Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged hip hop

Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness

If the Asian American contribution to hip-hop has been largely invisible, South Asian American rap artists, here including those whose families came from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Fiji, have received a surprising amount of critical attention focused on re-conceptualizing race and the increasingly universal appeal of contemporary Black popular culture. On the heels of Ajay Nair and Murali Balaji’s 2009 study Desi Rap: Hip Hop and South Asian America comes Hip Hop Desis , an ethnographic analysis of a group of South Asian American rappers and the shared experience of those living in “racially marked bodies.”


One thing to know about Platinum is that it’s about women in the hip-hop industry—several types of women. To narrow it down, there are four voices compiling the novel, each one narrating a different perspective of the industry, each one fulfilling a particular role. There’s the rapper’s devoted wife who turns a blind eye and tolerates STDs due to his infidelities.

At Last

It seems counter-intuitive by now that women rappers would rhyme about anything other than leftist politics, feminist ideals, empowerment and sexuality, and anti-corporatism.

/\/\/\Y/\ (Maya)

A week prior to its July 13th release, M.I.A.’s new album, /\/\/\Y/_ (or _Maya), was made available streaming on the artist's MySpace page.


Christina Aguilera has been a polemic figure since her breakthrough hit "Genie in a Bottle". She has a sexual aesthetic similar to a young Madonna’s, fashion sense like Cher’s, and raw vocal power comparable to a younger Whitney Houston’s. Her albums contain raunchy sexed-up tracks that appeal to sexually blossoming young adults and stately ballads that appeal to their post-menopausal mothers.

Gotta Dance

Gotta Dance opens with a scene of an energetic NBA game, with all the halftime mascot antics and acrobatic dance routines we’ve come to expect. But the New Jersey Nets are trying out something different this year.

East African Hip Hop: Youth Culture and Globalization

Ntarangwi’s book on hip hop culture in East Africa could be used as an academic treatise for music and cultural classes in any university in America. Generally speaking, when we create something, very rarely are we aware of the far-reaching implications that creation may have outside of our immediate scope. Hip hop has been one such creation. Similar to jazz, hip hop was, in part, created out of the need to communicate what did not want to be heard, at first.

The Gospel of Hip Hop: The First Instrument

Just as jazz is a uniquely American phenomenon whose sentiment and message resonate with people the world round, so is hip-hop. Hip-hop began as a means by which to illustrate the experiences of people living their daily lives in the ‘hoods of New York. Although the originators of hip-hop, such as the Sugar Hill Gang were instrumental in shedding light on teen pregnancy, drug addiction, and violence it wasn’t until the era of KRS-One that hip-hop evolved to the status of Cultural Revolution. KRS-One, best known as Teacha, brought hip-hop to the mainstream.

One Love

French DJ and producer David Guetta’s One Love is a dream come true for dance and electronica fans who like hip-hop too.

The Revival

In October 2009, hip-hop was declared dead yet again by music critic and New Yorker writer Sasha Frere-Jones.


I just completed a music review about how important I thought it was for the fans to evolve with the artist. Perhaps I put my foot in my mouth. I guess I should preface this review by saying that I am a huge fan of Queen Latifah. I am not, however, a huge fan of Persona. I like to break music up into layers of how I enjoy it; those layers consist of lyrics, vocals, music, and production.

By the Throat

I have a difficult time choosing music. On the one hand, I have respect for those who are masters of their craft. On the other hand, I identify with heartfelt lyrics and an impassioned performance. Finding musicians who are both masterful and vulnerable is like finding a unicorn. These rare individuals are listened to for decades and deemed timeless. Within seconds of listening, it is easy to determine that Eyedea is a highly-skilled DJ. He blends hip hop and rock in a way that is both seamless and surprisingly unique. For this alone, I give him a gold star.

Jay Stay Paid

Throughout his short career renowned hip hop producer, DJ, and rapper J Dilla (a.k.a. James Dewitt Yancey) maintained a vault of unreleased tracks. Three years after passing away from Lupus-related complications, a sampling of his unfinished work has been compiled into a full-length album, a project helmed by his mother (known as "Ma Dukes") and acclaimed producer Pete Rock.

Hiding in Hip Hop: On The Down Low in the Entertainment Industry—From Music to Hollywood

Terrance Dean opens his book, Hiding in Hip Hop, with two quotes, one from Ellen Degeneres, in which she states, “If it weren’t for blacks, Jews, and gays, there would be no Oscars.” The other was from The Bhagavad Gita: “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with p

New Muslim Cool

You might come to this film with some knowledge of hip-hop, or you might not. You might even have some knowledge of Islam, too. Neither is required, however, because New Muslim Cool is, when you get right down to it, a story of a man trying hard to know and be himself in the world. Jennifer Maytorena Taylor gives us Hamza Pérez (formerly Jason), a Puerto Rican Muslim from the streets of Boston who, along with his Muslim community from Beantown, has transplanted himself to Pittsburgh, PA to start a mosque and put down some roots.


