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Say what you will about the life of blogs, but even today with all the power that streaming services like Spotify yield for discovering new music, you can’t take away the power of a well-written review or feature, and the influence that individual writers have over whether or not we decide to listen to a new track.
That’s why we wanted to give a little bit of love to some of our favorite blogs for discovering new hip-hop artists and songs. These blogs aren’t just great at sussing out the hottest new tracks, they’re also filled with amazing writers who can capture the essence of a track and the artists who write them, with just the stroke of a few keys. While we’ve included a couple streaming-centric blogs as well, what we’re really highlighting here are the blogs that tell artist’s stories — and that’s why they’ve made our list. Check it out!
1. LA On Lock
LA On Lock is pretty much the premier place to get your Los Angeles hip-hop news. Featuring songs, mixtapes, and even hosting their own events, this blog puts LA on lockdown, but it isn’t just for those living in California — it’s for everyone and anyone who loves hip-hop. In addition to tons of interviews and features, they also host a Spotify playlist and do regular video, single, and album reviews.
You can’t have a blog post about blogs without mentioning Earmilk. Spanning several genres, Earmilk is one of the top destinations for any emerging or nationally recognized artists to land their music, which also makes it one of the best places to discover new music. Boasting their own playlist featured with talent like Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott, Earmilk also blogs quite a bit with premieres, reviews, and general hip-hop news. While they primarily feature artists you’ve already heard of, every now and again an underground artist will sneak in.
What I like about GrungeCake (besides their name) is their motto: “A collection of empirical stories and honest reviews, targeting emerging and popular commodities.” This site is filled with ways to highlight the arts in every manner, and they do this through reviews, features, news, and streams — anything to tell the stories of the artists who frequent their pages.
A true hub of all things hip-hop entertainment, Hip Hop Wired covers it all, including news, politics, and tech — so you can get all your favorites in one place.
I love a site that not only goes all-in with their features but that shows you the view count of every article so you can really get a feel for what’s resonating and what people are listening to. The Word Is Bond does exactly that, with articles ranging as high up as over 500 views. They also do a round up of the Top 10 Submissions they receive each week, so as an up-and-coming artist you actually have a shot at getting your music heard, while as a fan you get a weekly list of 10 tracks you just have to check out.
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6. Rap Up
These guys are always posting tons of new music as well as fresh news about the artists we all love, so you can find your new favorite track while catching up with your old favorites — all wrapped up in the same destination, Rap Up.
One of this blog’s most prominent features is the “10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week” which features everyone from YAWNS to Lil Lotus, Cold Hart, Yung Scuff, and more — always aiming to highlight underground artists. Underground Underdogs also does artist features and introspective pieces like “An Insight Into the Experimental Sounds of Cremation Lily” or interviews with artists about their story and success. If you’re a big enough fan you can grab a t-shirt or hoodie and support them.
Featuring a mix of artists you’ve never heard of (that are just waiting to be discovered) and old favorites, RapReup is a fantastic place to begin your next new discovery search. They focus almost exclusively on hip-hop, rap, and R&B so you know exactly what you’re getting.
One look at Stereofox and it’s a streaming dream. The front page immediately presents you a bunch of streaming options, making it easy for you to select your mood and have the site curate tracks for you to discover immediately. It’s the least amount of work for the most amount of gain.
10. XXL Mag
There is so much to digest here on XXL Mag; including interviews, news, and various spotlight features and specialty pieces. One of their latest is the best hip-hop projects of 2019. Not a bad place to start your discovery search!
11. Dat Piff
Pretty much just a giant collection of songs and mixtapes to stream, based off a rating system similar to Rotten Tomatoes, Dat Piff is your go-to if you really don’t want all the fluff, and you just want to get to the part where you’re streaming thousands of new tracks.
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