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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"

2008 Stories by Ben Westhoff

Archives: 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
  • Beyoncé: I Am...Sasha Fierce

    published December 11, 2008

    A decade into her absurdly successful career, this could have been the time when Beyoncé began indulging her creative impulses, taking... More >>

  • Kanye West: 808s & Heartbreak

    published December 4, 2008

    Despite what's been written, Kanye West's new style on fourth album 808s & Heartbreak, which incorporates "tribal"-style drum machines... More >>

  • T.I.: Paper Trail

    published November 27, 2008

    While other top MCs have had to create their own bogeymen to battle — Kanye has his ego, Eminem had ex-wife Kim, Lil Wayne has those... More >>

  • Atmosphere: When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold

    published September 25, 2008

    The characters given life by MC Slug on Atmosphere's new album have unenviable situations, but they're not all painting that shit gold... More >>

  • Nas: Untitled

    published August 21, 2008

    On Untitled, Nas is clearly hoping that, by name-dropping big issues (reparations, single motherhood, media control) and dazzling you... More >>

  • N.E.R.D.: Seeing Sounds

    published August 14, 2008

    N.E.R.D.'s third album is the compact-disc equivalent of an ad campaign trying to appeal to the Red Bull/BlackBerry generation. "We gotta make... More >>

  • Juke Joint Duo Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm

    published August 7, 2008

    Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm seem to personify the platonic ideals of the Delta blues. Burnside explains that he was raised alongside... More >>

  • Rick Ross

    published August 7, 2008

    Some advice for plus-size Miami hustler/rapper Rick Ross based on his new album, Trilla: (a) First of all, don't do your shout-out track... More >>

  • Black Kids: Partie Traumatic

    published July 24, 2008

    Last year, Florida quintet Black Kids released a free four-song EP of electro-tinged dance songs addressing themes of incest and gender... More >>

  • Wolf Parade: At Mount Zoomer

    published July 17, 2008

    Wolf Parade's 2005 debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary, got great reviews, but it now seems unduly influenced by its producer, Modest... More >>

  • Lil Wayne: Tha Carter III

    published June 26, 2008

    Destined to be a stoner classic, Tha Carter III should silence critics who think Lil Wayne can't make a cohesive album. His vision and... More >>

  • Usher : Here I Stand

    published June 12, 2008

    You really can't fault entertainers who claim "playa for life" status. At least they're being honest; everyone from Rod Stewart to video... More >>

  • What Do Shepard Smith and Soulja Boy have in common?

    published June 12, 2008

    If there's one thing the self-satisfied, liberal, tofu-munching, cappuccino-sipping, in vitro fertilization-utilizing coastal elite hate, it's Fox... More >>

  • Not Your Father's N-Word

    published April 3, 2008

    Last July, thousands of folks, including the (now-embattled) mayor of Detroit and the governor of Michigan, gathered in Motown at the NAACP's... More >>

  • Gnarls Barkley: The Odd Couple

    published April 3, 2008

    We expect a lot from our indie-ethos, crossover pop stars nowadays, even from a duo as inspired as Gnarls Barkley, a.k.a. DJ Danger Mouse and... More >>

  • Saul Williams

    published March 27, 2008

    A few months after the November digital release of Saul Williams's latest album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of... More >>

  • Del The Funkee Homosapien: 11th Hour

    published March 20, 2008

    Del The Funkee Homosapien was once an outer-space hip-hop trailblazer, focused on absurdist rhymes and sci-fi storytelling. Though a cousin of... More >>

  • Billion Dollar Babies

    published January 31, 2008

    Irrational exuberance is so widespread in hip-hop right now that Alan Greenspan might freak out — provided he understands rap lyrics at... More >>

  • Lupe Fiasco

    published January 10, 2008

    Though some believe Chicago's Lupe Fiasco is too smart for mainstream rap, that's not exactly true. Most of the lyrics on sophomore release... More >>

  • Kate Nash: Made of Bricks

    published January 3, 2008

    Made of Bricks, Kate Nash's debut LP, was released in the UK this summer and made the 20-year-old from suburban London an overnight... More >>

Archives: 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006