Our sunburned skin is peeling and we’ve got a mix of sand, glitter and cake (we’ll get to that) in our ears, but damnit if we don’t miss Hangout Music Fest already! Cue Boyz II Men, ya’ll, because we’re not ready to say goodbye. So don’t. Instead, let’s recap our three-day adventure in Gulf Shores, Alabama with a countdown of things we obsessed over the most at the best only beachside event like it. Read more…
Don’t believe the hype about Public Enemy? First, brush up on your hip hop history as our friend Sway would say. Then, shut up and watch the hip hop royalty rip up the stage at Hangout Music Festival. Read more…
Hangout Music Fest is in full swing this weekend in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and we’ve got the five acts you can’t afford to miss today–plus some awesome photos from the festival and exclusive behind-the-scenes video with the bands.
This year’s class includes an eclectic mix — a disco diva, lady rockers, prog-rock legends, hip-hop pioneers, a guitar hero and, um, Randy Newman (none like him!) among them — and they make for worthy bunch, to be sure. We’re particularly thrilled to see that first time nominees Public Enemy and Rush, as well as VH1 Divas honoree Donna Summer and our favorite female rockers, have made the cut. But we have to ask, what about those who were passed over?
The RRHOF’s induction process is mysterious and secretive, so you don’t see the same kind of public campaigning by nominees for induction that you see in, say, the sports world. However, that doesn’t mean that the committee off 600 or so people who makes the decisions of who gets honored and who gets snubbed isn’t reading this blog post. So, with that in mind, vote for the act that you feel is most deserving of the honor in our poll below, and maybe, just maybe, Jann Wenner and his band of choosy cronies will pay heed!
Labor Day has passed and the long days are waning, books and brown bag lunches packed, and it must be that time of the year again: back to school. And your parents are right — even if you spent your summer learning guitar chords and growing out your hair so that you might be a rock star one day, it wouldn’t be un-rock star like to hit the books hard, too. After all, plenty of artists have put in the work to earn their degree (or degrees) just in case. And so it may be unlikely that these 16 musicians will ever have to rely on their degrees to make a living, but there’s nothing like a hard earned diploma to bring out the shine in your platinum record plaque.
To celebrate their academic efforts, and to inspire yours, we present: 16 Musicians Who Could Quit Their Day Jobs…Read more…
Are you excited yet about Round One of Bracket Madness featuring your favorite emcees of the Yo! MTV Raps era? In this corner, we have the pioneers of this rap thing: Chuck D vs. KRS-One. With their well respected contributions to hip-hop its kind of hard to choose between the two. Both bred in the ghettos of New York in the 60s and 70s, their lyrics reflected the awareness of the world they saw around them. But one would be highly mistaken if they attributed the consciousness in their rhymes for weakness. Each one of their flows are undeniably raw. So who do you vote for? Here’s three reasons to vote for either one.
CHUCK D 1. Two words: Public Enemy.
Dude was a member of Public Enemy. Need we say more? A rap group like that doesn’t come around twice in a lifetime. “Public Enemy #1″ was a classic track from their debut album Yo! Bum Rush the Show in 1987. From 1988-1991, the dynamic group released three platinum albums. The same group gifted the world with “Fight the Power.” This song is better than some cats’ entire catalog. I’m just sayin’. Public Enemy went on to sell four million albums throughout their career. Plus, anyone that could put up with the clock rocking Flavor Flav, has to be one hell of a guy.
2. Distinctive sound.
No one in hip-hop has a voice like Chuck. It’s so distinctive it couldn’t even be duplicated. He raps, you listen. From the flow to the tone to the speed, Chuck D has a full command of his sound.
Here are my five all-time favorite rock/rap pairings:
5. “Airplanes,” B.o.B & Hayley Williams of Paramore
This song helped spread Hayley Williams’ wings — at least for me — as more than a front-person in an emo band. Her vocals on the chorus blend superbly with B.o.B’s rhyme flow. This track, about the downsides of fame, was inescapable during the summer of 2010.
