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The 10 Best Hip-Hop Tracks of 1991

1991's best hip-hop songs lean more towards beats production than the era's increasingly popular gangsta rap genre.

Recent
Music

Ice Cube's 'Death Certificate' Soundtracked the Rodney King Era

It was during the period between the Rodney King beating and subsequent court verdict that Ice Cube cut Death Certificate, a chilling glimpse into the anger and frustration South Central Los Angelinos were feeling.

Music

Benin City Address Structural Racism with "Hostiles"

The brilliant London trio Benin City return with the hard-hitting new track "Hostiles" that articulates what it means to be Black in the 21st century.

Music

Run the Jewels Return with 'RTJ4' When We Need Them Most

Run the Jewels have always had a taste for action-movie hyperbole, but as they've powered through their careers, the lines between slapstick and real have almost ceased to exist.

Books

Bring That Beat Back: A Course in Hip-Hop Sampling 101

In Bring That Beat Back, critic Nate Patrin argues that hip-hop is essentially a forward-looking evolution of black American music with a deep reverence for its predecessors.

Music

Kev Choice and Fellow MCs Find the "Silver Lining" in Social Distancing (premiere)

On "Silver Lining", Kev Choice is joined by a collective of Bay Area rappers to reflect on positive efforts in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Music

Counterbalance 17: Public Enemy - 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Hip-hop makes its debut on the Big List with Public Enemy’s meaty, beaty manifesto, and all the jealous punks can’t stop the dunk. Counterbalance’s Klinger and Mendelsohn give it a listen.

Music

Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic, and Damu the Fudgemunk Enlighten and Enliven with 'Ocean Bridges'

Ocean Bridges is proof that genre crossovers can sound organic, and that the term "crossover" doesn't have to come loaded with gimmicky connotations. Maybe we're headed for a world in which genres are so fluid that the term is dropped altogether from the cultural lexicon.

Music

Man Alive! Is a Continued Display of the Grimy-Yet-Refined Magnetism of King Krule

Following The OOZ and its accolades, King Krule crafts a similarly hazy gem with Man Alive! that digs into his distinct aesthetic rather than forges new ground.

Music

Commemorating the Legacy of Steve "Stezo" Williams

Stezo died in his sleep on 29 April at age 51, leaving behind a legacy begging to be properly commemorated. His 1989 album Crazy Noise has been buried in the annals of hip-hop history, an underappreciated dollar-bin find that serves both as a time capsule for hip-hop's late 1980s golden era and a lesson in keeping it real.

Music

Kill Audrey's "Hometeam" Is a Brutal Working-Class Flex (premiere)

Chicago-based Kill Audrey make hazy, chaotic hip-hop/party music for people who buy tall boys with their rent money. Watch the video for their new single, "Hometeam".

Music

Nicki Minaj Is the Greatest Rapper of the Decade Bar None

2020 and it's finally time to acknowledge Nicki Minaj's right to G.O.A.T. status, as the best female rapper AND the best rapper of the past ten years — no gender preposition required.

Music

Cassowary Debuts with a Jazz-Funk Gem

After debuting on a 2015 record by childhood friend Earl Sweatshirt, Cassowary merges jazz, funk, soul, and hip-hop on his self-titled debut album and creates a jazz-funk gem.

Music

Alt-R&B's RICEWINE Nails the Vibe on 'Lovesick'

RICEWINE's uneven yet generous third LP, Lovesick, perfects an infectious and consistent sound, allowing the groove to propel the album forward.

Music

Hip-Hop/Metal Duo C Trip A Dip into "Thought Streams" (premiere)

The first ever hip-hop/metal crossover from Translation Loss is an exciting joint venture that seamlessly melds two seemingly disparate genres.

Music

The Best Hip-Hop Albums/Mixtapes of 2010

Epic, sleek, weed rap, emo, sociopolitical, gangsta, or house party? In which direction will hip-hop go? 2010 was a year for all of the above.

Music

RJD2 Discusses His Turntablism Roots

By this point in his career, RJD2's ability to churn out head-boppable hip-hop rooted in true-school ethos seems perpetually ingrained. He discusses his new record, The Fun Ones, and more.

Music

Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.

