Big Sell 30 Day 22: Star Wars Rebels

Happy Saturday Pop Culture fans! Here’s your daily dose of pop culture for #BigSell30.

We had such a great time talking to Alan Noah of The Test of Time podcast last week, so we brought him back to give us another Big Sell. This time, he suggested the Disney XD animated series, Star Wars Rebels. He also somehow snuck in a Big Sell for Star Wars Clone Wars in the middle of our conversation too!


At first I think I was a little hesitant watching a “kids cartoon”, but Alan took this assignment seriously and truly sold me on this! And of course, he had Sean at, “Star Wars.”

Listen now to hear his description of the series and find out how he was able to make both of us gasp in excitement. (Three words: James. Earl. Jones.)

And definitely check out Alan’s podcast- this week’s episode dissects the John Hughes classic, Sixteen Candles.

Don’t forget to tweet us @PopInsiders to give us your Big Sell and also let us know how #BigSell30 is going for you!

Big Sell 30 Day 21: Six Degrees of Music Separation

Hey all- Amita here with today’s #BigSell30. We’ve got a few more days left of our month long challenge of trying out one new piece of pop culture everyday.

When I was preparing this post to Big Sell this article, I told Sean I would try to avoid selling another song or album, which I must say was harder than I thought since I’m always listening and discovering new music and want to share  it with everyone! (see Lake Street Dive & Rationale). But when I saw this article and where it lead me to, I had to make a tiny exception. And technically, it’s not really a song. It’s a really fun game!

So, this Big Sell comes from another Big Sell. When we were promoting #BigSell30 in late September, my cousin Sanat Patel tweeted us a great article from fivethirtyeight about the most sampled song in history. “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons has been sampled over 2,000 times over the last few decades! Artists who have used this popular sample include N.W.A., The Prodigy, heavy metal band Slipknot, Janet Jackson and David Bowie. It is a pretty interesting read and gives a ton of info about the history of this particular sample- check it out here. Thanks cousin!

I have to admit, I got a sample education and the article cited another website as the source for its sampling data- WhoSampled. I had to look into this info site and find out more. As fivethirtyeight describes, “Every day, fanatical music lovers identify hundreds of samples from songs old and new and add them wiki-style to the database” and then the staff at WhoSampled vets each submission before entering it on the site. We’ve all heard a ton of samples throughout the years and it’s pretty awesome to go to a site or app to find out where the original sample came from. But the game that I discovered on WhoSampled takes it to another level- and immediately became my Big Sell!

On their home page they promote a fun, music info game called, Six Degrees of Music Separation – a play on the movie themed game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. I was immediately intrigued. This game prompts you to enter two artists and they have some crazy algorithm that figures out how many degrees they are separated by using remixes, producers, covers, samples and more!

I put it to the test using two of our Big Sells: Lake Street Dive and Roman GianArthur- check out the results- did you know that Paul McCartney and Erykah Badu would make that connection?


It’s fun, addictive and you can play it for hours…no really, you could. (I just stopped writing this blog to put in random artists for 20 min.)

Enjoy the samples, the game and I’m sorry if you may not be as productive at work today :/

Only a few days left of The Big Sell 30 Day Challenge! Be sure to Tweet us @PopInsiders to let us know how #BigSell30 is going for you and there is still time to send us a big sell!




Big Sell 30 Day 20: There’s Always Room For Chocolate

Sean here with an Inside Pop first. Over the course of the past 11 months, despite our love for all things edible, Amita and I have never covered anything food related on Inside Pop. Well, that’s about to change as I #BigSell you an amazing new cook book called, There’s Always Room for Chocolate: Recipes from Brooklyn’s Chocolate Room.

12burner-chocoalte-web1-master180There are many things to love about this book. First of all, its origins. Before Brooklyn became the bastion of handcrafted, artisanal preciousness; the dessert cafe, The Chocolate Room opened on 5th Ave in Park Slope Brooklyn and evolved into the epicenter of chocolately deliciousness. A cookbook to help bring their amazing treats beyond Brooklyn borders was inevitable. Secondly, the recipes are easy to follow and give you everything you need to reproduce dishes like The Brownie Sundae, Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Cookies and a classic Chocolate Cream Pie. The New York Times sings the book’s praises in a recent review.

