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162 Segments




Gnarls Barkley and His Sum of Parts

Music critic Milo Miles reviews the new album St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley, a persona of two Americans: producer and DJ Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton and rapper and songwriter Thomas "Cee-Lo" Calloway.


R&B from Jaheim, Van Hunt

At a time when hip-hop dominates the R&B scene, it's often easier for a rapper to achieve commercial success than a singer. Our music critic examines why that is, in his review of two new albums by R&B vocalists: Ghetto Classics by Jaheim and On the Jungle Floor by Van Hunt.


Beastie Boys, Filmed in Concert: 'I... Shot That!'

You may know them as Mike D, MCA, and Ad-Rock. Or as Michael Diamond, Adam Yauch, and Adam Horovitz. Or simply, the Beastie Boys. For their new concert film, Awesome; I... Shot That!, they gave cameras to their fans in the crowd.

Beastie Boys members Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch, and Mike Diamond

Reggaeton Flows Through Musical Genres

Reggaeton is an international hybrid of reggae, hip-hop and salsa. Several compilation albums offer an overview of the genre: Mas Flow, Mas Flow 2, and La Trayectoria.


Music 2005: Ken Tucker's Top 10

Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker offers his picks for the best music of the year, including Fiona Apple's latest album and a Bob Dylan DVD. He also addresses the topic of women in music, and he talks about the year in hip-hop. Tucker is the film critic for New York magazine.


Kanye West: 'Late Registration'

Late Registration is the new album by hip-hop artist Kanye West. West recently drew a flurry of attention after telling an audience tuned in to a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina victims that "George Bush doesn't care about black people."


Fresh Prince and Beyond: Will Smith

Grammy-winning rapper and actor Will Smith has had success in music, movies and television. He began his career as the Fresh Prince with DJ Jazzy Jeff. Since then, he has acted in numerous films and been nominated for an Oscar, for his performance in Ali. (This interview originally aired Dec. 17, 2001.)


'Original Gangster': Rapper and Actor Ice-T

Ice-T is one of the original gangster rappers, of whom Greg Knot of The Chicago Tribune wrote: "Ice-T is that rare gangster rapper who leads with his brain instead of his gun or his crotch." He's gone on to a successful acting career. (This interview originally aired May 16, 1994.)


Hip-Hop Renaissance Man: Ice Cube

Known today equally as a musician and actor, Ice Cube was born O'Shea Jackson. He first gained notoriety in the late 1980s with the revolutionary group N.W.A. He now also acts in and produces movies, including this year's comedy Are We There Yet? (This interview originally aired Jan. 10, 2005.)


Rapper Melle Mel: Delivering 'The Message'

When the hit rap song "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five came out in the early 1980s, many rappers regarded it as an inspiration and political message. Melle Mel was the original vocalist on the song. (This interview originally aired August 4, 1992.)


Gritty, Heartwarming 'Hustle & Flow'

A Memphis pimp with a midlife crisis tries to make it as a rapper in Hustle & Flow, a film featuring the prodigious acting talents of Terrence Howard. He spent nearly two years researching a role that he initially did not want to accept.


Kool Herc: A Founding Father of Hip Hop

DJ Kool Herc is the father of the breakbeat, the deejay practice of isolating and repeating "breaks," the most danceable portions of songs; breakbeats make up the foundation of modern hip-hop. Herc has written the introduction to the new book Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation (St.Martins, 2005) by Jeff Chang.


Rapper, Producer, Composer: The RZA

The RZA is one of the founding members of the kung-fu-meets-hip-hop group the Wu Tang Clan. He has also written film scores, including 'Kill Bill' and 'Ghost Dog'. Now he has turned his efforts to a new book, 'The Wu Tang Manual'.


Actor and Musician Ice Cube: 'Are We There Yet?'

The new film Are We There Yet? stars Ice Cube as a man so eager to get close to a woman that he offers to travel many miles to reunite her children with their mother. The film was made by his production company, Cube Vision, which also developed Friday, as well as Barbershop.

Actor and rapper Ice Cube

Rapper and Actor Mos Def

The multi-talented Mos Def plays a police officer in the new indie film The Woodsman, also starring Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, about a pedophile who moves into a suburban neighborhood. He also has a new rap album, The New Danger. Mos Def has appeared in the films Bamboozled, Monster's Ball, and Brown Sugar. He made his Broadway debut with the play Topdog/Underdog, and has also won an Obie Award. Mos Def will be in the upcoming films A Confederacy of Dunces and A Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy.


Rock Critic Ken Tucker: Best Pop of 2004

Music critic Ken Tucker gives us his top picks in pop for 2004. He runs down his 10 best albums, and then talks about some trends of 2004, such as the return of punk, the year of the hip-hop producer, crunk music, and the potential end of an era as iPods and single song downloads replace album purchases.


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