The 1977 NYC blackout and the hip-hop spark that ignited soon after
I was honored to be quoted alongside GrandMaster Caz in this article about the effect that the 1977 Blackout had on the development of hip-hop. As always, I was trying to emphasize the agency of the hip-hop community – that hip-hop wasn’t so much a result of specific events as it was a result of people reacting to those events in creative ways. I think the writer did a good job of capturing that.
How the Bronx brought breaking to the world
This is a mini-documentary about b-boying/b-girling that I appear in. Nothing earth-shattering, but a good intro…
The Cipher – Episode 095: A Talk with Professor and Writer Joe Schloss
I was honored to be featured on the Cipher Podcast, home of some of the most incisive commentary on hip-hop culture and history available. If you’re curious about where I’m coming from as a researcher, this 1½ hour interview will probably give you a better sense of my approach than anything other than my own books. And while you’re there, check out other episodes of their podcast as well!
Breaking Down: Sly and the Family Stone’s “Sing a Simple Song”(1968)
Sociologist/DJ/journalist Oliver Wang gave me the opportunity to write a piece for his Soulsides.com site, in which I would annotate a recording of my choice. Since Sly Stone is my favorite musician of all time, I chose to write about his classic track “Sing a Simple Song” and its influence on hip-hop. The suggested way to work through this is to listen to the song on the little player in the upper right hand corner while reading the annotations in real time, and then read my longer commentary below. But obviously you are free to do whatever you want.
Under Further Review #1: Reachin’
This is another piece from Soulsides.com. This time Oliver and I spent about a week writing back and forth about the Digable Planets’ 1993 album Reachin’ (a new refutation of time and space). Our conversation soon expanded to include many interesting tangents, including discussion of the evolving relationship between hip-hop and jazz, the role of Greenwich Village in the geography of hip-hop, the importance of the snare in hip-hop production, and the historical significance of Seattle’s African American community to American popular music.
‘Wherever I Bless a Microphone: Ethnographic Perspectives on Hip-Hop’s Transnational Flow”
This is a short piece I wrote for Social Text Periscope in conversation with Sujatha Fernandes’s book Close to the Edge (Verso: 2011)
Thinking About Gil Scott-Heron
Gil Scott-Heron was another one of my favorite artists. This is a kind of eulogy I wrote for him on Mark Anthony Neal’s New Black Man website.
Summer Sessions with Joe Schloss and Musiqology
Guy Ramsey is one of my favorite scholars and neighbors here in Brooklyn. His website Musiqology.com (which is administered by another one of my favorite scholar/neighbors, Fredara Mareva Hadley) is a great resource and inspiration for thinking about music and culture. I was honored when they asked me to list a few of my favorite scholarly books about Black music.