Only 18 years young, Internet member Steve Lacy compiles a soulful and mature project, Steve Lacy Demo, that is filled with rich drums, bass and guitars. Fans of easygoing feel-good tracks need to look no further than the 6-track project created incredibly on an iPhone. Standout single “Dark Red” is hauntingly uptempo with a rhythmically appealing and unforgettable hook. Listen to the work below via Soundcloud.
Thundercat‘s latest shockingly enlists legends Michael McDonald (Steely Dan) and Kenny Loggins for an alluring track built on plenty of blissful synths entitled “Show You the Way.” The vocals meld perfectly over the beat crafted by Flying Lotus and Thundercat himself. Look for the track on his next LP, Drunk, which will feature Pharrell, Kendrick Lamar and Wiz Khalifa dropping February 24. Definitely press play below if you’re in need of a melodious escape.
Missy Elliott is finally back with another zany visual to add to her endless repertoire of boundless creativity. Her new single “I’m Better,” features producer turned rapper Lamb (who first worked with her on 2008’s “Ching-A-Ling”) and minimalist beat with a heavy bassline sure to please any club goer or driver. The video stuns with rope dance routines, underwater scenes. and Missy’s signature style. Enjoy below.
It’s official. The Gorillaz have finally made the overdue comeback they’ve been recently hinting at.
Using their platform to bash America’s shameless love for currency, “Hallelujah Money” stars British poet and singer Benjamin Clementine bashing Donald Trump‘s inauguration. The group’s disdain for capitalism and discrimination permeates the powerful video filled with movie clips and animation over 808s and anomalous production.
Watch the video to the group’s first song in 6 years below.
After The Internet dropped their Grammy nominated Ego Death album, Syd steps out solo with her long-awaited new single “All About Me.” The dark, yet sultry track produced by colleague Steve Lacy, stresses the importance of keeping ties with her tight-knight circle and features cameos from the band and her affiliated Odd Future family. Watch below.
Back at it again with my favorite Hip Hop & R&B albums list. Here are 15 projects that dropped in 2016 and remain in my current rotation.
Kendrick Lamar – untitled, unmastered
Unpolished and unapologetic, Kendrick Lamar‘s To Pimp a Butterfly scraps are auditory gems that continue to bring much-needed awareness to social injustice.
NxWorries – Yes Lawd
Anderson Paak and Knxwledge team up as NxWorries to deliver a highly enjoybale fusion of playboy persona with throwback Soul teeming with violins, horns and bass.
Kanye West – The Life of Pablo
Hate him or love him, Kanye proves unpredictable yet again by taking elements of Gospel, House and Soul to create a first-rate album that integrates elements of the old Ye.
A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from here….Thank You 4 Your Service
Hip Hop legends reunite with vocals from the late Phife Dawg to create a modernized 90s masterpiece that now boasts the largest gap between No. 1 albums in Hip Hop history.
YG – Still Brazy
YG continues to represent his West Coast roots to the fullest with another project that showcases his vivid autobiographical storytelling skills along with G-Funk-inspired beats.
Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love!
An ode to acts like Funkadelic and Bootsy Collins, Childish ditches rap for a titillating 1970s psychedelic experience dripping with Soul and nostalgia.
Frank Ocean – Blond
After a four year hiatus, Frank returns with heartfelt lyrics that meld perfectly with otherworldly instrumentation comprised of guitars, organs and piano.
Mac Miller – The Divine Feminine
Jazzy and enlightened, Mac Miller displays evident maturation celebrating love over sensual R&B instrumentation that sounds light years ahead of his previous work.
Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
Filled with glory and praise, Chance‘s Coloring Book is dedicated to uplifting listeners in the style of church and Gospel that Kanye touched on with TLOP.
Kid Cudi – Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’
Kid Cudi revisits his early intergalactic style rapping his innermost feelings during a tumultuous year and reminds peers who originated much of Hip Hop’s current melodic sound.
Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
The dynamic and unmistakable Danny Brown fearlessly compiles a vast range of out of the box beats and unabashedly raps over them with animated ease.
Solange – A Seat at the Table
Solange steps out with a beautifully empowering and transparent outlook on femininity and black pride expressed through airy ballads and minimalist production.
Travis Scott – Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight
Travis returns with another nighttime soundtrack filled with trance-like chants that will be easily be embedded in the listener’s consciousness upon first listening.
