Welcome to Urbana Poppin' Champaign, Your Premier Urban Channel. UPC was established in May 2010 with a focus on introducing new music to the masses in hopes of creating a better bond between deserving artists and fans. We still believe in that statement, however, in addition to staying true to our roots with a steady flow of music, we now offer our readers the latest in style, art, and much more.
Top 25 Hip-Hop Projects of 2014

Top 25 Hip-Hop Projects of 2014

We’re almost a week into 2015 and it’s already looking like a much more promising year for music. With upcoming albums from Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, Kanye and A$AP Rocky to name a few, it’s arguably going to be a better year than 2014. But before we move forward and...
Top 25 Lil Wayne Songs

Top 25 Lil Wayne Songs

Lil Wayne is one of the greatest rappers of all time. No matter where you place him on your own top emcee list, it’s impossible to deny Tunechi’s track record. Wayne is arguably the hardest working hip-hop artist we’ve ever seen—a big part of the reason he’s still relevant 17 years into the game....
Interview: Ro Ransom

Interview: Ro Ransom

Ro Ransom has a story to tell. And it’s not one that you’ve heard before. It’s not pretty. It’s far from a fairytale. Yet, there’s beauty amidst all the chaos. Chaos that he finds comfort in and can always recognize as home. A place where the fight for survival is the only thing that makes...
Interview: Bas

Interview: Bas

It’s been a huge year for Dreamville Record’s own Bas. After releasing his debut LP Last Winter and being a part of Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers mixtape, he went on tour for quite some time, spreading his music to the masses alongside J. Cole for the fifth anniversary of The Warm Up. Bas is currently...
Interview: Saba

Interview: Saba

In 2013, an emcee from Chicago’s Austin neighborhood named Saba delivered a beyond stellar verse on Chance The Rapper’s “Everybody’s Something,” track six on arguably the mixtape of the year, Acid Rap. From there, Saba was hard at work on his sophomore project, ComfortZone, that dropped in July. Since then, Saba has bounced between venues in Chicago...
Review: Pygmalion Music Festival 2014

Review: Pygmalion Music Festival 2014

Written by Brad W. (@Brad_C_Williams). Photography by Robert Marohn. Champaign’s annual Pygmalion Music Festival is always one of the biggest music events of the year. While Porter Robinson and Ab-Soul had great performances, those who were able to attend last weekend’s festival experienced the 10th anniversary to this cornerstone three-day celebration. Admittedly, this...
Photos: Ab-Soul's These Days Tour in Urbana 9/25

Photos: Ab-Soul’s These Days Tour in Urbana 9/25

Last Thursday, Urbana locals and UIUC students were treated to the biggest hip-hop show so far this semester. As part of his These Days Tour, TDE representative Ab-Soul made his way down to central Illinois with Dreamville’s Bas and Atlanta rap duo EarthGang. As with any exciting tour that hits the area, UPC was in...
Campus Requisites: DJ Krucial

Campus Requisites: DJ Krucial

For our next Campus Requisites installment, we met with Champaign-Urbana’s Steven Kveton, known to most as DJ Krucial, to see what are his must-haves on campus. Heavily involved in the DJ community in C-U, DJ Krucial has been making a name for himself spinning at Red Lion, Clyborne’s, and the Red...
Photos: ILLrock Block Party in Urbana 5/3

Photos: ILLrock Block Party in Urbana 5/3

In the vein of Little 500 at Indiana University or Dillo Day at Northwestern University, the ILLrock Block Party has arrived to serve as an end of the school year celebratory concert event at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Centered around creating an atmosphere of diversity to reflect the...
Save Lil TerRio: An Ethical Analysis

Save Lil TerRio: An Ethical Analysis

What were you doing at six years old? Odds are pretty good that you were in Kindergarten or first grade, having just learned to read, preoccupied with basic math exercises and worried about whether you were going to obtain cooties from your classmates. Such is not the case for Riverdale,...
Campus Requisites: Robert M.

Campus Requisites: Robert M.

