Month: January 2015

Suge Knight and Other Hip Hop Happenings

In case you haven’t heard, Suge Knight’s been in the news recently…

Suge Knight, the founder of Death Row Records and a man with a notorious history (to put it nicely) in hip hop was recently involved in a fatal hit and run. Rumors are flying around, including that maybe it had something to do with beef with Dr. Dre. But the main story here is that Suge Knight was in a car and someone died. Here are some other things that are currently happening in hip hop right now, apparently.


Big and Puff

Photo: genius.com

  • Speaking of Notorious, B.I.G. is doing just fine and him and Puff Daddy continue to make great music at Bad Boy Records. That partnership is sure to last a long time and we look forward to Biggie’s next few albums. And if I know anything about hip hop, I know that “Puff Daddy” will be the name ruling hip hop 10 years from now. Bet on it.

 

  • 2 promising up-and-coming Brooklyn rappers named Mos Def and Talib Kweli have joined forces and started working on an album. The group appears to be called “Black Star” and their album will be self-titled. We look forward to their album and the many others they’re sure to release.
Nas and Jay Z

Photo: planetill.com

  • Nas and Jay-Z are both on top of the rap game and straight killing it right now. With Nas and Jay-Z flexing their lyrical muscle in Illmatic and Reasonable Doubt, respectively, a collaboration is probably in the cards. Their careers are only going up and they’re sure to link up for an album to rule New York. I’m sure the turn of the century will see a great creative partnership between the two mic rockers.

 

  • In non hip hop (well, not exactly hip hop) related news, folks are waiting on D’Angelo’s new album. Ever since rocking the R&B world with his debut album Brown Sugar, D’Angelo has kept the fans waiting for a few years now. Hopefully after his next release D’Angelo won’t keep the fans waiting a few years again for his next album.
Yo! MTV Raps

Photo: nahright.com

  • Yo! MTV Raps looks like it might be coming back on the air soon. The beloved program was cancelled last year. Looks like music will rule MTV for the future ahead.

This concludes your latest news wrap-up at Spit Talking.

Let us know how you like our website, even if you think we wasted our time trying out this whole internet fad.


Spit Talking

What’s J Cole Been Up To Lately?

Just at the end of 2014, J Cole tore the charts up with 2014 Forest Hills Drive.

The album was fire, so not only did the success make sense, but all of a sudden the hip hop press was focused on Cole and what he was gonna do next. Not just musically, either, because he’s got a lot going on. From single mothers to Kendrick Lamar, this is what J Cole’s been up to.


Chance’s album

Chance the Rapper

Photo: mergedvisible.com

In case you haven’t heard, Chance the Rapper’s working on his debut album, Surf. Along with Andre 3000 and Frank Ocean, J Cole’s gonna be on the album. Sure, Chance is pretty damn big considering he hasn’t released an album yet (well, an official album), but it’s still cool that Cole is gonna work with him, considering he’s a bigger (more popular/successful) rapper from a different region of the country who’s got his own shit going on. This shows not only how dope J Cole is, but how unified hip hop is getting.

Single mothers

2014 Forest Hills Drive isn’t just the title of 2014’s (second) hottest album (shouts to Cilvia Demo), it’s the North Carolina home where J Cole grew up. Apparently he still owns it, and he’s got big plans for it, and those plans aren’t for a recording studio. He’s currently developing plans for it to be a “haven” for single mothers and their children, where they can live for 2 years totally rent-free before another family led by a single mother moves in.

J. Cole - 2014 Forest Hills DriveThis is dope, and I gotta give Cole mad props for doing this. This will actually make a difference in the lives of the families who live there free for 2 years, because they can put rent money towards savings. It’s also not just throwing money at an organization (which, hey, charity’s charity) but taking an active, involved and long-term role to try and help solve a problem. Props Cole, and shouts to the hard-working mothers who end up living in 2014 Forest Hills Drive.

