Rap/Hip-hop/ and R&B has undoubtedly become my go-to for music listening these days. Sure I listen to other genres like Alternative Rock, Classic Rock, EDM, etc. but to me nothing else compares to rap/hip-hop/r&b. It started about two or three years ago when I started to follow music much closer than I had in the past and began following rap and hip-hop almost religiously. I began checking the popular blogs everyday for new singles from any notable rapper hoping to find good music. I would find a new song that would top the last song that I found and it would make me want more. I continually fell in love with the music genre with every passing song. While I do have a great love for the genre, I can admit that the culture that arises from this genre is not very inclusive of all people. Rap and hip-hop is notoriously famous for being insensitive to women and people who identify as LGBTQ. These themes of objectifying women are distasteful but unfortunately they will continue to exist and only makes listening to rappers like Logic, who are socially conscious and respect people of all kinds that much better. Rappers who regularly demean women are only hurting themselves as they could be gaining plenty of fans in the women that listen to hip-hop. Hip-hop and rap also does not produce the right influence for children and teens as they over-promote the use and sale of drugs along with the use of firearms to kill other people. While all of these influences often create negative perceptions of the genre, I will likely still closely follow and consume the music. I have developed an infatuation for the genre and many of the rappers who carry it. Artists like Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Rocky, Nav, and Future are my favorites and a few of many that I would deeply miss if I had stopped keeping up on the news and new releases. I also would not be able to witness the the current reign that some of the greats like Lil Wayne, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Kanye West are on right now and how they will influence the genre going forward with their future albums and singles. All in all, as long as Rap/Hip-hop/R&B continues to regularly released and as long as those releases sound like gold in my ears, I will still be a rap fan for life.
Everybody – Logic
Just when I thought that Kendrick Lamar wasn’t going to get any competition for the best rap album of the year, Logic comes through with a truly special album to add his name to the conversation. Seemingly more socially conscious than ever, Logic released his third studio album Everybody last weekend on May 5th. In late 2016, Logic revealed that he was working on a new album and that it would be titled AfricAryaN. This title was met with much controversy and Logic subsequently changed the title to the current Everybody. Prior to the album’s formal release, Logic released three singles for the project; “Everybody”, “Black Spiderman”, and “1-800-273-8255”. If you don’t follow Logic’s music, you may be wondering why there is a phone number on the tracklist. That phone number happens to be the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and song is a product of a partnership between Logic and the NSPL. Logic uses this song to communicate that suicide is never the answer to anyone’s problems and that help is available.
The features listed for the album are modest but do make an impact when called upon. Alessia Cara and up and coming hip-hop artist Khalid feature on “1-800-273-8255”. Alessia Cara has a beautiful voice and lets it show on her part in the song. Killer Mike, one-half of the rap duo Run The Jewels, appears on the third track “Confess”. Hansel Elgort, American actor who has appeared in The Divergent Series and the The Fault in Our Stars, appears on the fourht track “Killing Spree”; his voice is very similar to that of Post Malone in his singing verse on the track. Among other notable features on Everybody include Juicy J on “Ink Blot” and the Neil deGrasse Tyson whom repeatedly appears on Everybody and plays the role of God throughout the album.
This video was released as a promotion for the release of Everybody, and is a true testament to the creativity and artistry to Logic’s music.
…and also here is the only music video from this album to date for the song “Black Spiderman” featuring Damian Lemar Hudson.
…and here is a trailer for the documentary about the making of Everybody that is coming soon and may interest you.
Here is the Spotify link to Everybody:
My Top 5 Songs from Everybody
2. “Killing Spree” featuring Ansel Elgort
3. “Take It Back”
4. “Ink Blot” featuring Juicy J
My Overall Rating
DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar
I think it is legitimately time to start reconsidering who the greatest rapper alive is.
For much time, as long as i have been following rap closely and even before that I have considered Lil Wayne to be the greatest rapper alive. My friends and I have had this debate plenty of times. To me, Lil Wayne has done plenty to move the rap industry forward and would have likely already released his long-anticipated installment in the Carter series, Carter V, if it wasn’t for Birdman refusing to release it. With Carter V stalled for a prolonged time we have only seen two albums from Lil Wayne since his Carter IV release in August of 2011 along with a collaboration album with 2 Chainz(Collegrove) and severeal mixtapes scattered within like Sorry For The Wait 2 and No Ceilings 2. While it appears that Lil Wayne’s career may be winding down it is time to consider a changing of the guard for he title of “Greatest Rapper Alive”.
