"The Life Of Pablo" has made me totally reconsider how I view Kanye West.
Around the time the Graduation came out, I developed a philosophy for media consumption that I called the “Kanye rule.” Its premise was simple: judge art only for the contents within, not for the extraneous actions of the artist.
When Drake released his newest mixtape, If You're Reading This It's Too Late, a few days ago, it took the internet by storm. Falling in line with Jay Z, Kanye and Beyoncé before him, he dropped it almost completely out of the blue, with no real warning.
J. Cole has come a long way from rapping about how to get up off the sideline. Three albums in, with 2014 Forest Hills Drive, the “God” is home. The Fayetteville, North Carolina native composed an honest, nostalgic album without any apologies. Cole typically plays it safe, straddling the fence of a conscious rapper who can still create commercial hits and enjoy a good romp in the bed.
In terms of rappers from different area codes that join forces for a mixtape, Drake and Future are one of the strangest pairs we've seen in a minute.
After dominating the majority of the most recent millennium, Free Weezy Album marks Lil Wayne's first foray into generating music without the safety net of the Cash Money Records machine that helped make him. More than that, it’s Weezy’s first opportunity to air a slew of infamous grievances, whether it be his fallout with Birdman or new beefs.
When listening to the two nearly 80-minute-long discs that The Game has released in the past week, it doesn't take long to realize that they're both very good albums. The Documentaries 2 and 2.5 both have high-profile guests who deliver, excellent tributes to Compton, and surprising arrays of beats, which is more than you'd expect from a whopping two and a half hours
Throughout the years Kanye West has transcended hip hop and has made music of his own kind. A hybrid of many sounds and ideas, Yeezus is an ambition expansion of West’s sound palette. Introducing news soundscapes and textures, the album has a completely new sound for the artist, and is a complete disregard for the rules of hip hop and music and because of it, it works.
The Game is a man of contradictions. His long-awaited follow-up to 2005's The Documentary begins with the Compton rapper hopping out of his car to bust some heads, and ends with a cheery hook sung by will.i.am and Fergie that sounds like it belongs in a Mary Kate & Ashley movie set in Los Angeles.
Everything about The Barter 6 is enigmatic.Firstly there's its author, Young Thug. The septum-pierced, face-tattooed Atlantian emcee seemingly came out of nowhere just a few years ago, quickly earning endorsements from the likes of Kanye West, Drake, Gucci Mane, and an apparent apprenticeship with Birdman.
Future has been overwhelming us lately, yet he still remains in-demand. Despite giving us back-to-back releases of three monstrous mixtapes (Beastmode, Monster and 56 Nights), the streets were literally salivating when news broke that he was dropping Dirty Sprite 2.
Every rapper that can be considered in the G.O.A.T. debate eventually hits a wall. This drop-off point comes for everyone and leads their stans to add qualifiers to their respective "best all time" arguments, "Of course, I'm talking about Jay-Z from Reasonable Doubt to Black Album, Eminem pre-Encore, etc."
Meek Mill’s new album sounds like the Apocalypse. Not the actual, devastating end-of-days, but the cinematic equivalent we’ve come to expect from our summer blockbusters: a free-wheeling, no-stakes madhouse of destruction complete with swelling strings, chanting choirs and Earth-shaking war drumbeats that could bring a tear to Clint Mansell’s eye.
Listening to Chris Brown records is a bit more involved an activity than ingesting your average pop album. Listeners are required to constantly do mental arithmetic, weighing variables like catchiness and artistic merit to determine if their need to listen > the knowledge that Chris Brown has done some heinous things and your listens are enabling him, albeit in a very small way.
Twenty-five-year-old Logic, the author of four buzzworthy mixtapes and, now, with the release of The Incredible True Story and the Transformation of the Man Who Saved the World, two studio LPs, is clearly equipped with immense talent. His first studio effort, Under Pressure, was good enough to put Logic himself under pressure.
