A$AP Rocky tackles the dangerous pitfalls of celebrity in his latest video. Off of his outstandingly multifarious A.L.L.A. (At Long Last A$AP) album, the work includes collaborators Rod Stewart, Miguel and Mark Ronson. Watch the latest addition to Rocky’s solid video catalog below.
Thanks to a user on a message board, Eminem fans can now hear some of his earliest efforts as an aspiring MC. Listen to an unearthed Eminem & DJ Butters mixtape called the New Jacks EP, which dropped in 1988. Download here and see its tracklist below.
01 – Irv Ski vs New Jacks
02 – Eat It
03 – Blown Away
01 – Take 87 & A Half
02 – Teachin’ You A Lesson
03 – Hard Motherfucker
Off of Colombian songstress Kali Uchis‘ Por Vida LP, the video for “Loner” is strong, sexy and aesthetically pleasing. With her newly dyed pink hair, the video stays true to her love of vintage items and candy-coated hues. Directed by Andy Hines, Kali floats around a drive-in theater, jukebox and sips milkshakes,
DJ Quik brings the traditional, yet Funky West Coast sound back with Game delivering his verse Suga Free style on “Let Me Be the One.” Game’s Documentary 2 album is due out August 28 and has also been called the best rap album in 5 years by Dr. Dre.
After dropping his outstanding EP Wave[s], Chicago MC Mick Jenkins drops the visuals to its third track, “Get Up Get Down.” Directed by Nathan Smith, the upbeat track is accompanied by three dancers frolicking through town wearing throwback Adidas tracksuits. Watch below.
After the recent passing of Heltah Skeltah lyricist Sean Price, his posthumous 8-track project Songs in the Key of Price is now available. The work features Vic Spencer, Illa Ghee, Royal Flush and more. A memorial for the late rapper will take place at Brooklyn’s SOB’s on August 27.
Last night, The Weeknd debuted the Kanye West-produced “Tell Your Friends” during a performance at Drai’s in Vegas. The song is set to be on his new highly anticipated Beauty Behind the Madness in stores August 28. Listen to the track in full below.
Update: The music video for the CDQ version of the track is now available for your viewing pleasure.
Listen to the new, smooth DaM-Funk jam called “Glyde 2Nyte.” The Snoop collaborator (7 Days of Funk) teams up with Leon Sylvers III, the in-house producer for S.O.L.A.R. Records (formerly Soul Train Records) and his son, Leon Sylvers IV. Look out for Invite the Light out Sept. 4 on Stones Throw Records.
Talib Kweli recently dropped a new surprise album called Fuck The Money. The 11-track album features Miguel, Patrick Stump, Ab-Soul and South African rapper Cassper Nyovest. Stream the project below via Audiomack and download free here.
Watch the new Jay Rock video called “90059.” The title track off of his new album features the Watts rapper channeling Hannibal Lecter as fellow TDE member SZA drives him to a parking lot to pop some pills. Enjoy the creepy visuals below.
After Heltah Skeltah rapper Sean Price‘s untimely demise last week, Mac Miller dropped a previously unreleased collaborative track. The two exchange clever bars on the saxophone driven “Pet Sounds.” Listen to the lyrical gem below.
Though most hardcore N.E.R.D. fans have already heard the band’s unreleased “Locked Away,” Pharrell recently shared the track with the world on Apple Music‘s OTHERtone while guest Tyler, The Creator conversed with the illustrious producer. Listen to the track below.
Stream the 5-track EP by Warren G called Regulate… G Funk Era Part II. After dropping singles “My House” and “Keep On Hustlin’” the solid and nostalgic album features unreleased Nate Dogg vocals, E-40, Too $hort, Young Jeezy and Bun B. Listen courtesy of Soundcloud.
Watch the new video for Earl Sweatshirt‘s “Off Top.” From his latest album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, the outlandish animation was includes flames, police and hellish scenes directed by Taylor Johnson. Check it out below.
In anticipation of A$AP Rocky’s long-awaited A.L.L.A. dropping soon, you can now listen to his collaboration with Kanye West called “Jukebox Joints.” The soulful production by Ye also features a guitar from Joe Fox. Listen here.
