If you like your hip-hop moody, jazzy, or downtempo, Cult Classic Records might scratch your itch, with more than 20 releases streaming on Bandcamp, plus 17 clips on YouTube, though most are still images with music.
Rapper Sole, originally from the Northeast, but now more associated with the West Coast, has had an interesting career in hip hop. [more inside]
Happy belated birthday to Jesus Murphy, Haslam, DJ Critical, Uncle Climax (NSFW audio), Stinkin' Rich (NSFW audio), Dirk Thornton, Buck 65, or as his mom called him, Richard Terfry. Born in the year of the rat, and he's a Pisces, which makes him a rat fish, but by trade, he's a turntablist/ MC/ producer/ broadcaster. Generally he makes some form of hip-hop (some NSFW lyrics), though as of late, he's been broadening his style, as heard in his cover of Leonard Cohen's Who By Fire (previously) and Paper Airplane (official "lyric" video). In tribute to his 41st birthday, there's a lot more music inside. [more inside]
Rock’n'roll as spontaneous Paganism: Mick Farren on Nick Cave, Elvis and the Devil is an essay by the author of Gathering Of The Tribe: A look at the role of the occult in music through key albums. Another excerpt is Punk-Esotericism: The Occult Roots of the Wu-Tang Clan
Sorry, but Kanye is the GOAT (slVV).
In 2011, the cast of beloved and short-lived sitcom Better Off Ted reunited for Malcolm Barrett's (a.k.a. Verbal) music video "Revenge of the Nerds."
New York Biotopes deals with abstract plants and creatures, which change their forms because of insufficient living space and adapt themselves to the surroundings of the metropolis New York City. Set to the music of Man Mantis. More videos from Lena Steinkühler on her Vimeo channel.
Indigoism is a free mixtape from The Underachievers following their videos Gold Soul Theory and The Mahdi.
DJ Nirso explores the connection between Africa, North and South America with tasteful remixes and mixtapes.
The new Kitty (formerly Kitty Pryde) EP, D.A.I.S.Y. Rage is out today for your free streaming/download. If'n you wanna tumblrize and girlize and otherwise coyly subvert yr hip hop. ☠DEAD❤ISLAND☠ video. Previously seen on MetaFilter for her Okay Cupid and Orion's Belt videos which sparked heated debates. Noisey has an interview with her, and she's also taking over their twitter for the day. "If her new EP feels like the work of an artist coming into their own, that’s because it is: It’s as cohesive a body of work as the rapper has ever put out, showcasing the crooked self-assurance that it takes to cop to shit like bed-wetting and making a song with a guy who rejected you."
DJ /rupture has made "8+ hours of mixes" available for free download (with a donate button). [more inside]
Which isn't to say it's not a deep record — it's just a record that wears its depth lightly, couching it in gags and a multitude of weird voices and ball-busting autocritique. The almost-hit-single "Passin' Me By" stands out most clearly as a foundational text for modern nerd-rap of all stripes, but the whole record operates in previously uncharted territory, foregoing both tough-guy posturing and didacticism in favor of honesty. It's about hormonal mischief and formative heartbreak, the mistakes these guys have made and the mistakes they'll make again, and the fact that it's one of the funniest-on-purpose rap albums ever made never quite overshadows its precocious intelligence. 20 years later, it's time for another Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde. [more inside]
I f*ckin love girly drinks! / Don't give a f*ck what what you think! / I f*ckin love girly drinks! / I f*ckin wanted that pink!! / I F*CKIN LOVE GIRLY DRINKS! (Generally NSFW-ish, unless you work in a bar)
Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt (previously) has released his first solo single since returning from Samoa. The confessional song by the 18 year-old rapper details the troubled period in his life that lead to his stay at boarding school. [more inside]
Trip-hop/downtempo DJ and producer Wax Tailor (autoplay media) just released Dusty Rainbow from the Dark (album trailer), a narrated concept album about childhood, melancholia, and escapism. Two videos Time to Go (featuring Aloe Blacc) and Heart Stop (featuring Jennifer Charles) have been released. The album combines vocal collaborations with movie-line heavy compositions constructed through the turntable and sampler. (An earlier example is I Don't Know from Tales of Forgotten Memories.) [more inside]
Copyright Criminals, the 2009 PBS Documentary, discusses the complex artistic and legal history of sampling in music, featuring interviews with both the samplers (Chuck D, De La Soul, Shock G, El-P, DJ Qbert) and the sampled (George Clinton and Clyde Stubblefield). via egotrip
GRiZ - Mad Liberation. Take a 21 year old bedroom producer from Michigan, raise them on the the internet with a near complete access to the history of modern music with a focus on electronic/dance and apparently you get this incredibly humanistic and cross-cultural album that's both homage, monument and appropriation of hundreds of influences in modern music in an incredibly dubby dubstep framework. (Free album download here.)
