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

Categories: Hip-Hop

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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

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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

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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

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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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