Students Working Together on Tests? (Brilliant!)

I subscribe to this ten-minute podcast series specifically meant for teachers.

In this episode, a teacher shared a brilliant idea.

After he gives his students a test, he has them retake it in groups. This lets them discuss the questions and the answers they originally provided. It gives them a new perspective on how to answer the questions and fills in any gaps they might have had the first time around.

This is such a great idea that I had to try it out in my own classroom. It worked.

Have you had any experience with this method? Is there anything different you do when it comes to test. Please leave a comment below letting us know.

Teaching Tip Tuesday – inspiration, tips, and lessons from my classroom to yours

Best of 2017 Mixset

2017 was a great year for Word is Bond Rap Radio.

We had plenty of in-depth interviews with legends and underground hip-hop heads.

We spun some amazing music week in and week out.

We counted down the Top 17 Albums of 2017.

And now we say goodbye in style with two hours of some of our favourite tracks from last year.

Skillz – 2017 Wrap Up
Maestro ft Skyzoo – Designated Driver
Jazz Spastiks – Midnight Mode
MC Eiht and DJ Premier – Got That
Alpha Faktion – System Shutdown
Superior ft Blu and Edo.G – Make the World Go Round
M-Dot ft Krumb Snatcha – Nomads
Word Burglar – If It Rhymes It’s Real
Gift of Gab, RA The Rugged Man, and A.F.R.O. – Freedom From Flowing
Defari – I’m Here
Evidence – Throw It All Away
Tone Chop and Frost Gamble ft Kool G Rap – Walk the Walk
King Magnetic ft Masta Ace, and Slug – Alone
Kool Krys ft Nilla – Knockout
Local-Mu12 ft Sadat X, Torae, and Foki – Never Had
Notion ft Cee – Something Inside
DJ Premier ft ASAP Ferg – Our Streets
Dres – Patience
Venom ft Rah Digga – Ruff and Tuff
Sareem Poems & Terem – Walk and Talk
Koss ft Torae – And You Don’t Stop
Chan Hays ft Homeboy Sandman, John Robinson, and Ghettosocks – The Shoes
Dan-e-o ft Thrust, Maestro, Moka Only, Big Kish, Eternia – League of Legends (Rock Out Remix)
Jovan – Premium Rush
Def3 – Fill Your Soul
Beneficience – Hostile Lifestyle
Da Dysfunkshunal Familee ft Greg Nice – She’s My
WarPorn Industries – Keep Your Distance
Wu-Tang Clan – People Say
Traffimatics ft Mad Hattr with DJ Chase March – Y’allreadyknow
Tempomental – Blow Up
Skillz – Murda Gram

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Cancer Benefit Hip-Hop Show (Saturday)

Come out an support a good cause on Saturday January 13th as some of London, Ontario’s best come together to raise some money to battle cancer. This one is for Danny Gable’s dad, who has been battling the horrible disease for 3 years and has been a warrior. Let’s show him that were all behind him in this battle and help put a dent in cancer.

Performances by

Mad Hattr, Tempomental, Traffimatics, Triip (of Labeled Minority), IG, Yung RL, Johnny Bars, Fate, and special guest G Premacy.

DJ Chase March on the 1s and 2s all night long.

I hope to see you there.

WHAT: F*&k Cancer 4
WHEN: Saturday January 13, 2018
WHERE: Gordy’s Brewhouse. 1631 Oxford St. E. London, ON.
DOORS: 9:00 p.m.
TICKETS: $10
FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1765931290116070/

2017 Highlights from WIB Rap Radio

2017 was a pretty good year for Word is Bond Rap Radio. 

I had the chance to interview some of my favourite hip-hop musicians. Legends that I have been listening to since the 1980s and 90s.

I also had some great conversations with underground heads, local talent, and up-and-comers.

So without further ado, here is the 2017 Highlights show with real hip-hop music and talk.

PMD ft Erick Sermon – Real is Gone
PMD ft Ace Brav & RJ da Realst– Gimme the Mic
Intelligenz – Round of Applause
Napoleon Da Legend – Black Privilege 2
O.C. – Good Man
Tanya Morgan – Ahead of You
Lessondary – Art of Saying No
Zo the Jerk and Frost Gamble ft Guilty Simpson – My Negus
Gensu Dean and Wise Intelligent – Ever So Lightly
Gensu Dean and Wise Intelligent – Amen
Nolan the Ninja ft Royce Da 5’9″ – Calisthenics
Substantial – The Sub Way
Tone Chop and Frost Gamble – Bing Stories
E-Turn and SPS ft Qwel – One Day At a Time
Hattr, Cee, Notion, & Exit Only – Eya

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AMD3O Electronic Music Semester and Unit Plan

AMD3O is a Grade 11 Electronic Music class that follows the Ontario Curriculum. I am teaching the class for the very first time this semester. I have designed a semester plan that covers six units; Analyzing and Understanding Song Structure, Music is Society, Composition and Performance, DJing, Careers in Music and Music-Related Fields, and Live Productions and Events.

