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Mixtape: MC5, Madonna, White Stripes, and Danny Brown

Oct 17, 2017

Could 2017 be MC5's year? 

Detroit Music Magazine Publisher Paul Young and Executive Editor Khalid Bhatti think so. 

After two unsuccessful nominations to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 and 2016, they say nostalgia around the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit uprising might help their case, along with the band's famous supporters like Iggy Pop and The Stooges. 

"The punk world owes a lot to MC5," Young said. 

Founded in Lincoln Park in the 1960s with connections to John Sinclair and the White Panther Movement, the political overtones of their music made them a tough sell to more conservative record labels and DJs. 

"They ran into a lot of trouble, and it kind of contributed to their lack of success outside of the Detroit area," Young said. 

But the music has always spoken for itself, and its proto-punk sounds laid the groundwork for grunge bands in and outside the city.

“Certainly as revolutionary as they were with their politics, they were equally as important from a music perspective," Young said. 

So, in a perfect world, what other Detroiters would Young and Bhatti like to see nominated? 

Madonna to begin with.

"Madonna really crystallized this idea of an artist who borrows from different genres and then makes them palatable for the mainstream. She’s taken on different guises throughout her career. With each new album she explores a new sound, takes on a new idea. And she’s done that to great success," Bhatti said.

The White Stripes is another nomination-worthy band hailing from Detroit.

“They paid a lot of homage to Detroit specifically. They have songs like the 'Big Three Killed My Baby' and 'Hotel Yorba,' which is named after an actual hotel in Southwest Detroit. They’ve certainly evolved their sound. They started with that really kind of punk garage sound, and they really grew into their own way of exploring the music," Young said.

They also thought up-and-coming rapper Danny Brown should make the list: "If you look at rap today, it's become a lot more diverse, a lot more varied in that sound. And somebody like Danny Brown, you could point to him as a harbinger of that movement," Bhatti said.

Listen above for the full conversation.

Support for arts and culture coverage comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

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