Categories
Books Hip-Hop Rap Reviews

Biggie Smalls Was the Illest – “It Was All a Dream” Book Review

There are different kinds of biographies.

Some attempt to tell the subject’s story objectively, recounting what happened and placing it in context, but without editorializing or offering opinion. Others are planned as hit pieces, hatchet jobs with a clear intent to damage the person. Still others come from a place of admiration, presenting the individual in a glowing light at every turn.

It’s difficult to tell what It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World that Made Him by Justin Tinsley was originally aiming to be, but the final product certainly falls into that last category.

Categories
Hip-Hop Rap

The Greatest Year in Hip-Hop History

1

Of all the conversations and debates surrounding the best of the best in hip-hop — MC’s, groups, producers, labels — perhaps the most difficult to ascertain is what is the greatest year in hip-hop history. Let’s answer it with a 16-slot bracket tournament.

Categories
Hip-Hop Music Rap

We’re So Spoiled by the Availability of Music That We Don’t Appreciate It

I have a confession to make: I didn’t love Enter the Wu-Tang [36 Chambers] the first time I heard it. Actually, I kinda sorta didn’t even like it. I know that’s like the Pope saying he didn’t dig the Bible the first time he read it, but it’s true.

Categories
Hip-Hop Rap

Classic Non-Album Cuts: Nate Dogg (Guest Appearances)

natedogg_elektra

He was the soul of G-Funk.

Categories
Hip-Hop Rap

Classic Non-Album Cuts: 2Pac

5

Of all the things one can say about 2Pac, both positive and negative, something that no one can deny is that he was probably the most prolific mainstream rap star in history.

Categories
Hip-Hop

Classic Non-Album Cuts: Tha Dogg Pound

da_pound_insom

Tha Dogg Pound are hip-hop legends.

Categories
Hip-Hop Rap

Requiem for the Hip-Hop Soundtrack

rgae

Let us all bow our heads and take a moment to remember the hip-hop soundtrack.

Categories
Music

1999: The Year Hip-Hop Sprang a Leak

tumblr_nihqdd7Lvr1ti1ilso1_500

In 1999, as the world was prepping for Y2K, another, less heralded innovation in the world of computers was about to change the music business: “Napster launched in 1999, and over the next three years tens of millions of music fans eagerly (and by today’s standards, incredibly slowly) downloaded oft-mistagged, low-bitrate mp3 versions of new music to their hard drives, and shared what they’d ripped themselves with software like the WinAmp player.”

The industry would never be the same.

Categories
Flashback Friday Flop

Flashback Friday Flop: “Christmas on Death Row”

Christmas-On-Death-Row-2-picture

Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Christmas on Death Row (1996)

By December of 1996, the once formidable Death Row Records was crumbling. Over the course of just a few months, Dr. Dre had defected, 2Pac had been killed, Suge Knight was sent to prison, and Snoop Doggy Dogg’s highly anticipated second album was a major disappointment.

Categories
Flashback Friday Flop

Flashback Friday Flop: “Tha Doggfather”

DGF

This is the first entry of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I will examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. I’ve done this sort of thing before – regarding The Firm album back in 2012 as well as a book defending a few artists and projects that I feel were overlooked, but these projects will all be new territory for me.

This week: Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Tha Doggfather (1996)

It’s clear that Dr. Dre saw what was coming. He left Death Row Records, the label he co-founded, with no equipment, no masters, no artists, nothing. That was the price he paid to be allowed to leave his own company. And he did it willingly.

Among the people he left behind was his star protégé, Snoop Doggy Dogg, who had just been acquitted of murder and was prepping his long-awaited and highly-anticipated second album.