After 100 Episodes of The Rebel Beat, We Select our Top 5

Rebel Beat 100

We just hit a huge milestone for The Rebel Beat podcast on May 1st when we dropped the 100th episode of this show.  As you may know, I launched this show back in February 2015 as a live radio show on CKUT community radio in Montreal.

The Rebel Beat morphed out of a previous radio show I had been hosting for almost a decade prior, Roots Rock Rebel. Roots Rock Rebel was ska, punk, and reggae show. While it always had a political bent to it, I really wanted to change it up and build a show that centred radical politics in music. The powerful uprising and riots against police brutality in Ferguson in 2014 were really the catalyst for making this change, and hence The Rebel Beat was born.

Originally The Rebel Beat was a weekly show that aired every Wednesday from 10pm-12am on CKUT. As a weekly show, it was easy to churn out a ton of episodes, but it also involved an extreme amount of labour to research music on specific themes or topics, book interviews, research those interviews, haul crates of records down to the station every week…. you get the picture.

So in 2016 I made the hard decision to pull the show from the FM radio airwaves, and instead keep it up as a monthly podcast. Along the way, I joined forces with Firebrand Records, got to speak with some of my musical heroes, and kept producing a show that I really love and believe in.

So on this milestone of 100 episodes, I wanted to look back and select my 5 favourites. If you’re new to this podcast, these 5 are a great place to start.

Episode 8: M1, One Half of Dead Prez on Revolutionary Culture

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M-1 of the legendary hip-hop group Dead Prez

 

 

So the funny story behind this episode is that M-1 was supposed to be our huge surprise guest for the big launch of episode 1 of the Rebel Beat, not episode 8. I had scheduled to do an interview with him in person in Montreal, just before his appearance at the Fro Fest for Black History Month. But the Canadian border guards had other plans for M-1. They denied his entry into Canada, which he attributed to racial profiling. No doubt the border guards knew that one thing about Dead Prez’s music is that when it hits you feel no pain, white folks say it controls your brain, but you know better than that, that’s game….

It turns out that one of the reasons M-1 was denied entry into Canada is because they asked him about his arrest record at the border. In my interview, he had this to say about it: “If you live as a colonial subject in the United States, you are bound to encounter the police, and may end up getting arrested”.

Anyways, M-1 ended up being able to join Fro Fest over Skype (kind of like what we’re all doing now under the Coronavirus pandemic anyways), and he was super gracious to set up an interview over the phone with me, so we still had him on the show. It was amazing to get to talk to this hip-hop legend as he was multi-tasking by feeding his daughter and reflecting on revolutionary culture.

 

Episode 80: Lido Pimienta on motherhood, music & fending off the trolls

 

Lido Pimienta is a firecracker. She’s one of the funniest and raddest people in the music biz, and I’m so proud we had her on this show. I got to interview her just after she won the Polaris Music Prize for best Canadian album of 2017 for “La Papessa”.

I love how she candidly discussed dealing with racist trolls, her takes on parenting, and her honest and sincere advice she offered for mothers and women in the music industry.

 

Episode 20 – Original Rebel Dread Don Letts on Race, Riots, and Making Music Dangerous Again

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Don Letts is one of those unsung heroes in music. If you’re into punk rock or reggae, chances are you’ve heard of him. But if you’ve never heard his name, it’s because in some ways he’s never played a front-and-centre roll in music. Seriously though, this guy is a legend. As a DJ at London’s foundational punk club The Roxy, he famously brought reggae music to the punks, and was part of the inspiration behind Bob Marley’s tune “Punky reggae party”.

I caught up with Don on the phone from his home in London. He was also at the centre of political upheavals and riots in working class London in the 1970s, and it was fascinating to hear him compare those riots against police brutality to the more recent events in Ferguson, Missouri.

Episode 67: Oi Polloi

 

Did I mention that I love doing this podcast? I really fucking do. I get to talk with so many musical heroes of mine. Oi Polloi are another one of those. This loveable troupe of oiScottish anarcho-punks have been doing their thing for so long, and they’re just brimming with sincerity, joie-de-vie, and no-nonsense anti-fascist energy.

