Two words: he’s back. Following a yearlong stint at Coral Reef Academy in Samoa, Earl Sweatshirt, Odd Future’s prodigal son has finally returned. Prior to this exile, the young Earl was wildly hyped up as one of hip-hop’s best rising emcees for his technical rapping abilities and mastery of assonance and multisyllabic rhymes. Following the release of his latest track “Chum” in early November, it appears as though all the accolades may not have been in vain. While Earl’s earlier work was characterized with violent and graphic content, “Chum,” offers a drastic change in subject mater for the young emcee. A deep and morose examination of conscious, it is complimented by the recent release of its music video counterpart. [read more…]
Ever since I was in middle school, I have loved Jay-Z. Loved Jay-Z. I still remember the day I got have my hands on a copy of The Blueprint. I remember bumping that album for hours, son! I had every lyric to every song memorized down pat after only a week, from Takeover, to Heart of the City, to Girls, Girls, Girls (I got a chick from Peru, that sniff Peru, she got a cousin at customs that get shit through…I’m Peruvian so hearing that as a kid got me so amped), Renegade (a song which hip hop heads to this day still have the infamous who out-rapped who debate: Eminem or Jigga…personally I give it to Eminem, but again, just the fact that he left that legacy in hip hop history is significant). That album was immaculate. The array of accolades it received is proof of it: #5 in Rolling Stone’s “Top 10 of 2001,”#2 in Pitchfork Media’s “The Top 100 Albums of 2000-04,” one of fifteen albums to (originally) receive 5 Mics by The Source, one of only eight albums to (initially) receive a “XXL” rating by XXL Magazine. Now all of these publications may have their creative differences, but they all agreed on one thing: Jay-Z was onto something. Just about every Jay-Z album after that had the same effect on me, they were my jams, they were my therapy, they were my life.
I also came from humble beginnings: low-income immigrant household in a “wrong side of the tracks” neighborhood in Akron, OH (yes, Lebron James hometown…but lets not talk about that for now OK?). Nowhere near the hardship Jay-Z saw in the Marcy Projects of Brooklyn but a background humble enough that Jigga’s music and come up story always held a special place in my heart. Suffice to say, when I heard he was throwing this Made in America music festival I had to go. Had to. By any means necessary. Although, I have always been a huge Jay-Z fan, I have actually never seen him live, so I took this as a sign, Christian, you have to go. So, I took a day off from my 9-5, redeemed all my credit card points I’ve been saving since I was an undergrad at BC and got a last minute flight and hotel down to Philly.
The entire week up to the Made in America festival, I was beyond excited. I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas Morning; as I blasted Jay-Z on repeat on my Spotify all week long. When the time came, and I finally arrived on the plane, a funny thing happened on the flight from Boston to Detroit before a layover to Philadelphia. I sat next to a random man named Dave for the flight, a pharmaceutical rep from Wisconsin. Dave and I started shooting the shit and he could tell how excited I was for this festival. I kept gushing over Jay-Z and how much I loved him, his music, his business model, and his entrepreneurial spirit – just non-stop Jigga talk. A theme that I kept bringing up was that Jay-Z was a man that made the impossible possible, who went from the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn to international superstar and mogul. A self-made man akin to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby. He offered me a challenge: “So you say Jay-Z made the impossible possible, eh? Why don’t you do the same, give yourself the ‘impossible’ goal of meeting Jay-Z this weekend, using what little resources you have. After all, Jay-Z was able achieve his present state of success using just what he had; he adjusted and adapted to whatever hardship was set before him. Why don’t you do the same? You’re a bright young man, BC grad, have a knowledge of social media, and natural charisma. Try to be like Jay-Z, and use what you have to make the impossible possible this weekend.” I told him two words: Challenge accepted. [read more…]
Super excited for the sequel to 2009′s Blackroc, a collaborative album between indie rockers The Black Keys and various hip-hop stars. Blakroc 2 is slated to feature some of the hottest names in hip-hop including Talib Kweli, U God, Jay Electronica, OC, Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa, Jim Jones, Sean Price, & The Cool Kids. Check out the teaser after the jump. [read more…]
Rapper/producer Hoodie Allen just released his latest mixtape titled Leap Year. The 22-year old former Google employee has a sound and persona that’s reminiscent of Asher Roth, Sam Adams, or duo Chiddy Bang.
Some of the best tracks on Leap Year include “Song for an Actress,” “The Chase is On,” and “#WhiteGirlProblems.” Hoodie Allen is currently about to embark on a nation-wide tour, lasting through the end of August. Stream or download the mixtape below. [read more…]
Now, with the release of the official video for the hit single off of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, we get to see English director Jake Nava’s work as it was meant to be seen (and it’s more twisted than we could have imagined). [read more…]
Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, released a 5 track untitled EP this week. Although he’s probably best known as Troy Barnes on NBC’s Community, he’s got a burgeoning rap career and appears to be following in the footsteps of Drake. His straightforward flow is reminiscent of Chiddy Bang. Be sure to check out Freaks and Geeks and My Shine — they’re the two tracks that really showcase Childish Gambino’s raw talent. [read more…]
Raekwon, of Wu-Tang Clan fame, has come out with a new song titled “Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang.” It’s been almost a year and a half since he released his critically acclaimed second solo album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt. II, so it’s good to see him working on some new music. Skip to 0:35 to get past the intro. [read more…]
Kristine Flaherty, better known by her stage name K.Flay, is one of the most talented burgeoning female rappers around. 2010 was a breakout year for the Stanford grad; she collaborated with French cello/violin duo SomethingALaMode on their hit song “5am” and released her mixtape Mashed Potatoes. She’s drawn comparisons to Liz Phair, Fiona Apple and Missy Elliot, and has already performed alongside big name acts like Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and 3OH!3. [read more…]