Andra Day’s ‘Song Exploder’ episode
is a tremendous look into one of the music biz’s best minds
10:45 AMAndra Day is unlike anyone else in the record industry right now and Hrishikesh Hirway is that dude. The former is an R&B singer/songwriter who sounds like she’s from both the past and the future. The latter is a composer/musician whose Song Exploder podcast provides some of the most in-depth and analytical music conversations that we have in the business.
From a strict vocal standpoint, she’s been described as sounding like something between Eartha Kitt and Blu Cantrell, as in a light-skinned woman who sings with a distinct accent? Sure. But her voice is better than Kitt’s and her range artistically is far wider than Cantrell’s. She’s rocked everything from radio stations to Austin City Limits to the White House.
In the latest Song Exploder episode Monday, the two sat down to chop it up about her song Forever Mine. It’s part doo-wop, part hip-hop.
“The one thing I wanted was the mix of the old and the new. So it was kind of like, cool, let’s do this,” Day said. “I told Rob [Kleiner] that I love the Flamingos and I love the song I Only Have Eyes For You. So that was really sort of the prototype for the song.”
Alongside Rob Kleiner, who co-wrote the song with Day and produced it, they break down exactly how they constructed the melody. Kleiner, who’s worked with artists such as Cee-Lo, Kylie Minogue and Sia, is really fun to listen to as far as how he describes his process and what kind of sound he likes. Also, listening to these two vibe is rather refreshing. Make sure you listen about how they made the hook. Hip-hop group Mobb Deep also gets a shoutout, if you’re familiar with the track.
Lastly, if you want to know how Hirway constructs his podcasts, not just how artists put together their songs, check this out. If you’re not familiar with this show as a whole, you need to get on it. It’s dope.
All Day Podcast: 8/16/16
Black hair at the Olympics, Larry Wilmore’s show canceled and jarring Nate Parker news
6:18 PMIn case you missed senior style writer Jill Hudson’s story from Monday on the backlash American gymnast Gabby Douglas has received this Olympics due to the appearance of her hair, you’ll want to check it out. Might as well read it and listen along, as it’s the first topic Hudson, host Clinton Yates and staff writer Justin Tinsley tackle on this week’s podcast.
Don’t worry. We got you, Gabby.
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The crew shifts to a discussion revolving around the upcoming film on the 1831 Nat Turner slave rebellion, titled The Birth of a Nation. Recently, the film’s director, producer and star actor Nate Parker spoke with Variety about a 1999 sexual assault case he and the film’s co-writer, Jean Celestin, were involved in during their college days at Penn State University. The news has affected whether one member of the podcast will even see the film. (After this podcast was taped, Variety reported that the accuser in the case committed suicide in 2012.)
Last on the show bill: After Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore was canceled Monday, what does this mean for black TV hosts?
Give it a listen, and if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NFL’s new security chief
comes straight from the nation’s capital
5:02 PMCathy Lanier will be the NFL’s new vice president of security, the league announced Tuesday, ending a months-long search that began when Jeff Miller stepped down from the job in May. Lanier, 49, has been the police chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington, D.C., since 2007. Not that it should matter but her background as an officer, who rose from the rank of beat cop to lead one of the higher-profile forces in the country, is not one we’d expect to see in a leadership role in the NFL.
She was at the helm of a department that dealt with the local legalization of marijuana and actively pursued the use of body cameras for its officers when the issue was still raw after Ferguson, Missouri. There are various arguments about whether her tenure was successful locally, but as a mom who also once sued MPD for sexual harassment and won, this is about as progressive a hire as possible.
“We are excited to welcome to our team an individual of Cathy’s talent and extensive record of accomplishments,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday. “Cathy joins us with a well-deserved reputation of being a tremendous communicator, innovator and relationship builder.”
“This executive will also be the primary supervisor of investigative programs, as well as oversee event security (including the Super Bowl and international games), game integrity programs and department administration,” the NFL job description read at the time of its posting. “He/she will take the lead in assessing security issues within the league and assigning and/or identifying the correct resources as they arise.”
Which leads to an obvious question: Does Lanier plan to make the game-day experience safer? During her time in D.C., she added a more personal communicative touch to police work in neighborhoods used to viewing the cops as enemies. She routinely noted that more communication between law enforcement and residents made things safer, not less. Lanier loudly rejected zero-tolerance policing for minor offenses, as well.
