Food for Thought

Kanye West Or Shakespeare: Who Is More Relevant Right Now? (Video)

One made Hamlet, and one made "H•A•M." William Shakespeare and Kanye West may appear to be very different kinds of artists. However, both creators (one an author and playwright, the other an MC, producer, and designer) greatly shaped the popular culture of their times. Across centuries, mediums, and more, both... Read more

Tupac’s Spoken Words: Why His Interviews Are Even More Compelling Than His Music (Video)

"I want when they see me, they know that every day that I'm breathing, it's for Us to go farther. Every time I speak, I want the truth to come out. Every time I speak, I want a shiver. I don't want them to [predict] what I'm gonna say 'cause... Read more

Tupac Shakur’s Formative Years: The Young Man Before The Myth (Video)

"I loved my childhood, even though it was bad. I love it. I feel like it's taught me so much. Nothing can faze me. Nothing in this world can surprise me. It might set me back, but only momentarily can it set me back. I think it's helped me to... Read more

Bizzy Says He & Krayzie Are The Ones Capable Of Creating New Waves For Bone Thugs (Video)

One year ago, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony released "Coming Home." The reunion single came just days following the Cleveland Cavaliers' first NBA title crown. In the 52 years between championships across major sports in Cleveland, one of its other symbols of success with Bone Thugs. Winning Grammy's, dominating the charts, changing the... Read more

Brother Ali Details How Our Pleasures Are Used By Those In Power To Control Us

After a nearly five-year break, Brother Ali will release All The Beauty In This Whole Life this Friday (May 5). The Rhymesayers Entertainment mainstay has crafted an album that confronts so many issues in the modern universe. Ali Newman has a lot to say on what's happening with the world, and while... Read more

The Rumors Were Right. Kendrick Lamar DID Release 2 New Albums.

Merely hours after Kendrick Lamar released his masterful new album, DAMN., a rumor surfaced that set the internet ablaze. It is unclear who the original author was, but the theory was Kendrick actually had plans to release 2 albums that weekend. The details were wildly creative yet also stunningly detailed…all... Read more

噂が本当だった。ケンドリックは本当にアルバムを二枚リリースしたのだ。

ケンドリック・ラマーが極めて巧みな新アルバム「DAMN.」をリリースしたそのほんの数時間後、ネットではある噂が大炎上した。誰が言い出したかは不明だが、一説にはケンドリックは実は同週末にアルバムを二枚リリースする予定だった、というのだ。詳しい内容・根拠はワイルドに想像力に富んだものである一方、中には驚く程細かい描写もあった。普通だったら「こりゃガセネタだろう」と流したくなるような要素の勢揃い。 その主な要素とは次のとおり。「DAMN.」は聖金曜日 [Good Friday: 復活祭の前の金曜日。キリストの命日] にリリースされたもので、ケンドリックの死を象徴している。(ネット上の)空論家たちは、ケンドリックが次に「NATION.」というタイトルで「自分の復活」と意味で二枚目のアルバムを復活祭にリリースするのではないかと暗示し出した。タイトルを合わせると「DAMNATION」[天罰] となる。ケンドリックの音楽にはスピリチュアルな要素も含まれており、早くも「Section.80」というアルバムの時点ですでに「Kush & Corinthians」[クッシュとコリント人]のような曲があり、ジャケットには聖書が写っている。また、アルバムのリリースに向けて The New York Times とのインタビューの中でケンドリックはこう語る。 「俺たちは人生と呼ばれるあらゆるものごとから、ある一つの大きな要素を排除しがちな、そんな時代にいるんだ。つまり神だよ。今、世界で起きていることとの間に軋轢を生んでしまうから誰も言わないけど。政治や政府、体制について語ろうとするとさ」。 噂を裏付ける詳細も豊富だ。「DAMN.」のジャケット裏は、全曲が最後まで大文字で書かれ、それを強調するかのように「.」で終わり、白い背景へと溢れるようなレイアウトになっている。噂によるとこれらは一つのアナグラム(つづり換え遊び)のつもりである。つづり換えると「Earth led 2 Death [地球は死を招いた]」や「Death 2 the leader [リーダーに死を]」などと、噂のコンセプトを強化するようなフレーズがいくつか成り立つとみられる。更にいうと、「DAMN.」のM字がちょうど悪魔の角とも捉えてもいいようにケンドリックの頭の上に位置しており、今度「NATION.」ではO字を天使の輪に見立てるのではないかという説だった。また「DAMN.」のカバーは赤だから、「NATION.」は青になるだろうと。そしてケンドリック本人も火に油を注ぐように「DAMN.」のリリース直後に、Spotifyのプロフィール写真を変え、赤だった背景が青になっていた。その後、「NATION.」の偽アートワークが出回り始めた。 二日間、世の中は息をひそめて「NATION.」のリリースを待った。期待が外れたと気付くと、噂の火が弱まりかけたが、数日後にアルバムのサイン会でケンドリックが口にしてしまった一言でまたすぐ様に大炎上した。 「俺の音楽、まだあるよ」 この言葉が大騒ぎを起こし、それを正すべくケンドリックは公式声明を発表せざるを得なくなった。「 KenFolk [ケンドリックファンの皆] へ。皆から、自分の音楽への、止まない期待と欲望に、感謝。しかしリリースはないよ。自分の活動は今後の俺たち TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) の日程発表でわかるよ、でも」 KenFolk. ThankU 4 the desire of always anticipating new music of my own. None is... Read more

