Hip-hop is more than just an American-made musical genre. It’s an art form that’s part of a an entire culture. Although it’s been appropriated by popular culture over the past 20 years, it’s still an important part of the American minority experience.
I grew up listening to hip-hop, tagging trains and walls, break dancing, and even participated in a few freestyle battles. Having seen hip-hop culture blossom in the 1980s, I frequented hip-hop blogs and websites since the beginning of the Internet.
To help you filter through the noise and nonsense, here are the top 10 hip-hop blogs online. These are the sites covering all the important news and releasing the latest tracks to satiate your taste for everything hip-hop.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past decade, you’ve heard someone yell “World Star!” at least on TV or in a movie. Launched in 2005, WorldStarHipHop is a content aggregation video blog that has a hip-hop flare. What it’s most infamous for, however, are the hilarious fight and other insane videos you’ll find shared throughout the site.
Pigeons and Planes covers all aspects of rap music and hip-hop culture. Not only will you find news, but you can keep up on the hottest singles, mixtapes, and music videos dropping every day. it also features artist interviews, in-depth commentary, and music reviews.
Rap-Up is a print magazine and website launched in 2001 and dedicated to hip-hop. Rather than get gritty like much of the competition, Rap-Up focuses on hip-hop as a part of pop culture. It’s known for its polished look and innovative vibe. It’s a great place to learn about mainstream rap music and hip-hop culture.
HotNewHipHop focuses on rap and R&B music, sports, and fashion news. It also has a keen taste for breaking new artists through its features of music videos, singles, and mixtapes. If you’re looking for the hottest new sound in the underground, look no further than HNHH.
6. Hot 97
Hot 97 is one of the most iconic hip-hop radio stations on the planet. Legendary artists young and old have stopped by the studio for a freestyle session, and its DJs are well-known around the world. Its also hosted the annual Summer Jam concert every June where timeless performances have occurred. Hot 97 is an integral part of hip-hop culture, and you can find an archive of its content (along with live-streaming what’s on the air right now) on its website.
5. The Source
The Source is a print and online magazine that’s been an iconic part of hip-hop culture since 1988. Its Unsigned Hype column featured The Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, DMX, Common, and many other artists before they were famous. Eminem cemented the magazine in the minds of new-school hip-hop fans by practically begging for a five-mic rating in The Source, then feuding with its founder Benzino. The site remains a solid source of hip-hop news and music reviews.
DJ Vlad is an American DJ who launched VladTV as “the TMX of Hip-Hop” in 2008. It’s since rose up to become the number 10 news channel on YouTube. The website hosts a plethora of news and gossip related to hip-hop artists and culture.
AllHipHop was founded in 1998 and aims to be the CNN of hip-hop websites. It’s a great resource to find the latest hip-hop news, rumors, and music. It recently partnered with Maven to keep the company afloat, and it remains one of the best hip-hop websites on the Internet.
2. XXL Magazine
XXL is a hip-hop print magazine and website that was founded in 1997. Since 2007, it’s featured an annual Top 10 Freshman list that features rising artists to watch. Lupe Fiasco, Wale, J. Cole, Big Sean, Meek Mill, Future, Kendrick Lamar, and Schoolboy Q are just a few of the freshman featured. The website and magazine remain the definitive source of hip-hop news to this day.
HipHopDX was created in 1999 and is the best hip-hop website online. It features a slew of hip-hop news, interviews, and reviews of both mainstream and underground artists. Everyone in the hip-hop industry knows this site, and it features regular contributions from artists. This is the site to hear new singles the instant they’re released, learn what’s happening in the industry, and find out if you’re the only person who thinks a certain emcee is over- or underrated. HipHopDX is the best website online to discover something new about hip-hop every day, no matter how long you’ve been in the game.