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
Tag: Notorious B.I.G. (1-4 of 4)
This Saturday, April 20, a great yearly tradition arrives once again.
No, not that one. We’re talking about the sixth annual Record Store Day, which pays tribute to the independently-owned record stores that were once ubiquitous but are often now fighting just to stay afloat in in the iTunes and Amazon age.
The day is more than just a tribute to the fetishization of vinyl; it also honors the sense of community that comes when a bunch of music obsessives get together to talk about their favorite stuff — and kick-fight in the aisles over a limited-edition Roky Erikson 7-inch, or whatever their coveted object may be. (Check out the impressively large list of stores that are participating in this year’s festivities.)
Though there are plenty of live in-store performances, signings, and giveaways, the main attraction has become the vinyl releases that surface for one day only (and then for an eternity on eBay). This year’s list doesn’t have the same parade of heavy hitters as last year’s, but there are still plenty of goodies worth seeking.
Kendrick Lamar just added his name to the Notorious B.I.G. fan club roster.
The critically acclaimed rapper appeared as a guest on Funkmaster Flex’s New York radio show last night, and took the opportunity to freestyle over the beat from Biggie’s track “Who Shot Ya?” (the classic track that originally appeared on the late icon’s debut album Ready to Die).
Lamar’s mercurial flow, laden with references to his childhood and urban realities, displays a sense of fatalism on lines like “Any moment you could lose yo’ life/So kiss yo’ kids or hug yo’ wife,” as well some self-aware braggadocio: “I got good hair /Knowin’ damn well there’s chemicals there.”
Lamar’s major-label debut, g.o.o.d. kid, m.A.A.d. city, is set for an Oct. 22 release.
Listen to the full track below: READ FULL STORY
Notorious B.I.G.passed away 15 years ago today, and a decade and a half later, his absence still echoes. The man born Christopher Wallace rapped about the violence of the drug trade and spent nine months behind bars, but he never lived life on the edge the way Tupac Shakur did.
Many still conflate their two deaths as one long, continuous nightmare, and it’s easy to see why: They were each gunned down while driving away from major public events (Shakur following a boxing match, Biggie after an awards show). They were the two biggest icons in the ridiculous East Coast/West Coast rap war that was really just a tiff between Bad Boy Records founder Diddy (he was still Sean “Puffy” Combs back then) and Death Row Records CEO Marion “Suge” Knight. And they often traded lyrical barbs, though they were actually admirers and occasional collaborators.
Biggie’s death remains senseless and frustrating for selfish reasons — unlike Shakur, he did not leave behind a vast archive of unreleased music, and his posthumous albums have ranged from spotty (Born Again) to downright insulting (Duets: The Final Chapter). Still, his body of work consists of two stone-cold classic albums: 1994’s Ready to Die and 1997’s Life After Death (released only 16 days after his murder).
Below are the 15 songs you should crank up extra loud today in honor of the man known as Biggie Smalls. (Apologies to “Kick In the Door,” “Going Back to Cali,” and “F— You Tonight.”) READ FULL STORY
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