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J. Cole On Competition And Writing Honest Songs

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The rapper and producer spoke to Microphone Check about the pressures of competing against one of his idols, putting his own spin on classic hip-hop songs and finding songs to sample everywhere, even at the Cheesecake Factory.

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Statik Selektah On Boom Bap And His Mom's Favorite Rapper

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The DJ and producer spoke to Microphone Check about his fifth album and giving his childhood to hip-hop.

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The-Dream On Why We All Need R&B

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Terius Nash, better known as The-Dream, has written some of the most memorable recent pop hits, from Beyonce's "Single Ladies" to Rihanna's "Umbrella." But when he writes songs for himself, he makes R&B.

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Kanye's 'Yeezus' Packs A Bite

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

After months of speculation, West's latest album reveals itself as a trim, 10-song, 40-minute effort that's heavy on electronic and industrial influences. It's also another piece of the puzzle to one of pop music's most compelling — and frustrating — figures.

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Don't Kill Your Idols: J. Cole Looks For His Place In Hip-Hop

Monday, June 17, 2013

On Born Sinner Cole appealingly frames the unwieldy subject of inheritance as a musical reckoning with the '90s, the era of his childhood and hip-hop's current favorite source of nostalgia.

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First Listen: Statik Selektah, 'Extended Play'

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Mutual respect pervades Extended Play, an inviting, prideful album that's never snobby. Statik is something special — he makes functional, real-deal records that sound like the triumphant persistence of New York and the strains of nostalgia in a sunny day.

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Hot 97's Summer Jam: A Referendum On Hip-Hop

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The radio station's annual concert is useful because, between the talent and the audience, it's big enough to take a snapshot of what's going on in hip-hop right now.

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First Listen: Fat Tony, 'Smart Ass Black Boy'

Monday, June 03, 2013

Fat Tony calls himself a smart ass, but he's not a showoff. He sounds at ease on the mic, delivering droll and conversational bars with a level stare.

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Kanye West Stands Alone

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

On his new songs, the rapper points fingers in every direction, including back at himself.

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Marques Toliver: An R&B Crooner With Strings Attached

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Toliver's music is anchored by the violin, on which he is classically trained. He says he discovered the instrument in fifth grade — and that in a way, it chose him.

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First Listen: G&D, 'The Lighthouse'

Sunday, May 12, 2013

On The Lighthouse, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins engineer an overstuffed, idea-packed collision of funk, soul, hip-hop, jazz, psychedelic space-rock, spoken-word poetry, protest music and more. Along the way, they examine innumerable intersections of love, politics, spirituality, healthy living, parenthood and world citizenship.

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LL Cool J On 'Accidental Racist' And Authenticity

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"The last thing that I want to do is be a hack," says the rapper and actor. His latest album, his first since splitting with the record label that launched his career, is called Authentic.

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On Two New R&B Albums, An Old Soul Sound That Glows

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

New York's Charles Bradley and London's James Hunter Six both mix inspiration and replication.

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20 Years Ago Biz Markie Got The Last Laugh

Monday, May 06, 2013

After the rapper lost a legal battle with far-reaching consequences over sampling, the mere existence of All Samples Cleared! was a triumph.

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First Listen: Music From Baz Luhrmann's Film 'The Great Gatsby'

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The soundtrack to The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann's latest high-end refurbishing of a lived-in classic, doesn't try to re-imagine Jazz Age tunes in a modern context. Instead, it attempts to transplant the sensibility of the 1920s to the hip-hop era, with genre-busting collaborations overseen by Jay-Z.

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'The Talent Comes First': Roc Marciano Takes An A&R Gig

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The New York rapper on his new role, Lil B's brilliance and doing business with good people.

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The Tyler Interview: Silly, But With A Purpose

Friday, April 26, 2013

In front of a paying audience, Tyler answered the questions of rap journalist Elliott Wilson. Tyler's buoyancy contrasted with Wilson's laid-back style, and resulted in a conversation that was at turns intimate and crude.

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Talib Kweli On Mainstream Hip-Hop And Honoring The Old School

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The New York rapper's political and layered rhymes have been pegged as "conscious rap," a label that has now become pejorative. His latest album challenges that image, paying homage to old-school hip-hop and working with the present.

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The Ghostface Killah Rises Again

Monday, April 22, 2013

A high-concept collaborative album by a veteran rapper and a film composer knits together hip-hop and soul music.

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This Was 1993: 20 Years Ago I Heard The Perfect Rap Song

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Writer Kiese Laymon says back then he would have sworn on everything he loved that hip-hop would never be the same after The Coup's "Not Yet Free."

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