News & Notes from the world of RAP

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Some hip-hop related flotsam...

Noz of the hip-hop blog Cocaine Blunts & Hip-Hop Tapes has been blogging over at XXL's cool new website. He checks in with the first three of his top ten underappreciated rappers list... and it's great so far. See what he has to say about WC, MC Lyte, and Suga-Free. WC and Suga-Free are known for their New Sincerity flows, and Suga-Free in particular is NS. The LA-based rapper and frequent DJ Quik collaborator tends to wear suits, perms, and manicures to support his pimp image. Noz is also hosting a few early Suga Free tracks on Cocaine Blunts.

Also, J-Smooth from WBAI-FM in New York (and the excellent hiphopmusic.com) points us to a fascinating profile of producer Just Blaze, best known for his work with the Roc-a-Fella camp (Jay-Z's "Song Cry," Cam'ron's "Oh Boy," etc). Just talks about how he's trying to find his own way through the hip-hop world, while still representing what he loves about New York rap:

"That raw grittiness, the essence of it, is totally down here. I've done uptempo club records with no samples and keyboards; I'm not mad at that. But the more I notice things getting screwed up, the more I'm like I gotta play my part in balancing the scale a little more. And if I fail, cool. I just gotta do what my heart tells me, and right now my heart is telling me that somebody's got to be at the front of people bringing it back. There's not too many people from the boom-bap East Coast era who are even in a position to make a difference in hip-hop. I'm one of the few who anybody even has half of an eye on. A lot of my heroes wouldn't even have the opportunity to do it. It's almost like I have to do it."

Check that joint out in the Village Voice.

also... check out the author's great blog, featuring a totally fascinating conversation between Just Blaze and fellow producer Alchemist.