For the current generation of hip-hop fans, the message board is like the new barber shop.
As immortalized in Ice Cube's cinematic franchise, the American barber shop has long served as a source for spirited debate on a wide range of topics—from sports and politics to local gossip and rap. In this new century, the internet rap forum has emerged to fill a similar role: as the new space where fans of all backgrounds can trade ideas, discuss new releases, and foster a sense of camaraderie around shared tastes.
The exchange of ideas, news and criticism on these message boards has had an undeniable impact on the way we talk about and digest rap music, as fans engage with the music and culture on an immediate level, bouncing ideas off of each other, trading barbs and creating memes. Regardless of your particular tastes and aesthetics, there is a rap board out there for you.
Message board culture is also closely tied to rap media—it's a safe bet that your favorite rap blogger posts (or lurks) on at least one of the boards on this list. It's something like a secret network of cartels, though. While a lot has been written about the importance of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, blogs and new media in the breaking of new rap artists, there's been a dearth of mainstream coverage of message board culture.
Hip-Hop forums have become cliques, self-contained communities that have their own distinct tastes and ethics. But that's not to say that members engage in groupthink. On the contrary, argument and contention win the day. On any given message board you're sure to find a wide range of opinions, even as each board is guided by a particular way of thinking about and experiencing hip-hop.
Here, we'll look at the most influential rap boards in operation today, and the ways in which they’ve impacted hip-hop culture and discourse. These 10 boards are the cream of the crop, and has undoubtedly contributed to the success of artists such as Lil B, A$AP Rocky, J. Cole and Wale, to name just a few.
These are The Most Influential Hip-Hop Message Boards Right Now.
Written by Tyrone Palmer (@yngblksocrates)