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  • 2012 - Southern California Journalism Awards/LA Press Club, published December 1, 2011

    "Bud Bundy, Original Gangsta"

  • 2007 - Salute to Excellence Awards/National Association of Black Journalists

    "Ace of Spaides"

  • 2006 - Salute to Excellence Awards/National Association of Black Journalists, published September 14, 2005

    "Rap vs. Rapture"

2007 Stories by Ben Westhoff

Archives: 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
  • Lil Wayne and High School Musical

    published December 20, 2007

    With his long dreadlocks, croaking voice and penchant for zaniness, Lil Wayne is, to say the least, an unpredictable MC. The former University... More >>

  • Wu-Tang Clan

    published December 20, 2007

    Wu-Tang Clan's fifth album, 8 Diagrams, comes at a time of group strife. Ghostface Killah and Raekwon have laid into Wu... More >>

  • Femme Fatality

    published December 13, 2007

    Femme Fatality's sound may veer toward electroclash, but they're from St. Louis, and things get to the Midwest late, so leave them alone, all... More >>

  • Bow Wow

    published December 13, 2007

    A pint-sized novelty act who made preteen girls swoon with his 2000 debut Beware of Dog, Bow Wow has somehow evolved into a hip-pop... More >>

  • Ghostface Killah

    published November 22, 2007

    Ghostface Killah is a brilliant storyteller and lyricist, the only Wu-Tang Clan member still making relevant solo albums and a prolific,... More >>

  • Little Brother

    published November 15, 2007

    "I came back from NY, nigga lost his deal. Felt sick to the stomach, almost lost his meal," raps Phonte on Getback's first track,... More >>

  • Chris Brown

    published November 15, 2007

    Chris Brown has been well known to the screaming underage masses for a minute now, but he broke out to a wider audience at this year's MTV... More >>

  •, Songs About Girls

    published November 1, 2007

    Songs About Girls is derivative, repetitive, insipid, insincere and pandering. Oh, and if that weren't enough, it also has the worst... More >>

  • Jay-Z: America's Most Overrated Rapper

    published November 1, 2007

    Rap's Grateful Dead? Hova? Young? The No. 1 MC of all time? None of the above. A more appropriate title for Jay-Z is Most... More >>

  • Beirut, The Flying Club Cup

    published October 25, 2007

    Beirut frontman Zach Condon, 21, is too young to have any stories of his own, so he imagines other folks' — usually folks living on other... More >>

  • Chamillionaire, Ultimate Victory

    published October 4, 2007

    When did mainstream rap become more relevant than its underground counterpart? Talib Kweli and El-P released self-congratulatory pap this year,... More >>

  • DJ Mike Relm and the Blue Man Group

    published October 4, 2007

    Mike Relm, a bespectacled Asian DJ clad in a suit and tie, is single-handedly introducing turntablism to a wide swath of middle America on the... More >>

  • Still a P.I.M.P.

    published September 13, 2007

    No reason to fear 50 Cent, right? I try telling myself that while heading toward Manhattan's Flatiron District for a one-on-one interview with... More >>

  • MF Doomed

    published September 6, 2007

    The afternoon of August 15, Allen Scott, co-owner of San Francisco nightclub the Independent, got a call from underground rapper MF Doom's... More >>

  • Talib Kweli

    published August 16, 2007

    "Conscious rap" needs to be eliminated from hip-hop's vernacular — or at the very least, Talib Kweli's name should be stricken from its... More >>

  • Laptop Battles

    published August 16, 2007

    Last year, white MC Sage Francis may have accidentally started a trend when he took exception, online, to a MySpace posting by far superior... More >>

  • Interpol

    published July 26, 2007

    Enough with the Joy Division comparisons, already! Joy Division was a fancy-pants band that, aside from a few accessible songs, never connected... More >>

  • Bishop Allen

    published July 26, 2007

    Last year, Brooklyn's Bishop Allen set out to do the ludicrous: write, record and ship a four-song EP every month. Glitches ensued, predictably,... More >>

  • Vince Neil, Quiet Riot, Slaughter

    published July 26, 2007

    Would you want to be Vince Neil? Hard to say. You'd get to be in Mötley Crüe, judge the Hooters Swimsuit Pageant in Las Vegas this month... More >>

  • Devin the Dude, Ludacris, Murs

    published June 21, 2007

    Legions of folks claim inside information when it comes to my taste in hip-hop. Numerous writers — even venerable Houston Press scribe... More >>

  • The Ladybug Transistor

    published June 14, 2007

    In April, Brooklyn indie-rock outfit The Ladybug Transistor lost their drummer, San Fadyl, when he suffered asthma-related complications at his... More >>

  • Blog Critics' Greatest Rap CDs List

    published May 24, 2007

    A pair of bloggers compiled a list of the 25 “greatest” rap albums of all time recently by polling 101 critics, almost all bloggers... More >>

  • The Sad Kermit Video

    published May 24, 2007

    My roommate introduced me to the world's most revolting web phenomenon, something worse than the Virginia Tech shooter's manifesto, worse than... More >>

  • Noticeably Negro

    published May 24, 2007

    So far this decade, Chicago emcee Serengeti (Dave Cohn) has released some half-dozen albums on nearly as many labels. Of the bunch, Noticeably... More >>

  • Anthony Hamilton

    published April 26, 2007

    Things have never been easy for platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated, neo-soul crooner Anthony Hamilton. Before briefly touching superstardom with... More >>

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