Heat Rocks

Heat Rocks

maximumfun.org/shows/heat-rocks
Scorching guests and sizzling records: join music writer Oliver Wang and music supervisor Morgan Rhodes each week as they invite their favorite artists, critics and scholars for in-depth conversations about the albums that shape our lives. Each week our special guests will take you deep into their heat rocks from the world of hip-hop, soul, dance, jazz, funk and more. Get with us!


Tall Black Guy on D’Angelo’s “Voodoo” (2000) redux
Jan 23 • 42 min
Morgan is flying solo and talked to TBG about the wide range of D’Angelo’s influences, the shift from “Brown Sugar” to “Voodoo,” and D’Angelo’s personal shift from neo soul darling to full-on sex symbol.
Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding on the Nat King Cole Trio’s “Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio” (1991)
Jan 16 • 63 min
Nate Sloan and Charlie Hardy of the Switched on Pop podcast sit down with us to talk about this enormous anthology, the timbre of Cole’s voice, and the ubiquity of the AABA song structure. Stay tuned to the very end for a special Heat Rocks theme song wor
Wendy & Lisa on Prince’s “Around the World in a Day” (1985)
Jan 9 • 60 min
Wendy & Lisa of the Revolution come down to the studio to talk about creating this album with Prince, the funkiness of the record, and what life was like working alongside his purpleness for all those years.
Our Heat Rocks of the 2010s
Jan 2 • 57 min
Oliver and Morgan are kicking off the new decade and talking about their favorite albums from the 2010s. They discuss their own personal journeys through the decade and the changes in the music industry in general.
Holiday Music Special with Alonso Duralde redux
Dec 26, 2019 • 40 min
We visit the canon of Christmas music over the years (Andy Williams 1963 The Christmas Album, Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas and Stax Record’s 2007 compilation Christmas In Soulsville and across genres and styles - crooners, sweeping orch
Cristela Alonzo on A Tribe Called Quest’s “We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service” (2016)
Dec 19, 2019 • 59 min
Comedian Cristela Alonzo sat down with us to talk about We Got It From Here and why it quite literally changed the course of her life. We talk about the use of samples and how Tribe was able to update their sound for a modern audience without compromisin
Father Amde of The Watts Prophets on Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” (1971)
Dec 12, 2019 • 51 min
Father Amde of The Watts Prophets sits down with Morgan to talk about why this album was so groundbreaking, how he got to know Marvin Gaye when he was was still with us, and what Marvin might be talking about if her were here now.
Van Hunt on The Sensational Nightingales’ “It’s Gonna Rain Again” (1972)
Dec 5, 2019 • 55 min
Singer/songwriter Van Hunt joins us in the studio to talk about his personal connection to gospel music, the influence of the Sensational Nightingales, and how artists can make the move from gospel to secular music.
Phil Yu on Boyz II Men’s “II” (1994) redux
Nov 28, 2019 • 48 min
Phil wanted to revisit one of the big hit albums of his youth: II by Boyz II Men. By ‘94, the group was already one of the biggest acts in all of R&B and expectations were beyond high for the follow-up. The quartet of crooners from Philly didn’t disappo
Shana Redmond on Jodeci’s “Forever My Lady” (1991)
Nov 21, 2019 • 45 min
Forever My Lady was the pick of our guest, UCLA professor, Dr. Shana Redmond who studies popular music, race and politics. Her first book, from 2014, was Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora and she’s currently
Saul Williams on Portishead’s “Dummy” (1994)
Nov 14, 2019 • 67 min
Brooklyn meets Bristol in Atlanta, at a time when Saul was discovering global sounds, immersing himself in culture and scholarship - in other words, he and the album were both in the right place at the right time. We spoke about Beth Ortons haunting vocal
Tisa Bryant on The Emotions’ “Rejoice” (1977)
Nov 7, 2019 • 50 min
Critic and professor Tisa Bryant talks to Oliver and guest co-host Ernest Hardy about the change in sound between the Stax/Volt and Columbia Records years, the role Maurice and Charles Stepney played in the production of this album, and The Emotions’ plac
Jason Concepcion on Herbie Hancock’s “Thrust” (1974)
Oct 31, 2019 • 51 min
Concepcion is perhaps best known to people as a basketball savant as a staff writer for The Ringer and Emmy-winning producer behind their NBA Desktop segment. I first discovered him via Twitter, thanks to his expert, witty writing as @netw3rk. However, fo
Gabrielle Civil on Prince’s “Parade” (1986)
Oct 24, 2019 • 60 min
Writer and artist Gabrielle Civil joins Oliver and guest co-host Ernest Hardy in the studio to discuss Under the Cherry Moon, the chances Prince took with the production of Parade, and the role of women in Prince’s world.
Luis Xtravaganza on the “Grease” soundtrack (1978)
Oct 17, 2019 • 56 min
Dancer and choreographer Luis Xtravaganza joins Oliver and guest co-host Ernest Hardy to discuss his love of the soundtrack, the influence it had on his career, and why you just can’t not dance to so many of these earworms. Grease is the word.
