Features

The Continental Bath

Electric Relaxation
Notorious bathhouse the Continental Baths birthed NYC disco and the careers of Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan

Housed in the basement of a grandiose turn-of-the-century hotel on New York’s Upper West Side, the Baths were at the…

May 4, 2016 | Dan Gentile | Features
Prince 1991 MTV Music Award courtesy of MTV

Prince was a prophet. Prince was necessary.

I have a friend who often used to say Prince wouldn’t be truly appreciated until he died. I mention this…

April 27, 2016 | Travis Atria | Guest Blog
DJ Cassidy

Digging in the disco crates
with DJ Cassidy

Most people know DJ Cassidy from his smash hit single with R. Kelly, “Make the World Go Round.” After Puffy…

April 25, 2016 | Ericka Blount Danois | Record Rundown
Prince and the Revolution

Behind the Purple Ropes:
Prince and the Revolution

Having gained heavyweight status as James Brown’s tour manager, Alan Leeds was brought on midway through Prince’s 1999 tour as…

April 21, 2016 | Alan and Gwen Leeds | Features
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.

| Wax Poetics | 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…

| Ahmir Questlove Thompson | 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.

| Tony Best | 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…

| Ericka Blount Danois | Articles
An outtake from Justica. Photo by Warren Flagler.

The oral history of Eddie Palmieri’s Harlem River Drive

New York’s Harlem River Drive is a dividing line, a highway where the rich zip past the poor, says singer…

April 18, 2016 | Pablo Yglesias | Features
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 13, 2016 | Wax Poetics | 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 25, 2016 | Jon Kirby | Articles
Anita Baker 'Rapture'

Producer Michael Powell helped create Anita Baker’s massive R&B record Rapture

By the mid-’80s, Anita Baker was on the verge of setting herself apart from her contemporaries with her next offering….

March 17, 2016 | Chris Williams | Guest Blog
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 8, 2016 | Seb Carayol | Articles
Gary Clark Jr. by Jonathan Mannion

Blues Brother

Mentored on the axe by Stevie Ray Vaughan’s brother Jimmy and on the music business by friend Cody Chesnutt, Austin…

March 3, 2016 | Michael Gonzales | Features
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 2, 2016 | Chris Williams | 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 24, 2016 | Alexander Speetzen | 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 19, 2016 | Wax Poetics | 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 17, 2016 | Wax Poetics | 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 12, 2016 | Chris Williams | 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 9, 2016 | Wax Poetics | 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 5, 2016 | Ericka Blount Danois | Articles
David Bowie illustration by Andrew Spear.

So long, David Bowie

  So long, David Bowie! Since the dawn of the Space Age, several cosmic souls have too briefly graced our…

February 4, 2016 | Wax Poetics | Guest Blog/In Memoriam
equipe radio cidade

The New Year’s jams

  Equipe Rádio Cidade “Bons Tempos (Ano Novo)” Happy New Year, good readers of Wax Poetics! May 2016 bring better…

January 6, 2016 | Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
Natalie Cole promo photo

Remembering R&B legend Natalie Cole

On December 31, 2015, a statuesque songbird flew away from her perch to the heavens above. Natalie Maria Cole was…

| Chris Williams | Guest Blog/In Memoriam
Natl Lampoon Kung Fu Christmas

National Lampoon Players “Kung Fu Christmas” & The Emotions “What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas”

  Apologies if these two get delivered quicker and more to the point, but, well it’s clear we’re a little…

January 4, 2016 | Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
Salsoul Christmas

Salsoul Orchestra “You’re All I Want For Christmas (featuring Jocelyn Brown)”

  What y’all know about Christmas disco records? Most of them suck or maybe there’s a cool arrangement that lasts…

| Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
The Show, the After Party, the Hotel

Legendary engineer Jimmy Douglass on his role in constructing Jodeci’s The Show, the After Party, the Hotel on album’s 20th anniversary

By the mid-1990s, Donald “Devante Swing” DeGrate, Jr., Dalvin “Mr. Dalvin” DeGrate, Cedric “K-Ci” Hailey, and Joel “Jojo” Hailey—collectively known…

December 23, 2015 | Chris Williams | Guest Blog
Rotary Connection Peace

Rotary Connection “Peace at Least”

  Day 6 On a similar note from Day 5, we have a psych-rock story song that finally explains how…

December 22, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
Joe Gibbs Christmas

Joe Gibbs Family Wish You a Merry Rockers Christmas

I love the incongruity of Christmas music, like this jamming version of “We Three Kings” from the Joe Gibbs Family…

December 21, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings It’s a Holiday Soul Party

As I mentioned on the first day of Christmas Jams, there are a few unwassailable classic Christmas albums that have…

December 18, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Guest Blog