Playing in subway stations wasn’t that fun for us At first it was, but now it’s getting old First it was, but now I’m getting cold - “Playing in Subway Stations” I owe my fascination, adoration, and patronage of Anticon artists to my friend Nick. The most taciturn person I know, he is also the reason I became vegan. Not particularly conversant, he may not even know either of these things, though his quiet example has been profound and influential.

The Real HipHop: Battling for Knowledge, Power, and Respect in the LA Underground

As a Euro-Native girl growing up neglected in a Canadian redneck home in the late '80s and early '90s, I copied my anti-establishment parents by hanging with drug dealers, thieves, and bikers. The only element of life I drew inspiration from was the arts: drawing, making and listening music, and martial arts.


They say you can’t live up to a stellar debut record, and this may be true. Lady Sovereign is known as Britain’s white girl grime emcee prodigy, brought to American audiences via the marketing machine that is Jay-Z and compared repeatedly to Eminem.

From the Heart

There are several good songs on From the Heart, but by the end of the album, I was sick of the slow, languorous ballads that Babyface does so well. There’s nothing wrong with most of the songs; they’re just bland, and the delivery becomes monotonous after sixteen tracks.

Misogyny and the Emcee: Sex, Race, and Hip Hop

In light of recent events, when speaking about the state of misogyny in hip-hop, it would be inappropriate to ignore the media frenzy surrounding Rihanna and Chris Brown, each sweetly young, fabulously charming, and wildly successful hip-hop stars in their own right. If you don’t read the CNN ticker, or guiltily sneak a peek at People.com, you could have missed the news that Brown allegedly assaulted his girlfriend the night before the Grammys.

Nerdcore Rising

The disclaimer at the beginning of the Nerdcore Rising DVD reads: "This film has been modified from its original version. It has been made more awesome to fit this screen." Needless to say, I was immediately prepared to not take the film too seriously.

40 dayz

Staying true to her moniker Motion, Wendy Braithwaite’s _40 dayz _ takes readers on a fast-paced word journey. Doubling as a spoken word poet and hip-hop artist, it’s no surprise that Motion’s poems are full of a rhythm often unattainable by most poets. The subjects she writes on seem to develop their very own heartbeats—some thunder while others throb slowly. Of the many subjects Motion covers, a primary topic is, of course, female issues. "Wombstory," a chapter in this collection, includes five poems that examine womanhood. "Blues" transforms the act of sex into a musical experience.

God Has a Voice, She Speaks Through Me

You’ve probably noticed that Sierra and Bianca, the sisters who make up CocoRosie, are not the type to play coy when it comes to performing. Not only do their provocatively bright outfits and adventuresome vocals call attention to this fact, but the duo unapologetically evokes the name of the big "man" upstairs in the title of their latest single.

Feed the Animals

When I heard the first Girl Talk album a few years back, I was pretty excited. It isn’t like remixing is innovative, nor is Gregg Gillis fashioning a new art form (even if he has made it more fashionable again).


The state of mainstream hip-hop is pretty damn depressing. The entire genre has been declared dead a number of times, and the best of a generation make reality shows instead of change. Similarly, the city of Detroit has been ridiculed as economically depressed and full of unprosecuted crime in the shadow of police scandals that have come to prominence again this year. Some might say these are symptoms of a dying city, if it not a dead one. Of the respective states of Detroit and hip-hop, it is also sometimes said that one death begets the other.

FabricLive 39

This record is sick. By 'sick' I mean off the charts wicked, all night booty-shaking, dance party-inspiring, screaming while you crash down the rollercoaster of noise sick. Woah. DJ Yoda, the mastermind behind this collaboration, hails from the UK and focuses on hip-hop turntablism, making a name for himself since the late 1990s with his How to Cut and Paste album series. Joining the ranks of Fabric DJs, he’s outdone himself.

Party Crashing: How the Hip-Hop Generation Declared Political Independence

In Party Crashing, Keli Goff develops an argument relevant to this election: how does the young, African American person vote? Exploring points relevant to black culture, she shows the hip-hop generation finding itself with unmet needs and points out that the support a black person wants or needs differs from that of a white person. Currently, it is assumed black voters automatically support Democratic politicians because Democrats hear and respond to their needs. Goff shows that this is no longer the case, and she elaborates on issues concerning this group of voters.

The Real Thing: Words And Sounds Vol. 3

Jill Scott was introduced to the world on her aptly titled, brilliant, neo soul debut Who is Jill Scott? (Words and Sounds Vol.1). She co-wrote the classic Grammy winning "You Got Me," performed by The Roots with Erykah Badu, and we've been discovering more of her ever since. With soulful, hip hop poetry style here on her third proper studio release, she continues the trend, but with more jazzy flourishes.

Fabriclive 34

I am of the opinion that party music is best heard live while at the party.

Remixes Compiled

Ever since their first LP, Farenheight Fair Enough, I have enjoyed the graceful marriage of technology and music of the Chicago-based duo, Telefon Tel Aviv. They are described as producing “ambient techno” music. Regardless of categorization, Telefon Tel Aviv continues to be soulful and inventive. Put out by Hefty Records, their newest release, Remixes Compiled is an exciting collection of remixes from the past seven years. Organized chronologically, the album exhibits development from beginning to end.