Tamara McIlwain remembers a time when powerful young female rappers ruled the airwaves with positive messages. It was the late ’80s and early ’90s. The queens were Latifah, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, and the sassy Salt ‘n Pepa. “Women like that — they had something to say,” says Mcllwain
The handful of fans has swelled into a formidable crowd, swaying along to the intense squall of guitars, hands waving in the air, eyes tightly shut as if everyone is praising God. Everyone is.
This Oakland outfit continues to create danceable manifestos for the masses: “I got scars on my back, the truth on my tongue,” front man Boots Riley raps. “Tell Homeland Security we are the bomb.”
Death was just another African-American R&B act from Detroit before the Stooges and the MC5 changed their lives
By 2012, Erykah Badu had undergone a beautiful evolution from pioneer of late-’90s neosoul to hard-hitting, politically inspired, space-funk godchild of George Clinton. I needed to talk to her. And so I did.
The old grey Jack Kerouac sweatshirt that dated back to my college years in the early ’80s was nowhere to be found. But today it’s in good hands.
With the recent election of Barack Obama as president of the United States, TV on the Radio may have been the most American band making music in 2008. Little did we know then that the country would face a vicious and sustained backlash that continues to threaten our democracy.
Billed as “The Fully Orchestrated Live Premiere of Big Star’s Third,” the core musicians included Mike Mills of R.E.M., Chris Stamey and Will Rigby of the dB’s, Mitch Easter of Let’s Active, and original Big Star drummer Jody Stephens.
Chuck D looked at me quizzically, his furrowed brow barely showing beneath the bill of his black Raiders cap. “Sure,” the rapper said as I handed him a yellowed copy of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. “I’ll read it. Sounds interesting.”
In 2012, I looked back with humor at my life at MTV Networks in the late 1990s. Part of my duties at the music channel was babysitting boybands like *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys. Kind of.