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Ben Westhoff

Ben Westhoff 

Bio:
Ben Westhoff is the music editor for L.A. Weekly, and the senior music editor for Voice Media Group.
Music, West Coast Sound The Zelig of West Coast Hip-Hop

The Zelig of West Coast Hip-Hop

You've likely never heard of A.W., but he's a Zelig-like figure who was there every step of the way during the West Coast hip-hop glory years of the '80s and '90s. The man born Anthony Williams knew Ice-T "when he was stealing cars," palled around with Dr. Dre in his...…
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Music, West Coast Sound I Played Tennis Against Drug Kingpin Freeway Rick Ross

I Played Tennis Against Drug Kingpin Freeway Rick Ross

Freeway Rick Ross was one of the most successful and famous drug dealers in American history. In the '80s he sold an estimated near-billion dollars of cocaine. The South Central former kingpin inspired not one but two rappers to name themselves after him, Philadelphia heavyweight Freeway, and Miami hitmaker Rick...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Eminem and Rihanna Provided a Lovely Night of Lip Synching at the Rose Bowl

Eminem and Rihanna Provided a Lovely Night of Lip Synching at the Rose Bowl

Eminem and Rihanna Rose Bowl August 7, 2014 Now that all the superstars in hip-hop and R&B are required to tour with a "buddy" (see: Jay Z and Beyonce, Drake and Lil Wayne, Jay Z and Justin Timberlake) Eminem and Rihanna are kind of a cool pairing, at least on...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Warren G Featured on New Song Paying Tribute to Nate Dogg

Warren G Featured on New Song Paying Tribute to Nate Dogg

Warren G remains best known for "Regulate," his 1994 collaboration with Nate Dogg, which familiarized kids around the world with the rugged streets of Long Beach's East side, and just celebrated its 20th anniversary.  But he's been everywhere and done just about everything when it comes to L.A. hip-hop. Shuttling between...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Sunset Strip Music Festival Lineup Announced

Sunset Strip Music Festival Lineup Announced

The beleaguered Sunset Strip Music Festival announced its lineup today. The event takes place September 20-21 on the strip and will be headlined by Jane's Addiction, who on the first night will play their album Nothing's Shocking in its entirety. That album celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.    Elsewhere, the lineup includes...…
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Music, West Coast Sound MC Ren Comes Out Swinging on His New Single

MC Ren Comes Out Swinging on His New Single

Recruited by Eazy-E for N.W.A., MC Ren was a part of the group through its critical years, and went on to solo success on Eazy's Ruthless Records label. Though not a household name like compatriots Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, Ren more than held his own in the group, with...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Rapper RBX Got on <em>The Chronic</em> After He Gave His Cousin Snoop a Ride

Rapper RBX Got on The Chronic After He Gave His Cousin Snoop a Ride

Long Beach rapper RBX made his name on The Chronic, absolutely killing it on tracks like "Stranded on Death Row." Weekly contributor Jake Paine calls that song the West coast's  answer to Marly Marl's "The Symphony" - perhaps the greatest posse cut in rap history - and indeed RBX went on to contribute...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Jail Weddings: Their New Video, and Tour Dates

Jail Weddings: Their New Video, and Tour Dates

In the Village Voice's most recent Pazz and Jop critics poll, I called local psychedelic garage act Jail Weddings' latest album Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion the best album of 2013.  Well, now it's 2014 and the fun - if you can call such heavy music fun - hasn't stopped. Below, West...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Santa Monica Pier 2014 Twilight Concert Series Lineup Announced

Santa Monica Pier 2014 Twilight Concert Series Lineup Announced

The Twilight concert series - now in its 30th year - goes down at the Santa Monica pier every Thursday, beginning July 10.  The lineup for the free series has just been announced, and includes a diverse range of sounds from all over the globe, from Malaysian transplant Yuna (whom...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Ravers in Native American Headdresses: Should This Be Happening on Tribal Land?

Ravers in Native American Headdresses: Should This Be Happening on Tribal Land?

Though sports teams using names, gestures, and uniforms offensive to Native Americans has been a subject of debate for many years, the issue of ravers wearing garb inspired by tribes has flown largely under the radar. Despite criticism from various media outlets (including the Weekly), the practice has only seemed...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Why Do So Many Boy Groups Have Girly Names?