4. “Clint Eastwood,” Gorillaz & Del tha Funkee Homosapien
Though we were lead to believe an animated band played this gem in the early ‘00s, it was a genius collaboration between real human beings: Blur’s Damon Albarn, producer Dan The Automator and rapper Del tha Funkee Homosapien. It wasn’t hard for the public to latch on to this one; it clicked on so many levels.
A Tribe Called Quest dropped their second full-length album, The Low End Theory, in late September of 1991. Widely recognized as a ground-breaking work today because of the manner in which it experimentally weaved layers of sampled jazz elements into its sound-bed, the album earned a spot in Time?s All-Time 100 Albums List, was named the #154 album of all-time by Rolling Stone and was celebrated at 2007′s VH1 Hip Hop Honors. The group recalls that early chapter of their career vividly, and last week, for A Tribe Called Quest’s first joint-interview since 1998, all four members of the group spoke exclusively to VH1 to mark the 20th anniversary of The Low End Theory?s release.
For Questers, music fans and students of hip hop culture, Beats, Rhymes and Life is a must-see, but the effect it had on the lives of everyone involved in the project and the press frenzy that lingers might still be a bit misleading to the outside world. In order to help contextualize this landmark album’s impact, we spoke with MTV’s in-house hip hop expert Sway, cultural critic extraordinaire Nelson George, and international journalist Boss Lady about the resonance that this LP had then, and also now, 20 years later. And while A Tribe Called Quest appears to still be somewhat re-acquainting themselves with each other after dissolving in 1998 and wrestling with the last few years? shell-shocking chain of events, it was clear from the time we spent with them that Kamaal ?Q-Tip? Ibn John Fareed, Malik ?Phife Dawg? Taylor, Ali Shaheed Muhammed and, yes, even Jarobi White are still very much an unbreakable Tribe of brothers.
With MTV officially celebrating its 30th birthday today, music nostalgia is in the air. But for each music fan, the initial introduction to MTV’s music programming was unique and personal, and likely rouses up flashbulb memories to this very day. Speaking only for myself, that initiation process started with YO! MTV Raps.
After being on the air for almost seven years, MTV first aired YO! in April of 1988. While other television outlets like BET were showcasing African-American culture at the time, MTV, quite frankly, wasn’t really in the business of having black artists’ videos on the channel. And hip hop, specifically, was certainly not yet used as a vehicle of pop culture; if it wasn’t an indisputable, mainstream force like Michael Jackson, you probably wouldn’t see African-American artists on-air besides an occasional crossover video from Run DMC and Jazzy Jeff. Unless you witnessed hip hop music and culture bubbling within New York City’s five boroughs or other domestic regional pockets first hand (or watched Video Music Box), the genre probably hadn’t really made its way into your world yet.
From it’s inception, YO! MTV Raps curated an balance of hip hop via in-the-moment self-exploration. Since hosts Fab 5 Freddy, Doctor Dr? and Ed Lover didn’t have quite enough content to populate the show’s segments at first, videos from other genres like reggae, funk, R&B and soul were peppered-in to help hip hop’s still-developing definition expand its scope. From that fundamental, harmonious and educational coexistence came more of the same, and soon light-hearted videos like Digital Underground’s “Doowutchalike” and “Humpty Dance” were seamlessly airing beside Public Enemy’s political anthem “Fight The Power” and sonically dynamic “Passin’ Me By” from The Pharcyde, and the South’s sexually-charged posse 2 Live Crew were showcased just as much as funky artists from Queens like A Tribe Called Quest. Additionally, lyrically savvy Juice Crew member Big Daddy Kane would spin alongside the West Coast’s gangster juggernaut N.W.A., and strong female voices like Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Roxanne Shant?: all women who didn’t need to sell sex to survive.