As we near the end of the year, #HOTNEW14 continues with a roundup of the best album artwork of 2014.
In many ways, it's surprising that we're still doing a list like this in 2014, as we've reached a point where music has, almost, gone entirely digital. No one's actually buying physical albums, but we still see album artwork with each release, and we certainly had some compelling examples in 2014.
Christmas might be over, but the holiday spirit is still alive and well, and let's hope it stay that way for a bit. We've seen rappers give to those who are less fortunate over the holidays, but yesterday, it was all about family and friends. Some of our favorite artists gave us a peak inside their home and their celebrations on Christmas day by sharing photos and video on Instagram.
Christmas is finally here and no doubt you’ve already finished your shopping. You left a few very important people off your shopping list, however. Namely, your favorite rappers. They’ve done nothing but provide us with great music and be good little girls and boys (GS9 excepted) all year. And yet you stiffed ‘em.
The first Luca Brasi Story, released last February, put Kevin Gates on the map. Soon after, he quietly inked a partnership with Atlantic and a management deal with Young Money. He put out another excellent mixtape, Stranger Than Fiction, months later, and he’s had a similar 2014 in terms of output: two mixtapes, both excellent.
We're a day away from Christmas, which means you have been subjected to the same five Christmas songs for the last 90 days. Mariah is a national treasure, but if we have to hear "All I Want For Christmas Is You" again, we'll go to her Bel Air home and drop off all the dogs that have spent the last two decades panicking to Daydream. We know that some of you are with us.
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 charts. These are songs that generated a lot of interest and still deserve a second look or a deeper consideration. For tracks that deserve more love than they got, go check out Underrated Audio.
Yesterday Lil Wayne showed off several new tattoos, all of which were on his face.
After giving everyone a positive spin with the Hottest Songs of 2014, we're getting brutally honest and critical today with the Most Disappointing Projects of 2014. Following 2013’s parade of ridiculously good albums, it was hard to keep pace and not get left behind from the jump. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened with some of the releases of 2014.
Ludacris is a veteran in the game. Lyrics, beats, hit songs, a unique style; over his 10-plus year career he has obviously shown why he has been one of the most respected and successful stars in hip hop.
As one of the most anticipated segments of the #HOTNEW14 end-of-year rollout, HNHH is pleased to present our top 50 songs of the year. As always, you're gonna have to do some scrolling to find out the #1 hottest record. Whatever your thoughts on 2014's hip-hop landscape, there was a lot going on and a lot to keep track of. Rappers started singing and singers started rapping.
Rap and jail time have had a close relationship ever since the Fat Boys rhymed about doing time for holding up a pizza place. Unfortunately, prison bids have stymied many promising careers over rap music's history. For every Tupac "out on bail, fresh outta jail, California dreamin'" there's five rap stars whose careers never recovered after doing time.
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.
Music videos have always been an integral part of hip-hop. Whether it’s shots of the neighborhoods that birthed some of the world’s biggest stars, or the spoils that come with commercial victories, the visuals are a crucial component to solidifying artistic expression.
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.
After 14 years of waiting, D’Angelo’s surprise album Black Messiah had every right to be the R&B/Soul equivalent of Guns & Roses' Chinese Democracy - a creaky mess that was done no favors by the weight of fan expectations. But that’s not what happened.
To say a lot of stuff happened this week would be a complete understatement. So we won't and will just give you a short recap. For one, we're living in a world where there's a new D'Angelo album. Secondly, we may soon live in a world where Bobby Shmurda is behind bars. In less epochal/apocalyptic news, Nicki Minaj and J. Cole are having a moment after their recent album releases.
After a few listens to Nicki Minaj's latest album, The Pinkprint, it is pretty clear that, to a certain extent, she does pay attention to critics. Her last album, 2012's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, was universally panned in reviews for being disjointed, gimmicky and lackluster, among other things.
Bobby Shmurda and various GS9 crew members were picked up by police on Wednesday, December 17th, while recording at Quad studios in NYC. At the time, it was unclear just how serious (and how many) charges the were against the burgeoning rapper and his affiliates. Shmurda had been arrested earlier this year, but that was extremely minor in comparison.
With the rise of social media, we can only wonder if artists would have the balls to say the things they say via Instagram and/or Twitter in real ass life. The social media age has made it all too easy for artists and the average person alike to throw shade whenever they please, and then, when things get a bit rough, hit 'delete.' Fortunately, most of the time, we catch it.
Fabolous is planning to take fans back to the '90s with his upcoming album The Young OG Project, due out on Christmas day. With the '90s era of hip-hop sitting heavy in his mind, we got Loso to reel off his top five reasons on why he loves the '90s.
Marshall Mather's career has been a roller-coaster ride of success, drug abuse, WTF moments and undeniable talent. Widely regarded as one of the best MCs of all time, Eminem has no shortage of recognizable tunes and hits.
2014 may have been a terrible year for hip-hop in terms of record sales, but don't let the numbers fool you into thinking the year was uneventful. In this case, the numbers most definitely do lie. Aside from numerous relationship gossip, 2014 saw the return of Lil Boosie, the rise of August Alsina, and the (maybe) beginning of the end for Cash Money Records.
When hip-hop began, samples were all that DJs and producers had to construct instrumental tracks with. They'd dig through crates of vinyl trying to find isolated drum breaks, melodies or vocals that they could repurpose for use in hip-hop music. Today, sampling has become less common, but a choice sample can still push a track from lukewarm to hot faster than you can say "uh-huh honey".
The idea of a viral video is something music industry marketers dream of. Unfortunately, not everything goes viral. It takes a rare combination of things that professors get paid thousands a year to teach. Shit, they get tenure. So until we get that, we’re not giving you the science behind it.
This is our weekly rundown of what's new and notable at the top of our charts. The charts were absolutely stacked with worthy contenders this week, including new tracks from Fabolous, Chief Keef, Kanye West and Chance the Rapper.
Today we're showing you a day in the life of young'n Curtis Williams, via our inaugural edition of Photo Diary. Thanks to photographer Gunner Stahl, we get to ride along with the Two-9 member as he did a day of press in New York City last week, whether that means chilling with Ear Drummers labelmates Rae Sremmurd, or hitting up the offices of Vice for an interview.
UK artist, Bipolar Sunshine, released "Daydreamer" this November. He's been on the rise lately, and will even be sharing the stage with artists like A$AP Mob, London Grammar, Rudimental and Bastille, when his touring season kicks off in March.
The hottest beats is a misnomer for this list of 20 productions that shaped the commercial sound of hip-hop culture in 2014. Of all the thousands of tracks produced each year under the umbrella of hip-hop, we could only honor a select few as standing above the crowd.
J. Cole has come a long way from rapping about how to get up off the sideline. Three albums in, with 2014 Forest Hills Drive, the “God” is home. The Fayetteville, North Carolina native composed an honest, nostalgic album without any apologies. Cole typically plays it safe, straddling the fence of a conscious rapper who can still create commercial hits and enjoy a good romp in the bed.
The A$AP Mob isn’t really a mob, you know. “Mob” denotes unruliness, panic, chaos and lawlessness in an unorganized mass. Nothing could be farther from what this Harlem collective actually is, because the so-called “mob” has a leader.