Kendrick Lamar

Rumors been coming out. Apparently Cole saw Kendrick perform back in 2010 and tried to sign him, but it didn’t go anywhere. Then, as everyone knows, Kendrick got real big, bigger than Cole. But there’s a lot of similarities between the two rappers, as they both got deep messages (according to their fans at least.) But let’s imagine Cole did sign Kendrick, and let’s just imagine they were working on an album right now. Here are some possible tracks they’d possibly be working on:

“Just a Little Farther”

This track would either be about a stripper working to pay off her student loans, or a revolution in this country or something. It would be real soulful and the hook would have “just a little farther” in it a few times, signifying how it’s a marathon, not a sprint. This wouldn’t be a single but it would have a real emotional video. Also Drake would be in it.

Kendrick Lamar and J Cole

Photo: xxlmag.com

“Home”

Kendrick and Cole’s last albums could have both been called this. This track would probably have a simple beat with a piano melody and soft drums, and it would almost be spoken word delivery. Lyrics would obviously be about growing up, probably as an outcast with mad bars.

“One Way”

Another emotional classic, this one would be a Black Star like duet where Kendrick and Cole switch off, getting increasingly soulful as they rap about the perils facing young people today. Using highways as a metaphor for life, they’d discuss how certain things are inevitable and how surprises always come up. This would premier on Saturday Night Live and be nominated for a Grammy. They would lose the Grammy to Iggy Azalea and Macklemore who recorded the exact same song 3 months later.


So, that was catching up with J Cole.

Dude’s been a busy man recently, and he deserves all the success he gets. If he keeps doing dope things like trynna help single mothers prosper, that’s even better. I’m looking forward to his next album, even if it’s not with Kendrick.


Spit Talking

Hip Hop & Twitter: A Love Story

If you love hip hop, you gotta be on twitter.

Twitter is one of the best things to happen to the internet, and especially one of the best things to happen to (both dope and struggle) rappers. If you don’t have a twitter yet, go get one so you can know what’s going on, even if you never wanna tweet. Once you have one, let me tell you who to follow (and who to avoid.) Most obvious, lemme just get them out of the way, are Desus (@desusnice) and Mero (@THEKIDMERO), and just scope here if you don’t know why that’s obvious.

Desus Twitter AviMero Twitter Avi

 

 

 

 


Rappers you should follow:

Follow these dudes because they’re actually entertaining and real on twitter. They don’t necessary constantly tweet out jokes or anything, but they don’t only use twitter for self-promotion either (which is the most annoying thing someone can do on twitter.) They also clearly run their own accounts so you can actually tweet at them and maybe get a response (and Lil B will probably follow you back anyways.) These dudes are well known but they still tweet funny shit, and it’s sad when once-great tweeters go boring (probably working on their music like nerds or something) so shouts to Chance the Rapper and Tyler the Creator for that (no disrespect though.) Also honorable mention goes to Chuck D (@MrChuckD) for his informative and unique presence on twitter, repping the old heads.


Hip Hop artists (non-rappers) you should follow:

Questlove Twitter AviEven though they aren’t rappers, you gotta be following this drummer, producer and group on twitter, respectively. If you want instant reactions to hip hop news from people who know rappers and producers, follow these dudes (kind of for the same reason as following the rappers.) Wu-Tang is also constantly posting mad dope pictures, and you don’t wanna miss any of those. Also, Questlove’s avi implies Obama endorses him, and Obama knows twitter.


Rap news sources you should follow:

Hey, I had to throw Spit Talking a little shine right? Anyways, if you’re not looking for rapper’s or artist’s thoughts but actually looking for hip hop news and rap analysis, follow these twitters. If you do that (and if you join Spit Talking’s newsletter) you’ll never miss a development in the hip hop world. If you’re not trynna jack up your follower count though (respect the ratio), you could really just follow Spit Talking cause we only post and retweet the best of the best. Just saying.


Other rap twitters you should follow:

Ed Piskor Twitter AviEd Piskor is the mad dope man behind Hip Hop Family Tree. Hip Hop Golden Age is just a cool feed that tweets out dope pictures of rappers (also shouts to Rare Hip Hop Pics – @RareHipHopPic for their constant stream of old and rare pictures), but they also got dope hoodies and stuff (including one I’ve bought.) Trash Lyrics is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s one of the funniest twitters out there.


These are the best hip hop twitters out there.

