Welcome to a new feature here at brokencool. It's called The Online Hip-Hop History Series. What's it all about?
Yours truly is one of the originators of urban entertainment coverage online. I launched the Hip-Hop Newsletter (also known as the HHN) back in 1996. It was the original email based Hip-Hop Newsletter online and one of the few reliable sources of Hip-Hop and urban entertainment coverage anywhere on the Internet. It was distributed to over 100,000 worldwide readers monthly. The publication was also one of the first Internet based properties to engage entertainment companies in unique online marketing opportunities.
During my 10 years publishing the HHN, tons of great Hip-Hop content funneled through the publication. Some of the issues have vanished into thin air (anyone have issues 1-12?) but I've managed to retain much of the content. In this brokencool feature, you'll get to see some reviews, interviews and controversy. Originally I was just going to publish pieces of the content however I will be posting full issues. Now keep in mind, much of these issues were published by me when I was a teenager not having any fuckin' clue what I was doing. The issues are presented unedited. So sit back and go back, way back...back in time.
*NOTE - The content that follows was originally published in March, 1998. Should you wish to have any of this content removed, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
HHN (HIP-HOP NEWSLETTER) ISSUE #13 - MARCH, 1998
Hello my HHN friends. Your man Adam here again with a mad packed issue
of the HHN. To start off I have a few announcements. The first is that
the HHN will be going to two issues a month. You will now have the
newsletter heading your way the second Friday and the last Friday of
each month. The other news is that this issue contains the first ever
contest in the HHN. So read the trivia questions and send your answers
in for your chance to win a copy of either Big Pun's new album "Capital
Punishment" or Gang Starr's new joint "Moment of Truth". Also just a
quick reminder to all record labels, if you are not already servicing
the Hip-Hop Newsletter, please add us to your mailing list (our address
is at the end of this issue). Well, all you have to do now is relax and
read issue #13.
This issue of the newsletter is sponsored by:
http://www.beatstreet.com- Coming straight out of Brooklyn, NY, Beat
Street is your premiere source for all of the phattest vinyl, Cd's,
Cassettes, Videos and Gear.
http://www.everythingblack.com- The place for anything and everything
Black on the net.
http://www.interlog.com/~miccheck- The home of Mic Check Magazine and
the Canadian Urban Music Awards. The awards take place Saturday June
27th at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, Canada. For more info call
THE RIPPER'S REPLY- Uncle L has decided to respond to Canibus, instead
of just taking the lyrical thrashing. "The Ripper Is Back" is LL Cool
J's reply and will be available on a free limited edition Def Jam Cd to
be given away with the purchase of DMX's debut album.
MA$E IN THE WRONG PLACE- Everyone's favorite Rapper Mason Betha was
arrested for soliciting prostitution last week in New York. Ma$e plead
guilty to a misdemeanor charge and was ordered to pay $200. He denies
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE- That's what the majority of us thought when the
lineup for Smoking Grooves 98 was announced. Currently the lineup looks
like this: Public Enemy, Gang Starr, Busta Rhymes, Canibus, John Forte,
Wyclef, Cypress Hill and Cam'Ron. A.T.C.Q. could also hop on board. No
dates have been announced.
IN MEMORY OF....- Amaru Records (Tupac's mothers label) will release a
Tupac tribute album on September 13th. Artists from different musical
genres will come together to cover Pac tracks. Possible guests are
Madonna, Alanis Morisette and Tony Bennett.
ON THE ROAD- Two new tours will be kicking off in May. The first is a
solo jaunt by LL Cool J who will be sure to have his stage show live and
tight in the wake of the Canibus dispute. Also, Goodie Mob will be
heading out on tour starting in New Orleans May 6th. Opening for Goodie
Mob will be The Roots.
Yes it's here. The first ever HHN contest. Presented by the Hip-Hop
Newsletter in association with http://www.beatstreet.com comes the Big
Pun and Gang Starr giveaway. There are two trivia questions, one about
Pun and one about Gang Starr. You may only answer one of the questions.
