Surprising calm in a career maelstrom.
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.
Seriously, is there a more versatile rap star than Snoop Dogg? Name another rapper who has done full albums of reggae, funk and rap over the last 5 years alone. Or an MC who’s released music on Death Row, No Limit, Star Trak, Mad Decent, and Stones Throw. Or one who’s released albums with Wiz Khalifa, toured with Korn, and acted alongside Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.
Tech N9ne, who has accrued nearly three decades in the rap-game, has made a career out of dancing between the mainstream and underground universes. Admired by his fans for his consistency and his abstract approach to the genre, the Missouri MC's cocktail of freakshow world mixed with club-worthy finesse is something that has become expected out of each N9ne discography installment.
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).
In line with the recent (and awesome) trend of surprise albums, Tyler, the Creator announced Cherry Bomb just a few days prior to its April 13th digital release. The album’s single, “Fucking Young,” along with its attached snippet of the record's opening track, “Deathcamp,” showed a Tyler who is wearing his N.E.R.D.
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.
Joey Bada$$ is a young Brooklyn emcee who was influenced by those who came before him from his region, the same way most young rappers from any region show clear influence from those who came before them in their region.
Ludacris is a veteran in the game. Lyrics, beats, hit songs, a unique style; over his 10-plus year career he has obviously shown why he has been one of the most respected and successful stars in hip hop.
"Playing with your parts hopping in and out the friendzone..." Father really ain’t shit, y'all. He went on tour, dropped this chill ass 12-track album appropriately titled Who's Gonna Get Fucked First? on the interwebs last week, and did not run any of this by me...'cause we were totes besties back in two years from now.
2014 may be remembered as one of the weakest years for rap in recent memory, but there were, however, some definite highlights, especially when it came to newcomers. Bobby Shmurda had one of last year’s biggest rap records, DeJ Loaf had one of last year’s most remixed rap records and Young Thug was one of last year’s most talked about rap artists (even if for all of the wrong reasons).
When Young Money released their We Are Young Money album four years ago, they were undeniably the hottest team in hip-hop. Lil Wayne's army was young and hungry, as artists like Tyga and Nicki Minaj had yet to develop into superstars. Veterans such as Mystikal and Busta Rhymes have since joined the Young Money militia, though have failed to make a lasting impact with the group.
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.
Kid Ink may have suddenly rose to popularity with the 2012 catchy hit “Time of Your Life” but the California rapper has been at it longer than that. Releasing his first mixtape in 2010, Kid Ink, real name Brian Collins, gained a slew of fans with his laid-back style and blend of singing and rapping.
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.
T-Pain dropped his new mixtape at the end of last week. After keeping busy with three mixtapes and four studio records in less than a decade, T-Pain went dark with no releases since 2012, until now.
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.
Since 1993, Sean “Diddy” Combs has always kept his finger on the pulse of trends in hip-hop music. When he founded Bad Boy, he assembled a roster that included one of the greatest rappers of all time. Never one to rest on his laurels, Diddy continued to reinvent his label to stay current with the time.
Last year in March, Kid Ink reached a big milestone for a new artist: his single “Show Me” featuring Chris Brown went double Platinum.
Immediately following Touchdown 2 Cause Hell’s introductory “Get Em Boosie”-- the aptly titled dizzying turn up track that unleashes Boosie Badazz loose on the rap game once again-- the bellows of an approaching storm crackles with doom. It’s an ominous sound byte, seeing as Lil Boosie has acted as the chief ambassador of Post-Katrina Louisiana gangster rap.
You can feel Cozz's hunger when listening to his music. It's easy to understand why J. Cole would want the youngster out of LA on his Dreamville/Interscope Label. Cozz has the lyrical trappings of a rapstar in the making.
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.
To say that the dawn of drill feels like yesterday would be generous at best. It's been roughly three years since Chicago's rap explosion took the world by storm, and now it feels like you're sifting through the rubble. So many promising talents have struggled to live up to the hype, gotten lost in the blogosphere, or become unrecognizable.
Fabolous has always done a solid job at blending in with his environment. Whether he’s cutting with DJ Clue and The Neptunes in 2001 or jiving with Rich Homie Quan in 2015, he’s done a phenomenal job at adapting to change and staying relevant, something that is easier said than done.
Sir Robert Bryson Hall II even sounds like future royalty. Professionally known as Logic, the massively talented Maryland MC has that potential. He’s also an interesting meta case study of multiple perspectives. Surface level, his racial background paints a ready-made perception, fair or not.
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