This course utilizes technology to understand, create, and record music. Students will be exposed to engineering and recording and will gain exposure to music software, notation programs, sequencing, marketing, and issues of copyright. Students will develop knowledge and skills as they compose, produce, and create music projects using a variety of electronic music resources including samplers, keyboards, and computer software and applications. Projects may include original songs, remixes, mash-ups, film scoring, and deejaying. Students will also develop an awareness of related environmental and societal issues. They will explore college and university programs and career opportunities in various music and media fields. The final project will involve the class producing and hosting a concert to showcase their musical compositions and live performances.

I haven’t been able to find much in the way of resources for this focus class online. So I plan to share mine so teachers who wish to launch this program can have a starting point and resources from which to build their own programs.

AMD30 Semester and Unit Plans – PDF or MS Word document

Teaching Tip Tuesday – over 200 great tips, tricks, and resources

To Funk and Die in LA (Book Review)

To Funk and Die in LA: A D Hunter Mystery by Nelson George

I am not a big fan of the mysteries. In fact, this is the first novel in the genre that I have read in a really long time. I decided to give the book a chance when I was given the opportunity to receive a review copy. After all, Nelson George has written books on hip-hop and wrote the introduction for another book reviewed not too long ago, What is Hip-Hop?

The story revolves around the death of the main character’s grandfather, Big Danny. There are a lot of questions to be had around his death. Why would someone shoot an old man? He was the owner of a grocery store and did a lot for the community.

D Hunter goes to Los Angeles to pay his respects to the man he was named after and starts to uncover all sorts of things about his grandfather. In a side-story, a reclusive musician attends the funeral and a YouTube video sparks interest in a possible career revival of Dr. Funk.

Like I said, I am not a fan of this genre, but I do like a story that has hip-hop sensibilities. Dr. Funk’s journey is pretty cool and might have been an even better story without the main narrative being a part of it at all. He seems like a George Clinton / James Brown kind of figure who is larger than life and really respected but who completely disappeared years and years ago.

This is the fourth novel in the series but you don’t have to read the other ones to follow along with the story. It is a stand-alone that works well, for the most part.

My List of 2017 Reads (list now complete)

Word is Bond’s Top 17 of 2017

We countdown the Top 17 Albums of 2017 in this edition of Word is Bond Rap Radio. We highlight two tracks for each album and look back at the year that was.

What were your favourite albums? Do you agree with this list? Let us know if we slept on anything.

Brother Ali – Own Light
Brother Ali – Can’t Take That Away
Chan Hays ft Supastition, Ambition, and One Be Lo – Never Knew
Chan Hays ft Ghettosocks, Guilty Simpson, Ras Kass, and Tachichi – Gotta Love It
Primal Winds – On the Grind
Primal Winds – Concrete Jungle
The Shield Enforcers ft Casual – Hold Me
The Shield Enforcers – Prove It
Career Crooks – Diamond Cutter Sutra
Career Crooks ft DJ Manipulator – Corrupt Novelist
Hex One – Leave It All Behind
Hex One ft Skyzoo – Peep the Steez
Es ft Gov’nah – I Can’t Relate
Es – Growth
Apathy and O.C. – The Broadcast
Apathy and O.C. – Globetrotters
Gensu Dean and Wise Intelligent – G.O.D.
Gensu Dean and Wise Intelligent – Black Fear
Dan-e-o ft Mathematik and Deuce Deuce – Rap Essentials
Dan-e-o ft Fraction and Cable – 20 Years Later
Verbal Kent and Superior – As Far As A Fair Fight
Verbal Kent and Superior – For the Love
PMD ft Erick Sermon – The Real is Gone
PMD ft RJ Da Realist, Nocturnal, and Agallah – You Know Who Da Best
LS Camp ft Aria, Lyric, and Rockwiella – Out of Control
LS Camp ft Masta Ace – Too Black
DJ Format and Abdominal – Behind the Scenes
DJ Format and Abdominal – Still Hungry
Amerigo Gazaway – Sugar By The Pound
Amerigo Gazaway – I Was Made to Love Her
Blu and Exile ft Aloe Blacc – Things We Say
Blu and Exile ft Lyric Jones – Constellations
Koss ft Ruste Juxx – How I Get Down
Koss ft Keith Murray – This is Now

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Chasing Content This Winter

It’s time for another edition of Chasing Content, that monthly feature that has us looking back at what was happening here last year at this time.

Click through to read all of the posts from last January . . .

or take in these winter highlights.

Winter Trail Hike

If you follow this blog, you will know that I am an avid trail runner when there is no snow on the ground. I normally take the winters off from running completely and never venture out on a trail until the early spring. But for some reason, last year at this time, I decided to go on a winter hike. Here is the recap of my adventure.

Lyrical Mind’s Birthday Bash

This year, the annual birthday bash concert will be back in London, Ontario. It will be on Friday January 12th this year if you’d like to stop by.

The Martian – Book vs Movie

I really enjoyed reading The Martian, a story about an astronaut who gets abandoned on Mars and has to fend for himself against all odds. It was a great story filled with adventure, suspense, and humour. The movie was fairly well done as well. But which one is better?

Music Teaching Plans and Resources

I shared my semester plan for Grade 11 instrumental music last January as well as several other resources. This year, I will be teaching an electronic music class and will be sharing resources from it as well.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me!