Rob Swift Shows Why “The Breaks” Is The Most Authentic TV Show About Hip-Hop

On April 10, The Breaks completed the airing of its first season as a series. What began as a 2016 film for television extended for eight 2017 episodes. With actor, artist and director Mack Wilds portraying "Daryl 'DeeVee' Van Putten, Jr." in the Vh1 show, the cast also includes Hip-Hop figures such... Read more

20 Years Later Here Are So Many Things About Biggie Smalls You Didn’t Know

Twenty years ago today (March 9, 1997), Hip-Hop lost a true king when Biggie Smalls died. The MC also known as The Notorious B.I.G. had risen to form in less than five years, after making early appearances beside Heavy D, Mary J. Blige, and Super Cat. By the time Biggie... Read more

Raekwon Discusses His New Album, Working With OutKast, His Wu-Tang Classics & More

For nearly 25 years, Raekwon has been an elite source of inventive Rap music. The Staten Island MC made his debut on the classic Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by transmitting some of that album's most memorable lines and verses. Following, Rae' pivoted in a different direction with a cinematic... Read more

Rare Video Reveals That B.D.P.’s Criminal Minded Was An Answer To Non-Believers

Thirty years ago this week (March 3, 1987), the direction and style of Hip-Hop forever changed thanks to Boogie Down Productions' debut album, Criminal Minded. With only "South Bronx" in wide circulation prior to the release of the B-Boy Records album, KRS-One and DJ Scott La Rock made a jaw-dropping... Read more

The Turntable Hip-Hop Made Famous Has Scratched The Culture That Built It

The Technics 1200s turntable is one of the tools of the Hip-Hop trade. Introduced in October of 1972, the SL-1200 has grown step-by-step with the musical culture credited with a birthday less than one year apart (August 11, 1973). Over the years, more than three-million units have sold, many in... Read more

Skillz’s 2016 Rap Up Reminds Us Of The Year’s Highs, Lows & Reasons To Stay Woke (Audio)

2016 is coming to a close. Years from now, how will we, the people, remember such an expansive year in Hip-Hop music, news, and culture? This year, some of the biggest MCs in the genre released new albums. Several of these efforts came in short notice, challenging new distribution platforms... Read more

The 20 Best Freestyles Of 2016. Thought You KNEW (Video)

In Hip-Hop, there are few things more exciting than when an MC delivers a vicious verse that's never been heard before, on the spot. It is the equivalent 0f a monster dunk in an NBA game, a one-punch knockout in a fight or an end zone to end zone run in... Read more

2016: The Year Chance Stood With The People & Showed He’s So Much More Than A Rapper

In just under two weeks, we will be saying goodbye to 2016, a year during which the world faced turmoil at breakneck speed. From President Obama's announcement of a federal state of emergency in Flint, Michigan during the first month of the year to a summer stained with the blood... Read more

Stillmatic Turns 15. Here’s A Look At Nas’ Return To His NY State Of Mind (Video)

