hip hop Archive

New Release: Foul Mouth Jerk’s “Scofflaw”

Michael Capra – aka Foul Mouth Jerk – explains title and theme of his latest release, Scofflaw. “’Scofflaw’ is a prohibition-era term for someone flagrantly flouting the more petty crimes,” he says. And Scofflaw is a collection of party songs and more political ones. “I’m hiding a political stance under some party shit,” Capra says,

EP Review: DJ Audio — Shut it Down

The advent of low-cost, do-it-yourself recording technology has put the power to create music in the hands of a wider group of creative musicians. Knocking down barriers to entry has meant that the virtual stranglehold the corporate music industry has exerted is now far less absolute. But alongside those advances, these seismic changes in the

Album Review: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo — Mozartistic

At its best, kid-hop is a family friendly version of hip-hop, with lyrics full of universal appeal. Because while not everyone can identify with slice-of-life reality depicted in some rap and hip-hop, everyone has been a kid. Many still are. And at its best, kid-hop takes the form of the music made by sometime Asheville

Matisyahu’s Strategy of Risk and Reward

Once playfully describing himself as a “Chassidic reggae superstar,” Matisyahu is a difficult-to-classify musical force. And that’s by design: with roots in reggae, hip-hop and Jewish tradition, the beatboxing singer makes music that smashes genre classification. Across his six albums – beginning with 2004’s Shake off the Dust … Arise and through his brand new

Tuxedo: “Perfect is Boring.”

Tuxedo is a retro-funk duo fronted by two established artists. Mayer Hawthorne made his name as a modern-day soul crooner with a style firmly rooted in the music of his Detroit hometown. Seattle-based Jake One is a hip-hop producer and member of the famed Rhymesayers Syndicate. Both have earned Grammy nominations for their past work.

Brother Ali: Accentuating the Positive

If there is such a thing as a typical rapper, Brother Ali doesn’t fit that description. The Minneapolis-based member of the esteemed Rhymesayers Entertainment collective turns out rhymes that are often political in nature, but the 39-year old rapper is more interested in focusing on the positive. And that positivity comes naturally; Ali doesn’t employ

Black Violin: Smashing Stereotypes

The practice of combining disparate musical genres has been around for many years: a hybrid of rock and jazz, fusion developed in the late 1960s. But the idea of combining classical music and hip-hop remained largely unexplored until a pair of Florida musicians formed Black Violin in the mid 1990s. Violists Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste

Hieroglyphics’ Original Lineup Returns to the Road

Socially conscious hip-hop pioneers Hieroglyphics have withstood the test of time ever since their formation in mid-’90s Oakland. And while the collective’s most high-profile emcee remains Del the Funky Homosapien, all nine members have thriving careers both in and outside the group. “Each person has his own unique perspective,” says co-founder Opio, who’s also one

Album Review: Blowfly — 77 Rusty Trombones

Warning: this review may not be suitable for readers under the age of, I dunno, let’s say…twenty-one. And the subject of the review – Blowfly‘s final album, 77 Rusty Trombones – well, it’s certainly not what one would call family entertainment. Blowfly was the alter-ego of Clarence Henry Reid, an accomplished singer, songwriter and musician.

Album Review: Stax: The Soul of Hip-Hop

This compilation would have been an inspired, brilliant idea, had it not been done already (see review of the 2008 Blue Note compilation Droppin’ Science). So instead it’s merely a very, very good idea. Hip-hop is a genre that is largely built on synthesizing earlier works. And one of its virtues is its sense of