Subject:

Hip-Hop and Rap

  • Blogs

    September 11, 2014

    The Drake Vs. Lil Wayne Show Is Spectacular

    First of all, whoever decided to present Drake and Lil Wayne in a staged performance competition was fucking brilliant. Taking two radio hip hop stars and giving them equal stage time by weaving their sets together meant the energy during a two-hour set last night at Red Rocks never dissipated; it w ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 11, 2014

    Everything Outkast Is Cooler Than

    Outkast, now just a handful of shows away from what looks a lot like the end of its performing career, has made something of an art form out of cleverly describing its own level of "cool." Though the Atlanta duo is far from the first rap group to do so, Big Boi and Andre 3000 have certainly made a g ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 8, 2014

    The Best Concerts in Denver this Week

    Kind of a quiet week, as week's in Denver's live music scene go. There are a few good shows before the weekend, though, including Drake and Lil Wayne's co-headlining tour and Midge Ure at Soiled Dove. Rest up: The weekend's a doozy, with big shows from Rubedo, Miss America and more. See also: Ten ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 27, 2014

    Hip-Hop Did Not Start the Way You Think it Did

    To hear most people tell it, the history of rap goes like this: MCs were originally rapping primarily to showcase their DJs. That is, until Sugar Hill Gang put out "Rapper's Delight" in 1979. It was the second rap record of all time and an enormous hit, proving there was a market for rapping on wax. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2014

    Ranking the 2014 Wu-Tang Clan From Worst to Best

    A week ago all nine of the surviving members of the Wu-Tang Clan returned on The Daily Show to premiere a new song from their upcoming album A Better Tomorrow. This was a bona fide, anti-cynicism Good Thing. We all love the Wu-Tang Clan, and any time they collectively decide to return to their art s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 26, 2014

    The ten best hip-hop DJs in Denver

    Denver's hip-hop scene is ripe with talent, especially in terms of the great DJs fans have access too. You could walk into dozens of clubs, bars, patios, pool parties or even corporate events that just happens to be hosted by one of the town's best. The competition is stiff, and a following here can ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 5, 2014

    Denver rapper/DJ/midwife wants to use twerking to raise awareness about fracking

    Denver's DJ Cavem Moetevation spends plenty of time focusing on the "green" stuff. But his green stuff is not money or weed. Instead, his focus is on kale and being eco-friendly. Cavem -- a former Westword MasterMind award winner -- is a husband and father, a teacher, a rapper, a DJ, a midwife, and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 21, 2014

    The true spirit of 4/20 was at Cervantes' insane block party/quadruple concert

    Method Man and Redman, who were recently immortalized on the cover of High Times with their faces carved into an imaginary "Mount Kushmore," played a sold-out show on 4/20 at Cervantes' Masterpiece. No surprises there. Also Leftover Salmon was playing in the street right outside, with members of Lit ... More >>

  • Calendar

    April 10, 2014
  • Blogs

    April 9, 2014

    Director Jeff Broadway on making Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton: This is Stones Throw Records

    Known to hip-hop heads and vinyl connoisseurs as Peanut Butter Wolf, Chris Manak is a DJ and producer who founded the influential underground label Stones Throw Records. The new documentary Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton tells the story of this nearly two-decade-old Los Angeles record label by exploring Wol ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 17, 2014

    Denver fans explain why De La Soul still matters

    De La Soul, the iconic Long Island hip-hop trio, performed last Saturday to a capacity crowd at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom. It was "nuts-to-butts crowded," as my Tennessee friends like to say. Consider now the fact that the group hasn't released a proper album in five years (2009's obscure Are ... More >>

  • Music

    March 13, 2014
  • Blogs

    March 5, 2014

    One label controls almost all of hip-hop, and that's a problem for music fans

    It's common knowledge that the popular music industry is dominated by a few huge companies, sometimes referred to as the Big Three: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. It used to be the Big Four, until EMI was subsumed into the other three. Before that, it was the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 28, 2014

    Crack is wack: The ten best musical motivational messages from 1980s and 1990s

    Remember back in the day when you got home from school all psyched to watch some sweet, violent cartoons only to find that the dreaded After School Special? Buzz kill. It was even more of a bummer when our musical heroes took it upon themselves in the '80s and '90s to urge us all to lay off the reef ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 22, 2014

    Should rap lyrics be used in criminal trials?