Please click on the links above to explore these posts in more detail. I’ll see you at the start of February for another edition of “Chasing Content.”

2018 – Here I Come

I have never been one for New Years Resolutions. I always thought if I wanted to, or needed to change, I could just commit to making that change and stick to it. It didn’t matter what time of year it was.

However, there are two times during the year where I just naturally reflect on my life. New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving.

New Challenges for 2018

This year I have a few new challenges ahead of me.

1st Wedding Anniversary

I will celebrate my first wedding anniversary and am very excited about hitting that milestone.

New Music Class

I will teach a brand new class that I have designed myself. It is a Grade 11 high school music class that will focus on electronic music production and performance. I am glad that my school had the confidence in me to try this and the students are lining up to be in it. It is going to be a lot of fun.

Masters Degree

I will continue to work on earning my Masters of Library and Information Science degree on a part-time basis. I might even complete it this year if all goes well.

New Mixtape Project

DJ Hullewud and I will be releasing a follow-up to The MIX(ed)TAPE with brand new exclusive hip-hop. The project will drop this summer.

Radio Milestones

Word is Bond Rap Radio and DOPEfm will present the 8th Annual Women in Hip-Hop Spectacular.

Word is Bond Rap Radio will also celebrate it’s 300th episode and its 6th anniversary.

New Website

I plan on launching Chase March DJ Services as a separate website to help attract new business and get regular DJ gigs and engagements.

Small Projects and Tasks

I will work on some small things over the course of the year as well. Hopefully, I will actual take steps to get my fiction published this year.

This Year is Going to Rock!

I look forward to all that 2018 has in store.

Top 17 Albums of 2017

I started this tradition back in 2009 with the top 9 albums of that year. Every year since then I have had to add an album to this list.

I listened to a couple albums a lot this year that didn’t make the list because they were actually released at the end of last year and I just wasn’t aware of them at the time.

I love these year end lists because it is a great way to discover music that you might otherwise not stumble upon. So take  in my list and let me know if I have slept on anything you think I should check out.

17. Brother Ali – All The Beauty In This Whole Life

I love Brother Ali. This isn’t his best album, in my humble opinion but it still works. Brother Ali has a great voice and you can always feel his passion for the music.

16. Chan Hays – Here

This is the debut project from Chan Hays. He enlists the help of some heavyweights to provide the lyrics over his dope production. Edo.G. Erick Sermon, Saukrates, Ghettosock, Ras Kass, Pharoah Monche, Skyzoo, Homeboy Sandman and more sound great over his beats.

15. Primal Winds – T Dot Stand Up

I featured on of the tracks from this album on my special appearance for the Gripple Effect Mixshow. I love being able to beat juggle one of their songs that pays tribute to hip-hop DJs.  Primordial Emcee and Iron Wind really impress with the rhymes on this album. And not one to rest on their laurels, they released a second project this year too.

14. The Shield Enforcers – Crash Course

Pro The Leader and Masta Of Ceremoniez are The Shield Enforcers. Backed up by beats from Skarekrow, they enlist the help of Chino XL, Casual, Tash, and Craig G. They even sampled a Beatles song. I’m not sure how they got away with it, but it really works and will have your head nodding for sure.

13. Career Crooks – Good Luck With That

Zilla Rocca and Small Professor join forces to form Career Crooks, a concept album that tells some great stories over the classic boom-bap aesthetic that we all love. There are a couple posse cuts on this project that really stand out as well.

12. Hex One – Words Worth A Thousand Pictures

Words really can paint a picture, and Hex One knows how to deliver lyrics that do just that. The production features plenty of samples from drum breaks to vocals to piano and sax riffs. It bumps and has been in heavy rotation since its release.

11. Es – We Are Only Getting Older

Es reflects on being a grown man in an industry that has always seemed to be focused on youth. He is a proud family man, doesn’t feel the need to use profanity, and crafts songs with meaning. There is a song entitled Hashtag Lyrics matter and you can even order a T-shirt with the saying on it.

10. Apathy and O.C. – Perestroika

Apathy and O.C. make a great team in Perestroika. Their goal was  to comment on the cold war being waged on the rap industry. Both Apathy and O.C. rhyme on this album while Apathy also holds down most of the production. But Canada’s own Moss and  Illinformed of The Four Owls also contribute tracks.

9. Gensu Dean & Wise Intelligent – Game of Death

Gensu Dean handles the production for Wise Intelligent, who spits real lyrics that will have your head nodding while you actually think about what is said. It’s a dope project from the veteran spitter and production master.

8. Dan-e-o – Dear Hip-Hop: 20 Years Later

Dan-e-o dropped a Canadian hip-hop classic with his song “Dear Hip Hop” twenty years ago. This year, he celebrated that with an anniversary album, a reworking of the track, and he enlists some of the country’s best emcees to help him out including Thrust, Maestro Fresh Wes, Moka Only, Big Kish, Eternia, Nish Raawks, Choclair, Frankenstein, Grimace Love, Mathematik, Fraction, and Cable.

