Idris Goodwin's Sound Advice 

click to enlarge Idris Goodwin
  • Idris Goodwin
Award-winning playwright, poet and recording artist Idris Goodwin moved to Colorado Springs in 2012, a few weeks before the Waldo Canyon Fire broke out, for a teaching post at Colorado College. He’s since recorded the hip-hop album Rhyming While Black, co-hosted KRCC’s Critical Karaoke program, and written a series of “break beat plays.” Earlier this month, Goodwin and co-writer Kevin Coval’s new chapbook Human Highlight: An Ode to Dominique Wilkins was published by Haymarket Books; he’ll also be directing their play This Is Modern Art, which opens March 23 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. We tracked down Goodwin last week to talk about Big Daddy Kane, Chicano Batman and other favorite recording artists.

First record I bought with my own money: I actually don’t remember, but I do remember when my big brother made a dub of Big Daddy Kane’s Long Live the Kane for me back in 1988. His dexterity, clarity and lyrical cool blew my 11-year-old mind. That album is the reason I became a writer.

My latest online discovery: I don’t avidly follow Lil Wayne, but I recently stumbled upon his newest mixtape Dedication 6. There are a few songs like “Big Bad Wolf” and “Family Feud” where he launches into these long-form displays of intricately worded, rhythmically sophisticated, virtuosic mind-blowing verses of trash talk. For those blown away by Black Thought’s recent Hot97 appearance, I recommend it.

Essential Saturday night listening: The Black Panther soundtrack is what’s bumping current. There’s an electricity and urgency to it that’s infectious. I’d likely be bumping that if I was out on a Saturday night.

Essential Sunday morning listening: Chicano Batman’s Freedom Is Free album is perfection. Funky, cool, melodic, soulful — great way to start a new week.

“Wish I could unhear that” song: Pass on this one. Everything counts… Oh wait, Ted Nugent, as a human, I could do without.

Artist more people should know about: Quelle Chris from Detroit. I love my rap eccentrics. He is picking up where the late great J Dilla left off. His album Being You Is Great was one of last year’s best. Not for everyone, but for those of us who grew up on samples and wordplay and still like new things, you may wanna give it a whirl. He and the incomparable Jean Grae — I believe they’re engaged — have a duo album coming out next month.

Guilty pleasure: I wouldn’t say “guilty” but I definitely think this song is dumb — and I feel dumber listening to it: “Miami” by Valee and Pusha T has this melodic hook that makes me feel like I am at some kind of “trap carnival.” But really, don’t bother.


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