Rappers At Award Shows: A History of Violence

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This past weekend saw Rick Ross and Young Jeezy's long-simmering beef boiling over into fisticuffs as the rappers and their entourages went at each other at the BET Hip-Hop Honors Awards (and possibly broke an expensive mirror in the process). That squabble wasn't a one-off, though! Here's a primer on rappers behaving badly at ceremonial functions. (Warning: Many of these flip-phone videos might cause motion-sickness.)

See Also:
- Rick Ross Falls Back To Earth On God Forgives, I Don't
- 2Bad For 2Pac
- How To Stop Masturbating To 50 Cent

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Radio Hits One: Nine Songs From 2012 That Should Have Been Huge

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The term "flop" in a musical context usually refers to an unsuccessful album. Although singles constantly perform above or below expectations, a song will rarely get a reputation as a flop unless there's a lot riding on it, such as a pre-release single from a big-name album. In 2011, Beyoncé's "Run the World (Girls)" and Lady Gaga's "Judas" failed to launch and became notorious stumbling blocks for two women who had up to that point experienced one success after another.

In 2012, no singles have fallen short of expectations in such a high-profile way, but hundreds of songs are constantly being lobbed at radio, and some great tracks get lost in the shuffle. Last year, I critiqued the singles campaigns of recent albums, suggesting how different tracks could have been released in a different order. But right now, I feel compelled to highlight some singles that simply deserved better, because by December, these songs will be long forgotten in lists that boil the year in pop down to "Somebody That I Used to Know" and "Call Me Maybe."

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Live: Nicki Minaj Takes Off From Summer Jam, Nas And Lauryn Hill Climb Aboard

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Jen Diaz/Hot 97
Lauryn Hill.
Hot 97 Summer Jam: Nicki Minaj, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, J. Cole, Wale, Meek Mill, DJ Khaled, Waka Flocka, Trey Songz, Maino, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, French Montana, Mavado, Tyga, Slaughterhouse (and Nas and Lauryn Hill)
MetLife Stadium
Sunday, June 3

Better than: Seeing a Nicki Minaj concert.

In an era of increasing separation and ever-tinier attention spans, it's almost quaint to celebrate a tradition like Hot 97's Summer Jam with 60,000 of your closest friends.

Each year, Summer Jam means a sunny early afternoon heading over to the Meadowlands, the constant threat of rain during the afternoon hours, a few rap songs here and there with rappers featuring other rappers, walking into a chilly night leaving the show, and general ratchetness in the parking lot before, during, and after the concert.

Oh, and drama! Plenty of drama—which, in the years since Jay-Z vs. Nas evaporated, has turned into yawn vs. shrug.

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Young Jeezy Gets Personal In A Hustlerz Ambition

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Young Jeezy
Sunshine Cinema
Tuesday, November 29

Better than: Combing his Wikipedia page.

Perhaps Young Jeezy's biggest weakness as an artist is the information that's out there about him, or the lack thereof. Four albums and a plethora of mixtapes deep and even ardent fans like myself admittedly know very little about the man behind those guttural trap-rap bangers and deliciously elongated ad-libs, save for a smattering of his legal run-ins and imbroglios with fellow rappers—and, of course, his snowman emblem.

Enter A Hustlerz Ambition: The Documentary, the new biopic narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson that chronologically recounts how the man born Jay Jenkins evolved into Young Jeezy and available as part of the deluxe edition of Jeezy's forthcoming Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition. The roughly shot film combines interviews with Jeezy (oft-taped Swisher Sweet in hand) and his family and colleagues (Jay-Z, Diddy) with childhood photos and concert footage.

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Live: Young Jeezy's Thug Motivation 103 Gets Closer To Seeing The Light Of Day

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Young Jeezy (Thug Motivation 103 listening session)
Quad Recording Studios
Thursday, November 3

Better than: Waiting until December 20.

Young Jeezy's Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition had become the stuff of hip-hop lore over the past few years. A perpetually delayed release date coupled with a glut of mostly underwhelming early singles had people lumping the album in with perpetually-in-limbo relases like Detox and the follow-up to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The deluge of somewhat comparable rappers—most notably Rick Ross—who came up in the interim and the general capriciousness of hip-hop fans didn't help, either.

