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:
Toronto-based artist Chris O’Keefe was challenged by a fellow artist to draw a picture a day for an entire year. After drawing an initial blank (no pun intended) on his subject matter, he settled on pictures of his favorite Hip Hop artists. Forty-three days and 1,400 Reddit subscribers later, O’Keefe is focused on seeing his year-long commitment through. So far, the results have been dope.
In case you were wondering what LL Cool J is rocking on his streaming playlist, it probably isn’t too many of these younger acts. The 49-year-old Queens rapper took to Twitter on Tuesday night (May 22) with an ambiguous shot at “terrible rap records” floating around.
For a Hip Hop artist, making the Billboard Hot 100 is no easy task. Take someone like DJ Khaled, for example. After churning out star-studded collaborations for over a decade, Billboard announced earlier this week that his “I’m The One” recording featuring Quavo, Chance The Rapper, Lil’ Wayne and Justin Bieber became his first No. 1 on the chart.
It’s a cause for celebration — and the ultimate sign of true commercial and cultural viability. Or is it?
Most heads with any sort of hand or ear to the Jersey scene has heard of Broadway Blake. Born and raised in one of Newark’s toughest neighborhoods, Blake — like many of his peers — needed all the inspiration he could find. Luckily hip hop was the escape that provided him that. He came in the game with a strong mixtape run, followed by a solid indie release, Broadway Empire. He’s currently to work towards Broadway Empire 2 while contributing as a member of the buzz worthy LiFECREW collective.
Brother Ali is back on the scene — after a five-year lapse — with a deeply personal new project entitled All The Beauty In This Whole Life (out now). Upon first listen, the album’s second song, “Own Light,” immediately jumped out at me — as a seemingly overarching guiding principal for the project, and an overwhelmingly positive message. “I mean, it’s interesting that it’s the manifesto of the album,” he told me in conversation (for another publication), “it’s a mission statement of the album — and of my life right now.”
After a five-year hiatus since the release of Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, Minnesota rapper Brother Ali — one of Rhymesayers’ most revered acts — is back with a new collection that stands as a refreshing beacon in the current sea of releases. “I always take a long time,” he tells Exclaim! “I don’t really like to be creative if I don’t feel like I have something that I really want to offer. So when I’m full, then I feel like sharing — and then when I’m not, then I just don’t.”
Morocco-born rapper French Montana had the internet buzzing with the release of his “Unforgettable” visual, featuring Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd. Filmed in Uganda, Africa back in March, the video featured an exciting blend of local dancers exuding an unbelievable energy that has helped push the video over 27 million views on YouTube, and the song itself on the Billboard charts, where it currently sits in the top 20 on the Hot Rap Songs Chart.
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon Penned A Shakespearean Rap Play Nobody Asked For (HipHopDX)
Steven Bannon, the White House Chief Strategist of the Trump administration, has been called many things in his days — including alleged white supremacist, among other things. At least one of titles had gone under the radar, though: failed film writer and director. And possibly, unqualified Hip Hop historian.
Ja Rule’s Fyre Festival Fail Turned Into 33-Page Movie Script That Stars Leonardo DiCaprio (HipHopDX)
It seems as though the saga of Ja Rule’s ill-fated — poorly planned — Bahamian “getaway,” Fyre Festival, will not end anytime soon, especially with a $100 million dollar lawsuit on the table. The cinematic element of the story, which is almost evident when hearing accounts from would-be concert goers who describe the scene in a way that oddly resembles the debut episode of a Survivor spin-off, inspired one writer to take it to the next level.
If you’re excluding an artist like Q-Tip from both the conversations of either best producer or MC, it’s criminal. Representing Queens, which is what the Q in his name stands for, Tip’s stamp on the timeline of hip-hop, particularly the game-changing 1990s era, is unmistakable. From lending his ear and production expertise to Mobb Deep’s (arguably) most revered body of work, The Infamous, to producing Nas’ crown jewel, “One Love,” off of hip-hop’s opus, lllmatic, he’s been a part of hip-hop history for decades. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He’s blessed beats for everyone from Kanye and Jay-Z to Beyonce.