"Souled Out" features songstress Jhene Aiko bravely stretching out on her own, for which she should be commended. However, the album's lack of diversity and dynamism, in overall production, nullifies Aiko's magnetism to a considerable extent.
Dijon McFarlane, aka DJ Mustard, is a Los Angeles born and raised producer of seemingly all of the most important tracks you’ve heard over the past year. While that statement is obvious hyperbole, his influence on the rap stratosphere is not, and cannot be overstated.
As a member of the Cool Kids, Sir Michael Rocks helped pioneer the current “cool kid” rap and fashion swag, since borrowed by a number of your favorite artists. They were the next big thing, even featured in a nationally aired Rhapsody commercial, with future star Sara Bareilles.
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.
A mostly levelheaded veteran who’s open about his distant relationship with Chicago, Common is the only 30-plus rapper who could’ve made a Nobody’s Smiling.
The North Carolina-born and Georgia raised singer-songwriter and producer set out to pay homage to hip hop and his Southern roots on the follow up to his 2013 album, IV Play. Sonically, more like the follow up to his first free release, 1977, which was released under his government name, Terius Nash in 2011 and rereleased by Def Jam for commercial sale the following year.
B.o.B. is one of those artist that currently stands in a grey area: he's attained mainstream success thanks to catchy tunes, but he's also a seasoned rapper, and finds himself balancing between full-out pop music and more hardened hip-hop. So who are his main fans, the picky hip-hop heads or the avid radio listeners? On No Genre 2 he makes a plea for both.
The average man thinks about sex between one and 388 times per day; Trey Songz isn’t your average man. In his nine years of making music, the twenty-nine-year-old has made it abundantly clear that sex is pretty much all he thinks about. One might even say he invented it. In a way, Songz's one-dimensionality is a gift and curse.
Ab-Soul is a complex artist. The Carson, California native and Top Dawg Entertainment signee has overcome a number of major tribulations throughout the course of his life. And while all artists experience ups-and-downs that become points of growth for them as people while shaping the music they create, Ab-Soul's ups-and-downs are unique to most.
Today marks the culmination of the strangest rap career genesis this country’s ever seen, one that has included an MTV reality show, a hip-hop trio name Three Loco, OG Ron C, a Harmony Korine film, a slew of investigative articles and perhaps most importantly, about as much hate as the internet can muster.
On Animal Ambition, 50 Cent returns to the old street-ready sound that made him a household name back in 2003. Unfortunately, a lot has changed in hip-hop since 50’s debut. With the rise of Kanye West (or more particularly 808s & Heartbreak), the genre has become more emotive—more artistically diverse and interesting.
Even while behind bars, Gucci Mane has proved that he can produce quality music no matter where he is. His newest mixtape, also available on iTunes, Brick Factory Vol.1, is assumed as one of several compilations to follow, and the series is off to an impressive start.
Like any Wiz project, there will be a wide variety of opinions on 28 Grams, ranging from exuberant praise to vitriolic disdain.
In the hip-hop industry, there are four kinds of artists: those who have crossover appeal, those who don’t, those who choose not to, and those who shouldn’t. Slaughterhouse, as a collective and as solo members, simply shouldn’t.
It only took one day for Iamsu!’s debut album, Sincerely Yours, to reach iTunes’ top album charts, a feat which is, quite frankly, surprising. Though the album is not a flop, it’s not a work of artistic genius either. There is nothing about this album that differentiates it from his previous seven albums, and many of the songs on it sound alike.
Have you ever seen the viral video of Susan Boyle performing for the first time on Britain’s Got Talent? A superficially unattractive older woman walks out onto the stage to perform a song before hundreds of people and four judges. Before she even gets an opportunity to sing, the crowd is halfway out their seats with laughter. Then she opened her mouth and silenced all haters.
I don’t believe there’s a single person on Earth who saw Tity Boi becoming a national superstar. From background appearances in old Ludacris music videos to becoming a one hit wonder as a part of Playaz Circle to having the number one hip-hop album in the country, the rapper formerly known as Tauheed Epps is an incredible example of what hard work and dedication can do.
In his “Essays on the Intellectual Powers of a Man,” Thomas Reid made the claim that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. When the philosopher said this in the 1700s, the concept of a compilation album (or an “album” for that matter) was hundreds of years away and yet the words could not apply more appropriately.
It's fair to presume that some hip-hop fans have slept on Asher Roth over the years. Some still associate him only with his 2009 platinum-selling hit "I Love College". If you find yourself in this category, it's time to recognize one of the best lyrical, smooth-flowing rappers in the game.
Defining a “classic” is no easy task. The first factor is obviously the quality of the music. Here we ask the basic questions: Are there any unnecessary tracks? Does the production impress without outshining the lyrics? The usual surface stuff that’s easy to assess on two full listens. After the surface level is cleared, an album has to separate itself from the pack.
Future is lightyears ahead of his time. Since touching down in 2012 with his Epic Records debut album Pluto, the Freeband Gang founder has continued hustling as an artist. The sloppy, melodic flow Future introduced on Pluto has been used by virtually every trapper who’s poppin’ today, and U.O.E.N.O. it.
2014 has been quite the year for debut albums thus far. Already, we’ve seen debut studio LPs from Cali artists Kid Ink, ScHoolboy Q, and YG. Now, about a year after he first splashed into mainstream Hip-hop/R&B, New Orleans singer August Alsina delivers his Def Jam debut album, Testimony.
Smoke DZA fans have seen the Harlem rapper’s growth from his last few projects. He went from hard-hitting straight-laced lyrics in George Kush Da Button to a street storyteller in Rugby Thompson. Back with the long awaited and highly anticipated Dream.ZONE.Achieve, DZA sets out to prove that he has a lot more to talk about than just marijuana.
After his recent split with Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy Records and Interscope on March 19, King Los has stepped it up quickly and released his latest mixtape, Zero Gravity II. He had first signed with the label back in 2005.
With Waka Flocka Flame’s newest album set to come out later this year, the Atlanta rapper has released a mixtape to hold us all over in the meantime. The tape, Re-Up features all-star collabs and on-point production.
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