The Neptunes

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Britney Spears and Michael Jackson fight it out

Cue up track six on the new Britney (Jive) and prepare yourself for the Technicolor disco flash-back of the year, swooning string section, chunky Nile Rodgers guitar riff, and all. The song's called "Anticipating," and it captures the most famous 19-yea
Who's #1?
By SEAN RICHARDSON  |  July 03, 2009

Better than Madonna

Everybody dug Confessions on a Dance Floor , but I’m one of approximately 12 people who liked American Life , Madonna’s weirdly militant 2003 disc.

Pop stars with product to move

By MIKAEL WOOD  |  April 22, 2008

Selling points

Jay-Z’s new album shares its title with the new Ridley Scott film about Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas.
Jay-Z ties his fortunes to American Gangster
By BEN WESTHOFF  |  November 14, 2007

Chairmen of the boards

Not unlike Swedish, Tagalog, and Esperanto, music is a language, with its own conjugations and (lewdly) dangling participles.
Our critics pick the 14 producers with the fattest, meanest beats
By PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  October 18, 2007

Slim Thug Presents Boss Hogg Outlawz

Crew records are notoriously awful endeavors.
Serve and Collect | Koch
By MATTHEW GASTEIER  |  April 10, 2007

Production lines

The guy builds songs.
Timbaland’s shockingly bad Shock Value
By NICK SYLVESTER  |  April 09, 2007


Bay Area beats

Although Oakland’s hyphy movement got its name from a bastardization of the word “hyper,” at this point that could just as easily stand for “hype.”
Is hyphy hip-hop’s next big thing?
By MATTHEW GASTEIER  |  February 19, 2007

Diversified incoming

It’s a testament to the strength of hip-hop, as the medium enters its third decade, that 2006 would see such a wide range of sounds so well represented, from commercial anthems to abstract beat tapes.
A year in hip-hop
By MATTHEW GASTEIER  |  December 19, 2006

Snoop Dogg

That Snoop has made his best album since 1993’s Doggystyle is a painful reminder that the hip-hop ambassador has spent the majority of his career coasting.
Tha Blue Carpet Treatment | Geffen
By MATTHEW GASTEIER  |  December 11, 2006

Larger than life

Although predictions that Jay-Z, in his comeback, would pull in the biggest sales numbers of the year were proved wrong (at 680,000, his Def Jam release Kingdom Come ranks third behind Rascal Flatts and Justin Timberlake in 2006), that’s hardly the story
Two kinds of triumph from Jay-Z and the Game
By MATTHEW GASTEIER  |  December 06, 2006

Pop goes a Neptune

Pharrell is a fascinating rapper when he lets himself go — so why does In My Mind blow so hard? Listen to the best of the Neptunes throughout the years
Pharrell Williams raps his way into a corner
By NICK SYLVESTER  |  August 24, 2006


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

Cutting Loose

Her new third album, Loose , celebrates the emancipation of Nelly Furtado.
Nelly Furtado gets promiscuous with Timbaland
By KEN MICALLEF  |  June 24, 2006

Hip-pop redux

Nelly Furtado’s not the first pop diva to embark on a lucrative hip-hop detour.
Hip-hopped-up hits from Deborah Harry to Gwen Stefani
By KEN MICALLEF  |  June 20, 2006