meta-script8 Jaw-Dropping Sets From Afropunk 2023: Teyana Taylor, Joey Badass, Baby Tate & More |
baby tate performs at Afropunk 2023
Baby Tate performs at AfroPunk Brooklyn on Aug. 27

Photo: Joy Malone/Getty Images


8 Jaw-Dropping Sets From Afropunk 2023: Teyana Taylor, Joey Badass, Baby Tate & More

Held Aug. 26 & 27 in Brooklyn, Afropunk 2023's diverse, genre-spanning lineup highlighted some of the most exciting artists in Black music. From headliner Teyana Taylor to rising stars like King Isis, revisit eight incredible Afropunk acts.

GRAMMYs/Aug 29, 2023 - 08:43 pm

In a saturated industry, it’s no small feat for a music festival to continually feel fresh and subversive, let alone one that spans multiple annual iterations around the globe. But Afropunk, the music and art festival celebrating alternative Black culture, has consistently done so since its inception in 2005.

Its Brooklyn event is Afropunk's de facto flagship, and this year's iteration saw several major changes. Afropunk 2023 moved from Fort Greene’s Commodore Barry Park to Greenpoint’s Terminal Market, a more compact venue located on the East River waterfront that gave the performances a stunning skyline backdrop. Held Aug. 26 and 27, the festival was an ideal end of summer event.

The festival's theme was "Circus of Soul," and populated with stilt walkers, trapeze artists, and acrobats that gave the two-day event a whimsical surreal feel. (It helped that many members of the Afropunk audience — consistently one of the best dressed music festival crowds — brought their own spin to the carnival motif.)

But a music festival can’t be considered a success without strong performances, and Afropunk managed a diverse, genre-spanning lineup highlighting some of the most exciting artists in Black music. From headliner Teyana Taylor to rising stars like King Isis, these are eight standout performances saw at Afropunk Brooklyn 2023.

Durand Bernarr Brought Theatricality To Day 1

Cleveland-born vocalist, songwriter and producer Durand Bernarr is adored within the industry, but is still working to match that level of acclaim with casual audiences. But Bernarr's Afropunk set made a compelling case for Bernarr as a future star.

The "Next Big Thing" alumni showed jaw-dropping versatility, seamlessly transitioning from brash ‘90s funk on "Summons" to steamy balladry with "Stuck." Bernarr also offered one of the day’s more poignant moments when he performed his collaboration with the late composer Daniel Jones, who passed tragically last month. 

Tobe Nwigwe Seized His "Momint"

It makes sense that Houston’s Tobe Nwigwe is finding success as an actor, because his music has a truly cinematic bent. Dubbed "A momint at Afropunk," his set at the festival delivered, with the vocalist,and his band emerging on stage clad in crisp, mint attire. With an army of backup singers, and a choir on the screen behind him, perhaps the best use of the video monitor all weekend, Nwigwe ripped through songs from his moMINTs album, rapping ferociously on songs like "Lord Forgive Me" and "Catfish Blackened w/ Grits."

The vocalist and his band have plenty of experience translating his bombastic music to a performance setting — Nwigwe even released a live LP in January 2022 — and his Afropunk performance had terrific pace, slowing down with his live show staple "Hydration Reprise" before ratcheting the energy back up.

The GRAMMY-nominated rapper  brought out a few guests, including Earthgang’s Olu, but the standout was Nwigwe's young daughter, who originally came on stage to help perform "Wildlings" (her favorite track of her father’s, per Nwigwe). She didn’t wind up singing, but it was one of several memorable moments in a captivating set that illustrated why Nwigwe’s star power transcends artistic mediums.

Madison McFerrin Played A Bernie Sanders Breakup Ballad

Capping day 1’s lineup on the smaller stage, New York singer/songwriter Madison McFerrin played one of Afropunk’s most enchanting sets, the kind that has audience members adding tracks to their Spotify playlists before McFerrin has even finished performing them.

McFerrin performed several standout cuts from her 2023 album I Hope You Can Forgive Me, including the vulnerable "(Please Don’t) Leave Me Now" and "Stay Away (From Me)," which McFerrin and her band slyly shifted into a bossa nova groove. The crystalline vocals that makes McFerrin's studio projects so captivating translated to the Afropunk stage, with feathery melodic runs aplenty.

