Underground Hip Hop

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TheLin and Syn the Shaman team for Fits & Starts

There's no denying it's pretty cool that two artists, however many, can make music together without ever meeting.
Making Trails
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  February 11, 2011

All in the Fam

Halfway through my interview with the Allston-based alt-hop collective Fameless Fam about their upcoming showcase at Wonder Bar this Tuesday, Will from the posse's glitch-minded duo Time Crisis mentions that he went to high school in Pittsburgh with risi
The Fameless crew spice up the underground
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 02, 2010

Vinnie Paz | Season of the Assassin + Reef the Lost Cauze vs. Guns-N-Butter | Fight Music

We all needed a break from Jedi Mind Tricks — you, me, gay-rights activists, and even Stoupe and Vinnie Paz.
Enemy Soil (2010)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  June 18, 2010

Steady business

"Poorly Drawn People has some new members, and a new way of doing biz."
Poorly Drawn People's Reason and Falside remain in motion
By CHRIS CONTI  |  June 04, 2010

Mr. Incongeniality

The night before this interview, Bomshot pulled what might go down as the most boneheaded stunt in Boston hip-hop history when, in the middle of a crowded Slaine and Ill Bill show at Harpers Ferry, he attempted to cheap-shot the former from behind.
Bomshot makes a better MC than neighbor
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  May 28, 2010

Slideshow: History of Guru and Gang Starr

Here is our salute – in photo, audio, video, and writing – to a Roxbury legend and the vast Gang Starr legacy he left behind.
A collection of videos, photos, music and more from our archives
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  May 21, 2010


Rip Shop | The Authenticity

Rip Shop should be one of the first names you mention when recalling Boston’s early-2000s underground rap renaissance.
Drama House (2010)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  April 30, 2010

The Big Hurt: The week in death

Back in January, I predicted that, because of medical advances and the prospect of universal health care, no musicians would die in this decade. Unfortunately, it hasn’t turned out that way.
 RIP Chilton, Guru, and editorial tact
By DAVID THORPE  |  April 30, 2010

Label makers

To keep tabs on how Duck Down maintains its hardcore tradition despite also expanding with MTV-friendly acts like Kidz in the Hall, you need look no farther than Ruste Juxx and Marco Polo.
Ruste Juxx and Marco Polo talk Duck Down
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  April 16, 2010

25 Hip-Hop acts to see at SXSW 2010

As usual, I've got you covered.
The best boom-bap on tap in Austin
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  March 12, 2010

Rap legend Guru in a coma

"So whassup?" "Moment of truth." "Above the clouds?" "Credit is due." Those were just a few Gang Starr song-title sentiments that fans cried on social networks following the news that hip-hop legend Guru suffered a heart attack in New York City, where he
Shining Starr
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  March 05, 2010


Beyond Dilla and Dipset

With a semi-sober face I'll claim that hip-hop in 2010 might deliver more than just posthumous Dilla discs, Dipset mixtapes, and a new ignoramus coke rapper whom critics pretend rhymes in triple-entendres.
Can hip-hop deliver in 2010?
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 01, 2010

Swollen Members | Armed to the Teeth

I’m not completely sure why the mere mention of Swollen Members rubs so many underground rap snobs the wrong way.
Battle Axe (2009)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 20, 2009

Music Seen: El-P

Nearly two weeks ago hip-hop legend El-P visited Maine for the first time.
At the Asylum, October 8
By SONYA TOMLINSON  |  October 23, 2009

Fantastic damage

Unlike hip-hop acts that deny bucking convention for the sake of eccentricity, Anti-Pop Consortium were as clear on day zero as they will certainly be at Great Scott next Thursday about their maverick intentions.
Anti-Pop Consortium’s unfinished business
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  October 02, 2009

Soul training

Mayer Hawthorne rose to instant retro-pop acclaim the same way that everyone from Al Green to Michael Jackson moved on up — work and luck.
Suddenly, Mayer Hawthorne is running retro-pop
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  September 25, 2009


Review: KRS-One and Buckshot | Survival Skills

Duck Down (2009)
Duck Down (2009)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  September 25, 2009

Review: Shepard Fairey + Z-Trip + Chuck D

So Shepard Fairey actually made it this time. No insane, last-minute sting operations by Boston cops lurking just off the ICA’s property line. But also: no grand dramatics, either. (Like, he totally could have parachuted through a shattered skylight. In
“Experiment Redux” | Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston | July 31, 2009

Photos: Shepard Fairey, Z-Trip, Chuck D at the ICA

Shepard Fairey spins at Obey Experiment REDUX at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston
Shepard Fairey, Z-Trip, and Chuck D, live at the Institute of Contemporary Art, on July 31, 2009

The scene is now

As newspapers cede arbiter status to random bloggers with Fios and afternoons off, the function of polls like our humble offering must change out of necessity. What once was a forecast is now more like a diagnostic — it's anthropology versus tastemakery
What we can learn about Boston from the local winners
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  July 31, 2009

A long time comin'

Says Slaine, "When I get high I want to get higher, and when I get low I just want to get lower. I can't seem to find that place in the middle."
La Coka Nostra's been prepping this debut for a minute
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 17, 2009


Sollilaquists of Sound | No More Heroes

I've heard that the occasional rose is known to grow from concrete, but from tourist-trap strip malls like Orlando?
Anti- (2009)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 10, 2009

The other white beat

In the home of Slaine, Esoteric, Sullee, Bomshot, Lyrical, and about 10,000 other pale MCs who can hang with brothers of all shades and styles, the notion of prolific whiteboys is hardly novel.
Four random caucasian MCs better than Asher Roth
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 10, 2009

Sleep | Hesitation Wounds

On the subterranean-rap-hustle manifesto "Get It," from his new Hesitation Wounds, Portland (Oregon) MC Sleep rhymes, "I'll murder a set. . . . I'm kind of a big deal, you just ain't heard of me yet."
Strange Famous (2009)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  June 19, 2009

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

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


Say what?

Good news for perplexed suburbanites: a new site called  lets experienced rap interpreters explain difficult urban slang to hip-hop neophytes.
The Big Hurt: A chat with Bill Buckholz of
By DAVID THORPE  |  April 10, 2009

Due Dilla-gence

Extraordinarily missed Detroit beat stylist J Dilla (a/k/a Jay Dee) was righteously benevolent.
Termanology bestows belated props on Jay Dee
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  March 30, 2009

Get sprung

Between the packages that turn up on my Jamaica Plain doorstep and the envelopes that stuff my Phoenix mailbox, I have enough music to start a mixtape spot in Downtown Crossing.
A bumpin' crop of spring hip-hop
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  March 18, 2009

Slay anything

Boston's Irepress weren't supposed to be an instrumental band. What they've evolved into just happens to be too stylishly sinuous to lend itself to lots of words.
Words fail the post-everything epics of Irepress
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  February 09, 2009