In 1913, a man named Noble Drew Ali, (born Timothy Drew) Formed a religious organization called The Moorish Science Temple, based on a supposed lost section of the Koran. Drew's teachings were heavily influenced by Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, which was written by Levi Dowling in 1908, and flourished again in the late 60's and was an influential precursor to the New Age Movement. [more inside]
Lupe Fiasco's new single Bitch Bad offers a powerful commentary on the roles of men, women and children in popular hip-hop culture. [more inside]
Back in 1993, the hip hop group Digital Underground needed to release a single to promote their 4th album, the Body-Hat Syndrome, in the hopes they could recapture the magic of their two biggest hits, Humpty Dance and Doowutchyalike. Frontman Greg "Shock G" Davis (aka Humpty Hump) needed a gimmick to promote the new single, Return of the Crazy One, so he hired FM Productions in San Francisco (who had also designed flying pigs for Pink Floyd concerts) to create a 12-foot high sculpture of his own head, which would allow him to emerge from a trap door in the nostrils. Fast forward almost twenty years later, until a guy with the web handle johnny payphone finds the giant head abandoned and covered in dust in an Oakland warehouse after a homeless man attempted to live in it for several weeks. No museums have yet expressed interest in the head, but if you have the money, and you can take good care of it, the giant Humpty Hump head could be yours.
Busta Rhymes is back with his 9th studio album, Year of the Dragon. It's free* for a limited time from Google Play, and also available to stream and download from DatPiff**. If that wasn't enough, Google Play put together a 21 minute biographical documentary on Busta Rhymes, with Busta and some close collaborators talking about his last 20 years. [more inside]
Kansas City rapper and budding internet sensation Mac Lethal raps a recipe for homemade Chick-Fil-A.Quickly. (NSFW audio, SLYT)
Lowell "The Hammer" Stanley looks like your garden-variety local personal injury lawyer famous for some kooky commercials. Someone remixed them and the result is nothing short of amazing.
“I am gay, and I’m proud to be called a gay rapper, but it’s not gay rap. That’s not a genre. My goal is always to make songs that a gay dude or a straight dude can listen to and just think, This dude has swag.... The best thing a song can be called is good.” Rapper/producer Le1f, in a short bio article on Fader, which mentions Le1f being swept up with the "more outlandish" (as Fader writer Alex Frank puts it) House of LaDosha and Mykki Blanco. The Guardian has another piece on the rise of gay rappers, but the Amoeba blog was there first in 2008, covering a bit of the New Orleans sissies. More videos and music directly linked inside (and you can assume the music and videos are NSFW). [more inside]
great short video: Marley Marl, the producer of LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out', recreates the beat, explaining its component elements and releasing a never-heard-before snippet of alternate LL vocals: "he says, 'hey, I got a sample that is so dope.' He pulls out Sly and the Family Stone..."
Edan, "The Humble Magnificent" is a rapper. He's a producer. He's a DJ. He's the complete package. He can cut, scratch, and rock the mic. Oh, did I mention he can do all of those things at once? [more inside]
You might have seen the hours of music from Bloglin last year, but Мишка ("Mishka," or "bear cub" in Russian) has another treasure trove of music: free albums, anthologies, and mixtapes on Bandcamp. They started a bit slow with a single mixtape in 2009 from Ninjasonik, and 2010 wasn't too active. But in 2011 they had 9 releases, and already 14 in 2012, the newest being the debut album from 19-year-old nu-disco producer Cream Dream. A handy rundown of the releases to date below the fold. [more inside]
The Giant Robot Invasion has begun! You were warned this was coming and given tips to survive. But one tip you didn't get - don't go near the bench!