Which one’s your favorite of these? Am I missing any gems out there? I’m always looking for ways to make my twitter feed any better, so hit me with whatever you got. Also, for rap twitters NOT to follow, avoid Iggy Azalea (AKA Igloo Australia) and Macklemore because they’re straight trash, no explanation necessary.


Spit Talking

Farewell (?) Desus vs Mero

Well folks, looks like the best show (not) on TV might be over.

Or it is for now, anyways. The last episode of Desus vs Mero (episode 46) aired on Complex a few weeks ago to finish up their year run. This is a damn tragedy and the streets demand more Desus vs Mero. I’ll start a kickstarter I don’t care, whatever it takes to get these geniuses back on the air.

Desus vs Mero Intro

If you haven’t watched any Desus vs Mero yet, scope my writeup then go watch all of them.


Final Episode

After 45 episodes (usually between 20-30 minutes), Desus vs Mero have sent off the fans with an hour special, which aired just before the end of the year. It’s a damn shame, because DVM used to be the most important part of every week. Aside from twitter (and Guy Code and a few other things), the internet no longer considers both sides nor do they catch #knowledgedarts anymore. This is a national tragedy and all flags should be half-mast until my kickstarter (coming soon) comes through for the rescue.

The DVM-ies

Desus vs Mero DVM-iesAnyways, the last episode is so long because of the most important year-end awards there are, the DVM-ies. They settle all of 2014’s burning final questions, including fight of the year, worst rapper of the year, (peak) caucacity of the year and others. So yeah, it’s an opportunity for them to talk just one more hour of unmarked nonsequential cash shit.

Marshawn Lynch obviously won RN of the year, and even I, as a bitter Packer fan, can appeciate that. Iggy Azalea only won a share (3/4) of worst rapper of the year, in the surprise of the century. Head over to Complex and scope the episode to see the other definitive year-end awards of 2014.

Desus vs Mero MigosThey also considered The Migos for RN of the year, for their commitment to rebuilding music following the distaster from a few decades ago, The Beatles. In related news, they also decided to add a new category last minute, Trash of the Year, which they gave to The Beatles, surprising exactly no one. Marshawn Lynch ultimately won out, but Migos still deserves mad respect for almost snatching the prestigious award.

#LifeComesAtYouFast

It was a great episode, but near the end it got a little sad. I bet some people were wiping tears off their faces by the end (shh not me though.) For the first time we saw the green screen with nothing on it, showing just how hood their set really is (you know, besides the green screen.) They also showed a minute or two behind the scenes, Desus had a (not surprising) confession about what’s in his cup, and they even brought out Donnie (the Complex editor who I assume made it all happen), which I’m pretty sure is technically snitching.

Desu vs Mero Green ScreenDesus vs Mero DonnieDesus vs Mero Behind the Scenes

So what now?

Well, if you haven’t seen every episode yet (there’s a good 46), go to Complex right now and scope every single one (they’re all worth it.) At least listen to the podcasts, which are actually longer because they’re not edited like the videos are. Then once you’ve done that watch a TV show that’s like DVM. There aren’t any, so you’ll have to chip in to my kickstarter (coming soon) to bring Desus vs Mero back to a screen near you.


I’ll be watching old episodes if you need me.

Watch Desus vs Mero on Complex

Ain’t nothing like Desus vs Mero, so let’s just hope it’s back soon. Alternatively, hopefully Desus and/or Mero go on to do big things and DVM will just be what started it all. But until then, be on the lookout for my kickstarter, and if you have an empty hole in your life like I do, join me in watching some movies with rappers.


Spit Talking

Rap Gift Ideas: Socks, Wallets and Beyond

You know I’m always looking for dope rap gift ideas.

I got a new batch for you today. Whoever you’re looking for, I got enough random hip hop gifts here for you to make them happy. Whether you’re looking for some classic hip hop or just an iPhone case, this is a random edition of dope rap gifts.


50 Cent Wallet

50 Cent WalletThis 50 Cent wallet is top 5 realest things you can buy for someone. If you wanna keep your money safe, best trust 50 with your cash and see someone try to fuck with it. It’s a good bifold which is all you need because trifolds are trash, so don’t expect me to take you seriously if you have a trifold wallet. Also, added bonus with this wallet: next time you get mugged and try to tell dude you only got 50 cent in your pocket, you won’t be lying!

