Welcome To The Quiet Storm: A Primer on Drumless Rap

Roc Marciano

Boom-bap be damned! The latest micro-movement in hip-hop involves rappers layering their rhymes over production that either ditches the idea of using drums entirely or mixes any errant snares so low down in the mix as to be barely audible. Hooked around the interchangeable Action Bronson, Roc Marcy and Alchemist trifecta, here's a primer on the quiet storm that's beginning to define the tail-end of 2012's rap schedule.

See also:
- Meat Guns, Weed Brownies, and Riesling: Our Conversation With Roc Marciano
- Every Food Reference on Action Bronson's New Album Rare Chandeliers
- Party Supplies' Five-Step Guide To Making Music From YouTube

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"You Write From Your Soul and They Try and Make It Into A Minstrel Thing": Our Interview With Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire

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Jamel Shabazz

Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire is Brooklyn's rap superstar-in-waiting. He released a new EP (Passion & Power) on Universal yesterday, and we interviewed the venerable eXquire for this week's print edition of The Voice. Here's the bonus beats of the chat, which includes eXquire revealing the song that snagged him a major label deal (hint: It's not "The Last Huzzah"), the possibility of doing key bumps with David Bowie, and plans to start his own book club.

See also:
- Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire Gets Down With His Duality
- Sean Price: Cornel West Is "The Devil"

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Make Time for These Hip-Hop Shows at CMJ 2012

Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire
By all means, enjoy the whispy waifs warbling their sensitive indie ballads up and down the city during CMJ. But make time for some hip-hop while you do. Here are a few acts worth your time.

See Also:
- Don't Miss These Bands At CMJ
- Handy CMJ Flowchart Panel Selector

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The Top 5.33 Hip-Hop Songs Of The Week

The "b word" has been a staple of hip-hop for decades, although there's some linguistic shading as far as its use: women that aren't particularly awesome are called "bitches"; really awesome women are "bad bitches"; respected dignitaries like moms are "ladies" and "females"—unless they're the mother of a foe, in which case they're back to being a a "bitch." (Got it?)

In the last few months, though, a few MCs have begun to question if using such a term is the best way to go about things. Lupe Fiasco's "Bad Bitch" shook up the hip-hop world with its analysis of negative portrayals of women in the black community; this prompted Kanye West to contemplate his own use of the word on Twitter over the weekend.

This fraught relationship is evident in the six songs listed below: We have collaborations between men and women, the grimiest song about stripper sex, and a track from a few MCs that have catalogues full of music praising women in their lives. There is also a Shyne song.

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Pazz & Jop 2011: Michael Tedder On Fucked Up's Majesty, Danny Brown's Cunning Skills, And The Joy Formidable's Outro Power

To supplement this year's Pazz & Jop launch, Sound of the City asked a few critics to expand on the reasonings behind their voting. Here, Michael Tedder breaks down his entire ballot, and along the way he talks about about the operatic heights of Fucked Up, the shredding ability of Annie Clark and Ritzy Bryan, and the power of the "boof."

Fucked Up, David Comes to Life (30 points): I was starting to get a sense of the way the wind was blowing for this year's roundup, and I'm generally aware that aggressive music, no matter how smart and inventive, has a ceiling for critical support. (I should point out that I submitted my ballot before the Spin endorsement.) So, just like I did last year with Titus Andronicus' The Monitor (I will not accept the idea that anyone this decade wrote a better album about America now, or a better album period than that), I went all in, points wise, to try to get my favorite album in to the top ten. Like last year, I failed, and I regret nothing. Anyway, people focusing on the intentionally confusing plot of this rock opera are not paying enough attention to the operatic arrangements (that term is not used as loosely as you imagine) Mike Haliechuk and company are offering up here, like some bizarre amalgam of Crass, Queen and Chavez. Also, I still don't know how Veronica died, and I'm surprised that in these #OWS days no one is discussing the working-class fatigue subtext ("those better days have passed us by") on display here.

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Download Generation: Yes In My Backyard's Best Local Music Of 2011, An 80-Minute Mix Of NYC's Greatest Hits This Year

Tami "Making Friendz" Hart.
For New York City, 2011 was the year local musicians proved that RSS feeds didn't kill old-school ideals like "scene" or "community." Every great band seemed to come tied to three or four like-minded bands you could love for the same reasons, often on the same bill. Maybe we read (and wrote) enough trend pieces to believe it ourselves. Maybe bands are just using Facebook connections to write the narrative before writers could. Maybe retromania has led us to think everything is back in a big way?

Don't get too excited. Bloggos still continued to rally deep and hard around the cleverest, firstiest mash-ups of hypester runoff micro-genres (good luck in 2012, A$AP Rocky, Light Asylum, CREEP and Caveman). But while so many jockeyed for positions and pixels, larger stories emerged that felt refreshingly like the street-level phonecall-and-flyer scenes of yore. As, I wrote in SPIN the new hip-hop fraternity of Das Racist, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Action Bronson, Despot and a newly keyed up El-P represent the most energizing force in New York indie-rap since Def Jux's heyday. And as I wrote in the Voice, a beercan-ducking, sweat-gushing, feedback-obsessed swarm of new pigfuck bands have been laying waste to 285 Kent, including The Men, White Suns, Pygmy Shrews and Pop. 1280. Often pushing the boundaries of what modern metalheads can play and wear, there was a downright onslaught of forward-thinking, critically acclaimed extreme metal releases (Liturgy, Tombs, Krallice, Hull, Batillus), which helped turn New York into the most important metal scene in the country for maybe the first time ever. Hell, if record labels still had the money to fly people out here, they'd be swarming!

Below, the 2011 edition of our annual Yes In My Backyard mixtape—this year's encompasses 18 tracks, over nearly 80 minutes—which collects this year's greatest music from New York City.

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Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire Gets Down With His Duality

"You got to ask my mother that. You wanna call her? Come on, let's call her." It's a rain-sodden Thanksgiving's eve and Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire's goddaughter has just turned up at his Crown Heights apartment. Her appearance prompts the question of what the rapper himself was like as a kid—to which he's deferred to the wisdom of his mom.

Put on speakerphone, eXquire's mom says, "I'm not saying this because I'm biased, but actually he was a wonderful kid. He was extremely intelligent; you'd tell him something once and he had it. He liked to write—poetry, rhymes—and he did a cartoon series when he was about six-years-old, I think. I forget the name of it." Then, before hanging up, she says to her son, "Don't ever do anything like that again!"

The comic strip, eXquire recalls, was "about this dude that was like a space adventurer and he went to this planet and everybody's got a butt on their head!" As a kid, he wanted to be an artist. He used to "get girls by drawing their faces for them." But, he says, "I ended up not doing it; I ended up kinda rapping."

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