G. Love & Special Sauce's Garrett Dutton Is Living his Dream

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Press photo via Paradigm Agency
G. Love & Special Sauce will perform at the Pageant this Saturday, February 14.
The life of Garrett Dutton -- better known as G. Love -- has been one long musical journey. It began when he was eight years old, when his mom first placed a guitar in his hands.

"I found myself through songwriting at a young age," he says. "I found this form of expression that was really pure and true."

After years spent plugging away and writing songs, Dutton became a street musician in his hometown of Philadelphia and found the element that would really allow his brand of blues to stand out: hip-hop.

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Kendrick Lamar Addresses Criticism to His Ferguson Remarks With "The Blacker the Berry"

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Press photo via official website
Kendrick Lamar
Rapper Kendrick Lamar released a new track this week from his hotly anticipated followup to 2012's Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. The song, titled "The Blacker the Berry," was dropped the day after the Compton native took home two Grammy wins for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for his song "i," also expected to appear on the forthcoming album.

Whereas "i" is a deeply introspective, life-affirming song, "The Blacker the Berry" is a racially charged call to arms. And in many ways, it appears to confront the criticism he faced for his remarks on the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson.

See also: Kendrick Lamar's Debut is One of the Most Important Hip-Hop Albums of Our Era

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The Best St. Louis Hip-Hop Shows: February 2015

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Jimmy Fontaine
Kevin Gates will perform at the Ready Room on February 24.
This month is rife with national acts, from alternative hip-hop to southern bangers, from OGs to newbies. We've even got one of our favorite local up-and-comers with a show on the books. So as you're weathering the cold -- though St. Louis has been unseasonably warm this winter -- try one of these concerts on for size. Here's the best St. Louis hip-hop shows of February.

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Why We Worship J. Dilla

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Roger Erickson / Wikipedia
RIP J. Dilla
February might be the cruelest month for hip-hop fans. Despite being the shortest one of the year, it reminds us in rapid succession of the loss of some of the most promising talents whose lives were cut just short of drastically impacting the rap world. Those lost in this 28-day span include Big Pun (February 7, 2000), Big L (February 15, 1999) and producer J. Dilla (February 10, 2006).

But while Pun had already tasted mainstream success with "Still Not a Player," and Big L had a well-received debut and a strong single in "Ebonics" under his belt at the time of their deaths, the days surrounding Dilla's death and his career up to that point have been largely drowned out with the accepted statement that he was always one of the genre's best. Now, nine years after his death, his greatness is an undisputed fact.

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Twitter War Between Rappers Is Really a Battle Over the Soul of Hip-Hop

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Meranda Carter
Azealia Banks: Queen of Twitter Tussles
Rappers taking jabs at each other on Twitter ain't nothing new. But after last year's non-indictments for the deaths of Mike Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island by police, social media wars are cutting straight to the heart of hip-hop. Sensationalist reporting of tit-for-tat tweets miss the point: MCs are battling over hip-hop, appropriation, and the culture's responsibility to the black community that birthed it.

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Black Lives Matter: In a Year When Many Rappers Were Politically Silent, Jeezy Stepped Up

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Illustrations by Mark Andresen
#BlackLivesMatter
In the early days of 2011, Snoop Dogg and E-40 set Young Jeezy up.

In the middle of shooting Snoop's new video, "My Fucn House," the two California hip-hop veterans casually sat down the Atlanta trap rapper, who was in the midst of a career lull.

All three men rap about dealing dope -- in fact, a drug heist was a plot point in the video. But Snoop and E-40 have earned reputations as elder statesmen of the genre. E-40, who is 47, once served as a mentor to Snoop, and went on to take the lead on peace treaties aimed at quashing the East coast-West coast beef in the late '90s.

See also: Tef Poe: Hip-Hop Is Failing Us

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Why Wu-Tang's Shaolin Business Model Is Brilliant

Categories: Hip-Hop

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The music world is abuzz with Wu-Tang Clan's announcement last week that the single copy of the group's double-album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, will be sold, like a Rembrandt or a Rothko, at auction sometime this year.

It's a lavish production. The album comes "presented in a hand carved nickel-silver box designed by the British Moroccan artist Yahya," the group's website says. Inside the box is another intricately carved case, within which will be the actual disc. The music will feature guest performances from Cher, Redman, Carice Van Houten and more, including FC Barcelona soccer players, whatever that means. (You can hear part of Cher's contribution over at Forbes; the 51-second snippet is the only part of the album that has been released.)

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The Best St. Louis Hip-Hop Shows: January 2015

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Wikipedia / Leoboudv
2 Chainz, coming to Chaifetz Arena on January 17.
This month, St. Louis is back in a major way with tons of local acts -- several of our favorites, including Black Spade, Illphonics, MME and FarFetched. Oh yeah, and did we mention that Yo Gotti, 2 Chainz and Migos are sliding through? A pretty big deal -- after all, Migos > the Beatles.

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Five Signs You Might Be a Shitty Rapper

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Bettina Braun/Flickr
Wiggity wiggity wiggity wack.

Ever since dance music decided to overdose on molly, the only thing respectable alternative for pop music lovers is hip-hop.

With that said, we're sorry, hip-hop, but we have to start holding you to a higher standard. You don't want to end up like EDM, do you? Trust us, you don't.

Fix up, look sharp. You're pretty sloppy. So please, take a real hard, close, honest look at yourself. And if you're guilty of one of these five symptoms of wack-hackery, well, do the Gandhi and be the change you wish to see in the world. The future of music depends on you.

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Remember That Time Death Row Records Released a Christmas Album?

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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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