Take a journey through Questlove’s mind as he argues thirty-three reasons why Prince is hip-hop.
Purple Rain is considered Prince and the Revolution’s peak, but Prince never went backwards. Parade climbed mighty heights as the Revolution’s final album.
Madhouse, for the relatively few paying attention, was one of those riddles wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
I never met Prince, but I shared a building with him in 1998 and 2004 on different tour stops. All I have to share are the memories I have of what his music and showmanship meant to me.
“Rain is wet, and sugar is sweet…” a voice calls, to the delight of the crowd. These are the words of Ingrid Chavez, in her guise as the Spirit Child....
Written by Dan Dodds
Sign “O” the Times was recorded between 1986 and 1987—with older tracks added from the vaults—created from the ashes of aborted albums.
Having gained heavyweight status as James Brown’s tour manager, Alan Leeds was brought on midway through Prince’s 1999 tour
Born in West London in the mid- to late ’90s, broken beat (aka bruk) was created by a community of producers with their roots in a variety of London’s club scenes.
It was 1960’s Giant Steps that thoroughly and inexorably changed the saxophonist’s game going forward.
From its psychedelic black and white cover by David Stahlberg to its perfect 1968 production by Gary McFarland, Dreams has remained one of my most treasured LPs.
Guitarist Junior Marvin had a choice: join the Wailers or Stevie Wonder...
New York City’s roller-disco scene in the 1970s rivaled long-established DJ clubs and introduced a new outlet for breaking current music.
Hiatus Kaiyote is four uniquely talented individuals whose musical alchemy creates a whole that is more magical than its parts.
Amongst the hundreds of artists who recorded at Stax Studios in the 1960s, Linda Lyndell was a minor figure. But her song “What a Man” has had a surprising longevity...
Little Dragon's brand of future funk and fractured pop-soul was delivered the old-fashioned way, through nonstop touring. They finally take a break to hit the studio and talk to Wax Poetics...
A chance meeting thousands of miles from home led to a one-off recording session and the creation of Disco Jazz, cult favorite. Singer Rupa Sen tells her story.
It took many months and twice as many phone calls to get Quincy Jones on the line. Once he called back, the man was everything you could have hoped for.
Sharon Jones is the real deal. She’s an atomic bomb of funk that may come in a small package, but when it’s unleashed, no one is left standing. They’d rather dance.
Producer Jneiro Jarel has followed a path of faith, experimentation, and artistic expression that has helped him create both a cache of original music and peace of mind.
Nina Simone had no filter. She spoke with candor about civil rights when many in her position didn’t dare. She sang about uncomfortable subjects....
In 1970s New York, photography student Chris Stein found his muse in singer Deborah Harry. Together they formed Blondie, merging cutting edge downtown visual style with a pop sensibilty.
Cynthia Robinson was a single mother when she joined Sly and the Family Stone as a trumpeter and vocalist in 1966. Her story winds from the very start of the band into the next century...
Written by Michael A. Gonzales
The progressive singer teams up with producer Madlib for bountiful Seeds, which she calls Black music “in the tradition of anyone who wasn’t scared.”
Tenor sax player and arranger Gene Barge left his job teaching social studies, music, and English in Virginia, to work at Chicago’s famed Chess Records in 1964.
A prolific musician and songwriter, King Curtis was an in-demand session man who played on records with many legends, from John Lennon to Aretha Franklin.
Amoeba Music opened on November 17, 1990, in Berkeley, California, offering an eclectic palette of music...
What’s the future of dance music? Godfathers of the new EDM movement Daft Punk have proposed an answer in the form of a question.
Written by Andre Torres
Premier is passionate and deadly serious about what he does, and on this evening he was relentless in articulating his philosophy of hip-hop.
Living in post-9/11 Manhattan, I’ve had to learn to be more flexible than Gumby. I need more arms than Durga to field all the curve balls life’s throwing at me.
