Tech N9ne on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert

One of my favorite artists over the past 10+ years has been Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne. I was first introduced to him in High School by my friend Leon. Since then I’ve been following his career closely and have been amazed at his success, including appearing on Forbes’ list of most successful rap artists. I even interviewed him in person for a Midwest hip hop website while I was in college. This week Tech appeared on Tiny Desk Concert on NPR. Watch the video below. It’s a pretty stellar performance.

40 Years of Hip Hop

Those who know me know that I love hip hop more than any other genre of music. I love when stuff like this comes across my screen. Check out this video celebrating 40 years of hip hop in 4 minutes. Hat tip Kottke.

Over 150 songs from more than 100 artists representing 40 years of hip hop all crammed into 4 minutes. It’s not a chronological history of hip hop. It’s rappers from different eras finishing each other’s rhymes over intersecting beats, all woven together to make one song.

Before and After Chuck Berry

chuck berry

The New York Times has a great article on Chuck Berry and his influence on music, more specifically rock ‘n’ roll.

Chuck Berry himself would be the first to admit he didn’t invent rock ’n’ roll, but he came to define it in a series of iconic singles made between 1955 and 1959.

Mr. Berry wrote almost all his hits himself, and he drew from the music he loved — from the blues and boogie to country and Calypso. The result was a hybrid sound that, in 1955, was just beginning to be called “rock ’n’ roll.”

Here, an audio guide to just a few of his revolutionary songs: what came before, and what came after. Listen to the sound of rock ’n’ roll being made.

Chuck Berry would play in St. Louis almost monthly up until a couple of years ago when he was in his late 80’s. I made a promise to myself that that I would see him perform live before he passed. I never kept that promise and it’s something I deeply regret.

The Best Rapper Alive, Every Year Since 1979

tupac

Complex magazine has come up with a list of the best rapper for each year since 1979. It’s crazy when you look through the ’90s and see how much talent existed in the hip hop community. That fact becomes especially obvious when you start comparing the list to the 2000s – 2010s (Drake on the list multiple times, really?).

My personal favorite is, of course, Tupac.

1996 is a case study for every aspect of why 2Pac is so celebrated. He was a viable, competent artist in multiple arenas, and he had the discipline to incorporate his varied and conflicted missions into a single mantra. That savvy paid off in this year more than any other. It’s a shame that 2Pac’s ride had to end early, and on someone else’s terms, but the dedication to his craft that was on such full display in 1996 is why he’ll live forever.

 

Dinosaurs + Notorious B.I.G. = Awesome

You have to be of a certain age (late twenties and early thirties) to remember the awesomeness that was the ABC show Dinosaurs. If you’re of the age, you remember how great the TGIF show was (though, I can’t remember a single plot) and how dark it turned in the finale when all the (spoiler) dinosaurs were wiped out. If the finale left you sad, try watching this excellent mash-up of the show and Notorious B.I.G.’s song Hypnotize to cleanse your palate. It seriously is great.