Categories
Documentaries Films Hip-Hop Rap

My Five Favorite Hip-Hop Documentaries

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Documentaries – unfairly – have long been seen as a snob’s film of choice.

Categories
Hip-Hop

In Defense Of…Jay-Z’s ‘American Gangster’

 

It’s the 20th anniversary of Reasonable Doubt  the best album from an all-time great year in hip-hop — and since everyone else is weighing in with their Jay-Z takes, I thought I’d join the fun.

Categories
Opinion

Why Are We So Obsessed with Sales?

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Fans are more obsessed with sales than ever before.

Categories
The Musical Outcast

Does the Album Still Have a Place in Music?

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Back in 2009, I wrote a blog post for XXL in which I wondered if mixtapes were becoming better – and more important – than albums. My contention was that there are certain artists – Jadakiss, for example – that are better suited for the mixtape circuit, so they should really be judged on their work therein as much as for their retail releases.

Categories
Hip-Hop Rap

Requiem for the Hip-Hop Soundtrack

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

Categories
Flashback Friday Flop

Flashback Friday Flop: “Kingdom Come”

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Welcome back to the latest – and final – 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 is the 25th entry of this series and while that is an arbitrary number, it’s a nice one with which to end. In fact, the truth is that I’ve explored most of the albums that I’ve wanted to within this space. To continue going forward every week would lead to me doing it out of a sense of obligation rather than interest. When that happens, the writing suffers.

Categories
Greatness Hip-Hop Nostalgia

The Other Great Rap Battle of 2001

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Everyone knows that an epic hip-hop battle that took place in late 2001, when Jay-Z and Nas brawled for the throne, but far too many people forget that another classic rap clash began that year as well.

Categories
Greatness Hip-Hop Uncategorized

Murder Inc.: The Supergroup That Never Was

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Originally, Murder Inc. was to be the name of a supergroup comprised of Jay-Z, DMX, and Ja Rule. All three were signed to Def Jam (through their own imprints of Roc-A-Fella, Ruff Ryders, and Murder Inc.) and had known one another for years. They appeared in each other’s videos, shouted out one another, and performed on the same stage during the Hard Knock Life tour.

In 1999, when all three were at – or very close to – the peak of their popularity, they appeared on the cover of XXL to announce the formation of Murder Inc. Some believe that the three could’ve become the greatest hip-hop group in history, but it never happened. As Ja Rule said, “We tried to deliver that album. It was a situation where egos all just played a part in its demise.”

We’ll most likely never get a Murder Inc. album so, just as I did with Detox, I have collected the tracks they did record together in various combinations.

Categories
Music

1999: The Year Hip-Hop Sprang a Leak

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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
Hip-Hop Rap

“Detox” – The Lost Album

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 After two classics and sixteen years of rumors, Dr. Dre’s highly anticipated and long-awaited third album was released last summer.

Only it’s not Detox.