Holler! The Ten Loudest, Shoutiest Rappers

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Waka Flocka Flame is the sort of of hip-hop artist who doesn't so much rap or flow as he shouts his ass off. It's a formula that imbues the Atlanta-based rapper's songs with a boisterous, visceral appeal—and one that he's looking to continue with the release of his second studio album, Triple F For Life: Friends, Fans And Family, which will officially drop on New Year's Eve. But Waka's not alone in pledging his allegiance to the lowbrow art of shout rap; the following hip-hop gents also excel at vociferating into microphones.

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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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The Ten Most Exploitative Posthumous Rap Projects

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Being a dead rap artist isn't much fun. Whether The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, or J Dilla, death has never seemed to do much to alleviate the constant pressure on artists to muster up new recordings to satisfy the bulging posthumous rap retail market. (In the hip-hop world, possessing a heart that no longer beats is no excuse for failing to produce music.) This week sees the latest addition to the ghostly sub-genre, with the release of Definitive Jux associate Camu Tao's debut solo album. But while that project, King Of Hearts, is a fittingly respectful one, pieced together from unfinished recordings by his friend and label boss El-P, most other notable up-from-the-grave albums are less honorable in intention and execution. Here's a rundown of the ten most prominent.

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Ol' Dirty Bastard Died Five Years Ago Today

Or, as he put it on another occasion, "I don't have no trouble with you fuckin' me/But I have a little problem with you not fuckin' me." R.I.P.

(A fine appreciation over at the Awl, if you're interested.)

What's Beef? Ol' Dirty Bastard Manager Responds to Village Voice

What follows is an exchange sparked by a Tuesday Sound of the City post about Digging in the Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB. Jarred Weisfeld, Ol' Dirty Bastard's manager at the time of his death, took issue with the way he'd been described. He wanted an explanation, and a chance to publicly defend himself. You'll find both below. In retrospect, I may well have been hard on the guy, but certain, glaringly opportunistic facts stand. Let the internet decide, I guess...

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In a Sound of the City post on Tuesday - an interview with Jaime Lowe, author of Digging For Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB - I made parenthetical reference to Jarred Weisfeld, the Mudd jeans scion who managed Ol' Dirty Bastard, alias Russell Jones, in the few unhappy years between the rapper's last prison stint and his fatal collapse on a New York studio floor. This mention of him didn't make Weisfeld happy, probably because I referred to him as the "scum-sucking final ODB manager." (It should be noted that Jaime Lowe had nothing to do with this epithet; it was my addendum.)

Weisfeld protested, and wanted to know why he'd been saddled with that kind of epithet.

So I obliged.

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Interview: Jaime Lowe, Author of Digging For Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB

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Just over four years ago, the mad Wu-Tang affiliated rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard (Russell Jones to his mother) met an untimely end, collapsing on a studio floor two days short of his 36th birthday. His complicated legacy--the fragmented clan he left behind, the wild antics he became famous for, and the bewildered fans who remain--has become the subject of a book by onetime Voice writer Jaime Lowe. Part bio, part book-length critical essay, Digging For Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB is an unlikely examination of an unbelievably complicated life. The book comes out today; we caught up with Lowe to mark the occasion.

So why ODB?

I would say it started with seeing him at CMJ [at the Knitting Factory, in 2003]. And kind of being well aware of the trajectory of his public persona, and of his general self-destructive and bizarre antics. And then seeing him put onstage in a way that was really mortifying, because he was so clearly gutted of any life or sense of himself and was up there as this kind of shell. I don't know if you were at the show.

No.

It was like--he was slack-jawed, he was crying, he was not actually rapping, he was just sort of--his mouth was open, and [Wu-affiliate] Buddha Monk was rapping in back of him. And it was one of the most disturbing things that I think I've ever seen. I was really interested in trying to figure out how he had gone from this incredibly vibrant presence in hip-hop to this really destroyed soul.

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