    Legions of angry parents were already up in arms when gangster rap began. After the 1985 PMRC senate hearing helped institute Parental Advisory stickers, albums by Ice-T and N.W.A. were among the first to be branded. Since then, rap as a musical form has continued to take its lumps for what concerne ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 29, 2013

    Rap is in a new golden era

    The progression of music will always be weighed down by periods of stagnation. Although new rap acts are presented into the mainstream every year, the actual newness of the music is generally overstated. The prime exception to this rule is the so-called "golden ages," pockets of time where innovatio ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 4, 2013

    The best rap shows in Denver in November

    FRI | DELTRON 3030 at 1STBANK CENTER | 11/15/13 Deltron 3030 isn't so much a group or an album as it is a mode of thought, and there are few hip-hop albums (or albums of any genre, for that matter) with the cinematic quality of this group's self-titled debut. Dan the Automator created deeply textur ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 31, 2013

    Prime Element is a hip-hop act that's more concerned with being timeless than relevant

    Prime Element began as 3 the Hardway, three hip-hop heads -- an MC, a producer and a DJ -- devoted to celebrating a culture they love through positivity, hard work and great music. Their name has obviously since changed, as has their label affiliation since Set in Stone, their last release, but what ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 28, 2013

    Live Review: Talib Kweli at Cervantes' Masterpiece, with Big K.R.I.T., 10/27/13

    TALIB KWELI at CERVANTES' MASTERPIECE BALLROOM | 10/27/13 Last night, Cervantes' hosted one of the more interesting pairings in recent memory. The bill featured Talib Kweli, a New York native often lumped in the conscious rap category, and Big K.R.I.T. a Southern Rapper with a huge underground follo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 23, 2013

    From UGK to Chief Keef: A look at the history of trap in rap and its subsequent influence on drill

    What is trap music? According to T.I., on the title track of his genre-defining Trap Muzik, it ain't no album, and it ain't no game. Indeed, the origins of trap go beyond music -- beyond even the Atlanta corners where drugs are dealt and rubberbands are filled -- into the houses where crack cocaine ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2013

    KRS-One at Cervantes' Other Side, 10/19/13

    KRS-ONE at EXTRACT HARVEST FEST at CERVANTES' | 10/19/13 The Extract Harvest Festival took over both sides of Cervantes' with classic hip-hop and reggae filling the place. KRS-One was the main headliner, but all of the acts, which included the Pharcyde, Mr. Vegas and Trapzillas, among others, had th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 18, 2013

    Here's what boxer Mike Alvarado is listening to

    Tomorrow night at 1STBANK Center, Mike Alvarado will battle Ruslan Provodnikov in a junior welterweight title bout that will broadcast live on HBO (7:45 p.m.). The hometown hero, a two-time Skyview High School wrestling champion straight out of Thornton, is an intimidating warrior. If you've seen hi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 15, 2013

    The ten best family-friendly rap albums

    Although lot of rap these days is riddled with violence, misogyny and profanity, there's still plenty of clean rhymes out there to be rocked by the entire family, should you be so inclined. And it all comes worry-free of the ill-effect it might have on impressionable minds, and some of it even ranks ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 4, 2013

    The man behind the mask: Forget about Who Killed Jigaboo Jones -- who is Jeff Campbell?

