hip hop Archive

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

Album Review: Redman — Red Gone Wild

Guest Review by Annelise Kopp This is such a quintessential gangsta rap that it veers close to self-parody. Redman’s new album, Red Gone Wild, is fairly bland. This 23 track album has about five tracks worth of substance. The beats are unoriginal, the lyrics are meaningless, and if you start waiting for the interesting part

Album Review: Readnex Poetry Squad – Social Issue

Guest review by Annelise Kopp Social Issue is a collage piecing together different sounds, issues, words, and allusions. The album is very in touch with history, and has an educated basis. I was first given hope by the subtitle “poetry squad” on this album. To me, this signaled an emphasis on lyrics. I was proven

Album Review: DJ Envy & Red Cafe — The Co-op

On first listen, my attention was grabbed by a track (or “skit,” as it’s called on the disc) in which a character named DJ Death Murder Homicide rattles off every gangsta cliché while recording his latest joint. The recording ends, and it is quickly (and amusingly) revealed that Mr. Homicide is a total phony; one

Album Review: B.G. — The Heart of Tha Streetz Vol 2 – I Am What I Am

In 2006, intentional mangling of words (anything-izzle) and “creative” spelling are the hiphop equivalent of a rocker bellowing “Hello, Cleveland!” Fans of more-of-the same are in for a treat with the latest release from B.G. aka B. Gizzle aka Christopher Dorsey. On his latest, The Heart of Tha Streetz Vol. 2 – I Am What

Real HipHop Network: The Revolution Will Be Televised

In today’s highly-segmented media marketplace, it’s fair and reasonable to ask if there is room for another cable channel. It often seems like every special interest has its own dedicated 24/7 programming these days. But according to Atonn Muhammad, there’s a significant void in the programming menu. And he and his team are poised to