And finally, the editor. Full disclosure I’m married to the man who helped shape this great book. So although I may not be completely objective, I can attest to the attention, effort, artistry and care that was put into creating this wonderful new cookbook.

Check it out at your local bookstore or order it here on Amazon.

We have 10 more days of #BigSell30; 10 more chances to discover and experience one new piece of pop culture every day during the month of October. Follow us on Twitter @popinsiders for daily recommendations and to share your choices and experiences. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #BigSell30.




Big Sell 30 Day 18: Rationale

Hey all! Amita here with today’s Big Sell. The #BigSell30 has kept me on my pop culture toes this month! We hope it’s been fun for all of you to experience one piece of pop culture every day for 30 days too.

If there was a prize for trying to combine a bunch of Big Sells and make a Super Big Sell- I think this might qualify! 🙂 Take some Black Excellence, with a dash of British influence, (inspired by our fellow British podcasters JoJCast) initially discovered on my Spotify Daily Mix and one of his tracks qualifies as a Super Short Song!

As I mentioned before, I have been enjoying my Daily Mixes from Spotify and three of my mixes have usually been pretty straight forward – one is mostly mainstream pop, one is hip-hop/rap and one is Soul/R&B. But the 4th Mix is a great mix of mostly unknown artists that Spotify curated just for me and it’s where I found today’s Big Sell- Zimbabwe-born British singer-songwriter, Rationale. 

I instantly felt David Bowie, Tracy Chapman, Sade, INXS, James Blake and so many more vibes from Rationale. He came out with an EP last year and the song I heard in my Daily Mix was Fast Lane“. It’s a great mid-tempo song, but his voice is something else. It has such depth and soul and I had to listen to more. The next single I became obsessed with is the title cut, Fuel to the Fire” which is an emotional song that has some 80’s influences with a modern pop feeling. The music video is captivating and a perfect compliment to his powerful lyrics- check it out here. I’m also enjoying “The Re.Up” and his latest singles “Palms” and “Something For Nothing”. (Yes I named basically all of his tracks and I don’t care- I fell in LOVE with all of his music!)

As you can see, I became obsessed and started to do some more research to find more info about him. Here’s the skinny on Rationale: He is 32, loves to dance and also produces all of his own music. He did an interview explaining why he called himself Rationale and the reason seems like it’s kismet that I found him for #BigSell30:

L: Why choose the word “rationale” in particular?

R: I had a job in a charity call centre and the boss told us: “Today we’re going to be selling stuff, make sure you get an extra £1 out of people as it’s for charity. Give them an introduction and a hard sell, then, once you’ve got their attention, give them the rationale.” That word stuck with me.

Hard Sell- Big Sell…it’s meant to be! He already has a few notable fans- Pharrell, Justin Timberlake and Elton John have all praised him over the last year and his full album release is scheduled for next spring. He is officially saved on my Spotify and I KNOW that Sean is going love him. I can’t wait for all of you to listen- mark my words and remember his name, he is going to blow up very soon in the states and you can thank me later.

Please tweet us @PopInsiders or leave a comment below and tell us what you think of Rationale!

And don’t forget to tweet us to let us know how your #BigSell30 Challenge is going.

Big Sell 30 Day 17: Kate Tempest Featuring JoJCast

From the beginning of the #BigSell30, Jo and J, the hosts of the JoJCast, have been big supporters of our goal to experience one new piece of pop culture everyday throughout the month of October . Amita and I are super appreciative of all of the amazing big sell recommendations they’ve tweeted over the past couple of weeks. We’ve been big fans of their Screen Dump podcast since late last year so we are especially thrilled to have them join us for this Inside Pop Special International Edition!

