Posts Tagged: hip-hop
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
Apparently, the Weezer frontman has been really digging hip-hop’s Top 40 lately. His recent covers testify to the fact: he’s posted a version of Rae Sremmurd’s “Come Get Her,” and, most recently, Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen.”
A new Weezer album is due out this spring; any bets on some covers making it in?...more
Artists across the musical spectrum have rallied to help raise awareness and funds for the Flint, Michigan water crisis, which, thanks to governmental inaction, has been allowed to develop since 2014.
Okayplayer. chronicled the work that hip-hop artists, in particular, have done to bring attention to the issue, and the responses of Flint’s own hip-hop community to the crisis that has put their town on the international stage....more
This Saturday, Beyoncé dropped “Formation,” her first single since 2014. The song came one day before the Queen’s Superbowl 50 appearance and was accompanied by a free download via Tidal, Pitchfork reports.
Like most of the artist’s videos, the video for “Formation” is incredibly visually compelling, moving from an Antebellum House to images protesting police brutality to Beyoncé sinking, atop a cop car, in the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina....more
Kendrick or Drake? YouTube vlogger Adande Thorne asked President Obama the big question, and Obama went with Kendrick Lamar. “Got to go with Kendrick,” President Obama responded, as reported Consequence of Sound. The President continued to say, “I think Drake is an outstanding entertainer, but Kendrick—his lyrics, his last album was outstanding....more
The Internet has been (rightfully) full of David Bowie tributes in the last week, including a series of pieces about the icon’s influence on hip-hop music.
Noisey traced Bowie’s public admiration for hip-hop, beginning with the 1993 clip of Bowie asking MTV why the network wasn’t featuring black artists that went viral following his death, and leading up to him citing Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly as one of the major influences on the making of Blackstar....more
Why the segment was on ESPN, whose idea it was to have Vince Staples on a sports network to talk about his past, and why Staples agreed to the spot—these are all questions we may never answer. But what we do know is that the resulting interview is great, and we’re glad it happened....more
Dazed Digital compiled a list of emerging hip-hop artists to watch, including Jay Boogie (think Mykki Blanco and the early 2000s), Tommy Genesis (on Awful Records, she describes her sound as “fetish rap”), Blaze Kidd (a London-based Ecuadorian rapper who plays with reggaeton and grime), IshDARR (who made the Old Soul, Young Spirit mixtape earlier this year), and Kevin Abstract (a Texan rapper who is part of the collective Brockhampton)....more
To mark the anniversary of a late, great hip hop icon whose very name inspires controversy, XXL Magazine asked former members of the legendary rap group Wu-Tang to remember their friend, Russell Tyrone Jones, known otherwise as Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Lyricist Raekwon recalled the following anecdote:
My memories go back to us being in his house in Harlem.
Ben Carson has engaged the logic of the ’90s in his latest attempt to drum up support: when in doubt of how to reach your audience, write an awkward hip hop song about it! Stereogum has conjectured that the use of Aspiring Mogul as the segment’s rapper seems to suggest Carson (or his people) actually want listeners to believe they could be hearing the candidate rapping in the spot, which is potentially hilarious....more
In response to the world’s general assumption that James Turrell was heavily involved in Drake’s video for “Hotline Bling,” the seminal light artist has come out with a formal statement that he did not, in fact, have anything to do with Director X’s portrayal of what look like direct copies of some of his most famous pieces....more
In a recent article about Ms. Lauryn Hill’s career, the artist’s producer Phil Nicolo told The Fader that he’s been working with her in the studio toward the completion of a long-awaited new album. Read the full article here, along with the Nicolo’s hints that the album seems to be harkening back to the sound of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill....more
Kendrick Lamar is collaborating with a symphony orchestra for the first time in preparation for his October 20th performance at The Kennedy Center, according to the Washington Post. The performance will feature songs off of the rapper’s sophomore record, To Pimp a Butterfly, and will be a one-off show—meaning tickets will go quick....more
One of the least talked-about and most heartfelt tracks off Vince Staples’s identify-defining album, Summertime ’06, dispenses with the bravado of his other lyrics. At the same time, “Jump Off The Roof” showcases the fatalism and lyrical prowess that have garnered the 22-year-old Staples so much praise....more