For this episode, I got to meet up with them on a beautiful autumn day in Montreal, right before their gig at Revolution Fest. One of the topics of our in-depth conversation was their song “Let the boots do the talking”, about the Battle of Cable street, an anti-fascist riot in London in 1936. As we were speaking, it was in the lead-up to Trump’s victory in the 2016 US Presidential election, and so looking back on this powerful moment of resistance was the medicine we all needed.

Episode 71: Dave Zirin and the Music at the Edge of Sports

This episode represents a coming together of all the things I love in this world: sports, music and radical politics. Dave Zirin is someone who can go on AT LENGTH about all three. This interview was a particular thrill to record because I had just organized and moderated a panel discussion with Dave in Montreal on the topic of resistance in sports in the age of Trump. I hosted Dave at my place during his time in Montreal, and we did this interview at my dining room table over a delicious brunch of bagels, lox and schmear. Yup, just a couple of Jews noshing and talking sports, music, and revolution.

Our conversation hit on so many cool notes, including the politics of Super Bowl half-time shows, Tribe Called Quest’s comeback, and why there may (sadly) never be a Colin Kaepernick of hockey.

 

 

Anyways, there you have it! My top 5 favourite episodes on our journey to 100. Many more are coming soon, so if you dig this podcast, please support it!

 

-Aaron Lakoff

Episode 100: A Mayday Love Letter and Collective Playlist

 

 

 

 

 

This is it! We’ve finally reached the milestone of 100 episodes of The Rebel Beat. And to make it all the more sweet, this is our Mayday special!

Franklin Lopez, long-time anarchist agitator, video ninja, and founder of Submedia is back to co-host as we discuss the history of The Rebel Beat, the significance of Mayday, the Wet’suwet’en uprising against pipelines, and staying rebellious in these pandemic times.

PLUS, we have a ton of Mayday greetings and shoutouts from artists and rebels all over the world! So this episode is part collective playlist, and part collective love letter from us to you on this socially-distant Mayday.

Like this podcast? Then support us!

www.patreon.com/rebelbeatradio

Tracklist

Brivele – Bread and roses

Geoff Berner – Dalloy polizei

The Mayday Orchestra – Center of the storm

Lia Rose – We are the ones

Ramy Essam – Hela hela

Chumbawamba – Voices that’s all

Dolly Parton – 9-5

A Tribe Called Red – Land Back

Rebel Diaz – Which side are you on? (Remix)

Immortal Technique – 3rd world

Leslie Fish – Bella ciao

The Proclaimers – The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues

Ana Tijoux – Antifa dance

Lee Reed – The rents

Kareem Samara – Light for S.H.

Norman Nawrocki – We are pickers and packers

Dennis Brown – Revolution

Pat Kelly – The workman’s song

Victor Rice – Bebida

Union Thugs – Héros et martyrs

Episode 99: Irreversible Entanglements

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Irreversible Entanglements are a liberation-oriented free jazz collective formed in early 2015 by saxophonist Keir Neuringer, poet Camae Ayewa (a.k.a. Moor Mother) and bassist Luke Stewart, who came together to perform at a Musicians Against Police Brutality event organized after the slaying of Akai Gurley by the NYPD. Their music is soothing, chaotic, powerful, and deeply rooted in movements for Black freedom and resistance.

Today on the Rebel Beat we’re joined by Keir and Luke from the band who join us from Philly and Washington D.C. respectively to talk about their new album “Who sent you?”, band life under lockdown, and the radical politics of jazz improvisation. Enjoy!

Episode 100 will be coming out on May Day (May 1st), and we want to hear from you! Send us your audio Mayday greetings to rebel@ckut.ca by April 27th

Dig this podcast? Then support us! www.patreon.com/rebelbeatradio

Tracklist

Charles Mingus – Better git hit in your soul

De La Soul – Say no go

Irreversible Entanglements – Fireworks

Irreversible Entanglements – Who sent you / Ritual

Irreversible Entanglements – Chicago to Texas

Irreversible Entanglements – The Code Noir / Amina

Irreversible Entanglements – No mas

 

Be Part of our MayDay Special! Send us your audio MayDay greetings!

