by Mike Vinti

Since its inception gangsta rap has been a thorn in the side of the establishment. Brash, violent and loud, its explosion in the late 80s and 90s tore up the rule book of hip hop and reshaped the genre in its own image, introducing the world to the harsh reality of life on the streets of black America. With the cinematic release of ‘Straight Outta Compton’ a week away (August 15th) it only seems fitting to look back at some of gangster rap’s greatest and explore its legacy thirty years on.

Gangsta rap is hip hop’s bratty younger brother, fed on the social conscious rhymes of early hip hop but filled with the anger of a generation excluded from the yuppie party of the eighties.  Like punk before it, its church is broad, ranging from the smooth, sun-drenched rhythms of G-Funk, to the hard edged, sample heavy boom bap of Wu Tang Clan. Frequently criticised by those on the left and the right for glorifying violence and misogyny, scapegoated for the prevalence of crime in black communities, and beloved to many a hip hop head, the story of gangsta rap is the story of poverty in America, as relevant to this day as it was back in ’86.Continue Reading


by Mike Vinti 

Introducing the Radical Review; a semi-regular feature focusing on one artist or album in depth, getting to grips with the work in question and its politics.

Given the recent tragedies in the US, it seems appropriate to kick things off with California rapper Vince Staples’ debut album Summertime ‘06.

For those unfamiliar with his work, Vine Staples is no stranger to the dark and conflicted oeuvre that Summertime ’06 pedals. Emerging on the scene 4 years ago as a loose affiliate of Odd Future, Vince has always dealt with the harsh reality of life in his hood of Long Beach California (LBC to you Nate Dogg fans out there). His most known track ‘Nate’ deals with his childhood, watching his father hustle, selling drugs and going to prison in order to provide for their family, and much of his other work dwells on the same themes.Continue Reading