Food for Thought

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

Kanye West Didn’t Break The Rules With The Life Of Pablo. He Changed Them

Five weeks ago, Kanye West released his eighth solo album, The Life Of Pablo. What had long been anticipated as a follow-up to 2013's Yeezus was quite different than its predecessor. For starters, T.L.O.P. was never released to CD, vinyl, or digital download marketplaces (and reportedly never will be). For... Read more

Joell Ortiz Speaks About Never Dumbing Down His Sound & Standing Up For Hip-Hop (Interview)

In the last 15 years, Joell Ortiz has climbed from a Brooklyn, New York MC releasing 12" Rawkus Records singles to the top of the Pop charts. The pride of the Cooper Houses projects still dazzles with his flow and exudes the highest love for Hip-Hop culture in his art... Read more

Rhymefest Details Third Album & Updates On Reconnecting With His Father

One year ago, Chicago, Illinois MC/writer/politician Rhymefest began screening documentary film In My Father's House. The work looked at Che Smith's father, who was estranged for much of the artist's life due to homelessness and alcoholism. In the film, the Grammy Award-winning artist (who, since filming, has added an Oscar... Read more

New Jack City Is Turning 25. New Revelations From Its Writer Will Blow Your Mind.

Twenty five years ago this month, New Jack City opened to the public. The film, starring Wesley Snipes, Allen Payne, Ice-T, and Chris Rock, was Hollywood's first and arguably its most enduring cinematic glimpse at the crack cocaine epidemic. At a time when Operation Desert Storm dominated the news cycle,... Read more

Elzhi Discusses His Battle With Depression and It’s A Testament To His Courage (Interview)

In the nearly five years it's been since Detroit MC Elzhi has released a full-fledged solo project in the form of his Elmatic mixtape, Heads have been eager for his return. However, Lead Poison, his highly-anticipated follow up, is on its way (March 25), and with it comes Elzhi's most... Read more

Elzhi Drops First Visual Dose of “Lead Poison” & Describes Deeply Personal Inspiration

In the nearly five years it's been since Detroit MC Elzhi has released a full-fledged solo project in the form of his Elmatic mixtape, Heads have been eager for his return. So eager, in fact, that many gladly contributed to the rapper's Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise the... Read more

Royce 5’9″ Is Releasing a New Solo Album & It’s His Best Work Ever. This Video Shows It.

Royce 5'9" (as it is now officially stylized) is releasing his sixth solo album, Layers, on April 15, 2016, his first in nearly 5 years. Distributed through his own Bad Half Entertainment, the Mr. Porter and Royce executive-produced LP delves deeply into the many sides of the Detroit, Michigan veteran... Read more

Imagine If Jimi Hendrix & Prince Had A Guitar Prodigy Son. Meet Marcus Machado (Audio & Video)

In the life of every music lover there comes a time when a live performance reminds us of the purest form of power in talent - to reinvigorate, re-inspire, and rekindle that spark which made us fall in love with music in the first place. When coming across an artist... Read more