Between tracks, McFerrin’s banter managed to be both effortless and effervescent. After making a corny joke about her bandmate Brooklyn coming to Brooklyn to perform, she punctuated the clunker by imitating the DJ airhorn sound. While introducing "Hindsight," McFerrin explained that the track is not a run-of-the-mill romantic ballad, but an encapsulation of her feelings when Bernie Sanders didn’t secure the 2020 Democratic nomination. "If you’ve also had your heart broken by an 80-year-old white man, this song’s for you," she said.

Vince Staples Offered A Mellow Sunset Soundtrack

Early in his career, Vince Staples’ songs had a menacing, jagged quality that reflected his vivid stories of dog eat dog life in Long Beach, California. Staples has settled into an interesting niche on his last two LPs, slowing the tempos down and offering more melodic raps atop languorous percussion and moody synths. 

His 2023 Afropunk set had a mellow contemplativeness that made Vince a smart fit for the sunset slot. Staples took the stage solo, and while he’s not a conventionally big personality — it’s one of the reasons he’s building a successful side career as deadpan comedic relief in "Abbott Elementary" and the White Men Can’t Jump remake — his relaxed demeanor is captivating, particularly juxtaposed with the vividness of his lyrics. 

Staples’ set largely showcased last year’s Ramona Park Broke My Heart, opening with the drumless "The Beach," a fitting showcase for his technical skills and breath control. He transitioned into a few more propulsive tracks like the Juicy J-assisted "Big Fish" and "Rose Street."

Understatedness has always been key to Staples’ appeal both in the studio and onstage, so the stripped-down nature of his Afropunk set felt character consistent, especially since it was followed by the trippy maximalism of Flying Lotus.

King Isis Proved They're One Of Afropunk’s Most Talented Newcomers

Performing on the smaller of Afropunk’s two stages, Oakland’s King Isis showcased their genre fluency during a captivating set that spanned avant-garde jazz, alternative rock, and bedroom pop. Songs like "141827" recall the guitar work of Jonny Greenwood on early Radiohead projects, while the blistering "I’m Fine, Thx 4 Asking" is a thrilling spin on ‘90s garage rock. 

Their voice fits nicely into the acclaimed crop of contemporary indie artists like Nilüfer Yanya and King Krule, who place bluesy, world-weary vocals atop instrumentation that emphasizes washed-out guitar chords. (Isis even covered Nirvana’s "Smells Like Teen Spirit" during their set.)  

Baby Tate Showcased Her Undiminishable Star Power — And Vulnerability

If the music industry was a true meritocracy, Atlanta’s Baby Tate would be a chart-topping superstar. Her performance at Afropunk was a typically ambitious, enthralling set from the underrated rapper and singer. In her time on stage, Tate spanned genres, rapping over Ciara’s "1, 2 Step," showing the heft of her voice on the steamy "What’s Love," and previewing an upcoming record where she dives into the Jersey club sound.

One particularly powerful moment came when Tate addressed backlash over her outfit at Afropunk Atlanta in 2021. Tate spoke frankly about how the situation affected her as cruel social media posts flashed on screen — as well as messages of support from stars like Rihanna. "Last time I came to Afropunk, they was talking a lot of s— [and] had me feeling insecurities I didn’t even know I had," she said. That led her into last year’s standout "Pedi," a rollicking track on which Tate skates atop a Miami bass-inspired beat.

Tate and her DJ, Sky Jetta, had a terrific rapport throughout the set. Even when the MC left the stage briefly, Sky Jetta held the crowd’s attention, reeling off Panic! At the Disco’s "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" and Paramore’s "Misery Business," tracks that didn’t feel out of place in Tate’s genre-jumping performance. When Tate picked up the mic again, she punctuated a standout set with hits "Eenie Meenie" and "I Am." 

