The hottest 15 beats of 2015.
Drums are to a rap song what shoes are to an outfit. Even the flyest of threads are rendered whack if paired with white Asics. Conversely, a tuxedo T-shirt and basketball shorts has great potential, if paired with Griffey high tops.
As one of the great emcees of all time, Nas has released 11 studio albums over the course of his career. His debut, Illmatic, is almost unanimously considered one of greatest rap records ever made. Upon hearing any one of the album's 10 tracks, "classic" is the first that comes to mind.
Terrence Thornton, better known as Pusha T, was one half of the group Clipse and enjoyed a ton of success in hip-hop in the early 2000s along with his brother Malice, who made up the other half of the duo. After Malice took a step back from Music, Pusha T took the opportunity to explore the solo lane and put out music on his own.
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but not everyone is flattered when Weird Al Yankovic decides to make their hit song into a caricature. The 54-year-old funny man has spent the better part of three decades taking some of pop’s biggest hits and making them into parodies that touch on subjects ranging from television to tattoos to trash day.
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").
The chemistry between Wayne and Drake is surreal. Even though Drake is considered Lil Wayne’s protégé, he has diligently worked his way up to his boss’ level and might have even superseded him. Regardless, when Tune and Drizzy collide on a record, they always produce the best music together. Their catalog is longer than Anthony Davis’ wingspan.
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.
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.
Future's DS2 album just dropped, and you probably spent all weekend taking in the rap/R&B hybrid in. If you paid attention, in any capacity, you probably noticed the drug references peppered in just about each and every song. Of course, lean is what gave the album its title, but there is tons of coke, molly, weed, and prescription pills in these tracks.
Most people know of the male heavyweights in hip-hop who have inhabited the streets and hoods of hip-hop's birthing place, New York City, since the onsets of their careers. They constantly make references to their stomping grounds in their tracks, paying homage to their homies through shout outs, making sure they never take for granted where they came from.
North Carolina's Patrick Douthit isn't like most hip-hop stars. He's uninterested with chains, fame, cars, clothes and objectifying women. He's concerned with honoring classic soul music through his sample-based hip-hop beats. That has been enough to catch the attention of Jay Z, Beyonce, De La Soul, Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Erykah Badu and many more.
Valentine's Day can be rather annoying in reality, with roses, teddy bears, and cards being shoved in our faces.
The pitcher's mound is a stage, a very different stage from the one rappers and singers are accustomed to standing upon. The ceremonial first pitch is ostensibly a celebration, and throwing the ball 60 feet in a particular direction may not seem like much of a challenge. But much can go wrong.
Now that 50 Cent and Diddy are two of the richest men in the industry, they conduct their beef via vodka wars, with 50 Cent putting his Effen up against Diddy's Ciroc. With millions of dollars at stake, they both dedicate a substantial portion of their social media posts to pimping vodka, and the primary vehicle by which they both promote their brand and keep the beef alife is Instagram.
At a 90059 listening party in LA over the weekend, Jay Rock revealed that the album would feature a brand new Black Hippy posse cut called "Vice City." There hasn't been such a collaboration since 2013's "U.O.E.N.O.
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.
Many emcees (especially those in the limelight) display an appreciation for the finer things in life, and art is no exception. Although a less common source of inspiration, you will catch the occasional fine art reference in rap music, Jay Z's "Picasso Baby" being only the most recent example.
Yesterday, Wiz Khalifa previewed a collaboration with TM88 of 808 Mafia that will appear on Rolling Papers 2, the sequel to his 2011 album Rolling Papers. There's no word yet on when RP2 will arrive, but Wiz has released four songs in the past six weeks and they all bode well: Mike Will-produced "Burn Slow," "No Social Media" feat.
Kid Cudi has been a bit of a WTF story over the past few years. Mr. Rager exploded onto the scene with a couple of mixtapes and a couple solid albums, some that people may even call classics of the 2010 era. He caught the attention of Kanye West and Jay Z while appealing to the indie crowd with MGMT samples. At one point, he was destined to be the next greatest thing in rap music.
Authors like Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Terry McMillan have proven that black lit can make for great film. From period pieces and horror movies to dramas and provocative thrillers, the growing popularity of these releases demonstrates that films with predominantly black casts, or black leads, can still appeal to the masses.
Although the initial critical reception to the 1983 movie "Scarface" was pretty mixed, with plenty of harsh reviews, it has since gone on to not only become a rapper favorite, but cement itself as a classic. Although it was panned so hard by critics, it turned out to be a box office smash.
Social media can be a dangerous place for the rich and famous. Not only can you severely damage your reputation with your own posts on Twitter and Instagram, but you also have to worry about what others might share about you on their own profiles. Hooking up with people becomes a lot easier and a lot more difficult when you reach a certain level of success.
"Why the fuck would I have a bodyguard, if I look just like the mother fucking bodyguard" - Action Bronson What is it about Action Bronson that makes people want to hop on stage during his shows?
In the age of the internet it seems everybody can be a rapper, or at least make a feeble attempt at so doing. It may seem hard to find real talent with the game cluttered by generic, wanna-be, or insignificant rappers.
They say that rappers want to be athletes and athletes want to be rappers. For no one is this axiom more true than Drake.
Kaytranada, real name Louis Kevin Celestin, was born in 1992 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After relocating to Montreal, Quebec as a toddler, Kaytranada began DJing at age 14. His brother introduced him to producing software at the age of 15, putting him on a slow-burning path to success.
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.
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.
Today, The Game became the first major rapper to chime in on the controversy between Lil Wayne and Young Thug. He had to choose Blood over Blood, and, unsurprisingly, chose Carter over Barter, and warned Thugga not to step foot anywhere in the Golden State.
We are approaching the end of the #HOTNEW14 roll out and year-end round up. Mixtapes are an essential part of the rap game and the mixtape game is stronger than ever, thanks to the accessibility the internet provides, as well as rappers giving zero fucks when it comes to industry politics, and putting out some of their best work for free. We can't shake our heads at that.