Update: The visuals to the track have now dropped. Watch below.
Listen and download the new collaborative mixtape from Chance the Rapper and Lil’ B. Chance recently referred to the 6 track mixtape as a “masterpiece” and a “classic.” Listen to Free Based Freestyles below.
Since dropping Pilot III, New Orleans MC Curren$y drops a new EP produced by Chase N Case. Originally intended to be only 5 tracks, the now 7 track album features R&B singer Raheem Devaughn. Enjoy and download the chill compilation below.
Last night, Puff Daddy debuted his new track with Pharrell Williams during a historic Bad Boy performance with Ma$e, Lil’ Kim and Faith Evans at the BET Awards. CDQ of the catchy comeback song produced by P is now available. Listen to “Finna Get Loose” courtesy of AudioMack.
Update: The video to the track directed by Hype Williams that has now sparked viral dance moves is now available below.
Stream the performance here.
Warren G drops another track laced with the late great Nate Dogg called “Keep On Hustlin.'” The track is off of his upcoming Regulate… G Funk Era II and also features Jeezy and UGK’s Bun B. Enjoy the vintage, yet laidback track below.
Listen to the new Danny Brown track produced by beatmaker Clams Casino who is known for his work with A$AP Rocky, Lil’ B and Mac Miller. The Adult Swim single “Worth It” is a surreal mix of percussion and eerie electronic notes. Listen via Soundcloud.
Originally produced by Shawty Redd off of Pusha T‘s Fear of God: Let Us Pray EP, Hudson Mohawke‘s version of “Amen” is now available for your listening pleasure. The dense track that featured Kanye West and Young Jeezy now gets a well-executed makeover filled infectious drum patterns.
After announcing his new album would not contain features or his trademark electronic sounds, Kid Cudi finally debuted a new track. Off of his upcoming project, Speedin’ Bullet to Heaven,”Confused” is a mellow ballad filled with electric guitar and drums. Listen below.
440. Nas‘ I Am... was supposed to be a double album.1
439. While working on A.L.L.A., A$AP Rocky stated that he stopped smoking weed and having sex so that he could fully focus on the task at hand and give fans the best possible music.2
438. Raekwon wrote his “C.R.E.A.M.” verse around 2:30 in the morning on a stove, as he started to reflect on his struggle. 3
437. Mac Miller‘s Blue Slide Park was the first independently-distributed debut album by anyone to hit No. 1 since 1995’s Dogg Pound. 4
436. While recording The Chronic, Dr. Dre‘s house burned down, and he was shot in his legs forcing him to be on crutches.5
435. Jay Z‘s Vol 2…Hard Knock Life, Outkast‘s Aquemini, A Tribe Called Quest‘s Love Movement and Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star all dropped on Sept 29, 1998.6
434. DJ Quik was a ghost producer on Eminem‘s Encore. 7
433. Run the Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike) got their name from a line in an LL Cool J song called “Cheesy Rat Blues.” 8
432. Ice Cube was 16 years old when he wrote “Boyz N The Hood.” 9
431. Rakim had his own hot dog stand in the 10th grade. (3:43 mark)
After dropping If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, early this year, Drizzy drops his latest video on Apple Music. Previewed on his Instagram yesterday, the “Energy” visuals are trippy “all Drake everything” versions of pop culture scenes. Watch below.
After dropping his fanciful What For? this April, Toro y Moi is back with a collaborative track called “Pitch Black.” The song features upcoming Atlanta MC Rome Fortune, and once again, Chaz Bundick impresses with another solid song.
Wrote 10 facts you probably didn’t know about Jay Z‘s Reasonable Doubt album in honor of its 19th anniversary today.
You can read it by clicking here.
My latest article for Only Hip Hop Facts: 10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Lil Wayne‘s Tha Carter III. Read here.
After a four month hiatus on social media, Tyler, The Creator dropped his latest effort, Cherry Bomb, with one thing in mind: a tweet. An observer commented that Tyler’s music sounded nothing like any of the musicians he listened to, and it apparently struck a powerful chord with the multifaceted artist. Well-known for his cartoonish personality and violent rhymes, the Odd Future leader offered no inkling of his broad taste in music including acts like Stereolab, Nas and Marvin Gaye.
