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.
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If you’ve slept on Skyzoo’s latest LP, In Celebration Of Us, then shame on you. It’s masterpiece centered around equal parts social injustice and commentary, and — more endearing — fatherhood, and the role it played in his life.
L.A.-based, Detroit-born, producer Black Milk is as eclectic as they come. Wearing a bevy of hats, from rapper to glorified band leader, pigeonholing him is impossible, especially when examining the artistic chances he takes from one LP to another. The Rebellion Sessions, which dropped just over two years ago, for example, contained no vocals from Milk at all.
There are many intersections between contemporary Hip Hop music and visual art, as well as mutual points of inspiration between the two disciplines. With graffiti being one of the original pillars of the culture, the two have been intertwined since the early days of Hip Hop itself.
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.”