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[Interview + Podcast] P.R talks Nujabes’ influence, hip-hop in Australia, and where Iggy Azalea fits in

Interview by: Martin Bauman

If jazzy hip-hop is your thing, look no further than P.R. The Sydney, Australia-based producer has the sound damn near perfected, drawing clear inspiration from the likes of Nujabes and meshing the jazzy, mellow vibes with the boom bap flavour of influences like DJ Premier, 9th Wonder, and J Dilla.

We first took notice of P.R when he sent his Moment In Time EP through last year, and it blew us away. Smooth production and stellar features from the likes of Substantial, Skyzoo, Blu, and Cise Starr combined to create one of the year’s most memorable EPs. It was only right that we eventually connected down the road to hear him tell his story.

We caught up with P.R to talk about Nujabes’ influence on him, the hip-hop scene in Australia, where Iggy Azalea fits in, and much more. Listen to the podcast above and read the interview after the jump.

[Interview + Podcast] Rapsody talks meeting Jay Z, self-belief, and choosing to “give a damn”

Interview by: Martin Bauman

Make no mistake: for all her humility, Rapsody is not an emcee to be overlooked on the microphone. On “Hard To Choose,” the budding Jamla star raps, “The quietest in the room is the baddest one like Durant.” The more you think about it, it’s not that far of a stretch to compare her to the NBA’s reigning MVP. Both entered their respective fields being thought of as too soft to succeed — Durant, for his wiry frame, and Rapsody, for being a woman in a male-dominated genre. Durant shed that misnomer in Oklahoma City’s first playoffs series win in 2011. Here’s how ESPN writer Royce Young described the moment:

Kevin Durant, who had dropped 41 points, including 14 in the final five minutes, stalked along the baseline, right in front of where owners Clay Bennett and Aubrey McLendon sat. With his teammates hanging on his shoulders, Durant popped his jersey and bellowed, “This is my motherf—ing team!”

Nobody was questioning KD after that. As for Rapsody? That defining alpha moment could very well be her latest offering, Beauty and the Beast. After steady growth on The Idea of Beautiful and She Got Game, the Snow Hill, NC emcee sounds like an artist who has finally found her voice. The rhymes and delivery have always been there. The difference now is in her confidence, which shines through on every track. Three years after Durant’s alpha moment, he had his MVP season. It’s only a matter of time before Rapsody has her own. We caught up with the Jamla emcee to talk about meeting Jay Z, where her confidence comes from, carrying the torch from the likes of Ruby Dee and Maya Angelou, and much more.

Listen to the podcast above and read the interview after the jump.

[Feature] Fashawn’s “Boy Meets World”: An oral history on its five-year anniversary

Fashawn Boy Meets World

Interviews by: Martin Bauman

In 2009, a young, hungry, and largely undiscovered emcee from Fresno teamed up with a Los Angeles producer with an ear for crafting albums and bringing an artist’s music to life. Fashawn and Exile were in the works on Boy Meets World, a project that would change their lives forever.

Hip-hop has long had an obsession with the debut album — perhaps more so than any other genre. They mark an artist’s introduction to the world and often live on as their definitive piece of work. Nas had Illmatic. Jay had Reasonable Doubt. Snoop had Doggystyle. Biggie had Ready to Die. On October 22nd, 2009, the day came for Fashawn to leave his own mark. He had lived 21 years and was anxious to tell his story — to let the world know what Fresno looked like, sounded like, and felt like.

The result was an album the likes of which had seldom been heard from someone his age. It was witty, heartfelt, and honest. His storytelling was captivating. The production was magnificent. XXL gave it an XL and called it an album that “resonates a lot more than the work of some rappers decades his senior.” HipHopDX called it “perhaps the most heir apparent to Nas’ ’94 classic.” It’s only fitting that five years later, Nas would end up signing Fashawn to his Mass Appeal label.

Perhaps the greatest testament to the album’s significance, though, is the fact that it’s still as relatable and fresh today as the day it was released. We caught up with those involved in the making of Boy Meets World to hear the untold stories behind the album’s creation. Read the oral history after the jump.

