Throwback

A Newly Released ’96 Cypher Shows A Tribe Called Quest Schooling Phony Rappers (Audio)

This month, A Tribe Called Quest released their sixth and said to be final album. We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service appeared to shock to the music world, when it was revealed to exist, less than six months after Phife Dawg's March death. It had been... Read more

Lauryn Hill Teams Up With Fela Kuti’s Son & Band For A Stunning Tribute (Video)

For many years now, Lauryn Hill has been re-arranging her classic songs during performances. At times, this leads to great frustration for fans who want to hear the hits they know and love performed as they were recorded. On other occasions, however, Hill's changes can lead to the kind of... Read more

Wu-Tang Meets D.I.T.C. Two Legendary Crews Ain’t Nuthin’ To Mash Up (Audio)

Ever go Diggin’ In The Crates for some Wu-Tang? On this ambitious mashup of two legendary New York crews who both emerged at the onset of the 1990s, Memory Man shows us what would happen if you took members of the Wu-Tang Clan and D.I.T.C. and threw their styles in... Read more

The Intelligent Hoodlum Had Felonious Flows On This 1989 Demo (Audio)

Although Tragedy Khadafi hasn’t released a new album since Pre Magnum Opus almost two years ago, an unreleased 1989 gem from the Queensbridge veteran has surfaced. Even before he was known as the Intelligent Hoodlum (and released the A&M Records LP of the same name), Trag' went by several other... Read more

M.O.P.’s Billy Danze Reveals His Mother Inspired The Theme For 1 Of Hip-Hop’s Hardest Anthems

Between 1994 and 2000, M.O.P. was climbing up the Pop charts with each release. Lil Fame and Billy Danze released their 1994 debut To The Death on the same Select Records responsible for introducing Chubb Rock, U.T.F.O., and Kid 'n Play. While that effort did not chart, the Brownsville, Brooklyn... Read more

Craig Mack Kicked 10 Minutes Of Freestyle Flavor In This Just Released 2000 Video

By Y2K, Craig Mack appeared to be an illustrious MC who was on his way out of the game. Once one of the breakout acts of Puff Daddy's Bad Boy Records, Mack would drop his gold-certified Project: Funk Da World in 1994 and then mysteriously leave the label, and the... Read more

Hear Unreleased Snippets From RZA & GZA Demos That Birthed The Wu-Tang Clan (Audio)

Wu-Tang Clan's RZA and GZA each had careers prior to 1993's game-changing Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). While GZA's February, 1991 Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros. Records release Words From The Genius garnered some hardcore interest, RZA (t/k/a Prince Rakeem) did not fare as well with his Tommy Boy Records maxi-single, Ooh,... Read more

Guru, Roy Ayers, & Donald Byrd Brought Jazzmatazz to Life in This 1993 Performance (Video)

Beginning in 1993, Guru released a string of albums as a solo artist, spreading the wings he sprouted with DJ Premier in Gang Starr and exploring his deep love for live instrumentation. That departure resulted in four volumes of Jazzmatazz, a body of work which includes contributions from Erykah Badu,... Read more

Kanye West Rocked Chaka Khan Like Nobody’s Business, Long Before Through The Wire (Audio)

In September of 2003, Kanye West made his solo debut with "Through the Wire," a song he wrote and recorded while his jaw was literally wired shut following a car accident. It famously samples Chaka Khan's "Through the Fire," a 1985 single whose profile with a new generation was raised... Read more

Snoop Dogg’s “I Am Hip-Hop Award” Acceptance Speech Shows Why He’s An Icon (Video)

It's hard to believe that Snoop Dogg, an artist who has been a pop-culture icon for decades, holds the record for most Grammy Award nominations with no win. Seventeen times, the Long Beach, California legend has been up for such an award, but he has yet to take one home.... Read more

While Fallon Played With Trump’s Hair, The Roots Went For The Jugular (Video)

For the last 36 hours, the Internet and social media have been aflame with outrage at the way Jimmy Fallon handled a recent appearance by Donald Trump on The Tonight Show (9/15). Fallon, unlike David Letterman, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, is typically friendly and jovial with all of his... Read more

15 Years Later, J-Live Reflects On His Gripping 9/11 Commentary On “Satisfied”

Today marks the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001. Within hours 2,996 people lost their lives that tragic day, as a result of four plane hijackings and subsequent crashes in New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. For all who lived through it, the events and their impact continue... Read more

A New Documentary Shows The Amazing 29-Year Journey Of De La Soul (Video)

De La Soul have always been about looking forward. That attitude has kept them relevant in Hip-Hop for nearly 3 decades, and made them trendsetters for much of that period. In 2016, they've been the subject of conversation as much as at any time in their career, as their record-setting... Read more

