The founders of News Beat, a groundbreaking political and cultural podcast that fuses journalism and music, are proud to announce the establishment of our Artist in Residence (“AiR”) program. The program is a collaborative endeavor that aligns independent hip-hop artists with the News Beat journalists to produce meaningful podcasts that challenge conventional wisdom. Each AiR will contribute to the podcast on a regular basis with original verses that help contextualize the narrative of each episode.
The first AiR is a prolific recording and performing artist, Silent Knight. “It’s only fitting that SK be the first artist selected for this program,” says News Beat’s Producer/Engineer Manny Faces. “Silent Knight has been a staple in New York-area independent hip-hop scene for many years. He delivers equal parts artistry and intelligence in his lyrics through an engaging and memorable style, which is just perfect for this series. I am thrilled to collaborate with him in this manner.”
A seasoned performer, Silent Knight has captivated crowds on many world-renowned stages and worked with a wide array of music acts across multiple genres, including Inspectah Deck of the Wu-Tang Clan, Talib Kweli, 112, and members of The Roots. He has released a dozen solo albums in the span of a decade and is the frontman of The Band Called FUSE.
“The AiR program was essentially conceived as a way to continue working with Silent Knight,” says Editor-in-Chief Christopher Twarowski. “He helped us produce our pilot episode back in January and we knew right then and there that we wanted to keep working with him. Now that he’s on board, it has inspired us to bring other talented artists into the program and shed light on their careers.”
Rashed Mian, the managing editor of News Beat and the head writer of the second episode The True Origins of the War on Drugs was “blown away” by Silent Knight’s treatment of the episode’s material. “He took the entire piece to another level. When we work with an artist, we try to provide as much information as possible about how the story is developing without pushing him or her in a particular direction. So there’s a good deal of creative license that comes with this role. His lyrics are poignant and clever and the underlying passion with which he delivers them is so palpable.”
The core News Beat team started together many years ago at the Long Island Press, an alternative weekly publication. Since 2003, the Press spoke truth to power and worked tirelessly to expose fraud, corruption and abuse in the political and economic system on Long Island. When the Press was sold earlier in 2017, four core members reconstituted to produce a podcast and news website designed to inform listeners with alternative perspectives on some of the most pressing issues shaping our world today. Each episode of News Beat features a mix of audio clips and well-known voices – ranging from activists to scholars to journalists – set to rhythms, melodies and original verses and rhymes.