Joey Badass Persevered To Deliver A Joyful "Homecoming"

There was some palpable tension during Joey Badass’ banter, as he lambasted Afropunk for taking so long to book him, and criticized the festival for technical difficulties that delayed his performance. "It wasn’t the most professional s— I’ve been a part of, but it’s the most beautiful-looking thing I’ve been a part of," he said.

Those moments stick out, because the festival's penultimate set had a pervasive positivity. After opening with early career records like "Righteous Minds" and "95 Til Infinity," Joey dove into a segment of slower, romantic tracks as part of his goal of "celebrating Black love in the best motherf—in’ way." Some of these tracks, like the languid "Show Me" and the dreamy "Love is Only a Feeling" sound flat in studio form, but worked live thanks to the depths of the sound and the rapper’s impassioned delivery. The performance proved a suitable platform for Joey to showcase his technical skills with an impressive acapella rap to cap "Make Me Feel" that earned a strong reaction from the crowd.

Raised in Bed-Stuy, Joey seemed moved by the situation, referring to it as both a "family reunion" and "a homecoming moment" at different points during the set. He offered a poignant tribute to late peers like Juice WRLD, Nipsey Hussle, and Pro Era’s Capital Steez before doing his XXXtentacion collaboration "Infinity (888)," and closed the set with "Devastated," arguably the biggest hit of his career.

Teyana Taylor's Conceptual Set Drew From ‘50s Gangster Films

The inclusion of Teyana Taylor was announced less than two weeks before Afropunk, as original headliner Jazmine Sullivan canceled her set in order to continue grieving the death of her mother. But Taylor — an incredibly compelling performer whose career has been consistently waylaid by label issues — put on the festival’s most cinematic, high-concept set to cap the weekend.

An extension of her Last Rose Motel Tour, Taylor’s performance included hotel-themed visuals, gilded bellhop luggage carts, and even a brief blip of elevator music. True to her "Rose in Harlem" moniker, the set featured a jaw-dropping amount of flowers, including a dancer emerging from a wedding cake made entirely of roses. The best narrative moment of the set came when Taylor, clad in a suit and yellow trench coat, appeared to suffocate a man on stage–a reference to her "Bare Wit Me" music video. She was questioned by backup dancers dressed as police officers, all within the natural flow of the set.

Taylor appeared to fight through significant technical difficulties, eventually switching from a headset microphone to a handheld. Yet the sound quality problem did little to dim her overall star power. Taylor performed an array of songs from K.T.S.E. and The Album, sounding particularly sharp on "1800-One-Night" and "Hurry."

7 Unforgettable Sets From Outside Lands 2023: Foo Fighters' Special Guests, Lana Del Rey's Return & A Superhero DJ Shaq

Graphic featuring the logo for the 2024 Latin GRAMMYs, officially known as the 25th Latin GRAMMY Awards, taking place on Nov. 14, in Miami at Kaseya Center. The logo says "Latin GRAMMY Miami" and features a Latin GRAMMY Award statue and the number 25.
2024 Latin GRAMMYs

Graphic Courtesy of the Latin Recording Academy


2024 Latin GRAMMYs To Take Place Thursday, Nov. 14, In Miami; Nominations To Be Announced Tuesday, Sept. 17

Latin GRAMMY Week 2024 events will take place throughout Miami-Dade County, including marquee events like Leading Ladies of Entertainment, the Best New Artist Showcase, Person of the Year, the Premiere Ceremony, and more.

GRAMMYs/Apr 17, 2024 - 02:59 pm

The Latin Recording Academy has announced that the 2024 Latin GRAMMYs, officially known as the 25th Latin GRAMMY Awards, will take place on Thursday, Nov. 14, in Miami at Kaseya Center, in partnership with Miami-Dade County and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB). Additionally, the nominations for the 2024 Latin GRAMMYs will be announced Tuesday, Sept. 17. 

"Since our first awards presentation in the year 2000, the Latin GRAMMYs have provided an international spotlight for Latin music second to none and provided iconic performances that have become part of global music and pop culture history.  We are thrilled to celebrate our 25th anniversary in Miami," Latin Recording Academy CEO Manuel Abud said. "Miami has evolved to become the epicenter of Latin entertainment and we are grateful for the community support and enthusiasm we have received."   