Isaac Hayes, William Bell, Al Bell, Bettye Berger, Deanie Parker and Calvin Newborn share stories of Memphis during Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.
First-call funksters, the Meters have provided the backbone to countless classics. But the story of the band remains seldom-told.
Jazzy Jay has been digging since day one. Peeking into his basement studio in the heart of Brooklyn conjures up the dusty ghosts of crates past.
The Hot 8 Brass Band is a juggernaut of sweat, breath, metal, and drums, a powerhouse that lets nothing get in its way.
Remembering the life of J Dilla, featuring conversations with those closest to him, including Q-Tip, Common, Busta Rhymes, Questlove and more.
Back in the good old days of 1977 when gas lines were long and unemployment was high, there were two schools of DJs competing for Black and Latino audiences in New York City....
Back in the early ’60s, my sister’s hipster boyfriend used to bring his Herbie Mann albums over to our house, along with a couple Modern Jazz Quartet and Mose Allison records....
Barrington Levy, the most important and best-admired vocalist to emerge from the early dancehall movement, discusses his past, present and future.
9th Wonder chats with Wax Poetics about the records that influenced him and discusses his mission to teach hip-hop history to the next generation.
When did you first hear the Skull Snaps? Was it in the summer of 1993 when the Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By” rode the pneumatic drums of the...
Welcome to the world of Daniel Dumile, whose youthful nickname of “Doom,” a phonetic abbreviation of his last name, has come to describe one of the most masterful rap artists.
I’d finally done it. Somehow I managed to scrape together the loot, eighty-some bucks to buy the Ornette Coleman box set Beauty Is a Rare Thing and was on my way home...
After I interviewed DJ Rhettmatic for the Record Rundown in Wax Poetics Issue 22, he mentioned being clowned by fellow World Famous Beat Junkie J.Rocc for exceeding the normal...
An excerpt from People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee “Scratch” Perry
Written by David Katz
It was an overlooked song by one of the more underrated rappers of his generation, and it was a masterpiece.
Pete Rock keeps active nowadays by doing what he perfected as a teenager: putting sounds into his sampler and banging out beats.
Meet Kool DJ Red Alert, part of the trinity of DJs that fostered the Zulu Nation during the early days of hip-hop, along with Afrika Bambaataa and Jazzy Jay.
The Fishtail Bar in the Bay Watch Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is right out back overlooking the beach. Dozens of families are crowded in several swimming pools....
Shuggie Otis sits down for a conversation to discuss his early life, main guitar inspirations, turning down a gig with the Rolling Stones and much more.
DJ Shadow discusses transformations in record-buying culture, how his interest in 45s began, his first digging experience, and pinpoints the record that “changed his life.”
Sure, tropicália is more than one band, but Os Mutantes encapsulated the movement’s reckless cultural cannibalism, absurdist humor, and innovative music like no one else.
Jimmy Cliff is one of reggae’s true pioneers. Helping to inaugurate the Beverley’s Records label in the early 1960s....
David Holmes grew up as the youngest of ten in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With so many older siblings, he was surrounded by music from a very early age.
Written by Robbie Busch
It starts with a check for $3.19. Without that check, there is no Motown. Without Motown, there is no Smokey Robinson. Without them, say good-bye to Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin....
The streets of New York City weren’t very pretty in the 1970s. Littered throughout once welcoming communities, an influx of heroin junkies, many broken young brothers home....
After a rather combative interview with Teddy Pendergrass for Wax Poetics 33, I was often asked, “What was up with Teddy that day?”
“The wildness is exquisitely wholesome. Furious dancing. Gentle laughter. Crepe paper and tinsel. Body energy shakes the room…”
Although enlightened music fans the world over were saddened by the passing of organist Lyman Woodard, the relationship that Wax Poetics had formed with the gifted musician and composer....
I had no expectations going into this interview with Teddy Pendergrass at the Conrad Chicago hotel.
