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.

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
1:42 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
4:25 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

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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
6:49 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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Music Reviews
1:26 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Bill Withers: The Everyman Singer With A Poet's Soul

Bill Withers onstage in 1973.
Fin Costello Redferns

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:38 am

Bill Withers' very first single became a breakout hit in 1971. He would go on to record nine albums over the next 14 years, and all of them are now available on a new box set, The Complete Sussex and Columbia Masters.

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Music Reviews
2:58 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Two Attempts To Turn Summer Platinum Into Fall Gold

Carly Rae Jepsen and the cover of Kanye West's latest album, Cruel Summer.
Vanessa Heins Courtesy of Universal Music Group

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 9:47 am

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