Features

Smitty: The Diamond Prince

O ne year ago, Smitty released his single “Diamonds on My Neck.” Though it promoted an album that’s still unreleased, the knocker affirmed a buzz that the Miami native, born Varick Smith had been building for five years. Still on a journey that paired him with Dr. Dre, P Diddy, and Jay-Z for different periods,… Read more »

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DJ Khaled: Dade in Full

DJ Khaled believes he was born to be an entertainer. That’s understandable, considering that the 30-year-old New Orleans native has spent more than half of his life DJing. Even his birth name, Khaled Khaled, makes it seem like his life was never intended to be ordinary. For the past 15 years, that predestined entertainer has… Read more »

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Dame Grease: Grease Lightning

T here are only two reactions to adversity – win or lose. Roadblocks are certain to affect progress in an environment as political and shark-infested as the music industry. Hit-making machine Dame Grease has gotten the job done time and time again, but has seemingly hit a glass ceiling when its time for that special… Read more »

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Buckwild: Still Diggin’

As a founder of the D.I.T.C. crew, Buckwild has been producing some of rap’s most memorable songs for over a decade, underground and commercial. Whether it was the soulful strings of Game’s “Like Father, Like Son,” the hard drums of Sadat X’s “The Lump Lump” or the hypnotic rhythm of Black Rob’s “Whoa,” Buckwild has… Read more »

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Kevin Epps: On Point

It’s bigger than rap. It’s much larger than any brand of clothing, record label of the moment, or 16-bar quotable. If Hip-Hop is life, are we living correctly? What is the voice of this generation of music-makers saying? More importantly, does what we see on screen accurately reflect our surroundings? And are we motivated to… Read more »

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Lloyd Banks: Still Hungry

I t’s probably a safe bet to say Lloyd Banks has been with more women than your average 24 year old. The G-Unit soldier lives a lifestyle many people merely dream about, admit it or not. He’s won Adult Video News awards, he’s partied with Hugh Hefner, and he’s just gotten the green light to… Read more »

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DJ Scratch: Face Off

H aving traveled around the world and back again during his 20 years in the game, New York’s very own DJ Scratch is on a mission. This mission isn’t impossible, it is totally viable. He wants his home city to be recognized for quality music. That want is made clear in his recent Busta Rhymes… Read more »

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Too $hort: Keep On Truckin’

As the well-known freaky tale goes, Too $hort’s multi-platinum dreams started in the streets of Oakland. Close to a quarter century later, the after-effects of Todd Shaw’s still-monumental achievements still reverberate throughout the Town (as the city is affectionately known), and on blocks all over the country. Whether it’s encouraging the current generation of Hyphy… Read more »

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Shawnna: Heads Home

S hawnna has been “gettin’ some” for almost a decade – props, that is. While Ludacris’ Disturbing Tha Peace brand made Shawnna an artist that registered with a Southern, audience, this Windy City native dropped a group album nine years ago. As one-half of Infamous Syndicate, Shawnna was rushed into the studio, and later displaced… Read more »

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Obie Trice: Pour Out A Lil’ Liquor

Things should be good for Obie Trice. The artist’s debut album, Cheers, managed to sell over 500,000 copies. He’s a part of the reigning Shady/Aftermath machine and he’s about to release his sophomore album after a three-year sabbatical. But, Obie Trice has a bullet lodged in his head from an attempt on his life in… Read more »

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Guru & Solar: Group Therapy

T hroughout his career, Guru has rhymed in allegory. Classic material like “Now You’re Mine” and “Just To Get a Rep” never used names, but let driving words teach valuable lessons on life. Three years after Gang Starr made their last record, Guru reflects on the last chapter in the group’s life and the lyricist… Read more »

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Ray Cash: Cashing In

C leveland has never been thought of as a hotbed for musicians. Figures such as The O’Jays, Avant, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have had profound impacts on music, but only through associations in bigger cities. With a Sony Records contract and a localized approach, Ray Cash envisions a change to this trend. Using Lebron James’ young… Read more »

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Gnarls Barkley: Three Times Crazy

W hen Cee-Lo Green and Danger Mouse began recording what would become Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere in 2003, the uncanny pair simply envisioned a pet-project that they could possibly shop to an indie label. Three years later, their debut song “Crazy” is a record-breaking, genre-jumping single in the UK that just started infecting American airwaves,… Read more »

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