meta-scriptHerbal Tea & White Sofas: Watch G. Love Lay Out His Craft-Beer-Filled Tour Rider |
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G. Love


Herbal Tea & White Sofas: Watch G. Love Lay Out His Craft-Beer-Filled Tour Rider

In the newest episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas, watch G. Love (of Special Sauce and the Juice fame) explain his tour rider—and why you can't leave him with a package of Nutter Butter backstage

GRAMMYs/Jul 14, 2021 - 08:53 pm

As one of the world's foremost purveyors of the hip-hop blues, G. Love has many world-renowned abilities. Staying away from an available package of sandwich cookies is not one of them.

"I've come close to forbidding the peanut butter Nutter Butters," the Philly leader of Special Sauce and the Juice tells, with a laugh, in the latest episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas. What he will abide, however, is local craft beer to support whatever city he's touring.

In the clip above, watch as G. Love explains his tour rider and tells how he and his band stay mentally centered before the stage lights flare up.

Check out the quirky clip above and click here to enjoy more episodes of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.

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G. Love
Garrett Dutton a.k.a. G. Love

Photo: Joe Navas


G. Love On 'G. Love & Special Sauce' At 30: Revisiting A Classic Document Of The Hip-Hop Blues

G. Love and Special Sauce's self-titled debut hit the college charts hard with a dyad of party anthems, but there was so much more to it. Days before a reissue and supporting tour, G. Love revisits the band's origins, and how the album captured an era.

GRAMMYs/Jan 9, 2024 - 09:21 pm

It's been decades since G. Love was a hip-hop-loving kid living with his parents in Philadelphia. But he kept their breakfast table.

Today, at his cozy-looking Cape Cod home, the artist born Garrett Dutton sits at that very table. Over Zoom, one also notices his conspicuous tattoos. Emblazoned on his left forearm is his seven-year-old's name and birthday; on his right, his three-year-old's. (His eldest is near the crook of his elbow; his two-year-old is pending.

The table and tats make this conversation about his debut album rather poignant. "These songs have given me everything that I love in life," he says of G. Love and Special Sauce's self-titled 1994 debut. "I wouldn't have met my wife if I wasn't a musician; I wouldn't have had my kids.

"Music has really given me everything in my life. In particular, this record," he continues. "So, I'm happy to have this milestone."

Naturally so: G. Love and Special Sauce kicked off a fruitful career in what he calls "the hip-hop blues." While both genres are offshoots of Black American music, with a plethora of common DNA, nobody combined them as Dutton did; strictly speaking, he might be the sole occupant of this lane.

At times, it's been a turbulent ride. Over the ensuing three decades, the music industry's fluctuated, and so have the college rock favorites' cachet — despite releasing albums easily of G. Love and Special Sauce's quality, like 1999's Philadelphonic and 2022's Philadelphia Mississippi. Recently, their drummer, Jeff "Houseman" Clemens, retired from the road.

But the genial, gracious Dutton stayed steady on the wheel. Sure, they're nothing if not idiosyncratic; Google their name and "laid-back" and see how many hits you get. But G. Love   has managed to do what numberless acts can't: last.

Happily, in 2024, G. Love and Special Sauce are on an upswing. They remain a live favorite; the thirst for "Cold Beverage" and the rest is unabated. They've signed with new management, in Regime Music; perhaps that nudged them to put some muscle into G. Love and Special Sauce's 30th anniversary.

Indeed, a remastered G. Love and Special Sauce will be digitally re-released Jan. 12, with 11 intriguing live recordings from New York's Knitting Factory in 1994. The day before, the band will kick off a 41-date tour of North America, mostly playing cuts from the album. (Chuck Treece — who Dutton says has been a "ghost member" from the jump — will be behind the kit.)

G. Love and Special Sauce sneakily resonates in 2024 — and not just because it kicked off a career. The refrigerator-ready singles "Cold Beverage" and "Baby's Got Sauce" ruled the roost of college radio, but they're outliers, as hits tend to be: its spirit runs much deeper.

G. Love and Special Sauce is also something of a nexus: from here, you can go in so many directions — from alternative hip-hop to crackly Delta blues to peak 2000s sandals-core, like his longtime colleague Jack Johnson. Could this aesthetic resurge, like shoegaze or indie sleaze or Myspace emo? Revisit G. Love and Special Sauce, and you be the judge.

Back when Dutton's breakfast table sat in Philadelphia, the sounds of the Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C., Eric B. and Rakim, LL Cool J, Boogie Down Productions, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest lit up Dutton's dome.

