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:
Sometimes all it takes is for the universe to align just right to help you get that look you need. For producer Andreao “Fanatic” Heard, that “look” came courtesy of an opportunity to record at New York City’s famed Hit Factory.
Alot of curious indie projects have landed across my desk this year, but this week one of most unique made its way to my AirPods. 27-year-old RetroPOP passed me his latest effort, RetroPOP Vol 1 This For Amir — a 19-song serving of nostalgic Hip Hop vibes, wrapped in an endearing subplot of family history.
Growing up in Gary, Indiana — infamous as the birthplace of the legendary singer Michael Jackson — rapper D-Brown found the largest influence in something that was all around him, struggle. “Growing up with less than everyone else always fueled me to go harder in everything I do,” he says. Creating what he calls inspirational street music centered around themes of self-elevation, he’s crafting rag-to-riches for the everyman over a trap and soulful beats.
Some follow the obvious that optically appears to be the most comfortable; North Carolina native Dylan 333 is breaking the mould. With only a month having elapsed since he first decided to try his hand at a career in music, he managed to amass some admirable number and gain the attention of one of the SoundCloud generation’s most notorious influencers, Adam22.
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.