Why Do So Many Boy Groups Have Girly Names?

We've talked about how these are trying times for band names. Whereas groups once named themselves after animals or simple concepts that described their character or sound, in recent years they've tended to prefer the arbitrary and twee. The latest trend is for male-dominated bands to name themselves after females.  You...…
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Music, West Coast Sound We Have a Winner! The Best Live Band in L.A. Is...

We Have a Winner! The Best Live Band in L.A. Is...

Editor's Note: We have finally reached the conclusion of L.A. Weekly's Best Live Band contest. You can also read about our other two finalists, The Vim Dicta and Yoya. After months of voting, controversy, and lots and lots of live music, L.A. Weekly has a winner in our best live band contest. Take a bow, Mars...…
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Music, West Coast Sound 5 Amazing Under-the-Radar L.A. Musicians

5 Amazing Under-the-Radar L.A. Musicians

Our People issue just hit stands - it's our annual opportunity to shout out the most interesting and provocative personalities walking L.A.'s streets. Be sure to check out our landing page if you haven't, if only for the exquisite photography courtesy of Ryan Orange.  When it comes to music, the issue features a host of...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Blu: Stream His Entire New Album, <em>Good to Be Home</em>

Blu: Stream His Entire New Album, Good to Be Home

Rapper Blu's new album, Good to Be Home, drops next week, but you can stream the whole thing below. Right now! It's a West Coast Sound premiere. Not familiar with Blu? For shame! We called him L.A.'s best rapper in 2012, and named his 2007 collaboration with producer Exile one of the 20...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Meg Myers: The Singer-Songwriter

Meg Myers: The Singer-Songwriter

One of the fascinating Angelenos featured in L.A. Weekly's People 2014 issue. Check out our entire People 2014 issue. When Meg Myers is singing onstage and her eyes roll back in her head, when she jerks spastically, it's her own version of Method acting, an attempt to channel the "dark,...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Hayes Davenport and Sean Clements: Hosts of the Hilarious <i>Hollywood Handbook</i> Podcast

Hayes Davenport and Sean Clements: Hosts of the Hilarious Hollywood Handbook Podcast

Two of the fascinating Angelenos featured in L.A. Weekly's People 2014 issue. Check out our entire People 2014 issue. Hayes Davenport was being fitted with the Iron Man costume, to star in the latest franchise installment. But there was a problem: The outfit was a little snug. "They're like, 'This isn't...…
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Music, West Coast Sound A Riff Raff Vending Machine Can Be Yours For Only $4,500

A Riff Raff Vending Machine Can Be Yours For Only $4,500

Remember Horst Simco, that quiet suburban Texas boy who somehow became Riff Raff? His forever-delayed album Neon Icon still has not seen release, but he's finding other ways to stay entrepreneurial.  We'll assume by now you've sampled the Jody Highroller marijuana strain, but it gets better: You now have the chance to...…
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Music, West Coast Sound Premiere: The Debut Video From Enigmatic New Group The Mercy Beat

Premiere: The Debut Video From Enigmatic New Group The Mercy Beat

Los Angeles based group The Mercy Beat maintains an air of secrecy about themselves. The haven't gone on record with their full names, and not much about them is known, other than they're transplanted from New York, Hong Kong, and Hawaii, and that they're named for the British Invasion-era Liverpool...…
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Music, West Coast Sound The Word 'Hipster' Is Perfect

The Word 'Hipster' Is Perfect

Yesterday, my esteemed colleague Paul T. Bradley made an impassioned argument in favor of retiring the word "hipster," at least as a way to describe the monied, slumming, Silver Lake and Echo Park denizens who fetishize the authentic. It reminded me of the hysteria that erupted across the internet upon the publication of...…
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News, Features Is Myspace Destined to Fail (Again)?

Is Myspace Destined to Fail (Again)?

Few things conjure as much nostalgia for 20- and 30-somethings as MySpace. For many younger Gen X-ers and older Gen Y-ers, it was their first social network, and they decorated their profiles with garish fonts, neon colors and ear-piercing music. Everyone's first friend, of course, was MySpace co-founder Tom, with...…
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