Kenny Beats is a hip-hop producer who’s been making beats and producing songs for other artists since 2010. He’s got a long list of collaborations, with rappers like Vince Staples, Freddie Gibbs, and Denzel Curry. In 2022, he did something he wasn’t really ever expecting to do, which was to release an album of his own. The album is called Louie, and it’s a tribute to Kenny’s father.
I talked to Kenny about the song “Still,” the first song he made specifically for this project. It features guest vocals from JPEGMafia and Omar Apollo, and a sample from gospel singer Linda Kemp. Louie includes a lot of tracks where you can hear Kenny’s dad’s voice, and even though “Still” isn’t one of them, as Kenny explains, his relationship with his dad is embedded in the song’s DNA.
MUNA is a trio from Los Angeles, made up of Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson. They’ve been making music together since 2013, when they met in college. Their third album, which is self-titled, came out in 2022, and Rolling Stone, Stereogum, The Guardian, and others, named it one of the best albums of the year. Consequence of Sound called MUNA the 2022 Band of the Year.
I talked to MUNA about the song “What I Want,” which they co-wrote with Leland. Leland is an artist and songwriter whose other credits include Selena Gomez, Charli XCX, and Troye Sivan. In this episode, Katie, Jo, and Naomi, along with Leland, tell the story of how the song came together, from the original demo to the final version, and you’ll find out how a band that doesn’t really party ended up writing a party banger.
Noah Kahan is a singer and songwriter from Strafford, Vermont. Last year, in 2022, he released Stick Season, his third record. The title track from that record went viral on TikTok when Noah was first writing it, and posting pieces of it. One of those videos has over 10 million plays. And as of this recording, on Spotify, the full song has almost 100 million streams.
For this episode, Noah talked to me about the process of making that song: What led him to first post half a song on TikTok, and what happened after that. You’ll hear the raw recordings off of his phone; the different drafts he made as he worked; you’ll hear the different versions he first shared on social media; and you’ll hear his bracingly honest appraisal of the winding path he took — in his life, and in his music — to get to where he is now.