JojCast’s Big Sell is British music artist, Kate Tempest’s new album, Let Them Eat Chaos. If you listen carefully to this podcast you’ll hear Amita and I become increasingly intrigued by their description of this musician/poet we’d never heard before. Jo shares the fact that she has “…an emotional epiphany,” every time she see’s Tempest perform. I love (and quite often depend on) music that elicits deep emotional responses so I was ready to immediately check out this #BigSell! In addition to the new album, Jo and J also recommended Kate Tempest’s appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series (link below). After watching the first song, “Ballad of a Hero,” I was floored!

After listening to our conversation we think you’ll also be inspired to check out Kate Tempest and listen to JoJCast (they’re also podcasting about music now and I guarantee there are many other great recommendations from them ahead).

Listen to: Kate Tempest’s new album: Let Them Eat Chaos

Watch her on:  Tiny Desk Concert

Be sure to follow Inside Pop on Twitter and Instagram @PopInsiders and don’t forget to send us your Big Sells for #BigSell30

Big Sell 30 Day 16: Your Favorite Super Short Song

As we move into the second half of our Big Sell 30 Day Challenge (wherein we all commit to experience one new piece of pop culture every day for 30 days) I want to try something different. In acknowledgement of the days when we don’t have a lot of time to devote to pop culture consumption, I want to Big Sell you YOUR favorite super short song.

Most rock, pop, and hip hop songs are typically 3 and a half to 5 minutes long. I’d like for you to think about a really short song you love (something under 2.5 minutes), listen to it and revel in the fact that the song is giving you everything you need in a pop song in less than half the time of a song of average length.

I have two favorite super shorties you’re welcome to claim as your own. Prince and the Revolution’s, “I Wonder U” from the album Parade. I think this may be the only Prince song that isn’t sung by Prince (please correct me if I’m wrong). Instead Wendy and Lisa’s ethereal vocals take center stage; their chant/mantra/prayer ( I Wonder U/What’s On Your Mind)  floats over heavy percussion and flutes and guitar for 1:39. I actually wish this song was a little longer.

And then there’s The Smiths’, “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want.” At 1:52 it is without a doubt the shortest song with the longest title with the saddest effect in my music collection. It’s a perfect song. Morrissey’s Lyrics and Johnny Marr’s guitar pull you down into the depths of despair in under two minutes. If the song lasted any longer you might not be able to recover!

You can listen to the The Smiths’ track on Spotify HERE

So what’s your favorite super short song? Leave a comment below or tweet us @popinsiders and let us know. Be sure to follow Inside Pop on Twitter and Instagram @PopInsiders and don’t forget to send us your Big Sells for #BigSell30

Big Sell 30 Day 15: Better Things featuring Alan Noah of The Test of Time Podcast

Hey everyone! Hope you’re having a great weekend! If you’re looking for a new TV show, podcast or song, the Big Sell 30 Day Challenge has you covered. We are challenging ourselves and encouraging you to experience one new piece of pop culture every day for 30 days.

Today’s Big Sell is from a fellow podcaster and friend of ours, Alan Noah of  The Test of Time Podcast.

Alan’s Big Sell is the new FX series, Better Things created by frequent Louis C.K. creative collaborator and co-star, Pamela Adlon.


The semi-autobiographical comedy series stars Adlon and debuted a few weeks ago. So far it has been well received and FX has already ordered a 2nd season.

We had such a great time talking to Alan and definitely check out The Test of Time Podcast as well!

Be sure to follow Inside Pop on Twitter and Instagram @PopInsiders and don’t forget to send us your Big Sells for #BigSell30!

Big Sell 30 Day 14: Your Childhood Hero Interviews a Supreme Court Justice

Sean David Johnson here to give you a new #BigSell and to celebrate the fact that The Big Sell 30 Day Challenge has reached the two week mark! I hope you’ve enjoyed the #BigSell30 as much as Amita and I have. We appreciate everyone who has shared their pop culture suggestions. And we have so much more to come in the next two weeks!