I believe as of April 14, 2017, the day that Kendrick Lamar released DAMN., K-Dot is worthy of consideration for that title now that Lil Wayne has sort of tailed off. To no fault of his own, as Birdman has been holding the Carter V and any other music Weezy is hoping to release in the near future. Don’t get me wrong, I think Lil Wayne is one of the greatest of all-time and if he isn’t the greatest rapper alive right now, he would be easily top 3.
Kendrick fans have been waiting years for K-Dot to come through with something like this. Ever since good kid, m.A.A.d. city fans have waited for Kendrick to drop some cold bars with a west coast flavor. Since that album, Kendrick released two albums that have strayed a bit from his typical rap album. To Pimp a Butterfly was more of a soul/R&B with more of a hip-hop vibe, something that Kendrick hardly touched prior to To Pimp A Butterfly. To Pimp a Butterfly was also more conscious rap about ongoing political issues, a detour from the typical gang/ street raps that we saw on good kid, m.A.A.d. city. After that we were treated to untitled unmastered. That album
was as the title suggests, released without audio mastering and no real overarching
theme but was basically an extension of music that he never finished from around the same time as To Pimp a Butterfly and consists of the same genre bending hip-hop.
Fans of Kendrick knew it was go-time for K-Dot when he released “HUMBLE.” the lead single to DAMN. Prior to that he released “The Heart pt. 4”, in that song he was quoted saying, “Y’all got ’til April the 7th to get y’all shit together.” Many, including myself, were lead to believe that this was the release date for his album but turned out to be wrong as it was released a week later. The album is complete with fourteen songs with minimal features as only Zacari, Rihanna, and U2 appear on DAMN.
This music video that Kendrick released alongside the single “HUMBLE.” is extremely captivating and I highly recommend watching if you haven’t seen it yet. Kendrick’s music videos only continue to get better and more powerful as he progresses.
My Top 5 Songs
Take this with a grain of salt as I have only given the album a listen twice now and it has been under twelve hours since release.
4. “XXX.” featuring U2
5. “LOYALTY.” featuring Rihanna
My Overall Rating : 5/5
On the eve of releasing his debut mixtape, it is perfect timing to introduce you to the up and coming artist known as Playboi Carti ( Play-boy Car-Tee). Prior to about March or April of 2016, I had never heard of Playboi Carti but around then his name began to spread on the hip-hop/rap sites that I usually frequent. I then began to explore some songs that he had and songs that he featured on. I found plenty of songs that I could vibe to and work into my playlists. Most of the songs that I personally enjoyed consisted of Playboi Carti featuring on songs from some of the other more popular up and coming rappers like Lil Uzi Vert, Kodak Black, 21 Savage, and Rich the Kid. My favorite was the song “Plug” by Rich the Kid but featured Playboi Carti and also Kodak Black. Other ones that I still played weeks after firstdiscovery were “Peepin'” by Gucci Mane featuring CArti and 21 Savage, “Left, Right” by Lil Uzi Vert featuring Carti, and “Too Much Dope” by KEY! featuring Carti. One notable song that I enjoyed where Carti was the main attraction was the song ” This Cash”; you can listen to it and the other four mentioned down below in the Soundcloud players.
Playboi Carti joined up with A.S.A.P. Mob in 2016, linking together with the group that already featured popular artists like A.S.A.P. Rocky, A.S.A.P. Ferg, A.S.A.P. Nast, and A.S.A.P. Bari to name a few. This influence has found him collaborating with these artists more frequently. He featured on the A.S.A.P. group project, Cozy Tapes Vol, 1 on the song “Telephone Calls”. In the past month or two, Playboi has released several singles such as “Broke Boi”, “Lookin'” featuring Lil Uzi Vert, and “wokeuplikethis*” featuring Lil Uzi Vert. “Lookin'” and “wokeuplikethis*” will both appear on Carti’s self-titled debut mixtape, Playboi CArti. While his mixtape will not be available on streaming sites until April 14th, the tracklist is available as of today.
