What’s the Best Cypher in Hip Hop History?

What’s the best rhyme cypher in Hip Hop history? Is it Shades of Hip Hop’s Cypher featuring Big Pun, Canibus, Mos Def, DMX, John Forte and Mic Geronimo? You tell me…

Shout Out to Hip Hop Nerds

(originally published Feb 2, 2016) To be clear, rappers didn’t create Hip Hop. They used to speak for it though. Deejays didn’t create Hip Hop either; neither did B-Boys/Girls or Graf artists. Hip Hop was galvanized by all those groups together and also by some groups that have gone unnamed….

My Thoughts on Hip Hop History Month

The concept of Hip Hop History Month is lost on today’s society. There is not enough appreciation for the rich culture and economic opportunities afforded by the existence of Hip Hop to properly celebrate its success or awareness. At this point, modern-day mainstreamers think it’s OK to confuse music taste…

New Episode: What about non-English Rap?

Ep. 10 In this week’s episode, we look at some new artist submissions from the HipHopLives.net group on Facebook. A few submissions are non-Engish language tracks which beg the question: Can we like a song if we don’t understand the word? That answer should be obvious. Of course we can….

Unsigned Artist Review (Parts 6 & 7)

It’s hard not to diss whack music but I try to be as constructive as I can in criticizing some of the weaker submissions. I don’t know if I was successful, but you be the judge. Most of the reviews are positive and we got some unique posts to react…

Unsigned Artist Review (S2 E5)

Each week I try to go through as many post from the HipHopLives.net Group on Facebook and review what people have submitted. I can’t guarantee that I will be in a good mood all the time, and I won’t be as sympathetic then. For now I will only thumbs up…

HipHopLives FB UAR (S2 E4)

From the Facebook group page for HipHopLives.net we check out some of the latest submissions from members in the Unsigned Artist Review. Dope tracks and whack rappers will be defined and singled out in my completely biased True School Hip Hop discussion. Check it out below… Also if you missed…

Pop Rap versus Hip Hop

Rap music of today, filled with the newest trendy sound and contemporary mindset, is a far cry from what the seasoned Hiphoppa would prefer, content-wise. Today’s music is the reflection of a fantasy world that exists mainly in songs or music videos, not in reality. When that reality does cross…

A new look at the Hip Hop Elements

We all talk about Hip Hop; what it is, when it started, who is Hip Hop and who isn’t. But do we even all agree on that first part? What is Hip Hop? We all say it’s more than just music and entertainment. It’s a culture and a lifestyle. Most…

Young Rappers Don’t Love Hip Hop

Most times, I stay in the background of these topical rap conversations and gossip because its pointless. I’m glad on one level not to associate with too many insiders because then you lose perspective. It’s hard to be an honest judge of character when you find out that some whack…

It’s All About the Hamiltons

If you asked the average rap fan what the biggest story in Hip Hop (culture) or hip-hop music for the past 12 months was, what would they say? They might mention Drake and Meek Mill. They might talk about Future’s status as the ‘trap-music king’. Maybe they would talk about…

18 Years ago this month

Do you remember the days before the internet? There was a time when communication between people took much longer. Information took days, weeks, and months to circulate sometimes before ‘everybody’ knew what was going on. The only viral videos of the day were bootleg movies, and not Hollywood blockbuster movies,…

Remembering the Moments

In my photo journal, Shades of Hip Hop: Undaground Seen, I talk about the importance of cherishing the moments in life which change and inspire us. In a song recently released by Noreaga called, Moments, he deftly weaves a laid back reflection on the past ups and downs of life….

What Happened to Skillz?

The idealistic principles of Hip Hop at its core are Peace, Love, Unity and (safely) Having Fun (Afrika Bambaataa, KRS ONE). It is expressed most often thru other principles like Originality, Concept and Skills. Originality was the lynch pin distinguishing us from them, Hiphoppa from non-Hiphoppa, originators from biters. Originality…

The #3 Rap Album Was A Hidden Gem This Year

Right now the biggest gainer in rap album sales on Billboard is the #3 position held by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s cast recording of the Broadway musical Hamilton. Alone that statistic is impressive, but consider this…the Pinkprint World Tour by Nicki Minaj this year grossed $13M. Since July of 2015, Hamilton has…

Hip Hop: Stupidity is the real enemy

(VIDEO BELOW) In a recent song created by rapper Saigon and producer DJ Premiere called, Let’s Get Smart, Saigon says… Nah Preem, I ain’t come around to dumb It down. I done started a revolution, I ain’t running now. ‘Cause I don’t rap about having fun, I’m underground? ‘Cause the…

November: Hip Hop History Month

Since November is Hip Hop History month, a time in the folklore of Hip Hop when we celebrate the intricate history of the culture we all dwell in, let us reflect on the past. Many Hiphoppas talk about old-school vs new school and tradition vs evolution, but it is not…

The Lies Hip Hop Told Me (3): Fuck America

To those in the inner city, life in America can look bleak at times. The lack of employment, crooked cops, criminals trying to stick you for your goods, scam artists plotting, over-inflated prices, poor education, you name it. But guess what? It ain’t as bad as it seems. That picture…

Hip Hop Emcee Sean Price dead at 43

It was reported this morning that Sean Price of Duck Down Records, Boot Camp Clik fame died in his sleep August 7, 2015. Sean P was known as a top-notch Brooklyn-based emcee with massive skills on the mic. Sean P, aka Ruck of the duo Heltah Skeltah  has too many…

Breaking Down Ah Yeah with KRSONE (1995)

Speaking of #TBT Throwbacks, here’s a gem from 20 years ago. This is how I spent my time in the days before the digital revolution, social media and YouTube. We used to track down Hip Hip wherever it was at, and record until our battery-powered light died. Sometimes we kept…

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