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You’re Killin’ Me: Features

November 6, 2012 · Posted in editorial, you're killin me · 16 Comments 

Features used to be cool. I used to get excited when I saw different rappers working together. Some of my favorite hip-hop tracks have had features. “Amerikaz Most Wanted” featuring Snoop, the countless Nate Dogg features, Game’s work with 50, and Jay’s collabos with Pharrell are all great features. Recently, features have gotten straight boring and repetitive. Not that authentic features don’t exist anymore, but most tracks nowadays are a bunch of verses glued to a beat. Then to get attention, rappers always feature a mix of what seems to be the same cast. French Montana, Lil Wayne, Drake, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, and A$AP Rocky are currently hot feature commodities. Rappers need to switch it up. You’re killin’ me.

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Remembering September 11th: Jay-Z’s “Answer the Call” concert, 9/11/09

September 11, 2012 · Posted in editorial · Comment 

It’s been 11 years. Year after year on this day there are the “specials” (if you can even call it that) on TV. There are the articles online, in the paper, and the centerfold’s in the magazines. Every year we’re reminded of the tragic events that took place on this day. We’re reminded that on that day, Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, that we weren’t invincible. Even at a young age, a time where our biggest fears were the dark, or being socially accepted in school, we were scared. The fear in the face of our teachers, parents, the people who were supposed to be the ones to console us, showed that this was big. Real big. No matter how much we didn’t understand what was going on, it changed our lives forever. Read more

What The ’90s Hip-Hop Soundtrack Meant To A Young Fan

May 15, 2012 · Posted in editorial · Comment 

When I was little, I did every single thing my mother told me to do.  Okay, maybe not EVERYTHING she told me to, but I was known amongst the family as the child who had the most sense: I tried to talk brothers, cousins and friends out of every wrong thing they wanted to do and may (or may not) have participated in the relaying of information to an adult when I saw just cause.  The jury will remain out on that one, though.  The point is, I was the definition of a goody-two shoes who never knew she was living in subsidized housing, never pitied herself for not having a father in her household, and never wanted for anything when it came down to the bare essentials of survival.  It was only when I would watch movies that I realized just how uncommon my life was compared to these moviemakers.  Films like Clueless and Little Giants held my attention fiercely and I watched them as often as cable networks would allow me to.  Still, I knew something was off because I definitely wasn’t into football to the point where I wanted to be Icebox – though she was pretty bad ass – and from the looks of my tiny three-bedroom apartment in Richmond, VA that I shared with my two brothers, mother and whichever relative that needed “guidance” or a place to hide I knew that the chances of me having a closet like Cher Horowitz’s were slim to none.  I liken most of my initial film choices to my affinity for MTV in its prime: I got what I fantasized about through fluffy movies and the predominately rock music channel, but I was fed my reality through black films and hip-hop music.

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Hit ‘Em Up: Holo-Pac Edition

April 27, 2012 · Posted in editorial · 10 Comments 

From Amerikaz Most Wanted to Amerikaz most tweeted, 2 Pac’s hologram has been popping up all over the net. Whether it’s Raekwon talking about an ODB hologram, Dr. Dre talking about taking 2 Pac on tour, or Suge Knight questioning ‘Pac’s death, 2 Pac has been the talk of hip-hop. It feels like 1996 all over again except that when someone says, “picture perfect, I paint a perfect picture,” they’re most likely talking about an instagram filter. Get the picture? It’s not 1996. Tupac is dead (maybe), don’t try to bring him back with a hologram, or to be politically correct a Pepper’s Ghost. It’s disrespectful. The Tupac hologram is monetarily exploiting Tupac’s memory, and it gives audiences a fake illusion of Tupac’s actual self.

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Stevie Johnson – NFL Star Or Rapper?

April 27, 2012 · Posted in editorial, news · 9 Comments 

Stevie Johnson is not just your average NFL Wide Receiver. When hearing the name you may think of infamous touchdown dances, the Buffalo Bills, tattoos, however do you think of music?

Let me just remind you Stevie Johnson is not athlete turned rapper, he does it all.

