Posts tagged music
bangers, A Barber's Chair Playlist

The hottest new music on the scene, curated by Amanda Davila. Search for more playlists from The Barber’s Chair on Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal!

Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

Follow Amanda on Twitter: @pettyspaghettti

The MOGcast - The R. Kelly effect

The MOGcast is a Chicago-centric podcast featuring four hard-working, slick mogs that are under the act.

What act? The act of four native Chicagoans being themselves and figuring it out in Brooklyn.

If you're a hustling transplant or just love authentic, random banter on music, sports, race and culture, then this podcast, scratch that -- This MOGcast -- may be for you.

Lastly, what is a mog? If you don't listen to the show, you may never know. And if you do, welcome! You're officially one of the mogs, joe! Yessuh!

The Most Anticipated Projects of 2019
(Prince Williams/WireImage)

(Prince Williams/WireImage)

A new year brings a clean slate, and with that comes fresh new music. 2018 brought a doozy of releases; so much it was being debated that there was TOO MUCH new music on the streets. Still, fans are anticipating a bevy of new releases in 2019. Here’s the artists we’re anticipating to drop new projects to end the decade.

Schoolboy Q

It never surprises me that Top Dawg sets the tone each year, and this time around it’s Groovy Q’s turn to drop. Last we heard from him was back in 2016 with his sophomore album Blankface LP. He’s killed some features here and there, and Q was reported to be close to finishing his third major studio album before he pushed it back due to the sudden, unexpected death of his good friend Mac Miller.

Signs on Q’s Instagram point to him being ready to release some new heat, so we’re excited to hear what he has in store for us this time around.

Isaiah Rashad

Isaiah Rashad has been real quiet since the release of his sophomore album The Sun’s Tirade. Last August Top Dawg hinted at a few more albums on the way, leading to speculation a new project from Rashad was on the horizon. While we already know how Kendrick, Jay Rock, & SZA can roll, I’m real interested to see which direction is Zay is headed.

Dreamville - Revenge of the Dreamers 3

Following the Revenge of the Dreamers 3 sessions so far has been one of my favorite moments in the early stages of the year Watching the sessions from the outside-in via social media feels like an exclusive invite-only club with other artists, musicians and media members. Seeing the sessions unfold has been organically amazing to witness.

J. Cole - The Fall Off 

Cole teased The Fall Off during his KOD run. We haven’t heard much about its status lately, but Cole has appeared to be re-inspired, working in the studio more often and exploring different producers. It’s cool to see Cole expand in that way, and I’m anxious to see if it will play a part in creating his next album.

Future presents: The WZRD

2018 felt like a light year musically for Fewtch. He dropped four projects, including the curated soundtrack to Superfly, but his presence wasn’t necessarily felt last year. That all changes this weekend with the release of The WZRD.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Bandana 

One of the more underrated rappers in the game, Freddie Gibbs dropped two projects in 2018: the Curren$y-collaborated Fetti and his project with Kenny Beatz, Freddie. For the last few months he’s been teasing his follow-up to 2014’s Piñata with Madlib - Bandana. Expect more of the same heat from Freddie in the new year.

21 Savage & Young Nudy

Both 21 Savage & Young Nudy were making their rounds in 2018 with their respective solo projects, Nudy’s Slime Ball 3 and I Was  > I Am from 21. Both projects helped solidify both of their positions in the Atlanta rap scene. The two announced a collaborative project at the end of last year and have dropped a single for the project, Since When.

Chance The Rapper

Aside from the features and some loosies given to us, we haven’t received a full blown project from Chicago’s friendly neighborhood rapper since 2016’s Coloring Book. Chance has a few expected projects in the works, including his own solo album and two collaborative albums: one with Childish Gambino and the other with Kanye West. He’s been very tight-lipped about his next project, so stay tuned.

Pusha T

I don’t have many details yet, but i’ve heard through the grapevines that Pusha T would be releasing an album this year. There’s not a lot of information regarding this but at this point, anything is possible with the president of GOOD Music. 

Back to the 80s Playlist
Random Acts of Podcast EP 200: Live from Miami

On the 200th episode of RAOP, Amp and Devin take the show on the road for the first time in front of a live audience at FilmGate Miami. We chat about why are fine women so annoying, why Space Jam was garage and other questions from the audience, who also share why they love RAOP, plus a whole lot more!

Thanks once again to everyone that came out to our live show; it meant a ton to us. And thanks to all the supporters that weren't there who held us down. WE LOVE YOU ALL!

Keep Swimming. How "Easy Mac with the cheesy raps" evolved into more than just another frat rapper

This is not meant to be a direct comparison...it's just a parallel. I never really understood why my mom cried for days after Michael Jackson died. I knew the seriousness of the event and the gravity of it; Mike was arguably THE greatest and brightest star in history. If it wasn't Motown, Prince, gospel music or church hymns, Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad were permanent fixtures in my family. MJ has been in my life since before I gained consciousness (I'm sure my mother played "Wanna Be Starting Somethin'" hundreds of times while she carried me.) He was magnanimous and ubiquitous; a mere mortal in actuality, but a deity to millions of people globally.

Twitter: @Thundercat

Twitter: @Thundercat

Because of that, in my head at the time he was still present, yet he seemed like a lifetime away. It was a complete shock to the world to learn about Michael's death, and I was hit with a sadness that felt like losing a distant uncle who I admired greatly. But why was my mom inconsolable? It never registered in my jaded and selfish 16-year-old brain that the connection was much deeper than the music itself. I never considered the place in her mind that instantly teleports back to the dancehalls in Ghana as a youth, awkwardly groovin' to "Rock with You" among friends.

