Adam Aziz

Sports, Music and Culture Journalist and Consultant


- Writer for numerous publications including ESPN and Disney's Andscape formerly The Undefeated, The Toronto Star, Complex,, and more.

- Writer and consultant on the Wondery and Audible podcast 'Class of '88', hosted by Will Smith.

- Editor-in-Chief and consultant for The Hip Hop Museum.

- Creator of the HHN (Hip-Hop Newsletter), one of the Internet's earliest music publications launched in 1996.

- Creator of HHNLive, the top urban music and entertainment .com site in the mid-2000s.

- Former Editor-in-Chief of StreetCred, rapper and actor T.I.'s former web magazine.

- Former Music Editor of Canada's iconic Mic Check Magazine.

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Little Brother brews a new future

On the surface, the story of Little Brother, the Durham, North Carolina hip-hop duo, originally a trio, doesn't seem different from many music groups. A foundin...

Can CDs Make A Comeback? Reevaluating The CD At 40

The CD was first commercially released 40 years ago and may be having a whole new coming-of-age. With sales on the rise and collectors showcasing their pride across social media, the format might rewind to its glory years.

The Undefeated
Why hasn't hip-hop had a real Las Vegas residency?

Here are some of the musical artists performing or just coming off long-term residencies in Las Vegas: Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson and Aerosmith. Notably missing is any representative of music's most popular genre, hip-hop. Hip-hop artists play Vegas, of course. Drake has a 10-date partnership with the Wynn's XS Nightclub.

Kool Moe Dee and British Knights: The story of one of hip-hop's earliest sneaker campaigns

Hip Hop at 50 is our year-long look at the people, sound, art, and impact of hip-hop culture on the world. Among the most notable sneaker deals for hip-hop artists, from Kanye West's deals with first Nike, then Adidas, to 50 Cent's run with Reebok for his G-Unit sneakers, there is an oft-forgotten deal that brought rap and fashion together.

Are Old Rap MP3s Hip-Hop's Hottest New Collectible?

MP3s are bubbling thanks to the influx of streaming and the fact that a whole generation of classic hip-hop songs and mixtapes are not available on streaming services. Last year, vinyl sales surpassed CD sales for the first time since the '80s.
The Record Store: What Used To Be

Monday nights used to be unique. The anticipation for Tuesday mornings could barely be contained. Plans were made on how to ensure you could get to the mall and still make it to class on-time. Or, in many cases, how you were going to skip school altogether to sit with your newfound treasure.

The Undefeated
The coming battle over rap album lengths

When emcee Vince Staples released his self-titled fourth album this summer, the introspective project continued Staples' path as a picture painter with vivid lyrics about his upbringing in Long Beach, California. The most surprising aspect of the album was how short it was.
Jay-Z's 50 Most Underrated Songs

The following sentence is guaranteed to make you feel old: Jay-Z turns 50 on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. Arguably the most celebrated hip-hop artist of all-time, Shawn Corey Carter, has lived multiple lifetimes as he comes to the halftime of life.

The Undefeated
'Rolling Stone': Aug. 20, 1992

In August 1992, Los Angeles was three months removed from the city's worst uprisings since 1965. When four Los Angeles Police Department officers were acquitted in the roadside beating of Rodney King, frustrations that had been simmering exploded into days of looting and demonstrations.

How Horrorcore Became A Forgotten Sub-Genre

While horrorcore artists like Gravediggaz have all but disappeared, many of the characteristics of the sub-genre carry-on albeit with less fanfare. These haunting words, from Wu-Tang affiliate Shabazz the Disciple, kick off Gravediggaz's "Diary of a Madman," a song that hip-hop fans look to as a pi

What happened on the days Kendrick Lamar made 'untitled unmastered'?

Kendrick Lamar took the rough-draft motif of his untitled unmastered to heart. The project-a compilation of previously unreleased demos recorded during sessions for To Pimp A Butterfly -is made up of eight (also) untitled tracks distinguished presumably by the dates on which each was recorded. There seems to be one exception.

The Best Drake Songs

ComplexCon returns to Long Beach Nov. 6 - 7 with hosts J. Balvin and Kristen Noel Crawley, performances by A$AP Rocky and Turnstile, and more shopping and drops. Secure your spot while tickets last! When we look back at Drake's first single, 2009's "Best I Ever Had," it's hard not to wonder, "Why Drake?"

Is Drake Getting More Hands-On With OVO Sound Artists?

On the song "Summer Sixteen," Drake raps, "I used to want to be on Roc-A-Fella, then I turned into Jay." The "Roc-A-Fella" Drake refers to is the legendary Roc-A-Fella Records which started as an independent record label when Jay-Z couldn't find a home for his debut album Reasonable Doubt.

