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American Story

by Shawn Stone August 20, 2015


  When N.W.A.’s album Straight Outta Compton was selling millions of copies in the late 1980s as a genuine critical and pop-culture phenomenon, one of the least likely long-term prospects would have been the group becoming ...



by The Staff February 5, 2015


  Nora Lum may have studied journalism at the University at Albany, but she made the right career call by ditching the life of the ink-stained wretch to become a creative and popular force in hip-hop ...

GE Theatre at Proctors

French Montana

by The Staff December 4, 2014


  Karim Kharbouch, along with his parents and brother, relocated to the South Bronx from Morocco when he was just 13; Karim learned English on the streets, and soon gained indie cred with a series of ...

The Upstate Concert Hall

Run The Jewels

by David King November 26, 2014


  In an age when Taylor Swift can release a jingle for New York City’s tourism campaign that simply says “New York: It’s waiting for you,” like it’s a fucking pot of gold waiting to be ...

Slick Rick

by The Staff November 26, 2014


  We did a triple take when we first saw this announced: Slick Rick—the Slick Rick—is coming to Putnam Den on Friday. In case you have not been properly educated or were raised in a barnyard ...

Putnam Den

Super Soul Fest featuring Kurtis Blow

by The Staff August 13, 2014


  While classic-rock radio continues to cycle the same 40 songs through our cultural consciousness, hip-hop has never really established a mainstream channel to preserve the genre’s legacy. That’s why shows like this are so important. In ...

Washington Avenue Armory

Biz Markie

by The Staff June 26, 2014


  Biz Markie has always been a bit of a hip-hop punchline. A loveable one. “Just a Friend” put him on the rap radar in 1989, and he spent the next decade goofing over Beastie Boys ...



by The Staff June 5, 2014


    Ooo baby baby . . . baby baby. It’s been nearly 30 years since groundbreaking all-female hip-hop trio Salt-n-Pepa debuted with “Push It,” now a staple of any ’80s dance party worth its nostalgia. A ...

Vapor Nightclub

Mobb Deep

by The Staff August 22, 2013


  Queens rap duo Mobb Deep were so central to the sound of mid-’90s New York hip-hop (alongside Wu-Tang, Biggie, Nas, et al.) that a couple of their biggest tracks, “L.A L.A” and “Drop a Gem ...


Lil Wayne

by The Staff August 1, 2013


  It doesn’t much matter if Lil Wayne has a new record (he does: I Am Not a Human Being II), has been healthy (he’s had a series of highly publicized seizures in the past year), ...

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Beat*Shot Music Festival

by The Staff July 3, 2013


  For five years, the folks behind the Beat*Shot Music Festival have been showcasing the best of local 518 hip-hop. For their next trick, they’re going to squeeze it all into a single day. As always, ...

Red Square

Joey Bada$$

by The Staff June 19, 2013


  Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott is barely 18 years old. In 1999, he was 4. Last year, the name Joey Bada$$ became synonymous with that year when the unknown rapper released his so-titled mixtape over some of ...

Upstate Concert Hall

Kendrick Lamar

by The Staff May 30, 2013


  In the ’90s, Compton, Los Angeles, was the epicenter of West Coast hip-hop. As the story goes, an 8-year-old Kendrick Lamar was on the set when Tupac and Dr. Dre shot their legendary “California Love” ...

Washington Avenue Armory

Albany Spring Fest

by The Staff May 15, 2013


  Albany has become a major tour stop in the past couple years for some of the biggest hip-hop acts around. A$AP Rocky was just here, Danny Brown flew within our Massachussets orbit and Kendrick Lamar, ...

Palace Theatre


by The Staff April 10, 2013


  The University at Albany has put together a hip-hop show for this year’s annual Parkfest. Paying a visit to the SEFCU arena this year will be 2 Chainz (pictured) and Travis Porter. 2 Chainz (formerly ...

University at Albany

A$AP Rocky

by The Staff March 6, 2013


  There’s no doubt about it, hip-hop is in the middle of a huge renaissance. While everyone was watching the throne held by mainstream titans like Kanye West this past decade or so, a whole generation ...

Upstate Concert Hall

De La Soul

by The Staff November 20, 2012


  Before “conscious hip-hop” was a thing, before there were “backpack rappers,” and back when independent music was called alternative, it was just “Me, Myself and I.” That breakout hit from De La Soul’s 1989 debut ...

The Upstate Concert Hall


by The Staff November 8, 2012


  Hip-hop publications love making lists of the greatest MCs ever and whatnot. According to our Nate Silver-precise polling models, Nas is the best non-Wu-Tang New York City rapper not named Jay, Kanye or B.I.G. (Fox ...

The Upstate Concert Hall


by The Staff August 8, 2012


Less than two weeks after ’90s rapper (and Will Smith’s partner-in-awesomeness) DJ Jazzy Jeff brought the beats to Vapor Nightclub, early hip-hop is back for more at the Saratoga club this week with the great ...

Vapor Nightclub

DJ Jazzy Jeff

by The Staff August 2, 2012


“In West Philadelphia born and raised. . . .” DJ Jazzy Jeff met the Fresh Prince, Will Smith, in the early ’80s. The pair had hits like “Summertime” and “Parents Just Don't Understand,” and won ...

Vapor Nightclub


by The Staff June 14, 2012


Aubrey Drake Graham got his showbiz start acting in the Canadien TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation but a microscope and a simple family tree should have told us that music was in his DNA. ...

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Lil’ Kim

by The Staff May 17, 2012


“Before their was nicki..their was kim!!” wrote an enthusiastic “LACE” on the comments thread for Saturday’s Lil’ Kim show at Northern Lights. This is the core argument in a somewhat amusing little feud that’s been ...

Northern Lights


by The Staff April 26, 2012


Where would hip-hop be today without Eric B. and Rakim’s 1987 masterpiece Paid in Full? Would James Brown samples have become so prevalent without “I Know You Got Soul”? Would holographic gangstas be headlining Coachella? ...

Northern Lights

Wu-Tang Clan

by The Staff December 14, 2011


If any rap group can save us from the coming apocalypse—or maybe push us over the edge—it’s the Wu-Tang Clan. Twenty-twelve is promising to be a year of renaissance for arguably the greatest rap crew ...

Northern Lights

Tried and True

by KC Orcutt August 17, 2011


  The average DJ will show up on time, power through a pre-determined playlist, privately grimace at requests but honor them, pack up when the bar closes and be on his way once he’s paid. One ...