Posts Tagged: hip-hop
The diversely talented Donald Glover has gained a following in almost every artistic arena, from stand-up comedy, to sitcoms, to film and music. First making a name for himself as a writer for the smart and funny NBC program 30 Rock, Glover went on to star in Community and the FX series Atlanta....more
“Rhythm is the rebel,” Chuck D raps on “Louder Than A Bomb,” one of many outstanding tracks from Public Enemy’s touchstone 1988 record, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Of all the controversial and heartfelt statements made on this widely acclaimed and influential album, this is perhaps the most telling, as DJ Terminator X’s raw backbeat—a sound now associated immediately with hip-hop music—and dissonant horn samples signal right away to the listener that the genre’s longtime association with party music was evolving rapidly into a musical protest against systemic racism, poverty, state surveillance, and the militarization of police....more
Amidst writing, producing, and starring in the FX series Atlanta and being cast to portray a young Lando Calrissian in an upcoming Star Wars installment, Donald Glover took some time to return to his Childish Gambino persona and has released one of the most interesting album of 2016....more
If A Tribe Called Quest had to make one final statement, a boisterous, politically conscious, and funky record would be the most fitting way to do so. We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service was released on November 11, 2016, eighteen years after Tribe’s last album and only a few months after the death of founding member, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor....more
Although the performance was over a month ago, a gorgeous video of FKA twigs’s set at the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago was recently released online. The artist has not performed much beyond the festival circuit this summer, meaning if you, like us, tend to avoid large crowds, this video is worth a watch....more
Netflix’s The Get Down is receiving quite a bit of attention for being the unicorn of music drama: for once, a show about a moment in musical history is actually about the music! Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the show is receiving accolades for following hip-hop’s rise in the Bronx with respect and care:
A coming-of-age drama anchored in the late ’70s Bronx hip-hop and disco scenes, The Get Down has a deep respect for the innovations it’s portraying—and the pioneers responsible for those breakthroughs.
The 1991 cult film New Jack City is once again examined and celebrated this week, with okayplayer. publishing one piece celebrating its soundtrack, and another with a behind-the-scenes reflection from the film’s star Ice T. The artist talks about playing a cop for his first role in the days when he was best known for rapping “Cop Killer.”
New Jack City also starred Wesley Snipes, Allen Payne, Judd Nelson, and Chris Rock, featuring music from Ice T, Keith Sweat, 2 Live Crew, Queen Latifah, and more....more
The Internet’s been freaking out about Kanye West’s latest bid to be the center of all things surreal about our culture: his video for the track “Famous” features breathing sculptures of celebrities who may or may not have given permission for their likenesses to be represented naked, as if asleep, and in bed together....more
At the Kenyon Review blog, Brian Michael Murphy celebrates the sheer density of reference and intricate structuring of rap lyrics revealed by a computer program, The Raplyzer, and its Rhyme Factor Scale. Murphy dissects the lyric genius of Wu-Tang’s Inspectah Deck and others:
I remember the feeling from when I was 16, the sense that they were doing cosmically illegal things with language, crunching it down into a density that tested physic’s laws, with lines impossibly packed, like collapsed stars, greedily bending light toward their hidden centers.
Kendrick Lamar’s debut album “Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City” contains the basic, essential elements of a novel: a protagonist faced with an antagonistic outer world, plot and its arc—from opening scene to crisis to climax on down to denouement, a narrative connected through scenes, and character development and expression through dialogue.
Following the release of his latest mixtape Coloring Book, Chance the Rapper spoke with Zane Lowe in a lengthy interview about the work, the recording process, and the artist’s growing collaborative relationship with Kanye West. Listen to the full conversation via okayplayer and stream the mixtape here....more
The rap golden age of the ’90s may be over, but rappers today are achieving a kind of mainstream cultural influence that would’ve been hard to imagine twenty years ago.
Over at The Walrus, Simon Lewsen writes about Canadian rapper Drake, the state of modern-day hip-hop music, and how the genre has changed over the last two decades....more
At Electric Literature, Mensah Demary argues that there should be greater appreciation of hip-hop as a powerful storytelling medium, positing Nas as a master of literary narrative:
If presented with a choice, I’d rather discuss classic hip-hop albums than short story collections: the former evokes warmth, my need to consecrate my life to a certain fidelity and pure aural bliss channeled into nighttime sessions in the bedroom, lights off, completely enveloped by sound, while the latter invokes the image of a bottomless pit.
We can accuse Kanye West of a lot of things—arrogance, insensitivity, paranoia, ingratitude… the list goes on. But one thing he is not guilty of is dishonesty. The longer he spends in the international media spotlight (and he’s going on thirteen years now), the more the confessional side of his music seems to be emphasized....more
Kendrick Lamar has released a new album, untitled unmastered. The album was a surprise, although the artist performed some of its songs last year on The Colbert Report and this past January on The Tonight Show. The album is available via iTunes (along with just about every other online music retailer)....more
Apparently, the Weezer frontman has been really digging hip-hop’s Top 40 lately. His recent covers testify to the fact: he’s posted a version of Rae Sremmurd’s “Come Get Her,” and, most recently, Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen.”
A new Weezer album is due out this spring; any bets on some covers making it in?...more
Artists across the musical spectrum have rallied to help raise awareness and funds for the Flint, Michigan water crisis, which, thanks to governmental inaction, has been allowed to develop since 2014.
Okayplayer. chronicled the work that hip-hop artists, in particular, have done to bring attention to the issue, and the responses of Flint’s own hip-hop community to the crisis that has put their town on the international stage....more
This Saturday, Beyoncé dropped “Formation,” her first single since 2014. The song came one day before the Queen’s Superbowl 50 appearance and was accompanied by a free download via Tidal, Pitchfork reports.
Like most of the artist’s videos, the video for “Formation” is incredibly visually compelling, moving from an Antebellum House to images protesting police brutality to Beyoncé sinking, atop a cop car, in the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina....more
Kendrick or Drake? YouTube vlogger Adande Thorne asked President Obama the big question, and Obama went with Kendrick Lamar. “Got to go with Kendrick,” President Obama responded, as reported Consequence of Sound. The President continued to say, “I think Drake is an outstanding entertainer, but Kendrick—his lyrics, his last album was outstanding....more
The Internet has been (rightfully) full of David Bowie tributes in the last week, including a series of pieces about the icon’s influence on hip-hop music.
Noisey traced Bowie’s public admiration for hip-hop, beginning with the 1993 clip of Bowie asking MTV why the network wasn’t featuring black artists that went viral following his death, and leading up to him citing Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly as one of the major influences on the making of Blackstar....more
Why the segment was on ESPN, whose idea it was to have Vince Staples on a sports network to talk about his past, and why Staples agreed to the spot—these are all questions we may never answer. But what we do know is that the resulting interview is great, and we’re glad it happened....more