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:
After a delay that didn’t go unnoticed by fans, rappers Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot (collectively known as the EarthGang) finally released their long-awaited third EP, Royalty, on J. Cole’s Dreamville Records imprint. Staying true to the aesthetic of both Rags and Robots — right down to the FRKO animated cover art — the project is a healthy dose of Southern comfort entrenched in jazzy sonic nostalgia.
A recent Tweet gave me—more so than an age check—some insight into how far back some of the younger listener’s insights into Hip Hop goes. While discussing the 19th anniversary of Eminem’s Slim Shady LP, one user tweeted that it was the album that he was forced to hide from his mother.
It was back in early 2017 when rhymer El Gant, West-Coast vet Ras Kass, and Brown Bag All-Stars alumni J57 announced they were forming a super-group. In a video that featured the iconic DJ Premier dropping a heavy co-sign, Jamo Gang announced an upcoming project; a few singles and live footage followed.
That was over a year ago, and most fans had started to come to terms with the possibility that this collaborative project, like that of Liknuts, may never see the light of day.
It’s no secret that some producers have been subjected to less-than-fair business practices on the part of the major label system. A new platform, License Lounge, is now giving producers the opportunity to do business with artists while maintaining control over their compensation and brand. Likewise, it allows artists with moderate to healthy budgets to get their hands on instrumentals without getting finessed.
Back in 2001, Vast Aire and Vordul Mega — collectively known as Cannibal Ox — released their debut album, The Cold Vein, which was (also) the first release from the legendary underground label Definitive Jux. Over production by label founder (and Company Flow off-shoot) El-P, the duo had incredible chemistry that propelled the album into Hip Hop reverence. In fact, it still finds itself on many lists of best post-millennium albums.
Lenny Grant, who — if we’re honest — is better known to the world as Uncle Murda, is the definition of mixtape success. Like the artists this series has covered in the past, his initial run led him to a major label deal. Unlike the others, though, he has yet to drop a major label debut. Upon popping up back in 2005, his unique blend of ultra-ignorant street Hip Hop, volumes of anti-police rhetoric and incredible adlibs quickly made him a popular figure on the New York mixtape circuit.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame named multi-platinum selling artist and producer Jermaine Dupri as part of its 2018 class. The honor makes the Atlanta native the second Hip Hop artist to ever receive the honor following JAY-Z was inducted last year. Dupri’s vast list of credits includes classics like Mariah Carey’s platinum-selling “Always Be My Baby,” Usher’s double-platinum single “Make Me Wanna” and more recently, Bryson Tiller’s smash hit “Don’t.”
Shirt, the first rap artist signed to Jack White’s Third Man Records, is injecting a much-needed sense of mystery into a genre that at times feels grossly oversaturated with information. Having first generated intrigue with his New York Times spoof site back in 2014 (in the promotion of his RAP project), his major label debut PURE BEAUTY has all the goods and is poised to make the frustratingly hard-to-Google artist much more familiar to listeners.
Brooklyn Rapper Skyzoo Talks ‘In Celebration of Us,’ ‘Black Panther’ Excitement and His Own Marvel Future
Brooklyn rapper Skyzoo is dropping his fourth solo studio album, In Celebration of Us, this week, but with a track record that spans 25 releases (including collaborative efforts, EPs, and mixtapes), the 35-year-old rightfully enjoys veteran MC status amongst the industry’s elite. Being held in this high regard is what makes his confidence about In Celebration Of Us so exciting for his core audience.
Anyone remotely familiar with Skyzoo would be remiss not to concede the intricacy of his pen game; a new project from the Brooklyn MC has a track record of being guaranteed quality. So when the 35-year-old rapper calls a project his most “layered and conceptual” — essentially his best — to date, it’s reasonable for fans to salivate.