Fifteen years ago today (December 18), Nas released his fifth album, Stillmatic. At a time before popular Rap stars were making albums into series and franchises, Nasir Jones flashed back to his 1994 debut. In the seven years since, the MC had two #1 albums, and gone platinum many times... Read more

2016’s Boldest & Most Important Political Statements In Hip-Hop & Beyond

2016 has been a rough year. From seemingly endless celebrity deaths to a political campaign unlike any other to racial tensions dominating headlines, these last 12 months have been riddled with great sorrow. But as history continues to remind us, out of great pain comes great resilience, and actors, athletes,... Read more

Here Are The Best Hip-Hop Performances & Videos Of 2016

2016 has been a unique year. With it, Hip-Hop had a lot to say, visually. Poets new and old, independent and well-heeled, used their art to promote awareness, suggest change, and when appropriate, provide distraction. At a time when the music video largely lives online, artists made statements—about themselves, their... Read more

Pete Rock Discusses His Smoke DZA Collabo Album & Who Would Be In His Dream Band (Video)

Last Friday (December 2), Smoke DZA & Pete Rock released their first collaborative album, Don't Smoke Rock. The Babygrande Records LP features Rick Ross, Royce 5'9", Jadakiss, Mac Miller, Styles P, Big K.R.I.T., and Cam'ron (among others) on 13 brand-new Pete Rock productions. DZA, who has known Pete since he... Read more

Learn 10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Dre, Tupac, & Eazy From The Definitive Book On L.A. Gangsta Rap

Perhaps even more than Hip-Hop's inception, or its commercial rise, the history of N.W.A. and the diaspora of West Coast Gangsta Rap is the culture's most intriguing story. There are heroes, villains, fights, triumphs, and a plethora of great music. Author Ben Westhoff's just-published Original Gangstas is as comprehensive a... Read more

A New Book Details The Rich Hip-Hop History Of NYC’s Latin Quarter Club

In No Half Steppin': An Oral and Pictorial History of New York City Club the Latin Quarter and the Birth of Hip-Hop's Golden Era, legendary musician, archivist, and activist Claude "Paradise" Gray shares over 175 color photographs and flyers. Along with Giuseppe "u.net" Pipitone, Paradise has provided scholars of Hip-Hop... Read more

Sir Jinx Speaks About Keeping The Production On Ice Cube’s Death Certificate True To The Game

Present day Hip-Hop relies heavily on serial albums. From The Blueprint to Detox, there is momentum in many great artists' catalogs that keeps the listener engaged while threading a concept. Twenty five years ago this week, Ice Cube released Death Certificate. This platinum album followed 1990's AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted solo breakout,... Read more

Ghostface Killah’s Ironman Showcased A Rap Superhero & The Man Behind The Mask (Video)

Twenty years ago tomorrow (October 29, 1996), Ghostface Killah released a seminal solo debut album in the form of Ironman. To that point, four Wu-Tang Clansmen (GZA, Method Man, O.D.B., and Raekwon) had all stepped to the front with solo efforts, spreading their creative darts across Rap's board. As the... Read more

Black Sheep Discuss How A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing Separated Them From the Pack

Twenty-five years ago, a duo whose sound was decidedly different from what was popular at the time stepped to Hip-Hop with A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. Black Sheep's debut LP was the result of two minds, Dres and Mista Lawnge, merged into a unit who existed within the parameters of... Read more

Joe Budden Discusses Why His Music & Personal Life Are At Their Best In 2016

If you're not constantly challenged, you're probably not doing it right. Joe Budden entered 2016 with a proven career—decorated with a cult music following, reality television history, a podcast, and an Eminem-backed super-group at his side. However, throughout the last 15 years, Joe Budden never seems to get complacent. When... Read more

BROOKZILL!’s Debut LP is Inventive & Familiar At the Same Time (Audio)

BROOKZILL!: a hybrid musical project, part Brazilian street samba/part Brooklyn, New York "old school" - defined by travel and transcendence, mapping out connections to discover that the heartbeat of both musical traditions starts in the same place. Recorded over a 10 year period in Atlanta, Brazil, New York, Throwback to... Read more

Skyzoo & Joell Ortiz Look At Some Of The Costs Of A Couple Of Dollars (Video)

