Seba Jun, aka Nujabes, was a quiet and rather reclusive Japanese hip-hop DJ/producer/label head, as far as hip-hop personalities go. He didn't do many interviews, and his two albums and 15 or so vinyl singles which were released on his own Hydeout Productions label, all of which were only released in Japan. Regardless of the limited push, he gained renown world-wide for his relaxed, jazzy hip-hop, due in part to his music being featured on the anime series Samurai Champloo. The musician's life was cut short in late February, following a car accident. He was 36 years old. [more inside]
A Common Misunderstanding of the Lyrics of Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind: The intricacies of rap lingo dissected by the intelligentsia, with predictable results. [more inside]
Mark Skillz, hip hop historian of a sort and an occasional writer for Wax Poetics, represents the old school of hip hop and lets others tell their stories on Hip Hop 101A. From Eddie Cheba recalling his time as a top DJ in the small world of hip hop in 1977, to the life of Sparky D, who took up the good fight for UTFO and started the Roxanne Wars, one of hip hop's first rap battles. Read up on the fall of funk and the rise of Planet Rock, and reminisce with Reggie Wells about the birth of hip hop from black club deejays in Manhattan who were refining a slick style of talk over disco records to open hip hop jams in the park. As a bonus, Wells throws out a playlist straight from Club 371 (videos after the break). [more inside]
Hip hop history— It's the Rub! Along with a handful of other shows, Brooklyn hip hop lovers The Rub compile a history of hip hop. Eleven parts through 1989.
The 50 most underplayed and under-appreciated rap tracks according to ohword.com, all in one download. Some of my favorite hip-hop music blogs. For those who aren't hip-hop fans, an exhaustive list of MP3 blogs.
WaxDJ.com - an excellent source for free downloads and streams of original electronic music mixes of all sorts, from seasoned pros to beginning bedroom amatuers, all told numbering in the hundreds or thousands. My current brand new favorite is the very diverse and well-versed Detriot/Chicago techno stylings of DJ Rubsilent. Recomended mix: Future Funk 23: (Direct MP3 link) (Streaming mp3 link) But don't let me divert you - search for your favorite local DJ or browse for new ones.
Everybody knows that gangsta rap promotes sexism, homophobia... and fascism. Take Bushido, for instance - the Berlin rapper of Tunisian descent that all the neo-Nazis love. Confused? (nyt) Well, so are the Germans. And then we're not even talking about Fler, whose "This is black-red-gold, hard and proud!" nationalist lyrics never fail to piss off the German papers (in German), and who likes to pose in his videos with a nice symbolic eagle. (Then again, Helmut Kohl didn't mind.) Still, Fler's flag-waving, eagle-loving rhymes are no match for Bushido's "Salute, stand to attention, I am the leader like 'A'". The A stands for Adolf, you know.
Rappers I Know - FMJU presents 31 days of the "best shit you've never heard" for download. Featuring Talib Kweli, De La Soul , Oh No (Madlib's brother), J-Zone and the Kanye West "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People" Gold Digger remix, a response to Hurricane Katrina from The Legendary Knock Out Boyz. ...and much, much more.
First there was L. L. Cool J vs. Kool Moe Dee and the Bridge Wars. Then came Biggie and Tupac with the west coast, east coast rivalry. Now rap battles have transcended mediums, I give you Ludacris vs. Bill O'Reilly. Word.