We speak of rap’s yesteryear to marvel over the beats, perhaps even the slang, the gear, the personalities, all style variants. We presume the history of the rap genre to be mostly a mysterious series of stylistic collisions. Styles come and go and randomly dissipate into the ether, like that. We forget that the grandmasters have armies, that style is not simply unfettered intuitive poetic rumbling but also theory, conjecture, high concept, in short, propaganda. The idea is usually barebones “THISISME,” or “THIS IS IT! THIS IS IT!” or some such similar epiphanic nonsense made important by a puffed chest, an ice grille, an emphatic, insistent tone.
Rap insists on moving forward, on burning every opponent or elder statesman, causing much damage to any system it encounters. We stole this lexicon from graffiti, of course, and out of this militant terminology the most desparate, egoistic, and noble endeavors were launched. Neo-Quasi-Egyptian Cosmic Race Baiting, Jheri-Curled Pseudo-Outlaw Agitprop, Sewerbound Cartoonish Babble – whatever the movement du jour, all victories were in the abstract. The imagined gladiatorial confrontations were simply vehicles for broadcasting ideas, scattering seeds, proclaiming “I a somebody” and carving that message in the clouds or shooting it to the moon.
It gradually became very important thing in the collective imagination to be a Johnny Appleseed of some such rap coalition or style or trend. The roughly hewn primary documents – the lyrics, the smashed together samples, the static, the sirens became less noteworthy than the assertions of the propagandists. Rap, as a cultural phenomenon, inexplicably shifted its focus from the poet who stares down shards of glass and sees transcendent hope to the self-styled journalist propping himself for stumbling upon said poet during his formative idealistic years. Find lightening in a bottle, then dig a hole to pass it on to China, making sure the brand of the smuggler is uttered in the same breath as the brand of the originator. Hustle.
Which is all well and good, because after the blackout of ’77 birthed a million DJs, each advance in listening technology was sure to produce self-proclaimed tastemakers, the too-powerful and often small-minded “heads” that Chuck D. warned us about in his autobiography. Anyone with a blog (or an iPod, for that matter) is descendent of this phenomenon. That everyone is now a critic with the potential to amplify their critiques no matter how kneejerk is not an inherently bad thing. This genre was always a hugely critical, discursive one, and its culture of critique became only more cutthroat and intense with every technological advent.
It was probably inevitable that the armchair rap critic snatched power and voice back from the published ‘zines, who had failed for the most part to sustain a generative and nuanced discussion of the art. Day in and day out the blogosphere does that the printed giants cannot – inject insight, dissent, sobriety, contemplation, nuanced critique into the discussion. Do some bloggers simply rehash the same bullshit that can be found in the increasingly emaciated print ‘zines? Sure. Is our ability as bloggers/fans/heads/critics/broadcasters/propagandaists/player participators to help the cream rise to the top magnified? Y equals self, indeed. The proof is in the pudding – when the print ‘zine cannot even offer a remotely credible assessment of the blogosphere, the game has not only changed in nature, but in venue, reach, and every other way. T.R.O.Y. isn’t on XXL’s rap blog radar but judging by how slim slim slimmy the rag is looking these days, we’d rather be out in St. Elsewhere, right?
Just last month T.R.O.Y. celebrated is first year anniversary. It might not seem very long ago, but I assure you everyday for the last 13 months we’ve been putting in work in hopes you come back to us. From our interviews, to our thought-provoking analysis, comprehensive lists, to our endless amounts of compilations covering samples, b-sides, remixes or complete discographies–we’re out for the gusto!
We’ve managed to bring you guest blogging from the likes of Kurious Jorge, JVC Force, B-Real, Chip Fu, Tame One, and L.G. among others. Our main aim has always been to celebrate the music with our readers. To discover, relive or retrieve music we all appreciate. While hip-hop might be a dying art, or your favorite magazine publications cease to exist or shows like The Box, Pump It Up and Yo! MTV Rap are long gone, T.R.O.Y. will be here.
