Last December, Peter Agoston invited me to participate in his podcast The House List. I’ve known Agoston for over two decades, dating back to when we both contributed to URB magazine. He currently manages Dam-Funk, occasionally issues music on his Female Fun Records imprint, and is working on a new project with Kendra Morris.
During our hour-long talk, we touched on a lot of topics. If you weren’t immediately familiar with them – or if you had trouble understanding me due to my halting, sandpapery voice – then you might have not understood what we were talking about. So I decided to compile a cheat sheet that compiles most of the primary subjects we discussed.
As for my self-published 2015 book, Notes on Post-Millennial Rap? Unfortunately, it is out of print. You had to be there, I guess.
Four years ago, I launched this site as a music critic’s homage to Pauline Kael’s 5001 Nights at the Movies. I uploaded hundreds of reviews from my nearly two-decade career as a music writer, with ambitious plans to add many more, and turn this site into a repository of capsule reviews on rap albums.
Unfortunately, not much came of this. First, I ended up taking down a lot of those old reviews because, well, they looked old and kinda stale. As much as I sometimes I delude myself, I have to admit that my prose is not quite as sterling and timeless as the late Ms. Kael’s. As a working freelancer, I didn’t have the kind of time to devote to this site that I once had with my last web project, Plug One. However, I kept the links section updated, and I got a spiffy banner courtesy of my friend Cindy Astorga.
So why take a second swing at Critical Minded (whose title I unconsciously lifted from an academic book, by the way)?
For the moment, I continue to cover hip-hop and R&B for Rhapsody…uh, I mean Napster. However, I no longer write the kind of blog posts that served as diary entries for trends and happenings within those genres. Much of my work from the past six years is no longer available online, or is difficult to find without employing canny Google search terms. I’ve come to realize that delving into the latest happenings on a regular basis helps focus my thoughts. Without it, I struggle to come up with ideas for what will (hopefully) lead to paid work.
I can’t promise that I will start posting two items a week here as I once did for Napster (and may very well do again there — who knows). At the very least, though, I plan to shift Critical Minded’s course into a chronicle of rap and R&B in the 2010s, as well as flashbacks to key artists and scenes from back in the day. As I kick off this new attempt to create a writer blog, I hope you will find something to enjoy in the results.
October 8, 2016
Hi, welcome to my homey little site. If you have followed my personal online projects in the past, then welcome back. This is the sixth or seventh blog/site I’ve launched; I can’t remember them all. The only one worth mentioning is Plug One, a site I managed between 2006 and 2011, and which remains archived online.
Over the next few months and beyond, I will add reviews from my 15-plus career as a music journalist. I also hope to write some new ones specifically for this site as time permits, but more likely I will add freelance reviews that I think are good enough for posterity. Unlike past projects, I won’t be using any pseudonyms. It’s just me and my words. My current inspiration for Critical Minded is Pauline Kael’s 5001 Nights at the Movies, and the way it serves as a virtual history of her movie-going life. I hope to use this as a repository for my years of listening to and reviewing hip-hop music “and other errata.” However, experience has taught me that goals often change over time.
February 20, 2012