“On Writing” for the Hip-Hop Culture: Rakim’s “Sweat the Technique” Reviewed

In most cases, progress and evolution happen slowly, over a period of time marked by small, incremental changes. Occasionally, however, a seismic shift occurs and a culture transforms overnight. That is what happened in 1986 when a young man with a voice that sounded like it was from outer space came in the door andContinue reading ““On Writing” for the Hip-Hop Culture: Rakim’s “Sweat the Technique” Reviewed”

Gorilla Monsoon Rap – “Dream Team: A Stokely Hathaway Joint” Reviewed

There are times when being a musical artist creates a no-win situation. Fickle fans want you to grow, but keep making the same sort of music. They don’t want you to repeat yourself, but quickly become unhappy if the new stuff is too different from what they expected.

The Pierznik Monthly Newsletter Volume 58 (August/September 2019)

The latest iteration of my newsletter includes thoughts on the first day of school – for both kids and adults – family vacations, the juxtaposition of grandparents and grandchildren, writing about hip-hop again, and of course, the latest books I encountered.

A Fun, Glib, and Honest Trip Down Rap Memory Lane – “Ruffhouse” Reviewed

Growing up in the Philly area, there is a constant underlying feeling of inferiority, like a little brother, in regards to New York City, particularly within the realm of hip-hop.

A Decade of Slaughterhouse

“Soon as I hold a pen I co-defend the sickest MCs” August 11, 2009. I walked into the FYE in the Gallery at Market East in Philly and headed straight for the new releases section. I had already gone digital with my iPod Classic but a new album dropped that day and I wanted an actual physicalContinue reading “A Decade of Slaughterhouse”

So Much More Than Rap: The Life and Legacy of Nipsey Hussle

Grieve not that I die young. Is it not well to pass away ere life hath lost its brightness? – Lady Flora Hastings He was different. It wasn’t just the $100 Crenshaw mixtape or the Marathon Clothing store or the work he did to quell gang violence and promote his beloved neighborhood’s art and culture.  It wasContinue reading “So Much More Than Rap: The Life and Legacy of Nipsey Hussle”

Ranking Jay-Z’s Albums

Jay-Z is the most successful emcee in history. With 14 number one albums on the Billboard chart (11 in a row as a solo artist), 21 Grammys, over 100 million records sold, and countless other side deals, he has repeatedly gone beyond the normal bounds of what a rapper could do.

Ranking Nas’s Albums

For more than a quarter-century, ever since he first stole the show on Main Source’s “Live at the BBQ” all the way back in 1991, Nas has been crafting incredible rhymes and blessing microphones. He has a stack of classic verses, to the point that some of them don’t even appear on his own LPs. ThoughContinue reading “Ranking Nas’s Albums”

The Top 20 Wu-Tang Albums

Below is a list I created in November, 2013, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). It was published on Medium and then republished by Hip Hop Golden Age. In honor of today – November 9, 2018 – being the 25th anniversary of the release of that album, I chose toContinue reading “The Top 20 Wu-Tang Albums”