Mayer Hawthorne’s Early Rap & Disco Mix Is Perfect For Back To School Season

Most people know Mayer Hawthorne as a retro-styled Soul singer down with the Stones Throw crew. However, the Michigan native first burst on the scene as a DJ for the Athletic Mic League conglomerate (which also spawned 14K). Even though he's become a pop culture sensation with his voice, the... Read more

Cypress Hill Explain Passing On “Jump Around” & Why It Remains A Good Decision

In 1992, an emerging Hip-Hop group named House Of Pain became overnight mainstream sensations, thanks to single "Jump Around." The Tommy Boy Records song, belonging to the group's subsequent self-titled debut, would reach #3 on the charts. The Irish American-themed trio of Everlast, Danny Boy, and DJ Lethal would score... Read more

This Ghostface, Cappadonna & Jeru Freestyle From 1996 Still Does Damage (Audio)

In the mid-90s, there were few more dominant crews in Hip-Hop than Wu-Tang Clan and Gang Starr Foundation. Unlike today, however, where it's more common than not to have guest artists on tracks, in that era crews stayed more self-contained and collaborations outside of the collectives were more rare. As... Read more

Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth Approved This Best-Of Mix & You Will Too (Audio)

Not many groups (in any genre) can warrant a "Best Of" off of just two albums and an EP. Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth are a clear exception. Between 1991 and 1994, the New York City Hip-Hop duo released just a few handfuls of songs. That material left a lasting... Read more

Hear One Of The Earliest Rap Battles Ever Recorded From 1981 (Audio)

The Rap Battle has become a pop culture institution. The sport of two (or more MCs) competing has excited Hip-Hop culture since the art of rapping stepped to the front. Some of the most successful and acclaimed MCs began their careers through battling, and distinguished their legacies with combative moments... Read more

J Dilla Pieced Together Some Of His Musical Influences In This Mixtape (Audio)

August 22 marked the tenth anniversary of The Shining, the J Dilla album released only a few months after his passing in 2006. Tributes to the LP could be seen across social media and elsewhere online, proving that even after death, the iconic Detroit producer continues to delight and inspire.... Read more

With A New Album Coming, Revisit A Tribe Called Quest’s Rare Erykah Badu Collabo (Audio)

Last week, Epic Records CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid made a bold revelation. The seasoned executive and TV personality confirmed that a sixth album from A Tribe Called Quest is coming soon, and is both "great" and "something special." The news broke care of a Rap Radar Podcast episode, with limited... Read more

This 1977 NYC Party Mix Shows How The Earliest Hip-Hop Parties Sounded (Audio)

Thanks to the series "The Get Down," many are newly fascinated with 1970s New York City and the genesis of Hip-Hop. DJ'ing, rapping, graffiti, and breakin' came together harmoniously in an overall form of expression that reflected the complexities of city-dwelling at a specific time in fashion, music, visual art,... Read more

This Cypress Hill Anniversary Mix Shows Why Their Music Still Kills 25 Years Later (Audio)

Twenty-five years ago this month (8/13), Cypress Hill released their debut eponymous album. It was both a critical and commercial success, going on to sell over two million copies. Beyond its reception, the album represented a major milestone for Latinos. Despite the contributions of Latinos to Hip-Hop from its earliest... Read more

This 1994 Biggie Interview Shows How He Turned an Everyday Struggle Into Rap History

Nearly twenty years since his passing, the Notorious B.I.G. continues to inspire contemporary art, from music to television, and beyond. Just this month, Biggie served as the inspiration behind "Nobody," a tribute song from rising Atlanta, Georgia spitter Nick Grant. Just a few days prior to its release, Mass Appeal... Read more

Method Man, O.D.B., & RZA Proved That In ’97, Wu-Tang Could Freestyle Forever (Audio)

In June of 1997, Wu-Tang Clan kicked the summer off at the top of the Hip-Hop class. Whereas 1993's Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) just missed the Top 40 (to eventually reach platinum), its follow-up Wu-Tang Forever would debut at #1. A double album, the Loud/RCA Records release of the... Read more

This Unreleased ’95 Red & Meth Freestyle Shows How High They Truly Fly (Audio)

In the summer of 1995, Def Jam Records dropped The Show soundtrack. The Top 5 charting work featuring music by Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., and A Tribe Called Quest introduced a duo that was still years away from fully forming. On the song "How High," Def Squad's Redman and Wu-Tang... Read more

