Consequence Podcast Network
Consequence of Sound and Sony bring you an exploration of legendary albums and their ongoing legacy. Join host Jill Hopkins as she examines how masterpieces continue to evolve: shaping lives, shaking rafters, and ingraining itself into our culture. Maybe you’re a longtime fan who wants to go deeper. Maybe you’re a first-time listener curious to hear more – either way, you’re in the right place.
Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament once stated that "essentially Ten was just an excuse to tour." The band clearly just wanted some material to play on the road, as their first tour kicked off just after they'd completed mixing sessions for their debut album; the record wasn't even released yet. The tour -- PJ's only with drummer Matt Chamberlain -- was a short one focusing on the East Coast and Midwest. It wrapped up in Chicago at the famed Cabaret Metro with a concert that is still legendary among Pearl Jam fans. After that Metro gig on July 21st, 1991, the band took a break as they prepared for the release of Ten. The album arrived a month later on August 27th, and by September, Pearl Jam returned for a world tour as one of the newly crowned kings of '90s rock. In this episode of Consequence Podcast Network and Sony’s The Opus: Ten, we go back to The Metro to relive that final show of Pearl Jam's first tour so we can see a band on the brink of decades-long stardom. Joining host Jill Hopkins on this trip back in time is none other than The Metro's founder, Joe Shanahan. Subscribe now to stay up-to-date on future seasons of The Opus. Also, make sure to support our show and the Consequence Podcast Network by picking up an official Opus hoodie or T-shirt at the Consequence Shop.
24 min 41 sec
Ten yielded (no pun intended, Pearl Jam fans) three enduring hit singles: "Alive," "Even Flow," and "Jeremy." But here on Consequence Podcast Network and Sony’s The Opus, we focus on the legacy of the entire album -- and the real meat of Ten is on the non-single tracks. The band has opened shows with the record's final track, "Release," ever since the original Ten tour. "Oceans" features some of the most unusual percussion arrangements on any hard rock track of the era. And the label wanted to release "Black" as a single, but the band refused. On Episode 3 of The Opus: Ten, we dig into the songs we haven't been hearing on the radio over the last 30 years, and find out why they've become so beloved to Pearl Jam's legions of fans. Listen now, and make sure you subscribe to keep up with all episodes of Season 16 of The Opus. Also, show your love of our show by picking up an official Opus hoodie or T-shirt at the Consequence Shop. Original music by Tony Piazza.
31 min 54 sec
While Season 16 of the Consequence Podcast Network and Sony’s The Opus focuses on the unparalleled musical legacy Ten, it's important to note of Pearl Jam has been defined as much by their visuals as their sound. On Episode 2, we explore how bassist Jeff Ament not only contributed to the band's sonics, but their imagery as well. Subscribe now so you can listen to all episodes of Season 16 of The Opus. Also, pick yourself up one of our official Opus hoodies or T-shirts at the Consequence Shop. Original music by Tony Piazza.
19 min 36 sec
The series of events that had to happen to have Ten even exist is wild. Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard were in Green River, but they broke up. Then, they were in a pysch-garage band called Mother Love Bone, whose singer, Andrew Wood, died right before their first album was released. The two of them, and a couple of members of Soundgarden put out a tribute album for Andrew, and this singer they’d heard about from Jack Irons, - the drummer from the Red Hot Chili Peppers - guested on one of the tracks. He’d gotten a copy of some demos Stone and Jeff were working on, wrote lyrics for it, sang over it, and sent it back. The guys liked it, so they hired him to sing in their new band. That song was “Hunger Strike”, that tribute was Temple of the Dog, that guest singer was Eddie Vedder, and that new band was Pearl Jam. This is all only scratching the surface of the strange series of events that had to occur for Ten to come into existence. In this debut episode of The Opus: Pearl Jam's Ten, host Jill Hopkins is joined by The Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon, AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine, and Museum of Pop Culture curator Jacob McMurray to trace the unlikely origins of one of the biggest bands of all time. Subscribe now so you can check out all episodes of Season 16 of The Opus. Also, grab yourself an official Opus hoodie or T-Shirt at the Consequence Shop. Original music by Tony Piazza.
28 min 50 sec
Season 15 of Consequence Podcast Network and Sony’s The Opus comes to its conclusion on a high point as we explore how Cypress Hill put weed rap on the map. Within a few months of its release, the impact of Cypress Hill and the subject matter of some of the raps therein was apparent. Other rappers started writing songs that expanded more on the glory of marijuana. While we think of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre as pioneers in the art of weed rap, it’s often forgotten that Dre once bragged on record about never smoking weed. But, after Cypress Hill lifted their veil of smoke, Dre got to work on an album called The Chronic. And Cypress Hill’s cannabis candidness wasn’t just relegated to their raps, either. The group became outspoken advocates for the legalization of marijuana, ushering in a new era of pot positivity that Cypress Hill are still pushing forward to this very day.
17 min 53 sec
On the previous episode of Consequence Podcast Network and Sony's The Opus Season 15, we explored the chemistry between the voices of Cypress Hill’s B-Real and Sen Dog. In Episode 3, we look at the unique alchemy of their beats. The place where rock and metal meet has always been a part of Cypress Hill's sonic and cultural identity. Sen Dog's first concert was thrash-metal band Slayer; that band's drummer, Dave Lombardo (who, like Sen, is Cuban-American), was his high-school friend. At the end of "How I Could Just Kill a Man," someone quotes Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized." Cypress Hill's sound had its origins as much in hard rock as it did with Latin funk. The group put their guitar-based influences under every one of their raps. In this episode, host Jill Hopkins and her guests talk about that intersection between rock and hip-hop, and examine how other artists found themselves at the center of the Venn diagram Cypress Hill first drew. Original music by Tony Piazza. Subscribe now so you can keep up on all the new Opus episodes. Also, keep an eye out for a special giveaway in the coming weeks to continue the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Cypress Hill. Also, grab yourself an official Opus hoodie or T-Shirt at the Consequence Shop or using the buy-now buttons below.
