The Top 15 Hip-Hop Songs About Police Misconduct

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Though artists like Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Baby Huey spoke on police corruption, it wasn't until the dawn of the rap era that the message in the music began to convey the anger and frustration of people who had been systematically disenfranchised and brutalized since the United States was founded. In honor of the spotlight on the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy—which has particularly affected men of color ages 18 to 24—SOTC decided to compile a playlist. Get your bail money together and let your lawyer know a riot charge is on the horizon—here are 15 songs that address abuses by police departments actross the country.

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Hip-Hop's 25 Best Weed Songs

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In honor of today being 4/20—every smoker's favorite day of the year—SOTC has compiled the 25 Best Rap Songs relating to weed. Though some may be more about bud than others, all are guaranteed to make your high all the more enjoyable. Be forewarned, though... this list doesn't have any happy hippy weed music—this is straight thugged-out entertainment. Locate your lighters.

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The Five Best Moments On Yo! MTV Raps

MTV turns 30 on Monday. To celebrate, we're running a bunch of pieces on the channel, its legacy, and its future.

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Debuting during the golden year of '88, Yo! MTV Raps revolutionized TV coverage of hip-hop music. Of course, hip-hop videos existed long before Yo! launched—Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's gritty street-level visuals for "The Message," peeping Kurtis Blow clad in black leather pants performing in front of a silhouetted Manhattan-skyline backdrop in "If I Ruled The World"—but the show provided hip-hop junkies with rap reportage like never before. Hosted by Ed Lover and Doctor Dre (the lesser-heralded one), who were assisted by Fab 5 Freddy, Yo! MTV Raps didn't just showcase new videos and air interviews; it took viewers inside the worlds of the artists they profiled, which might mean delving down into producer Pete Rock's dingy Mount Vernon basement, trading barbs with N.W.A. in LA, or letting shout-rap oiks Onyx slam dance with Freddy on the Brooklyn Bridge. Here are five of the best moments from its archives.


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Hip-Hop's Top Ten Greatest Sneaker Songs

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Kid Cudi, going all out for Converse.
Sneakers have long been hip-hop's footwear of choice. The links between the artists making the music and the companies behind the kicks are now totally intermingled, from top-end exclusive lines like Jay-Z's limited-to-five-pairs all-black Air Force 1s (decoded: they're entirely black) and Kanye West's Nike Air Yeezys to the populist-minded brand Converse sponsoring a summery release from Kid Cudi. In honor of the show that committed hip-hop sneaker freak Rick Ross played this past weekend in NYC as part of the 2010 Sneaker Pimps tour, here's a look at ten top sneaker songs from the annals of rap.

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Live: Rating Rock the Bells Sets From Slick Rick, Wu-Tang Clan, Lauryn Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Snoop Dogg, and More

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Oh, hey Q-Tip. All photos by Rebecca Smeyne.
On a sweltering Saturday, the seventh annual hip-hop nerd convention Rock The Bells took over Governor's Island. It's a place where people know to "throw a one in the air" for Guru before DJ Premier even asked, a place where you can overhear a convo about whether Mos Def or Talib Kweli would be cooler to hang out with, a place where VIP ticket buyers actually get brand new backpacks. This year, the fest tapped into All Tomorrow's Parties-style nostalgia market of "Don't Look Back," and asked six legendary rap artists to perform their legendary albums in their entirety. We sweated in a field for nearly 11 ½ hours--with zero breaks for food, water, or Port-O-Potty, no joke--to see how well these albums translated to a live setting.

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KRS-One Is Your New Santa, America

And Lupe Fiasco is your new head reindeer, Blitzen. Somewhere in here there's an indignant note to be plucked about the guy who made "The Bridge Is Over" doing novelty raps for Nike, but even the puppetry has like ten brilliant visual jokes per bit, we give up, we just like it, sorry hip-hop. Up top, Lupe/Blitzen issues a LeBron/Kobe-targeted challenge; below, KRS as Santa leads the two ballplayers to victory. See if you can't catch all the actual songs this second one got cribbed from.


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"Satan Is A Big Tall European": A Young David Paterson Shares the Stage with KRS-One and BDP

Wow. This stellar clip of BDP and KRS-One getting it in Harlem, circa 1990, contains both cameos from a not-yet-Governor David Paterson--that's him, circa 47 seconds in, right around when KRS gets his white devils dig in--and a pre-Bad Boy Puff Daddy, working a kind of proto-Diddy Bop in the background. Regrettable Shylock gesture comes at 3:53, if you must hate. [Cocaine Blunts]

Tonight They're Gonna Rock You Tonight: Zap Mama, Cake, and Some Golden-Age Hip-Hop


Starting today, intrepid Voice intern Michael Downes will offer a daily, highly biased digest of that evening's best NYC shows -- and the whole weekend's slate on Friday, which today is, mercifully, if you were not aware. Enjoy.

FRIDAY

Zaire-born Marie Daulne fronts Zap Mama at Joe's Pub. Founded as an a capella group in the early '90s, the Belgian ensemble now performs a fusion of Afro-pop and R&B.

Cake, the polarizing and perpetually sour alt-rock staple, plays Terminal 5. The show's sold out, but if you're interested in procuring a tree (and/or privy to the band's ritualistic tree-giveaways), the surest chance of admission is a $100 ticket from StubHub. (Read an illuminating interview with the trumpet player here.)


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