CHECK THE TECHNIQUE: Hip Hop as Methodology

Inspired by the publication of Check the Technique V.2,  journalist Brian Coleman‘s second volume of “Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies,” this discussion looks at hip hop production practices and the hip hop creative process as both musical and social techniques. What is the history behind the making of some of hip hop’s greatest albums and songs? How are tracks made? How can the process of assembling a track be applied to larger social and cultural practices? Moderated by PMP Director Josh Kun.

BRIAN COLEMAN: Journalist & author of Check The Technique Vols 1 & 2, And Rakim Told Me: Wax Facts Straight From The Original Artists
BRIAN ‘B+’ CROSS: Photographer, filmmaker, UCSD professor & author of The 1993 Classic, It’s Not About A Salary, It’s About A Reality: Rap, Race, And Resistance In Los Angeles
OLIVER WANG: Sociologist, DJ, journalist & author of Classic Material: The Hip Hop Album Guide
MONALISA MURRAY: DJ, Hip Hop record label & promotion veteran
ADRIAN YOUNGE: Composer, arranger, producer (Venice Dawn, Souls Of Mischief, Ghostface Killah)
BROTHER J: From legendary Hip Hop crew X Clan

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
MOTEL BAJA: An Evening of Conversation & Music with Bostich + Fussible (Nortec Collective)

Motel Baja - Conversation & Music with Bostich + Fussible (Nortec Collective) {from RSVP site}Popular Music Project Director Josh Kun hosts award-winning Mexican musicians Nortec Collective Presents Bostich+Fussible as part of the USC Distinguished Lecture Series on Latin American Art and Culture for a special evening of conversation about music, culture, and politics.

Nortec Collective Presents Bostich+Fussible are Grammy and Latin Grammy nominated electronic music pioneers whose new album “Motel Baja” was released via Nacional Records on September 16th. “Motel Baja” is the final album from Nortec Collective, who have performed at Coachella, Bonnaroo and toured around the world over the last 15 years. In the late 90s, Nortec Collective emerged from a burgeoning electronic scene in Tijuana, and invented a new style of music they called Nortec – a fusion of Norteno (“from the North”) and Techno. Documenting the collision between electronic music characterized by heavy dance beats and traditional forms of Mexican music performed with live instrumentation, Nortec Collective paved the way for a new generation of producers and DJs that have reinvented electronic music from a global perspective.


kunbyrnereznor500David Byrne and Trent Reznor In Conversation with Josh Kun
Sunday, October 14th, 2012, 8:00PM | Aratani/Japan America Theatre
Popular Music Project Director Josh Kun joined legendary musician and raconteur David Byrne and fellow musician Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) to explore the joy, the physics, the history, and the business of making music as part of the LA Public Library’s ALOUD series, on the occasion of Byrne’s new book, How Music Works. This event was co-presented with the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. (Photo: Al Pavangkanan)

Josh Kun: LA Music & Politics, 1945-1980
March 29, 2012 | KPFK 90.7, Jon Wiener on the Radio
Josh Kun talks with The Nation contributing editor and Professor of history at UC Irvine Jon Wiener about the complex, darker side of post-war LA music. Listen to their conversation here.

A Conversation and Mixtape Demonstration with DJ J. Period
October 10, 2011 | USC Annenberg School, Geoff Cowan Forum
PMP Director Josh Kun sat down recently with renowned hip-hop DJ J.Period for a conversation and mixtape demonstration at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, with an SRO crowd. With DJ & remix work for Grammy-winners Lauryn Hill, The Roots, and Mary J. Blige under his belt, J. Period has become one of hip hop’s undisputed Mixtape Kings and most respected DJ/Producers.

Manu Chao in Conversation with Josh Kun
October 18, 2010 – USC Annenberg Auditorium
The USC Annenberg Distinguished Lecture Series on Latin American Arts and Culture welcomed world-renowned musician Manu Chao for an evening of conversation about music, politics and global awareness. The Paris-born, Barcelona-dwelling artist of Spanish descent finds inspiration in street culture and local bar scenes from around the world, and has long collaborated with musicians from throughout the Americas. He has been described as — the ringmaster of a multicultural, cross-generational, genre-busting circus that can whip tens of thousands of people into a frenzy even if they don’t speak the same language.”

Experience Music Project Pop Conference 2011: Josh Kun & “SoCal Polyphony”
February 25, 2011 | UCLA
The EMP Pop Conference, launched in 2002, joins academics, critics, performers, and dedicated fans in a rare common discussion. The conference is jointly sponsored in 2011 by the Department of Musicology at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and by the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. This panel included Josh Kun, Jorge N. Leal, Jonathan Daniel Gomez & Eun-Young Jung.

Experience Music Project 2011 Pop Conference: Raymond Roker “Getting the Brand Back Together”
February 26, 2011 | UCLA
Raymond Roker, 2011 PMP Artist in Residence, moderated this riveting panel that featured Ryan Babenzien, Josh Levine, Vikter Duplaix and Josh Kun.

