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Conscious Rap

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090524_jeru_list

Come clean

Jeru the Damaja vocalized underground agony before RZA declared that R&B stands for "rap and bullshit," before Dead Prez blasted "monotonous material," and way before Immortal Technique announced that he would soil a Def Jam development deal.
Jeru the Damaja doesn't hate pop after all
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  May 22, 2009
090417_buckshot_list

Clik tracks

Hide your naughty daughters and aspiring MC sons: Brooklyn’s Duck Down is that kingly retrofitted, incomparably propped hip-hop label that all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to fuck with.
Buckshot and Black Moon get live
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  April 17, 2009
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Hope for the Nation

Pick up the latest issue of XXL magazine and flip to the "Show and Prove" section and you'll spot Providence hip-hop artist Jon Hope — and rightly so.
Jon Hope's Mass Appeal
By CHRIS CONTI  |  February 25, 2009
090123_roots_list

An abridged history of the Roots' collabs

Collaborations
Tangled up
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 20, 2009
090109_cellars_lsit

Just the 11 of us

De La Soul believe that three is the magic number. My college girlfriend thought it was 55, not counting guys she only blew.
The Macrotones find strength in numbers
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 06, 2009
081114_budden_list

Joe the rapper

"One thing I've learned is that if you write about reality, you'll never run out of material."
Joe Budden, Freeway, and the enduring authority of street rap
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 11, 2008


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Interview: Talib Kweli

If one hip-hop album crystallized the schism between underground authenticity and mainstream monotony, it was Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star (Rawkus).  
Black star
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  October 21, 2008
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Backed the f*** up

I wasn’t the only one held back from “Rock the Bells” by fleets of ugly persons driving Chevy Avalanches.
‘Rock The Bells’ 2008
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 30, 2008
080725_qtip_list

Here we go, yo

No Rock the Bells tour would be official without a godlike headliner at the helm.
Rock the Bells: Q-Tip reunites A Tribe Called Quest one last time
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 21, 2008

On-point tips


A Checklist For A Tribe Called Quest’s Reunion Show
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 21, 2008
moepopelist

Moe Pope + Headnodic

Megaphone is my favorite murder-free rap album since Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek’s Train of Thought.
Megaphone | NatAural High/Koch
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  May 20, 2008


AKROBATIklist

Akrobatik

One of the hallmarks of Akrobatik’s style has always been his sincerity.
Absolute Value | Fat Beats
By ANDREW GRAHAM  |  February 26, 2008
080118_lupe_list

Talking trash

For a smart guy, Lupe Fiasco has an unusual propensity for spewing verbal garbage.
The loopy world of Lupe Fiasco
By BEN WESTHOFF  |  January 14, 2008
071221_ghost_list

From ’Ye to mixtapes

To get the full taste of where hip-hop is at, you also have to seek out the unofficial releases, the mixtapes, which often have a bigger impact than the official albums.
Hip-hop: 2007 in review
By BEN WESTHOFF  |  December 17, 2007
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The live rap album

December is the time of year when the new album well dries up and gives way to a deluge of novelty releases.
There are a few, and Mr. Lif has one of the best
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  December 05, 2007
071130_brother_list

Staying alive

More than KRS-One, more than Jay-Z, and more than Talib Kweli, Little Brother have become the embodiment of everything hip-hop purists think the genre should be.
Little Brother fight for independence
By BEN WESTHOFF  |  November 27, 2007


070720_monch_list

Skill ride

All it took was a Godzilla sample and a simple, forceful “Simon says get the fuck up” for Pharoahe Monch to leave his mark on hip-hop history.
Pharoahe Monch’s timely return
By MATTHEW GASTEIER  |  July 17, 2007
070126_nas_list

Dead, or immortal?

When Chuck D challenges the status quo, a bunch of fortysomethings nod their heads, but Nas can put the young rappers on the defensive.
Nas’s album title challenges a generation
By MATTHEW GASTEIER  |  January 24, 2007
061124_labseven_list

Mad scientists

Successful hip hop is all about braggadocio.
Labseven finally put it all together with North Winds
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  November 21, 2006
060908_killers_list

Forward into the past!

Could it be just a coincidence that as I sit here writing this, a grizzled Bob Seger is gearing up for the release of Face the Promise , the Detroit rocker’s first proper studio album in, oh, forever and a day? The Lemonheads, "No Backbone" (mp3)
Oldies and more in the season’s CD releases
By MATT ASHARE  |  September 14, 2006
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Tear the club up

"What Samir and I bring to the table is that we were both coming from a real street hip-hop sentiment," says LaCrate, "and that’s where club in its origin came from. As much as it may have been comprised of rave breaks, there was nothing rave – I always
How Baltimore and Aaron LaCrate are going to save club music
By MIKE MCKAY  |  August 22, 2006


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Jurassic 5

Major-label “positive” rappers like this decade-old crew have defended the old school like schoolmarms upholding the five principles of hip-hop as if they were as much fun as the three R’s. Jurassic 5, "Work It Out" feat. Dave Matthews Band  (Quicktime
Feedback | Interscope  
By FRANKLIN SOULTS  |  August 21, 2006
060721_paul_list

How to waste a DJ

“This is real nostalgic for me,” Lovebug yelled on the mic. “Twenty-three years ago I was at this exact same club, performing my number one single ‘You Gotta Believe’.”
Prince Paul and Lovebug Starski fall on deaf ears at Axis
By MAC CARROLL  |  July 21, 2006

Flashbacks, May 12, 2006

These selections, culled from our back files, were compiled by Chris Brook and Ian Sands.
The Boston Phoenix has been covering the trends and events that shape our times since 1966.
By EDITORIAL  |  May 11, 2006
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Rhythm for days

Jay Dee didn’t make music, he made movements. If it knocked in the late ’90s, he probably had a hand in it.
The legacy of the late great J. Dilla
By JAMIN WARREN  |  February 21, 2006

Voices carry

For years, the idea that Boston hip-hop is about to blow has been a mantra for the local scene.
Akrobatik signs to Fat Beats, Insight goes crazy
By  |  January 13, 2006


Various artists

What happened to the label that made college kids feel good about hip-hop in an era when gangstas ruled the streets?
RAWKUS RECORDS — CLASSIC CUTS: BEST OF A DECADE 1  | Rawkus.
By JAMIN WARREN  |  January 04, 2006