Categories for hip hop

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Rapper Portraits

Sun 09.29.13

This has been my big 2013 project: 9 portraits of some of my favorite rappers.

Rapper Portraits All together now

Here we have Slug (from Atmosphere), MF Doom, Aesop Rock, P.O.S, El-P, Brother Ali, Prof, Danny Brown, and Tech N9ne. Click the the thumbnails below for additional detail and typographic fun!

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Enter Exit Wounds

Wed 08.29.12

A long, long time ago, back in July, Boston rapper HW, released a solo album. Wall Papered Exit Wounds is a mix of catchy beats and some pretty personal lyrics. I recommend that anyone with even so much as a passing interest in hip hop give it a listen. The album is available in a few formats, such as the popular, ethereal digital download. But! If you’re into the analog lifestyle, you can order a physical compacted disk, which comes with a bonus poster and lyrics sheet! The double-sided poster might be one of the finest things I have ever laid eyes on, but I might be biased because I made it.

If you take a look around HW’s merch, you might also find a t-shirt or two that look somewhat familiar? I’d recommend you buy them all. Also be sure to check out HW when he opens for Astronautalis and the Flobots on October 19, in Cambridge, MA.

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Five Awesome Hip Hop Albums I Listen to a Bunch

Sun 05.20.12

In less than a week I’ll be on my way to Soundset 2012. Soundset is a giant hip hop festival outside of Minneapolis. For 9½ hours, there will be no less than 30 acts; ranging from underground stars, such as Atmosphere, to members of the Wu-Tang Clan. And that doesn’t even include the afterparty over at Fifth Element. If you cannot tell, I am brimming with excitement, so let’s cut the crap. In honor of Soundset, here is a short list of hip hop albums that I love. It is not all-inclusive, there isn’t much reasoning, and it’s likely that I will have a totally new list of Five Awesome Albums in the future.  Each album will be linked to the Amazon MP3 page, so you can give them a sample listen!

God Loves Ugly coverGod Loves Ugly

Atmosphere
This was the album that got me into this mellow, thoughtful type of hip hop. The beats are catchy and haunting, employing a number of classic, bluesy samples. Slug’s lyrics move between boisterous b-boy posturing, heart-broken ballads, and layered metaphorical tales. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to get into a more conscious kind of hip hop.

Blazing Arrow coverBlazing Arrow

Blackalicious
When I was younger, I listened to a lot of horrorcore rap, which had an emotional spectrum ranging from “murder” to “kill.” Eventually, I found that I needed a little more to my music. Gift of Gab delivers that with tongue-twisting accuracy. Blazing Arrow is full of songs bolstering Gab’s lyrical abilities, peppered with inspiration rap tunes that encourage you to embrace the day. 4000 Miles is my rap jam and Make You Feel That Way is my go-to feel good song.

The Undisputed Truth coverThe Undisputed Truth

Brother Ali
Brother Ali has a voice that carries such conviction that I think he could convince the sun to rise at midnight; and his flow ain’t half-bad either. This album is about the downtrodden, a subject Ali knows like the back of his hand. While it gets a little heavy handed towards the end – dealing with Ali’s failed marriage and the cold actions of the US government – the bluesy beats will keep you hooked.

Roadkill Overcoat coverRoadKill Overcoat

Busdriver
I’ve had a friend describe this as a “choose your own genre” album. I’m not sure I could put it any better. Busdriver is an MC who likes to experiment, and I think this album is the pinnacle of his efforts. Numerous genres inspire the album; tracks jump between reggae beats and electronica, with indie-rock inspired hooks, syllable heavy verses, laced with acoustic guitar accompanied with drum beats. What keeps me coming back is the variety and Busdriver’s overly-political, cynical rhymes.

Vessel coverVessel

Dark Time Sunshine
This is my “art-fag” hip hop album. As far as I am concerned, the lyrics are secondary to the bizarre, almost ethereal beats. That isn’t to say that Onry Ozzborn’s methodical rap style doesn’t pull its weight. Ozzborn’s flow is simple, but it can get down right ghoulish at times as he ends his lines with a distorted echo. Many of the songs feature a number of artists, from underground hip hop legends like Aesop Rock to soul singer Revo DeVito, so there is a little bit for everyone here.

I barely even scratched the alphabet here! There are a number more albums I just need to talk about, so it is really likely that I’ll be doing this again in the future.

Anyone else out there have a few hip hop albums they listen to regularly? Something I should give a listen to? Let me know!