2001: An adolescent Hit-Boy buys his first album, The Blueprint. 2013: Hit Boy is awarded his first grammy for “N***** in Paris” with Jay Z & Kanye West. A focused spirit emirates from Hit-Boy, one brewed from calloused hands and inherent resolve. A child of the depraved underbelly that was the Reagan Era. At only three years old, Hit Boy’s father would be locked up on a lengthy sentence — undoubtedly a product of a systemically corrupt and still active “war” on drugs.

The Diverse Sounds of Nashville Rap's Present and Future

Jefferson Street, not Broadway. Out East, not East Nashville. Prince’s Hot Chicken, not Hattie B’s. Just like the tourism that courses through Nashville weekly, there’s a vast disparity in covering the authentic sights and sounds of Nashville’s music scene. The systemic gentrification of the city isn’t just the “tall and skinnies” [apartment buildings] that are rapidly snaking through historic Nashville neighborhoods, it’s also the inability to acknowledge the true roots of Nashville music culture.

Brevin Kim: The Brotherly Duo Breaking Sonic Boundaries

It’s 2003 in North Attleboro – a suburb of Boston – and Chingy’s “Holidae Inn” is playing on repeat in the Paulhus household. Just like the rest of the U.S, Cal and Bren – 9 & 10 respectively – couldn’t get enough of the track. Though unbeknownst to the pair of adolescent brothers, this moment would be the bedrock for a fervent music passion. For Brevin Kim, it more or less all began from a blank green sheet of construction paper.

Best New Artists of the Month (October)

Stoic and decisive, Merlaku Ra is living proof of the opportunities yielded from a formidable work ethic. Hailing from Greenville, SC, Merlaku Ra now operates out of LA alongside his team and label, The HE(A)RD. His "pack" of very talented cohorts include the likes of Sylvan LaCue and violinist Grandmaster Vic. The tight-knit bond between the team is one Merlaku is fiercely grateful for; it wasn't long ago when he was alienated and living in his car.

Get To Know Rikki Blu: Groveside to Worldwide

“Groveside, Worldwide” echoes far outside the confines of Dallas, but it’s the center of Rikki Blu’s origin story. The neighborhood parked in Southeast Dallas is noticeably stricken by poverty, gentrification & gang violence – something Blu is actively striving to change. Once a purely therapeutic art, Rikki’s music has now helped unite large groups of people. Activism for Blu goes hand in hand with creating music.

A Poised Hustler, D Savage's Mentality Turned Him Into A Megastar

D Savage is bred differently. Resolute in his steps, the disparity on his block in Los Angeles wasn’t going to deter his vision. “I’m a real n****. Shit, it’s in my DNA.” Gaining serious traction at only 17, D Savage amassed millions of streams, dropped 2 full length projects and secured a spot as one of Hip-Hop’s most versatile emerging acts. Now 21, D Savage is fresh off his last release with the label with his album Trust No One. In the midst of major success, the maturing superstar is also

Get To Know BBlasian, Louisville's Hip-Hop Wunderkind

At 18 years old, the majority of the population is navigating the routine pathway of existence, school – work – repeat. BBlasian is not part of that majority. Throughout the past few years, the Louisville rap talent has experienced everything from incarceration and gunshot wounds, to performing alongside Anderson .Paak and Jack Harlow at Forecastle Fest in Kentucky. “My life really did change overnight,” BBlasian reiterates to me. Growing up, Bblasian’s life has centered around two different en

Get To Know JAG, South Central's Wisest Soldier

Born in bred in South Central, Los Angeles – JAG is accustom to fighting for his survival. In his mid-30’s, the veteran lyricist has seen just about everything. From touring with Cassidy’s Larsiny Family to creating records with Hip-Hop Legends like TIP, JAG has undoubtedly earned his stripes. At this stage in life, the intricacies of life have started to unfold for JAG. As he steps into the limelight, he reiterates, “my versatility will be the key to this shit.” He could not be further from th

The NBA Meets Rap: Damian Lillard VS Marvin Bagley III

As the NBA season came to a close, the dramatics only heightened when known rapper and NBA superstar Damian Lillard began trading bars with young basketball star, Marvin Bagley via Soundcloud releases. The ‘feud’ began when Bagley appeared on ESPN’s First Take and responded to Max Kellerman’s inquiry on who’s the better rapper of the two basketball stars. Bagley’s response, “Ima have to go with me.” Following his appearance, the young Bagley went as far as to drop a diss track titled, “No Debat

A New Generation of Producers: Meet Jiabeats from Cake Records

All you need is passion and a daw to create.” – Jiabeats As an 18 year old, your come-up has to be wildly different than your inspirations due to your ability to access technology. At what age did you begin experimenting with production and beats? I started out on my mom’s 2007 MacBook Pro running GarageBand when I was about 9, and learned the basics of production going into my early teenage years.
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