21 min 35 sec
Consequence Podcast Network and Sony’s The Opus Season 15 continues as we explore the unparalleled chemistry between Cypress Hill’s B-Real and Sen Dog. B-Real’s high-pitched, nasal rap style played off the boom of Sen Dog’s authoritative baritone for a sound unlike anyone else. In Episode 2 of The Opus: Cypress Hill, the two rappers discuss finding their voices, while the legendary Chuck D (Public Enemy, Prophets of Rage) heaps praise on the group’s unique sound.
18 min 43 sec
Season 15 of The Opus, presented by the Consequence Podcast Network and Sony, travels back to the Southern California in which Cypress Hill’s sound exploded onto the scene. The sonic sense of urgency in the hip-hop group's self-titled debut album was a time-and-place thing -- a product of late '80s/early '90s Los Angeles that was swept up in the tension just before the Rodney King verdict and the uprising that followed. Cypress Hill's lyrics and beats were tailor made for the subwoofers in the trunks of the low riders that played them, and would echo around rap's landscape in the years to come. And it served as representative for the Black and brown voices who felt the need to protest as much as they felt the desire to party in the face of a community that would soon be national news. In this first episode of The Opus: Cypress Hill, we venture into Cypress Hill’s Southern California, and the powder keg that made their debut album important, necessary, and seemingly ubiquitous. And who better to give host Jill Hopkins a tour of this era than the members of Cypress Hill themselves, as B-Real, Sen Dog, and DJ Muggs guest on Episode 1.
17 min 18 sec
The production on Just As I Am is just as tight as you’d expect an album made with Booker T Jones to be. Bill Withers may have been a rookie singer/songwriter, but the plates on this album were definitely not. In this episode, we speak to folks who help Withers discover and perfect his signature sound. We also discuss the album’s sonic legacy with people whose sound has been influenced by the music Withers, Jones, and company made 50 years ago.
27 min 33 sec
Amir “Questlove” Thompson, in Rolling Stone in 2015, called Bill Withers the “last African-American Everyman … the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen.” Withers’ Just As I Am was once referred to as “middlebrow soul.” That is to say, it was easily accessible at a time when music was becoming increasingly complex. In this episode, we find out what it means to be a populist musician when popular music was quickly turning its eye to more complicated compositions.
22 min 51 sec
In September of 1972, after having been nominated for three Grammys and winning one, Bill Withers spoke with The New York Times, and declared that the whole music thing was simply a phase for him. In 1985, Bill Withers, walked away from the music industry, deciding to not record or re-sign to a record label. He wanted to return to his “regular guy” life, and be a husband and father. When Bill Withers began making “Just As I Am,” he was employed as a factory worker at Weber Aircraft in California. The picture of him on the cover of the album was taken while he was on his lunch break. His “regular guy” life and point of view provided his music with a spectacular simplicity and relatability that eventually earned him four more Grammy nominations and two more trophies. In this episode, we’ll look Withers' protest music and how he remains a major figure of fighting the powers that be. Guests: Aloe Blacc Jose James
20 min 36 sec
Season 14 of The Opus focuses on Bill Withers' landmark debut album, Just as I Am. In episode one, host Jill Hopkins and special guests Jon Batiste, José James, Aloe Blacc, and Phil Cook discuss how a blue-collar everyman became a soul music legend.
22 min 16 sec
So much of hip-hop is built on the notion of creating something from something. Call it covering, call it borrowing, call it sampling, but don't call it unoriginal. For decades, samples have helped musicians turn some of greatest hits into even greater hits. Fugees are no exception to this. They built upon this legacy, The samples and covers included on 1996's The Score range everywhere from The Delphonics to Enya -- and yet they’re seamlessly woven together to create a distinct, singular album. In the Season 13 finale, host Jill Hopkins heads to the operating room to dissect three songs off The Score that best embody the art of the sample and the depth of knowledge the Fugees brought to the studio: "Zealots", "The Score", and "Ready or Not". Surrounding Jill at the table with scalpels and insight are Ruffhouse Records co-founders Chris Schwartz and Joe Nicolo; rapper Psalm One; and music journalist Insanul Ahmed. Together, they discuss why certain bits were used, why whole songs were sometimes included, and how the Fugees turned existing classics into their own -- read: completely new -- classics. Original music by Tony Piazza.
26 min 16 sec
The Fugees were culturally unique in myriad ways. They were a trio comprised of one American-born Black woman and yet also two Haitian immigrants, who both took pride in their heritage. Naturally, this pride was weaved into the fabric of 1996's The Score, and the album's success meant that they were able to champion Haitian music in both America and abroad. In this episode, host Jill Hopkins speaks to the trio's family, friends, and fans about Haiti’s effect on the Fugees and the Fugees effect on Haiti, Haitians, and their fans who saw their own American immigrant and refugee experiences reflected back at them. Along for the journey are award-winning songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jon Batiste, producer Jerry Wonda, Ruffhouse Records co-founder Chris Schwartz, music journalists Dometi Pongo and Insanul Ahmed, and reggae legend Sly Dunbar. Together, they study the symbiosis between band and homeland as it pertains to the Fugees. Original music by Tony Piazza. Don't forget to enter our giveaway to win a Fugees prize pack, which includes vinyl, a turntable, and headphones. (Note: If you’re having trouble seeing the widget, enter here.)
21 min 13 sec
Instead of returning to the studio with outside producers, the Fugees took their $150k advance from Ruffhouse Records and ventured off to … the basement. Specifically, the Booga Basement in East Orange, NJ, where Wyclef Jean’s uncle and his cousin Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis lived. Booga, along with The Dungeon in Atlanta (where OutKast cut their debut), were two of the most successful underground studios in the game circa the mid-90s. These locales came with a productive, family vibe and endless head bobs to judge the quality of work. In this episode, host Jill Hopkins speaks to producer Jerry Wonda about building a studio and a sound that would continue the tradition of great New Jersey hip-hop. They also discuss why this kind of DIY ethos is so important to groups in the process of defining their sounds. Also heading into the basement are special guests Chris Schwartz and Joe Nicolo of Ruffhouse Records, in addition to MTV’s Dometi Pongo and Genius executive editor Insanul Ahmed. Original music by Tony Piazza. Don't forget to enter our giveaway to win a Fugees prize pack, which includes vinyl, a turntable, and headphones. (Note: If you’re having trouble seeing the widget, enter here.)
