You love to hear the debate, again and again. What's the best Hip-Hop blog? Nothing was more ridiculous than when VIBE published its Top 50 Rap Blogs list. 50!?!?! Most of the blogs on VIBE's list hadn't been updated in months and no one could quite figure out how they came up with the rankings.
I decided to put together brokencool's Top 10 Hip-Hop Blogs list. How did I determine the rankings? I based them on quality of posts, how current were the blogs, did they keep up with all the content? But maybe most importantly, were the blogs influential? Did they initiate thinking? Did they create discussion? Did the break stories? Were they a go to spot for Hip-Hop information? Remember all these things when reading. Are some missing from the list that deserve to be there? Maybe. And remember (and this is something VIBE forgot) a blog is a blog...a website is a website. Let the hate begin.
#10 - 2DopeBoyz
We've heard the complaint time and time again. 2DopeBoyz posts exactly (read the comments) the same stuff as NahRight.com...um...well...they kinda do. The question then is: should they be penalized for being popular? Should they be hated because they aggregate similar to other blogs? I say no. An audience is an audience and Meka and Shake have built their spot to the point where it's an important place for Hip-Hop artists to be. A post on 2DopeBoyz holds weight. They do have similar problems to NahRight. A lack of long form writing and a lack of 2DopeBoyz exclusive material.
#9 - Okayplayer News
Looking for your Hip-Hop fix WITHOUT a side of Gucci Mane and an EXTRA helping of consciousness? Okayplayer is the spot for you. Built on that organic, earthy, true to Hip-Hop vibe of The Roots, the Okayplayer blog chronicles Hip-Hop music on a daily base for your educated, grown ass older brother or sister. Did Soulja Boy get arrested? Yes. Will you hear about it on Okayplayer? No. You'll probably come across some music you wouldn't find on any other blog...some of that real, under the earth Hip-Hop that doesn't get widespread attention. Okayplayer needs to continue to build its blog identity but it's a well developed tastemaking spot that is selective with its content making for a unique read.
#8 - Rap-Up
Contrary to its name, Rap-Up.com isn't exclusively a Rap blog...but to be cheesy for a moment, it does an excellent job of wrapping up all the goings on in Hip-Hop on a daily basis. Now, you aren't going to find the latest Immortal Technique track on Rap-Up.com, but when it comes to Hip-Hop goings on that the masses care about (please don't message me saying the masses care about Immortal Technique) Rap-Up has got it covered. There have been countless times where I have come across news, music and video for the first time on Rap-Up.com. They are quick to post and seem to have a nice chunk of content before anyone else. Much like some of the others on this list, Rap-Up will delve into R&B, maybe a little fashion and some general celebrity stuff but it's all done with a Hip-Hop backbone. A freshening up of their design wouldn't hurt but all in all, Rap-Up is a well maintained and well put together Hip-Hop resource.
#7 - MTV's Rap Fix
Wanna talk influential? Take one of the biggest entertainment networks in the world, throw in some people that are actually students of Hip-Hop (wud up Rob Markman) and give them a blog to run with built on some of the best access to artists and news in the game. Yes, MTV's Rap Fix blog does lean on the side of the mainstream and has that "what's hot right now" feel to it, but the blog is current with its news, has plenty of interviews and video exclusives that end up littered across the web and, aside from its obvious love of all things Drizzy, does a good job of covering a wide array of artists. Toss in a few more unique features and maybe some edgier content and this one could jump quite a bit higher on the list.
#6 - TMZ.com
So you are probably saying "what the fuck?" now but let's look at the facts. What was the originating source of the news around Rick Ross's seizure? Or how about the death of Pimp C?, Nate Dogg's death? Lil' Wayne entering Rikers? Lil' Wayne leaving Rikers? I could go on. Face it kids, TMZ has become an incredible source for breaking Hip-Hop news. Is the news always positive? No. Is it usually more on the negative side? Yes...but in a fast paced world people want their news (especially major breaking news) fast, TMZ has it on lock. I'd be surprised if all blogs listed on this list don't have TMZ in their Google Reader. Do some days go by with nothing Hip-Hop related? Absolutely. But you better believe that if something major happens in the Hip-Hop world, TMZ will be on top of it.
