Image for post
Image for post

I hated it. I had just got back to Denver from Germany via New Jersey. It was the apex of the Oberheim DMX driven, paired down Rap music that was dominating the East Coast airwaves, and that’s what I considered “real.”

Although Denver-rites listened to New York Rap, only the mainstream songs made it out west. What they were really listening to was everything LA: Egyptian Lover, World Class Wreckin Cru, LA Dream Team, and Rodney O and Joe Cooley.

When I got older, I learned to respect the music and history of regions beyond the Tri-State. Seeing it all…


Image for post
Image for post

I’m sure you know the story. Rapper gets fame at a young age. Rapper makes beaucoup dollars. Rapper travels the world, buys homes, cars, jewelry, anything that our fiat currency can buy. But then times change, the next album flops. That advance? It’s owed back. Said rapper is dropped from the label.

What do they do then? Imagine if the highlights of your life were lived before you were twenty-five — if you made more money and seen more things than you may ever get a chance to make or see again. What type of outlook on life do you…


Image for post
Image for post

I never slang…dope. But I hustled. I saw that there was a preponderance of snapped cassettes with few people willing to put in the time to repair them. Cassettes were far more valuable than their purchase price. Completing a ninety minute cassette could take weeks of work — babysitting the pause button in hopes that the song you loved would be played — maybe you would catch it from the beginning.

That’s why it was disastrous, traumatic, state of emergency-like when your cassette popped. I charged a good amount with a money back guarantee. …


Image for post
Image for post

The story starts off in a quite familiar way. Ambition rapper leaves home and heads to big city to find fame. Rapper finds community, learns the who’s who of the place, commences to tear they ass out the frame. Rapper gets “discovered” by established artist, gets a feature, and on the strength of said feature gets a record deal.

That part of Xzibit’s story is “normal.” As is his “putting in work,” grinding, making two critically acclaimed albums. Xzibit has a distinct voice and is a hard worker. Dr. …


Image for post
Image for post

Long before Protect Black Women was a hashtag, long before #MeToo, long before many of us had heard of bell hooks, womanism, feminism, or any of that, Yo-Yo was standing up for the sistas.

Queen Latifah’s “Lady’s First,” Jungle Brother’s “Black Woman,” those were the type of celebratory women songs that I was familiar with. But those are both very East Coast-like expressions. Islam and Afrocentric thought had a stranglehold on the Tri-state and as a result, the music reflected that.

Yo-Yo was a West Coast creation. Growing up in LA at the height of gangs and the rise of…


Image for post
Image for post

2 Chainz is one of those rappers that needs no press. And, you know, the reality is he’s carved out a lane of his own. But we’ll get to that. Let’s look at these acts real quick.

ACT I

The year is 1999. Rappers Tity Boi and Dolla Boy form the group Playaz Circle and in the spirit of the times, release an independent record, United We Stand, United We Fall. Masta P had lead the charge with independence followed by Cash Money so, hey, why not. Unfortunately, the album title was prophetic. United they fell. Tity was shot. …


Image for post
Image for post

There was a small window for a lot of MCs in the early 90s — but I would argue that there was more MCs than time. Maybe you were an early adopter of CDs like my brother Sayyed, but even then, you had to record songs on to a cassette and lug them bitches around.

Generally speaking, we played a tape from beginning to end. That meant playing it to the end of Side A, flipping it, then playing Side B to the end. Tapes didn’t always line up. …


Image for post
Image for post

Music no longer comes to you, nowadays, you have to go find it. And once upon a long ago I was seeking it; looking for Rap from every area and every era. I won’t go into all the ways I sought out songs but I will say that I searched every offbeat city trying to find anyone that wasn’t a Drake or Future or Migos knockoff.

It was the summer of 2016.

By now, he is pretty well-known. …


Image for post
Image for post

First of all, yes. There are Black people in Seattle and there have been since William Grose rolled up in the spot back in 1861 — BEFORE the Emancipation Proclamation — the same year that the Civil War started. The land rush was 28 years away. So damnit, there are Black folk in Seattle, shit.

What there hasn’t always been is rappers in every city. In the mid to late 80s, there was New York and there was California. Since the first superstars were out of the Empire State, most cities had their best impression of a NYC act.

In…


Image for post
Image for post

When I use the personal pronouns “us” and “we,” it’s because I’m not separate from the machinations of the devil. I also forget how easy it is for the business to write people off. How, once a narrative is set, it’s hard to shake off. Chingy was large — 2.8M records sold, large. But that was awhile back.

Although it’s hard for me to think of 2003 as a long time ago, if you’re a senior in high school in 2021, you weren’t even pulling yourself up when Chingy had hit the figurative Jackpot (pun intended). Hell, if you’re 24…

mauludSADIQ

b-boy, Hip-Hop Investigating, music lovin’ Muslim

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store