21 min 35 sec
In the Season 13 premiere, we’ll find out what it took for a group in its own artistic and personal transition to find their place at the top of the charts and on the Grammy stage as the biggest hip-hop act of 1996. Hip-hop had considerably changed from when the Fugees started recording their first album in 1992 to just three years later when they began working on their second effort. The “Golden Age'' was coming to a close, and the genre was at a crossroads. So were the Fugees, though. Coming off their critically and commercially divisive first album, 1994's Blunted on Reality, the New Jersey trio of Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras Michel were similarly looking to reinvent themselves Join host Jill Hopkins as she dials the clock back to the mid-'90s alongside producer Jerry Wonda, Ruffhouse Records co-founders Chris Schwartz and Joe Nicolo, and rapper Psalm One. Original music by Tony Piazza. Don't forget to enter our giveaway to win a Fugees prize pack, which includes vinyl, a turntable, and headphones. (Note: If you’re having trouble seeing the widget, enter here.)
24 min 47 sec
The movement was called “Women’s Liberation”, and it pushed the needle of social change more rapidly than mainstream America was ready for in the late '60s and early '70s. The shift was palpable: The need for empowering feminist heroines prompted many Americans to look towards artists, athletes, and entertainers when politics came up short. Janis Joplin was one such name. With a life lived aggressively free of the trappings of stereotypical feminine expectations, the late musician was as much of a revolutionary as Abbie Hoffman or her beloved Odetta. Today, Joplin's sexuality and her unwillingness to hide it serves as a reminder by third-wave feminists of how far we've come in America. In the fourth and final episode on Pearl, host Jill Hopkins speaks of the shine and the struggle inherently involved in a feminist uprising, the songs that told Joplin's stories of love, sex, freedom, and pain, and the singer's place within the revolution. Special guests include Joplin's biographer Holly George-Warren (Janis: Her Life and Music), legendary rock writer Steve Huey (Yacht Rock), and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Grace Potter. Featuring original music by Tony Piazza.
27 min 10 sec
In many ways, Pearl was a wake for Janis Joplin, a celebration of the singer-songwriter, whose poetry and energy connected with fans, critics, and the general public alike. In hindsight, though, it also felt like the end of an era -- a fiery footnote to the '60s. But what led to that moment? In this episode, host Jill Hopkins will look at the time between Joplin’s untimely death and the post-release reception. She'll also pivot to other posthumous albums to see if there are any parallels to be made with Pearl. Featuring original music by Tony Piazza. Don't forget to enter our exclusive giveaway to win one (1) Hummingbird guitar, a Janis Joplin Festival Express 1970 sweatshirt, and a copy of Pearl on vinyl.
22 min 19 sec
Janis Joplin left it all on stage. Janis Joplin brought it all to the studio. Janis Joplin put it all on tape. With that exposed vulnerability, however, comes the illusion that the general public actually knew her. That's simply not the case. In this episode, host Jill Hopkins speaks to the late icon's two siblings Laura and Michael Joplin, who shine a light on the Janis Joplin the public didn’t know. What was it like to grow up with her? Look up to her? Lose her? And then honor her? Featuring original music by Tony Piazza. Don't forget to enter our exclusive giveaway to win one (1) Hummingbird guitar, a Janis Joplin Festival Express 1970 sweatshirt, and a copy of Pearl on vinyl.
32 min 13 sec
In the Season 12 premiere, we hop a train heading back to the Summer of 1970, when Joplin and the Full Tilt Boogie Band led the historic Festival Express across Canada. It's a strange and wonderful journey that ends with Joplin's magnum opus. Join host Jill Hopkins as she walks from one carriage to another, learning about the making of the band that would help propel a voice that continues to inspire long after death. Along for the ride are Joplin's biographer Holly George-Warren (Janis: Her Life and Music) and legendary rock writer Steve Huey (Yacht Rock). Featuring original music by Tony Piazza. Don't forget to enter our exclusive giveaway to win one (1) Hummingbird guitar, a Janis Joplin Festival Express 1970 sweatshirt, and a copy of Pearl on vinyl.
26 min 49 sec
Give the drummer some! Over the years, countless session players have shaped the spirit and sound of Santana -- but especially the beats. Many stuck around, but others went on to carve out their own careers, the likes of which are among the most varied and vast in the industry. For the fourth and final episode of Abraxas, The Opus takes a rhythmic tour between mainstays Michael Shrieve and Cindy Blackman Santana, celebrating the percussionists that have graced the kit for Santana over the years. Join host Jill Hopkins as she bangs the drum alongside special guests Michael Shrieve and Cindy Blackman Santana for one wild and frenetic final episode. Because really, no great show is without one surprise epic encore. Featuring original music by Tony Piazza. Don't forget to enter our exclusive giveaway to win one (1) SE Santana Singlecut Trem in Egyptian Gold from PRS Guitars and a copy of Abraxas on vinyl.
24 min 21 sec
As we've already learned this season, the members of Santana all came in with their own eclectic perspectives. From the traditional to the avant garde, they dropped a witch’s cauldron of diverse sonic experimentation. For the third episode, The Opus wants to talk about the power of influence. Not only on the members of Santana, but how they've since left their own distinct thumbprint on artists for generations to come. Groups like Oxomatli and Mana are obvious heirs, but who are the groups that took the sound and vision of Abraxas to even more psychedelic levels? What better time than now to sort through the connective tissue. Join host Jill Hopkins as she connects the dots. Along the way, she'll hear vital insights from Carlos Santana, Cindy Blackman Santana, AJ Dávila of Davila 666, Carlos Arevalo of Chicano Batman, and the one and only Michelle Branch. Featuring original music by Tony Piazza. Don't forget to enter our exclusive giveaway to win one (1) SE Santana Singlecut Trem in Egyptian Gold from PRS Guitars and a copy of Abraxas on vinyl.