Music has been in his family since a child and with the help of Bay Area Rapper Ya Boy, who is also Stevie’s cousin, rest assured music is in his blood. Check out the videos below of Stevie ripping over ASAP Rocky’s Pesos instrumental, and Nobody ft Ya Boy. Take a listen for yourself, what do you think..NFL or Music for unlucky 13 Stevie Johnson???

Follow – @alimarrano

World War 2.001

April 17, 2012 · Posted in editorial · 13 Comments 

Who says Nicki Minaj isn’t thought provoking? Woah, woah, let me finish my thought before cyber-bullying me in the comments. Ms. Minaj is excellent at blurring hip-hop’s boundaries, and testing our hip-hop IQ. It may be her best talent. Music is subjective to begin with, so judging music is useless. Setting boundaries is even more foolish. Sure there are parameters, but just because music is crappy in your opinion doesn’t not make it hip-hop. There’s no hip-hop judge. Who are we to say what is and what isn’t hip-hop? Hip-Hop is whatever someone makes it out to be. The attack on mainstream hip-hop is a big waste of time, and can even be a way for underground artists to capture attention. So who’s fooling who?

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Moment Of Clarity: Nas V. Jay-Z

April 9, 2012 · Posted in editorial · 61 Comments 

“Hip Hop has to thank God for Jay-Z.” Amen. That’s the smartest thing Nas has ever said. No I kid. The smartest stuff Nas has ever said can be found on “Ether.” Although Nas’ “Ether” was hot, it was nothing but a cigarette to Jay. He stomped it out with his foot. Oh yeah, I’m bringing the Nas V. Jay-Z debate back, yes. After D’Evils & R.I.P. CD’s it’s time to have some fun. So anyways, Nas might’ve won the battle, but Jay-Z has unarguably won the war. Nas is a great lyricist, but Jay-Z is more versatile, and he can sell records. Men lie, women lie numbers don’t, ah.

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R.I.P. CD’s

March 28, 2012 · Posted in editorial · 17 Comments 

Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Allderdice mixtape once again showed us the power of digital music, and how powerless physical music is. Khalifa’s Taylor Allderdice almost immediately crashed DatPiff due to the thousands of fans rushing to download Khalifa’s first solo project since Rolling Papers. Rostrum Records CEO, Benjy Grinberg, tweeted that Khalifa’s DatPiff page was getting over 20,000 refreshes a second! LiveMixtapes soon followed and crashed as well. In total, Khalifa Man took down two websites in a matter of 15 minutes. Although these numbers are impressive, they shouldn’t really surprise anybody anymore. Rick Ross’ Rich Forever crashed LiveMixtapes itself. Led by “Stay Schemin'”, Rozay had every blog in the sphere buzzing. These events combined with the Careless World & WZRD stats, reassure that physical music is no longer necessary to survive in this era. The physical CD is irrelevant, just like any artist who completely relies on it.
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March 15, 2012 · Posted in editorial · 12 Comments 

One morning I wake up, and find out there was a shooting that left 16 people injured outside of a hip-hop club where a rapper was set to perform. The next morning I wake up, and find out 11 shots were fired at one of my favorite rappers. What is going on? But most surprisingly, why am I not surprised? What are we supposed to expect from a genre where simply knowing Noriega, I mean the real, real Noriega is looked at as “cool”? So what, you were 3 cells away from him? I don’t care. Don’t get me wrong though, I like gangsta rap. There’s actually some gangsta rap playing in the other tab. It’s just that you guys shouldn’t take every word as fact. Hip-hop might not be a direct cause of violence, but it certainly doesn’t help. A lot of the language obviously glorifies it, and the culture seems to ignore holding gangsta rappers accountable.

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March Madness Playlist

March 14, 2012 · Posted in editorial · Comment 

One of my favorite times of the year is upon us! A time of the year where you can see athletes compete 100% every single play. A time where great stories happen, underdogs prevail, and legacies are made. A time where filling out a piece of paper can win you some serious money or at least some serious bragging rights. Yup, I’m talking about March Madness! Where half the fun of this tournament is the outstanding plays, defense, buzzer beaters, and entertaining analysts (cue a Gus Johnson “OHHHHH!”) the other half is filling out that excruciating bracket that you lose sleep over and then blow it all on the first day.  That being said, I came up with five songs that remind me of some events that take place in this month of college basketball…

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