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Tag: Hip-Hop/Rap (41-50 of 844)

Fast talking at the end of the world: 15 thoughts on hip-hop's 1998 middle age

Just last week, one of the topics on EW Radio was the number of genre-defining hip-hop albums hitting their twentieth anniversaries this year.

Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle, Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders, and Salt-N-Pepa’s Very Necessary all just wrapped their second decade. Those all represent different corners of the rap universe, and they all point to a crucial moment when hip-hop became such an overwhelming presence that mainstream culture had no choice but to move in its direction, rather than the other way around. The success of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, which dropped in late ’92, started the trend, and it reached its apotheosis with the one-two punch of Notorious B.I.G.’s 1994 debut Ready to Die and Tupac’s 1995 crossover smash Me Against the World.

Plenty of rap records had found their way to the upper echelon of the charts, though they were primarily pandering or novelty tracks (in ’92, both Kriss Kross’ “Jump” and Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” became Hot 100 chart toppers). The albums from ’93 were purer hip-hop, and they were crafted by fantastically charismatic characters who were singular in their delivery and presentation. The success of Doggystyle was particularly jaw-dropping—listening to that album 20 years on, it still packs an incredible impact both as a unique piece of pop music and as a remarkably dirty statement of purpose.

Those albums are unimpeachable classics, and by design there’s not a whole lot more to add to that conversation. So let’s fast-forward five years to the albums from late ’98 that are now turning 15 years old. They represent a strange middle age for hip-hop, as its dominance on the pop chart began to be taken for granted and just about everybody began to lose their way.

There are plenty of notable big-ticket rap records from 1998′s fourth quarter, and none of them are classics. It could even be argued that not a single one of them is any good. But they do represent a culture in transition, and it’s a fascinating look at where hip-hop was and how it managed to get to the place it is now. So on the 15th anniversary of Busta Rhymes’ E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front, Method Man’s Tical 2000: Judgment Day, Mystikal’s Ghetto Fabulous, Ice Cube’s War & Peace Volume 1: The War Disc, RZA’s Bobby Digital In Stereo, DMX’s Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, Juvenile’s 400 Degreez, and Redman’s Doc’s Da Name 2000, here are 15 thoughts on the 15th anniversary of a weird time for hip-hop.

1. Everybody totally thought Y2K was going to be a real thing
For anybody too young or too unborn to remember Y2K, it seems utterly ridiculous. READ FULL STORY

Eminem becomes Max Headroom for 'Rap God' video: Watch it here

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Eminem is back on top of the Billboard album chart this week with The Marshall Mathers LP 2. He’s already sold well over a million copies of his new album in only three weeks of release, and you can expect The Marshall Mathers LP 2 to remain in the top 10 throughout the holiday season.

Now comes the just-released video for “Rap God,” which casts him as a Max Headroom-esque character. For those of you too young to remember, Max Headroom was perhaps the most ’80s thing of all time, a marvel of then-cutting edge video technology who had his own TV show and sold Coke to children in a future dystopian hellscape.

In the “Rap God” video, not only does Slim Headroom rap via the miracle of neon green screen, but Em also references the video game Portal, re-creates some of those battle scenes from 8 Mileand is possibly trying to learn kung fu.

Check out the whole six minute mini-epic below.  READ FULL STORY

Busta Rhymes invites Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Q-Tip along for 'Thank You' video: Watch it here

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What do we do with Busta Rhymes in 2013? It’s been more than a minute since his peak years of mainstream relevance — his first big break came on A Tribe Called Quest’s immortal 1992 single “Scenario” — but 2012′s Year of the Dragon was surprisingly strong, and there are more hits than misses on his Catastrophic mixtape from last year.

The internet has also been fairly excited about his new tag-team tape with Q-Tip, thanks to the single “Thank You,” which lets Busta do his lightning-tongue thing over some groovy old school new soul funk. It features the best Q-Tip verse in years, plus drop-ins from Kanye West and Lil Wayne — both of whom also appear in the spartan but satisfying video that just dropped this morning.

Give the clip a spin below and marvel at Kanye’s unwavering stare during one of Q-Tip’s verses at the 2:37 mark. It’s freaky: READ FULL STORY

On the scene: Kanye West's 'Yeezus' tour hits Madison Square Garden

Kanye West’s show last night (Nov. 23) at Madison Square Garden so closely mirrored his Yeezus sets at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Tuesday and Wednesday that, bizarre as it sometimes seemed, you could never rightly call it random.

I’m duty-bound to report that he did unleash another “rant,” once again past the three-quarters mark of the night, between “Street Lights” and “Stronger,” when he could just as easily have remarked “Are you not entertained?” and been guaranteed a bloodthirsty roar of approval.

This rant (a term he mentioned and dismissed) didn’t interrupt the show so much as strip it down to its raw essence: Literally screaming—it’s a wonder he hasn’t already shredded his voice on this tour—with only a little Autotune and synthesizer to blunt him, Kanye drew the audience in close to better take on the world. (Or Nike and Hedi Slimane, at least.) “Don’t ever let ‘em tell you that I’m crazy,” he shouted, “‘cause I believe in you!”

READ FULL STORY

Lady Gaga's 'ARTPOP' earns the number one spot, Eminem holds on

All’s well that ends well, as they say: After a multi-platform promotional blitz, Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP is the number one album in the country this week. Billboard reports that Gaga’s new album sold about 258,000 copies in its first week of release, giving her the second chart-topping debut of her career.

