Subject:

Hip-Hop and Rap

  • Blogs

    June 23, 2014

    The New Tupac Musical Is a Dreadful Affair

    Somewhere, whether in the afterlife or in the midst of planning his much fabled return to public life, Tupac Shakur is groaning emphatically and shaking his head. Full disclosure: we all know he's dead--gunned down in Las Vegas amid a torrent of gunfire in 1996, to be briefly reconfigured as a holog ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2014

    "Several Crates" of Afrika Bambaataa's Record Collection Are Going on Sale Next Week

    Last summer, the good folks at Boo-Hooray and Gavin Brown's Enterprise held an open archiving of Afrika Bambaataa's 40,000 deep record collection prior to its delivery to Cornell University's vast Hip Hop Collection (CHHC), the largest archive of hip-hop materials in the world, spanning over four de ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 18, 2014

    Hip-Hop Did Not Begin How You Think It Did

    To hear most people tell it, the history of rap goes like this: MCs were originally rapping primarily to showcase their DJs. That is, until Sugar Hill Gang put out "Rapper's Delight" in 1979. It was the second rap record of all time, and an enormous hit, proving there was a market for rapping on wa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 12, 2014

    Princess Superstar: From "Bad Babysitter" to Good Teacher

    Hip-hop is a youth culture, but Saturdays in June at Brooklyn's Rough Trade are seeing hip-hop culture inform the youth. Indie hip-hop favorite Princess Superstar is spending her Saturday afternoons this month teaching a hip-hop class for children ages 1-8 titled Princess Superstar's Playskool: Hip ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 7, 2014

    The Start and Stop of Juelz Santana

    A decade ago the city limits of Harlem seemed to expand worldwide as the Dipset movement became a universally celebrated entity in hip-hop. From critics to customers, mainstream audiences to underground heads, traditionalists to avant garde indie kids, Dipset seemed to have something to offer everyb ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 6, 2014

    Things Outkast Is Cooler Than: The Complete List

    Outkast have made something of an art form out of cleverly describing their own level of "cool." Though the Atlanta duo is far from the first rap group to do so, Big Boi and Andre 3000 have certainly made a game out of it, employing all manner of wordplay in their explanations of the matter. "Cooler ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 4, 2014

    Non Phixion: Diggin' in the Vault With the Underground Rap Heroes

    Twelve years ago, Non Phixion released the underground rap manifesto The Future Is Now. Consisting of the emcees Ill Bill, Goretex, and Sabac Red, plus the turntable talents of DJ Eclipse, the quartet resonated like a squad of rugged rap anti-heroes who weaved talk of conspiracy theories and governm ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 2, 2014

    Hot 97 Summer Jam Photo Recap

    The Roots brought out the Lox. 50 Cent reunited G-Unit. Nas brought out Meek Mill and French Montana. MetLife Stadium didn't empty during Trey Songz set. Summer Jam is always packed full of surprises, and 2014's was no exception. And the biggest by far was just how dominant Nicki Minaj was. She put ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 29, 2014

    10 Reasons 1994 Was the Best Year for Music

    Was 1994 the best year for pop music in history? Quite possibly. Sure, some of it was terrible, but overall it was amazing: Nordic black metal, Britpop, pop punk, trip hop, and the best R&B of the '90s. (Boyz II Men were peaking). Hip-hop's Golden Age was winding down, but a new, arguably more co ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 22, 2014

    Dama Nilz: From Jimmy Fallon to Applebee's to Warped Tour

    Arguably the hardest working woman in New York hip-hop, Dama Nilz's struggle is as heartbreaking as it is inspiring. Nilz has been a fixture of the underground rap scene despite life throwing her curveballs in-between her home-runs. Last winter she performed on "Jimmy Fallon," that spring she hit ha ... More >>

  • Voice Choices

    May 21, 2014
  • Blogs

    May 16, 2014

    Understanding New Japan Wrestling via Hip-Hop

    This Saturday, May 17th, the Hammerstein Ballroom will play host to an exciting historic night in professional wrestling. New Japan Pro Wrestling, the second biggest wrestling company on the planet, will be facing off against respected American wrestling promotion Ring of Honor for a rare cross-prom ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 15, 2014