Mayday greetings

This year we’re putting together another special Mayday episode of The Rebel Beat podcast. As in past years, we’re hoping to compile a bunch of audio recorded Mayday greetings from listeners around the world. We’re really hoping to give some much-needed Mayday inspiration in a really hard year for the world. PLUS, our MayDay special will also be our 100th episode – even more reason to celebrate!

Do you think you could send us a 60-90 second recorded Mayday greeting by Monday, April 27?

You can get creative with it, but basically, just your name, location, why Mayday is important to you, and then your Mayday song (if you have one). Your greeting can end with “My Mayday song is….”. Don’t worry about downloading or sending us the song file – as long as we can find it on Youtube, we’ll download it (but emailing a link won’t hurt).

You can record the audio on your phone, computer, USB mic, reel to reel, whatevs, and send it in any audio format. By email, you can send it to rebel [at] ckut.ca.

Thanks for considering this, and really hoping you can be part of it!

Episode 98 – Snotty Nose Rez Kids

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The Snotty Nose Rez Kids, an Indigenous hip-hop duo hailing from the Haisla nation, join us to chop it up about their new EP “Born Deadly”, the #ShutDownCanada movement against pipelines and artist life under COVID-19.

Like this podcast? Then support us!

www.patreon.com/rebelbeatradio

Paypal: rebel@ckut.ca

Tracklist – Snotty Nose Rez Kids : 

Real Deadly

Warriors

Cops with guns are the worst!!!

KKKanada

Boujee Natives

Skoden

Episode 97 – An Update From Wet’suwet’en

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Happy new year! And welcome back to another edition of The Rebel Beat. On this edition, I wanted to share a radio program I guest-hosted on CKUT radio in Montreal, Funky Revolutions. What you’re about to hear is a 2 hour music mix of funky soul, hip-hop, reggae, and folk, with a special focus on the struggle against pipelines on Wet’suwet’en territory.

We’re joined by Jennifer Wickam (35:00), a Wet’suwet’en land defender who has been holding it down at the Gidimden checkpoint. The tension has been high over the last few weeks as RCMP police are poised to attack the community yet again.

**Like this podcast? Then support us!

http://patreon.com/rebelbeatradio

Playlist

LaBelle – Moon shadow

Buffy Sainte Marie – Now that the buffalo’s gone

Willie Dunn – I pity the country

John Trudell – Rich man’s war

Alanis Obomsawin – Odana

A Tribe Called Red – Stadium pow wow

Interview with Jennifer Wickam

JB the First Lady – Front lines

Snotty Nose Rez Kids – Son of a matriarch

Rapsody (feat Gza) – Ibtihaj

A Tribe Called Quest – Left my wallet in El Segundo

Amerigo Gazaway – Peculiar mathematics

Otis Redding – The glory of love

Carla Thomas – B-A-B-Y

Jackie Shane – Sticks and Stones

Bruxas – Plantas falsas

Nanku Phiri – Sifo

Ibibio Sound Machine – The chant

Roland Alphonso – Guantanamera ska

Nora Dean – Barbed wire

Junior Murvin – Cool out son

Macka B – Never played a 45

 

Episode 96 – Natural Sympathies

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Natural Sympathies is the solo project of the talented & visionary artist Amber Goodwyn. It is synth-pop with deep hooks and layering, powerful lyrics, and a very danceable live show. Amber is a musician, a mother, a community radio programmer, and a feminist. She joins us on this episode of the Rebel Beat all the way from Regina, Saskatchewan to talk about the intersection of all these things. Look out for her new album “Porous” on the way this fall from Grey Records.

