In Sight Out, is a collaborative series between Pitchfork and the MCA that explores new perspectives on music, art, and culture
Chance the Rapper
Since the release of Chance's first mixtape, 10 Day, in 2012, through his breakthrough Acid Rap in 2013 and landmark Coloring Book in 2016, Chance has upended popular music industry norms by refusing to sign to a record label, and always giving his music away for free.
But even as he has become more and more successful, Chance has remained strongly grounded in his hometown of Chicago. He donated a million dollars and raised even more for the Chicago Public School system through his philanthropic organization Social Works, and went head to head with the Governor of Illinois over budget cuts for public schools. He sits on the board of the DuSable Museum of African American History. He’s given away bookbags to kids and coats to the homeless. His lyrics often pay homage to the South Side, where he grew up.
Vince Staples is always outspoken. In this episode of In Sight Out, a podcast series exploring new perspectives on art, music and culture, he talked at length about the NBA, style, white people, and, sometimes, himself. At Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art he sat down with Pitchfork managing editor Matthew Schnipper who asked the rapper about his personal history, to learn a bit about how he got to be the sharp, witty artist he is today. He answered—sometimes—but goofed around too. Is he a troll? We asked him, and he deferred to his manager, sitting in the audience who had to say yes.
But there's always something serious underlying his jokes. The conversation took place shortly after Eminem's now infamous anti-Trump rap on the BET Hip-Hop Awards. Asked for his opinion on Eminem's performance, Staples did not hold back, talking at length about the larger cultural context behind all the adulation for Em. There's so much to unpack in the hip-hop universe, and Staples is a worthy guide. So while much of the conversation was classic Staples banter, there was meaning rife within everything he said. Listen close.
During the course of a career spanning a remarkable four decades, Bjork has risen to prominence as one of the most singular and thrilling voices we have – her work as a songwriter, singer, and producer is endlessly provocative and fiercely artistic, mixing the elemental with the synthesized, the personal with the political. Her songs often feel as if they were born from some other landscape – that she is simply reporting back from places the rest of us can’t access.Bjork famously released her debut solo album at the age of 12, and spent much of her teenage years recording with a series of audacious art-punk bands. In the mid-80s, she found commercial success as the lead singer and co-founder of the alternative rock group, The Sugarcubes, and in 1993, she released the first of many solo records to come, Debut.What followed from there is a discography so rich and varied, it was given its own retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 2015. In November 2017, she released her stunning ninth album, Utopia.In conversation with Bjork is longtime Pitchfork contributor Amanda Petrusich. She began writing for Pitchfork for nearly 15 years ago, and is now a staff writer at the New Yorker, as well as the author of three books about music, including, most recently, Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78 RPM Records.” She is a commissioning editor for Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 series, a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, and a professor of writing at New York University.
Thurston Moore is a founding member of Sonic Youth and an icon of counterculture. Formed in 1981, and currently on hiatus, Sonic Youth were quintessential "downtown New Yorkers," drawing on noise, no wave, and hardcore punk to shape ideas of alternative, indie, and art rock in the underground and beyond. Their influence remains immeasurable. Moore has released many solo albums, most recently this year’s excellent Rock N Roll Consciousness. His wide-ranging collaborations include Yoko Ono, John Zorn, and Merzbow. Moore publishes poetry and music books through his Ecstatic Peace Library and in 2015, he released Stereo Sanctity, a collection of his lyrics and poems.
Tori Amos is one of the most outspoken and distinctive musicians of her generation. Her mere name brings to mind a very specific kind of music, often spellbinding in its contradictions: raw yet highly technical in its piano playing, theatrical but extremely intimate in its vocals, playful but also dead serious in its performance—all with a lyrical message placed front and center. This combination has kept her fans extremely loyal: Without ever pandering to pop radio, Amos has become one of the few women with 5 or more albums to debut in the Top 10.
Mitski Miyawaki is one of the sharpest young voices in indie rock, her raw and evocative lyricism meeting meticulous and sprawling musical ambition.She studied studio composition at Suny Purchase Conservatory of Music, where she recorded her first two albums, 2012’s Lush and 2013’s Sad, New Career in Business as student projects. With graduation came a move to Brooklyn, where her 2014 breakthrough, the blistering and relatable Bury Me at Makeout Creek, established her as a favorite of the DIY scene and beyond. With 2016’s Puberty 2, Mitski’s star power came into total focus, through her visuals, her outspokenness, and most of all, her brutally honest songs. She’s been traveling the world on tour ever since.