Oliver Wang

EP 56: Women Behaving Boldly #3: Joi on Betty Davis' "They Say I'm Different" (1974)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Joi Gilliam

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

As part of our "Women Behaving Boldly" series, we decided to re-air the episode that launched Heat Rocks: our interview with future soul trailblazer and architect, Joi Gilliam.

This was one the pilot episodes we recorded in the spring of 2017 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(all songs from They Say I'm Different unless indicated otherwise):

  • They Say I'm Different
  • Joi: Sunshine & The Rain
  • Bone Crusher: Never Scared
  • Joi: Fatal Lovesick Journey
  • Don't Call Her No Tramp
  • Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him
  • Ice Cube: Once Upon a Time in the Projects
  • They Say I'm Different
  • 70's Blues
  • Special People
  • Joi: If I'm in Luck I Just Might Get Picked Up
  • Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him
  • He Was a Big Freak

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!

EP55: Women Behaving Boldly #2: Aretha Franklin Retrospective feat. Lynnée Denise

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Lynnée Denise

The Albums:

  • Aretha Franklin: Young, Gifted, and Black (1974)
  • Aretha Franklin: Jazz to Soul (1994)
  • Aretha Franklin: Rare & Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign of the Queen of Soul (2007)

Heat Rocks had always planned to sit down with DJ Lynnée Denise, an LA-based DJ and music scholar, but when Aretha Franklin passed on August 16th, we invited her to come talk with us about the Queen's life and legacy as part two of our series Women Behaving Boldly.

What a fantastic decision!

Admittedly, Queen Aretha's discography is too vast and too fire to be discussed on just one show so we cherry picked our favorite heat rocks: Oliver (The Queen in Waiting - The Columbia Years), Morgan (Rare & Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign of the Queen of Soul) and DJ Lynnée Denise (Young, Gifted and Black).

The three of us, brought together by a shared love and reverence for the Queen talked about her incredible voice and gift of interpretation and DJ Lynnée unpacked the Aretha's relationship with the church, with Detroit, with her instrument(s), with black folks and of course, her place in the canon of music.

Heat Rocks is thankful for an opportunity to spend an hour talking about the undisputed Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, with DJ Lynnée Denise who dropped some nuggets of wisdom on us.

More on Lynnée Denise

Our favorite Aretha performances

More on Aretha

Additional Aretha Links

Show Tracklisting (all songs by Aretha Franklin unless indicated otherwise):

  • I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
  • Rock Steady
  • EPMD: I'm Housin'
  • Rock Steady
  • Young, Gifted and Black
  • Soulville
  • Border Song (Holy Moses)
  • The Long and Winding Road
  • At Last (Let Me In Your Life Outtake)
  • Nina Simone: To Be Young, Gifted and Black
  • Young, Gifted and Black
  • Elton John: Young, Gifted and Black
  • The Heptones: Young, Gifted and Black
  • Bob and Marcia: To Be Young Gifted and Black
  • I've Been Loving You Too Long
  • Day Dreaming
  • Just for a Thrill
  • Drinking Again
  • This Bitter Earth
  • Jump To It
  • One Step Ahead
  • Mos Def: Ms. Fat Booty
  • Ain't But the One
  • I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) [Demo]
  • At Last (Let Me In Your Life Outtake)
  • So Soon
  • Rock Steady (Alternate Mix)
  • Are You Leaving Me [Demo]

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!

EP 54: Women Behaving Boldly #1: Oliver & Morgan on Millie Jackson's Caught Up (1974)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks

The Album: Millie Jackson Caught Up (1974)

Some months ago, Oliver and Morgan kicked around the idea of celebrating women over the course of a few Heat Rocks episodes. We decided we'd package it as a series and Oliver came up with the name "Women Behaving Boldly". Gotta love it.

To kick off the series, we chose the incomparable, ahead-of-her-time, OG provocateur Mildred Virginia Jackson known professionally as MILLIE JACKSON.

Millie Jackson is the Queen of Raunchy Rap. She spent much of the seventies singing about relationships and situationships. Her lyrics and conversations in the interludes of songs talked about complicated adult dramas like infidelity and divorce. Her words were raw and honest but also grown and sexy.

1974's Caught Up, her fourth release was a concept album which dealt with the before during and aftermath of an affair told from varying perspectives. Oliver and Morgan sat down to talk about all the elements that make this album fire - a heat rock.

