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Music

L'Orange and Solemn Brigham Bring Dissentient Experiments and Dangerous Poetry in 'Marlowe 2'

On Marlowe 2, L'Orange finds an inventive range, interleaving the hip-hop with textures that bring his landscapes into tuneful definition; Solemn Brigham, brings his deft skills as one of hip-hop's brightest poets.

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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

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.

Music

Codeine Club Music: 10 Sizzurp Rappers and Their Lean Lyrics

Southern Houston rappers put a twist on old blues musicians' mix of cough syrup and booze and stirred it up into a more dangerous concoction. Here are 10 rappers who took the brew from their double-cups and dropped the purple drank / sizzurp / Texas tea / "lean" into their lyrics to mixed effect.

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

Craft Winner: Azeem's Underground Opus, 'Craft Classic'

On Azeem's Craft Classic, listeners get a window into an odd, shape-shifting pandemonium, in which the view on display is a sort of glamorous anarchy.

Books

'Dead Precedents' Explores How Hip-Hop Created the Future

Roy Christopher's dense book-length essay, Dead Precedents, takes much of what is now axiomatic about hip-hop and reminds us how revolutionary its innovations and practices really were.

Music

By Style and Error: M. Sayyid Takes Hip-hop to the Exosphere

Few rappers have been brave enough to try what Sayyid has been doing for years; his hip-hop suffers brutal and fantastic experiments of Asimov-proportions.

Music

Marc His Words: Brian "Sene" Marc on 'Hoodrat: Stuff With My Friends'

Hoodrat offers the warmer and gentler side to rapper Brian Marc's overall art, where the rhythms are bouncier and the grooves edge closer to electropop.

Music

Auto-Mattic Transmission: Rapper Mattic Dispatches from the Left Field

The US-born rapper's at once expert and offhanded rhymes exude the kind of charm that has made Mattic a notable artist in his adopted home of France.

Music

Locked and Loaded: Super Lover Cee & Casanova Rud Discuss Their Classic 1988 Hip-Hop Debut

Super Lover Cee & Casanova Rud's Girls I Got 'Em Locked exuded the right amount of urban flair, boyishly sly humour, and club appeal when it was released back in 1988.

Music

Porter's Head: Rapper Porter Ray on His Latest Hip-Hop Opus, 'Eye of the Beholder'

Bridging disparate influences like Portishead and Das EFX in his multifarious hip-hop, Porter Ray waxes poetically about the troubles in own his life and in the world around him in this interview.

Music

All Play and 'No Paperwork': An Interview with L.A.Z of Clear Soul Forces

"Natural born liberal consumer of music", Jarrel Lowman (aka L.A.Z), talks about his EP, No Paperwork, a mixture of hip-hop, smoking jazz, and calloused-fingered blues.

Music

Sci-Fi Goes Hi-Fi: 10 Artists' Foray into Hip-Hop Futurism

A host of artists have carved out a niche in the interplanetary margins that now rest in hip-hop culture. Some call it an expansion on Afrofuturist philosophies; others simply a long-time propensity for the science-fiction genre.

Music

The Beauty in the Diaspora: An Interview with Australia's N'fa Jones

From murky '70s soul and Afro-Brazilian jazz to the rhythms of Africa, Australian rapper N'fa Jones explores all reaches of sound to expand his eclectic hip-hop.

Music

Flows Like Prose: An Interview with Rapper Libretto

Libretto's hip-hop is a ghettoblasting fusion of grinding funk, heavily strolling beats and club-noir rhymes delivered with cool clarity.

Music

Meet the New Übermensch: Lil Pump and the Will to Power

Unsurprisingly, Lil Pump's divergence from accepted social norms generates anger, but for similar reasons, he inspires his followers to mad devotion, as did Zarathustra. Nietzsche would have been delighted.