There will be two winners, one winning Pun and the other winning Gang
Starr. The questions are:
Gang Starr question- "Who appeared with Gang Starr on "DWYCK" from their
album "Hard To Earn"?
Big Punisher question- "What legendary group appeared in the video for
"I'm Not A Player"? Send your responses to the newsletter. Winners will
be notified via e-mail. Good Luck!
A female is reppin the interview section this issue. Coming out of Cali
is R&B artist Hana.
HHN: Where did you grow up?
Hana: I was born in Seoul, Korea and I moved to the U.S. when I was 11
years old. I grew up in New York City and then moved to California a few
HHN: What type of music did you listen to most growing up?
Hana: I listened to Korean Pop, American Pop, Classical, Opera, House,
HHN: "I Can Feel It" has a beat that leans the track towards booty
music. Was this the area you wanted to touch or were you aiming for a
strictly R&B sound?
Hana: I wanted the song to be played in clubs (because it has deep, low,
thumping bass that needs very powerful speakers). On radio, you wouldn't
be able to hear the bass. Musically, I call it "hiphouse", fusion of
Hip-Hop beats and the song arrangement like House music. I guess it
resulted from collaboration with my producer, Lorenzo, who did Hip-Hop.
I was striving for a House sound. I definitely wanted it to be a "booty"
HHN: To say the least your lyrics on "I Can Feel It" are for mature
audiences. Are you worried that younger kids may hear this track?
Hana: Not Really. I think a lot of the lyrics in Hip-Hop are more
graphic and explicit, and derogatory to women. I think mine is G-rated
compared to those. I don't curse or say suck my p*ssy. Since the words
are ambiguous, you can also interpret the lyrics in many different ways.
I think what I say in my lyrics, most kids know already.
HHN: On "Happy" you totally switch from x-rated to g-rated in a real Pop
music sounding track. What inspired you to write and record "Happy" and
put it on the same single as "I Can Feel It"?
Hana: I am a diverse artist/songwriter. I have many different moods. I
don't feel a need to stay in one genre exclusively. I write songs
depending upon how I feel. I wrote "I Can Feel It" when I needed some
really badly (as I am sure everyone can relate to). The music, dancey
Hip-Hop reflects that. I wrote "Happy" when I was feeling more spiritual
and felt that poppy, airy sound was more fitting to the words.
HHN: Throughout the two tracks you switch vocal styles from R&B to Bass
to almost Opera. Have you had training in many different forms of
Hana: Yes I have. I had a classical operatic voice training for 2 years
as well as regular voice training. I also rapped in a Korean American
Rap group called Fists Of Fury for 3 years. Because I have had different
training's, I can change my vocal style from operatic to Soul to Pop, to
an extent. My natural tendency to sing is probably more Pop/Soul.
HHN: If and when you put a full album out, what will be the main theme
or concept throughout the album?
Hana: I just finished writing songs for an album that is scheduled to be
released mid 1998. I think it will be better if I go through some of the
songs and describe it. "I Feel Sexual" is a Janet Jackson like R&B
groove with Marilyn Monroish vocals. "Your Love...Was A Lie" is totally
R&B. "Cellular Sisters" is a tongue in cheek Pop/Dance song. "You and I
are Perfect" is a ballad. "I Can't Stand It" is a song about getting
tired of people harassing me...it's Pop/Dance.
HHN: What was your favorite album of 1997?
Hana: Since I have very diverse taste, I can't name one favorite album.
Some of the albums I like are Faith (the Filipina American singer), US
(Korean Rap/Dance album), Janet's "Velvet Rope, The Fugees, Vanessa
Mae, Robin S and Toni Braxton.
HHN: Would you ever want a guest Rap artist on one of your tracks?
Hana: I would love to do a collaboration with a Rap artist. I would love
to work on a song with Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, Tribe Called Quest or
LL Cool J. I've been approached by Asian American rappers in doing a
song together, but we will see.