More on Millie Jackson

More on Caught Up

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Caught Up unless indicated otherwise):

  • So Easy Going, So Hard Coming Back
  • Rihanna: Needed Me
  • Millie Jackson: Phuck U Symphony
  • Millie Jackson: All the Way Lover
  • The Rap
  • Millie Jackson: Gospel Truth
  • The Rap
  • All I Want is a Fighting Chance
  • It's All Over but the Shouting
  • A House for Sale
  • Gladys Knight and the Pips: Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye)
  • I'm Tired of Hiding
  • The Rap
  • The First Time
  • I'm Through Trying to Prove My Love to You
  • A House for Sale

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!

Who Shot Ya? Episode 55: The Predator and Other Problematic Films with Oliver Wang

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Show: 
Who Shot Ya?
Guests: 
Ricky Carmona
Guests: 
April Wolfe
Guests: 
Alonso Duralde
Guests: 
Oliver Wang

We've got Ricky, April and Alonso in the studio this week, along with special guest Oliver Wang. Like Ricky, Oliver is a fellow DJ, and he also hosts the brilliant music podcast Heat Rocks on Maximum Fun, alongside friend of the show Morgan Rhodes.

April tells us about her feminist ghost hunting pilot; Alonso's excited about the BBQ chicken tenders at McDonald's; Oliver is stoked to be a guest for the first time on WSY and Ricky's reminded of his childhood after watching the Canelo fight and going to a party where Los Angeles Plays Itself played in the background.

Plus, music scholar Oliver Wang outs himself as an unabashed Predator fan, who's seen every single Predator movie. Will he be one of the few (only?!) fans of this franchise that doesn't pan the film? Find out.

In the news, Gael Garcia Bernal wants to know why there aren't more US-born LatinX directors, Yacht Captain Dennis Davers breaks his silence about what he thinks happened the night Natalie Woods drowned, and Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson have teamed up to demand TV manufacturers up their TV-settings game for better movie watching experiences at home.

Weekly Movie Recommendations:

Ricky - The Thing
April - Life Itself (Note: this is April's joke pick), and her real pick is Mandy
Alonso - Lizzie
Oliver - Chan Is Missing

Next week we're discussing The Sisters Brothers with Inkoo Kang

With April Wolfe, Alonso Duralde, and Ricky Carmona
Oliver Wang

You can let us know what you think of Who Shot Ya? at @WhoShotYaPod on Twitter. Or email us at whoshotya@maximumfun.org
Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

EP52: Aurora Guerrero on the "Mosquita Y Mari" soundtrack (2012)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Aurora Guerrero

The Album: "Mosquita Y Mari" soundtrack (2012)

Aurora Guerrero is a Chicana filmmaker whose 2012 sweet coming-of-age story about two young Chicanas falling in love in Huntington Park was hit at Sundance that year. The Hollywood Reporter called it "...a robust work of self-discovery for two girls at the most awkward and confusing years of their young lives, and a testament to Aurora Guerrero's storytelling prowess." Traditions and emotions merge as the Yolanda and Mari's relationship grows intensely over time.

The narrative is underscored by a gorgeous soundtrack - the sound of East Los Angeles' eclectic underground music scene featuring indie artists across genres: ska, punk and hip hop with bands like Mexico 72, Pistolero, Viernes 13 and La Pobreska.

We sat with Aurora to talk about her curation process, the music vibe of Huntington Park, what falling in love sounds like when you're 15 and how Mosquita Y Mari put Southeast L.A. on the map in a new way.

More on Aurora Guerrero

Show Tracklisting (all songs from soundtrack unless indicated otherwise):

  • Mosquita Y Mari - Main Title
  • Yoli On the Rooftop
  • Ponle Frenos
  • Las Cruces de Tijuana
  • Esta Soledad
  • Pierdete Chica
  • El Dia Previo
  • Mi Corazon Es Para Ti

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many song as we can find there.
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP49: serpentwithfeet on Björk's "Homogenic" (1997)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
serpentwithfeet

The Album: Björk: Homegenic (1997)

Josiah Wise aka serpentwithfeet joined us to talk about one of his biggest influences: Björk and 1997 album, Homogenic. First introduced to her as a child, serpentwithfeet found a kindred spirit in the eclectic creativity of the Icelandic star. That especially extends to Homogenic, which, thanks to Björk and producer Mark Bell, would mark a hard turn from the more pop-friendly sounds of Post towards a new, baroque, electronic majesty. Our conversation touched on the mesmerizing nuances of Björk's voice, the album's heavy embrace of dance music, and what it's like to be a fan of an artist when you don't even know what they look like.

