The Business of Hip-Hop & Opinions on Electric Wizard and Corinne Bailey Rae

Jim and Greg discuss the business of hip-hop with Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback.

The Business of Hip-Hop
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After welcoming new listeners on Connecticut Public Radio, Jim and Greg talk about the Nielsen SoundScan report for 2010. Eminem's Recovery was the biggest selling album of 2010, but the year's biggest selling artist for the second time in three years was Taylor Swift. Album sales continued to trend downward, but music purchases were actually up overall. So more and more people are listening to music than ever – especially rap and country music. And vinyl had its best year since SoundScan began tracking numbers in 1991.

The Business of Hip-Hop

Jay-z

As Jim and Greg explain in the news segment, hip-hop continues to be the music industry's cash king. It's come a long way since starting as an underground street art, and tracing the development of the hip-hop economy can shed a lot of light on the workings of the music industry. As Jay-Z famously rapped, "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man." Jim and Greg talk to Dan Charnas about this multi-billion economy. Dan is a music journalist who also spent many years working at rap labels. His new book is called The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop.

Black Masses Electric Wizard

Black Masses

Electric Wizard, the self-proclaimed "heaviest band in the universe," has a new album out called Black Masses. Over the past decade, the British stoner metal act has undergone a lot of lineup changes. They've also picked up the pace a bit on their sludgy rhythms. There's still a lot of heaviness and distortion, according to Greg, but the new album sounds more mainstream and less distinctive. There are a handful of classic Electric Wizard tracks, so he says Burn It. Jim agrees; if you only own one record by the band, and you should, go with Dopethrone. He gives Black Masses a Burn It rating.

The Love EP Corinne Bailey Rae

The Love E.P.

Pop music is filled with great love songs, and Corinne Bailey Rae picks her favorites to cover on The Love EP. The British singer's last release, The Sea, was her first since the death of her husband. Jim empathizes with Rae, but just doesn't like her vocal performance. It lacks guts and soul. And he also questions her song choices. Jim gives The Love EP a Trash It. Greg finds this review a little harsh. He admits there's nothing dark or emotional about Corinne Bailey Rae, but he hears a new friskiness not on other releases. He loves her takes on songs by Prince, Belly and even Doris Day. Greg recommends listeners Burn It.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!