Zack Gingrich-Gaylord

Community Fundraising Coordinator/ Hip-Hop commentator

Zack Gingrich-Gaylord is a lifelong listener to public radio in general, and KMUW in particular. He was born and grew up in Wichita, and has lived in Lawrence and Newton.

After working for 15 years in the restaurant industry, he changed career paths and began working for KMUW in corporate support. He enjoys bringing the community of public radio listeners to the broader Wichita community.

Hope that’s good enough. I was raised not to talk about myself. Well, not really. But I heard that line on TV the other day, thought I’d try it out.

Ways to Connect

The rapper Prodigy, best known for his work as half of the classic duo Mobb Deep, died in June of this year. Mobb Deep was a breakthrough project, perfecting the art of noir rap during the nineties, one of the most productive and diverse periods of hip hop history. Their grim reporting from the borough of Queens inspired years of lesser imitators who reproduced the violent imagery of Mobb Deep’s lyrics without the context, history or community that made those lyrics really impactful.

The album “Break Stuff,” released in 2015 by pianist Vijay Iyer, is a complex and challenging performance. At the heart of the music is the concept of the break, an idea with deep roots in hip hop music and culture. 

When 24-year old Chance the Rapper accepted the 2017 BET Humanitarian Award, his brief speech touched on a lot of big ideas: school reform, police brutality and black empowerment.

Let’s start with an easy question: How does language work? Okay, maybe not so easy, but over in one corner of this question is a field of thought called semiotics, and we’ll need a couple of its basic concepts in about one minute.

The value of a hard day’s work is one of those mostly uncontroversial shared beliefs in American society: it’s good, period. Even across economic classes, work is seen as a necessary part of life, though opinions on what work is worth might vary. Most of our ideas about work come from people who have been successful at work, which seems reasonable if you don’t think too hard about the vested interest those successful people have in maintaining a status quo that has worked so well for them.

Back before the internet, finding new music was often a matter of finding new friends. 

In hip hop, it’s not unusual for strong personalities to go up against one another—we call it beef. But the song “You Are Not a Riot” by the Oakland-based outfit called The Coup puts an interesting spin on beef with its subject, described in the subtitle as “An RSVP from David Siquieros to Andy Warhol”.

When Los Angeles erupted in violence in 1992, I was thirteen and in eighth-grade in Wichita. I don’t remember teachers talking much about it, but other students did.

I didn’t grow up with hip hop—I came to it late from punk rock, when punk had turned bubblegum and hip hop was in yet another of its golden ages in the mid-90’s.

In the early 1900s, an Irish immigrant named Mary Mallon worked as a personal cook for several wealthy families.

Her tenure also coincided with several outbreaks of typhoid, a bacterial infection that--in its most severe cases--can be fatal. It was eventually determined that Mary was a carrier of the disease and for the next few years she alternated between quarantine and a kind of life on the run as she continued to insist on working as a cook, which inevitably led to more typhoid outbreaks. She would spend the final 23 years of her life in quarantine.

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