USC Annenberg Distinguished Lecture Series on Latin American Arts & Culture, with Diego Luna
Nov. 8, 2010 | USC Bovard Auditorium
PMP Director Josh Kun moderated this discussion with acclaimed award-winning Mexican actor, producer and activist Diego Luna about film, culture and politics.

2011 Distinguished Artist in Residence: Raymond Roker
October 7, 2010 | USC Annenberg School, Geoff Cowan Forum
Raymond Roker, co-founder and publisher of URB magazine and, is the 2010-2011 Distinguished Artist in Residence for the Norman Lear Center’s Popular Music Project. A former DJ, Roker is actively imagining new avenues for digital media, music, social networking, and branding and marketing to commingle in creative ways.

PMP Presents: Courtney Holt, 2009-2010 Distinguished Artist in Residence
April 19, 2010 | USC Annenberg School, Geoff Cowan Forum
USC Annenberg students presented ideas about the future of music delivery to MySpace Music president Courtney Holt.

The Carter: Film Screening and Discussion
November 11, 2009, 7PM | USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
QD3 Entertainment and the Annenberg School presented Dean Ernest J. Wilson III, communication and journalism professor Josh Kun and renowned artist Quincy Jones III for a special screening of the modern documentary The Carter, a “shockingly intimate portrait” of Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., aka Lil’ Wayne. Wayne, an internationally known rapper whose most recent album went platinum in one week, has been said to be “the voice of his generation.” The Carter is “an intoxicating, cinematic journey into the thoughts and world of an extremely complicated man whose creative force is something to behold.” The screening was followed by a student-led discussion with Jones and featured an opportunity for student blog commentaries on the QD3 Web site. Watch a full-size video of the discussion here.

The Art and Business of Song: Ann Powers in Conversation with Wendy & Lisa
March 30, 2009 | USC Annenberg School for Communication.
Popular Music Project 2008-09 Artist in Residence and LA Times pop music critic Ann Powers spoke about the business of making music, past and present with Wendy and Lisa. Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman are best known for their collaborations with Prince in the early-mid 1980s. They began their career as a duo in 1986 and currently score the music for the NBC series Heroes as well as Showtime’s Nurse Jackie.Watch the video now!   Listen to the Podcast!

Today’s Songs of Conscience: Ozomatli
March 25, 2009 | The GRAMMY Museum
PMP director Josh Kun interviewed the GRAMMY-winning LA band Ozomatli about their activism, politics, and the power of political song. The museum presented this inspiring conversation about the power of music in conjunction with its first special exhibition, Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom. Ozomatli took questions from the audience and showed film clips from their travels as U.S. State Department cultural ambassadors.

The Rolling Stones on Film
February 7, 2009 | University of Southern California
Josh Kun, director of the Popular Music Project participated in a panel discussion at “The Rolling Stones on Film” festival presented by the School of Cinematic Arts and Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative. This two-day film festival explored the many facets of the Rolling Stones’ involvements in cinema and combined screenings illustrating the long and uniquely resonant history of music in film with a panel discussion focused on its cultural and social implications.

Death of the Critic?: A Roundtable on the Future of Music Criticism in the Digital Age
September 24, 2008 | USC Annenberg School for Communication
Led by Ann Powers, pop music critic of the Los Angeles Times and 2008 Resident of The Popular Music Project. “The death of the critic” has become a catchphrase in discussing how the Internet has affected arts writing. The avalanche of blogs by everyone from veteran writers to neophytes has called into question the need for professional music writers. So is music criticism dying or being reborn? The panel discussing the perils and possibilities included Oliver Wang (, Cal State Long Beach); Tim Page (USC Annenberg); Natalie Nichols (City Beat,; Ayala Ben-Yehuda (Billboard); Ernest Hardy (LA Weekly); Chris Willman (Entertainment Weekly); Lorraine Ali (Newsweek); Randall Roberts (LA Weekly); Eric Weisbard, organizer of the Experience Music Project “Pop Conference.” Read the transcript!

Between Father and Son: Music and Creativity Across the Generations
October 12, 2007 | USC Annenberg Auditorium
PMP director Josh Kun moderated a thrilling and unique father-son dialogue on creativity and technology between Motown legend Lamont Dozier and his son, hip hop/R&B producer Beau Dozier. This was a special event during USC’s Trojan Parents Weekend. Watch it now!Read the transcript.

A Special Evening at Redcat: Listen Again
Music You Should Change Your Mind About Right Now
January 22, 2008 | Redcat Theater, Walt Disney Concert Hall
Co-presented with the Popular Music Project of The Norman Lear Center. Ready, set, reinterpret! All pop music, past and present, was fair game on this night of live, rapid-fire music criticism as the members of a distinguished panel of writers, musicians and scholars had five minutes each to persuade the audience to reconsider a series of pop tracks — and find in them hitherto undiscovered pleasures. This high-spirited confab celebrated the publication of Listen Again: A Momentary History of Pop Music, a collection of writings drawn from the Experience Music Project Pop Conference. Panelists included Ann Powers (Los Angeles Times), R.J. Smith (Los Angeles magazine), Oliver Wang (, CSU-Long Beach) and Ernest Hardy (L.A. Weekly), among many others.  Podcasts available: Section One :: Section Two