February 12, 2023

HHID's Super Sweet 16


Somehow this blog has been around for sixteen years. I have no idea how that happened either - this side project has clearly taken on a life of its own - but even though the updates are far less frequent, Hip Hop Isn't Dead still isn't quite, er, dead, so we should celebrate accordingly.

I'm going to keep this celebratory post short. While we all collectively wait for me to get my shit together over here, I want to hear from you, whether you happen to be a longtime supporter who still checks out the site out of habit, or if you're brand new to the camp and have absolutely no idea why anybody in their right mind would ever continue doing this in the first place. Spefically, I'd like to strike up a conversation with two questions:

1) What is the last album you listened to that you thoroughly enjoyed? Regardless of this site's focus, it doesn't have to be related to hip hop.

2) What is the next project you're looking forward to the most?

I'm sure everybody is busy these days with Superbowl stuff or Valentine's Day plans or, you know, general life shit that none of us can get away from, so this prompt will be at the top of the site for a bit. Chime in if you'd like, and I'll circle back often to see how everybody's doing. Regardless of if you're a newbie here or if you've somehow stuck around for all sixteen years, just know that I appreciate the support and will get back to posting stuff at a time TBD. (And, of course, there's always the Patreon if you'd like to support me financially as well.)


January 6, 2023

...and now the holidays are over, again

Another Wu-Mas is finally in the books. I’m fully aware that the readership of the site is likely much different than it was when it first began back in 2007 – hell, it’s likely evolved significantly since last year, because life goes on. But for those of you who have stuck by the blog, just know that I greatly appreciate the support and hope to continue providing some form of entertainment for a while to come.

That said, the other annual tradition on here is the point where I announce my brief hiatus from making updates. Which is what I’m doing now. Again. Sure, these lengthy breaks are counterintuitive when what I’m trying to do is build and retain a core base, but without it, I’ve learned that the work begins to suffer, and I don’t think any of us want the write-ups to revert back to the single-sentence song reviews I used to do when I was establishing myself-slash-trying to figure out if there was even an audience for the shit I’m on. I'm still writing, of course, and the mix show side project will continue, so I have no plans as of right now to cut off the content at the source - I just need a bit of a break.

With that, I hope this holiday season was a good one for you and yours, and I’ll still be around on social media or on the Patreon, where hiatuses don’t exist (hint hint). Feel free to reach out if you have a question, a request, or literally whatever. Until I get another update going here, I recommend you use the time to catch up on what you missed this past Wu-Mas, since there was some good stuff this year.

Be back soon,


January 5, 2023

The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2022 - Day #12


The final gift of The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2022 is the following write-up, which is for a relatively recent Wu-related project that would up sounding much better than it had any right to, especially in 2022. I remember sitting in a hotel room in Chicago jotting down my notes this past summer (my wife was attending a conference and I was taking advantage of some of that rare “quiet time” that never seems to occur on my vacations), and I found myself enjoying this project so much that I was tempted to break my own self-imposed rule and run the review right then and there. Obviously I got over that sentiment pretty quickly, but that just means I had something I couldn’t wait to share with you two over this holiday season. Enjoy!

January 4, 2023

The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2022 - Day #11

After a nineteen-year absence, not counting a mixtape released in 2010 that promised an altogether different third album that never came to be, Ross "Remedy" Fuller finally released a new project in 2021. Titled Remedy Meets Wu-Tang, it was the culmination of everything the man had been working toward his entire career, as it finally offers the man the one thing he had been demanding since his debut in the music industry: for the Wu-Tang Clan to treat him as a peer. You may not have gotten that message from the provocative album artwork, which could be read a number of different ways, each more problematic than the last, but rest assured Remedy was just as much about his Wu-Tang affiliation in 2021 as he was when he popped up on that Killa Bees compilation The Swarm way back in the day.

One thing Remedy Meets Wu-Tang has over all of the man's other work is, in fact, the actual Wu-Tang Clan, as the majority of the group makes at least one cameo appearance on here, and the folks that don't appear are mostly members who aren't very active these days to begin with (the exception being Raekwon, whose absence is noticeable considering just how often Ghostface Killah pops in). Other Wu-affiliates appear as well, along with, of all the rappers in the world, Conway the Machine, who continues to build his ties with the Clan by destroying any beat he appears on with them. The exciting guest list paired with the solid production throughout is why Remedy Meets Wu-Tang is, as I wrote last year, "the best Wu-affiliated project in recent memory".

Click here to read my thoughts on Remedy Meets Wu-Tang, a former Patreon exclusive that is now available for everyone to enjoy!


January 3, 2023

The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2022 - Day #10

The producer 4th Disciple, born El-Divine Amir Bey, is one of the earliest known Wu-Tang Clan affiliates. He's the only member of the Wu-Elements production crew to have provided any assistance on the group's debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and he quickly took the musical reigns for Killarmy, one of the first Clan spinoffs whose six members focused more on a military aesthetic rather than the martial arts the core group idolizes. But while he's certainly racked up production credits throughout the years, both with the Wu and through his own artists, he was still the one Element voted most likely to remain in the shadows, staying in his lane and keeping to himself.