7. Verbal Kent & Superior – Half My Life

Superior provides the beats for Verbal Kent in Half My Life. The title shows how long Verbal Kent has been doing music. He has paid his dues and it is clear to see that he is a veteran in the game.

6. PMD – Business Mentality

P.M.D. continues to produce amazing hip-hop music decades after his debut with the legendary group, E.P.M.D. This project features production by PMD, Agallah, and Snowgoons and even includes a guest appearance from Erick Sermon. And that is just a teaser because they will be reuniting with a new project dropping next year.

5. LS Camp – Back To The Basics (The Boom Bap)

This album lives up to its title. It feels like a throwback to the old school, boom bap aesthetic that made me fall in love with hip-hop with the first place. The group is comprised of emcee / producer D*Rock aka The Heatmizer, Mike Malik, and DJ Boomer.

4. DJ Format and Abdominal – Still Hungry

DJ Format’s uptempo boom bap fit Abdominal’s lyrics, flow, and delivery perfectly. This is a great project that was followed up by a remixed album later in the year. Surprisingly both albums are amazing.

3. Amerigo Gazaway – A Common Wonder

Amerigo Gazaway took Common tracks and verses, mashed them up with the smooth sounds of Stevie Wonder and created a project that is truly remarkable. It feels like these two artists collaborated on these tracks. They feel smooth and organic. I absolutely love this album.

2. Blu and Exile – In the Beginning: Before the Heavens

Ten years after their iconic album, Blu and Exile release a companion album with tracks that were recorded in 2007 and didn’t make the album. These aren’t throwaway tracks either. It’s hard to imagine why these songs weren’t released before now.

1. Koss – Born to Live

DJ Koss enlisted some heavyweights to provide the lyrics over his boom-bap production. The project features Torae, Masta Ace, Large Pro, Craig G, Marley Marl, Blaq Poet, J-Live, Keith Murray, Ruste Juxx and K-Def. Every single track on this project bangs. It definitely deserves top billing this year.

Did I Miss Anything? 

What are your favourite albums of 2017? Please leave a comment below or hit me up on social media. Happy New Year!

Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide

Hip-Hop Regional Guide - Volume One

Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume One – East Coast and West Coast by Mickey Hess

Place is an important aspect when it comes to music. Nashville is known as the home to country music and is celebrated by many singers. New Orleans is held in high esteem when it comes to jazz. Many artists strive to put their city on the map. And it gets even more specific in hip-hop music and culture. Neighbourhoods are celebrated. This series of books does its best to highlight those scenes and the artists that helped popularize them.

Hess talks about something that I have rarely though much about – the immigration of artists to specific areas. For example, Gangstarr is one of New York’s most celebrated groups, however, Guru hails from Boston and DJ Premier is from Houston.

Here are some further examples; Kanye West was born in Atlanta but clearly reps Chicago, Eminem was born in Missouri bu he carries Detroit, Shock G spent his early years in New York but claims the Bay Area, 2Pac was born in New York, raised in Baltimore, and repped West Coast till he died, Too Short moved to Altanta, then back to the Bay area, MF Doom was born in Great Britain not Long Island, Monie Love moved from the UK to Philly, Ice-T grew up in New Jersey before moving to LA, and Krs-One reps hard for the Bronx but was actually born in Brooklyn.

The history covered in this book is impressive. I highly recommend it for any hip-hop fan.

Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume Two – Midwest, Dirty South, and Beyond by Mickey Hess

The second volume in this series deals with the other areas of the United States of America. It covers some of the first radio DJs and how the scene started in Chicago.

Hess writes about one of the earliest hip hop DJs in Chicago . . .

“DJ Casper (born Terry Marshall), a radio DJ from NY, offered the first rap song in Chicago on AVI records in 1980, “Casper’s Groovy Ghost Show.” Next, DJ Groove became the first homegrown Chicagoan to bring DJing and MCing together with his “Super Shock Body Rock.”

I had also never heard of Dr. Jokenstein . . .

“Dr. Jokenstein, a rhyming radio DJ. Roderick G. “Rod” King was given the name Dr. Jokenstein by George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic. Thousands of listeners would tune in to hear “Dr. Jockenstein, operating on your mind” on his Roll Call show. He emphasized how everyone would want to call in an partake in this form of call-and-response. Jockenstein recalled, “I had letters from Southwestern Bell to change the time I was doing the Roll Call show because I was tying up their switchboard.

Every day there was a formal routine that hypnotized the youth of St. Louis: Dr Jokenstein would say, “Here we go on the ra-di-o, I’m the DJ Jock in ster-e-o. We’re gonna have a good time. On the Roll Call line.” Then Jockenstein would ask his callers: “Hey, what’s your name? What’s your sign? Give me that No. 1 school. Your favourite teacher with the golden rule. Your favourite station in the nation. From there the show turned in to much more. Soon enough, people were calling in Monday through Friday who had made up their own rhymes and transformed the show into a place for freestyle.

Many of the early rap groups from St. Louis were first heard on the program: Kid Robb, Kid Smooth, King Odie and the Golden Boys, for example. Jockenstein is remembered as the man who introduced the city of St. Louis to rap music and is often compared to New York’s Mr. Magic.”