Gerrick Kennedy on Whitney Houston’s “My Love Is Your Love” (1998)
Oct 10, 2019 • 56 min
Writer and critic Gerrick Kennedy joins Oliver and Morgan in the studio to talk about Whitney’s move to hip-hop, her growth as an artist from her last studio album, and how this record helped celebrate black womanhood in a way that was so rarely heard at
Luz Mendoza on Nina Simone’s “To Love Somebody” (1969)
Oct 3, 2019 • 51 min
Luz Mendoza of Y La Bamba joins Oliver and Morgan in the studio to discuss the chances Nina took on this album, the smaller, quieter moments in the music, and what Nina told us about herself throughout this LP. This is an episode you definitely do not wan
Jason Woodbury on Karen Dalton’s “In My Own Time” (1971)
Sep 26, 2019 • 57 min
Music writer James Woodbury joins Oliver and Morgan to discuss Karen’s voice in the world of strangely captivating voices, the value of reissue labels, and Karen’s interpretations of popular songs. Join us as we leave for the country and take a deep dive
Jeff Chang on the “Wild Style” soundtrack (1983)
Sep 19, 2019 • 54 min
For a young Jeff Chang, growing up far away from the Bronx in Honolulu, Wild Style was like a secret cypher that he and his friends could pass around and decrypt. Long before the days of streaming video, if you didn’t catch a theatrical screening of thi
Lee Fields on Sam Cooke’s “Portrait Of A Legend” (2003)
Sep 12, 2019 • 45 min
Legendary soul singer Lee Fields (Daptone, Truth & Soul, Big Crown Records) stopped by Heat Rocks to discuss the 30 tracks compiled by ABKCO records on Sam Cooke, Portrait of A Legend, released in the summer of 2003. The album covers multi-genres includin
Lorraine Ali on M.I.A’s “Kala” (2007)
Sep 5, 2019 • 50 min
Kala was the album pick of this week’s guest, Lorraine Ali who currently writes about television for the Los Angeles Times but also got her start as a music critic. As one of the few Muslim American culture critics out there, Lorraine connected heavily
Allen Thayer on João Gilberto’s “João Gilberto” (1973)
Aug 29, 2019 • 55 min
Before the summer got away from us, we wanted to record one more episode for the season and we invited a guest to pick the perfect LP for the end of the summer. We were not disappointed…
100th Episode Spectacular: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings’ “100 Days 100 Nights” (2007)
Aug 22, 2019 • 62 min
On the occasion of our 100th episode, we decided to devote a Host’s Choice episode to talking about the breakout 2007 album from Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Coming out hot on the heels of Amy Winehouse’s best-selling Back to Black (2007) which fea
Raphael Saadiq on Earth, Wind & Fire’s “That’s The Way Of The World” (1975) + Remembering Nipsey Hussle
Aug 15, 2019 • 81 min
Oscar and Golden Globe nominated composer Raphael Saadiq joined Oliver and Morgan in studio to talk “That’s The Way of The World” and all the things that made EWF iconic including, Philip Bailey’s falsetto, Maurice White’s mysticisms and drum heroics, Cha
Mark “Frosty” McNeill on Nina Simone’s “It Is Finished” (1974)
Aug 8, 2019 • 54 min
It Is Finished is an ominous title, least of all given where Nina Simone was in her personal life at the time. Much of the early ‘70s had seen the High Priestess of Soul escaping to Barbados, first to avoid a troubled marriage, then to avoid the IRS. Bu
Summer Spectacular feat. Quetzal (redux)
Aug 1, 2019 • 52 min
Guests: Quetzal The Albums: Alé Kumá: (Alé Kumá, 2002) Mary J. Blige: (Uptown, 1992) The Smiths: (Rough Trade, 1987) Kendrick Lamar: (TDE, 2015) Note: This is a rerun of an episode from 2018 that has been…
Jimetta Rose on Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “From Rags to Rufus” (1974)
Jul 25, 2019 • 57 min
Los Angeles soul singer, Jimetta Rose, has been making music for a long time, working with artists like Talib Kweli, Meshell Ndgeocello, and Shuggie Otis. Her velvety smooth vocals and thoughtful writing made her a force of nature in the LA music scene, b
David Ma on GZA’s “Liquid Swords” (1995)
Jul 18, 2019 • 54 min
Music journalist David Ma has been in the game for a long time, writing for The Guardian, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Source, and many, many others. He’s also the host of Dad Bod Rap Pod, a hip-hop roundtable discussion show from the Bay area. When he t
Gavin Turek on Carole King’s “Tapestry” (1971)
Jul 11, 2019 • 55 min
LA singer songwriter Gavin Turek’s relationship with Carole King’s Tapestry album began in her childhood, listening to her father play virtually every song featured on the piano. He taught her the notes, the chords, the vocals until the earth moved under