Gamble and Huff cooked up the perfect recipe for Philadelphia soul
When greats like Pete Rock and DJ Premier acknowledge people of influence, they often mention Large Professor.
It’s hard to imagine an era when an industry giant like Capitol Records would have to choose between signing Brief Encounter or Maze.
Bobby Womack is a thread that runs through soul music.
Keyboardist George Duke had his ecclectic beginnings playing with Frank Zappa’s band. Then he conquered the funky jazz scene on Germany’s MPS label.
Meeting Tom Moulton is a bit like meeting Henry Ford. Whether you know it or not, if you’ve driven a car, you owe something to Ford. And if you’ve danced in a club....
It could be argued that the real architect of Chicago house music was in fact a wild and pioneering DJ by the name of Ron Hardy.
Written by Andy Thomas
That Teena Marie has authored several of the most enduring classics of modern funk is undeniable.
“As some folks say, I helped create the disco music, the house music, and a lot of other different things,” says Bohannon.
There are a few things to know about Erykah Badu. First, she lives on a different plane. One that only true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool artists inhabit.
Singer, songwriter, and musician Michael Eugene Archer, who later adopted the jiggy stage name D’Angelo, released his groundbreaking album, Brown Sugar, in 1995.
It was winter of 1994, and I had just scored a sweet assignment to interview the king of “champagne soul,” Barry White, in Europe.
Written by Michael A. Gonzales
Let it be known: this time around, Bilal is not about love songs.
L.A. bass beast Thundercat mixes jazz intricacies with sweeps of forward thinking electronic inspiration.
Ishmael Butler effortlessly made his mark on hip-hop in 1993 with his unique voice and delivery, and the overall musical aesthetic of his group, Digable Planets...
Pianist Robert Glasper for years made straightahead jazz records and experimented with fusion on the side. Now he embraces the totality of Black music to bring jazz up to speed.
When Nasir Jones released his 1994 debut Illmatic, his use of several superstar producers on the same album set a hip-hop precendent that forever changed the game.
Written by Travis Atria
It was Aug. 11, 1973, and a teen from the Bronx, NY, named Coke was helping his homeboy Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell set up stereo equipment for a party scheduled for that night.
Following in the footsteps of Double Dee & Steinski, Prince Paul, and the Dust Brothers, DJ Shadow would push the boundaries of sampling...
The funky ballad of David Bowie’s time in Philly, the making of Young Americans, and his transition into Station to Station.
On a sunny October morning in 2015, a historic marker was placed in front of Sigma Sound Studios, the Philadelphia landmark recording hot spot.
In an arena where MCs seldom have extended careers, Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah has increasingly improved through two decades after his 1996 solo debut, Ironman.
Producer, songwriter, and organist Edwin Birdsong is the anonymous genius behind some of jazz-funk’s most cosmic moments.
Composer, arranger, and producer Thom Bell has quietly made his mark on the sound of popular music for the last half century.
Growing up with a roller-disco mom and drummer dad, Kon has been chasing the perfect beat his entire life.
I’ve been fortunate enough to know “Poppa” Willie Mitchell for a handful of years. When we first met, in August 2000, I was working for Ike Turner, who decided to...
Brazilian singer Ed Motta channeled his lifelong love for well-produced AOR groups like Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers and delivers a slick and melodic ode to yacht rock.
Getting his first shot with Marley Marl’s Juice Crew—and the posse cut “The Symphony”—Kool G Rap was a real hip-hop OG.
On the heels of her best-selling debut, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, fifteen-year-old Aaliyah was rocked by a sex scandal that would have crushed a lesser talent.
“My style is combined from a lot of different things I got growing up,” veteran producer and DJ Louie Vega states.
You couldn't ask for a better guide to New York club culture than Danny Krivit. He sits with Wax Poetics to share twelve influential records.
It was 1987, and a nervous teenager made his way to the grimy old Times Square, palms sweaty, hoping to score.
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