Wuddduuupp yall? Hopefully your studying is going well and you are finna ace your finals. Now, you are probably wondering why we always come live on Thursday nights. Do we even have exams? Do we even go to school? the answer is yes but the reality is RapUp > school. Sorry Wilf. Anyways, this week we decided to switch up our structure a bit and take yall thru a geographical journey in hip-hop. We were talking with our main man T-Rev from ‘Verses From The Abstract’ and went over some cities that really represent hip-hop culture. The usual suspects came up i.e. NY & LA. But here on The RapUp, we dig deeper than that. We highlighted 11 different hip-hop cities and showcased their unique sounds and vibes. We gave you taste of the cities’ OGs and young guns. All aboard!
We started in the birthplace of hip-hop. The big apple. If we are getting technical, NY hip hop has been noted for its emphasis on lyrical dexterity. It has also been characterized by multi-syllabic rhymes, complex wordplay, a continuous free-flowing delivery and intricate metaphors. When I picture NY rap, I think about a rain day in a Brooklyn alley where 3 or 4 MCs are spitting rhymes in a circle wearing black hoodies. Vivid enough? We picked Biggie’s ’10 Crack Commandments’ and Joey Bada$$’s ‘Waves’. Both tracks have that gutter, boom bap sound that is the perfect Bed Stuy backdrop. Check the tracks here and here. #NYSounds
Next stop was the city of brotherly love. Philly has been in these streets for a while with their own unique sound. Not only are their beats hella gutter but their rhymes and concepts are battle-ready. Philly is notorious for its battle rap type lyrics and themes. Rappers like Freeway, Cassidy and Meek Mill have all pioneered the aggressive style of rap. We had to play the former-beefies Cassidy and Meek just because it is only right we do. We played ‘I’m A Hustla’ by Cass and ‘Ready or Not’ by Meek. Check out the tracks right here and here. #PhillySounds
Keeping the Penn State theme rollin’, we stopped in the Burgh. Pittsburgh is a relatively new hip-hop scene but is definitely becoming a frontrunner in taste making. Kamo actually put it pretty well: Pittsburgh’s two biggest acts have a similar sound that is making waves in the hip-hop world. Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa are arguably two of the most influential rappers in the game today and have put Pittsburgh on the map with a combination on boom bap rap and psychedelic sounds. To showcase this Burgh sound we played Mac Miller’s ‘Nikes On My Feet’ and Wiz Khalifa’s ‘Burn After Rolling’. Check them out here and here. #BurghSounds
Pimp if you want me you can find me in the… A! That’s right, we moved down south to Hotlanta. ATL is becoming hip-hop center of gravity. With all kinds of different, unique and talented rappers and producers emerging from the city itself, ATL is a frontrunner in culture creation. The heavy use of the synthesizer is central to Atlanta music’s versatility, used for snap, crunk, trap, and pop rap styles. They also have tons of stripclubs and hip-hop night hangouts in which tuuurn up tracks are usually the only thing in rotation. We had to play the ATL anthem ‘Welcome to Atlanta’ by JD and Ludacris. And for our new school sound we played trapper Young Jeezy’s club killaaa ‘RIP’ featuring another ATL native, 2 Chainz. Check out the turn up tracks here and here. #ATLSounds
Our next hip-hop headquarters was Florida. And we ain’t talking about the apple bottom jeans and boots with the furrrr. Florida, more specifically Miami, is also a new hip-hop scene but is growing faster and faster with each hit. Word to DJ Khaled. It’s bouncy bass and hit heavy sound gives Miami the real party vibe that kills the clubs. We took it back to 2006 and Rick Ross’ ‘Hustlin’ and then brought in a 2LiveCrew sampled track called ‘Pop That’… you may have heard of it. Check ’em out here and here. #MIASounds
Next we went west to the big easy. Contrary to popular belief, New Orleans has been a hip-hop mecca for a minute now. Ever since Birdman and Slim established the ever growing Cash Money Records, the NO has been delivering quality rap. From the chant-heavy, repetitive bounce that ruled the area in the early ’90s to its more streamlined and lyrical sibling that took over the national charts by the end of the decade, the city’s scene thrived on this unique push-and-pull relationship. We played some of that old school bounce with Juvenile’s ‘Back That Azz Up’ and Lil Wayne’s 2004 track called ‘Bring It Back’. Check out the tracks here and here. #NOSounds
Don’t mess with Texas. Our next stop was Houston. H-Town’s very own OG DJ Screw discovered that dramatically reducing the pitch of a record gave a mellow, heavy sound that emphasized lyrics to the point of almost storytelling. This became known as chopped an screwed music. This slowed rap mixed with the deathly popular ‘purple drank’ made for an entire culture to flourish and become a staple in hip-hop culture. We had to go with the originators of the genre itself, UGK. We picked ‘Diamonds & Wood’ and new Houston hothead, Trae Tha Truth’s ‘Rollin’. Grab some draaaank and listen here and here. #HTownSounds
Next we headed north to the Chi. Chicago’s hip-hop scene has been a mix of a whole bunch of styles. Popularized soul beats and samples made this subgenre hella hot. Chicago was breaking through with slang and swagger unseen in other hip-hop cities. Plus, you can’t forget about the boisterous producer would emerge as arguably the greatest and most polarizing rap artist of all time and change music completely. Hi Yeezy. We showcased Common’s I Used To Love HER and Chance The Rapper’s Brain Cells. Check the tracks out right here and here. #ChiTownSounds
Next was Detroit. D-Town, in the context of a city is known for its poverty, crime and fallen businesses and grimy raps. Although not having a singular sound that makes it’s super distinct, the themes and schemes are very unified. Much of the successful hip-hop musicians from the Detroit area have come from tough times and show it in their music. We showcased Slumvillage’s ‘Fall In Love’ and Eminem + Royce Da 5’9’s ‘Fast Lane’. Check them out here and here. #DetroitSounds
Let me hear you say TDot ohhhhhhhhhh ayyyyyyy. That’s right, our second last stop was TO. Toronto is potentially the newest hip-hop scene on this tour. You just can’t get a complete look at the history of Toronto rap if you don’t take into account all those great releases. To make sure we weren’t forgetting any essential classics, we played Saukrates’ ‘Money or Love’. However, Toronto has become more mainstream with the emergence and dominance of Drake. His 2011 album, Take Care, won a Grammy and proved that Toronto rap is here to stay. We played his track with Scarborough native, The Weeknd, entitled ‘Crew Love’. Check them both out here and here. #TDotSounds
We finally touched down on the west coast. I know yall have been waiting for some of that real G-Funk that put hip-hop on the map globally. The real gangsta rap subgenre of West Coast hip hop began to dominate from a radio play and sales standpoint during the early 1990s and has kept going ever since. We had to spin some Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr. Dre’s ‘Nuthin But A G Thang’ and Kendrick Lamar’s ‘The Recipe’. Both songs keep the women, weed and weather theme on lock and totally represent what the fresh coast is all about. Check them out here and here. #WestCoastSounds
And so our hip-hop journey concludes. Sorry about how long this post was but we had to get it how we live. As RadioLaurier’s 2012-2013 ‘Show Of The Year’ we have to keep things all the way real for the culture. Word to Lainey. Ha!
Remember to get at us on Twitter @RLRapUp and let us know what you think about hip-hop in your city. We’ve got out ears to the streets…
Peace, Love & Camouflage Du-Rags