Though the self-taught producer displayed growth on 2013’s WOLF both sonically and lyrically, his production on Cherry Bomb easily trumps his vintage sound often composed of simple synths and snares.
After engaging in sessions with film composer, Hans Zimmer, his advanced skill set is noticeable as he layers elaborate instrumentation in the project’s opener. “Deathcamp” contains hard bass, hammering guitars and intermittent screams as he pays homage to Rock god Iggy Pop and N.E.R.D. The mellow sequel to “Bimmer,” “2Seater” contains pianos, organs, saxophones and orchestral violins that help detail a romantic drive with his girl before the beat switches into the whimsical “Hairblows.”
He dodges jailbait on “Fucking Young” (a likely nod to Pharrell‘s “Young Girl”) accompanied by Moog synthesizers fit for the legendary Stevie Wonder. “‘Cause girl you’re perfect, but you’re too fucking young/And when temptation calls my phone, I never pick up,” Charlie Wilson croons. “Keep Da O’s” with the aforementioned Skateboard P starts off as intense and piercing, yet somehow evolves into a slow Doo Wop beat that sounds influenced by The Flamingos.
A far cry from his earlier lyrics, “Kill People, Burn Shit, Fuck School,” Tyler’s new thematic incantation, “Find Your Wings” aims to inspire his listeners similar to the way Pharrell’s “You Can Do It Too” spoke to him in his early years. The song is dedicated to discovering and pursuing one’s passion with lyrics like, “The sky’s your home, there’s no limit, you know you gotta/Find your wings.” He harmonizes with frequent collaborator, Kali Uchis, over the beautifully serene Jazz track complete with xylophones and a feature from Roy Ayers.
Crowd favorite “Smuckers” is accompanied by Lil’ Wayne and Kanye West over a brassy beat, and he warns his audience about the glamorization of gang life with ScHoolboy Q and Toro y Moi on the brief, but pungent “Run.” “Lies what they got on their plate, they gon eat you/They got a homie called Karma, he gon meet you,” he delivers rapidly.
The mixing on the album, however, has its flaws with vocals falling victim to the thundering production at times. As a fan of raw and unpolished tracks (see last year’s “Diaper“), listeners are left struggling to discern lyrics as the bass heavy and Yeezus-like synths pulse over the chaotic title track. The outcome, however, still manages to be both melodic and well-suited for his Punk-like performances.
Following the script-like album trilogy centered around a love triangle, Cherry Bomb seems to hint at Tyler’s upcoming film debut, WOLF, which was announced in 2013 after he shared the colorful trailer via Twitter. The end of the lust-driven “Blow My Load” contains a GOLF Radio contest giving away tickets to a triple feature movie with a censored one-syllable title. A skit reveals him killing time before a film begins at Moon Theatres, and the album ends with the line, “It’s about to start,” as the unworldly “OKAGA, CA” laced with vocals from Leon Ware singing, “Let’s got the Moon,” comes to a close. His stunning visuals for “Fucking Young” also incorporate cinema scenes and a large Moon Theatres marquee (4:41 mark).
A well-executed fusion of musical genres, Cherry Bomb, shows exceptional maturation, remarkable range and fearlessness choosing to harmonize instead of rap on multiple tracks. It dazzles with its rich production, few samples and upbeat content that may leave hardcore fans yearning for Tyler’s trademark angst, but could potentially land him more album placements. At 24, Tyler’s startling progression in a two year time frame has already surpassed some of his predecessors’ beat making techniques, and it will be utterly intriguing to witness how advanced his artistry will eventually become.
Kendrick Lamar kept a journal the week good kid, m.A.A.d city was released with the intention of remembering how he felt or what it was like to go back to his hometown of Compton. His sophomore album, To Pimp a Butterfly, seems to expound upon the innermost thoughts likely penned in its pages and delivers it in rare form: honestly, aggressively and fervently.
