Breaking down seminal moments in Drake's career to explore the broader history and evolution of hip-hop, R&B, gender dynamics, and Black culture. Hosted by Ty Harper.
One of the most popular rappers in America isn’t American. But this podcast isn’t really about him. Drake’s success is a culmination of many unheard moments, songs, and artists that made hip-hop and Black music the dominant cultural force it is today. This podcast digs into those stories.
Ep 1: Toronto was always a hip-hop city
Drake is the poster boy of Toronto, although the city's hip-hop scene was thriving long before it became known to his fans as 'The 6ix.' But the Canadian music industry’s history with its homegrown hip-hop talent is long and fraught—this is a look at that relationship.
Plus, the fight for the first Black-owned radio station in Canada, which turns 20 this year.
Artists mentioned in this episode: Kardinal Offishall, Michie Mee, Maestro Fresh Wes, k-Os, Dream Warriors, K-4ce (the man who coined the term “T-Dot”), Theo 3 (who coined the term ‘Screwface Capital’) Saukrates, Mindbender, Choclair, Rochester, Eternia, Point Blank.
Ep 2: How the mixtape went digital
Even as its popularity grew, hip-hop was ignored by most commercial radio. DJs and artists intervened and underground mixtapes became *the* medium for distributing new music and gaining clout — But then, a raid by the FBI in Atlanta changed hip-hop distribution forever.
Plus, how Drake’s So Far Gone mixtape fits into this digital evolution.
Some artists and DJs mentioned in this episode: DJ Drama, HustleGRL, J. Cole, Kid Capri, DJ Doo Wop, DJ Clue.
Ep 3: The rise of the Nice Guy rapper
This episode contains explicit lyrics.
Hip-hop feminists took the alpha male rapper and his critics to task in the 90s and 2000’s. Guest host Anupa Mistry finds out why. She goes on a journey with three Black women, to see how Drake's Nice Guy persona reveals the complexity of gender in hip-hop.
Some scholars and artists mentioned in this episode: Treva Lindsey, Jenessa Williams, Sydanie (Featuring her 2018 song "Flirt"), Joan Morgan, Rihanna, LL Cool J.
Ep 4: The rise of the singing rapper
It's pretty common to hear rap and R&B influences on the same track, but that wasn’t always the case. Hip-hop was not received with open arms by many in the R&B establishment. Still, rappers found creative ways of being heard on the radio, while others pushed beyond stereotypes of Black masculinity to find a new voice.
Some artists mentioned in this episode: Kwamé, DJ Frankie Crocker, Sugarhill Gang, Melle Mel, Teddy Riley, Bell Biv DeVoe, 50 cent, Kanye West.
Host Ty Harper examines how making this podcast during a pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests has underlined the importance of telling the stories of hip hop, R&B and Black culture.