The proud Harlem-native puts on for his city with this classic New York hip-hop EP.
Call him Steve-O. The Cleveland Wild Boy is back with his new mixtape, Black Flag. Featuring all original music, the free album is more or less a gift to his dedicated EST fanbase. This project comes not too long after Machine Gun Kelly’s debut studio album, Lace Up, which released in October of last year. Nevertheless, MGK certainly didn’t rush the making of his latest mixtape.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Tech N9ne has been in the rap game for well over two decades but he flew under mainstream’s radar for much of his career. Shooting off lyrics with the speed of an automatic weapon, he earned a legion of fans through relentless tours to small cities in the heartland of the country.
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.
Releasing two full length albums in one year is a rare feat most rappers will never accomplish, but in a sense, it's really nothing new for Rick Ross, who yesterday released Hood Billionaire, his second solo album of the year. The rapper has been dropping albums, along with mixtapes that have been considered to be as good as albums, within months of each other for years now.
June 18th might as well have been Christmas Day for hip-hop fans. Kanye West’s highly anticipated album Yeezus finally hit the shelves. Determined to go against one of the heavyweights of rap, J. Cole decided to move up his sophomore album Born Sinner to compete with West.
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.
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.
When Royce da 5’9” and DJ Premier announced that they’d be making an entire project together, hip-hop heads everywhere got excited. Premier is a legendary figure in hip-hop and Royce is widely revered for his ability to spit quality bars. With three years having passed since Royce’s last project, he’s still managed to remain active with work related to Slaughterhouse and Shady.
Lucki Eck$ is one of the more interesting figures in today's rap scene. He may not have a "Trap Queen" under his belt, but with a unique sound, a few solid mixtapes, and no shortage of music videos, the 19-year-old rapper has built an image that his devoted fanbase can't get enough of.
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.
On paper, stone cold gangster Freddie Gibbs and alt-hop producer Madlib have little in common. But after releasing several highly enjoyable EPs beginning in 2011, it quickly became apparent that the duo were capable of vibing off one another.
YG first popped up on the radar with the 2009 song "Toot It And Boot It" featuring Ty Dolla $ign. While he was locked up serving a six-month sentence for a parole violation stemming from a home invasion, the Compton native saw the song steadily climb the Billboard charts. Once YG was released, he had several label options, eventually signing with Def Jam.
Rich Homie Quan dominated the summer with his smash single “Type of Way.” The song made its way onto the Billboard chart and helped catapult the Atlanta rapper’s career (and bank account) into a new stratosphere.
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.
It's no secret that hip-hop at large is lacking in original content. If the music isn't about money, it's about sex; if it's not about sex, it's about who's the hardest (no pun intended); if not who's hardest, it's about hip-hop itself. It's in this musical landscape that a label like Tech N9ne's Strange Music is needed the most.
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.
Critics are always fighting conflicting urges. On the one hand, there's the need to be objective and evaluate each work on its own merits. On the other, there's the desire to fit each new release from an artist into an over-arcing career narrative. The trick is to find a balance between the two.
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.
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