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R.J. Smith

R.J. Smith

R.J. Smith has written for Spin, Details, the Village Voice and Los Angeles magazine. He is the author of the James Brown biography The One and a history of LA's Central Avenue scene The Great Black Way.

Interview with R.J. Smith on rockcritics.com

List of articles in the library by artist

Thomas Anderson: Flying Saucer Rock & Roll

Profile and Interview by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, December 1998

WITH THREE FINE albums and a recent seven-song EP, available respectively from Dutch East India, Bomp, and now Germany's Red River, Thomas Anderson is clearly ...

Atari Teenage Riot: What's the Frequency, Alec?

Interview by R.J. Smith, Spin, March 1998

The revolution is nigh, heralds radical German dude/Atari Teenage Rioter Alec Empire. RJ Smith learns it will all be in the mid-range. ...

Beck: Mutations (Geffen)

Review by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, November 1998

BECK TO THE BASE ...

Ruben Blades: Hot Salsa

Profile and Interview by R.J. Smith, Creem, January 1985

NEW YORK — Ruben Blades grew up watching Rebel Without A Cause and Rock Around the Clock as many times as he could — and ...

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Eazy-E: Ruthless Records: It Ain't Eazy

Report and Interview by R.J. Smith, Vibe, June 1998

What would you do if you inherited an infamous rap label with a catalogue of old hits and a fading reputation? Sell it for a ...

Billy Bragg: Life's a Riot With Spy vs. Spy (CD Presents)

Review by R.J. Smith, Spin, September 1985

IT'S ABOUT time to write a deconstructionist regulation sheet to be posted in the halls of rockcritdom. I mean, surely it is so when a ...

Billy Bragg, Woody Guthrie, Wilco: Songs For Woody: Billy Bragg & Wilco's Mermaid Avenue

Review by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, July 1998

WOODY GUTHRIE bequeathed us his jumble. Willing in life to play straight man for many right causes, in death he left a tangle of words ...

T-Bone Burnett: Proof Through The Night (Warner Bros.)

Review by R.J. Smith, Creem, March 1984

LIKE A DUST devil rolling across the arid nothing of Texas, T-Bone Burnett was recently barnstorming the nation. Though he's long been a moralizing rock ...

DJ Shadow: To The Batcave: DJ Shadow's The Private Press

Review by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, June 2002

OUT-OF-BODY Experience, heaven version: "I saw my life before my eyes, and that is no shit… I saw myself walking in and out of countless ...

Bob Dorough: After-School Special: Bob Dorough

Review by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, March 1998

I KNOW THIS couple who think Lou Rawls is the shit. You can look in the books on soul music and find little reference to ...

Eminem: Crossover Dream

Comment by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, November 2002

IN THE money scene of 8 Mile, the young white Detroit rapper Rabbit Smith (played by young white Detroit rapper Eminem) battles a series of ...

Gang of Four = Hard Men in Good Cars

Profile and Interview by R.J. Smith, Creem, March 1984

"All we have in common is the illusion of being together. And the only resistance to the illusions of the permitted painkillers come from the ...

Eddy Grant Does It California Style

Interview by R.J. Smith, Creem, January 1984

I JUST GOT my current issue of Processed World ("The magazine with the bad attitude"), and it's a winner. Written by and for the shitheels ...

Kid Rock: Like a Motown Cowboy

Comment by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, December 2001

TWO GUYS MARCH into the Victor Recording Company office one summer day in 1922, mad flossing all the way: one dressed like a cowboy, the ...

Korn: Harvest of Sorrow: Korn: Follow The Leader (Immortal/Epic)

Review by R.J. Smith, Spin, October 1998

For millions of kids, Korn's house of pain feels like a home away from home. ...

Letch Patrol, Missing Foundation: Message in a Bottle: Homesteaders Rock the Lower East Side — The Tompkins Square Riots

Retrospective by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, October 2005

August 23, 1988 ...

Lo Fidelity Allstars: Out To Lurch: Lo-Fidelity All-Stars' How to Operate with a Blown Mind

Review by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, January 1999

MAYBE THE SWELLEST thing about the first wave of electroboogie funk in the early '80s, 'Planet Rock' and the Jonzun Crew, Space Invaders and all ...

Aimee Mann: Catcher In The Wry

Interview by R.J. Smith, Spin, May 2000

She scored with the heartbreaking Magnolia soundtrack, but Aimee Mann isn't gloating just yet ...

The Minutemen: Buzz Or Howl Under The Influence Of Heat (SST)

Review by R.J. Smith, Creem, April 1984

CIVIL DEFENSE QUIZ: ARE YOU PREPARED?What should you do in case of a sudden dropping of a nuclear weapon on your neighborhood? A) Grab ...

Ol' Dirty Bastard: Nigga Please (Elektra)

Review by R.J. Smith, Spin, November 1999

THE TRUE opener of this dazzling, daffy album gets buried near the end. Nigga Please should have begun with his mocking yet eerily touching cover ...

Ol' Dirty Bastard: Law And Disorder

Report by R.J. Smith, Spin, December 1999

OL' DIRTY BASTARD PUTS ON A SHOW — THIS TIME IN COURT ...