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Radio Hits One: T-Pain Escapes Lead Single Purgatory

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The Revolver cover.
On Thursday Jive Records announced that T-Pain's fourth album rEVOLVEr would be out on December 6. That same day, the rappa ternt sanga's single "5 O'Clock" reached a new Hot 100 peak of No. 25 . The timing wasn't exactly coincidental. The track, on which T-Pain is supported by Lily Allen and Wiz Khalifa, is the sixth single he's released in support of the album, and it has quickly become the most successful to date. But for over two years, he was lobbing one song after another into the marketplace, and each time it would quickly fall off the charts, and Jive would delay the album and start over from scratch.

The press release announcing the album calls "5 O'Clock" the second single from rEVOLVEr, designating "Best Love Song" featuring Chris Brown as the first. Truthfully, they're the sixth and fourth singles, respectively, but they're also the only top 40 hits from the campaign so far—which means everything else that missed will likely be tossed out, or only included as bonus tracks on certain editions of the album.

Not long ago, an album with half a dozen Hot 100 hits would be considered a runaway success. But the bar for singles-chart success to serve as a benchmark for potential album sales has been raised so high in recent years that rEVOLVEr has struggled for two years to find its way into stores, and other albums like it have as well.

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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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The Ten Best Young Jeezy Tracks Released Since He "Fell Off"

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You guys drank the Kool-Aid, didn't you? Now all you can rave about is Rick Ross. Tsk, tsk. The guy told you himself, in no uncertain terms, that he's caught up in a fantasy. Yeah, he's got a talent for picking huge, cinematic beats, and he strings words together nicely from time to time. Problem is William Leonard Roberts II really thinks he's Big Meech or Larry Hoover. His rap name is derived from "Freeway" Ricky Ross, a convicted drug dealer who tried suing Rozay for copyright infringement. (Real recognize real?) To fortify his movement he scrapped the failed Carol City Cartel drams and recruited some young guns. But his ear for talent isn't as crisp as his ear for beats these days. Meek, Pill... if this is the order of the day, no wonder you clowns think Jeezy fell off.

Sure, Jeezy exaggerates, but he gets to ride with Jay-Z. (Real recognize real, indeed.) Now that Thug Motivation 103's been slated for a September 20 release, the trap will be teeming with addicts returning for a fix. At the sixth-anniversary show for TM101, the same bloggers who'd been crying has-been a few months back were crying tears of joy at Jizzle's return. Before the rest of the world catches the vapors and starts claiming they were "always" Jeezy fans, here are the ten songs that in spite of his waning popularity I never stopped listening to Jay Jenkins.

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Live: Young Jeezy Plays To The Locals At The Highline Ballroom


Young Jeezy
Highline Ballroom
Monday, July 25

Better than: Listening to Funkmaster Flex break a record live on air.

Yep, Jay-Z did come out to play, and yes, Kanye did put in an appearance, but the biggest draws at Young Jeezy's NYC gig were the secret stars. Despite initially taking the stage with a backing band—presumably because 'Ye doesn't get out of bed these days unless an artist is backed by a quintet in matching tuxes, and because apparently Jay now doesn't do anything that Kanye hasn't already told him is the done thing—it was only when Jeezy's show ditched his musical charges and pared down to rapping over a backing track that proceedings sparked. So Mannie Fresh and Shawty Redd, who held down the best production on Jeezy's Thug Motivation: 101, became the night's biggest motivators, with their sharp, booming drum beats and sinister synths moving the crowd where the band's grooves largely failed.


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Rick Ross May Have Just Responded to Young Jeezy (Who Also Put Out A Mixtape Today)

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Though Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy is playing it ultra cool regarding "Death Before Dishonor," the "B.M.F."-checking freestyle he released a couple days ago, it seems pretty clear the song was aimed at Rick Ross. (His denial, at MTV, is less than convincing: "That's for anybody. I got n---as in prison behind that sh--. I feel that if you speaking on sh--, you gotta at least know who you talking about." OK!) Ross, for his part, merely expressed confusion...until now, anyway. "The Summas Mine" (hear it at 2DopeBoyz), released earlier today, rides a fantastically annoying Lil Lody beat (think Lex Luger getting murdered by a woodpecker) into its own kind of subliminal sunset:

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