This Record Store Day, UGHH has decided to celebrate a hand-picked mix of still-active underground legends with recent releases, canonized underground icons and a couple of cult favorites—creating exclusive sale bundles to salute some of the artists who have made a significant impact on the culture. In doing so, we aim to illustrate underground hip-hop’s longevity—as well as its staying power.

There has been a lot of debate about the state of the underground, recently. Some believe that, thanks to internet technology and the power it gives independent artists to reach wider fan bases, the underground has become the new mainstream—while others attest that, as long as a corporate music industry controls the majority of what does and doesn’t become successful on a mainstream level (despite some exceptions), the underground will continue to exist. Although it is clear that exactly what the underground is has evolved since the polarized “Rawkus Era” of the late ’90s, when emcees were either “independent as fuck” (to quote Company Flow’s old motto) or soulless commercial puppets (with no in-between), we at UGHH subscribe to the ideology that being dubbed underground is more than just an indication of one’s financial status or level of notoriety—and know firsthand that, musically, the underground is very much alive and healthy.

 
Speaking of Rawkus Records, considering that it’s funding was actually provided by the son of Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch, maybe the financial divide between underground and mainstream hip-hop was always a little more complex than once perceived. Regardless, unlike many mainstream artists (who tend to come and go, catering to a fickle corporate music industry that’ll sign and discard talent at the drop of a mixtape), underground emcees and producers often maintain longer, more influential careers. Just ask DOOM, Pharoahe Monch or El-P, to name a few—and try to remember all the one-hit wonders with platinum singles that came and went during the 30 odd years each have been in the game.

In the words of the great DJ Premier, who recently dropped his second PRhyme project with Royce Da 5’9” and remains as influential as ever: “Underground will live forever, baby. We just like roaches: never dyin’, always livin’…”

 

“And on that note, let’s get back to the program…” — Preemo

 

This year, underground Long Island legend Roc Marciano released the sequel to his gritty, soulful masterpiece Rosebudd’s Revenge, one of “UGHH’s Top 10 of 2017”—a contender for one of 2018’s best, as well. Though RR2: The Bitter Dose is only available to pre-order, the original joins his album with former group The UN, UN or U Out, his solo debut Marcberg, his sophomore release Reloaded and his 2013 mixtape The Pimpire Strikes Back in our Roc Marci vinyl bundle.

Having released one of this year’s strongest albums to date, we felt it only right to salute versatile Detroit producer and emcee Black Milk with a bundle. The CD version contains his three most recent joints: No Poison No Paradise, If There’s a Hell Below and, his latest, FEVER—as well as his collaborative project with Danny Brown, Black and Brown! Though FEVER is not yet available on wax, the vinyl bundle includes all of the other aforementioned albums, in addition to Tronic and Album of the Year.

One of the most consistent and celebrated artists the underground has ever spawned, London-born, Long Island-raised DOOM is a cultural icon. With over a dozen albums and collaborative projects under his belt, created using various aliases, the masked super villain has not slowed his conquest for world domination—releasing his most recent collaboration with Czarface this year. In our CD bundle, Czarface Meets Metal Face is offered alongside his fraternal group KMD’s Black Bastards, his solo debut Operation: Doomsday, Madvillainy (his Madvillain collaboration with Madlib), his sophomore album under the MF DOOM moniker, Mm.. Food, and The Mouse and the Mask (by DANGERDOOM, his group with Danger Mouse). In the vinyl bundle, Mm.. Food is replaced by KMD’s first album, Mr. Hood.

What is there to say about Detroit legend J Dilla that hasn’t already been said. Considered the G.O.A.T. by many, Dilla influenced an entire generation of producers—and his signature style has been emulated time and time again. One of the most original, timeless and universally-loved artists hip-hop has to offer, Jay Dee unquestionably made his mark on the game before passing in 2006. Our CD bundle includes his early work with Slum Village (Fan-Tas-Tic, Vol. 1 and Fantastic, Vol. 2), Ruff Draft and his Champion Sound album with Madlib (as Jaylib)—while the vinyl version swaps Donuts for Ruff Draft, and also includes posthumous releases The Shining and The Diary.

Before his untimely death in 2015, Brooklyn representative Sean Price had already become an underground icon in his own right. One of rap’s most consistent lyricists, his tongue-in-cheek wordplay and inimitable, pocketed flow earned him the number one spot on UGHH’s Top 10 of 2017″ list for his posthumous masterpiece Imperius Rex last year. Though he established himself as half of Heltah Skeltah and a member of the Boot Camp Clik, to celebrate his memory, we’ve created a vinyl bundle of his always-stellar solo studio projects: Monkey Barz, Jesus Price Supastar, Mic Tyson, Songs in the Key of Price and Imperius Rex.

Hailing from Connecticut, Apathy is a Northeastern fan-favorite who built a rep as part of the Demigodz crew. In 2017, he released the acclaimed self-titled Perestroika, a group project with D.I.T.C.’s own O.C., and followed it up with a solo offering this year. The Widow’s Son features a ridiculous cast of collaborators including Pharoahe Monch, M.O.P. and AG, as well as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Nottz and Buckwild on production—and both albums join Weekend at the Cape, The Black Lodge, Honkey Kong, Connecticut Casual, Handshakes With Snakes and Dive Medicine: Chapter 1 in our CD bundle, while the vinyl version excludes Weekend at the Cape, The Black Lodge and Honkey Kong.

