Posts Tagged: hip-hop
With rumors and speculation about another new record dropping on the second Coachella weekend flying, Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album DAMN. (out via TDE/ Interscope) has already established itself as an instant classic.
Lamar, who prefers to identify as musician and a writer rather than a rapper, called his album “Very urgent.” DAMN....more
After collaborating with the likes of Beyoncè, SBTRKT, Jessie Ware, Drake, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Solange, 28-year-old British singer, songwriter and producer Sampha has finally released his first solo album, Process, via Young Turks.
A significant and evocative title, anticipating the changes happening as listeners work through the LP’s forty minutes: the personal growth Sampha undergoes in taking his meditations on life and loss out of his bedroom and into the studio, crafting a moving and heartfelt urban soul album....more
The diversely talented Donald Glover has gained a following in almost every artistic arena, from stand-up comedy, to sitcoms, to film and music. First making a name for himself as a writer for the smart and funny NBC program 30 Rock, Glover went on to star in Community and the FX series Atlanta....more
“Rhythm is the rebel,” Chuck D raps on “Louder Than A Bomb,” one of many outstanding tracks from Public Enemy’s touchstone 1988 record, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Of all the controversial and heartfelt statements made on this widely acclaimed and influential album, this is perhaps the most telling, as DJ Terminator X’s raw backbeat—a sound now associated immediately with hip-hop music—and dissonant horn samples signal right away to the listener that the genre’s longtime association with party music was evolving rapidly into a musical protest against systemic racism, poverty, state surveillance, and the militarization of police....more
Amidst writing, producing, and starring in the FX series Atlanta and being cast to portray a young Lando Calrissian in an upcoming Star Wars installment, Donald Glover took some time to return to his Childish Gambino persona and has released one of the most interesting album of 2016....more
If A Tribe Called Quest had to make one final statement, a boisterous, politically conscious, and funky record would be the most fitting way to do so. We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service was released on November 11, 2016, eighteen years after Tribe’s last album and only a few months after the death of founding member, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor....more
Although the performance was over a month ago, a gorgeous video of FKA twigs’s set at the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago was recently released online. The artist has not performed much beyond the festival circuit this summer, meaning if you, like us, tend to avoid large crowds, this video is worth a watch....more
Netflix’s The Get Down is receiving quite a bit of attention for being the unicorn of music drama: for once, a show about a moment in musical history is actually about the music! Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the show is receiving accolades for following hip-hop’s rise in the Bronx with respect and care:
A coming-of-age drama anchored in the late ’70s Bronx hip-hop and disco scenes, The Get Down has a deep respect for the innovations it’s portraying—and the pioneers responsible for those breakthroughs.
The 1991 cult film New Jack City is once again examined and celebrated this week, with okayplayer. publishing one piece celebrating its soundtrack, and another with a behind-the-scenes reflection from the film’s star Ice T. The artist talks about playing a cop for his first role in the days when he was best known for rapping “Cop Killer.”
New Jack City also starred Wesley Snipes, Allen Payne, Judd Nelson, and Chris Rock, featuring music from Ice T, Keith Sweat, 2 Live Crew, Queen Latifah, and more....more
The Internet’s been freaking out about Kanye West’s latest bid to be the center of all things surreal about our culture: his video for the track “Famous” features breathing sculptures of celebrities who may or may not have given permission for their likenesses to be represented naked, as if asleep, and in bed together....more
At the Kenyon Review blog, Brian Michael Murphy celebrates the sheer density of reference and intricate structuring of rap lyrics revealed by a computer program, The Raplyzer, and its Rhyme Factor Scale. Murphy dissects the lyric genius of Wu-Tang’s Inspectah Deck and others:
I remember the feeling from when I was 16, the sense that they were doing cosmically illegal things with language, crunching it down into a density that tested physic’s laws, with lines impossibly packed, like collapsed stars, greedily bending light toward their hidden centers.
Kendrick Lamar’s debut album “Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City” contains the basic, essential elements of a novel: a protagonist faced with an antagonistic outer world, plot and its arc—from opening scene to crisis to climax on down to denouement, a narrative connected through scenes, and character development and expression through dialogue.
Following the release of his latest mixtape Coloring Book, Chance the Rapper spoke with Zane Lowe in a lengthy interview about the work, the recording process, and the artist’s growing collaborative relationship with Kanye West. Listen to the full conversation via okayplayer and stream the mixtape here....more
The rap golden age of the ’90s may be over, but rappers today are achieving a kind of mainstream cultural influence that would’ve been hard to imagine twenty years ago.
Over at The Walrus, Simon Lewsen writes about Canadian rapper Drake, the state of modern-day hip-hop music, and how the genre has changed over the last two decades....more
At Electric Literature, Mensah Demary argues that there should be greater appreciation of hip-hop as a powerful storytelling medium, positing Nas as a master of literary narrative:
If presented with a choice, I’d rather discuss classic hip-hop albums than short story collections: the former evokes warmth, my need to consecrate my life to a certain fidelity and pure aural bliss channeled into nighttime sessions in the bedroom, lights off, completely enveloped by sound, while the latter invokes the image of a bottomless pit.
We can accuse Kanye West of a lot of things—arrogance, insensitivity, paranoia, ingratitude… the list goes on. But one thing he is not guilty of is dishonesty. The longer he spends in the international media spotlight (and he’s going on thirteen years now), the more the confessional side of his music seems to be emphasized....more
Kendrick Lamar has released a new album, untitled unmastered. The album was a surprise, although the artist performed some of its songs last year on The Colbert Report and this past January on The Tonight Show. The album is available via iTunes (along with just about every other online music retailer)....more