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Entries Tagged ‘Hip Hop’:

Lost Classics: In The Beginning There Was Rap (Hip Hop Album)

itbtwrIn it’s 40 year history, hip hop music has seen many changes, for the better, and for the worse. We’ve seen it go from New York all the way to the West Coast, Down South, Midwest, and even international. Many different artist have left their own mark on the genre, and what was once considered a fad is now one of the most influential forms of music in the world. This 1997 album from Priority records is a testament to hip hop’s influence. This album consists of cover versions of classic rap songs performed by then-top artists, many of which have gone on to become big names in their own right. Some of the album’s standouts include Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s remake of NWA’s Fuck Tha Police, The Wu-Tang Clan’s cover of Run-DMC’s classic Sucka MCs, and Mack 10’s remake of NWA’s Dopeman. I’m not sure if this album is in print anymore, but if you can find a copy, check it out. It would be interesting to see another version of this album with today’s artists. It would be interesting to hear Kendrick Lamar, T.I, and 50 Cent do remakes of classic 80s and 90s hits.

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Lost Classics – 50 Cent, Ghetto Qu’ran (Hip Hop Song)

Time for one of those rare non-gaming Lost Classics! To be fair, 50 had two video games made featuring him (Bulletproof and Blood in the Sand), and his music has been featured in several video games, so here we go!

In 1999, a then-unknown Queens MC named Curtis Jackson grabbed the music world by the balls with his single How to Rob. The single, in which the rapper fantasized about robbing everyone from Jay-Z to Kirk Franklin catapulted him to the forefront of East Coast Hip Hop, pissing off several artists in the process. He wasn’t done yet though, heading back into the studio to add this controversial banger to his then-upcoming debut, Power of the Dollar. While the song was intended to catapult him to even greater heights, the resulting controversy instead gained him a large amount of infamy, and almost ended his life.


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Lost Classics: WWF Aggression (Music Album)

So this is one of those rare non-gaming Lost Classics, but it’s justified since there are plenty of games based on the WWF (or WWE as it’s called now), and there are plenty of games featuring hip hop music.
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$20 Game of the Week: Beaterator (PSP, PSN, Iphone OS)

beateratorThe PSP is turning out to be the platform of choice for would-be rap producers, as evidenced by 2007’s Traxxpad. Beaterator is the fruit of Rockstar’s collaboration with hip-hop producer Timbaland who at one time produced, did vocals on, or mixed a good 70 percent of popular music. It is based on a flash-based music mixer from the Rockstar website. Players can use Beaterator to create their own tunes and then share them via the Rockstar social club. Be warned, the interface isn’t nearly as user friendly as Traxxpad, but it provides a lot more functionality. You can craft your own drum loops, craft their own melodies, record sounds, import MIDIS, and more. You can even go into the song crafter and create a song instantly using ready-made loops. You have access to a library of hundreds of samples. There is a lot to absorb here, but thankfully, there are video tutorials to help you get used to everything.

Thanks to Beaterator, you don’t need thousands of dollars with of studio equipment to make hits. All you need is a PSP, a copy of the game, a memory stick, and some patience, and you can become the next DJ Primer or Manny Fresh.

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$20 Game of The Week: Traxxpad (PSP)

Ever wanted to make your own block-rockin rap beats? Can’t afford thousands of dollars worth of studio equipment? Got a PSP? Well, Eidos has something for you. Traxxpad basically places a sequencer, sampler, and drum machine in the palm of your hand. The learning curve is a bit steep (especially if you are unfamiliar with music-creation software), but the disc is divided up into four basic functions. You lay down samples in the R.T.I.S.T editor, use the M.E.L.O.D to adjust their pitch and volume, and use the S.T.A.C to combine sequences and create a track. The Myxxer is basically a portable jam session, which makes it best for experimenting with the different samples. You can create tracks, export them as MP3s, or just save them to edit later. The WAV editor can be used to trim and crop your sounds, and you can use a PSP microphone to record vocals. Traxxpad contains over 1000 samples to use, and many of them have been supplied by outside producers and labels such as Sha-Money Management, Traxxamillion, and even Psychopathic Records (of ICP fame). The samples have been organized into sound banks, which you can load up and switch between at any time. You can even swap out samples from one bank and create a custom sound bank for whatever you need. There is a variety of different instruments, bass lines, and vocal effects, so if you’re creative, then you can come up with just about anything. Of course, seeing as how this is a PSP and not a computer, the limited controls will present some interface issues. Navigation through the menus is tricky, and there is a steep learning curve. The instruction book contains a brief tutorial, so you’d be wise to follow that before jumping in to the game.

Even with the steep learning curve, Traxxpad is an impressive piece of material. You’ll have to spend a lot of time with it to get the most out of it, but when you learn its ins and outs, the interface will become second nature, and you’ll be making dope tracks in little time at all. This PSP disc is quite powerful when it comes to the options you have available for making beats. There are better and more complex tools out there for producers-in-training (especially on the computer), but for beginners and seasoned veterans alike, Traxxpad is a good way to start out.

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Good Morning by Kanye West


Directed by Takashi Murakami, this is the animated music video for the opening track of Kanye West’s album “Graduation”

Do note an appearance by one of our Top 5 Movie Cars!

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De la Ro’ Completes Solo Album, Hell Freezes Over

Well I’ll be, I remember being excited for this back in high school… word came in today from Billboard (via Pitchfork) that former, and now current, Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha has finally completed his solo album, you know… the one he started working on back in 2000 when the rest of the band left to form the not-terrible-but-terribly-disappointing Audioslave? Pitchfork’s Matthew Solarski had this to say:

De la Rocha collaborated with Golden stickman and one-time Mars Volta/Royal Trux drummer Jon Theodore on the LP and recorded some of it at a studio belonging to acousti-surfer-dude Jack Johnson. Zack doesn’t have a title for the record and is still considering his release options, so no word yet when he’ll rally ’round your family with this pocket full of new songs.

It’s also unclear whether post-millennial de la Rocha collaborations with DJ Shadow, ?uestlove, and Trent Reznor will make the LP. Billboard.com, however, quotes a source saying that Zack’s first solo foray sounds like a mix of “Led Zeppelin and Dr. Dre. Some of it has the power you’d expect from him in Rage.” So there’s that.

Hmm… I’ll be remaining cautiously optimistic about the whole thing, but my inner 15-year-old can’t f***ing wait.

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Review: Def Jam Icon (Xbox 360, PS3)

defjamicon.jpgI wanted to give you some first impressions a while ago when the demo hit Xbox Live, but it was too short to fully try out the game’s features. Also, I wasn’t too sure about the new direction EA decided to take with the series, so I decided to wait until I could find it used. For those of you who don’t already know, for reasons known only to themselves, EA decided to hand the Def Jam brand off to EA Chicago, the creators of the Fight Night series. Many players agree that it was just fine with developer AKI, but Kudo Tsunoda had his own ideas for the series, mainly integrating the music into the game engine, and making use of the analog sticks in a manner similar to Fight Night. It’s clearly not gonna be for everyone, and there are a few areas that could use some work, but for the most part, it’s a bold new direction for the series.
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