HHN: If you could choose any artist to be a guest on your track who
would it be and why?
Hana: Tina Turner. She is so talented, beautiful, spirited and strong. I
think her voice is so unique and performance wise, no one can touch
her!!!!! She's a goddess!
HHN: What's up next for you?
Hana: I am working on getting a video out. People can listen to me on
the radio every Friday from 12 midnight to 1 A.M. on KIEV 870am in the
La area, or if they live outside of LA, they can still call me at
818-956-5438 and talk to me. I love hearing from my fans.
HHN: Where can people pick up your music online?
Hana: Go to http://www.asamenter.com and they can buy the tape and other
HHN: What piece of advice can you give to up and coming artists?
Hana: Always listen to yourself. Work hard and be patient. Never give up
since it takes most people years and years to succeed. Know about the
business side of music since people will constantly try to take
advantage of you. Always consult a lawyer before signing and contracts.
And mostly enjoy yourself!!!!
HHN: What is your final message for the newsletter?
Hana: I think this newsletter is a great idea and I wish you much
success in the future. Much love and kisses. Peace, Hana
Thanks to Hana for the interview.
THE DOWN LOW FROM DOWN UNDER with Castro Jones- Wassup newsletter peeps!
Once again, this is Castro coming at ya- rep and presenting the world of
Hip-Hop- Oz style. you may recall that last month I dropped the mega
bomb on ya'll about Australia's first-ever dedicated Hip-Hop festival,
known as Urban Xpressions. Well, I can tell you that the city's only
just starting to calm down after ten solid days of phat beats, freaky
breakin and generally mad Rap flavas. By all accounts, the event went
down extremely well with the majority of Sydney-siders, many of whom
were exposed for the first time to pure Hip-Hop culture. Led by the
country's most infamous Rap outfit, Metabass'n'Breath, Xpressions looks
set to become an annual funkathon that will hopefully out-do all the
other bullshit music gatherings we've had to endure in the past few
Following-up from the groundbreaking work done by the festival's
organizers, local headz were treated to the vocal stylings of the Mystik
Journeymen who stepped out from Oakland, Ca to rip shit live and direct
on several Sydney stages. Joined by local talent such as Trey, Level
Heads, Dr.Phibes and Baba, The Mystik two set Sydney ablaze with an
awesome display of Oaktown emceeing. All we can say now is, who-and what
is next? Whatever, just bring it on!
That's about it for this month. Mad props to my dawgs Sammy D and Big
G.C. for the support and inside info. Also, a call out to Australian
Hip-Hop aficionados to get at me with some 411. I can talk about what's
happening in Sydney, but I need to hear from ya'll who are living on
other states such as Victoria, QLD and our west coast comrades- shit
must be gettin live elsewhere around the country, so drop Adam (our
editor) a line and he'll get you down with me. Til next time, 5000.
FREESTYLE SHOWCASE- You think you got skillz. Well submit your
freestyles (10-15 line max) to the newsletter and if it's phat, the
freestyle showcase is where it's at.
OUTSIDE OPINION- This is a section in the newsletter where each month
you will see an opinion on Rap music from a person who is not directly
involved with the music. I'm talking about actors, athletes, politicians
etc. This month's opinion comes from Tom Snyder's (you know the late
late show with Tom Snyder) assistant Joe. "I do like Rap music. The
first record I hear that I really liked was Young Mc. I like the Goodie
Mob, Outkast and a Tribe Called Quest. I hate gangster Rap because it
does nothing but add to the violence and hard times of the Ghetto. It
does nothing to try and improve the situation, it justifies it and
glamorizes it. I come from and Italian neighborhood and I know about
gangsters and believe me the only thing that these so called gangsters
are in is the retail dope business, which in my neighborhood is nothing
to brag about." I thank Joe for his opinion.
