Spring 2015's Must-See Tours
Ahh Springtime--when you can finally leave the house and regain some type of social existence. Some of the hottest tunes of the past few months have been on repeat in the headphones, and now it's time to experience the music as it was meant to be heard--live. Some of your favorite artists are crossing the country this Spring, and it's a great time to get your live music fix before you blow all your money on festival season. We've rounded up the most exciting Spring shows coming to a town near you.
J. Cole Announces "Dreamville Takeover" SXSW Show
The already-stacked SXSW lineup just got even crazier. Joining a packed schedule of shows is a "Dreamville Takeover" headed up by J. Cole and also featuring Bas, Cozz, Omen and more, and it goes down Saturday, March 21st at Austin's Moody Theater.
Big Sean, J. Cole, Atmosphere Head Up 2015 Soundset Festival Lineup
The Soundest Festival will take place for the eighth consecutive year this Spring, and the lineup for the 2015 event features a characteristically wide range of hip hop artists. Atmosphere will continue their reign as headliners, while J. Cole, Big Sean, Ice Cube, Ludacris, Logic, and Yelawolf round out the big acts. Of course, the fest also sports a solid helping of underground heroes, Brother Ali, Aesop Rock, Vic Mensa, Hopsin, Freddie Gibbs. and Vince Staples among them.
J. Cole Announces "2014 Forest Hills Drive" Tour [Update: Tour Dates Announced]
J. Cole's new album may be his most successful one yet, not only that, it could very well be his best project since his mixtape days. 2014 Forest Hills Drive has already gone gold, and is quickly en route to achieving platinum certification, as it hovers near the 800k mark in total sales.
Charts Don’t Lie: February 22
Obviously the biggest topic of this week's Charts is Drizzy Drake. The rapper utilized the surprise release tactic that we've seen several artists find success with over the last year or two, and it definitely paid off for him as well. His commercial mixtape dropped suddenly late last Thursday night, and with no other option for download apart from iTunes, Drake assured his loyal OVO fanbase would shell out the money for it. Then, in less than a week, the rapper managed to do numbers most mainstream artists dream of.
Charts Don’t Lie: February 15
Kid Ink's sophomore effort hit the Billboard 200 this week, although it didn't perform quite as well as his debut My Own Lane. My Own Lane pushed 50,000 copies out opening week, which was deemed a strong release, especially for an independently-signed rapper's debut. However, Full Speed moved less than 40k opening week. The album itself is exactly what you expect to hear from Ink, with a lot of radio potential, and top tier features. So what's lacking here? Perhaps once one of his many singles takes off it'll translate into a sales boost.
Chance The Rapper Says Frank Ocean, Andre 3000 & J. Cole Are On His Debut Album
Chance The Rapper's gotten himself some pretty famous fans. In a new interview with GQ (check out a pic from the photoshoot above), the Chicago native spoke on his yet-to-be-titled debut album, revealing that Frank Ocean, Andre 3000 and J. Cole all make appearances on it.
J. Cole Reportedly Engaged To Longterm Girlfriend
J. Cole is definitely not a rapper who puts his love life on wax (or on twitter, or any social media for that matter). The North Carolina rapper keeps his personal life tightly under wraps for the most part, but sometimes these gossip sites catch up with you, no matter what. Word is that he got engaged to his girlfriend Melissa Heholt.
Top Tracks Of The Week: January 12- Jan. 20
Here it is, our weekly rundown of what’s new and notable at the top of our charts. Please keep in mind that Top Tracks highlights a hand-picked assortment of the most popular songs on our Top 100 chart. These are songs that generated a lot of interest, whether it be through comments or views, and still deserve a second look or a deeper consideration.
J. Cole Covers ESPN Magazine, Explains Dale Earnhardt Jr. Shoutout
J. Cole surprised fans with the announcement of his 2014 Forest Hills Drive album late last year, and he surprised us once again when he achieved the biggest first week sales in hip hop for the year. He did all of this without conventional promotional strategies, but it doesn't mean he'll turn down a magazine cover if it's offered to him.
