New Podcast ‘The Stakes’ Plots Episodes on Conscious Hip-Hop, Mueller Report

Jon Blistein

WNYC Studios has launched a new podcast, The Stakes, that will offer deep dives into various social issues, from queer politics to the state of democracy, how the status quo came to be and what might be done to drive further change.

WNYC host and managing editor Kai Wright will host the bi-weekly show, which premiered today, April 23rd, with an episode about lead poisoning. The show delves into how lead poisoning has persisted as a public health crisis thanks to a lead industry misinformation campaign, and racist justification that led to higher levels of poisoning in black and Hispanic communities. The show also highlight those trying to fight lead lead poisoning, including the civil and human rights group, the Young Lords, and a pediatric psychiatrist in Philadelphia.

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Upcoming episodes of The Stakes will focus on a diverse set of topics, such as the rise and fall of early hip-hop movement “conscious rap” and the subgenre’s relationship to culture, politics and commerce. (That episode will feature interviews with Kool Moe Dee and writer Nelson George.) Another episode will include a conversation with former Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr., who will touch on several topics, including the state of democracy, police violence and the Mueller report.

Other episodes of The Stakes will focus on the high mortality rates among black mothers after childbirth; the history of LGBTQ rights and the current state of queer politics; and the dangers of being addicted to digital life.

In a statement, Wright discussed the goal of The Stakes, saying, “[P]eople feel like the systems that shape their lives don’t work for them, or never did. And they’re correct. So how’d we get here? What choices and compromises created the society we’ve got? And can we make it work better, for more of us?”

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