All that to say, for casual fans of the NFL, the No. 1 criticism in the past 10 years about the league has been the stadium experience from a cost and a security standpoint. A light Googling in the days after an NFL weekend will net you at least a half-dozen videos of fights in the parking lot, in the stands and even in the bathrooms. Personally, it’s the reason why I stopped going to games a long time ago.
— wendy (@wowindc) August 16, 2016
Goodell’s reputation hasn’t been great recently. When it comes to how he’s dealt with players and their suspensions — even before Deflategate bored us all to tears — he had work to do on his legacy. Recently, the league’s handling of what is eventually going to be a very difficult talk about what to do about the long-term effects of concussions hasn’t exactly inspired confidence, either.
But for the people still willing to pay outrageous parking prices for the pleasure of being able to swill beer in a stadium with 75,000 of their closest friends, Lanier is the closest thing you can get to an ally.
Daily Dose: 8/16/16
Blac Chyna is officially ready to take over
9:55 AMWe’re down to one black guy on Bachelor in Paradise. Also, we need more Jorge. Come on, producers.
The dog days of summer are certainly upon us. It’s hot as blazes on the East Coast and if it weren’t for the Olympics and the presidential campaign, much of the news cycle would be incredibly slow and largely boring. The weather is so intense that beyond the disastrous floods it caused in Louisiana, it’s also apparently causing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani of all people to make ridiculous statements about the effectiveness of radical Islam. Luckily, the Obamas are above that fray, and the president is spending his vacation golfing with NBA stars. Let’s follow along in Martha’s Vineyard.
For the majority of the world’s nations, the Olympics are bad business. Never mind the situation with the International Olympic Committee, oftentimes on the ground it’s too difficult to get everything ready in time and ultimately you end up costing yourself more money than you would have spent to simply sit still. For this reason, there are theories floating that the Olympic Games should actually just go away forever. FiveThirtyEight’s Clay Dillow breaks down a study from the University of Oxford that analyzes the last six decades of Olympic budgets.
America’s favorite television family, the Kardashians, have a new program in the mix. In case you forgot, Rob Kardashian is now an item with Blac Chyna, a reality star who rose from the ranks of exotic dancer to work her way into the most famous clan in Hollywood. Their new show is called Rob and Chyna and a trailer was released Monday. The two are having a baby, of course, and in typical family fashion, their relationship is a tad volatile. Here are five things we learned from the teaser. The show debuts Sept. 11.
Whether you like it or not, the NFL season is upon us. ESPN is holding fantasy football marathons, training camp sites are coming to a close and fans are getting their hopes up. It also means the return of scandalous news stories. Remember that report from Al-Jazeera that implicated various football players, including, ahem, Peyton Manning in a wide-ranging investigation about doping? Well, that’s back. The league is saying if players still playing on rosters don’t answer for their involvement, there will be consequences. Jeremy Fowler reports.
Coffee Break: Aside from the iconic music that Mos Def and Talib Kweli made back in the ’90s with their Black Star album, there was also the imagery of the project that touched so many as well. The album art was next level and it all started with an English photographer named Eddie Otchere. Check out this interview with him about how it went.
Snack Time: I’m extremely biased when it comes to Tiny Desk concerts at NPR, but if you haven’t seen Anderson .Paak’s latest offering to the genre, we highly suggest that you get it in your life. It’s incredible.
Dessert: We love badminton. Now we love what the players do in their off time, even more.
‘The Nightly Show’ is no more
Comedy Central cancels Larry Wilmore’s show
1:05 PMThe man who called President Barack Obama “my n—-” in front of the world has lost one of his gigs. On Monday, Comedy Central announced that The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore will end Thursday, Variety reports. The show was originally billed as a replacement for The Colbert Report after host Stephen Colbert went to CBS to replace David Letterman. The Nightly Show never really caught the wave it wanted from an audience standpoint. It launched Jan. 19, 2015.
It didn’t help that Wilmore’s show was created and then almost immediately overshadowed by the departure of The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart. Presumably, the idea there was to create a line between viewers of The Daily Show and those of The Nightly Show, but that bond never really solidified for the former “senior black correspondent.” Not to mention the huge splash created when South African Trevor Noah came on as host of The Daily Show. Anyway, as a viewer, it never really felt like Wilmore’s show was a major priority for the network.
