Tag Archives: hip hop

Music

Witness – Fingers on a Violin

Dope hip hop from a skinny white guy.

Music

The 1978ers (yU & SlimKat) – Without A Clue

From The Album “People Of Today

Awareness Cool

Hip-Hop Hamilton – The New Yorker

We’ve covered Lin-Manuel Miranda before, but we’re back with a quick update.  When we last discussed, Mr. Miranda had made an appearance at the White House and performed a rap about Alexander Hamilton.   The New Yorker has an extensive look at our friend, and how he has turned that one song into a full fledged musical that opens soon.

It’s a pretty amazing look at the the process behind creating this production, and worth a read.  Check out a snippet below:

At a workshop production in May, Miranda had delivered a final rap in which Hamilton gives an account of his preparations—“The sun is in my eyes and I’m almost giddy / As I watch it slowly rise over my New York City”—and weighs whether or not Burr has it in him to kill. Both musically and lyrically, the song hadn’t conveyed the high stakes that Miranda sought to capture, in which Hamilton’s fears about Burr’s lack of integrity extended to broad trepidation about the uncertain direction of the country. Nor had the song fully delivered a sense of tragic inevitability, in which Hamilton’s uncharacteristic reticence and Burr’s uncharacteristic forwardness ruin the lives of both men. Miranda was still revising the song, and expected to be still worrying over the scene in rehearsals. He said, “There are things that don’t exist, and that are not going to exist, until we have actors in the room, and I go, ‘Oh!’ ” Kail, who sets deadlines for Miranda, and reacts to every draft of every song, explained, “Lin’s response to pressure is to generate more material.”

Music

Liquid Swords

I was browsing Reddit today, as every productive day starts, and came across a thread about the most under appreciated album of all time.  One user mentioned Gza’s Liquid Swords.

I remembered this album from when I was much younger, and honestly don’t remember it that fondly.  But I took the advice in the thread and gave it another listen.  That one listen made me realize I was a giant idiot in my youth, and I had missed out on gold.  So, to publicly embrace my idiocy, here is an album you all probably know and love.

Cool Music

Jay-Z – I can’t get with that

I’ve been reading Decoded recently, which is a surprisingly good read.  The usual self-rationalization etc., but Jay-Z shows some surprisingly insightful moments.  In the book, he discusses the track I Can’t Get with That, as one of his first music videos when he was really trying to get out there.  Back before labels took him seriously.  He describes it as as a showcase for his various flows, and it’s a pretty amazing thing to watch.

Awareness Music

UK hip hop mix on Mixcloud

Mixcloud has become my new favorite hobby. I’ve now lost a ton of time surfing and listening to all kinds of excellent mixes and mashups.  Check out the one below featuring UK hip hop, from our friends over at The Find Mag.

R.R.R. (Real Recognize Real) by The Find Mag on Mixcloud

Music

Eminem, Black Thought and Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) Freestyle Cypher

One word: dope.

via HipHopDX.

Music

Time Interviews Talib Kweli on the Burdens of Being Hip-Hop’s Outspoken Conscience

Time.com has an interview with Talib Kweli focusing on his upcoming album, Prisoner of Conscious.   It’s an interesting read, particularly because Kweli appears to yearn for a little more grit.

While Kweli has no problem sticking up for what he believes in, he balks at being pigeonholed in the “conscious rap” genre. It’s not that he wants to align himself with the misogyny or homophobia that is rampant in much of mainstream hip-hop, it’s that his skill as an artist is frequently overshadowed by his message.

via Talib Kweli on the Burdens of Being Hip-Hop’s Outspoken Conscience | TIME.com.

Cool Music

Freestylin With The Roots On Fallon

As most of you know, the Roots are the greatest band in late night TV.  They have made Late Night with Jimmy Fallon a huge success, and have also indicated that they are likely to follow Jimmy when he moves to take over the Tonight Show in a couple of years.

One audience favourite bit is “Freestylin with the Roots”.  Jimmy goes into the audience, asks for some random facts, and then suggests a style of music that the Roots must perform the track in.  Black Thought kills it, as always, but it’s also amazing how quickly the rest of the group is able to come up with a perfect sounding musical accompaniment.

In a recent edition of Freestylin With The Roots, we are treated to a solid overall performance.

But the big shocker? The Roots have a platinum album!

Now I know what you’re thinking.  It’s not How I got over (although I love the album).  Instead, their 1999 opus Things Fall Apart just went platinum.

14 years after release.

It’s a huge accomplishment, and blows my mind that it hasn’t happened till now.  Congratulations to the Roots!

Awareness Cool Underreported News

Kobe Bryant’s failed rap career

Grantland has a great story on The secret history of Kobe Bryant’s failed attempt at a rap career.  It’s a bit of a long read, but in the best possible way.

It tracks Kobe’s path through his time signed at Sony Entertainment and provides surprisingly relatable discussions about his struggles to remain true to his original intention versus being moved towards the radio-friendly pop sound that the mainstream wanted (or that the label thought they wanted).  Here’s a quick snippet from the article:

 “You know what’s funny? He sounds dope,” she says afterward. “Compared to the rappers today, he’s dope. He sounds like an underground backpack rapper. It don’t even sound like Kobe Bryant. I would want to hear more from this kid if I didn’t know who he was. That’s funny. Nobody raps like that anymore. Yo, he came there to prove a point. He put thought into that. I couldn’t hear it for years when everyone joked about it. Now hearing it, he doesn’t sound bad.”

Clark Kent has a different take on Bryant’s performance. “He just seemed like one of those guys that wanted to be good so bad that he was trying to use the most intelligent [words] and have the sick vernacular. It was like, ‘Calm down, duke. Just rap.’ He was the lyrical-miracle-genius-type rapper.”