Underground 411 Weekly – February 13, 2021
It’s been a slow week for news, not only in the underground scene but across the entire industry. With many releases slated for later in the month, we scrambled to find what new info was worth looking into this week. We’ve got rappers in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an absolutely necessary hip hop documentary, and (surprise, surprise) another quality Griselda-affiliated release.
“This Is The Life” 90’s LA Underground Hip Hop Documentary Returns to Netflix
The Good Life Cafe was a hotspot for the 90’s underground hip hop scene in Los Angeles, California. The market and cafe often hosted open mic nights for up and coming artists to prove their skill to a decent sized crowd that gathered there weekly. Even more established artists like Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg were rumored to attend the watering hole for the burgeoning rap movement growing deep in LA. Although the famed spot closed its doors in 1999, it continues to live on through the infamous documentary “This Is The Life,” which returns to Netflix this week after years of unavailability.
Now, you can see the OG’s of the scene in the early stages of their career, some to go on to massive success, others to be lost to history. The 2008 documentary was produced by Ava DuVernay, who herself took the stage with the group Figures of Speech. Among the long list of names that were said to attend (or were recorded at) the Good Life Cafe are legends such as Pharcyde, Fat Joe, Kurupt, Freestyle Fellowship, and many more. We’re throwing up praises for the opportunity we get to have this iconic piece of west coast history back on streaming.
Conway the Machine and Big Ghost Drop Fresh Album “If it Bleeds it Can Be Killed”
The legendary producer Big Ghost has once again hit it out of the park with a new Conway the Machine album hitting the internet this week. Ghost has been associated with Griselda members since the 2015 project Griselda Ghost, a collaboration between the producer and members Conway the Machine and Westside Gunn. This isn’t his only duo act with the former, this being a follow up to the 2020 album No One Mourns The Wicked. Ghost’s tight beat making skills and his ability to craft a record around a rapper’s strengths has made him a formidable name in the industry.
Currently, you’ll only find the project If it Bleeds it Can Be Killed on Bandcamp. This is a routine for Big Ghost who always brings the full runtime to streaming generally the next week after. Hardcore cuts like “Kill All Rats” seem right at home alongside more emotional and instrospective tracks like the final “Forever Ago.” A tasteful amount of features can be found, from Rome Streetz and Ransom together, to Shots and Knowledge the Pirate. It’s another high quality release from the rapid fire holster of the Griselda mentality, and we’re here for it.
LL Cool J, JAY Z, Mary J Blige Among The Nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
New York represent! This year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees have been announced, and three prominent hip hop and R&B artists have been named to the ballot. It may seem odd to read LL Cool J in the same sentence as Rock and Roll, but the roots of rock tend to be closer physiologically to rap than some bands that claim the genre nowadays. African American music was the basis for much of the rock and roll that was popular in it’s heyday, and the definition is actually quite loose. They won’t be the first artists from a hip hop genre to be inducted into the Hall of Fame!
According to formal rules, an artist is only eligible for induction (and nomination) once 25 years have passed since the release of their first commercial recording. I’m not going to lie, I did a double take when I read that. It’s pretty crazy acknowledging over 2 decades having passed since JAY Z entered the scene, especially given the fact that he’s still pumping out tracks and features to this day.