Articles

 
Eric Leeds in the Madhouse promo photo (original photo B&W).

Prince and reed man Eric Leeds teamed up to create two albums under the moniker Madhouse

Prince and reed man Eric Leeds teamed up to create two albums under the moniker Madhouse. Perhaps looking to exorcise jazz demons inherited from his father, Prince masterminded a lighthearted and funky sound that anticipated the “acid jazz” genre that would break years later.

April 21st, 2016 | | Articles
Illustrations by Joshua Dunn.

33 reasons why Prince is hip-hop

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is a drummer, a tweeter, a political provocateur, a music encyclopedia, a founding member of hip-hop royalty the…

April 21st, 2016 | | Articles
Courtesy of Chuck Statler

Prince tapped “godfather of the music video” Chuck Statler to helm the ill-fated film The Second Coming

Director and producer Chuck Statler—widely considered as the “godfather of the music video”—was tapped by Prince & Co. to helm The Second Coming and execute the twenty-three-year-old’s creative vision.

April 21st, 2016 | | Articles
Grand Central: Linda Anderson, André Cymone, Morris Day, Terry Jackson, Prince, and William Doughty.

Prince and André Cymone formed the band Grand Central while still in high school

  In the early 1970s, the Way Community Center, a local recreation center in the heart of Black Minneapolis, hosted…

April 21st, 2016 | | Articles
Kelela by Yev Kazannik

After leaving her native D.C., Kelela couch-surfed her way through the L.A. electro-bass scene

  Behind Kelela’s intoxicating locks and soft-spoken nature lies a fierceness, a simmering urgency, which serves as the true source…

April 13th, 2016 | | Articles
Courtesy of Sony BMG Music.

George Duke forged a new path and ruled the R&B charts with eccentric funk

At the turn of the century, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was a terrible place to maintain possession of a bootlegged George Duke VHS cassette….

March 25th, 2016 | | Articles
Jamaiel Shabaka in his L.A. home. Photo by Seb Carayol.

Jamaiel Shabaka cut his teeth with legend Sun Ra before recording the mysterious reggae LP The Land of the Rising Sun

It was a record. It’s always a record. A few months ago, while on a visit to the best unsung…

March 8th, 2016 | | Articles
Boyz II Men

Producer Dallas Austin talks about Boyz II Men’s debut album, Cooleyhighharmony

Boyz II Men, ABC, and BBD: The East Coast Family… was the mantra for the Biv 10 collective at the…

March 2nd, 2016 | | Articles
Howard Johnson

Howard Johnson reminisces on his silky-smooth chart-topper “So Fine”

In 1982, Howard Johnson’s silky-smooth hit “So Fine,” from his Keepin’ Love New album, peaked at number one on the…

February 24th, 2016 | | Articles
The Veldt

The Veldt make a triumphant comeback with its pure embrace of mood music; premiere new single, “Sanctified”

North Cackalacky natives and twin brothers Daniel and Danny Chavis grew up listening to Echo and the Bunnymen—but also Prince,…

February 19th, 2016 | | Articles/Tracks
UGK

Still Trill: Author Julia Beverly reflects on Pimp C with her biography, Sweet Jones

When contemplating Texas’s hip-hop pantheon, the conversation begins with Houston’s Geto Boys, who put Southern rap on the map. Outside…

February 17th, 2016 | | Articles
Tony! Tone! Toni! The Revival

Tony! Toni! Toné! founder D’Wayne Wiggins speaks in depth about their 1990 smash album The Revival

At the beginning of the 1990s, D’Wayne Wiggins, Raphael Saadiq, and Timothy Christian Riley—collectively known as Tony! Toni! Toné!—had spent…

February 12th, 2016 | | Articles
Rasputin Stash

Rasputin Stash founder talks reissue of cult classic album

  A musician, composer, writer, arranger, producer, bandleader and vocalist since the ’60s, Chicago’s Paul Coleman could be the living…

February 9th, 2016 | | Articles
Earth Wind & Fre

Cosmic Heights

That’s the handsome MC Perry Jones onstage. It’s 1974 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden, and Jones is looking out…

February 5th, 2016 | | Articles
Tuxedo by Piper Ferguson

As Tuxedo, Mayer Hawthorne and producer Jake One draw on G-funk and ’80s boogie to make you dance

    “Every time we got together and worked, it felt like summer camp,” recalls Seattle producer Jake One, half…

September 30th, 2015 | | Articles
Mr. Bongo Africa 45

Dave “Mr Bongo” Buttle discusses his new Africa 45s series featuring rare-groove Afro classics

Dave “Mr Bongo” Buttle has long been a distinguished part of the British music scene, keeping some of the country’s…

August 25th, 2015 | | Articles
Rocky Dawuni

Ghana-born, L.A.-based singer Rocky Dawuni spreads his positive message through Afro-roots music

An unusual Southern California overcast day, clouds pregnant with a much-needed rain blanket the Pacific Ocean. Though, muttering “April Showers…

August 24th, 2015 | | Articles
Electric-Wire-Hustle-by-Vibol-Moeung

New Zealand duo Electric Wire Hustle recalibrate electronic R&B

Straight out of Wellington, New Zealand, hails the type of steam-sexed soul we all thought died in the ashtray of…

August 13th, 2015 | | Articles
Janelle Monae by Marc Baptiste

The mysterious Janelle Monáe would rather talk about her android alter ego

  The Myth Janelle Monáe is an electron; she is the Sphinx; she is Mona Lisa’s smile; she is something…

August 11th, 2015 | | Articles
Photo by Henry Diltz

Ned Doheny went from the folky Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter scene to R&B heights

After an album on Asylum failed to make waves, Ned Doheny wrote a couple songs with Average White Band’s Hamish Stuart that would find great success in the R&B world. Teaming with Steve Cropper, Doheny embraced this new funky direction and recorded two albums that made him a star in England and Japan.

August 8th, 2015 | | Articles
Newcleus

Newcleus was at the center of the electro cosmos

  In the early 1980s, hip-hop was going through a change. With advancements in electronic music-making technology too tempting to…

August 4th, 2015 | | Articles
Bad Brains, H.R., Photo by Frank White © 1987

Band in D.C.:
Out of the nation’s capital,
Bad Brains came with extraordinary positivity

“What we discovered was PMA was really the Great Spirit,” says bassist and Bad Brains founding member Darryl Jenifer. “The…

July 28th, 2015 | | Articles
Swamp Dogg

Little Jerry Williams reinvented himself as Swamp Dogg, using Southern soul to tackle social issues, comedic parables, and once-taboo subjects

Jerry Williams Jr.’s life is the stuff of legend, yet he never became a legend. He hung out with Louis…

July 24th, 2015 | | Articles
Kon

Kon’s Star Time label delivers stellar disco edits

“In 1978, my mother was pretty much a disco diva—a little queen—and would take me to the club on Saturdays,”…

July 17th, 2015 | | Articles