We realize the hip-hop we all know and love might not exist in the real world anymore, but it will always exists here. Every single day until the T.R.O.Y. casket drops we’re going to make sure you have a place to reminisce. Whether we’re challenging Dante Ross or campaigning for Easy Mo Bee, T.R.O.Y. will be here. Whether we’re compiling our lists, conducting interviews with Prodigy, Guru or Henry Chalfant, T.R.O.Y. will be here. T.R.O.Y. will be here because Paul C. still matters. Because Big L will not be forgotten. Because we should know where the music originates from. Because it’s important we don’t forget our roots in this rap game. It’s rewarding to get props from Prince Paul, Stretch Armstrong, Dres or when Vibe Magazine recognized us as the#20 best rap blog, but what’s more rewarding is that you all take away something when you visit us. Hey, at least Quincy got it right!
And in case you forgot…
Creme De La Creme
Sounds Like The 90s
Philaflava.com’s 100 Greatest Obscure Tracks
Fifty Remixes You Need To Hear (1-50)
Native Tongues Month
Gang Starr Month
Touring The States
Every One Leg Up Release
Ego Trip Singles (’79-88)
Easy Mo Bee Career Retrospective
Eric B “Eric B”
The Fondle ‘Em Collection
L.O.N.S. And The Crisis Of Time, Part 1
20 Hip Hop Songs You Must Listen To Before Voting
Every Schenectadyfan Compilation
All The Ras Kass Singles That Really Matter
Analysis & Commentary
Ghostface Killah “The Sun”
Black Sheep “Still In The Ghetto”
The Legion “New Niggas”
Das Efx “Hard Like A Criminal”
GP Wu “Black On Black Crime”
An Infamous Genealogy, Pt. 1
Figure Eight: Slavery
Ultramagnetic MCs and Inexplicable Mobility
The Most Prominent Member Out The Group (Pause)
Non Album Tracks
Ras Kass – Non-Album Tracks (1994-1996)
Chino XL Spotlight
Diamond D – Non-Album Tracks
Black Sheep – Non-Album Tracks
K-Solo Non-Album Tracks
J-Live – Non-Album Tracks (1995-2002)
Leaders Of The New School – Non-Album Tracks
Big Daddy Kane – Non-Album Tracks (1986-1990)
Krs-One – Non-Album Tracks (1986-1997)
JVC Force Non-Album Tracks
Bush Babees – Non-Album Tracks
De La Soul – The Instrumentals (1988-1998)
Thirty & Good Vol 1 (90s R&B)
Valentine’s Stimulus (90s R&B)
T.R.O.Y. Presents: The Moaning
Valentine’s Weekend “Funk Drops” Compilation
Jingle Jangle: Rock The Sleigh Bells
History of Hip-Hop: 90’s
Dancehall/Raggamuffin Meets Hip Hop
Big L – The Best of The Rest
T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/9th Wonder
T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/Jean Grae
T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/ Chip Fu
T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/Tame One
T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/ AJ Woodson (JVC Force)
T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/B-Real
T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/Superstar Quamallah
The Top 10 Tracks I’ve Produced by LG
Kurious Jorge’s Top 10 Posse Cuts
Diamonds In The Rough
The Diggaman (Lord Digga Discography)
In Search Of A Complete Prince Paul Discography
Omar Epps’ Wolfpack
Ca$h Money Click
PHD (Poet & Hot Day)
This ol’ clan from Now Born got shit locked…
Paul C. Lives
Producer Highlight – Mel Man
Rakim “The Cellar” EP
That Backwards Sample
Sample Compilation 3
Les McCann – Samples Volume 1
A Tribute To Freddie Hubbard
Quincy Jones “Summer In The City” Samples
The Meters (Vol. 1-3)
Who Flipped It Better? Company Flow, Parallax, Lord Digga?
Peace to Harry Allen.