XXL‘s Official 100 Best Hip-Hop Web Sites, Pt. 2 (L-Z)
Stylin’ on you with sneakers, hoodies and an assortment of hip-hop news.
The online residency of the once-dominant label that gave us Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Xzibit and Tha Alkaholiks. Plus contests galore.
The Fiasco gateway for all things Lupe: videos, MP3s, lyrics transcriptions.
ATL-based writer nabs exclusives with locals like Killer Mike and Big Boi.
Video bloggery from the always-eloquent-and-entertaining older Thornton brother.
Fashion Fail!!! Which Flavor of Love Star is Knocked Up?? Diddy Butt Azz Nekkid!!! Ah, the Perez Hilton methodology for success: gossip, lots of capital letters, pictures of celebrities, flagrant captions and more gossip. Judging from MediaTakeOut’s collection of sex-tape stills, entertaining paparazzi flicks and plentiful page views, they’ve figured out that sordid content more than compensates for low production values and dubiously sourced scoops. Entries are followed by floods of comments (some are spam, and many are repeated), so clearly this digital dumpster fire is warming a few hearts.
Best known for delivering lacerating gossip scoops on Hot 97, this former editor at XXL, Vibe and Rolling Stone joined the print world’s great migration to the Net back in the spring of 2007. On her crisply designed blog, Miss Info (real name: Minya Oh) links up news, music, videos and humor. And although the content is fairly standard, her insider industry connections and real-time Twitter omnipresence strengthen her brand and lead to the occasional exclusive. Info rarely pens lengthy manifestos to accompany her posts, but she flexes enough personality to separate herself from the army of bloggers with arid Tumblr pages.
We’re not sure who’s paying for mixtapes in 2009, but apparently such Luddites exist and spend their silver nickels here.
And we’re not sure whether MTV still exists in its television incarnation anymore, but their online news arm continues to churn out well-reported, timely stories concerning album releases, impending tours and rappers’ frequent legal dramas. MTV.com/News remains an elite Web news source for urban music. Instead of editorializing or regurgitating content from other sources, they seem genuinely interested in facts, sources and other journalistic anachronisms frequently disregarded in the online echo chamber.
For all of his technical proficiency, the frequent knock on Fabolous was that his public persona was too practiced and impersonal. But thanks to MyFabolousLife and the Brooklyn rapper’s Twitter feed, we learned he’s actually a funny-ass dude who can crack wise about putting Lambo doors on Honda Civics. And we like him more for it.
Arguably the most reliable hip-hop blog for gorging on a steady stream of new MP3s, video clips and news links, NahRight presents material with little judgment or analysis—a blurb of explanation from founder Ahsmi “Eskay” Rawlins and crew is sufficient. Due to the frequency of updates, content skews toward artists with a heavy Net presence, but there’s also an intentional emphasis on material from promising underground artists. Although an active community quickly fills up comment sections with chatter, their spillover conversations from previous postings are as indecipherable to outsiders as ancient alien runes.
Anything going on in hip-hop that’s not too much about the actual music itself Necole Bitchie will give you.
Classic example of a Drake date.
Thanks to dweebs who transcribed zillions of rap verses, the Official Hip-Hop Lyric Archive is by far the best resource for trying to figure out what the dickens Ghostface is talking about.
Founded 10 years ago, The Roots’ site used its patchouli-scented forum denizens to segue into a promotional vehicle for neo-soul hip-hop artists like Common, Talib Kweli and Slum Village. Despite adding reviews, in an effort to shape-shift again, into a backpacker pitchfork.com, the chatty “OkayPlayer haters” remain the real draw.
One of the first sites to specialize in amassing daily hip-hop videos, OnSmash now has innumerable rivals using the same glut-is-good model. Two advantages for the site: They’ve premiered content by forging relationships with artists/labels, and they’re part of the New Music Cartel, with NahRight, 2DopeBoyz, et al.
Online version of the Orlando-founded, Atlanta-based southern rap mag.
For the aspirant goon or bust-it-baby.
Amid the deluge of sites linking to the same damn MP3s, it’s refreshing to read Dart Adam’s well-written, astute musings.
Settle bar bets with this archive of production credits and discographies.
DJ Whoo Kid’s Web site, where the Sirius Shade45 personality and G-Unit DJ is working to make good on his Black Howard Stern alias.
Backed by Eminem’s manager, Paul Rosenberg, and fronted by longtime hip-hop journalist Elliott Wilson (Ego Trip, The Source, XXL), RapRadar was launched in early 2009 to bestow the public with Slim Shady exclusives, a healthy collection of daily links, aggregated content and grainy, cinema-verité flip-camera footage.
News, videos, commentary and comments.
It’s not deeper than rap; it’s just a whole lot of Rick Ross and crew.
Devoted to Jigga, The Yoncé and friends.
