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Hip Hop Music


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


Weekly Mixtape: The Week’s Best Tracks (Edition 5.25.12)

Here’s this week’s edition of Weekly Mixtape—the week’s best hip-hop tracks, personally selected for you. Enjoy!   Justin Bieber ft. Mac Miller, 2 Chainz and Asher Roth, “Boyfriend” [remix] Say what you want about the source material, but this remix of Das Biebs’s signature track actually kind of rules. With the beat stripped to a minimalist guitar figure and Justin’s lyrics relegated to a tastefully deployed hook, “Boyfriend” serves as […]


El-P, “Cancer 4 Cure”–Album Review

Fat Possum Records (2012)

El-P has yet to content himself with resting on his odd laurels, of which the recent past has granted him significant new additions. Reviews of Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music, for which El-P contributed the entirety of the production, have been effusive to the point of fawning, making El an unlikely addition to modern hip-hop’s cabal of hit makers. Cancer 4 Cure, emerging close on the heels of Killer Mike’s opus, […]


Cheat Sheet: Lil Kim

In this edition of “Cheat Sheet,” we’re featuring rapper Lil Kim. Enjoy!   Who: They both hail from New York and both have résumés on which urban violence makes a prominent appearance, but the crucial point of separation between Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim rests in the former’s defter skill as a marketer. Much of Minaj’s combative posturing and effusive sexuality is cast directly from the Lil Kim mold, but […]


Hip-Hop Summer Album Preview: Part 3

We’ve been taking a forward look at some of the most anticipated hip-hop releases for this summer. Check installments one and two for the albums due for release in June and July. Today we’ll take a look at the best of what’s coming out in August.   August (date TBA): Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele Presents…Blue and Cream: The Wally Era This LP has yet to solidify a release date, which […]


Hip-Hop Summer Album Preview: Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of my Summer Album Preview, you can catch up by clicking here. Today we’ll take a look at what’s coming out in July, with one more installation for August coming soon.   July 2: 50 Cent, Untitled Chalk it up to his multiple extra-curricular ventures (acting, feuding, making video games), but one of America’s most popular rappers has spent the past three years doing almost […]


Meek Mill, “Dreamchasers 2”

Maybach Music Group (2012)

Meek Mill’s Dreamchasers 2 mixtape opens with a particularly unhinged audio clip from one of the past decades’ most unhinged personalities—Mike Tyson. While Mill certainly has a penchant for self-aggrandizement, his boasts are (thankfully) set forth with more wit and self-awareness than Tyson’s uncomfortable promises to “eat your children.” Excepting their varying facility with the English language, Tyson and Mill actually have some points of commonality. Both used their humble […]


Hip-Hop Summer Album Preview: Part 1

The summer just got better. Why? Because now you have these killer hip-hop releases to look forward to. Today we’ll take a look at June, with further installations for July and August to come.   June 5: Big K.R.I.T., Live From the Underground Not only has Big K.R.I.T. proven that the historical exclusivity of nuance and Southern Rap is a matter of preference rather than necessity, but he’s managed to […]

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