I also like the section about the importance of football and the role marching bands played in developing the musical stylings of Pharrel Williams and even Missy Elliot.

These two books were a great read for anyone interested in hip-hop music and culture.

My List of 2017 Reads – my personal reading log

5 Storytelling Secrets from the Masters of Radio

Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio by Jessica Abel

I love the art of radio. The power of this medium is absolutely incredible. I listen to all sorts of broadcasts from hip-hop mixshows to interviews to spoken word shows. That’s why this book jumped out at me when I was scanning the bookshelves at the public library. Storytelling secrets from the masters of radio. I want to know what those are.

I pride myself in creating great radio programming. I do in-depth interviews with musicians and in so doing, let the artists tell their stories through their music and the conversations we have around their discography.

Jessica Abel loves radio too and it’s obvious from this book she has created. It’s a graphic novel exploration of what goes into making narrative radio shows that use personal stories to explore greater ideas and issues. She speaks to writers and creators of some of the most popular radio shows in the genre including; This American Life, The Moth, Planet Money, Snap Judgement, Serial, and more.

I like this mix of art and information in this book. It’s an easy read that illustrates things that might have been a little difficult to describe in text alone. Here are some of pieces of the text that resonated with me. I think they will help me make better radio in the future.

1) Compose Logs of the Interview Tapes

Ira Glass says, “A log is like a transcript, but less exact. You don’t need every word. You can type ot handwrite. They key is: you want to take notes on what’s in the tape without every stopping it.”

I have tons of interviews in the can. I have transcribed some of them but have many more that I just can’t find the time to do. I can take the time to listen to them all once though and create some logs. Then I will be able to use those logs to create anthology shows of themes that keep coming up in my interviews, This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Now, I have a strategy to help make that happem.

2) Place Your Microphone Correctly

Mic Placement – “Make a recording with the mic 4”, 8”, and 12” from your mouth, Listen. When the mic’s closer, your recordings sound richer, with more frequencies present, with less hum of the room. When you ask a question, point the mic back at yourself. Otherwise, the question won’t be loud enough on tape. At the end of the interview, record a half minute of room sound, without anyone talking; you’ll need this editing.”

3) Use Music Cues Effectively 

“Sometimes there’s obvious music cues, like, somebody will introduce a new character, or they talk about some event, or some feeling, and you bring in music which speaks to that in some way . . . and sometimes you bring in music where there isn’t an obvious cue and create a beginning. We start music where a sequence of action begins or starts to build. It adds to the drama.

… and you always take out the music when there’s a big idea that you really want people to pay attention to. You lose the music so it stands out.

This! I had to learn this by trail and error, but it is so profoundly true: if there is music under a person speaking, an then it stops, whatever is said next is really powerful, it sounds more important. It’s like shining a light on it.”

4) The Importance of Signposting

“Signposting – You’re being told, ‘This is the important part. Notice this. Remember this.’

Why signpost? – The hard, hard thing about radio is that if you take a step that the listener doesn’t follow, it means they can’t concentrate on the next thing and if you can’t concentrate on the next thing the person is saying, then you get even more confused and never catch up.

So one moment like that can derail the story. You have to be entirely positive that people are following you.

Signposts are crucial. But they’re one of the hardest parts of the story to write with the help of an editor. . . . The moment when the listeners are sitting in the middle of the big landscape of information and they’ve lost their way, is the moment where you as a storyteller failed.

And sometimes it’s as simple as saying, OK, look, this is going to get a little bit tricky, but just stay with me. It’s going to take three steps, But it will be worth it.

Right before something happens, drop in a little phrase like, “and that’s the moment when everything changed…” or “”and that’s when things got interesting.”

Those phrases are like little arrows that tell the listeners: Pay attention to what’s about to happen, because it’s important.

5) Places to Find Out More About Radio Online

Transom.org – huge site full of information on how to make radio.

Freesound.org – a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds that lets you download and share sounds.

Soundsnap – a library of sound effects and loops. Pay per use or subscribe

A Great Read!

I really enjoyed this book. I might have to look for her previous book: Radio: An Illustrated Guide by Jessican Abel and Ira Glass. And maybe even try this form of storytelling. I’t quite captivating.

My List of 2017 Reads – my annual reading log with links to every title I read

Do Audio Books Count as Books?

The Untold Story of the Talking Book by Matthew Rubery

I love audio books. I think they are a great way to experience literature during a long drive. This is time that might otherwise be wasted by listening to songs on the radio. Instead, I can immerse myself in a story, learn something new through a work of non-fiction, and help keep my mind active in what otherwise might be boring and tedious trip. So when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. Truth be told, I listened to it, but I think that was rather fitting for this title.

The author takes us on a bit of a trip from the very first recording technologies to tapes to CDs to digital media. The very first books recorded were solely available to the blind. It was a tricky process to record and release books. The technology meant that several records had to be used to hold one single book. Also, very few books could be released this way.

One of the solutions was to shorten the story. These abridged books did little to help the reputation of the audio book. Many people thought that it was lazy to listen to a book as opposed to reading it. Listening meant that you were somehow cheating or not putting in the work necessary to read a book.