Art of Sampling #2 with Thes One on Nas’s “Illmatic” (1994)
Jul 4, 2019 • 65 min
In our first episode from our four-part Art of Sampling series, we focused on one of the classic sources of samples from the mid-80s: the James Brown anthology, In the Jungle Groove. For #2, we wanted to turn our attention to an album whose use of samples
Kier Lehman on Steely Dan’s “Aja” (1977)
Jun 27, 2019 • 41 min
If you love the music on Insecure, you’ll love the fact that Heat Rocks had an opportunity to sit down with the brainchild behind in. Kier Lehman, well known for his work on Insecure, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Being Mary Jane, Entourage, Love Is,
Comeback Albums and Mailbag Special
Jun 20, 2019 • 57 min
We here at Heat Rocks took a break from recording episodes in order to recharge our batteries. We thought we’d celebrate our return with an episode partly dedicated to our favorite comeback albums. In the second half, we rummage through the Heat Rocks mai
Prince Special
Jun 13, 2019 • 60 min
Hard to believe but Prince’s landmark album Purple Rain turns 35 years this week (and the Purple One himself would have just celebrated his 61st birthday last week). In honor of these milestones and the fact that Prince is one of Heat Rocks’ Triple Crow
Hua Hsu on Depeche Mode’s “Violator” (1990)
Jun 6, 2019 • 52 min
Violator was the pick of guest Hua Hsu, staff writer at the New Yorker and English professor at Vassar College. For him, Violator was part of a soundscape of growing up in the Bay Area, least of all as an Asian American. As he and Oliver (flying solo this
Guy Branum on Ani DiFranco’s “Plastic Little Castle” (1998) Recorded LIVE
May 30, 2019 • 44 min
Ani DiFranco has never been a pop star by conventional measure but Little Plastic Castle was her dealing with the costs of stardom within her niche of alternative pop/rock world. The result is what’s considered one of her best albums ever — it ended u
Vikki Tobak and Joseph Patel on Gang Starr’s “Hard to Earn” (1994)
May 23, 2019 • 58 min
Gang Starr’s Hard to Earn dropped in the pivotal year of 1994, arguably the height of the Golden Era as it came alongside everything from Biggie’s Ready to Die to Nas’s Illmatic to OutKast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. Unlike those other debut
DJ Rashida on OutKast’s “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik” (1994)
May 16, 2019 • 52 min
LA’s own DJ Rashida sat with us to talk southern charm, the musicality of this album, black consciousness through the lyrics, what made the interludes so compelling and why this album stands the real test of time.
Moby on Joy Division’s “Closer” (1980)
May 9, 2019 • 65 min
We sat down with Moby to talk about post-punk, the wildly varied music scene on the East coast in the 80s, and the shift from Joy Division to New Order. We chat about Ian’s deteriorating mental wellness and Moby’s own experiences playing with New Order an
RJ Smith on James Blood Ulmer’s “Odyssey” (1984)
May 2, 2019 • 49 min
Odyssey came to us via music historian and author RJ Smith. He’s already written books on everything from the Los Angeles post-war jazz scene to photographer Robert Frank to an R&B artist named James Brown. He’s currently working on a new biograph
Karen Tongson on The Carpenters’ “A Song For You” (1972)
Apr 25, 2019 • 51 min
Our guest, Pop Rocket’s own Karen Tongson, sat with us on Heat Rocks to deep dive into the Carpenters seminal, Close To You, their second studio album released on August 19th, 1970. We talked about what made Karen Carpenter’s voice inimitable and extraord
Sy Smith on Meshell Ndgeocellos “Plantation Lullabies” (1993)
Apr 18, 2019 • 55 min
We’re talking to singer/songwriter Sy Smith about “Plantation Lullabies” by past guest, Meshell Ndegeocello. We’re diggin this episode like an old soul record.
Bhi Bhiman on Sly and the Family Stone’s “Stand!” (1969)
Apr 11, 2019 • 55 min
Stand! was the pick of guest Bhi Bhiman, the singer/songwriter from Los Angeles (by way of St. Louis). Armed with an eclectic set of influences, Bhiman’s dabbled in everything from songwriting with The Coup’s Boots Riley to collaborating with comedian Ke
The Art of Sampling #1, James Brown’s “In the Jungle Groove” (1984)
Apr 4, 2019 • 39 min
For our inaugural Art of Sampling episode, we revisit In the Jungle Groove and talk about both our favorite songs off the comp as well as our favorite uses of those various tracks. Listen to how we give it up and turn it loose.