46 min 21 sec
For the second episode of Season 11, The Opus is curious to know the stories behind the liner notes to Abraxas. Sure, Carlos Santana was the face and name of the band, but he wasn’t the voice and he didn’t make up the totality of their signature sound. Of course, a good bandleader knows it’s not always about them, and Santana was no exception to that rule. His crew of players were all virtuosos in reach of their respective areas, and together they created a signature rock 'n' roll hybrid. But, how did all of this talent find each other? Was San Francisco just teeming with genius in the late '60s? And, really, how do you write and record a sophomore album, perfect a new genre, all while the entire world is changing before you? Join host Jill Hopkins as she continues her journey through Abraxas. Along the way, she’ll hear vital insights from Carlos Santana, in addition to his drummer Michael Shrieve, musicologist Mark Brill, historian Ashley Kahn, and musician AJ Dávila of Davila 666. Featuring original music by Tony Piazza. Don't forget to enter our exclusive giveaway to win one (1) SE Santana Singlecut Trem in Egyptian Gold from PRS Guitars and a copy of Abraxas on vinyl.
55 min 43 sec
In the Season 11 premiere, we're dialing back the clock to the late '60s, a time when Santana and his band were on the cusp of a cultural sea change. They had just conquered the iconic Woodstock Music Festival, and all ears were raised for what came next. But, when you finally have the means to make the album you’ve always wanted ... is it smooth sailing? As an outsider making outsider art, did Santana feel a responsibility to represent his cultural roots? And what about meeting your heroes? Join host Jill Hopkins as she contends with all of these questions in the first episode. Along the way, she'll hear insights from the legend himself Carlos Santana, in addition to his drummer Michael Shrieve, musicologist Mark Brill, and historian Ashley Kahn. Featuring original music by Tony Piazza. Don't forget to enter our exclusive giveaway to win one (1) SE Santana Singlecut Trem in Egyptian Gold from PRS Guitars and a copy of Abraxas on vinyl.
33 min 16 sec
Consequence Podcast Network and Sony’s The Opus is back for Season 11 with a new host and a new classic album to explore. Beginning November 19th, host Jill Hopkins (The Moth Chicago, Making Beyoncé podcast) will conjure the enduring legacy of Santana’s landmark Abraxas. Following the release of their self-titled debut and their subsequent performance at Woodstock, a world of possibility was opened to Santana for their sophomore record. Band leader Carlos Santana suddenly had the means to make the album he’d always dreamed of — but with that came added pressure. With his band of virtuosos around him, Santana set out to find new ways of blending rock music with jazz experimentation, resulting in an effort unlike anything that had come before, and something that many have striven to emulate since. As Hopkins traces the story of Abraxas from the summer of ’69 to today, she’ll be joined by Carlos Santana himself and band drummer Michael Shrieve. Other scheduled guests include musicologist Mark Brill, Dávila 666’s AJ Davila, and many more. “I’m excited to help tell the story of an iconic album that has followed me from snuck-in listens at grown-up parties to full album immersions through headphones I probably paid too much for,” says Hopkins. “Abraxas sounds just as passionate, percussive, and pervasive to our shared culture as Carlos Santana meant for it to when he and his band of equally talented players stepped off of the Woodstock stage and into musical immortality.” The Opus: Abraxas premieres November 19th, and you can subscribe now. -- Theme music by Tony Piazza.
1 min 2 sec
We are living in Andy Warhol's vision of the future. It’s a time when anyone can TikTok their way to 15 minutes of fame, only to disappear 15 seconds later. But there’s a strange effect to all these stars and this new galaxy: We’re all so siloed as fans that it’s easy to forget there was once a time when stars could outlast the universe. One such star is Whitney Houston. As The Opus winds down its journey through the diva's blockbuster debut, host Andy Bothwell speaks with rapper Dessa and writers Hanif Abdurraqib and Myles Johnson about what Whitney Houston meant to the world. Together, they discuss how Houston impacted such a wide and diverse range of communities and cultures, and later marvel at the strength she exhibited while facing insurmountable pressures and exorbitant demands. Stream Whitney Houston via all major streaming services or enter to win a copy of Vinyl Me, Please’s 35th anniversary Whitney Houston box set.
35 min 57 sec
There's something mystifying about powerful voices. Sure, everyone can open their mouth and sing, but when we watch a force like Whitney Houston do so, it's abundantly clear there's a vast divide between her and us mere mortals. But we take such voices for granted, often celebrating their talent by simply listening. What we don't appreciate is the work it takes to get there, the work it takes to maintain such power, and the true musicianship behind every note. As The Opus continues its journey into Whitney Houston, host Andy Bothwell learns about the training and athleticism behind a voice like Houston by speaking with singer Bartees Strange and opera singer Dr. Donna Mitchell-Cox. Later, Dessa (of Doomtree Records) breaks down the science behind Houston's voice, while CNN's own Brandon Tensley explains the unexplainable -- specifically, why her voice impacts us in ways we can't always understand. Stream Whitney Houston via all major streaming services or enter to win a copy of Vinyl Me, Please’s 35th anniversary Whitney Houston box set. Follow us on Facebook | Podchaser
37 min 33 sec
It's hard to underestimate Whitney Houston’s stardom. For better and for worse, the world knows so much more about the late diva than we do about most artists from her era. Houston's meteoric rise would eventually place her own personal life under a microscope, and it's the tragic details that all too often overshadow her unparalleled legacy and groundbreaking influence. Looking back, though, Whitney Houston wasn't just a pop star. She wasn't just an incredible voice. No, she was a trail blazer, the first of her kind, who opened the door for so many artists to follow. For its highly anticipated 10th season, The Opus plans to trace those footsteps, and put a spotlight on the star that was born with 1985's Whitney Houston. Join host Andy Bothwell as he talks with music writer and chart historian Chris Molanphy about the records Houston broke with her self-titled debut. Then listen as writers Britt Julious, Brandon Tensley, and musicians Sophia Eris and Bartees Strange explain how Houston's position on the Billboard charts meant so much more than just record sales.