My Big Sell for today is another podcast. As you may know, Death, Sex & Money is one of my favorites (I ‘big sold’ the series to Amita earlier this year and she likes it too). The show’s host, Anna Sale, is a master interviewer. She speaks to guests, both the famous and the every day person, about those three very personal words in the show’s title; and gets them to open up and share their inner lives in a really illuminating way. Amita and I also gained such great information and inspiration from her presentation earlier this summer at Podcast Movement (PM16)  in Chicago.

For the past few weeks Anna Sale has been on maternity leave and her hosting duties have been filled by a roster of former guests. I’d like to Big Sell the episode in which Sonia Manzano interviews US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  If you’re an American child of the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s (or the parent of that child) you may know Sonia Manzano better as Maria from Sesame Street.

These two women discuss their similar childhoods (growing up poor in the South Bronx), how their lives have been touched by family members with substance abuse problems, the current state of race and representation in this country and so much more.

Justice Sotomayor is incredibly open and Ms. Manzano creates such an easy rapport – the result is an inspiring, empowering and informative conversation.

You can listen to this amazing conversation HERE

Be sure to follow Inside Pop on Twitter and Instagram @PopInsiders and don’t forget to send us your Big Sells for #BigSell30

Big Sell 30 Day 13: Roman GianArthur’s OK Lady

Sean David Johnson here with lucky day 13 of our Big Sell 30 Day Challenge. We’re almost halfway into our project of trying one new pop culture experience everyday for 30 days in October. It’s never too late to join – follow #BigSell30 on Twitter for recommendations and please send us suggestions and updates on how the challenge is working out for you!

Today I’d like to #BigSell you Roman GianArthur’s EP, OK Lady.

I first discovered the singer-songwriter-guitar maestro Roman GianArthur on Wondaland Presents: The Eephus, a collection of songs by artists signed to Janelle Monae’s Wondaland music label. GianArthur’s contribution, “iKnow,” is one of the highlights of that EP. Soon after hearing that song I discovered his incredible single, “I-69.” The song’s sweet melody coupled with its playful, sexual lyrics result in a great tune and a very compelling Big Sell for a well known sexual practice.

There’s Only One Rule/Do Unto Me As I Do Unto You/You Know It’s True/The Best Love is Mutual

Preach! (Also, Sold!)

As I searched for more music from GianArthur, I came upon an EP on SoundCloud called OK Lady. The EP blends the songs of Radiohead and D’Angelo in a really interesting way. Not quite covers, more than mash-ups, he seamlessly blends the musical styles of two modern day musical giants and creates a sound that is uniquely his own.  Listen to it HERE.
I’m looking forward to more music from this talented artist (I saw him perform at AfroPunk this summer and he blew the entire crowd away with his set, which started with one of the best covers of Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy I have ever heard!).
Be sure to follow Inside Pop on Twitter and Instagram @PopInsiders and don’t forget to send us your Big Sells for #BigSell30.



Fall TV Review, Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino – IP 48

This week, Inside Pop helps you deal with increasing demands of Peak TV. We review the new Fall TV shows we’re sampling, the returning shows that are still solid and the programs that are either being saved on our DVR or on the cusp of being buried in the Pop Culture Graveyard. Some of the shows that make the list include: HBO’s Insecure, Hulu’s The Mindy Project and NBC’s The Good Place & This is Us.


We also discuss the new single from Bruno Mars, “24K Magic” and analyze his Vegas party themed video. Plus, Amita’s Big Sell features music from Atlanta star, Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino.

The multi-talented creator, writer and director of the hit series also sings and raps and Amita handpicks three singles from his last album Kauai, “Palisades”, “Sober” and “Pop Thieves” for #BigSell30. We also discuss his creative collective- Royalty, featured here in GQ Magazine as well as The Roots musical collective discussed here.

Listen. Share. Subscribe and follow us @Popinsiders on Twitter and Instagram. And don’t forget to join us in the Big Sell 30 Day Challenge!