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMYs, the show returns to the place it calls home, where The Latin Academy's journey commenced, and its headquarters remain.  This is the third time that the Latin GRAMMYs will be held in Miami, the first time in 2003 and the second time in 2020 when the show was closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Welcome home, Latin GRAMMYs! As the cultural capital for Latinos in the United States, there's no better place than Miami-Dade to host the best of Latin music and entertainment," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. "It's a true honor to host this incredible event once again and welcome people from all over the world to enjoy the vibrant and diverse cultural hub we call home. This event celebrates the very best in music, and we are proud to showcase Miami's unique energy, where music and culture collide in the most spectacular way."

The three-hour telecast will be produced by TelevisaUnivision, the leading Spanish language media and content company in the world, and will air live on Univision, Galavisión, and ViX, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central), preceded by a one-hour pre-show starting at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

"We are excited to bring to life the landmark 25-year celebration of the Latin GRAMMYs from the city we call home – the city where Hispanic culture has flourished as a driving force of influence and impact globally," said Ignacio Meyer, President of Univision Television Networks Group at TelevisaUnivision. "As the Home of Latin Music, we're excited to deliver yet another unforgettable night of excellence in music, grounded in our passion and unwavering commitment to shining a bright light on the most culture-defining moments for Spanish-speaking audiences worldwide."

In addition, Latin GRAMMY Week events will take place throughout Miami-Dade County including Leading Ladies of Entertainment, the Best New Artist Showcase, Special Awards Presentation, Nominee Reception, Person of the Year and the Premiere Ceremony, preceding the telecast. More details on the week of events will be distributed in the coming months.

"This announcement underscores Greater Miami's status as a global hub at the intersection of multicultural music, entertainment, events and tourism," said David Whitaker, president and CEO of The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. "On behalf of the travel and hospitality industry of Greater Miami, we are absolutely thrilled by the news that the 25th Latin GRAMMYs is returning home to Miami – bringing with it an influx of visitors eager to experience the excitement and energy of this iconic destination."

The Latin GRAMMY Awards are the preeminent international honor and the only peer-selected award celebrating excellence in Latin music worldwide.

Additional key dates in preparation to The Biggest Night in Latin Music include:

  • July 24, 2024-Aug. 5,2024:  First Round of Voting

  • Sept. 17, 2024: Nominations Announcement

  • Sept. 27, 2024–Oct. 10, 2024: Final Round of Voting

Visit the Latin Recording Academy website for more information regarding the 2024 Latin GRAMMY Awards season.

Two New Categories Added For The 2024 Latin GRAMMYs: Best Latin Electronic Music Performance & Best Contemporary Mexican Music Album

Curtis Jones, aka Cajmere & Green Velvet, performing live. Jones is wearing dark sunglasses amid a dark background and green strobe lights.
Curtis Jones performs as Green Velvet

Photo: Matt Jelonek/WireImage


Dance Legend Curtis Jones On Cajmere, Green Velvet & 30 Years Of Cajual Records

As Green Velvet and Cajmere, DJ/producer Curtis Jones celebrates everything from Chicago to acid house. With a new party and revived record label, Jones says he wants to "shine a light on those who sacrificed so much to keep house music alive."

GRAMMYs/Apr 17, 2024 - 02:19 pm

Curtis Jones is a dance music legend, whose multiple monikers only begin to demonstrate his deep and varied influence in the genre.

Jones has been active as a producer and DJ for decades, and is among a cadre of dance music acts forging a connection between the genre's origins and its modern iterations. Crucially, he  joined Chicago house legends Honey Dijon and Terry Hunter on Beyoncé's house-infused RENAISSANCE, providing a sample for "Cozy." He’s also produced tracks with house favorites Chris Lake and Oliver Heldens, and DJed with Dom Dolla and John Summit.

Jones contributed to the aforementioned collaborations, young and old, as Green Velvet. He’s been releasing dance hits like "Flash" and "Answering Machine" under that name since the mid- '90s. He is also currently a staple of the live circuit, his signature green mohawk vibing in clubs and festivals around the globe — including at his own La La Land parties in Los Angeles, Denver, Orlando, and elsewhere.

