Zack Gingrich-Gaylord

Community Fundraising Coordinator/ Hip-Hop commentator

Zack Gingrich-Gaylord is a lifelong listener to public radio in general, and KMUW in particular. He was born and grew up in Wichita, and has lived in Lawrence and Newton.

After working for 15 years in the restaurant industry, he changed career paths and began working for KMUW in corporate support. He enjoys bringing the community of public radio listeners to the broader Wichita community.

Hope that’s good enough. I was raised not to talk about myself. Well, not really. But I heard that line on TV the other day, thought I’d try it out.

Ways to Connect

The West, and America specifically, has a long-standing problem of confusing the vast and diverse continent of Africa for a homogeneous country called Africa. There are, of course, reasons for this, many of them racist, but some are more literary. African American narrative has often used “Africa” as a device to indicate and imagine both an inspirational past and aspirational future, and in hip hop there are many notable examples of this: Nas’ “If I Ruled the World”, for one, and more recently, the fantastic 2017 track from southern rapper CyHi the Prynce called “Nu Africa.”

The emcee Action Bronson recently released a cookbook — I can’t say the real title in polite company, but let’s just say that it’s the less kid-friendly version of “Holy moly, that’s delicious.” While Bronson makes his figurative bread and butter in music, a large part of his persona as an emcee is regaling his audience with as many tales of his culinary exploits as with other similarly Bacchanalian pursuits. 

There’s a moment in ‘Spa 700’ where you find your bearings, just barely: the tempo solidifies, a melody emerges and stanzas form. Then you realize that only four minutes have passed since the beginning of this fourteen-minute release from Philly musicians DJ Haram and Moor Mother.

  

There are cloth mesh barriers lining the steel girders underneath the railroad bridge in downtown Wichita. The bridge, nicknamed the ‘pigeon bridge’, was a home to a roost of the birds--a few weeks before the mesh went up, live traps were placed, pocketed between beams, and the birds’ numbers dwindled.

"The Hip Hop Way" originally aired December 16, 2016.  

There’s a scene in the 1997 documentary "Rhyme and Reason" where the emcee Taz demonstrates how to hand someone a hat. It isn’t enough to merely give someone a hat, he explains, you have to hand it to them in a hip hop way. As he performs the difference, you can see he knows this is over the top, but you can also see there’s a part of this that’s true: There is a hip hop way to hand someone a hat, and it’s a little funkier than any other way.

Netflix

Scientific concepts have long existed in hip hop music, sometimes expressed in the mathematics of Five Percenter ideology, or in more procedural ways, like referring to the recording studio as a laboratory, suggesting the crafting of music is akin to the creation of a science experiment. And while these themes are widespread, my guess is that if you ask a hip hop fan which emcee they most associate with science, 9 out of 10 of them will answer with the GZA of the Wu-Tang clan.

@chollette / femdotdot.com

I’ve been really impressed with the hip hop coming out of Chicago lately--emcees like Mick Jenkins, Noname and of course Chance the Rapper have developed a wonderful and distinct sound and emotional range that feels rare in contemporary hip hop. 

American hip hop is as multilingual as America, with emcees mixing English together with any number of other languages. And pick a country in the world and you’ll find an emcee who’s making quality hip hop about that part of the world, and often in their own language.

In 1992, the rap-metal group Body Count released one of the more infamous songs that you’ve probably never heard. The song, "Cop Killer," generated a ton of controversy--even then-President Bush chimed in--and it was eventually removed from the album, but not necessarily for the reason you might think. When asked about it, Ice-T explained that he removed the song because “it got out of hand...let’s get back to real issues, not a record, but the cops that are out there killing people.”

Mindy Tucker

Hip hop has always been fascinated with itself--one of the music’s unique and endearing qualities is its constant self-reflection and self-assessment. This is great for true fans--there’s nothing an enthusiast loves more than to constantly talk about their enthusiasm--but it’s often difficult for casual or first-time listeners to get into it. 

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