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Tag: Hip-Hop/Rap (11-20 of 925)

Chicago rapper Alex Wiley continues his streak with 'Sexual Dolphin'

Twenty-one-year-old Hyde Park native Alex Wiley is an increasingly important player of a movement of Chicago hip-hop artists–with Chance the Rapper at the forefront–who are uniting the city’s history of smart, bohemian backpacker rap with cunning pop sensibilities that have helped earn them a far broader audience than their biting social commentary and emotionally raw personal narratives might suggest. “When I was younger I had a turning point in my life,” Wiley writes in an email. “It made me what I am right now, set that in motion. I guess now, I’m trying to make music that that kid who was going through a lot of shit would have wanted to hear, and would have helped him get through his day.”

Back in June, he released his Village Party mixtape that drew more attention from outside of his city than anything else he’s released. His first song since then is “Sexual Dolphin,” a far deeper and heavier song than the title would suggest, produced by Odd Couple and Carter Lang. “With this,” he writes, “I’m trying to pick up where I left off from Village Party and take people to the next place. I’m really excited to drop it. It’s my first song with two verses. It’s a new sound for me, but I think it still feels relatable, it still feels like me.”

“I’m trying to make rock music,” he writes. “I don’t want rock n’ roll to die. I think Kanye said it best: Rappers are the rock stars right now.”

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Nabiha's 'Animals' is the best turn-up anthem you'll hear today

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Scandinavia has had a strong presence on the pop charts this year, first with Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz’s out-of-nowhere smash “Am I Wrong,” followed by Tove Lo‘s “Habits (Stay High),” which spent the summer steadily climbing the Hot 100. Next up is Nabiha, a Danish artist who splits the difference between hip-hop, R&B, dance music, and straight-up pop. Considering how closely this combination of genres resembles the makeup of the American pop charts these days, it seems likely that she might be able to find more success here with her newly released EP Mind the Gap than her 2011 track “Never Played the Bass,” which made it to No. 37 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart despite the fact that it wasn’t officially promoted as a single.

Mind‘s second single could be the break she’s been looking for. “Animals” is a beast of a turn-up anthem, alternating between noisily minimal rap verses that sound like the hybrid offspring of Yeezus and Major Lazer’s “Pon Di Floor” and a sweeping, jumbo-sized melodic hook that probably has Rihanna biting her fist with envy. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself listening to it on repeat.

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Chief Keef's 'Wait': Weirdest rap song of the week (or maybe the year)

Two years after blasting his way into the pop zeitgeist via Kanye’s remix of “I Don’t Like,” Chief Keef remains the poster boy for Chicago’s drill scene, despite the fact that he’s been moving away from that style’s blueprint for nearly as long. Earlier this year, he released the single “All I Care About” from his Bang 3 mixtape that split the difference between drill and the blues, mixing a twitchy beat made out of drill’s signature chattering hi-hats and funereal tolling bells with a yowling Auto-Tuned vocal part and a hypnotically circular melody, resulting in six minutes of heavy strangeness that doesn’t fit comfortably in any one established genre. (“Computerized gangster soul” might work.)

Last night he proved that his weird streak’s not only continuing, but intensifying when he posted a new single on YouTube. “Wait,” which Keef produced himself, is a strange mishmash of odd noises that shares some rhythmic qualities with rap but overall is more sonically similar to the experimental electronic music that back in the ’90s was called IDM, or “intelligent dance music”—in particular in its glitchy hi-hats and the unexpectedly gentle synth lead that sounds like something Aphex Twin might have made back in the Richard D. James Album era.

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Danny Brown has a psychedelic house party in 'Smokin' & Drinkin' video

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Back in July, EW visited the Greenpoint, Brooklyn location where Detroit rapper Danny Brown was shooting a video for the Old track “Smokin’ & Drinkin’.” Wednesday, the final product hit the Internet in all its hedonistic glory.

Director Alan Del Rio Ortiz described the clip’s theme as “like a house party, but in a dream,” and to that end, he dropped Brown (clad in a leather jacket and Dead Boys tee) into a group of pretty young people going bananas in a psychedelically lit apartment. There’s a lot of dancing, a lot of glitter, a lot of 40’s being chugged, and since it’s a rap video, a generous number of attractive women just chilling in a shower.

Big Sean debuts four new songs: Listen

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Big Sean surprised fans Friday afternoon with a batch of new music posted to his SoundCloud. The “Marvin & Chardonnay” rapper unveiled four new songs, including one that unites two of the most successful producers of the past few years for the first time. “I Don’t F– With You” was produced by his G.O.O.D. Music boss Kanye West and Hot-100-dominating newcomer DJ Mustard, finding an interesting middle ground between the former’s proggy sonic envelope-pushing and the latter’s bare-bones electro boom. (It also features yet another in a very long line of on-point verses by Bay Area rap legend E-40.)

