5 Dope Signs That Hip Hop Grew Up

1. Tulane Scholar Raises Funds for New Orleans Hip Hop Archive

a guy called quest

2. Soul Train: The Music, Dance and Style of a Generation by Questlove

[aka Time magazine"s Coolest Person of the Year]


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St. Nelson (A Poem)

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
- Nelson Mandela
I’m not the first
And I won’t be the last
To write about it but
I wouldn’t be a poet if I didn’t
The world is different
Someone somewhere says that everyday
As an affirmation or confirmation
That nothing — not even scripture
Stays the same
The seasons ensure we change
Nothing about life but life is objective
All else is subject to interpretation
Faith doubt and definition
The pillars of curiosity


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Easy and Reggie Coby Talk #leagueshit, S.U.C. and Why She Might Be Right


This conversation starts with Reggie Coby, one of the founding members of Austin rap collective League of Extraordinary G’z, admitting that he hasn’t been able to move past Gregory Porter’s new album for almost two weeks.  He shares that he’s glad to be back in Austin; his trip to New York to promote the League of Extraordinary G’z debut album #LeagueShit was productive, but he still hasn’t been able to wrap his mind around much else besides Porter’s brilliance and talent.  The feeling is mutual; I’ve also been stuck on Porter’s Liquid Spirit since it was released.

This starting point for our conversation says a lot about Coby’s appreciation of real music, but it says more about his aspirations as a musician, emcee, and singer.  Coby has big dreams … big plans.  He has a big heart and represents a big collective of emcees who represent the capitol city of a big state.

However, most great musical journeys start off small, like this conversation, and gradually grow as the artists find their audience and a universal theme to build their movement around.  So we began the interview with small questions that turned into bold proclamations, honest observations, and a few epiphanies.  Reggie Coby has an old soul, but he’s part of a new Texas movement in Hip Hop that he says approaches music differently than the Texas Hip Hop pioneers of the 90’s and early 2000’s, and that’s where the conversation got interesting … (more…)

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Short Review of Pusha T’s “My Name Is My Name”


“This is my time / this is my hour/ this my pain /this is my name / this is my power” – Terrence Thornton

This opening line from MNIMN is a great place to start with this review.  It’s the perfect way to set up the content, sound, and mood of the project.  It also hints at a few minor flaws on the LP.  First of all, Pusha’s wordplay is second to none.  He works with limited subject matter but possesses a painter’s eye for detail and an engineer’s handle on mechanics.  This great opening quote sums up this moment in his life and music career in two quick bars.  Being able to fit a book’s worth of information into a few words is a sure sign of a true poet.  The album is filled with quotables and his producers do a good job of letting his poems and stories be the star of the show.  The Clipse have always worked better over minimalist beats because it allows their menacing rhymes to cut through.  Pusha T continues in the Clipse tradition on MNIMN.  Hearing the seamless transition from “duo Pusha T” to “solo Pusha T” is a relief.  Some artists break away from a group and try to experiment with totally different sounds and personas.  Occasionally it works, but I’m glad Pusha T stayed the course.  As one reviewer put it, this is “near-perfect, no-bullshit, hip-hop”.  That’s what the Clipse are known for and that’s what the younger, more brash sibling delivers here. (more…)

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5 Fresher Signs That Hip Hop Grew Up


1. With rapper Nas, hip-hop is alive at Harvard


2. “…there’s no better tool to use than Hip Hop music to be a revolutionary.” – Lecrae


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Nothing Was the Same, but Very Similar

Bavu: Three sentences to qualify why we are reviewing Nothing Was the Same: Jay Z is the most marketed product Hip Hop has ever seen. Kendrick Lamar is technically the best rapper under 30. But, Aubrey Drake Graham has become what Lil’ Wayne or, depending on who you ask, Kanye West was to Hip Hop a few short years ago.

“That’s a guy I can’t pretend not to like. He’s the guy to me, in a lot of ways. That’s Kanye West. But I’m also here to be the best. I’m here to surpass. I’m here to outdo.” — Drake, XXL magazine September 2013 cover story

Drake is the world’s most in-demand Hip Hop star whose popularity has not yet peaked.

Family background and ancestry are key factors shaping our cultural identities. If I didn’t grow up in a household that doubles as an Afrikan and Afro-American cultural museum, we would probably never have started Hip Hop Grew Up. My dad has always given me, and now my son, a great musical and literary education. And I respect Young Graham’s pedigree and caliber as a musician and entertainer. Genetically, he was well above the bottom from the start.


drake nwts covers

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J. Cole press pic

“Long live your idols, may they never be your rivals” — J. Cole


Every once in a while I’ll hear something that reminds me of how great Hip Hop can be as an art and culture. Tonight that reminder was Nas’ remix to J. Cole’s “Let Nas Down”.

About a week ago, J. Cole released his sophomore album Born Sinner. Columbia Records’ marketing machine would have us believe that the songs “Power Trip” and “Crooked Smile” — and a sales showdown with Kanye West — are what makes Cole’s new album worth $11.99. I wouldn’t argue with that, but ultimately it was J. Cole’s impressive lyricism on tracks like “Forbidden Fruit” and “Villuminati” that led me to iTunes’ New Releases section.

HHGU did an extensive review of Kanye’s new Yeezus album because it’s such a polarizing body of work. But I have to admit, we overlooked the true gem of the June 18, 2013, sales showdown between Yeezus and Born Sinner.  I jam a couple tracks off Yeezus here and there but Born Sinner is on loop in my iPod. I won’t turn this into a review of Born Sinner, but let’s just say it’s worth the price of admission. (more…)

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