The powerful sensation of nostalgia must have thrown her emotions an unexpected curveball. Also, the reminder of her own mortality reared its ugly head. My 17th birthday was that September; needless to say, my invincibility complex was through the fucking roof. I had no real perspective on life itself. To my mother, she was more than twice my age and had experienced and lost much more than I could even comprehend at that time. She was 44. Michael was 50. This was 2009.

"You was Easy Mac with the cheesy raps...who the fuck is Mac Miller?"

A confrontational statement from the battle rap legend Loaded Lux at the end of "Red Dot Music echoed the sentiments of many Black hip-hop fans about this goofy white kid from Pittsburgh named Mac Miller, including my own. I didn't need another frat rapper like Sammy Adams and Chris Webby anywhere near my rotation, a feeling that was slightly unfair but not completely off base. The upbeat Knock Knock and thudding 808s of Donald Trump rang off at every dorm room and every party during my first couple years of college. "His music belongs in that space," I thought. "My iPod only has 8gbs, anyway."

The acronym K.I.D.S. - Kickin' Incredibly Dope Shit - made me cringe. I ignored the Taylor Gang co-sign, the notable features on Best Day Ever, and let both mixtapes remain on DatPiff unplayed. Although he accomplished a tremendous feat for independent artists, the 1.0 rating for Blue Slide Park was the official third strike. Macadelic didn't stand a chance (a foolish foresight on my part).

From 2011-2013, there was just too much good music coming out to pay him any mind. My attention was consumed by acts like TDE, A$AP Mob, Pro Era, Odd Future, etc. Drill music became popular. Watch the Throne dropped. Just exactly "who the fuck is Mac Miller?" Someone who grew to become a respected and universally loved figure in the music community, and another light that went out far too soon...

Mac Miller, born Malcolm James McCormick died of an apparent overdose last week at the young age of 26. Exactly one week before my 26th birthday. One of my favorite musicians from the past five years, who's worked with damn near all my favorite artists from this decade, was unexpectedly gone, just like that.

Permanence. That ugly reminder of mortality. It struck a chord on many untuned levels. I'm not ashamed to admit that I teared up several times this weekend after hearing the tragic news. It's tough to even write this now. Unlike Mike, he was metaphorically within arm's reach to his audience because of how honest and inviting he was into his complex and troubled world, using lyrics as a conduit. On the surface, however, he seemed like a regular, approachable person with an unrelenting smile. A personal friend.

From the excellent profile by Craig Jenkins, published on September 6th, 2018:

A steady trickle of excited rap fans stop him to say hello. The few that linger to talk longer all seem to want something; one wanted a feature for his mixtape, and another asked the rapper to check out his SoundCloud page, graciously sparing us the spectacle of a street cipher. Mac is cordial and patient with people even when he appears to smell a pitch coming. The most striking fan interaction happened when two deaf girls asked for autographs outside the hotel. Mac was quietly floored by this.

I've lost close friends - figuratively and literally - to drug addiction and accidental overdoses. Spectators that apathetically say addiction is not a disease or "they didn't try their best to get sober" don't truly understand the nature of this beast. He was trying to get better.

From Rembert Brown's Grantland feature of Mac in 2015:

In the summer of 2014, Mac hit a low point, which also became a personal breakthrough. “So I’m fucked up in Europe one day, and I drunk-dialed Rick Rubin,” Mac says while scarfing down Mexican food at a restaurant blocks from his new home. “I was like, ‘Rick, dude, I’m fucked up, will you help me?’ So I went and kicked it with him for the summer in Malibu. And got clean.”

Mac Miller was extremely transparent about his trials and tribulations since the start of his Second Act, which unofficially commenced with Macadelic. After Blue Slide Park was critically panned, he became deeply hurt and dove into the turbulent and murky waters of depression, using substances as a buoy. The music reflected a darker time in his life, a strong contrast from his "frat rap" days, but it exhibited a growing development of Mac as an artist. The tides started to turn in 2013 when Watching Movies with the Sound Off dropped on the same day as Yeezus and Born Sinner.

Odd Future and TDE features? A guest verse from the fabled Jay Electronica?? Production from Pharrell, The Alchemist, and Flying Lotus??? In 1 hour, my stance on Mac had done a complete 180. I no longer saw him as "Easy Mac with the cheesy raps." For the first time, I saw him as Mac Miller: the troubled, yet enthusiastic and optimistic kid whose appreciation for the genre was deep-rooted and authentic. I was hooked; reeled in by the quality and left reeling from the content.

This ebb trended upwards with the set of releases over the next couple years; the creation of the SoundCloud-prolific Larry Fisherman, his producer alter-ego; the darkly-manic Faces, which many consider to be his best rap project; and, GO:OD AM, a title that could be interpreted differently depending on what track you listened to. Each loosie and full project displayed his maturity not only as a rapper but as an artist and more importantly, a person.

Evident with his fanbase growing during this time, Mac's self-awareness and open honesty about his struggles connected with many people experiencing similar such as addiction and depression. Balancing light and dark, always with a hopeful attitude. That's important to remember. Going forward, it will also be incredibly difficult to revisit because of the written content.

