Longtime contributing editor Andrew “Monk” Mason interviews Blondie cofounders Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, and chronicles the band’s rise from New York’s DIY art-rock downtown scene to worldwide airwaves with the disco hits “Heart of Glass” and the Giorgio Moroder–produced “Call Me.” But perhaps their real legacy is tied to the then burgeoning hip-hop movement; after meeting “Fab 5” Freddy, Blondie would record “Rapture”—the first pop song to incorporate a rap—and help bring the nascent artform to a larger global audience.
SZA feels like she’s an anomaly in the music game, an outcast. But she’s not trying to be anyone but herself. As she creates her highly anticipated sophomore album, SZA is finding her voice and learning to actualize her own vision.
While he’s known as a ’60s counterculture icon for his raunchy yet brilliant comics, illustrator Robert Crumb’s heart lies in the ’20s and ’30s. His love of old 78s and the songs of the original blues men, rural string bands, and obscure jazz musicians makes Crumb one of the leading experts on early American music. During the golden era of hip-hop, Onyx, a group of bald-headed, angry youth from Queens, attacked the music industry like a pack of vicious pit bulls with the hip-hop anthem “Slam,” inspired by the slam-dancing video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
During the first series of solo Wu-Tang Clan releases, Raekwon the Chef, with the help of his childhood pal and Wu cohort Ghostface Killah, created 1995’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, an album rife with crime narratives taken from real-life experiences growing up in Staten Island as well as gangster films like Scarface and The Killer.