The resurgence of Malcolm X is back at its highest point since the early '90s when people proudly sported "X" caps while producers sampled his speeches for rap songs. Conversations and debates about the black liberation figure sparked anew with the publication of the late Manning Marable's Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention in 2011. With the 50th anniversary of his assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, New York and what would have been his 90th birthday this year today, "Brother Malcolm" is once again the focus of attention.
UC Irvine professor Sohail Daulatzai (aka 'Doc Hip-Hop') interviewed Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) and asked him about Malcolm X. Daulatzai hooked up the Weekly with a clip of the rapper's thoughts.
Let's be honest, if rappers were athletic, there's a good chance they wouldn't be rapping (and if athletes could rap, well... they've tried that a few times). Of course, that's not to say that every rapper has the same body type. There are the jacked-up muscular guys (50 Cent, Flo Rida), the skinny tiny dudes (Big Sean, Lil Wayne), the surprisingly tall (2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa), and plenty of others who just seem to lack much athleticism (Jay Z, Drake).
There's also the best type of rapper, the significantly overweight lyricist who revels in the size of his belly. Here are 10 of the best fat rappers in history.
This Saturday, The Gaslamp in Long Beach gets lit up by one of Orange County's longest active, not to mention hyperactive, MCs. Johnny Richter, formerly of stoner-rap posterboys Kottonmouth Kings, has been blazing a trail as a solo artist for 18 months now. Currently working on a new album, his first full-length since leaving the group, we spoke to Richter about readjusting to rocking crowds by himself and keeping thing positive.
Columbus rapper/producer Blueprint has spent over a decade being one of the most consistent and prolific names in underground hip-hop. This month, he celebrates both the release of his new album King No Crown on April 28th, as well as the 10th anniversary of his solo debut album 1988.
We spoke to Blueprint about how his approaches differed between these two projects a decade apart, as well as discussing some of the legends of his unreleased music surrounding his career, including a never-heard completed project from a supergroup that also boasted the late Eyedea, Illogic, Aesop Rock and Slug from Atmosphere.
This week, underground favorite MC Billy Woods' new album Today I Wrote Nothing hits store shelves and digital retailers. One of the most excitingly inimitable voices to emerge in hip-hop this decade, his 2012 breakthrough album History Will Absolve Me was met with universal acclaim as his cult following continued to grow over more projects, including Dour Candy, a collaboration album with celebrated indie hip-hop super-producer Blockhead (Aesop Rock's "Daylight"). Woods' new album, which also features production from Aesop Rock, Busdriver and Willie Green, has a notably different production style from the rest of his catalog, giving his one-of-a-kind flow an entirely new context to explore short narratives and conceptual explorations on life and death.
Immortal Technique arrived at the Observatory for his "People's Champions" tour stop last night with Talib Kweli when apparently he saw something he didn't like. According to Santa Ana police, the rebel rapper and his entourage approached two people selling bootleg t-shirts with his trademarked logo outside the venue around 7:45 p.m.
Tech and crew didn't take kindly to that and confronted them about not getting a cut of the money. An altercation ensued with the bootleggers telling police that they got beat down by the group who then jacked their shirts, cell phones, and cash.
If your Blu-ray collection is lacking in black horror, you now have a chance to rectify that error with the recent long-awaited release of Blacula. The enormously influential proto-blaxploitation horror essential arrives on the same disc as sequel Scream, Blacula, Scream and has thankfully aged as well as the immortal bloodsucker himself. You may recognize the late William Marshall in the title role as "The King of Cartoons" from Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Along with bringing to the character the complex gravitas that only a Shakespearean-trained actor of his magnitude can deliver, his genuine ability to be effortlessly cool has made our anti-hero one of the most memorable characters in black cinema. It's been over 40 years since Blacula's release, and rappers whose parent weren't even old enough to see Blacula during its theatrical run are still making Blacula references on record. To celebrate this release, here's five of the most memorable Blacula references.
Redman - "Blow Your Mind" "The spectular, Blacula, bust holes like Dracula
Loaded of course, more Legend than Acura"
New Jersey native Redman exploded on to the 1992 hip-hop scene as a hyper-unpredictable irreverent but charismatic MC who would still bet you up for laughing at him. Every rap fan knows where they were the first time they heard his debut Whut? Thee Album for the sheer uproarious nature of his storytelling and references, so it should be no surprise that one of the first Blacula references appeared 20 years after the film's release on "Blow Your Mind."
"Hip-hop was really formative for me," says UC Irvine professor Sohail Daulatzai, who remembers listening to seminal acts such as the Sugarhill Gang and Run-D.M.C. while growing up in Los Angeles' Pico-Union district. But it wasn't until hearing Rakim's "Move the Crowd" that he began walking the path that led him to become a much-cited scholar whose books and articles make waves in African-American studies, history, Islamic and music circles.
In the song, the legendary rapper rhymed, "All praise due to Allah, and that's a blessing."
Tonight, The Observatory in Santa Ana welcomes one of West Coast hip-hopʼs most dependable duos, Tha Dogg Pound. Consisting of Kurupt and Daz Dillinger, their now two-decades long partnership (minus a brief early-2000s falling out) has proven to be one of the most consistent tag-teams in rap. With seven full-length albums together,thereʼs no shortage of Dogg Pound jams. However, when you factor in how prolific both have been in their solo career, quite a few Dogg Pound tracks have happened over the years that havenʼt fallen on any official Dogg Pound releases. While we all know and love 1999ʼs "Who Ride Wit Us" off of Kuruptʼs Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha, thereʼs a plethora of worthwhile Dogg Pound cuts that have somewhat fallen through the cracks. Hereʼs our picks for five overlooked Dogg Pound jams.
Phora signing a poster during the meet and greet at Pachuco Tattoo
It's not everyday you see 800 kids lined up single file on the sidewalk in Orange in the rain at 7 p.m. on a Saturday night. But if there's one thing we've come to know about rapper Phora's fanbase, it's that the words "Stay True" mean a lot. And not just because it's the title of one of the OC rapper's jams on his latest release Nights Like These, or the freshest tat he's got inked on his knuckles. In an age when rappers boast the power of their social media armies, few local independent emcees can gin up support like the tattooed, Anaheim-bred rhymeslinger. Over the weekend, his real-life army showed up outside Pachuco Tattoo on Tustin St. for a packed meet-and-greet that spilled out from the steamy, cluttered hallway of the shop's building and stretched around the block.
"That's what having a solid fan base is about," Phora says. "It's about having that connection with the fans. There's a lot of rappers that feel entitled to something, like it just comes. But a million fans just don't come. I guarantee you all those people waiting in line they got a solid connection with me. They're gonna come up to me like they know me."