Iggy Azalea is a 22 year old Australian rapper. Her promotional videos Pu$$y, My World, and Two Times brought her Youtube viral fame and helped launch her career. Her first studio album, The New Classic, is set to be released sometime later this year. Other videos include Look At Me Now and two freestyle videos Get Big, and Hell of a Life.
The tagline is simple: "Danceable melancholia for the depressed," though on its face, the tracklist might challenge indie rock fans. "Post-millennial indie rock faves [updated] with 1993 hip hop production"? Downcast remixes of Andrew Bird and Deerhoof by a hip-hop producer? But it works. Joe(y) Beats, who collaborated with Sage Francis as Non-Prophets, shows his love for The Black Heart Procession and Neutral Milk Hotel by finely dicing their tunes and re-arranging them so they flow together, but don't lose their original beauty. Behold: Indie Rock Blues. [more inside]
On what would have been his 40th birthday, Ego Trip posts 10 Notorious B.I.G. Videos You Must See.
The Internet is going crazy for 19 (or 16? or 17? Definitely not really 13) year old Florida rapper Kitty Pryde’s track “Ok Cupid.” [more inside]
Since 1993, rapper and producer El-P of famed 90s hip hop trio Company Flow (also including Bigg Jus and Mr. Len) has been pushing the boundaries of rap music. Now, after linking up with unlikely collaborator Killer Mike, the two are preparing to release R.A.P. Music. [more inside]
Hello, my name is Adair and I'm here to recruit you. Texas rapper Adair Lion's song bluntly calls out homophobia in hip hop. He explains the inspiration for the song: "But I thought NO... This needs to be dialoged... this has to be said... this should be accepted.... and they deserve for someone to let them know that they aren't wrong... I NEED TO SAY IT BLUNTLY. "
OkayAfrica keeps up to date with pop culture and news from across the continent. Africa In Your Earbuds gives DJs and musicians from across the diaspora the chance to curate a playlist or mixtape of their favorite African and African diaspora music. Chief Boima of Dutty Artz starts off Africa In Your Earbuds. [more inside]
Give a fuck whatcha heard / Yeah fuck whatcha heard / Fore this real shit kicked your whole clique to the curb
Death Grips (previously) are back, with a major-label contract to boot. Following up on last year's highly-regarded Exmilitary mixtape, The Money Store is scheduled for official release on April 24th. In the meantime, enjoy these two new videos (probably NSFW): Get Got / The Fever (Aye Aye)
Immortal Technique is an American rapper of Afro-Peruvian descent as well as an urban activist. Most of his lyrics focus on controversial issues in global politics. The views expressed in his lyrics are largely commentary on issues such as class struggle, poverty, religion, government and institutional racism.
"He is a jackass... but he's talented." - Barack Obama. The Atlantic profiles Kanye West.
"Every single person you meet, look at them like a golden million dollar baby." Last night, internet-famous oddball rapper and human meme Lil B gave a 90-minute lecture at NYU to a sold-out crowd. Speaking completely off the cuff, he touched upon radical positivity, empathy, how ant colonies are like human communities, and the dangers of hydraulic fracking, among many other things. Transcript and recording here. Pitchfork.tv will air the full video tomorrow. Nitsuh Abebe writes about what makes Lil B so great, and why it's hard to deal with some of his fans. [more inside]
David Cohn, AKA Serengeti, has been described as "the quirkiest, deepest rapper", and "a writer who happens to rap". He has put out several albums but has encountered virtually no commercial success whatsoever, despite some raw works on the topics of absentee fathers, heroin, and a fictitious UFC fighter. Chief among his creations is alter-ego Kenny Dennis, with origins in what has become his most famous track, "Dennehy". Kenny is a Chicago sports superfan with a mustache "the size of Mike Ditka's forehead" who loves actor Brian Dennehy, O'Douls, brats, and chops, 'sconsin, the Sears Tower, and his wife Jules, and who passionately defends Steve Bartman. [more inside]