Green Velvet is appropriately braggadocious, even releasing the popular "Bigger Than Prince" in 2013. But by the time Jones had released the heavy-grooving tech house track, his artistry had been percolating for decades as Cajmere.

Where Green Velvet releases lean into acid house and Detroit techno, Cajmere is all about the traditional house sound of Jones’ hometown of Chicago. When Jones first debuted Cajmere in 1991, Chicago’s now-historic reputation for house music was still developing. Decades after the original release, Cajmere tracks like "Percolator,” have sustained the Windy City sound via remixes by prominent house artists like Will Clarke, Jamie Jones, and Claude VonStroke.

"I love doing music under both of my aliases, so it’s great when fans discover the truth,” Jones tells over email. Often, Jones performs as Cajmere to open his La La Land parties, and closes as Green Velvet. 

But beyond a few scattered performances and new tracks, Cajmere has remained dormant while Green Velvet became a worldwide headliner, topping bills in Mexico City, Toronto, Bogotá and other international dance destinations. He’s only shared two original releases as Cajmere since 2016: "Baby Talk,” and "Love Foundation,” a co-production with fellow veteran Chicago producer/DJ Gene Farris.

This year, Jones is reviving Cajmere to headliner status with his new live event series, Legends. First held in March in Miami, Jones' Legends aims to highlight other dance music legends, from Detroit techno pioneers Stacey Pullen and Carl Craig, to Chicago house maven Marshall Jefferson. 

"My intention is to shine a light on those who sacrificed so much to keep house music alive," Jones writes. "The sad reality is that most of the legendary artists aren’t celebrated or compensated as well as they should be."

Given that dance music came into the popular music zeitgeist relatively recently, the originators of the genre — like the artists Jones booked for his Legends party — are still in their prime. Giving them space to perform allows them to apply the same innovation they had in the early '90s in 2024.

Jones says the Miami Legends launch was an amazing success."Seeing the passion everyone, young and old, displayed was so inspiring."

Curtis Jones Talks House, Cajmere & Green Velvet performs at Legends Miami

Curtis Jones, center, DJs at the Miami Legends party ┃Courtesy of the artist

The first Legends party also served as a celebration of Cajual Records, the label Jones launched in 1992 as a home for his Cajmere music. Over the past three decades, Cajual has also released tracks from dance music veterans such as Riva Starr, as well as contemporary tastemakers like Sonny Fodera and DJ E-Clyps. 

Furthermore, Jones’ partnership with revered singers such as Russoul and Dajae (the latter of whom still performs with him to this day) on Cajual releases like "Say U Will” and "Waterfall” helped to define the vocal-house style.

Like the Cajmere project, Cajual Records has been moving slower in recent years. The label has only shared four releases since 2018. True to form, though, Jones started another label; Relief Records, the home of Green Velvet's music, shared 10 releases in 2023 alone.

Jones says he's been particularly prolific as Green Velvet because "the genres of tech house and techno have allowed me the creative freedom I require as an artist."

Now Jones is making "loads of music” as Cajmere again and recently signed a new distribution deal for Cajual Records. The true sound of Chicago is resonating with audiences in 2024, Jones says, adding "it's nice that house is making a comeback."

Jones remembers when house music was especially unpopular. He used to call radio stations in the '80s to play tracks like Jamie Principle's underground classic "Waiting On My Angel,” only to be told they didn’t play house music whatsoever. In 2024, house music records like FISHER’s "Losing It” were certified gold, and received nominations for Best Dance Recording at the 66th GRAMMY Awards. Jones is embracing this popularity with open arms.

Read more: The Rise Of Underground House: How Artists Like Fisher & Acraze Have Taken Tech House, Other Electronic Genres From Indie To EDC

"The new audience it’s attracting is excited to hear unique underground-style house records now. This is perfect for my Cajmere sets,” Jones says. "I never saw Green Velvet being more popular than Cajmere, and both sounds being as popular as they are even today.” 

