Backseat Freestyle

By Jayson Rodriguez

What's driving hip-hop? Find out with a reported essay + curated links to new music/music vids, pod recommendations and good reads delivered straight to your inbox every Friday. Vroom, vroom.

What's driving hip-hop? Find out with a reported essay + curated links to new music/music vids, pod recommendations and good reads delivered straight to your inbox every Friday. Vroom, vroom.

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35

issues

#35・

It Was Always Nicki, Nicki, Nicki....Until It Wasn't

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….I WANTED TO bring back Backseat Freestyle after its hiatus with a piece talking about Nicki Minaj’s sound and what it would be on her forthcoming album. This was after the Lil Baby collabs but before "Super Freaky Gir…

 
#34・

7 Reasons Why You Should be Rooting for Latto

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….THERE'S TWO WAYS an artist has a moment coalescence for them. The institution synchronizes the rollout: artist's have the high-profile interview drop on the day of their album's release, a big critical review in New Y…

 
#33・

Hip-Hop’s Cracked Rear View

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….AS A HIP-HOP JOURNALIST, YOU MIGHT IMAGINE that I have a lot of collectibles. You'd be correct. You name it: CDs, magazines, books, etc. I've seen a lot of movies and documentaries. I love this culture and I work in i…

 
#32・

What's The (BK) Drill With That? Making Sense Of What's Going On...

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….

 
#31・

It's OK to Admit Jim Jones is a Good Rapper

I'VE WANTED TO WRITE about this topic for a while. I first had the mind to touch it (or not) when Dipset and LOX were announced as a Verzuz matchup. Figured if The Diplomats would be able to curate their records just the right way and if Jimmy was able to anc…

 
#30・

Hip-Hop Award Season 2021

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….The year 2021 in hip-hop proved to be stabilizing, in an unexpected way. Without major tours and with another year of activity limited by the pandemic, artist either put out material or risked sitting out another 365 …

 
#29・

Tyga Doesn't Have a Formula, He Just Found His Recipe

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS it seems like we were all still stuck on the Verzuz matchup between the Diplomats and the LOX. It really was a remarkable showcase for New York and a legacy-affirming display for Jadakiss. Since…

 
#28・

Looking At Jadakiss' Legacy Outside Of Top 5 Debates

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….

 
#27・

Get Off Lil Nas X's D!ck

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….

 
#26・

Kanye's Ugly Dark Twisted Reality

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….A KANYE WEST ALBUM came and went. If you were in attendance at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, an insider who scored a listen in Vegas or happened to download the bootleg version before the link expired, you hea…

 
#25・

The Evolution Of The Posthumous Rap Album

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….Pop Smoke's second posthumous album arrived today in a bit of a surprise. Assembled from unfinished songs and propped up by guest appearance, these types of projects usually are more mixed bag than anything. But when …

 
#24・

Pandemic P: Polo G Became A Star During Quarantine

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….IF YOU'RE LIKE ME, your head is spinning from the sheer volume of festival and tour announcements arriving on the daily. A sure sign as any that things are opening back up at a blistering pace. I touched on that two i…

 
#23・

The Inexact Science of Ranking Rappers

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….

 
#22・

Are You Ready To Go Back To Outside?

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….

 
#21・

Why J. Cole Is Back To His Best Self On 'Off-Season'

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….BY ALL ACCOUNTS, Jermaine Lamarr Cole has never tried to be all things, to all people. In fact, from my personal experience to consuming his interviews over the years, he's shown a clear-eyed view of who he is as a ma…

 
#20・

Where Hip-Hop Seeks Validation

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….

 
#19・

There Isn't A Wrong Way To Roll Out An Album, But...

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….This week J. Cole drew a line in the sand and announced his next album was arriving. Travis Scott didn't do the same thing, but he spoke to Adweek about brands and the conversation appeared to inch him closer to the r…

 
#18・

What's The Point Of A DJ Khaled Album?

Because a collection from the Miami mainstay is anything but an ordinary LP.

 
#17・

Puff, Puff Pass...The Bucks

This is what’s driving hip-hop this week….WELCOME TO THE NEW HOME of Backseat Freestyle. Substack's priority wasn't right, so we switched factories to Revue. I'm catching up after a week off while I migrated my archives, so the curation section via Trunk has …

 
#16・

DMX And Decisions

This is what's driving hip-hop this week….I WAS BEING INTERVIEWED TODAY at noon for a podcast and when I was asked about hip-hop journalism today and what’s changed. I mentioned the night before. #RIPDMX was trending on Twitter and people were wondering what …