Hip Hop

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In Memoriam: Magnus Johnstone, 1952-2013

On February 22, 2013, Boston lost a legend.
Paying tribute to the unlikely uncle of Boston hip-hop
By PACEY FOSTER  |  March 15, 2013

Hip-Hop Trivia grows up

In their fourth year of operation, the Hip-Hop Trivia squad is finally taking the night (somewhat) seriously.
Who Shot Ya?
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  March 01, 2013

Altered Gee dig the past and turn up treasure

The experience of modern music is synonymous with nostalgia.
Golden beats
By NICHOLAS SCHROEDER  |  February 15, 2013

The Big Hurt: The Week in WorldStar unsigned Artist videos

In my Year-in-Preview column, I predicted that we'd pass "peak hip-hop" in 2013, and the unsigned hype on the WorldStar hip-hop site would slow to a trickle.

By DAVID THORPE  |  January 18, 2013

Banger style: Hip-hop ringers of 2012

In recapping 2012, I embraced the chance to parade some recent unsung hip-hop ringers.

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  December 21, 2012

Hip-Hop: Get On Down

The record industry has always treated hip-hop as a disposable commodity, so that even iconic work has gone without the slick packaging of archival rock and pop projects.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  December 07, 2012


GZA explores the universe

In the mid-1970s, Gary Grice and his cousin Robert — ages 11 and 8, respectively — traveled for hours by ferry, train, and bus from Staten Island to the Bronx.
Sounds of Science
By PHILIP EIL  |  December 07, 2012

The musical activism of Boots Riley

When Occupy erupted last year, politically aggressive artists had the choice either to walk the walk or quiet down.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 30, 2012

Crate digging with Hub rap archaeologist Pacey Foster

Pacey Foster used to fly home from college in Indiana, hustle to his Newton bedroom, and reach straight for the radio dial.
Hip-Hop History
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 16, 2012

You must think first... before you movie

It's a snowy night in late 2006, and Hostel director Eli Roth is stranded at Logan Airport with RZA. The two are bound for Los Angeles, on their way home from hanging with Quentin Tarantino in Iceland.
RZA and Roth: Behind The Man with the Iron Fists
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 02, 2012

Kitty Pryde takes her chances

Can one artist ruin a genre?
Flak catcher
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  August 17, 2012


Nas | Life Is Good

Life Is Good is the album Illmatic fans have browbeat Nas into making while undervaluing an astounding number of achievements over a dozen "other" albums.
Def Jam (2012)
By DAN WEISS  |  August 10, 2012
frank ocean-4

Frank Ocean | Channel Orange

Since the ’80s, when R&B began to lean more heavily on the candid bling-and-booty-centric tropes championed by its plain-speaking hip-hop cousins, the music’s subtlety, nuance, and imagination have faded.
Def Jam (2012)
By ANDREW GRAHAM  |  July 27, 2012

Grinding gears with Wheelchair Sports Camp

Unless you count Summer Jam and other shameless showcases of hack-rap sharecroppers, hip-hop never had a circus until B. Dolan stepped up to play ringmaster.
No filter
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 20, 2012
Album:The Very Best - MTMTMK

The Very Best | MTMTMK

"World music" is an archaic label, but there's no better way to describe the Very Best's MTMTMK .
Moshi Moshi/Cooperative Music (2012)
By RYAN REED  |  July 20, 2012

Azealia Banks | 1991

The only downside of Azealia Banks's mildly slept-on debut EP is that her wildfire YouTube classic "212" was anything but subtle (recall: "I guess that cunt gettin' eaten"), whereas the remaining 13 minutes of music here require more time to sink in tha
By DAN WEISS  |  July 10, 2012


El-P keeps control of his alt-rap flow

When I interviewed El-P back in 2007, we had a meaty laugh over unfortunate scribes who'd pegged his sound "post-apocalyptic."
End Game
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 06, 2012

El-P | Cancer For Cure

"It's like a fresh start in a new world," El Producto repeats on "Works Every Time," a track on this, his least ambitious record.
Fat Possum (2012)
By DAN WEISS  |  May 18, 2012

The Big Hurt: Platinum League vs. Yo! MTV Raps Trading Cards

I spied an exciting story on XXL magazine's website: "Platinum League Releases First Ever Hip-Hop Trading Cards."
Hip-hop collectibles
By DAVID THORPE  |  May 18, 2012

Interview: J-Zone’s post-hip-hop life

J-Zone retired from hip-hop somewhere south of the middle.
Sweet villain
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  April 06, 2012

The Big Hurt: This month in rap ( . . . in 1992)

I'm overdue for a hip-hop news roundup, but it's all so lame.
Twenty years ago, Marky Mark sucked, NOSE EARRINGS(?) ruled, and some blood was found in Dance Floor’s trachea
By DAVID THORPE  |  March 16, 2012


At the hip-hop high school

In his new book, Hip Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education , Sam Seidel describes a sign hanging at the juvenile detention facility in Cranston.
Education Dept.
By PHILIP EIL  |  March 16, 2012

Photos: EPMD + DJ Scratch at SXSW 2012

EPMD and DJ Scratch perform live at Malaia Upstairs at SXSW 2012 on March 15, 2012.
Austin TX | March 15, 2012
By DEREK KOUYOUMJIAN  |  March 16, 2012

Dirty Hank and Reason tap the bottle and hit the mic

Local lyricists Dirty Hank and Reason revel in drunken debauchery all over The Monty Brogan EP (Poorly Drawn Recordings), released just last week and currently up for grabs as a free download through multiple sites (check the end of these words for lin
Blooze brothers
By CHRIS CONTI  |  February 24, 2012
Off the record: Habits

Schoolboy Q | Habits & Contradictions

Without much that can be considered "structure" in terms of the verse-chorus-verse standard, Q confidently wobbles through an album's worth of jaded bangers.
Top Dawg Entertainment (2012)
By MICHAEL C. WALSH  |  February 03, 2012

Juan Deuce and Falside get down to work as The Mechanics

The stars have aligned and the Rap Gods must be smiling down at Juan Deuce and Falside.
Impossible to ignore
By CHRIS CONTI  |  February 03, 2012


Toasting another year of high quality hip-hop

We're saluting another dynamic year of real deal Rhody-based rap music — the diverse community of razor-sharp eccentric wordsmiths and young-gun production phenoms worthy of your attention.
Savor the local flavor
By CHRIS CONTI  |  December 30, 2011

The year 'new battling' took over Boston

There's one thing that most people know about battle rapping: 8 Mile .
Plan of attack
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  December 23, 2011

Frat rap is ready to graduate

Despite whatever hip-hop's perceived "intended audience," it's never been a secret that rap music has long been adored by the Caucasian crowd.
It's been four years since "I Love College" -- now it's party time!
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 25, 2011

Click Animosity and the opposite of the frat rap game

In the epic hip-hop mockumentary CB4, Chris Rock's suburban MC wannabe character steals the name and image of a jailed thug rapper named Gusto.  
Audacity of dope
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 25, 2011