While Jones is finding success in his own artistic endeavors, he points to a general lack of appreciation for Black dance artists in festival bookings. Looking at the run-of-show for ARC Festival, a festival in Chicago dedicated to house and techno music, legendary artists play some of the earliest slots. 

For the 2023 edition, Carl Craig played at 3 p.m on Saturday while the young, white John Summit, closed the festival the same night. In 2021, the acid house inventor, Chicago’s DJ Pierre, played the opening set at 2 p.m. on Saturday, while FISHER, another younger white artist, was the headliner.

In 2020, Marshall Jefferson penned an op-ed in Mixmag about the losing battle he is fighting as a Black DJ from the '90s. He mentions that younger white artists often receive upwards of $250,000 for one gig, whereas he receives around $2,000, despite the fact that he still DJs to packed crowds 30 years after he started.

Jones is doing his part to even the playing field with Legends, and according to him, things are going well after the first edition. "Seeing how much respect the fans have for the Legends was so special,” Jones says. "Hopefully they become trendy again.” 

The story of Curtis Jones is already one of legend, but it is far from over. "I feel it’s my duty to continue to make creative and innovative tracks as well as musical events. I love shining the light on new upcoming and emerging artists as well as giving the originators their proper dues,” Jones says. 

How LP Giobbi & Femme House Are Making Space For Women In Dance Music: "If You Really Want To Make A Change, It Can Be Done"

Andrew Watt
Andrew Watt

Photo: Adali Schell


How Andrew Watt Became Rock's Big Producer: His Work With Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, & More

Andrew Watt cut his teeth with pop phenoms, but lately, the 2021 Producer Of The Year winner has been in demand among rockers — from the Rolling Stones and Blink-182 to Elton John.

GRAMMYs/Apr 17, 2024 - 01:45 pm

While in a studio, Andrew Watt bounces off the walls. Just ask Mick Jagger, who once had to gently tell the 33-year-old, "Look, I can deal with this, but when you meet Ronnie and Keith, you have to dial it down a little bit."

Or ask Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard. "He really got the best out of [drummer] Matt [Cameron] just by being excited — literally jumping up and down and pumping his fist and running around," he tells

As Watt's hot streak has burned on, reams have rightly been written about his ability to take a legacy act, reconnect them with their essence, and put a battery in their back. His efficacy can be seen at Music's Biggest Night: Ozzy Osbourne's Patient Number 9 won Best Rock Album at the 2023 GRAMMYs. At the last ceremony, the Rolling Stones were nominated for Best Rock Song, for Hackney Diamonds' opener "Angry."

On Pearl Jam's return to form, Dark Matter, due out April 19. Who was behind the desk? Take a wild guess.

"You want to see them live more than you want to listen to their albums, and they have the ability to look at each other and play and follow each other. I don't like my rock music any other way, as a listener," Watt tells "All my favorite records are made like that — of people speeding up, slowing down, playing longer than they should."

As such, Watt had a lightbulb moment: to not record any demos, and have them write together in the room. "They're all playing different stuff, and it makes up what Pearl Jam is, and singer Eddie [Vedder] rides it like a wave."

If you're more of a pop listener, there's tons of Watt for you — he's worked with Justin Bieber ("Hit the Ground" from Purpose), Lana Del Rey ("Doin' Time" from Norman F—ing Rockwell) and much more. Read on for a breakdown of big name rockers who have worked with Andrew Watt.

Pearl Jam / Eddie Vedder

Watt didn't just produce Dark Matter; he also helmed Vedder's well-received third solo album, Earthling, from 2022. Watt plays guitar in Vedder's live backing band, known as the Earthlings — which also includes Josh Klinghoffer, who replaced John Frusciante in the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a stint.

The Rolling Stones

Dark Matter was a comeback for Pearl Jam, but Hackney Diamonds was really a comeback for the Stones. While it had a hater or two, the overwhelming consensus was that it was the Stones' best album in decades — maybe even since 1978's Some Girls.

"I hope what makes it fresh and modern comes down to the way it's mixed, with focus on low end and making sure the drums are big," Watt, who wore a different Stones shirt every day in the studio, has said about Hackney Diamonds. "But the record is recorded like a Stones album."