A large chunk of listeners started to really dive into his music during the Third Act with The Divine Feminine, and Swimming, the most technically well-rounded albums in Mac's catalog. The sound was intimate, warm, and a different type of personal. Both were jazzy, groovy, concise, and orchestral. For The Divine Feminine, love was the primary topic. For Swimming, Self Care ruled the subject matter; he acknowledged his problems but displayed them in a grown and controlled manner. The Third Act signified the growth of an angsty teen into a functional adult who is still trying to figure everything out, just like everyone in their mid-20s. According to the same Jenkins feature above, there were misconceptions about the complete inspiration for both projects as some of the initial ideas pre-dated the final product. These thoughts of evolving and improving himself have been around for a while. Unfortunately, tragically, the waters were muddied before he reached his goal.

I’ve seen a lot of different takes on what the music is. And that’s what I like. I like different responses. You know?

Swimming, in my opinion, represented more than just staying afloat in a current of bullshit we all have to deal with; it meant actively moving away from the bullshit towards something greater. Attaining our goals by actively looking forward instead of looking back at past mistakes while you're in it...whatever "it" may be. It's sad that we can't see the continuation of his progression because he was poised to become something really special. Mac already was one of a kind, but if his NPR TinyDesk was any indication, his next contributions were going to be very special. What he left behind in terms of actual content and influence will be heard and felt for many generations to come.

Mac Miller, Larry Fisherman, Malcolm - whatever you wanna call him - had an appreciation for hip-hop and its culture that was genuine and authentic. Instead of swooping in and gentrifying the neighborhood (I'm looking at the rappers that think multisyllabicbarswithouttakingabreath equates to "being dope"), he studied the game, gradually moved in, and only sought to co-exist.

A product of the historic blog era, Mac will sorely be missed in the hip-hop community and the music world at large. I have been scrolling social media for the few days and have yet to see an ill word said about him. Instead, I've read incredible stories about his generosity and kindness that a famous recording artist didn't need to exhibit. Let's remember him his funny moments like the ones he shared with Q and let's focus on the positives. He'll live forever through his music. In a short amount of time, inside the booth and out, he became a legend. And he "did it all without a Drake feature."

Looking Glass #9: "Batman v Superman > Civil War"
Random Acts of Podcast EP 198: You using way too many napkins
Random Acts of Podcast EP 195 (feat. @1jilenz)

This week music video director @1jlenz joins Amp and Dev as they chop it up about his new visual album FXCKJENZ, the hip hop scene in Atlanta and a ton more other topics. TRUST US YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS EPISODE. Remember to send in your listener questions, #TheyNeedTheirAssBeat or #RealNiggaOfTheWeek submissions, email us at MAIL@RAOPodcast.com or call 424-260-RAOP to leave a voicemail.

Follow Amp: @Ampaveli
Follow Devin: @DevinDavinci

Five Ty Dolla Sign jams new fans should check out immediately

If you’re reading this & have officially joined the Ty Dolla Sign bandwagon, I would like to personally welcome you to the team. It’s been a long time coming but we’re ecstatic to see that you’ve finally risen from your sleep and accepted The Bishop into your life as one of few present talented R&B acts of 2018.

Ty Dolla has an extensive catalogue - from the Beach House series to his upcoming collab MihTy with Jeremih. Some of us were here from the beginning, but for those of you who are new to the team, here's five Ty Dolla Sign tracks to help start your journey.

Lord Knows (Feat. Dom Kennedy & Rick Ross)

This is one of the standout songs on his mixtape Sign Language. Prior to it’s release, the song was leaked. From hearing the Bishop singing about adjusting to life after blowing up from his music and wondering where the groupies morals go to Dom Kennedy being starstruck over a chick he met either at Starbucks or Coffee Bean. And you can't forget Rozay and his boss talk raps.

Miracle (Feat. Big TC)

What makes this song so special is how Dolla Sign’s brother Big TC carries this record despite his circumstances. Free TC was dedicated it to Big TC who is currently serving a life sentence in prison for a crime that he allegedly didn’t commit. Ty used this album as a means to bring awareness of circumstances like what his brother is in.

Horses in the Stable

One of the five best songs on Free TC, Horses in the Stable describes Ty’s sex life in a unique way. What makes this oath more interesting was allegedly this song was written by a woman. If that’s the case, then it’s no wonder why the song holds its ground.

Droptop in the Rain

One of the newer songs off his Beach House 3 tape. Everything about this record sounds right. Beach House 3 is the album that we realized that Ty & Hitmaka (the former Yung Berg) have great chemistry when it comes to artist & producer collaborations. .

1st Night/ 4 a Young Remix

Beach House 2 has some really great records on there for you to jam out to. 1st Night just so happens to be one of those records. Who knew The Bishop could make “having a one night stand” sound so romantic. However things do take a dark turn once we get to the the 2nd half, 4 A Young Remix.

The most anticipated Hip-Hop albums of Summer 2018

One of my favorite summer pastimes have come around yet again, as GOOD Music, TDE and Drake have opened up the summer with more quality bangers. Here's four hip hop albums I'm most looking forward to this summer.

Jay Rock - Redemption

Jay Rock’s newest single Win off his new album Redemption has become a mantra for life. Hearing the chorus go “Win Win Win Win/ Fuck everything else/ Win Win Win Win” always gets my spirit going. There was a lot of mixed reviews regarding Rock’s last album 90059. However the anticipation for his follow-up was built up off the strength of the Black Panther-soundtrack hit, King’s Dead.

