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Hip Hop Music


Cheat Sheet: El-P (El-Producto, Lazerface)

Our regular feature “Cheat Sheet” gives you the quick info on some of hip-hop’s top artists. Today we’re featuring producer El-P. Who: Like many of pop music’s square pegs, MC and producer El-P tends to gravitate toward others of his own type. Son of the well-known jazz pianist Harry Meline, the pasty, diminutive Jaime Meline (nee “El-Producto,” “El-P,” “Lazerface”) has carved a singular path through hip-hop’s various back alleys and […]


Killer Mike, “R.A.P. Music”

William Street Records (2012)

To pigeonhole Killer Mike as a political rapper is to give the Atlanta MC too little credit. Or, conversely, you could say that that assignation gives political rappers way too much credit. Credulous political convictions and access to a PA system have resulted in multitudinous sonic embarrassments and it’s not hard to see why: Hip-hop’s essential theme is survival, while democracy’s is fairness. Killer Mike gets away with airing his […]


Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 5.4.12)

Welcome to Weekly Mixtape, where we handpick the week’s best tracks for your auditory enjoyment. No need to thank us, it’s cool. Kanye West ft. Bon Iver, “Lost In the World” I might as well just start calling this thing “The Kanye West Report”. This single, perhaps the last from West’s brilliant My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, features Justin Vernon of Bon Iver lending a vocal hook to a K-West […]


Obie Trice, “Bottoms Up” – Album Review

Black Market Entertainment (2012)

Of hip-hop’s millennial crop of self-styled gangsters, Obie Trice made one of the group’s strongest claims to legitimacy. The Detroit-based MC signed to Eminem’s Shady Records in 2000, eventually releasing two albums on that imprint, both of which competed for attention with the pyrotechnic disasters of Trice’s personal life. After the 2005 shooting of label-mate Proof and a subsequent attack on Trice himself (dude still has a bullet lodged in […]


A Guide to Snoop Dogg’s More “Interesting” Licensing Deals

Snoop Dogg’s Wikipedia page lists a whopping 32 products, events and services to which the perennial L.A. gangster has lent his name. Compare this to 50 Cent, whose branding activities have mostly confined themselves to acting and Vitaminwater. Snoop, however, gets away with it. He might be the only rapper who can pull off appearances on WWE, The Price is Right and It’s A Very Muppet Christmas Movie while still […]


Snoop Dogg “Stoner’s EP” – Album Review

Gangsta Gangsta Online Distribution (2012)

For a rapper who made his debut on an album named The Chronic, putting out a release titled Stoner’s EP might seem redundant, even twenty hot-boxed years after the fact. Sure, Stoner’s EP threatens to bring the game’s most cannabis-enamored MC into the realm of self-parody, but the manner in which Snoop Dogg sidesteps this fate is worthy of plaudits in and of itself. All indicators point to Stoner’s EP […]


Azealia v. Azalea

The proliferation of “beefs” as marketing devices has damaged the cultural currency of what used to be very interesting lyrical fistfights. While Kanye West and 50-Cent’s “beef” of 2009 smacks of energetic PR wizardry, the more recent squabble between MCs Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks features enough violence in its rhetoric to suggest a genuine article. In case you’ve missed the hype machine’s recent churnings, Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks […]


Forbes’s 5 Richest Hip-Hop Moguls: Or, Rappers and the Money that Loves Them

Thanks to Forbes Magazine, that steely bastion of in-depth economic news and fiduciary genital measurement, we can now resolve the age-old debate over who, in fact, is the ballin’-est player in the game. This past week, Forbes published a list of the five richest hip-hop stars in the world. To the surprise of almost no one, those who made the list tended to have a significant behind-the-scenes presence, in addition […]


Album Review: Future, “Pluto”

I thought we’d relegated auto-tune to the dungeon of yesteryear’s kitsch, but apparently that ear-curdling vocal effect still carries enough cultural currency to form the backbone of a major label hip-hop debut. The album in question is Pluto, and the man behind it is Georgia-based MC Future. A curious mix of hype and discomfort trails Pluto, much like comets behind the demoted planetoid of the album’s namesake. While enthusiasm for […]


Coachella’s Hip-Hop Highlights (or, the ghost of Tupac)

As attested by the ocean of pasty, sunburnt bodies gathered yearly in the Coachella Valley, the Coachella Music and Arts Festival at best tends to represent a casual sampling of hip-hop’s current trendsetters. While the drugs, young bodies and stifling heat are still healthy inducements to attend, a dedicated hip-hop head might find the musical offerings wanting. If the hip-hop side of things is all you’re interested in, then fear […]


Cheat Sheet: DJ Khaled

Who: The “Contacts” list on DJ Khaled’s cell phone must read like an alphabetized Top 40 countdown. DJ Khaled—a corpulent, Palestinian-born DJ, producer, actor, and record executive—has managed to work with just about every major hip-hop artist of the past ten years, both launching and rejuvenating multiple careers. Far from a simple Rolodex man, DJ Khaled has more than earned the company he keeps. Born Khaled Bin Abdul Khaled, DJ […]


Death Grips and the Perils of Hip-Hop Hybridization

The genre of hip-hop comes ready-made with its own hyphenate, a fact that should serve as a warning to enterprising genre splicers, but has instead provided a tacit challenge to such groups as Limp Bizkit, WZRD and, most recently, the Sacramento trio Death Grips. While the latter group provides the most interesting example of genre cross-pollination, the question of who offers the greatest auditory discomfort is still, unfortunately, a matter […]


Cheat Sheet: The Streets

Cheat Sheet is a regular feature of MIMO designed to give you the low-down on some of today’s hottest and most influential artists in hip-hop. In this edition, we give you the facts about The Streets. Who: While still far from a major force in the hip-hop world, the United Kingdom has at least made strides toward closing the credibility gap, most of the credit for which can be laid […]


Album Review: The Game, “California Republic Mixtape”

The Game’s California Republic mixtape opens with a kiddy-pool-shallow piece of self-aggrandizement that sets the stage almost too well for the tracks to come. Within the space of three lines, “God Speed” has dropped references to Louis Vuitton, clubbing, Maserati coups, and the act of “stuntin’”. Not only are these touchstones about as tired as they come (when was the last time someone claimed they were “stuntin’”?), but they serve […]


Kanye West’s Arab Spring, Or: Terminal Hype Velocity

Will Kanye West’s need to prove himself ever reach a terminal point? I’m not talking about a point at which West will look back on his works, say, “Good enough,” and throw in the towel (I doubt anything short of an untimely demise would elicit that reaction), but I’m curious if there will ever come a point at which West’s need to paint himself as an ever taller tale will […]

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