Prior to his reign as The Rap Bandit, Danny Ozark went by the pen name Pistol Pete. For this column in the January 1991 issue of The Source, Pete invents ten rap rumors as an excuse to drop some hip-hop punchlines. Just think, before Twitter rappers had to listen to dumb myths about themselves for months and months! Progress.
Quite possibly the highlight of my brief print magazine career was when Hip Hop Connection ran my interviews with DJ Johnny Juice/Son of Bazerk and Keith Shocklee side by side in issue #221. As you can read above, the Bomb Squad co-founder didn’t appreciate the presentation. The best thing about the incident was the fact that it helped bring the ‘Bite Back’ page out of retirement after years in the wilderness. Salad days, indeed.
Are you an ill homeboy looking to find a funky fresh fly girl to chill with after school? Then step on up the Hip Hop Connection‘s cleverly titled ‘Connections’ page and find a pen pal today! Sure, these ads were placed on the late 80’s but there’s a decent chance that some of these fellas are still living with mum if you care to try sending them some snail mail, ladies!
After being reminded of this misguided attempt at Saltine Rap pride from 1993, it’s only right to give Paleface his second 15 seconds in the spotlight. It’s safe to assume that this guy was ignored by Ice Cube and therefore nobody outside of the Vibe magazine office ever heard this ‘industrial rock/rap’ track aimed at O’Shea. Shout-outs to Caesar for finding the scan and saving me having to dig through the torn-up magazine crates.
Classic material from The Source as Reginald C. Dennis breaks down the 1991 White Rap Invasion. Please note that Lavar kid is a Conservative Rap Coalition pioneer with his sensible haircut and crisp polo shirt.
Here’s a 2013 Roc feature that crept under my Rap Radar. Dallas says:
NJ based producer DUS put out this track Casino last year with vocals by Roc Marciano. Did y’all hear it? I hadn’t, but when I came across the song I did what I love to do and created a fanboy video clip using some of the most hardbosy scenes from the movie also named Casino.
Motorbooty, aka the Greatest Music Magazine Ever, once featured this four page collection of baseball cards dedicated to the history of saltine rappers dudes and dames. Salutes to Mark Dancey and Mark Rubin for putting this pioneering work together. (more…)
The independent hip-hop resurgence of the mid-90’s seems great in retrospect, but in the days before widespread internets access it was often a case of pot-luck when ordering the latest batch of vinyl via fax from Beat Street or Mr Bongos. While most artists were releasing one-shot singles on their own imprints, there soon emerged a handful of reliable indy labels that were able to maintain a level of quality control amidst the glut of wax dropping every week. Stretch and Bobitto, having championed the best in underground rap for years on their cult radio show, both tried their hands at the label game with mixed results via the Dolo and Fondle ‘Em imprints, while Guesswyld, Tru Criminal, Raw Shack and Tape Kingz also released a few winners. (more…)
It’s tough being the Big Man On Campus in the wacky world of Rap Magazines. The Source had a great run where they were basically unchallenged for years – despite some good work from Hip Hop Connection in the UK, they couldn’t match the access that the Mind Squadd had to cutting-edge New York music for the first half of the 90’s. The influence that The Source had also made them a prime target for disgruntled rappers, all of whom seemed to believe that everything they released was worth “Five Mics” (you may recall Outkast complaining that their debut “only” received 4.5 mics in later tracks). Sometimes it was a little more personal, as was the case for Ice-T, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill, who were all directly criticised in columns and decided to fire back on record. The following is a collection of some of the more noteworthy attacks on the house that Sheck built.
Twenty five years of amassing records, CD’s, tapes and magazines is all well and good, but having relocated the Unkut Dot Com HQ on numerous occasions over the past two years has really stretched the friendship. Having all of your music on a portable hard drive is not such a bad thing when you’re living in Mom’s Basement or living under a bridge, and the older and lazier I become, I find it quicker to download a vinyl rip of something I want to listen to rather than spend an hour trawling through the ‘total kaos, no mas confusion’ that is my record collection.
While I’m not about to dispose of the spoils of a lifetime of hip-hop hoarding this week, it got me thinking…what would it take to part with your entire collection? An obscene amount of money? Permanently moving to another country? World peace?
Thanks to the ultimate random find over at Gwar Izm, some footage of the 1st Annual Rapper’s Boxing Championships has been uncovered, 6 minutes into the above clip for the ‘Dance Energy Special 1992’. This legendary, one-off event was originally covered in The Source (scan) and has been a topic of amusement for me ever since. So much so that I felt compelled to ask Freddie Foxxx about his involvement: (more…)
The idea of seeing you’re favorite rapper posing next to a naked pr0n model seemed like a good idea at the time, but it seems that the mighty Fish ‘N Grits magazine founded by DJ/producer/rapper Joe Fatal ran out of steam after around six issues. Thanks to the archives of Dallas Penn, I’m able to bring you some of the less explicit photos from an issue of this pioneering smut book. Check below for some not exactly safe for work pictorial goodness…. (more…)
This brings back some memories… these charts went in! Chuck D‘s ‘Crazy Alternative Top Hip-Hop 15’ is a winner, as are the contributions from Harry Allen, J. The Sultan and Funken-Klein (R.I.P.). Considering how young I was when this issue dropped, there were a lot of records that I sought-out on the strength of their inclusion on these lists.
Catch me chopping it up with these two Wu-Tang troopers in the latest edition of HHC Digital.
Robbie: You’re doing your thing on Twitter. Is that another way to reach out to the fans?
