Riley Wallace: Hip-Hop Journalist
Riley Wallace is a published, professional writer and hip-hop journalist whose work runs the gambit from real estate writing to hip-hop/urban writing for the legendary XXL Magazine. He’s the founder of AAHIPHOP and is one of the site’s principal writers. He’s interviewed legends like De La Soul, and is always working to expose new talent — and social commentary — with his work. For additional writing samples, or for any business/media, contact him using the form below.
Curated Writing Feed
Any rapper worth their weight in internet salt circa the early 2000s was more than familiar with the name J. Armz. The producer and engineer went from selling mixtapes on Fordham Rd. in the Bronx, to becoming the official plug for instrumentals. His trademark tag was absolutely unmistakable to those in the know. From radio to mixtapes, to ESPN, he was everywhere.
One thing that doesn’t need to be debated (anymore) is the fact that Black Thought is an elite MC. A conversation with your fave rapper’s fave rapper will confirm this — as would a listen to essentially any of his verses … ever. His humbleness and the technicality that he was a member of The Roots (though he was clearly the sole MC) deprived the world of a true solo effort. That was until this summer’s Streams of Thought, Vol. 1, which saw the lyrical virtusuo team up with 9th Wonder.
After recounts of an infamous 1990 3rd Bass visit to Greg Mack’s KDAY morning show by group member Pete Nice and Mack himself that were directly refuted in claims made by MC Serch on Vlad TV, HipHopDX has obtained a four-minute recording of the show is now available for everyone to hear.
When it comes to female MCs, garnering comparisons to the likes of Trina — especially if they’re from the south — isn’t that telling. Earning and owning comparisons to Pimp C though, is something that peaks interest. However, when Q-Tip himself says someone puts him in mind of Nas, that’s when it’s time to stop and listen.
In a crew that stands synonymous with quality, Benny The Butcher has remained — in the minds of many — a best-kept secret, or (more specifically) a secret weapon. They all hold their own, but with Westside Gunn and Conway The Machine having established themselves a little more, Benny had carved out his role as the guy with the fire guest verses over the past few months.
The current rap game is built around the repetition of success. While that statement may not have always been true, in today’s world it’s easy to be bamboozled by the promise of uniqueness that in all actuality is chameleon-like mimicry. This is what makes St. Louis-native Smino so intriguing.
When it comes to entry into the game, not many producers can claim a body of work as influential and commercially successful as Patterson, NJ native Justin Smith, better known as Just Blaze. For the iconic producer, an internship at the storied Cutting Room studio in New York City led to him landing major placements that spun into a run that snapped the sound of hip-hop at the turn of the century.
When it comes to the world of music production, few are as commercially varied — and as forthcoming with inspiration —as Ramon Ibanga Jr., better known as Illmind. With a catalogue of songs that traverses artists like Grand Agent, Supastition and El Da Sensei, to JAY-Z, Drake and even the Moana soundtrack (he produced “You’re Welcome”), not many producers can lay claim to his steady ascent into the upper echelon of the producer world.
MC Serch, formerly one half of the group 3rd Bass, recently stopped by VladTV’s studio to chat about a plethora of topics, including helping Nas get his deal. One story in particular though raised a few eyebrows; not so much for its intricacy, but more so for its historical inaccuracy.