Archives

Electric Relaxation: A Hip-Hop Guide To Meditation

With mental health and self-care being at the center of so many conversations, it’s no surprise that lots of folks are talking about meditation. Schools, corporations, sports teams and many of your favorite MC’s have incorporated some sort of meditation practice into their lives. Big Sean spits “life got me... 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

A New Video Explores The Villainous Greatness Of MF DOOM

MF DOOM has a career that spans nearly 30 years. Even before Heads get to the mask, Daniel Dumile is an anomaly. He is British-born, New York-raised, and signed a major label deal as a teenager with twin brother Subroc and third member Onyx in KMD at the top of... 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

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

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

Hip-Hop Man Of The Year 2015: How Kendrick Lamar Proved That He Truly Is “Chosen” (Editorial)

In large part, 2015 was a difficult year to make sense of. Around the world, there were major acts of violence, hatred, and reminders that injustice and systematic prejudice lurk in every corner. Approaching an election year, the discourse in the United States often felt polarized, with across-the-aisle messages vitriolic.... Read more

It’s October 21, 2015. What Is “Back To The Future” According To KRS-One?

In what has come to be known as "Back To The Future Day" (October 21, 2015), the fictional date portrayed as "the future" in the sequel to Robert Zemeckis' 1985 film has actually arrived. The Michael J. Fox blockbuster franchise is still a cultural touchstone more than 30 years since... Read more

15 Years Ago, Ludacris Disproved The Sophomore Slump With “Back For The First Time” (Editorial)

It was just under two weeks before Halloween in 2000 when Ludacris, an MC from Atlanta, Georgia whose independently released Incognegro a year earlier barely registered on the charts, dropped his second album. It's possible the spooky story of the dreaded "sophomore slump" circulated around the periphery of his consciousness;... Read more

What Makes A Hip-Hop Album A Classic? (Editorial)

In all genres of music, the term "classic" prompts debate. Cultural conservatives argue it is used too freely, and often stamped on works of art prematurely. On the other hand, liberally-minded art patrons maintain that placing restrictions on calling an item classic misses the point entirely. Especially with so much... Read more

15 Years Later, Common’s “The Light” Remains a Shining Example of Hip-Hop Love

On July 18, 2000, Common released "The Light," and with it came one of Hip-Hop's greatest love songs. Along with Black Star's 1998 track "Brown Skin Lady" and The Roots' breakout 1999 single "You Got Me," "The Light" represented a focus on mutual respect, vulnerability, and a soulful approach to... Read more

Legacy: Why Going Back Is Best For Puff Daddy & Bad Boy’s Future

Following last month's Bad Boy Records 20th anniversary set at the 2015 BET Awards, Puff Daddy announced that he is planning a tour with some of the artists he shared the stage with. Only mentioning Lil' Kim by name (who, many know, was never an official Bad Boy Records artist), the... Read more

Once Again It’s On: Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted Rings True At 25

A quarter of a century ago today (May 16, 1990), Ice Cube released his solo debut. AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted signaled his post-N.W.A. career, and the acrimonious split left fans eager to hear Cube's perspective. However, what those supporters received was more dynamic than one man's tale of anger and revenge,... Read more

Eternal E: Remembering Eazy-E’s Massive Contributions 20 Years Later (Food For Thought)

Eazy-E, who was only 31 when he died 20 years ago today (March 26, 1995), was considered one (if not the) progenitor of West Coast Gangsta Rap. As a record label executive, he established a blueprint for future young, Black entrepreneurs. As a member of N.W.A., he helped lend a... Read more

2Pac’s Pivotal Classic Me Against The World Turns 20 Years Old (Food For Thought)

20 years ago today (March 14, 1995), Tupac Shakur's Me Against The World was released, and with it came the rapper's most introspective work of his career. Released during a time of exceptional turmoil for 2Pac, the album signaled a musical changing of the guards, post-Thug Life and pre-Death Row,... Read more

Raise It Up: Grasping The Entire Greatness Of J Dilla In Retrospect (Food For Thought)

On the heels of the first expanded Dilla Weekend, it is difficult to ignore the growth in posthumous fame that James Yancey (a/k/a Jay Dee or J Dilla) has accrued since passing away on this date, nine years ago. Like Amadeus Mozart's and Vincent Van Gogh's before him, Dilla's legacy... Read more

How Did Lorde Signify the Death of “Black Cool?” Questlove Has the Answers…

Questlove is in the middle of a 6-part essay series for Vulture called "How Hip-Hop Failed Black America." The first 2 parts were dense, challenging, and deeply thought-provoking. The 3rd installment, titled "What Happens When Black Loses Its Cool?," is no less engaging and philosophical. Quest attempts to define and... Read more

Young-Ye: How Jay-Z and Kanye West Made the World Watch the Throne (Again) and Saved Hip-Hop in the Process (Food for Thought)

For the better part of the last 2 weeks, I was convinced the sibling-like rivalry between Jay-Z and Kanye West had reached epic (and perhaps unseemly) proportions. How else could you explain the 2 dropping albums within 3 weeks of one another with Jay-Z seemingly stepping on little brother Kanye’s... Read more