Hit Parade

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The Bridge: Beats, Rhymes and Life

Chris Molanphy and Oliver Wang discuss the evolution of singing in rap.

Episode Notes

In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Oliver Wang, professor of sociology at California State University, Long Beach, music writer and co-host of the music podcast Heat Rocks. Chris and Oliver chat about the latest episode of Hit Parade, which dives deep into the origins of rap music to identify when rappers started singing. Oliver dissects the gendered boundaries that used to define rap and R&B, and the two discuss the myriad pivot points that caused these boundaries to fall.

Next, Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, gives her a chance to turn the tables with a stumper question of her own, and previews next month’s full-length episode. Slate Plus members can sign up for a chance to be our trivia contestant on a future episode here.

Podcast production by Asha Saluja.

About the Show

Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia, and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts, and shaped your memories forever.

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  • Chris Molanphy is a feature writer and critic who writes widely about music and the pop charts.