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Grinding hard or hardly grinding? An introduction to rap music marketing

Confession: I got tired of rappers spamming links on Twitter as the basis of their “promotional strategy,” realized there’s a lack of know-how about marketing in the indie rap world and decided to write this marketing guide. I’m by no means a marketing “expert” (if such a thing really exists), but I have learned a […]

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When did rap become so ridiculous?

I’m sorry, but at what point do rappers become ridiculous? Yes, I understand that you’re insanely wealthy and you own 16 cars and ALL of your bitches (of which you have several) are extremely fly as well as half-naked, not to mention there’s a gigantic pool in your backyard where all of your fly bitches […]

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Why Chuck D was right about Hot 97

By now the Chuck D/Hot 97 beef has been well-documented by blogs, and anyone with access to Twitter can see the back-and-forth exchange that’s spanned several days. Long story short, Chuck D blasted Hot 97 for this year’s Summer Jam show, calling it a “sloppy fiasco” and criticizing the liberal use of the n-word, questioning where Hot 97 would […]

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Guest appearance on “Ask, Talk & Listen” with Political Jones

Here’s an interview I did on the Political Jones show “Ask, Talk & Listen” last fall to discuss hip hop and my Rap Rehab article ‘The problem with hip hop journalism.’ If you ever wanted to know how I feel about the state of hip hop, my response from 21:20 to 24:30 pretty much sums […]

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The problem with hip hop journalism

Most hip hop journalists these days fall into two camps, neither of which has much to do with journalism. The first camp includes press release aggregators and groupie types who act more like publicists than journalists. These writers attend all the right parties, score all the right interviews, blindly co-sign “hot” artists, post new singles […]

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Why rap needs to step up in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict

Since George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the murder of Trayvon Martin, the reaction within the hip-hop community has ranged from long-winded Twitter rants to total silence. While rappers like Lupe Fiasco, Immortal Technique and Phonte have been vocal about the verdict and what it says about the value of black life in this society, far too […]

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Ice Cube: Cool as ever on Kings of the Mic tour, NWA movie and ‘Last Friday’

Ice Cube has parlayed a hardcore rap career into an entertainment empire that spans movies, television and product endorsements. But the former N.W.A. member and solo artist known for groundbreaking albums such as “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted” and “Death Certificate” has no plans to switch up his politically charged style. While mainstream rap drowns in escapist […]

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Chris Kelly, Kris Kross and losing our idols

When I heard about the death of Kris Kross member Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly, I instantly recalled the first time I saw the video for their smash 1992 single “Jump.” Like the two rappers on the TV screen, I was 14, but I wasn’t recording hit singles or touring with Michael Jackson. My parents were […]

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Why doesn’t hip hop respect its elders?

Most cultures hold their elders in high regard. It’s safe to say that hip hop in its current form is not one of them. In today’s hip hop landscape, pioneers are typically dismissed and marginalized by the mainstream, trotted out once a year during VH1’s “Hip Hop Honors” and then conveniently forgotten. There is a […]

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