February 14, 1988
Speaking as a self-proclaimed native New Yorker, I have to disagree with Cary Darling's "L.A.--The Second Deffest City of Hip-Hop" (Feb. 7). The main problem with L.A. rappers is that they bite. Take, for instance, Bobby Jimmy, a.k.a. Russ Parr. All of his records are spoofs of New York rap hits. He is far from being original. L.A. is also far behind in the hip-hop scene. KDAY may play 24 hours of hip-hop, but the songs they play are 3 to 6 months late. If you want to hear the latest and freshest rap music, take a trip to New York City and listen to Mr. Magic of WBIS, the God Pops of hip-hop.
November 19, 1992 |
With Thanksgiving only a week away and some Christmas decorations already up, there is not much time to lose that beer belly or those thunder thighs before the holiday parties. You can give in and loosen the belt another notch, or wear that caftan again, or try the Holiday Hip-Hop-a-Thon Saturday at M. C. Cash Fitness in Old Pasadena. A full day of hip hop aerobics? Yes, it's a workout, but it's fun, promises Ron Cash, co-owner of the fitness center. "You don't feel the pain," he said.
October 31, 2012 |
In Panamanian street patois, the word raka -- short for rakataka -- refers to a person who's poor, powerless and looked down on by snobs as déclassé. Or a gang-banger. Or worse. But as appropriated by the Oakland musical duo Los Rakas , it's a badge of honor, like the Mexican slang term nac o , shorthand for barrio cool. "It means somebody from the ghetto who is proud of who they are," says Raka Dun, who along with his cousin Raka Rich makes up the Panamanian-American-by-way-of-the-Bay-Area group.
August 18, 2012 |
AMARILLO, Texas - It's well after midnight in a parched corner of Texas known as the buckle of the Bible Belt, down the road from the Jesus Christ is Lord Travel Center, which is just what it sounds like: an evangelical truck stop. In the back of an empty strip mall, an up-and-coming hip-hop artist with the self-assurance and billowing locks of Samson is shooting a video. His hair is up in a tidy bun and he's enduring a second hour of makeup transforming him into the likeness of a gender-bending woman, all of which makes more sense once you know that Adair Lion began his career by destroying it. Hip-hop has been described as the heartbeat of urban America, but for years, it had an open secret - that heart was brimming with hate.
September 22, 2012 |
SÃO PAULO, Brazil - The MTV Music Awards in Brazil had until recently been the domain of tinny pop and smiling boy bands. But last year, one of the show's stars took the stage and unexpectedly delivered a set of rap bars through a deadly serious face: We are the debunkers of Carnaval/ Runaway slaves on digital drums/ The phoenixes of Ash Wednesday/ The Landless Workers Movement of the social networks Emicida, now...
June 26, 2012 |
Few would have imagined that one of the most powerful and acclaimed protest songs of the year, "Reagan," would be about the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s, name-check Oliver North and feature the final words, "I'm glad Reagan's dead. " Decades old geopolitical scandals aren't exactly hot topics among the Facebook generation. Even fewer would have predicted that the song would arrive via a 37-year-old Atlanta rapper called Killer Mike who'd been through the major label system a decade earlier but had since virtually vanished from the national hip-hop conversation while the next generation staked its claim.
March 30, 2013 |
BEIRUT - When Mazen El Sayed, a.k.a. El Rass, picks up a microphone, his provocative phrasings may lock in on any number of targets: Islamic clerics, the West, Arab regimes, social inequities. "We are all made from the same steel," the Lebanese hip-hop artist proclaims, "but the blacksmith is rotten. " El Rass' broadsides are delivered in singular thrusts of the Arab language, resulting in imaginative lines evoking "the optimistic suicide bomber" or lauding "a rebel critical of the rebellion.