Hip-Hop

Drake’s ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late': When Contractual Obligation Albums Go Right

Drake releases have long been treated as events, but since the December 2013 SoundCloud premiere of “Trophies,” we’ve experienced escalation. Further drops followed with little to no warning and impressive frequency, often showcasing a sound and flow noticeably tougher and less overtly commercial than 2013’s Nothing Was the Same or 2011’s Take Care. “Draft Day” had Drake on a boom-bap tip, while ballads like “Days in the East” and “Heat of the Moment” explored space in ways radio songs simply aren’t permitted to. “0 To 100” and the aforementioned “Trophies” packed in so much cocksureness and braggadocio that the beats barely had room to breathe. And while his civic pride for Toronto on these tracks felt a touch excessive, it became increasingly more difficult to judge Drake solely by the sensitive sad-boy standards and tropes his critics — professional and otherwise — had come to rely on. Released suddenly Thursday night, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late capitalizes on all of these… Read More

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Raekwon and Ghostface Killah Announce Documentary

Hip-hop heads have this August marked on their calendars as the 20th anniversary of Raekwon and Ghostface Killah’s classic 1995… Read More

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Music Critic Sasha Frere-Jones Leaves ‘The New Yorker’ and Heads to Genius

After 11 years of working for The New Yorker, music critic Sasha Frere-Jones is leaving the prestigious magazine to work for… Read More

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The Best Graffiti in Cinema

Presented by HBO

For a month last summer, New Yorkers were absolutely consumed with all things Banksy. The acclaimed British street artist had come to NYC for a citywide “residency,” and his works popped up all over the city. HBO’s new user-generated documentary, Banksy Does New York (airing tonight at 9pm), recounts those halcyon days of stencils, street art, and secret identities. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to graffiti on film. We’ve rounded up seven more movies to check out, that will ensure you get your street-art fix. … Read More

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Listen to Nicki Minaj’s “Only,” Featuring Drake, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown

“Only,” the Nicki Minaj song teased last week, has finally been released, and it doesn’t disappoint. Nicki’s furious drawl,… Read More

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Nicki Minaj vs. Iggy Azalea: It’s Time to Kill the “Female Rapper” Catfight

“I thank God that I’ve been placed in a position to do something, and represent women in a culture that is so male-driven.” Nicki Minaj’s acceptance speech started out classily enough. Last night, for the fifth year in a row, she won the title of Best Female Hip Hop Artist at the BET Awards. She thanked BET for putting black people on TV, turned up her nose at the term “female rapper,” and then qualified herself for the Shade Hall of Fame by throwing in a few pointed jabs at her only real competitor for the award, Iggy Azalea. (Other nominees included Angel Haze, Eve, and Charli Baltimore.) … Read More

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Where Did All the Female Rappers Go? Reality TV

Earlier this week, NPR asked where all the female rappers had gone, and yesterday VH1 gave them their answer, albeit a weak one: a new reality show. This fall, the cable network responsible for “docudramas” like Love & Hip Hop and The Salt-n-Pepa Show will unleash White Girls of Rap into the world, yet again making female rappers a novelty item. … Read More

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A Look at Hip Hop’s Moral Compass in 2013

There’s a feeling that listening to hip hop gives you. The aggression is a defibrillator, giving life to the lifeless. The wordplay is a unique, poetic combination of cleverness and wit. Oh yeah, and hip hop is the most exciting genre of music for youth culture right now, and has been for quite some time. But despite all that’s great about hip hop, it has an issue with morality: its moral compass is broken. Actually, it’s never really been too functional. … Read More

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