The stories of hip-hop, of rap music, are the stories of a million MCs who inside of them the words are coming, the words they need to make sense of the world around them.   The words are witty and blunt, abstract and linear, sober and fucked up.   And when we decode that torrent of words — by which I mean really listen to them with our minds and hearts open — we can understand their world better.  And ours too.  It’s the same world.

This is Rhymes and Reasons.

Paraphrased from Decoded by Jay-Z

Rhymes & Reasons is a project by hip-hop heads for hip-hop heads interrogating and documenting what it means to be a hip-hop head. We explore this question through interviews, photography, and other media.

The project began in early 2011 with the idea of interviewing hip-hop heads about the music that has most impacted their lives. These interviews center on the few songs that each head picks that they identify as mattering to them. We discuss why they picked the songs and how the songs impacted their lives and in the final interview you hear a monologue of the person speaking and the music that they are discussing.

With hip-hop at its best acting as an oral history, we designed the interviews to carry on that tradition but we realize that audio isn’t the only way to entertain what it means to be a hip-hop head. Since then we have added a photo gallery and long-form essays that indulge this question through our experience of what it means to be a hip-hop head.

Thanks for visiting Rhymes & Reasons.