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Just think, after almost four decade of people calling hip-hop a fad, not only is it a multi-billion dollar industry and cultural force, but it’s extending firmly into the world of academics. While there has been a recent phenomenon of colleges teacher hip-hop courses, the biggest gesture of hip-hop entering the world of education occurred just a few short weeks ago with the announcement that Afrika Bambaataa would be a visiting professor this year at Cornell.

We asked some of our favorite H2C2 MCs to drop some bars with their reaction to this great news, and we encourage our readers to respond back with some rhymes of their own.

Check the rhymes HERE –

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The Young and The Hip-Hop on: Hip-Hop’s Global Impact

With hip-hop being a youth-based culture at its core, we at the Hip-Hop Culture Center feel it’s important to give the youth a platform to express their feelings on what interests them about hip-hop’s current climate, as well as where they think it’s going. Today, our youth reporter Dominique Williams takes a look at the global impact of hip-hop!

All Around The World: The Global Economic Impact of Hip Hop

It has been almost 30 years since the introduction of hip-hop. Over that time, hip-hop’s become immensely popular, not just in America, but worldwide. Hip-hop has expanded itself into music, fashion, advertisement, movies, and more. It’s given many rappers, and those associated with the genre, the chance to branch themselves out into other ventures and create their own brands. Also, it has allowed them to bring hip-hop to other communities through organizations and fundraisers as well. As of today, Hip-hop has become a global phenomenon where it ranges from a genre of music to a full-blown lifestyle. Hip-hop has gone through many changes that some people do not agree or identify with. It has impacted a lot of things in the world from fashion to politics. Hip-hop music has been used as a means to create songs that deliver somewhat negatives messages such as sex, drugs, and violence (“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash), police brutality (“F**k the Police” by NWA), poverty in America (“Heard Em’ Say” by Kanye West) etc. But has also been used to advocate more positive messages about “being whatever you want to be” (“I Can” by Nas), a father son relationship (“Just the Two of Us” by Will Smith), HIV/AIDS awareness (“Let’s Talk About Sex” by Salt-n-Pepa) etc. Overall, hip-hop has had its share of praise and scrutiny.

The hip-hop economy increases at an astonishing rate. Hip-hop is, according to Forbes, an industry that garners 10 billion dollars a year. Advertisers see rappers as an opportunity to sell their brands because of the impact they have on the younger generation. It is reported by the NPD Group, that more than 50% of people who purchase hip-hop albums are either teens or in their early 20s. Young fans gravitate towards the images that they see of the hip-hop lifestyle, the cars, jewelry, expensive clothing, etc. For that reason, when seeing a rapper associated with a particular brand, they are more inclined to buy a certain item in order to be a part of that lifestyle. For example, when Busta Rhymes, “Pass the Courvoisier Part Two” was released, sales for Courvoisier cognac increased. For these reasons, rappers such as Jay-Z (Rocawear), Nelly (Apple Bottoms), Sean “P’Diddy” Combs (Sean John, and various vodka brands such as Ciroc) are examples of showing a desire to create their own brands.

Hip-Hop began in 1520 Sedgewick Avenue in the South Bronx in 1973. DJ Kool Herc, recognized as the originator of hip-hop, hosted various parties at this location, mixing a variety of different musical sounds. Other things associated with hip-hop include beat boxing, breaking, break-dancing, and many more. During the 70s, hip-hop was not recognized by America, believing that it was only a fad and that it would create the impact that it has today until the introduction of the song “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang, a group composed of Michael Anthony “Wonder Mike” Wright, Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson and Master Gee, assembled by Sylvia Robinson. A major hit, “Rapper’s Delight” moved more than eight million units worldwide. Soon, rap’s popularity and style began to grow. During the 80s, NWA (N***as With Attitude) was introduced to the world as embodiments of gang violence, sexism, and hedonistic values. Their lyrics were very harsh and straightforward, so much to the point that there song “F**k tha Police” raised concerns amongst the FBI, warning them to watch out or face trouble. This song protested against police brutality against minorities, this message was somewhat ignored, believing it was simply a message to insult the Police Department, until it was later seen with the eruption of the L.A riots.

