We've put together 10 of our own pitches for the 2015 XXL Freshman Issue.
Here it is, the once-weekly 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 ppopular artists. We still think these tracks are worthy of your attention, but if you need a look at artists you may have missed, take a look at Underrated Audio.
Last year, Waka Flocka Flame seemed to be more focused on bar-for-bar lyricism than bellowing on top of gargantuan trap beats, releasing the ironically-titled I Can't Rap Vol. 1 last summer as a culmination of a freestyle series.
Jay Electronica is a strange cat. The New Orleans-born MC now resides in London, where very few rappers decide to claim home.
Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and instantly bursted into uncontrollable laughter? Raised your eyebrow? Scratched your head? Instantly smiled? Thought, "Damn. That's dope."? Stared at your phone? Did an instant repost? HNHH is sure you've answered yes to at least one of those questions.
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.
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.
Last month we took a look at Nate Dogg's dopest features, but the late legend put out some incredible work of his own too. We felt it was only right to take a look at 10 originals Nate Dogg put out, including ones released by 213, his group with Snoop Dogg and Warren G.
We've reached a day and age when a new Kanye West interview is an event in and of itself. Thanks in part to his iconic "George Bush hates black people" quip in 2005 and a pair of headline-worthy outbursts two years ago, Mr.
Yesterday, we learned that Donald Glover might not be calling himself Childish Gambino for much longer. As that's the only rap name we know him by, this came as a bit of a shock, but it's far from the first surprising move of his career.
Here it is, our weekly rundown of the best of our Top 20. Please keep in mind this list was culled from the top of our charts, so more popular artists are more likely to be represented. For a look at under-the-radar tracks, check out Underrated Audio.
In an Atlanta currently populated with colorful stars such as Migos, Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug and Rome Fortune, Peewee Longway tends to slip under the radar. He's not as prolific as his peers, has yet to score a big radio hit and had the misfortune of being signed to 1017 Records just as Gucci Mane went away to prison, all of which make him less visible to the public.
Whether they're teaming up against Drake on Hot 97 or popping bottles together in the club, Chris Brown and Tyga have had quite the bromance going for a number of years now.
Big Sean has always been a gifted wordsmith. Puns, metaphors, similes--you name it. On occasion, though, he's been guilty of reaching: "ass-quake, ass-tate, ass-tray..." He's better than that. And on Dark Sky Paradise he proves it. Lyrically, this is Sean's deepest work, but he doesn't ditch the wordplay games. In fact, some of these bars are his wittiest ever.
Waking up isn't always easy. Why would anyone want to leave the comfort of their warm bed to enter out in to the world? It almost doesn't make sense when you think about it. But we all have responsibilities, and we can't waste our entire lives away sleeping!
Hype Williams may have only directed four videos in 2014, but that doesn't mean we can't all remember a time when every dope hip-hop video seemed to have Hype's fingerprints on it. Countless legendary MCs collaborated with Hype Williams, including the likes of Jay Z, Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Busta Rhymes and A Tribe Called Quest, and also R&B stars like Blackstreet, Aaliyah, Usher and Mary J.
Talib Kweli is one of Brooklyn's many great MCs. In 1998 he linked up with fellow Brooklynite Mos Def for the lone Black Star LP, a record that is still influencing rappers today.
On 2009's "Successful," a young Drake rapped, "Diss me, you’ll never hear a reply for it," creating somewhat of a mission statement for his career from there on out. In a way, those words were accurate, as Drizzy rarely (if ever) calls out anyone by name in his music, but more accurately, he's become known as the king of the sneak diss, the sultan of the subliminal shot.
The rap game is all about your aesthetic. What you do, how you do it, how you look and how you market yourself are all a massive factor in a successful career. Some rappers take their aesthetic to the next level, creating something completely unique out of their brand.
If it weren't for the weird for-pay nature of Drake's new "mixtape" then all five of these tracks would come from the 6 God. That's not to say the rest of the week was terrible. Our Top 100 chart contained a number of notable tracks.
Were it not for Juicy J, "ratchet" would not be nearly as popular a term as it currently is.
We know you're probably sick of all the year-end lists from last year, but we're already in the second month of 2015, and we're hypothesizing who will get their big break in the coming months. This time last year, Bobby Shmurda came across a particularly fiery Jahlil Beats production on YouTube. Months later, iLoveMakonnen would see Drake remixing his song on Instagram.
Hailing from Gary, Indiana, Freddie Gibbs moved to Los Angeles in 2006 after he signed to Interscope Records. Things didn't work out with Interscope and Gibbs inked a deal with Young Jeezy's CTE label. Things didn't work out there either, but with the help of Madlib, Freddie Gibbs was on the tip of everyone's tongue last year, and founded his own imprint, ESGN.
"The crown is still mine cause I drop ill rhymes." Big L, Rest In Peace. On February 15, 1999, one of the game's illest and most acclaimed lyricists, Lamont "Big L" Coleman, was gunned down in Harlem, the city he repped his entire life. He was only 24 years old.
The Weeknd rose up as a largely anonymous kid from Toronto who released three epic mixtapes in 2011. March, August and December each held a release date for this dude who was mixing sounds of electronica, hip-hop, dubstep, R&B, downtempo and soul in a way that had never been done before.Well, it worked.
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