*Freelance writer for ESPN/Disney's Andscape formerly The Undefeated, The Toronto Star, Okayplayer, Mic, Grammy.com, Complex, and more.
*Podcast scriptwriter and researcher
*Launched one of the first online music publications (HHN) in 1996
*Created the internet's premier urban music & culture website (HHNLive) in 2006
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stic.Man of Dead Prez talks to Rock the Bells about the first time he heard Public Enemy.
Fifteen years after topping the charts, Sean Kingston will release a comeback album, 'Road to Deliverance,' on Sept. 30. Kingston spoke with GRAMMY.com about the heavily dancehall-influenced record, and what he's been up to in the intervening years.
Hip-hop music and culture are weaving their way into the fabric of country music. Yet the marriage of hip-hop's liberal sensibilities with the often conservative culture of country music presents unique challenges.
On Aug. 6, in Queens, New York, LL Cool J's Rock the Bells Festival launched a day's worth of hip-hop music and experiences featuring artists from all eras of the culture.
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.
Syrup - or purple drank - didn't kill DJ Screw, says Lance Scott Walker, an expert on Houston's hip-hop culture. Although police said Screw died of an overdose of the prescription cough medicine, Walker argues it was just one factor among many that led to his death at 29.
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.
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.
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.
It was 1989. The scene: Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium. The host: Billy Crystal, who then was starring in films such as Memories of Me and When Harry Met Sally . The event was the 31st Annual Grammy Awards. George H.W. Bush had recently been sworn in as president of the United States, and the Gulf War would soon be looming.
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.
When 1.8 million people came together in November to watch the Verzuz battle between Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy live on Instagram, it was a new high for a social media music renaissance driven by lockdowns and quarantines.
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.
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
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.
Technological advancements have changed the music business in monumental ways over the past 20 years, and show no signs of slowing down. Two months after "The Blueprint," the first version of Apple's industry-shaking iPod device was released in November 2001.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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.
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...
In a streaming and playlist first world, albums have become less of a critical component of success for the industry. There is, however, opportunity to revive what is a dying format. And the blueprint comes from video games.
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?"
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.
The Toronto act behind tracks for Drake, Rihanna, and Kendrick Lamar shares his story of success.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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...
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.
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...
On Tuesday, the Boston Bruins announced they retained former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct an independent review of the team's player vetting process. This was in response to the Bruins' much-criticized signing of prospect Mitchell Miller earlier in the month.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the late afternoon of November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson stood in front of reporters, as millions more tuned in on TV. The NBA season had just gotten underway, and the league's teams and fan bases were filled with optimism and dreams of championships.
" 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.
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?
When Michelle Moultrie takes to the diamond representing Team USA in softball at the 2021 Summer Olympics, it will be monumental on multiple fronts. Not only is Jacksonville, Florida's Moultrie the lone black female on the team, but it's the first...
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.
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.
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.
Listen to this episode from Ain't Hard To Tell Podcast on Spotify. Freelance writer Adam Aziz joins the podcast to discuss his story for 'The Undefeated' about the evolving length of rap albums. Plus the Bryan & Dex look back at a classic Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury trilogy.
As the Raptors return to full capacity crowds, we take a closer look at what the world famous rapper brings to the game when he sits courtside.