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Deep Cuts: The Best New Music History Podcasts

9:55 AM GMT on November 9, 2023

It's been an exceptional few weeks for the music-minded podcast fan. A swathe of new releases have arrived, promising a fresh perspective on characters we thought we knew. We've gathered together some of our favourites to add to your queue.

ODB: A Son Unique

Ol’ Dirty Bastard is an icon of hip hop - a chaotic presence who brought humour and headlines to Wu-Tang Clan. ODB: A Son Unique sets out to tell his story by speaking to some of the people who knew him best - including Popa Wu, Raekwon and ODB’s brother Ramsey Jones. It’s a podcast that promises to untangle a complex figure in the history of hip hop and the first three episodes dropped this week.

Eras: The Beatles

The BBC’s new music history podcast, fresh from tackling Kylie Minogue, turns its attention to arguably the biggest band of all time. The series is perfectly timed to coincide with the release of a new, final Beatles track - Now and Then. Featuring new interviews with surviving Beatles Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr and hosted by Martin Freeman, the series looks at the story of the band from then to now.

McCartney: A Life in Lyrics

Speaking of the Beatles, Sir Paul himself has a new podcast out. It’s a biographical work recounting his personal memories of his many decades in music. A unique selling point is that McCartney is of course allowed to use the Beatles back catalogue where others are not, and it is utilised to good effect throughout the series. Seven episodes into the show’s 24 episode run, there’s plenty more still to learn.

Class of ‘88 with Will Smith

1988, according to Will Smith, was the year that defined hip hop. Now thought of more as an actor, or simply the man who slapped Chris Rock, Smith uses the show to remind us of his musical origins as the Fresh Prince. He isn’t the only artist featured though - interviews with Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa, Rick Rubin and DMC help to explain why that year was so important for the genre in the words of people who were there.

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