Jay-Z #BSides w/ International Mo (Side B)

January 21, 2017
This is Side B of our Jay-Z #BSides episode. Claude and Mo continue their analysis of key Jay B-Sides, discussing the irreconcilable moral conflicts at the center of Jay's music and Jay's uncanny ability to play the introspective drug dealer.
Claude argues that "Moment of Clarity" is the interpretive key for Jay's career and a moment of meta-revelation (whaaat?). Mo makes his pick for Jay's definitive swan song and Claude reveals the Jay song that most makes him reflect on the concept of grace while reminding us of the complexity of our favorite artists.
Songs discussed:
  • Allure
  • Dopeman
  • A week ago
  • Where I'm from
  • Beach is better
  • Moment of clarity
  • What we do
  • You must love me
  • Murder to excellence

Jay-Z #BSides w/ International Mo (Side A)

January 21, 2017

This is our first #BSides episode where we list and analyze our top B-Side records--the best albums cuts and slept on songs from a critical mainstream artist. Joining Claude is International Mo, a certified Jay-Z expert.

Claude and Mo discuss how these B-Sides flesh out the moral and aspirational complexity of Jay-Z, how Jay's music has inspired them personally, and much more.

This is Side A of a two part episode, so check out Side B for the full conversation. As always, please rate, review, and share!

Songs discussed:

  • The Dynasty Intro
  • This Can't Be Life
  • Feelin' It
  • Politics As Usual
  • Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)
  • Ballad For A Fallen Soldier

Top Albums of 2016 w/ Terrance Moore

January 16, 2017

Claude teams up with Terrance Moore to talk about their favorite albums of 2016, Terrance's time at Harvard's Hip Hop Archive, and who handles cold weather better: DC or Boston. Join the conversation on twitter with #brlpodcast. Be sure to rate, review, and subscribe!

Albums discussed:

Jamila Woods - Heavn

Sho Baraka - The Narrative

Eshon Burgundy - The Passover

Solange - A Seat At The Table


Music by 88 Beats Production.



Poetry for the People w/ Jenelle Hayward

January 9, 2017

Jenelle Hayward -- writer, poet, and all around awesome person -- comes through to break down poetry and Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric. Poetry heads and poetry skeptics will come away with lots to chew on here.

We discuss the difference between poetry and prose, what we miss if we don't read poetry, and reading tips on how to read a poem.

Then, we jump into the masterpiece that is Citizen. Enjoy and share!

Some books we mention:

Home/Birth: A Poemic - Arielle Greenberg & Rachel Zucker

Jubilee - Roxanne Beth Johnson

One Big Self - C.D. Wright

Counting Descent - Clint Smith


Top Books of 2016 w/ Joe Volk

January 7, 2017

Claude joins forces with former grad school pal and current English teacher, Joe Volk, as they share their top reads of 2016 and bring up a bunch of other books during their stimulating, nerdy convo. Enjoy!

Some of the books mentioned:

  • The Throwback Special - Chris Bachelder
  • Year of the Dunk - Asher Price
  • Rise and Fire - Shawn Price
  • Darktown - Thomas Mullen
  • 1Q84 - Haruki Murakami
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
  • Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead
  • John Henry Days - Colson Whitehead
  • The Vegetarian - Han Kang
  • You Are What You Love - James K.A Smith
  • Time Travel - James Gleick
  • Desiring the Kingdom - James K.A. Smith
  • Underground Airlines - Ben Winters
  • The Cross and the Lynching Tree - James Cone
  • Smilla's Sense of Snow - Peter Hoeg
  • The Cross of Christ - John Stott
  • Devil in a Blue Dress - Walter Mosley
  • The Man in the Basement - Walter Mosley 
  • The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained series)
  • After Crucifixion - Craig Keen

Rap’s White Jackie Robinson (Side B w/ Cole Brown)

January 7, 2017

Cole Brown shares his music industry stories about Jay-Z, Pharrell, and Teddy Riley as well as his deep hatred for the library.

Cole talks about roller skating with Jay-Z and Sauce Money, recording "The City is Mine" for Jay's Vol. 1, if Pharrell was weird back in the day or just now, and which famous rapper always beat him at Goldeneye.

We also get into some Ma$e stories and Cole argues that Biggie is the most overrated rapper ever. Lots of laughs and stories on this one, y'all. Rate and review to help the podcast and share on social media. #brlpodcast

Classic songs referenced:


The Cole Brown Effect

January 6, 2017

Author, pastor, former A&R, and all around renaissance man, Cole Brown comes through for a convo on his new book, Daddy Issues.

Be sure to check out Side B of our conversation with Cole where we jump into his music industry stories with Jay-Z, Pharrell, and Teddy Riley as well as his deep hatred for the library.


The Warm Up

January 3, 2017

We are officially in the building, folks! Claude gives a quick overview on the first run of BRL episodes and guests. Lots of literature and music talk coming your way. Enjoy.

Stay in the loop at booksrhymeslife.com and facebook.com/booksrhymeslife

And be sure to SUBSCRIBE to BRL via your favorite podcast app!

Music production by Yongo Music.