50 Cent Mens/Womens Hip Hop Wallet


Tupac and Biggie Socks

Odd Sox Rap GodsLook at your life or the person’s life you’re shopping for, and try to tell me that life wouldn’t be better with these socks. When you put them together, Big and Pac symbolically unite in harmony. If you wanna celebrate the end of the years-long east coast west-coast rap beef (one of the best group beefs of all time), go on and buy a pair of these socks. They look mad dope from afar and even doper from up close.

Odd Sox Rap Gods Retro Socks


 Hip Hop Box

Hip Hop BoxMaybe you know someone who’s trynna get into hip hop, or someone who bumps all sorts of hip hop, but they only got mp3s and don’t have any physical copies of dope hip hop. For either of these cases (and probably a few other ones), hook em up with the Hip Hop Box. It’s a box set of all the classic hip hop, from Rapper’s Delight to The Message to U.N.I.T.Y. to C.R.E.A.M. to Regulate to 21 Questions. It’s pretty much a CD encyclopedia of dope (classic, mainstream) hip hop.

The Hip Hop Box


Run DMC Baby Shirt

Run DMC Baby ShirtCome on, this shit’s just mad cute. If you got a baby in your life, make sure they stay fresh to death from birth, starting with the shit they rock. This is just a classic clean look, and you could just get yourself a tee with the same shit on it and look fresh, but fuck that hook a baby up instead. Come on, share a little of that shine and pick up a Run DMC Baby Shirt. It’s probably the dopest look that a baby can pull off.

Run DMC Baby Shirt


Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It iPhone 5/5s Case

Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It iPhone 5/5s CaseFinally, this is a practical gift that anyone can appreciate, but especially the NWA fan in your life. It’s a nice cork case that just has those simple words on them to not ruin your iPhone’s look, so it isn’t just one of those trash plastic ones you pick up when you’re in line at Walgreen’s. I’m about to pick a couple up for myself because I’m sick of the $5 cases that barely do anything. This shit’s about to look mad good on my phone, so buy one for yourself or a friend.

Black Ink Bamboo Wood Cover for iPhone 5 / 5S


Let me know if you found something for whoever you’re looking out for.

I got a good spread of stuff here, and I guarantee that the hip hop fan in your life will like any of these rap gifts. Whether they need a place for their phone, or their cash, or even their feet, I covered a lot. But if you’re still looking…

Scope some dope gifts for hip hop heads here.

Scope some more hip hop gift ideas here.

Scope hip hop movies here.

Scope hip hop books here.


Spit Talking

Best Rap Beats: All Time (Part 3)

The eternal question rages on…

about the best hip hop beats of all time. I’m trying to figure it out here so read along and see if you agree. This is part 3 of the best rap beats: all time.

Scope part 1 here.

Scope part 2 here.


Outkast – GhettoMusick

Outkast - Speakerboxx/The Love BelowOutkast probably deserves a lot of spots on here, particularly some older ones, but I’m only giving them one spot. Ghettomusick gets it cause it’s fucking nuts. The electro gets you at first, then the soul slowdown pulls you in. Big Boi is the king for these kinds of quick beats, cause he’s agile enough to just kill it like no one else can. This beat is one that only Outkast would dare fuck with, but they pull it off by never letting the quick shit or the slow shit go on too long. Bonus: the video’s mad dope.


MF Doom – Rap Snitch Knishes

MF DOOM - MM..FOODMF Doom is another dude who could have a lot of spots on this list, but I’m only giving him one, and it’s a tough decision. I’m giving it to Rap Snitch Knishes for the fast-paced beat which somehow doesn’t require a fast flow over it. The track is just a classic too, making fun of rappers that constantly incriminate themselves just to try to prove their street cred. The beat sets this up too, sounding at once playful and monumental in a balance only MF Doom can pull off.


Public Enemy – Fight the Power

Public Enemy - Fear of a Black PlanetThis track is so damn good that it was an important part of one of the most important (and best) movies of all time, Do the Right Thing (shouts to Spike Lee, who asked Public Enemy to make a theme for the film.) Anyone who’s ever heard it would recognize the intro instantly, and then it just drops into a great beat with just a little funk, when Public Enemy starts spitting some of the most political rap out there. If I had to pick out a beat that exemplified late ’80s rap, I’d for sure go with Fight the Power. I’ll never get tired of bumping this track, and the beat’s a big part of that.


