"Zoom interviews usually involve a bored subject sitting in front of a MacBook Pro like they’re about to give deposition, with Wi-Fi delays only adding to the general awkwardness. Yet, on our call, the two core members of Bay-area hip-hop collective AG Club possess the energy of a couple of giddy teenagers queuing for a rollercoaster ride."
I wrote this tribute to Frank Ocean's Endless album for the Cocoon zine.
Okayplayer: Behind the Beat - How Jahlil Beats & Bobby Shmurda Made a Hood Anthem For All Ages With “Hot N*gga”
In the latest installment of Behind The Beat, Thomas Hobbs spoke with Jahlil Beats about how he and Bobby Shmurda made the immortal hood anthem “Hot N*gga.”
"Listening to a DMX song from the late 1990s is like riding a wrecking ball through a gated community. The music video for Stop Being Greedy – one of many confrontational highlights from the rapper’s 1998 Def Jam debut, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot – shows DMX hunting a wealthy white man across a mansion, before eventually feeding the poor soul like a T-bone steak to his pet pitbull; the rapper’s exhilarating, half-barked vocals gave the sense that he wanted to eat the rich."
Across the UK, more and more weed dealers are selling cannabis in alluring premium branded bags that mirror the pizzazz of packaging from a dispensary in California. Cali weed can command a much higher price than standard cannabis, thanks in part to its association with an aspirational legal market and celebrity brand names. We investigate whether British smokers could actually be getting ripped off by buying into the Cali weed dream.
“I’m trying to outdo myself on every song, and to show my fans it’s possible to be vulnerable and still be successful in life. If you can write songs that people can relate to then it makes the music 100 times better.”
In the next part of the Behind The Beat series, I speak with Pete Rock on his memories producing 'The World Is Yours' by teenage rap philosopher Nas.
After releasing two albums last year, the 23-year-old artist is already a cult favourite among underground rap fans. Now, he’s ready to take his genre-blurring sound and transgressive lyrics to the next level.
I wrote about Biggie's One More Chance Remix for this Passionweiss song ranking feature.
"Having dropped out of high school in the eighth grade, South London rapper Lavida Loca says she joined a gang to feel security and gain a sense of belonging that was missing from her life. “I was kicked out by my mum and dad when I was 14. The school system wasn’t set up for me at all,” the 21-year-old says over a phone call where no subject is off limits. “I had to find a different path.”"
The Grammy-nominated New Yorker on surviving the streets, embracing the business world and what he thinks of hip-hop today.
Brooklyn drill’s boy king was killed before he could release his debut album – but a year on from his death, his music is bigger than ever. Thomas Hobbs pays tribute.
In the next part of the Behind The Beat series, I speak with Buckwild on his memories producing Harlem rap provocateur Big L's classic 'Put It On'.
As bad music biopics swarm us all, Gus Van Sant’s ‘Last Days’ remains an anomaly. Thomas Hobbs explores.
The Independent: John Carpenter - ‘Come on guys, there are no lizard people! These theories are just foolishness’
The horror legend reinvented the slasher flick and its soundtrack but at 73, he’s been reborn as an art-pop rocker. He talks to Thomas Hobbs about conspiracies, the power of Michael Myers and why gaming is ruining Hollywood.