Books Hip-Hop Rap Reviews

So Much More Than Just a Biography of a Man and a Movement — “Dilla Time” Reviewed

For the most part, whenever I heard a J Dilla (previously known as Jay Dee) beat, it sounded…off, wrong, maybe even sloppy. I couldn’t totally follow it. I wanted to like it, but I couldn’t fully appreciate it. It made me feel a bit discombobulated.

Only much later did I realize that was the intention. Dilla was not only reinventing what was known, he was inventing what was previously unknown.

As Dan Charnas writes, “What Dilla created was a third path of rhythm, juxtaposing those two time-feels [straight time and swing time], even and uneven simultaneously, creating a new, pleasurable, disorienting rhythmic friction and a new time-feel: Dilla Time.”

Hip-Hop Rap

Requiem for the Hip-Hop Soundtrack


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

Week in Review

Week in Review (November 20, 2015)


My daughter is only three, but I often worry about her.

Flashback Friday Flop

Flashback Friday Flop: “Beats, Rhymes and Life”


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: A Tribe Called Quest’s Beats, Rhymes and Life (1996)

Last week, one of hip-hop’s greatest groups, A Tribe Called Quest, reunited on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and, with help from The Roots, performed their classic “Can I Kick It?” All four original members – Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi – performed together.

That song comes from their debut, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, which came out 25 years ago (the reason for the reunion). They followed that up with two undeniable classics, 1991’s The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders in 1993.