33 min 8 sec
For decades now, rap and hip-hop has been the most fertile soil for slang and new language across pop culture. But when looking back on Mobb Deep, the duo didn't just have their own slang, they had their own language. In this bonus episode of The Opus, host Andy Bothwell breaks down the history of "The Dun Language" with rappers Slug (of Atmosphere) and Evidence (of Dilated Peoples), who discuss the influence that language has played on their own work. Shortly after, we'll hear from original member Havoc, legendary hip-hop photographer Chi Modu, and The Infamous executive producer Schott Free, who shed a light on the oft-elusive, secret third member of Mobb Deep. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, stream Mobb Deep's The Infamous – 25th Anniversary Expanded Edition via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a copy of The Infamous on vinyl -- signed by rapper Havoc himself. Follow us on Facebook | Podchaser
27 min 40 sec
The world seems to have gone mad since the release of Malcolm Gladwell's The Outliers. Thanks to his 2008 best-selling book, everyone seems to think that all you need is 10,000 hours of practice to achieve greatness. While that may work on a skill or a craft, the rules go out the window when it comes to art. Prodigy and Havoc certainly put a lot of hours into making beats and rapping before they made The Infamous, but there are other powerful forces that truly shaped them into becoming artists. After all, 10,000 hours will only take you so far, and much of that greatness depends on perspective and experience. In this season's final episode, host Andy Bothwell is joined once again by Mobb Deep’s Havoc who breaks down the experiences that helped shape the duo. What's more, rappers Brother Ali and Don Will, in addition to writers Jeff Weiss and Mosi Reeves, also weigh in on how the late Prodigy was able to channel his own trauma into something the world had never seen before. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, stream Mobb Deep's The Infamous – 25th Anniversary Expanded Edition via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a copy of The Infamous on vinyl -- signed by rapper Havoc himself.
40 min 58 sec
The mid-90's produced a crowded field chock full of brilliant rap records. With debuts from Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and Jay-Z, artists really needed to bring their A-game if they were going to try and stand out. Mobb Deep could have easily been lost in the ether, especially given the mixed reception towards their debut album, Juvenile Hell. Instead, like so many of the artists we've covered in The Opus -- Miles Davis, Simon & Garfunkel, Ozzy Osbourne, the list goes on -- Mobb Deep leaned on that failure to chase their own success. Because without the bitterness of defeat, Prodigy & Havoc may have never been driven to evolve into the powerhouse that created The Infamous. Join host Andy Bothwell as he speaks with Havoc and Executive Producer/A&R's Matt Life about the setbacks the duo faced and how they overcame them. We'll also hear from CSU-Long Beach professor and music journalist Oliver Wang about the story behind the song that changed it all for Mobb Deep, in addition to Evidence of Dilated Peoples and both Slug and Ant of Atmosphere on what sets The Infamous apart from the other titans of the genre.
41 min 42 sec
Rap in the modern age is drowned in theater. Today, the lines between reality and fiction are often so blurred that it's tough to tell what's fact or fiction. Ironically, the old adage of "keepin' it real" was tossed around too lightly amidst the Golden Age of Hip-Hop. One exception to that rule was Mobb Deep. A quarter century ago, Havoc and Prodigy helped ignite the East Coast hip-hop renaissance with their sophomore album, The Infamous, which held up a dark, gritty, realistic mirror to their particular world. Using their lyrics like a photojournalist might use their camera, the duo brought listeners into their often haunting and impoverished corner of Queens. Add in the powerfully sparse, jagged production, and you have a record that changed the perception of hardcore rap forever. For its ninth season, The Opus heads to Queens to discuss the landmark album. Join host Andy Bothwell as he gets the street-level facts from Havoc (the surviving member of Mobb Deep) and Infamous Executive Producer/A&R Schott Free. He also hears some insights from syndicated radio host Headkrack, rapper and Paid Dues curator Murs, and Pitchfork writer Paul Thompson. Together, they discuss how Mobb Deep's journalistic devotion to spitting the truth raised the bar to an impossible standard that even the greatest rappers of their day could never match. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, stream a legacy edition of Mobb Deep's The Infamous via all major streaming services.
32 min 52 sec
In many ways, an album's physical packaging is a dying art form in the modern era of streaming services. Instead of picking up a record, we scroll through them, searching for light amidst a seemingly infinite sea of digital album covers. With that in mind, there's never been a greater need for eye-catching album covers in the history of the medium. Bitches Brew is one such record, only the artwork serves a much greater role. It's not just an avatar for the album, or a marketing tool for the label, but a physical continuation of its themes. It accentuates and visualizes the very philosophies being observed by Miles Davis within the seminal album. It's an extension of the album, if you will. In this special bonus episode of The Opus, host Andy Bothwell is joined by painter/illustrator Michael Gaughan and photographer Cameron Wittig. Together, they break down the details of the album artwork for Bitches Brew -- both inside and out. So, for one last time, pull up a chair, and listen above. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, stream a legacy edition of Bitches Brew via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win the massive 43-CD The Genius of Miles Davis box set, which includes the four-disc The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions.
21 min 4 sec
A good album leaves a mark on you, but traditionally, that impact lasts as long as the album itself. It starts, you hear a bunch of great songs you love, and then it's over. Maybe it put you in a better mood? Or perhaps it even gave you some time to think about things? Whatever the case, when the record stops, all too often the influence goes along with it. What makes an album like Bitches Brew so special is that the influence doesn’t die when you pick the needle up. Instead, it continues to expand out infinitely in all directions. An album like this is more than just a collection of great songs, it's a whole universe of influence, one that continues to grow and shape culture, even decades after its release. Join host Andy Bothwell in Columbia's Studio B, where he wraps up Season 8 of The Opus alongside journalist and engineer from ThePudding.com, Matt Daniels; Techno musician Black Asteroid; Jazz innovators The Bad Plus; and touring machine Andy Frasco of Andy Frasco and the UN. Together, they explore the ever-expanding universe of Miles Davis. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, stream a legacy edition of Bitches Brew via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win the massive 43-CD The Genius of Miles Davis box set, which includes the four-disc The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions.