    10 Hip-Hop Facts You Likely Didn't Know

    There are hip-hop interview archives, and then there's TheBeeShine. Launched by Jersey native Bryan Scheiner in summer 2010, it's since blossomed into one of the largest collection of hip-hop video interviews on the planet. Boasting over 1,600 interviews, Scheiner's disarming style has allowed for o ... More >>

  • Voice Choices

    May 14, 2014
  • Blogs

    May 13, 2014

    How Not to Run an Indie Rap Label

    Ten years ago, Matt Diamond started Coalmine Records. The Brooklyn-based independent rap label's first release was "The Raw," a 12-inch single featuring the Wu-Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck, horrorcore-styled rapper Bekay, and one-time savior of New York hip-hop Saigon. Since then the Coalmine vault ha ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 8, 2014

    XXL's Editor-in-Chief Defends This Year's Freshman Class

    This week, XXL Magazine released their annual Freshman List to much fanfare and the usual fighting. The magazine's biggest issue of the year, since 2008 the Freshman List has become an easy-to-follow guide to which new artists are making noise in the rap game, as well as an increasingly more accurat ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 7, 2014

    The 2014 XXL Freshmen: A Statistical Analysis

    The line-up for XXL magazine's 2014 freshman issue was revealed on Monday evening, with the "dirty dozen" of rappers on the cover including Chance The Rapper, Kevin Gates, Isaiah Rashad, Ty Dolla $ign and Rich Homie Quan. Troy Ave is New York City's sole inclusion. As with years gone by, comments s ... More >>

  • Voice Choices

    May 7, 2014
  • Blogs

    May 2, 2014

    Hot 97 Summer Jam & Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival: Which is Right For You?

    "Hip-hop was set out in the dark/ They used to do it out in the park" begins MC Shan's classic 1986 single "The Bridge." Yes, it was a mere 30 years ago that the biggest hip-hop events of the year would go down in New York public parks and block parties. Fast forward a few decades and the neighborho ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 24, 2014

    Creature of Rebelmatic: The Patriarch of NYC's Hip-Hop Underground

    Opening for Kool AD this Thursday night at Webster Hall is hip-hop-infused punk outfit Rebelmatic, a group fronted by MC and DIY-innovator Creature, a face familiar to anyone who's ever even walked near a hip-hop event in New York City in the past two decades. From his '90s output with his group Tri ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 17, 2014

    Time Is Illmatic: New Doc Goes Behind the Scenes of Hip-Hop's Greatest Album

    Nas entered the Beacon Theater in a suit. It was a nice suit, a cool grey number with a blue tie, well-tailored. He looked sharp. But Nas in a suit is not the same as Jay-Z in a suit. Jay-Z in a suit looks like a man who has worked hard all his life so that he can rock a Tom Ford custom that costs m ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 17, 2014

    Here's the Story on the Wu-Tang Affiliate Who Appears to Have Cut His Penis Off

    As we reported yesterday, rapper Christ Bearer apparently severed his penis and jumped off of his Studio City apartment balcony, in what appears to be a suicide attempt. But despite his affiliation with Wu-Tang Clan, most people -- Wu fans included -- know very little about him. Here's his story: ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 16, 2014

    Exclusive Premiere: Shabaam Sahdeeq and DJ Spinna's "Do You"

    Back in the late-'90s, the Brooklyn-based Shabaam Sahdeeq and DJ Spinna formed something of an impromptu duo: Tracks like the Rawkus-released "5 Star Generals" showcased Shabaam's studied flow allied to Spinna's signature space-funk production. It's a winning chemistry that's back in effect with "Do ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 16, 2014

    Kosha Dillz Presents: A Passover Playlist for The Ten Plagues

    Passover is in full effect. So what better way to celebrate the occasion than by lining up a broadly-rap-themed playlist devoted to the occasion? Enter Kosha Dillz, the top notch rapper and Gangsta Boo's favorite dining partner who not only took to the task with glee but decided to curate a cheery m ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 9, 2014