Joey Dosik on Bill Withers’s “+Justments” (1974)
Mar 28, 2019 • 56 min
+Justments was the pick by L.A. soulster Joey Dosik, who’s recorded extensively with Vulfpeck but has recently branched into his solo career with his debut album from last year, Inside Voice, which includes a cover of “Stories” from Withers’s album. A
Heartbreak Radio on the “Chungking Express” soundtrack (1994)
Mar 21, 2019 • 54 min
Legendary Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai has long been known for how he integrates pop songs into his films and soundtracks. Chungking Express, Wong’s breakout international hit, was no exception as he worked in everything from ’60s folk pop to ’70s
Illa J on Prince’s “Dirty Mind” (1980)
Mar 14, 2019 • 32 min
Dirty Mind, Prince’s third album, arrived on the scene in the late fall of 1980, and brought with it a salaciousness we hadn’t known heretofore. The album, a mix of punk, funk and disco allowed Prince to play with gender and genre as well as sexual innue
Nick Waterhouse on Jackie Shane’s Any Other Way (2017)
Mar 7, 2019 • 49 min
This week’s episode focuses on the life, career and resurgence of soul singing trans pioneer Jackie Shane, who spent much of the 50’s and 60’s alongside Frank Motley and the Motley Crew band enthralling Toronto audiences with her voice, her presence and h
Tall Black Guy on D’Angelo’s “Voodoo” (2000)
Feb 28, 2019 • 47 min
Tall Black Guy, AKA Terrel Wallace, has been making beats and remixing artists like 79.5, Stro Elliot, and Moonchild, for a long time. Listen to any one of his songs and you’ll understand why he’s one of the best producers out there and why we were so exc
Garth Trinidad on the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band’s “The Serpent’s Mouth” (2018)
Feb 21, 2019 • 44 min
Steel pan/drum music emerged out of Trinidad and Tobago over the course of the 1950s. Its tinny yet melodious timbre was unique and it soon became a signature style within the diverse soundscape of Afro-Caribbean music. The tourism industry compelled stee
Tre’vell Anderson on the Dreamgirls soundtrack (2006)
Feb 14, 2019 • 38 min
Former LA Times Editor and Out Magazine’s Director of Culture and Entertainment Tre’Vell Anderson, joined us to talk Jennifer Hudson and the DreamGirls OST. Dreamgirls won two Academy Awards - one for Best Sound Mixing, the other, Best Supporting Actress
Lyrics Born on Curtis Mayfield’s “Back to the World” (1973)
Feb 7, 2019 • 51 min
The Bay Area’s Lyrics Born brought this album to us to talk about. As part of the Solesides/Quannum crew that dates back to the mid-90s, LB has represented a much admired indie hip-hop ethos and he’s been embraced by fans around the world. In our conversa
Lindsay Zoladz on Bryan Ferry’s “These Foolish Things” (1973)
Jan 31, 2019 • 47 min
These Foolish Things came to us by way of our guest, music critic Lindsay Zoladz, who’s spent the last ten years stocking up clips for everyone from Pitchfork to New York Magazine to The Ringer, where she’s been a staff writer for the last several y
Jamie Stewart on Otis Redding’s “The Very Best of Otis Redding” (1992)
Jan 24, 2019 • 50 min
Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart is the son of a record producer and session player who blessed him with the gift of The Very Best of Otis Redding, the 1992 compilation of sixteen of the best songs from the late Otis Redding’s catalogue. His father gave him inst
Open Mike Eagle on Ol Dirty Bastard’s “Return to the 36 Chambers” (1995)
Jan 17, 2019 • 48 min
“Ain’t no father to his style.” That’s how Ol Dirty Bastard was introduced to the world on 1993’s Enter the 36 Chambers by hip-hop’s posse supreme, the Wu Tang Clan. At the time, we got an inkling of ODB’s eccentricity but on that first Wu album, so ove
Chani Nicholas on Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual” (1983)
Jan 10, 2019 • 47 min
She’s So Unusual was the pick of astrologer/activist Chani Nicholas, who joined us to break down the relevance and resonance of the album in her life, Cyndi’s star appeal, the queer gaze present on the album, Cyndi’s quirky Cancerian coolness, and the he
Mayer Hawthorne on Parliament’s “The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein” (1976)
Jan 3, 2019 • 44 min
L.A. soulster Mayer Hawthorne invites us for a ride on the Mothership Connection to talk about Parliament’s 1975 “The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein.”