Here it is! A notable feature in A.S.A.P. Rocky on the song “New Choppa”. A song that has me hyped to give the tape a listen.
Playboi Carti’s Playboi Carti Tracklist
1. “Location” (prod. by Harry Fraud)
2. “Magnolia” (prod. by Pierre Bourne)
3. “Lookin” Feat. Lil Uzi Vert
4. “wokeuplikethis*” Feat. Lil Uzi Vert (prod. by Pierre Bourne)
5. “Let It Go” (prod. by Pierre Bourne)
6. “Half & Half”
7. “New Choppa” Feat. A$AP Rocky
8. “Other Shit”
9. “NO. 9″
10. “dothatshit!” (prod. by Pierre Bourne)
11. “Lame Niggaz” (prod. by Pierre Bourne)
12. “Yah Mean” (prod. by Pierre Bourne)
13. “Flex” Feat. Leven Kali
14. “Kelly K” (prod. by Southside)
15. “Had 2″
To get you ready for the mixtape here is a playlist of Carti’s songs and features that I found on Spotify.
Its been awhile since I spotlighted an rising rapper. Previously I have written about Nav and 24hrs. One person that 24hrs has frequently collaborated with and also happens to be an older brother to is rising rapper MadeinTYO or Made in Tokyo. I discovered MadeinTYO after hearing the single that he released last year with 2 Chainz titled “I Want”. From the moment I first heard that song I knew that he had the talent and potential to become an great rapper. My belief was reinforced when I then also was exposed to his first single “Uber Everywhere” which became highly popular and was even remixed by Travis Scott. Exploring his other music, I discovered many of his other songs on Soundcloud, “Nawfside Shawty” and others then became a regular play in my daily playlist. Another extremely popular single released by MadeinTYO is “Skateboard P”. The song wasn’t really all that popular up until Big Sean remixed it and released it with a verse of his on the track which is a great song and TYO’s best to date in my opinion. “Skateboard P” was later released on his mixtape Thank You Mr. Tokyo. He also released another album in 2016 prior to Thank You, Mr. Tokyo, titled You Are Forgiven. Both are quality mixtapes and if you like songs like “Skateboard P” or “Uber Everywhere” then you will surely enjoy the other songs on the mixtapes.
MadeinTYO was born in Honolulu, Hawaii but moved around a ton while growing up as his father was in the military. He ended up in Atlanta and lived with his older brother 24hrs. The two brothers released a decent EP in December of 2016 appropriately titled, 24hrs in Tokyo. 24hrs in Tokyo isn’t very long with only four songs but when it comes to music releases I am a firm believer on quality over quantity. I personally love the song “You” from the extended play.
Take a listen to his mixtapes and 24hrs in Tokyo while we wait for news about his upcoming debut album which I would bet would be released in 2017 as he is riding high off of his previous singles.
Best Hip-hop/Rap/R&B of March 2017
We we’re blessed with several huge albums this year from some big names in the hip-hop and rap world. Drake came through with his highly anticipated fourth studio album, More Life. More Life has smashed many records since its release including the record for amount of streams in the first 24 hours of release.Rick Ross pleased his fans by dropping his ninth studio album, Rather You Than Me, which is packed with big name features like Gucci Mane, Nas, and Young Thug to name a few.
Kendrick Lamar who is arguably the greatest rapper alive has gotten fans very hyped for his upcoming album due out on April 14th by releasing two new singles that are apparently on the project which has yet to have a name or tracklist given to the public. “The Heart pt. 4” and “HUMBLE” are the two banging singles that K-Dot gave us to get us ready for the album.
Top producer Mike WiLL Made-It released his first studio album, RANSOM 2, the follow-up to his previously successful mixtape RANSOM. RANSOM 2, which stands for Releasing All New Songs Orchestrated by Me, has great songs like “Come Down”( ft. Chief Keef and Swae Lee), “Perfect Pint”(ft. Gucci Mane, Kendrick Lamar), and “Gucci On My” (ft. 21 Savage, YG, & Migos).
