1996, I’m up at 2 am on a Friday dubbing College radio — as was the routine at the time — and then I hear it, “You’ll See” by The LOX featuring the Notorious B.I.G. Over the repurposed instrumental of Faith Evan’s “Used To Love Me,” the trio (though obviously younger) had that signature chemistry that we’ve always collectively loved them for, and of course a flame emoji Biggie verse. The song was dubbed off that original tape so many times the tape popped.
Whether or not you agree or even fuck with this new wave of artists flooding the industry, they’re here to stay — and they’re doing numbers. The ascent has been pretty steady, which I think many may not realize. Thriving in a generation that started sharing the dankest of the dank memes by the time they were in high school, they’ve turned consistent grind and work ethic via services like SoundCloud into vehicles to propel themselves to Billboard fame, selling out shows and making racks (and racks).
I asked artists to submit for potential inclusion in the new crowd-sourced iteration of my #indiespotlight column. One artist, Shane Eagle was recommended — and almost immediately the suggestion was co-signed by nearly 100 supporters. It didn’t go unnoticed, and I gave his debut release Yellow a listen. Flame emojis in abundance.
By now you’ve seen and heard the throwback magic that is Bruno Mars’ “Finesse” remix featuring Cardi B. After a fantastic start to 2018 — being inducted into the elite group of artists to have their first three Billboard Hot 100 hits in the top 10 — many detractors are beginning to come around. Including me, to be honest.
I’ve spoken about this in the past, but as a recognized journalist, I get lots of email and attention from artists looking to have some pen game dedicated to their craft. In this daily wave things don’t always stick out to me; It’s impossible for me to listen to everything and respond to everyone, respectfully.
Sometimes, though, you just get a feeling.
A new book by Chuck D — released in October — aims to bridge the knowledge gap in Hip Hop. This Day In Rap And Hip Hop History is a thorough collection of milestones, birthdays and essential releases that helped shape the culture we all hold dear.