The Undefeated
A change in Spotify's royalty payments could be a problem for hip-hop

A new Spotify feature that allows labels and artists to take a lower per-stream payment in exchange for an algorithmic boost through its "autoplay" and "discover" features could have a disproportionate impact on hip-hop artists. Many of these artists' careers are born from social media and viral singles, with record labels signing them to contracts with sizable and recoupable advances.

10 Ways the Coronavirus Will Change the Music Industry

Because of COVID-19, the music business will be forced to shift. Here are 10 ways the coronavirus will change the music industry. There isn't a business in the world that won't change in some material way as a result of COVID-19. The music industry is no exception.
10 Problems With The Grammy Awards And How To Fix Them

Going into the 2020 iteration of the show, The Grammy Awards couldn't be more irrelevant and in a place of struggling to attract younger viewers. Each year sets new lows in the coveted 18-49 demographic, and the show continues to take one step forward and ten steps back when it comes to its relationship with hip-hop.

20 Great Rap Songs Featured on 20 Terrible Rap Albums

Consider diving back into some oft-forgotten albums and mining for gold. Here are 20 great rap songs featured on 20 terrible rap albums. In a world where streaming dominates the music industry, bad albums are cast away quicker than fans can say "new music Fridays." If albums don't resonate quickly,

Great Hip-Hop Songs You Haven't Listened to in Years

So. Much. Music. There has never been more music available and being created than there is in 2016. And with so much good, new material to sift through, one can sometimes neglect the better songs from the "good ol' days." Whether it's that Cru album you haven't throw on in a minute or the '90s Canadian hip-hop mixtape collecting dust under your bed, there is no better time than the present to revisit some of the best hip-hop music from back in the day.
10 Ways The Music Industry Will Change In 10 Years

The music business is in the midst of a growth period. With total revenues increased 10 percent in 2018 to $4.6 billion and streaming making up a whopping three-quarters of revenue, the industry is healthy albeit putting most of its eggs in the streaming technology basket.
7 Problems With Music Award Shows And How To Fix Them

When Eminem walked down Sixth Avenue towards Radio City Music Hall during the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, it was both a performance that captured the carefree, rebellious nature of those pre-9/11 times and one that would likely be met with serious backlash and controversy today thanks to its racial undertones and today's on-edge, Trump-fueled political climate.

Inside Dave Chappelle's Juke Joint w/ Fred Yonnet

It's -25 with the wind chill in Toronto on the Thursday before NBA All-Star Weekend and a long line stretches down the block outside of 99 Sudbury, an event venue in the Liberty Village area of Toronto. Inside, security staff prepare to open the doors into a party unlike any other.

Big L's 10 Funniest Punchlines

It’s hard to believe that Big L would have been 40 years old today. One of the illest to ever touch the mic had his life cut short at the age of 24 on February 15, 1999. So much was left unfinished for the Flamboyant Entertainment CEO (including a possible deal with a then Dame Dash lead Roc-A-Fella Records). But underneath the hard exterior, intricate storytelling, and tragic ending, lies countless hilarious punchlines from the Harlem rapper. Whether it be referencing Beavis & Butthead to...

'He smelled good.' What's it like to sit beside Drake at a Raptors game?

Ask the average Toronto Raptors fan and they'll tell you that looking to see if Drake is sitting courtside at home games has become as automatic as Raptors play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin shouting out Canadian cities when Fred VanVleet hits a three-pointer from deep.

Hockey jerseys have returned to hip-hop

Hip Hop at 50 is our yearlong look at the people, sound, art, and impact of hip-hop culture on the world. Hockey jerseys, a '90s hip-hop fashion trend, have returned, with their vibrant colors framing logos from lightning flashes and bears to leaves and sharks.

The Undefeated
The NHL's slow skate toward change

As the Tampa Bay Lightning pursue another Stanley Cup trophy, let's not forget they already made history this season. On May 10, the team started the first all-Black line in NHL history. The league celebrated by tweeting a highlight with the hashtag #HockeyIsForEveryone. It was a moment to be remembered.

The Undefeated
The tangled history of hip-hop and boxing

" Even you yourself predicted that last night in Vegas," raps Treach of Naughty By Nature on the Tupac Shakur tribute song " Mourn You Till I Join You." The night Treach is referring to, of course, is Sept. 7, 1996, the night of the Mike Tyson vs.

The Undefeated
How coronavirus will change the NBA courtside experience

As the world wrestles with a new normal built around social distancing, working from home and a dormant sports world, one aspect of the NBA experience is especially at risk. Sitting courtside at an NBA game is unlike any other first row in sports. What will become of it post-COVID-19?

