Hip-Hop

Where Did All the Female Rappers Go? Reality TV

Earlier this week, NPR asked where all the female rappers had gone, and yesterday VH1 gave them their answer, albeit a weak one: a new reality show. This fall, the cable network responsible for “docudramas” like Love & Hip Hop and The Salt-n-Pepa Show will unleash White Girls of Rap into the world, yet again making female rappers a novelty item. … Read More

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A Look at Hip Hop’s Moral Compass in 2013

There’s a feeling that listening to hip hop gives you. The aggression is a defibrillator, giving life to the lifeless. The wordplay is a unique, poetic combination of cleverness and wit. Oh yeah, and hip hop is the most exciting genre of music for youth culture right now, and has been for quite some time. But despite all that’s great about hip hop, it has an issue with morality: its moral compass is broken. Actually, it’s never really been too functional. … Read More

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In Defense of Miley Cyrus’s VMAs Performance

By now you may just have heard about Miley Cyrus’s performance at the VMAs last night. But if somehow you’ve managed to avoid the whole thing, it went like this: Miley twerked. Miley sang with Robin Thicke. Miley slapped the ass of one of her female dancers. Miley wore a skimpy flesh-colored outfit. Miley wagged her tongue a lot. And the internet went completely and utterly bonkers about it, with critics climbing over one another to criticize Cyrus for being racist, for being clueless, for being a shameless hussy, for being on the verge of a spectacular breakdown. Has everyone gone completely mad? … Read More

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Is Jay-Z Falling Out of Love With the American Dream?

A couple of years back, Flavorwire ran a feature picking out ten of the 21st century’s most influential musicians. In retrospect, some of the selections were… adventurous, perhaps, but we stand by the choice of the man at the top of the list: Jay-Z. The key point about his influence on the music world is that it hasn’t always had a great deal to do with music — as I wrote at the time, “Jay-Z has defined the idea of the hip hop mogul, a man as much entrepreneur as musician.” With his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail out this week, it seems a good time to explore that idea further. … Read More

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“Accidental Racist” Was a Missed Opportunity: The Depressing Similarities Between Hip Hop and Country

By now we’ve all marveled at Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s “Accidental Racist.” But as we were considering the song yesterday, we got to thinking about the fact that pretty much every report about it has described Paisley and LL as an “unlikely duo,” an “odd couple,” or something along those lines. At first glance, of course, they are — a white southern country star and a black MC from New York. But then again, maybe not, because their respective genres have lot more in common than perhaps either realizes. Both sounds started off as the voice of a social class without a voice in mainstream culture, and have been subsequently commercialized, glitizfied, and sold back to that same demographic as an aspirational consumerist ideal. Happy days. … Read More

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The Funniest Comments on Rolling Stone’s 50 Greatest Hip Hop Songs List

Here’s something lighthearted for the afternoon: It appears we weren’t the only ones who were largely underwhelmed by Rolling Stone’s list of the 50 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of All Time, because the comments section on the magazine’s website makes for pretty hilarious reading. We’re not exactly surprised that the RS readership isn’t hugely into this feature, but even so, some of the objections raised are spectacularly good — so, from protestations about the lack of Polish hip hop to one very annoyed country music fan, we’ve shared some of the more amusing comments after the jump. Click on through if you need something to amuse you on a dreary Monday afternoon. … Read More

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Powerful Portraits of Hip Hop Pioneers

Photographer Janette Beckman shoots for clients like Esquire and Sony, and has been exhibited internationally (we also took a look at some of her other work over here), but we’re happily fixated on her powerful portraits of pioneering hip hop artists like Afrika Bambaataa, A Tribe Called Quest, and many more. The award-winning artist hails from London and currently works in New York — where she moved in 1982 and was instantly drawn to the underground hip hop scene. Her work has been integral in documenting the roots of the genre from its earliest days, perfectly capturing the attitude and style of the times. Please visit her blog to keep up to date with her current work — which is equally impressive — and visit our gallery past the break for a closer look. … Read More

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A Field Guide to Recognizing 21st-Century Subcultural Tribes

You know you’re not a teenager anymore when you can walk down a city street and be entirely baffled by the costumes of the subcultural tribes you pass. What, for example, do you call a woman with bright green and purple dreadlocks who wears eight-inch platform boots and a gas mask as an accessory? Or a mustachioed fellow in Victorian garb who can’t decide between a monocle and a pair of goggles? When we spot a guy in black-and-white face paint and leather armor carrying a fancily embellished axe, should we ask him for some music recommendations or run the other way? Thankfully, Rob Dobi has all the answers at a website called Your Scene Sucks, which features annotated portraits of groups ranging from Juggalos to the “Apple Store Indie” crowd. Click through for some of our favorites from the site, then be sure to visit Your Scene Sucks to see the rest. If you’re especially amused, you can own the pictures in book form. … Read More

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Awesome Infographic: The Magnificent Map of Rap

Are you a hip-hop fan who keeps mixing up Blaq Poet and Blaqthoven? Do you, perhaps, keep forgetting to take the “o” out of “Yung Joc,” and have you been surprised to discover that Young Jeezy and Young Beezy really are two separate people? Have you ever taken the time to analyze why so many… Read More

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Impressive Redesigns of Classic Hip Hop Album Covers

We’ve seen a ton of indie/rock album covers get the redesign treatment, but it feels like the hip hop world hasn’t been made over quite as much. We first spotted Jeff Rochester’s collection of iconic hip hop album covers reimagined over at Voices of East Anglia. The designer has given several classic groups a new face, including De La Soul’s Three Feet and Rising, albums by Madlib and LL Cool J. MF Doom’s redesign is impressive — and works, because he literally dropped bombs on that album — but we prefer the original. It’s hard to beat the hilarity of a B-boy Dr. Doom holding a mic and wearing a hoodie with fat gold chains as the drawstrings. The new artwork for Jeru’s The Sun Rises in the East is far better than the original, making it less obvious and a great compliment to the MC’s smart rhyme style. The Wu-Tang redo evokes the old kung fu film aesthetic that colored that album much more effectively than the original cover. Eric B. and Rakim’s Paid in Full has us torn. When the album dropped, most had no idea what the duo looked like so it was cool for people to finally see their faces — particularly with Rakim’s unique voice. See all the albums and decide for yourself in our gallery after the jump. … Read More

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