Kendrick Lamar Undergoes an Exorcism on SNL

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A strong Saturday Night Live showing can serve as a glimpse into the future, depending on the parties involved. With Kanye West, "Black Skinhead" proved to audiences that a break from format with an outside-the-box presentation could achieve great things on an otherwise blank and boring soundstage. Sam Smith offered "Stay With Me" to the masses as his introduction to the world before he became the biggest voice of 2014, a trend Hozier would repeat a few months later. Waning interest in Iggy Azalea followed up her flop, while the public's curiosity about St. Vincent piqued and Miley Cyrus was redeemed.

And with the good kid from m.A.A.d city? This week's SNL may as well be a Magic 8 Ball, because this was the first official indication that 2015 will be the Year of Kendrick Lamar.

See also: Prince Melts Faces for Eight Minutes on SNL

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Kendrick Lamar - Roseland Ballroom - 2/26/13

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Last night at about 5pm in a rainy Midtown, a line -- full of kids and adults alike in oversized hats, fur hoodies, ironic t-shirts, skinny jeans, and any other article of clothing Vice might consider a "do" --stretched down the block from the Roseland Ballroom. The mass amount of people continued, whipping around the corner, up Broadway another block, and around another corner, down 52nd Street about halfway, finally ending near the backdoors of Roseland, where massive beats from a hype DJ leaked through the cracks in the doors.

See also: Pazz & Jop: Kendrick Lamar, Finally Compton's Most Wanted

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The Top 3.9 Hip-Hop Songs Of The Week

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 down—like Jay-Z, who lends some bars to a track from Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music compilation.

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Peter Rosenberg's What's Poppin' Vol. 1 Takes The New York Hip-Hop Scene's Pulse

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New York City rappers have been cast as something of the rap world's whipping boys for more than a few years now. Not only is it fashionable to paint the city's scene as still stuck in the '90s—that's, er, despite the man who effectively runs rap, old man Jay-Z, being pretty proud to hail from Brooklyn—even sympathetic profiles of the city's up-and-comers feel the need to ponder whether the MCs in question can break some sort of curse of the five boroughs. But this way of thinking is bunkum at best, and a cliché at worst.

But those people who've even casually cocked their ears toward the underground know that NYC rap has been doing just fine of late; a unified scene and a common vision have been slowly forming. Radio warrior Peter Rosenberg's first installment in the What's Poppin' mixtape series might not be an outright statement of hometown health, but with over half of the tape's 23 tracks showcasing artists who call NYC home, it's a timely reminder of the scene's promise.


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Live: Kendrick Lamar Arrives In New York, Takes Over S.O.B.'s


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S.O.B.'s
Wednesday, August 31

Better than: bringing back that old New York rap.

"There are two rules for a Kendrick Lamar show. First rule: everybody put one hand up. Now everybody put two hands up." Those were Kendrick Lamar's instructions as he led us into his third song of the night. (He repeated it throughout.) It was an unnecessary run through the rulebook, an airline attendant showing how to use a seatbelt. Hands had been up ever since he touched the stage; the five-foot-six rapper peeked over waves of fingertips, Compton's version of Wilson from Home Improvement.

With Los Angeles firmly in his grip—Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Game all co-signed him at a show there—a friendly crowd greeted Kendrick as he arrived in New York, a French army giving up their arms ahead of the takeover. (Earlier this summer, he'd packed Southpaw.) There are many worse people who can get the keys to the car, and few better.


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I Miss You: Aaliyah's Indelible Influence On A Generation Of Male Artists

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For a generation, the unexpected death of Aaliyah Dana Haughton 10 years ago today remains as significant as the deaths of Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac. This especially rings true for millennial men, who were just realizing girls really didn't have cooties when Aaliyah released her debut, Age Ain't Nothin' But A Number, in 1994. In the years since the plane carrying her and her entourage crashed shortly after taking off, killing everyone on board, the fanboy-like appreciation for Aaliyah has only grown.


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