“I’m really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and our fans to have had this opportunity. But I’m also saddened and surprised we won’t be covering this crazy election or ‘The Unblackening’ as we’ve coined it. And keeping it 100, I guess I hadn’t counted on ‘The Unblackening’ happening to my time slot as well,” Wilmore said in a statement.
Perhaps most disappointing is the loss of another black host and presence in a writer’s room with an upcoming national election. Last week, NBC announced that Jay Pharoah, who does the best Obama impersonation in the history of the world, would be leaving Saturday Night Live.
That said, Wilmore always has a million things going anyway, so it’s not like the writing and comedy veteran is just going to disappear. You can bet that when Issa Rae’s new HBO show Insecure launches — which he was a part of creating — your man Wilmore will be back at it again with the jokes that make white folks squirm.
Daily Dose: 8/15/16
Another fatal shooting of a black man, more unrest, this time in Milwaukee
10:46 AMSunday night at the Olympics, NBC’s Bob Costas intonated that Usain Bolt might be a more famous Jamaican than Bob Marley. Let’s be clear, that will never ever be the case, plain and simple.
Milwaukee has been burning all weekend. After a fatal police-involved shooting, the Wisconsin city has been the latest American ground zero for unrest due to what some communities feel is overly violent behavior. The protests have been particularly violent, with reports of demonstrators throwing things and setting businesses on fire. This is the part where you can expect national reporters to descend on Milwaukee, where we’ll learn a lot more about what goes down in the Badger state. ABC News reports.
In other disastrous news, Louisiana is basically underwater. They’ve gotten an insane amount of rain recently and the number of people and businesses who’ve been affected is in the tens of thousands at this point. Some of the images coming out of the region are downright breathtaking, including videos of people saving not only their neighbors, but pets, too. Watching people come together in situations like this is really the only potentially gratifying part of such an awful story. ABC News has the latest.
At this point, we’re pretty much assuming that Donald Trump will get blown out. People are jumping ship from the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign by the droves, pulling guns out on each other, and meanwhile he’s scrambling and complaining about The New York Times every day. The question is: What would that landslide victory actually look like from a voting populace standpoint? We don’t really see that many crushing defeats in national elections anymore, but FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver analyzes how that might go.
On Sunday, aside from Usain Bolt blowing everyone away, again, there was a better story. Wayde van Niekerk, a South African sprinter, dusted American Michael Johnson’s nearly two-decades-old record in the 400 meters, sort of shocking the world. Not just because of the world-record time, but also because he did it from the eighth lane, which is borderline unheard of. He surprised the announcers, his competition and the audience. But two people he didn’t surprise were his coach and his roommate. ESPN has the story.
Coffee Break: What’s LeBron James doing during the Olympics? He’s certainly not just sitting around cheering on his pals. Rapper Drake brought him out at a concert in Ohio recently, which, if you ask us, is exactly how that man should be spending his summer break.
Snack Time: Animals playing with cameras is always funny, and this clip of a squirrel getting hold of a GoPro is fantastic. Seriously, watch it. Unless you get vertigo. Then, don’t watch it.
Dessert: ICYMI, our latest edition of Locker Room Lawyer.
Let’s go to Rio
and check out some murals, aside from the Olympics
The street art in Brazil is an interesting beast. Long a more character-driven type of style, the nation that’s hosting the Summer Olympics has long been a major player on the scene. So, while you’re watching records being broken in Rio de Janeiro, take some time to look at what people are doing in the streets.
This video comes to us via Luci Westphal, who makes one-minute videos of all types that feature places around the world. Anyway, make sure to check out the abstract style of Brazil’s scene, which we’ve always been a huge fan of. Some people call it the “New York of South America,” which I think is rather pointless, comparison-wise, but if you want a deeper look into what they do down there, check it out here.
Logic is a better skater than YG
and he has the video to prove it
7:00 AMWhen you’re on tour in the summertime, there’s a lot of time to kill. Traveling, setup, soundchecks, etc., which all means that if you’ve got nothing else to do, you’re going to resort to the basics to have fun. Some people play hoops, others make music, but some like to skateboard.
California native rapper YG and Maryland native rapper Logic got together for a session on the Endless Summer tour, and let’s just say that one of them got completely dominated. To be fair, YG can definitely skate, but he wasn’t ready for what Logic had for him.
Locker Room Lawyer, Episode 4: Deon Long
The NFL wide receiver got cut during training camp for having a woman in his room, giving The Undefeated its latest case
3:12 PMIn Friday’s edition of Locker Room Lawyer, Clinton Yates and Domonique Foxworth take the case of
Los Angeles Rams Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Deon Long to The Undefeated courtroom.
