Earl Sweatshirt's latest album is a druggy, introspective vision from one of rap's most distinctive young voices.
Part of Future’s appeal lies in a musically indefinable existence. While both Pluto (and the 3D version) and Honest became somewhat of a set template for artists like Travi$ Scott, Future himself is a blend of the past, some not so distant.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Game doesn't quite get the respect he deserves. Sometimes things like his habitual name dropping and controversy divert attention from the fact that he has been one of the most consistent rappers over the last decade.
Lupe Fiasco has been in a battle with Atlantic records for what seems to be forever. We all know about his discontent with Lasers and on his mixtape Friend of the People he made it clear that he wanted off the label. He did not get his wish before this album dropped, and that almost prevented us from hearing this album entirely.
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.
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."
Last year in March, Kid Ink reached a big milestone for a new artist: his single “Show Me” featuring Chris Brown went double Platinum.
It's funny how music comes full circle. Tinashe was just eight years old when Aaliyah Haughton tragically died in a plane crash, causing the music world to mourn and R&B to be reconstructed in her wake.
The most gratifying events in music are the moments where you can literally hear the construction in the artist’s mind, the building onto the promise of greatness. While not a guarantee, Days Before Rodeo provides the listener with the glimpses of the incredible, long-ranging capabilities of Travi$ Scott.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Budden is back in Mood Muzik form. Early last year Joe released No Love Lost, which packaged club and radio songs along with some more personal tracks. That album left many of his longtime fans wanting more of the intimate feel they get from his darker projects. Almost two years later and Joey is back to documenting his turmoil in a way that only he can.
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