Today we're taking it back to the '90s with some of DJ Premier's classic production.
DJ Premier was born in Texas in 1966, before moving to New York City during his teenage years. It was there that he would become an integral part of hip hop's blossoming in the 80s and 90s. Along with Guru, he was half of the seminal duo Gang Starr. With Nas, he produced three of the tracks off Illmatic, one of the great classic records of the golden era.
We didn't see many debuts this week, but pretty much all the big rap releases of 2015 experienced a considerable push.
When they're not getting in the studio making bangers and getting buckwild on stage, Killer Mike & El-P can often be found posing for photos with celebrities -- rappers, actors, talk show hosts, politicians, athletes -- with one hand extended in the shape of a gun, the other balled in a fist holding up an invisible chain.
Last year was amazing for hip hop. There were new sounds popping up all over the country and no shortage of albums, mixtapes, and projects to feast your ears on. From the West Coast renaissance to Atlanta's overall dominance, 2015 was awesome, straight up.
Chaz French was a complete unknown when he released his debut mixtape, Happy Belated, in April 2015. He followed that up with December's These Things Take Time, and the strength of those two projects have catapulted him to the forefront of the DMV rap scene and caught the ear of the likes of Pusha T. Indeed, the future is looking bright for the 24-year-old.
2015 was a pretty big year for hip-hop. We saw an unnaturally large number of releases from major artists, making for a good presence of albums and singles on the charts.
Kanye West couldn't have began 2016 any more differently than 2015, with the only similarity between "Only One" and "FACTS" being their midnight January 1st releases. Rather than getting into proud father/loving son mode to do some spiritual musing about the changes in his personal life, West rang in this new year by getting into reckless/Odell Beckham Jr.
Welcome to 2016, y'all. Did anything really change on January 1st, aside from waking up with a crippling hangover? Well, it certainly feels that way in the rap world, as some of the genre's biggest stars have made sure to come out with forceful statements that conveniently arrived in sync with the New Year.
Rap Instagram in 2015 was an unrelenting barrage of big butts, extravagant displays of wealth, #squadpics, and occasionally White House visits. And more!
Before all of the bad press, the head tattoos, and the kiss with Lil Wayne, Birdman was just Bryan Williams. Born in New Orleans in 1969, the rapper first made waves in the mainstream with Mannie Fresh as the duo Big Tymers.
Music is the most important part of any party, and on New Year's Eve, it's even more of a big deal.
Christmas is always a big week for album sales, and we saw a few releases dropping December 18th, just in time for last minute gifts. Chris Brown's Royalty certainly seemed to benefit from the strategy, coming in with a big week, despite not earning the usual smash single that precedes Brown's albums.
What's beef? Well, whatever it is, it sure has changed over the years. Beef is what ultimately lead to the murders of two contenders for 'best rapper ever.' In 2015, beef consists mostly of Twitter smack-talk and occasionally a diss track or two.
It's the time you've all been waiting for, or at least, the five of you that take trolling extremely seriously. It's the only year-end list you care about, our biggest trolls of 2015.
When Young Thug's Barter 6 came out, there was a bunch of beats produced by a dude named Wheezy. One couldn't help but to wonder if it was a part of the Lil Wayne worship that gave the album its name, or if it was more clever trolling in a burgeoning beef, or just a total coincidence. We're at least pretty sure that it was the latter.
Things were just beginning to slow down, as we had spent enough time arguing over the year's best music with a series of year-end lists and were ready to start thinking about what's in store for 2016. As we approached the holidays, though, some of our favorite artists were feeling particularly generous and gifted us with a wealth of new material.
This year, it became increasingly difficult to discern the difference between mixtapes and albums. When the year's bestselling rap release (Drake's If You're Reading This, It's Too Late) was announced as a "mixtape" but was immediately sold on iTunes, the waters become a little murky for everyone.
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.
Christmas: a day to spend time with the family, open presents, and watch the NBA. Christmas -- pronounced "Chrima" if you're Plies -- has produced numerous classic albums, namely "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "The Jackson' 5 Christmas Album" that provide a nice break from the traditional canon of Christmas music.
Listening to Chris Brown records is a bit more involved an activity than ingesting your average pop album. Listeners are required to constantly do mental arithmetic, weighing variables like catchiness and artistic merit to determine if their need to listen > the knowledge that Chris Brown has done some heinous things and your listens are enabling him, albeit in a very small way.
Pusha T has been in the game for quite some time, and he's basically had two lives as a rapper; first with his brother (No) Malice as part of the highly rated yet underground duo Clipse, and then, in present day, a second spurt as a solo artist under the G.O.O.D. Music umbrella.
Back in July we threw it back to Fabolous 2001-2005 gems, and today we're taking a look at the second half of that decade. By compiling tracks from 2006-2010, we've revisited releases like From Nothin' To Somethin' and Loso's Way, albums that helped to solidify Fabo's legacy as one of the great New York rappers of the post-B.I.G. era.
Sometimes, first reactions are wildly off the mark, and that was the case with me upon hearing the first few leaks from Pusha T's Darkest Before Dawn. Regardless of the production or other lyrics on "Untouchable" and "M.F.T.R.," I couldn't shake the fact that Pusha Ton was still rapping about cocaine.
We're long past the East/West rivalries of the '90s, but place isn't as irrelevant in modern hip hop as some would have you think. Sure, sounds and styles fly more freely between area codes than they used to, but they're more often than not traceable to a specific time and location where certain tempos, slang, and flows bear traces of local history in their DNA.
The Golden Era of cover art likely ended with the rise of CDs. But even with the Golden Age of CDs behind us, cover art still plays a vital role in the listener's consumption of music. Along with the album title, it serves as a sort of opening salvo or prelude that sets the tone for the music itself, and it is often the last image that remains in the listener's mind. It is the face of the music.
On Friday, Pusha T dropped off the prelude to his highly anticipated album, King Push. Although acting as a warm-up album, Darkest Before Dawn is about as dope of an album as any rapper could wish for.
The songs that received the most attention last week in our Hot 100. 10. Tory Lanez Feat. Nyce - Traphouse Tory Lanez brought back Fargo Fridays with a melodic banger in which he closes the doors of his traphouse to all females who don't understand the rules of the game. We gonna get that debut album in 2016? 9. YG Feat. Mozzy - City Mad (Prod. by P-Lo)
It's holiday season, and that means it's time to start rolling out the year-end lists. There was almost too much good music to handle, as notable releases week after week meant that only the hottest tracks were able to attain a shelf-life of longer than a couple of months.
Majid Jordan sounds like one name, but the Canadian production team is actually a duo: Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman.
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. This week, Kevin Hart met Dabbing Santa, Plies announced his retirement, and Amber Rose showed off her new tattoo. And more! Take a look at some of the best hip hop Instagram posts of the week after the jump.