Where there are modern rock flourishes on Hackney Diamonds, "There's no click tracks. There's no gridding. There's no computer editing," he continued. "This s— is performed live and it speeds up and slows down. It's made to the f—ing heartbeat connection of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Steve Jordan.

"And Charlie," Watt added, tipping a hat to Watts, who played on Hackney Diamonds but died before it came out. "When Charlie's on it."

Iggy Pop

Ever since he first picked up a mic and removed his shirt, the snapping junkyard dog of the Stooges has stayed relevant — as far as indie, alternative and punk music has been concerned.

But aside from bright spots like 2016's Josh Homme-produced Post Pop Depression, his late-career output has felt occasionally indulgent and enervated. The 11 songs on 2023's eclectic Watt-produced Every Loser, on the other hand, slap you in the face in 11 different ways.

"We would jam and make tracks and send them to Iggy, and he would like 'em and write to them or wouldn't like them and we'd do something else," Watt told Billboard. "It was very low pressure. We just kept making music until we felt like we had an album." (And as with Pearl Jam and Vedder's Earthlings band, Watt has rocked out onstage with Pop.

Ozzy Osbourne

You dropped your crown, O Prince of Darkness. When he hooked up with Watt, the original Black Sabbath frontman hadn't released any solo music since 2010's Scream; in 2017, Sabbath finally said goodbye after 49 years and 10 (!) singers.

On 2020's Ordinary Man and 2022's Patient Number 9, Watt reenergized Ozzy; even when he sounds his age, Ozz sounds resolute, defiant, spitting in the face of the Reaper. (A bittersweet aside: the late Taylor Hawkins appears on Patient Number 9, which was written and recorded in just four days.)

Maroon 5

Yeah, yeah, they're more of a pop-rock band, but they have guitars, bass and drums. (And if you're the type of rock fan who's neutral or hostile to the 5, you shouldn't be; Songs About Jane slaps.)

At any rate, Watt co-produced "Can't Leave You Alone," featuring Juice WRLD, from 2021's Jordi. Critics disparaged the album, but showed Watt's facility straddling the pop and rock worlds.

5 Seconds of Summer

When it comes to Andrew Watt, the Sydney pop-rockers — slightly more on the rock end than Maroon 5 and their ilk — are repeat customers. He produced a number of tracks for 5 Seconds of Summer, which spanned 2018's Youngblood, 2020's Calm and 2022's 5SOS5.

Regarding the former: Watt has cited Youngblood as one of the defining recording experiences of his life.

"I had started working with 5 Seconds of Summer, and a lot of people looked at them as a boy band, but they're not," Watt told Guitar Player. "They're all incredible musicians. They can all play every instrument. They love rock music. They can harmonize like skyrockets in flight. They just were making the wrong kind of music."

So Watt showed 5 Seconds of Summer a number of mainstays of the rock era, like Tears for Fears and the Police. The rest, as they say, is history.

Elton John

A year after Britney Spears was unshackled from her highly controversial conservatorship, it was time for a victory lap with the God of Glitter. What resulted was a curious little bauble, which became a megahit: "Hold Me Closer," a spin on "Tiny Dancer," "The One" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" that briefly launched Spears back into the stratosphere.

"Britney came in and she knew what she wanted to do," Watt recalled to The L.A. Times. "We sped up the song a little bit and she sang the verses in her falsetto, which harkens back to 'Toxic.' She was having a blast."

Watt has also worked with pop/punk heroes Blink-182 — but not after Tom DeLonge made his grand return. He produced "I Really Wish I Hated You" from 2019's Nine, back when Matt Skiba was in the band.

Where in the rock world will this tender-aged superproducer strike next? Watt knows.

Songbook: The Rolling Stones' Seven-Decade Journey To Hackney Diamonds

National Recording Registry Announces Inductees

Photo: Library of Congress


National Recording Registry Inducts Music From The Notorious B.I.G., Green Day, Blondie, The Chicks, & More

Recordings by the Cars, Bill Withers, Lily Tomlin, Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick, and the all-Black 369th U.S. Infantry Band after World War I are also among the 25 selected for induction.

