The choice was between music and track. Fortunately for all of us, this Charlotte-based hip-hop R&B singer chose music.
For the cover of the April 20, 2018, issue of Creative Loading in Charlotte, we recreated an iconic Village Voice hip-hop cover. The idea was to prop up the Charlotte hip-hop scene and to acknowledge 420 — the international annual Weed Day celebration. We had a blast doing the cover shoot.
These 10 albums, the best of them conceptual works, were my personal favorites in 2022.
Tamara McIlwain remembers a time when powerful young female rappers ruled the airwaves with positive messages. It was the late ’80s and early ’90s. The queens were Latifah, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, and the sassy Salt ‘n Pepa. “Women like that — they had something to say,” says Mcllwain
This Oakland outfit continues to create danceable manifestos for the masses: “I got scars on my back, the truth on my tongue,” front man Boots Riley raps. “Tell Homeland Security we are the bomb.”
By 2012, Erykah Badu had undergone a beautiful evolution from pioneer of late-’90s neosoul to hard-hitting, politically inspired, space-funk godchild of George Clinton. I needed to talk to her. And so I did.
Chuck D looked at me quizzically, his furrowed brow barely showing beneath the bill of his black Raiders cap. “Sure,” the rapper said as I handed him a yellowed copy of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. “I’ll read it. Sounds interesting.”
I had been writing about the issue of digital sampling in hip-hop for several years in the 1980s. When a judge’s ruling in 1991 forever changed the way hip-hop would be made, I wrote this followup.
When I became editor of Creative Loafing for the third time in the late 2010s, I decided it was time to put That Guy Smitty on the cover — celebrate his legacy while also celebrating a bit of the history of Charlotte’s electronic dance music scene
In the summer of 2018, I had coffee with a guy named Greg Cox — an R&B singer in Charlotte, North Carolina, whose self-released debut LP Etc. had just dropped on my desk and blown my mind.