[Video + Podcast] Classified and Shad talk each other’s music, their most embarrassing moments onstage, and the best year in hip-hop history

Classified and Shad on The Come Up Show

When it comes to Canadian hip-hop — and hip-hop in general, for that matter — few artists are better than Classified and Shad. Look at the numbers: the two have combined for a whopping 13 Juno nominations (with one win each — during the Drake era, no less), three Polaris Music Prize nominations (all Shad’s), and three Platinum records (all Classified’s — one of them quadruple-Platinum). For what it’s worth, the two were also voted as two of the top six greatest Canadian rappers ever, in a list compiled by CBC Music.

The truth is, the numbers only tell half of the story. Each artist has contributed his own unique perspective and flair to Canada’s mosaic of music and related to hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of people through their lyrics. Songs like “All About U,” “Brother (Watching),” “Things Are Looking Up,” and “Keep Shining” have connected with people from all walks of life. “Oh…Canada” and “Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins)” tell equally patriotic tales of what it means to be Canadian.

Beyond the accolades, and beyond the music itself, Classified and Shad are two down-to-earth emcees who — plain and simple — love hip-hop. We caught up with them to talk about how they discovered each other’s music, their most embarrassing moments onstage, the best year in hip-hop history, and much more. Check out the video and podcast below.

[Interview + Podcast] Evidence talks avoiding the pitfalls of fame, being raised by N.W.A, and why he thinks the world could be a better place

Interview by: Martin Bauman

Coming of age in California in the late eighties, it’s natural that Evidence says he was raised by N.W.A. Their sound dominated the West Coast and epitomized the gangsta rap era. As a teenager, living next to Quincy Jones III and seeing his rap idols right outside his window, it seems like destiny that years later, his own music would come to raise the next generation of West Coast hip-hop heads through the groundbreaking group Dilated Peoples. Forming in 1992, the Los Angeles crew captured the imaginations of the hip-hop underground and managed to survive throughout the years, even as those around them rose and fell from fame. It’s a testament to their longevity that twenty-two years later, the group is back with 2014′s Directors of Photography, an album that sounds as good as — and perhaps even better than — anything they’ve done to date.

We caught up with Evidence to talk about avoiding the pitfalls of fame, growing up on N.W.A, why he thinks the world could be a better place, and much more. Listen to the podcast above and read the interview after the jump.

[Podcast] #ThrowBackThursday – S.T.S. (Sugar Tongue Slim)

The Come Up Show Podcast with STS

We’re back with another episode of #ThrowBackThursdays on The Come Up Show Podcast. Every other Thursday, when we’re not dropping a new podcast (check last week’s with Saukrates if you missed it), we’ll be going back in the vault and bringing you some of our timeless interviews from the past – including rare interviews that were never released. Chedo will also be joining every #ThrowBackThursday podcast to tell the never-before-heard stories behind the interviews.

Last time around, we brought you Chedo’s interview with Ghostface Killah. This time, we bring you our interview with Philadelphia by way of Atlanta’s S.T.S. (Sugar Tongue Slim). He talks to Chedo about everything from co-writing Ciara’s “Oh,” to meeting Black Thought from The Roots, and much more. Check out the podcast with S.T.S. below, and if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

[Interview + Podcast] Saukrates talks “Amani,” overcoming obstacles, and the 20th anniversary of “Still Caught Up”

Interview by: Martin Bauman

Saukrates might be the best trifecta artist in North America. Beats. Singing. Rhymes. Name someone else that can do all three well.” Adam Bomb’s words are absolutely true. From his debut twenty years ago on “Still Caught Up” to today, few — if any — come close to touching Saukrates in all categories. It’s a crime that for all of his ability, his name hasn’t quite permeated the masses on the level of his peers. Blame it on a string of bad label situations. In two decades, only two solo albums and one group album have seen the light of day: The Underground Tapes in 1999, Big Black Lincoln’s Heaven’s Caught on Fire in 2006, and Season One in 2012. It’s no wonder that Saukrates feels like there’s so much more ground to cover, and with a self-titled solo EP set for release on September 23rd, there’s no better time than the present. We caught up with Saukrates to talk about his Amani EP, overcoming obstacles, the 20th anniversary of “Still Caught Up,” and much more.

Listen to the podcast above and read the interview after the jump.

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