Digging Up Your Favorite Rapper's Hidden Internet Gems

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I never had MySpace; in some circles that’s like never having phone sex. MySpace was a cyber-playground, after-school recess for the young and computer capable. Phone sex and MySpace were the keys to adulthood, they put bass in your voice, hair on your chest, helped the transition for boys hoping to become men. Musicians connected, artist conglomerated, relationships were form and destroyed. I’ll always regret missing out on that glorious age of social media.

However, I recently re-discovered my love for Blogspot, Tumblr’s predecessor. It's another ancient form of connection, still around, but lacking its former popularity. At the height of his success, Charles Hamilton utilized it, all his insane thoughts and Sonic The Hedgehog philosophies were shared directly to his Starchaser cult following. Sadly though, much like many artists, the documentation of his misadventures have been wiped clean. But thinking about Hamilton's early internet days did inspire me to dig through the dusty digital archives of some other artists. I wanted to get a glimpse into their thoughts before the internet held every word underneath a microscope. It’s a little better than uncovering old tweets, no limitation on characters, completely free to say whatever.

To my surprise though, it wasn’t an easy search. Much of what was happening online even a few years ago has been wiped clean, and not every rapper growing up in the age of Internet Explorer had an admiration for long-form blogging, but I did discover a few gems.


Drake’s octobersveryown blog is still up and running. The updates are sporadic, but the archive goes back to early 2008 and is worth a peak. Back then, Oliver and Drake were the ones handling all the posting. Blurry Blackberry tour shots, high fashion lookbooks, and music from NahRight graced the pages. Similar to a pre-teens tumblr, except these aren’t reblogs, you get a genuine glance at their interest and the early stages of success. For example: 

"People often ask me the craziest part about becoming "famous" and I've never had an answer until yesterday. You'll spend half of your time defending yourself and the other half trying to stay sane resulting in you being forced to find time to be creative. I often wonder in a time where new artists exist in a impersonal cyber world of instantaneous information, if we will ever have another rap legend that can manage to maintain the image that our idols had prior to this method of promotion. I am not suggesting that this person should be me, I am just urging a generation to understand that in order to have anyone of any significance in our lives that we can look up to there will be things that we must look past. There are people that buy sell and trade evil on a daily basis...when u believe in their brand is when they win. "Even photoshop couldn't change me"  - Drake 

There’s a few other little gems that I found interesting, like Jeff and Eric Rosenthal’s "What Jew Know About That?" and Peter Rosenberg’s interview is definitely worthwhile. Joe Budden’s reaction to Night Off pretty much sums up everyone that has ever heard the song, and whatever happen to the song "Blue Bugatti" that was supposed to be on Take Care!? Overall, plenty of forgotten jewels at the bottom of Drake's blogspot sea. 

J. Cole

J.Cole’s first post on the dreamvillain blog is a great representation of who he was then, and who he is now. The humble but hungry dream chaser that wanted nothing more than to make music for a living. Like Drake, his start with the blog began in 2008, but the posts are irregular. Similar to his seclusion now, in his Karen Civil interview from 2009 he discusses worrying about not having anything worthwhile to say, that people didn’t care about the small details. He couldn't be more wrong. He mentions Shauna Barbosa, and praises her skills as an interviewer and writer. I thought it was interesting that she caught him before and after his deal, a rare look. It took some digging since her site is no longer running, but I was able to recover the interviews for anyone that missed out. She also has an awesome Kendrick interview for anyone that isn't hip. 

"First blog. First post. On the real, I have no clue what this blog is gonna turn into. I debated whether it would be hip hop based, or more social/political. I decided though, to let go of any expectations and just let shit flow however it may. No rules, restrictions or guidelines.  On that note, an introduction is necessary.  J. Cole. Rapper and Producer out of Fayetteville, North Carolina. I spent my college years in NYC at St. John's University. I used college as the tool to move closer to the music industry, as music has been my dream since 13. Now graduated (Magna Cum Laude, holla), all energies are devoted to the steady climb to the top. I still represent the Ville in all of my music. It's important that I give all due respect and loyalty to the city and state that molded me through all of my experiences. It's my ultimate dream to see my city shine along with the many other talented artists coming out of the region. No doubt it's gonna happen. I'ma see to it."

J. Cole's first interview with Karen Civil

"If I could choose one person to do all of my interviews for the rest of my career, it would be Miss Shauna Barbosa, aka Elle over at Letsjusteatcheese. The girl is a phenomenal writer, and I always enjoy the interview experience with her. Click the link above and enjoy the latest." - J. Cole 

Both interviews: For Misfits Only: Lights Please and The Follow Up: J. Cole


?uestlove is a walking hip-hop history lesson. He’s worked with and been in the presence of some astounding musicians. Don’t get it twisted, being the prominent drummer of The Roots makes him a legend, but what I learned most about him while digging around is how much he loves music and his peers. You could sit for hours and read over his celebrity encounters, everyone from Amy Winehouse to Bob Dylan. Quest ran a personal blog through Okayplayer before it was a record label, just an online community of good music and eloquent thoughts. He had only a few post, but most of them are gold. His passion runs off the page when discussing Steve Wonder’s snippets from 1974. I’ve never heard of anyone being so engrossed by 45 seconds. I also didn’t know that he had a shoe, his own Dunk, which he posted with much enthusiasm. I also uncovered a video of Mos Def pitch for president, he’s like an intellectual version of Chris Rock’s character in Head of State. 

88 Keys:

To be completely honest, my knowledge of 88-Keys is very limited. A friend recommended his Death of Adam album a few months ago, I just haven’t had the chance to give it an honest ear. While I was deep in the rabbit hole, I came across his blog, polo67life. Incredible title I must say. One of the first posts I see once looking into his archives is how he met Kid Cudi. Dig a little deeper, and I find the story of how he first met Dilla. Now, I’m completely intrigued by the guy that made the "Viagra" song with Kanye. His music history is a separate rabbit hole, but I think the post about his first beat placement will encourage a few to cannonball into his legacy.   

Kid Cudi:

Kid Cudi has always been an outspoken artist, I expected his blog to be full of rants and middle fingers toward the industry. That wasn’t the case at all, most of his post are silly, attempting to interact with his growing audience. Pictures from SXSW, deep thoughts, and even some encouraging words to his fellow moon men. Cudi went into a pretty big outrage over the leaked version of Day N Night Crooks Remix video. The visual is a bit cheesy, but the use of that Lox quote turned his anger into hilarity. The 5th grade class picture is pretty rare, and the post about a Kid Cudi dunk is surprising. I wonder what happened with that?

Just Blaze:

What made my search so difficult is that artists don’t always use the same screen name. Take Just Blaze for example, his blog title is, “themegatrondon2.” How am I supposed to hunt him down with a unique name like that? Luckily, he was in 88-Key's blogroll. I didn’t have much time to dig around, but I did discover a post during the Kanye vs 50 era. He chimed in with his thoughts on album sales and the direction that hip-hop is heading. An interesting read when looked at in retrospect. 

I did some serious digging, but I know that's still just the tip of the internet iceberg. The internet's far from perfect, but it does have a long memory, and looking back on some of these earliest of early posts is fascinating. If you've got any other gems hidden away, don't keep them to yourself. 

[By Yoh, aka The Friday After Yoh, aka @Yoh31]