The Roots – The OtherSide

The Roots - UndunComing off a newer Roots album, The OtherSide still shows they’re the best rap band out there and that they can still bring it like no one else can. Again, the intro sets it up so well (sound familiar?) that whether or not you’ve heard it before you just gotta anticipate that beat to come in. The drums hit so damn hard in a way that only live drums can (shouts to Questlove, the best drummer alive, hip hop or not. Speaking of anticipation, I like this track so damn much that sometimes I put the track before it (Kool On) on just to build that anticipation even more. Scope this shit.


Nas – The World is Yours

Nas - IllmaticAny track on Illmatic could go on this list. Any track. I don’t want the list to only be Illmatic tracks though, so I’m picking this one. Pete Rock produced this one, and he expertly works the hook into the beat, making this track stick in your head in a way that most can’t. Like that good early ’90s shit, it’s a real simple beat that just loops, cause there’s no reason to fuck with perfection. Pete Rock, DJ Premier and a few others are as big a reason as Nas is for Illmatic’s incredible success, and I think a lot of it starts with this track. Listen to it and just try not to get it stuck in your head.


This concludes the best rap beats of all time, or at least part 3.

As usual, let me know if I’m completely wrong or just partially wrong in the comments.

But first, scope part 1 here.

Scope part 2 here.


Spit Talking

Best Rap Beats: All Time (Part 2)

A lot goes into crafting the perfect hip hop beat.

Let’s go through some of the best in history. Some of the best are mad chill, but some of them just go hard. From boom bap and beyond, these are the best rap beats: all time.

Scope part 1 here.

Scope part 3 here.


GZA – 4th Chamber

GZA - Liquid SwordsThis is a classic off of Liquid Swords. As usual, the GZA brings the lyrical heat, and the RZA drops the fire beat. The intro pops it off with a sound that can only be described as electric. Like most great classic beats (and most classic RZA beats), the melody’s fire but the overall beat is simple and basically just loops, kindly leaving room for GZA to go hard. RZA’s beats are one of a kind for that grimy but somehow inviting atmosphere, and the 4th Chamber backing is no exception to the rule.


Freddie Gibbs and Madlib – Shitsville

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - PiñataThis beat by Madlib sounds like it was made for Freddie Gibbs, cause I don’t think anyone else could do anything on such a fast beat. It’s manic but consistent, and like the best of Madlib’s beats it doesn’t really sound like all the sounds can come together for a hip hop beat. Also like most of Madlib’s shit, it does all come together and it’s fire. Come for the dope ass beat, stay when you’re blown by how Freddie Gibbs somehow manages to spit fire over it.


Black Star – Respiration

Black Star - Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black StarLike the other songs on this list, the rap from Mos Def and Talib Kweli also happens to be mad dope. Hi-Tek handled the production, and it’s pretty minimalistic during verses, so you can rap in a few different ways on it. It’s not the chillest beat, but it’s still a damn good one to smoke to (and as Mos Def says, “breathe out, weed smoke retrace the skyline.”) This is an excellent example of how a subtle beat with a killer hook can go far.


 Blackalicious – Release (Parts 1, 2 and 3)

Blackalicious - Blazing ArrowThis is really more like 3 beats in one dope track by the production side of Blackalicious, Chief Xcel. One of them is a slow haunting backing for spoken word featuring Saul Williams the legend. That one’s sandwiched between two high-tempo, high-energy beats, one of them featuring Zack de la Rocha (of Rage Against the Machine fame) yelling the same word over and over (for a reason.) It’s a ten minute track off Blazing Arrow, and it’s one of my favorite tracks of all time, for reasons that are equal part lyrically and production based.


