RiFF RAFF bucks conventions, gets weird on "NEON iCON."
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.
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.
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.
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.
To answer the above question, yes, mostly. His recent headlines alone show that there’s something to Nipsey Hussle, and we do get a glimpse of what that 'something' may be in Crenshaw. Overall, the tape is a good listen and a sound effort.
Lloyd Banks' pedigree as an ill emcee speaks for itself at this point. During G-Unit’s active days, Banks was widely considered the best pure spitter in the group. Very little has changed in that regard; if anything Banks' career since the early 2000s has distinguished him as one of the most technically savvy rappers out. F.N.O. (Failure's No Option) only makes it easier to argue the case.
Action Bronson’s new album is a bid to be considered the funniest man in hip hop. A week after Kendrick Lamar’s album has the entire culture debating race, politics, and society, Mr. Wonderful reminds us that sometimes rap can also be about wicked-funny punch lines and ridiculous one-liners as much as it can attempt to impact culture itself.
After a number of impressive leaks, Dizzy Wright, drops his highly anticipated mixtape, The Golden Age. This is the Sin City representative's fifth street album in total, the tape is the follow-up to the free version of SmokeOut Conversations, which was released in June 2012, and comes on the heels of last December's Booth-hosted The First Agreement EP.
Migos’ style is something like a basketball point guard. The person at the position doesn’t need to master every aspect of the game and probably won’t — rebounding just isn’t his thing. But the person’s shortcomings are hidden by how exceedingly good he is or has to be in a few other skills, whether it’s ball handling or calling plays.
Rick Ross and the Maybach Music Group have taken their time with Stalley. Signed in 2011, the same year as Meek Mill and Wale (who were almost immediately launched in to mainstream eyes), the MC is just getting a proper debut album released.
Fame is a helluva drug for any celebrity. For some, it's a way of giving voice to a worthy cause. For others, it's a license to do and say whatever they feel or pursue any artistic path they choose. With The Weeknd, fame could be downright scary.
After months of anticipation, Chief Keef finally released Bang Pt. 2 on his 18th birthday, August 15th. Bang Pt. 2 is Sosa’s first project following the release of his major-label debut album Finally Rich, and much has happened since that time.
Joell Ortiz changed this album’s title from Yaowa, basically because this is him at his most comfortable. In Hip Hop, getting too comfortable can sometimes lead to a decline in effort due to loss of hunger. Anyone familiar with Joell Ortiz would probably find it hard to imagine him not putting effort into a project, comfortable or not.
After a bit of silence in the mainstream rap world, Twista is back at it again with his Don Cannon hosted mixtape, Reloaded. He definitely didn’t disappoint as he dropped a ton of new material to hold us over until his album The Dark Horse hits stores. In total there are 15 tracks on the mixtape, mostly original with some remixes.
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.
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.
Montana’s latest mixtape, which released November 20th, is a project that suffers many of the ills that plague mass appeal works. Mileage will vary by entire degrees here. For better or worse, Mac and Cheese 3 is a testament to the shift in rap culture toward more niche work. For all of that, the mixtape itself straddles the fence; it isn’t terrific or terrible.
Tyga has been a very busy man. After banking more than a few racks after his massively successful 2011 strip club banger "Rack City", Tyga (aka Michael Ray Nguyen-Stevenson) has showed no signs of slowing down.
Meek Mill has been through hell and back. He’s only 26-years-old but on the streets, age-wise that makes him a veteran. Growing up in the gritty, unforgiving city of Philadelphia, Meek, real name Robert Williams, fell into the same trap that a lot of his friends and many others in his age group that grew up in the same type of environment.
Get Home Safely, Dom Kennedy’s second studio album and follow up to last year's Yellow Album, demonstrates Dom Kennedy’s unique ability to weave highly accessible stories into his lyrics without compromising intelligibility. Actually, it’s not a trait unique to him. Artists like Slick Rick, Snoop and Nas are known for this same technique.
For some reason or another, my timeline has recently been bombarded with a ton of Tweets and Instagram posts claiming that the Migos are better than The Beatles. As most logical rap fans can attest, there are definitely better ways to champion the trio as leaders of this new school in rap than to compare them with arguably the greatest group in the history of popular music.
In the era of Yeezus Christ and King Kendrick, it's easy to fall into the mindset that every hip-hop album should be an experiment in pushing hip-hop forward. Every track should ooze with idealism and what's new. This feeling goes double for mixtapes. Freed from the binds of needing to make something that is commercially viable, rappers are able to let their wildest experiments roam.
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.
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.
In the 1990s, jazz-influenced rap was much more abundant than it is today. A Tribe Called Quest were sampling the classics, Gang Starr were churning out albums that did the same, and the likes of De La Soul and Digable Planets were also melting the music of yesteryear with the sound of the future.
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.
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.
Drake’s highly anticipated sophomore album “Take Care” was officially released today...but most likely you’ve been listening to it for the past week if you downloaded the leak, nonetheless now that it’s official let’s discuss it.
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.
Last year in March, Kid Ink reached a big milestone for a new artist: his single “Show Me” featuring Chris Brown went double Platinum.