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.
Tag: Hip-Hop/Rap (21-30 of 923)
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
Denver’s BLKHRTS are part of an insurgent movement that’s given hip-hop its own version of punk rock, overflowing with anarchic energy and intensely distorted sounds. They’re a little more gothed out than the other acts that fall under the umbrella of “noise rap,” like CLPPNG and the recently disbanded Death Grips. In an interview with their hometown alt-weekly, the Denver Westword, the group’s producer Yonnas Abraham–who makes the band’s beats on an outdated, not entirely functional, 20-year-old sampler–calls himself, “obsessed with romance, obsessed with death, and obsessed with the color black.”
BLKHRTS goth tendencies come through loud and clear on “Porties,” where they rap about romantic complications over a beat that samples Bauhaus’ “She’s In Parties.” The video, with its moody, high-contrast visuals and party-hardy action, sums up the group’s mission nicely.
Kelela and Le1f are two independent artists teetering on the verge of serious pop stardom. Kelela is part of a new wave of R&B artists forging connections with the leading edge of electronic dance music who’s made a fan of, among others, Solange Knowles, who put her on the avant-R&B compilation, Saint Heron, that she released on her Saint Records label last year. Le1f, meanwhile, is doing something similar with rap and the underground club scene, and the raw energy he brought to his Letterman performance earlier this year gave him an unexpected foothold in the mainstream.
Neither of the two are content to just wait around for their seemingly inevitable breaks to come through. Both are busy at work on their next big moves. But in the meantime, while those projects are coming together, they’ve paired up to record “OICU.” Produced by beat-maker P. Morris, the track showcases their mutual talents for creating a vibe that’s spacey, sexy, and effortlessly chill. It’s a match made in stoner-avant-pop heaven.
Rapper J. Cole is best known for writing songs about lightweight subjects like girls and how tough it is to be a popular and successful rapper, but he’s also proven himself capable of handling heavier topics. On Friday, he became the first major artist to release a song in response to the Michael Brown shooting. “Be Free,” which he posted to SoundCloud early this morning, is a solemn meditation on violence directed at young black men, driven by a looping electric piano figure and a compellingly raw vocal performance that weaves between melodic rapping and straight-up singing.
“Tired of seeing black boys killed,” he wrote in an email to his publicist that she included in her own email about the song. “Tired of seeing black men killed. No more being numb to it. Made this yesterday. Not gonna wait for the album to put it out. It’s now. peace[.]“
Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora’s song “Black Widow” raises a lot of questions—like what does it mean that Rita Ora wants to love somebody until they hate her and also like a black widow? And what is up with Iggy’s tautologically fraught line, “If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be stuck singing this song?” And has someone, possibly a close friend or family member, talked to them about the fact that getting into “Fatal Attraction s–t” isn’t something they should be so proud of, and maybe they should consider a course of intensive therapy?
The video for the track only keeps the questions coming. Why is Iggy Azalea working in a greasy spoon with a poster in the kitchen that clearly has a drawing of her on it? What kind of high-intensity boob tape are she and Rita Ora using in those jumpsuits? And did anyone think that there were people out there who were begging to see Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora try their hand at comedic acting?
Kanye West is famously as fastidious about security at his recording sessions as he is about bathroom arrangements at his wedding, so when a previously unheard song purporting to come from his follow-up to last year’s Yeezus hit the Internet last night it was a big deal. While West has remained uncharacteristically silent about it, the lo-fi two-minute clip seems legit. The voice on the recording sounds like him, and the lyrics match up with the excerpt from what he called his “new single” titled “All Day” that he teased in a recent GQ interview. It’s also hard to imagine any fakers coming up with anything as clever and Kanye West-ish as “middle finger longer than Dikembe” or the offhand reference to “Rico Suave.”
If this version of “All Day” really is intended for inclusion on the next Kanye West record it’ll probably sound radically different by the time it’s released. His past few albums have been heavy on psychedelically complex, prog-rock-influenced arrangements, and something about the straightforward loops of vaguely Timbaland-sounding drums and digitally harmonized vocals seems a little to basic to pass his strict standards.
With the Drake vs. Lil Wayne tour kicking off today in New York, the duo has released a new song titled “Grindin.” Well, technically Lil Wayne has released a new song that features his tour mate. They’ll be on the road together through September, but you can check out the track below:
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