by Dan O
I have specific admiration for folks that do elite hip hop podcasting. These folks lend something very important and specific that pushes the experience over the top. Podcasting on an important level is more difficult than it seems. Everyone has a podcast and anyone can start one but maintaining it is difficult and building it up into something many people care about is a real feat.
Booking skills: Rob and E from Next Movement Podcast
Whenever I’m booking I think about Rob and E. DadBodRapPod gets amazing guests but they have journalist legend David Ma w/ everyone on speed dial. Open Mike Eagle can book Dan Harmon on Secret Skin because he’s OPEN MIKE EAGLE! Rob is just a gentleman in Philly with a mustache who manages to reach out and book folks other hip hop podcasts either can’t get or haven’t thought to get (Ursula Rucker, Masai Bey, Wavy Bagels). Nailing that is a homerun. The natural booking instinct is to grab the coolest person who will say yes. The problem: that person is on every podcast. By booking unique folks and asking them to bring one classic hip hop album no guest before them has selected the podcast retains a richly specific voice. Rob and E game plan on a very high level. I’ve been lucky enough to guest on Next Movement and it’s an experience that lives by itself in my memory.
Host consistency: Blueprint from Super Duty Tough Work Podcast
If you think having a podcast is fun I know you don’t have one. The lifespan of most podcasts is two episodes because that is precisely when it becomes work. Whenever someone tells me they are going to make one my first question is “How tight is the theme?” If the basis for your pod is too loose its nothing but rambling and you better be a real live entertainer! If the pod centers around a very specific thing, good luck on year five of The Black Dahlia Murder. Blueprint is the driving force on SDTW focusing on the music business from a different angle each episode. Each one digs into a specific angle and provides rules to go by. Print does a lot of work harnessing his thoughts but explains things very easily, laughing and enjoying great rapport with his co-host and Greenhouse partner Illogic(BUY THE TRANSITION). The worst ep of SDTW is better than the average of most podcasts in any genre and that’s the focus of someone who won’t be stopped.
Superpowered listening: CineMasi from Reel Notes
CineMasi aka Dylan Green is the best thing to happen to Pitchfork since decimal points allowed them to evaluate art on a higher level (I KID!). As editor and writer he uses elite taste and deft heartfelt observation to bring light to albums we need more of. Reel Notes throws all that out and gets rappers in the Zoom to discuss movies. This is an off-the-cuff podcast where the conversation is allowed to move naturally and those podcasts go off a cliff quickly. CineMasi understands that off-the-cuff doesn’t mean lax or unprepared. While our host has no problem ranting about favorites or pet peeves the ability to sit in observation of guest perspective while adding building blocks to it is something special to observe. Some people can listen to your smartest point, nodding the whole time, and when you finish add something to it that makes you feel smarter than you knew you were. It’s not just being quiet but processing, analyzing and building in real time.
Engine that moves the machine: Myke C-Town from Dead End Hip Hop
DEHH is a team. Kinge is hilarious and dismissive of very important things. Rod is so softspoken and nails points no one was thinking about. Beezy cares so much about everything. Every great team keys off someone’s energy and Myke is that engine. If the group is picking apart the merits of a popular rap album Myke might be dead quiet until out of nowhere he shrugs and says “I never listened to __. Never cared.” Perfectly representing the underground mentality where we are so focused digging for gold in the ground we miss the rainbows. Everything Myke does feels out of nowhere to me, how funny he is cracking on the co-hosts, how insightful he gets on production styles flow comparisons and career arcs, how frantically varied his tastes are. In college I realized that the teachers didn’t care if I agreed. I was so passionate about the topic that it stirred the class up until everyone was shaking heads with hands raised. Myke is even more that engine than I am.
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