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Hip Hop Music

ross2012

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 […]


killermike

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

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 […]


nas2

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 […]


kanye

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 […]


wildones

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 […]


frank-ocean

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 […]


50cent

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 […]


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 […]


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