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  • 2012 - Southern California Journalism Awards/LA Press Club, published December 1, 2011

    "Bud Bundy, Original Gangsta"

  • 2007 - Salute to Excellence Awards/National Association of Black Journalists

    "Ace of Spaides"

  • 2006 - Salute to Excellence Awards/National Association of Black Journalists, published September 14, 2005

    "Rap vs. Rapture"

2007 Stories by Ben Westhoff

Archives: 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
  • Lupe Fiasco

    published December 27, 2007

    Though some believe Lupe Fiasco is too smart for mainstream rap, that's not exactly true. Most of the lyrics on his sophomore release, Lupe... More >>

  • Old Dog, New Tricks

    published December 20, 2007

    A pint-size novelty act who made preteen girls swoon with his 2000 debut, Beware of Dog, Bow Wow has somehow evolved into an elder... More >>

  • Beanie Sigel

    published December 20, 2007

    Beanie Sigel's rough and ready new CD, The Solution, stands in contrast to the latest from his mentor, Jay-Z. American... More >>

  • Wu-Tang Clan

    published December 6, 2007

    Wu-Tang Clan's fifth album, 8 Diagrams, comes at a time of strife for the group. Ghostface Killah and Raekwon have publicly laid into Wu... More >>

  • Fishin' for Bass

    published November 29, 2007

    'N Sync was so popular around the turn of the millennium that even I — jaded, posturing music critic — bought the band's second... More >>

  • Chris Brown

    published November 29, 2007

    Chris Brown has been well known to the screaming underage masses for a minute now, but he broke out to a wider audience at this year's MTV... More >>

  • American Shill

    published November 15, 2007

    American Gangster the album is not the soundtrack to American Gangster the film. Jay-Z came up with the idea for the CD after... More >>

  • Rock's Hard Place

    published November 8, 2007

    During the making of None Shall Pass — Aesop Rock's gentler, narrative-heavy new CD on Definitive Jux — the hip-hop MC moved... More >>

  • Little Brother

    published November 8, 2007

    "I came back from NY, nigga lost his deal/Felt sick to the stomach, almost lost his meal," raps Phonte on Getback's first track, "Sirens." He's... More >>


    published October 25, 2007

    Derivative, repetitive, insipid, insincere, and pandering, Songs About Girls also has the worst insert booklet in recent memory —... More >>

  • Band of Horses

    published October 25, 2007

    Band of Horses' lyrics are drenched in utopian platitudes ("Lucky ones are we all till it is over") and cringe-worthy pillow talk ("When you... More >>

  • Beirut

    published October 18, 2007

    Zach Condon, Beirut's 21-year-old frontman, is too young to have any stories of his own. So he imagines other folks' — and usually folks... More >>

  • The Iceman Cometh

    published October 11, 2007

    Val Kilmer has been a lot of things — Batman, Iceman, bloated — but he remains a renaissance man. The classically trained actor has... More >>

  • Still a P.I.M.P.

    published October 4, 2007

    Thankfully I was nowhere near 50 Cent when he learned Kanye West's new CD was going to beat his. 50 famously vowed to stop making solo albums... More >>

  • Chamillionaire

    published October 4, 2007

    When did mainstream rap become more relevant than its underground counterpart? Talib Kweli and El-P released self-congratulatory pap this year... More >>

  • From Madvillain to Milli Vanilli

    published September 20, 2007

    On the afternoon of August 15, Allen Scott, co-owner of San Francisco club The Independent, got a phone call from underground rapper MF Doom's... More >>

  • Georgie James

    published September 20, 2007

    Georgie James — actually a duo — seems destined for success; it opened for Camera Obscura and played the annual South by Southwest... More >>

  • Talib Kweli

    published August 30, 2007

    "Conscious rap" needs to be eliminated from hip-hop's vernacular — or at the very least, Talib Kweli's name should be stricken from its... More >>

  • Alphabet Aerobics

    published August 23, 2007

    Nas's Hip Hop Is Dead has inspired a level of fear and introspection not recently seen in the discipline. Doomsayers cite record... More >>

  • Return of the Boom Bap

    published August 2, 2007

    Miami hip-hop heads, you've been waitin' and debatin' for oh so long. Saturday it's finally here — the local stop of the Rock the Bells... More >>

  • Battles on Your Lap

    published July 26, 2007

    Rappers blogging is an odd trend that seems to have taken hold last year, right around the time white MC Sage Francis took exception to a... More >>

  • 1440 Minutes

    published June 7, 2007

    When anthropologists someday debate the exact moment when MTV became cool again, they'd do well to consider May 18-19, 2007 -- specifically the 24... More >>

  • Anthony Hamilton

    published May 24, 2007

    Things have never been easy for platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated, neo-soul crooner Anthony Hamilton. Before briefly touching superstardom with... More >>

Archives: 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007