Did You Hear the One About Hip Hop For Dogs?

At first I thought this question was posed to me as a joke, said no, and waited for the punch line. Sadly it was not a joke. What it was was a question about a book. A real published book that had been making the rounds for a few years.

Now being a hip-hop connoisseur, you would think that if there really were Hip Hop for Dogs I would know about it. But thankfully the hip hop Gods above had let me have 5 more years of bliss before letting me know of this awful books existence.

The premise is not how to create hip hop music that a dog will shake his tail to. Nor is it about Snoop and how to be more like him. (Now that would be a book worth buying). What it is is a book that makes a half baked attempt to explain hip hop to dogs. As if they would care.

snoop_dogg-gal-politicalThe real problem here is that the book is outright offensive. It’s offensive to me and to the whole hip hop genre. It’s offensive to people of color. And it’s offensive to dogs. The lady who wrote this trash needs to be put out of her misery, like forever. Just take a look at how she defines the word “sister” in relation to hip hop music:

“Me and my homegirls, we stick together everywhere we go: at the groomer gettin’ our ‘dos, on the street sniffin’ the B-Boys and all over the hood avoidin’ the baby daddies. Some of us are busted, some of us are fly, some got small bootys, some have badonkadonks. But all of us run in the same pack, help each other, and watch out for each other’s pups. I don’t know what I’d do without my SISTAS.”

Pretty bad right? Like it makes me think that she should be fitted with a collar and locked up behind one of those wireless pet containment systems. That is the perfect revenge from the canine world. Better yet, every time she reaches for a pen and paper she gets the zap in the neck. Those pet containment systems don’t really hurt, she’ll just think twice before stepping out of bounds again.

Honestly, I am a bit aggravated even at myself for giving this excuse of a book any publicity. So please, don’t buy it. Do however write nasty letters to the author and let her know that you shouldn’t play with hip hop this way.

Soundtrack Review – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

The Hunger Games franchise has taken the world by storm and introduced us to a whole new dimension both theatrically and musically. Each new movie has been accompanied by the release of a soundtrack that complements the story. The soundtrack to Mockingjay, Part 1 is no exception, and features one of the biggest names in hip-hop today.

Lorde is responsible once again for curating this mix of music for the third installment of the Hunger Games film series and as always has put together an eclectic mix of artists who are able to dig deep into their dark side to conjure up the feeling of the films.

On this installment, the majority of the music is meant to help fans visualize the movie rather than take them back to it. Of the various singles, only two are actually featured in the film, while the rest are tributes to it. Hip-hop heavyweight Kanye West was asked to participate and makes a stunning contribution to the album.

But before going there, you need to know a bit about the movies. These are dark and a bit twisted end of days themes, which has the remnants of civilization as we know it fighting for their lives. It has become a major part of pop culture and introduced us to a whole new world.

For example, since the release of the original Hunger Games the sport of archery has seen a major surge in popularity thanks to its depiction by the heroine of the movie. And since it is a girl who is taking aim with her recurve bow and arrow, which are reviewed here, it is young girls and women who are getting involved in the sport by the hordes. The sale of recurve bows has gone up dramatically, and special leagues for girls popping up everywhere.

The Album

In addition to her single and Kanye West’s remix on the album, Grace Jones, Simon Le Bon, Diplo, Miguel and Ariana Grande were also asked to contribute. Only 3 singles were used as promotional pieces, allowing for the album to sell on its own merits. It is a dark underscore, right in line with the theme of the movie, sold over 200,000 digital copies in the first week.

2014, THE HUNGER GAMES -  MOCKINGJAY

The album was received well critically, which focused on the soundtracks ability to echo the movie and the journey of the recurve bow wielding heroine. Lorde’s work on the project was called stellar by Billboard and Spin Magazine compliments her for the perfect balance between the storyline and the songwriting.

Whether you are a fan of the series or not, if you are a fan of Kanye West and Lorde, than this soundtrack should be an important part of your musical collection. Dark and dreary, the music is a perfect interpretation of what life would be like if it imitated art and sent civilization into an abyss.

The 2015 Bonnaroo Music Festival – Are You Ready?

The Bonnaroo Music Festival has become the annual music event to see and be seen at. The first festival was held in 2002, and since then has won accolades and nods from big names in the music industry. Now a permanent fixture in Manchester, Tennessee, 5 live performance tents feature artists from all different genres for 4 days, including hip-hop.

Bonnaroo takes its name from 1974 Dr. John song and simply means to have a really good time. Those who have attended the festival in the past will tell you that this is a very apt name. The four stages have been graced by some of the biggest names in the past, like Jay-Z, Kanye West, the Beastie Boys and James Brown. All genres are represented each year, so don’t be surprised to wake up to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and go to sleep to Elton John.