36 min 21 sec
Fifty years later, there's something about Bitches Brew that still feels strange, wild, and unfamiliar. There's a magic in Miles Davis' cauldron that binds the ingredients to create a potion that is somehow greater than the sum of its exceptional parts. There's an almost indefinable something that somehow elevates the album to new heights -- and that mystery ingredient is what makes the brew so special. Today, The Opus attempts to chase that "something" in the second part of its Bitches Brew season. Join host Andy Bothwell in Columbia's Studio B, where he presides over an equally talented crew that includes: musician and professor Mark Gould (Julliard/New York Trumpet Ensemble); bassist and composer Ben Williams (Kamasi Washington/Pat Metheny); Sound on Sound columnist and author of Miles Beyond: Electric Explorations of Miles Davis 1967-1991 Paul Tingen; Brainfeeder artist and Berklee School of music Faculty Daedelus; and composer and author of 33 1/3: Bitches Brew George Grella. Together they dive deep into Miles Davis' stellar supporting cast and band, discuss the role of producer Teo Macero, and chart how it all circles back to the man of the hour. So, once again, pull up a chair, make yourself another drink, and listen above. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, stream a legacy edition of Bitches Brew via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win the massive 43-CD The Genius of Miles Davis box set, which includes the four-disc The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions.
40 min 2 sec
Jazz can often be seen as a genre that challenges listeners, but one of the greatest jazz records of all time -- Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew -- was born out a need to challenge the genre, to push back on the establishment, and to break down old conventions and notions about what jazz could be. Davis saw the future of music coming fast, and it was in funk and rock. If he didn’t catch up, he and jazz would get left in the dust. What resulted from this future forward approach would not only change the genre, but launch Davis from the dark basements of jazz fame to the main stages of stardom. This season, The Opus has booked some time at Columbia's Studio B, where host Andy Bothwell has dialed things back to August 1969. His first night's guests include: Deantoni Parks (The Mars Volta/Technoself), Daedelus (Brainfeeder/Berklee College of Music), Loren Schoenberg (Julliard/National Museum Of Jazz), and writer George Grella. Together, they discuss the importance of challenging music like Bitches Brew and detail how this Grammy-winning album shook up the world of jazz and brought a legend into the mainstream. So, pull up a chair, make yourself a drink, and listen above. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, stream a legacy edition of Bitches Brew via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win the massive 43-CD The Genius of Miles Davis box set, which includes the four-disc The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions.
36 min 11 sec
The Opus has yet to leave the Bridge. Although Bridge Over Troubled Water was the swan song of Simon & Garfunkel, it was really only the beginning of their enduring legacy. Since then, countless musicians and artists alike have followed in their footsteps to myriad results. In this surprise, bonus episode of Season 7, host Andy Bothwell speaks to a trio of eclectic musicians who have all crossed the proverbial bridge. First up is David Draiman of Disturbed, who discusses the band's unlikely cover of "Sound Of Silence". Next is CJ Camerieri of Y Music/Bon Iver, who happened to perform "The Boxer" with Paul Simon on the night Muhammed Ali died. And finally Har Mar Superstar shares how his "cover" of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" got him banned for life from the Steele County Fair in Owatonna, Minnesota. In celebration of the album's 50th anniversary, stream a selection of Simon & Garfunkel's best tracks via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a vinyl bundle featuring the duo's entire collaborative discography.
23 min 6 sec
The Opus has reached the end of the Bridge. A lot is made of the fact that Bridge Over Troubled Water was Simon & Garfunkel’s final album. Even 50 years later, fans and historians see the album as the end of the era, when it's so much more than that. Bridge Over Troubled Water wasn’t the end of a road, but a mile marker on a very long highway, full of surprising and exciting twists and turns. It's a portrait not of conflict, but a crucible of honest creative confrontation. On the Season 7 finale of The Opus, host Andy Bothwell speaks to musicians Nick Thorburn (Islands/Unicorns) and Mattiel on the importance of creative conflict, in addition to CJ Camerieri (Y Music/Bon Iver) on what it's like to be in the studio with Paul Simon. He also speaks with writer Jordon Hoffman (The Guardian/Vanity Fair) and Jay Sweet (Newport Folk Fest) about the impact of Bridge Over Troubled Water at the time of its release, and the way it has shaped American culture ever since. In celebration of the album's 50th anniversary, stream a selection of Simon & Garfunkel's best tracks via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a vinyl bundle featuring the duo's entire collaborative discography.
30 min 58 sec
The Opus is halfway across the Bridge. What does Alex Jones, Beyoncé's Lemonade, and Simon and Garfunkel have in common? More than you think! In 1969, the two bards were asked to make a TV special to debut 1970's Bridge over Troubled Water. Rather than opting for the traditional approach -- think: Elvis Presley's 1968 comeback special -- they created a visual album. Ring a bell? Songs Of America, directed by Charles Grodin (yes, that Charles Grodin), was an experimental, non-linear, collage of live footage, behind-the-scenes shots, and proto-music videos set to news footage from the turbulent 60's. The result cost them their lead sponsor, pissed off a million Americans, and even lead to death threats if you can believe that. Host Andy Bothwell speaks to culture reporter Steve Marsh (GQ/Esquire/Pitchfork) on what caused this film to illicit such a strong reaction from America. He also connects with Bon Iver's design team and video directors Eric Carlson and Aaron Anderson, who weighin on the through-lines between their work and this 50-year-old TV special. In celebration of the album's 50th anniversary, stream a selection of Simon & Garfunkel's best tracks via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a vinyl bundle featuring the duo's entire collaborative discography.
31 min 45 sec
The Opus is crossing a bridge into its seventh season. All good things come to an end, and that is certainly the case for Simon and Garfunkel. With 1970's Bridge Over Troubled Water, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sewed a button to their timeless collaboration. At the time, though, the album wasn't exactly the ideal swan song for critics, who were mixed on the release, contending that the collection of songs didn't live up to its predecessor, 1968's Bookends. History prevailed, though. Bridge Over Troubled Water went on to win Album of the Year at the 1971 Grammys, taking home both Record and Song of the Year for its title track. What's more, the album went on to become one of the highest-selling albums of all time. Since then, tracks like "The Only Living Boy in New York", "Baby Driver", and "Cecilia" have all become permanent fixtures in pop culture. That was then and this is now. In the season seven premiere of The Opus, host Andy Bothwell traces the footsteps of the two bards, even visiting the locations where they recorded. In fact, you'll hear the very halls that helped raise their voices into the heavens. What's more, Bothwell will peel back the immaculate production of the album's most eclectic tracks. It's an aural journey of the senses. Fortunately, he's not the only living boy on this episode. Joining Bothwell is an assembly of guests that include Nicholas Thorburn of The Unicorns and Islands; recording engineer and Tape Op founder Larry Crane; and hip-hop musician and Anticon co-founder Yoni Wolf of Why?. Together, they chart the album's rampant influences and deduce that everyone's ripped off "Cecilia". So, get your plane right on time, and climb aboard. In celebration of the album's 50th anniversary, stream a selection of Simon & Garfunkel's best tracks via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a vinyl bundle featuring the duo's entire collaborative discography.
