The Art of Rap w/ Cole Mize

August 27, 2017

Rapper, producer, and engineer, Cole Mize comes through to talk about the art of rap. Cole breaks it all down...from what makes a verse dope to the nebulous concept of flow and cadence to the literary power of rap. Cole even blesses us a little demonstration of a slept-on rap technique. Whether you're a hip-hop head or a casual fan, expect to learn a ton about the art of rap from one of the leading educational figures in the rap community. Cole and Claude also discuss some of their favorite rappers -- DMX, Lupe Fiasco, Eminem, Field Mob -- and the techniques that make them unique before diving into Cole's work as a rap coach.

Cole's 5 step blueprint for writing catchy songs:
Where people can join Cole's mailing list:
Where people can book a coaching session with Cole:
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Intro/Outro Music by 88 Keys

Kaleb Mitchell Interview

August 9, 2017

Kaleb Mitchell comes through to talk about his recent mixtape, So Help Me God, which debuted at #7 on iTunes' Rap/Hip-Hop charts. Kaleb shares about the success of the mixtape, opens up about his musical inspirations and shares some of writing process for the standout track, "Halfway There," which we play a snippet of. If you haven't checked out his work, consider this a formal introduction to one of hip-hop's best new young artists. Here's a link to the freestyle Kaleb dropped today. Stay in the loop with him on Twitter at @kalebmitchell.

Enjoy and be sure to RATE and REVIEW the show if you're digging what you hear!


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World Lit: African Literature w/ Joe Volk

August 2, 2017

Claude and Joe dig into world literature by listing and discussing their favorite works of African literature. Joe breaks down two metaphors that highlight the benefits of reading world literature and shares three important tips to consider when reading books from different countries or cultures. And, Claude makes a big promise for the show once we hit 15 iTunes reviews. TONS of book recommendations on this episode (see full episode description)! Enjoy and be sure to RATE and REVIEW the show if you're digging what you hear!


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Things Fall Apart - Chinua Abeche

Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

The Joys of Motherhood - Buchi Emecheta

The River Between - Ngugi Wa Thiong'o

Aya - Maguerite Abouchet

Teju Cole - Open City

Patrice Nganang - Dog Days

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie- Americanah

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Half of a Yellow Sun

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - The Danger of a Single Story (Ted Talk)



Favorite 2Pac Songs w/ International Mo (Side B)

June 28, 2017

Claude and Mo continue with the final five songs from their 2Pac lists before sharing their feelings and reservations about Jay-Z's new album releasing on Friday.

Claude ends his 2Pac list with some unorthodox picks that delve into Pac's view of God while Mo caps his off with a iconic song from Pac's Death Row era. Use the hashtag #brlpodcast to let us know what 2Pac songs are in your top 5.


Justin Charity - Hip Hop Will Never Move on From Tupac (

Pitchfork Media - The Flawed Ways We Remember Tupac (

Code Switch - Realizing Tupac Wasn't Cool, 20 Years Later (


Favorite 2Pac Songs w/ International Mo (Side A)

June 28, 2017

International Mo comes through to reflect on the complex legacy of Tupac Shakur. Claude and Mo share their ten favorite Pac songs and discuss the complicated and conflicting driving themes of his music: fatalism, the fear of death, faith, social activism, and, of course, thug life. Often imitated but never duplicated, Tupac remains one of the greatest musical and cultural icons of our generation. Be sure to peep Side B of our convo.


Justin Charity - Hip Hop Will Never Move on From Tupac (

Pitchfork Media - The Flawed Ways We Remember Tupac (

Code Switch - Realizing Tupac Wasn't Cool, 20 Years Later (


#HipHopEd, Teaching, & Kendrick Lamar w/ Brian Mooney

April 27, 2017

Educator, author, and scholar, Brian Mooney comes through to discuss #HipHopEd in the areas of literacy & mental health and what it was like when Kendrick Lamar reached out to visit Brian's classroom and the media frenzy that ensued.


We also discuss comprehensive vs. surface-level uses of hip-hop in education, the Nas song Brian uses in the classroom to teach personification, the innovative uses of #HipHopEd in STEM, why Jay-Z has more in common with The Great Gatsby than we think, and Brian's top 3 novels and favorite hip-hop album.

Brian's Students' Work on Kendrick & Morrison:

NPR Coverage: 

Jay Z or Great Gatsby Quiz:

Music Produced by SAVAGE


Talking Education & Jay-Z Stories w/ Professor Lyrical

March 26, 2017

Professor Lyrical, college prof and rapper, joins Claude to talk education, stigmas about math, and some rare Jay-Z & Chuck D stories. Lyrical shares about his approach in the classroom, on the mic, and what it was like traveling to New York from Boston on the weekends to work with then unknown artists like Jay-Z and Ski Beats. Don't miss this one.

Music Production by Yondo Beats.


Reading While Black Book Club w/ Shakkira Jones & Jason Barnes

February 22, 2017

The Reading While Black Book Club has Twitter buzzing and Claude joins up with the co-creators, Shakkira Jones and Jason Barnes, for a wide-ranging convo on how the club started, how literature can combat racism, the construction of whiteness, and the book club's first read, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson's Tears We Cannot Stop. Plus other tangents as always. Don't miss this one.

Stay in the loop with Reading While Black on Twitter (@readingwhileblk) and Facebook.


Paul Beatty’s The Sellout w/ Kelly Helms

February 5, 2017

What would happen if peak Dave Chappelle had incredible literary powers and wrote a book...about a black man reinstating slavery and segeration in modern day America? You'd end up with something like Paul Beatty's The Sellout, winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize.

Claude teams up with Kelly Helms, former English instructor and Paul Beatty superfan, to talk about the startling, hilarious, and uncomfortable work that is The Sellout.

Kelly shares about the time Paul Beatty called him out, why one of his black students always skipped class for discussion days on Beatty's work, and what we took away from this jarring and powerful read.

Be sure to share this episode and rate and review us if you're digging our work.

Music production by Don-P.


Boys Among Men w/ Bradford William Davis

January 29, 2017

Bradford William Davis, co-creator of Foul and Fair, joins Claude to talk about Jonathan Abrams' Boys Among Men on the prep to pro NBA generation. Claude and Bradford make fun of Lebron's passive-aggressiveness and reveal who they'd want to mentor them if they were newly rich 18-year olds entering the NBA. They spend the last 15 minutes of the episode talking about their favorite movies of 2016, the most overrated shows of 2016, and why Luke Cage comes across so corny. And Bradford's son may or may not drop some background vocals.  As always enjoy, review, and share.

Be sure to check out Foul and Fair and subscribe to BRL if you haven't already.