    Jeff Campbell's one-man show, Who Killed Jigaboo Jones?, premieres tonight at work | space. Our Show & Tell blog spoke with Campbell about the show, and that piece focuses primarily on the production. We also caught up with Campbell, who's been a stalwart of the Colorado hip-hop scene for the better ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 1, 2013

    The best rap shows in Denver in October

    TUES | FLATBUSH ZOMBIES at CERVANTES OTHER SIDE | 10/22/13 As if they tore themselves out of the pages of a graphic novel, Flatbush Zombies are intense and ultra-stylized to an extent that is at once cartoonish and darkly gritty. Sometimes, in the case of very exciting music like theirs, substance t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 24, 2013

    The ten biggest tropes in rap music

    Rap is not the homogeneous radio-whoring genre that people make it out to be -- most of the time. But the rest of the time, you have to admit rap can be just as formulaic and predictable as its detractors claim. If you're looking to find a new appreciation of one of America's greatest musical creati ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 12, 2013

    The ten best rap videos of all time

    There's nothing like a music video to bring out the character in a song. Unfortunately, these days, music videos tend to be mostly the same, especially rap videos. Needless to say, it's refreshing when a clip comes along that is different and creative enough to grab and hold your attention. With tha ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 30, 2013

    The best rap in Denver in September

    KID CUDI & TYLER, THE CREATOR @ RED ROCKS | MON, 9/16/13 Kid Cudi headlines this all-star lineup fresh off the release of his most recent, polarizing release, Indicud. Though his decision to self-produce has rubbed some the wrong way, he remains one of the premier hookmen in the rap game. Tyler, the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 29, 2013

    The ten best all-star remixes in rap

    In music, the term "remix" can mean a lot of different things, even in rap. But one of the most celebrated traditions in the rap industry is collecting verses from the hottest names in the game for a second go-around on a tried-and-true instrumental. On the one hand, you can wind up with a collectio ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2013

    The ten best mixtape rappers of all time

    Supposedly, albums are where it's at. That's when the artist is supposed to bring their A-game, convert the doubters, all that good stuff. So why is it that a lot of the time it's the mixtapes that are the most enjoyable? Maybe it's because so many mixtapes are when artists are still building their ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 27, 2013

    This Friday's Rap-A-Thon to feature more than fifty local MCs in a continuous cipher

    Hip-hop and it don't stop. Surely you've heard this expression. For those immersed in the culture, this is more than just mere words or even a category on the Backbeat blog -- it's a way of life. And this Friday, August at the Savoy Ballroom on 27th and Arapahoe, there's an event that fully intends ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 21, 2013

    Izm White, still in the game almost two decades later, has a Ghostface feature on his new album

    Izm White (aka Hayden Laybourn) has been immersed in the local hip-hop scene since the mid '90s from when he first started heading down from the Western Slope to Denver to compete in MC battles and attend shows. During that time, he's had some ups and downs, from released multiple albums and taking ... More >>

  • Music

    August 15, 2013

    BurntMD

    The Green Invasion
    GTD Entertainment

  • Blogs

    August 15, 2013

    The ten best mixtapes DJs of all time

    Over the last decade or so, mixtapes have revolutionized the rap game and altered how marketing in general is approached. Not only have the rappers received substantial acclaim, but the DJs have realized just as much stardom. Although there are numerous DJs -- guys like Statik Selektah, Trap-A-Holic ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2013

    The ten best rap producers of all time

    Even though rappers and producers share a symbiotic dependence on one another, there's been an ongoing debate in rap music about who plays the most pivotal role: the one providing the words or the one providing the music. While the MCs obviously get the most shine, would Guru's words been as impactf ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 12, 2013

    Horrorcore: From Esham to Hopsin, a look at the history of rap's most terrifying subgenre

    When somebody bathes in blood and guts, swings from hanging bodies or sews together dismembered parts -- that's horror. And so naturally when rappers embody this realm, it's called horrorcore. But true horror is more than blood and guts; it is bewilderment in happenings that occur beyond an ordinar ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 8, 2013

