Ahead of his return to the UK, we salute the genius of Busta Rhymes

When you mention Busta Rhymes to people who don’t really know hip-hop, they respond in one of two ways. They either look at you quizzically and mention that ‘Baby if you Give to Me’ song, or they just laugh. Whilst there is something undeniably comic about Busta’s public image, this should not distract us from recognising that he is in possession of one of the finest catalogues in hip-hop history, and is perhaps the most stylistically unique rapper of all time. With reference to the different attributes that make him a certified Rap Legend, Whitey On The Moon will now pay its respects.

By Luca Tiratelli

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The Art of Consumption: Vinyl revival in the digital age

The Art of Consumption: When combined, the internet age and the resurgence of vinyl give a far deeper appreciation of music than either one on its own.

By Jos Gogarty

Superfunkycalifragisexy: The Demise of Sexually Explicit Lyrics

Somewhere between Prince’s “Darling Nikki” and Nelly’s “Tip Drill”, we forgot how to sing about sex. Explicit sexual references have become a ubiquitous part of pop music, but they have also become as bland and as vacuous as Chris Martin’s darkest fantasies. As boring and predictable as Miley twerking. We are saturated with naked flesh and sexual invitations but somehow they’ve never been less appealing. And I can’t help but think that we’re missing out.

By Matteo Tiratelli

How Technology, Space and Place Affect Song Writing

The idea that context determines what music is recorded, played and sung is both obvious and extremely counter intuitive. We don’t normally notice the way that music evolves in response to changes in technology and the spaces in which it is listened to. This doesn’t mean that artists are not reacting creatively and artistically to these changes but merely that their creativity is embedded in its context. What worries me, however, is that the rise of recording and modern technology has undermined their creative control.

By Matteo Tiratelli

Reconciling Homophobia and Homoeroticism in Hip Hop

Since the decline of groups like “Tribe Called Quest”, “De La Soul” and “The Jurassic 5”, there has only really been one accepted definition of masculinity in Hip Hop. And that vision of manliness is one of hyper-machismo achieved through a combination of violence, physical strength, mental toughness, misogyny and wealth. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Hip Hop has always had a strong homophobic element to it. However, what is less examined is the overt homoeroticism that permeates much of rap music, and how it can be reconciled with the homophobia that the same artists espouse.

By Luca Tiratelli

Context Is Not A Myth

Just as self-deprecation isn’t the opposite of arrogance but rather its sneaky corollary, so too the subculture(s) spring from the mainstream, germinated by a logic they purportedly oppose. “Sampling” is the example I want to use here: this musical method has degenerated, becoming coloured by some of the very worst aspects of our society.

By Yohann Koshy

Burnt Bridges: where’s the next Andre 3000?

Whilst all real hip hop heads have spent the last 10 years mourning the death of hard core “real” hip hop, a loss at the other end of the spectrum has gone unreported. Yes, I’m here to grieve at the tomb of the R’n’B cross over artist.

By Luca Tiratelli

Changing Eras In Hip-Hop

Tim Westwood’s history of hiphop breaks down into six stages: 1) the foundations in the Bronx, 2) “pro-black”/Public enemy, 3) gangsta rap and G Funk, 4) grimy New York/ Wu Tang Clan, 5) club music and “celebrating life” and finally 6) the current era. More interesting than this brief outline of over 30 years of history was his assertion that the changing of these eras come about as a result of one seminal record, which affects the whole scene for ever more…

By Luca Tiratelli

Welcome to the world of… Tom Waits

An introduction to the lyrics and music of one of America’s finest songwriters: Tom Waits.

by Matteo Tiratelli

Marvin Gaye: Sanctified Man

The tensions between sex, love and God are a recurring theme in Marvin Gaye’s lyrics and they have inspired some of his most sublime as well as his weakest moments. The way he deals with these themes is always a reflection of his changing personal situation and so over time we see dramatic shifts in his understanding of sexuality, romance and spirituality.

by Matteo Tiratelli