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klamar

Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 10.20.12)

Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape October 20, 2012.   A$AP Rocky ft. Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar, “F**kin Problem” This entry to the canon of collaborative promotional singles brings to the table a perfect mixture of star power, malleability and broader-than-hell themes. You have the aggressive, “back-off” attitude of the whole enterprise, combined with a beat that will kindly step aside and allow A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar to […]


trapped

A Return to the Closet

There I was, minding my own business, pondering how best to fill this Internet tube, when all of a sudden R. Kelly comes tearing out of nowhere to drop a heaven-sent content bomb all over my world. Ahem… THERE WILL BE MORE TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET! Like, a whole 20 chapters more. According to a trailer posted on IFC (which is being stingy with the embed codes, so here’s a […]


twoeleven

Brandy “Two Eleven” – Album review

In the lead-up to Two Eleven, her sixth studio LP, Brandy has described the recording as “gritty” and “experimental”—curious claims, given her track record of concerted efforts to avoid both experiments and grit. Even more bizarre is that her promises hold somewhat true. Two Eleven brings Brandy into new territory, but invokes scant risk in doing so. It’s more like she just picked up her comfort zone and moved it […]


webby

Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 10.12.12)

Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape October 12, 2012.   Jay-Z, “Give It To Me / Big Pimpin (Live in Brooklyn)” As can perhaps be expected from a businessman of Jay-Z’s savvy, the MC’s string of eight shows at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn is being commemorated in the imminently consumable form of a concert album. For those frustrated by cruising a week’s worth of shaky YouTube clips, this double helping […]


Macklemore-Ryan-Lewis-The-Heist-Album-Artwork

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, “The Heist” – Album review

Macklemore LLC (2012)

Those critical of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s debut LP The Heist (a minority opinion, so it seems) have pointed out that the duo’s style more closely resembles pop than hip-hop, which might be true, but does almost nothing to change the fact that The Heist is a plainly devastating piece of work. For those unfamiliar with Seattle MC Macklemore, it helps to put the man in perspective if you’re clued […]


oddfuture

What Justin Bieber and the Odd Future Have in Common

The most interesting anecdote from The New Yorker’s recent profile of Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, came when Braun explained how he had turned “the most Googled person on the planet” into a money-making dynamo, even within an industry that seemed determined to not make any money. It bears quoting at length: When Braun met David Geffen, at a party a couple of years ago, he said that Geffen had […]


Death_Grips_(band)

Is Death Grips Brilliant or just Attention Starved?

While their talents as hip-hop artists remain a point of debate, I think we can at this juncture safely crown Death Grips one of the twenty-teens’ most talented groups of provocateurs. The Sacramento-based trio ranks right up there with Odd Future in terms of its ability to confound onlookers. Whether or not Death Grips’ grating, hip-hop/industrial hybrid can find a wide audience is anyone’s guess, but this week offered further […]


thisgeneration

Murs & Fashawn, “This Generation”—Album Review

Duck Down Music (2012)

Though serial collaborator Murs turns out as many co-op albums as he does solo joints (seriously), few hit the creative sweet spot quite as well as This Generation—his cooperative effort with Fresno-based rapper Fashawn. The LP sails through its dozen tracks with a greater ease than you’d think possible from a long-distance collaboration between two rappers who didn’t really know each other prior to the project’s beginning. As it turns […]


jayz

Jay-Z Opens Up the Barclays Center in Brooklyn

Over the weekend, Jay-Z helped to open up the Barclays Center in Brooklyn by the playing the first of eight concerts he has scheduled at the sports arena/venue/upscale real estate development. The concerts, which began on September 28, mark not only the anomalous opening of a sporting venue that many speculated would never get built, but also an emotional homerun for the Jiggaman. He gets to see a basketball team […]


shyne

Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 9.29.12)

Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape September 29, 2012–a collection of handpicked tracks for your hip-hop listening/viewing pleasure.   Shyne, “Fred Hampton (50 Cent Diss)” You know what? It’s been a while since 50 Cent has been involved in a good, old-fashioned beef. Like Superman and the light of a yellow sun, Curtis Jackson cannot tap the true nature of his powers without the acrimony of his fellow MCs. Fortunately, this […]


foodliquor2

Lupe Fiasco, “Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. I” — Album review

Atlantic Records (2012)

A representative synecdoche for Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. I resides on the LP’s second track, wherein Fiasco treats gangster rap’s favorite motifs to a piece-by-piece dismantling. “Pills make you stupid and liquor do the same thing,” he raps. “Ferraris too expensive and they way too hard to maintain.” While the probity of these verses is laudable (as is the high-stepping beat and […]


cruelsummer

The “Cruel Summer” Controversy

Unlike Lil Wayne’s Dedication 4, which elicited the immediate ire of fans and critics alike, Kanye West/G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer has affected a genre-wide split of opinion. This isn’t unprecedented for a AAA pop album, but for the oft-game-changing Mr. West, mediocrity is every bit as unprecedented as spontaneous combustion. In fact, had Yeezy straight up whiffed on this one, it might have been easier to process. As it stands, […]


young_jeezy

Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 9.21.12)

Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape September 21, 2012.   Kanye West ft. R. Kelly, “To the World” So, okay, Kanye West’s much anticipated Cruel Summer wound up being kind of a mixed bag. Whatever. Its high points are still devastating. In case you haven’t given this track any close consideration, let it be known that that’s no lesser a figure than R. Kelly silkily crooning, “The whole world is a […]


cruelsummer

Kanye West/G.O.O.D. Music, “Cruel Summer”—Album Review

Def Jam/G.O.O.D. Music (2012)

As far as vanity label collaborative albums go, you could find much worse specimens than Kanye West/G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer. That the LP ultimately falls short of its potential owes less to the talents of those involved than to the fact that the G.O.O.D. Music stable, and Kanye West in particular, has such an extraordinary surplus of potential as to make anything less than a classic seem disappointing by comparison. […]


Tech-N9ne

In Defense of Tech N9ne

Though never the most popular or critically renowned of MCs, Tech N9ne nonetheless deserves some plaudits. While many ostentatiously “innovative” rappers have forged careers that, for all their hype, still depended upon major label largess, Tech N9ne has carved his own stubborn path through the industry. Tech N9ne, born Aaron Dontez Yates, began his career in the early ‘90s. A son of the Midwest hip hop scene of Kansas City, […]


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