Does Logic's space journey rocket him to rap's stratosphere?
Something about the current configuration of the major label industry has proven particularly unfair for R&B auteurs. The-Dream has only managed to sputter out inconsistent EPs since his critically adored, commercially underperforming Love (Hate, Vs. Money, and King) trilogy. A similar outcome for Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange has seemingly forced its creator into hermitage.
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.
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.
The rap game is an unforgiving place, all too often. Plenty of talents come and go, getting lost in the shuffle, when there are literally dozens of rappers coming up and burning out in the blink of an eye. Especially in the Los Angeles scene, where a certified talent can have a stellar year but have a hell of a time trying to break on the national circuit.
If traditional "bangers" are what you're looking for, 2015 Young Thug is not your go-to guy. You'd be better off trying some of his other locations, like 1017 Thug or I Came From Nothing 3. Maybe even take a trip on up to Black Portland if you feel so inclined.
In DJ Khaled's eyes, he's the hip hop version of George Clooney in "Ocean's 11": a wily veteran with the connections and know-how necessary to bring together a formidable team of specialists.
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.
Would you believe that Jay Rock has been signed to Top Dawg Entertainment for ten years? They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and apparently TDE wasn’t either, because Anthony Tiffith and his group of MCs have been hacking at this hip hop thing for a while now.
Young Thug is easily one of, if not the most, interesting artist in hip-hop at this moment. The Atlanta born rapper has been all over the hip-hop headlines these past 12 months, for a variety of reasons; some good and some not so good. The latter referring to his oddly constructed "beefs" with the likes of Lil Wayne, The Game, Rich Homie Quan and most recently Plies.
Big K.R.I.T. keeps busy, man.
There has been no artist in our culture that has had a more storied four years than The Weeknd. The Scarborough, Canada native currently sits in a pop music position that he probably never had imagined himself in. When House Of Balloons dropped in March of 2011, no one knew who or what The Weeknd was.
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.
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.
Visibility is the number one law of rap-- if they can’t see/hear/feel you, you don’t actually exist for a lot of people. But the main concern is how do you keep them interested? Tyga is one of those artists who has been cursed with a struggle between visibility and interest.
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.
Despite his notoriety as a pioneer of Southern rap music and lyrical depth, Scarface remains low-key with his legendary status. And reasonably so. There’s a lot going on in the mind of the 44-year-old Geto Boy.
Breakout Chicago emcee Mick Jenkins raps, “With perfect pitch, I’m screaming free my niggas/ polished and purposeful, he’s producing pristine pictures.” These rhymes-- which open “P’s & Q’s,” the eighth track off Jenkins’ latest effort, Wave[s]-- encapsulate both the ethos of this nine track EP, and one of its major shortcomings.
Keith Cozart, best known to the world as rap's enfant terrible Chief Keef, doesn’t do much to imply a typical career is in the cards for him.
Is there anything more startling than hearing a 19 year old kid saying that he doesn't fear death because he's "happy for all the years [he] got to see"? Lil Herb's still around 57 years shy of the average male life expectancy in the U.S., but you don't need to be a super-sleuth to figure out why optimism isn't his strong suit. Hell, you barely even have to listen to his music.
Ever since Casey Veggies stepped onto the rap scene back in 2007, he's been stuck in the middle. Despite his diehard fans and devout supporters who may rank him higher out of bias, in the eyes of the larger hip-hop listenership, Veggies has always been placed in a middle tier, stuck in a sort of hip-hop limbo, neither advancing nor retreating.
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.
Seven years after Wale released his blazing Mixtape About Nothing, he’s released The Album About Nothing. His alternative hip hop style has come a long way in the time since; he’s inked a deal with Rick Ross, had a #2 album with Ambition, and a #1 album with The Gifted.
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.
I first saw Vince Staples through his baby picture, the artwork to his breakout mixtape, Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1, was floating down my Tumblr feed in 2011. However, it wasn’t until I was listening to Earl Sweatshirt’s Doris, that I was blown away listening to Vince completely slaughter the outro of “Hive,” and from there on anything else I heard him on.
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