Throwback

Ludacris Disturbed The Peace With This Never Before Released 2001 Freestyle (Audio)

In 2001, Ludacris was one of Rap's most exciting new stars. 2000's Back For The First Time kicked in the door for Def Jam South (then with Scarface at the helm) for a Top 5 charting, triple-platinum affair. However, the Atlanta, Georgia star with the carefully cut sideburns was not... Read more

Dr. Dre Mimicked A Classic Mobb Deep Beat On This Unreleased Aftermath Jam (Audio)

In 2006, 50 Cent and G-Unit Records released Mobb Deep's seventh album. A Queens, New York affair, Blood Money was executive produced by Fif', and would be the only LP Prodigy and Havoc would enjoy during their tenure with the Unit and Interscope Records. On that album, M-O-B-B were privy... Read more

Phife Dawg Got His Own Street Today. Watch It Being Unveiled (Video)

"Back in the days on the boulevard of Linden, we used to kick routines and presence was fittin'." 25 years ago, those words opened A Tribe Called Quest's "Check The Rhime," from their album, The Low End Theory. Now, the same Linden Boulevard upon which Tribe kicked those rhymes has... 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

N.W.A. & Close Affiliates Detail The Making Of efil4zaggiN 25 Years Later

Over the last 12 months, much has been discussed about N.W.A.'s groundbreaking album Straight Outta Compton. The classic LP was given new life when the N.W.A. biopic of the same name was released. Although the film covered the entire lifespan of the group, its central focus was on the time leading... Read more

Here’s An Oral History Of The Making Of The Fat Boys’ “All You Can Eat”

More than 30 years after its release, Krush Groove remains an all-time favorite Hip-Hop film for many. The movie, which was loosely based on the rise of Def Jam Recordings, starred Blair Underwood, Sheila E., Run-D.M.C., Kurtis Blow and more, and featured appearances by several acts, including Beastie Boys, LL... Read more

Maxwell Ascended 20 Years Ago & We Haven’t Wondered About Soul Music Since (Video)

A lot of people owe their lives to Maxwell, quite literally. When the super Soul singer unleashed his Urban Hang Suite 20 years ago this month (April 2), it was a potent arrow from Cupid's quiver for lovers of music and lovers, generally. The album quickly became the soundtrack for... Read more

Many Have Never Seen Mos Def’s First Music Video. Here It Is.

The mighty Mos Def (n/k/a Yasiin Bey) has a Hip-Hop career that spans well over 20 years. The Brooklyn, New York MC burst on the scene care of major appearances alongside De La Soul, Da Bush Babees, and DJ Honda—but he had his own thing brewing, even before Rawkus Records... Read more

Sha Rock Was the First Female MC on National TV. Here’s Her 1981 Performance (Video)

On Valentine's Day in 1981, when Hip-Hop was by and large a completely unrecognized cultural form, national television aired the first appearance by a female rapper. 35 years later, during Woman's History Month, footage of that historic performance has re-surfaced, and it is a remarkable trip down the proverbial Memory... Read more

Obama is Overturning Life Sentences to Combat the War on Drugs.

President Obama has been proactive in addressing some of the major concerns of Americans, many of which were issues he campaigned on before his inauguration into the White House. One of those issues was that of incarceration, namely the exceedingly high rates of imprisonment of Americans, the overwhelming majority of... Read more

Mr. Serv-On Says He, Master P & 1990s No Limit Soldiers Will Tour Together

Between 1996 and 2002, No Limit Records released a number of platinum, gold, and chart-topping albums. Master P's label, featuring a number of home-grown talents (TRU, Mr. Serv-On, Mia X, Skull Duggery) would sprout to include Snoop Dogg, Mystikal, and Young Bleed. Launched in 1991, the label would be instrumental... Read more

When A$AP Rock Freestyles…Anything Goes. Witness an MC Who is Truly Fearless (Video)

A$AP Rocky is fearless. As sales of his just released AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP album will soon show, he is currently one of the most successful rappers in the game. That said, he is unafraid to freestyle, "off the top," say ANYTHING and have fun. Rocky joined the Sway in the Morning show,... Read more

