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Hip Hop Music


A$AP Mob, “Lord$ Never Worry” — Album Review

A$AP Worldwide (2012)

Taking a page from the Rick Ross book of crew-based promotion, A$AP Mob (of which breakout star A$AP Rocky forms the integral portion) has released Lord$ Never Worry in well-timed anticipation of Rocky’s studio debut, which is due for release next month. While neither as furiously energetic nor as a stylistically pitch-perfect as A$AP Rocky’s LiveLoveA$AP mixtape, Lord$ Never Worry nonetheless establishes A$AP Mob as one of finest rap crews […]


The Masterful Delays of A$AP Rocky

At this point, A$AP Rocky’s debut LP (LongLiveA$AP) has been pushed back so many times as to make one wonder whether the record’s much beleaguered release date has suffered its various contortions in order to create a false sense of scarcity. Just today, XXL announced that LongLiveA$AP will be coming to us right around Halloween, instead of the September 11 release that the New Jersey-based Rocky had previously planned. Though […]


Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 8.23.12)

Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape August 23, 2012.   DJ Khaled ft. Kanye West & Rick Ross, “I Wish You Could / Cold” Oh Hype Williams, where would we be without you? If not for Hype, modern pop music would never have known the visage of Will Smith decked out in full Pharaoh garb, or the artistic possibilities inherent in combining shaky cameras with dimly lit sewer tunnels. This mega-cut […]


2 Chainz, “Based On a T.R.U. Story” — Album Review

Island/Def Jam (2012)

2 Chainz’s profile has expanded to such dimensions during the past year as to demand media scrutiny for his debut record, Based On a T.R.U. Story, in excess of the album’s actual quality. Not that T.R.U. Story is a bad recording, per se, it’s just that when held up against other offerings on pop hip-hop’s variegated menu, the LP betrays its comparatively bloodless hue. For 2 Chainz, stardom has come […]


The Week in Hip-Hop Footwear

If you had doubts as to the state of hip-hop’s love affair with athletic footwear, this past week should have put them to rest. Three of the biggest names in the genre—Rick Ross, Meek Mill and Lil Wayne—rolled out new sneaker deals that should add considerably to their collective fortunes.   Artist: Rick Ross; Shoe Brand: Reebok; Who’s getting the better deal?: Reebok Presenting the corpulent Rick Ross with a […]


Ghostwritten: Nas, etc.

Accusations of ghostwriting have plagued a number of high-profile MCs, but the implication this past week that Nas employed “leftist” rappers Jay Electronica and stic.man to ghostwrite several tracks on his 2008 LP Untitled have carried with them a greater weight than usual. Though never one to snub the opportunity for a commercial cash-in, Nas still enjoys a reputation as a thinking man’s MC, perhaps not possessed of the agitprop […]


Domo Genesis X The Alchemist, “No Idols” — Album Review

No Idols, the second solo mixtape by Domo Genesis, pairs him with producer The Alchemist. That match proves immediately beneficial to both parties. Though not in possession of the explosive talent displayed by Tyler, the Creator or the visionary cool of Frank Ocean, Domo Genesis nonetheless fills a distinct niche within the Odd Future, one that makes the collective stronger as a whole. Problems emerge when Domo is called upon […]


Cheat Sheet: The-Dream

Need the quick facts about an artist? Here’s a cheat sheet.   Who: Though Terius Youngdell Nash (aka The-Dream) is best known for his world-beating production work and excessive love of hyphenates, the R&B producer has a musical imagination far more nuanced than his work as a hit-maker suggests. After a childhood spent perfecting his talents on a slew of instruments in Atlanta, Nash broke into R&B production by writing […]


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 […]

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