Revisiting Kanye West's early collaborations with Jay Z, Ludacris, The Game, & others.
"I miss the sweet Kanye, chop up the beats Kanye" - Kanye *** Now a titanic figure in American music, Kanye West first made inroads into the music industry as a producer for Roc-a-Fella records. His talents on the MPC were so immense that he only got his record deal as a rapper so that they label could have access to his production.
In terms of chronological, autobiographical narratives, albums don't get more focused than Tory Lanez's I Told You. The Toronto singer/rapper's commercial debut recounts pivotal events in his rise from a 16-year-old kicked out of his grandmother's home in 2008, to an Interscope-signed star, through both skits and song lyrics.
Frank Ocean first revealed himself as a generational songwriting talent on his 2011 debut nostalgia, ULTRA, then emerged as a full-blown star on the strength of the 2012's Channel Orange, which amounted to a series of vignettes about wealth, drugs, friendship, and love.
Along with his bro Michael Christmas, Cousin Stizz is leading a new generation of Boston rappers to the promised land. Between his 2015 debut mixtape Suffolk County and its follow up MONDA, Stizz has put together a rock-solid catalog of music that is helping him take his talents from Dorchester's Field's Corner to the rest of the country and beyond.
Fingers crossed that Jeffery will drop on August 26, as Lyor Cohen has hinted, but at this point, we won't hold our breath. In the meantime, Thug has assuaged his fans with the release of "Elton," a collaboration with the great Wyclef Jean.
Most Danny Brown fans got hooked around XXX ("Monopoly"!), but in truth Brown lived a full rap career before XXX ever came out. Between 2003 and 2010 he put together an eleven-project run that culminated in his 2010 free album The Hybrid.
September is shaping up to be the biggest month on Donald Glover/Childish Gambino's career. "Atlanta," the show he conceived, wrote, produced, and starred in," will debut on FX on September 6th. He has also promised the live unveiling of a new album called Pharos.
Art imitates life; life imitates art. That's a theory first proposed by Aristotle, suggesting the fluid two-way street between culture and day-to-day life. Were Migos the first to dab, or were they just a nationally-influential platform for a hyper-regional craze that started before they got wind of it?
With the announcement that Travis Scott will be getting his own show on Beats 1 Radio show, it's clear that Apple is not slowing down in handing out airtime to rappers. Travis joins artists like Drake, DJ Khaled, Pharrell, and eventually, Chance The Rapper (last we heard at least), on the network, and it's got us thinking about who else would be a good fit.
This past Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Sean Price.
Young Thug had a very strong 2015, delivering Barter 6, Slime Season 1, and Slime Season 2, a cohesive collection of projects the converted more casual fans into stans. His 2016 has been a little more scattered, with I'm Up and Slime Season 3 supplying many bangers, but not as strong as an album experience. Jeffery seems like the project that will bring everything together this year.
2 Chainz has always had a way with words, and somehow he hasn't run out of ways to talk about how dope he is increasingly entertaining ways. The rapper's new project, Daniel Son; Necklace Don, was guaranteed to have some colorful brags on title alone, and now that we've heard it, the project did not disappoint.
With its 2016 freshman cover, XXL anointed four rappers as the princes of hip hop's newest wave: Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Kodak Black, and 21 Savage. Many argued that Playboi Carti should have been included. A case could also have been made for Famous Dex, the exuberant Chicago rapper who recently signed to Rich the Kid's Rich Forever label.
Rappers are constantly taking subliminal shots at one another, but other artists are not the only people involved in rap beefs. The strong personalities of New York radio are constantly getting caught up in heated disagreements with artists, either through their opinions, or direct jabs at artists.
It wasn't until the latter half of the '90s, when he changed labels from Death Row to No Limit, that Snoop Doggy Dogg shortened his name to "Snoop Dogg." Snoop was something of a phenomenon when he arrived on the scene in '92, an ultra laidback, weed-toking Crip steeped in the traditions of George Clinton, a perfect foil for the hardened delivery and slick production of G-funk shaman Dr. Dre.
