The late ’90s was the heyday for a certain kind of purist: values-driven, anti-crossover, anti-shiny things, New York-centric rappers, and few albums capture this moment quite like Rawkus’s Lyricist Lounge compilation. “All commercial cats gettin’ murdered,” Cipher Complete spits on the appropriately titled “Bring Hip-Hop Back,” a sentiment that prevails over the course of this hefty, idealistic collection. As hip-hop went global, retrenchment was in, as evidenced by the diversity of talent here: poets Sarah Jones and Saul Williams, veterans Kool Keith, Q-Tip and O.C. and then-newcomers Jurassic 5, Mos Def and Company Flow. This was “underground”-as-political stance — though best to forget that Rupert Murdoch’s son provided the seed money.
- Cipher Complete,
- Company Flow,
- Jurassic 5,
- Kool Keith,
- Mos Def,
- Sarah Jones,
- Saul Williams
By Jeff Chang on 06.29.09 in Icons
If fellow travelers De La Soul were the giddy braniacs and the Jungle Brothers the funky eccentrics, A Tribe Called Quest were the artful romantics of the vanguard Native Tongues hip-hop crew in the mid-'90s. They shared...
By Marc Hogan on 12.15.14 in News
Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, has added his voice to the ongoing debate over the killing of African-American men and boys by police officers. "We're at a critical time," he says in a four-minute spoken-word audi...
By Marc Hogan on 11.13.14 in News
District One must have a rave tent. Ariana Grande foreshadowed a turn toward electronic dance music with this summer's Zedd-assisted "Break Free," from the big-voiced pop singer's mixed-bag 2014 album My Everything. Dipl...
By Marc Hogan on 10.21.14 in News
Lorde's soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 now has 100 percent more Yeezy. The recent South Park spoof subject previously shared her own "Yellow Flicker Beat" from the album, and yesterday brought "This...