 

If you like this podcast, then support us! www.patreon.com/rebelbeatradio

 

** Playlist **

Moor Mother – Black Flight (Saul Williams)

Dreams nails – Fascism is coming

Natural Sympathies – Space invaders

Natural Sympathies – All wrong

Natural Sympathies – Late summer

Natural Sympathies – Hello

Natural Sympathies – Pretty Impossible

Natural Sympathies – High road

Sons of Kemet – In the castle of my skin

Episode 95 – Josh MacPhee’s Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels

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Josh MacPhee does beautiful art. He is a member of the Justseeds collective, and if you love their work, you might have some of his prints up on your wall. In recent years, Josh has turned his focus from visual art and graphic design to revolutionary music, and he is the author of the forthcoming book “An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels” from Common Notions Press. The book is a glorious work of deep research and stunning design. He joins us on the Rebel Beat to dive deep into his book, and the propaganda potential of record labels.

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The book is out in October 2019, and you can pre-order your copy here!

If you like this podcast, then support us! You can sign up as a monthly sustainer on our Patreon page (get some great swag too!), or make a one time donation of any amount by sending $$ via Paypal to rebel@ckut.ca.

www.patreon.com/rebelbeatradio

In our Turn It Up segment, we give a nod to Egyptian rebel musician Ramy Essam, who is fighting to get many of his band-mates and artistic collaborators out of jail. Find out all about the campaign around his song “Balaha” here.

Episode 94 – Egyptian Rebel Tunes

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Welcome back to another episode of The Rebel Beat! This episode is reminiscent of the old format of this show, 2 hours of live radio, done at our beloved CKUT radio in Montreal during a residency Aaron was doing for the Montreal Sessions.

Our special guest on the program is one of Egypt’s top studio guitarists and rebel musicians, Weka Soliman. You’ll definitely be hearing more about Weka’s story in the weeks to come on this show, but for now, enjoy this episode as he guides us through Egypt’s vast world of underground music.

*** If you like this podcast, then support us! www.patreon.com/rebelbeatradio

 

Playlist

Sam Shalabi & Stefan Christoff – Elephantine

Wyvern – The clown

El Dor El Awal – Raqs el hawanem

Wust el Balad – Ya jzera

Al kahwa – Al kahwa

Wust el Balad – Magnoun

Mohamed Adawya – Kam so’al

Ramy Essam  – Seadna el naby

Ramy Essam – Foul caviar

Ryan Harvey, Kareem Samara, Shireen Lilith – Egypt

Ramy Essam – Segn bel alwan

Mohamed Adawya – Kan ya makan

Black Theama – Fe balad el ay haga

Mashrou’ Leila – Calvalry

Special Ops – Dead are calling

Narcy feat. Mashrou’ Leila – Time

We’re Back! Episode 093: Backxwash

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** Do you like this podcast? Then support us on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/rebelbeatradio

After a prolonged hiatus for most of 2019, we’re back with a brand new episode of The Rebel Beat! This one is a bit of a throwback to our old format, since it’s part of a residency we’re doing at our beloved local community radio station CKUT. So you’ll hear a lot more music here!

Special guest on the show is the delightfully militant trans rapper Backxwash. Originally from Zambia, she’s now based in Montreal. She’s been tearing up the local scene lately, from playing huge stages like Montreal’s Pride festival, to countless community benefit shows. And her new album “Deviancy” is fire!

Enjoy!

**Playlist**

 

Anderson Paak – King James

Jamila Woods – Blk girl soldier

Sa-Roc – Heaven on earth

Narcy – Superhero

Tribe Called Red – The OG

Saul Williams – Experiment

Backxwash – Devil in a moshpit

Limp Wrist – Punk ass queers

Backxwash – Don’t come to the woods

Backxwash – Burn me at the stake

Jackie Shane – Any other way

Big Freedia – Azz everywhere

G.L.O.S.S. – Masculine artifice

Femmpire – Eyes of the patriarchy

Against Me! – Transgender dysphoria blues

Nakhane – New Brighton

Las Cafeteras – La bamba rebelde

Rebel Diaz – Free the children

Soul Jazz Orchestra – General Strike