That all changed in 2020 when he released The Algorythm, his attempt at a Pete Rock Soul Survivor-type producer project, one where he provided all of the beats while guests pulled from random sources laid down rhymes. It's a little weird that he hadn't done something similar in the past, at least with various members of the Wu family, but what makes The Algorythm more unique in this regard is how he deliberately looks past his familial connections in order to create more of a challenge for himself. The Algorythm, an album title which pains me to look at every time I have to write it out because of its blatant misspelling, features verses from artists such as Rah Digga, Vinnie Paz, Sadat X, Peedi Crakk, and the late Sean Price, most of whom are on friendly terms with the Clan, but none of whom you'd expect to see appear on a proper Clan project. Because he isn't crazy, 4th Disciple also included Solomon Childs, La the Darkman, and Shabazz the Disciple (no relation) in the mix, because he knows what the Wu stans want to hear.

Click here to read my thoughts on The Algorythm, a former Patreon exclusive that is now available for everyone to enjoy!


January 2, 2023

The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2022 - Day #9

In 2020, the Twelve Days of Wu-Mas took on a different form, with all written reviews appearing over on the Patreon instead of here. There was a reason for that: instead of merely chastising the stuff I didn’t like on various projects that had very little chance of ever measuring up to the golden era of the Clan, I wanted to share with readers the songs I actually enjoyed a great deal. That's how I ended up compiling several special episodes of the Max-Approved Mixtape dedicated to the Wu-Tang Clan and their affiliates.

These mixes, each featuring ten tracks handpicked from the vast Wu catalog and a random movie sound bites that started off following the group's overall aesthetic but quickly shifted into more bizarre territory in an effort to make myself chuckle, were a pretty big hit over on the Mixcloud site, bumping up the follower count and listener stats, so in 2021 I recorded a few more, since there is an endless sea of the Wu for us to navigate. The only criteria used was that I had to personally believe the song was fire. That’s it. Simple, right? I figured that, if I loved the song, then there was a great chance that you two may also enjoy the shit out of it, and sharing songs I actually like with folks is one of my favorite things to do, hence RandoMax Radio existing in the first place.

I haven’t recorded any new episodes of the Wu-Mix for this year’s holiday run, but if you’re a newbie or just need to get on my level, below is a list of every episode released, in addition to a couple of extra-special one-offs that acted as “best of” mixes just because I thought they would be fun.


Wu-Mix #1 (Original article)
Wu-Mix #2 (Original article)
Wu-Mix #3 (Original article)
Wu-Mix #4 (Original article)
Wu-Mix #5 (Original article)
Wu-Mix #6 (Original article)
Wu-Mix #7 (Original article)
Wu-Mix #8 (Original article)
Wu-Mix #9 (Original article)
Wu-Mix #10 (Original article)
Wu-Mix #11 (Original article)


RandoMax Radio Presents: Wu-Mas 2020 Mix
(Original article)
RandoMax Radio Presents: Wu-Mas 2020 Mix - The Other Guys (Original article)
Wu-Mix 2021 - Day #3 Mix (Original article)
Wu-Mix 2021 - Day #5 Mix (Original article)
Wu-Mix 2021 - Day #7 Mix (Original article)
Wu-Mix 2021 - Day #9 Mix (Original article)
Wu-Mix 2021 - Day #11 Mix (Original article)

These special entries in the Max-Approved Mixtape canon work best when you’re zoning out to the music, so run them back on your commute, while working out, cleaning your apartment, or simply relaxing with the indulgent intoxicant of your choosing. Share this with your Wu-stan buddies, as every little bit of exposure helps the cause.



January 1, 2023

The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2022 - Day #8

Ross "Remedy" Fuller, a man who will forever be seen as the first white rapper underneath the Wu-Tang umbrella to release a solo album, which is an accurate statement but also entirely discounts his commitment to both the Wu aesthetic and the culture as a whole, was in a much different headspace when his sophomore effort, Code: Red, dropped in 2002. His debut, The Genuine Article (which, like everything he's ever put out, included "Never Again", his song about the atrocities committed during the Holocaust that remains the best writing he's ever done), was released a year prior, but in between projects the 9/11 attacks happened on United States soil, which left the man both humbled and now fully aware of how some parts of the world viewed his country. Code: Red is where the man began to dabble in politically-conscious material ("Never Again" being more of a personal account from his elders), but that new perspective on the fragility of life didn't shift his focus that much, since this is still a Wu-affiliate album filled with boasts, bullshit, and the requisite cameos from his more famous friends.

Click here to read my thoughts on Code: Red, a former Patreon exclusive that is now available for everyone to enjoy!