Alt.culture hip-hop recs?
October 4, 2012 12:18 PM   Subscribe

What hip-hop songs or spotify playlists should I listen to? (Given that I'm a feminist, folk-music-loving, poetry-loving, queer/bi-identified, geeky person who likes a lively beat and dislikes high-pitched noises.)

I recently came across and loved 2pac's Keep Ya Head Up and Sarah Jones's Your Revolution, and they really opened my eyes. If I like those, surely there must be other hip-hop (or rap? I'm not too clear on the categories) music I might enjoy!

I mostly listen to folk and indie rock - Simon & Garfunkel to Dresden Dolls to Decemberists to Eddie From Ohio to Silly Wizard to Dave Carter, &c &c. I also really enjoy showtunes and slam poetry. More recently, I've discovered Ana Tijoux and I'm kind of obsessed with Glee (just finished season 1, loved the music) and Sinnerman (maybe secretly a little bit because I discovered it via Sherlock.)

Given that background, what hip-hop/rap/whatevs songs or spotify playlists should I check out?
posted by 168 to Media & Arts (27 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe Copperwire? They're writing a space opera!
posted by spunweb at 12:23 PM on October 4, 2012

De La Soul. I was just listening to Ghetto Thang from Three Feet High and Rising.
posted by lukemeister at 12:24 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Brother Ali would probably fit your tastes -- intelligent and political, but with a lot of fun beats; very poetic; generally left-leaning when he does get political, but without pretending that issues aren't complicated.

Be warned, however, that he does toss the word "faggot" around quite casually on one of the songs from his first record. (He has since publicly stated -- both in a song and in various interviews and essays -- that he regrets doing that and now actively speaks out against homophobia in hip hop.)
posted by asnider at 12:26 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I may be wrong, but I have a feeling you will enjoy Dessa.
posted by dearwassily at 12:31 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe Childish Gambino!
posted by shortyJBot at 12:32 PM on October 4, 2012

This feminist really likes Little Jackie, and I think you might too. I'm also a fan of Dilated Peoples and The Roots.

And of course there's always A Tribe Called Quest and, given that you liked Keep Ya Head Up, Talib Kweli.
posted by stellaluna at 12:36 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Aesop Rock

Dead Prez

posted by mannequito at 12:37 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Take your pick from Stones Throw Records. You can find some Stones Throw playlists on Spotify.
posted by RabbleRabble at 12:41 PM on October 4, 2012

Seconding Dessa, Jean Grae (yes her mc name is a reference) is amazing as well.
posted by kavasa at 12:41 PM on October 4, 2012

You should listen to THEESatisfaction.

What about awesome people like Janelle Monae? She's more of a soul/pop/dance person but she has worked with Big Boi and her stuff certainly relates to hip-hop.

Or The Coup.

Or what about Shabazz Palaces?

Bear in mind that my choices are very much those of a white person who did not grow up listening to hip-hop and who has a slightly aging-punk/friends-with-young-hipsters sensibility rather than a deep knowledge of the genre, so while I admire all of these people very much there's a LOT of other important foundational people, some getting named in this thread.

Also, I like Gil Scott-Heron, whose spoken word/early hip-hop stuff really helped me understand more about the hip-hop that came later. Plus he is so awesome! And brilliant! Just a vital, sincere political communicator - just listen to this version of Johannesburg
posted by Frowner at 12:48 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy;
Michael Franti and Spearhead
You might like MC Frontalot's "Special Delivery"
and on the nerdcore front, MC Hawking.
posted by endless_forms at 12:54 PM on October 4, 2012

Blackalicious! Start with Blazing Arrow. Also, Jurassic 5. And I second the recommendations for Gil Scott-Heron and The Roots.
posted by ourobouros at 1:00 PM on October 4, 2012

Sometimes these groups are considered alternative hip-hop, though you may also see some labelled as "socially conscious". I came in to suggest The Coup and A Tribe Called Quest, which have been listed above. Also try Deltron 3030, and Arrested Development. And one I don't have a ton of experience with, but my old housemate liked that I think falls into this category: Common.
posted by knile at 1:14 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Jean Grae

You should listen to THEESatisfaction.

Ooo, totally. THEESatisfaction Loves Anita Baker dropped just a couple of days ago.
posted by ndfine at 1:35 PM on October 4, 2012

I am not huge into hip-hop but I really like Latyrx--this song in particular. I know Blackalicious (mentioned above) and DJ Shadow were involved in the group at some point, in case you come across those, like them, and want somewhere to go from there.
posted by lovableiago at 1:36 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Azealia Banks' 212 is unmissable.

Also, anything on Def Jux.
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:04 PM on October 4, 2012

I was coming in to suggest Dessa, too. Maybe also the rest of the Doomtree collective and Atmosphere?
posted by Vibrissa at 2:22 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would start mixes like I have no childhood left and Lyrical Ontology and Poetry is for Faeries from CPI and pick out artists you like and focus on them.
Bonus points for CPI being a mefite!
posted by schyler523 at 2:31 PM on October 4, 2012

You probably know of Jose Gonzalez. You may like this remix of Aceyalone's The Greatest Show on Earth, using Jose's "Hints". I love both songs.
posted by cashman at 2:31 PM on October 4, 2012

Check out Lauryn Hill. Here's a feminist take on guy-girl relationships.
posted by tuesdayschild at 3:24 PM on October 4, 2012

Das Racist, maybe?
posted by thack3r at 3:57 PM on October 4, 2012

I was going to suggest THEESatisfaction for you, as well. A lot of the other suggestions are great (Das Racist and Azealia Banks especially).

Also, Le1f.
posted by SoftRain at 4:38 PM on October 4, 2012

Sage Francis might be of your liking.
posted by el io at 6:58 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

My music tastes are pretty similar to yours, and I've been digging Macklemore & Ryan Lewis from the thread a few days ago (if you scroll through the comments, more songs are linked.)
posted by heyforfour at 8:11 PM on October 4, 2012

This guide to rap by Everything2 user 18thCandidate was how I discovered that yeah, I like rap. Several of these have already been pointed out, but my highlights from among these: De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Blackalicious, and Aceyalone. (Definitely check out Aceyalone for the poetry.)
posted by snorkmaiden at 8:21 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You are basically in love with Jesse Dangerously. Are you sure you haven't dated him in the past?
posted by fullerenedream at 8:37 PM on October 4, 2012

I like a fair amount music that I would describe as hip hop with positive lyrics and also music that is a cross between hip hop and reggae. I recommend that you go set up a free account (if you don't have one) and create a station using the artist Matisyahu. I did that about six months ago and served up a bunch of different artists that would seem to fit your description. Pandora allows you to give a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" for each track that it plays and it refines the stations you created to your tastes. I've found a lot of new artists that way. You can pay to remove the occasional ads once you decide if it's worth it.
posted by fueling depth at 9:49 PM on October 4, 2012

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