Oliver Wang

Oliver Wang is a music writer, scholar, and DJ based in California. Since 1994, he's written on popular music, culture, race, and America for outlets such as NPR, Vibe, Wax Poetics, Scratch, The Village Voice, SF Bay Guardian, and LA Weekly.

Wang begins work as an assistant professor in sociology at Long Beach State this fall; He also hosts the renowned audioblog soul-sides.com. For more information, visit o-dub.com.

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The Record
3:06 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Unheard Bounty On Mobb Deep's First Album In Eight Years

Mobb Deep.
Courtesy of We Get Press

Under most circumstances, the release of a new Mobb Deep album would be notable in and of itself. This veteran rap duo from Queens had a short-lived but very public falling out in 2012, casting any future collaborations into question; as it is, their new The Infamous Mobb Deep is the group's first joint project in eight years which, in rap years, might as well be eighteen years.

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The Record
12:02 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Gimme The Beat (Box): The Journey Of The Drum Machine

The Oberheim DMX rose to popularity in the mid-1980s, one of the first commercial drum machines that came close to mimicking real drum sounds.
Courtesy of Get On Down Publishing

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 5:06 pm

About 10 years ago, a disgruntled pianist in Los Angeles named John Wood began a popular bumper sticker campaign with the slogan, "Drum Machines Have No Soul." Not everyone was convinced, including producer Eric Sadler.

"Drum machines don't run themselves," Sadler says. "It's the people who put into the drum machines that give the drum machines soul, to me. I've definitely given some drum machines some soul."

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The Record
12:03 am
Mon December 30, 2013

20 Years Ago, De La Soul Refused To Go Pop

David Jude Jolicoeur aka Trugoy (from left), Vincent Mason aka P.A. Mase and Kelvin Mercer aka Posdnuos pose for a portrait outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem in September 1993.
David Corio Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 12:55 pm

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Music Reviews
4:43 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

The Poets Of Rhythm: A Troop Of German James Browns

The Poets of Rhythm were a group of young retro-soul musicians from Germany. An anthology of their work was recently released.
Julian Rosefeldt Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat October 19, 2013 10:33 pm

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Music Reviews
1:25 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Kanye's 'Yeezus' Packs A Bite

Kanye West at his album listening party at Milk Studios last week in New York City.
Shareif Ziyadat FilmMagic

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 6:18 pm

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Music Reviews
5:12 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Shuggie Otis: 40 Years Later, Still An 'Inspiration'

Shuggie Otis' Inspiration Information was first released nearly 40 years ago.
B+ Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 11:25 am

This isn't the first time Shuggie Otis' masterpiece, Inspiration Information, has been reissued — but that's OK. It's an album that absolutely deserves to be rediscovered every decade or so.

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Music Interviews
3:09 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Laura Mvula's Velvet 'Moon' Is A Revelation

Laura Mvula's debut is ambitiously confident, as if she and her band had perfected their sound years ago.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 9:33 am

The very first notes on Laura Mvula's new album feel like a powerful invocation. You're not sure for what, but the moment is awesome — with an emphasis on awe.

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Music Reviews
4:14 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

On Two New R&B Albums, An Old Soul Sound That Glows

Charles Bradley was signed by Daptone Records partly because of a James Brown act he used to perform. His new album is Victim of Love.
Darren Bastecky Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 5:55 pm

It's tempting to describe the voices of Charles Bradley and

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The Record
12:59 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

20 Years Ago Biz Markie Got The Last Laugh

Biz Markie in costume in the gatefold of the LP version of All Samples Cleared!
Courtesy of Cold Chillin' Records/Warner Bros.

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 8:56 pm

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Music Reviews
6:00 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Lady: Two Soul Stalwarts Find A New Groove Together

R&B singers Nicole Wray and Terri Walker have teamed up as the duo Lady.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 8:59 am

R&B singers Nicole Wray and Terri Walker both had promising starts to their careers more than ten years ago. Wray came up on the Virginia coast under the wing of mentor Missy Elliott. Walker, a Londoner, was classically trained yet released her debut on a Def Jam subsidiary. Both enjoyed early critical success but by decade's end struggled to find a wide audience. Instead, they found each other.

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