Lil Durk gave us a solid mixtape to open the month on March 1st with plenty of enjoyable rap songs like “Handouts”, “Lately”, and “Mood”. Nicki Minaj dropped two huge singles that featured Drake and Lil Wayne (“No Frauds”) and another with Lil Wayne again (“Changed It”). Lil Uzi Vert released a short mixtape that featured an great song called, “XO TOUR Llif3”, which I believe will be blowing up radio plays and Spotify/Apple Music accounts everywhere soon. Rising rapper Kodak Black closed out the month by also releasing his debut studio album, Painting Pictures, featuring artists such as Future, A Boogie Wit A Hoodie, and Jeezy.
Here is my personally curated playlist that includes the 30 best Hip-hop/Rap/R&B songs of the month of March in 2017. Enjoy!
March has been a huge month for music but I wouldn’t be surprised if April is an even better month for Hip-hop and Rap music fans.
Rather You Than Me – Rick Ross
Ricky Rozay unveils another high quality rap album adding to his already long list of works. Rather You Than Me is Ross’s ninth studio album and first since he released Black Market back in 2015. Rozay’s last two releases, Black Market and Hood Billionaire have been sub par in my opinion, where quality has been sacrificed for quantity in an effort to simply put something out for his fans and to make more money. Don’t get me wrong, each of those two albums has several great songs but the projects as a whole were not as high quality as his previous albums. Being led by the single “I Think She Like Me” featuring Ty Dolla Sign, Rather You Than Me is complete with 14 songs and about as many features. Featured artists on Rather You Than Me include Nas, Gucci Mane, Future, Jeezy, Yo Gotti, Young Thug, Wale, Meek Mill, Dej Loaf, and others. The album also features voice appearances by the legendary comedian Chris Rock in a song or two. The album peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and #2 on the U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-hop albums.
Ross already has plans for his next and tenth studio album as he is supposedly preparing to release it this year. He announced while on a visit to a local radio station in Miami that his tenth album would be titled, Port of Miami 2: Born To Kill. This is would be the sequel to his debut album, Port of Miami.
My Top 5 Songs from Rather You Than Me
1. Idols Become Rivals featuring Chris Rock
2. Dead Presidents featuring Future, Jeezy, Yo Gotti
3. Lamborghini Doors featuring Meek Mill, Anthony Hamilton
4. Seven Seventeen featuring Yo Gotti
5. She On My Dick featuring Gucci Mane
My Overall Rating
More Life – Drake
Champagne Papi strikes again.
The “6 God” came through once again on March 18th to release his fifth studio album. Drake has repeatedly referred to More Life as a “playlist” as it is more of a collaborative effort with the composers and producers but in all actuality it is album nonetheless. Only 30 years old, Drake continues to prove his haters wrong as he hasn’t lost any momentum that he has gained since Views was released last summer. After smashing records with his Views record, he is on track to smash even more records with More Life. More Life will debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 and has had the best reception for any artists’ album since Views. According to a reports from Apple Music and Spotify, More Life had broken one day streaming records with approximately 90 million streams and 61.3 million streams, respectively. Led by single “Fake Love” which was released back in October, More Life is packed with 22 songs with many straying away from the traditional rap/hip-hop sound for more of a R&B approach. Drake certainly has no problem varying up the sounds in his albums going from an intense rap verse he effortlessly switches flows to a slower more melodic beat that encaptures a wider audience rather than just rap/hip-hop fans.
The project features high-profile artists like Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Quavo, Travis Scott, Sampha, and PARTYNEXTDOOR. It also introduces the casual hip-hop listener to newer, lesser known artists life Giggs, Black Coffee, and Jorja Smith.
My Top 5 Favorites from More Life
1. Free Smoke
2. Do Not Disturb
3. KMT featuring Giggs
4. Ice Melts featuring Young Thug
5. Portland featuring Quavo & Travis Scott
My Overall Rating
Here it is. Give it a listen, it is an extremely well put together album that Drake was right to keep us waiting as him and his crew perfected this “playlist”.
What to Watch For: Concerts & Albums(in WI) upcoming in March, April, May
This post includes an up to date list of concerts coming soon to a city in Wisconsin and also new albums scheduled to be released in the next two and half months.