 Big K.R.I.T.  – Talkin Bout Nothing

Big K.R.I.T. - King Remembered in TimeThis is a self-produced gem off King Remembered in Time, KRIT’s brilliant free mixtape. The track isn’t even 3 minutes long, which is a damn national tragedy. Something about its pacing just feels like it keeps you on your toes at all time. The same thing can be said for Big K.R.I.T.’s rap (on any track including this one.) The beat somehow sounds luxurious and fit for a king, and sets the stage for fire lines from KRIT, like, “I was born in the country, I ain’t trippin’ on snakes.” No you ain’t, KRIT.


Now you know what the greatest hip hop beats of all time are…

Or at least you’re a little closer to knowing. As usual, if you think I forgot any, hit me with em. I definitely haven’t covered everything, so except more coming soon.

Scope part 1 here.

Scope part 3 here.


Spit Talking

Funniest Hip Hop Skits

Wanna know what the best rap skits of all time are?

As long as rap has been around, the best hip hop album skits have taken classic albums to another level. From the ridiculously absurd to the subtly hilarious, the best skits are as good as classic tracks. These are some of the funniest hip hop skits there are.


Kanye West (well, Chris Rock) – Blame Game

Chris Rock

Photo: biography.com

This one is real recent, but it’s still a straight-up classic hip hop skit. Kanye doesn’t do any of the heavy lifting in the skit (which is at the end of a dope track with John Legend (AKA da King), leaving that to Chris Rock. The funniest man in the country is trying to find out how this woman got her pussy reupholstered, among other things, to which she replies Yeezy taught her (presumably in the New Workout Plan.) Chris Rock just keeps on going, and you’ll just keep laughing your ass of as long as he does. It’s a dope song, and a mad funny skit.


Nas – Genesis

Nas

Photo: wikipedia.org

The intro to Illmatic, this one isn’t the funniest on this list, but it’s monumentally important and it’s got jokes. It’s the best type of rap skit, cause it’s pretty much just Nas and his friends sitting around listening to the radio, rolling up and talking shit. It’s funny as hell though when Nas pretty much just has to yell at his friends to light the Philly up. Similar situations have probably happened worldwide with this track on in the background for more than 20 years now. Also, the end of this kicks off NY State of Mind, which is of course the greatest hip hop track of all time.


Vic Mensa – Hollywood LA

Vic Mensa

Photo: blogs.kcrw.com

Another recent one, this is off Vic Mensa’s mad dope (and mad free) mixtape, INNANETAPE. It starts with Vic’s phone ringing with a call from his agent or maybe friend or something who eventually realizes Vic just woke up. Vic tries to act like he wasn’t dreaming 10 seconds ago, and dude on the other side of the line is just yelling at him to make sure he actually catches his plane to Hollywood. It’s a real funny rap skit, and it also just happens to kick off a fire track. We’ve all answered the phone when we weren’t supposed to be sleeping and tried to act like we weren’t, and Vic gets that.


Wu-Tang Clan – Method Man

Method Man and U-God

Photo: methodman.info

The skit at the beginning of Method Man (on 36 Chambers of course), Torture is probably the funniest rap skit of all time, and definitely one of the most popular. Basically, U-God and Method Man go back and forth talking about the horrifying ways they’d torture each other, including rusty screwdrivers. Again, the track kicked off by this skit is great, not to mention mad funny on its own. The Wu are the kings of the hip hop skit, and they perfected the form thanks in no small part to the Torture skit. Speaking of funny ass Wu-Tang Clan skits that heavily feature Method Man…


 Wu-Tang Clan – Can It Be All So Simple

Method Man

Photo: genius.com

I said they were the kings right? This is also off 36 Chambers, but this time the skit is at the end of the song (which is also a hell of a track, and the best on the album in my opinion.) It’s not so much a skit as it is an interview, but fuck it this is my article. It’s not only hilarious but also mad educational (some might even say edutainment), as Method Man “starts from the top” and takes you through every member of the Wu (including Baby U, who’s a psychopathic thinker, since he thought of the Torture skit.)

I seriously think this is the best place to start for someone who wants to know who the folks in the Wu are, but if you already know you’ll just laugh your ass off. This is the best song on the album, and ends with maybe the funniest and definitely the best rap skit of all time. If every album had a part like this just explaining the rapper(s) and their mission(s), or a part doing something one of the other skits on this list does right, the hip hop world would be a better place.


Which one’s the funniest hip hop skit?

