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NahRight & UpNorthTrips Present: Picture Perfect with Ricky Powell

Friday, August 8th, 2014


Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

Ricky Powell aka The Rickster, for those who don’t already know, is the man behind some of the most iconic images in the history of hip-hop and NYC street photography. Whether it was the Beastie Boys or Run-D.M.C. or Public Enemy, he was always up in the mix, ready to take professional photos of the early Def Jam scene on what he describes as “a hangout tip.” And he was heavy in the culture beyond that, snapping timeless shots of everyone from Basquiat to Eazy E to Big L (RIP to all), and hosting his infamous public access television show Rappin’ with The Rickster (which is now available on DVD), which gave people an opportunity to become acquainted with his extremely fun-loving personality. Point blank, dude has taken some of the illest rap flicks of all-time and is a legendary character in the game, so it was only right that we tap him for our Picture Perfect series.

Along with our brother Ev Boogie at UpNorthTrips, who we insist be recognized as the kingpin of the throwback rap photo wave that every other Instagram account seems to be riding these days, we carefully compiled ten classic pictures of different hip-hop artists Ricky Powell has taken over the years to ask him about for our latest edition of Picture Perfect. And it was an honor to listen (and laugh) as he told the stories behind them while walking the NYC streets, pausing at times to say what’s up to friends of his on the block (and his building’s new super), take a photo of a cute dog for his Instagram account, curse out a group of Sex and the City wannabees, dodge getting hit by a delivery man on a bicycle, and collect a rack from a Manhattan restaurant who recently put his work on display. This is Picture Perfect with the guy who dicked your girl—Ricky Powell.

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5 Rap Collaborations We’d Like to Hear in 2014

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

We’re still in A&R mode after putting together our Illmatic tribute mixtape with UpNorthTrips, which dropped this past weekend on the 20th anniversary of the album’s release. And though we’re in no way anxious to dive back into another project of that magnitude, we’ve got a few ideas for collaborations we’d like to hear this year. There’s nothing more exciting than a sick collabo. Remember when Jay Electronica and Jay Z’s remix of “We Made It” dropped? We all woke up that Sunday morning and neglected our loved ones for the rest of the weekend listening to it and tweeting about whose verse was better. And a month later, we’re still talking about it.

Well, we’ve got five more ideas for rap collaborations that we think will not only be epic for hip-hop in 2014, but also just flat-out dope to listen to for years to come. We even included in our choice of producers for each to save the artists the work of finding the right person to make the track if they intend to follow through on any of these proposed records (in which case we will expect a percentage of the iTunes sales thank you kindly). Check out the collabos we cooked up below, and feel free to let us know if you have any additional ideas of your own in our comments section.

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Video: Op1 ft. Rakim – Walk With God

Monday, March 24th, 2014

The 18th letter connects with Portland, OR artist OP1 on “Walk With God”.

Previously: Linkin Park ft. Rakim – Guilty All The Same

Linkin Park ft. Rakim – Guilty All The Same

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Linkin Park returns with a new single assisted by Rakim. The song isn’t horrible and the Rakim verse isn’t bad, I just don’t know that they work together.

UPDATED with a clip of LP’s Chester Bennington talking about performing with Jay-Z and Paul McCartney and working with Rick Rubin below.

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Rakim – Madiba (Nelson Mandela Tribute)

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Rakim pays homage to the late former South African president Nelson Mandela on “Madiba.” The track will also promote the 2013 film, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, starring Idris Elba, arriving in theatres nationwide on December 25.

Premiered by Complex Music.

Previously: Video: DMX & Rakim Record “Don’t Call Me”

Video: DMX & Rakim Record “Don’t Call Me”

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Here’s some footage of X and Ra recording their new single, “Don’t Call Me” featuing Shontelle.

Previously: DMX & Rakim ft. Shontelle – Don’t Call Me | DMX on Dr. Phil

DMX & Rakim ft. Shontelle – Don’t Call Me

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

New music from X and The R featuring Shontelle and Aleks D. Don’t forget to look for X’s appearance on Dr. Phil tomorrow.

Previously: DMX To Appear on Dr. Phil | DMX Streaks in a Hotel

Rakim – Get Visual (Unreleased Version)

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Producer Dominic Owen liberates another unreleased Rakim gem from his archives. This would eventually end up, in a much different form, as “When I’m Flowin'” on the The 18th Letter. This version is far superior if you ask me.

Previously: Rakim – Bring It On (Unreleased Version)

Video: Rakim at Red Bull Music Academy (Full Interview)

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Rakim sits with journalist and ego trip co-founder Jeff “Chairman” Mao at the Red Bull Music Academy in New York for an extensive discussion covering a numbner of topics such as Ra’s influences, the first time he met Eric B. and whether or not he considers himself the GOAT.

Spotted: ego trip

Previously: Marco Polo ft. Rakim – What’s Wrong | Rakim – Bring It On (Unreleased Version) | Kendrick Lamar – Cloud 10 (Produced by Nosaj Thing)

Marco Polo ft. Rakim – What’s Wrong

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Marco Polo lets go of a previously unreleased track by the R that was recorded back in 2009 for the Seventh Seal album but didn’t make the final cut. This will appear on the upcoming Newport Authority 2 mixtape from Marco alongside cuts from Big Daddy Kane, Das Efx, Lil Fame, The Artifacts, Torae and Ruste Juxx. The tape will serve as a precursor to Polo’s Port Authority 2 LP due out later this year and rumored to include a new song from a reunited Organized Konfusion, plus guest appearances from Styles P, Nature, Rah Digga, Ill Bill, Inspectah Deck and others.

Previously: Talib Kweli ft. Curren$y & Kendrick Lamar – Push Thru (Marco Polo Remix) | Sean Price – I’m So High (Prod. by Marco Polo)