Lynell George on David Bowie’s “Young Americans” (1975)
Dec 27, 2018 • 48 min
Super cool Grammy winning writer and archivist Lynell George came to know David Bowie’s music through celebrated Los Angeles radio station KGFJ. KGFJ blasted the sounds and she received them courtesy of a wrap around Panasonic radio. (Salute!) She was a
Holiday Music Special with Alonso Duralde
Dec 20, 2018 • 57 min
Heat Rocks was hyped to have film critic Alonso Duralde The Wrap , one of the hosts of Maximum Fun’s movie podcast Who Shot Ya? guest with us to talk about our favorite Christmas songs, holiday fare, songs that should play when it’s cold outside, baby
Macy Gray on Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” (2010)
Dec 13, 2018 • 50 min
2018 has been a tough year for Kanye West and Kanye West fans. He’s showed up in unlikely places and waxed problematic about virtually everything , earned the ire of some of the West Coast’s most loyal representatives, inspired critical analysis crit
G Yamazawa on Kanye West’s “The College Dropout” (2004)
Dec 6, 2018 • 53 min
Kanye has had a…not great year. From a public relations standpoint, it’s been nothing short of a disaster. And yet…’Ye remains one of the most intriguing (if not also infuriating) pop acts we have, evinced to us by the fact that two different guests -
EP62: Iman Omari on J*DaVeY’s The Beauty in Distortion (2008)
Nov 29, 2018 • 34 min
Heat Rocks co-host Morgan Rhodes is a huge fan of J*Davey and a huge fan of Iman Omari. Naturally she was beyond thrilled when Iman accepted an invitation to come on Heat Rocks and chose J*Davey’s 2008 brilliant debut album “The Beauty In Distortion” to d
Jeff Weiss on Drakeo the Ruler’s “Cold Devil” (2017)
Nov 22, 2018 • 43 min
When we invited L.A. music writer Jeff Weiss to join us, he was adamant that there was only one release he wanted to talk about: Cold Devil, the full-length, acclaimed mixtape that the upstart Los Angeles rapper, Drakeo the Ruler, dropped nearly a year
Chris Molanphy on George Michael’s “Faith” (1987)
Nov 15, 2018 • 51 min
In the fall of 1987, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that George Michael’s solo debut, Faith, would be a hit. As successful as Michael had been as half of the Wham! duo, going solo was always going to be a risk but as it turns out, it was one worth takin
Women Behaving Boldly #6: Evelyn McDonnell on Janelle Monae’s “Dirty Computer” (2018)
Nov 8, 2018 • 55 min
To close out our Women Behaving Boldly mini-series, we brought things all the way up to the present by tackling a 2018 album. Our guest, music writer and journalism professor Evelyn McDonnell wanted to talk about Atlanta’s Janelle Monae and her recent LP,
Women Behaving Boldly #5: Joan Morgan on Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” (1998)
Nov 1, 2018 • 49 min
Author Joan Morgan joined us on the 20th anniversary of “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” to talk about the artist and album’s legacy, two decades later.
Women Behaving Boldly #4: Ann Powers on Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” (1989)
Oct 25, 2018 • 41 min
For the fourth installment in our Women Behaving Boldly mini-series, we spin the clock back to an episode we first aired a year ago: Ann Powers, talking about Madonna’s Like a Prayer from 1989. From the beginning, we knew this episode in particular woul
Women Behaving Boldly #3: Joi on Betty Davis’ “They Say I’m Different” (1974)
Oct 18, 2018 • 35 min
As part of our “Women Behaving Boldly” series, we decided to re-air the episode that launched Heat Rocks: our interview with future soul trailblazer and architect Joi Gilliam.
Women Behaving Boldly #2: Aretha Franklin Retrospective feat. Lynnée Denise
Oct 11, 2018 • 57 min
Heat Rocks had always planned to sit down with DJ Lynnée Denise, an LA-based DJ and music scholar, but when Aretha Franklin passed on August 16th, we invited her to come talk with us about the Queen’s life and legacy as part two of our series Women Behav
Women Behaving Boldly #1: Oliver & Morgan on Millie Jackson’s “Caught Up” (1974)
Oct 4, 2018 • 43 min
Some months ago, Oliver and Morgan kicked around the idea of celebrating women over the course of a few Heat Rocks episodes. We decided we’d package it as a series and Oliver came up with the name “Women Behaving Boldly”. Gotta love it.
Chris Ryan on the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” (1972)
Sep 27, 2018 • 52 min
Chris Ryan, executive editor, writer and podcaster with The Ringer joins us to talk about the Rolling Stones’ epic double-album, “Exile on Main Street.” Check how we let it loose.
Aurora Guerrero on the “Mosquita Y Mari” soundtrack (2012)
Sep 20, 2018 • 45 min
Aurora Guerrero is a Chicana filmmaker whose 2012 sweet coming-of-age story about two young Chicanas falling in love in Huntington Park was hit at Sundance that year. The Hollywood Reporter called it “…a robust work of self-discovery for two girls at th
James Spooner on Minor Threat’s “Minor Threat” (1983)
Sep 13, 2018 • 47 min
EP51: James Spooner, director of the original “Afropunk” documentary, joins us to talk about one of the most formative punk albums of his youth: Minor Threat’s self-titled compilation from 1983. You’ll wanna hear it.
Sidibe on Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark” (1974)
Sep 6, 2018 • 43 min
EP50: Los Angeles soul songwriter/singer, Sidibe, joins us to talk about Joni Mitchell’s turn to pop on 1974’s “Court and Spark.” We’re just looking for listeners who are strong and a little sincere.
serpentwithfeet on Björk’s “Homogenic” (1997)
Aug 30, 2018 • 41 min
EP49: Rising experimental artist serpentwithfeet unravels his history with Björk dramatic, electronic masterpiece, “Homogenic” (1997).
Tiffany Gouché on Destiny’s Child’s “The Writing’s on the Wall” (1999)
Aug 23, 2018 • 46 min
EP48: Singer/songwriter Tiffany Gouche joined us to remind everyone that Beyonce…used to be a in a girl group called Destiny’s Child. No, seriously, we talk about one of the group’s biggest – and strangest – albums. We keep things jumpin, jumpin.
Summer Spectacular feat. Quetzal
Aug 16, 2018 • 52 min
Joined by our guests, Quetzal, we tackle our favorite summer heat rocks. Hot hot hot.