Sharks' Mike Grier a long-overdue Black general manager in the NHL

On Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks made former NHL player Mike Grier the first Black general manager in NHL history. Upon the news being announced, the broader hockey world celebrated the appointment, including co-chair of the Hockey Diversity Alliance Akim Aliu, who tweeted, "Congratulations to Mike Grier on becoming the first black GM in the NHL's 100 + year history.

The Undefeated
The 1997 'David Arias' rookie card of David 'Big Papi' Ortiz

When he made his big-league debut, David Arias informed the Minnesota Twins: He preferred to go by the name "David Ortiz." Little was known about David Arias when he debuted for the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 2, 1997. He'd toiled in the minor leagues for several years with Seattle Mariners Single A affiliate the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

The Undefeated
Why the NHL All-Star Game in Las Vegas will be a pivotal moment for the league

The last two years for the NHL have been some of the most challenging in its history. The coronavirus pandemic forced the NHL into contained bubbles, and the league stumbled to address the Black Lives Matter movement in June 2020. Fall 2021 brought the troubling Kyle Beach sexual assault investigation to the forefront.


Amazon Music
The Storyteller | 8

By late 1988, hip hop was more popular than ever. But a tragedy at a concert fueled a different narrative: that rap music was dangerous. Enter Slick Rick, an artist well-aware of the power of storytelling. Featured voices: Slick Rick, MC Lyte, and DJ Red Alert. Follow Class of '88 wherever yo...

Amazon Music
Brothers and Sisters | 7

NWA's landmark album Straight Outta Compton might never have happened without the help of of three teenage girls from Rialto. This is the story of JJ Fad. Featured voices: JJ Fad and Arabian Prince. See Privacy Policy at [] and California Priva...

Amazon Music
The Showstoppers | 6

In 1988, Salt-N-Pepa found that they had "crossed over" with their hit song Push It. But success came with its own set of problems, especially for female rappers. Featured voices: Salt-N-Pepa and Roxanne Shante. See Privacy Policy at [] and Cal...

Amazon Music
Yo! MTV Raps. Finally. | 5

For years, rap music was mostly absent from MTV. But the debut of Yo! MTV Raps changed everything. For better, and for worse. Featured voices: Fab 5 Freddy and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels. See Privacy Policy at [] and California Privacy Notice at h...

Amazon Music
Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos | 4

In the summer of 1988, Public Enemy dropped an album that would take them to the top of the charts, to front page news, and even to a stage in New York's most notorious jail - Rikers Island. Featured voices: Public Enemy and Chuck D. See Privacy Policy at [https://art19...

Amazon Music
Follow The Leader | 3

Hip hop started as a DJ-led medium. But with the rise of rappers like Rakim and Queen Latifah, MC's were moving to center stage. Featured voices: Queen Latifah, Rakim, and DJ Red Alert. See Privacy Policy at [] and California Privacy Notice at h...

Amazon Music
Kings of Rock | 2

Run-DMC were the kings of hip hop. But in 1988, they faced new competition from a generation of artists they had helped inspire. Featured voices: Run-DMC and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels. Follow Class of '88 wherever you get your podcasts. Listen to episode 1 everywhere or you can binge the entire...

Amazon Music
The Battle for World Supremacy | 1

In January of 1988, the music industry was treating hip hop like a fad. But that was all about to change - along with the lives of two kids from Philly. Host Will Smith brings us straight into the most pivotal year in hip hop history.

Amazon Music
Class of '88 with Will Smith

In the US, hip hop reigns as the genre that influences every aspect of our culture. From fashion to film, the dominance of this prolific sound can be traced back to one year - 1988.

Celebrating and Reconciling Hockey Culture

There have been a lot of hockey stories, good and bad, in the news as of late - Donnovan brings on Andscape writer Adam Aziz to sort through all the news, including Pride Night controversy in the NHL and how the league can learn from this in a variety of ways, plus a discussion on his stories about Evander Kane and hockey jerseys returning to the world of hip-hop.

The Evolving Business of the National Hockey League

Afterwards, freelance writer and consultant Adam Aziz makes his second appearance on the show, to discuss the connection between music and sport. Is the NHL catching up to other leagues such as the NBA, MLB, and NFL (29:00)?

Cultural Marketing in The World of Hockey

Listen to this episode from Going Deep with Donnovan Bennett on Spotify. Donnovan takes a look at the NHL's handling of the Mitchell Miller signing by the Boston Bruins. He brings on writer Adam Aziz to examine the league's efforts to market their product to different communities in North America and across the world.

More Hip-Hop, More Sports, More Culture with Adam Aziz (@brokencool)

Listen to this episode from The Cheats Movement Podcast on Spotify. This is another AMAZING interview. Cheats goes one-on-one with Adam Aziz AKA @brokencool - one of the most prominent and prolific journalists of our time. Adam's first love is hip-hop. He first started covering the culture when he was 16 years old, back in 1996.