Paul Simon: Still Mbaqanga After All These Years

Interview by R.J. Smith, Spin, January 1987

For 20 years, Paul Simon whined and kvetched about the same things. Then he went to Africa and finally had fun. But he broke the ...

Pavement: The Long and Winding Road: Pavement: Terror Twilight (Matador)

Review by R.J. Smith, Spin, June 1999

Pavement turn down the noise and open up their hearts, sort of.  ...

Pearl Jam: Yield (Epic)

Review by R.J. Smith, Spin, March 1998

ANGELS are God's designated hitters. They're represented in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, among many other religions; they pretty much show up any place people put ...

Prince Paul: The Director's Cut: Prince Paul's Prince Among Thieves

Review by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, March 1999

NOBODY IN THE genre today sees more possibility in hip-hop than Prince Paul. I say that in the face of his tour de force A Prince ...

Radiohead: Amnesia

Review by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, June 2001

THE PROP PLANE circled the ballpark, trailing the type of banner you might also see at the beach. The message, though, was not what you ...

Rage Against the Machine: The New Machine Age: Rage Against The Machine: The Battle of Los Angeles (Epic)

Review by R.J. Smith, Spin, December 1999

Kicking and screaming, Rage Against The Machine drag their contradictions into the light. By RJ Smith. ...

Rancid: What's In A Mohawk?

Report and Interview by R.J. Smith, New York Times, The, January 1996

EVEN FOR A break-all-the-rules punk rock band, some rules still apply. It's 10 minutes to stage, and the members of Rancid are sitting in their ...

Tupac Shakur: All Eyes On Him

Obituary by R.J. Smith, Spin, December 1996

Tupac Shakur was more then just another million-selling gangsta rapper. He polarized the races like few pop stars, in death as in life. ...

Elliott Smith: You've Got To Hide Your Love Away

Retrospective and Interview by R.J. Smith, Spin, February 2004

WHEN ELLIOTT SMITH played Los Angeles in the fall of 2002, after more than a year of semi-seclusion, he didn't look so good. His hands ...

Elliott Smith: He's Mr Dyingly Sad, And You're Mystifyingly Glad

Profile and Interview by R.J. Smith, Spin, January 1999

ELLIOTT SMITH recovers nicely. Just one hour ago he was sitting in a tiny backstage room, enjoying a postshow libation and breathing in a blue ...

Stevie Wonder: In Square Circle (Motown)

Review by R.J. Smith, Spin, December 1985

THESE THINGS never do fall from the sky, like factor emissions and bird shirt. But if they did (If your mother had skates she'd be ...

Rufus Wainwright: Parlour Of Vices: Rufus Wainwright's Poses

Review by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, June 2001

BACK IN THE days of Stephen Foster, the piano was the centerpiece of the parlour. That was the room that women ran, the room where ...

Gillian Welch: Raising Cain

Overview by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, August 1998

THERE OUGHT to be a genre name for the other kind of art-rock — music that includes all the ridiculously extreme stuff, all the stuff ...

Cornel West: Go See The Doctor: Cornel West's Sketches of My Culture

Review by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, October 2001

CORNEL WEST'S Sketches of My Culture is probably the first hip-hop record by a Harvard professor. I demand that academia reciprocate and immediately put Ol' Dirty Bastard ...

Paul Westerberg: How Paul Westerberg Got His Groove Back

Interview by R.J. Smith, Spin, March 1999

ON HIS CLEAR-EYED NEW ALBUM, THE ONETIME BASTARD OF THE YOUNG MAY HAVE FINALLY LAID TO REST THE BEERY MEMORY OF THE LATE, GREAT REPLACEMENTS. ...

Lucinda Williams: Lost in America

Interview by R.J. Smith, Spin, July 1998

HOW DID A 45-YEAR-OLD "NEUROTIC DIVA" WITH ONE FOOT IN FAULKNER'S SOUTH AND ONE FOOT IN GARTH'S MANAGE TO MAKE THE YEAR'S BEST ALBUM? SIMPLE, SAYS ...

Kelly Willis: Just Walk Away: Kelly Willis' What I Deserve

Review by R.J. Smith, Village Voice, The, April 1999

KELLY WILLIS HAS the most uncomfortable-making way of saying "thank you". Live a few weekends ago I heard her say it at least a dozen ...

Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band: Charles Wright Expresses Himself

Interview by R.J. Smith, Grand Royal, 1995

YOU COULD see the 8x11 flyers when you got off the freeway north of downtown, or drove down Melrose, or about 100 other locations. Block ...

Wu-Tang Clan: Phantoms of the Hip-hopera

Report and Interview by R.J. Smith, Spin, July 1997

After four years of frenzied
 solo excursions, the members of Wu-Tang Clan reconvene as a group amid the usual circumstances — mystery, panic, tragedy — ...

List of genre pieces

Rocking Cincinnati's R&B Cradle

Retrospective and Interview by R.J. Smith, New York Times, The, January 2009

A CROWD GATHERS around crumbling walls that are a small evolutionary step up from a miserable pile of bricks. The facade leaks water, and masonry ...

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