Audio books have come along way since their humble beginnings. There wasn’t even a term for the medium at the start. Audio books in the preferred term now and it covers a wide range of material from books that have been recorded to the new format to full cast narrated works to original audio-born material. Now that recording technology is not limited by its size, an entire book can fit on one MP3 CD and unabridged recordings are pretty much standard.

Even though, this medium is well-established, there isn’t any vocabulary that goes along with it. If you listen to the recording of a book can you say that you have read it. People will often apologize for listening as opposed to reading. But does it make a difference?

Listening to stories is something that has traditionally been done. It was the way stories were transmitted prior to the written word. And who of us did not love story time at the library or the bedtime stories our parents used to read aloud to us?

Audio books should count as books and we should proudly say we have read a book that we have only listened to. We can use our time to take in great literature, have an escape with some pop fiction, or learn something new with a non-fiction title. We can listen while we commute or are otherwise engaged. We can listen in low-light and other environments that would prevent us from reading.

Listening still requires our attention. We need to focus on the story, make predictions, visualize the setting and characters for ourselves, and all of the other things we do when we read.

In fact, seven of the books on my reading log for the year were audio books. The stories and words stuck with me just as much as if I had read them. I could talk to you about minute details. I can make connections between them and any other work.

This was an interesting read. It gets a bit dry and can be repetitive at times. And it never really answers the questions of whether or not this is reading. It doesn’t provide us with new vocabulary to use. Maybe we don’t need any. Reading is reading whether it is done with your eyes or with your ears.

My List of 2017 Reads – a detailed reading log

Doctor Who Comes to Life on the Page

Doctor Who - Weapons of Past Destruction

Doctor Who – Weapons of Past Destruction

I miss the 9th Doctor. This book reminded me of why I used to love seeing Chris Eccleston in the role of the title character. The artwork is amazing and Cavan Scott has penned a tale that feels like a Series One episode. I could hear Chris’s voice coming off of the page. I laughed out loud at few times and reveled in the total experience.

I like that the book tells a story that we wouldn’t have seen in the television show. The special effects are larger than life and would have been quite expensive to produce on film. This is where graphic novels have immense power. The universe is wide-open, as it were. It’s a huge canvas that the creative team of Scott, Blair Shedd, Rachael Stott, and Anang Setyawan utilize brilliantly. I highly recommend reading this. I want to find more of this series and keep experiencing more adventures with the Ninth Doctor.

Doctor Who - Four Doctors

Doctor Who – Four Doctors

Four Doctors, and one of them isn’t the 9th Doctor. We don’t actually find out who this surprise Doctor actually is until late in the book, so I won’t spoil it for you here.

It was nice that the 50th Anniversary television special featured the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi in the final scenes (even if only for a moment). Here, we get to see him interact with the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, and the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith.

This book doesn’t evoke the same feelings I had when watching that television event, however. The story seems a little bit forced and it doesn’t come to life in the same way the book above does.

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Free Comic Book Day – Four Doctors 

Many of the free comics you are able to get on Free Comic Book Day are simply teasers for books yet to be released. Either that, or they give you a snippet of a story so you will have to buy an additional book to continue reading it. This book has a complete story and it features four incarnations of the Doctor. It’s an even better story than the one above. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only problem with it is that the Doctors don’t interact with each other. It’s one story that takes place over four lifetimes, as it were.

Doctor Who - The Eye of Ashaya

Doctor Who – The Eye of Ashaya

This was a fun book that brings back a few characters from the 10th Doctor’s era. It was really nice to see Christina De Souza again.

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And this book reminded me how much I miss Amy and Rory too.

It was also cool to see a character who was introduced during David Tennant’s run as the Doctor getting the chance to meet Matt Smith’s incarnation.

All in all, it was a nice trip through Space and Time this week as I read brand new Doctor Who adventures.

My List of 2017 Reads – my detailed reading log for the year

Graphic Audio Adventures

Batman – Dead White

This was a dark story, certainly not meant for children. There are several racial slurs heard throughout the book but that is because the evil forces in this story are a band of white supremacists who are determined to reshape the world. Batman has to track down the leader, known as White Eyes but he doesn’t do it alone this time. He gets help from a police officer / bounty hunter.

This story takes place in the first year of Batman’s crime fighting career. He struggles a bit with his role as protector of Gotham. He is haunted by images of the very first costume he wore when he became the Batman. An old lover tries to help him but he keeps his secret from her.

There are times when these audio adventures are a bit over the top. But the full cast narration, sound effects, and general comic book aesthetic are a fun ride.

Earlier this year, I listened to the Flash adventure Stop Motion and the Wonder Woman story Mythos which prepared me for the whole team to come other in the Justice League.

Justice League of America – Exterminators

Several new meta-humans start to appear in one region of the world. Then these super-powered people start to disappear. Could it be related to a threat that the Justice League fought and defeated ten years earlier?  Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter have a nagging suspicion that it is. Batman confirms it and the Justice League goes into action, this time with a new meta-human who might just hold the key to exactly what is going on.