Rihanna – Anti
With countless hits under her belt, Rihanna details love, causal relationships and break ups to makeups in a cool and sexy way only she knows how.
ScHoolboy Q – Blank Face LP
Ominous and honest, Q delves into his past life as a Hoover Crip with OG cameos like E-40 and The Dogg Pound while simultaneously continuing TDE‘s current reign.
A Tribe Called Quest releases the visual to their politically charged single “We The People,” which is bound to resonate with post-election America. The video is a call to protest power, practice tolerance and includes a talking mural of late member of Phife Dawg, who was recently honored with a NY street corned named after him. Watch the first Tribe video to drop since 1998’s “Find a Way” from their final album We Got It From Here…Thank You For Your Service below.
Freddie Gibbs is finally back in action with his first song release since January. The Gary rapper was exonerated from sexual assault charges in September and is now back on his infamous grind. Listen to the rhythmic “All Day” produced by Brooklyn’s Harry Fraud below on SoundCloud.
Known best for killing freestyles and her appearance on Kendrick Lamar‘s To Pimp a Butterfly, Rapsody is back with her Crown EP. Now signed to Roc Nation, the MC catapults back into the game with her first project since 2014. Features include Ab-Soul, Raphael Saadiq, and Anderson Paak with production by 9th Wonder, Nottz, Khrysis. Listen below on AudioMack.
R&B star John Legend and one of Hip Hop’s current favorites, Chance The Rapper, come together to grace their listeners with a melodious new track “Penthouse Floor.” Chance drops another solid verse with his trademark imaginative flow as John Legend croons picturesque lyrics over funky bass and strings.
Listen to the song, which will be available on Legend’s new album, Darkness and Light, due out December 2 below.
470. The art on Chance the Rapper‘s Coloring Book is a photo of him looking down at his daughter. He wanted the cover to depict “the future being bigger than himself.” (via)
469. Growing up, Anderson Paak used to recite Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg lyrics for show & tell & would often get in trouble for beatboxing in class. (via)
468. R.Kelly planned to collaborate with Tupac on an album before doing Best of Both Worlds with Jay Z. (via)
467. J. Cole snuck into LA Reid‘s son’s My Super Sweet Sixteen party hoping to get exposure as an artist & made an appearance in the episode. (via)
466. Pusha T held the the first-ever live music event at Calipatria State Prison. (via)
465. YG didn’t rap on “Thank God” due to being arrested on the prior song “1 AM.” The 1st verse by Big TC (Ty Dolla $ign’s brother) was recorded in actual prison. (via)
464. Pharrell‘s “Can I Have It Like That” was originally for Puff Daddy & “there was a couple of guys kinda fightin’ over it,” according to P. (via)
463. Rick Rubin has known Dr. Dre since he met N.W.A. while they were recording Straight Outta Compton, and Eminem‘s “Rap God” marked the first time they worked together. (via)
462. While she was in prison, Oprah sent Lil’ Kim three of her favorite books “for inspiration and motivation.” (via)
461. Some of Frank Ocean‘s favorite movies include A Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver, Django, Alien, Spartacus, Psycho, ATL & Eraser Head. (via)
Solange‘s latest, A Seat at the Table, is already drawing whispers as a potential top 10 album contender. With its quality R&B production and intention to provoke joy and healing while taking the listener on a “journey of self-empowerment,” the project is not one to be missed. Lil’ Wayne, Sampha, The Dream, BJ The Chicago Kid, Q-Tip and Kelly Rowland also offer incentive to listen below via Spotify.
After a 5 year hiatus, rapping duo Sir Michael Rocks and Chuck Inglish are back with a fresh new cut interspersed with pulsing bass and catchy vocals. Featuring Maxo Kream, “Running Man” is definitely a strong comeback that reminds listeners of their unmistakable chemistry. Listen below via Audiomack.
Netflix‘s hit series, The Get Down, has quickly become a cult favorite with music fans. Loosely based on Hip Hop‘s humble beginnings in the late 70s, its soundtrack is just as colorful as the scenes portrayed throughout by director Baz Luhrmann. A mix of classic Hip Hop, R&B, Disco, Gospel, Funk and original tracks written and performed by executive producer Nas, the mood is celebratory, yet also heartfelt during the latter part of the album. Other contributing artists include Miguel, Raury, Nile Rodgers, Janelle Monae and Jaden Smith. Listen below via Spotify.
