Here's what the biggest rap and R&B stars were up to on the 'Gram this week.
Lots of exciting stuff going down on Instagram this week. First off, we got an update on ALL of the upcoming TDE releases, and surprisingly, it was Kendrick's album that came through first (though it seems Q, Isaiah, Sza, and Soulo aren't far behind).
You may find it hard to believe that Macklemore was once a ramshamble everyman. But it’s true. Ever since he dropped his debut album The Language of My World in 2005, Macklemore has presented himself as an earnest, funny, knucklehead regular white kid from beautiful, rainy, blunt-tastic Seattle. (Full disclosure: I am also a white guy from Seattle.)
Whether you're preparing for the turn-up tonight, or else need something a little more mellow so you can just relax, we've got an assortment on this week's Staff Picks playlist.
Last night was a memorable one for hip-hop heads. Thanks to LeBron, TDE let loose a project of Kendrick Lamar album throwaways, which is sounding better than just about any album since the one they didn't make it onto.
After Kendrick Lamar's stunning Grammy performance, Lebron James tweeted at Top Dawg Entertainment CEO Punch telling him that he should release those untitled cuts. Lebron was onto something... Yo @dangerookipawaa after that @kendricklamar Grammy performance , you have to release those untitled tracks asap!!! What's up? Talk to me — LeBron James (@KingJames) February 23, 2016
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.
Earlier this week, Troy Ave continued even further down the path of making his career double as a masterclass in wildly misguided beefing, taking aim at the deceased Capital STEEZ on a Joey Bada$$ diss track.
Rihanna scored yet another #1 single with "Work" recently. The Drake-assisted cut borrows some island flavor and Boi-1da production to create a scintillating pop-R&B-hip-hop crossover hit.
Ricky Racks is still new to the game, though he's made a big impact with a few of his recent productions, most notably "Best Friend," the only single taken off Young Thug's already beloved Slime Season mixtape series. It's often said about many Thug tracks, but "Best Friend" really doesn't sound like anything else out there.
With Adele taking the #1 spot again this week, the top-selling album in the country alludes the hip hop industry. It wasn't a total loss though, however, as Rihanna jumps from #3 to #2 with her newest record ANTI. Does Rihanna have what it takes to beat out Adele next week? Time will tell...
Jace likes to pull from his surroundings. Whether it's his family, his friends, or the city he lives in, everyone and everything in close vicinity to the rapper shows up somewhere in his music.
The Internet, especially with the proliferation of social media, has changed the music industry in a drastic way. Artists can act as their own A&Rs, and though its common for one's management to seize control of his or her Twitter account, there's much less of a middleman between the brand an artist seeks to project and the one that fans receive.
Compton has long been a creative hub for rap music, from late 80s and early 90s acts like N.W.A. and DJ Quik repping the region, to more recent exports like The Game, YG, and Kendrick Lamar.
Around 34 million people tuned into the 88th Academy Awards last night, marking an 8-year low for the prestigious award show. Many attribute the ratings dip to the controversy surrounding the lack of diversity within this year's class of nominees and the resulting Oscars So White protest.
Other than some resurfacing beefs (between Young Thug and The Game, and Rick Ross and Birdman, respectively) and the beginning of what is sure to be another drawn-out, highly-publicized Kanye West album rollout, it was a relatively quiet week, especially as far as full-length releases went.
With all of the Atlanta rappers that have come up in the past few years has come an equally exciting influx of Atlanta producers. Amongst them are FKi, a duo comprised of 1st Down and Sauce Lord Rich who graduated from the prestigious Full Sail University. Since then, they have worked with the likes of Ludacris, Waka Flocka Flame, Ty Dolla $ign, Tyga, 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, and many more.
Rap and R&B stars were flexing as much as ever this week, and while we usually see a beef or two spring up on Instagram, this cycle (for the most part) kept things pretty positive. Despited the fact he still hasn't made an account (that we know about, at least) Kanye West was all over the 'Gram over the last few days, taking som pics with 2 Chainz, Yo Gotti, Pusha T, and French Montana.
The week is almost over, and with that, comes our Staff Picks playlist. This past week wasn't so heavy on the mixtapes/albums (although French Montana did make a splash with Wave Gods), as it was on the songs/news.
Rome Fortune, usually as prolific as anyone in his home city of Atlanta, slowed down in preparation for the release of his debut album, Jerome Raheem Fortune, which arrived today on Fool's Gold Records, the Brooklyn-based independent label that has long mitigated the divide between genres, especially hip-hop and electronic.
Remember, as recently as a few months ago, when we all were all speculating on the inevitable decline of Cash Money? Then, Wayne and Birdman partied together on New Year's, and earlier today, Mannie Fresh put out a collab between himself, Lil Wayne, Juvenile, and even Baby, and damn, that 9th ward sound is alive and hot as ever.
About ten years ago, it seemed like Lupe Fiasco was going to be the next great force in hip hop music. In 2006 he released the great Food & Liquor, and followed it up in '07 with the equally awesome The Cool. Lupe had a little bit of a difficult time following that one, and it didn't help that Atlantic Records was skeptical of releasing the album for fear of commercial appeal.
More so than any rapping ability, swagginess, or A&R masterminding, the ability to collaborate with a wide range of artists and dabble in various sounds without once straying from his distinct vocal style has been French Montana's greatest strength.
Anderson Hernandez grew up in Washington Heights, an area in New York City he says no one has ever come from before. After putting in a short time as an emcee, Hernandez fell in live with producing and never looked back.
Following the Grammys there was a surge that gave hip hop artists a boost in sales. For example, Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly jumped up from #60 to #16 after crushing it at the award show. The Weeknd also jumped from #12 back into the top 10, landing at #6 for his post-Grammy week on the charts.
As we continue to revel in the the season that is Yeezy, it's hard to not consider Kanye West’s body of work as a whole as nothing short of amazing.
Mixtape Corner is a place where we take a closer look at some of the mixtape releases that weren't necessarily big enough to garner a review, but still deserve your attention.Curren$y & The Alchemist- The Carrollton Heist
In two months, Desiigner has gone from virtual unknown, just another anonymous rapper, looking to gain any sort of foothold, to internet sensation. His breakout hit "Panda" has garnered 3.7 million plays on SoundCloud. It has earned him a record deal with G.O.O.D. Music and two appearances on Kanye West's The Life of Pablo.
Seven minutes and thirty-four seconds is a long time to spend watching a video, even if that video is Rihanna's "Work" feat. Drake. Which is why we've identified the 20+ best moments from the video and transformed them into GIFs for your viewing pleasure.
"Just download Lyft, they are bigger in presence out here" -- Lil Dicky, "Pillow Talking" ***
After the Kanye-inspired chaos of last week, the past seven days have been relatively tame in the rap world, with the twin titans of last weekend (TLOP and the substantially less interesting Grammy awards) still dominating the conversation.