For our second Campus Requisites installment, we stopped to talk with UPC photographer Robert M. to see what he believes is essential to have while walking around Urbana-Champaign. Robert, hailing from Lincolnwood Village of Chicago, IL, is a Graphic Design major/Business minor by day but shreds the streets by night skateboarding, making music, and photographing....
UPC Stickers Now Available

UPC Stickers Now Available

Yessir, new UPC stickers are here! It’s been a while since we re-upped on some stickers so we thought this would be the perfect time. Rep UPC this Spring season & get some stickers to slap on your laptop, desk or [insert object here]. Grab your sticker pack via our...
Campus Kicks: Ashley J.

Campus Kicks: Ashley J.

Ashley J. is a 20 year-old junior at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When she’s not hitting the books for her Kinesiology/Pre-Physical Therapy major, she’s steadily building up her impressive sneaker collection. From classic Jordans to one of the most highly sought out LeBrons, Ashley doesn’t disappoint even for...
Interview: Paper Diamond

Interview: Paper Diamond

Entering the green room backstage at the Canopy Club, Colorado producer Alexander Botwin, known by most as Paper Diamond, looks empowered – not in the sense of narcissism but as someone who is  finding himself through his music. His demeanor is invigorating to all who get the pleasure to meet him:...
UPC Unofficial '14 Golden Legacy Long Sleeve

UPC Unofficial ’14 Golden Legacy Long Sleeve

Let’s be honest. Unofficial merch is a funny thing. Rarely does it actually stand out and rarely does it outlast the 24 hours of boozing you may (or may not) partake in. This year we wanted to do something both aesthetically pleasing and commemorative of the holiday.  After the overwhelmingly positive...
Interview: King Louie

Interview: King Louie

King Louie is hungry. He’s hungry to claim his position at the top of the Chicago hip-hop scene, and for all the national acclaim and accolades — but right now, he is literally prepping for a feast. As I greet the 26-year-old at his hotel in Champaign, we forgo any...
Top 25 Hip-Hop Projects of 2013

Top 25 Hip-Hop Projects of 2013

There’s only a few hours left in the year but there’s no denying that 2013 was an amazing year for music, let alone hip-hop. After a slow and sad 2012, it was only right that we got blessed with new albums from the likes of Kanye, Drake, Tyler & more...
Throwback Thursday: UPC The Beat Vault Vol.1

Throwback Thursday: UPC The Beat Vault Vol.1

This post was originally posted on UPC on January 31st, 2012. It has resurfaced in honor of our upcoming second installment, UPC Presents: The Beat Vault Vol. 2, scheduled for release in early 2014. If you’re a producer and would like to be featured, please send us your music for...
All The World's Ills: A Retrospective Look at Lupe Fiasco

All The World’s Ills: A Retrospective Look at Lupe Fiasco

I remember exactly where I was when I heard Lupe Fiasco for the first time. It was 8th grade, and I had just come home from being cut from the basketball team. Feeling dejected, I came from practice, holding the crumpled up rejection letter in my hand, and turned on...
UPC Presents: Chief Fall 2013 Campus Lookbook

UPC Presents: Chief Fall 2013 Campus Lookbook

Looking for some new gear to rock? We’ve got you covered. Much like our drop last season, we’ve decided to do a quick lookbook for the Chief products we have currently available on our online store. This time around we have number of new styles, including two color ways in the Paramount t-shirt (navy...
UPC.FM Vol. 2: Deep Bass (Hosted by Homemade Spaceship)

UPC.FM Vol. 2: Deep Bass (Hosted by Homemade Spaceship)

Artwork by ĐG. Coming at you with the second installment in our exclusive mix series, we bring you UPC.FM Vol. 2: Deep Bass hosted by our good friend from Chicago, Homemade Spaceship. Differing from his produced tracks, the mix is full of his select favorites ranging from dub, trap, to heavy house....
Latest entries
Campus Requisites: Jordan P.

Campus Requisites: Jordan P.