    Ludacris: An Appreciation

    This is a statement that your brain will reflexively disagree with but also one that it will eventually accept as truth: Ludacris is one of rap's greatest and most unstoppable guest-verse performers of all time, and, despite his millions of album sales and shelf full of awards, he remains somehow un ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 9, 2014

    Ratking Redefine NYC Hip-Hop on New Album So It Goes

    It's 6:30 pm on a Tuesday and it's hectic on West 14th Street outside Babycastles Gallery, where the three members of the up and coming hip-hop group Ratking are trying to figure out how to get all of their friends into their album release show. Upstairs, the two floors of the gallery are already fi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 8, 2014

    Challenge: Enter a Rap Battle

    Have you ever freestyle rapped? Please, right now, take the time to try it. Go to YouTube, find an instrumental, and just try to rhyme in rhythm off the top of your head about whatever you want. Seriously, try it. I'll wait here. See also: I Won an Evangelical Christian Rap Battle

  • Blogs

    April 3, 2014

    The New Wu-Tang Clan Album Should Not Happen

    Of late, Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA has been acting with a single-minded purpose: making a new Wu-Tang album happen, against all odds. He's already titled it A Better Tomorrow and dropped a couple singles to promote the album; even as projected release dates have come and gone, he's admitted he's strug ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 1, 2014

    Do These Much-Loathed Rap Albums Deserve Our Ire?

    Last month marks five years since electronics and media giant Circuit City closed its doors forever. As a music fan, I miss Circuit City quite a bit. Not only were their prices on CDs usually exceedingly low, presumably in efforts to get customers to enter the store and buy televisions or whatever, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 28, 2014

    Voss Brings Us Behind BET's "Freestyle Friday"

    This month, BET announced they're launching the second season of "Ultimate Freestyle Friday." What this means is more freestyle rap battle action will be hitting TV screens coast-to-coast, possibly launching new stars into the rap's collective conscience. But for a show that's been on the air for ov ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 26, 2014

    M-TRI and DJ Leecy T Find Bliss in Hip-Hop Wedlock

    The one-MC one-DJ rap outfits have always shared a special bond, but none have shared holy matrimony. That is, until MTRI and DJ Leecy T. They recently released their new videos for "Rush" (with Ukraine artist Dee the Conscious One) and "Expression" (with Slovakia's Golias and DJ Muki), both filmed ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 21, 2014

    March 23, 2004: The Most Important Day in Indie Rap History?

    Where were you on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004? If you were a music fan, chances are you were picking up Usher's Confessions album, as it eventually went diamond and birthed "Yeah," a song that seems to get as much airplay today as it did 10 years ago. Or, if your radar picked up underground movements, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 20, 2014

    Freddie Gibbs and Madlib Have Already Made the Rap Album Of The Year

    Earlier this week, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib conspired to release the rap album of the year. Titled Pinata (or Cocaine Pinata to give the project its full and un-chain-store-friendly moniker), it's a 17-track listen that's shot through with the steely feel of a future classic. It's also a project tha ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 3, 2014

    Revisiting Beat Street 30 Years Later

    Last week kicked off City College New York's fifth annual Is Hip-Hop History Conference. An annual conference aimed at preserving and promoting hip-hop culture, this year's opening night was a celebration of the classic hip-hop film Beat Street's 30th anniversary. Along with event co-founders Elena ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 24, 2014

    Why We Worship J. Dilla

    February might be the cruelest month for hip-hop fans. Despite being the shortest of the year, it reminds us in rapid succession of losing some of the most promising talents whose lives were cut just short of drastically impacting the rap world. Among those lost in this 28 day span are Big Pun (Febr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 21, 2014

    Which De La Soul Album Is the Best?