As previously discussed, it’s a long way from the numbers she did with Born This Way back in 2011,though it still gives her the third biggest debut for a woman in 2013 behind Katy Perry’s Prism and Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz.

ARTPOP narrowly bested Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which sold 210,000 copies in its second week of release. Three other albums made their debuts in the top 10 this week: Now 48 (no. 3 with 114,000), the Beatles On Air: Live at the BBC Vol. 2 (no. 7, with 37,000), and Jhené Aiko’s Sail Out EP (no. 8 with 34,000). READ FULL STORY

Kanye West makes Kim Kardashian star of 'Bound 2': Watch it here

Kanye West is on quite the charm offensive.

Yesterday, ‘Ye dropped by a college in Boston — well, not in Boston, but nearby — to give not only a surprisingly self-deprecating speech but also free tickets to his Yeezus tour stop at TD Garden.

Then, this morning, he stopped by Ellen‘s studio to premiere his latest video for “Bound 2,” starring his fiancée Kim Kardashian, who rides on a motorcycle with her man and without a helmet.

Oh, and she’s topless.

And with that, let’s get straight to the video:

READ FULL STORY

Charts: Eminem scores second biggest sales week of 2013

It’s 2000 all over again: Justin Timberlake is responsible for the biggest sales week of the year, and Eminem is solidly in the second slot.

Slim Shady’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 had the second-biggest sales week of 2013, moving 792,000 copies of his eighth album. That beats many of the industry predictions, most of which anticipated between 700,000 and 750,000. It’s around a million albums less than the original Marshall Mathers LP did in 2000, but it’s still a strong showing from the veteran rapper.

Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience still has the biggest sales week of the year, with 968,000 copies sold in its first week back in March. After Eminem, the rest of the top five biggest debut weeks of the year are Drake’s Nothing Was the Same (658,000), Jay Z’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail (528,000), and Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party (528,000). Expect Lady Gaga’s just-released ARTPOP to sneak into that list somewhere next week.

It’s the biggest opening week for Eminem since Encore moved 710,000 in its debut week in 2004, though that was only based on three days’ worth of sales. It bests his previous two debuts, as 2009′s Relapse opened with 608,000 copies sold and 2010′s Recovery did 741,000 in its first week.

Elsewhere on the Billboard 200, Celine Dion’s Love Me Back to Life opened strong in the number two slot, while Duck Dynasty‘s Robertson Family’s holiday disc Duck The Halls took the no. 3 spot with 75K and Avril Lavigne’s self-titled new release landed at a disappointing number five with 42K.

Did you pick up The Marshall Mathers LP 2 last week? Now that you’ve had time to sit with it, what do you think? And how many copies of ARTPOP do you think Lady Gaga will sell? Sound off in the comments.

Watch Drake's 'Worst Behavior' video, featuring cameos by his dad, Juicy J, and more

Drake may be the greatest rapper alive. Perhaps he’s also the hardest working man in show business. And when it comes to making music videos, he’s Johnny on the spot: Always ready with ideas—some great, others head-scratching, and many of them pretty damn funny.

For “Worst Behavior,” a monster of a song, he has made a sprawling 10-minute video. He calls in—or grants—a bunch of favors, creating cameos for his dad, Dennis Graham, and Juicy J and Project Pat, who feature opposite OVO crew members Ryan and O’Brien a skit that’s certainly hilarious enough to watch once: READ FULL STORY

Busta Rhymes debuts new song 'Thank You' with Kanye, Q Tip, and Lil Wayne -- hear it here

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Oh you know, just a bunch of bros hanging out and being legendary, lending a hand to other bros.

Kanye West, Q-Tip, and Lil Wayne join Busta Rhymes — and a fat-bottomed sample from Alicia Meyer’s 1981 disco treasure  “I Want to Thank You” — on a new track from Busta’s upcoming Extinction Level Event 2, due next year.

And it’s pretty awesome; listen below: READ FULL STORY

Charts: Arcade Fire open on top, Eminem set for huge debut

Back in 2010, Arcade Fire scored their first number one with The Suburbs, an album that would go on to win the Grammy for Album of the Year. The Canadian collective is back on top with their follow-up Reflektor, which opens its sales life at the top of the Billboard 200 with 140,000 copies sold. That’s a solid number, though its slightly below the kickoff week for The Suburbs, which picked up 156,000. 

Of course, Arcade Fire only spent a single week at number one last time around — The Suburbs was dethroned by Eminem’s Recovery, which had returned to the top of the chart in its eighth week of release. It looks like history will be repeating itself: Eminem’s just-released The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is on track to sell between 700,000 and 750,000 units this week, which would easily give Slim Shady his 11th chart-topper and the second-biggest opening of the year behind Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience.

That would also be right on pace with the opening week of Recovery, which opened with 741,000 copies sold. Of course, he’ll fall well short of the premiere week for 2000′s The Marshall Mathers LP, which hit a staggering 1.76 million copies. Em will even fall short of the first Marshall Mathers LP‘s second week, which saw it do another 800,000. Still, Slim Shady has shown remarkable durability despite shifting cultural allegiances and mixed reviews.

Eminem also finds himself on top of the Digital Songs chart this week, with “The Monster,” his Rihanna-assisted single, selling 373,000 downloads. READ FULL STORY

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