Lex Rush: The 'Unbridled Enthusiasm' of NYC's First Lady of Freestyle Rap

Categories: Battle Rap

Lex Rush
Lex Rush: Unbridled Enthusiasm Personified

Lex Rush has been an unmistakable presence in the New York hip-hop scene for just over two years. Often the sole female in some of the city's most intense freestyle competitions, the Queens-born MC's instantly recognizable flow and dynamic wordplay, both delivered from day one with the sleek confidence of a wrecking ball, has seen her emerge victorious in numerous rap battle circles. This month saw the release of her recorded debut, the Unbridled Enthusiasm EP. With a release show this Sunday at Trash Bar, we spoke to Rush about transitioning from freestyling and battle championships to the studio.

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Ask Andrew W.K.: Are You Santa Claus?

Photo by Rick Day
[Editor's note: Every Wednesday, New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose, or -- no surprise here -- a party. Need his help? Just ask: AskAWK@villagevoice.com]

Dear Andrew,

You are my inspiration and all I wanted for Christmas this year was you and your party attitude all wrapped up and put under the tree. But you weren't there! Are you Santa Claus?

With love,
Be My Gift

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The Five Best Santa Songs You've Never Heard

CS Muncy for the Village Voice
Ho, ho, ho!
Last weekend's Santacon was another reminder that it's the worst thing in the world. Well, that might be slightly hyperbolic, but as much as I love Santa and Pub Crawls (and I swear to Donner and Blitzen I do), the combination of both annually results in the most belligerent degenerate convention turning our fair streets into a red and white Yule tide of bodily fluids and douche chills. It's terrible and brings out the humbug in all of us.

But if this year's Santacon has one positive aspect (and believe us, it has exactly one positive aspect) it's its comfortable distance from Christmas itself. Yes, the week-and-a-half buffer allows us to find a way to purge our brains of it and allow us to fall in love with Jolly Old St. Nick once again. To help rekindle your winter love that may only be jingling part of the way, we suggest firing up Netflix to check out the great new <em>I Am Santa Claus documentary and then listening to our playlist here:

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DJ Carnage: Relatable? Yes. Divisive? Yes.

Categories: Interview


Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, DJs were people, too. The man on stage was the man in the booth was the man signing autographs was the man shopping for new boxers -- there was no difference within these changing contexts. But as the world of EDM grows into the behemoth it has lately become, DJs have become symbols instead of people, and have slowly started to lose what young'uns would call "realness." Enter DJ Carnage, born Diamante Blackmon, a young DJ/producer who is reclaiming what it means to be real in an ocean of confused and uninformed characters, be they DJs or audiences. Carnage has shown both the guys behind the scenes and fans of the EDM movement that he has his own way of doing things, and he's not afraid to shock a few people along the way (in a good way, we promise).

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Alternative Rapper Divine Styler Picks Up Where He Left Off With the Future Sounds of Def Mask

Categories: Hip-Hop

Photo via Youtube
Divine Styler circa 1989
Mikal Safiyullah (birth name: Marc Richardson) was born in Harlem and raised in Brooklyn. As a youth positioned at the birth of hip-hop, he was a feverish graffiti artist and B-boy. His father was a prominent DJ in '70s New York, so he grew up on disco and funk records. Later exposures to psych-rock and prog would have an equally profound effect on the young man, and, ultimately, on the future of hip-hop as we know it. Safiyullah is best known as Divine Styler, a critically celebrated, radically individual artist who remains one of hip-hop's most imaginative talents. Like many of music's fiercest visionaries, Divine has always been a cultural and commercial outsider. Still, among all the figures in hip-hop possessed of genius, he sits comfortably somewhere near the top.

His first hint of fame was in the '80s as a member of Ice-T's Rhyme Syndicate, which led to his 1989 debut, Word Power, followed by the confounding 1992 release Spiral Walls Containing Autumns of Light. Divine would release just one more record (1999's Word Power, Vol. 2) before retreating from the music industry for 14 years. He had become disillusioned by hip-hop's self-debasement. ("Not everything is cocaine, dope, 'hos, bitches, and chilling -- what's artful about that?") Fortunately, Divine's narrative doesn't end there. Here, in late 2014, hip-hop's grandmaster experimentalist has reemerged, complete with a new LP in tow.

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Joe Cocker Became One of the Greats He So Admired

Categories: Obituaries

Here's a cropped version of the cover of 1969's With a Little Help From My Friends.
There was a terrible disease that was visited upon the white man in the 1960s. It was deemed as deadly as cholera and as easy to catch as mono from a kiss: If a dude loved a black singer, he felt compelled, in his suburban, self-conscious, sappy way, to imitate him, to appropriate that style as his own.

As a 10-year-old listener, I was subjected to plenty of these deluded Caucasians. If you require visual evidence, watch the film Woodstock and look for the band Ten Years After. Lead singer and guitarist Alvin Lee, born in Nottingham, England, tried so hard to sound like an African American ("Gawn home, baybuh!") that after his set he was probably dosed with antipsychotics, slapped, and told, "Yer from England, you stupid git!"

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One Direction Hit Seriously Strong Notes on SNL

Let's get one thing clear, adults: Your newfound Directioner tendencies are TOTALLY OKAY. The One Direction guys can actually sing, and no, it doesn't make you a cheesy pop fan in dire need of public shaming to acknowledge it. They're not kids anymore, they're not going anywhere, and each record they release proves to be more likable than the last. They're doing the legwork to ensure that their voices will be heard long after they've aged out of the boyhood that keeps them employed. They're writing more, picking up an instrument from time to time (hi, Niall!) and grabbing at the reins as they continue to tour relentlessly and drop one hit after another.

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Run, D.M.C., and LL Cool J Bring Christmas and Larry Smith Tributes to Brooklyn

Hot 97
LL Cool J, noted bell-rocker.
Better Than: That Christmas episode of All That with Run-D.M.C.

Friday night's Christmas in Brooklyn show at the Barclays Center (presented by Hot 97 and WBLS) was a fulfilled Christmas wishlist of a show: Run and D.M.C. shared a stage in New York for the first time in more than a decade, and LL Cool J seemingly condensed an entire music festival into a single set.

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Win 2 Tickets to Quicksand's Sold-Out New Year's Eve Show at Saint Vitus

Win tickets to this sold-out Quicksand show!
Any "Supergenius" rock fans in need of some "Manic Compression" this New Year's Eve? Here's your chance to rock in the new year with Quicksand at their sold-out show at Brooklyn's Saint Vitus.

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Jewish Rapper Kosha Dillz Tells Us About ISIS Hacking His Website

Publicity photo via Facebook
Kosha Dillz
Last month, self-professed "Best Jewish Rapper in Koreatown" Kosha Dillz got his website hacked by terrorist group ISIS. Not a joke or a publicity stunt, the Los Angeles-based New Jersey native found his website seized and defaced, leading to Dillz speaking with Homeland Security and eventually being interviewed everywhere from Fox News to local CBS affiliates regarding the story.

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