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fortune

Chris Brown, “Fortune” – Album Review

RCA Records (2012)

When future scholars get around to writing the cultural history of dubstep (with, I’d imagine, equal parts curiosity and confusion) I hope Chris Brown’s Fortune will be pointed to as one of the best examples of the dance-centric genre’s ability to successfully crossbreed with radio pop. Even more willing than his peers to take R&B into the club, Chris Brown frontloads Fortune with several prime examples of his talent for […]


bumbershoot

Hip-Hop Highlights of this Summer’s Festival Season

Though time has already stolen from us opportunities to see the ghost of Tupac at Coachella and the public shaming of Nicki Minaj at Hot 97’s Summer Jam, the summer still harbors many possibilities for you to see live hip-hop/risk dehydration with your audiophile peers. Regardless which part of the U.S. you call home (sorry Europe, you guys need to sort out your money problems before you do any partying), […]


selfmade2

Maybach Music Group, “Self Made Vol. 2” – Album Review

Maybach Music Group LLC/Warner Bros. Records Inc. (2012)

With label trouble once more relegating a DMX album to pre-release purgatory, the sights of this week’s review are shifting to another barking, corpulent MC and the much anticipated release that, unlike the Dogman’s, dropped earlier this week as planned. I wrote briefly last week about Self Made Vol. 2—the compilation album from Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group—from which I singled out “Black Magic” as a highlight. The strength of […]


DMX

Cheat Sheet: DMX

Who: Even before the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., DMX laid a decent claim to being the hardest MC in the game. Granted, when Biggy died in 1997, DMX had yet to make his major label debut, but he had already displayed the raw lyrical talent and familiarity with physical violence that would later come to define his career. Born Earl Simmons, DMX took his imprimatur while still […]


blackmagic

Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 6.23.12)

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Mixtape. Here are some of the week’s best tracks. You’re welcome.   Nas ft. Rick Ross, “Accident Murderers” (prod. No ID) Much as he insists on toeing the line of oversaturation, Rick Ross, with his increasing ubiquity, has yet to become all that grating. You can still press “play” on a track by Nas and register pleasant surprise when, halfway through, Nola’s prince regent cedes […]


jayz

Sick Threads: Highlights from hip-hop’s best clothing lines

Even rock music’s most diligent fountains of ephemera (I’m looking at you Kiss) pale before hip-hop artists when it comes to building the brand. Whether it’s 50 Cent’s dalliances in flavored water or Snoop Dogg’s willingness to lend his name to pretty much anything, rappers tend to diversify frequently and well. While this habit has resulted in some of the world’s more embarrassing attempts at cross-promotion (again, this), it has […]


rejuvenation

Juvenile, “Rejuvenation” — Album review

Rap-a-Lot Records (2012)

Juvenile committed his first lyrics to record in 1995, back when he was still running around with hip-hop boy band the Hot Boys (of which Lil Wayne was also a member), which means that Rejuvenation comes after a full 17 years of the MC’s complete submersion in the world of pop music. You’d think the decade-plus of club-bound vacuity, or the destruction of his hometown via natural disaster, or the […]


Diplo-press-photo

Hip-Hop, meet Diplo. Diplo, Hip-Hop.

After achieving superstar status midway through the past decade thanks to his work with girlfriend/acolyte M.I.A., producer/DJ Diplo went to work dabbling his fingers in just about all of pop music’s current iterations. Often called in to lend hipster credibility and a danceable flavor to major pop releases, Diplo has wound up placing some of his best work on the albums of hip-hop artists whose ambitions include a crossover to […]


stonedimmaculate

Curren$y, “The Stoned Immaculate” – Album Review

Jet Life Recordings/Warner Brothers (2012)

Though he’s touting The Stoned Immaculate as his studio debut, even the most casual of observers could point out that NoLa-based MC Curren$y has been recording music in studios and releasing that music for profit since at least 2002. In fact, if you’re willing to take Wikipedia at its word, it would appear that The Stoned Immaculate is actually Curren$y’s eighth studio outing. A series of blown release dates, record […]


killermike

Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 6.8.12)

Looking for some of the week’s best hip-hop tracks? Look no further—we have it all here, in this week’s edition of Weekly Mixtape.   Big K.R.I.T., “Live From the Underground” This track serves as both sonic and thematic introduction to Big K.R.I.T.’s studio debut of the same name. Atop a slinking, low-riding beat, Krizzle lays out his commitment to the Dirty South’s underground hip-hop scene, and the cash he intends […]


krit

Big K.R.I.T., “Live From the Underground” – Album Review

Def Jam Records (2012)

It would be harder to fault Big K.R.I.T. for playing it close to the chest if the man hadn’t insisted on tempting fans with intimations of a rich conceptual imagination. Coming as it does on the heels of several increasingly confident releases, Live From the Underground winds up flirting, teasing and dropping hints, but never quite embracing the hermetic tendencies that have distinguished the Mississippi-based MC. Via mixtapes R4: The […]


minaj

Hot 97 and the Trouble With Being Nicki Minaj

It doesn’t speak well of your big summer concert when the highlight of show is someone not playing a set. Still, that’s what we have to contend with in the wake of Hot 97’s Summer Jam, which took place last week. Despite solid sets from the likes of Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Wocka Flocka, the buzz has focused foremost on the absence of the concert’s would-be headliner. After some […]


Rick-Ross

Battle of the Vanity Labels: Maybach v. G.O.O.D.

Once more proving his unimpeachable instincts for the game, Jay-Z never even bothered to sign with somebody else’s label. From his debut onwards, Jigga’s albums bore the Rock-a-Fella imprint, adding countless sundries to both his rep and bank account. Kanye West and Rick Ross have trod slower paths to corporate self-sufficiency, though both one-time prodigies of Jay-Z are now cultivating their own stables of acolytes, prepping their own compilation albums […]


fromday1

Travis Porter, “From Day 1”—Album Review

Jive Records (2012)

It could be said that Travis Porter plays club rap, but the group really plays strip club rap, which has been modified and crossbred with other strains of the genre in order to attain suitability for mass consumption. Rather than filthy (although there’s plenty of that as well), the end result of this sonic skin graft turns out to be more energetic than anything else. Even if it’s not a […]


cruelsummer

Kanye West premiers “Cruel Summer” at Cannes, to mixed reactions

Last week, the runaway train of Kanye West’s ambition once more jumped the rails to another artistic medium. As proven by the erstwhile MC’s recent dalliances in the world of fashion, Yeezy is constitutionally unable to satisfy himself by occupying a single culture outlet, even if the rest of the world kind of wishes he would. It’s a testament to the man’s energy that he’s been able to make such […]


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