ILL SITES- This section is dedicated to those Hip-Hop, R&B and Reggae
sites that standout above the rest. Please submit sites that you feel
deserve to be in this section and they may appear in the next
installment. This issues ill sites are:
OFF THE WALL- This is the section where each issue we will give url's to
ill Graffiti pieces on the internet. Please submit pieces you come
across and send them to the newsletter (please include url's). Here are
this issues pieces:
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR- Please submit your questions and comments to the
email@example.com- "Hay Adam: Great job on issue 12...Nice to see the
Rascalz representin...It's about time that Canadian Hip-Hop artists get
some recognition on their own terms." MY COMMENT- The Rascalz did a
brave thing that may hurt them in the long run, but it needed to be
firstname.lastname@example.org- "I'm wondering if you know of any Canadian sites on
the net which sell Rap/Hip-Hop/R&B? I'm interested in music from all
over, but I would like to find a place to buy it from Canada rather than
paying ridiculous prices for exchange, shipping, duty, etc. from the
states. Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks." MY COMMENT-
Please check out http://members.xoom.com/waxattax for all your Hip-Hop
needs (in Canadian dollars).
email@example.com- "Sup kid? This LAPB from the Outsidaz...thanks for
posting that interview up and shit...much respect! To tell you the truth
I totally forgot about it until I started reading the newsletter. Much
Respect." MY COMMENT- No problem dude. Respect, Adam.
firstname.lastname@example.org- "Hey hey. I love the newsletter and I have been
reading it ever since you first started it. I think it's wicked. I just
wanna ask if you ever did a review of the Rascalz w/Choclair, Kardinal
Offishall, Thrust and Checkmate (Northern Touch)? I think that jam
should be getting all the recognition possible cuz it's blowin up here
in Canada but not really anywhere else. And it's like the phattest! Is
it available on any albums? Well, keep up the good work! Roshni" MY
COMMENT- It's great to hear from an original HHN reader. As for
"Northern Touch" it is available on a re-release of the Rascalz "Cash
Crop" album. Peace...Adam
email@example.com- "You really need to give some serious and I do mean
serious attention to La's Jurassic 5 and especially their Dj's Cut
Chemist and Nu Mark...also talk more about Dj competitions throughout
the universe and beyond..up to date results would be great...Peace
Nadone" MY COMMENT- "Thanks for the letter. There is no question that
Jurassic 5 deserve props, and as for Dj competitions and results? Stay
GOODIE MOB "STILL STANDING" (Laface/BMG) Rating $$$.5 out of $$$$$
The ATL sound is easily the most slept on in Urban music. Whether it be
Witchdoctor, Outkast, Organized Noize or our subjects for this review,
Goodie Mob. Atlanta is as Beck would say "where it's at". Cee-Lo, T-Mo,
Big Gipp and Khujo have released more soul food with their second album
"Still Standing". Quickly off the top, Goodie Mob get rid of the haters
on "Fly Away" where they state "if you don't like what I say/fly away,
fly away". The lead single "They Don't Dance No Mo" does not have much
purpose in the lyrics other than the catchy chorus. The most important
and best song on the album is the ode to the Black women on "Beautiful
Skin". Cee-Lo comes very REAL with lyrics like "allow me to say/that if
you believe honey/you wouldn't dress that way/and I was attracted to
your class/I couldn't see all your ass". One thing headz will notice is
that Goodie are much deeper lyrically this time around, focusing less on
choruses. A good example of this is "Gutta Butta" which sounds like the
title states. "Ghetto-ology" is horrible, as the mob Rap venomously over
a Miami bass beat. Other weak moments are "The Experience" and "Still
Standing". The haunting sound of "Distant Wilderness" is at the same
time very upbeat and Jazzy. Are you ready for Goodiedeath? Well they
flip the script and come hardcore Rock on that ass with "Just About
Over". Once again Goodie Mob supply a quality project, however they are
much deeper and seem more angry this time out.