#5 - MissInfo.TV
What makes MissInfo.TV so great? It's not the amount of posts but the quality and detail that goes in to each of them. You won't just get the new Raekwon song but you'll get other new joints featuring Raekwon, a behind-the-scenes vid, maybe something exclusive via Miss Info's connects thrown in. For me, I find the way posts are crafted on MissInfo.TV to be very unique. They are more long-form in nature (even for audio posts) and, while you won't get them often, the blog takes advantage of Miss Info's connections for sporadic exclusives here and there. The site isn't a clearinghouse a la NahRight.com but does a good job of keeping its readers up to date. The blog also does a good job of introducing visitors to new artists (who the fuck is Buddy?) and has its own unique vibe that it has managed to maintain for awhile now.
#4 - Complex Blogs
Everything your average Hip-Hop fan cares about is at Complex Blogs. Whether it be music, fashion, sports, art + design, it's here. Oh and they got lists...they got lists for days! Complex Blogs are a nice combination of more in-depth, detailed writings and collections with the latest music and videos you care about thrown in. One could argue that their collection of blogs might be even a little too varied and try to cater to everyone, but hey, isn't America all about excess and more, more, more? Go there...you'll likely find the new Common track posted alongside a video of WWE's Big Show and Mark Henry collapsing a wrestling ring.
#3 - NahRight.com
Look...if you were trapped on a deserted island but for some reason had wi-fi and could only visit one blog (yes I understand this scenario would never happen...ever), NahRight.com would be it. There is nothing video or audio related that happens in Hip-Hop that doesn't come across NahRight.com. It's essentially a clearinghouse for everything Hip-Hop. Also, any major news (we aren't talking Flo-Rida breaks a nail type stuff here) usually finds its way onto the blog. Whether it be the most insignificant Jadakiss freestyle or the brand new T.I. track, you are assured it will be on NahRight (usually) immediately. The one thing that holds back NahRight from being the top spot (and always has in my eyes) is its lack of original features or in-depth writing. The site's creator Eskay used to write more long-form posts but that has pretty much ceased. It was interesting to get his insight so it's something that is missed. Also, they don't really post anything unique to NahRight.com...no original features.
#2 - The Smoking Section
Gotty and his team aren't biters...they are writers. The Smoking Section writes exhaustively about Hip-Hop...and so much more. No Hulkshare link driven posts here folks. If an artist that Smoking Section digs drops a new song, you better believe it will be posted...but the team will delve deeper into the track providing their insights and opinions. It's not just Hip-Hop though. The Smoking Section is quickly becoming one of the go to spots for the latest Hip-Hop and street fashion (sneakers, clothes, accessories, etc.). The amount of in-depth writing that appears on this site every week is mind boggling yet it manages to remain insightful and creative week in and week out. Sure, you might miss some stuff if you are exclusively visiting TSS (but who really only visits one spot anyways?) but you can be guaranteed that you will see Hip-Hop related material that you won't find anywhere else. The Smoking Section is creative, intelligent and in a league of its own.
#1 - RapRadar.com
It's the blog you love to hate...but look at and pay attention to on a daily basis. The brainchild of Eminem's manager Paul Rosenberg and industry veteran Elliott Wilson is your one-stop for everything Hip-Hop...and more. The team at RapRadar have done a good job at covering Hip-Hop content while also delving into the industry as a whole and expanding into coverage of Reggae, the business side of the industry and R&B. The 'Blackout' and 'You Played Yourself' features are eagerly anticipated and the blog has a solid, easy to navigate design. It would be nice to see more in-depth writing from YN on the blog, but sheeeeit, the dude is still getting paid for that so I guess I can't really blame his lack of words for free.