What Are You Listening To?

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What Are You Listening To?

Three New Yorkers take off their headphones and chat.

Danehsia, 20

What were you listening to when I came up to you, Danehsia?
"So Fresh, So Clean" by Outkast.

Listen: Outkast – "So Fresh, So Clean"


Are you a Big Boi or Andre 3000 kind of girl?
Andre. I didn't hear Big Boi's new CD, but I want to.

Have you heard the rumors that Andre 3000 has a solo album in the works?
[enthusiastically] Yes! And on the low, I think it'll probably crush Big Boi's.

On a scale from one to ten, how excited are you for it?
I wouldn't bootleg it, so that's like an eight [laughs].

What do you like particularly about his music?
I like that it's a mash-up of different kinds of artists, and that he finds inspiration in everything. I mean, every artist finds inspiration in the artists they grew up listening to, pieces of their favorites that they take from and put together to create their own thing. But I think because he's so far out there, it becomes something fresh. He's a lot like my favorite artist, Q-Tip. I would marry Q-Tip [laughs].

Are you excited for the A Tribe Called Quest documentary?
I already saw it! I intern for Hot 97, so we got advance tickets. I was looking for Q-Tip so hard at the screening! The movie is surprising, actually. I didn't know Phife Dawg and Q-Tip were actually beefing, but I think it was over some petty stuff — a he-said-she-said kind of mess. They have one more album that they want to do, and it's been rumored that they'll be working with Kanye West. So I'm excited about that.

What are some albums that have come out in the last year that you've really liked?
Everyone is going to say Beyonce, but I really don't care for Beyonce. It's weird. I listened to her new album, 4, and I was just like, "Eh…" It's regular Beyonce. Nothing new to me. Frank Ocean's new stuff is great. I know what's out is not his "official" album, but that's my summer jam. I just like how it's so different. Yeah, he uses Auto-tune, which sometimes people get on R&B artists for using because it's "cheating." But the stories he creates in such a short space of time are amazing. He can make you feel like you're there with him. That's the main album I'd say I've been truly smashing every day of my internship.

Whose album are you excited for that hasn't come out yet?
Kanye West and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne. It's going to be ridiculous. Two lyricists who are well known in the hip-hop game who are coming together to do their thing. It kind of reminds me of back in the early '90s when Native Tongues came out, which had members from De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Jungle Brothers. When they all came together to do those songs it was hot, and you couldn't say no to it because you had at least one favorite member in there. I think it will at least be a better combination than Jay-Z and R. Kelly. [laughs]

Listen: Kanye West and Jay-Z – "H.A.M."


What's a Kanye collaboration you'd love to see?
You never know what he's going to do. I wouldn't be surprised if his next project was with some opera singer. I'm trying to think of a nice, peanut-butter-and-jelly kind of answer for this question… I'd like to see Kanye and Adele. I would listen to that. I'd be crying.

Jose, 27

What are you listening to?
A Tribe Called Quest. 

Listen: A Tribe Called Quest – "Find a Way"


You usually lean towards rap?
To be honest, right now, I mainly listen to the '90s. House music, dance, trance. I like inner-city house, like Black Box and Masters at Work. And I listen to a lot of Martha Wash.

What do you like in, say, '90s grunge?
I listen to Nirvana; I like early Foo Fighters — again, anything that has to do with the '90s. It's just that music fuckin' sucks right now.

There's nobody current you're listening to right now?
As of right now, no.

Not even some of the more "retro" bands? The Strokes or what have you?

How about some of the rock from the late '90s, early 2000s, like the White Stripes?
Here and there. I'm not typically too into that. I like Korn, though. I'm from Cali, so…

Listen: Korn – "Freak on a Leash"


What's your guilty pleasure on your iPod right now?
I listen to a lot of Moby Dick. Also a lot of ambient, a lot of more chill stuff.

What's your go-to seduction music?
For knockin' boots? [laughs] I'll go with R. Kelly.

We're sticking to the '90s theme. Early R. Kelly or later R. Kelly? "Ignition" or "Bump n'Grind?"
Early, definitely early. Way before "Ignition."

Joyce, 20

What are you listening to, Joyce?
I just started listening to the first track on the new Beastie Boys CD, "Make Some Noise."

Listen: Beastie Boys – "Make Some Noise"


Have you been a Beastie Boys fan for a long time?
Hell yeah! Since middle school. "The Sounds of Science" and "Intergalactic" are personal favorites of mine.

What did you think of the short film that accompanied the album release?
I think it was funny and a little over the top. The peeing got a little out of control. Who were the actors who made up the "old" Beastie Boys in the film?

Jack Black, Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly.
I'm pretty sure Will Ferrell played Ad-Rock. He was the most convincing Beastie Boy of the group, I thought.

Five years from now, what will be the song that brings you back to this summer?
This is embarrassing, but recently I went on a road trip with my friend, and she was blasting Rihanna's "Rude Boy" over and over again. Fifteen times was the longest stretch, I think. It was really cruel, if you ask me, but now I can pull that song out of a hat at some karaoke place and totally rock it on stage. I know all the words.

Who's an artist that you consider a guilty pleasure?
Die Antwoord, for sure. I can't get enough! [laughs] I don't even know how you'd describe their genre… "Terror Pop?" It's really fun to play at parties. It freaks people out sometimes, but other times they get into it.

If you were to start a band, what kind of band would it be?
Well, actually, I already have a semi-fake girl band called Fatt Girlz with two friends. The beats are created mainly on GarageBand — some apocalyptic Serbian house music kind of stuff. We had only one live show where we all wore matching black leotards in my friend's basement. One of us ended up running away and the other threw an empty jug of Carlo Rossi at the basement wall. Everyone was pretty crazy, and I'm pretty sure the crowd loved us.

What was your role in the band?
I'm the beat master, known as Dr. J, or Wheezy-Diva, because I'm asthmatic.

What is an album that came out this year that you were really excited about?
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, for sure. They're a really new band. I met them when they opened up for Smith Westerns, and they honestly stole the show. They have this kind of '60s pop vibe that is really catchy, but the band itself is really eclectic. The singer is from New Zealand, and there's this punk skater dude on the drums. And there's this guy who looks like an English butler on the bass. Tall and ghoulish.

Listen: Unknown Mortal Orchestra – "How Can U Love Me"


Other than Rihanna, who's your go-to artist for karaoke?
I'm awful at singing, so its always Salt-N-Pepa or Beastie Boys.