Tag Archives: Hip-Hop

Meet the Other Duo Behind Run the Jewels

little_shalimar-600

Little Shalimar

At its core, Run The Jewels is a tag-team hip-hop duo comprised of the Brooklyn-raised rapper and producer EL-P and Atlanta’s firebrand spitter Killer Mike. But as each album release has been rolled out, the Run The Jewels phenomenon has blossomed into something of an ensemble movement, with a deep cast of guests and supporting artists adding to the texture of each project. (2014’s sophomore outing even featured a salacious trombonist perking up the mix on “Jeopardy.”)

Chief among the Run The Jewels cohorts are Little Shalimar and Wilder Zoby, two multi-instrumentalist brothers who’ve contributed to every RTJ album to date, and have been promoted to co-producer status for the entirety of the recently-released Run The Jewels 3. We spoke to them about their long-running relationship and friendship with EL-P, what goes down during a Run The Jewels studio session, and revisit some of their solo projects.

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The Best New Hip-Hop on Bandcamp

Best New Hip Hop

The year 2016 concluded with an unexpected present for hip-hop heads: Run The Jewels—aka rappers Killer Mike and El-P—decided to drop their third album ahead of schedule on Christmas Eve. True to the duo’s heritage, the 14-track project booms with loud and abrasive electro-funk beats, Killer Mike’s political rhetoric, and El-P’s trademark cynicism. While Run The Jewels 3 might have dominated late-December playlists, here’s a deeper snapshot of 11 other rap releases that are well worth your leftover Christmas cash.

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Blitz the Ambassador Uses Hip-Hop to Make Crucial Global Connections

Blitz

Photos by Robert Winter

Six albums into his globe-trotting career, Ghanaian-born rapper Blitz the Ambassador has finally discovered a depth and breadth in his voice and style that allows him funnel his experiences into the music he makes. His latest release, Diasporadical, adopts a modern and globalized style, blending the struggles of African-evolved people worldwide and an awareness of musical history with boom-bap beats and breaks. By doing so, he’s helping to advance rap music, giving it a worldwide viewpoint that’s perfectly suited to our modern, everyone-is-connected moment.

“I’m everywhere but nowhere at the same time,“ Blitz says. “My personal evolution has evolved from making Ghanaian music, to making hip-hop based Ghanaian music in New York City. Then I toured the world after my first albums, and I gained a sense that hip-hop culture was a global phenomenon. Now, I’m gaining an urgency in my message. Because the world is shifting, and socio-political commentary is becoming more important than ever before. People need to find the connection to the global hip-hop diaspora. I’m not on a label, I wasn’t on a schedule, and I took my time to make the best record possible.”

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The Roots of Dubstep Echo in the Haunting Sound of ’90s Label WordSound

Wordsound

In the early 1990s, without fanfare, a dark sound started seeping out of the sewers of then-desolate Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A chilling mix of dub, instrumental hip-hop, and dark ambient, the music was a pure product of its environment. “It was just an industrial wasteland with all these abandoned factories and warehouses and people living illegally, doing illegal things,” says S.H. “Skiz” Fernando. “It was this oasis in this city where so much stuff would happen.” A journalist turned producer, Fernando founded WordSound Recordings in 1994 as a way of capturing the music. Since then, he’s released over 50 albums, 10 of them as his primary alter ego, Spectre the Ill Saint.
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Five Artists Who Are Keeping Bay Area Hip-Hop Strong

Otayo Dubb

Otayo Dubb

The Bay Area hip-hop scene has certainly had its share of notable moments over the years, but the last scene to find favor with a large audience outside the region was the Hyphy era, which slowly faded into obscurity around 2010. But that doesn’t mean the Bay has gone quiet; the area has a long history of making noise, whether it was Too $hort, E-40, Hieroglyphics, Living Legends, or any one of the number of critically acclaimed acts in between. That spirit remains strong and vital to this day.

Diversity is the key: The Bay Area is host to a wide variety of of hip-hop styles, from ‘hood vibes to backpacker to the live band approach — there’s even some pop rap. Ironically, the result of all this variety is a spirit of camaraderie: artists support one another, keeping the Bay fresh by showing that an intimate scene can achieve longevity simply by covering all of the stylistic bases. That’s one of the reasons Bay hip-hop is still here, and still healthy and relevant.

These five artists are a perfect example of how fresh and versatile that scene remains.

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