Like many before him (Rae Sremmurd, Waka Flocka, Metro Boomin), Lil Uzi Vert found that relocating to unofficial rap capital, Atlanta, was the best way to advance his career. The Philly native got his big break back in 2014 when another guy originally from his hometown, DJ Drama, was introduced to him by Don Cannon (also a Philadelphian!).
2016 has been a pretty great year for music, and the summer months have also given us notable albums from YG, ScHoolboy Q, Gucci Mane, and more. Even with all the new music we've been getting lately, there's still a whole lot more to look forward to this summer, and we've decided to give you a brief reminder, specifically of the studio albums that are headed your way in the next two months.
21 Savage's explosion on to the scene in the last 12 months culminated in his latest project Savage Mode, featuring the immaculately curated executive production of Metro Boomin. The tape, a 9-track meditation on 21's remorseless life of crime and vice, marked a coronation of sorts as he formally acquired the title of Atlanta's hottest rapper.
We've been entertained for most of Summer Sixteen by a beef between two of rap's most sensitive MCs, Drake and Joe Budden. Budden, of course, had his peak before Drake had even really established his presence the game. The two seem to, at one time or another, have been fans of each other's work, but Drake's massively-hyped album VIEWS is when things started going south between the two.
Tory Lanez's debut album I Told You is due out August 19. Let's take a moment to look back on Lanez's career to date. Let's explore the stretch from 2010 to 2014, the most crucial years in his maturation as an artist, years that included the stunning mixtape run Sincerely Tory, Conflicts of My Soul, Chixtape 2, & Lost Cause.
Lil Wayne recently cut his set short at a High Times event in California, and anyone who's been following the rapper's career will know it wasn't first time he's walked off stage. If Weezy has a problem with the way a show is going, he has no problem pulling the plug, as we've seen him do a few times now.
Drake revealed at a recent show that he is working on a new mixtape. Hopefully it's a real mixtape and not an album marketed as a mixtape like If You're Reading This It's Too Late, which solid over half a million copies in its first week.
A 22-year-old white dude who resembles Scooby Doo's BFF Shaggy, Murda Beatz has emerged as one of hip hop's most in-demand producers over the course of the last 12 months. Migos, Drake, PartyNextDoor, Jeremih and many more have called upon his ability to cater to the whims and preferred sonic environment of each artist.
A little over 12 months ago, Rich the Kid was sitting in a jail cell. Since his release, he's been on a tear; he's released seven mixtapes, taken Famous Dex under his wing, and networked relentlessly to position himself among hip hop's upper class. Rich is a true hustler. He knows what he wants (money) and he'll stop at nothing to get it.
Whether or not Pokemon Go is a fad or a permanent institution, it has captured the hearts and minds of people around the globe. Rappers are not immune to its powers, and many have taken to the streets on their quest to catch 'em all.
Before A$AP Mob came to power, Harlem was once ruled by a crew known as The Diplomats. Comprised of Cam'ron, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, Freeky Zeekey, and a few other bit players, Dipset parlayed its street tales (of varying levels of glamor) and affinity for sped-up soul samples into a legacy as one of the most iconic rap groups of the '00s.
Gucci Mane's gentle post-prison demeanor took many by surprise and even fueled a conspiracy theory that a Gucci clone had been released and the real Guwop was still in prison.
From lustrous, catchy Late Nights to the private jet sex vibes of Late Nights: The Album to trappy, indulgent Late Nights: Europe, Jeremih has bestowed upon humanity a R&B trilogy that will bask in internet glory forever.
It's Guwop season.
The fiber of the American people has been tested over the course of the last two weeks, in which four incidents of terrible violence have prompted wide-spread protests and rapidly deteriorating race relations. July 5: Alton Sterling is shot and killed at the hands of two police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana