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Hip Hop Music

Lil Wayne Loses Lawsuit Against Quincy Jones III

It’s sad news for sure, but Lil Wayne has abandoned one of the most entertaining roles of his career—irate litigant. Earlier this week, the news leaked that Weezy had lost his lawsuit against documentary filmmaker Quincy Jones III (son of the illustrious composer who contributed his namesake) and thus become stuck with a $2.2 million price tag. This is the same lawsuit that, earlier this summer, yielded one of the […]

E-40 & Too Short, “History: Mob Music” – Album review

Sick Wid It (2012)

To borrow a forced metaphor from Ghostbusters, were E-40’s creative output a Twinkie, the past three years would have seen that Twinkie expand to the relative size and shape of the Chrysler Building. The Bay Area MC released three albums last year alone, and if we’re counting this joint venture with Sick Wid It label-mate Too Short, he has produced a stunning five albums in calendar year 2012, not including […]

Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 11.3.12)

Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape November 3, 2012.   Swizz Beatz, Chris Brown and Ludacris, “Everyday Birthday” Though he has occupied himself of late with his work as one-third of the triumvirate that controls Justin Bieber, Ludacris once made his living as a purveyor of raps. On “Everyday Birthday” he reminds us of that legacy, but fails to stick around long enough to own up to it. With its dance-floor […]

Mini-Reviews of This Week’s Hip-Hop Album Release Hurricane

This Tuesday saw the release of at least 10 hip-hop albums, and while I’d like to weigh in on all of them, this hurricane keeps knocking out my power up here in Oregon. So in the interest of paying credence to some interesting releases, I offer these mini-reviews of the finest of the crop. Also, I’m writing this on Halloween, so we can call them “bite-sized.”   Sean Price, Mic […]

Meek Mill, “Dreams and Nightmares”—Album Review

Maybach Music Group (2012)

In the five months since the release of Meek Mill’s Dreamchasers 2 mixtape, Mill, along with Maybach Music honcho Rick Ross, has undertaken a relentless marketing campaign, betting that his electrifying, nimble rhymes contain the seed of major league stardom. Dreams and Nightmares confirms these expectations by offering a solid debut on which Philadelphia’s heir apparent sometimes provides stunning work and, even on his lesser tracks, avoids falling short of […]

A Guide to RZA’s Soundtrack Work

This week marks the debut of The Man With the Iron Fists, a film so enamored of its own ludicrousness that it could only have come from minds such as those possessed by Wu-Tang super-producer RZA and pop-culture singularity Quentin Tarantino.   While the movie guarantees a near-lethal helping of the Wu-Tang Clan’s pet eccentricities–Kung-fu, violence, chess (I hope)–it’s far from the RZA’s first foray into the world of cinema. […]

Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 10.27.12)

Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape October 27, 2012. Kendrick Lamar, “Backseat Freestyle” Joining a chorus composed of just about every other human being with ears, I took to the Internets earlier this week to load some praise onto Kendrick Lamar’s sophomore album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city. One of that album’s salient qualities that escaped mention in my earlier ramblings was how consistently it scores by avoiding the easy, cheap and […]

Kendrick Lamar, “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” – Album review

Interscope/Aftermath Entertainment/Top Dawg Entertainment (2012)

There’s a temptation to lump Kendrick Lamar in with the cabal of internet-famous MCs whose talent at crafting verses remains far outstripped by their talent at commanding a media cycle. The astounding quality of good kid, m.A.A.d. city, Lamar’s sophomore LP, not only establishes him as an outlier from this group, but also suggests that his artistic talent places him in another league entirely. A Compton-based rapper and a member […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]