Photo by Agustina Ballester

Here’s where I would insert the Coco Chanel quote about staying classy and fabulous. Oh wait, I already gave it away. That quote, however overly used it may be, encapsulates the following playlist – which you should listen to here as you are reading this lovely accompaniment.

Artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi, and Macklemore have changed the face of the hip-hop genre – and I think for the better. While it remains clean in its undertones of rap (see Kanye West’s feature in ‘Ego’ and Lupe Fiasco in ‘Paris, Tokyo’), fusions of alternative and pop have made it bankable to the Top 40-type music industry.

Let the realm of posh and class, much like the hip-hop industry, steep outside of your boundaries and transcend into a new and different kind of world – starting with the deep, smooth jazz sounds of Beyonce’s and Andre 3000′s cover of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black.’ With appearances by what I would call artists of the alternative hip-hop and soul – Grits, not-a-’Thrift Shop’ Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Common, and a mellowed out Jay-Z – take a chance on what this ever so elegant multi-layered genre can offer for you.

This playlist and accompanying piece was created by Alicia Hai, Music Blogger at Rhetoric Magazine. Come back for more every week!