We've put together 10 of our own pitches for the 2015 XXL Freshman Issue.
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.
Often time, being in the rap game and doing prison time goes hand-in-hand, something which we documented on another recent list, 15 Rappers Who Did Jail Time.
With the rise of digital music, decline of music sales, and mass growth and adoption of social networks and blogs, we have seen the playing field become leveled. With that has come fewer major label releases and a lion share of independent releases.
A$AP Rocky and his label took the reigns on an album leak when they decided to release A.L.L.A. a week before it's due date. The final tracklist showed off a few familiar names, like Kanye West and Lil Wayne, and a few that were unfamiliar, like Joe Fox.
With its blunt illustrations of the dangers of life growing in inner city Chicago, drill music has had a powerful influence shaping the sound of hip hop over the course of the last half-decade. Many of the genre's purveyors are active themselves in gang life, and as such some have been killed at an extremely young age.
Drake is at a point where all of his video HAVE to be events or their deemed as failures, but at the same time, he's also at a point where he can make a video of himself doing weird dance moves for 4 minutes and it WILL be an event.That's exactly what happened with "Hotline Bling," which seems perfectly designed to be preserved as a GIF collection rather than a music video.
Although none of his albums have really been critical hits, Kid Cudi’s main appeal is using outside, atypical influences and sounds to articulate some sort of emotional journey into the tortured soul.
Drake's album is officially dropping tomorrow, September 24th. Nonetheless the early leak of Nothing Was The Same has given us all enough time to go through the album from start to finish, and properly digest all the lyrics, beats, and Drake-isms.
As one of the most significant rappers of the past decade, for better or worse, Kid Cudi's stamp on the genre has been inescapable. I mean, lets face it, Kanye's last 3 albums have not only featured that man in some right, but they've also had Cudi's fingerprints all over.
Travi$ Scott has been the figure of some controversy for a myriad of reasons. Number one, he appears to have a reputation for being a dick, but that's actually not anything new to rap. He's also been known to bite styles, which is yet another familiar trope. But, perhaps above all, is the fact that both Grand Hustle and G.O.O.D.
As a 17-year-old just beginning to make waves in the rap game, Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott didn't have the same life as most kids his age. He wasn't thinking about graduating high school to attend a university or enter the work force. As a matter of fact, before he even graduated high school he had formed a collective with classmates that would come to be known as Pro Era.
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).
The art of rapping started off in the form of spoken word and poetry, but you don't hear a lot of "poetry" in modern-day popular rap. This could be for a multitude of reasons. For starters, the club doesn't want to put you to sleep. And Neither does the radio. For whatever reason, songs that make you think don't seem to have wheels in 2015. But that's okay though, 'cause we got you.
During a recent interview with Larry King, Mac Miller stated that GO:OD AM -- his major label debut under Warner Bros. -- was intended to be a departure from the "darker and sad" vibes of his previous record, Watching Movies with the Sound Off. GOD:DAMN. Mac was right on the money.
The world of hip-hop is affiliated with glamour, partying, money and fun! It’s no wonder why so many rappers flock to the industry each year. But only the rappers that make it big get to enjoy these activities. There are tons of rappers in the game but only a select few make it stardom, to the point where everyone knows their names.
An important facet of memorable groups throughout hip-hop history is chemistry: the dynamics every member brings to the table is an essential part of a group's success. Black Hippy's rise to the top has been so prevalent and quick because each of their four main members - Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar - each bring something radically different to what the crew represents.
Not only is the rap game stressful, it can be dangerous as well.
Few names have taken the hip-hop world by storm like ILoveMakonnen has in the last few months. A buzz-worthy mixtape artist came to mainstream fame after signing to Drake's OVO Sound label, along with having Drizzy blessing his single "Tuesday" with a verse. ILoveMakonnen's career hasn't been the same since, and Tuesdays at the club have been going up ever since.
Releasing three mixtapes over the course of six months is no easy task; dropping three that are celebrated by critics and fans alike is almost unthinkable.
Two years ago, Jay-Z and Kanye West joined forces and crowned themselves the kings of rap. After an extensive worldwide Watch The Throne tour, the two went back to their separate careers to work on solo projects. Although they both welcomed a brand new baby in the last year and a half, they couldn’t be in more different places musically.
A$AP Rocky’s relatively short career in the rap game has been one filled with high praise. His debut mixtape, Live.Love.A$AP, received exponential buzz solely off the strength of “Purple Swag,” and it was more so off the strength of the visual, which went viral (visuals have become a key component to Rocky’s career).
There has been no artist in our culture that has had a more storied four years than The Weeknd. The Scarborough, Canada native currently sits in a pop music position that he probably never had imagined himself in. When House Of Balloons dropped in March of 2011, no one knew who or what The Weeknd was.
With summer in full effect, we've decided to pay homage to the best season of the year by collecting an array of photos featuring some of your favorite hip-hop ladies in nothing but their bikini.
Cole World: The Sideline Story was considered somewhat of a disappointment to fans who really knew the raw talent that J. Cole posseses. The storyteller and the street smart rapper that fans loved was missing in his debut album. This time around Cole delivers a more cohesive project, with tracks easily flowing one by one to create a complete concept: Born Sinner.
I don't know where you were when the sad wars hit, but if Yung Lean and his Sad Boy affiliates ushered in an era where 15-year-old Swedish kids crying over pokemon cards, clad in North Face, are spawning articles in swanky East Coast outlets, now seems like the time to honor the tradition of hip-hop tear jerkers that broke your heart but didn't actually make you cry that one time.
Yesterday the blogs and gossip sites went crazy over security footage from an elevator at the Standard Hotel in NYC on the night of the Met Gala. The footage showed Solange, Jay Z and Beyonce entering the elevator with security guards, and as the doors close, Solange completely attacks Hova, feet kicking in the air and hands flailing.
2013 was undoubtedly a great year for rap music. If you are a die-hard hip-hop head, you are probably praying that 2014 will continue along the same lines, if not one-up 2013. Now that we're examining some of the releases lined up for this year, the chances look good.
As if you needed one more reason to go see Future live on his "Purple Reign" tour with Ty Dolla $ign, the rapper decided to come through with a Purple Reign mixtape early Sunday morning.
With A$AP Rocky debuting the new track "M's" just hours ago, excitement for his upcoming album has never been higher. A few weeks ago, we got a title, A.L.L.A. (At. Long.La$t.A$AP), and then a potential release date, so we're in the full-swing of what was once called the "album release cycle," before Beyoncé upended that shit in December 2013.
Yesterday, amid flamethrower bursts and a gaggle of up-and-coming grime artists, Kanye West debuted the third song we've heard from his upcoming album thus far.