rss Email Author Ben Westhoff


  • 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"

2008 Stories by Ben Westhoff

Archives: 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
  • The 10 Most Preposterous Rap Songs of 2008

    published December 25, 2008

    Rick Ross, featuring T-Pain "The Boss" (Def Jam) Though Rick Ross claimed on his debut album, Port of... More >>

  • T-Pain

    published November 20, 2008

    How has T-Pain done it? He's not attractive, his fashion sense leaves much to be desired (at least for those lacking Dr. Seuss/LSD fetishes),... More >>

  • The Streets

    published October 30, 2008

    Since rising to international fame in 2002 with the rowdy, inventive Original Pirate Material, British MC Mike Skinner — a.k.a. The... More >>

  • T.I.

    published October 16, 2008

    While other top MCs have had to create their own boogeymen to battle — Kanye has his ego, Eminem had Kim, Lil Wayne has those cough-syrup... More >>

  • Beyond the Hood

    published October 9, 2008

    Turn your TVs on/Bet ya all you see is me!" DJ Khaled raps/sings on "Standing on the Mountain Top," his only tangible musical contribution to... More >>

  • Nelly

    published October 9, 2008

    Brass Knuckles is Nelly's Thriller. Seriously. Brass Knuckles is not a perfect album, but neither was Thriller. It... More >>

  • When Life Gives You Mariah Carey

    published October 2, 2008

    As a founding member of the genre dubbed (by the press) "indie rap," Minneapolis duo Atmosphere has always had a special place in critics'... More >>

  • The Game

    published September 18, 2008

    Rappers and producers who appear on The Game's third album, LAX, include ... everybody. There's Kanye West, Scott Storch, Travis Barker,... More >>

  • Shwayze

    published September 11, 2008

    Almost everything you need to know about horny, go-getting Malibu newcomer Shwayze can be gleaned from this line in "Polaroid" on his... More >>

  • Vordul Mega

    published September 4, 2008

    Megagraphitti should help Vordul Mega overcome the stigma of being "the guy in Cannibal Ox who's not Vast Aire." Cannibal Ox is known... More >>

  • Black Kids

    published August 7, 2008

    Last year Jacksonville quintet Black Kids released a free four-song EP full of electro-tinged dance songs addressing themes of incest and... More >>

  • Nas

    published August 7, 2008

    Since his classic debut, Illmatic, Nas has been mostly coasting on his charm, gift for public relations, and skills as an MC. But on... More >>

  • Rock the Bells Returns to Miami with a Fresh Crop, Including the Cool Kids, Dead Prez, Santogold, and Wale

    published July 31, 2008

    Last year marked the inaugural local installment of the traveling hip-hop extravaganza known as Rock the Bells. Breathing some much-needed... More >>

  • N.E.R.D.

    published July 3, 2008

    Seeing Sounds is the third album from N.E.R.D., the "artist" project from Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of production team the... More >>

  • Sane in the Membrane

    published June 26, 2008

    Lil Wayne is not batshit insane. Let's be clear about that. Okay, he regularly refers to himself as an extraterrestrial and seems to have an... More >>

  • Lil Wayne

    published June 26, 2008

    Destined to be a stoner classic, Tha Carter III should silence critics who think Lil Wayne can't make a cohesive album. His vision and... More >>

  • Mates of State

    published June 26, 2008

    Husband-and-wife team Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner seemingly make gorgeous indie pop songs as easily and casually as the rest of us shower in... More >>

  • Usher

    published June 12, 2008

    You really can't fault entertainers claiming "player for life" status — at least they're being honest. Everyone from Rod Stewart to... More >>

  • Foxy Brown

    published May 29, 2008

    It's natural that Foxy Brown is the object of Ali G's affections — with her foul mouth and short skirt, she epitomizes the fake... More >>

  • Southern Hip-Hop = Fox News?

    published May 15, 2008

    If there's one thing the self-satisfied, liberal, tofu-munching, cappuccino-sipping, in-vitro-fertilization-using coastal elite hate, it's FOX... More >>

  • The Roots

    published May 15, 2008

    If the recent Smirnoff showcase in New York — in which Common, Q-Tip, and KRS-One disconcertingly sold their skills to the British-owned... More >>

  • Atmosphere

    published May 1, 2008

    The characters given life by Slug on Atmosphere's new album have unenviable situations, but they're not all painting that shit gold. (Whatever... More >>

  • Morrissey

    published April 24, 2008

    The greatest Morrissey songs aren't just sad, creepy and boastful; they also contain telling details, counterintuitive punch lines, and... More >>

  • Gnarls Barkley

    published April 10, 2008

    We expect a lot from our indie-ethos, crossover pop stars nowadays, even from a duo as inspired as Gnarls Barkley, a.k.a. DJ Danger Mouse and... More >>

  • Black Spade

    published April 10, 2008

    All of my life, my father encouraged me to be open to all good music," St. Louis rapper Black Spade sings on the intro to his debut album,... More >>

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