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Hip Hop Music


June 18: Biggest Day For Hip-Hop This Summer?

The hype is palpable. It all started when Kanye West tweeted “June Eighteen.” The rumor mill went into overdrive as people speculated that the date represented Kanye’s new album release date. Sure enough, the night before the speculation was going to be put to rest with his appearance on Saturday Night Live, Kanye again tweeted about the debut of a new song on projections in 66 cities worldwide within a […]


The MIMO Interview: Music Supervisor Paul Stewart Talks FUSE TV’s “The Hustle”

Cable network Fuse’s inaugural scripted programming effort is a series called The Hustle, which depicts a fictional up-and-coming rap duo called Brooklyn’s Finest and their team as they progress in their career from upstarts to superstars. The show’s lead characters are mostly unknown but many recognizable faces – Jadakiss, Freddie Gibbs, the hosts of NYC radio’s The Breakfast Club, to name a few – make appearances and are part of […]


Air Dubai “Warning” –EP Review

Hopeless Records (2013)

Facts are facts: Hipsters love rap, and these days, rap loves hipsters. Having gotten that out of the way, it is easier to discuss the merits of Warning, the new EP from six-piece hip-hop band Air Dubai, on its own terms. Being named after a fictional airline while hailing from Denver may seem odd at first, however,the polished musicianship found on the EP should put all doubt to rest. Quite […]


Gilbere Forte “Pray EP” — Mixtape Review

Anigma/Epic Records (2013)

For better or worse, Kanye West and Drake’s successes have made it acceptable, even popular, for rappers to experiment widely with electro-pop sounds and to be more open about their emotions. A number of artists have been affixed with the emo-rap stamp in a genre that has for decades swayed towards hyper-masculinity and braggadocio over openness and being artsy. For all intents and purposes, Epic Records rapper Gilbere Forte’s music […]


Eve “Lip Lock” –Album Review

From the Rib Music (2013)

Musicians go on hiatuses often. There is a difference, however, from taking a break from releasing music and touring and disappearing altogether. Philadelphia-bred rapper Eve is guilty of the latter, it seems. It has been over a decade since the former first lady of Ruff Ryders has put out a full-length album, and outside of the infectious “Tambourine” single released in 2008, produced by Swizz Beats, she hasn’t made much […]

Photo: Daron Jackson

Wu-Tang Clan, Kid Cudi to Headline Rock the Bells X

Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Eazy E To Give ‘Virtual Performances’

On Tuesday night at the House of Blues on Sunset Strip, Chang Weisberg, the founder and owner of Guerilla Union, the Southern California-based promoter behind Rock the Bells hip-hop festival, sat front-and-center amid the four rows of participants at a press conference to announce the line-up for the 2013 festival. Behind him were all five members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and three out four members of TDE/Aftermath’s Black Hippy, including MTV’s […]


Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Make Billboard History

The Heist, the title of Washington state rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis’ independent 2012 album, couldn’t be a more fitting description of how the two have approached the music industry. For starters, the blonde mohawk-sporting Macklemore just doesn’t look like a typical rapper, much less a Billboard-charting rapper. When the two secured a spot on last year’s Paid Dues Festival, I admit I was sleeping on them in large […]


Talib Kweli “Prisoner of Conscious” — Album Review

Javotti Media/EMI (2013)

Known for his scholarly swag since day one, Talib Kweli has been churning out thinking-man’s raps since first emerging with Mos Def as Black Star on backpack rap powerhouse Rawkus Records in the 1990s. The Brooklynite spit progressive rhymes to great acclaim and has never wavered from spreading positivity, pairing Afrocentric messages with his machine-gun-quick delivery as expected from an emcee’s emcee. Yet, even during his major label tenure – […]


LL Cool J “Authentic” –Album Review

SLG LLC (2013)

Conventional logic would suggest LL Cool J doesn’t have anything to prove as a rapper. He’s a living hip-hop legend who is literally part of history books as one of the earliest stars on Def Jam Records, when the label was just getting off the ground in the 1980s. Some three decades later, in addition to a formidable discography, the man born James Todd Smith has built up a considerable […]


J. Cole “Truly Yours 2″ – Mixtape Review

Roc Nation (2013)

J. Cole, Jay-Z’s first signee to Roc Nation, is only comparable to Drake in his appeal to both a mainstream fan base and hardcore rap fans. He sold a lot of albums with his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story and has had numerous hit singles, including the latest, “Power Trip” featuring Miguel, which is a mainstay on urban radio. Through all the success, one of the greatest trademarks […]


Chris Kelly of Kriss Kross Passes Away at 34

Chris Kelly, one-half of the 90s hip-hop duo Kriss Kross, was found dead May 1 in his Atlanta home from a reported drug overdose, according to sources. He was 34. Kelly, known as “Mac Daddy,” joined forces with Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith in Kriss Kross, one of the marquee acts on Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def record label in the 90s. After a lengthy hiatus, Kelly and Smith made an […]


Los “Becoming King” (Mixtape Review)

Bad Boy Records (2013)

One good quality about Bad Boy Records is that the Diddy-helmed label has managed to reinvent itself over the years, constantly rejuvenating itself with new talent. Evidently, it’s part of Diddy’s business model. The problem with this approach is that artists’ tenures on Bad Boy tend to be tumultuous, as the expectation for megahits comes with the territory. These days, Bad Boy’s hallmark is having a diversified roster, uncharacteristically led […]


will.i.am – #willpower (Album Review)

Interscope (2013)

Will.i.am is a hip-hop and EDM trailblazer and the architect behind the global juggernaut Black Eyed Peas. He’s earned stripes as an underground backpack rapper and an elite producer – remember when he produced for Nas and Game? – and he is a veritable global superstar. With all of his accomplishments, the track record, it’s still hard to peg William Adams to a particular genre and fan base. I mean, […]


Snoop Lion Is “Reincarnated” (Album Review)

Over the past year or so, Snoop Dogg and his camp have been working diligently behind the scenes to rebrand the 40-year-old legendary gangsta rapper into Snoop Lion, a nebulous, Rastafarian persona whose only parallel to Snoop Dogg could be found in an affinity for marijuana. As the story goes, Snoop Dogg experienced a cathartic awakening on an impromptu trip to Jamaica – “the spirit called me,” according to the […]


Kid Cudi Steps Out On His Own with “Indicud” (Album Review)

Universal Republic (2013)

Kid Cudi is a rebel, go-against-the-grain kind of artist. He introduced himself as such when he first emerged in 2009 with the smash hit “Day ‘N Nite,” and while he aligned with Kanye West’s GOOD Music label, it became apparent it was Cudi that was influencing West – not vice versa. With a dark, sing-songy style, the Cleveland native has blazed his own trail. It was almost no surprise when […]

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