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Tag: Hip-Hop/Rap (1-10 of 935)

Pusha T drops Kanye West-produced 'Lunch Money'

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It’s a testament to Pusha T’s magnetism that he can rap about exactly one topic and still get people going crazy every time he drops a track. He just unveiled his latest, the Kanye West-produced “Lunch Money,” and like every single other King Push song ever, it’s about the craziness of being a former cocaine dealer turned international rap superstar, and like an almost unbelievably large percentage of them, it’s completely bananas and worth rewinding at least two or three times on the first spin.

West’s beat hints at where he’s headed post-Yeezus, trading in the impenetrably dark industrial minimalism he’s been on for burbling prog rock synthesizers and funky stomping drums. The track hit the Internets without any explanation about whether or not it’s part of a new release, but if Pusha’s got a sequel to My Name Is My Name up his sleeve, fans of clanging beats and a seemingly limitless series of cocaine metaphors could have reason to celebrate.

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Up-and-coming rapper Pell explains where he's going and what he's listening to

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The rapper Pell hails from New Orleans, but his style has little in common with the syrup-swilling sound that most rap fans associate with the city. His new album Floating While Dreaming mixes the ongoing cloud rap trend with a heavy shot of organic Native Tongues vibes and more than a few hints at the young MC’s affection for indie rock, including a single that features indie crooner Dent May on the hook.

“The style is just 100 percent me,” he tells EW. “I like to think in some capacities I’m ahead of the curve. I can make something classic and timeless but still catch the ears of the youth and the people who are looking for a hit single. Something that’s relatable right now. A lot of people out right now are trying to talk about something different from what they’re doing, and it’s easily transparent to the listeners. Nine times out of 10, the ones that are respected for these braggadocious lyrics are talking about lives that aren’t even theirs.”

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Jeezy, the most motivational man in the rap game, opens up about what motivates him

The title of Jeezy’s 2005 major label debut, Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, succinctly sums up what he was about and what he’s been about since then—converting stories about his struggles on and off the streets into potently inspiring music. Lots of rappers drop knowledge on their records, but few lace their rhymes with so much motivational wisdom.

Jeezy’s guru-like status in hip-hop is half the reason he’s been able to keep his career going strong for over a decade. The other half is that he keeps putting out amazing records. Last year he released one of his biggest singles, the club-friendly, DJ Mustard-produced “R.I.P.” Back in September he released Seen It All: The Autobiography, which abandons crossover ambition to focus solely on the kind of unforgivingly hard music most rappers keep confined to their mixtapes. The kind of stuff he specializes in.

His latest single, “Holy Ghost,” an emotionally raw meditation on loyalty and betrayal set in the back seat of a Rolls-Royce, is one of the most powerful songs he’s ever recorded. Just listening to it can make you feel bulletproof. It may not have budged the mainstream’s needle, but it’s huge on the streets, which is where it was aiming for in the first place.

While Jeezy was in New York City for a show, EW had the chance to sit down with him and find out why he thinks his music’s so motivating—and what motivates him.

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Azealia Banks drops long-delayed debut album by surprise

When Harlem rapper Azealia Banks first announced the impending release of her debut album Broke With Expensive Taste, all the way back in early 2012, the world was a different place. Her addictive single “212″ was making the Rap Internet go bananas, her nemesis (or at least one of them) Iggy Azalea was just another newcomer with one hot song, and Universal was willing to gamble big that she was going to become the first female rap superstar of the new decade.

Since then she’s seen first Nicki Minaj and then Iggy take the spots she seemed destined for, she’s burned through most of the goodwill she’d acquired with a seemingly interminable series of poorly judged Twitter beefs, and Universal’s dropped her. But as of today, the multiply-delayed BWET is actually available for purchase.

Earlier today Spotify posted a placeholder for the album, and Banks has since released the album through iTunes on her own Azealia Banks Records imprint. Many of the 16 tracks have been previously released, including “212,” “Yung Rapunxel,” and “Heavy Metal and Reflective.”

 

The Dirty Heads' Jared 'Dirty J' Watson on the hit 'My Sweet Summer' and his current rider obsession

The fall chill is in full effect for the parts of the United States that actually experience seasons, but for anybody wanting to hang onto the spirit of beach weather, the Dirty Heads have a pretty excellent balm. It’s called “My Sweet Summer,” and it has been a steady performer on the rock charts since the album it came from, Sound of Change, dropped in July.

“We knew coming out in the summer time it would work, and it turns out it works when it’s cold too,” explains frontman Jared “Dirty J” Watson. “It’s got legs.” According to Watson, the song was initially something he was going to give away. “I heard Kenny Chesney liked our music, so I wrote the hook and was going to send it to him just to see if he’d like it,” he says. “But [producer] Niles [Hollowell-Dhar] said, ‘This is a hit, you’ve got to release this first.’ We ended up finishing it in about a day.”