TDE is already having a blockbuster year and now it’s time for the label mates to shine.

Schoolboy Q - TBD

Another TDE superstar is gearing up for his third major studio release. Schoolboy Q says his album is done and will drop sometime in 2018. He's also said the production on the album will be more mainstream.

His recent verses on Addicted to Ballin, Code of Honor, X, & Movin Around shows me how much Q has improved as a rapper. Right now he’s on the Championship Tour with the rest of the Top Dawg family celebrating their wins. We'll see what he's got in store for us next go-around.

YG- Stay Dangerous

It wouldn't be summer without an album of ratchet YG anthems!

YG announced Stay Dangerous, the follow-up to 2016's Still Brazy, back in February, and unlike its predecessor, he's linked back up with DJ Mustard, whose presence was missing on the last album. Mustard's production sounds polished on the single Suu Woop, making me anxious for some heat to hold us over this summer.

YG's other single Big Bank is out as well.

Drake -Scorpion

Yeah Push gave Aubrey the biggest ass-whooping in hip-hop history... but I'm still hype for Scorpion. When you have the superstar power Drake has, your career can stand to take a few hits.

So far he’s dropped God’s Plan, Nice for What, and I'm Upset to build up anticipation for the June 29 release. Everybody knows that regardless of what happened, Drake is still going to do his numbers and drop his hits (we won’t forget the beatdown though). I'm looking forward to seeing what energy he brings and whether or not he’s going to address a lot of the allegations Push mentioned.

Random Acts of Podcast: Real Niggas Talkin About #E3
Festivals to Look Out for this Summer

Good Weather + Good Music = Great Vibes! Summer brings out some of the greatest music festivals and there’s nothing better than getting to see some of your favorite artists all in the span of one-three days. Spring actually kicked off festival season with Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, one of the highest anticipated festivals, in Indio, California back in April. They actually released advanced tickets that sold out in under 3 hours for the 20th Anniversary Coachella Festival for 2019.

Festivals not only bring out artists from different genres, but there may  also be vendors, food trucks and vendors, cash bars (or open bars possibly depending on ticket type), activities, workshops, and separate events to go with the festival. This is a time to wear comfortable shoes because you’ll pretty much be outside all day depending on the festival location, and don’t forget your sunblock and portable chargers! Also, always aim for early-bird tickets as prices tend to increase the longer you wait to grab your ticket to these summer festivities. Although many have a nice price tag attached, many festivals offer payment plan options. There are also chances to go for free by earning your tickets through volunteering during the festival.

Not sure where to head, check out some of the festivals to look out for this summer across the east to west coast, and beyond! If you can’t make it this year, be sure to add these to your list for the future!

Firefly Music Festival - The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway, Dover, DE | June 14-17, 2018

Headliners: Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, Logic, Eminem, Arctic Monkeys, Chromeo, The Killers & more

Deets about Festival: Four Day event taking place in the First State! This festival started in 2012 and has grown tremendously over the past six years!  They offer single day passes, weekend passes, VIP and Super VIP packages. Camping is also available during the festival.

via Firefly

via Firefly

Why attend? It is a very unique experience. Not only are you getting music across seven stages, the festival is set up as a pathway through the forest. Some cool things to check for during this festival are The Thicket where there will be a silent headphone party, The Coffee House, The Nook where you can bring your own hammock to relax, and also find the arcade tent!

 

Smokin Grooves - The Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA | June 16, 2018

Headliners: Erykah Badu, Miguel, The Roots, Jhene Aiko, NxWorries (Anderson .Paak + Knxledge), H.E.R. & more

Deets about Festival: Originally launched in 1996 as a tour for more urban acts to be showcased across the country, but the festival has been on a hiatus for 16 years!  With its return, tickets have already sold out, however resale passes are available if you’re looking to attend!

Why attend? I mean, have you seen this line up?? This All Star Urban lineup of artists will have you in good vibes the whole day! Plus, it will be a monumental moment now that the festival is relaunching with plans to also return in 2019 to 13 to 15 markets as a tour! So if you can’t make it this year, there’s definitely hope for next year,

Essence Music Festival - Multiple Venues, New Orleans, LA | July 5 - 8, 2018

Headliners: Janet Jackson, The Roots, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Miguel, Erykah Badu, XSCAPE, Daniel Caesar, Fantasia, Snoop, H.E.R., Queen Latifah, SWV & More

Deets about Festival: This festival started in 1995 as way to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Essence magazine. It was actually supposed to be a one time event, but it has now grown to be the largest event in the US to celebrate African American culture and music. The festival offers weekend and single night tickets for the concert portion taking place at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

Why attend? Outside of it being a music festival, there is also a conference and expo that is FREE to attend. Registration is still required, but you will be granted access to multiple vendors and workshops from Community & Culture, Beauty & Style, Entertainment, Entrepreneurship and many more. This also mean in addition to this star-studded lineup, there is an additional lineup of speakers like Angela Rye, Iyanla Vanzant, and Mona Scott Young. Also, all of this is taking place in The Big Easy aka New Orleans where it is full of rich culture, amazing food, and a lot of libations! Oh and if you’re a fan of the movie ‘Girls Trip’, then you got a glimpse of what goes down at Essence Fest. One last reason to attend, in my personal opinion, The Read podcast *yes, a personal fave*  is on the lineup! Where else are you getting all of this? Bonus* It's indoors, so no need to sweat in the sun!!

