Music Discovery Tools for Hip Hop
Hip hop music is a musical genre that includes rap music but also stylised rhythmic music, including beatboxing, sampling, synthesis, DJing and scratching. Popular hip hop artists include Jay-Z, Kanye West, Nelly, Eminem, Ludacris, 50 Cent, Young Jeezy and virtual band Gorillaz. There are plenty of websites (eg CurrentHipHop.com, HipHopMusicDotCom.com, and HipHopLead.com) that provide news and information on the latest releases, but there are other ways to discover existing music and artists that you may not have come across before
MOG is a subscription on-demand music service that was designed as a music-themed social and blog network. You can search songs by artist, album or title but can also select playlists based on your hip hop preference. If you enjoy a song you can listen to the whole album it came from. The social component allows you to share music with people with similar tastes and discover new artists similar to ones you already like.
This may not be the most sophisticated way, but listening to online and satellite radio on a regular basis is a great way to discover hip hop music. There are plenty of stations out there, and you will find your own favourites but good places to start are Hip-Hop Nation on Sirius Satellite Radio, Party Hitz Radio and The Hip Hop Lounge.
Grooveshark is a free web-based music streaming service that claims to be “the fastest, easiest way to listen to any song in the world for free.” They have a Hip Hop radio Station where you can add songs and listen to similar music. It takes your playlists and the songs you like or dislike and generates new playlists which can be refined as you like/dislike the selections it provides.
Last.fm is another streaming service. It uses your existing music collection as the basis for suggesting new music and it has a system called “Scrobbling” that allows you to share what you listen to from your iPod, iTunes, XBMC and other places. If you don’t have an existing music collection you can flag the music on Last.fm as good or bad until it builds up a profile on you to suggest related music.
Zune is a music-based social network owned by Microsoft. It can recommend new music based on songs you already like and give you a 30 second preview. If you want to access the full songs you have to upgrade from a free to a paid subscription, which will then give you unlimited streaming for around $14.99 per month.
There are other music discovery tools out there, and the number is growing all the time, but the selection above is a good start for those interested in listening to hip hop. Feel free to add your favourites via the comments section.
Photo credit: Hip hop music can include DJing, scratching and sampling.
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