Charts Don’t Lie: January 18
While Taylor Swift remains the reigning queen of the Billboard 200, we get a few new entries from the hip-hop sphere this week. Rae Sremmurd, as projected, landed a top 10 Billboard 200 debut with SremmLife. They even did one better, making it into the top 5 by sliding in at #5. The duo definitely had a successful first week out, although they didn't quite break the 50k mark, they sold a solid 46,000.
Ice Cream Freestyles: Vote For Your Favorite
Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx has been celebrated as a classic for some time, but one record from the Wu Tang Chef's debut album has managed to stay on the tip of our tongues over the last 20 years. "Ice Cream", which originally featured contributions from fellow Killer Bees Method Man, Ghostface Killah, and Cappadonna, has become one of the most iconic freestyle beats, with some of hip hop's most talented emcees taking on the instrumental.
Charts Don’t Lie: January 11
This week's chart contenders prove to be rather boring, because not much has happened in the past week when it comes to rap, hip-hop and r'n'b charters. We've got Nicki Minaj doing what she does at her #2 spot, which she refuses to leave, we've got J. Cole continuing to hold on to a spot in the top 10, impressively, after charting for four weeks. We've got Iggy Azalea randomly climbing up the charts (thanks to Billboard for counting album and single streams into their chart data), and we've got Loso making a smaller splash in his second week out.
Wale Speaks On "The Album About Nothing," Confirms J. Cole Feature
We recently had the chance to chop it up with Wale while he was back in the DMV area, and the MMG rapper spoke about his recent mixtape release and while he felt the need to offer fans free music, as well as the album that will follow the mixtape: The Album About Nothing.
Hottest Albums Of 2014
In terms of sales, hip hop albums did not do very well this year. As of press time, J. Cole is the only rapper with a gold album this year, and he just sneaked into the fourth quarter with a surprise release. Most of this boils down to a simple lack of "event" albums. Most of the biggest hip hop artists dropped last year (Drake, Kanye West, Eminem, Jay Z, etc.), and thus created something of a drought in terms of high profile releases.
T.I., J. Cole & Raekwon To Be Featured On LL Cool J's "G.O.A.T. 2" [Update: Eminem To Be Featured]
LL Cool J's final Def Jam album, entitled G.O.A.T. 2, has been in the works for quite some time, and today we got some more details about the upcoming project. In a new interview with XXL, Cool J reveals that T.I., J. Cole, Raekwon, Loaded Lux, Murda Mook, Uncle Murda, Maino, Mavado and Fred The Godson will all appear on the project. Speaking to XXL, the NYC veteran said:
Royce Da 5'9" Doesn't Think J. Cole's "Fire Squad" Was An Eminem Diss
It's a combination of rap fans' thirst for beef and media's thirst for clicks that often turns ordinary statements into "shade". In the case of J. Cole's "Fire Squad", the speculation around a line made the rounds before many even heard the song themselves.
Charts Don’t Lie: December 28
Nicki Minaj dominates the charts this week, although, there is one artist she isn't able to dominate: you guessed it, Taylor Swift. No matter, Nicki outdid sales projections with her first week on shelves, after moving a sold 244,00 units; basically 100k more than we expected. Magic? Or did Cash Money snatch up 100k copies? We'll let you be the judge. We're also seeing D'Angelo make a return to the Billboard 200 after a good ten years, with his surprise new album Black Messiah.
J. Cole's "2014 Forest Hills Drive" Reportedly Goes Gold
J. Cole's new album 2014 Forest Hills Drive already did great numbers opening week, debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 and selling 371,228 copies, which includes streams. His second week on shelves is proving just as eventful, as Cole has quickly reached more than 500k units in sales, which equals gold certification.
Charts Don’t Lie: December 21
It's a Cole Winter. The rapper surprised us when he announced his new album 2014 Forest Hills Drive in late November, and released the album shortly thereafter. J. Cole stripped the album release of all things unnecessary, from endless promo interviews where the same subjects are broached again and again, to excessive bonus records, to the expected listening sessions with industry insiders.