A look at the very best albums from rapper-producers.
MCs and producers are traditionally two different people, but occasionally the hip hop world is blessed with an artist that can play both roles. Dr. Dre once claimed to be a "a producer who can rap and control the maestro," and when he said it, there weren't a whole bunch of dudes who were capable of doing it. Since then, artists like MF DOOM, Kanye West, and J.
We are approaching the end of the #HOTNEW14 roll out and year-end round up. Mixtapes are an essential part of the rap game and the mixtape game is stronger than ever, thanks to the accessibility the internet provides, as well as rappers giving zero fucks when it comes to industry politics, and putting out some of their best work for free. We can't shake our heads at that.
Even if you don't recognize his name, you can't miss TM88. His beats under the 808 Mafia umbrella are unavoidable at this point, first fueling the South's recent reinvention of trap music, then appearing on projects by everyone from Meek Mill to Machine Gun Kelly.
It's the time you've all been waiting for, or at least, the five of you that take trolling extremely seriously. It's the only year-end list you care about, our biggest trolls of 2015.
Punchlines are one of the most effective tools in hip-hop, and throughout his career, Ludacris has proved himself a master of them. While perfectly capable of turning his lyrics to more serious subjects (peep "Runaway" for that), Luda has become known for his ability to perfectly set up a joke with a preceding line and then knock it down with one witty bar.
Earl Sweatshirt’s I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Get Outside is a short and moody album. It also happens to be a very focused, quality listen, and possibly the best output we’ve received from the California native. Through bummed-out stoned raps and shoegazing beats, Earl proves to be one of the most talented, albeit depressed, rappers in the game.
The most gratifying events in music are the moments where you can literally hear the construction in the artist’s mind, the building onto the promise of greatness. While not a guarantee, Days Before Rodeo provides the listener with the glimpses of the incredible, long-ranging capabilities of Travi$ Scott.
Most people know of the male heavyweights in hip-hop who have inhabited the streets and hoods of hip-hop's birthing place, New York City, since the onsets of their careers. They constantly make references to their stomping grounds in their tracks, paying homage to their homies through shout outs, making sure they never take for granted where they came from.
Mac Miller is officially releasing his newest album GO:OD AM tomorrow on Warner Bros. Records. Despite the fact that the new LP, which is already available for streaming via NPR by the way, is only Mac's third proper full-length, he's delivered no less than eleven mixtapes over the years and some EPs to boot.
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...
There is no one answer for why some cities get so much love in the hip-hop industry while others producing loads of talent go unnoticed. Maybe it's because major labels are based in, and focus on the so-called hip-hop meccas of the United States: NYC, Houston, LA, Chicago, New Orleans, and so on.
Drake's "Energy" music video just hit Apple Music, giving them an exclusive that'll further propel them ahead of their competitor TIDAL. On top of the "Energy" visuals, off the much-lauded If You're Reading This It's Too Late, Drizzy unleashed another exclusive, a collaboration with Majid Jordan, through Beats 1.
Snoop Dogg stays a busy man, from hosting the BET Hip-Hop Awards, to working on new music, to hosting his own YouTube segment GGN News, the rapper/reggae artist/funk artist doesn't stop. His latest foray into the genre of funk with producer Dam-Funk incited his name change (once more) from Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion to now, Snoopzilla.
It’s safe to say that all eyes are on Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman, better known as Majid Jordan, for one reason: Drake. After signing the R&B duo to OVO Sound, the record label he co-founded with producer Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib, Drizzy took Majid Jordan from virtual unknowns to producers of a double platinum, #1 song real quick.
When you blow up in the hip hop game, it's your responsibility to use your shine to put on some younger cats. Dreamville is J. Cole's way of doing just that. After founding the music collective, Cole has grown the talented roster of MCs to include Bas, Omen, and Cozz, along with awesome producers like Cedric Brown, Ron Gilmore, Elite and more.
In a hip hop climate that's almost unhealthily focused on trending topics and followers, no one has committed to and excelled in catering to short attention spans like Future and Young Thug.
Joey Bada$$ is a young Brooklyn emcee who was influenced by those who came before him from his region, the same way most young rappers from any region show clear influence from those who came before them in their region.
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.
Recently, we felt our childhood selves get pimp slapped back to reality with the forthcoming allegations that MTV's "Pimp My Ride" is guilty of deceiving both its viewers and contestants. The monitors on the back of each headrest rarely worked, high-tech contraptions were added just for TV, and contestant reactions were exaggerated.
A$AP Rocky and his label took the reigns on an album leak when they decided to release A.L.L.A. a week before it's due date. The final tracklist showed off a few familiar names, like Kanye West and Lil Wayne, and a few that were unfamiliar, like Joe Fox.
Rap was born in New York, but it’s been splitting time in a few cities lately. It has a condo in Chicago, a house in the Los Angeles area. Rap probably has a couch to crash on in Houston and goes to Toronto a couple times a year as well. Most recently it has spent a boatload of time in Atlanta.
In 2014, Anderson .Paak ditched his old moniker Breezy Lovejoy for his current nom de guerre, which is a play on his given name, Brandon Paak Anderson.
Tyler The Creator recently made headlines because he was banned from going to Australia and the UK, due to his controversial lyrics. Apparently lyrics from tracks like "VCR," "Blow," "Sarah," "Tron Cat" and "French" have been ruled so obscene, that the UK doesn't want him in their country. The craziest part? This is nothing new.
Travi$ Scott has become one of the most must-see performers in rap, because of his electric stage presence and because he is always on the verge of a doing something anarchic or belligerent. Scott's inner beast, La Flame, is a force to be reckoned with, and he himself cannot always contain the beast.
PARTYNEXTDOOR is Canadian rising star Jahron Brathwaite, formerly a producer of soft, sunny R&B with EDM inflections. His first wide release under the new name represented a new label situation, through signing with Drake’s OVO Sound, and a fully realized change in sound and lyrical content.
Last night, Kendrick Lamar, or someone at Interscope, perhaps, released To Pimp a Butterfly a week ahead of its initial March 23 release date. Already the most anticipated album of the year, Kendrick's follow-up to Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City is unlike anything he's ever done, though it could've only come from the man himself.
Since we began this "Classic Rotation" feature two years ago, we've written about albums that have stood the test of time, ones that have come to define eras and genres. A decade is usually what's needed to meet such lofty criteria, but today, we're highlighting the youngest album to ever make the cut.
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Yesterday we tried out our first-ever quiz on the site, a la Buzzfeed, to find out how well you consumed Kendrick Lamar's new album To Pimp A Butterfly upon first listen.
With every XXL Freshman Class, there's bound to be MCs included who will eventually flop-- that's just the nature of trying to predict who will break out in the sea of up-and-coming rappers. Since the magazine began the now-prestigious list back in 2008, we've seen several former Freshmen fall off, so we've selected ten that we feel didn't live up to their potential.