In a ground-breaking partnership with Samsung, Brooklyn rapper Jay-Z rewrites the rules of the game with the release of his highly anticipated solo album "Magna Carta Holy Grail."
Two years ago, Jay-Z and Kanye West joined forces and crowned themselves the kings of rap. After an extensive worldwide Watch The Throne tour, the two went back to their separate careers to work on solo projects. Although they both welcomed a brand new baby in the last year and a half, they couldn’t be in more different places musically.
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.
When we last heard from CyHi the Prynce, he was cruising around college campuses with his Ivy League: Kick Back mixtape early last year. Now, ready to show us what he’s learned, he takes us back to school with Hystori: Black History Project. His most socially conscious body of work yet, CyHi gives us a history lesson throughout the project.
The average man thinks about sex between one and 388 times per day; Trey Songz isn’t your average man. In his nine years of making music, the twenty-nine-year-old has made it abundantly clear that sex is pretty much all he thinks about. One might even say he invented it. In a way, Songz's one-dimensionality is a gift and curse.
This tape has been something that Pro Era fans have no doubt been waiting patiently for after their last releases were back in 2012. The Secc$ Tap.e 2 does nothing but feed the hunger of fans and add to the weight that has fallen onto the crew’s shoulders as it proves that the Beast Coast Movement is in full force.
After 2013’s wildly successful good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar had an opportunity that very few artists ever receive. For his third album, he could have continued to make tracks like the wavy “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”, the hook-laden “Fuckin’ Problem", or the festival-banging “m.A.A.d city”, and still had a top-selling album.
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.
Earlier this year, hip-hop bible XXL Magazine featured rappers A$AP Rocky and French Montana on its cover declaring New York rap is back. While the focus of the game has shifted to other parts of the country in the past several years or so, there are some native New York emcees that are doing their part to rep their city.
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."
SBTRKT took the world by storm with his first LP. Released at the base of the alternative R&B explosion, the album perfectly blended dance music and soul, even catching the eye of Drake and inspiring him to drop a verse on "Wildfire," which in turn became more popular than the original (but that's every day for Drake). How will SBTRKT's second album stack up to the first one?
With Chief Keef, King L, Lil Reese and Lil Durk signing to major labels in 2013, Chicago's drill scene saw all of its major stars graduating to more commercial successes, leaving vacancies in the underground mixtape scene that the genre was born from.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PARTYNEXTDOOR is Canadian rising star Jahron Brathwaite, formerly a producer of soft, sunny R&B with EDM inflections. His first wide release under the new name represented a new label situation, through signing with Drake’s OVO Sound, and a fully realized change in sound and lyrical content.
Ty Dolla $ign delivered his Beach House 2 mixtape just in time for summer. At first glance, the tape's tracklist looks iffy. There's at least one guest appearance on each song, something which is often frowned upon by devout fans and critics. However, flooding a project with features has been done successfully before, as was the case with The Game's 2012 album Jesus Piece.
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.
Cole World: The Sideline Story was considered somewhat of a disappointment to fans who really knew the raw talent that J. Cole posseses. The storyteller and the street smart rapper that fans loved was missing in his debut album. This time around Cole delivers a more cohesive project, with tracks easily flowing one by one to create a complete concept: Born Sinner.
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.
In superhero literature, it's not uncommon for an aging master like Bruce Wayne to find himself a protégé. Often arriving at our hero's lowest point -- after the death in the family or, perhaps, a critical injury -- this stranger inspires the hero to get back to doing what he does best: fighting crime and selling a ton of movie theater tickets.
On Animal Ambition, 50 Cent returns to the old street-ready sound that made him a household name back in 2003. Unfortunately, a lot has changed in hip-hop since 50’s debut. With the rise of Kanye West (or more particularly 808s & Heartbreak), the genre has become more emotive—more artistically diverse and interesting.
Rick Ross is a work horse. Despite legal troubles, the Maybach Music boss just released a seventeen-track mixtape to hold us over until his next official project. Mind you, Ross released a #1 overall album last year in Mastermind, along with a #2 rap release in Hood Billionaire. He's been having a quiet year musically, but that all changed this past Thursday when he dropped Black Dollar.
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.
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.
It would be lazy, bordering on irresponsible, to run with the “future of rap” motif when looking at the hotly anticipated debut LP from Atlanta’s, Future. Fact is, the latest in a long line of talented ATL rappers, has a sound that’s not so much futuristic, as it is transcendent.
2012’s Don’t Be S.A.F.E. flew under the radar for the hip-hop masses. Aside from smash hits “Female$ Welcomed” and “All Gold Everything”, nobody quite knew the true identity of Trinidad James. Many eyebrows were raised when James inked a deal with Def Jam worth $2 million. Skeptics argued that he would be a one-hit wonder, and fail to live up to expectations.
Right off the bat, YG’s fifth mixtape Just Re’d Up 2 illustrates just what the Californian rapper is all about. Starting bold from the second track with bumping 808’s and underscored by synthesizers, “Im 4Rm Brompton” really sets the tone for the mixtape’s high energy.
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.
Although none of his albums have really been critical hits, Kid Cudi’s main appeal is using outside, atypical influences and sounds to articulate some sort of emotional journey into the tortured soul.