King Soulja’s latest project comes at the end of July with booming beats, lousy lyrics, and many unanswered questions.
July 30th approached quickly for Soulja Boy. Originally announced as an album, Life After Fame arrived at its release date with little to no hype. Instead of pushing the album back, the “Crank That” rapper delivered a nineteen-track mixtape with zero features. Recent singles “We Ready” and “Ridin’ Round” are nowhere to be found on the tracklist.
After Yelawolf’s first major-label album Radioactive proved to be, well, just that; and failed to meet the standards set by his 2010 mixtape Trunk Muzik, it felt as though - with his second effort Love Story - an explanation or apology was due. He seemingly traded in his trademark mud-coated country roots for pop-pandering.
On Monday night, The Weeknd took on his first ever show at Madison Square Garden, perhaps the most elite venue listed on his fall "Madness" tour, sponsored by his new XO-branded PAX vaporizer. All 18,000 seats began steadily filling up during opening sets by Travi$ Scott and Banks.
People have really been into ranking their all-time top MCs lately. About a year ago, Chris Rock revealed his in the trailer for his film "Top Five": "Jay, Nas, Scarface, Rakim... and then I might let Biggie get in there.
After three studio albums and countless mixtapes, it seems Ace Hood is as determined as ever to prove himself with the release of Trials & Tribulations.
Fifteen years of Shady Records represents an unusual time for rap music, transitioning out of the shiny suit era and into a bubble featuring new names. Aside from D12 and Obie Trice releases, the label’s existence was mostly tied to Eminem signing a certain Queens MC.
The most interesting hip-hop event of the year has been the meteoric rise of Bobby Shmurda, brought on with the Jahlil Beats-produced “Hot Nigga,” the most surprising single in recent history. The accompanying, and now-ubiquitous, Shmoney Dance, choreography actually invented in 2013, has taken over all media mediums, to include white bread TV anchors jamming out.
DJ Khaled has been behind some of the hottest records of the last few years and if there's one thing he's made consistently clear it's that he has a winning formula for hits. This is also his greatest fault. It's never been so clear how one dimensional DJ Khaled's music really is than here on Suffering From Success, the DJ's seventh studio album.
In a hip hop climate that's almost unhealthily focused on trending topics and followers, no one has committed to and excelled in catering to short attention spans like Future and Young Thug.
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.
After a long wait, SURF is finally here. The debut LP from The Social Experiment (aka SOX) is billed as Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment despite the fact that the band’s biggest star is obviously Chance The Rapper. The album features, although they aren’t listed on the iTunes version of the free album, the likes of J.
The first Luca Brasi Story, released last February, put Kevin Gates on the map. Soon after, he quietly inked a partnership with Atlantic and a management deal with Young Money. He put out another excellent mixtape, Stranger Than Fiction, months later, and he’s had a similar 2014 in terms of output: two mixtapes, both excellent.
There are three rappers who blew up in the early 2010s that I've always grouped together in my head, though they do hail from different corners of the country and are some of the most enigmatic artists currently working in hip hop. The categorization's based mostly on first impressions, which is unfair, but also on realizing that those impressions were wrong.
Despite Migos' Yung Rich Nation being the Atlanta rap trio's debut studio album, they're hardly rookies. A plethora of acclaimed mixtapes, BET Award Nominations and superstar collaborations are under their belt. And so for emcees Quavo, Offeset and Takeoff, their first album has epectations other first timers might.
There’s something admirable about truly stepping out on your own, as your own person. You’re leaving behind that helping hand, that “co-sign,” and pursing your dreams, able to stand without the crutch.
We're noticing a pattern here.
More so than any rapping ability, swagginess, or A&R masterminding, the ability to collaborate with a wide range of artists and dabble in various sounds without once straying from his distinct vocal style has been French Montana's greatest strength.
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.
In February of 2012, Pro Era’s Joey Bada$$ and Capital STEEZ dropped the visuals for their collaboration “Survival Tactics,” which quickly went viral. Crowned the future of New York rap, Bada$$ served the perfect blend of youthful, braggadocio-tinged rhymes, and laid-back flows-- not to mention an ear for classic 90s-referencing production that would make Gangstarr proud.
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.
Earl Sweatshirt’s I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Get Outside is a short and moody album. It also happens to be a very focused, quality listen, and possibly the best output we’ve received from the California native. Through bummed-out stoned raps and shoegazing beats, Earl proves to be one of the most talented, albeit depressed, rappers in the game.
Miguel is an R&B artist that not many will argue against. After bursting onto the music scene in 2010 with his debut single and album "All I Want Is You", Miguel has been a casually unstoppable force in music, with hits like "Sure Thing," "Adore," "Quickie," and features like "Lotus Flower Bomb" and "Good Lovin" keeping Miguel in the back of our minds and at the top of our playlists.
In recent history, there’s been a few kinds of rap albums: the long ones and the short ones, those with lots of features and those kept rather personal. A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, and The Social Experiment went with longer listens peppered with tons of flavor from their friends and collaborators.
Every meaningful artist takes a step back at some point in their career to dwell on their achievements and tribulations in an attempt to make sense of everything that’s happened. JAY Z accomplished this feat on wax with The Black Album. Kanye did the same on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, as did Nas on Life Is Good.
In the past year, Willie Maxwell, best known to the world as the one-eyed rapper Fetty Wap, has had one of the most monumental rises in rap in the past few years. Despite being a relative newcomer, the Patterson, NJ-based rapper's debut single "Trap Queen" has become a phenomenal smash hit, the kind that most rappers don't achieve in the ever-segmented radio of the 21st century.
A weird thing happens when an artist gets signed to a major label. It seems, no matter how talented they are, no matter how much their fans are willing to support, debut albums almost always come up short. There have been exceptions, of course. (Logic's Under Pressure being the most recent example.) But, more often than not, the curse of a major label signing is very real.
The average man thinks about sex between one and 388 times per day; Trey Songz isn’t your average man. In his nine years of making music, the twenty-nine-year-old has made it abundantly clear that sex is pretty much all he thinks about. One might even say he invented it. In a way, Songz's one-dimensionality is a gift and curse.
2012’s Don’t Be S.A.F.E. flew under the radar for the hip-hop masses. Aside from smash hits “Female$ Welcomed” and “All Gold Everything”, nobody quite knew the true identity of Trinidad James. Many eyebrows were raised when James inked a deal with Def Jam worth $2 million. Skeptics argued that he would be a one-hit wonder, and fail to live up to expectations.
After a near-decade of hustling, Curren$y has finally landed his prominent role in the rap scene. It wasn’t easy work, but anyone who has watched the New Orleans-native go from Lil Wayne’s sidekick to stoner rap’s most consistent contributor will tell you that much.
In many ways, the early 2000s belonged to Ludacris. Within that time, the rapper was able to cross multiple platforms, making palatable music for varying tastes tinged with his trademark Dirty South sound. He would drop cheeky hit after cheeky hit, with a self serious flow delivered through a cheshire grin - and we all loved him for it.