10 cuts from Charles Hamilton's more prolific days to get you acquainted (or re-acquainted) with him.
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.
The Pharcyde is a Los Angeles hip hop group originally comprised of four members: Imani (Emandu Wilcox), Slimkid3 (Trevant Hardson), Bootie Brown (Romye Robinson), and Fatlip (Derrick Stewart). Today they cary on with just Imani and Bootie Brown.
Seven years ago, a rapper from Washington D.C. captured the nation's attention with a mixtape based on one of the most successful sitcoms of all-time.
After getting two big albums, Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise and Chris Brown & Tyga's Fan Of A Fan: The Album, last week, this week has been all about the singles. Everyone from Ludacris to Juicy J to Wale seemed to drop off a new track, and so this edition of Samples Of The Week focuses on three of the best we've heard recently.
When A Kid Named Cudi first began making the rounds in late 2008, it seemed to appeal to people of all musical backgrounds, with Kid Cudi rapping over a decidedly wide variety of source material.
Hip-hop has always had its fair share of food-related lyrics-- with Outkast repping for fish and grits, Lil Wayne comparing himself to lasagna and MF DOOM releasing an entire food-inspired album-- but it's not often that a rap lyrics sheet resembles the menu of a five-star restaurant. That is, unless we're talking about Action Bronson.
Here it is, the once-weekly 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 ppopular 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.
Last year, Waka Flocka Flame seemed to be more focused on bar-for-bar lyricism than bellowing on top of gargantuan trap beats, releasing the ironically-titled I Can't Rap Vol. 1 last summer as a culmination of a freestyle series.
Chances are you've heard the name Migos lately. A lot. Last year, the Atlanta trio scored multiple hits on the Billboard 100, all from their two critically-acclaimed mixtapes. Migos are clocking major label money, and they haven't released an album yet. One reason Migos are getting so much exposure is that they're the only trio out there doing it. Period.
Skepta is finally getting some recognition in the U.S., thanks to co-signs from rap's two biggest stars, Drake and Kanye West. Yeezy brought him out, and publicly thanked him, during his "All Day" performance, and Drake used one of his lines, and also thanked him, on his latest mixtape.
Business moves quick, and that's no exception for the rap world. From the hottest new signings, to movie deals, to album pushbacks, the industry is constantly in motion. It can be hard to keep up with at times, so we've consolidated all of the must-hear information from the past month, all in one place.
Our latest guest on Behind The Beat is Atlanta's Brandon Thomas, who just celebrated his 20th birthday. You may know him as the name behind the instantly recognizable "U Guessed It" beat. "U Guessed It" first appeared on Give Em Hell, a joint EP between OG Maco and Key!, and then Maco replaced Key! with 2 Chainz for the single release.
Jay Electronica is a strange cat. The New Orleans-born MC now resides in London, where very few rappers decide to claim home.
We'll be seeing a lot of Drake on Charts Don't Lie for the foreseeable future. The rapper dominated the Billboard 200 last week, and after getting bumped from #1 by Imagine Dragons' new album, he's sitting comfy at #2, moving over 150k in his second week. It's a difficult feat for most rappers to move that much their first week out, let alone their second week.