Posts Tagged: rap
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
“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
Vince Staples appeared on Hot 97 recently to deliver a freestyle, challenging #BlackLivesMatter protestors to make the future brighter through positive community action, among many other things. (He also would be happy if his girlfriend looked like M.I.A., for instance.) Listen to the full rap after the jump....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 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.
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
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
MIA’s video for “Borders” is controversial in many ways: it’s full of refugee imagery, MIA rapping in the middle of boats packed with bodies. But its biggest backlash comes from what seems like its least controversial gesture—in some shots, MIA is wearing a shirt with a doctored logo, changing “Fly Emirates” to read “Fly Pirates.” One would think that critiquing big money and corporations through clever logo manipulation is old news, but MIA has received letters threatening legal action and describing the event as if the logo were a sensitive teenager with hurt feelings....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
While it isn’t unusual to find Killer Mike speaking about race and politics (see his past lecture at MIT on Pitchfork), Render appeared at Florida State University last week to lecture again on racism and civil rights. “Step out of your comfort zone and engage another human being as a fair and honest equal,” he said, “and based on that engagement, help that individual grow.”
Considering that racism protests have overwhelmed campuses nationwide, we’re hoping Render’s words affect change and generate positive insight....more
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
When Kendrick Lamar says you “might be the illest doing it now,” people take note, not that Little Simz necessarily needs the help—her debut A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons is full of tracks that get you instantly hooked and wanting to know what Simz has to say....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
A post on Instagram from El-P (@thereallyrealelp) of Run The Jewels with Die Antwoord’s Ninja says only “Coming soon…” which Ninja (@zef_alien) also shared with the caption “EL-P vs NINJA.” Some believe this alludes to a coming collaboration between these two artists, but it’s unclear how or when this mysterious collab will manifest, considering both Run The Jewels and Die Antwoord are on tour from now until late October....more
Rappers Meek Mill and Drake have been come to blows lately, since Mill claimed Drake doesn’t write his own raps. This also launched a series of Meek Mill memes which Drake projected on stage at OVO Fest while he performed....more
If you haven’t benefited from the challenging force that is Mykki Blanco, that’s a problem that should be corrected. Blanco spoke out last week about the division being created by the #AllLivesMatter trend, identifying out the key point behind all the yelling, as she is wont to do, namely that a reactionary social media trend shouldn’t send groups who experience oppression into a fight against each other....more
Lil Wayne has announced the first Lil Weezyana Fest, coming to New Orleans this August 28th at Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square. In an interview with Q93.3FM, Lil Wayne purportedly said the festival’s artists will be announced over the coming weeks, starting with his confirmation that the recently reunited Hot Boys will be performing....more
We wrote about Chance the Rapper’s collaboration with Donnie Trumpet on the album Surf a few weeks back, and since then it’s been receiving some serious posivibes from the music community. Pitchfork included the album in its “Best New Music” category, Stereogum described how Surf pushes the sonic consistency of a rap album to a new level, A.V....more
In case you missed it, Chance the Rapper and his band The Social Experiment collaborated with Donnie Trumpet to release their joint LP Surf last week and, well, it’s pretty great. And it’s free. The album could be the “most anxiously awaited record of the year” according to okayplayer, and we can see why: from track to track, instrumental oceanscapes give way to the best kind of fantasy beach party vibes, and guest appearances from Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, Janelle Monáe, Big Sean, and Jeremih add their formidable voices without overtaking the album’s overall sound....more
The rapper and elusive lyricist Earl Sweatshirt projects a certain underdog quality. His debut album, Earl, came out in 2010, when he was 16. It garnered him widespread attention, which only multiplied when word spread that his mother had packed him off to a boarding school for “at-risk children” in Samoa....more
On August 18, hip-hop and comic book nerds alike convened to celebrate the release of Volume 2 of Ed Piskor’s The Hip-Hop Family Tree, a history of the genre in graphic novel-form. In the Daily Beast, Daniel Genis explains how the competing personae and one-upsmanship among rappers translate so easily to a medium that often depicts superhero fights....more