Of all of Lil Wayne's post-Hot Boys frequent collaborators, 2 Chainz was the best choice to tap for a joint album. Who else fits so effortlessly alongside him? Like Father Like Son is certainly an underrated relic of the past, but you'd be hard-pressed to convince anyone that Birdman could ever hang with Weezy lyrically, at any point in either of their careers.
As one of the most significant rappers of the past decade, for better or worse, Kid Cudi's stamp on the genre has been inescapable. I mean, lets face it, Kanye's last 3 albums have not only featured that man in some right, but they've also had Cudi's fingerprints all over.
For over fifteen years fans of Dr. Dre awaited the follow-up to 2001. Detox was rumored to drop basically every year that followed, but was ultimately sidelined as Dre turned his attention to Eminem and 50 Cent, and later, the success of Beats headphones.
In the last two years between his last album and now, Rick Ross has been through a lot, including surviving a targeted hit on his life. Critics bashed God Forgives, I Don’t and many wondered if Ross had peaked too soon and lost his touch. After numerous setbacks and delays, the bawse is back with his sixth album to prove that he’s a man with nine lives and a rapper with hits for days.
It’s been a long road to the top for Big Sean. Back in 2005 after hearing Kanye West was going to be at a local radio station in Detroit for an interview, Big Sean headed down there to chance fate. Two years later he signed with G.O.O.D. Music but it wasn’t until 2011 that his debut album Finally Famous would hit the shelves.
B-sides, bonus tracks, and outtakes are usually released to show us the sides of artists that we don't get on their standard commercial projects.
In some ways, Future’s in the most difficult position in hip hop right now. After a year-long, nearly unimpeachable run, everyone expects nothing but brilliance.
After announcing his retirement via a poem the other night, Kobe Bryant took the court to face the Indiana Pacers for the second-to-last time in his career. He alternated between flashes of brilliance and moments that made his decision seem logical, ending up with a 13-point performance that was far cry from his glory days, but respectable for your run-of-the-mill NBA starter.
Probably not as Finally Rich falls short of the hype surrounding it.Finally Rich certainly does have an allure to it. Keef’s undeniable talent for catchy hooks and his ability to transmute energy to sound is appealing. Plain and simple. However, this appeal is primal, subliminal.
Although none of his albums have really been critical hits, Kid Cudi’s main appeal is using outside, atypical influences and sounds to articulate some sort of emotional journey into the tortured soul.
Travi$ Scott has been the figure of some controversy for a myriad of reasons. Number one, he appears to have a reputation for being a dick, but that's actually not anything new to rap. He's also been known to bite styles, which is yet another familiar trope. But, perhaps above all, is the fact that both Grand Hustle and G.O.O.D.
After 2013’s wildly successful good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar had an opportunity that very few artists ever receive. For his third album, he could have continued to make tracks like the wavy “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”, the hook-laden “Fuckin’ Problem", or the festival-banging “m.A.A.d city”, and still had a top-selling album.
During a recent interview with Larry King, Mac Miller stated that GO:OD AM -- his major label debut under Warner Bros. -- was intended to be a departure from the "darker and sad" vibes of his previous record, Watching Movies with the Sound Off. GOD:DAMN. Mac was right on the money.
An important facet of memorable groups throughout hip-hop history is chemistry: the dynamics every member brings to the table is an essential part of a group's success. Black Hippy's rise to the top has been so prevalent and quick because each of their four main members - Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar - each bring something radically different to what the crew represents.
As time continues to edge its way further, a rapper's career seems to warp underneath the passing moments. For some, greater success or second stages have come to them only after years of hard work. Others have stagnated, or maybe the years have just caught up to the reality of their talent.
A$AP Rocky’s relatively short career in the rap game has been one filled with high praise. His debut mixtape, Live.Love.A$AP, received exponential buzz solely off the strength of “Purple Swag,” and it was more so off the strength of the visual, which went viral (visuals have become a key component to Rocky’s career).