Lollapalooza-  Grant Park, Chicago, IL | August 2 -5, 2018

Headliners: The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Travis Scott & More

Deets about Festival: What started in 1991 as a farewell tour for the band Jane’s Addiction turned traveling tour featuring majority alternative bands. Now it is held in Chicago, as well as internationally in Chile, Brazil, Paris, Germany, Sweden, and Argentina. That means there’s multiple chances to hit this festival within a year! There are General Admission, VIP, and Platinum tickets with both single day or weekend options.

Why attend? “With 8 stages, and 170+ bands from all over the world, every Lolla lineup makes hands wave, heads nod, and crowds holler.” - Lollapalooza. Chicago has some of the greatest food so the food vendors are sure to be a hit. Outside of the musical performances, it is an experience featuring artisans like Black Ink Art, a market, and nonprofits.

Editors note: SO MANY FUCKING TEENAGERS

Outside Lands - Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA | August 10-12, 2018

Headliners: The Weeknd, Florence + Machine, Janet Jackson, Future, Beck, Odesza, Bon Iver, DJ Snake & more

Winelands Via Outside Lands

Winelands Via Outside Lands

Deets about Festival: Taking place in the Bay Area. this festival started in 2008. Outside of music, this festival focuses on Food, Wine and Art! Single Day and Weekend Passes are available for General Admission and VIP.

Why attend? Aside from the great lineup, the Wine Lands and Beer Lands really set this weekend event apart. There will be dozens of wineries and breweries where you will have the chance to try all they have to offer! This sounds like a win win. Another bonus is that Outside Lands has a strong focus on being eco-friendly and going green!

AfroPunk NY -  Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn, NY | August 25-26, 2018

Headliners: Erykah Badu, Janelle Monáe, Tyler the Creator, Miguel, Twin Shadow, Lolawolf, The Internet, Jaden Smith & more

Photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Deets about Festival: Inspired by the 2003 documentary film Afro-Punk, this festival began in 2005. Initially the festival was to be a safe space for outcast blacks according to co-founder James Spooner, but it has since grown to be mainstream and more diverse. AfroPunk has also expanded beyond New York to Atlanta, Paris, London, and Johannesburg. Outside of the music festival, AfroPunk focuses on fashion, art, business, media, and activism. Tickets are available for General Admission and VIP.  There is also still time to snag tickets for the Atlanta and Paris festivals!

Why attend? You’re getting a combination of amazing neo-soul and care-free dope artists! This is a festival for the culture, by the culture. Featured activities include Best Trick Jam Skate Contest, Bites&Beats Food Fest within the fest, artwork and  original murals, as well as an Activism Row! If you’re feeling Wakanda Forever, you’ll definitely feel full of pride and power at AfroPunk. Oh yea, don't forget to bring out your most fashionable and unapologetic fits!

Made In America -  Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA | September 1-2, 2018

Headliners: Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Meek Mill, Diplo, Zedd, Miguel, Janelle Monae, Alessia Cara & more

Deets about Festival: Founded by Jay -Z, this festival began in 2012 and is held Labor Day Weekend each year. It was started as way to bring together music and culture. There are Weekend General and VIP tickets available for this festival!

Why attend? Meek Mill is out free and will be performing in his own hometown! The lineup has a great mixture of genres and you will not be disappointed! There will also be a Culinary Competition, hosted by the festival,  happening on Day 2 of the festival, which is free to the general public. It includes 20 Tasting tickets to over 100 vendors, for FREE! Cause Village is also a part of this festival where over 50 charitable and activist organizations represent for many causes.

One MusicFest - Central Park, Atlanta, GA | September 8-9, 2018

Headliners: Nas, Cardi B, Miguel, Big Sean, Jeezy, T.I. & more

Deets about Festival: Began in 2009! Started as a way to "unify through music" and show the many aspects of Atlanta's music culture according to founder J. Carter.  General Admission VIP and Platinum Tickets are now on sale!

Why attend? Well for starters, I'm going! This is a festival where you can bring the whole family and everyone will be entertained. A great mix of old school and new school, two live stages and a DJ stage. This festival is a diverse mix but for the culture and one of the few festivals that's majority full of melanin in the crowd. To top it off, there is The ATL Crunk Set in the line up featuring Youngbloods, Ying Yang Twins, the Eastside Boyz and more. A lot of old dance moves will be coming out at this festival. 

This is only a short list of many festivals happening this year, but some of my top picks! Let me know where you’re headed this summer for Great Vibes!

The greatness of Aubrey Graham
Harmony Gerber/Getty Images

Harmony Gerber/Getty Images

Whether someone aspires to be a rapper or just falls into it, if they're relevant enough, people will ask if they're among the greatest of all-time. Fans of any genre do it. Guaranteed there were mad debates at Stagecoach about who's greater - Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks or Tim McGraw?

Debates about the best rock bands ever, the best guitarist, the EDM DJs, whatever... happen all the time. So it’s only natural that people ask the same question about arguably the most commercially-successful rapper of this decade - Drake.

Your answer can be determined on so many variables; age, location, when you were exposed to hip hop, what does the genre means to you, how you define a great rapper?  All that makes for fun debate because there really is no right answer. So when it comes to Aubrey Drake Graham, let’s focus on the raw facts of his career from this decade.

Before that, why is Drake the target? Well, he’s arguably the biggest name in hip hop right now. Any other rapper with his resume (and one probably came to mind as you read that) receives chatter about their all-time greatness, but you don’t hear that about Drake. It seems his global success doesn’t merit at a least a conversation among the greats.