Thomas Golubic on De La Soul’s “Three Feet High and Rising” (1989)
Aug 9, 2018 • 48 min
I (OW) mention this on the episode but this album changed my life. It wasn’t my introduction to hip-hop but it was the album through which I fell in love with hip-hop and that set me down a path that shaped the rest of my professional (and even personal!)
Amber Navran on King’s “We are King” (2016)
Aug 2, 2018 • 29 min
Los Angeles’ underground soul scene is full of talent. The scene’s unique blend of soul, jazz, lo-fi, and electronica has helped to bring LA into prominence. Amber Navran is part of the community, first as a member of soul jazz trio Moonchild, and now as
Phil Yu on Boyz II Men’s “II” (1994)
Jul 26, 2018 • 46 min
Phil Yu is better known to most as Angry Asian Man…except that he isn’t actually all that angry (though he is Asian and a man). Phil started his titular site nearly 20 years ago and since then, it has become an indispensable news resource about Asian Am
Jesse Thorn on The Coup’s “Steal This Album” (1998)
Jul 19, 2018 • 58 min
Jesse Thorn, host of Bullseye and the MaximumFun podfather, has long been one of our biggest fans and we were delighted to have him come in to talk about one of his favorite albums: The Coup’s stellar 1998 Steal This Album.
Meshell Ndgeocello on Prince’s “Purple Rain” (1984)
Jul 12, 2018 • 55 min
I was dreaming when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray. But when I woke up this morning and realized that Oliver and I spent an hour or so talking with Meshell N’degecello about Prince’s seminal “Purple Rain” album, I was beside myself with hype.
Star Spangled Banner Special
Jul 5, 2018 • 50 min
For this July 4th week, Morgan and I wanted to do something special and tackle the Great American Heat Rock aka “The Star-Spangled Banner.” As Oliver notes during the episode, this is both the oldest song that most Americans know (partly) by heart and the
Benjamin Booker on William Onyeabor’s “Who is William Onyeabor?”
Jun 27, 2018 • 36 min
Benjamin Booker rocks. His soulful blend of blues, rock soul and punk, together with hella honest lyrics and an inimitable voice has moved folks across his self titled debut and latest album Witness. He joined us to talk about his discovery of Luaka Bop
Eliza Skinner on the “Pretty in Pink” soundtrack (1986)
Jun 21, 2018 • 43 min
Show: Heat Rocks Guest: Eliza Skinner The Album: Pretty in Pink Soundtrack (1986) Actress and comedian Eliza Skinner is part of the brand new Maximum Fun scripted comedy show, Bubble, and hosts her own music podcast, Cool Playlist. For her guest
Marcus Moore on Mos Def’s “Black on Both Sides” (1999)
Jun 14, 2018 • 46 min
Show: Heat Rocks Guests: Marcus Moore The Album: Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides (1999) Writer Marcus Moore, currently a senior editor at Bandcamp, happened to be coming through to Los Angeles for his first time ever and we took advantage by inviting him
Adrian Younge on Jeru’s “The Sun Rises In the East” (1994)
Jun 7, 2018 • 41 min
Show: Heat Rocks Guests: Adrian Younge The Album: Jeru the Damaja’s The Sun Rises In the East (1994) Since he started putting numbers on the board with the soundtrack to Black Dynamite, artist/composer Adrian Younge has become the hip-hop maestro for c
Taura Stinson on Minnie Riperton’s “Adventures in Paradise”
May 31, 2018 • 45 min
Show: Heat Rocks Guests: Taura Stinson The Album: Minnie Riperton’s Adventures in Paradise (1975) 2018 has been a breakout year for this weeks guest, Taura Stinson. “Mighty River”, the song she co-wrote with Raphael Saadiq for Dee Rees’ critically accl
Cut Chemist on Cymande’s “Cymande” (1972)
May 24, 2018 • 41 min
Show: Heat Rocks Guests: Cut Chemist “Say go DJ, cause that’s my DJ…” - Weezy Cut Chemist is nice with the wax, nice with the loops, nice on the decks. A central figure in West Coast hip hop (Jurassic 5, Ozomotli) and the art of turntablism, both he
Cole Cuchna on Kanye West’s “Yeezus”
May 17, 2018 • 42 min
Comprehensive analysis. Two words that describe Cole Cuchna’s extraordinary podcast, DISSECT, which dedicates a season to unpacking one album, one song (per episode) at a time. His subterranean exploration of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark…
Fredara Hadley on Anita Baker’s “Compositions”
May 10, 2018 • 41 min
Ethnomusicologist Fredara Hadley had been on our wish list for a while and as luck would have it, she came to Los Angeles earlier this spring and things lined up nicely. For our episode, Fredara wanted to get into the queen of the quiet…
Justin Simien on Michael Jackson’s “HIStory”
May 3, 2018 • 47 min
Justin Simien, whose is just beginning its second season on Netflix, came through to join us live for another collaboration. By sheer coincidence, our last VI event took on Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation and…
Martín Perna on Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall”
Apr 26, 2018 • 43 min