On Tuesday’s season premiere of HBO’s Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Los Angeles Rams, everyone (well, those who have HBO) saw the wide receiver get cut from the Rams by head coach Jeff Fisher for committing a violation of team rules: having a woman in his dorm room at training camp.
Long is a second-year player out of the University of Maryland. Domonique also attended Maryland before he was drafted to the NFL in 2005. So Deon, that means representation from the Locker Room Lawyer FOR FREE *Drake voice*.
Check out the video, and if you have any professional athlete in mind (past or present) who needs the Locker Room Lawyer’s representation, feel free to email us at email@example.com with episode ideas. Also, check out our weekly All Day Podcast.
Daily Dose: 8/12/16
‘Rogue One’ gives us our Darth Vader fix
2:00 PMI went all the way to Philadelphia and back Thursday night to see the homey DJ Trayze at the Red Bull Thre3style USA DJ Championships. I got back at 5 a.m., but whatever: He won. Good times in Pennsylvania.
THERE’S A NEW STAR WARS TRAILER OUT. I scream that because I care deeply about said series, always have, always will, idc idc. The first Rogue One teaser was just an indication of what we might actually be in for. The second one, released Thursday night, actually has some storyline to it beyond the initial concept. Also, there is an absolutely great hyperdrive hit that I cannot wait to see on the big screen. Just, here, take my money.
Back when my dad lived in South Africa, I’d be there with him when I could. I worked in Pretoria and one of the things that was always interesting to me was how people interacted on a public, romantic level. Grown men who were friends would hold hands walking down the street as an indicator of their love, but actual gay people were routinely targeted for hate crimes. Messed up. VICE‘s latest issue takes a look at South Africa’s lesbian community. (NSFW, sorta)
Donald Trump is flailing desperately. Which means that Hillary Clinton, provided nothing completely catastrophic goes down, has the clearest path to the presidency at this point. We’ve talked about polls here before, and how they can be so misleading, yet accurate — but let’s be serious. It’s all Hillary Rodham Clinton at this point. Once again, FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten breaks down how she could win this thing, even without Florida and Ohio.
LeBron James just did the Cleveland Cavaliers a favor. After bringing a championship to Cleveland for the first time in a lifetime, he signed a deal that at $100 million is beyond undervalue on so many levels. For the life of me, I cannot understand this. After all the crap that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and the fans in Cleveland gave him, he could have easily just said, ‘I’m not playing any basketball game in Quicken Loans Arena for less than a million bucks ever again.’ He’s better than me.
Coffee Break: There are people in the world who believe that the movie Scarface is too good for a remake. First, the ’80s version already is a remake, so there’s that. Also, that character is basically a superhero, so redoing the flick makes complete sense.
Snack Time: You know by now that Simone Manuel made history Thursday night, but if you were watching on NBC it took you an hour to see her get the full glory. You can check it out here.
Cam Newton came to Baltimore, and it wasn’t pretty
We’re gonna need a course correction, son!
11:27 AMOnly one thing could pull me away from watching Miss Simone Biles on Thursday night capture the gold medal in the women’s gymnastics individual all-around competition in Rio de Janeiro. That would be the appearance in these Twitter streets of a high-profile fashion crime. Thursday’s unfortunate victim: Cameron Jerrell Newton. As we have seen time and again, the Carolina Panthers quarterback often looks pretty damn amazing. But he’s also been known to make very questionable clothing decisions. Cam, would you please stop playing with my fashion writer emotions and focus?
Honestly, this particular outfit had me feeling concerned. Thursday night was the NFL preseason opener, and the Panthers traveled to hot-and-sweaty Charm City to match up against the Baltimore Ravens. Should have been an easy game for the Panthers, who are the NFC defending champions. Newton, lest we forget, is still the league’s legit reigning MVP. And yet, here he is coming off the team bus looking like he’s going to sleepaway theater camp in the Canadian Rockies. Newton has sworn off dabbing, and (we think) rapper/producer Pharrell has finally sworn off that hat, so let’s call it even. Wait. Dude, are those Capezios? When is tight Superman shirt-wearing Cam or tight Versace pants-wearing Cam going to make a triumphant return? Until that happens, we’ll just have to reminisce on this and this. Fashion prayers going up!