hip hop Archive

Todd Rundgren’s ‘No World Order” at 25

Todd Rundgren has long made a career out of alternatively (and sometimes simultaneously) confounding and delighting his most ardent fans. Resolutely following his muse wherever it takes him, Rundgren is remarkably unbound from commercial considerations; he makes the music he wants to make, how and when he chooses. The result is a body of work

Album Review: Iceberg Slim — Reflections

If I told you that a key inspiration for the slice-of-street hip-hop of Ice-T was an earlier recording artist going by the name of Iceberg Slim, you’d likely develop some immediate preconceptions as to what the earlier iceman sounded like. But I’m here to tell you that you’d probably be way off base. Iceberg Slim

Album Review: The Last Poets – Understand What Black Is

One lens through which one can view hip-hop/rap is as spoken word with musical accompaniment. Though there are myriad exceptions to the rule-as-such, lyrics are often the primary focus of hip-hop, while the beats and melodies (if any) are secondary. Of course that’s not to say that plenty of care and effort don’t go into

Matisyahu on LSD (and Jazz and Reggae)

Musician, rapper and beatboxer Matisyahu arrived at his singular style of music via an unusual route. Growing up a Jewish kid in New York City, he says that the first music he explored outside his parents’ record collection was that of reggae superstar Bob Marley. “I loved the music and everything that went along with

Tank and the Bangas: Big Bang

One of the most intriguing and compelling musical acts to gain recent national attention is Tank and the Bangas. The New Orleans-based group combines spoken word, hip-hop, gospel and other styles into a unique sound all its own. Tank and the Bangas won the prestigious Tiny Desk Contest in 2017, and the group is currently

Natural Born Leaders: Their ‘Time’ Has Come

One of 2018’s most eagerly-anticipated Asheville, NC-related releases is the debut album from Natural Born Leaders. Even in an era of countless cross-genre mashups and hybrids, the music of Natural Born Leaders is difficult to describe, and it resists piegoneholing. The group’s sound starts with a relatively conventional rock instrumental lineup: guitarist Rex Shafer, bassist

Ozomatli: Building Bridges to Younger Fans

Genre-blurring band Ozomatli has long been recognized for its socially and politically conscious music. Combining rock, Latin music and hip-hop with positive messages, the Los Angeles-based collective has earned both commercial success and critical plaudits. And an important part of the group’s work continues to be its outreach to young listeners. In many cities on

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