Hip-Hop Artists With a Strong Web 1.0 Presence

Hive Five: Our daily listicle of musical musings

While hip-hop artists are using social media and various digital platforms to perfect their digital hustle these days, a plucky group of traditionalists are determined to prove that old school web design is still the way to go. Inspired by Raekwon’s newly-launched Ice Water Records site (apparently hailing from a time when Wu-Wear was still in fashion) here are five resolutely retro rap websites that scream GeoCities.

1. Coolio

Fireman turned rapper turned reality TV chef Coolio’s website is a testament to the enduring appeal of ’90s web design – and possibly the inspiration behind Raekwon’s staunch Dreamweaver aesthetic. Most wonderfully, CoolioWorld features a still-fully-operative guestbook!

2. Fat Joe

Bronx bruiser Fat Joe’s website may contain the world’s greatest grainy grey pixellated press picture. Other pertinent information gleaned from the site includes the revelation that he’ll be performing with Lil Wayne at the MTV’s 2007 Ozone Awards – set your Betamax now!

3. Eric B & Rakim

Golden era royalty, Eric B & Rakim’s apparently “official website” is proof of the power of alternative online revenue streams for artists, mainly because it’s littered with awesomely ropey banner ads. The site’s three different sizes of text add class to the consumer shopping experience.

4. Kool DJ Red Alert

An icon on the airwaves of the newly merged Kiss-FM, Red Alert has old school rap roots going back to day in Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation. His website is forged from a similar vintage, too, complete with scrolling text, a spinning email link and – lordy! – an actual “webmaster”!

5. Gang Starr

Guru may have sadly passed away, but Gang Starr, the duo he formed with DJ Premier, lives strong on the web thanks to their Virgin Records-era site. Hooked around tastefully paneled JPGs, the site gets innovative and allows the viewer to “interact” with it by pulling open the frame to reveal — wait for it — audio clips and tour date info!

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