Now, before you write this article off completely, let’s look at the circumstances. Yes, it’s only Apple Music. And yes, Drake is still #1 on the Billboard Top 100. But, 6ix9ine overtaking Drake for the #1 spot on the Apple Music charts is quite the achievement. The point I’m trying to make isn’t that 6ix9ine is bigger than Drake. It’s just that he has more clout... at the moment, and here’s why.
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The long-awaited collaboration between hip hop titan Kanye West and his successor Kid Cudi came to fruition on June 8th, 2018. Released under the alias “KIDS SEE GHOSTS”, the duo delivers seven tracks of pure fire - for anyone who’s been a fan in the past and seven reasons to become a fan if you’re not already. GOOD Music President Pusha T kicks it off on “Feel the Love”, and from there the album maneuvers its way through genre and time, and if you’re like me, 24 minutes and 3 features later you’ll have to put the project on repeat.
Ever since Drake hit the scene with “Best I Ever Had” back in 2009, he’s dominated the industry with a clenched fist. He has the Grammy’s, the number one hits, the chart-topping albums, and the clout to match. I think the only question left to ask is; when will it stop? And apparently...the answer is never.
The first and only album that Big L ever released before his untimely death, was a certified classic. In fact, this album still lives on as one of the greatest hip hop projects of all time and an exemplar of the essence of New York hip-hop. The Harlem MC oozed talent, boasting witty, hardcore, comedic, and sometimes disturbing lyrics coupled with one of the most memorable deliveries in hip-hop and is hailed as one of the greatest MCs of all-time - despite a limited catalog of music.
Underrated and underappreciated by some, Return of 4eva sits high atop our list - and many others - as one of the top mixtapes to come out in the past decade. This project not only depicts K.R.I.T.s top notch lyricism and verbal creativity, but it also shows off his talent and versatility as a producer. In fact, K.R.I.T. self-produced the entire project, putting him in rare company of rapper/producers that are able to do both at the highest level.
Kendrick’s follow up to GKMC seemed as if it was perfectly timed. In what is a supremely jazzy and funky album, To Pimp a Butterfly differs a great deal from Kendrick’s debut project. During a period of massive unrest due to racial tensions stemming from police brutality, Kendrick gave us an album that truly spoke to the country in a profound and educational way.
This past Saturday I had the privilege of attending the sold out J.I.D. and EARTHGANG show at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood. Over the past year, from the advice of multiple friends I decided to check out J.I.D.’s debut album The Never Story and I was immediately blown away. In the age of mumble rap and production taking priority over lyrics, it’s refreshing to see a newcomer who oozes talent and creativity both with his lyrics and his subject matter – not to mention the fact that he’s actually a pretty good singer as well.
Sitting right around 95 beats per minute, the deliciously bass-heavy third LP from A Tribe Called Quest was much like Michael Jordan’s third championship with the Chicago Bulls. Albeit three years earlier, Midnight Marauders made it three consecutive trips to the Finals for Tribe, and three rings. Today it turns 24.
In 1993 the Wu-Tang Clan dropped their debut project and forever changed the landscape of hip-hop. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is in itself the encapsulation of the raw, unrefined sounds of New York Hip-Hop. From the rugged and gritty vocals to the violent, graphic lyrics and a groundbreaking production collage of soul samples and martial arts loops and sound clips -courtesy of the RZA - the album is a masterpiece.
2017 has been quite the year for Brent Faiyaz. He was featured on one of the hottest songs, and crafted possibly the best hook of the year in “Crew.” In addition to that, he teamed up with producers Atu and Dpat - forming Sonder - to drop the album Into. On Sonder Son, Brent Faiyaz ends his breakout year with a smooth, yet captivating bang. Combining his silky voice with laidback production, Faiyaz is able to vividly paint pictures as he recounts tales from his life in his debut album.
On the third iteration of the Beach House series, Ty Dolla Sign delivers a project that displays his ability to continue to produce hits. Since the inception of the “Beach House” series, Dolla Sign has been able to generate hit singles, such as underground hit “My Cabana”; breakthrough smash “Paranoid”; and the dizzying, yet catchy “Or Nah.” This album starts off with “Famou$,” an acoustic record painting a picture of the realties that come with fame versus perception.
Recently, we sat down with Lucas, the lead singer of Faulkner - a Venice, California based alternative band - who are quickly gaining traction in the musical realm, and who have already worked with industry giants like RZA (Wu Tang Clan), Royce da 5'9", Mark Needham (The Killers), JP Bowersock (The Strokes), and Rick Rubin, to talk about how the band was started, their musical influences, the messages behind their music, and more... Take a look below for the full interview.
In 1998 Mos Def & Talib Kweli came together to form arguably the best hip-hop duo of all time, Black Star - a name inspired by Marcus Garvey’s political vision, and his "Black Star Shipping" line designed to repatriate blacks to Africa. With both artists postponing the release of their debut solo-albums, the dynamic duo released this collaborative project.
It seems almost as if everything and everyone coming out of Atlanta’s forever burgeoning Hip-hop scene has blown up from Future, to Migos, to Young Thug, and it feels like Chicago-born and rapper, and Atlanta transplant, Sahbabii is following in their footsteps. The “Pull up wit ah Stick” rapper moved to Atlanta when he was 13 years old, and immediately dove into the rap game with the help of his older brother - and collaborator - T3 and his neighborhood friends.
Tyler, the Creator’s career has been built on over-the-top antics and crude humor –to say the least. But In his latest effort, Flower Boy, he digs deep into his own thoughts and delivers his most accomplished project to date. Known for his obscene and controversial style, Tyler decides to depart from that for a majority of this album substituting it for a more thoughtful and introspective journey.
In 2000 Slug and Ant from Atmosphere combined with Living Legend's Murs to create the super group Felt. After dropping their first project in 2002 as a tribute to Christina Ricci, they collaborated again three years later with this project, some of the least heard yet highest quality material from the individuals.
At 47 years of age, and over two decades in the rap game, JAY-Z finally takes off his cool. He exposes himself at a level that is completely foreign compared to any of his past albums. He delivers his most honest and compelling album to date with 4:44. Some may consider this album to be JAY-Z’s response to Lemonade, and while Jay-Z addresses topics of betrayal and infidelity, this album is much more than that. 4:44 is an introspective trip into the mind of not just JAY-Z the rapper, but Shawn Carter, the man. It shows him at his most vulnerable points as he invites listeners to hear about his shortcomings, fears, triumphs, and acquired knowledge.
If you ask your average “hip-hop/rap head” what they think of Lil Yachty, you’re gonna get a mix of responses. Some people paint him as the poster-boy for “mumble rap” or “bubblegum trap” music, while others would describe him as a driving force behind the new generation of sound that is changing the landscape of the rap game. Personally, I didn’t really vibe with Yachty at first. Maybe it was the tone of his voice, or the red beads in his head, or the nursery rhyme like cadence of his hit song “Minnesota” but, whatever it was I just did not like Lil Yacthy. At all.
It’s been a year since Gucci Mane’s return, and he’s been hard at work. In the past 365 days, he has released 3 projects, numerous collaborations, and a top charting song with Rae Sremmurd (Black Beatles). To honor the anniversary of his release from prison, Guwop partnered with Metro Boomin to create the album Drop Top Wop. Recorded in just two days, Gucci continues to showcase his relentless work ethic while Metro continues to make his mark as one of the best producers in the game.