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In Memoriam: Magnus Johnstone, 1952-2013

Paying tribute to the unlikely uncle of Boston hip-hop
On February 22, 2013, Boston lost a legend.
By PACEY FOSTER  |  March 13, 2013

Hip-Hop Trivia grows up

Who Shot Ya?
In their fourth year of operation, the Hip-Hop Trivia squad is finally taking the night (somewhat) seriously.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  February 26, 2013

Altered Gee dig the past and turn up treasure

Golden beats
The experience of modern music is synonymous with nostalgia.
By NICHOLAS SCHROEDER  |  February 13, 2013

The Big Hurt: The Week in WorldStar unsigned Artist videos

In my Year-in-Preview column, I predicted that we'd pass "peak hip-hop" in 2013, and the unsigned hype on the WorldStar hip-hop site would slow to a trickle.
By DAVID THORPE  |  January 16, 2013

Banger style: Hip-hop ringers of 2012

In recapping 2012, I embraced the chance to parade some recent unsung hip-hop ringers.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  December 18, 2012

Hip-Hop: Get On Down

The record industry has always treated hip-hop as a disposable commodity, so that even iconic work has gone without the slick packaging of archival rock and pop projects.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  December 04, 2012

GZA explores the universe

Sounds of Science
In the mid-1970s, Gary Grice and his cousin Robert — ages 11 and 8, respectively — traveled for hours by ferry, train, and bus from Staten Island to the Bronx.
By PHILIP EIL  |  December 05, 2012

The musical activism of Boots Riley

When Occupy erupted last year, politically aggressive artists had the choice either to walk the walk or quiet down.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 26, 2012

Crate digging with Hub rap archaeologist Pacey Foster

Hip-Hop History
Pacey Foster used to fly home from college in Indiana, hustle to his Newton bedroom, and reach straight for the radio dial.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 15, 2012

You must think first... before you movie

RZA and Roth: Behind The Man with the Iron Fists
It's a snowy night in late 2006, and Hostel director Eli Roth is stranded at Logan Airport with RZA. The two are bound for Los Angeles, on their way home from hanging with Quentin Tarantino in Iceland.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 01, 2012

Kitty Pryde takes her chances

Flak catcher
Can one artist ruin a genre?
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  August 15, 2012

Nas | Life Is Good

Def Jam (2012)
Life Is Good is the album Illmatic fans have browbeat Nas into making while undervaluing an astounding number of achievements over a dozen "other" albums.
By DAN WEISS  |  August 07, 2012
frank ocean-4

Frank Ocean | Channel Orange

Def Jam (2012)
Since the ’80s, when R&B began to lean more heavily on the candid bling-and-booty-centric tropes championed by its plain-speaking hip-hop cousins, the music’s subtlety, nuance, and imagination have faded.
By ANDREW GRAHAM  |  July 24, 2012

Grinding gears with Wheelchair Sports Camp

No filter
Unless you count Summer Jam and other shameless showcases of hack-rap sharecroppers, hip-hop never had a circus until B. Dolan stepped up to play ringmaster.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 25, 2012
Album:The Very Best - MTMTMK

The Very Best | MTMTMK

Moshi Moshi/Cooperative Music (2012)
"World music" is an archaic label, but there's no better way to describe the Very Best's MTMTMK .
By RYAN REED  |  July 17, 2012

Azealia Banks | 1991

The only downside of Azealia Banks's mildly slept-on debut EP is that her wildfire YouTube classic "212" was anything but subtle (recall: "I guess that cunt gettin' eaten"), whereas the remaining 13 minutes of music here require more time to sink in than the average Grizzly Bear fan would assume.
By DAN WEISS  |  July 10, 2012

El-P keeps control of his alt-rap flow

End Game
When I interviewed El-P back in 2007, we had a meaty laugh over unfortunate scribes who'd pegged his sound "post-apocalyptic."
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 03, 2012

El-P | Cancer For Cure

Fat Possum (2012)
"It's like a fresh start in a new world," El Producto repeats on "Works Every Time," a track on this, his least ambitious record.
By DAN WEISS  |  May 15, 2012

The Big Hurt: Platinum League vs. Yo! MTV Raps Trading Cards

Hip-hop collectibles
I spied an exciting story on XXL magazine's website: "Platinum League Releases First Ever Hip-Hop Trading Cards."
By DAVID THORPE  |  May 16, 2012

Interview: J-Zone’s post-hip-hop life

Sweet villain
J-Zone retired from hip-hop somewhere south of the middle.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  April 05, 2012

The Big Hurt: This month in rap ( . . . in 1992)

Twenty years ago, Marky Mark sucked, NOSE EARRINGS(?) ruled, and some blood was found in Dance Floor’s trachea
I'm overdue for a hip-hop news roundup, but it's all so lame.
By DAVID THORPE  |  March 14, 2012

At the hip-hop high school

Education Dept.
In his new book, Hip Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education , Sam Seidel describes a sign hanging at the juvenile detention facility in Cranston.
By PHILIP EIL  |  March 14, 2012

Photos: EPMD + DJ Scratch at SXSW 2012

Austin TX | March 15, 2012
EPMD and DJ Scratch perform live at Malaia Upstairs at SXSW 2012 on March 15, 2012.
By DEREK KOUYOUMJIAN  |  March 16, 2012

Dirty Hank and Reason tap the bottle and hit the mic

Blooze brothers
Local lyricists Dirty Hank and Reason revel in drunken debauchery all over The Monty Brogan EP (Poorly Drawn Recordings), released just last week and currently up for grabs as a free download through multiple sites (check the end of these words for links).
By CHRIS CONTI  |  February 21, 2012
Off the record: Habits

Schoolboy Q | Habits & Contradictions

Top Dawg Entertainment (2012)
Without much that can be considered "structure" in terms of the verse-chorus-verse standard, Q confidently wobbles through an album's worth of jaded bangers.
By MICHAEL C. WALSH  |  January 31, 2012

Juan Deuce and Falside get down to work as The Mechanics

Impossible to ignore
The stars have aligned and the Rap Gods must be smiling down at Juan Deuce and Falside.
By CHRIS CONTI  |  January 31, 2012

Toasting another year of high quality hip-hop

Savor the local flavor
We're saluting another dynamic year of real deal Rhody-based rap music — the diverse community of razor-sharp eccentric wordsmiths and young-gun production phenoms worthy of your attention.
By CHRIS CONTI  |  December 28, 2011

The year 'new battling' took over Boston

Plan of attack
There's one thing that most people know about battle rapping: 8 Mile .
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  December 20, 2011

Frat rap is ready to graduate

It's been four years since "I Love College" -- now it's party time!
Despite whatever hip-hop's perceived "intended audience," it's never been a secret that rap music has long been adored by the Caucasian crowd.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 23, 2011

Click Animosity and the opposite of the frat rap game

Audacity of dope
In the epic hip-hop mockumentary CB4, Chris Rock's suburban MC wannabe character steals the name and image of a jailed thug rapper named Gusto.  
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 03, 2012

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