Kanye West is the greatest hip-hop artist of all time. He's made the best albums and changed the game the most, and his music is the most likely to endure.
One thing before we get going: This isn't one of those arguments meant to piss people off or "start a conversation." We really mean it. And, considering we were born a few minutes after hip-hop was and we've been writing about it for over a decade, we feel qualified to say. So let's say it again: Kanye is the GOAT.
Rather than laying out all the evidence in his favor, though, we're just going to predict and shoot down your arguments, one by one:More »
Clipse's Pusha T raps a lot about drug dealing and the spoils that go with it. (His name is Pusha, after all.) You no doubt know that by now. It's why Pusha Ton is naming his upcoming album My Name Is My Name. But before that shipment arrives he's doling out samples in the form of his mixtape Wrath Of Caine. With two albums and two Grammy nods (Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance) for his assistance on "Mercy," 2013 is shaping to have big things in store for Pusha. We caught up with "Young Black Socrates" about the titles of his new albums, how social media has changed the way we listen to music and his favorite rapper. Cry now, motherfuckers.
Well, thanks for getting Kim Kardashian knocked up, Kanye?
Miss this guy
Ever since the rapper announced from the stage that the world's most famous (and least talented) Armenian is now carrying his seed, everyone's on Kimye baby alert. To tell the truth, I'm starting to think that all the attention being paid to this new development seems like a calculated distraction, something cute and shiny to flash in our faces so we don't talk about the big problem with Kanye: his half-assed rapping these days.
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This week's Hot 100 debuts include big names and the viral video of the yearand, surprisingly, a nearly year-old track by Beyoncé. "Dance For You" was released on the deluxe version of 4 a little less than year ago and has been on the Hot R&B Songs chart since April; for a good but nowhere near great record, it's showed remarkable staying power.
The philosopher Jiminy Cricket once famously said, "Just look at the morning paper. Turn to any page. You'll find the whole world worryin' about some future age. But why get so excited? What's gonna be is gonna be. The end of the world's been comin' since 1903. That's, uh, B.C., of course." Dr. Cricket, Esq.'s argument was simple: every generation thinks the next signals Armageddon. But hip-hop's gradual deterioration has been overstated; rappers who are barely able to drink, like Black Hippy and Joey Bada$$, are putting out incredible music. Which isn't to slight the elder statesmen who are holding it downlike Jay-Z, who lends some bars to a track from Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music compilation.
Let me indulge in a little bit of Jay-Z/Kanye fan fiction in the least 50 Shades of Grey way possible:
Def Jam President and retired rapper Jay-Z was fed up.
50 Cent had been sending subliminal barbs Jay's way for eight years, starting with a shot Mr. Carter's way on "How To Rob" when they were both climbing their respective hip-hop ladders. In 2007, with both at the peak of their careers, Fiddy was back at it, baiting Jay-Z with braggadocio lyrics and interviews about his then-fiancé, his money, and how he'd sold out.
Jay didn't know what to do, although he was well aware that a nasty feud with the Queens-born MC in the middle of his own corporate ascension would be PR suicide.
Enter Kanye West, who had been working on the follow-up to his mega-successful Late Registration and who was looking at a fourth-quarter release date.
"What if I dropped my album on the same day at 50 Cent's?" Kanye asked. "Yeah, I'll put my album out on the same day as 50's, start a sales battle."
A solution! And one that would take Jay out of the fray. After oodles of hoopla, September 11, 2007, rolled around, and Graduation and Curtis both hit shelves. A week later, the dust cleared, and 50 Cent was defeatedwithout Jay having to lift a finger.
While it's unclear how Kanye (and Jay) came to the decision to release Graduation exactly five years ago today, it's pretty easy to speculate that 50 and Jay's cold war was a prime motivator behind the biggest rap marketing circus this side of pretending Detox will ever come out.More »
Rap has always had a dividing line between the rapper and the guy that yells out things on stage because it's America, damn it. That man used to be the DJ, who'd spin records for the rapper and rap along to his verses to get the crowd hype. As the years went by and quality DJing became more rare, the sidekick became some guy the rapper grew up with who had comparatively marginal talent, but who made for a great hypeman.
Eventually, though, the sidekick would eventually make one major mistake: He'd try to make his own way as a rapper, to less than stellar results. Memphis Bleek hasn't come out of Jay-Z's shadow after 15 years. Spliff Star has seemingly disappeared after trying his hand at something more than being Busta Rhymes' energetic rapping Smeagol. The less said about the non-Eminem members of D12, the better.
But every once in a while, they put together music that's not an embarrassing reminder that most of their success comes from being a friend of a superior rapper. This week, we focus on a few of those people: Method Man's marijuana-holder Streetlife; A$AP Mob; and Fat Joe (who, while not a weed carrier, was Big Pun's less talented homie).More »
In an effort to
"DON'T MAKE ME FIT INTO YOUR CRITICAL PANTHEON!!" stanch the flow of stale complaining about its "elitism" invite its readership into the magical world of music-publication listmaking, the online-tastemaker behemoth Pitchfork is putting together The Pitchfork List, which purports to count down its readers' favorite albums released between the year of its founding, 1996, and 2011. (Voting is here, and readers can put in their two cents until August 17; you can state your case for anywhere between 20 and 100 albums.) What records will finish at the top? A few ideas, culled from the site's lists of former albums of the year and perfect 10s and other Big Records of the recent past, below, with betting odds should you decide to take a trip to Vegas before the list's big reveal at the end of this month.
As the Voice describes in this week's cover story, George Martinez is running for congress in New York's 7th District, and he's doing so as an Occupy Wall Street-affiliated candidate.
Mark Hewko George Martinez: Congressional candidate, Occupier, Rapper.
But before he was running for office, and before he first set foot in Zuccotti Park, Martinez was a rapper.
As a high-schooler obsessively recording tracks in his bedroom, as a college kid whose crew was mentioned as an "Unsigned Hype" by The Source, as the founder of two hip-hop-related non-profits and as a "Hip-Hop Ambassador" engaged in cultural diplomacy with the State Department, Martinez has been in some version of the rap game from way back.
After the jump, check out his latest video:More »
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