The Midnight Miracle — a new podcast from Dave Chappelle, Yasiin Bey, and Talib Kweli [who also hosts a show on Uproxx] — dropped its first two episodes last night, one on YouTube and the other on the podcast subscription service Luminary. And right out the gate, it’s already proving to be one of the most unique aural experiences we’ve ever had with the medium. Each episode begins with a heavy vibe, set up using music, audio clips, and the voices of our three hosts. Functioning like cold opens, these soundscapes propel us straight into a conversation before we can even begin to make sense of what’s happening.
It’s jarring. But it’s also great fun to be along for the ride.
If you hoped that this podcast was going to offer a glimpse into the famous “Chappelle’s Summer Camp” with some light conversation between famous friends, well… it’s not quite that. At least not so far. The two episodes uploaded follow the same format, feature a similar roster of guests, and both clock in at around 25 minutes long, but they couldn’t be more different. And neither is strictly in the “just some pals bulshitting” genre of podcasting.
The Midnight Miracle’s first episode “How to Inspire (Side A)” keeps things a bit more subdued, beginning with a question posed by Chappelle, “How do you keep a despondent person alive?” Leading to a conversation about Amy Winehouse, Robin Williams, and Roots founding member Malik B. The conversation is equal parts somber, contemplative, inspiring, and personal — with interjections of humor not just from Chappelle, but Yasiin Bey, Kweli, Chris Rock, Questlove, and comedian Donnell Rawlings.
It’s heavy and hilarious, just like the best Chappelle stage bits. And then, in episode two, the whole mood is flipped.
The second episode, “Gladiator Circus World (Side B),” begins with Yasiin Bey screaming “It’s a gladiator Fucking Circus!” The intro is set to militaristic music and voice-over clips from the news, Donald Trump, and Alex Jones, and ominous discordant piano stabs, vibrating synths, and tribal drums, leading into a conversation about social media, the pandemic, and skits about Rush Limbaugh receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It’s heavy. Like so heavy we’re going to say don’t listen to episode two before you go to bed. But do definitely listen to episode two, because the whole thing culminates in the premiere of the new Black Star single “Automatic.”
“Automatic” was produced by the legendary Madlib, who stopped by Uproxx’s People’s Party this week to talk about his history producing for Kweli and Yasiin Bey, his career, and his favorite producers. In the episode, Kweli shared that, just like the seed for the Midnight Miracle came from Yasiin Bey, so too did the Madlib x Black Star link up.
“We’ve had several false starts with the Black Star album but one thing that’s been consistent for like 10, 15 years, since we dropped the album,” Kweli says in the episode. “Yasiin has, for a long time, been like, ‘The next Black Star album has to be over all Madlib beats.'”
The first result of that collaboration, “Automatic,” brings the same intensity and production style as “Gladiator Circus World (Side B).” And that’s definitely saying something. We’re excited to see what the next entries of both the podcast and the long-mythologized and much anticipated Black Star II album bring.
Check out the first episode of The Midnight Miracle for free below, and hit Luminary to catch episode two and all future episodes. Also, be sure to check out Madlib talking Black Star and much more on this week’s People’s Party.