Five Fang-tastic Blacula References in Hip-Hop

Categories: Hip-Hop, movies

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Shout Factory
Blacula. "Spectacula."

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."

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UC Irvine Professor Sohail Daulatzai Is Doc Hip-Hop

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Photo by John Gilhooley
May he one day drop an album, insha'allah...

"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."


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Five Overlooked Dogg Pound Jams

Categories: Hip-Hop

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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.

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Phora's Fans Stay True at Pachuco Tattoo

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Nate Jackson
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."

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Saba Continues Making Music Outside of His ComfortZone

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Courtesy of Saba
Since his acclaimed ComfortZone project hit the Internet last summer, 20 year-old Chicago rapper Saba continues to build his buzz by the month. His mix of acrobatically-structured verses, soulful production and instrumentation, and maturity as a writer has captured the attention of media outlets across the blogosphere and an eager base of listeners who have attached onto the substance of fellow Chicago rappers such as Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa and Mick Jenkins. Undoubtedly, national tours like this outing with Mick Jenkins, Pro Era up-and-comer Kirk Knight will help further his career too.We spoke with Saba before his show tonight at the Constellation Room to talk about making music that pushes his artistic boundaries far beyond ComfortZone.

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Five Legit Great Rap Love Songs

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Hot 97
LL Cool J, Needer of Love
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day,  the one day we set aside every year to tell our special someone or someones just how much love and/or unbridled passion we have for them. You can find a romantic ditty in pretty much every genre, all of varying styles and quality, and hip-hop is no different. In case you need help putting together a playlist, here's five rap love songs that are legitimately great.


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Wu-Tang Clan Affiliate Producer Supreme I-Self is the Hip-Hop Group's Secret West Coast Weapon

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Courtesy of LA Branding
Supreme I-Self
After 20 years of East Coast hip-hop dominance, fans of the Wu-Tang Clan are quick to associate their existence with the streets of Shaolin (i.e., Staten Island). But as one of the pre-eminent producers of the Wu's worldwide rap syndicate Killa Beez, Las Vegas and California dweller Supreme I-Self is more than happy to contribute his gritty beats and rhymes from the suburbs of Sin City. In fact, it's the peacefulness of a neighborhood outside of the glitzy big-money debauchery that inspires him the most.

"It's surprising that there's so much stuff there to do outside of the Strip," he says. "There's waterparks, hiking, fishing, and there's snow in Mt. Charleston, so you can go snowboarding. There's a whole world outside of the Strip that I never would have known when I was just performing there as an artist. It's great."

Though he's played a role in working directly with members such as Method Man and RZA, Supreme isn't a household name. But that doesn't mean he hasn't experienced success. When he's not zipping across the country to play shows or maintaining a Las Vegas residency, he's in the studio, helping to craft songs.


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Five Classic West Coast Rap Albums Turning 20 in 2015

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Interscope Records
2Pac was Against the World in '95

While 1994 was undeniably a great year for hip-hop, fans have plenty of 20th anniversaries to celebrate this year as well. Whether getting "Sumpin' New" from the mainstream or seeing boundaries pushed until they "bounce" in the underground, 1995 had something for everybody and its influence is still being felt today.


Here are five classic West Coast rap albums turning 20 in 2015.


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MF DOOM's MM...Food: 10 Years Later

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Jason Jägel
MF Doom, Part of a Complete Breakfast


It's easy to forget that at one point, the MC known as MF DOOM/Doom/Zev Love X was an artist pumping out critically heralded and commercially successful weird hip-hop projects to an ever-increasingly growing cult following. Today his audience is bigger than ever, but there's a big difference between the prolific masked man of old and the masked recluse who only blesses us with new verses once in a blue moon.

The last time we heard from the former was on November 15, 2004 when Rhymesayers Entertainment released MM...Food, the last album of the hyper-productive Doom era. Ten years and a Monster Island of controversies later, it remains one of the strongest statements of who Doom was/is. Here's the story of what happened with previously unknown details from some of Doom's trusted cohorts.


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Rapper Jehuniko's "20 Years Old" Goes Global With Anti-Domestic Violence/Rape Message

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Photo by Forshow
Jehuniko says 'Respect Your Sister'
Domestic abuse and rape rhymes are often spun by rappers without a second thought. Being true to himself, Los Angeles-based Jehuniko is coming on a different tip for "20 Years Old," the lead single off his newly released album Bittersweet ."They say that 97% of rapists are never incarcerated / I hate it / How can this be?" he sounds off on the Spooz produced track where a soulful Middle Eastern bamboo flute soars over boom-bap.

The music video for "20 Years Old' gives the anti-domestic violence/rape message a global echo with Jehuniko's fans holding "Respect Your Sister" signs from all over Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and even SanTana!

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