Like the book above, this one has it’s problems. Mostly it is due to exposition. Certain things don’t need to be explained to a comic book audience. However, these stories are meant to stand alone and be accessible to anyone. They are a lot of fun and the audio format make them perfect listening for long drives in the car.

Alternatively, there are print editions of these novels available if you would rather read them with your eyes as opposed to your ears.

My List of 2017 Reads – a detailed reading log with links to dozens of titles

The Punisher – Judge, Jury, and Executioner

Marvel Unlimited offered a free month subscription to its app to celebrate the release of The Punisher TV series on Netflix. I am still working my way through the series but thought that I would use this opportunity to read as much of the comics as I possibly could in a month.

Punisher vs Bullseye

A bad guy who managed to flee from the Punisher has been hiding out for years and has had enough. He wants to feel safe again and shed his ridiculous disguise. So, he hires Bullseye to take him out. Little does he know that these two killers will form a temporary, yet uneasy, partnership that will spell doom for all who cross their path.

The Punisher: Volume 1 – Welcome Back Frank

This is the fifth solo series for the Punisher. It collects the entire 12 issue run that started in 2000 and ended in 2001. I really enjoyed the story. The Netflix television series that introduced the Punisher even took inspiration from it. He captures Daredevil, ties him up, and duct tapes a gun to his hand. The outcome is different here than in the TV series though. The story wraps up perfectly too. It is a great read.

The Punisher: Volume 2 – Army of One

This book kicks off the sixth series of the title. It continues the story started in the last volume and features a special appearance from Spider-man. At one point, the Punisher uses the unconscious webbed hero as shield to absorb some pretty rough blows from a tough opponent.

This volume also features a story where the vigilante goes to a remote island to rescue a prisoner.  While not as good as the previous issue, it does kick off an impressive 37 single issue comics (that are collected in five additional trade paperbacks).

The Punisher: Volume 3 – Business As Usual

Wolverine guest stars in this one and boy do things get brutal. The Punisher is well aware of his self-healing power and dishes up some pretty harsh punishment in order to stop him and complete his mission.

The Punisher: Volume 4 – Full Auto

Punisher stories can be a bit disturbing. This one definitely falls in that category. It deals with a villain who is murdering homeless people. He figures that he will never be caught because no one cares about them. But a social worker finds herself in the middle of the situation and Frank Castle is there to bail her out and set things right.

The Punisher: Volume 5 – Streets of Laredo

This one has a western theme to it. Operating just outside of a small town, a gang trades in military grade weapons but they won’t for long when Frank Castle comes to town. This story also deals with homophobia in some interesting ways. The sheriff is a queer man and is in a relationship with the son of the gang boss. A preacher thinks it is immoral as well. But how will everyone cope when the Punisher gets added to the mix.

The Punisher: Volume 6 – Confederacy of Dunces

Daredevil enlists the help of Spider-man and Wolverine to help take the Punisher out of the picture. He wants to see him brought to justice. Wolverine knows that they only way to do that is to kill him, but Spider-man and Daredevil won’t let him take such extreme measures. And the Hulk to the mix and things are bound to get messy.

The Punisher – Circle of Blood

This was the first solo title for the Punisher and was released in 1986. Frank Castle is in prison for his vigilante crimes, but a secret organization wants to break him out. He is leery to work with them but figures that it is better than being incarcerated. In his first job, he discovers that Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin is dead. In fact, Fisk had merely faked his own death. Castle makes the world believe that he murdered him to help bring other criminals out of the woodwork. This was a limited series that started the nation’s love affair with the violent vigilante.

My List of 2017 Reads – my annual reading log

Cyber Attack + Severe Winter Storm = Cyber Storm

Cyber Storm by Matthew Mather

Imagine that you were cut off from the everyday conveniences of life. Water no longer freely ran from your faucets. There was no electricity. Stores were closed and most of them have been completely looted. And to make matters worse, there was an intense winter storm that made it difficult or even impossible to travel.

If that weren’t bad enough, a string of Internet attacks completely shuts down access to the world wide net for all of New York and possibly the entire United States of America.

It was amazing to see how quickly society started fall apart amongst these tragedies. It was actually kind of scary. The story keeps you enthralled with suspense, action, and mystery. It is a lot like a disaster flick in that the main character is fighting to keep his family alive and safe.

His best friend is a bit of a conspiracy nut and has all sorts of rations and materials stock piled for just such a tragedy. He thinks all of this might be a plot from another government to take control of the USA. It could be just the first step in a full scale invasion.

I really enjoyed this book. It had its problems, but it was a good read. The ending could have been better. It felt like the author had to rush and explain exactly what happened to cause the disaster and destruction. At least we get answers and they make sense. But the real story is that of survival and how people act and behave when tragedy strikes.

My List of 2017 Reads – detailed annual reading log with links to every book I read this year

13th Annual Xmas Wrap (Biggest Rap Show of the Year)

Toolshed, Top Billin’ Entertainment, Break North Radio, and Radio Western present:

The 13th Annual Xmas Wrap

This is always the best hip-hop show of the year and a London tradition. It’s bigger than ever before with a ton of performances, special guests, and a live to air broadcast on the radio.