The song is an excellent bridge track for the Dirty Heads, who made their bones as a reggae-blessed beach-ska hybrid since their inception. “My Sweet Summer” has a lot of that vibe to it, but it also hints at what’s on the rest of Sound of Change, which is much more heavily invested in bringing in hip-hop elements. READ FULL STORY

It's not too late to fall in love with Sharaya J's Missy Elliott-directed 'Takin' It No More'/'Shut It Down' video

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Missy Elliott hasn’t released an album in nearly a decade. As a fan, that can be hard to deal with, especially as other rap and R&B stars of the early ’00s have mounted comebacks over the past few years. But as frustrating as the lack of a new Elliott LP has been, it’s hard to argue with the admittedly well-deserved semi-retirement she’s been enjoying, casually jumping on tracks for old friends, releasing the occasional hot new thing whenever the mood strikes her, and not really sweating career stuff.

Recently she’s taken on Jersey artist Sharaya J as a protege, performing with her at the afterparty for an Alexander Wang runway show and even making a video for her. Back at the end of September, Sharaya J released a diptych video for her songs “Takin’ It No More” and “Shut It Down,” which Elliott co-directed and executive produced. It’s Elliott’s first time directing, as she admitted last night on Twitter, but she’s obviously learned a lot from starring in videos, and the results of her debut effort are way more impressive than the average novice. It helps that Sharaya J is a superstar just waiting to happen, with intense vocal and dance skills matched by a charisma that blasts out of the screen with an almost palpable force.

She also seems to have inherited Elliott’s frenetically experimental streak—there aren’t many artists out there who have the skills or even the inclination to pull off choreography that incorporates real-time sign language translations into their dance moves.

The “Takin’ It No More”/”Shut It Down” video has been out for over a month now, and so far it’s only racked up a little over 100 thousand views, which is only a tiny fraction of what it deserves. A month may seem like a million years in today’s hyperkinetic pop landscape, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to fall in love with it.

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Nicki Minaj and some other, less important guys release 'Only'

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Yesterday it was announced that the release of Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint will be pushed back from Nov. 24 to Dec. 15, but to make up for it, she’s released a new single, “Only,” whose bonkers cover art (featuring cartoon portraits of Minaj in some kind of leather bodysuit and Drake in a pope hat) she’d previously teased on Twitter.

It features verses by Drake and Lil Wayne, a hook by Chris Brown, and a beat by Dr. Luke, Cirkut, and J Mike, but Minaj’s rap is far and away the best part about it. It starts with her refuting the long running rumors that she traded sex for support from Wayne and Drake, then uses a hypothetical menage á trois to assert sexual dominance over both of them, seeming to claim the alpha spot on the Young Money/Cash Money roster, and neither one of her teammates can do much to change that perception.

You can hear it here.

 

Mykki Blanco on Gay Dog Food and why you shouldn't call him a gay rapper

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Michael Quattlebaum Jr., better known as Mykki Blanco, is a singular presence in hip-hop, not just because he’s part of the first wave of openly queer rappers to gain traction with an audience outside the queer community but simply because there’s no other hip-hop artists who look, sound, or act like him. On his new mixtape Gay Dog Food he shows off some of the blunt-instrument flow that he built his reputation on, but spends far more time channeling Iggy Pop with an elastic sprechgesang that he uses to deliver hallucinatory lyrics about freaks, drugs, and kinky sex, wallowing in transgressive behavior with manic glee over beats engineered for maximum sonic filth. It’s one of the year’s most bracing rap records, and signals Mykki Blanco’s elevation from a new artist to keep an eye out for to an icon who demands attention. A few days before Gay Dog Food‘s release EW spoke to him by phone about where’s he’s been and where’ he’s heading.

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Hackers persuade Drake to release three new songs

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Hackers have had a lot of negative press recently, and for good reason, but they’re not all bad. Sometimes they can even be a force for good, like when they help push new Drake songs into the world.

Over the weekend Drizzy posted three new tracks on his SoundCloud with the explanation that he knew “hackers” had already got their hands on them. Produced by his go-to beat makers Boi-1da and Noah “40″ Shebib, “How About Now” and “Heat of the Moment” both put the rapper’s notoriously intense feelings front and center, but “6 God” channels his wild-out, getting-into-shit-at-the-strip-club side.

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10 songs where guest rappers stole the show

Guest verses have always been a part of hip-hop, but they’ve grown in popularity over the years for a number of reasons: they put new talent in people’s ears, they keep established rappers sharp, and they keep the slightly gladiatorial element of competition between performers alive in an era when freestyle battle raps are seen as slightly antiquated. The right featured guest can turn a single into a smash—but it can also backfire if that rapper outshines the song’s main artist. But when that does happen, the results can be pretty magical. Here are 10 notable examples of guest rappers appearing on other rappers’ songs—and completely blowing them away. READ FULL STORY

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