Posts in Hip Hop
Meshell Ndegeocello

What do John Bonham and Meshell Ndegeocello have in common?  They've both used hotel rooms for creative expression through some unique rearranging of the furniture. Ok, so there is a bit of a difference. Bonham and the rest of Led Zeppelin trashed their rooms in the name of hedonism. But Ndegeocello tastefully moves the furniture in her hotel room to reclaim the space as her own.  By doing so, she's able to create her ideal writing environment, an environment that often gets its best use at 3am. To craft her song lyrics, Ndegeocello draws on what she calls the constantly moving "image factory" in her mind.

The ten-time Grammy nominee has a new album, released November 8, called Weather.  She's on tour now supporting it. Ndegeocello's creative output is staggering in its excellence, and the critical acclaim throughout her career is universal in its praise. Read my interview with Ndegeocello after the video.

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Himanshu Suri, Das Racist

Not expecting a discussion about Postcolonial literature with a songwriter, are you?  But if you've really looked into what Himanshu Suri and Das Racist are about, this should not be surprising. 

Here's the problem with labeling Das Racist "joke rap." Sure, they have funny songs like "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell." But some people assume that because Suri and Victor Vasquez write humorous lyrics, they can't also be socially conscious artists.  But the two ideas aren't mutually exclusive.  The world of performing arts is filled with people who deliver serious messages about race or class and who are also pretty funny. People like Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, and Chris Rock.  Even people like George Carlin and Lenny Bruce, who didn't discuss race and class as much, had plenty to say. 

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