GRAMMYs/Apr 17, 2024 - 12:54 am

As a founding member of the National Recording Preservation Board, the Recording Academy was instrumental in lobbying and getting the board created by Congress. Now, the Library of Congress has added new treasures to the National Recording Registry, preserving masterpieces that have shaped American culture.

The 2024 class not only celebrates modern icons like Green Day’s punk classic Dookie and Biggie Smalls' seminal Ready to Die, but also honors vintage gems like Gene Autry’s "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and Perry Como’s hits from 1957. These recordings join over 650 titles that constitute the registry — a curated collection housed within the Library’s vast archive of nearly 4 million sound recordings. 

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced these additions as essential pieces of our nation’s audio legacy, each selected for their cultural, historical, or aesthetic importance. This selection process is influenced by public nominations, which hit a record number this year, emphasizing the public's role in preserving audio history.

Read more: Inside Green Day's Intimate "Right Here, Right Now" Global Climate Concert In San Francisco

"The Library of Congress is proud to preserve the sounds of American history and our diverse culture through the National Recording Registry," Hayden said. "We have selected audio treasures worthy of preservation with our partners this year, including a wide range of music from the past 100 years, as well as comedy. We were thrilled to receive a record number of public nominations, and we welcome the public’s input on what we should preserve next."

The latest selections named to the registry span from 1919 to 1998 and range from the recordings of the all-Black 369th U.S. Infantry Band led by James Reese Europe after World War I, to defining sounds of jazz and bluegrass, and iconic recordings from pop, dance, country, rock, rap, Latin and classical music.

"For the past 21 years the National Recording Preservation Board has provided musical expertise, historical perspective and deep knowledge of recorded sound to assist the Librarian in choosing landmark recordings to be inducted into the Library’s National Recording Registry," said Robbin Ahrold, Chair of the National Recording Preservation Board. "The board again this year is pleased to join the Librarian in highlighting influential works in our diverse sound heritage, as well as helping to spread the word on the National Recording Registry through their own social media and streaming media Campaigns."

Tune in to NPR's "1A" for "The Sounds of America" series, featuring interviews with Hayden and selected artists, to hear stories behind this year’s picks. Stay connected to the conversation about the registry via social media and listen to many of the recordings on your favorite streaming service.

For more details on the National Recording Registry and to explore more about the selections, visit The Library of Congress's official National Recording Registry page.

National Recording Registry, 2024 Selections (chronological order)

  1. "Clarinet Marmalade" – Lt. James Reese Europe’s 369th U.S. Infantry Band (1919)

  2. "Kauhavan Polkka" – Viola Turpeinen and John Rosendahl (1928)

  3. Wisconsin Folksong Collection (1937-1946)

  4. "Rose Room" – Benny Goodman Sextet with Charlie Christian (1939)

  5. "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" – Gene Autry (1949)

  6. "Tennessee Waltz" – Patti Page (1950)

  7. "Rocket ‘88’" – Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats (1951)

  8. "Catch a Falling Star" / "Magic Moments" – Perry Como (1957)

  9. "Chances Are" – Johnny Mathis (1957)

  10. "The Sidewinder" – Lee Morgan (1964)

  11. "Surrealistic Pillow" – Jefferson Airplane (1967)

  12. "Ain’t No Sunshine" – Bill Withers (1971)

  13. "This is a Recording" – Lily Tomlin (1971)

  14. "J.D. Crowe & the New South" – J.D. Crowe & the New South (1975)

  15. "Arrival" – ABBA (1976)

  16. "El Cantante" – Héctor Lavoe (1978)

  17. "The Cars" – The Cars (1978)

  18. "Parallel Lines" – Blondie (1978)

  19. "La-Di-Da-Di" – Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick (MC Ricky D) (1985)

  20. "Don’t Worry, Be Happy" – Bobby McFerrin (1988)

  21. "Amor Eterno" – Juan Gabriel (1990)

  22. "Pieces of Africa" – Kronos Quartet (1992)

  23. Dookie – Green Day (1994)

  24. Ready to Die – The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)

  25. "Wide Open Spaces" – The Chicks (1998)

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