"My generation was the first generation of kids to grow up as fans of hip-hop," Dutton explains. But being a practitioner seemed to be off the table.

"I definitely never thought about trying to be a rapper, because at that time, except for the Beastie Boys, Vanilla Ice, and 3rd Base, there were really not many white people rapping," he continues. "Because it was Black music that was coming out of the Black community, and it was so great that it took over the whole world, to where it is now — where it's part of the production on most records, of every genre."

Instead of rocking the mic, Dutton opted to strum an acoustic guitar, and be a folkie a la Bob Dylan. But then he discovered John Hammond, and that was his portal into the blues: Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins, other foundational figures.

As a street musician, Dutton rapped Eric B. and Rakim's "Paid in Full" over a blues riff. Eureka. "It was like the whole sky opened up and the light shined down on me and it was like, 'Oh, this is it,'" he recalls, still seeming in awe."

The band grew from there: at a solo performance in Boston, Dutton met Clemens, and later, bassist Jim "Jimi Jazz" Prescott. Their aesthetic developed around thrift-store polyester leisure suits, pawn-shopped guitars, and an antiquated, oversized kick drum.

"And I know that's where Jack White got his whole aesthetic," Dutton claims. "From seeing me play that pawn shop guitar — except he really dialed it in." (He remembers White rolling up to a Pontiac show that Kid Rock and the Black Crowes' late keyboardist, Eddie Harsch, attended.

Despite being signed to OKeh Records — a subsidiary of Epic — as a "developing artist," G. Love and Special Sauce seemed to arrive fully formed. With Boston as a new base, they caught flame instantly: Dutton describes their Monday night gigs at Irish pub the Plough and Stars as "euphoric… we were kind of blowing up on a local level in Boston."

When it came time to record their self-titled debut, the mission was simple: "We were trying to capture what we were doing live, which we were automatically addicted to."

The album's boomy, organic sound owes itself to minimal isolation, with bleed aplenty: Dutton sang and rapped into "some Italian funky mic I got at the cool music store, because I liked vintage-looking s—." (It's in the ballpark of a bullet mic, which harmonica players use; he fed it into an amplifier.)

"We were trying to capture the essence of the people that we loved, like John Lee Hooker, and Bob Dylan, and all the records that were made from the '40s through the '70s," Dutton says. "Performance records, capturing this amazing magic."

Other than "This Ain't Living," which features piano by mega-producer Scott Storch, and a guest appearance by the rapper Jasper, every note on G. Love and Special Sauce is by the core trio.

Despite its minimalism, G. Love and Special Sauce features a multiplicity of moods and shades. The hypnotic "Blues Music" is a mission statement; you want that mellow, loop-like groove to unspool for miles. "Garbage Man" features a stony Bonham-esque groove, with a gigantic kick drum sound and one of Dutton's darkest and most steely-eyed flows.

Highlights are all over the place: the grimy garage rock of "Fatman," the shimmering comedown that is "Some Peoples Like That," the solo valentine "I Love You." But, understandably, the label pushed the kegger-ready "Cold Beverage" and besotted brag "Baby's Got Sauce" first and foremost.

"Some of our more fun stuff," is how G. Love characterizes them. But that tune with Storch and Jasper comes to mind: "We should have come back for 'This Ain't Living,' which was a more social song about homelessness and steady living. It had more merit, maybe."

"Cold Beverage" and "Baby's Got Sauce" put G. Love and Special Sauce on the map, and also carved out their demographic. "We did get adopted by more of a party crowd," he says. "A lot of hipsters that would come to our shows kind of got turned off, maybe, by the college people."

As usual, Dutton flips a potential negative into a resounding positive. "You can't control your audience, and now our audience has kind of grown up with us," he says, noting that listeners who were kids in the mid-'90s are now bringing their kids to shows.

"That's what happens, and that's what you hope for," Dutton continues. "That your audience kind of stays with you, and you're part of their culture and their life."

As G. Love and Special Sauce gained steam on the live circuit, they also got pushback.

"People would ask, 'How can you be a white kid from Philadelphia and play the blues?'," he says. "But artists would never say that. Especially the first couple of years, we were doing shows with all my influences: Gang Starr, Jazzmatazz, De La Soul, f***ing Cypress Hill. No rappers were ever like, 'Oh, you suck,' or 'You can't do this.' Music was just music."

But by Dutton's telling, the live rap circuit ate the band alive. As he explains, G. Love and Special Sauce got thrown onto hip-hop bills with abandon, "even though we're more like a garage band that has hip-hop in our music."