Martín Perna of Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra wanted to revisit one of the formative albums of his childhood: Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall. For many MJ fans, this is the king of pop’s greatest work, a clear statement that he was now…
Egyptian Lover on Cameo’s “Cameosis”
Apr 20, 2018 • 38 min
Egyptian Lover is one of the pivotal figures in shaping the sound of Los Angeles funk and hip-hop beginning in the 1980s. As a teen, he became a core member of the all-powerful Uncle Jamm’s Army party crew and by the mid-80s, he was an artist in his own r
Nite Jewel on Kraftwerk’s “Computer World”
Apr 12, 2018 • 47 min
When we invited L.A.’s own Nite Jewel to join us, it probably shouldn’t have been a surprise that she picked Kraftwerk’s Computer World; after all, she’s toured the world performing the album. In sitting down with us, NJ (aka Ramona Gonzalez) broke down h
Brother Ali on Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life”
Apr 5, 2018 • 49 min
As part of the two week MaxFun Drive, we wanted to save two of our best shows to share with you. This first week, it’s rapper Brother Ali, a long time MaxFun favorite, and he picked one of the greatest albums of all time: Stevie Wonder’s majestic Songs in
P.J. Morton on Brandy’s “Full Moon”
Mar 29, 2018 • 41 min
Grammy winning singer/songwriter and producer PJ Morton knows production. A keyboardist and vocalist for Maroon 5, PJ Morton also knows lyrics. And vocals. PJ Morton joined us to share what he knows about Brandy’s 2002 Full Moon and why it is for him, a c
Jack Davey on Digable Planets’ “Reachin’”
Mar 22, 2018 • 38 min
Miss Jack Davey’s contribution to LA’s alternative soul scene began over a decade ago with her work as one half of the group . Their debut project, “” a mix of punk, funk, synth and soul, was a must have for tastemakers and made a splash both in…
Denaun “Mr.” Porter on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Low End Theory”
Mar 15, 2018 • 42 min
Producer/MC Denaun Porter aka Mr. Porter is one of the founding members of the Detroit crew, D12. It was none other than ATCQ’s “Bonita Applebaum” that inspired him to get into hip-hop and not surprisingly, when we invited him to the show, he wanted…
Brian “B+” Cross on Freestyle Fellowship’s “To Whom It May Concern”
Mar 8, 2018 • 37 min
Brian Cross, better known to most as B+, is one of the most important photographers of the hip-hop generation to ever emerge out of the West Coast. A transplant from Ireland to California, Cross began documenting the L.A. rap community throughout the…
DJ Monalisa on D’Angelo’s “Brown Sugar”
Mar 1, 2018 • 40 min
DJ Monalisa Murray is an O.G. on the L.A. scene, having made the transition from working in marketing and promotion for record labels to working for herself as one of the Southland’s premier selectors, down with everyone from Umoja Hi-Fi Soundsystem,…
Ishmael Butler on Lightnin’ Rod’s “Hustlers Convention”
Feb 22, 2018 • 40 min
Ishmael Butler aka Butterfly of Digable Planets aka one-half of Shabazz Palaces joined us to take us on a trip back to the blaxploitation era and one of the greatest soundtracks-in-search-of-a-movie: Hustlers Convention, the spoken word/funk…
Pharoahe Monch on Main Source’s “Breaking Atoms”
Feb 13, 2018 • 42 min
MC extraordinaire Pharoahe Monch was no stranger to the trio known as Main Source (Large Professor + DJs K-Cut and Sir Scratch) back in the early ’90s: Monch and Large Professor came up under the tutelage of the same mentor: Though C was…
King on Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”
Feb 6, 2018 • 42 min
The Grammy-nominated ladies of King are Anita Bias alongside sisters Amber and Paris Strother and it seems only right to have a super-sized guest talk about a super-sized album: Outkast’s massive double LP from 2003: Speakerboxxx/The Love…
Bardo Martinez on Eugene McDaniels’ “Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse”
Jan 30, 2018 • 38 min
When we approached Bardo Martinez of Chicano Batman, we figured he’d go with a left-field album choice and he did not disappoint. Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse was a cult LPs for years, one of the most overtly political albums of the…
Frannie Kelley on TLC’s “CrazySexyCool”
Jan 23, 2018 • 41 min
Frannie Kelley, alongside Ali Shaheed Muhammed, hosts the podcast and when we invited her onto our show, she wanted to talk about one of her formative musical experiences as a teenager: TLC’s sophomore album, CrazySexyCool. The three…
Vernon Reid on Jimi Hendrix’s “Band of Gypsys”
Jan 16, 2018 • 38 min
Vernon Reid is one of rock’s greatest guitarists, having rising to stardom in the 1980s as a member of Living Colour. It’s not surprising, therefore, that he’d choose an album by one of rock’s othergreat guitarists: Jimi Hendrix and his final…
Bahamadia on The Kay-Gee’s “Keep On Bumpin’ & Masterplan”
Jan 9, 2018 • 34 min
We invited Philly hip-hop star to join us and she kept things tri-state by picking the 1974 debut album by New Jersey’s The Kay-Gee’s, originally an off-shoot of Kool and the Gang. The Kay-Gee’s may not be household names in the same manner…