Drake has four official studio albums - Thank Me Later, Take Care, Nothing Was The Same and Views - and all but Thank Me Later went 4x Platinum. A Grammy award is the most overrated award in terms of determining a music artist’s success, but he owns three of those as well.

Sometimes he doesn’t even need an album to be successful. He has enough singles he makes throwaway albums for fun (If You're Reading This... and More Life for ex.) His features are the most memorable part of the song like his immortalization of Kobe’s marital status on Stay Schemin. He’s spent a decade perfecting his sound and creating his own lane in music.

He’s the kind of rapper that would get laughed at and completely ignored 15-20 years ago. He’s not rapping about his life in the ‘hood or social issues; he raps about…..his feelings, which is taboo in hip hop (or at least, it was.)  Masculinity in hip hop used to be your calling card. Being a rapper meant that you were tough, “hard”, a man’s man and you never, ever talked about your emotional feelings; hell, you didn’t admit that those feelings even existed. Now, expressing that your feelings is more accepted in the genre; not universally but still. Drake isn’t the first rapper to go this route but as far as being widely successful with it, he is a pioneer in that regard. 

The sound of hip hop has evolved over time but a lot of fans have not.  A lot of hip hop fans are stuck one sound or in one era and not being able to accept how the sound of the world’s youngest genre can still change and not stick to what they like and how they perceive it. So due to that, the criteria for what constitutes a rapper being one of the best, either of all time or of their generation, stays stagnant.  There isn’t a heavy emphasis placed on lyricism anymore or how an album is constructed in today’s hip hop scene.  Singles and social media presence have taken their place and the rules have been rewritten.

Maybe it’s time we change the criteria for what makes a rapper an all-time great and start discussing if Aubrey Drake Graham fits anywhere in there. Is Drake one of the best rappers ever even if he may not have a clear-cut classic album and the lyricism that hip hop elitists love? Man, I have no idea. I’m just asking the questions here.

Meek Mill, 03 Greedo, & the prejudiced Criminal Justice System

America's criminal justice system has been broken since its inception. Sadly it has morphed into nothing more than a talking point for election hopefuls in the hierarchy of government. From Stop & Frisk procedures based on the Broken Windows Theory to the privatization of prisons, the system has proven to be most beneficial to those of Caucasian descent. Don't even get me started on the lack of jail time and convictions against police officers slaying our dear brothers and sisters.

Steps on how some of these imperfect practices could get fixed, at the local and highest levels, have been discussed. But that's the problem: for the most part, they've only been discussed. Serious reform by implementing new practices could have saved the life of Kalief Browder and many others like him. A backlogged court docket wouldn't have been so clogged if there weren't as many frivolous cases to deal with.

I was a Criminal Justice major in college and took a class - Race & Policing - that has stayed with me all these years later. Although I went to a PWI in Pennsylvania, the class was mostly filled with Black and Hispanic students from New York and New Jersey. The topic of Stop & Frisk led the lecture one day and my professor conducted somewhat of a social experiment: "raise your hand if you've ever been stopped and frisked." About 80% of the students, mine included, rose their hand. Not a single White hand left their desk. The professor then asked a few kids about their experience with Stop & Frisk, a practice that is now "illegal."

One of the students, who had shoulder-length dreads, said he'd been subjected to it 15 times during his four years of high school in New York. Searched 15 times. In four years. Not once did he have anything illegal on his person. He was just chillin' in the park with his friends. Yet because of appearance alone, it was automatically assumed that he was a person capable of committing a crime. Stereotyping is a foul truth that could have led to a flagrantly fatal outcome in that situation. Internal prejudice, which led to the officer(s) targeting that young Black man, is one of trickiest things to deal with due to its concealed nature.

Cause chances are never given they tooken like interceptions
So throw that pass, I’ll be the cornerback

Agendas can be felt, racist patterns can be noticed, but they hardly lead to convictions due to lack of tangible evidence. Sostarts the vicious cycle of this flawed Criminal Justice system that has kept Black people disenfranchised for decades, with incremental improvements. How are we supposed to trust an entity that should have an unbiased opinion towards conflict resolution? At the moment, as minorities, it's skeptical to place our entire trust in a system that's rampant with Implicit Biases from top to bottom.

Implicit Bias is one of the more impressionable phrases that I learned during my time in that classroom. It's summed up by the following:

"Thoughts and feelings are “implicit” if we are unaware of them or mistaken about their nature. We have a bias when, rather than being neutral, we have a preference for (or aversion to) a person or group of people."

and

[The] tendency for stereotype-confirming thoughts to pass spontaneously through our minds is what psychologists call implicit bias. It sets people up to overgeneralize, sometimes leading to discrimination even when people feel they are being fair.

To paraphrase an example of this from my professor: take a reasonably-sensed kid from Kansas who has never left the Midwest in his 18 years of life. He may have a handful of friends who are minorities but for the most part, his existence - from the music he consumes to the friends, family, and other locals he interacts with - is a predominately White one. He could come from a good Christian home with wholesome morals, but his only exposure to minorities are not through real-life interactions.

Instead, the news, movies, TV shows and various other mediums shape that kid's unreasonable perception - unreasonable because Black people often inaccurately play thugs and criminals on screen, unreasonable because the lead of the 11 o'clock news is usually a horrific crime in the inner city. Sure, mugshots of White people make the news for committing crimes. Being able to discern between good and bad is easy when you've been exposed to a certain demographic for all your life.