DAVINA "BEST OF BOTH WORLDS" (Loud/BMG) Rating $$$$.5 out of $$$$$
Loud Records have begun to put together a nice R&B roster with Davina
and Yvette Michele. Both women can sing, both combine Hip-Hop and R&B
and both most likely will go unoticed. Davina's first release is very
lo-key and does not feature any guests. She is on a similar vibe to
Erykah Badu but a tad more upbeat. "Come Over To My Place" is a good
example of how to create an R&B track without being flashy. "So Good"
one of the tighter tracks of 97 went virtually unoticed. If it weren't
for the Hip-Hop remixes, you may have not known who she was. "I Don't
wanna be wrong/but it feels right/it feels good, so good, so good"
releases Davina. Not only can she sing, but she produces her debut
album. Her production talents are shown on "Love's Comin Down". Complete
with scratching and the usually annoying sound of chalk scratching on a
chalkboard work amazingly. Davina never really falters, at times she is
too monotone, such as tracks "I Can't Help It" and "When It Rains" but
she comes back strong with the crazy phat "Give Me Love" which sounds
like "Brown Sugar" from a female perspective. "Getz No Where" is the
most Hip-Hop influenced track and this is maybe the only weak spot.
Davina still does a great job and the track sounds nice, but it isn't
suited for her as she sounds best when she sticks to her classic Soul
steez. The album finishes off with "My Cryin Blues", but after hearing
the album, there is nothing to cry about.
DJ HONDA "H2" (Relativity/Sony) Rating $$$.5 out of $$$$$
#2 in a series of Dj Honda compilation albums is now in stores. The
first installment featured hard hitting artists like Fat Joe, Biz
Markie, Redman and more, while #2 features mostly underground talent
except for KRS-ONE, De La Soul, Keith Murray and Beatnuts. The two
standout tracks are "When You Hot You Hot" by No I.D. and Dug Infinite
and "Travellin Man" by Mos Def. "When You Hot.... is one of the few
times where Dj Honda's production is tight, and No I.D. and Dug
Infinite's crafted delivery doesn't hurt either. One of the best tracks
Mos Def ever blessed is "Travellin Man". Here Def sings the hook and
sounds alright!, "memories/don't live like people do/they always
remember you/whether things are good or bad". "Hai!" has Keith Murray
and that dude that won't go away, 50 Grand supplying a weak chorus which
hinders the success of the track. It appears throughout the Lp that
Honda has just discovered silky smooth beats, which conflicts with some
of the harder artists on the album. De La Soul, Rawcotiks and Al Tariq
all underachieve, partly the fault of Dj Honda. for H3, Dj Honda should
supply harder street beats or call up Foxy and Lil Kim for guest spots.
SAAFIR "TRIGONOMETRY" (Wrap/Ichiban) Rating $$$ out of $$$$$
Underground champion Saafir is back with his follow up to "Boxcar
Sessions". The majority of the beats are laid down by J-Z and J-Groove,
but the best track on the album, "I'm Saafir" is produced by The Porch
Monkeys. "Major Knock" and "Goin Home" set the album off right other
than the wack beats, which would be the main problem throughout. The
early part of the album sounds like a J-Z infomercial as Saafir mentions
him several times, as well there is a track titled "J-Z Theme". The
nasty, but best showcase of Saafir's lyrical skill is on "Broad Minded"
where he tells us of his many sexual experiences. "Street Scene" is
another chance for Mr. No No (as he is also known) to spit lyrics like a
fool chewin Tobacco. Instead of living up to expectations and being a
bright sunny day, the album ends up being an overcast day with a few
VARIOUS ARTISTS "RAGGEDY JOE" (VP Records) Rating $$$.5 out of $$$$$
Supah produca Raggedy Joe comes with a compilation album featuring the
young and old stars of Reggae music, such as Luciano, Beres Hammond,
Beenie Man and Bounty Killer. The legendary Luciano comes with "Baby
You're All". The lyrics are uplifting and poetic but Raggedy joe speeds
up the beat at wrong times conflicting with the laid back delivery of
the lyrics. Beres Hammond (one of the most gifted artists) comes correct
on a beat very similar to the previous track. Brown Sugar combines with
Joe for the Reggae version of "On&On" by Erykah Badu, doing the track
justice, but other than the beat, it ends up sounding the same as the
original. It's the ladies on "Women It's You" with Red Rose and Bounty.
