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Friday, July 4, 2008

Phil Lesh, The Roots, Slightly Stoopid

Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh revisits the Dead repertoire with a rotating cast of musicians that he bills as Phil Lesh and Friends tonight at 10 p.m. at the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard; The Roots are the only major rap act to play Summerfest’s whitewashed line-up this year, but at least they’re an uncompromising one...
06.25.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
Shaquille O�Neal�s widely publicized freestyle diss of Kobe Bryant was an odd reminder that although he hasn�t released an album in seven years, Shaq still hasn't stopped trying to be a rapper. Where most athletes-turned-rappers quickly get the message that they should stick to their day job, Shaq has been aggressively oblivious. Throughout the �90s, he released rap records at a steady clip, alm...
06.17.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
As if to preemptively silence critics who thought he’d tone down his act for the suits, Lil Wayne’s studio-polished new album Tha Carter III, already set to be one of the year’s best-selling releases, is every bit as odd as Wayne’s unregulated mixtapes, and at times more so. Where on mixtapes Wayne slowly exposes his skewed world view and runaway imagination through colorful, impress...
06.12.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
Did the manufactured controversy over Ludacris' booking last year at Summerfest make event organizers more reluctant to book rap acts this year? Pick up a copy of the Summerfest guide in this week's Shepherd and judge for yourself. You can count the number of major hip-hop acts performing this year on one finger....
05.26.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
Memorial Day marks not only the official start of summer, but also the official start of �sit on your porch while listening to music from a boom box with questionable audio� season. Seriously. It�s on most calendars�look it up. If you�re looking for some song suggestions to pad your personalized porch-rocking mix CD, here are 10 can�t-miss tracks that, for various reasons, scream summer. Break out...
04.29.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
Here�s how The Roots� latest album could have sounded: Yes, that song, �Birthday Girl,� featuring Fall Out Boy�s Patrick Stump, was actually intended to be their latest album�s first single. Wisely, it was cut from the album all together. But here�s a song that did make Rising Down's cut: I�d love to be a fly in the wall during the marketing sessions for this album...
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tonight @ the Varsity Theatre - 7:30 p.m.

Hard-touring rapper Talib Kweli returns to Milwaukee for a 7:30 p.m. performance at Marquette University’s Varsity Theatre tonight. In recent years, Kweli has found a comfortable balance between his status as one of the underground rap scene’s favorite conscious rappers and one of mainstream rap’s long-shot stars, releasing . . .
04.21.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
Perhaps he really is a free speech advocate, or more realistically he's just pushing-buttons to generate interest in his upcoming album the same way he did with his contentiously titled last one, Hip-Hop Is Dead. Either way, it looks like Nas is going through with his plans to release Ni**a. The first song leaked from that impending disc, "Be a Ni**a," drops the N-word as much as you'd expect�...
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Jay-Z had it easy. He faced few restrictions in his quest for money and stardom. Unapologetically driven by material desires and founded on a platform of social Darwinism, Jay-Z’s ascent to mogul-hood represents capitalism in its purest form. Like most rappers, Talib Kweli wants what Jay-Z has—money, esteem, an audience—but in his pursuit of these goals he’s been held to a much stricter standard than Jay-Z. Long ago labeled a conscious rapper by his fans, Kweli is expected to be above the perceived vanity of mainstream rap. While rappers like Jay-Z can play anything-goes, Tammany Hall politics, Kweli must adhere to restrictive campaign finance regulations or risk alienating his idealistic fans.
03.31.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
Like a conflicted superdelegate, 50 Cent has rescinded his endorsement of Hillary Clinton. 50 Cent told reporters that he has switched from supporting Hillary Clinton for president to backing Barack Obama after hearing his speech on race. "I heard Obama speak," said the rapper. "He hit me with that he-just-got-done-watching-'Malcolm X,' and I swear to God, I'm like, 'Yo, Obama!' "H...

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