When hip-hop took to the blogs some years ago, I always thought it was an interesting evolution, because every blog worth its salt offered something different. Each had little nuances that appealed to different audiences and tastes.
For example, I knew Nah Right had the New York/East Coast perspective I was used to when it came to hip-hop, 2DopeBoyz had the OkayPlayer-esqe taste and were located out West, so it was different. And last but certainly not least, Unkut offered the type of content that I always felt like was the NPR of hip-hop: thoughtful, interesting, and well-done.
What most had in common though, was they were music purveyors (Unkut excluded, but they were purveyors in their own way). They blew up, in no small part, because you could download free music from them. Not just free music, but relevant, new music.
It didn’t occur to me until recently (and maybe because this is a recent development), that hip-hop blogs have grown to be much more, and much more diverse. It’s not just about getting free music, it’s filling every need that people who love the culture require.
I check Nah Right a few times a day just to see what’s new and whose name is getting thrown around. I go to Blind I because their tastes are so refined, separate and esoteric. I’ll visit Potholes in My Blog, because they’re like the filter of the “underground.”
Sometimes you want to know what’s going on without a DJ droppin’ his name every thirty seconds, and that’s when Unkut get a visit. Music is bigger than just bars and hooks, and they understand that.
And perhaps what’s emerged as my favorite blog, The Smoking Section, offers a little bit of both. It’s an internet tabloid that doesn’t take long to read, but there’s something to read (and you get music too). A sense of humor in your writing will get you very far.
It’s been my contention that hip-hop blogs were among the first to really revolutionize how we consume entertainment media today. In a world where we always look to commoditize and attach a price to everything, this whole process sure happened organically.