Brokencool

Adam Aziz

Freelance writer

Location icon Canada

Freelance writer for ESPN's The Undefeated (Sports, Music, Culture), Mic (Sports, Culture), Okayplayer (Music, Gaming), Complex (Music), and American Greetings

Podcast scriptwriter and researcher on forthcoming Audible hip-hop podcast

Launched one of the first online music publications (HHN) in 1996

Created the internet's premier urban music & culture website (HHNLive) in 2006

Has worked with Dave Chappelle, T.I., Spitkicker (Kanye West, De La Soul), Will Smith, Xzibit, and others.

Email me: brokencool@gmail.com

Portfolio

Music

The Undefeated
10/01/2021
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.

The Undefeated
01/06/2020
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.

VIBE.com
04/13/2020
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
12/02/2020
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.

The Undefeated
09/21/2016
'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.

Okayplayer
03/10/2020
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

VIBE.com
12/04/2019
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.

Okayplayer
03/02/2021
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.

Okayplayer
05/21/2020
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.

Okayplayer
05/26/2020
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,

VIBE.com
01/26/2020
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.

VIBE.com
03/29/2019
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.

VIBE.com
10/09/2018
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.

Complex
07/08/2014
The 17 Biggest Music Fails of 2014 (So Far)

We're a little over six months into 2014 and once again the music industry has already rewarded us with a wide array of fails. Whether it be Macklemore's questionable choice in stage costumes, Bieber's string of racist videos, or Robin Thicke's embarrassing attempt to win back his wife, the year has not been short on less than ideal moments for some of the biggest names in music. So we put together a list of The 17 Biggest Music Fails of 2014 (So Far) for your amusement. We can't wait to see...

Complex
20 Life Lessons We Learned From Plies' Twitter Feed

When it comes to life lessons, some people go out and buy self-help books, others search the web, and some lean on their families for a wise word. Or, you can do it like the pros do it here and head on over to Plies' Twitter. His tweets are chock-full of advice and life lessons on everything from how to deal with your employer to feminine hygiene. Hell, Plies even explains why men who haven't gotten it on with pregnant women are essentially still virgins (walk with us here). So, if you're...

Complex
08/13/2014
The 10 Worst Lil Wayne Songs

With Lil Wayne and Drake on the road with their "Street Fighter" inspired "Drake Vs. Lil' Wayne" tour, fans can expect to hear Weezy rock hit after hit. But not all of Wayne's songs have been worthy of praise. In fact, after peaking in 2008 with Tha Carter III, most of Wayne's musical output can be best summarized as average.

Complex
05/30/2014
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...

Complex
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?"

Complex
10/10/2016
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.

Complex
02/14/2016
10 Rap Songs to Listen to if You're Alone on Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day 2016 and you're alone. Why? Maybe you broke things off with your special someone or you simply enjoy being single. Regardless, like every situation in life, there is a rap song to get you through it. Whether it's Future throwing it all away or N.W.A celebrating there being "One Less Bitch," here are 10 rap songs to listen to if you're alone on Valentine's Day.

Complex
04/03/2015
The Best (Worst) Clean Versions of Rap Songs

The clean edit in hip-hop. Over the years, it has allowed us to hear our favorite songs on the radio. It has allowed you to blast your music loud in your bedroom as a teenager without your parents getting pissed. The best clean edits don't take your love of the song away but rather allow its play in different venues. The worst edits butcher the track and edit so heavily that not only does the song become un-enjoyable but almost comical in its reworking (see Eminem's "My Fault"). Here are the...

Complex
01/12/2015
20 Factually Incorrect Rap Album Titles

Album titles are an important part of conveying the message and themes behind a certain project. Think about The Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die or Jay-Z's The Blueprint. An album title can provide a hint for the listener about what they're going to hear on the album. However, there are many instances where album titles don't paint an accurate picture for the listener. Obviously, artists take creative licenses with their work, so album titles aren't meant to always be taken literally. But...

Complex
03/12/2015
9 Fake Rapper Twitter Accounts to Avoid

Parody accounts and people posing as musicians, actors, athletes, and comedians on Twitter is nothing new. Some are more clever than others (who can forget @drakesknee?), but the best ones are those that blur the line between real and fake. Add an extra L on to @meekmill or assume Nelly is @nelly, and you might find yourself in a Twitter land of posers and parodies. Here are the fake Twitter accounts to avoid.

Complex
01/06/2015
Does Not Compute: What Happens When Rappers Rap About Technology

If you've been a rap fan for a long time you will know that a rapper not being well informed on a certain topic will never prevent them from speaking on it. Case in point: Drug dealing Technology. Whether it's Eminem's difficulties in listening to music on the Internet, Rick Ross' unique use of Expedia or 2 Chainz not quite understanding how Netflix works, rappers, for all their social media and digital savvy, sometimes have a hard time rapping about technology. Here's What Happens When...

Independent
02/16/2016
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.

Complex
12/19/2014
10 Reasons Why Lil Wayne Should Leave Cash Money

Things are a bit uneasy these days at the house that Baby and Slim built. On Dec. 4, Lil Wayne took to Twitter to complain about Tha Carter V delays, going so far as to say that he is a "prisoner" on the label and he wants to be released. Social media debates followed as to whether this was a marketing ploy or a real cry for artistic freedom. Regardless, it looks like Wayne's time on Cash Money Records may be coming to an end. Lil Wayne doesn't need Cash Money. Then again, Cash Money doesn't...

Sports

The Undefeated
06/22/2021
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
11/16/2021
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
04/13/2020
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?

The Undefeated
10/05/2016
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.

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