Various styles of hip-hop culture have been introduced in other countries. Japan was introduced to Soul Train in the 1970s, which became a gateway for them in accepting black culture. Hip-hop was introduced to Japan in 1983 after the movie “Flashdance” where, for a few seconds, they caught a glimpse of children breakdancing. Hip-hop continued to appear onward into the 90s with the introduction of artist like Heavy D and MC Hammer. Japan has also accepted hip-hop culture to the point where Hip hop is considered a type of lifestyle someone might want to be apart of. The Japanese , who are involved in the Hip-hop culture, are also concerned with buying the items that they see in music videos such as DKNY, Polo, etc. The only difference between American interpretation of hip-hop and Japanese interpretation of hip-hop is the message. In America it is seen as, not a race thing, but an art form that is conveyed in many ways, whereas in Japan, it is seen on a more superficial level and conveyed in one way based on the visual messages presented to them, such as the cars, the clothes, and the African-American rappers. But the exposure to the culture shows the impact hip-hop has on individuals around the world.

Hip-hop, over the years, has made a name for itself and has managed to spread its influence all around the world, impacting people with its messages and images in some way shape or form. Hip-hop has expanded itself through the media with fashion, movies, and global export. It has also allowed other rappers access to other ventures such as acing, screenwriting, entrepreneurship, etc. Despite this, many individuals continue to carry their individual opinions about hip-hop, some of them negative, some positive, and some are simply undecided. Like all musical styles, some are more popular then others, and some soon do not have the same they used to back then. But hip-hop will continue to remain within the influence of the media, continuing to impact the individuals within and outside of the U.S. and, while its popularity may fluctuate, will not disappear.

Dominique Williams is a Bronx-born Alfred University student currently studying Communications. Along with writing, singing and playing video games, her favorite rappers are Eve, Eminem, B.o.B, and T.I.

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Michael Gonzales is one of hip-hop’s most influential and important journalists. With his work appearing everywhere from Vibe to ego trip and Wax Poetics, as well as authoring 1992’s essential hip-hop primer Bring the Noise, his voice is one of the most knowledgable and engaging to ever cover the culture. With his new essay ‘Memories of Crack City’ appearing in the latest issue of One More Robot magazine, we bring you this excerpt from his ‘Living in Crack City’ article as well as include his Top Five picks for the Greatest Crack Songs of All Time.

As a native New Yorker born and raised on the uptown streets of Harlem, my personal version of ‘Living for the City’ went from stickball games in the street to dodging bullets in the day as crack vials shattered beneath my sneakered feet. Yet, while smoking crack rocks began its raging rein of terror in 1984, the same communities were also contributing culturally with the rise of rap music.

With rappers becoming the aural equivalent of Italian neo-realists directors, my favorite being Vittorion De Sica, these young poets were unafraid of showing ‘the real’ in their material. It was only a matter of time before crack culture (selling, buying, dying) and rap music began to overlap. Twenty-eight years after I first heard a cocaine corner boy on a 145th Street muttering, “Crack, crack, crack,” there has been thousands of rock related songs released.

When I began working on my latest drug-related essay ‘Memories of Crack City’ for the forthcoming One More Robot Summer Issue, I spent a lot of time on YouTube getting lifted and inspired by crack songs created by everyone from Schoolly D to Lil Wayne to Rick Ross. However, since this is issue #10, I decided to pick my personal top-ten crack classics based discs to serve as the soundtrack. In addition, since the piece is about New York, all the songs selected are East Coast based. As one crack head screamed to the other, “Rock on!”
5) Fat Joe – “Crack Attack” 1998

4) Grandmaster Melle Mel – “White Lines” 1983
3) Jay-Z – “Rap Game/Crack Game” 1997

2) The Notorious B.I.G. – “Ten Crack Commandments” 1997

1) Masters of Ceremony – “Cracked Out” 1988

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The Young and The Hip-Hop on: Fashion

With hip-hop being a youth-based culture at its core, we at the Hip-Hop Culture Center feel it’s important to give the youth a platform to express their feelings on what interests them about hip-hop’s current climate, as well as where they think it’s going. Today, our youth reporter Damar M. Grace takes a look at hip-hop fashion!