It seems as each day passes that there is usually a new concert date added either in Madison or Milwaukee. I would include Chicago in this article as well, but I think it is more like which artist isn’t going to have a concert in Chicago that is touring this spring/summer? Most tours make stops in Chicago due to its major city status but not all make their way through the badger state. Below is a complete list of all rap/hip-hop concerts coming soon to Wisconsin. I am personally going to the Lil Wayne concert in Madison at The Orpheum Theatre( one of my favorite venues). I was super excited to go to that Travis Scott concert as well in mid-May but I waited too long and the tickets sold out in about a week and I unfortuately didn’t get one while my roommate did. The resale market doesn’t seem promising as the cheapest I could find was around $100.
The spring is usually a quiet time of the year for music releases as most artists are saving their gems for the summer months. But many hip-hop fans will be content knowing that a new Drake album will be out very soon and will likely reign over the hip-hop game well into the the summer months. Drake has desricbed the new project more of a playlist rather than an album. What does that mean? We will have to wait and find out. Wait long, we will not as Drake has announced that it will be dropped on March 18th. This is fresh off of the boards as Drake also admitted that he put the finishing touches on it with the last 72 hours. These are only the albums that have been confirmed. There are plenty of rumored albums that could drop within the next two and a half months. Many albums are not announced this far in advance so we could still see some amazing albums in May.
- Vince Staples. March 17th. The Rave.
- Juicy J with Belly and Project Pat. March 18th. The Rave.
- Riff Raff. April 6th. Liquid.
- Gucci Mane. April 13th. The Rave.
- Lil Wayne. April 15th. Orpheum Theatre. SOLD OUT!
- Waka Flocka Flame. April 2oth. Liquid.
- Desiigner. May 3rd. The Rave.
- Travis Scott. May 18th. The Rave. SOLD OUT!
- Wale. May 19th. The Rave.
- Tech N9ne. May 27th. The Rave.
Orpheum Theatre – Madison///The Rave- Milwaukee///Liquid- Madison
- Rick Ross- Rather You Than Me– March 17th.Featuring Nas, Future, Young Thug, Ty Dolla $ign, Gucci Mane and much more.
- Drake- More Life– March 18th.
- Will feature previously released songs, “Fake Love” and “Sneakin'” featuring 21 Savage. There are plenty of other rumored names like The Weeknd and Gucci Mane that could appear on the “playlist”
- Raekwon- The Wild– March 24th.
- The 47 year old Wu-Tang member’s seventh studio album.
- Young Dolph- Bulletproof– April 1st.
- Previously released single “That’s How It Feels” featuring Gucci Mane will appear on the album.
- 2 Chainz- Pretty Girls Like Trap Music– April 7th.
- Turning forty years this year, 2 Chainz will release his third studio album.
- Tech N9ne-Domination– April 7th.
- The seventh installment in the Tech N9ne Collabos series.
- Bankroll Fresh- In Bank We Trust– April 24th
- Posthumous album consisting of twelve songs that drops on Bankroll’s birthday.
The Perfect Biggie Smalls Playlist
“It was all a dream…”.
Thursday, March 9th marked twentieth anniversary of the fateful night in 1997 when we truly lost one of the rap greats, Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls. Whether you like Biggie or not, you have to admit that he is one of the greatest rappers to ever live. Who knows how large his legacy could have been if his life hadn’t been ended prematurely. To this day, he case of his death and the guilty party have still remained unsolved. Biggie was just hitting his strides as a rapper as he was prepping for the release of his second studio album at the time of his death. Astonishingly, Biggie would be 44 years old if he was still with us. I have a feeling that if he was still alive he would still have a strong presence in the hip-hop/rap world. He would be dropping number 1 albums like its nothing. There has been two albums released posthumously in Biggie’s name that have done very little to fill the void left by Biggie’s passing. My personal favorite is the Duets: The Final Chapter, which brings together some of the best rappers of the time to remix Biggies best hits.
Anyone hoping for more releases from Biggie’s estate are in for a treat. Faith Evans, whom was married to Notorious B.I.G. at the time of his death, announced in 2016 that she was working on an album that include more of Biggie’s unreleased music. The album is aptly titled The King and I and is scheduled for release this year on May 19th. Two songs from that project have been released as singles prior to the release; one featuring Snoop Dogg (“When We Party”) and another with Jadakiss(“NYC”).
To pay tribute to Biggie’s life and legacy I have personally curated a playlist with 24 songs that I believe perfectly embody his style and flow. These are some of my favorites from his discography as well as the timeless classics from his selection of music. Enjoy!