A weekly look at the performance of hip-hop and r'n'b albums.
Drake was holding down the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 for months, but this past month we've seen VIEWS fluctuate in place of different #1 albums. DJ Khaled, Suicide Squad, and now Frank Ocean have all had a taste of the top spot in the late-summer blitz of new releases.
Earlier this year, HNHH launched a Spotify playlist called FIRE EMOJI: The Hottest Hip Hop Songs Right Now. The playlist is updated on a daily basis. It lives on Spotify and thus is inherently imperfect, because not all super-hot hip hop songs have been added to Spotify. Still, the playlist is generally representative of the best new releases in hip hop and R&B.
If you were to believe everything you read these days, you'd probably be under the impression that Young Thug is an indecipherable, "post-verbal" rapper. However, anyone who's spent time with Thug's music should know the man has a way with words, and not giving them the proper attention would be downright silly.
About a week and a half ago, Tory Lanez put out I Told You, an album more devoted to an autobiographical through-narrative than any other we've heard this year.
The Air Jordan 5 is one of the most recognizable Michael Jordan signatures, given the sneakers sturdy build, bulbous ankle collar, iconic puffy tongue and lace lock accessory. When it comes to the beloved Air Jordan silhouette, there's one particular pair that is far and away more valuable [in terms of dollar and cents, not sentimental value] than all of the rest.
One of the first questions I asked Atlanta rapper Lotto Savage was how long he’d been rapping for. His answer: seven months. He’d never even laid down a freestyle before guesting on 21 Savage’s “Dirty K,” the second track on 21’s Slaughter King tape, which was actually put out in December.
The VMAs are known for their spectacle. From Kanye's infamous interruption to Nicki's "Miley, what's good?" there's always something to talk about at the end of the night. As far as controversies go, this year's event was pretty clean of beef or provocation, but on the whole, it was one of the more consistent shows in recent years.
Can we finally breathe a sign of relief after what's proven to be a crazy August?
Imagine pressing play on ATLiens for the first time in 1996 (it took me around ten more years to do so, I was 5 at the time). You're familiar with Outkast, whose debut album dropped two years prior and expanded the hip hop's borders to encompass Southern-fried funk, and maybe even Goodie Mob, who took that sound to darker, more gothic territory on Soul Food in '95.
It's been a pretty wild week, kickstarted with the surprise drop of Frank Ocean's Blonde. The boy really came through. But it didn't end there. Last night, another boundary-pushing artist released his own highly anticipated project, as Young Thug attempted an artistic rebirth of sorts with No, My Name Is Jeffery, which arrived with the most memorable album cover of the year.
Late last night, after a few delays as well as a number of different and increasingly confusing tracklists, 300 Entertainment finally released Young Thug's third project of the year: No, My Name Is Jeffery.
"Boys do cry, but I don’t think I shed a tear for a good chunk of my teenage years. It’s surprisingly my favorite part of my life so far. Surprising, to me, because the current phase is what I was asking the cosmos for when I was a kid. Maybe that part had it’s rough stretches too, but in my rearview mirror it’s getting small enough to convince myself it was all good.
“Mustard on the beat, ho!!!” “DJ Esco... The coolest DJ in the world!” *Repeats first beat of the song four times* “If young Metro don’t trust you, I’mma shoot you…”
Jordan Brand has carved a niche in NFL locker rooms across the league with their Air Jordan inspired cleats that are regularly worn by Jordan Brand athletes like Dez Bryant, Earl Thomas and Joe Haden.
"I miss the sweet Kanye, chop up the beats Kanye" - Kanye *** Now a titanic figure in American music, Kanye West first made inroads into the music industry as a producer for Roc-a-Fella records. His talents on the MPC were so immense that he only got his record deal as a rapper so that they label could have access to his production.
There's some new talent in the Billboard 200 this week, with PARTYNEXTDOOR, Rae Sremmurd, and Atmosphere all holding it down with debuts in the top 25.
The City of Los Angeles, and the rest of us on social media, are celebrating Kobe Bryant Day today, 8/24. The City Council has officially declared that 8/24, a nod to both numbers that Kobe wore during his 20-year Lakers tenure, will be a day to honor The Black Mamba's accomplishments on the court as well as his philanthropy in youth sports and homelessness in the LA community.
In terms of chronological, autobiographical narratives, albums don't get more focused than Tory Lanez's I Told You. The Toronto singer/rapper's commercial debut recounts pivotal events in his rise from a 16-year-old kicked out of his grandmother's home in 2008, to an Interscope-signed star, through both skits and song lyrics.
With last Friday's release of his debut album I Told You, 24-year-old Tory Lanez has arrived at a crossroads after years of expanding his following and evolving his sound.
September is a little over a week away but Nike and Jordan Brand still have some sneaker releases to get off in August, including a Nike Basketball Collection dedicated to the Summer months.
Marc E. Bassy radiates Cali. Rocking an overgrown but expertly quiffed hairdo and a tie-dye Eagles shirt, he clearly descends from a tribe of “Groovy People,” which is the title of his new EP. He’d probably thrive in the San Francisco hippie heyday that brought his parents together.
Frank Ocean first revealed himself as a generational songwriting talent on his 2011 debut nostalgia, ULTRA, then emerged as a full-blown star on the strength of the 2012's Channel Orange, which amounted to a series of vignettes about wealth, drugs, friendship, and love.
Last week was a funny one for album delays. On one hand, Frank Ocean delivered not only his first, but also his second album since 2012's Channel Orange, but on the other, we didn't get the projects that we'd been expecting from French Montana, Young Thug, and Travis Scott. The lord giveth and he taketh away, I suppose.
Along with his bro Michael Christmas, Cousin Stizz is leading a new generation of Boston rappers to the promised land. Between his 2015 debut mixtape Suffolk County and its follow up MONDA, Stizz has put together a rock-solid catalog of music that is helping him take his talents from Dorchester's Field's Corner to the rest of the country and beyond.
WWE SummerSlam will kick off this Sunday, August 21st from the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn and the wrestling fans who double as sneakerheads will have plenty to keep their eyes on. From the top of the company right down to the wrestlers taking bumps in the ring, the footwear of the WWE employees has never been more popping than it is right now.
Fingers crossed that Jeffery will drop on August 26, as Lyor Cohen has hinted, but at this point, we won't hold our breath. In the meantime, Thug has assuaged his fans with the release of "Elton," a collaboration with the great Wyclef Jean.
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, Snoop Dogg, and Drake have put on events for the battle scene and at this rate things can only continue to expand.
Whether you like him or not, Drake and his music has had a distinct sound, feel, vibe or lane, whatever you want to call it. And when an artist who sound like him emerges (e.g. Kirko Bangz, Tory Lanez, Bryson Tiller), instantly Drake becomes measured against them as some sort of standard.
Jesus had Paul. Han Solo had Chewbacca. And Zaytoven has Cassius Jay.
Most Danny Brown fans got hooked around XXX ("Monopoly"!), but in truth Brown lived a full rap career before XXX ever came out. Between 2003 and 2010 he put together an eleven-project run that culminated in his 2010 free album The Hybrid.