“Game, Blouses:” The Real Story Behind Dave Chappelle’s Prince Basketball Skit

Despite the fact that its final episode aired 10 years ago this month, Dave Chappelle's Chappelle's Show remains one of the finest sketch comedy shows ever produced. It spawned a host of legendary skits and characters, from the depictions of the blind Black White supremacist Clayton Bigsby to revelations about... Read more

Big Daddy Kane Says He Intentionally Released “Two Trash Albums” After “It’s A Big Daddy Thing”

For fans of late 80s and early 90s Hip-Hop, there were few, if any MCs who commanded more respect than Big Daddy Kane. His first two albums, Long Live The Kane and It's A Big Daddy Thing, stand among the greatest of all time, in any era. However, many of... Read more

This 1998 Ma$e & Guru Freestyle Brings 2 Different Sides Of Hip-Hop Together (Audio)

Six months from each other Ma$e and Gang Starr moved the Hip-Hop needle in 1997-1998. To some, that needle went in two directions. Released on October 28, 1997, Ma$e's Grammy-nominated, quadruple-platinum debut Harlem World certified the newest Bad Boy Records superstar. On March 31, 1991, Gang Starr released its first... Read more

Ever See This 1990 Freestyle Session Between Kool G Rap & Biz Markie? (Video)

Back in 1988, Marley Marl's Juice Crew served the world with one of Hip-Hop's all-time great posse cuts. Featuring Big Daddy Kane, Masta Ace, Craig G and Kool G Rap, "The Symphony" was a lesson in lyrical dexterity that endures today. More than recording together, members of the crew often... Read more

20 Years Ago, Muhammad Ali Lit a Torch That Continues to Shine Brightly (Video)

In 1996, Atlanta, Georgia, hosted the Summer Olympics, but it wasn't just a once-in-every-four-years occurrence. Also known as the Centennial Olympic Games, it was historic for many reasons, including its being the first time the Olympics divided Summer and Winter games into different years. Kicking off on July 19, the... Read more

Juice’s Director Reveals The Original Ending Hollywood Did Not Want

Earlier this month, The Roots' Black Thought hosted a special event, celebrating the 1992 movie Juice. The afternoon consisted of a screening of the film, a panel discussion moderated by Black Thought, featuring director and co-writer Ernest Dickerson, co-writer Gerard Brown, and actors Khalil Kain (Raheem) and Jermaine Hopkins (Steel),... Read more

Swizz Beatz Reveals DMX Did Not Want To Do “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” (Video)

"Stop. Drop. Shut 'em down, open up shop." As Heads know, those words open "Ruff Ryders' Anthem," one of the biggest Hip-Hop anthems of all-time. However, the song almost didn't happen. As part of the new BET series Inside The Label, Swizz Beatz detailed the making of the song for... Read more

Jay Z’s 2000 Westwood Freestyle Portrays An MC In Stride For The Throne (Audio)

Right around the year 2000, Jay Z found himself in London, promoting his first #1 album, Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life. As the album was approaching 3 million units sold (it sits at more than 5 mill scanned in 2016), Shawn Carter hit Tim Westwood's radio show. In a new position,... Read more

A Founding X-Ecutioner Moves The Crowd With Dance Hits That Can’t Be Faded (Mix)

Mista Sinista (f/k/a Joe Sinista) made a name for himself working as an elite scratch-master alongside Common, the Beatnuts, and dead prez. Since 1989, the DJ/turntablist (and onetime MC) was part of X-Ecutioners, alongside the late Roc Raida, Rob Swift, and DJ Total Eclipse. There, the group would become mix... Read more

Vinyl Archeologists Will Dig This 1995 Demo Of Cut Chemist Turntablism (Audio)

In late 1998, Los Angeles, California's Jurassic 5 burst on the scene with a self-titled EP. First released on the Pan imprint, the 37-minute project would eventually be re-released through Interscope Records, as part of the major label's commitment to Underground Hip-Hop, which also included Eminem and Planet Asia. That... Read more

Flavor Flav’s 1984 Mix Shows What Time It Is (Audio)

Public Enemy's Flavor Flav is one of Hip-Hop's all-time most recognizable personalities. While he only released one solo album, the man born William Drayton, III has brought mad flavor to classic P.E. records since the Long Island, New York group's inception. He is a hype-man extraordinaire, and an MC, but... Read more

Celebrate 25 Years Of Pete Rock & CL Smooth With A Souled Out Mix (Audio)

While the mid-90s often get lots of credit for the numerous Hip-Hop classic albums that were released during that period, 1991 was a pivotal year in which many artist debuts laid the foundation for what was to come. Among some of the acts that released their first albums were Tupac,... Read more

The Firm’s Nature Bags Up Rarities Featuring Nas, Pete Rock & AZ (Album Stream)

