Today, September 23rd, 2013 marks the 10-year anniversary of Outkast’s landmark album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. When I realized this, the first thing that went through my mind was “Damn, time flies.” It seems like it was yesterday that I was listening to “Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move” on 102.7 KIIS FM while my mom was driving me to school. I remember “Hey Ya!” being played at those awkward-ass middle school dances. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below also has personal importance to me because, along with The Black Album, it’s the first hip-hop record that I actually went out and bought (it’s hard to imagine a time before iTunes, but buying CDs was actually a thing 10 years ago). Now, some might be asking why, of all the hip-hop albums released around this time, am I writing about this particular one. Well, quite simply, Outkast raised the bar with Speakerboxxx/The Love Below as far as hip-hop goes, and that bar has yet to be matched.
Four years ago today the DJ community lost a true legend of the industry. DJ AM or Adam Goldstein, from Philly, is considered one of the best turntablists to have ever lived. Today his style of mixing can still be heard by some of the greats including A-TRAK. The last year of his life was filled with many highs and lows. Both AM and Travis Barker teamed up to put together a truly remarkable mixtape called "Fix Your Face VOL 1.," which can be listend to and downloaded for free below. The mix includes such an incredible array of artists from Biggie Smalls, to Daft Punk, to Kanye, and everything in between that you can imagine.
This was one of the first major collaboration between two different genres that was one of the first landmark events of electronic music becoming mainstream. Shortly after the release of the mixtape AM and Barker were performing together in the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. The following year was when Deadmau5 rocked the world with his iconic cube on television for the first time.
Earlier this week we gave you our review of the Mad Decent Block Party as it touched down at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in the DMV area. But did you know that back in 2008, Philadelphia hosted the very first Mad Decent Block Party? Taking place on the basketball courts of 12th & Spring Garden, this free concert and barbecue was held in response to the growing popularity of the Roots Picnic. The event showcased new sounds and styles coming from the burgeoning Mad Decent label, featuring the likes of Dirty South Joe, DJ Sega, Nadastrom, Flosstradamus, and more. Fast forward to the present day and, besides the venue and production value, the party’s still going strong.
Seven years ago, Nas released a record called Hip Hop Is Dead. Many hip-hop die-hards, including my colleague Reuben Friedman, hold the same opinion and I agree for the most part. However, with the recent mainstream success of Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore and the emergence of young bucks like Joey Bada$$, things seem to be looking up. To me, the state of hip-hop is like the U.S. economy: things aren’t that great right now, but they sure as hell are better than the way they were five years ago. But in order for hip-hop to reach that same level that it was 15-20 years ago, there are certain people who need to change their ways or just disappear all together. Now, if there’s one thing in this world that I absolutely hate with every ounce of my being, it’s ignorance. And as an African-American, nothing pisses me off more than grown-ass black men being ignorant, so this issue is one of personal importance for me.