    Last Friday, Long Island rap greats De La Soul shocked and delighted the world in the best of ways by putting their entire Tommy Boy-released discography up for free download for 24 hours. Folks who've never experienced the group's output, or perhaps hadn't heard it in a while, flocked to their webs ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 14, 2014

    T-Pain Did Not Get the Concept of "Royals"

    For a song that's been turned inside-out by a variety of takes and unique approaches, "Royals" surprisingly hadn't been revamped in a way that had completely shifted its message. That is until Cher-inspired rapper T-Pain got a hold of Lorde's breakout hit and made the anti-consumption, broke kid ant ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 6, 2014

    A History of Rappers and Boxing

    Yesterday, headlines were made and stomachs were turned with the news that Trayvon Martin-shooter George Zimmerman would be taking part in a "Celebrity Boxing" event. As if the notion of killing a teenager qualifying one as a "celebrity" wasn't enough, it was announced that Zimmerman's opponent woul ... More >>

  • Voice Choices

    February 5, 2014
  • Blogs

    February 4, 2014

    Should Rap Lyrics Be Used in Criminal Trials?

    Legions of angry parents were already up in arms when gangster rap arrived on the scene. After the 1985 PMRC Senate hearings helped institute "Parental Advisory" stickers, albums by Ice-T and N.W.A. were among the first to be branded. Since then, rap as a musical form has continued to take its lumps ... More >>

  • Voice Choices

    January 29, 2014

    BY ANY NAME NECESSARY

    2 Chainz comes to Roseland Ballroom

  • Blogs

    January 15, 2014

    The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll: Top 10 Singles By Year, 1979-2013

    Singles were added to the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll for the music of 1979 issue. Before that, only albums were ranked in the poll, which began in 1971, then stopped for three years before returning for good in early 1975 to recap the music of 1974. Here's a rundown of the top ten singl ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 15, 2014

    The Year's Most Acclaimed Hip-Hop Artists Transcended Backpack Pasts

    "In this season, the man of goodwill will wear his heart up his sleeve, not on it." —W.H. Auden "Wu-Tang forever." —Drake There are only so many ways to conceal your backpack past. You can auto-tune your voice to sound like an answering machine or submerge it in a chopped-a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 15, 2014

    The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll: Top 10 Albums By Year, 1971-2013

    Cruise through this index of the Voice's top ten albums from 1971 through 2013, according to its annual Pazz & Jop critics' poll, started by Robert Christgau. The poll has run every year since '71, except for a three-year hiatus after that first year. The prominence of legacy artists on the inaugu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 13, 2014

    Songs OutKast Should Play at Their Reunions to Please True Fans

    It's official: Outkast is back. Live, at least. Fans would no doubt love to hear the duo is back in the lab working on something new, but knowing that they're headlining Coachella in April and then Governors Ball in June is good enough. Dre and Big Boi can, of course, patch together a set of big hit ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 9, 2014

    The Audible Doctor Discusses 50 Cent's Jenga Skills

    Editor's note: In Tweets is Watching, Phillip Mlynar asks local artists questions based solely on the contents of their Twitter timeline. As part of the Brown Bag Allstars, The Audible Doctor has held down an esteemed position in the New York City rap underground for a while now. 2014 is shaping up ... More >>

  • Music

    January 8, 2014
  • Blogs

    January 7, 2014

    Five Rappers Who Will Be Big in 2014

    Hip-hop turned 40 last year. One constant throughout its history? There's always a new act just around the corner, ready to completely flip the game with a new style. So who's on deck in 2014? Here are five MCs we are confident will be much discussed over the next twelve months. See also: Five NY ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 6, 2014

    Hip-Hop Classics Turning 20 in 2014

    There's a reason "bring it back to '94" had become such a heartfelt calling card for hip-hop traditionalists. While it's always been a primarily singles-driven genre, you would be hard pressed to find a single year with more endlessly influential, important and well aging rap classics than 1994. A l ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 6, 2014

    Will These Delayed Rap Albums Finally Come Out in 2014?

    The year was 2009 AD. After countless years of delays and speculation, Wu-Tang Clansman Chef Raekwon unleashed upon an unprepared world Only Buily 4 Cuban Linx II. Originally slated for a 2005 release, the exceptionally big gap between its announcement and its hitting store shelves was quickly forgi ... More >>

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