The final episode of the first season of Ben Arthur’s SongWriter podcast premieres on Paste today (Nov. 5) ahead of its Nov. 12 official release. Episode 12 features two pieces of flash fiction—“The Machine” and “Cheese Baby”—from writer and journalist Anna North, and a response in song by the rapper and multimedia artist Shanthony Exum, who performs as Miss Eaves. North and Exum first met via their work together on a op-ed piece on body-shaming internet trolls that Exum wrote and North edited for the New York Times in 2017. Exum also wrote a song, “Hi H8ers,” and created a music video to accompany the Times piece.
In North’s “Cheese Baby,” a woman disappointed by the arrival of another month of her menstrual cycle decides she isn’t going to wait around to have a baby when she can just carve one out of cheddar cheese. Still, she’s got “traditional” values, and needs to find a male role model for her hilariously named Bobraham. Exum’s song, also called “Cheese Baby,” runs with the absurd humor of the story: “Oh, please, don’t need ovaries,” she raps, “Gonna be a mom to a baby of cheese.” And, of course, she’s “looking for a man with cheddar.” Producer KEISHH worked on both “Hi H8ers” and Exum’s SongWriter contribution.
Arthur noted the uniqueness of North and Exum’s history in a statement:
I love the friendship and warmth between Anna and Shanthony that’s so clearly reflected in their interviews. Episodes of SongWriter can feel like pushing two artists—who have often never met!—into a sometimes-awkward creative dance, and that can be great fun. But this episode feels to me more like an organic continuance of Anna and Shanthony’s ongoing collaboration.
Listen to the latest episode of SongWriter via NoiseTrade here. If you’re devastated by the end of SongWriter’s first season, don’t fret quite yet: There will be a “final final” bonus episode featuring Jonathan Lethem’s short story “Vivian Relf” and a song by Cindy Lee Berryhill. New Yorkers, take note that there’s an upcoming SongWriter event on Nov. 8, with Arthur, author Ethan Lipton and songwriter Sarah Jaffe at Buunni Cafe. Tickets are available here.