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20 Segments




Questlove's Roots: A 'Meta' Memoir Of A Lifetime In Music

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the co-founder of and drummer for the hip-hop band The Roots, has been a musician since he was a teen. In Mo' Meta Blues, he explains how his musician father groomed him for a life in show business from an early age.

Roots drummer Questlove (Ahmir Thompson) playing drums in sunglasses

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.


DJ and Hip Hop forefather Grandmaster Flash

DJ and hip hop forefather Grandmaster Flash. At the dawn of hip hop, he recorded with the Furious Five. Their hits included "The Message" and "White Lines (Don't Do it)". Nearly 3 decades ago, Flash created the 'Quick Mix Theory,' the process of blending one music break with another. His chose the songs for the new CD, Essential Mix: Classic Edition. It includes a collection of 70s and 80s dance songs.

Grandmaster Flash speaking at a Hip Hop history event at the Smithsonian

The Roots of Rap and Hip Hop

Writer and critic Nelson George. He's one of this country's most prominent chroniclers of black music and culture. His new book "Hip Hop America" (Viking) is a history of Hip Hop, and a memoir of his own life, growing up to the musical strains of Hip Hop.


Two DJs on the Evolution of Techno

In 1994, Philadelphia-based DJs and recording artists King Britt and Josh Wink joined their creative efforts together to form Ovum Recordings, an independent record label. Britt and Wink are each celebrated techno performers in the international dance music community and each has his own unique music style. Ovum recently agreed to a worldwide label pact with Ruffhouse/Columbia Records.


Remembering an Early DJ Who Broke Racial Boundaries

Music artist Jim Dickinson talks about his friend and legendary Memphis deejay, Dewey Philips. Philips is best known as the first person to play Elvis Presley on the air. He also pushed the racial barriers of the time by playing a mix of music by black and white artists.


Sugar Hills Records Launched the Rap Revolution

Fresh Air rock historian Ed Ward takes a look at the record label, which emerged as a subsidiary of All Platinum Records. It promoted rap music soon after it first emerged in New York nightclubs.


Disc Jockey Alan Freed Brought Black Music to the Radio.

Rock historian Ed Ward profiles Alan Freed, one of the most famous, and most notorious, disc jockeys of the 50s and 60s. Freed was one of the first disc jockeys on a mainstream station (WJW in Cleveland) to play the black rhythm and blues that was the foundation of early rock and roll.


The Inspiration for "Good Morning, Vietnam."

Adrian Cronauer, the airman disk-jockey whose stint as a rebellious Armed Forces Radio Network announcer during the Vietnam war is the basis for the movie "Good Morning Vietnam," starring Robin Williams. Cronauer, 49, is a former announcer for WQXR in New York and is now studying communications law at The University of Pennsylvania.


Horror Movies and More with John Zacherle.

Philadelphian John Zacherle (sometimes credited as Zacherly) is the exemplar of the horror movie show host. He plays the character of "Roland" (pronounced "Ro-LAND) on his television show "Shock Theater." He not only introduces the films he plays, he also adds in cut-aways that often mock the movie or the genre itself. Zacherle is also had a top-ten hit with the novelty song "Dinner with Drac" and also works a d.j. Zacherle will join the Philadelphia Pops for a performance of "The Raven" this weekend.


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