More on serpentwithfeet

More on Homegenic

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Homogenic unless indicated otherwise):

  • All is Full of Love
  • Björk: Bænin
  • All Neon Like
  • Björk: Human Behaviour
  • Joga
  • serpentwithfeet: blisters
  • Unravel
  • serpentwithfeet: whisper
  • All is Full of Love
  • Björk: Hidden Place
  • Hunter
  • Immature
  • Bells Atlas: Bachelorette
  • Unravel
  • Erykah Badu: On & On
  • Radiohead: Exit Music (For a Film)
  • Janet Jackson: Got Til it's Gone
  • Missy Elliott: The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)
  • Roni Size: New Forms
  • Unravel
  • Björk: Pagan Poetry
  • serpentwithfeet: blisters
  • serpentwithfeet: bless ur heart

Here's the Spotify plalist of as many songs as we could find on there
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP46: Thomas Golubic on De La Soul's "Three Feet High and Rising" (1989)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Thomas Golubic

The Album: De La Soul: Three Feet High and Rising (Tommy Boy, 1989)
I (OW) mention this on the episode but this album changed my life. It wasn't my introduction to hip-hop but it was the album through which I fell in love with hip-hop and that set me down a path that shaped the rest of my professional (and even personal!) life: as a writer, scholar, DJ and of course, humble podcast host. 
It clearly had an impact on Thomas Golubic too. Our guest for this episode is one of the top music supervisors in the game (as Morgan jokes, he's not just a member, he's the president, literally). He worked on Six Feet Under Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and right now, Better Call Saul; those in L.A. may also remember him from his KCRW days. 
Thomas and us dug deep into everything that makes this album so special, not the least of which is how it shifted the perception of what hip-hop could sound and look like. It's may be hard to remember now, nearly 30 years later, but in 1989, hip-hop was dominated by larger-than-life, superhero MCs such as KRS-One, Chuck D, Rakim, etc. But here were these four guys from Long Island, with a wholly creative irreverence, embracing their inner nerdiness (and soul ya'll) and mining a treasure trove of samples beyond the James Brown catalog (the latter would get them in trouble, which we talk about as well). The album, and group, changed the proverbial game. No more no less.  
More on Thomas Golubic

More on Three Feet High and Rising

Show Tracklisting (all songs fromThree Feet High and Rising unless indicated otherwise):

  • Say No Go 
  • Sia: Breathe Me 
  • Nat King Cole: Pick Yourself Up 
  • Little Richard: Hurry Sundown 
  • The Magic Number 
  • The Turtles - You Showed Me 
  • Transmitting Live From Mars 
  • Steely Dan: Black Cow 
  • Peter Gunz: Deja Vu (Uptown Baby) 
  • Say No Go 
  • The Invitations: Written on the Wall
  • Plug Tunin 
  • Bob Dorough: Three is a Magic Number 
  • The Magic Number 
  • Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin's Revenge)
  • Kool G Rap and DJ Polo: Road to the Riches 
  • Say No Go 
  • Intro 
  • Eye Know 
  • Me Myself and I 
  • Tread Water 
  • D.A.I.S.Y. Age 
  • Double Huey Skit
  • Cool Breeze on the Rocks
  • I Can Do Anything

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

EP45: Amber Navran on King's "We Are King" (2016)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Amber Navran

The Album: KING: We Are KING (2016)

Los Angeles' underground soul scene is full of talent. The scene's unique blend of soul, jazz, lo-fi, and electronica has helped to bring LA into prominence. Amber Navran is part of the community, first as a member of soul jazz trio Moonchild, and now as a solo artist. Her debut project, Speak Up was released to critical acclaim in 2017 and showcases both her musicianship and her buttery vocals. She joined us to talk about KING, the Grammy-nominated trio whose EP The Story blew them all the way up and thrust them into the Twitterverse where they remain faves.

We talked about the harmonies that make KING's music so swoon-worthy, the arrangements that have dazzled listeners since 2011, and the many reasons "We Are KING" is a heat rock.

More on Amber Navran

More on KING

Show Tracklisting (all songs from We Are King unless indicated otherwise):

  • The Greatest
  • Moonchild: Be Free
  • Amber Navran: He's Been Gone
  • Hey
  • Adele: Rolling in the Deep
  • Lalah Hathaway: Where it all Begins
  • Little Dragon: Ritual Reunion
  • Supernatural
  • The Story
  • Hey
  • Moonchild: Every Part (For Linda)
  • Supernatural
  • The Right One
  • Red Eye
  • Quincy Jones: Tell Me A Bedtime Story
  • Carry On
  • Mister Chameleon
  • In the Meantime
  • The Right One
  • The Greatest
  • Supernatural
  • Moonchild: Run Away (Remix)
  • Hey

Here's the Spotify playlist of as many of the songs above as we can find on there.

