Understand the rhyming style of great rappers

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If you don't know, now you know.

(Thanks, Gabe Adiv!)

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Oral history of Aerosmith and Run-DMC's "Walk This Way"

In 1986, Aerosmith and Run-DMC collaborated on a remake of the former's 1970s song "Walk This Way." Masterminded by producer Rick Rubin, then 22, the resulting jam was a gamechanger for both hip hop and rock. Over at the Washington Post, Geoff Edgers put together a fascinating oral history of the instant classic:

Steven Tyler: I loved rap. I used to go looking for drugs on Ninth Avenue and I would go over to midtown or downtown and there would be guys on the corner selling cassettes of their music. I’d give them a buck, two bucks, and that was the beginning of me noticing what was going on in New York at the time....

DMC: Rick gives us this yellow notebook pad. He tells us, “Go down to D’s basement, put the needle on the record.” We go down to my basement and put on the record and then you hear “Backstroke lover always hidin’ ’neath the covers” and immediately me and Joe get on the phone and say: “Hell no, this ain’t going to happen. This is hillbilly gibberish, country-bumpkin bulls---.”

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Pioneering hip-hop artist Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest has died

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Malik Taylor, aka Phife Dawg, of pioneering hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Quest has died at age 45 from complications arising from diabetes.

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Yet again, LL Cool J says "Don't call it a come back"

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LL Cool J, seeking to return to his rap music roots, has been recording a new album with pal Eminem.

Vibe tells us:

While LL Cool J’s new album has yet to get an official title or tracklist, the rapper promises that a big announcement on the production end. The rapper also spoke on his personal relationship with Eminem, who has previously heralded LL as one of his favorite MCs. He also revealed that Em gifted him with something special following his Hollywood Walk of Fame star.

“I just know that meeting Em and talking to him, he’s such a student of hip-hop. He knew all of my music,” LL said of Eminem. “He called up the radio station singing ‘Go Cut Creator Go’ and that’s a song nobody knows until you’re a diehard LL aficionado. Every time I’ve met Em, he’s had a great spirit. We’ve hung out many times. When I got my [Hollywood] star, he did something cool for me — he bought me a cool ad in a mag. He’s always given me love. I respect and appreciate what he’s done in his career.”

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Modern rap critiqued

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"YOU CANT UNDERSTAND A DAMN THING RAPPERS BE SAYING THESE DAYS" (Warning: noises vaguely resembling racial slurs) Read the rest

Every #1 rap hit since 1989, the interactive chart

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Polygraph and Billboard's HOT RAP SONGS" CHART (1989 - 2015) is a perfect visualization (and audiolization) of how music drifts in and out of the public consciousness, using a generation-worth of rap hits as the raw material. Read the rest

The Fat Boys do what they love

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I'ma stuff my face to a funky beat! Read the rest

Straight Outta Compton: the Ben Folds edition

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Kern Saxton recut the Straight Outta Compton trailer to Ben Fold's cover of Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit." Read the rest

Watch NWA's "Straight Outta Compton" recreated inside Grand Theft Auto

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AnimalRobot takes NWA's "Straight Outta Compton" into Grand Theft Auto V with GTAV's Rockstar Editor and Adobe Premiere. "Damn, that shit was dope." (YouTube)

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Byron Crawford's history of Dr. Dre is the best thing I've read on Medium

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“Straight Outta Compton.” A terrific read before listening to the original album or seeing the film.

Watch Ice Cube respond to Rap Genius interpretations of "Straight Outta Compton”

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In honor of his new film, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, Ice Cube revisits the titular song by reacting to the lyric interpretations of Rap Genius.

[YouTube, thanks Joe Sabia!]

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Jim Henson vs. Stan Lee rap battle

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Henson and Lee battle to a place of grudging respect till spoiler Walt Disney shows up and (literally) owns them both. Read the rest

Nicki Minaj's “Anaconda” becomes protest anthem in India, over Unilever's mercury contamination disaster

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The video tackles Unilever's failure to clean up mercury contamination or compensate workers affected by its thermometer factory in Kodaikanal.

Music: "Supersonic," JJ Fad (1988)

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"The 'P' is for perfection and you know that we are freaks." Read the rest

Mercedes tops list of most-cited cars in rap songs

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Data science put to good use, finally. Once a top player, Lexus has fallen out of vogue, and Cadillac's #2 position has stagnated as Bentley rises.

The Game dominates the car endorsement game. The Compton artist wins the category hands down for seven of the major car makes, having logged more automobile mentions than any other rapper.

It's worth bearing in mind that some (or many) of the citations may involve paid endorsements. Who sang about Subarus? Read the rest

Data analysis: the most popular cars in rap

Over at Cuepoint, a fascinating data analysis of the most popular cars in hip-hop, with lots of charts, graphs, and GIFs.

The most frequently mentioned car make is Mercedes Benz, also often referred to as Benzos. Rappers love to rap about their benzes, but they rarely mention what models. If we get down to the specific model that’s most frequently mentioned, there’s no debate — it’s the Chevy Impala, most specifically the ’64 year model.

"Riding Dirty: The Science of Cars and Rap Lyrics"

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Mass surveillance hip-hop from the director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Shahid Buttar -- the rapper who created the amazing NSA vs USA track/video -- is also a constitutional lawyer who serves as executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Read the rest

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