88Nine explores the birth of Milwaukee hip-hop and Al Jarreau gets his due

88Nine explores the birth of Milwaukee hip-hop and Al Jarreau gets his due

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Each Thursday morning on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Jordan Lee — talk about the music coming into and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In

This week we’re talking about 88Nine’s new podcast Backspin and the recent wave of tributes to Milwaukee’s late jazz great Al Jarreau. You can stream the episode below.

Al Jarreau | Photo credit: U.S. Air Force/Wikimedia Commons

We kick off this week’s episode by discussing the origins of Backspin, and how an off-the-cuff comment from one local record collector helped spawn a six-episode podcast. Without spoiling the mystery of which artist recorded Milwaukee’s first rap song, we discuss how the podcast illuminates the difference between hip-hop as music and hip-hop as a culture.

And in a related topic, we talk about how hip-hop legend Nas has reinvigorated our conversation around Milwaukee singer Al Jarreau. Nas will perform July 30 at the Fiserv Forum with Mary J. Blige, and on his new track “Jarreau of Rap (Skatt Attack),” the rapper compares himself to the jazz great.

Jarreau was also the subject of a new tribute album, and was featured in Milwaukee writer Joey Grihalva’s new book on Milwaukee jazz. There’s also a proposal to rename Fond du Lac Avenue after Al Jarreau, which hasn’t passed yet but seems like a self-evidently great idea. If we can have a Bronze Fonz statue, we should have an Al Jarreau street.

Stream the episode below.

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Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “By Every Measure,” a six-part exploration of systemic racism in Milwaukee.

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