Remember That Time Death Row Records Released a Christmas Album?

Death Row Records
You better watch out...
If you grew up an outspoken hip-hop fan around the holidays, chances are some well-meaning Secret Santa stuffed your stocking with a little holiday compilation called Christmas on Death Row. Yes, this album exists.

Christmas on Death Row is an record that has puzzled used CD store clerks since its release in 1996. It's still baffling that the label that gave us The Chronic, Doggystyle and nationwide gangsta rap hysteria devoted its resources to a full-length album of Yuletide tunes.

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The Best St. Louis Hip-Hop Shows: December 2014

Categories: Hip-Hop

Rock Cousteau via Wikipedia
Yelawolf will perform at the Ready Room on December 4.
Before the year's over, hip-hop has decided to take a major swing (and a hit) in St. Louis: This month, we've got emcees from every corner of the U.S. coming through. As it gets colder, warm up with a little heat from some of our favorite artists from New York, Philadelphia, Alabama, California and the good ol' Lou. Hopefully we'll get a little head-nodding and booty-shaking out of you, too.

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Killer Mike Gives Searing, Tearful Speech in St. Louis Following Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Michael Schmelling/Windish Agency
Killer Mike, one half of Run the Jewels.
Atlanta rapper Killer Mike, who has been outspoken about the police killing of Mike Brown by officer Darren Wilson since the early days, performed in St. Louis with his group Run the Jewels on the night the grand-jury decision was announced.

As the St. Louis and Ferguson areas descended into chaos with tear gas, arson, gunfire and looting, Mike and El-P took the stage at the Ready Room in the Grove, just a mile from the protest site at the intersection of Shaw Boulevard and Klemm Street. They had endured a breakdown of their tour van and nearly had to be picked up in a U-Haul cargo van just to make it to the show. "We have got to be some of the only people trying this hard to get IN to STL right now," El-P said in a tweet.

See also: Run the Jewels Talks Police Brutality and Cat Remixes

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Ice Cube and Kool Keith Talk Classic Rap Albums in Check the Technique, Vol. 2

Categories: Hip-Hop

Courtesy of Wax Facts Press
Brian Coleman's Check the Technique Vol. 2
"There's a big difference between my books and [VH1's] Behind the Music," explains author and longtime music critic Brian Coleman.

"The denouement of Behind the Music is how you got over your drug use, or maybe you die. It's never celebrating how great those groups are; it's what they did to destroy themselves. My books are the opposite. I focus on the beauty of when and how they [and the albums] came together."

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Run the Jewels Talks Police Brutality and Cat Remixes

Categories: Hip-Hop

Courtesy of Mass Appeal Records
Run the Jewels' album will soon be available for cats as well.

Some matches are made in heaven -- others, like Run The Jewels, are made in the murky, underwater trenches of underground hip-hop. Named after a verse in LL Cool's J "Cheesy Rat Blues," RTJ swerves like a great white shark -- sleek as hell, just don't get caught in those teeth.

This isn't the first time El-P and Killer Mike have crushed it together -- El-P was behind Killer Mike's 2012 critically acclaimed album R.A.P. Music, and later that year, Mr. Killer appeared on the track "Tougher Colder Killer" from El-P's Cancer 4 Cure. Forming Run the Jewels was just the natural progression of things.

See also: Meow the Jewels Reaches Kickstarter Goal, World Isn't So Bad After All

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Despot Still Wants to Be a Rich Drug Dealer

Categories: Hip-Hop

By Reyan Ali

On the afternoon of Friday, September 19, El-P decided to let off some steam in 140 characters or less. "this motherfucker @despotroast," the MC tweeted, referencing his friend and Queens, New York-bred, Brooklyn-based rapper Despot, "lives like ten blocks away AND is driving and is still 42 minutes late. and THAT, kids, is where his album is."

Despot -- a.k.a. Alec Reinstein -- protests the charges leveled against him. "First of all, El said ten blocks. He don't live ten blocks away from me. He lives like, pfft, twenty blocks away from me," Reinstein, 32, says of his current tourmate, speaking from Charlottesville, Virginia. "And he lives in a shitty-ass fucking part of Williamsburg where you can't park your fucking car 'cause all these dickheads got all the parking spots, and that's what happened. And I was still early!"

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The 10 Best Videos From the Gangsta Rap Era

Categories: Hip-Hop, Video
Publicity Photo
Eazy-E, of course. Boy, you shoulda known by now.
Gangsta rap, where have you gone?

About 20 years ago at this time, we were in the middle of an unprecedented run of gangsta rap greatness, with Death Row, Bad Boy, Ruthless, Rap-A-Lot and others all functioning at high levels. 

And while the songs and albums from this era continue to get shine, let's not forget the videos, which constitute some of the most visually arresting (and most hilarious) ever made.

Here are the ten greatest videos from the gangsta rap era.More »

The Best St. Louis Hip-Hop Shows: November 2014

Categories: Hip-Hop

Press photo
Christmas has come early this year: November's rap roster is only something the holiest of hip-hop gods could have bestowed upon our city. While this month's shows don't include as many local hip-hop acts as we like to see, a heap of national acts are coming through, bringing some reggae and R&B vibes with them. This is a great month for some rap music.

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Busdriver Keeps Pushing Boundaries More Than Anyone in Hip-Hop

Categories: Hip-Hop

For more than a decade, Los Angeles rapper Busdriver has been one of rap's most challenging and electrifying voices.

A product of avant-garde circles, he continues to push the genre's stylistic envelope while staying true to hip-hop traditions. And he's got substance, tackling everything from race to class divisions with the same grace as his oft-melodic, staccato flows.

His latest album, Perfect Hair, dropped September 9 on Big Dada/Ninja Tune, and it features Danny Brown, Aesop Rock and Open Mike Eagle. We spoke to Busdriver ahead of his stop in St. Louis this Wednesday, October 29, at the Demo.

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The Best St. Louis Hip-Hop Shows: October 2014

Categories: Hip-Hop

Press photo
Busdriver, performing October 29 at the Demo.
This October, we are seeing an absence of local hip-hop acts -- what's up with that, St. Louis? -- while the national acts flourish. Though not an entirely favorable trade-off (well, maybe for some), some big acts are hitting our stages this month, ranging from the very indie to the slightly indie to the not-so indie. As always, we got something for you, wherever your sentiments lie. Check out our list of October's best St. Louis hip-hop shows.

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