32 min 7 sec
The Opus has one more lesson about The Clash. The same curiosity that drove the English rockers to discover new genres of music also drove them to understand and empathize with the struggles going on far from their homes. That call for political action, of course, is all over London Calling -- right down to its title. Yet the reason why generation after generation continues to answer their call stems from the songwriting itself. These aren't just any ol' political anthems; they're catchy rock songs, the likes of which have crossed borders and cultures for decades. In the third and final episode of our London Calling series, host Andy Bothwell attempts to explain these cross-cultural transmissions. Once more, he's aided by a rotating panel of guests, specifically Spoon’s Britt Daniel, Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman, AJJ’s Sean Bonette and Ben Gallaty, Worriers’ Lauren Denitzio, Let Fury Have the Hour author Antonio D'Ambrosio, journalist Robert Evans, and filmmaker Joseph Patel. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of London Calling, revisit a selection of The Clash’s best tracks via all major streaming services, and enter to win a Fender Player Precision Bass just like the one Paul Simonon played.
32 min 14 sec
The Opus can't fail with The Clash. The diversity of influences on London Calling go way beyond reggae and dub. In fact, they go deeper than the music itself. This is an album that gets its hands dirty by digging right into the culture that wound up influencing the four English rockers. Is this cultural appropriation? If not, how did they manage to pull it off? And what can musicians today learn from their approach to making music? The Opus attempts to answer these questions as it continues to unpack the iconic double album. In the second episode of our London Calling series, host Andy Bothwell is joined by Spoon's Britt Daniel, Texas country legend Joe Ely, Houston rapper Fat Tony, South Florida Genreless musician Yeek, British LGBTQ activist and Big Joanie drummer Cardine Taylor-Stone, Head of Design for MOMA PS1 Vance Wallenstein, and filmmaker Joseph Patel. What are you waiting for? Join 'em aboard this train in vain above. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of London Calling, revisit a selection of The Clash’s best tracks via all major streaming services, and enter to win both the 40th anniversary London Calling Scrapbook and Super Bundle.
31 min 16 sec
The Opus is getting lost in the supermarket for its sixth season. The Clash were at a crossroads in 1979. The first wave of punk rock ended a year prior when the Sex Pistols called it quits, leaving the movement to explore new avenues, from New Wave to hardcore, and the band to wonder, What are we gonna do now? The answer was London Calling. As Margaret Thatcher continued to remake Britain by looking into the past, so did The Clash, and the English rockers opened up all the rock 'n' roll doors their fellow punk colleagues had slammed over the last decade. They brushed up on their history, they let their sound travel overseas, they started writing narratives. By doing so, they defied any kind of label for themselves, starting a rebellion in the process, and one that The Opus plans to follow. In the first episode of our London Calling series, host Andy Bothwell is joined by Lee "Scratch" Perry, Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace, L7’s Donita Sparks, writer Dan Reilly (Rolling Stone/Spin/Entertainment Weekly), and filmmaker Joseph Patel (Vice/MTV Docs). Together, they discuss how London Calling didn't need to be punk to prove how punk it was, how it didn't need to be a giant arena record to prove how much it rocked, and how it managed to introduce all kinds of culture with zero pretension. So, hop in their brand new Cadillac and listen now. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of London Calling, revisit a selection of The Clash’s best tracks via all major streaming services, and enter to win both the 40th anniversary London Calling Scrapbook and Super Bundle.
28 min 15 sec
Consequence of Sound and Sony are proud to present the sixth season of The Opus. Past seasons have explored the legacy of iconic albums by Bob Dylan (Blood on the Tracks), The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Electric Ladyland), Jeff Buckley (Grace), Willie Nelson (Red Headed Stranger), and Ozzy Osbourne (Blizzard of Ozz). This time, we're answering the cry of the only band that matters, The Clash, and their landmark release London Calling. Host Andy Bothwell, a.k.a. Astronautalis, will begin picking up the pieces of the Paul Simonon's bass when episode one arrives December 5th. The band was in uncertain territory leading into London Calling. After parting ways with their former manager and being forced to relocate to a new rehearsal space, lead songwriters Mick Jones and Joe Strummer were hit with a year-long bout of writer's block. Even on their previous record, they'd begun veering away from the punk they'd helped popularize towards more rock 'n roll sounds. By embracing styles as varied as ska, rockabilly, and pop, they were able to not only shake off their doldrums, but shake up punk rock at large. "London Calling, is perhaps, the greatest record, from one my favorite bands of all time," says Bothwell. "To say that I am excited about covering this one, would be an ABSURD understatement! This record didn’t just change how punk sounded, it totally redefined who was punk, what punk looked like, and blew my little American mind the first time I heard it in my brother’s room back in the 80’s!" The Opus: London Calling premieres December 5th, and you can subscribe now.
1 min 35 sec
The Opus is out of the Blizzard and on Capitol Hill. Long before he was a teddy bear on reality TV, Ozzy Osbourne was seen as a demon through the eyes of many Americans. In fact, throughout the '80s, the Prince of Darkness was the subject of two separate court cases involving his music. Both "Suicide Solution" and "Mr. Crowley" drew ire from parents and politicians, who were no doubt fueled by the fear and rage of America's rampant Satanic Panic. This brought Ozzy into the sights of Tipper Gore and her Parents Music Resource Center. Host Andy Bothwell concludes his journey through 1980's Blizzard of Ozz by heading to America's capital with a team of experts. Today, he's joined by legendary pop culture writer Chuck Klosterman and The Columbine Effect author Beth Winegarner. Together, they discuss how Ozzy's battles during this time shaped first amendment rights for artists forever, how the war against censorship continues with social media, and how science sides with the holistic qualities of heavy metal. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Ozzy Osbourne’s groundbreaking debut album, Blizzard of Oz. To celebrate, you can preview or stream music from Ozzy Osbourne here. Bonus: We’re also giving away his new career-spanning vinyl box set, See You on the Other Side.