Kris Bowers on Kendrick Lamar’s “Section.80”
Jan 2, 2018 • 34 min
To talk about Kendrick Lamar’s studio LP debut, we wanted to find someone of K-Dot’s generation, another L.A. young gun, and who better than pianist and composer, Kris Bowers? Like Kendrick, Kris grew up in L.A. and just as Kendrick has ascended the…
Bosco on Erykah Badu’s “Mama’s Gun”
Dec 26, 2017 • 41 min
was an artist that Morgan knew, from jump, she wanted to get on the show. A Savannah native who’s now an L.A. transplant (by way of Atlanta), Bosco’s been steady climbing the ranks in the music game and has had a breakout year in 2017,…
Jay Smooth on Run DMC’s “Raising Hell”
Dec 19, 2017 • 40 min
Jay Smooth was always on our list of “people who we gotta get for Heat Rocks.” His cultural and political commentary, much of which he does through his pioneering , have positioned him as one of the hip-hop generation’s leading pundits and he’s…
“The Prequel Episode” Loren Kajikawa on Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic”
Dec 15, 2017 • 40 min
This is a special “prequel” episode, originally taped in December of 2016. Back then, Heat Rocks was just a mere glint in the eye Morgan and Oliver. All we had was a basic concept: how about a podcast devoted to doing deep dives into an…
Suzi Analogue on Missy Elliott’s “Da Real World”
Dec 12, 2017 • 31 min
Artist and producer originally hails from Missy Elliott’s native state of Virginia though these days, she’s rooted in Los Angeles, having come up within the city’s beat scene. Suzi wanted to talk about what she described as the “underdog”…
B.Slade on Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814” (Recorded Live!)
Dec 5, 2017 • 52 min
This episode is the edited version of our special live launch party we held on Nov. 11 in Los Angeles, as part of the . We were joined by Grammy-nominated soul artist B.Slade, a self-described ”Rhythm Nation-pedia” who, indeed, brought…
The Shacks on The Sapphires’ “Best Of”
Nov 28, 2017 • 39 min
This week, we are joined by , the NYC-based duo of singer Shannon Wise and producer Max Shrager. Maybe you heard their cool cover of The Kinks’ “This Strange Effect” on this fall? Or maybe you were already up on them from , released by…
Ernest Hardy on Sade’s “Love Deluxe”
Nov 20, 2017 • 40 min
This week, we are joined by cultural critic Ernest Hardy. Oliver first got to know Ernest through his remarkable writing in the LA Weekly and other outlets, some of which has been compiled into his and collections. For…
Anil Dash on Prince’s “1999”
Nov 14, 2017 • 45 min
This week, we are joined by Anil Dash, the tech entrepreneur and activist whose love for The Purple One is legendary. He takes us into the Heat Rocks deep dive for Prince’s 1999, the album that marked his new wave turn. All three of us share…
Ill Camille on Common’s “Like Water for Chocolate”
Nov 7, 2017 • 37 min
This week, we are joined by Los Angeles rapper, Ill Camille. She picked Common’s Like Water For Chocolate from 2000, a moment that marked the Chicago’s turn towards becoming a hip-hop elder statesman, backed by the production might of the…
Dam-Funk on Change’s “Miracles”
Oct 31, 2017 • 35 min
This week, we are joined by Dam-Funk, , resident DJ for the legendary parties and all-around apostle of the boogie. He was one of the very first artists we invited to tape Heat Rocks, back in its pilot stage, and we’re very pleased to…
Shea Serrano on DMX’s “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot”
Oct 24, 2017 • 41 min
This week, we are joined by Shea Serrano, contributor at , author of both and the brand new . For his heat rock, he choose DMX’s smash debut LP, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot. *woof* During our conversation, we learned…
Ann Powers on Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”
Oct 17, 2017 • 47 min
This week, Morgan and Oliver are joined by Ann Powers of NPR Music and author of the new book, Together, the three dug into Like a Prayer, Madonna’s critical breakout album form 1989. As Ann lays out, Madonna had already…
Phonte on Intro’s 1993 Self-Titled Album
Oct 10, 2017 • 47 min
This week rapper, producer, and songwriter Phonte (Foreign Exchange, Little Brother) joins Oliver and Morgan to talk about the R&B group Intro’s 1993 self-titled debut album. The trio’s release was part of the changing tide of R&B music, when…
Joi on Betty Davis’s “They Say I’m Different”
Oct 2, 2017 • 33 min
On the premiere episode of Heat Rocks, future soul artist Joi Gilliam joins Morgan and Oliver to talk about They Say I’m Different, the 1974 album by the unsung queen of funk, Betty Davis! It’s really an obvious pairing: Betty Davis was one of the…
Subscribe now to Heat Rocks, starting October 3rd!
Sep 28, 2017 • 2 min
What’s a heat rock? Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes explain in this sneak preview of their new show, coming to you October 3rd. New episodes every Tuesday!