Detroit rapper/singer/songwriter Persia Grai has been busy making waves in his own right. Opening for artists like Big Sean and getting airplay on Hot 107.5, his latest, “Calabasas,” exudes commendable honesty and vulnerability on a harmonious track produced by False Ego.
Touching on fear along the road to stardom, personal doubt and deaths in the family, the track comes to a hopeful conclusion: “The pendulums of pain & joy are truthfully what make life/Pain is no excuse to waste life..right?” Listen below.
One of the most heralded newcomers, Mick Jenkins, drops his latest song “Spread Love” off of his long-awaited studio debut album, The Healing Component. Produced by Sango, the track offers good vibes that will be on the Chicago MC’s project dropping September 23. Listen below and RSVP for his tour here.
Sade and MF Doom fans: Rejoice! An 8-track mashup EP entitled SADEVILLAIN compiled by Portsmouth-based producer Seanh2k11 blends the two artists seamlessly. The juxtaposition of Doom’s raw lyrics mixed with Sade’s velvety vocals is a pure delight. Listen to the album below video DatPiff.
If you’ve been wondering where the quality female MCs have gone, look no further. Chicago’s Noname (formerly Noname Gypsy) provides a mystical project entitled Telefone that successfully fuses elements of Hip Hop and Neo Soul. Honest and reflective about matters of the heart, the album is a wispy mix of lyrical glory and wispy production that channels the likes of D’Angelo and Jill Scott. Listen below via Soundcloud.
Definitely the standout from the freshly released soundtrack to The Land, Nas and Erykah Badu pair up for a touching track called “This Bitter Land.” A glorious rendition of Dinah Washington‘s “This Bitter Earth,” the Classical collab is beautifully orchestral complete with strings and powerful lyrics that form a rare treat definitely worth hearing. The upcoming film executive-produced by Nas about teen skateboarders in Cleveland’s underground Hip Hop scene is out today.
Clams Casino is well-known by Hip Hop fans for his trademark production on myriads of killer cuts for MCs like Lil’ B, Big K.R.I.T., Mac Miller and A$AP Rocky. Now, his first studio solo record, 32 Levels, awaits him and is slated to drop next month. Check out his haunting, gritty second single, “All Night” featuring Vince Staples. Listen below .
Theophilus London has been out of the limelight since 2014’s Vibes dropped, but his behind-the-scenes work on Kanye West‘s “All Day” has helped rapidly spread his name among Hip Hop aficionados. His latest song, “Stay” is contagious and synth-laced with an upbeat tempo that juxtaposes his longing for isolation. Listen below on Soundcloud.
It’s no secret that Kanye West has become known for comparing himself to many innovators and musical geniuses over the years. Conductor Yuga Cohler not only agrees his Yeezus album shares similarities with Ludwig van Beethoven’s pieces, but conducted a 70-piece orchestra in Los Angeles to play a medley of his hits. The performance is striking and sure to delight Yeezy fans of all ages.
Listen on Soundcloud below and check out the time marks even further below for easy referencing.
Opening Song: Beethoven’s “Overture to Egmont, op. 84,”
10:00 “New Slaves”
16:53 “Blood On The Leaves” Leads into “Symphony No. 5 First Movement in C-Minor, Op. 67”
30:28 “Hold My Liquor” Mashup with “Symphony No.7 in A major”
37:16 “I’m In It” Mashup with “Symphony No. 5 Second Movement in A Flat Major, Op. 67”
44:55 Guilt Trip Mashup with “Fifth Piano Concerto in E-flat major, Op. 73”
53:00 “On Sight” Mashup with “String Quartet No. 14.”
Composed and arranged by Yugi Cohler and Stephen Feigenbaum. ymf.org
19-year-old Daye Jack has been buzzing after dropping Soul Glitch and recently touring with Pell. The Nigerian born MC/singer represents Atlanta with his latest vintage-inspired video “Finish Line.” The upbeat and Funky video features feel-good chords, synths and horns that provide listeners with a refreshing, uptempo vibe. Watch below.
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
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.
After Childish Gambino‘s FX series Atlanta recorded the biggest cable debut since 2013 , the rapper/actor/writer/director makes his return to music with the fantastically retro “Redbone.” Donald Glover strays away from the current landscape with outlandishly Funky production and no hint of rapping. Check for it on his Awaken, My Love! album on December 2. Listen to the cut and his other psychedelic single “Me and Your Mama” below.