MIMO - When Music is Your Fix

Acting Out: On the “Retirement” of Lil Wayne

Earlier this week, Lil Wayne—in a characteristically head-scratching maneuver—declared that he now found hip-hop boring and was leaving his musical pursuits in order to focus on his skateboarding. Weezy’s admission came with nothing in the way of hard deadlines. This isn’t a piece of pageantry quite on the same scale as Jay-Z’s “retirement” of a few years back, but still, when Lil Wayne says he’s sick of rapping, there are […]


The Alchemist, “Russian Roulette” – Album Review

Decon, ALC, E1 (2012)

The Alchemist’s Russian Roulette and Parallel Thought’s Art of Sound look nearly identical on paper: both are albums from established hip-hop producers that feature a sound notably divergent from radio hip-hop’s prevailing trends. Both define themselves by dint of outlandish artistic conceits, and both rely on guest MCs to add flavor to their auteurs’ playful dabbling. Art of Sound failed in its attempt to graft dolorous self-seriousness onto the normally […]


Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 8.4.12)

Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape August 4, 2012.   Tech N9ne & Sleepwalkers, “Blur Remix” While Tech N9ne has suffered from the occasional bout of poor taste—stylizing his name with a number and hanging out with the Insane Clown Posse both come to mind—the MC has for the most part carved an admirable path through the independent hip-hop world. The unique career of rap music’s most wildly dreadlocked hooligan has […]


Rick Ross, “God Forgives, I Don’t”—Album Review

The Island Def Jam Group (2012)

While God Forgives, I Don’t, the fifth studio album from Miami-based rapper Rick Ross, remains faithful to many of the Teflon Don’s established themes, the LP distinguishes itself from his past work by taking the unlikely pillars of anger and decadence (musical, rather than lyrical) as its architectural basis. Teflon Don, Ross’s critically lauded fourth album, met with widespread success by perfecting a formula championed by the MC throughout his […]


Why Authenticity Doesn’t Matter (Or, At Least Doesn’t Matter That Much)

The buzz for Rick Ross’s God Forgives, I Don’t, released today, has outgrown the scale of conventional pre-release marketing to take on the colossal character of an “Event.” With extensive coverage by MTV, a timely collaborative release from his personal label, and a tenured presence on the cover of XXL, Ross has cast perhaps the largest of 2012’s sizable pop music shadows. While impressive in its own right, this achievement […]


Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 7.27.12)

Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape July 27, 2012.   Rick Ross ft. Andre 3000, “Sixteen” While far from living up to its sizable potential, this track still presents a fine opportunity for hearing two hip-hop godheads in one concise package. Andre 3000 turns in the better verse on this one, seeing as slow and sensitive are two modes with which he has a practiced facility. The same cannot be said […]


Parallel Thought, “Art of Sound”—Album Review

After a solid EP and a recent collaborative album with Del the Funky Homosapien, production/lyrical (though mostly production) trio Parallel Thought has finally come out with a legitimate full-length of its own. Though the group’s experimental history has presented plenty of opportunities for speculation about the mad genius driving its efforts, Art of Sound, the LP in question, manages to be paradoxically odder and more prosaic than the trio’s left-leaning […]


Rick Ross Gives a Sneak Peak of “God Forgives, I Don’t”

Once more reiterating his resemblance to a cannonball in both form and nature, Rick Ross has executed a relentless and wide-reaching marketing campaign in anticipation of his fifth studio album: God Forgives, I Don’t. In addition to contributing guest verses to tracks from Nas, Usher, French Montana, Juvenile and Birdman, Ross has stretched his calendar in the past few months to include the marketing of a compilation album from Maybach […]


The Essential Hip-Hop Albums of the Year So Far

We’re a little more than halfway through 2012, and while the apocalypse still has plenty of opportunities to wipe us from the face of existence, let us not go quietly into that dark night without first checking out these albums, which have already made for a solid year in terms of its hip-hop offerings. This should go without saying, but if you haven’t listened to these already, then you have […]


Nas, “Life Is Good” – Album Review

The Island Def Jam Music Group (2012)

Despite the fact that he has written some of the most iconic hip-hop of all time, recorded a string of double-platinum-selling albums, and married an honest-to-god sexual icon, it’s somehow still possible to feel sorry for Nas. I’m going to speculate that this owes less to the New York MC’s fall from “Very Top of the Game” to “Near the Top of the Game,” but rather to his perpetual insistence […]


Nas Through the Years

Life is Good—the title of New York MC Nas’s ninth studio album—offers a sentiment at least as much aspiration as it is declaration. Though the undisputed king of the New York hip-hop scene in the late ‘90s, Nas has had to contend with a troublesome decade, falling from the top spot and seeing a simultaneous decrease in his album sales and credibility. After repeated comeback albums and a signing to […]


Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 7.13.12)

Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape July 13, 2012.   Frank Ocean ft. Earl Sweatshirt, “Super Rich Kids” Between a much-publicized announcement concerning his sexual preference, a monkeyed-with album release date and a possible snub by Target, Frank Ocean has had a busy week. Amongst his various newsworthy maneuvers, it’s almost possible to forget that Channel Orange, Ocean’s debut, is a fantastic, weird, stylistically singular example of R&B futurism. “Super Rich […]


Flo Rida, “Wild Ones” – Album Review

Atlantic Records (2012)

Calling Flo Rida’s Wild Ones a club-rap album doesn’t seem like it quite gets the point across. In order to portray the extent to which the LP borrows from the EDM zeitgeist, you’d need to shoulder the thing with a genre tag something akin to “CLUB (…rap),” or maybe, “Dance Music Over Which Flo Rida Occasionally Talks Real Fast.” The fourth LP from the Florida (duh) based MC, Wild Ones […]


How Frank Ocean Accidentally Became the Summer’s Most Important R&B Star

Frank Ocean’s revelation last week of his protean sexuality has resulted in one of the strangest career whorls in modern pop music. In case you’ve been keeping to your Unabomber-style shack this past week, Frank Ocean—R&B singer and least-crazy member of weirdo-rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All—posted a missive to his Tumblr in which he detailed a sexual relationship he had with a man at the age […]


Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 7.7.12)

Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 7.7.12)

Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape July 7, 2012.   50 Cent, “My Crown” By largely avoiding the syrupy club hits that laid the groundwork for his current fame, 50 Cent’s 5 (Murder By the Numbers) mixtape sidesteps many of the MC’s most frustrating tendencies, instead highlighting his persistent flow and the work of several ambitious producers. Though the 10 tracks of this short tape offer plenty of quality examples of […]

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