Everything I Know, I Learned From Biz Markie

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YouTube Screen Capture
The Biz, whom Nobody Can Beat!
Last week, the self-professed "inhuman orchestra" Biz Markie turned 50-years-old. The beloved clown-prince of hip-hop has spent a good chunk of that Diabolical half-century making hip-hoppers laugh while they nod their head. In a genre where, outside the occasional punchline, there isn't a whole lot of laughter, Biz's infectious charisma and one-of-a-kind comedic timing has always gotten him a pass, but ensured his status as a certified hip-hop legend. Biz continues to delight hip-hop heads of all ages, most recently becoming a regular on Nick Jr.'s "Yo Gabba Gabba!" But along with making us smile, he's instilled some absolute wisdom on us over the years too.

To celebrate Mr. Markie's 50th Birthday, along with his back-to-back shows this Wednesday at Biergarten and Thursday at Brooklyn Bowl, we've put together the wisest words from The Tao of Biz.

See also: Live: Biz Markie Regales A Bunch Of Ad-Agency People, And Why Not

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Ludacris is One of Rap's Greatest and Most Unstoppable Guest-Verse Performers of All Time

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This is a statement that your brain will reflexively disagree with but also one that it will eventually accept as truth: Ludacris is one of rap's greatest and most unstoppable guest-verse performers of all time, and, despite his millions of album sales and shelf full of awards, he remains somehow underrated.

The initial scoff makes sense, I suppose. It's sort of a self-made argument. Ludacris very clearly presents himself with an unguarded (and, were I to guess, planned) folly, which undermines how maniacally talented he is.

See also: The 10 Best Male Rappers of All Time

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Challenge: Enter a Rap Battle

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Farbeon
iLLspokiNN and Chaz Kangas at Freestyle Mondays
Have you ever freestyle rapped? Please, right now, take the time to try it. Go to YouTube, find an instrumental, and just try to rhyme in rhythm off the top of your head about whatever you want. Seriously, try it. I'll wait here.

See also: I Won an Evangelical Christian Rap Battle

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Voss Brings Us Behind BET's "Freestyle Friday"

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Reji Berrouet
Voss
This month, BET announced they're launching the second season of "Ultimate Freestyle Friday." What this means is more freestyle rap battle action will be hitting TV screens coast-to-coast, possibly launching new stars into the rap's collective conscience. But for a show that's been on the air for over a decade, little is known about what it's actually like to compete on the show. We spoke to Freestyle Friday Hall-of-Famer Voss, one of the names who has successfully parlayed his battle wins into the beginnings of a successful rap career, about how he landed on "106 and Park" and emerged victorious while still escaping the dreaded "battle rapper stigma" in the aftermath.

See also: Talking BET Un:Cut With Some of the Legends of BET Un:Cut

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March 23, 2004: The Most Important Day in Indie Rap History?

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Stones Throw
Madvillain Turns 10 This Week

Where were you on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004? If you were a music fan, chances are you were picking up Usher's Confessions album, as it eventually went diamond and birthed "Yeah," a song that seems to get as much airplay today as it did 10 years ago. Or, if your radar picked up underground movements, there's a good chance you rejoiced in perhaps the greatest single release day in indie rap history.

See also: The 10 Best Male Rappers of All Time

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Revisiting Beat Street 30 Years Later

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Cel Garay/ Xcelphoto
Steven Hagar, Sha Rock and DJ Breakout
Last week kicked off City College New York's fifth annual Is Hip-Hop History Conference. An annual conference aimed at preserving and promoting hip-hop culture, this year's opening night was a celebration of the classic hip-hop film Beat Street's 30th anniversary. Along with event co-founders Elena Romero and Professor Warren Orange, on-hand was the night's keynote speaker, MC Sha-Rock of the legendary hip-hop group The Funky 4 + 1 as well as Beat Street screenwriter Steven Hagar.

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Hip-Hop Classics Turning 20 in 2014

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Bad Boy Entertainment
The Baby from Ready to Die is now 20
There's a reason "bring it back to '94" had become such a heartfelt calling card for hip-hop traditionalists. While it's always been a primarily singles-driven genre, you would be hard pressed to find a single year with more endlessly influential, important and well aging rap classics than 1994. A landmark for many reasons, we're just reminding you early to get ready for a calendar year full of thinkpieces regarding some of the greatest collections of rhymes over beats ever made.

See also: The 10 Best New York City Rap Albums of 2013


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Four New York Rappers Before They Were Famous

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A young Capital STEEZ

Nothing ever truly disappears from the internet--or so we're told. It's a rule that applies for a bunch of currently-feted New York rappers whose prior songs, images and MC monikers can still be found online in the nooks of outlets like SoundClick and YouTube. Here's a trek through the ages of the early career attempts of Joey Bada$$, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, the Doppelgangaz and the late Capital STEEZ.

See also: The 10 Best New York City Rap Albums of 2013


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Birthplace Mag's Manny Faces: New York Hip-Hop's Not Back - It Never Went Away

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Manny Faces
Manny Faces of Birthplace Magazine

How many times have you heard "New York Hip-Hop is Back" championed by every hip-hop publication worth its weight in Rawkus slipmats? Before the hip-hop hoopla, one man saw it all coming a mile away. Manny Faces launched his website Birthplace Magazine in 2008 to cover Tri-State hip-hop at a time coverage seemed non-existent. Along with being able to chart the rise of up-and-coming artists, Manny's provided the definitive list of hip-hop happenings with Birthplace Events Calendar, and spun off the website into a weekly live hip-hop report internet radio show, one of the few avenues for hip-hop discussion in a talk-radio format. Tonight, Monday September 16th sees Birthplace Magazine holding a reader appreciation party at Bowery Electric. In honor of the occasion, we spoke to Manny about how the site came to be.

See also: Listen To DJ Red Alert's Farewell Mixes For Kiss-FM

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Definitely the Best Rap Quiz You're Going to Take Today

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All illustrations by Shea Serrano
This is easy: You're going to click through (what is essentially) a slideshow of drawings of adorable little line characters. You'll look at the pictures and see if you can figure out what famous rap song it represents. Click the hyperlink underneath that reads "Answer" to see if you're correct. If you are, go ahead and give yourself a high-five on the boner (or woman boner, if you're a madam). If you're wrong, leave a comment about how shitty the pictures/clues were. Listos, guero? Vamonos. Time to play, "Hey, What Song Is This?"

See also: The 10 Best Male Rappers of All Time

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