Adrian Younge Never Stops Creating. Glimpse Into His Linear Labs (Album Stream)

PRhyme member Adrian Younge is always busy, but never stagnant. The Los Angeles, California-based producer/musician is currently wrapping up the Another Life album with Bilal, he's planning a sequel to Twelve Reasons To Die with Ghostface Killah, and he's reportedly concocting more rawness with his band-mates DJ Premier and Royce Da 5'9".... Read more

Do Remember: When Charles Hamilton Passed The Mic To An Unknown Kendrick Lamar (Video)

Miss Lauryn Hill once eloquently rhymed, "Seasons change, mad things re-arrange." In life, love, and Hip-Hop, is this not a rugged truism? As the world shifts, there are some interesting cycles. This week in the culture, Kendrick Lamar took center-stage, giving Heads a name for his sophomore major label album,... Read more

Jim-E-O and Emilio Rojas Rap About the Paper Chase Without Glorification (Audio)

New Haven-bred MC Jim-E-O teams with Emilio Rojas on the remix to "Sky All Grey." The song talks about the constant grind for money without glorifying it. Jim-E-O vows that the Rap game will be how he legitimately earns his way, while Rojas raps about the days of praying he... Read more

Cookin’ Soul Adds Some BOOM BAP to Kool G. Rap, Large Professor & Big Noyd’s Naturally Born (Audio)

Nearly two years ago, Kool G. Rap, Large Professor and Big Noyd released "Naturally Born" as part of Coalmine Records' Unearthed compilation. The track, which was produced by Ayatollah, featured a soulful sample and strong verses from each of the veteran wordsmiths. Now, Cookin' Soul, the production duo known for... Read more

Did You Know Big Daddy Kane Produced Nearly All of His 1st Album? Kane Speaks (Audio)

Here's another incredibly dope interview from the archives of Shawn Setaro, former Editor-In-Chief of Rap Genius and current curator of TheCipherShow.com. Early last year, he had a super in-depth interview with Big Daddy Kane--so deep, in fact, that Kane openly said no one had ever asked him some of the... Read more

Lil Herb, Common & Chance the Rapper Reflect on the Struggle in Their Hometown Chicago (Video)

Lil Herb teams with fellow Chicago natives Common and Chance the Rapper on the remix to Fight or Flight. The soulful track is highly conducive to head-nodding but the themes of their verses are mournful, not joyful. As Common did throughout his entire Nobody's Smiling album, the trio focuses on... Read more

B.o.B. Makes a Song Reminiscent of 2Pac, KRS, Public Enemy & Other Hip-Hop Revolutionaries (Audio)

B.o.B. has released one of the most powerful songs of his career. Hip-Hop has stood up in droves in light of what is happening in Ferguson, MO, right now. And, the messages have come from many different perspectives. B.o.B. has taken the opportunity for a call to action among African-Americans... Read more

M.O.P., DJ Premier Scratches & A Classic ’80s Pop Loop Equals Amazing (Audio)

M.O.P. and First Family have been around for 25 years. However, Billy Danze and Lil Fame (who now only goes by Fame) started making some serious noise when they crossed paths with DJ Premier in the early 1990s. With the Brownsville, Brooklyn duo's rugged microphone assaults, a Premo scratch-chorus only... Read more

What Do You Get When You Mix SZA & Jill Scott? Divinity (Audio)

Here's the 2nd release of the week from TDE's SZA. It's another moody track and it's infused with the vocals of the one and only Jill Scott. The result? Divinity. Check it out. Related: SZA - Moodring (Audio)... Read more

You Will Not Look at Puppets the Same After Seeing Jazmine Sullivan’s Visuals for Dumb (Video)

After returning with "Dumb," another power anthem for women who have been wronged, Jazmine Sullivan follows up with the video. The visuals employ puppets in all sorts of compromising positions, providing comic relief but also reinforcing the message that there are a lot of dummies out there...literally. Check it out.... Read more