    Ten rappers who should just retire already

    The following rappers have all been, at one point, among the best in the game. They were each considered to be the cream of the crop, but even the finest cream goes bad eventually. Sadly, these MCs are all arguably well past their prime, and although we love them and it pains us to say it, they need ... More >>

  • Music

    August 1, 2013

    Molina Speaks

    Greatest Rapper Never Heard
    Self-released

  • Blogs

    August 1, 2013

    The ten best hip-hop shows in Denver in August

    AMERICA'S MOST WANTED FESTIVAL @ FIDDLER'S GREEN | FRI, 8/23/13 The America's Most Wanted Festival features some of the most talented and successful artists to come out of the South in a long time, including Lil Wayne, whose name speaks for itself and whose March album I Am Not a Human Being II has ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 24, 2013

    Ten rap features that stole the show

    Features have a long history in hip-hop -- one that is now frequently used in other musical forms, as well. It can serve many purposes: A well-placed feature can present you to a whole new pocket of possible fans. It can also take advantage of another rapper's current popularity, or it can give the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 11, 2013

    The ten weirdest hip-hop releases of all time

    Weird is not a bad thing. It sets you apart. So, in rap, where so often so much music sounds so much like the same thing, weird can be a part of something really, really good. It's not surprising, then, that some of the weirdest rap albums of all time have also been some of the most influential. Eve ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 5, 2013

    Which hip-hop crew is the dopest?

    Whether it's been b-boys clashing, graf artists battling or MCs matching wits, hip-hop has always been competitive. These days, the MC has taken preeminence, and the crews are more commercial. Often, they manifest as labels, but sometimes they exist less formally as collectives, such as Wu-Tang or O ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 5, 2013

    Ten more (un)likely signings for Cash Money

    Cash Money Records, the label founded by Bryan "Baby/Birdman" Williams in 1991, rose to prominence in the hip-hop scene with its signing of the Hot Boys, consisting of B.G., Young Turk, Lil' Wayne and Juvenile. Since then, the group has become one of rap's premier labels, having piggybacked Lil Wayn ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 4, 2013

    Ten rappers and the artistic movements they exemplify

    Stylistically, rap has exploded, and the pieces fall everywhere from the mind-bogglingly complex to the unbelievably simple, from the brazenly dissident to the unapologetically mainstream. Rappers' influences seem to come from everywhere, but the stylistic differences between an Aesop Rock and a 2 C ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 3, 2013

    The ten best hip-hop shows in Denver in June

    GETO BOYS @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | SAT, 6/22/13 When it comes to the history of hip-hop in the Dirty South, it begins with Geto Boys and their self-titled, Rick Rubin-produced debut. The group had existed, though with a different cast, since '86, but it wasn't until the turn of the decade -- when it go ... More >>

  • Music

    May 9, 2013

    Pusha T

    Tuesday, May 14, Ogden Theatre, 888-929-7849.

  • Blogs

    May 7, 2013

    A rundown of the rap world's favorite drugs

    Drug culture isn't relegated exclusively to rock, obviously. For its part, the rap game is equally loaded with drug references of all kinds, from Promethazine and DMT to LSD and PCP, and likewise addled with its own cautionary tales and fatalities. While there's nothing as concrete to suggest that d ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 3, 2013

    Ten best hip-hop shows in Denver this month

    FLOBOTS @ AGGIE THEATRE | FRI, 5/3/13 Half a decade after releasing the platinum single "Handlebars," which made rounds on radios across the country, the Flobots have grown significantly, both as a musical group and as a philanthropic force within the Denver community. Since parting ways with Univer ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 1, 2013

    JRebelZ on female MCs finding their own voice instead of playing second fiddle to men

    JRebelZ is steadily making a name for herself in the local hip-hop scene. Known otherwise as Jaqueline Rodriguez, JRebelZ came to Denver from El Paso more than a decade ago, and says Nas is the one who sparked her passion for rhyming. We recently caught up with the MC, who just dropped a video for h ... More >>

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