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Going Out On Your Own: When Affiliates Break Away From The Posse

The group is a celebrated convention of hip-hop music culture. N.W.A. Wu-Tang Clan. Public Enemy. De La Soul. Need we say more? Greater than then sum of their parts, these are groups with famous individual members whose collective efforts are generally more celebrated than their solo material.

Cut to the modern day. The tradition of the hip-hop group is still alive and well. Black Hippy, for example, is a supergroup of sorts though they don’t have a release to their collective name. Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q both enjoyed well-received releases this year, with Control System and Habits and Contradictions respectively. Yet neither release made the same splash as Kendrick Lamar, the most visible member of Black Hippy, and his major label debut good kid, m.A.A.d. city. But little else did. Even Jay Rock, the fourth and most slept on member of Black Hippy, has seen his profile rise considerably as of late, if only by proxy.

Black Hippy’s success is exceptional in a number of ways. No one release or member can be pointed to as the genesis for the success of the rest. Lamar is flying high right now, but Black Hippy was never entirely his show. It’s also rare for a group to have all of their members do as well as all four in Black Hippy have. In a hip-hop group dynamic, it’s not unusual for a member or two to become prominent. The rest will experience varying levels of popularity but the likelihood that each member fully breaks through is low.

But egos clash. Friendships fray. Artistic visions deviate. So, what happens to rappers who try to make it on their own?

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Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees Announced

It’s that time again! Time to review the candidates, do your research, and start voting!

We’re not talking politics here, this is straight up rock and roll, and for the first time in their history the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is giving fans a say in which of the newly announced 2013 nominees will be inducted.

Among this year’s first time nominees are Rush, N.W.A and Public Enemy, while returning nominees include Donna Summer, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and The Meters. Artists must have released their first recording no later than 1987 in order to be eligible. It’s a tight race people, but someone has to decide on these artist’s hall of fame fate!

Now through Dec. 5, you can vote at and and give your favorite artists a shot at becoming inducted. Winners will be revealed the same month, with the 28th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony taking place April 18 in Los Angeles, and broadcast on HBO at a later date.

View the full list here and get voting!

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88 MPH: Hip Hop DNA & “Get Me Back On Time, Engine No.9″

If you were to turn on a hip hop radio station in the early ’90s, you were almost guaranteed to hear Wilson Pickett. It might seem ludicrous that a ’60s soul crooner would sit comfortably next to the apolitical ranting of N.W.A and the wacky kung-fu banter of Wu-Tang Clan, but thanks to the magic of sampling technology, he did. From 1987 to 1993, a single sample from Wilson Pickett’s 1970 hit “Get Me Back in Time, Engine No.9″ appeared in twelve different hip hop songs, including the infamous “Straight Outta Compton.” It isn’t clear exactly what made “…Engine No.9″ so alluring for hip hop producers, but the answer might have something to do with the production team partially responsible for the single’s success.

From the ’60s through the ’80s, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, working together under the moniker Gamble & Huff, were collectively involved in the production of over 100 gold and platinum records. In addition to producing over seventy Top 10 hits, the duo were responsible for forty number one singles. As one of the most prolific songwriting and production teams in history, they were inducted into the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Continue reading ’88 MPH: Hip Hop DNA & “Get Me Back On Time, Engine No.9″’

Rapper’s Delight: Reyn

West coast hip hop is a well known and well respected sub-genre in the realm of rap. Starting in 1981 with Duffy Hook’s Rappers Rapp Records and then evolving to the likes of N.W.A., the Pharcyde, Jurassic 5 and many others, West roast rap has come a long way. More recently, OurStage artist Reyn is emerging out of Los Angeles with a style of his own. Reyn aims to push uniquely perceptive lyrics while keeping his commercial and universal appeal. Don’t let his easygoing style fool you—his delivery packs a punch. “Lyfe feat. Mic Illusion and Eddie Tate” for example, talks about the troubles of day-to-day life between a smooth, R&B-influenced, chorus crooning “come take a look inside of my life.”

One thing that separates Reyn from other LA hip hop acts is his commitment to creating family-friendly music. He stays away from offensive content and keeps all of it radio friendly and relatable. More interesting, perhaps, is his commitment to creating original music; that’s right, he doesn’t use samples at all. Both of these facts are a testament to his skill: it’s not easy to make radio-friendly music while staying relevant, and it’s downright difficult to make your own beats at his level without sampling from other artists.

Reyn’s hard work has attracted him a bit of a following here at Ourstage. Give “Pray feat. Jason Damato and Toyanna Holloway” a listen (we posted it below for you)— it finished third in our Alternative Hip Hop Channel last February. That’s no easy feat, as you probably know, so show Reyn some love and check out his other songs too.

Rapper’s Delight: Group Hip Hop

Hip hop groups have long had a major impact on the evolution of the genre. The Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Run DMC were some of the earlier influences later followed by the Wu Tang Clan, NWA and A Tribe Called Quest—just to name a few. But what is it about certain groups that we find so appealing? Some collaborating emcees have the ability to feed off of and compliment each other to create something that’s bigger than themselves.

Take a look at Wu Tang, for example:  they have nine members (if you include ODB) with nine distinctive personalities, and each with a distinctly different flow, voice and lyrical style.  What’s impressive is how, when combined, they still have one distinctive Wu Tang sound that is not defined by any single member… and of course their amazing depth of talent. Some of them have launched successful solo careers as well, but none have come close to surpassing the combined Wu Tang Clan clout.  They do, however, frequently feature one another on their solo albums.

That being said, we’ve compiled a playlist for you that highlights some hip hop groups here at OurStage. These tracks all feature multiple rappers, so pay attention to their contrasting styles and let us know what you think!


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