Breaking down the samples of "To Pimp A Butterfly."
Whatever the conversation is in hip-hop this week, it'll be dominated by Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly. Even though it has almost as much live instrumentation as a Roots album, the epic project also manages to incorporate a ton of samples that pull from past eras of music.
Kendrick Lamar's latest and arguably most impressive effort "To Pimp a Butterfly" is laden with dazzling bars, equipped with illuminating lyrics, all of which marinate in the back of your head like a mind-fuck film might.
Shock value was everything for Odd Future when they were getting started. Whether donning ski masks and performing alongside possessed-looking girls on Jimmy Fallon, detailing ridiculously violent sexual encounters, or mixing seemingly-lethal drug cocktails in their music videos, the L.A. crew first got attention for their antics, in addition to their considerable talents.
Yesterday we tried out our first-ever quiz on the site, a la Buzzfeed, to find out how well you consumed Kendrick Lamar's new album To Pimp A Butterfly upon first listen.
Yesterday, we learned that Kanye West would be making an appearance in the upcoming sequel to one of Ben Stiller's best-loved movies: "Zoolander." It won't be the first time Mr. West has shown up in a sequel that Will Ferrell is involved with, and he won't be the first rapper to make a cameo in a "Zoolander" film either (Lil Kim shows up very briefly in the original).
Last night, Kendrick Lamar, or someone at Interscope, perhaps, released To Pimp a Butterfly a week ahead of its initial March 23 release date. Already the most anticipated album of the year, Kendrick's follow-up to Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City is unlike anything he's ever done, though it could've only come from the man himself.
It's safe to say that most of us have been listening to Kendrick Lamar's new album, To Pimp A Butterfly, since the early hours of the morning, when it suddenly dropped online. Whether it happened inadvertently or was concocted as part of some weird marketing scheme, it's out now, and listeners are rejoicing (for the most part).
On March 15, 2011, Nathaniel Dwayne Hale, who we know better as Nate Dogg, passed away from complications of multiple strokes. He left behind a body of work that includes the best hooks rap has ever seen.
This week we’re seeing a new entry with G-Unit’s The Beast Is G-Unit EP hitting the charts. Although it moved under 20k opening week, we doubt the Unit is too upset.
Chancelor Bennett is only 21 years old, but most of us know him as Chance The Rapper. It's through this moniker that he's brought his artistry to the world over the past few years. Not only can the dude rap, but he can join emo bands on stage, spearhead activism in Chicago, and write songs alongside Madonna, J. Cole, Wyclef Jean and more.
On March 14th, 1995, Tupac Shakur released some of his finest work in the form of Me Against The World. The album, which is considered by many as his magnum opus, is comprised of 15 tracks on which Shakur wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s always had a way of conveying his emotions in their rawest form, a rarity in a rap scene that is littered with superficial tall tales.
This week, we learned that you should not appropriate rap lyrics if you're a breakfast food chain — lest you want Nicki Minaj to call you out. It was an educational week in rap, actually. We learned that Suge Knight is legally blind (and please don't plug in the Donna Goudeau joke.
In the late 90s, a design firm in Houston, TX called Pen & Pixel defined the aesthetic of Dirty South hip-hop as the genre catapulted its way into the mainstream. The early versions of Photoshop allowed P&P to grab all sorts of images that wouldn't normally--or possibly--be able to fit into the same shot.
XXL Freshmen flop all of the time. They're sort of like first round draft picks in that sense. But what happened to Charles Hamilton after he graced the 2009 cover was a different story entirely: the man all but dropped off the face of the earth.
Before Drake hit the big time, he was another rapper putting out mixtapes trying to get his music out there to the world. (Well, and a Canadian TV star, but that's kind of another story.)
After a week where Kanye West, Wale and Ludacris dropped off new tracks, we had fewer top-tier artists releasing material this week. Instead, some fan favorites returned from dry spells to bless us with new material, all of which was pretty dope.
Every March, the relatively small city of Austin, Texas bursts at the seams for a few weeks to host South by Southwest (SXSW), a music, arts and film festival put on in venues around the downtown. Thousands of artists and industry folk alike make the trek down south, and so the festival's schedule is a jam-packed, often chaotic affair.
Each year around the beginning of March, artists begin sending in pitches to XXL, hoping to wind up on the magazine’s highly-coveted Freshmen list. Thus far, we’ve seen Lil Herb, Bishop Nehru, Fat Trel, and a few others try to convince us they have what it takes to grace the cover along with eleven of their peers, each turning in a short video clip to the publication.
JMSN is in his own lane right now. In fact, he’s occupying a complete road to himself.
20 years ago, R&B sounded a lot different than it does now. Unlike rap, which has a whole subset of artists devoted to reinterpreting, reliving and/or unimaginatively rehashing a perceived "golden era" of sounds, R&B singers generally don't seem too concerned with looking over their shoulders, save for the occasional homage to James Brown, Michael Jackson or R. Kelly.
Here it is, the once-a-week look at the tracks toward the top of our charts that you need to know about. Keep in mind that these tracks are culled from the very top of our Top 100 and, by their very nature, lean toward more popular artists. We still think these tracks are worthy of your attention, but if you need a look at artists you may have missed, take a look at Underrated Audio.
Kanye West recently performed three shows--with one more tonight--at the Fondation Louis Vuitton to close out Paris Fashion Week. Decked out in his new Yeezy Season 1 adidas gear, Kanye performed songs, including unreleased material off So Help Me God, from his entire catalogue. In addition, he also showed off some of his signature dance moves.
It's been 18 years since The Notorious B.I.G. was tragically taken from us, and hip-hop has missed him every single day since. If there's ever been someone who was born to rap, it was Christopher Wallace. No man since has sounded more at home on the mic than Biggie Smalls.
1994 was a very important year for hip hop music. What 1969 was for psychedelic rock, or what 1977 was for disco, 1994 was for hip hop. It was an absolutely shaping year that prepared an underground art for mainstream explosion. Albums like Illmatic and Ready To Die spearheaded the movement, but albums by O.C., Warren G and Gang Starr also helped to sculp the scene.
This week Drake is knocked from his pedestal ever so slightly, as Big Sean's new album Dark Sky Paradise is ushered in at #1. Drake moves to #4, which still isn't a bad look, considering he's above rivals Chris Brown and Tyga. Fan of a Fan didn't move as much as you might expect two mainstream stars to sell-- with just over 50k in pure sales opening week.
Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and instantly bursted into uncontrollable laughter? Raised your eyebrow? Scratched your head? Instantly smiled? Thought, "Damn. That's dope."? Stared at your phone? Did an instant repost? HNHH is sure you've answered yes to at least one of those questions.
Diplo is a great collaborator. He's collaborated with Switch on Major Lazer before that turned in to a project with Jillionaire and Walshy Fire. He's collaborated with Skrillex most recently on the Jack Ü project. He's collaborated with tons of artists in the hip hop world, along with pop and rock worlds too.
Jay Electronica is now 38 years old. It's been nearly eight years since his first mixtape surfaced on the web, nearly five years since he signed with Roc Nation, and nearly four years since he claimed his debut album was finished. Album delays are commonplace these days, but four years? We heard a version of "Shiny Suit Theory" days after Jay E.
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 from 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.
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.