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Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008

Sept. 4, 2008

Nas has long been the most stoic and dead serious of all the major emcees. Especially since he returned to critical favor after his brief but image-killing flirtation with floss in the late '90s, he's been careful to avoid any hint of vice or banality. Of his four most recent albums, two explore his ever-consuming Jesus complex, one eulogizes the genre he loves, and the latest somberly charts the remnants of slavery. He carries the weight of the world-and the cross-on his self-beleaguered shoulders. While his one-time rival Jay-Z indulges . . .
09.05.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
I'll have a more thoughtful review of the show in next week's Shepherd, but I can't resist the opportunity to beam a little bit about last night's Nas/Talib Kweli show. I'm often jaded about local rap concerts�I'm always turned off by the inordinate number of openers, short sets and considerable delays�but last night's show at the Rave was just about perfect. Even the sound was good. Last time ...
Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008

Nas

Tonight @ the Rave - 8 p.m.

Given Nas’ inability to explain on his previous album exactly why hip-hop was dead, the media understandably greeted Nas’ latest album, originally titled Nigger, with great skepticism. Against the odds, though, the rapper created a piece of art that proves that its controversial original title wasn’t just a . . .
09.01.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
[I was told this weekend that DMC appeared at some of Milwaukee's Harley-Davidson 105th anniversary festivities, and I was reminded of my last-minute lunch with the guy two years back. I dug through my archives and found the blog post I hastily wrote-up after the encounter and have republished it here.] Oct. 5, 2006 The vague voicemail message that tipped me off wasn't a hoax af...
08.28.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
Despite his modest talents, I've long had a soft-spot for The Game and his stubborn adherence to the increasingly antiquated conventions of '90s gangsta rap. At a time when even 50 Cent, once viewed as the possible savior of West Coast gangsta rap, has found it more behooving to sing LL Cool J-ish crossover jams for the ladies, The Game is still beefing and thugging with everything he's got-which,...
Saturday, Aug. 9, 2008

Tonight @ Mad Planet - 9 p.m.

Mixing backpacker hip-hop with a smattering of popular club rap doesn’t sound like such a revolutionary idea, but until just a half-decade ago, few Milwaukee DJs had flirted with that simple combination, leaving a giant niche for Kid Cut Up and his fellow No Request DJs to fill. Cut Up is now one of the most prolific, successful . . .
07.29.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
It shouldn't be too surprising that Nas' untitled/N-word album has proved polarizing, but still, it's worth noting just how far over the map these reviews reach. HipHopSite, a reliable but often underrated source for rap opinions, crowned it with five stars out of five, and PopMatters raved over it, but on the other end of the spectrum, Pitchfork savaged it, and TinyMixTapes spat on it with a brut...
07.24.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
To promote their upcoming album, Murs For President, Murs and 9th Wonder have... released another album. They put Sweet Lord, an unreleased, 10-track collaboration recorded before President, online for free last night. No big surprises here, but fans of Murray's Revenge know what to expect from hip-hop's chocolate/peanut-butter combo: Lots of quiet-storm-smooth soul samples from 9...
Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008 (Chicago, IL)

If the touring hip-hop festival Rock the Bells had existed in 1998, its line-up might have looked virtually identical to this year’s. Headliners like A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, De La Soul and Mos Def were the biggest names in alternative rap a decade ago, and they remain so today. Of course, that’s as much a sad comment on the dearth of new talent in the scene as it is a testament to the headliners’ longevity, but the veterans did their best to prevent the bill from becoming a nostalgia tour. Although A Tribe Called Quest . . .
07.16.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
Q-Tip�s The Renaissance isn�t quite rap�s Chinese Democracy�Dr. Dre�s Detox takes that dubious honor�but it�s pretty close. After a quick start to his solo career with 1999�s Amplified, Q-Tip has struggled to release any music post Tribe Called Question, seeing two completed records shelved. Even The Renaissance has been pushed back several times, and despite the leak of radio singles and ...

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