hip hop Archive

Rock and Bounce: Big Freedia and Low Cut Connie

Note: This story was originally published in October in Mountain Xpress. Combing different musical genres is more common than it was a generation ago; the barriers between styles have been knocked down by groundbreaking artists. While a hip hop/rock hybrid like Run-D.M.C.’s “Walk This Way” was revolutionary in 1986, today’s musical marketplace is filled with

Album Review: DJ Audio — ‘Hottest in the City, Vol. 1’

When we last checked in on the work of DJ Audio, the Asheville hip hop artist born Ethan Conner had just released an EP, Shut it Down. That collection of tracks drew from a wide range of influences that extended well beyond the confines of hip hop, but because of its relative brevity, the EP

The Midnight Hour: Looking Back to Move Forward

Evoking the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance while exploring modern musical territory, The Midnight Hour combines jazz arrangements with a decidedly hip hop aesthetic. Led by two leading lights of American music, the group makes carefully orchestrated yet beat-centric music. Both Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad got their start in music making use of

Album Review: DJ Besbleve — You Good?

“You good?” is a common way to address a friend; it’s a tidy way of asking if everything is okay in their world. But – as Asheville-based DJ Besbleve (born Herman Bright) points out, there’s another way to view the query, one that demands a bit of introspection. In that context, the question might be

Arrested Development: The Speech Interview, Part Three

Continued from Part Two … For decades it’s been the case that American artists – especially the more interesting ones – tend to do better in Europe and Asia. The list of blues and jazz artists who had to go to Europe to be make a living is really long. Why do you think your

Arrested Development: The Speech Interview, Part Two

Continued from Part One … Arrested Development has found success beyond the hip-hop fan base in a way that other acts haven’t always done, and you’ve done it without compromising your approach. What do you think explains the group’s appeal to listeners who might not otherwise be all that interested in hip-hop? The music was

Arrested Development: The Speech Interview, Part One

If you turned on your radio or tuned into MTV in 1992, you were familiar with Arrested Development. The Atlanta-based group did something that was quite unique for its time; standing in stark contrast to the gangsta rap of the era, Arrested Development made conscious, melodic hip-hop. For its trouble, the group scored early and

Arrested Development: Creating Their Own Lane

Hailed as creators of a new musical genre, Arrested Development scored a worldwide blockbuster hit with their 1992 debut album. The group’s unique take on hip-hop influenced an entire generation of artists, and by 2000 Arrested Development was making music on its own terms, operating largely outside the machinery of the music industry. The group

Welcome to Cadillac Baby’s Show Lounge: The Bea & Baby Boxed Set

From the perspective of crate-diggers – amateur and professional music archivists alike – one of the great benefits of the digital age has been the rescuing of obscure recordings. Against the backdrop of the recently revealed 2008 Universal fire in which countless audio masters were lost, it’s some comfort to discover that the catalog of

Michael Franti: National Tour, Local Focus

Michael Franti is well known for many things: The Oakland-born musician is a guitarist, rapper, songwriter and poet. He’s also renowned for his activism and commitment to social change, world peace and environmental issues; his activism and musical pursuits have long been intertwined. The artist combined music and activism yet again when he came to