5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To is a collection of our newest favorite songs. Every week we ask an artist that we love to tell us about the music they love.
Listen to the whole segment and all the songs below.
It’s Hip-Hop Week MKE! There are celebrations of the music, culture and community of Hip-Hop going on in Milwaukee every day this week. Check the schedule and everything MKE Hip-Hop here.
To celebrate, here are some of my favorite 5 Songs interviews from hip-hop artists from old school to new school.
1. Kurtis Blow picks “Mans Not Hot” by Big Shaq
Every week for the first song we ask one artist we love to tell us about a song that they love, and today we have a legend.
Kurtis Blow is the bonafide hip-hop legend. Before 1979 no major record label would take a shot with this new genre, but Mercury Records did by signing this guy Kurtis Blow to a two-song deal. The thing was that both songs needed to be hits and in order to have a better shot at making hit, Kurtis Blow wrote a Christmas song; a hip-hop Christmas song called, “Christmas Rappin’.” It ended up selling more than half a million copies and his next single, the B-side, “The Breaks” sold half a million copies as well. The entire genre is indebted to the fact that these were hits and hip-hop might not have survived without Kurtis Blow.
It is my honor to have Kurtis Blow as my guest on “5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To.”
Justin Barney: Kurtis Blow, what is one song right now that you can’t stop listening to?
Kurtis Blow: Oh my gosh it’s a song out right now. It’s really a funny song made by a comedian, his name is Big Shaq and he’s actually from England. The song is called, “Man’s Not Hot” and he comes out with this accent and the chorus goes like, “She asked me to take off my jacket. I said babe, man’s not hot.” It’s just so crazy and stupid and along with the accent… “Man’s not hot.”
Justin Barney: That’s so funny. What do you like about it?
Kurtis Blow: It’s just stupid and it makes no sense at all, but I can see myself saying that. I can just see my wife saying, “Take off your jacket” and saying, “Hey babe, man’s not hot.”
- Listen if you like: Rich Chigga, funny songs, the internet
2. Talib Kweli picks Gil Scott-Heron – “Your Daddy Loves You”
Talib Kweli is classic. In the late 90s he collaborated with Mos Def to create Black Star. He has released many solo albums to worldwide critical and commercial acclaim. He has toured to world as a musician and an activist, my guest is Talib Kweli.
Justin Barney: Talib, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Talib Kweli: One song I can’t stop listening to is “Your Daddy Loves His Girl,” by Gil Scott Heron. It’s a very powerful song. I have a daughter but I don’t think you need to have a daughter to understand, you know, a parent talking to a daughter and his thoughts while she’s sleeping and dealing with the problems in a relationship with the other half, or the spouse.
Also Gil Scott, just the way that he sings — the raw emotion, the lack of pretense and the lack of studio magic that you hear in his songs — is something that is just very simple, basic song that is very short so you want to play it again. That’s it, it’s just a great piece of work.
- Gil Scott-Heron’s album “Nothing New” was released posthumously in 2014.
- Listen if you like: A father singing to his daughter, sweetness, piano
3. Danny Brown picks “After Forever” by Black Sabbath
Our guest is Danny Brown. Danny Brown, from Detroit Michigan, has this nasally, erratic delivery and the production on his songs defy and challenge genres. He is entertaining, thoughtful and original. I was so pleased that we got to sit in his dressing room at Eaux Claires and talk with Danny Brown.
Justin Barney: What’s a current song that you’ve been listening to? Or one song you can’t stop listening to?
Danny Brown: I’ve been listening to a lot of Black Sabbath lately.
Justin Barney: Really?
Danny Brown: Yeah. Just discovered it. You know, going back and studying, that’s my thing. I love going back and just get into stuff that I haven’t gotten into. And Black Sabbath been my new thing lately.
Justin Barney: What do you like about Black Sabbath?
Danny Brown: I mean, I’ve always been into rock music. My favorite band is System of a Down. Like I can see where they got influenced from them. Like with the transitions and stuff like that.
I love Korn too. Well, Korn up to “Issues,” you know?
So those two are my go-to bands.
- “After Forever” was released in 1971 on Black Sabbath’s album, “Master of Reality.”
- Listen if you like: System of a Down, Korn, Danny Brown
- FULL DANNY BROWN INTERVIEW
4. Lizzo picks “Happy Face” by Destiny’s Child
Lizzo is our guest. Lizzo makes BANGERS that we love. From Minneapolis via Huston she’s powerful, she’s inspiring and she’s once of the most talented musicians making songs right now. Our guest is Lizzo.
Justin Barney: Lizzo, we talked a bit off-mic about the influence that Destiny’s Child had on you. What is your favorite Destiny’s Child song?
Lizzo: One of my favorite Destiny’s Child songs ever is called “Happy Face.” And I remember being younger and singing it to myself.
Because it says [Lizzo sings:] “I woke up this morning /and the sunshine was shining./ Put on my happy faaaaaace. / I’m livin’ I’m able, I’m breathing, I’m grateful, / so put on your happy faaaaace.”
And I remember I would sing that to myself when I felt down and it still has a very special place in my heart. It’s my favorite Destiny’s Child song.
- Destiny’s Child’s album, “Survivor,” was released in 2001.
- Listen if you like: Beyonce, Lizzo, inspiration
5. Chance the Rapper picks Kirk Franklin’s “Melodies from Heaven”
Each week we have a guest artist come onto the program and tell us about one song that they love. This week our guest is Chance the Rapper. Chance is bigger than hip-hop. He’s an icon.
Justin Barney: Chance, what is one song that you can’t stop listening to?
Chance the Rapper: There is a song called “Melodies From Heaven” by Kirk Franklin. There is the modulation in it. There are several key changes that just make listening to it each time feel like a level up. You know what I’m saying? And you realize like, you know how people say “Different day, same sh*t.?” It’s like “New key, same changes.”
It shows you what growth means and how growth is a cycle. I feel like that song always lifts me from where I am and always makes me feel like I’m doing something better, something new. So this song is not going away, I’m probably going to listen to this song forever.
- Listen if you like: The song structure of Chance the Rapper songs, church, background choirs