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The Hip-Hop Songs That Inspire Alex Alpharaoh

 

The voice of Alpharaoh, as he’s known artistically, makes meaning of the experience through hip-hop lyricism. “I’m an MC first and then I’m everything else,” he says. “The storytelling aspect of what I’m able to do now really came from hip-hop music.”WBUR’s profile on Alex Alpharaoh

After reading WBUR’s in-depth profile, we asked WET‘s Alex Alpharaoh to name the hip-hop songs that inspired him most. Hit play to listen and read Alex’s commentary below:

 

 

Spotify version of this playlist: Alex Alpharaoh’s Favorite Hip-Hop Songs

Rapper’s Delight, Sugar Hill Gang: “The first commercial hip-hop song released in 1979. My dad knew it by heart. It influenced me to learn it too so I could sing along with dad. It was a seed that grew and fostered as the years progressed.”

 

Lodi Dodi and Children’s Story, Slick Rick: “This platinum selling artist is not only one of the forefathers of the genre, but he is a master story teller AND was an undocumented immigrant from Haiti who some years back was deported for some bullshit reasons even though he’s an icon and a legend in Hip Hop.”

 

Rewind, NAS: “StillMatic is the follow up to his Hip-hop classic Illmatic, which has some of the most brilliant story telling and lyricism.”

 

As The World Turns, Eminem: “Actually, the Whole Slim Shady LP. Marshall is Elvis of rap. A true RAP GOD, which by the way, Rap God, the song, is lyrical insanity!”

 

Duckworth, Kendrick Lamar:  “Actually, the whole DAMN. album. 1st Pulitzer Prize win for Compton!”

 

Blasphemy, 2Pac as Makaveli: “The Don Killuminati album is Pac’s instruction manual to us. It gave us a road on how to use the power of our work to create and affect the change we want to see. 2Pac IS my lyrical father.”

 

I Got A Story to Tell, The Notorious B.I.G.: “Biggie is the quintessential example of the New York Emcee. Even though he has been dead for over 20 years, he is still regarded as the King of New York.”

 

New World Water, Mos Def: “Mos Def predicted our water crisis and commercialization of it. As one half of Black Star, he is extremely prolific in his ability to tell stories. His first album, Black on Both Sides, is a Classic.”

 

Hamilton, the Soundtrack, Lin-Manuel Miranda: “Lin-Manuel accomplished something that only a few of us had ever fathomed, he wrote a hip hop album that gets acted out. Hamilton borrows from many of the artists I mention. I’ve watched Hamilton a couple of times and I hear the references and homages to Biggie, Pac, Nas, Big Pun, and others.”

 

Dance with the Devil, Immortal Technique: “When I first heard this song, it scared the shit out of me. It shook me to the core and left me raw for days. Immortal is the breed of politically active Emcee who chose not to embrace the limelight and remain true to giving the man the finger. All his music is deep, political, dark, and ridiculously good. He’s also a battle rapper you don’t want to fuck it in the cypher circle.”

 

Immigrants (We Get the Job Done), Residente: “Residente from Calle13 has the most relevant, hottest, rawest verse in the entire album based on Hamilton. And that’s saying something because the album is lit and his verse is the only verse in the album in Spanish!”

 

Alex Alpharaoh’s WET: A DACAmented Journey at the Jackie Liebergott Black Box in the Emerson Paramount Center NOV 8 -25.

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