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Harm City: Those Other Bmore Breaks

Spurred by HBO's The Wire and the city's unique strain of club music, Baltimore has become a subject of cultural curiosity lately. Ensuring that the city's long-overlooked hip-hop scene wasn't left out of the equation, Juan Donovan Bell and Jamal Roberts of Darkroom Productions recruited the cream of the local rap crop for Hamsterdam, a 2005 release that was equal parts mixtape, local pride booster, and showcase for the duo's moody production style. Read more » 

Paper Rad: Hyper Hyper

Paper Rad is a three-person cyber tribe made up of brother/sister duo Jacob (29) and Jessica Ciocci (30), and Ben Jones (29). Though originating in Boston, they geographically traverse the Bermuda Triangle between Pittsburgh, Providence, and Western Massachusetts; a rare photo of them on their website shows them looking like Super Mario Brothers characters who have just liberated a thrift store of all its crazy-patterned and fluorescently colored items.

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Promoe: The White Man's Burden

Swedish rapper Promoe's new album mixes learned social lyricism with party vibes, a slew of quality international guests... and a whole heap of hair. "I made a vow never to cut my hair," says Promoe (born Märten Edh). "Not because of anything to do with Rastafari, but as a way of rebelling against society. At college I noticed you had to look a certain way to be accepted and seen as cool. I wanted to say 'Fuck that.'"

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Higher State of Consciousness

Strobe lights, fluorescent spandex, and bleepy electronic music. Is this a rave? Read more » 

Dexplicit: Bassic Instinct

In September 2005, Jay-Z became the first rap artist to perform at London's stodgy Royal Albert Hall, causing young 'uns raised on pirate radio and bashment beats to pay close attention. About halfway through the night they were rewarded, as Memphis Bleek and Hov delivered the springy verses of "Is That Your Chick" over the craggy terrain of Lethal B's "Pow." It was an important moment for cross-pond hip-hop: The best in the game invaded the old folks' home and spit lyrics over a homegrown grime instrumental.

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