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What hip-hop means to us

Sam Edwards smiling

Sam Edwards – Customer Support

Where were you when you heard Hip Hop music for the first time?  

All my early musical experiences come from the (lucky) fact that my parents have really good taste! When I was very young it was a lot of garage, nu-metal and hip-hop on around the house, and my dad was a big fan of NWA, Biggie, and Jay Z.

I was probably around seven or eight when I started to really understand what I did and didn’t like and I used to spend a lot of time watching MTV with my parents. I specifically remember seeing the music video for Jay-Z's ‘Dead Presidents II’ which had a lasting impact on me, and it was also around the same time that I bought my first album – They Don’t Know by So Solid Crew.


What's your favourite Hip Hop album of all time?   

K-Otix – Spontaneity EP. The sample use feels so unconventional and varied meaning that the whole EP has this dreamy air about it that really contrasts the intensity of the vocals. The harp sample on ‘Harlots’ is unreal!

Thinking about it now, I’m really into anything sample heavy, moody, soulful – anything with good horns. I also much prefer beats with some grit to them, that’s what tends to draw me more towards the East Coast sound.


Is there a current artist that keeps your love for hip hop going today?  

Kaidi Tatham – ‘The Only Way (feat. Uhmeer)’ is one of the best hip-hop releases that I’ve heard recently. The whole production is like butter, but the horns particularly are ridiculous – I’ve been rinsing it. Other than that then I really like Lil Ugly Mane as well!


Dan Barnfather enjoying music

Dan Barnfather – Customer Support 

Where were you when you heard hip-hop music for the first time?   

I think I was around nine or 10 years old and on my way to a school trip. My friend let me listen to a couple of tracks on his CD Walkman, which was a posthumous Tupac album called Better Dayz. Something about the voice and lyrics must have struck a chord with 10-year-old me and ever since then I’ve loved the genre.

I grew up loving Eminem as a kid, so ‘The Way I Am’ would be my nostalgic pick.

What's your favourite hip-hop album of all time?   

This changes all the time, but I’d probably say it’s Late Registration by Kanye West at the moment. This was back when he was more of a ‘man of the people’ relatable type of rapper . The lyrics and song writing are great, and it’s one of my favourite produced albums of all time, with a nice mix of soul samples and live orchestral sounds.


Is there a current artist that keeps your love for hip-hop going today? 

Apart from the obvious Kendrick Lamar answer, I’ve loved recent albums from Lupe Fiasco, Black Thought and JID. There’s also loads of great stuff coming out of the UK at the moment, like Little Simz, Loyle Carner, Dave etc.


Alex Crawford smiling

Alex Crawford – E Commerce 

Where were you when you heard hip-hop music for the first time?

I have vivid memories of being seven years old and playing a hip-hop compilation on cassette tape for hours and hours on my parents’ hi-fi system. It had tracks from Run DMC, ATCQ, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, LL Cool J, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, De La Soul, Eric B & Rakim, etc. I’m not even sure where the compilation came from, but I wish I still had it!


What's your favourite hip-hop album of all time?

Fugees – The Score, at the time it was quite socially conscious when at the time, a lot of hip-hop was leaning towards gangster rap. The combination of the three very contrasting voices and styles combined with the sample choices they used, fused with reggae, soul, funk and jazz was just an incredible mix –  it still sounds fresh today.

That said, my favourite song of all time is Wu-Tang Clan – ‘C.R.E.A.M’. It’s just such a raw track in every sense – there’s no real concept, the vocal recording is sketchy in places. But it’s just three MCs in perfect form, on top of one the greatest beats of all time by RZA.


Is there a current artist that keeps your love for hip-hop going today? 

It sounds obvious, but Kendrick Lamar and Drake are really pushing the boundaries these days commercially speaking in the US and have been for 10+ years now. But it’s such a huge genre with so many offshoots now, there’s thousands of artists doing great things all around the world. I think more interestingly the UK has been leading the way in recent years with artists like Little Simz, Loyle Carner, Skepta, CASISDEAD, Ocean Wisdom and Slowthai to name a few.


Join our collaborative playlist  

Our listeners are curating their favourite cuts from 50 years of hip-hop. Weighing in at over 24 hours this is a great place to discover something new or enjoy some classics so hit the playlist today to add your favourites. Some tracks could contain explicit content so listener discretion is advised.