These are just some of my favorites from a variety of recent and classic albums, and there are way more than 5 funny rap skits. Let me know which ones you think I fucked up by forgetting. I’m expecting a few more skits from the Wu.


Spit Talking

TV Rap: Best Shows With Hip Hop

Some of the best TV shows have nothing to do with rap plotwise, but use dope hip hop for their theme music and other music.

These are the best examples of TV rap, or the best shows with hip hop that aren’t necessarily about hip hop.


The Boondocks

The Boondocks

Photo: play.google.com

If you haven’t scoped any of the Boondocks yet, go do so right now and then keep reading (first 2 seasons are on Netflix.) It started off as the bravest and most funny comic strip in the paper, then became the bravest and most funny show on TV. It’s basically about 2 black kids from Chicago who are moved out to the very white suburbs when their grandpa retires. It’s not only the best TV show that deals with race, the theme song is a mad dope rap and the ending theme is a great instrumental. If you haven’t already, watch The Boondocks for the hip hop theme song, stay for the jokes and commentary.


Afro Samurai

Afro Samurai

Photo: comicvine.com

Afro Samurai started as a dope manga before being adapted to a short anime (5 episodes.) The main dude (a man of few words, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) is constantly followed around by his sidekick (a man of many words, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson.) That alone should be enough to make you want to check it out. If you need more though, and if you’re wondering why I’m writing about it, then you should hear the soundtrack, which is done by RZA. In case you’re not convinced from the Wu’s many albums (including some solo concept albums which are basically movies) that RZA is the right man for the job, he also did the soundtrack for Kill Bill and The Man with the Iron Fists.


Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Photo: fanpop.com

You probably already know Master Shake, Frylock, Meatwad and Carl, but if you don’t, you should. ATHF is mad funny, but they also have one of the best them songs of all time, with the main characters introducing themselves. It’s one of the best rap theme songs of all time. Of all time! Again, the ending theme and transitions are also dope, so not only is it funny but the general vibe’s mad chill. Scope Aqua Teen Hunger Force, in case for some reason you don’t already spend most of your time watching Adult Swim.


The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Fresh Prince

Photo: episodedata.com

You know I had to put this on the list. Will Smith is not a famous rapper or anything in The Fresh Prince, but it was pretty much made for him to star in. It got kind of popular, and Will Smith is now known as a rapper second (after most bankable movie star of all time, maybe) I think mostly because of it. But the theme song is well known by pretty much anyone who’s ever seen an episode. It’s a great show about growing up, whether you identify more with Will or Carlton. Watch it for the opening rap, stay for Carlton’s dancing and Jazz (AKA DJ Jazzy Jeff.) Oh and RIP James Avery (Uncle Phil!)


 Which of these is your favorite?

Which haven’t you seen? If I’m missing something, which ones haven’t I seen? As usual, let me know in the comments.


Spit Talking

Greatest Hip Hop Producers: All Time

Who are the best hip hop producers in history?

This question is probably not asked as much as its cousin (about who the greatest rappers of all time are), but it’s definitely just as hard to answer. I’ll do it in no particular order, I’ll just throw some names at you that definitely belong in the discussion. This is a good place to start for greatest hip hop producers: all time.


Madlib

Madlib

Photo: twitter.com

Madlib is a mad dope producer, even though he considers himself mainly a DJ. He also raps, but usually as Quasimodo. For Quasimodo, he changes his voice’s pitch to sound really high, like Mac Miller now does for Delusional Thomas. Anyway, Madlib is one of the most successful producers of all time, but he’s also one of the most experimental producers of all time, in a few ways.

The sounds he comes up with are just unique, and he rocks the soul, the jazz, rock, older hip hop, anything. No once can make beats quite like Madlib does, and his ear is just crazy good. Then on top of that, he switches beats constantly. Some producers find a sound that works and run with it for like 5 minutes every song, but Madlib lets his shit run like 2 minutes before switching it up to the next track, that’s how much he’s got bouncing around in his head. I think the best proof of this is his fire collab as Madvillain with MF Doom, Madvillainy.