Like his lauded debut album, he vividly paints cinematic scenes that can only be fully grasped by digesting the work sequentially, but instead of detailing his redemption from street life and sin, he exposes painful battles with temptation, self-love and celebrity.
Throughout the self-confessed roller coaster of emotions, K Dot expresses his wrath towards social inequality (“Hood Politics“) and the criminalization of Black males on the jarring “The Blacker the Berry” that would make artists like Dead Prez, Public Enemy and N.W.A. proud. “You hate me don’t you?/You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture,” he shouts jeeringly.
As the “biggest hypocrite of 2015,” the latter two tracks are juxtaposed by songs like the ethnicity embracing “Complexion” with Rapsody and the uplifting “Alright.” Amidst the unforeseen conversation with God on “How Much a Dollar Cost” and the evils of Lucy (Lucifer) that surround him on “For Sale?,” Kendrick manages to find solace in the joyous live version of “i” while proceeding to break down the true origin of the N word.
Admittedly the most difficult track to record, standout “u” is engulfed in depression as he screams in his hotel room and reflects on relationships that suffered due to his fame. He despises himself for not being able to veer his younger sister from pregnancy or visit his friend in the hospital before his untimely demise. “Then he died, God himself will say you fuckin failed/You ain’t try,” he declares nearly shedding tears as he contemplates suicide.
The dramatic range is boundless and the score equally breathtaking. With minimal well-known Hip Hop cameos (sans Pharrell, Snoop and a short speaking role from Dr. Dre), To Pimp a Butterfly’s sound reverts back to his earlier brass-filled tracks like “Rigamortis” & “Hol’ Up.”
Severing all ties to radio and absorbing Miles Davis and Parliament Funkadelic instead, the album’s production is a kaleidoscopic mix of luscious instrumentation provided by bass god Thundercat, in-house producers Terrace Martin and Sounwave, and experimental beatmaker Flying Lotus accompanied by George Clinton (“Wesley’s Theory“).
Despite endless submissions from the industry’s elite producers, Kendrick executed his unrelenting vision. The result is a rapturous blend of Funky electric guitars, keyboards, Jazzy horns, and strings that belong on the same astral plane ATLiens Outkast descended from.
Released exactly one day after the 20th anniversary of Me Against the World, the album comes to a powerful close with “Mortal Man.” The listener learns that the gradual revelation of a metaphorical poem pertaining to the project’s title is being shared with his late mentor, Tupac Shakur, who encouraged Kendrick to continue his legacy in a dream. The two discuss the current generation’s future, which Pac believes is “gonna be like Nat Turner, 1831.”
In a time where police officers still evade castigation for police brutality, Kendrick fearlessly carries the West Coast torch spreading Pac’s burning message of explicit Black pride, justice and revolution.
Whether it’s his conscience, social responsibility, or an epiphany he experienced while speaking to fans pondering suicide that led him to create such a complex and thought provoking masterpiece, one can simply hope that Kendrick will continue to compose projects that will not only spark stimulating conversations, but spawn change among the masses.
Love has been terribly unkind to Eminem over the years. Read on to discover the evolution of Eminem’s most honest and personal songs about love and heartbreak over the past few decades.
The Game of Love
In his early days, Em touched on relationships and breakups with these two songs from his first solo effort.
Eminem feat. Eye-Kyu – “Searchin’” (Infinite, 1996)
The only true Hip Hop love song of his career features a 24-year-old Em romantically gushing, “I got some game that I’m preparing to run/The way your lips sparkle and glare in the sun.” This is a rare gem that doesn’t result in anguish or violence.
Eminem – “Jealousy Woes II” (Infinite, 1996)
Em vents about a money-hungry girl who leaves him for another man. “Leaving me in sorrow, Brandy never felt so brokenhearted/I fell apart when you departed,” he vents.
Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATL6FCtvDpc
Hip Hop music, concerts and events in and around Los Angeles.
Read my interview with the Bay Area legend E-40 here:
Read about how I defended Eminem as a teenager and eventually got the opportunity to meet him after creating my own fan site:
Update: Will now be adding landmarks on a national scale as time permits.
Map of Hip Hop landmarks in LA.