Tomorrow (September 30), Apollo Brown and Skyzoo will release their first collaborative album, The Easy Truth. As the Detroit, Michigan producer explained to Ambrosia For Heads this week, the easy truth is what we are all fed, left for us to decipher whether it is truly real or false. One... Read more

The Making Of ATCQ’s The Low End Theory, Told By People Who Were There

Twenty five years ago today, A Tribe Called Quest released The Low End Theory. The Queens, New York collective had seemingly achieved what so many of their peers aspired to: a record contract, devoted fans, and hits in rotation through a certifiably respected debut. Still, with Q-Tip at the helm,... Read more

9th Wonder Makes A Powerful Case For Tolerance Between Generations In Hip-Hop

In recent weeks, there have been several incidents, primarily on social media, that suggest a generational divide within Hip-Hop. Three of the biggest breakout stars of the last year ran into isolated incidents, and collided with some of Rap's veterans. Beyond simply music, age played a factor in the conflicts... Read more

Why Tupac Is The Most Influential MC Of All-Time 20 Years After His Death

Twenty years ago (September 13, 1996) Tupac Amaru Shakur died in the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. The last year of his life had been his most successful, his most active, and certainly bid to be his most controversial. Shakur, who was born in New York, became a young... Read more

20 Years Later, OutKast’s ATLiens Is A Masterpiece Of Space & Time

True to its extraterrestrial theme, OutKast's 1996 sophomore album ATLiens was of another world. Like the "Paid In Full" vocal sample proclaimed, André 3000 and Big Boi added "new color, new dimension, and new value" to the mid-'90s Hip-Hop ethos. Arguably, this came at a time when Hip-Hop's soul needed... Read more

De La Soul Describe Their Million Dollar Album With Priceless Jewels

In two days (August 26), De La Soul will release its eighth album, and the Anonymous Nobody. Released through the trio's own AOI (Art Official Intelligence) imprint, the album follows up on 2004's The Grind Date with an assortment of features, and at least one theme. While the Long Island, New... Read more

DMX Says He Won Every Battle With Jay Z. Who Won The War? (Video)

In 1999, Jay Z and DMX embarked (and majorly cashed in) on the Hard Knock Life Tour. Although Jay Z's album gave the tour its name, the lineup was a joint headliner of the Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder and DMX. Both artists had become the flagship acts at Def Jam Records... Read more

Price Is Right: Why Sean Price Should Be Every MC’s Hope Story

One year ago today, I remember where I was when I got the text message. Sean Price had died. I was sitting at a red light in the city of Pittsburgh. After putting my phone down, I made a U-turn, went home and started to prepare the story that needed... Read more

Large Professor Broke More Than Atoms 25 Years Ago. He Broke New Ground.

By the early 1990s, Wild Pitch Records proved to be one of the most exciting labels in Hip-Hop. It was their logo at the center of the record that made key introductions for Gang Starr, Lord Finesse, and Flavor Unit lyricist Chill Rob G. Stu Fine’s label appeared to be... Read more

Digable Planets Reflect On Their Travels Through Time & Space And They’re Still Light Years Ahead

In 1994, a trio of young, unparalleled Hip-Hop creators won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)." Up against megawatt contemporaries like Dr. Dre & Snoop Doggy Dogg, Naughty By Nature, and Cypress Hill, Digable Planets repped for... Read more

Jamila Woods on Messages From “Heavn” & The Creative Spirit of Chicago’s Artists

Some of the greatest artists in modern music started with careful build-ups. From Nas to Kendrick Lamar, these artists were tapped to play feature roles on others' songs. In time, they broke through with art that showed their individual gifts, visionary qualities, and ability to balance them at a full-length... Read more

Snoop & The Game Meet With The LAPD To Build Trust Between Police & The Community

On Friday (July 8), mere hours after five police officers were murdered in Dallas, Texas, and the same week two Black men were killed by police officers in separate incidents, Snoop Dogg and The Game led a march of more than 50 people to the Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters.... Read more

DJ Premier Gives The Inside Story On The Making Of Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt 20 Years Later

Twenty years ago, Jay Z had a hustler's ambition of releasing an album and then walking away. His lifestyle already afforded the finer things in life, so he was not making the music for the money. Rather, in his 26 years of life, he had accumulated some formidable stories that he... Read more