Fast forward a few years after going to a local community college, the kid wants to jump right into the police force and make a difference...in the big city. Not Wichita, but New York City. Intentions may be pure on the surface, but his final judgment may be clouded by his Implicit Bias, whether he is aware of it or not.

His initial reaction when diffusing a crisis situation with a Person of Color may not be as nuanced as it would be when facing someone that resembles him. Fear plus bias - intentional or unconscious - leads to an end result that wasn't made from a close to neutral perspective. That Person of Color, if they're lucky enough to avoid something fatal, will then get placed in a system where they're set up to fail.

“...fear what they don’t understand // Hate what they can’t conquer, guess it’s just the theory of man”
Tidal interview with Angie Martinez

Tidal interview with Angie Martinez

The public perception of rappers that come from the streets is drawn from similar stereotypes: aggressive, menacing, and forever incapable of doing anything good in society. When that archaic way of thinking is at the forefront for the people who affirm convictions or set the parameters for parole and probation, how are we supposed to make any progress in the name of actual justice? Shouldn't the rehabilitation of the individual be the most important thing?

White man kill a black man, they never report us
Black man kill a white man, they gon’ start a war up

Instead, like in the high-profile case of Meek Mill, punitive charges continue to accrue for minor violations of parole under ridiculous conditions.

In 2008, per the Philly.com chronology:

Brinkley convicts Mill of drug possession, firearms violations, and simple assault. Mill serves five months in jail.

10 years after his arrest - by an officer whose name appeared on a DA's list of "two dozen police officers with an alleged history of lying, racial bias, brutality or abuse of power to block them from testifying in court again" - Meek is still entrenched in his legal battles, all because of violations of his parole, with conditions being set by a Judge whose credibility is far from stainless. Conditions like barring him from having concerts outside of Philadelphia, feels like a calculated move that does nothing but hurt his career and livelihood. The main source of revenue for musicians in the modern age comes from touring; setting that parameter was a direct shot to Meek's legal hustle. Counterproductive to say the least.

From the reports surrounding this case and accusations from Meek's legal team, personal emotions and personal influence have entered a space that's supposed to be neutral and without bias. One would think a that a Judge of color would have sympathy for an individual who was born into a less than ideal environment, made mistakes, and is desperately trying to move on from that period of his life. But no, making an example out of him was the more pressing issue for Brinkley.

From accomplished vets that never received the proper rehabilitation (DMX) to young stars certainly on the rise before they reached their pinnacle (Max B in 2009; Bobby Shmurda in 2016), slight to major career derailments due to criminal charges is a sad reality that happens all too often in hip-hop. Recently, one of the brightest stars in ascension unfairly fell victim to a similar fate.

My mama made me a star and I had it too hardBitch I came from the tar but I got high again
I’m thanking God, could have died in the pen
You haven’t been ‘gainst the odds like I been
You haven’t been where I been, I never fold, never bend

In April 2018, the highly talented and innovative native of Watts 03 Greedo was sentenced to 20 years in jail for possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

From the excellent, in-depth article about 03 by Jeff Weiss:

Faced with the possibility of a 300-year sentence, Greedo was forced to a cop a plea deal. Charged with multiple felonies, the evidence stacked against him was insurmountable. Lone Star state authorities aimed to convict him on first-degree possession of a controlled substance and third-degree unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon—charges enhanced by felonies committed in Los Angeles County. If the most devastating blow occurred in Texas, the sentence’s severity stems from the consistent persecution by police in his hometown.

The judicial system's goal here is not to punish the individual for the crime they committed, with the hopes of correcting his way of thinking which led to his errors. The goal is to make an example of the stereotypical perception of a rapper, strongly influenced by a historically corrupt and racist Police Department. While the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, murders that were captured on camera, resulted in zero amount of jail time, Greedo was facing the possibility of a 300-year sentence. We know and have known where the priorities lie from one of America's most dangerous gangs. For fans, it's tough to deal with an artist's incarceration because that means a lack of new music or tours to follow.

That's completely meaningless when the impact of the truly devastating blow is felt by personal friends and most importantly, their immediate family members.

The Criminal Justice System has long been a disruptive force in the lives of Black families across the United States due to old practices and snail-like movement towards progress.  That problem is heightened with other factors; from overt and implicit racial bias by County Sheriffs to "Honorable" Court officials *allegedly* abusing their powers, the odds are stacked up against African Americans. On top of all that, you are a rapper, a profession that seemingly gets national discussion only when something bad happens. With all of that combined, how are they ever supposed to make a proper attempt at redemption? The playing field is uneven, but there is a glimmer of hope.

Noisey

Noisey

In his interview with Angie Martinez, Meek Mill said that he's not "gonna be the next Martin Luther King [Jr.]," but he is aware of the power of his platform and will use it to help benefit the fight for lasting Criminal Justice reform. He won't be alone in this renewed battle. Larry Krasner, the new Philadelphia District Attorney who was "a defense attorney representing activists from Black Lives Matter and the Occupy movement" prior to being elected will surely be an advocate and ally of Meek's. Roc Nation in partnership with Amazon, are creating a docu-series with Meek that will shed some light on the ills of the current Criminal Justice system.