31 min 7 sec
The Opus is in the thick of the Blizzard now. Tracing the influence of Ozzy Osbourne leads to some strange and wonderful places -- far beyond the confines of hard rock. From sports arenas to new hip-hop anthems, the Prince of Darkness has a reach that knows no limits. Host Andy Bothwell continues his journey through 1980's Blizzard of Ozz, but he's not alone. Today, he's joined by a motley crew that includes guitar god Zakk Wylde, musician Steve Brodsky (formerly of Converge), Portland Mercury writer Robert Ham, and, yes, Minor League Baseball executive Fillup Guiry. Together, they discuss how Blizzard of Ozz was a gateway drug into metal, how all great grunge musicians were 16 when it dropped, and how it wound up on the mixing boards for the likes of Post Malone, Trick Daddy, and Lil Jon. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Ozzy Osbourne’s groundbreaking debut album, Blizzard of Oz. To celebrate, you can preview or stream music from Ozzy Osbourne here. Bonus: We’re also giving away his new career-spanning vinyl box set, See You on the Other Side.
25 min 30 sec
Warning: The Opus is about to get loud. Ozzy Osbourne wasn't always The Prince of Darkness. It was a long and twisted journey in the lead-up to his 1980 solo debut, Blizzard of Ozz, one that found the legendary singer banished, wrecked, and lost without any sense of purpose. He was a broken man. Yet he was hardly abandoned. After being pulled back to life by his future life partner Sharon Arden, Osbourne found himself amidst an unlikely redemption story in his post-Black Sabbath life. That story is where this season of The Opus begins. In the first episode of our Blizzard of Ozz series, host Andy Bothwell is joined by legendary guitarist Zakk Wylde, who's performed alongside Osbourne since 1987, in addition to heavy metal writer Joseph Schafer, who has served as curator for NW Terrorfest. Together, they chart how Osbourne went from toiling away in Los Angeles' Le Park Suite Hotel to finding the classical complexity of Randy Rhoads' guitar work to ultimately creating the blueprint for the future of heavy metal. Again, things are gonna get loud. So, put on those headphones, throw up the horns, and listen below. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Ozzy Osbourne’s groundbreaking debut album, Blizzard of Oz. To celebrate, you can preview or stream music from Ozzy Osbourne here. Bonus: We’re also giving away his new career-spanning vinyl box set, See You on the Other Side.
25 min 21 sec
The Opus is back for a fifth season from Consequence of Sound and Sony. After exploring the legacies of classic records from Bob Dylan (Blood on the Tracks), The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Electric Ladyland), Jeff Buckley (Grace), and Willie Nelson (Red Headed Stranger), we’re bundling up to enter the storm that is Ozzy Osbourne’s debut solo record, Blizzard of Ozz. Host Andy Bothwell, a.k.a. Astronautalis, will begin to traverse the frozen tundra of metal when episode one drops on October 24th. After being fired from Black Sabbath in 1979, Osbourne feared his career was over. However, with the help of his future wife, Sharon Arden, and the work of guitarist Randy Rhoads, he saw a second chance to become a heavy metal icon. Blizzard of Ozz blew in like a cold wind of change that would shift not just Osbourne’s life, but the genre as a whole, thanks to hit singles “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley”. Over three episodes, a number of musicians, artists, authors, and metal heads will delve into how the record changed Ozzy’s world and continues to impact music today. Bothwell returns to host the series to guide us through the Blizzard. “I didn’t grow up on Ozzy, I knew the hits, but I had never gone any deeper than that on Blizzard Of Ozz,” Bothwell admits. “But, after researching for this next season of The Opus, I have become a TOTAL fan! I finally understand why metal heads worship this record, and I fully accept and acknowledge Ozzy Osbourne as the Godfather of Metal, and the one true Prince of Darkness!” The Opus: Blizzard of Ozz premieres October 24th, and you can subscribe now. To prepare for the new season, stream a selection of Ozzy Osbourne’s top tracks via all major streaming services.
1 min 36 sec
The Opus is moseying on outta Texas. Wild horses, weed at the White House, the war in Iraq, and the weird web that ties the world of Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger together. The record that gave Willie his stardom has continued to shape and change the world long after its release. At a time when the world seems to be pulling itself apart, Willie Nelson continues to be a tie that binds—even the most disparate elements. In the Season 4 finale of The Opus, we take a walk in Willie’s boots, and bask in the glorious world he has created since Red Headed Stranger. Host Andy Bothwell, joined by Nathanial Rateliff of Nathanial Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Jack Torrey of The Cactus Blossoms, Carla Bozulich of The Geraldine Fibbers, and Dan Solomon of Texas Monthly Magazine, takes you inside Willie’s world, and shows you just how singular it is. Next year marks the 45th anniversary of Willie Nelson’s breakthrough country outlaw album, Red Headed Stranger. To celebrate, you can preview or stream music from Willie Nelson here. Bonus: We’re giving away a 14-LP Willie Nelson vinyl prize pack!
26 min 1 sec
The Opus is still in Texas. What does Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger have in common with Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot? How does that commonality change the course of music history ever? And just how close did Willie Nelson come to slipping into total obscurity. Red Headed Stranger launched an improbable career, created a genre, and changed the world forever. In this installment of The Opus, we get a first-hand look at the massive, culture-shifting changes that came from one pivot, one moment, one record, one man’s faith in his own work. Host Andy Bothwell, along with legendary Texas historian Joe Nick Patoski, takes you through the most pivotal time in Willie Nelson’s life, and just how close we came to never knowing Willie at all. Next year marks the 45th anniversary of Willie Nelson’s breakthrough country outlaw album, Red Headed Stranger. To celebrate, you can preview or stream music from Willie Nelson here. Bonus: We’re giving away a 14-LP Willie Nelson vinyl prize pack!
23 min 59 sec