11 Must-Listen To Albums, EPs & Mixtapes So Far In 2016

Approaching this year's midpoint, there has been some incredible music that will be appreciated long beyond 2016. Like the art itself, the year that is has represented some tectonic shifts in how works are released, consumed, and ranked on the charts. Grammy Award-winning artists are dropping albums without warning—with videos ready to... Read more

Ice-T Explains Why Battling Unknown MCs Is A Bad Idea & More

Ice-T has been releasing records for nearly 35 years. Whether early independent 12" singles of platinum albums with Sire/Warner Bros. Records, the New Jersey-born, California-raised artist has enjoyed a massive entertainment career. Now known for his seminal role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the pioneering gangsta rapper appeared... Read more

King Harris II Colors His Own West Coast Reality Into An Ice-T Classic (Audio Premiere)

Oxnard, California (by way of Long Beach) MC King Harris II is gearing up for the release of his Nightmare On Wolff Street album tomorrow, on "Friday the 13th" no less. After making impactful appearances on albums by Tech N9ne and E-40, the diligent MC (who also happens to be... Read more

Masta Ace Premieres “Young Black Intelligent” & Champions The Art Of Storytelling (Audio)

This week (May 13), Masta Ace will release his fifth solo album, The Falling Season. Although the LP follows the conceptual storyline of 2012's DOOM-supported MA_DOOM: Son Of Yvonne, it also reportedly also stands in the cult-championed lineage of 2001's Disposable Arts and 2004's Long Hot Summer. Released on Ace's... Read more

New Jack City’s Creator Reveals The Story’s Original Ending & It’s Wildly Different

In the mid-1980s, Thomas Lee Wright, a creative executive at Paramount Studios left the company to pursue a career as a screenwriter. One of his first endeavors was to write a treatment for The Godfather: Part III, because he knew Paramount had a high interest in making a third installment... Read more

Black Thought Speaks About The Roots Picnic And New Music On The Way With Royce, 9th Wonder & Eminem

For nearly 30 years, Black Thought and Questlove have been performing together, as The Roots. In that time, they have released 16 albums and EPs, performed at tens of thousands of shows, and entertained millions nightly, as the band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The expanse and quality... Read more

Bahamadia Speaks On Artistic Integrity & Hip-Hop Womanhood, 20 Years After Kollage (Interview)

On April 2, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania MC known as Bahamadia celebrated the 20th anniversary of her debut album, Kollage. From her early success on radio to arriving where she is now, Bahamadia carries along with her the observations made along the way. However, the major milestones in her career are... Read more

Bahamadia Speaks On Artistic Integrity & Hip-Hop Womanhood, 20 Years After Kollage (Interview)

On April 2, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania MC known as Bahamadia celebrated the 20th anniversary of her debut album, Kollage. From her early success on radio to arriving where she is now, Bahamadia carries along with her the observations made along the way. However, the major milestones in her career are not always... Read more

The Ugly Details Of Ice Cube & Common’s Beef Show Just How Far They’ve Come

Last week, Ice Cube and Common released "Real People." The Barbershop: The Next Cut soundtrack inclusion may be promotional for the film both MC/actors star in, but the lyrics and theme of the song suggest much more. The collaboration follows a mid-1990s beef that saw both parties release dis' records... Read more

This Journalist Who Was Encouraged By Eazy-E Releases A Book Comparing Hip-Hop & Chess

From the Wu-Tang Clan to Wale, Fresh to Dilated Peoples, Hip-Hop's music, film, and lifestyle maintain strong ties to chess. The 64 squares relate to many aspects of life. Northern California veteran author, speaker, scholar, and music journalist Adisa "The Bishop" Banjoko has made a career out tying Hip-Hop, chess,... Read more

How Organized Noize Created The Atlanta Hip-Hop Sound With Outkast & Goodie Mob

In looking at Rap superstars, their producers are never far behind in recognition. Rick Rubin was the musical architect that would have a hand in the success of Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J, and Beastie Boys. Dr. Dre's "Midas Touch" with N.W.A., Snoop Dogg (and to a lesser extent) Tupac cleared... Read more