When he was thrown on massive rap bills, "The crowds were really tough," he says. 

"We're a three-piece garage band playing on either side of MC's rocking to decks. So they sound like they're at a club, just blasting, and we sound like this little rinky-dink unit."

Dutton was fed up with rap — so much so that he briefly threw it out. "I was like, "This is not what I'm trying to do. I want to play the blues.' Then that's why our second record was blues," he says. That album was 1995's Coast to Coast Motel; due to financial differences, the band reportedly almost broke up on its tour.

"I'd be the first to admit that it came in fully formed and it kind of unraveled as our influences diversified, and what we wanted to do artistically diversified, kind of lost the core of what we did," Dutton says. "But we came back to it; we came back to it."

G. Love

If G. Love and Special Sauce come caked with unpleasant associations with frat parties and hackysack in the quad, give them another chance: G. Love's catalog with and without Special Sauce is mightily rewarding, as well as comforting.

One solo album from the aughts is called Lemonade, which leads us to one last tattoo.

"This is a funny story: I said, 'If I ever get a record deal, I'm going to get lemonade tattooed on my arm," he says, sans explanation. "The day that I got that, Jeff got a tattoo. We were staying at my parents' house in Philadelphia, and we came back to this kitchen table right here. We're looking sheepishly at each other, and we were like, 'I got a tattoo.' 'So did I!'"

Dutton has other musical outlets outside of Special Sauce, like his band, the Juice; his label, Philadelphonic Records; and his Outermost Roots & Blues Festival in Orleans, Massachusetts, on October 12. But with his long-running band, he just wants to keep going.

"Just to put on great shows and be happy," he says. "We have our health, and we have this great legacy of songs and albums, and we continue to make more." That is living.

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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That Mexican OT

Photo: Andrea Asibor


Herbal Tea & White Sofas: That Mexican OT Brings Mexico To Every Live Show With This Beverage

Some might prefer water and tea while on tour, but Texas-based rapper That Mexican OT gets all of his energy from a cold bottle of Mexican coke.

GRAMMYs/Sep 11, 2023 - 05:06 pm

If there is one thing That Mexican OT will do while on tour, it's stay hydrated. But not necessarily with water — he prefers an ice-cold glass of Mexican Coca-Cola.

"This bad mama jama right here is a go-to for sure," he says in the latest episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas. "A big part of me loving this is the Mexican heritage, but it also goes down perfectly."

Compared to American Coke, he says the Mexican version has a better taste because it uses natural cane sugar and no high fructose corn syrup.

When That Mexican OT wants something healthier, he opts for cranberry juice. "It's good for your kidneys," he shares. "Those antioxidants will keep you clean and running good, baby."

In his dream world, he would love to have a giant water slide in every green room. "I'm talking about a 20 to 40-footer," he quips with a smile. "Something simple. Easy to hit those dips."

You can catch That Mexican OT live on the Lonestar Luchador Tour through the United States, which ends on Oct. 4 in Oakland, California.

Press play on the video above to learn more about That Mexican OT's two favorite drinks to have while on tour, and check back to for more new episodes of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.

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Photo: Thanisorn Thitikhunrat, @smoothaum


Herbal Tea & White Sofas: DABOYWAY Reveals His Favorite Sweet Treats For Tour

As someone with a major sweet tooth, Thai-American rapper DABOYWAY can't go on tour without a few guilty pleasure items: red wine, Sour Patch Kids, and even a sugary cinnamon-scented candle.

GRAMMYs/Aug 14, 2023 - 05:14 pm

While many artists might ask for healthy foods and tea on their tour rider, Thai-American musician DABOYWAY unapologetically requests three specific confections: red wine, Sour Patch Kids, and a cinnamon-scented candle.

"The red wine has to be from Chile," he says in the latest episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas. He doesn't care which brand it is, but as long as it's Chilean, he's happy, because it's never done him wrong.

The rapper loves Sour Patch Kids because they remind him of his childhood. "I've eaten so many Sour Patch Kids at one time that the whole side of my mouth hurts from eating all that sourness ... If anyone wants to win my heart, bring me a bag of Sour Patch Kids," he reveals.

DABOYWAY says cinnamon is hard to find in Thailand, but that makes it all the more special when he can get his hands on it. He says it reminds him of home and his favorite time of the year: football season. And he always appreciates that it makes "the room smell nice before I get on stage."

Press play to learn more about DABOYWAY's favorite items to have on tour, and check back to for more new episodes of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.

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