Hip Hop’s Marriage Between Form & Formlessness

Cover c/o Jive Records

“When we die hard, they’ll build a monument to honor us with,
humongous effect in the world, we could have conquered it . . . "

—Inspectah Deck

Song structure in popular music is your typical suburban gated community, replete with identical homes, artificial grass, and straight edges. Hip Hop on the other hand, has never been restricted by an HOA. Throughout its history, Hip Hop’s multitude of varied song structures created a metropolis of monolithic and megalithic structures, from the polished of skyscrapers to the grittiest of bodegas. ("I’m good on any MLK Boulevard!")

Emcees know intuitively that writing…

Cover Artwork by Anthony Wallace

They say you don’t miss a good thing until it’s gone. Live performances have been wiped out completely, which means you won’t see your favorite emcee in concert any time soon. Yet if Keep Records has their say, the next best thing is a trio of songs conjured across this great country, from coast to coast and in the middle. Songs on So Indie It Hurts, Volume 2 combine cyphers and tour buses with the fun of doing what you love and the mastery to bind it all together. From Denver, Colorado to Orlando, Florida and finally to Olympia, Washington…

Sometimes It’s Not In The Cards

“The Tuna With A Heart!”

Americans have deemed the most unhealthy restaurants “essential.” And many essential business models—like fast food companies (I see you McDonald’s)—are inundating us with commercials of clumsy CEOs reading haphazardly from cue cards.

First it was email, pie in the sky manifestos informing us how companies were protecting us against "the VID.” Now, their serious brows are invading our living rooms. Yet consumers can always sniff out the real from the fake. Or can we?

Mr. Mom is a comedy from 1983 that spawned many reverse-gender role movies that followed. Jack, (Michael Keaton) loses his job at a Detroit car manufacturing…

Six Degrees of Like Water For Chocolate

“I feel Mexican, hip-hop is my garden . . . ”


Does that line pique your interests? Make you wanna jump out of your skin? Leave you speechless from its implication? These are the exact feelings the emcee wished to provoke. Within the realm of hip-hop there are corridors—much like comedy—where nothing is off limits. Common operates in this realm often, similar to battle rhyming but no battle, just cleverness for cleverness' sake (over a dope beat, of course!) This story begins in 1997, with Common’s third album, One Day It’ll All Make Sense. …

“Gaming is still social despite social distancing.”

Whoever invented the motto, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” surely never set foot in a modern-day casino, breeding grounds for germs. Yet these grand complexes of adult entertainment are primed for an epic rallying cry to help us deal with this crippling pandemic. If you think the threat of coronavirus is scary, let’s rewind to casino life before the pandemic and compare the difference. Imagine playing Blackjack with a bowed deck of cards from sweaty hands. There are fingerprints smudged upon overflowing beer bottles which are glued inside sticky cup-holders. An ashtray-full of…

“Despite the media’s portrayal, we needed Coast II Coast to tell us that the East Coast/West Coast feud wasn’t real . . . ”

The homies and I were already drinking as teens when Tha Alkaholiks came out, so you can’t say that their name influenced us to do bad. Yet when a group of parents protested their name and likeness, these efforts were viewed as disingenuous. It was another dose of Baby Boomer hypocrisy; where The Beatles could experiment with drugs but they wanted hip-hop out of the clubs. We may have been hopeless, but we came for the…

Why the Valley Should Segue to TDF from VGK

Our American sports bias shows most prominently in the month of July. And every July, across the Atlantic, the best race in the world—the Tour de France—begins, descending upon the French countryside in mad style. But it begs the question: Why are we so keen on keeping our bias toward cycling? Please don’t say doping. It’s too easy. And don’t say Sir Lancelot either. Just say that it’s easier to forgive American baseball and football athletes of doping than it is to forgive a cyclist. There, feel better? Good.

America loves winners. No proof more evident than the craze that…

Gabriel Patterson

North Denver to North Vegas. Husband, father, writer, & Hip Hop aficionado.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store