Elusive, Bronx-bred trio the Juggaknots are true artists’ artists—revered by practically every emcee that arose from New York City’s underground hip-hop scene in the late ’90s. Though the all-sibling group of Breeze Brewin, Buddy Slim and Queen Herawin only release projects every decade or so, their existing two studio albums, Breeze’s starring role on Prince Paul’s A Prince Among Thieves and some sporadic vinyl releases have managed to uphold the group’s legacy—despite most of their projects’ limited availability. Just last year, over 20 years after its release, a reissue of their classic self-titled debut flew off of UGHH’s shelves—so we decided to secure some rare 12″ vinyl singles (“She Loves Me Not,” “New $/Sumday,” “WKRP In NYC/Generally/J-Solo” and “Berzerkowitz”), as well as the even rarer CD mixtape The Love Deluxe Movement, straight from the source and offer them as part of our exclusive Juggaknots bundle.

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Hip-hop is everywhere. From the music wafting in the elevator at work to the biggest releases this summer. While hip-hop is expanding, the deep cuts and lyricism are here to stay. True hip-hop fans are still rocking to their #faves, while discovering the best and boldest of the newest artists.

Ways Hip Hop Fans Can Make Money Online

It’s this voraciousness that makes it easy for hip-hop fans to turn their love and passion for music into a side hustle. The internet has changed the way we listen, buy and engage with music, and brands and companies are working hard to provide the best music services to avid listeners. But they need you.

From tools to help discover new artists to transcription, here are 9 ways hip-hop lovers can make money online while listening to their favorite artists.

1. Transcribe Lyrics

Rhyming and wordplay are at the core of what makes hip-hop so exciting. Welocalize, a professional translation and localization service, pays passionate music lovers to transcribe the lyrics of the songs they already know and love with an app called Snap. Fans can make up to $4 per completed song, or around $20 an hour, while diving into the lyrical intricacies of some of the best in underground music. Whether you just need extra cash or are looking to make it full time, it’s up to you how much you make. Plus, you can do the work from anywhere at any time. Currently, users need a Mac to get started, but word on the street is that they’re launching a Windows app soon.

2. Sell Music

Music is the most powerful vessel through which hip-hop artists transmit their ideas and connect with fans. Selling music through platforms deeply rooted in the culture and history of underground hip-hop provides artists with the most direct way to share their product. For those who engage with Undergroundhiphop.com, the reward is twofold, as the website is both a platform for artists to sell records and a space for fans to discuss the music they love.

3. Review Music

For those who love sharing their ideas about the latest and greatest in hip-hop and analyzing every lyric and beat reviewing music online is a great way to interact with the rich network of upcoming artists and avid listeners. Slicethepie, the web’s most extensive music review engine, pays users to evaluate the music they listen to.

4. Discover New Artists  

If you have your ear tuned to the latest sounds in hip-hop, what better way to discover new artists than to make money in the process? Music Xray provides users with underground music content curated to their tastes. The platform allows upcoming musicians to share content and connect with receptive, passionate listeners. If you’re a hip-hop head looking to engage with the scene and make a little extra cash, platforms like Music Xray are the way to go.

5. Predict Who’s Up Next

Do you consider yourself a personal barometer of what’s fresh in hip-hop? HitPredictor allows users to shape the future of the scene by reviewing music and predicting the next big hip-hop hit. Users receive points for each song they rate. These points can be used to cash in on prizes like CDs, gift cards and raffles.

6. Teach Music

The universal networks of the web have created educational platforms “sans-frontières.” Access to even the most niche tutorials are just a click away. Platforms such as Udemy are optimal for those who have the urge to share their hip-hop-oriented skills, from beat production to wordflow, with others. Udemy allows users to take in-depth online courses or get paid to create courses of their own. Through these online courses, users can help shape the vibrant global hip-hop community and improve the musical literacy of those interested in the genre.

7. Make Your Music Subscription Based  

Hip-hop, despite its resonance with people around the globe, is personal. If you’re looking to share creative content and engage with the culture in an intimate, personalized way, creating a subscription-based platform is a great way to monetize the strength of a dedicated fanbase. Patreon provides a space for users to do just that, allowing creators to create personal pages to upload subscription-based content.

8. Host an Online Concert

To perform or listen to hip-hop live is to experience the genre in its most visceral form. For those who wish to create live experiences without the logistical red tape of traditional live musical performances, online concerts are a perfect medium. Websites like Concert Window allow musicians to broadcast concerts live for free across the globe and receive 70 percent of the a concert’s revenue the next day. Now you can spit rhymes to fans in the comfort of your own living room!

9. Create Hip-Hop Merchandise

Hip-hop is more than music, it’s a culture, and the biggest artists curate everything from their sound to their look. Merchandise is a great way for artists to integrate their music and style and, in turn, for fans to show love for their favorite artists. Websites like Merchify enable users to create original merchandise and streamline both the sale and shipping of their products.

Hip-hop has evolved from its humble beginnings into a worldwide industry. For passionate fans and aspiring artists, it has never been easier to tap into the ever-expanding genre. With new online services, those who live for music can earn cash while engaging with what they love.

Listen and get paid. Make $4 per song with the Snap app – connects right to your iTunes. Sign up and start transcribing lyrics today.