Microphone Check — the place where artists can talk about whatever concerns and interests they have, where they feel free to sound off and fan out on Ali Shaheed Muhammad and tell stories they’ve never told in public before — is back. February 27, only on Spotify.
Ill Camille was born and raised and still resides in Los Angeles, for the moment, and in March she released an album called Heirloom that we really love. We spoke to her about all her various jobs in the music industry, a path that eventually led her to stepping out in front and telling her own story.
You can read the transcript of our conversation on our web site, frannieandali.com, where you’ll also find our full archive.
We taped this interview before we had any idea Z-Ro would later announce his retirement from music – he's said the album he's releasing on June 30th, No Love Boulevard, will be his last. It's our loss, especially because you can tell here (back then) that he was excited to release new work, and felt like he was sitting on heat. But he also details his frustrations with the industry in our conversation, so his retirement is not a total surprise.
We're grateful he spent some time with us when he was still in the game, we're so thankful for the music he gave us while he was, and we wish him the best of luck in all his future pursuits.
To situate you in this episode, we left off last week when kris asked Ali how it would feel for his work today to be criticized and Ali’s response began with him saying he’s not worried about it because he’s right with himself, brought it back to Kendrick and "DNA." and ended in him saying Fox News is meaningless.
This first episode of the rest of our podcast’s life isn’t a straight ahead interview with a musician. Instead we asked music writer kris ex to come in and talk about the value of music journalism, especially its usefulness to musicians, and we kind of loosely centered our discussion on Kendrick’s album.
kris was published for the first time in June of 1994, in the literary magazine African Voices and in the inaugural issue of Ego Trip. Since then he’s written for Billboard, Rolling Stone, Vibe, One Nut, Hip-Hop Connection, the LA Times, Complex, The Fader, Pitchfork, Mass Appeal and elsewhere. In 1996 he published a piece about Tribe in The Source, which will come up in this episode!
kris also co-wrote 50 Cent’s memoir, which was published in 2005, blogged for XXL in the mid-2000s and edited the first four issues of Respect, a magazine devoted to hip-hop photography.
In 2013, Frannie asked him if he’d start writing for NPR. These days he prioritizes writing on Facebook.
We recorded in early May, and talked for so long that we’re running this interview in two parts.