Music

Childish Gambino's '3.15.20' Captures the Tumultuous Contemporary Moment

As society contends with sickness, anger, and fear, Donald Glover remedies the malignancy while fueling the anguish. 3.15.20 signals an important shift for Childish Gambino and secures the album's spot as one of the best of the year.

Music

Afrofuturists ONIPA Offer Uplifting, High-Energy Music via 'We No Be Machine'

London-based Afrofuturist band, ONIPA frame discussions of humanity within a pan-African sonic context on their brilliant debut, We No Be Machine.

Music

JuJu Charms: An Interview with Rapper JuJu Rogers

Though the rapper's skill set proves him a worthy contender against any of the reigning MCs currently taking the airwaves by storm, JuJu Rogers remains a king in search of a throne.

Music

Son Little Greets the Complexities of Life on 'Aloha'

On Aloha, Son Little ponders the ambivalence of life and love, and decides he could be right. Or he could be wrong. Either way, the music is soulful and comforting.

Music

Music Is All About Limitations: An Interview with Son Little

Son Little finds commonalities across jazz, hip-hop, soul, R&B, and rock. His latest album grew out of a setback, but he created a stronger, simpler, more ruminative set of songs. Here he talks about creativity and obstacles and how they work together.

Music

José James Amplifies His Debut with 'No Beginning No End 2'

José James has a rich, velvety voice that simmers and smolders. He takes it easy in a seductive way. The vibe is romantic and sexy on No Beginning No End 2.

Music

29 Black Music Documentaries for Black History Month 2020

For Black History Month 2020, we are showcasing films and videos featuring Black American artists. Enjoy them and learn about the origin of each Black music legend featured.

Music

Thrown into Relief: An Interview with Rapper Jahshua Smith

Exploring topics like poverty, Black consciousness, burgeoning love, and mortality, Jahshua Smith's latest album, They Don't Love You Like That, encapsulates some of the most difficult moments in his life.

Music

Raiza Biza's "Trouble" Highlights Sociopolitical Struggles (premiere)

Joining forces with Oddisee and Zenyth on "Trouble", New Zealand hip-hopper Raiza Biza asks, "Who is going to save humanity from itself?"

Music

Stormzy Crowns Himself King of UK Hop-Hop on 'Heavy Is the Head'

UK rap phenom Stormzy has a lot to say on his sophomore album. From career milestones to addressing grime beefs, to expressing the precarious position he finds himself in as a spokesperson for a generation of black British youth, Stormzy makes his case for king.

Music

Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science Play a 'Waiting Game'

Versatile drummer Terri Lyne Carrington leads a date that sums up the jazz of the decade, from hip-hop influenced political songs to freely improvised instrumental music supplemented by orchestral composition.

Music

The 20 Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2019

Following Stormzy's run up the charts, 2019 proved to be a banner year for British hip-hop with a trio of masterpieces. America's myriad hip-hop scenes delivered the goods, and African rap gave us many stellar releases.

Books

'God Save the Queens' Addresses the Gender Imbalance in the Story of Rap

Kathy Iandoli's personable history, God Save the Queens, shows how women in rap face up to the battles.

Music

'One of the Best Yet' Is Another Gang Starr Classic

How death, legal battles, and scavengers couldn't stop the legacy of Gang Starr, one of the most important pillars of hip-hop.

Music

London Singer and Producer, MEI Fights Back Against Invisibility on "DIM: Don't Ignore Me" (premiere)

South London's MEI shares her brilliant new single for "DIM: Don't Ignore Me", which showcases her intriguing blend of electronic, hip-hop, and soul. MEI is truly an artist to watch.

Music

Hip-Hop Legend Kurtis Blow: The Interview

A timeless artist and hip-hop legend, Kurtis Blow blazed the trail for early hip-hop artists and continues to carry the torch for hip-hop music in new arenas.

Music

Brooke Candy's 'Sexorcism' Is a Filthy Afterparty That Doesn't Really Make Sense Before 3:00 AM

Brooke Candy's Sexorcism suggests a genuine, Freudian fixation on extreme pleasure and how it can be downright terrifying -- the shame and fear, the abjection and filth, the unpredictable transfers of power.

Music

Daedelus Concludes His 'End of Empire' Trilogy in Exquisite Fashion with 'The Bittereinders'

By abstracting the sounds and ideas of his earlier work, electronic/hip-hop producer Daedelus has created one of his most challenging works to date with The Bittereinders.

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