So let’s say you just watched Gambino’s “This is America,” Twitter’s trying to decode it, and you need to talk it out with fellow fans. Or maybe you’re just looking for fresh R&B tracks from a trusted source. And along the way you’re up for a little messiness as talk criss-crosses from gender inequity in hip-hop to a tall order of racism served up at a certain coffee shop. If that’s the case, you’ll want to check out a new made-in-Ottawa podcast, Breakdown2Lowdown.
Some ten episodes in, hosts and R&B connoisseurs Nicky Jean and Anthony McIntosh have created a smart, fun and sometimes fiery show that lives up to its promise of “a little friction and a whole lot of dope conversations.” It fills a void in the Ottawa music scene – and listeners are catching on. The show is steadily gaining subscribers to its weekly 2-hour program, from within and outside the Ottawa region.
The format is simple. “The Warm-up” is devoted to listener feedback. “The Breakdown” is all about the music – each host introduces two new tracks and one oldie-but-goodie. “The Lowdown” rounds out the show, tackling hot topics in current affairs and urban pop culture.
The banter between the hosts is informed, the vibe is warm and the dialogue is refreshing.
A second-generation Haitian, Nicky Jean is an R&B singer/songwriter, spoken word artist, and host of CHUO FM’s The Spot. In 2015 she released her debut EP Stairs and has new music on the way soon: stay tuned to her Soundcloud page for updates. Jean is looking for nothing less than to “dominate all aspects of entertainment.”
Anthony McIntosh has a Jamaican background and grew up on R&B music. He’s currently involved in a national basketball youth mentorship program that provides coaching and personal development for kids on the court and in the classroom. He’s also writing a book about challenges he’s faced in sport and in relationships – and the personas “we project on social media versus our miserable real lives.”
Both hosts hope to use the podcast as a platform for their own work, and for other local artists. In future episodes, they plan to bring on special guests.
Before listening in, I wasn’t sure I was the right age demographic. Michael Jackson’s Thriller changed my world, Whitney was my queen, and nothing compares 2 Prince. But today’s R&B still fascinates – the smooth sound of Frank Ocean, the soulfulness of Khalid, and the magnificence of Beyoncé – and Breakdown2Lowdown doesn’t disappoint. I love the easy way the show shares and dissects the work of celebrity- and lesser-known artists, seamlessly working in sometimes fiery commentary on the culture that influences them – and all of us.