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Celebrities Representing Hip Hop

celebrities representing hip hop

Actors are born entertainers.  As are rappers, DJs and B-Boys.  And sometimes people walk a different path before settling on what they really love.  And so here are some of the celebrities who have represented hip hop culture in some way or another, on a journey to fame.

 

Elijah Wood

Elijah Wood has had a very successful career in film and television, but has had music and vinyl as a passion alongside his career.  Now, along with his partner Zach Cowie, they are Wooden Wisdom, a dj partnership covering soul, hip hop, disco, nu wave, afrobeat and everything inbetween.  With mixes now starting to surface, they appear to be a revelation.  Check their Soundcloud for further evidence.

 

MistajamMinty The Chef Mistajam

This is more a case of a musician doing some TV to make some extra cheddar rather than being part of a career  trajectory.  BBC 1xtra’s Mistajam played Minty The Chef in ITV’s 2001 remake of Crossroads.  Needs must, and it’s done no damage to his career – with shows on 1xtra and a healthy gig calender, I remember being blown away by his warm up set for Nas at Glastonbury a couple of years back.
Scott Caan

Way back before the days appearing in films like Oceans Eleven and Gone In 60 Seconds, Sonny Corleone’s son was in a group with one of the biggest names in present day hip hop.  Whooliganz was an LA rap group featuring Scott aka Mad Skillz and Alan Maman fka Mudfoot and now known more familiarly as producer The Alchemist.   They did enough to impress Cypress Hill’s B-Real to the point that he invited them to join the Soul Assassins collective.  Unfortunately however, following the limited radio support of their debut single, Tommy Boy shelved their album.

 

Brian Austin Green

Back in ‘96 when Beverly Hills 90210’s shining light was starting to fade, lead actor Brian (Austin) Green released a hip hop album, One Stop Carnival.  Produced by Slimkid 3 from The Pharcyde, you can’t front on the beats.  Lyrically, it’s not the strongest material out of LA in the 90s and it was badly received both commercially and critically.  Based on the beats alone, I’m not angry at it though…

 

Tom Green

Back before he was a chat show host and comedian, Tom Green was rooted in hip hop in his native Canada. His group Organized Rhyme was nominated for the 1993 Juno award for best rap recording, and won the Muchvibe best rap video award in 1992.   Throughout his career he’s kept in touch with rap, releasing another album in 1998, and freestyling on his chat show like so:

 

Honourable mentions for the B-boys:

Vin Diesel:

Alfonso Ribeiro:

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Instrumental hip hop albums to listen to at work

instrumental hip hop to listen to at work

We all like hip hop – you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t – but in the office or on the shop floor it can be hard to find many albums with no controversial language whatsoever.  So here’s a selection of instrumental hip hop albums to listen to at work THAT AREN’T DILLA BEAT TAPES – they still won’t melt your Jansport though….

 

Urbs & Cutex – Breaks Of Dawn (BUY LINK)

I first stumbled upon this when it was heavily reduced in the local record shop so I thought I’d take a punt.  This was one of the first records I bought in my DJing infancy, and has been on heavy rotation since.  Borrowing a lot from Tribe Called Quest (including the artwork) and Beatminerz, this is full of rich filtered bass with boom bap drums and jazz samples.

 

The Stuyvesants – The Finer Things Vol. 2 (Algorythmusic)

Brooklyn duo The Stuyvesants started off as a project between a record digger and a producer, and developed a very soulful sound through their array of beat tapes, coming to my attention after they produced a track for Jaden Smith.  Any of their beat tapes would have worked on this, but Finer Things Vol. 2 has the strongest soul sound for me.

RJD2 – In Rare Form (The Unreleased Instrumentals) (BUY LINK)

Seen as a natural successor to DJ Shadow based on his Deadringer album, RJD2 never quite managed to produce another project of the same critical success or popularity.  However, In Rare Form contains hip hop instrumentals from the period up to the release of his second solo album, which expand on/reinforce, the sound which won him the plaudits of many.

Dug Infinite & No ID – The Sampler Vol. 1

Chicago legends Dug Infinite & No ID are probably most well known for a) teaching a young Kanye West the nuances of hip hop production, and b) producing the majority of Common (Sense)’s early work.  This joint album, however, celebrates the two producers in their own right rather than as side men for others.  Bringing a very MPC jazz choppy style, this is one for fans of DJ Premier, Beatnuts, and DITC.

 

 

Thes One – Lifestyle Marketing

People Under The Stairs production whizz Thes One presents a project which is remixing and flipping the commercial jingles of composer/engineer Herb Pilhofer into instrumental hip hop beats.  Whilst it doesn’t have as much repeat play appeal, there are some great bits of production on this, and it wouldn’t go amiss on a sunny day in the office.

 

There are plenty of bits to choose from out of the collections of Dilla, Madlib, DOOM, Flylo and others, but this is just to give some alternatives from the obvious choices.  Hopefully there are some bits you may have not been up on,  and I know a lot of others were missed (9th Wonder, Apollo Brown, Mr Dibia$e, Ayatollah etc) – leave any suggestions in the comments!

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5 DJ Mixes For Summer BBQs

UK Summertime is a rare thing, or more specifically, a good summer’s day is a rare thing.  So when eventually it comes around, you need to be sure you’ve got the right beats for the whip.  Here are some personal favourites for cruising in the sunshine:

 

Andy Smith – Lover’s Rock

Portishead’s DJ Andy Smith has been making great mixtapes and complations since the 90s, spanning Northern Soul, Funk, and Reggae amongst other genres, and absolutely strikes gold with this mix of Lover’s Rock from Janet Kay, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and others

 

DJ Hudson – Mentally Hip-Hop Smoothed Out On The R&B Tip With A Pop Feel

DJ Hudson comes correct with the 90’s RnB and swingbeat to get everyone’s hips moving with the essential joints from people like Mary J Blige, SWV, Soul II Soul and many more.  This is the one to listen to when day turns to night…

 

DJ Steve1der – Nate in ‘08

If there’s one element of hip hop which sounds good in Summer, it’s G Funk, and if there’s one man who defines G Funk, it’s Nate Dogg (or possibly DJ Quik, but that’s a discussion for another day).  On this mix, DJ Steve1der expertly mashes and blends many of the highlights of what was an incredible career and an incredible talent (RIP)

 

DJ Day – Way Out Of Living

There’s something about the music that Palm Springs resident DJ Day’s music that just oozes sunshine, whether this is to do with being due to the weather in the city, something in the water, or something else altogether.

 

DJ Wax On – The G Funk Era

As mentioned above, if you think G Funk starts and ends with Snoop and Dre, this mix makes you think again.  Ignoring the lack of Dove Shack, DJ Wax On brings an essential selection of the kings of G Funk, and is great to blast in summer with all the windows open.