24-year-old MMG rapper Rockie Fresh talks about his Chicago roots, the making of his new mixtape "The Night I Went To...," and his patient rise to stardom.
Rick Ross, founder of Maybach Music Group, has carefully crafted in image of himself as a man swaddled in gold chains and flanked by a harem of strippers who dines on a strict diet of caviar and Ace of Spades. Indeed, his ample belly seems to exist to prove that he is eating well.
Rappers have probably never had more influence on American culture than they do now. Drake coins slang words that eventually become recognized by Webster, and Obama addresses Kanye West's presidential candidacy. Jeezy's "My President" became not just a hood anthem, but a nationally imperative hip hop track that is forever preserved alongside Obama's run into presidency.
Grills have been a part of hip hop culture for some time. From Flava Flav to A$AP Rocky, and of course Nelly and Paul Wall's famous ode, we're not likely to see this trend dying anytime soon. Take a look through our gallery of the various rappers and R&B singers who have donned fronts, including Jay Z, Big Sean, Rihanna, and more!
It would seem like a no brainer, rap and advertising belong together, but the ad industry didn't always recognize what hip-hop could really do for marketing. This all changed in the 1980s. Each side began realizing what the other could for them. Rappers could help boost sales, and rappers could, of course make money.
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.
Since August 18 2012, Drake surpassed the legendary Jay Z in terms of number one records on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Jay Z held the title with nine number ones at the time, but Drizzy pulled in his tenth number one with being featured on 2 Chainz's "No Lie". He acknowledged his victory on the track "5AM In Toronto" saying:
Kendrick Lamar has captured the attention of all of us with his studio albums. Section.80 broke him into the mainstream, good kid, m.A.A.d city established him as a hip hop heavy-hitter, and To Pimp A Butterfly put him at the top. However, like most great artists, Kendrick struggled for years to get to the point he's currently at.
Is there anything more startling than hearing a 19 year old kid saying that he doesn't fear death because he's "happy for all the years [he] got to see"? Lil Herb's still around 57 years shy of the average male life expectancy in the U.S., but you don't need to be a super-sleuth to figure out why optimism isn't his strong suit. Hell, you barely even have to listen to his music.
We didn't see many debuts this week, but pretty much all the big rap releases of 2015 experienced a considerable push.
We've officially wrapped up a big year for the genre we all love-- new albums from Jay Z, Kanye West, Pusha T, Mac Miller, Drake, Juicy J (and the list goes on), only made 2013 that much sweeter. Mix in a new-found competition brought on by, you guessed it, "Control," and all the free mixtapes we've received in 2013, and this past year was definitely a good one.
Slang is an important part of hip-hop culture, sometimes originating first as part of lyrics (think 'yolo') before later transcending to everyday use, often times, transcending generations, meaning, even your mom is capable of throwing out the word 'yolo' every now and then.
In 2014, it's no secret that where Kanye West goes, the rest of hip-hop follows. Starting with him and Just Blaze making "chipmunk soul" a hot sound in Roc-A-Fella's prime, Mr.
Seven years after Wale released his blazing Mixtape About Nothing, he’s released The Album About Nothing. His alternative hip hop style has come a long way in the time since; he’s inked a deal with Rick Ross, had a #2 album with Ambition, and a #1 album with The Gifted.
Dr. Dre is one of the most legendary figures in hip hop history. From his early days with the influential N.W.A. through to his most recent release Compton, the 50-year old artist has conquered multiple industries. For us, his most important contributions have been to rap music.
Valentine's Day can be rather annoying in reality, with roses, teddy bears, and cards being shoved in our faces.
The A$AP Mob isn’t really a mob, you know. “Mob” denotes unruliness, panic, chaos and lawlessness in an unorganized mass. Nothing could be farther from what this Harlem collective actually is, because the so-called “mob” has a leader.
Christmas is always a big week for album sales, and we saw a few releases dropping December 18th, just in time for last minute gifts. Chris Brown's Royalty certainly seemed to benefit from the strategy, coming in with a big week, despite not earning the usual smash single that precedes Brown's albums.
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.
Ever since Casey Veggies stepped onto the rap scene back in 2007, he's been stuck in the middle. Despite his diehard fans and devout supporters who may rank him higher out of bias, in the eyes of the larger hip-hop listenership, Veggies has always been placed in a middle tier, stuck in a sort of hip-hop limbo, neither advancing nor retreating.
With the season starting Tuesday, the OKC Thunder looked to celebrate Halloween a little early on Saturday night. A few of them killed with their costumes, including Nick Collison as Walter White in full "cook gear," Serge Ibaka as Eddie Murphy's Akeem in "Coming to America," and Russell Westbrook as the plug to his girlfriend's socket.
On paper, recording a song for a film soundtrack is considered the ultimate form of selling out. The music itself is literally used as promotional material for a larger product. Music money is big, but movie money is on another level (ask Ludacris, who hasn't released an album since "Fast Five").
Drake broke the Internet two nights ago by unexpectedly releasing his brand new mixtape If You're Reading This It's Too Late. It looks like Drake did the cover art himself, writing out the mixtape title in all caps above the signature 6-God prayer hands. He also included, in the same all caps chicken scratch, a very extensive list of thank yous to the people who helped him complete the project.
Lil Bibby is quickly catapulting into rap fame following the release of his debut project, Free Crack, in November. The mixtape had already built up a strong amount of anticipation before it was released, thanks in most part to a co-sign from Drake, however, after the tape dropped and everyone heard just how dope Bibby's ear for production and bars are, plenty more hopped on the bandwagon.
Flying Lotus has been making brain-melting beats for about a decade now. The LA-based producer lives in the underground, but as the electronic music world has exploded, his music has gained the acclaim of critics and casual music listeners everywhere.
The interlude has always been an opportunity for an artist to switch up the vibe of their album and transition from one style to another. Sometimes they're musical, sometimes they're a humorous skit (or not so much) thrown in for comic relief. Hip Hop albums have had interludes for a long time, but they're transformed slightly during this current generation of the genre.
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.
Mac Miller's GO:OD AM was meant to start your day off on the right foot. The positive-minded rapper boasts a smooth flow throughout the project, so it isn't just the name that makes us want to bump these tracks first thing in the morning.
After Yelawolf’s first major-label album Radioactive proved to be, well, just that; and failed to meet the standards set by his 2010 mixtape Trunk Muzik, it felt as though - with his second effort Love Story - an explanation or apology was due. He seemingly traded in his trademark mud-coated country roots for pop-pandering.
This was hard. This was really hard. Mostly because we love all of Kanye West's albums. They've each played a unique role in the progression of hip-hop (and music in general), each pushing the boundaries of his sound and offering something new to the table.However it's fun to really dissect a great artist's work, and Kanye's is no different.
Of the many things that old heads will insist "were better back in the day," diss tracks are among the few that most younger rap fans can also agree upon. Even if you didn't live through them, the 2Pac / Biggie, Eazy-E / Dr.