Looking back at Jay Z's planned finale 12 years later.
Jay Z’s Black Album is an objective classic. When Jay announced that the follow-up to his Blueprints was going to be his last record ever, the hype reached a rapid boil. He employed all of his best collaborators for beats, and featured no other rappers.
Battle rap is quickly growing as a culture. What was almost completely relegated to street corners and Youtube a few years ago has garnered national recognition, more tv programming, Pay-Per-View events, and other attention of the mainstream media. Hip Hop icons like Eminem and Snoop Dogg have put on events for the battle scene and at this rate things can only continue to expand.
There are two things I notice about Boots when we hop on the phone, a Thursday afternoon, still three weeks away from the release of his debut album, AQUΛRIA. The first, is that he seems to be a rather quiet, thoughtful person. Not thoughtful as in, how nice, he remembered my birthday.
Yo guys. It's Friday the 13th. Has any spooky shit happened yet? As you head into the weekend, with plenty of new albums to stream/download (Ty Dolla $ign aka our digital cover star, Logic, Jeezy, Skeme...), we've compiled our weekly Staff Picks playlist for your listening pleasure.
The digital cover initiative continues today, as we release our latest cover story with singer-of-the-moment Ty Dolla $ign. Ty has made massive strides since his House on the Hill/Beach House days, and everything culminates today with the release of his highly anticipated debut album, Free TC. There were a few delays along the way, but Ty came through (and we did too, amirite?).
It's somewhat ironic. Chief Keef gives us so much music on a weekly basis, yet he owes us just as much. How is this possible? Well, he either has a terrible memory, or he is naturally bad at keeping promises.
Last month we focused on Jeezy's first three albums to curate a Throwback Thursday of the trap star's better-known, early work. Today, we're going to dig a little deeper, going for features, lesser-known cuts, and rarities that he recorded during the course of 2000-2010.
Metro Boomin just turned 22 in September, and he's already racked up one of the most enviable discographies in modern hip hop. Everyone from Gucci Mane to Drake to Nicki Minaj has called upon the St. Louis-via-Atlanta beatsmith for some work, and it's no surprise that he's been able to find success with such a wide range of artists.
This was a bit of a dry week for rap and R&B releases. While we await projects from Ty Dolla $ign, Jeezy, and Logic next week, things are pretty quiet, with no big debuts this cycle. The good news is, there are still quite a few rap albums occupying the top ten, with The Weeknd, Fetty Wap, and Drake & Future's WATTBA continuing to do numbers.
Releasing three mixtapes over the course of six months is no easy task; dropping three that are celebrated by critics and fans alike is almost unthinkable.
As someone who's put out quite a bit of music as a solo artist but will always be better known as a label head and mogul, Diddy seems to use his albums as showrooms for his expansive rolodex and impeccable taste.
10. Fetty Wap - Jimmy Choo
Wiz Khalifa often gets a bad rap for his notorious one-track mind. He's this generation's most famous stoner rap icon, taking the torch from his "Mac & Devin" co-star Snoop Dogg and running it to the top of the charts while leaving weed-focused contemporaries like Smoke DZA and Curren$y to languish as cult favorites.
What's with the Jamaican patois in Drake's If You're Reading This, It's Too Late? Why is he going all cha-cha in the "Hotline Bling" music video? It seems that our boy Drizzy has caught a small case of the Caribbean fever, so to speak, because he's nodding to the culture everywhere these days.
D.R.A.M., whose real name is Shelley Massenburg-Smith, is a rapper out of Hampton, Virgina. You might know him from his viral hit "Cha Cha," or from his track "$" with Donnie Trumpet. You also might not know him at all, which exactly why he deserves the spotlight on this weeks Essential Tracks segment.
Hip-hop is an art form with a lot of wiggle room for diversity. Nowadays, it’s a little more common to embrace eccentricities, whereas in the 90s everything was a little more cohesive.
You know what it is. Staff Picks playlist has arrived, this week featuring a few familiar faces (Ty Dolla $ign seems to have been a Staff Picks playlist requisite the past few weeks).
There's a certain part of Sean "Puffy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy" Combs that will always live in the '90s. Everyone relives their glory days, and few had days more glorious than the Bad Boy architect's were from the time Notorious B.I.G.'s first album dropped until he shortened his name in 2001.
If traditional "bangers" are what you're looking for, 2015 Young Thug is not your go-to guy. You'd be better off trying some of his other locations, like 1017 Thug or I Came From Nothing 3. Maybe even take a trip on up to Black Portland if you feel so inclined.
Sean Combs can't settle on a name. As far as we're considered, he's still Diddy. But yesterday, he released his free album MMM under his old moniker "Puff Daddy."
It's been about 11 years since Lloyd Banks began releasing a string of platinum singles for his debut album The Hunger For More. The Queens-born MC took the game over with those cuts: "On Fire," "I'm So Fly," and "Karma." Banks didn't slow down for about a decade, marking an unforgettable run that has to be given tribute with a Throwback Thursday.
This week wasn't all that exciting for debuts, as the biggest new album came from DJ Khaled, and didn't manage to crack the top 10. This week we did see a lot of albums continue to hold on to high chart positions with The Weeknd, Fetty Wap, and Drake and Future's project all proving they have some longevity on the charts.
With her new album slated for release later this month, Adele's name is on the tip of everybody's tongue. 25, the third and final album of the singer-songwriter's 'age' series, will be released on November 20th via XL Recordings (and Columbia in the United States). The record will follow up 2011's 21.
When Young Thug's on the mic, any topic's fair game. He'll reference kids movies and famous gangs side-by-side, name-drop close friends who are unknown to the rest of the world, and arrive at conclusions in the most roundabout ways possible (who else orders "boneless chicken like an egg"?).
'90s hip-hop is back on everyone's mind (for some, it probably never left, mind you) thanks to the recent Vince Staples' debate. We're helping you uncover the rapper inside with today's quiz: which '90s rapper are you? Who doesn't want to know?
Summertime '06 is widely considered to be one of hip hop's many interesting albums of the year. Vince Staples' take on gang-infested California culture was unique and refreshing, and the record is tinder for plenty of socio-political conversations.
10. Kanye West - When I See It (Tell Your Friends Alternate Mix) Kanye West's demo version of The Weeknd's "Tell Your Friends" surprisingly outperformed the other impromptu release on Yeezy's brand new soundcloud, "Say You Will," which placed No. 2 on last week's chart. Hopefully both drops are teasers for SWISH, which Travi$ Scott says is coming "very soon."
It's Weezy season, y'all. Late last night, Wayne announced that his fans shall have to much to be grateful about on this coming Thanksgiving, as he plans to serve up No Ceilings 2, the sequel to his beloved mixtape from 2009, on a platinum platter.
Rappers already get pretty creative with the way they dress themselves, but Halloween is the time to take things up a notch. Thanks to Instagram, we got to see a lot of the crazy outfits some of our favorite artists put together.
There is much we can learn from rap Instagram, much to read between the lines as rappers attempt to craft their image without pesky publicists looking over their shoulder. Plies explained the ugly friend's responsibilities, Chris Brown & Tinashe got down and dirty, and Gucci Mane apparently lost a ton of weight.