The 2015 Bonnaroo Music Festival

This year’s festival already has dozens of artists lined up and is planned for June 11th to the 14th. Kendrick Lamar will be just one of the many headlining hip-hop performances alongside SuperJam!, Brandi Carlile and Deadmaus. Tickets have already gone on sale, so you better hurry up and grab yours now.

tentOn Site Accommodations

One of the many aspects that makes Bonnaroo stand tall above other Spring time music festivals is the organized overall experience. The festival owns the land where it is held and has set up a very intricate camp site to accommodate all guests. Access is included in the price of the ticket, but don’t expect a Woodstock type of sleeping arrangements anarchy. Instead, they have quartered off certain areas to meet everyone’s needs.

Camping Options at Bonnaroo

  • Tent-only camping will likely get you the spot closest to the stages. You park in the general camping area, grab your family sized tent and compass to navigate your way through the grounds and walk about 30 minutes to the site. There are absolutely no cars, motorcycles or any other vehicle allowed in this area, but the walk will be well worth it. Pitching your family tent here not only gets your home base closer to the stages, you are also right next to the general store and all of the other festival amenities.
  • The tent only campsite is offered on a first come, first serve basis. If you don’t get there in time to nab a prime campsite no worries, you will be able to roll out your sleeping bag next to where you park your car. It won’t be that much of a big deal to have a short hike from your tent to the stages once the music starts.
  • Family Camping is also available if you want to bring along the kids. There are a ton of things that they can do during the festival that makes this one a family friendly event. A private camping area has been designated for these families in order to give them and the kids a better overall experience.
  • If you are going to the festival with a large group, they have that covered too. Special tickets are sold to groups of 24 or more so that they can be guaranteed the space needed to lay out their family tents into a small city area.

One of the best parts of the festival is the chance to hear emerging hip-hop music. There are 5 stages, and the lesser ones feature up and coming artists through out the day. If you are up and coming, consider signing yourself up and be a part of a truly unique live music experience.

 

So You Want to Be a Hip Hop Star – Can You Learn to Sing Online?

Everyone has a dream, and all dreams should be nurtured. If yours is becoming the next grammy winning hip hop artist, than by all means go for it. But not all artists are born with a mic in the mouth, and none have gotten where they are today without some type of musical training. If Julliard is not in your immediate future, than at the very least, start learning to sing online.

How to Start Learning How to Sing Online

If you’re serious about online singing classes than you need to have the right set up. Invest in a high quality mic for your computer, as well as a set of headphones. Find a spot in your home where you can get full privacy and make this your personal training studio. You don’t want the whole family watching over your shoulder as you are trying to learn to sing online.

Next you need to find the best online singing program by checking out reviews. Check reviews and see what other aspiring stars have to say. Look for a program that specializes in hip hop so that you will learn the special techniques that come with hip hop music.

What Will You Learn With Online Singing Classes?

There is a lot more to singing then what you are doing in the shower. Your first few lessons are likely to be more technical than clinical as you just learn the lingo. You will need to understand concepts like pitch and tone before you can even begin to take on hip hop music.

Your range will be explored, and perfected on during your classes. This is the notes that your own voice is able to produce. Not everyone has the same range, and some artists have higher ones than others. Take an artist like the late Whitney Houston. She was an incredible singer and known for being able to carry the highest of notes for long periods. This is not a skill that many musicians have and during your classes you will learn what your range is and how to stay within it.

hip_hop_artists_by_kirathehedgehog1-d5k0jzb

What Type of Music Should You Sing Online?

Since your goal is hip hop, you are of course going to want to focus your attention there, but do branch out and practice in other genres as well. Try a bit of rock and roll, or even some jazz just to get a feel of the difference in singing styles. And if you do land a record deal, that extra studying will make you more versatile as an artist.

Take the plunge into online singing lessons if you have a true drive to be the next best thing in the hip hop world. If you have what  it takes, you just may be accepting that grammy in a few years.

Different Hip Hop Genres

When it comes to Hip Hop, there is no one specific style. Inside of Hip Hop there are many different styles, each one of them unique. As Hip Hop has grown throughout the years, the number of styles within it has also grown. Now there are a ton of different styles, each one with their own famous artists and unique details. To help you understand the different Hip Hop styles, we have compiled a short list and a description of each.

