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Podcast Review: ‘Support the Dope’

Carla Brown get Chicago’s greatest artists to tell all and it’s pretty dope.

Jennifer Dixon

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I chose to review Support the Dope because I am an enormous fan of the podcast and the host is super dope herself. I found out about Carla Brown and her podcast via Instagram and fell completely. I love the fact that artists are able to share their experiences and journey. I feel as if sometimes great artists are often overlooked in the music industry. This podcast not only highlights artists, but gives them a platform to introduce themselves, vibe to new music, showcase their talent, and just have a great time. Some of the artists have been featured on the podcast are Adam Ness, Cherise, Jeff Gibbs, Sa’Rayah, and Justin Ruff. They are all local as well as up & coming artists in Chicago.  

This podcast not only creates causal conversation with the artists, but focuses on their music as well. Brown desires for those listening to the podcast to get to know the artists and what they hope to accomplish in their career. Support the Dope is currently in its fifth season. What makes this podcast different from the others is it supports local artists in Chicago. Many believe that artists must be from New York or Los Angeles to make it in the music industry, but this podcast proves otherwise. 

The hour-long podcast is based in my hometown and there are a lot of incredible and talented artists, who are working hard to make their dreams become a reality. Brown is a broadcast major who wants to use her skills to support and encourage their artistry.  

Before the night ends on Tuesdays, I am either on my phone or sitting in front of my laptop with my headphones plugged in when I listen to this podcast so that I can pay close attention to what the artist has to say and the questions that are being asked. I am excited, and anxious, and relaxed when tuning in because I am always looking for new music or artists to add to my playlist.

I like the podcast because of how Brown not only engages with the artists, but she allows the audience to get to know them as well. In an interview with Chicago artist Justin Ruff, Brown asks about his upbringing, musical influences, future collaborations and more. This is one episode of the podcast, chatting with Ruff about his career. I am very familiar with Ruff and his music, but I got to learn more about him during this episode of the podcast. This interview stands out because I have been following his journey for a while and it is nice to hear what he has to say.

If you are not familiar with an artist, Brown plays a few songs from their albums or EPs to introduce others to their music. I would also say that she makes the interviewee and audience feel comfortable by being relatable, authentic, and down-to-earth. Every time I listen to Support the Dope, I feel  like she is my home girl or my friend (in my head). She is always so encouraging, supportive, and kind with all the artists who are featured on the show. She talks with the artists as real individuals, which creates a sincere atmosphere. 

I also appreciate how Brown gives artists the opportunity to tell their story from their point of view. She asks questions like– how did they become involved in music, who are some of their musical influences, who do currently listen to? Who would they like to collaborate with in the future? How would they describe their sound or style of music? These questions not only allows the artists to freely express who they are when it comes to their music, artistry, brand, but also gives people the opportunity to know or reacquaint themselves better . Because of this, I feel like I got the chance to understand Justin Ruff  as a person and artist. There were things I did not know about Justin Ruff that I learned just by tuning into “Support the Dope.” I am a fan of Justin Ruff and know him from supporting and promoting his music on Instagram. He is originally from Cincinnati, but moved to Chicago to pursue his dreams as a singer. Ruff currently has a few singles out now, “Diamonds (Nothing On You),” “You,” and “Every Blue Moon.” His music fills souls with love, happiness, and joy.

I think Brown takes full advantage of the audio possibilities throughout her podcast by showcasing her theme song and thanking the people who produced the track. The one thing that makes the Support the Dope unique is that Brown always ends the podcast by asking artists this question, “What is the one thing that you want others to know about you?” I wished that Brown would tell the audience more about herself so that they can get to know her better, too. The quality of her production is excellent. The podcast is available on iHeartRadio, SupportTheDope.com, and Spreaker.com 

The theme song consists of rapping, whistle blowing, and drums. I often find myself bobbing my head (literally) as I wait for the podcast to start. It also informs those on when to tune in– Tuesdays at 7:30. Currently, the podcast is on a break, but will back soon. For now, people can catch up on all the past episodes.

Support the Dope is one of the best podcasts that I have ever heard. I am hoping that as time progresses, more people will start to recognize this podcast because it is really amazing!  

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Jennifer is a graduate student studying English at Governors State University. She loves music and writing, which fueled her interest for a career in music journalism. She is currently working towards finishing her degree. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, shopping, and advocating for those with Cerebral Palsy.

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