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

Ep 42: Meshell Ndgeocello on Prince's "Purple Rain"

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Meshell Ndegeocello

The Album: Prince: Purple Rain (1984)

I was dreaming when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray. But when I woke up this morning and realized that Oliver and I spent an hour or so talking with Meshell N'degecello about Prince's seminal "Purple Rain" album, I was beside myself with hype.

We spoke about the album's forward thinking musicianship and arrangements, Prince as a visionary, his Messiah-like presence and the extended version of Computer Blue. She told us about keeping "I Would Die 4 U" on elevated decibels and repeat and the pure dopeness of "When Doves Cry".

We all revisited the moment we first experience Purple Rain.

Simply put, we talked to one genius guitar hero about another. It gets no better than that. Throw on your best purple garments and get up on this.

"Hey, take a listen. Tell me do you like what you hear..." -Prince

More on Prince and Purple Rain:

More on Meshell Ndegeocello:

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Purple Rain unless indicated otherwise):

  • Purple Rain
  • Prince: For You
  • Purple Rain
  • When Doves Cry
  • I Would Die 4 U
  • Let's Go Crazy
  • Take Me With U
  • Prince: I Wanna Be Your Lover
  • Computer Blue
  • I Would Die 4 U
  • The Beautiful Ones
  • When Doves Cry
  • D'Angelo: Alright
  • J Dilla: Bye.
  • Alice Smith: Fool For You
  • Flying Lotus: All the Secrets
  • Purple Rain
  • When Doves Cry
  • Take Me With U
  • Prince: Erotic City
  • The Ronettes: Be My Baby

Here's the Spotify playlist of as many of the songs above as we can find on there.

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

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Heat Rocks Special, feat. Jay Smooth, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Vernon Reid

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Jay Smooth
Guests: 
Meshell Ndegeocello
Guests: 
Vernon Reid

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're a music lover, you'll want to subscribe to Heat Rocks as well.

We're doing something a little different this week - we're listening to three of our favorite interviews from Heat Rocks, one of our sister shows at Maximum Fun. Heat Rocks is a music podcast about passion. It's hosted by Oliver Wang, a veteran hip-hop writer, and Morgan Rhodes - she's a music supervisor who's worked closely with Ava DuVernay. Each week, Heat Rocks brings you a conversation with a guest about the album that shaped their lives. Morgan and Oliver have talked with people like Cut Chemist, Ishmael Butler, Ann Powers and more.

Expect deep, compelling conversations about R&B, Soul, Jazz, Hip-hop and more. Oliver and Morgan use each record as a jumping off point to talk about its history and its context.


Jay Smooth on 'Raising Hell' Run DMC

Jay Smooth is a legend. His cultural and political commentary, much of which he does through his pioneering Ill Doctrine videos, have positioned him as one of the hip-hop generation's leading pundits. He's also hosted one of the longest-running rap shows in the world: The Underground Railroad on WBAI.

Jay wanted to revisit Raising Hell, a paradigm-shifting rap album that, as we discuss, has seemingly become underrated through the passage of time, though it is unquestionably one of the most important hip-hop releasesever. We get into the moment in which Run DMC first arrived, how they changed the game for rap artists (for better and for worse) and of course, all our fire track and sleeper jam picks off this LP.

Check out this segment on YouTube!

This interview is only a small segment from a full interview of Heat Rocks. You can listen to the full interview here!


Photo: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Meshell Ndegeocello on 'Purple Rain' by Prince

Meshell Ndegeocello is a songwriter, a singer, a rapper and a bass player. She broke through in the 90's as a signee to Madonna's Maverick Records label. She was a huge player in the soul and dance scene - she still is, actually. And if you aren't familiar with her by name, you almost definitely heard her duet with John Mellencamp, a cover of Van Morrison's "Wild Night."

Morgan and Oliver asked her for her Heat Rock, she picked a stone cold classic: Prince's Purple Rain. She'll tell us what it felt like when she heard Prince wanted to sign her onto his record label.

Check out this segment on YouTube!

This interview is only a small segment from a full interview of an upcoming episode of Heat Rocks. Keep an eye out for the full interview here!


Vernon Reid on 'Band of Gypsys' by Jimi Hendrix

Vernon Reid is one of rock's greatest guitarists, having rising to stardom in the 1980s as a member of Living Colour. It's not surprising, therefore, that he'd choose an album by one of rock's other great guitarists: Jimi Hendrix and his final album, Band of Gypsys, recorded live at the Fillmore East and released in the spring of 1970, less than a year before he died. Reid gave us an amazing lesson into what exactly made Hendrix so brilliant.

Check out this segment on YouTube!

This interview is only a small segment from a full interview of Heat Rocks. You can listen to the full interview here!

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

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