Illphonics Sign Deal with the Record Machine

Categories: Hip-Hop

illphonics_home_picture

St. Louis' Illphonics, long-time stalwarts of the local hip-hop scene, announced through a YouTube video this week that the group has signed a deal with Kansas City's Record Machine label, well-known for organizing KC's annual Middle of the Map Fest. Illphonics will join fellow STLians Palace, also on the roster.

See also: Palace Talks Signing with Record Machine and New LP Summer, Don't You Dare

More »

Vince Staples Brings Reality Back to Gangster Rap

Categories: Hip-Hop

stl-mus-vincestaples-carlocruz.jpg
Carlo Cruz / Red Bull Content Pool
Vince Staples will perform at the Ready Room tonight.
By Sarah Bennett

Vince Staples isn't trying to be hard when he tells stories about his gangbanging past. He also doesn't care much for smoking weed, wearing bling, banging bitches or clearing out his bank account to make an Instagram video.

Instead, Hell Can Wait -- the 21-year-old Long Beach, California, emcee's Def Jam EP -- dropped in October as a "Fuck tha Police" for the new generation. It's filled with all of the ballsy storytelling, truthful street depictions and silky poetic verse that has been missing from gangster rap for more than a decade.

More »

Twenty Years After His Death, Eazy-E Deserves a Spot on Rap's Mount Rushmore

Categories: Hip-Hop

stl-mus-20150319-eazye-peterdokus.jpg
Peter Dokus
Eazy-E died twenty years ago this week. RIP.
For Eazy-E, the concept of gangster rap was fully formed in his mind.

By 1986 the genre, which nobody then called "gangster rap" ("reality rap," please) had begun to sprout in LA by way of Ice-T's "6 'n the Mornin'," which was patterned after Philadelphia rapper Schoolly D's "P.S.K. What Does It Mean?" But there was no gangster-rap label, and certainly no gangster-rap genre.

Eazy-E was an unlikely progenitor. "I didn't know he rapped," remembers MC Ren, his future bandmate in N.W.A. "Ain't nobody know."

More »

Ferguson's Influence on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly

Categories: Hip-Hop

stl-mus-20150316-kendricktopimpabutterfly-albumart.jpg
The arresting cover art to Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar's highly anticipated new album, To Pimp a Butterfly, was dropped like a ton of bricks on an unsuspecting world today, a full week prior to its announced release date. The whole damned Internet has since lost its mind over the album, which eschews radio-ready singles for, instead, a sprawling jazz- and funk-inflected 79 minutes of pain, confusion, clarity and triumph. The highly cerebral work offers as many questions as answers as Kendrick attempts to bring the lessons he's learned through his rise -- from the streets of Compton to Grammy-winning, international fame -- back to his community.

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


More »

Mod Sun: "Hip-Hop Is Ready for Positivity Again"

ModSun_Eric_Gorvin.jpg
Photo by Eric Gorvin
Mod Sun will perform at the Firebird this Saturday.
By Jack Spencer

Minnesota-born rapper Mod Sun has released a ton of mixtapes and EPs since 2009, under the self-described genre "hippy-hop." Now he's on tour in support of his just-released debut album, Look Up, on Rostrum Records.

An outspoken proponent of self-love in his music, he's continuing his trajectory with this new batch of upbeat tracks. Ahead of his show Saturday at the Firebird, RFT Music spoke to Mod Sun about the journey leading to his new album, and how he fits (or doesn't fit) within the music community at large.

More »

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

Categories: Hip-Hop

LRAE.jpg
Jon Gitchoff
Earl Sweatshirt will perform at Ready Room on March 24
We got some heat for you this month. Your March will be a fun one -- we're packed with shows by national acts, local acts and local acts that have since gone national. You can't lose this month; the combination of hip-hop and the arrival of spring is a win-win. Take that, winter.


More »

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

Categories: Hip-Hop

STL-MUS-20150213-G._Love_2014-PRESSVIAPARADIGMAGENCY.jpg
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.

More »

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

Categories: Hip-Hop

STL-MUS-20150211-KENDRICKLAMAR-PRESSVIAOFFICIALWEBSITE.jpg
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

More »

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

Categories: Hip-Hop

STL-MUS-20150205-Kevin-Gates-Jimmy-Fontaine.jpg
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.

More »

Why We Worship J. Dilla

Categories: Hip-Hop

STL-MUS-20150202-JDILLA-WIKI.jpg
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.

More »
Loading...