Hip-hop head Jordan P. is the newest addition to the UPC team, and as a result, it’s only right that we bring you his campus essentials. One slight difference this time around: Jordan goes to school at a different campus. Jordan is a junior at Northwestern University majoring in computer engineering. He hails from Flossmoor, IL, a suburb about...
Frank Leone - WAR ft. Fighting Illini Drumline

Frank Leone – WAR ft. Fighting Illini Drumline

The regular UPC fan base should already be familiar with Frank Leone – we have  featured his music on our site for the past few years as well as supported his movement here in Champaign-Urbana. You may not know that the team also holds down the Marching Illini (shouts to all our bandos). So, when we...
Chandler London & Jessiath - Menudo (Prod. Jarofmy)

Chandler London & Jessiath – Menudo (Prod. Jarofmy)

It’s rare that a producer innovates enough to make me like a song based on production alone, but I’ll be damned if Chicago-based (and Urbana-educated) producer Jarofmy didn’t just do that. For this track, entitled “Menudo,” Jarofmy enlists two of Chicago’s more unique voices, Chandler London and Jessiath who compliment the etherial nature of the...
Lupe Fiasco - Tetsuo & Youth (Album)

Lupe Fiasco – Tetsuo & Youth (Album)

My relationship with Lupe Fiasco, like any hardcore fan, has been a roller coaster (see here). Yesterday, however, Lupe brought us his 5th studio album, Tetsuo & Youth. As I proceed with a conscious ear, I am cautiously optimistic. Maybe Lupe’s back, but I’m not all the way done with my first listen and I won’t get...
Lil Wayne - Sorry 4 The Wait 2 (Mixtape)

Lil Wayne – Sorry 4 The Wait 2 (Mixtape)

It’s become a tradition of sorts for Lil Wayne to drop a mixtape prior to the release of one of his celebrated Carter albums. This time is no different; Weezy delivers Sorry 4 The Wait 2, a 17-track project throughout which the New Orleans native tackles the hottest instrumentals (“Coco,” “No Type,” “Hot N***a,” “Try Me” to name...
Review: Your Old Droog - Your Old Droog LP

Review: Your Old Droog – Your Old Droog LP

Review written by Eli S. (@eschwad). Your Old Droog sounds so much like Nas that, for a while, internet conspiracy theorists ran with the idea that he was the legendary Queensbridge emcee under a secret name. Well, as it turned out, Your Old Droog is not Nas—he’s a 25-year-old Coney Island native with eerily similar...
Future & Zaytoven - Beast Mode (Mixtape)

Future & Zaytoven – Beast Mode (Mixtape)

Atlanta’s autotune king Future has enlisted legendary producer Zaytoven to produce a number of his songs on past mixtapes, although he was noticeably missing from both albums. At last, they finally have collaborated on a complete project together with this latest mixtape. Beast Mode is packed with the things we love about both Future and Zay. Personally, I...
Raury - Fly ft. Malik Shakur

Raury – Fly ft. Malik Shakur

I was hesitant to even hop on the computer and do this write-up in the first place. I mean, this song simply speaks for itself. It’s beautiful. It’s powerful. It’s raw. It captures the very essence of the sentiment surrounding these turbulent times; while at the same time offers inspiration, hope and a moving positive...
Nacho Picasso x BSBD - Stoned & Dethroned (Mixtape)

Nacho Picasso x BSBD – Stoned & Dethroned (Mixtape)

The criminally slept-on combination of Seattle spitter Nacho Picasso and the Blue Sky Black Death production team have united once again for their fourth collaborative project. Stoned & Dethroned features more of Nacho’s punchline-packed quirky flow, all over the impeccable beats that BDSD is known to produce. Four projects in and there’s no denying the chemistry these two camps...
Phony Ppl - Yesterday's Tomorrow (Album)

Phony Ppl – Yesterday’s Tomorrow (Album)

Who would have thought that in a month where Joey Bada$$ is dropping his debut album, the more exciting release (at least to me) comes from another hip-hop group that went to the exact same Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn as Joey Bada$$, himself. Earlier this week, Phony Ppl bless us with Yesterday’s Tomorrow,...
Lil Wayne - Sh!t (Remix)

Lil Wayne – Sh!t (Remix)

Can we all finally agree that Wayne is back? While his album has suffered several tie-ups and delays, his recent announcement should reassure fans.  Due to the push-back of Tha Carter V, Lil Wayne has decided to drop a late Christmas gift with Sorry for the Wait 2. Let’s be honest, Lil Wayne did fall off for a...
Fetty Wap - RGF Island

Fetty Wap – RGF Island

Paterson, New Jersey native Fetty Wap is on the come-up. He’s got a banger with  “Trap Queen,” a track that’s still making its rounds in the Tri-State Area and slowly catching on across the nation. Fetty is looking to make an even bigger impact in 2015, and if the rough cut of his new record “RGF Island” is any indication...