Internet wormholes are ubiquitous. I’m sure you don’t need my help falling into any, but if you ever grow tired of Reddit or your expeditions wading through Wikipedia articles start to feel stale (neither scenario likely), then check to see if your favorite artists and comedians have done any podcasts or interviews lately. Chances are, they have.
As the case with any interview, the most compelling topics tend to be those that aren’t found on the one-sheets that get sent to every radio station and blog. When topics venture away from the actual music, you usually get access to stories that inform and affect the artistic process. Or sometimes it’s just funny to watch these guys get riled up by inappropriate questions that catch them off guard.
1. The Breakfast Club on Power 105.1
This New York crew seems like every other morning zoo radio team on first impression, but they seem to get the best out of the rappers and artists that come through thanks to a combination of knowledge, credibility, and incessant tormenting.
Watch as Mississippi’s Big K.R.I.T. has to defend his home state, fellow southern rapper Yelawolf (who Breakfast Club member Charlemagne can’t stand), and what it means to ‘look like’ a rapper.
Top Interviews: Big K.R.I.T., Elle Varner, Waka Flocka Flame
2. Nardwuar The Human Serviette
British Columbia’s Nardwuar is a national treasure in Canada, and whenever rappers, bands, or comedians pass through Vancouver he pulls them aside to shower them with gifts and wow them with investigative facts. It’s a great way to learn the history and influence of artists and see rappers humbled by presents (and also a little weirded out by Nardwuar’s fandom).
Top Interviews: Ghostface, Odd Future, Curren$y
3. First Date on MTV
Interviewer Rya Backer takes musicians out on first dates and asks them questions you would typically ask somebody on a first date. There’s something genuine about the initial nervousness on behalf of the musicians, but Rya is an excellent flirter so things loosen up and it’s a joy to watch a potential love connection unfold before your eyes. Meanwhile, you learn about the playful (or sensitive) sides of the subjects, and incidentally, you get some helpful first date tips (ex. ‘ninja restaurants’ are not very intimate).
Top Interviews: 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y
4. Shortwave with Grant-Lee Phillips
Former Grant Lee Buffalo front man sits down with musicians to talk song craft and personal history, often wandering into tangents that make you realize that all conversations will eventually do that IF YOU LET THEM. But really, Phillips is kind of like music’s answer to Marc Maron’s WTF, which similarly invites comedians to enter long-form discussions that dig deeper than your typical 10 minute quick-fire blurb interviews.
Listen to his interview with Paul F. Thompkins here.
Top Interviews: Aimee Mann, Paul F. Thompkins, Jill Sobule
5 . Between The Lines on Rap Genius
Rap Genius takes rap lyrics and crowd sources annotations in order to explain and interpret them. Their goal is to create a forum to critique lyrics as you would poetry. And so far, it’s gained a lot of attention and earned a lot of respect from the rappers that they are covering.
As a podcast, they take that model one step further and consult these rappers personally. The artists are held accountable for rhymes they delivered years prior, often revealing the stories that prompted their most notable songs. If you enjoy media criticism in any capacity, this is a thorough look into the mind of a lyricist.
Hear RZA’s podcast here.
Top Interviews: RZA, Jean Grae, Nas
– Submitted by John Parsons, Music Design