Madvillainy - Madvillain


RZA

RZA

Photo: thegrid10.com

RZA is pretty much Wu-Tang’s frontman, hip hop’s go-to philosopher and its most successful figure in the movies. Some rappers act — RZA wrote, directed, produced, narrarated, scored AND starred in The Man with the Iron Fists, so it’s fair to say he’s the most diverse talent in hip hop, not counting businessmen like 50 cent. RZA is also probably hip hop’s best businessman too though, considering he got all of Wu-Tang signed to a record deal where they all had individual freedom to sign other deals.

But anyways, on to his (hip hop) production. RZA is the king of that dark back alley at 3 AM sound. Odd Future is often said to take after the Wu in a lot of ways, but the biggest factor in that is the beats and the atmosphere, so we can put that on RZA. If you listen to his beats, the individual sounds are never that dark and sometimes even sound like they’re on some playground shit, but they always come together for that real dark and grimy sound. His sense of atmosphere is so on point, it makes sense that he went on to making movies, particularly after the best proof of his talent, GZA’s Liquid Swords (recorded in RZA’s basement.)

Liquid Swords - GZA the Genius


 DJ Premier

DJ Premier

Photo: beatstars.com

If you wanna know why Premier is one of the greatest producers of all time, you just gotta look at who he’s worked with. He produced all of Gang Starr’s shit, and now he’s part of another duo with Royce da 5’9″. He’s also worked with Jay-Z and Kanye and Gamer and Big L and Biggie and Mobb Deep and KRS-One… and of course Nas. All the proof you really need for this is NY State of Mind.

Nas of course kills it, but the beat is absolutely perfect. It’s a pretty simple loop that goes almost uninterrupted (except exactly when it needs to be) and is a template for boom-bap. If you want ’90s sounding hip hop, you’re gonna want it to sound like DJ Premier. It’s not always about maximalism. Premier knew that damn well, and his ear helped him. For proof, just listen to Illmatic even though he didn’t do all of it.

Illmatic - Nas


Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre

Photo: businessinsider.com

And y’all thought I forgot about Dre. Don’t get me wrong, dude could rap, but he could really make a beat. With NWA, then later by himself/with Snoop Dogg, he defined G-funk and the west coast ruled hip hop in the early ’90s because of it. When you hear a beat by Dre (the good kind), you know exactly who it’s by because the Compton whine is unmistakeable. His career up to 1993 would already be remarkable just by itself. But then Dre just kept going with Eminem, reinventing his own sound in the process.

Matching Eminem’s playful flow with playful beats, Dre was a big part of Em’s monstrous success (you know, besides the whole being white thing, let’s be real.) It’s nuts that Dre was able to get as big as he did with NWA, then to be able to do it again solo, with Snoop AND with Em is just god-given talent. Any list of best producer/rappers need Dre, but so does any list of all time producers. For proof, you could check out The Chronic, but I say you should scope Doggystyle. It’s a more complete album, and Snoop is the shit.

Doggystyle - Snoop Dogg


 Kanye West

Kanye West

Photo: huffingtonpost.com

Speaking of folks who should definitely be on lists of the best rapper/producers but also just straight best producer lists, there’s Kanye. Obviously he got big by jumpin on his own tracks, but even just his work with Jay-Z on The Blueprint and The Black Album could get him on here. It’s just an added bonus for him that he got his own career so he could really blow up and win every Grammy and show just how good his production is. Kanye is the king of soul production, but he’s constantly changing his sound.

Whether he’s doing his trademark soul shit (The College Dropout), or going for more R&B to match his autotune crooning (808s and Heartbreak), or going full-out maximalist, encompassing both of those (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), Kanye is the best hip hop producer when it comes to many kinds of hip hop. And that’s without even mentioning Yeezus or the work he’s done for other artists like Pusha T. Anyways, whether or not you like his rap, you can’t deny his production talent, and neither can the Grammys. You can listen to any of his albums for proof of this, but for a good variety, listen to the (fairly recent but still classic) Graduation.

Graduation - Kanye West


This concludes my attempt at figuring out the best hip hop producers of all time.

I know y’all can’t all agree with this. I mean shit, I can already count a few I left out, including the late great J Dilla (rest in peace), but I think 5 is a good number to start with. Air out your grievances in the comments.


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