  • Alternative Hip Hop – Rappers inside this genre typically stray outside the lines, and push the envelope in terms of music style and lyrics. They are less concerned with songs that sound catchy, but rather focus on exploring new concepts. Example: The Roots.
  • Battle Rap – This style of hip hop focuses on having superior lyrics, and braggadocio. Any veteran battle rapper will focus on boasting and insulting their opponent. Example: Kool Moe Dee
  • Conscious Rap – Conscious Rap is founded in the idea that social change can come through a mixture of personal discovery and social awareness. Rappers inside this section focus on raising awareness towards societal problems and promoting positive ideas. Example: Common.

    "Lil Jon at 2005 AEE Awards" by Luke Ford - http://www.lukeisback.com/images/photos/050109.htm. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.
    Lil Jon at 2005 AEE Awards” by Luke Ford – http://www.lukeisback.com/images/photos/050109.htm. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.
  • Crunk – Starting in the 1990s, this sub-set came from souther hip hop. It focuses on chaotic club beats and high energy chants. Example: Lil Jon.
  • East Coast Hip Hop – Originating in the streets of New York, this is more of an umbrella style that covers a range of other styles, from street hop to conscious rap. Example: Nas.
  • Gangsta Rap – This style focuses on aggressive lyrics and trunk heavy beats. While it was very popular in the early 90s, it has now come under heavy criticism for its themes of violence and negative views on women. Example: Ice Cube
  • Hyphy – This is a relatively new style emerging from West Coast rap. It is uptempo, and high energy, while featuring lyrics that are witty. Many consider it similar to Crunk, but it has maintained some success over the past few years. Example: Keak da Sneak.
  • Snap – The Snap genre features smooth polyrhythms, while being joined by snapping (where it gets its name) and some whistling. The combination creates a unique melody that isn’t heard in other genres of hip hop. It remained popular for a time, but has since fizzled out. Example: Yin Yang Twins
  • Southern Rap – Southern Rap focuses on direct lyrics (usually about living in the South) along with a unique sound. Southern Rap is mainly focuses on Southern culture, and often describes things like fashion trends and nightlife, among other things. Example: Lil Wayne.
  • West Coast Hip Hop – Lastly, we have West Coast. This is another over-arching genre that contains smaller genres. Inside West Coast Hip Hop are G-funk, Lowrider, Freestyles and Gangsta Rap. Example: N.W.A.

Hopefully this article was able to help you understand the basics of the different hip hop genres. There are more sprouting up each time, and it can be hard to keep them straight. Keep in mind that some sounds can fit into several different genres, as artists are always look to try something new and incorporate different styles.

What Is Hip-Hop?

"Jazzyjeff 061111" by Dopefish - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Jazzyjeff 061111” by DopefishOwn work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

For any blog about Hip Hop music, it is important to answer the question – What exactly is Hip Hop? When did it start? Why did it start? What’s so different about it? And why should we care? In this introductory blog post we are going to do our best to answer those questions, so that everyone visiting our site can see just how special Hip Hip music truly is.

What Is Hip Hop? – Hip Hop music is a music genre that normally consists of stylized, rhythmic music. In many instances, it is accompanied by rapping. This style of music developed as a part of a sub-culture that was defined by 4 main elements – MCing/rapping, DJing, break dancing, and graffiti writing. Often hip hop has become interchangeable with rap, but it refers more specifically to the subculture.

When Did It Start? – This subculture and style of music started up in the 1970s, when block parties started to become more popular in New York City, especially among African American youth. As the sampling technology and drum machines became more affordable, the genre really started to evolve. The song Rapper’s Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang is widely regarded as the first hip hop record to become popular in the mainstream.

How Has It Changed? – Since its foundation, hip hop has morphed into many different styles, from Gangsta Rap to West Coast, to East Coast, to Political Rap. Each style had its foundation in hip hop, but has turned into something unique. Now other genres of music, notably Pop music have attempted parts of hip hop and incorporated it into their music. Hip Hop music grew in popularity until roughly 2005, when sales began to wane. Now it comes and goes, depending on the artists that are involved at the time.

Why Is It Important? – Hip Hop music was originally a way for the African American community to express themselves. The 70s were a difficult time, and many in the black community found themselves living in impoverished areas. Hip hop music turned into a way for them to be creative, and to do something different than what the rest of the country was doing. Ever since then it has been a way for artists to express concerns over political and social issues, while also performing artistic pieces. It has given a group of separate people a subculture to identify with and that they can be a part of.

As you can see, Hip Hop music, and the culture in general, are all very important to society. This is why we have formed this blog. Our hope is that through it, and all of the articles on it, you will be able to see the immense impact hip hop has had on the world at large, and why it continues to grow strong today. Hip hop is a fun, innovative style of music, and one that we hope you all will enjoy.