"Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous" turns 20 today! Here are 10 things you may not know about the legendary LP.
Big L is legendary for a few reasons. His punchlines, his freestyles, and his legendary album Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous are the basis to his influence.
South Beach, Miami. A popular partying destination for anyone with money to blow, rappers included. Situated inside the famous Fontainebleau Hotel, LIV has emerged as Miami's premiere club for the rich and famous. When celebrities get together, though, it's not always fun and games, even with the paparazzi looming outside.
The Roots are the greatest hip hop band of all time, hands down. From the streets of Philadelphia to late night TV, they have conquered each and every stage they've graced over their twenty-eighty year career. Questlove is a cultural icon, an authority on hip hop, accomplished author, a real-deal DJ, and elite drummer.
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.
Before he was a Grammy-nominated, OVO-signed sensation, iLoveMakonnen was grinding on the mixtape circuit, never sacrificing his weirdness for power plays. Starting in 2012, his Drink More Water series has been a consistent source of otherworldly jams, and with volume five arriving at the end of the month, we're looking back at highlights from the first four.
As is obvious from the multiple "who??" comments that still somehow show up on pretty much everything we post about Tink, many of you still need to get familiar with one of hip-hop's most talented young stars.
Dame Dash has the twittersphere on a roll right now, thanks to the #TweetLikeDameDash hashtag. It all stemmed from Dame's interview with The Breakfast Club, where he went on this nonsensical tirade about how real men don't have bosses. It came with a whole bunch of other caveats for all the #RealMen out there. Take note, men: Real men don't talk about other men.
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.
When Earl Sweatshirt was just 15, he was rapping about raping nuns and slitting wrists, so it's hard to imagine his lyrics getting any more demented than that. But on his new album, I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside, they do, albeit in a more subtle, depressing way.
Here it is, the once-a-week look at the tracks toward the top of our charts that you need to know about. Keep in mind that these tracks are culled from the very top of our Top 100 and, by their very nature, lean toward more popular artists. This week's selection finds recent cuts from Wale, Ludacris, Kirko Bangz, T-Pain and more.
As Drake said after he concluded his first interview with Nardwuar, a Canadian man who rocks a tartan hat and calls himself the "Human Serviette," "this guy is a legend." There's really no better way to put it: this guy's interviewed everyone from Nirvana to N*E*R*D, and always seems to unearth facts that no other interviewer in the game can.
Auto-tune was something of a taboo in rap, for some it may always be, but for the most part, it's been accepted as a common songwriting tool.
Ty Dolla $ign's ascent to hook master and forefather of RnBass has been a gradual one, to the point that the first time hearing him on record could vary drastically from person to person. The truth is, you could have been hearing Ty's voice and not have even known it, his writing voice that is.
The hype for ASAP Rocky's second album continues to grow, but Flacko's been less forthcoming than most artists when it comes to details. We don't know any of ALLA's rap features, though we know it will feature R&B genre bender FKA Twigs and Swedish pop singer Lykke Li. We also know one of Rocky's main producers, Clams Casino, will be back--and, for now, that's enough to keep us going.
The cover to Action Bronson's new album, Mr. Wonderful, shows an illustration of Bronson spread-eagle perched atop a golden staircase. It's inspired by a scene from the 1988 American kung-fu film Bloodsport, in which the main character sits in the same pose overlooking Hong Kong as he prepares for battle. Indeed, much of Mr. Wonderful is inspired by cinema.
Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly seems to be the new standard bearer for provocative Hip Hop music and its titillating subtext. Found in the underbelly of the Compton bred MC’s verses and choruses are messages varying from infuriating to inspirational - from seductive to scornful.
Skepta is a grime MC from North London. For those who don't know, grime is a form of hip-hop that emerged from the English club scene in the early 2000s. MCs who would hype up the crowd during UK Garage eventually started seeing more and more love when they rhymed. One bar turned to two, two bars turned to eight, and before you know it these MCs were making music based around them.
Isn't it crazy how some rappers just refuse to retire? Take Jay Z for example, he retired about a decade ago and that lasted all of no time at all. It's hard to put down something you truly love, and even though rap is a young man's sport, this list is dedicated to those who hardly age.
Last week was a great one to be a hip-hop fan, but a bad one to be a record label executive. To Pimp A Butterfly has some considering it a classic already, and we have a new Earl Sweatshirt album to look forward to next week. Sony and Interscope may have gotten put on blast, but it's OK: Chris Brown's off probation.
E-40 is still a relevant rapper in 2015, but is everyone aware of this dude's tenure in the game? The 47-year-old rapper has been crushing it since 1990 with his flamboyant style of rapping.
Kendrick Lamar’s latest installment into his discography To Pimp a Butterfly has only been a part of the Hip Hop world less than a week and yet critics, fans, and fellow musicians alike aren’t shying away from heralding it as a modern day classic.
Kendrick Lamar's latest and arguably most impressive effort "To Pimp a Butterfly" is laden with dazzling bars, equipped with illuminating lyrics, all of which marinate in the back of your head like a mind-fuck film might.
Shock value was everything for Odd Future when they were getting started. Whether donning ski masks and performing alongside possessed-looking girls on Jimmy Fallon, detailing ridiculously violent sexual encounters, or mixing seemingly-lethal drug cocktails in their music videos, the L.A. crew first got attention for their antics, in addition to their considerable talents.
Yesterday, we learned that Kanye West would be making an appearance in the upcoming sequel to one of Ben Stiller's best-loved movies: "Zoolander." It won't be the first time Mr. West has shown up in a sequel that Will Ferrell is involved with, and he won't be the first rapper to make a cameo in a "Zoolander" film either (Lil Kim shows up very briefly in the original).
Chancelor Bennett is only 21 years old, but most of us know him as Chance The Rapper. It's through this moniker that he's brought his artistry to the world over the past few years. Not only can the dude rap, but he can join emo bands on stage, spearhead activism in Chicago, and write songs alongside Madonna, J. Cole, Wyclef Jean and more.
In the late 90s, a design firm in Houston, TX called Pen & Pixel defined the aesthetic of Dirty South hip-hop as the genre catapulted its way into the mainstream. The early versions of Photoshop allowed P&P to grab all sorts of images that wouldn't normally--or possibly--be able to fit into the same shot.
XXL Freshmen flop all of the time. They're sort of like first round draft picks in that sense. But what happened to Charles Hamilton after he graced the 2009 cover was a different story entirely: the man all but dropped off the face of the earth.
Before Drake hit the big time, he was another rapper putting out mixtapes trying to get his music out there to the world. (Well, and a Canadian TV star, but that's kind of another story.)
Every March, the relatively small city of Austin, Texas bursts at the seams for a few weeks to host South by Southwest (SXSW), a music, arts and film festival put on in venues around the downtown. Thousands of artists and industry folk alike make the trek down south, and so the festival's schedule is a jam-packed, often chaotic affair.
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.