    Hip-Hop’s Impact on Fashion

Hip-hop is a form of musical expression and an artistic subculture that originated in African-American and Hispanic-American communities during the 1970s in New York City. As hip-hop started to become popular, it created a strong influence in societies’ fashion. For years, many adolescences mimicked the styles of their favorite celebrities to follow what society deemed as “cool” during that era. From the 1980s tracksuits, sheepskins, and leather bomber jackets, to the 1990s over-sized pants and big flannel shirts, and lastly the 2000s style which has and still is changing constantly from baggy pants and XL t-shirt , to tight pants, snapbacks, and a polo shirt. However, popular name brands like Adidas, Jordan, Reebok, Converse, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger have flourished exponentially from the influence that popular celebrities have spread unto society throughout the years. Celebrities themselves have noticed the impact he/she has had on society itself, even deciding to create brand names of their own like Wu-Tang Clan’s Wu-Wear, Russell Simmons’ Phat Farm, Diddy’s Sean John, Nelly’s Apple Bottom Jeans, 50 Cent’s G-Unit Clothing, Eminem’s Shady Limited, and Damon Dash and Jay-Z’s Rocawear. Each celebrity, with their millions of fans, influence them to buy and purchase their merchandise.

Hip-hop artists create fashion trends by stating a certain brand name during their song, as well as wear certain clothes and shoes during their videos, which a large amount of people follow. Many today are seen wearing the popularized brand name Ralph Lauren, which Kanye West states he takes credit for in Rhymefest’s song “Brand New.” By stating “Ralph Lauren was boring before I wore them,” Kanye shows he believes that he caused the rising boom of Lauren’s brand by wearing their clothes publicly, causing viewers to believe that since Kanye wore those clothes, the brand must be cool.

Today’s music has a strong impact on viewers, and has received criticism for its influence on their susceptible minds. One negative response to hip-hop fashion is the sagging of pants. Originating from the jail practice to give other inmates an invitation for sexual intimacy, musical artists have taken that fashion statement and created it into a way of expression; as a symbol of freedom and rejection of the values of mainstream society. However, this expression has been abhorred by certain people in society explicating the sagging of pants as disrespectful, and disgusting. Additionally, to show their deprecation toward the sagging of pants, laws and dress code regulations have been issued in certain locations to relegate this behavior.

Another negative impact of hip-hop is its commercialization. Music videos feature rappers in expensive cars and houses, wearing expensive merchandise, and boasting about their cash. This encourages people to live beyond their means in trying to keep up with this image by illegal means like robbery. It also influences young people to use violence to resolve conflicts instead of finding a peaceful solution.

With some bad also comes good and hip-hop has proved to be extremely profitable to those that achieved the ranks of stardom influencing young people to succeed in a hip-hop career. Hip-hop has also built an industry around its sense of fashion and music sales which creates jobs for creative minds. Regardless its
good and bad attributes, hip-hop is here to stay and, for many young people, it is a way of life. While it can be destructive to those who fall prey to its negative influences, it’s proven very effective in communicating positive messages.

Damar M. Grace is a 17-year-old honor student from Hackensack High School. He is a member of his school’s Young Men of Excellence, Hip-Hop Club, and Tri-M, a group of gifted students who excel in music. He’s a hip-hop fan who reads the lyrics along with the music to “really hear what the artist is saying” and considers Eminem, Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West among his favorite artists.

What an absolutely explosive summer it’s been for hip-hop! From artists taking control of their destinies by being who they are, to major label litigation conflicts, the rap world’s heat has been on!

One of the moments that wound up defining the summer and polarizing the hip-hop nation was during this year’s Hot 97 Summerjam where station DJ Peter Rosenberg publicly dissed headliner Nicki Minaj, resulting in Lil Wayne pulling her and all Cash Money artists from the show. It created a stark divide that brought questions of hip-hop’s media presence, the genre’s generation gap and even gender issues into the forefront.

We asked some of our favorite H2C2 MCs to weigh in on the matter, and here’s what they had to say –

Check the rhymes HERE –

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Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid in Full Turns 25!

Last week, Eric B. & Rakim’s groundbreaking album Paid in Full turned a full quarter-century old. Rakim’s smooth flow and staccato use of syllables layered over a soulful wrecking ball of samples made his storytelling and braggadocios boasting made for some of the most influential rap records ever committed to wax. Even the cover art set the tone for flashy empowerment in hip-hop imagery.

In the interest of hip-hop, we asked some of our favorite H2C2 MCs to drop some bars in celebration of this momentous occasion, and we encourage our readers to respond back with some rhymes of their own.

Check the rhymes HERE –

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As seen on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” as well as in some of the best received rap battle on the planet, Jus Daze has been making waves throughout the rap game. We had the chance to sit down with Jus Daze and discuss his new mixtape, life as a battle MC, and much more!

Let’s start with the name ‘Jus Daze,’ what does it mean to you and how did you get it?

Daze is a play off my actual name, which I made for myself in the 3rd grade and it just carried through my entire life. The “Jus” part was added accidentally because of my screen name and email address at the time “JusDaze”. I couldn’t have “Daze” as my screen name and I didn’t want numbers at the end of my email address (I always hated that) so I wrote Jus, as in “just” Daze!

You were born in Brooklyn, but currently reside in Queens. Do you feel your music has more in common with Queens-born MCs?

To limit myself to one area musically OR demographically would be foolish. I think my style is born more from the sounds of music genres that have meshed with not only hip hop, but world sounds. I grew up with my mother playing a lot of soft-rock based artists like Rod Stewart, Phil Collins, some soul like Luther Vandross, The Isleys, and my aunt playing lots of Doo-wop, Sinatra, and oldies. To say whether or not I relate more to the sounds of a “Queens-born MC” is tough. Some might categorize my music as “lyrical” or “music with meaning”, which pinpoints a lot of “Queens-born” authentic MC styles, but I like to think of myself as artist who doesn’t necessarily fit the category of any particular TYPE of characteristic. I could kill an MC lyrically, make love to a woman, thank my mother for her blessings, and express inner emotions all through my music, so if that’s what being a “Queen-born MC” does, then sure, I’m a “Queens-born MC”, otherwise I’m whatever that category of rapper is!

What was your first exposure to hip-hop?

My first exposure to hip-hop was probably being born in New York! Whenever this question is asked I usually don’t know how to answer because I feel like I was born with hip-hop in my heart. I don’t know how I started, why I started, but I ALWAYS remember rapping. I guess I’d say my first exposure to Hip Hop was seeing so much of the lifestyle surrounding where I lived. I grew up in East New York near Highland Park where there were a lot of gang activities going on at the time, but also a lot of Boombox Boom Bap radio playing, live MC’ing at block parties, and of course “Video Music Box” on TV. The first performer to ever make me go WOW was Michael Jackson. His stage charisma was amazing. He sang and danced almost effortlessly, or at least made it seem like it was and that impressed me. I also seen LL Cool J’s “Momma Said Knock You Out” video and was very impressed as well. I guess being exposed to Hip Hop around my neighborhood, among my friends, at school, and through the media made me take my initial interest, which nowadays has become my lifestyle.

A good amount of your listeners likely discovered you through your rap battles. How did you first get involved with Grind Time and the NYC battle circuit?

I actually stumbled upon Grind Time battles at work (it’s ok I don’t work at that spot anymore!) I remember watching Smack DVDs from back in the day ,watching the classic Mook vs Serius Jones battles and others, plus over the years I partook in a lot of on-the-spot random freestyle battles myself. When I first saw Grind Time I thought wow these dudes are incredible (initially, I thought it was all freestyling). But as everything does with time, it was a written format which evolved from the on the spot random battles most New Yorkers/hip-hoppers are accustomed to. I watched, I saw an opportunity to get involved and seized it! I battled Upstate for my first Grindtime battle, the footage never saw the light of the day, but I won by a landslide and that resulted in me making the league that day. I battled two weeks afterwards against Paranormal, which was my first on-cam battle and since then, my resume speaks for itself. I’ve won EOW MC Challenges, Rhyme Calisthenics, Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Comedy Freestyle battle, and other MC based challenges, most of which there is no prior preparation, but as an “MC” you should be able to Master any Ceremony you’re placed in. MC’s and rappers are two different things in my opinion, but that’s a whole other topic.

Last year you released your debut album Common Law. Did it present a challenge to get in the album-crafting mindset while you were still active on the battle circuit?

The album was being worked on before I started battling, which is why I really got into the whole battle circuit to begin with. Making music has always been the main focus for me, personally, but little did I know what challenges would face me trying to do both congruently. Did it present a challenge? Oh yeah, definitely. Working on music and battling (in the written format) are like speaking two different languages simultaneously in the same sentence at the same time! Battling helped the success of my album to receive the amount of downloads, media exposure, celebrity and worldwide recognition it’s gotten, but it was A LOT of hard work. Finding time to write, memorize, record, perform, & battle…ALL WHILE WORKING a regular 9 to 5 is no easy task. I’ve always said that when there’s a passion for something you love, you don’t find the time, you MAKE the time for it. This was no different in juggling what it takes to get an album recorded, mixed, mastered, distributed (which I myself did) and seen by the masses. But, as any challenge does once you overcome it, it makes you have an even stronger mindset and smarter outlook going into the next endeavor, if you choose to. Since then, major opportunities have come up and even bigger and better things have happened because I know how to move a little bit smarter and the “do and do not’s” of what it takes.

What made you decide on the album title Common Law?

My marriage to hip-hop. I’ve won numerous talent competitions, rap battles, gained and lost for the love this culture and music. No matter what, I’m unofficially married to it. My dedication and devotion goes into my work and from the responses I get, I think the fans see. I appreciate their comments and feedback more than I can even express!

You recently battled on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” what was the experience making the leap into network TV like?

Crazy! The amount of exposure and recognition I got after winning the “Ready Set Flow” challenge was incredible. Network television is the market to go into if you’re trying to be seen and heard! Obviously it’s opened opportunities, it’s gotten me seen by people who regularly might have not seen me. It’s also had a nice amount of people who never payed any attention to you jump on the bandwagon, which is to be expected with any gaining of popularity or fame, but I’ll tell you this…the inner workings of what goes on behind a television show is not that much different than what goes into planning, hosting, and executing a major battle/hip hop event. I’ll leave it at that, but the underground and mainstream are not that far apart structurally.

Most recently, you put out the King of Queens mixtape, which includes a lot of your best freestyles from the past year. With all that you’ve done in the past 12 months, do you feel your approach to MCing in the booth or on-stage has changed much?

Hell yeah. I feel like I’m being more of myself now because the impression of “Who the hell is Daze?” doesn’t have to be met. People now know my personality, my thoughts, my life and who I am a little bit better so it allows me to be more comfortable and express more of what I want to in the booth. Like I said before, I’m blessed with the feedback and response I get from the fans. When fans come out to shows they show me nothing but love and support what it is I’m doing. If I keep moving the way I’m moving, I think I might be alright with this hip-hop stuff for a while!

If you had to pick a favorite battle that you were in, and a favorite battle you enjoyed as a fan, which would they be?

My favorite battle is probably me vs C4. The audio & visual are really good in it. Either that, or me vs D’Meitz. But the mainstream culture may not get what is and isn’t “battle etiquette”. I’d say to Google anything I’ve done. I’m pretty much satisfied with all my work. I wouldn’t put my efforts into anything if I wasn’t giving it my all or my best. As far as a battle I’ve enjoyed, one of my favorite battles of all time is Serius Jones vs Jin, it’s the true definition of what a “bodybag” (a term the battle community uses for a clear victory) is.

Check out more of Jus Daze’s music at and be sure to follow him on Twitter at !

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We at the Hip-Hop Culture Center are proud to be teaming up with the great people at Why You Mad Son? Entertainment. In celebration of our new union, we had the chance to speak with WYMS Founder and CEO Charlette “ChaBoogie” Capers about hip-hop community, and exactly what there is to be mad about!

What inspired you to start Why You Mad, Son?

It started because I got silenced on a blog thread after giving my opinion. They ripped my comment to shreds, and I had no way to respond since I couldn’t comment further. The anger lasted for a good day, and I was so frustrated from being silenced that I decided to start my own thing. I went to school for communications, broadcast journalism and I started a magazine. While the magazine didn’t take off, I started looking for options and this girl I knew had a show on BlogTalk Radio and I decided that’s what I’m going to do. I was telling my friend Miss One-Hundred what I was trying to do and she suggested I use the “why you mad son?” moniker I was always using for the name of the show.

