Category: Music

Silver Lake, Los Angeles. A small house sits on a hill nestled between the 101 freeway and a street you’d think twice about parking your car on. It’s a section of the world where kids grow up quickly and relationships are subject to change, often cut short by the elements. That’s how it used to be at least. These streets hold within them the remnants of a subculture that once flourished as certainly as it now dwindles. At large, guns have been replaced by iPhones, drugs by tweets and selfies, and some people consider it an improvement. Still, driving through this storie

It’s generally believed that a good journalist is one who exercises objectivity. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a good journalist or even a journalist at all. But I was asked to review this album with an outsider’s ear, the ear of someone with an unbiased perspective, someone who hasn’t seen these songs performed on stages across a few states or had the better part of 2 years to digest them. Someone who doesn’t personally know Tha Ynoe. I’m up to the task, but if I’m to pretend that Ynoe and I aren’t friends, then my first questio

For those in the know, it’s a name we couldn’t escape if we tried to. In fact, some of us have tried to. The name has been unfriended and unfollowed, even blocked. It’s been the butt of jokes and the reason for rolling eyes and shaking heads. The name is also listed in the production credits for songs by Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul, E-40, and a slew of others. It’s been billed at major festivals and on a nationwide 50-something city tour with Murs. Most recently, it found a nice little place for itself on the iTunes charts, grabbing the #

I went to sleep just under 3 hours ago and now I’m sitting at my desk with a view of the city, watching it come more and more alive as the sun announces the start of a new day. My eyes are heavy and my body is sore but I’m not tired. It could be the pot of coffee in my stomach or last night’s poor decisions still working the tail end of their magic through my system. It might be pure adrenaline or simply my refusal to fall over. It could be a combination of those things, but more than anything, I know what’s keeping me awake is the knowl

I was on my back in a hotel room when I got a message from Thesis telling me his crew was dropping an album soon. He asked if he could send it to me beforehand and I didn’t have the heart to tell him how horribly backed up I am with photos to edit and articles I’ve already committed to writing. There’s also the fact that I’m an overly documented fanboy of everything he makes and I’m flattered every time he even partially gives a shit about my opinions, so I thanked him and told him to send it over. The album sat in my inbox for two

I get my bad news the same way I imagine most people do. On my back with sleep still in my eyes, my eyelids yearning for one another as they’re forced further and further apart. The alarm on my iPhone sounds off. I reach for it, unconvinced that this isn’t the day I finally smash it or throw it across the room. I turn off the alarm, inhale my first deep breath of the day, and immediately begin thumbing through all the social media notifications that came in through the night. Then comes the aimless scrolling for however long it takes me to snap out o

There’s no use denying it; rap fans love lists. Almost as much as they love rap. Stuff enough rap fans in a room together and in no time at all they’ll be at each other’s throats defending their top 5. Top 5 emcees, top 5 producers, top 5 crews, top 5 albums, top 5 mixtapes, top 5 diss tracks, so on and so forth until you find yourself waiting for Jack Black and John Cusack to show up and join the debate. And the fact that they typically don’t watch movies like High Fidelity is one of the top 5 reasons most rap fans won’t get that reference.

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In the past way-too-long there’s been a lot of speculation on Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, the Wu-Tang Clan’s seventh studio album projected for commercial release sometime between a year ago and a day anyone old enough to still give a shit about the Wu-Tang Clan will never see because we’ll all be dead (provided science doesn’t find a way to drastically extend the average lifespan of humans, something I’d imagine the ecosystem can’t discourage enough). Now, to keep it 100, as they say, I’ve not exactly exhausted myself investigating the validity o

A ton of time ago my friend Jon sent me a track he had just finished and asked if I’d be interested in making a video for it. I’ve gotten used to being impressed by his work, but this one was different. I told him it had most if not all of the components of what I consider a perfect rap song. I’m a sucker for gradual build ups, drops in the beat, syllabic tongue-twisters, the use of the word “mah-fucka” (not to be confused with “motherfucker”), and, well, anger. Put all those in a blender and the result is exactly the stuff that makes me wan

To anyone who grew up listening to rap music, specifically from the mid 80’s to the late 90’s, New York is Mecca. Holy ground. The place where it all began. There’s a universal feeling we get in our stomaches whenever we hear someone say “Brooklyn”. Or “The Bronx”. Or “Queens Bridge”. It’s the same for all of us, and if you’re one of us, you probably just visualized a different but very specific rapper as I named each borough. Biggie, KRS, Nas. That’s how mine goes. Yours may differ slightly, but we all have a r