Music

J. Cole Works on His Coping Mechanisms with 'KOD'

J. Cole explores coping with pain in a loosely conceptual form on KOD with varying effectiveness.

Music

Cardi B Delivers Strong Album Debut on 'Invasion of Privacy'

On Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B combines the uncompromising confidence of "Bodak Yellow" with just enough pop appeal to create a no-filler collection that will undoubtedly have a lasting impact.

Music

Black Milk's Poetry Is Dexterous and Crisp on 'Fever'

Black Milk draws a parallel between funky hip-hop swing and the daily exploits of inner city living on Fever.

Music

Snoop Dogg's Latest Reinvention Is Heaven-sent

Snoop Dogg: "There's so much hate in the world right now, I want to show love. I want people's spirits to be full of joy. When I listen to this record, I'm fulfilled. I'm complete."

Music

Keeping an 'I' on the Prize: An Interview with Zumbi of Zion I

Zion I lyricist Zumbi offers PopMatters an overview of his body of work and discusses what he brings to hip-hop as a creative individual.

Music

Chuck Strangers Enters the Old vs. New Rap Debate on 'Consumers Park'

Despite Chuck Strangers' excellent production, his arguments in the old vs. new debate, however accurate they may be, are preached to the choir and do very little to inspire change.

Music

Vision Quest: Poet and MC Azeem On His Latest Work, 'Vision Teller'

Azeem returns to his roots of poetry to deliver Vision Teller, a collection of spoken word pieces that hum with the silk-spun lyricism of a speakeasy street poet.

Music

Bass is Loaded: Kid Sensation on His Bass Music Classic, 'Rollin' With Number One'

Electricity and simplicity are the two prime characteristics which drive Kid Sensation's debut.

Music

Sareem Poems' Tuned-in Tone Poems

Hip-hop artist Sareem Poems (of LA Symphony and FKA Sharlok Poems) infuses his work with the metaphysic ideologies of Afro-spiritualism.

Music

The Best Hip-Hop of 2017

The hip-hop story is more exciting to follow than a lot of primetime TV as it changes and adapts, telling stories of so-called "minorities". These are the ten albums that we think tell the biggest stories of 2017's hip-hop scene.

Interviews

No Place Like 'Homem': Rapper Terra Preta Gives Hip-Hop a Brazilian Re-Think

Preta's chancy way with a honeyed melody and the sensual pulse of Afro-Brazilian rhythms calls to mind the vibrant colours of his São Paulo’s coastal ridges; beautiful and exhilarating all at once.

Music

Dälek: Endangered Philosophies

Dälek release a statement regarding the current state of reality. By reflecting on their past and collecting the various aspects making up the essence of their identity they unleash a vitriolic work of experimental hip-hop.

Music

Tyler, The Creator: Flower Boy

All the imperfections and risk-taking of Tyler’s past efforts bloom into fruition now on his most beautiful and open record to date.

Music

Lil Yachty: Teenage Emotions

Yachty’s loose rudder on Teenage Emotions causes him to lose his bearings as he only half commits to “capturing all aspects of teenagers” while the other half boasts of a life unrelatable to most.

Music

Meek Mill: Wins & Losses

Meek Mill returns to music after a difficult year. WIns & Losses promises much in offering a mature reflection on these experiences and his evolution as a man and artist.

Interviews

Deep Soul Diving: Jahshua Smith Deconstructs 'The 4th Wall'

Smith's music is balanced on a sagacious tip, where he examines the rigmaroles of daily life through the Afrocentric prism of dialogue and debate.

Interviews

Dope Opera: Azeem Talks with PopMatters About His West Coast Hip-Hop Classic, 'Garage Opera'

In 1999, Azeem recorded his underground classic Garage Opera, hip-hop's equivalent of garage rock.

Music

2 Chainz: Pretty Girls Like Trap Music

2 Chainz cashes in on his elder statesman status on one of the best rap albums of 2017. He proves that there is a path to aging gracefully as an MC by embracing trends but preserving his own unique, off-kilter sensibility.


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