Take a look at our list of 10 surprising contributors to popular rap songs.
Ah, Gucci Mane. One of the most controversial figures in Atlanta hip-hop, his extracurricular activities and legal struggles often overshadow his actual music, especially when he's wylin' out on Twitter for the whole world to see. But unpredictable and frustrating as he sometimes is, GuWop is currently sitting atop an ATLien empire, even while behind bars.
The story of two brothers who came from nothing, from a city far off the hip-hop radar, and built an empire. But they didn’t do it alone. Brothers Bryan “Baby” Williams (who we now know as Birdman), age 22, and Ronald “Slim” Williams, age 24, wanted to get out of their projects and build a better life for their family and friends in Magnolia and the surrounding Wards.
OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All), more commonly referred to as Odd Future, made a huge splash in the rap world when they burst onto the scene in late 2009 with crew leader Tyler, the Creator's critically-acclaimed Bastard mixtape. Bringing dark, lo-fi sonics, even darker lyrics and off-kilter humor to the table, the rest of the crew would soon follow him into the limelight.
In case you're stuck in an Ebola quarantine and didn't hear the news, Drizzy let loose a collection of 3 new songs to get everybody ready for his upcoming Views From The 6 album earlier this week. As with any Drake release, it definitely disrupted the game and immediately shifted all focus back to the YMCMB/OVO artist.
Slinging crack rock, popping glocks, and smacking hoes is not the way to keep it gangsta. In the words of Stic.man of the hip-hop duo Dead Prez, "HEALTHY IS THE NEW GANGSTA." True happiness can be achieved through knowledge, proper nutrition, fitness, and meditation; not guns and drugs.
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.
It's possible that you've come across WELL$ at this point. We first featured him with the socially aware and haunting "Lil Tommy", but since then he's delivered "Dreams Of An Insomniac" as well as a music video for "Django"-- these three records alone are enough to show you the talent lingering within the North Carolina native.
It's been seven years since the Wu-Tang Clan released their last proper album, 8 Diagrams, but of course, that doesn’t mean the members of rap’s greatest clan have been prepping for an early retirement. Not by a long shot.
When hip-hop began, samples were all that DJs and producers had to construct instrumental tracks with. They'd dig through crates of vinyl trying to find isolated drum breaks, melodies or vocals that they could repurpose for use in hip-hop music. Today, sampling has become less common, but a choice sample can still push a track from lukewarm to hot faster than you can say "uh-huh honey".
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.
MF DOOM is one of the most interesting figures in rap music. The metal-masked villain has remained prominent in the underground rap world for over 20 years now, and his unique brand of flavor is enjoyed by critics, MCs and fans alike.
Logic has come a long way since he dropped his first Frank Sinatra-inspired mixtape, Young, Broke & Infamous, four years ago. Off the strength of that tape and the three others that followed it, he steady built up his fanbase, utilizing social media and the blogosphere to its fullest.
"In my entire career in the music industry, I have never found anything from a demo tape or a CD. When Jimmy played [Eminem’s demo], I said, 'Find him. Now.'” -Dr. Dre
Diplo is a great collaborator. He's collaborated with Switch on Major Lazer before that turned in to a project with Jillionaire and Walshy Fire. He's collaborated with Skrillex most recently on the Jack Ü project. He's collaborated with tons of artists in the hip hop world, along with pop and rock worlds too.
Mixtapes are like opinions. Everyone has one, but not all of them matter.
After he proved he was a bankable rapper, 50 Cent started his own imprint and made G-Unit his first priority. For a while Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Young Buck and Fiddy were consistently putting out quality music that fed the streets. But all good things must come to an end. In the Unit's case, the general fell out with first Young Buck and kicked him out of the group.
After getting two big albums, Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise and Chris Brown & Tyga's Fan Of A Fan: The Album, last week, this week has been all about the singles. Everyone from Ludacris to Juicy J to Wale seemed to drop off a new track, and so this edition of Samples Of The Week focuses on three of the best we've heard recently.
Here it is, our weekly rundown of what's new and notable at the top of our charts. Please keep in mind that Top Tracks highlights a hand-picked assortment of the most popular songs on our charts. These are songs that generated a lot of interest and still deserve a second look or a deeper consideration. For tracks that deserve more love than they got, go check out Underrated Audio.
For some reason or another, my timeline has recently been bombarded with a ton of Tweets and Instagram posts claiming that the Migos are better than The Beatles. As most logical rap fans can attest, there are definitely better ways to champion the trio as leaders of this new school in rap than to compare them with arguably the greatest group in the history of popular music.
July is steadily coming to a close and the steady stream of Nicki Minaj verses continues. After appearing on the remix to August Alsina's "No Love," she prepping the release her next single, "Anaconda." The collaboration has a few wondering if they were messing around together, which makes "Anaconda" an unfortunate title — Twitter has no chill remember?
Someone once remarked that Chicago and Atlanta had replaced New York City and Los Angeles as the capitals of modern rap music. As blasphemous as that claim might seem, it’s 100% true in 2014. Atlanta has been a dominant force in hip-hop for over a decade now, but since 2010, it has experienced a lot of change.
It has clearly been a tough year for rappers when it comes to love. In 2014, we saw some very long-term relationships, marriages and short flings sadly come to an end, some of which were really unexpected.
Kanye wept. Drake reigned. Dark Sky Paradise happened. This week in hip-hop can be summarized in those three tersely worded sentences. It makes sense because this week has been weird everywhere else. There's something going about a dress and llamas. Hip-hop was a small bubble this week, but it's still an existing bubble. So, of course, we got that 140 Bars Or Less.
The Future hook is a powerful thing. It can single-handedly make a hit song, it can resurrect a career, it can even show up three times on a fake Carter V tracklist with no one batting an eye. The Future hook can be triumphant, vulnerable, melodic, punchy, sometimes all at the same... ok you get the idea.
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