The show is billed as ‘The Sound of Urban Edutainment.” What’s important about bringing these worlds together?

People tend to learn when they’re being entertainined. When I was young, my first foray into social issue was Richard Pryor. My mother had all his LPs, and while I would listen to them, I would learn and laugh my ass off. It’s how some of us survive, to laugh at the bullshit that we’re in. It’s not politically correct at all, but it touches on issues everybody goes through.

Did you always envision the show as a call-in show?

Yes. I find a lot of people are scared to say why they’re mad, especially women. I don’t know if it’s because they’re scared of losing their jobs or all the surveillance that goes on with social media, but people are scared of saying why they’re mad, so we say it for them. It’s fun to be mad, it’s liberating, when controlled of course. Nothing changes until you get mad about something. People feel better when they get things off their chest. When you tell them why you’re mad, resolution comes.

What have been some of the most memorable moments of madness?

We have a regular caller named AnarchistChrist who embodies a true anarchist, but has some issues with women. We had one caller who was, let’s call her, “anti-male.” They had an entertaining debate and as she was going on-and-on, he yells at her “you need some d**k!” That stands out in my mind because so many things needed to make that happen.

What was important about introducing the “Can I Kick It?” feature?

Well, it was important to me to always be more than just a radio show. I wanted “Why You Mad Son?” to be a brand. One of the things we gripe about the most is hip-hop and the state of it today. I’m a purist, and I see what it is today. Since I was developing this brand, I wanted to create a show that speaks to that. Everyone loves “American Idol” and I wanted to see what it would be like to have our version of that. We have a master lyricist, a superproducer and a music aficionado listen to the music and they either love it or tear it to shreds. Constructive criticism is what these kids need and, since it’s radio, you can’t see anybody so it’s all about talent. It helps us introduce real hip-hop and shows those trying to do real hip-hop what it takes.

Anything got you mad about hip-hop at the moment?

You gonna ask me that question? Of course! I’m mad that there’s no originality. What else makes me mad? The materialism. When Watch the Throne came out, I was taken aback by the level of materialism in it. So many of us are struggling, and it perpetuates a culture of consumerism. Of “I want, I need, and I’ll do whatever it takes to get it because Jay got it.” I thought it was kind of irresponsible, and that maybe they would attack more social issues. They’re on the inside, maybe they could attack more of the social issues that we’re facing. Kayne is the guy who dissed Bush on TV and they took away his chances until he acquiesced. It was worse than a sellout. It was worse than watching Flavor Flav on TV.

To end on a positive note, what do you like about hip-hop now?
– I like the underground. There are artists out there that are still true to it. I came across Tyler, the Creator and I was blown away. Not too much on the social side, but he’s just raw talent. I also dig poetry venues. It sounds crazy, but some of the dopest lyricists are found at poetry venues right now because they have no other outlet. Some of them don’t even need music, the learn how to make rhythms with their voices in the words. It’s crazy, some of the best verses I’ve heard in the past 10 years have been at an open mic in a poetry spot.

You can listen to Why You Mad Son? LIVE every Tuesday from 10:00 PM – 12:30 AM at . You can also download the new Why You Mad Son? app from the GooglePlay store for absolutely FREE.

In one of the more bizarre conflicts in recent hip-hop memory, legendary producer Pete Rock has taken offense to Chicago MC Lupe Fiasco’s new song “Around My Way” which has a beat almost identical to Pete’s hip-hop hallmark “T.R.O.Y.” Lupe claimed Pete gave his blessing, Pete says he was contacted but was never followed-up with, and even the supposed squashing of the beef following a phone call last week has only seen tension further escalate as both sides allege the other deviated from what was discussed.

In the interest of hip-hop, we asked some of our favorite H2C2 MCs to weigh in on this development, and we encourage our readers to respond back with some rhymes of their own.

Check the rhymes HERE –

The songs in question:

RIP Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch

We at the Hip-Hop Culture Center were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Beastie Boys member Adam “MCA” Yauch. From his influential work with the group through his charitable endeavors, he leaves behind an admirable legacy and will be missed.

We asked some of our favorite H2C2 MCs to share their thoughts on his passing, you can read their rhymes and leave a few of your own here –