Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee's First Hip-Hop Song

A music-driven, investigative, episodic podcast from Radio Milwaukee

Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee's First Hip-Hop Song Teaser (2019-07-15) by Lucas Seidel88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Hip-Hop Artist JDL of the group JDL & DMT (2019-07-15) by Sarah McClanahan88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Podcast Overview

In the late 1970s, music was fundamentally changing. Nationally, black artists were experimenting with new sounds and techniques, creating a unique form of musical expression. As disco morphed into something else entirely, a musical and cultural phenomenon was underway, leading to what we now call hip-hop. And it was more than music. It was a movement — both musically and culturally — that spread to cities across the U.S., including Milwaukee.

Andy Noble (2019-07-15) by Sarah McClanahan88Nine Radio Milwaukee

So, who exactly recorded Milwaukee’s first hip-hop song? How did Milwaukee create a hip-hop scene? In 88Nine’s new long-form podcast series, hip-hop expert and DJ Tyrone Miller (DJ Bizzon) teams up with 88Nine’s Music Director Justin Barney on a quest to definitively answer those questions.In the six-part podcast, Tyrone and Justin speak with an array of guests who were deeply embedded in Milwaukee’s emerging scene. 

Darrell D (2019-07-15) by Sarah McClanahan88Nine Radio Milwaukee

The People

Hosts Tyrone Miller and Justin Barney talked with a slew of Milwaukee artists pivotal in creating Milwaukee's First Hip-Hop song. Here's who we met.

The Majestics (2019-07-15) by Sarah McClanahan88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Episode excerpt: The Majestics
00:00

A businessman with a business plan finds a group of energetic local kids who model themselves on James Brown and convinces them to record what might be Milwaukee’s first hip-hop song.

Speech (2019-07-19) by Sarah McClanahan88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Episode excerpt: Speech (audio "beeped" for FM broadcast)
00:00

A globally known musician, Todd "Peachy" Thomas founded the group Arrested Development. He got his start in Milwaukee, where he formed his first group A-Tack.

Sarah Noble (2019-07-15) by Sarah McClanahan88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Episode excerpt: Sarah Noble and Rob Smith
00:00

Robert Smith (2019-07-15) by Sarah McClanahan88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Episode excerpt: Economics in 1980s Milwaukee
00:00

Radio DJ Pierre "Rocky" Hall (2019-07-15) by Sarah McClanahan88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Episode excerpt: Milwaukee radio in the early 1980s
00:00

3rd & Center St. in Milwaukee by Milwaukee Public Library88Nine Radio Milwaukee

The Research

Explore visuals from the era with items from Milwaukee Public Library.

The Baron by Milwaukee Public Library88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Audie Dotson by Milwaukee Public Library88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Original poster from Teddy's night club by Milwaukee Public Library88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Marvell Love by Milwaukee Public Library88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Milwaukee newspaper article on Marvell Love by Milwaukee Public Library88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Arlis R. Jones by Milwaukee Public Library88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Audie's Record Store by Milwaukee Public Library88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Backspin: The Bonus Episode Panel Discussion (2019-08-21) by Radio Milwaukee88Nine Radio Milwaukee

The Live Episode

During Hip-Hop Week Milwaukee in August 2019, Radio Milwaukee hosted a live event featuring key subjects from the podcast. 

Backspin: The Bonus Episode Performance (2019-08-21) by Radio Milwaukee88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Backspin: The Bonus Episode Panel Discussion (2019-08-21) by Radio Milwaukee88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Majestics - Class A Record by Radio Milwaukee88Nine Radio Milwaukee

The Music

Listen to highlights from the podcast, including 'Class A' by The Majestics (1981/1982) and both versions of 'A-Tack On The Wax' by A-Tack. (1985/1986).

The Majestics - Class A (1982) by The Majestics88Nine Radio Milwaukee

A-Tack - A-Tack On The Wax II (1986) by A-Tack88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Credits: Story

Backspin: The Search For Milwaukee's First Hip-Hop song was produced by Radio Milwaukee.

Listen to the complete series at RadioMilwaukee.org/Backspin.

Also available on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spreaker and many other podcast platforms.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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