What's keeping this joint from being tight is the bland chorus by Red
Rose. He may come weak on that track, but Red Rose sets it off solo on
"Unite". He asks "Why can't we just unite?/instead of all this fuss and
fight". Jack Radics supplies a classic Reggae sound on "If I Let You
In". One of the most promising artists, Frisco Kid stops by as he states
he's "Been There, Done That". This album ends up being like Swiss
Cheese, it's good but there are too many holes in it.
BEENIE MAN "WHO AM I"B/W"ROMIE" (VP Records) Rating $$$$$ out of $$$$$
With the success of "Who Am I" is Beenie Man the next Shaggy? Let's hope
not, but he has definitely broke into the Pop scene with this smash hit.
"Sim simma, who got the keys to my beema? Who am I, da girls dem suga"
starts things off to the beginning of a pure genius track. A large
majority of the time, a beat will carry a track, but here it's Beenie's
lyrics were checkin for. Equally as tight is "Romie", with the drum
heavy beat. Beenie Man let's you know from the start that it's "all bout
Romie". Let's hope Pop success doesn't see Beenie Man compromise his
style, because he is at the top of his game. Watch dem!
HANA "I CAN FEEL IT"B/W"HAPPY" (AsAmPOW) Rating $$$$ out of $$$$$
Say hello to the female Akinyele. Hana hits you with lyrics like "I like
it hard/I like it soft" with periodic moans and groans in the
background. At times this track proves to be a little juvenile, but it
works in the end. The b-side is more suitable for Pop music's young
ears. Here Hana flexes her well crafted singing skills. The concept
rolls on achieving happiness in the face of adversity. If Hana can hold
it down when she releases her full album, she may be in for huge
BIG PUNISHER "STILL NOT A PLAYER" feat. joe (Loud/BMG) Rating $$$$$ out
"I don't wanna be a player no more/Big Punisher still got what you
lookin for" is the chorus to one of the hottest tracks of 98 so far. Big
Pun hooks up with one of the top R&B artists, Joe, for a look into the
crushin lifestyle of Pun. Although the chorus is more on the commerical
tip, the lyrics stay hard "I love em butter pican, to blackberry molass,
I don't discriminate, I regulate every shade of the ass". If "I'm Not A
Player" and this remix are any indication, Pun is ready to blow. Big Pun
sums up everything when the girl on this track says "you nasty twin" and
Pun responds "I Don't care". Who cares when your on top of the Hip-Hop
NICOLE "MAKE IT HOT" Feat. Missy and Mocha (Eastwest/Elektra) Rating
$$$.5 out of $$$$$
Mya, Sparkle and now Nicole. Yes, another new R&B shorty on the scene.
She enlists Missy and Mocha to help her out with her single off the
soundtrack to "Can't Hardly Wait". The beat is what you expect from
track producer Timbaland, but Nicole ends up being a nice surprise as
she carries her vocals well. Missy adds some humor to the track with the
line, "Me without Timbaland, is like Puffy without Ma$e" (I had to laugh
at that). Mocha is listed as being a guest, but she ends up stealing the
track in about 10 lines. Say hello to the new Foxy Brown. Nicole
supplies a quality single, but is somewhat overshadowed by her friends.
"We bout to make ya move ya feet, 24/7 days a week" (24/7). The HHN
moves you twice a month now. Enjoy this issue cause this right here, is
straight Ghetto D.
Thanks go to all subscribers and supporters of the HHN.