Toolshed (Timbuktu, Chokeules, and Psybo) will be reuniting and live on stage for the first time in years. Tim and Choke will also have their brand new Swamp Thing album and merchandise ready for you to pick up.

Thesis Sahib will be dropping brand new music.

Sum-01 is releasing her new mixtape.

Kiv will be performing and I will be backing him up on the 1s and 2s.

All this, and much, much more. You won’t want to miss it.

Live To Air

If you can’t make it to the event, tune in to 94.9FM Radio Western from 10pm-2am to hear it live. You can also stream it at www.radiowestern.ca/stream

HOST

He’s not just a voice on the radio, Tyler Hetherington (The Consignment Show) will be holding it down as the host for the night.

DJs

Music provided by DJ Hullewud (Break North Radio, Sons Of Boombap, Dreamsters Union), Joe Tunes (Animal Street Records), and DJ Chase March (Word Is Bond Rap Radio, Sons Of Boombap).

Info

WHAT: The 13th Annual Xmas Wrap
WHEN: Saturday December 23, 2017
WHERE: Call The Office. 216 York Street, London, Ontario
EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/1880988232215606/
DOORS: 9:00 p.m.
TICKETS: $10 at the door

I hope to see you there!

Word is Bond Rap Radio – Christmas Rappin’

It’s time to celebrate Christmas with two hours of great hip-hop music mixed live on the radio.

We start off with the classic “Christmas Rappin'” by Kurtis Blow and ask the question, “Why isn’t this song in popular culture?” Why isn’t it heard right alongside Mariah Carey or Wham? Why are there people who don’t know this song? Or “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-DMC?

Both of these songs are Christmas classics with a lot of appeal. I wonder why they haven’t crossed over.

What say you? Why don’t we hear Christmas rap songs on regular radio, in the shopping malls, and everywhere we go this time of year. We really should!

Kurtis Blow – Christmas Rappin’
George Strombo and Legends – Christmas Rappin
Run-DMC – Christmas in Hollis
Shade Cobian – Roastin’
SYG and Kayne Martin – Christmas Cheer
Ugly Duckling – Last Minute Shopping
Encyclopedia Brown – Christmastime is Here
Mega Ran ft Writers Guild – Humbug
Christmas Day Collective – Christmas Ruckus
MC Paul Barman (prod Mark Ronson) – Happy Holidays
Gracious Bears – Bear Humbug
Scribbling Idiots – Jingle Bell Knock
LA Symphony – Chirstmas Song
Grumpy Olde Men – You’re a Mean One
Imperial and K.I.N.E.T.I.K. – Christmas Wrapping
Word Salad ft Mad Hattr – Your Present’s Here
Atmosphere – If I Was Santa Claus
Monty – All I Want for Christmas
Blu & Exile – Christmas Missed Us
Planet Asia – Gift Rap Medallions
Torae – A Christmas Story
Nickii Chatts – Gift Wrap
favormusik – Ever Since You
Bop Alloy – Hottest Christmas on Record
Little Thoughts ft Jurassic 5 – Holla
Kev Brown – Snowfall
Pace Won – Christmas Eve
DJ Frane – Christmas at the Iceberg
Bop Alloy – Spent
Outkast – Player’s Ball
Josh Augustin – Every Christmas Card I Write
Page One x Theory Hazit – We Three Kings
Sweet T – Let the Jingle Bells Rock

Listen to Word is Bond Rap Radio

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If you liked this show make sure to check out our previous show

All Women’s Voices with Intelligenz

Every December, Radio Western broadcasts 24 hours of programming focusing on “All Women’s Voices.”

I love female-fronted hip-hop and always contribute a show for this special day. This year, we have Intelligenz telling you about her life and artistry in her own words. After all, it is all women’s voices day, that is why I am conspicuously absent from the microphone. But she tells a great story and we feature some of her amazing music. You are going to want to press play and hear how this young lady lives us to her name.

Intelligenz – Welcome to the Grind
MC Lyte – Paper Thin (clip)
Monie Love – It’s a Shame (clip)
MC Lyte ft Lil Mama – Ball (clip)
MC Smooth – Smooth & Legit (clip)
Yo-Yo – You Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo (clip)
Lady of Rage – Afro Puffs (clip)
Intelligenz – Running
Slick Rick – Children’s Story (clip)
Intelligenz – Round of Applause
Slick Rick – Mona Lisa (clip)
Eric B & Rakim – Don’t Sweat the Technique (clip)
Twista – Overnight Celebrity (clip)
Redman and Method Man – Da Rockwilder (clip)
De La Soul – Me, Myself, and I (clip)
O.C. – Times Up (clip)
Intelligenz – I’m a Movement
Intelligenz – Making It
Intelligenz – If You Ever Doubted
Jewelzz Patrick ft Intelligenz – Levitating

Listen to Word is Bond Rap Radio

Interact with us online

FacebookThe Word is Bond, Word is Bond Rap Radio, Chase March
Twitter – The Word is Bond, Chase March
Instagram – The Word is Bond, Chase March
Follow Radio Western on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Follow IntelligenzTwitter, Facebook, Soundcloud

If you liked this show make sure to check out our previous show