Red Bull Music Academy

(The Root) — Since 1998, the Red Bull Music Academy has provided a meeting ground for a diverse set of producers, vocalists, DJs and erstwhile sonic innovators. For two weeks each year, an invited group of progressive music minds gather in a select city to exchange ideas about their craft, collaborate on projects, perform in various venues and attend a series of lectures with some of their musical heroes. 

Last summer, RBMA hosted its "5x5" seminar series, which featured interviews about five classic hip-hop albums representing each of the city's boroughs: Slick Rick's The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (the Bronx); Black Moon's Enta Da Stage (Brooklyn); Mobb Deep's The Infamous (Queens); Diplomats' Diplomatic Immunity (Manhattan/Uptown); and Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang (Staten Island).


Now, in anticipation of RBMA coming to New York in the fall, those interview transcripts are all available online. And they're full of interesting bits of trivia and insights about the recording process from some of hip-hop's most revered acts. For example, we bet you didn't know that before Slick Rick recorded enduring hits like "The Show," he raked in a whopping $520 per week as a mail clerk at Lehman Brothers. Watch his full lecture here.

But the candid conversations are not just for music nerds. The lectures are so entertaining that anyone with even a passing curiosity about hip-hop will surely come away with a better appreciation for the music.

Previous recommendation: 'Go-Go Live' Author's DC Book Talk, Signing

Got ideas for The Root Recommends? Send them to

Share This Story

Get our newsletter