I Heard the $5 Million Wu-Tang Album That Won’t Be Played Again in Public for 88 Years

The new and possibly final Wu-Tang album is more than two hours long. It features 31 tracks, all eight living MCs, most if not all Wu-Tang affiliates (Sunz of Man, Redman, Cher), sirens, bombs, samples from kung fu cinema, and original skits. And it took more than two years to produce, mostly because eighty percent of its vocals were re-recorded to capture the intensity of early Wu-Tang records. The album’s title: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. … Read More

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How the Wu-Tang Clan Changed Everything — And Got Banned From My High School

When do you start calling something a definite classic? When can you rightfully proclaim that a painting, a novel, a poem, film, or record is a masterpiece? Can you really experience something once or twice and recognize that it is truly exceptional, or does a piece of art need time to mature? … Read More

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Awesome Street Signs Commemorating Iconic Rap Lyrics

The little plaques you see all over cities like NYC that commemorate where famous people used to live… well, they tend to be rather biased in favor of long-dead white guys, don’t they? This is why we’re rather enamored of these hip hop-centric street signs, which commemorate a whole heap of New York locations mentioned in iconic rap lyrics, encompassing Jay-Z’s early days in the Marcy projects, the corner where Redman’s associates used to “sling rocks,” and a Smooth B lyric referencing “125 and St. Nick” (where your correspondent used to live!), amongst many others. They’re the work of artist Jay Shells, who posted over 30 of the signs all over the city — our friends at ANIMAL went and photographed them all in situ. We’ve chosen some of our favorites after the jump, and you can see the rest right here. … Read More

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The 15 Best Musical Reissues of 2012

For some reason, the end-of-year listomania is starting early this year — the Guardian has begun its best-of-2012 list already, and we’re sure others will soon be following suit. In the spirit of getting onto getting onto such things ahead of time, then, we thought we’d commence our own end-of-year listing this week with a look at the best of reissues of 2012. In any case, it seems an appropriate time to be looking at reissues, because this month sees the (re-)release of Massive Attack’s classic 1991 debut Blue Lines, an album which we’re very excited to be able to get on nice heavy vinyl. So her are our picks of other reissues we hope you were laying your hands on during 2012. As ever, we’d be interested to hear your additions in the comments section. … Read More

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10 Hip-Hop Albums We’d Love to See Performed in Full

The concept of artists performing a classic album from start to finish, popularized by All Tomorrow’s Parties’ Don’t Look Back events, has spread like wildfire over the last few years. There have been some genuine highlights — Sonic Youth doing Daydream Nation, The Stooges doing Funhouse before Ron Asheton died, Spiritualized doing Ladies and Gentlemen… –- but it’s largely been a rock-centric business, with hip-hop artists far outnumbered by dudes with guitars. Now, some rappers are adopting the idea the idea themselves: Snoop Dogg recently announced that he’ll be doing Doggystyle again later this year, and various others like Cypress Hill, De La Soul, and Public Enemy have done similar tours in the past. Still, there are a whole lot of classic hip-hop records we’d love to see live. Here’s a wishlist. … Read More

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A Very Indie “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” + 6 More Alternative Holiday Jams

Search for “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” on iTunes and you’ll see an endless array of interpretations of the 1984 Band Aid classic. And beginning today (with a 7” to follow in February), you’ll find perhaps the most exciting rendition of all time. The brainchild of post-hardcore innovators Fucked Up, the new version also features the vocal stylings of a shockingly stellar selection of musicians, including Yo La Tengo, GZA, Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, Bob Mould, Tegan & Sara, Andrew W.K., Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio, David Cross and Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew. And in the grand “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” tradition, the band is looking out for the ladies: Fucked Up will donate all proceeds from the single to Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, DTES Power of Women Group and Sisters in… Read More

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The 8 Most Surprising Music Collaborations of 2009

From Patrick Wolf and Tilda Swindon to Lil Wayne and Weezer, 2009 was the year of surprising collaborations. Though previous years have yielded some amazing partnerships (Johnny Marr and Modest Mouse, and Mike Watt with Kelly Clarkson), that past 10 months have seen collaborations that seemed improbable, or, technically impossible. Check out our favorites from this year below, and a couple of predictions for… Read More

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