It has been nearly 20 years since The Firm released its one and only album. The collective of Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Nature would sign with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment for a chart-topping LP (called The Album) that is seemingly misplaced by time. Dre would place six of the album's... Read more

Kanye West Not Only Produced This Consequence Hit, He Once Rapped On It (Audio)

In 2016, Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music is vastly different than it was in the last decade. Around the time 'Ye was gearing up for Graduation, completing his initial collegiate album trilogy, Getting Out Our Dreams boasted the likes of Common, John Legend, and GLC. Queens, New York MC Consequence was... Read more

This 20th Anniversary Jay Z Mix Leaves No Doubt His Debut Was A Classic (Audio)

This Saturday (June 25) marks the 20th anniversary of Jay Z's debut album, Reasonable Doubt. The 1996 Roc-A-Fella/Priority Records LP would launch a career trajectory that has arguably been one of Hip-Hop's biggest, transcending from the Marcy Houses to the top of Hip-Hop, as well as streaming platforms, fashion, liquor,... Read more

This Notorious B.I.G. & Lord Finesse Cypher Will BLOW YOUR MIND (Video)

The Notorious B.I.G. (a/k/a Biggie Smalls) is revered as one of Hip-Hop's greatest MCs. The Brooklyn, New Yorker beautifully inserted wit, wordplay, and lots of self-confidence into his most memorable rhymes. Somebody who started out just a couple years before Biggie was Bronx, New Yorker Lord Finesse. The MC/DJ/producer who... Read more

Ever See The Time Muhammad Ali Saved A Man’s Life? (Video)

Although Muhammad Ali was extremely gifted in the boxing ring, what made him "The Greatest" was also what he did outside of the sport. Beyond his well-documented civil rights stands, Ali was a humanitarian and someone who cared deeply about others. Perhaps no instance exemplified this better than what Ali... Read more

Rare Photographs Of Rakim Show Why He’s Hip-Hop Royalty

Last summer, in conjunction with the theatrical release of Straight Outta Compton, Ambrosia For Heads spoke to Stephan Armleder (a/k/a The Genevan Heathen). A B-Boy to the core (who also DJs and produces), The Genevan Heathen has been documenting N.W.A. and its members through scanning photographs, advertisements, trading cards, and... Read more

Del The Funky Homosapien Reveals Ice Cube Wrote One Of His Hits

Last month, veteran Compton, California MC King T revealed some of the once downplayed writing that Del The Funky Homosapien did for cousin Ice Cube's AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted album. Del, then a relative unknown, would pen "Gangsta's Fairytale" from the Priority Records solo debut. On the back of that album,... Read more

Stretch & Bobbito Recall Expectations Around Nas’ Illmatic Release (Audio)

Last night (June 13), Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito The Barber returned to radio, in a new way. The legendary New York City duo conducted two hours of live radio via Samsung 837 approximately 26 years after the pair began with a historic eight-year run at Columbia University's WKCR 89.9FM radio... Read more

Prince Paul Reveals Gravediggaz Recordings Predate Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

The meteoric rise of the Wu-Tang Clan was by no means an overnight achievement. While Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, U-God, Inspectah Deck and others were introduced to the world care of late 1993's Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) debut by the Wu-Tang Clan, RZA and GZA had careers stemming back into... Read more

Craig G Details The Making Of “The Symphony,” Including Who Wrote What (Video)

This month, Queens, New York MC Craig G released his seventh studio album, I Rap And Go Home. The Soulspazm Records effort features Buckshot, Ras Kass, and Jarobi of A Tribe Called Quest, among others. The battle-tested lyricist has enjoyed a professional recording career that has endured more than 30... Read more

The Magical Day When Prince & Muhammad Ali Met (Video)

Though 2016 is not yet halfway over, it already has been one in which several tremendous pop culture icons have been lost. David Bowie, Phife Dawg, Prince and Muhammad Ali are just some of those greats. However, while their physical forms are no longer among us, their bodies of work... Read more

Ever See This Cypher Featuring Big L & AG? (Video)

In the late 90s, one of the first Internet Hip-Hop shows came courtesy of 88hiphop.com. The site was far ahead of its time, as it launched when the overwhelming majority of consumers still had dial up modems. For those with the access and the patience to endure endless buffering, however,... Read more

Talib Kweli Recalls How Blown Away He Was By An Unsigned Kanye West’s Talent (Video)

Talib Kweli and Kanye West have made several notable collaborations. That artistry began 14 years ago, with the release of the Brooklyn, New York MC's first solo album, Quality. Following acclaimed full-length projects with Black Star and Reflection Eternal, the Rawkus Records flagship artist embarked on his first release through... Read more