Hip hop seems to be more popular in 2020 than ever before, with top rap and hip hop artists flourishing in music’s mainstream.
Vivid Seats recognizes that for true hip hop fans, attending concerts isn’t enough. Love of hip hop is an itch that needs to be scratched daily, with music, articles, podcasts and more.
Vivid Seats has identified the top 20 rap and hip hop blogs that fans should have on their radar in 2020.
AllHipHop.com is going on two decades as a fixture in the hip hop world. It covers the latest news—and rumors—in the rap world as well as weighing in with a powerful voice on relevant issues, such as this piece opining on Jay-Z’s decision to reportedly pass on performing at the Super Bowl.
Billing itself as a site for “statistical analyses of music, mainly hip hop,” Ben’s Big Blog has launched some very thorough deep dives into hip hop songs and lyrics. Most recently, it explored the evolution of the relationship between Jay-Z and Beyoncé by examining the nature of Jay-Z’s references to her in his songs.
The Boom Box has been responsible for some of the most compelling articles analyzing hip hop, such as 10 Incredible Freestyles That Shook Up Rap and 50 Greatest East Coast Hip-Hop Albums of the 1990s.
In addition to stunning visuals in its print publication that has been around since 1999, Fader also boasts an impressive digital presence, replete with content that touches on style and culture in addition to music. A good example is their recent piece titled, “9 artists tell the story behind their favorite jewelry.”
For more than a decade, Fake Shore Drive has been the go-to source for Chicago-based hip hop news. More recently, it has branched out and now covers the entire Midwest. Site owner and editor in chief Andrew Barber keeps on top of all relevant news with multiple updates each day.
The ultimate database of song lyrics—and song meanings—Genius began as Rap Genius, with a mission of collecting and annotating lyrics to rap songs. It remains a thriving community of more than two million people who add, edit, and annotate song lyrics.
No list of top rap and hip hop blogs is complete without HipHopDX. The site releases new singles from up and coming artists, provides thoughtful critiques of the current landscape of rap and interviews some of the most influential players in the space.
A hip hop blog with a Philly flavor but a broader outlook, Hip Hop Since 1987 has exclusive content in areas that many sites overlook. The site provides coverage of the growing battle rap scene and also has a thriving YouTube channel.
HipHopWired explores sports, politics and technology through a hip hop lens. Its mission is to “accurately survey the Hip-Hop landscape with proper perspective, championing topics we believe should be celebrated, yet remaining partial enough to lend a critical eye to issues that deserve deliberation and debate.”
One of New York’s longest running radio stations has played a key role in the development of countless artists. Its radio personalities have become stars of their own. On the digital front, it has music, videos, news—as well as coverage of its summer mega-concert, SummerJam.
In addition to news and mixtapes, Hot New Hip Hop (“HNHH”) has a popular HNHH TV series that has nearly a half-million subscribers on YouTube. Site Editor in Chief Rose Lilah oversees a robust editorial offering that includes interviews, profiles and lifestyle features.
Music and fashion have a long, intertwined history, and no website stays on top of the confluence like HypeBeast. The site sets itself apart with an entire section dedicated to art, with Keith Estiler providing several posts each day. The site also devotes sections to design and footwear, which has long been a popular interest of rappers.
The Hype Magazine recognizes that music infuses so many aspects of culture, so it covers hip hop through the lens of a lifestyle, not just music. It’s also home to mixtapes from numerous up-and-coming artists looking to break through. The site’s “Who Is?” series, led by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson, helps give a voice to the industry’s rising stars.
Rap-Up bills itself as the first nationwide hip-hop and R&B magazine for Gen Y. Unlike many other sites, Rap-Up publishes a quarterly print edition. Its founder, Devin Lazerine, launched Rap-Up at the age of 15. It continues its exhaustive coverage of all hip hop and R&B-related news 17 years since its launch.
Pigeons and Planes is “a music discovery site” whose name is a metaphor for both starving artists and those mainstream successes who are flying high. The site has a more international scope than many of its peers, helping to shine a light on up-and-coming hip hop artists no matter where they develop.
A pillar in the rap community, SOHH has been around since the mid-'90s, when it emerged as a popular forum for hip hop fans to engage in discussion and debate. Led by editorial director Cyrus Langhorne, the site churns out nearly two dozen articles a day, covering all corners of the space.
SoundCloud has become the platform of choice for aspiring artists to broadcast their music to the world. But the popular site also hosts a blog that profiles some of the emerging artists who are starting to break through. Its “First follow to first feature” series profiles those artists almost daily.
The Source, which began as a newsletter in 1988, is the standard by which rap publications are judged. It pioneered “The Source Awards” in 1994 to celebrate hip hop music at a time where it was largely overlooked in the mainstream. Its “Unsigned Hype” feature helped launch the careers of many famous rappers. Creating an album that earns “five mics” from The Source remains an achievement to which artists still aspire.
Vulture is a general culture website that has written in-depth, thoughtful pieces on hip hop that earn it a place on this list, such as a six-part series of essays by Questlove on the relationship between hip hop and Black America.
XXL remains one of the most influential voices in the rap world. It features new music, album reviews and lifestyle pieces. Its annual “XXL Freshman” have anointed some of rap’s brightest stars long before they achieved mainstream success. The XXL Freshman alumni list is a Who’s Who of today’s biggest names in rap.
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