Raekwon: It’s just all about interacting. I want my fans to know that outside of music y’all can still be close to me. There’s so many different, new, modern-day technology shit that’s going that we gotta coincide with. To me, I think it’s good ‘cos it gives you a hands-on with your fans – even more closer than them just waiting to hear you on the radio or waiting for your album. It’s like, ‘Yo, you can catch me in the lab, nigga! What’s good? I’m making me a turkey burger right now. How ya doing?’ I think that shit is hot right there! [chuckles] I think that’s live! Word up!
Somebody may call me and be like, ‘Yo! Tomorrow’s my birthday, kid!’ I wanna hit a nigga back and be like, ‘Happy birthday, man! Enjoy your day, this is what you should go do.’ Or if you having a bad day, if it’s something I could help you on, that’s what I’m here for. I mean at the end of the day, y’all made me who I am, so I feel like it’s owed to do that to the fans. Especially at times they wanna be heard from – I appreciate that.
So you can confirm that you’re writing your own Twitter updates? You don’t have someone typing it for you?
Nah, all that shit is in the phones right now, so you know it’s not a problem to just say something real quick or whatever, whatever. After I found out a long time ago – like maybe four years ago – that it was like two or three other Raekwons acting like they was me, I had to really step in and really fix that shit. ‘Cos I would hate for fans to be lead by somebody else and not know that they talking to the wrong person. So I had to come in and really fix that situation.
Stress went deeper than just the musical side of hip-hop and covered topics that others were afraid to touch, in addition to some creative coups such as the flexi-single of Blackstarr’s debut single and the Bobby Digital comic/CD combo. Founder and graffiti veteran KET breaks down the history of the mag and discusses his struggle against the City of New York after they tried to lock him up for ten years on vandalism charges.
Robbie: What was your main motivation to put Stress together?
KET: The hip-hop magazines that existed at the time didn’t represent hip-hop culture. I felt that they were basically ‘rap’ magazines and they were written from the perspective of outsiders, and there wasn’t anybody doing it that came from within the culture itself. So when I kinda discovered this I decided to do it myself.
Stress was a lot more community-minded and covered political issues that The Source and RapPages didn’t really bother to deal with.
Right. I see hip-hop like that; I don’t see hip-hop just as an industry. I felt that magazines like The Source and RapPages really just covered the ‘industry’ of rap. It came from a very elitist place, like if you’re from a major label you get covered, but if you are dealing with police brutality? ‘We don’t really want to talk about that’, or if you’re a famous graffiti writer or B-Boy you don’t really have any place. We were coming from a place where hip-hop is a culture started in the streets by people of color, and we wanted to represent the things that hip-hop culture experiences and deals with. And we deal with things like police brutality and incarceration and love and marginalization and whatever the case might be. We wanted to paint the bigger picture and communicate more things to our audience. We felt – as young men and women doing the magazine – that we had an important tool of communication and we felt very responsible in the type of media that we put out. We wanted to be able to educate and inform, and do it in a way that was positive and uplifting. To do that I think it takes more than just talking about you’re favorite rapper and a record review. (more…)
Following the sidebar shenanigans in XXL Mag last year, Vibe has given Unkut Dot Com a mention, naming this here spot as #19 in their 30 Best Music Web Spots list in the October issue. Placed just after Stretch Armstrong‘s Konstant Kontact (which has been out of action since the end of July when it moved to a new URL) and in front of Just Blaze‘s The Megatron Don. I’d rather a write-up in Hustler to be honest, but sometimes you have to just take what you can get.
As if “Verbal Intercourse” wasn’t ill enough, the Gods connected again for the little dunns incredible third LP. For some reason which I can no longer recall, I was a little disappointed with Hell On Earth in the wake of the awe-inspiring (not to mention very influential) The Infamous album. Truth be told, this was a more refined version of the same shit. The beats were sparser and darker, the raps were more paranoid and violent – the Mobb were at the top of their game. Prodigy, who can barely string two words together these days, delivered his most impressive lyrical performance outside of “Shook Ones” on the supreme mathematics that is “Apostle’s Warning”. And who can forget that “interactive” CD-ROM crap that let you pretend you were walking around the Bridge, with the secret code to unlock the song dissing Keith Murray. Good times all round.
Mobb Deep feat. Nas and Big Noyd – “Give It Up” (more…)
Talk of “grown folk” music used to mean trading in your M.O.P. CD’s for some Jill Scott, but it’s becoming a topic of talk for more and more MC’s as many long-serving rap troopers are now entering middle-age. Underground stalwarts the Juggaknots tackled the issue with fellow elder statesmen Sadat X on “30 Something”, while boardroom bandit Jay-Z swagger-jacked the concept and song title a month later for his return to “official” recording. (more…)
Listening to Godfather Don‘s post-Hazardous demos and early Hydra work compared to his latter output reveals a distinct change in both his style and attitude. From his humble beginning as an abstract jazz type rapper to his Biggie-influenced jignorant material, the gawd has been putting it down in his own unique style. “Styles By The Gram”, “Seeds of Hate” and “On The Other Style” present intensive verbal work over sinister tracks, while “Status” and “Da Bomb Baby” offer a slightly more accessible angle. The original mix of “Burn” brings more of the raw complete with a choice B.I.G. hook, and album track “Do You Know” showcases Don’s buttery flow over an exquisite GD production.1 Finally, “3 The Hard Way” combines Don with RA and Prince Poetry for one of the more eccentric posse cut’s you’ll ever hear. (more…)
1.Not to be confused with Party Arty and D-Flow.[back]