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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: 2013 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
  • Akon

    published December 11, 2008

    Earlier this year, took a look at popular R&B singer Akon's bio, then exposed him as a... More >>

  • Kanye West

    published December 4, 2008

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

  • T-Pain

    published November 20, 2008

    How has T-Pain done it? He's not attractive, his fashion sense leaves much to be desired (at least for those without Dr. Seuss/LSD fetishes, in... More >>

  • Deerhunter

    published November 13, 2008

    Bradford Cox's oversized persona threatens to overwhelm almost anything his band Deerhunter does. In concert, the singer/songwriter — who... More >>

  • T.I.

    published October 23, 2008

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

  • Beyond the Hood

    published October 9, 2008

    "Turn your TVs on/Bet ya all you see is me!" DJ Khaled raps/sings on "Standing on the Mountain Top," his only tangible musical... More >>

  • Nelly

    published September 25, 2008

    Few musicians were as popular as Nelly at the beginning of the decade. His debut, Country Grammar, came out of nowhere in 2000 to sell... More >>

  • The Game

    published September 11, 2008

    Rappers and producers who appear on the Game's third album, L.A.X., include... everybody. There's Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Scott Storch, Cool... More >>

  • Shwayze

    published September 4, 2008

    Most everything you need to know about horny, go-getting Los Angeles newcomer Shwayze can be gleaned from lines like this one from "Polaroid":... More >>

  • Black Kids

    published August 14, 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 >>

  • High and Rising

    published July 31, 2008

    Last year marked the inaugural local installment of the traveling hip-hop extravaganza known as Rock the Bells. Breathing some much-needed... More >>

  • Mates of State

    published July 10, 2008

    Husband-and-wife team Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner seemingly make gorgeous indie pop songs as easily and casually as the rest of us shower in... More >>

  • Totally Sane in the Membrane

    published June 26, 2008

    Lil Wayne is not batshit insane. Let's be clear about that. Despite the fact that he regularly refers to himself as an... More >>

  • N.E.R.D.

    published June 19, 2008

    Seeing Sounds is the third album from N.E.R.D., the "artist" project from the members of production team the Neptunes (Pharrell Williams... More >>

  • Lil Wayne

    published June 19, 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 >>

  • Duck Down

    published June 5, 2008

    Few rappers give better interviews than Black Moon/Boot Camp Clik alum Buckshot. Naturally, the pioneering underground MC sometimes refers to... More >>

  • Foxy Brown

    published June 5, 2008

    Naturally, Foxy Brown is the object of Ali G's affections. With her foul mouth and short skirt, she epitomizes the fake gangsterism he... More >>

  • Death Cab for Cutie

    published May 29, 2008

    Narrow Stairs sounds just like Plans, right down to the obvious production, weepy lyrics, and inoffensive guitar, continuing... More >>

  • Gnarls Barkley

    published April 24, 2008

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

  • The Grrrl Grows Up

    published April 17, 2008

    Remember when people were calling Avril Lavigne the great grrrrl hope? Remember when Women-Who-Rock-minded scribes got all excited by Lavigne's... More >>

  • Black Spade

    published April 17, 2008

    All of my life my father encouraged me to be open to all good music," St. Louis rapper Black Spade sings on the intro to his debut... More >>

  • Rick Ross

    published March 20, 2008

    (A) First of all, don't do your shout out track as an intro. No one cares that you like the city of Chicago. (B) If you're going to have DJ... More >>

  • Not Your Father's N Word

    published February 28, 2008

    Last July, thousands of folks, including the mayor of Detroit and the governor of Michigan, gathered in Motown at the NAACP's annual convention... More >>

  • Caviar Dreams

    published February 21, 2008

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

  • Lenny Kravitz

    published February 14, 2008

    Lenny Kravitz hates it when critics call him retro, contending that love, revolution, and smooching should belong to every generation. But the... More >>

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