
  • Gotta Broken Heart Again
  • Vanity 6: Nasty Girl
  • Britney Spears: I'm A Slave 4 U
  • Uptown

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

EP70: Jamie Stewart on Otis Redding's "The Very Best of Otis Redding" (1992)

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Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Jamie Stewart

The Album: Otis Redding The Very Best of Otis Redding (1992)

Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart is the son of a record producer and session player who blessed him with the gift of The Very Best of Otis Redding, the 1992 compilation of sixteen of the best songs from the late Otis Redding's catalogue. His father gave him instructions for listening - the charge to learn all about feel.

We talked about the nuances of jabs and riffs and Otis Redding's pathos, his restraint, Otis' use of "uncool words" his penchant for the word "lovely", and his wonderfully nuanced cover of the Rolling Stones "Satisfaction".

We discussed the sound Memphis music - Stax/Volt, the musicianship, the organic country friend soul sound of the label, and how that sound benefitted Otis Redding.

What Jamie Stewart learned most from Otis Redding was awareness, how beats affect emotion, awareness of feel and how rhythm and emotion impact singing.

It was a great conversation about a career and a life interrupted.

Xiu Xiu's newest album Girl with Basket of Fruit  releases 02/08/2019 via Polyvinyl.

Check out the music video for their newest single Scisssssssors.

Editor's note: Xiu Xiu was formed in San Jose, but the band is now LA-based.

More on Jamie Stewart

Show Tracklisting (all songs from The Very Best of Otis Redding unless indicated otherwise):

  • I've Got Dreams to Remember
  • Shake
  • Pain in My Heart
  • Otis Redding: Ole Man Trouble
  • Try a Little Tenderness
  • Frank Sinatra: Try a Little Tenderness
  • The Happy Song (Dum-Dum-De-De-De-Dum-Dum)
  • Satisfaction
  • Respect
  • I've Been Loving You Too Long
  • Jay-Z and Kanye West: Otis
  • I've Got Dreams to Remember
  • These Arms of Mine
  • Otis Redding: Free Me
  • Otis Redding: Hard to Handle
  • Otis Redding: Change Gonna Come
  • Otis Redding: Try a Little Tenderness (Live on Upbeat)

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!

EP66: Lynell George on David Bowie's "Young Americans" (1975)

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Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Lynell George

The Album: David Bowie Young Americans (1975)

Super cool Grammy winning writer and archivist Lynell George came to know David Bowie's music through celebrated Los Angeles radio station KGFJ. KGFJ blasted the sounds and she received them courtesy of a wrap around Panasonic radio. (Salute!)

She was attracted to the Philly soul sound ever present on David Bowie's Young Americans because Philly soul was in her DNA as she is the daughter of a Philadelphia Native. David Bowie's desire to pay homage to both the black soul music he was fond of and Aretha Franklin, was a shift that most critics weren't prepared for.

We talked about the title track as an ahead-of-its-time commentary on gentrification, UK artists and their love affair with R&B music and the thin line between festishization and fascination.

Sax solos, guitar solos, soulful arrangement galore, Young Americans was the sound of Philadelphia and the sounds of blackness.

Best quote EVER, "you feel like you're walking through humidity" (Lynell George)

She wooed us and schooled us. We'd expect nothing less from a historian and an OG member of David Bowie's fan club.

More on Lynell George

More on Young Americans

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Young Americans unless indicated otherwise):

  • Young Americans
  • Fame
  • David Bowie: Let's Dance
  • David Bowie: TVC15
  • Young Americans
  • Right
  • Across the Universe
  • Young Americans
  • Can You Hear Me
  • Somebody Up There Likes Me
  • The Flares: Foot Stomping (Part 1)
  • David Bowie: Footstompin'
  • Fascination
  • Somebody Up There Likes Me
  • Fascination
  • Fame

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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