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.
Tag: Hip-Hop/Rap (21-30 of 929)
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.
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.”
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.
At last night’s MTV Video Music Awards, Charli XCX was one of the evening’s stealth victors. Though she did not cash in on any of her five nominations (four for her turn on Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” one for Artist To Watch), her pre-show performance of “Boom Clap” ended up being one of the most compelling of the evening.
She also dropped some details about her forthcoming album Sucker, which will arrive on October 17, and unleashed the video for the album’s second single “Break the Rules.”
The clip, which features actress Rose McGowan, is a timely piece of back-to-school anarchy—one last summer tantrum before the leaves fall off the trees and beach jams start sounding passé. READ FULL STORY
Shabazz Palaces’ 2011 debut Black Up had a luxurious sleekness to its sound and a fiery political charge to its lyrics—qualities that it shared with Watch the Throne, which was released just a few weeks later—but with far less concern for pleasing a pop-oriented audience. For their new album, Lese Majesty, the duo has responded to Black Up‘s surprising success by pushing even further out with even more political intensity, even weirder beats, and much weirder promo photos.
Lese Majesty isn’t as easily accessible their first album, with song structures that consistently refuse to follow standard pop blueprints. But beat-maker Fly Guy ‘Dai and MC Palaceer Lazaro (aka former Digable Planets member Ishmael Butler) make sure to provide enough hooks to help listeners get on their deconstructionist level. A lot of them come on “#CAKE,” which is the closest thing to radio-friendly that the album gets, with a warped take on an old-school electro-rap beat and lyrics that walk a line between club-friendly sing-along and psychedelic chanting.
There’s little doubt that Kanye West is the most influential fashion icon in hip-hop right now. While he’s frequently, loudly, and lengthily detailed his struggle to earn respect in the fashion world, he’s succeeded in turning legions of fanboys into couture-loving goth ninjas and minting fortunes for labels like Hood by Air and Been Trill in the process. His shoe fixation has resulted in one of the few big successes he’s had in his pursuit of a career as a fashion designer: the Nike Air Yeezy, which has become the center of an entire cult of fervently devoted sneakerheads.
One of the perks of being an artist who spent their youth pushing hard against every boundary you encountered is that years later, when the rest of the world catches up, you basically have a free pass to coast as much as you damn well please while you cash in on your hard-earned reputation. Few such artists take as much advantage of that unwritten rule as Juicy J, who’s spent most of his time since “Bandz A Make Her Dance” reignited his career recording guest verses that have given new meaning to the phrase “phoning it in” and often leave the listener under the impression that Juicy didn’t even listen to the rest of the song before jumping in the booth, dropping a quick 16, and grabbing a check on his way back out the door.
For all the uninspiring but presumably lucrative features he’s spat recently, Juicy possesses much of the skill that he displayed during his zeitgeist-rattling run with Three 6 Mafia, which he shows off a little more than usual on his new single “Low.” The reasons why aren’t hard to discern: by inviting Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, and Lil Bibby–three of the biggest talents in the game right now–on as guests he couldn’t take a chance trying to get by on cruise control.
On Monday, when Taylor Swift unveiled her new single in front of a select group of Swifties (and an untold number of viewers watching it on webstream), she did so with the casual confidence of someone with a large enough and devoted enough fan base to ensure it a No. 1 spot. And according to Billboard, “Shake It Off” very well may debut at the top of the Hot 100 next week, finally knocking Magic!’s strangely resilient “Rude” out of the place it’s held since mid-July. She’ll face some heavy competition when she gets there, though—much of it from female artists. Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea have basically owned the chart for the entire summer. Between the two of them they currently have five out of the top 10 songs in the country, including their team-up “Problem.”
Action Bronson is apparently a B-movie fan as well as a rapper and professional food lover. The video for “The Symbol” from his 2012 mixtape Rare Chandeliers was a loving tribute to the lowest of low-budget ’70s grindhouse action cinema that featured Bronson rocking a truly memorable wig.
A couple weeks ago he dropped “Easy Rider,” the first single from his upcoming official debut album Mr. Wonderful, which boasts several references to dropping acid and some face-melting psych-rock guitar licks, and the accompanying video fittingly enough casts the rapper as an LSD-loving outlaw biker. READ FULL STORY
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