A weekly hip-hop and r'n'b sales recap.
Drake's reign at the top is now four weeks strong as VIEWS continues to beat out the competition. Beyonce wasn't so lucky, however, as she falls to the #4 spot while Ariana Grande and Blake Shelton rank above her with their respective new releases. Rihanna comes in at #5 while Prince slips out of the top 10 for the first time since his passing.
"I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, manLet me handle my business, damn!" - Jay Z, "Diamonds of Sierra Leone (Remix)"
Happy Memorial Day. The past week has been a wild one, what with the chaos at T.I.’s NYC show, Gucci Mane’s release from prison, and a new Kevin Gates tape. Summer’s officially here, so expect things to keep picking up in the rap game— we’ve got a ScHoolboy Q album, SremmLife 2, and a bunch of other heat on the way.
Sango is one of the few producers who has developed a fully original sound. His Da Rocinha mixtape series, which synthesizes trap drums and the "baile funk" aesthetic borne of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, is truly a marvel of modern electronic music.
Last week, Jay Z made his return to rap, coming through with a surprising 16 on former enemy Fat Joe's recent hit, "All The Way Up". He also returned to Instagram showing up in a few pictures with Joe and Remy, giving their hit the ultimate co-sign. Elsewhere, we got some memorable photos from the Billboard Music awards, where the The Weeknd cleaned up.
Perhaps this week's playlist won't be as useful as usual, as most rap fans will likely have GuWop on repeat all weekend in celebration of the Trap God's surprise release from prison yesterday. He had been locked up for three years, and unsurprisingly, he recorded a track on his first day out, aptly titled "First Day Out Tha Feds," produced by his reliable longtime collaborator Mike Will Made-It.
Yesterday was a truly bizarre day in hip-hop. It started with news of a shooting at a T.I. concert the night before in New York, and reports soon connected to the incident to Troy Ave, as the NYPD caught footage of the Brooklyn rapper opening fire in a VIP green room. That footage was released to the public, and Troy has since been arrested on charges of attempted murder, among others.
At the end of 2014, QuESt left Visionary Music Group and changed his stage name to his government name: Sylvan LaCue. It was a decision that didn't come as any great surprise to his fans or anyone who listened to his breakout project Searching Sylvan, which he had released earlier that year. Authenticity has always been the main thrust of his artistic mission.
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.
"It's cool to danceBut what about the groove that soothes that moves romance?Give me a soft subtle mixAnd if ain't broke then don't try to fix it" -The Fresh Prince, "Summertime" It's about to be Memorial Day weekend here in the United States, which means that summer has unofficially begun. Time to celebrate.
Memphis rapper Snootie Wild burst onto the scene in 2014 with a volley of back-to-back regional megahits in "Yayo" & "Made Me". His rapid rise to prominence was the consequence of talent and hustle after years of struggle.
R Kelly is 49 years old and still obsessed with sex. Look no further than the cunnilingus-referencing title of his newest album The Buffet.
"I definitely contribute to pop culture every year, whether people know it or not."
Chance The Rapper's Coloring Book has received nearly universal praise since its release earlier this month, and while there's already been a large amount of writing on the subject, there is still much to be told by its creator, Chancelor Bennet, who sat down with Zane Lowe today to discuss the project.
These days, the line between mixtape and album is thinner than ever, and fans are fairly entitled when it comes to new music. As a result, we're seeing more and more projects being released in a shorter time frame, but there are only a select few who can impress both in terms of quantity and quality. The "run" is something a few artists have been praised for.
This past week, we were finally able to take a deep breath and reflect on all of the major projects we've heard in the past month -- A$AP Ferg, Bankroll Mafia, Beyoncé, Drake, Skepta, Rittz, Chance The Rapper, and Post Malone have all dropped full-lengths in that relatively brief timespan.
Good news, y'all. Summer is here! Hundreds of music festivals are about to go down across the globe, and nearly all of them boast incredible lineups. Since we're in the business of hip hop, we wanted to highlight some of this year's best lineups for hip hop heads.
There is something wondrous about the music of Clams Casino. It's hard to believe that the he was once a physical therapist student making beats on the side for fun. Indeed, he does not think like ordinary producers.
As if we didn't already have our fill with last week's dose of new projects, this afternoon The Boy himself Casey Veggies slid through with Customized Greatly Vol. 4 (it's been four years since the last one), we got a joint mixtape from two inmates, one of whom is Ty Dolla $ign's brother, Big TC and D.
With his 2014 debut album My Krazy Life, YG solidified his status as one of the brightest young stars in the west. Everything he's released since then has been straight fire. Then last week, he made a big announcement: the album will drop sometime in June.
Rappers are quick to document their sexual conquests in their lyrics. It should not come as any surprise that many of them also document their sexual conquests on camera. Titans of hip hop like Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Tupac have all fell victim to the (threatened or actual) publication of their private sex tapes. As have many others.
Proof was two albums into a promising solo career when Mario Ethridge shot and killed him during an argument over a game of billiards in 2006. He was a childhood friend of Eminem, member of D12, and author of unimpeachable rhymes. If he were alive today, he would be 42 and still slaughtering 90% of the current rapper population on the mic.
As we learned last year with "White Iverson," then "Too Young," Post Malone is really good at writing and delivering hooks. He's got a way of sounding so effortless yet impassioned-- the way his voice suddenly rises and then abruptly cuts words short, takes melodies to unexpected places-- it's nothing short of refreshing in a trap scene now so awash with half-assed singing performances.
There's something about Waffle House that brings out the inner beast in people. The food, combined with the ambience, is nothing short of incredible. It holds a special place in the hearts and minds of countless rappers. "This ain't IHOP," Waka Flocka rapped in his famed collaboration with Travis Porter, "Waffle House". "This the waffle house. Know how we rock, put it in her mouth."
Though he built much of his reputation in Atlanta, Lex Luger hails from Suffolk, Virginia and now resides in the neighboring town of Chesapeake. His career took off shortly after he got serious about music. He dropped out of high school after 10th grade to devote all his time to churning out menacing trap beats.
Save for a cluster of Chance The Rapper's most dedicated fans, I imagine that everyone has considered him corny at least once.
Storytelling is the second oldest profession, after prostitution. As the oral tradition evolved, it reached new heights in '90s hip hop, an era that place an emphasis on lyricism -- ideally #bars not for the sake of #bars, but #bars for the sake of humor, drama, or social critique.
It's been seven months since Travis Scott dropped his debut album Rodeo. His buzz grew steadily leading up to the album, and exponentially following the album's release. Of course, touring with Rihanna (on top of relationship rumors) didn't hurt, and Travis has also consistently kept his name in the blogosphere circle thanks to a stream of leaks (both unofficial and official).
For every Watch the Throne or What a Time to Be Alive, there are scores of joint hip hop projects borne of one epic late night in the studio that never crystallize into a fully formed release. As fans, we should know better than to let these glimmers of collaborative greatness get our hopes up. But the possibilities are too great to ignore.
In contrast with the first few months of 2015, when it seemed like our Top Tracks lists were just the same Kanye and Drake tracks rising and falling with each ensuing week, the past few editions have been utter chaos, with the #1 spot changing every week.