Sean’s already having a pretty big week, with Thursday’s announcement that he’s joined the Roc Nation management roster and Saturday’s release of his tropical-themed collaboration with Adidas.

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Kid Sister is back with a new sound, a new philosophy, and a new alter ego

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When Melisa Young, aka Kid Sister, released her breakthrough single “Pro Nails” back in 2007, hip-hop, pop, and dance music all still existed pretty much in their own lanes, and blending them together the way she did was still a largely unexplored idea. The song obviously didn’t take itself too seriously— it’s about getting your nails did, obviously — but it was revolutionary in its own low-key way, and after Kanye jumped on a remix, it became a smash hit in the club scene where a new generation of rappers and dance DJs were just starting to mingle.

“Pro Nails” led to Young being signed to Downtown Records, but despite the backing of a big label, production work by future EDM superstars like A-Trak, Rusko, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso, and a plethora of hooks, her 2009 debut album Ultraviolet failed to live up to its high expectations. As the hybrid style she’d developed spread from the underground to the Hot 100, Young herself faded from the public eye.

At the end of August, nearly five years after Ultraviolet dropped, Young released  DUSK2DAWN- The Diary of Jane Jupiter, a mixtape that finds her going harder than she’s ever gone before, with a new sound with a noisier edge and a newfound interest in writing on topics far deeper than manicures. EW got her on the phone to talk about the transition.

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Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus team up on 'Never Catch Me'

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Speaking of Cali hip-hop, two of the most important figures in the contemporary L.A. rap scene, Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, just revealed a surprising new collaborative single. The pair embody two of the dominant themes that have been bouncing around it recently: on one hand, a nostalgia-tinged re-engagement with the city’s gangsta rap history, and on the other, a psychedelic deconstructionist movement, influenced by cosmic free jazz, that’s doing to the boom bap what Ornette Coleman did to bebop. They may seem like artists with very disparate goals, but “Never Catch Me” shows that they’re more compatible than they may seem on the surface.

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Watch hip-hop vets DJ Nu-Mark and Slimkid3's 'I Know, Didn't I' video

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From Kendrick Lamar to YG, the West Coast has been working steadily to reassert its status as one of the epicenters of hip-hop culture, and two veterans of the scene have stepped up to contribute to the effort. DJ Nu-Mark of Jurassic 5 and the Pharcyde’s Slimkid3 have teamed up for an album-length collaboration, Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark, that comes out next Tuesday on old-school standard-bearer Delicious Vinyl.

The second single from the LP puts their classical aesthetic front and center by flipping Darondo’s cult soul classic “Didn’t I” into a laid-back jam perfectly tuned for aimlessly cruising around L.A. in a sweet vintage ride, complimented by a trippy video that should connect with Cali’s current crop of dispensary-frequenting hip-hop heads.

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Watch Buck 65 play pop star in his 'Super Pretty Naughty' video

Rapper Buck 65 has made his name on dense wordplay and music that pushes against expectations of how hip-hop should sound. Choosing to concentrate on abstract metaphors and dropping odd country-rap fusions years before “hick-hop” became a thing has kept him closer to cult status than mainstream success, but for his latest song and video, from his upcoming album Neverlove (out Sept. 30), Buck offers a glimpse at what might have been if he’d pursued a more pop-friendly route.

“After my wife left,” he writes in an email, “I met a girl who I was hoping would give me hugs and kisses. I was a bit desperate for affection. I figured I might get lucky if I made a song she liked, so I asked her about her taste in music. She listed off all the things she likes about the music she dances to in clubs and I wrote it all down. I still have the piece of paper. She mentioned lyrics with ‘la la la’ parts, four-on-the-floor beats, classic house music, mentions of birthdays and getting dressed up, ‘build ups,’ as she put it, shiny synth sounds, breakdowns, ‘rainbows’ (I wasn’t sure what she meant by that), and lots of hooks. It all went into the blender.”

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Hear 10 songs Joey Bada$$ is feeling right now

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn’s Joey Bada$$ is only 19 years old, but he’s got a passion for old-school hip-hop—the kind you normally only find among fans who were buying rap tapes before he was even born.

Over the course of several increasingly popular mixtapes, he’s carved out a style rooted in what’s frequently referred to as the golden era of hip-hop, when a broad coalition of mostly East Coast acts like Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest were making seminal, boom-bap-heavy music that went a long way toward getting the genre taken seriously outside of the hip-hop community.

Right now, Joey’s prepping for the release of his debut solo album, B4.Da.$$. He took time out from his European tour to send EW a playlist of tracks that he has in heavy rotation right now. In true budding rap mogul style, about half the selections feature either him or a member of his Pro Era crew. That said, the left-field inclusion of Kiesza’s throwback club-pop burner “Hideaway”–and the hint that the two of them have a collaboration in the works–has us particularly excited.

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