Like any self-respecting host of an urban-gossip site (based in Atlanta, of course, like most), Sandra Rose keeps tabs on which of your heroes are going broke or cheating on their partners. Then she calls them gay.
When the cherished pastime of arguing about rap minutiae—you know, who murdered who on whose shit—moved from the barbershop to the Web, it went straight to forums like SOHH (Support Online Hip-Hop). Launched back in 1996, the long-standing site also shares news, editorials and videos.
Music, cars, videos…But the random name is the best thing about the site.
Since 2005, this site has been a reliable source for hip-hop news, new music and little snippets of whatever they deem interesting enough to blog about.
Are you a Soul Assassins head? Go here. A sprinkle of extra stuff, but it’s mostly all SA.
Since his career sprouted from the fertile ground of SoundClick, YouTube and MySpace, it comes as no surprise that Soulja Boy knows the importance of online presence. With a blog, forums, a store and a social network, his site is the ideal launching pad from which to enrage crusty hip-hop purists.
British pioneers of the MP3 hustle always have a stellar top 10 track listing.
Since 2002—well before Miami emerged as the muggy residency du jour for moneyed rappers and producers—The305 was documenting the South Florida hip-hop scene. It’s pretty much a men’s-magazine catchall: Content includes MP3s, videos, biddies in bikinis, sneakers and Miami Heat news. Hey, what else matters?
Online record pool with new joints, instrumentals and a cappellas in MP3 form.
Want to find out what Kanye and Pharrell are going to appropriate in six months?
Wait, TRU isn’t a blog by Master P, C-Murder and Silkk the Shocker? Sigh. This rap-news blog is a pretty decent consolation prize.
Young, Black and Fabulous may sound like a law firm of, or maybe for, rappers, but it’s another Web site of gossip about entertainers who more or less fit that list of adjectives.
It’s tour info and videos from the Windy City pitchman extraordinaire, along with a precious little culture blog.
As a master provocateur, 50 Cent has found the Web to be an ideal weapon for premiering music, drumming up publicity and attacking his ever-shifting legion of foes. ThisIs50, his digital vessel, features news, videos, interviews, downloadable mixtapes from the G-Unit cohort and forums populated by nearly a half-million registered fans. If you’re unfortunate enough to become engaged in a war of words with Fif, expect a barrage of insulting Photoshops, entertaining videos, leakage of your LP and possibly an appearance from Pimpin’ Curly to pop up here. Just hope Curly doesn’t put you on sister site, boobootv.com.
Only a site devoted to Game can keep up with Jayceon’s swiftly shifting allegiances and tattoos.
Need your daily dose of that “hood certified gangsta shit” that has the south going ham? This is where you get, get, get it. They do it for the hood 24/7, music downloads and the latest trap star videos.
Aging East Coast elitists take heart—some of the finest hip-hop blogs still cater to your demographic (even if the radio doesn’t). Unkut serves up comprehensive interviews from veterans like Freddie Foxx, Masta Ace and T La Rock and appeals to rap nerds everywhere, with hyperanalytical discussion of hip-hop’s past (“Which rappers wasted dope beats?”).
If you luv Young Jeezy, you’ll luv his social-networking site.
After a brief nap in the grave, the print version of Vibe magazine returned as a quarterly publication; the digital incarnation is, unsurprisingly, updated more than four times a year.
Once known as the DJ behind dope mixtapes like Biggie’s Rap Phenomenon, Vlad chose car crashes over crab scratches: His video site is a low-grade repository for miscellaneous clips and a few original monologues from veteran morning-show hosts Star & Buc Wild.
Music and interviews from Lil Boosie, Big Boi, Juicy J and their Southern ilk.
A clearinghouse for any video footage that could conceivably appeal to hip-hop rubberneckers, Worldstar’s pursuit of the lowest common denominator makes the gossipmongers at TMZ seem cut from the Walter Cronkite cloth. Besides music videos, artist interviews and content ganked from other outlets, WSHH posts up clips of teens fighting, crackheads singing, car crashes, local ciphers, rappers beefing and soft-core porn. Classy? Not really. Despite allegations of rigging page-view stats and charging artists for coverage, the unapologetically lowbrow site has managed to become a meaningful online player. Sometimes a serving of digital junk food hits the spot.
Expansive interviews and sharp analysis, especially when discussing the forgotten albums of yesteryear.
Spanking-new MP3s and video clips.
No shameless self-promotion here—the content found on XXL’s online companion speaks for itself. To-the-minute news posts are delivered complete with exclusive quotes (hence the “CNN of hip-hop” reputation), extensive features and on-camera interviews bring freshness at a daily clip, and A-list bloggers give uncensored, impartial perspectives. Don’t believe us? Just ask the feverishly commenting Commission.
It’s difficult to know how so many sites specializing in news and MP3s can co-exist, but who knows how Darwinism works online. Here’s another one!
XXL's Dec/Jan double issue hits stands December 1!!!