Fixes won't happen overnight, but steps are being taken to help correct the problem. It is a group effort; no matter how poor or rich or "regular" or famous you are, we all can contribute. Get out there and vote; changes start at the local level. The new Philly DA is proof that elections can be important and beneficial to the community when the right experienced official gets elected. Join a group an advocacy group to make your voice heard. Do something. The system has been historically unfair; it's about time to tip the scales of justice for good.

#MeekFree #FreeGreedo

Exploring the different themes in J. Cole's "KOD"

Whether you like to call the album Kids on DrugsKing OverDose, or Kill Our Demons, it’s clear that J. Cole has a lot to get off ofhis chest with creating this incredible body of work.

God was just giving it to me like ‘Here nigga, I’ll write it for you just take the credit,’” he reportedly said to  the crowd regarding the two weeks working on this 5th album. It’s been over a year since we last heard from Cole world when he dropped his last album 4 Your Eyez Only. The whole social media world turned to chaos when Cole went onto his social media change up his avi and dropped the album title & listening sessions both in NYC and London on two separate occasions.

It felt great hearing Cole sounding motivated and hungry again with rapping and getting the message across for KOD. Cole is a polarizing figure. Whenever he just ups and decided to come out of the blue because he just says something to get off of his chest, the people will stop look, pay attention, & listen. What’s crazy is how even with all of this notoriety around him, you just how in the fuck is this man famous because at times it’s like he never tends to act like he’s famous at all. Once he’s completed everything needed in regarding his album, he suddenly goes back into hiding until the next go round.

There’s so much to soak in regarding Cole’s album. He’s explained the meaning behind the three names of the album & prompts the listeners to create their own interpretations with the album on his twitter. After carefully soaking in the album, whether it was through personal leisure, the gym, the whip, etc, i can officially confirm for myself that this was the best that I’ve heard from Cole since around 2013 with Born Sinner. Outside of Cole really rapping his ass off, he also gave the listeners substance and meaning behind each of the tracks throughout the album. Here were some of the themes covered throughout KOD.

ADDICTION

The concept of addiction arises as Cole teaching this crash course topic to uncover different addictions rooted in our everyday living, especially with the younger generation. In the album trailer for KOD, you can hear a disoriented voice of Cole (or rather we say kiLL edward) talking about the Kids on Drugs concept. “If I turn on the TV right now, it's not going to take long for there to be advertisement that says Are you feeling down? Are You been having lonely thoughts ? And then they shove a pill in your face.”

Whether it’s an addiction to chasing that almighty dollar (ATM, Motiv8, Brackets) , social media love (Photographs),  Sex (Kevin’s Heart), Drugs and alcohol  (Friends, Once an Addict Interlude), etc. Each level of addiction plays a role on the album. While speaking on the subject for King Overdose in the trailer, Cole continues discussing addiction but more on self accountability basis informing listeners that he also has been and continues to be afflicted by the same methods of  escape. That’s another way of letting others be aware that they're not the only ones. His overall end goal for this album as described during the portion for KIll Our Demons, is to face the demons that we run from, own up to them, and figure out the life traumas we faced that got us to our current predicaments that we’re in now.

MONEY & SOCIAL STATUS

Society has two of the most important aspects in life: Money & social status. These two subjects are constantly thrown in our faces around when a point is being brought up.  It’s a mechanism people use when they want things going their way.  When you’re dealing with people from different walks of life, you find that sometimes the only thing they bring to the table is their social status and money, which then results in a plethora of superficial relationships. Everybody is on a chase to obtain that almighty dollar regardless of where our morals stand in life. Without listening to the lyrics, ATM sounds like a banger but when you get in tune towards what’s actually being said, Cole is really describing him being caught up in a rat race chasing that almighty dollar

I know that it's difficult/ I'm stackin' this paper, it's sort of habitual/ I blow the residual/ And fuckin' yo bitch like its part of my ritual

Pardon the visual/ But money, it give me a hard-on it's typical/ I want it in physical/ A million dollars, I count up in intervals/ Without it I'm miserable

ATM  video shoot

ATM video shoot

My favorite Cole verse on Brackets is his second verse where he’s referencing about the american tax system. He guesses that the tax money initially is supposed to be going to improving the roads and schools but isn’t convinced any of this is getting done due to seeing the results as the homies are graduating without the proper tools to help them get by.

One thing about the men that's controlling the pen

That write history, they always seem to white-out they sins

This is one of my favorite lines on the song by the way. Brackets is the story of one's journey climbing up the social status and tax brackets, especially within the underprivileged neighborhoods.

SOCIAL MEDIA

One of the funniest things that I find intriguing was when I was listening to our home podcast Ball Don’t Lie I heard Pierce (@HennyOmega) mention that Photograph was a shot at the sadboys of Twitter. I found that very hilarious but yet accurate in a sense. Social Media over the years has been a gift and a curse for us.

It’s a gift because we’re in the information age where everything is available for us to research. Everyday there’s a new story being introduced to us about certain historical figures.People are also able to create dope platforms to showcase their talent and point of view on world topics.

It’s also considered a curse because everybody literally has access to social media. Even though it’s a good thing, it’s also bad because certain individuals ideologies are just dangerous rhetoric that will do nothing but cause harm and tear others apart.

When you listen and take in the chorus words for Photograph, you can put into thought that even though Cole may be talking from the perspective of someone lusting over someone in the internet, you can also sense the feelings of possessiveness and longing for that follow back. On Social Media, some people showcase their feelings of “please follow me back.” The things that people will do for likes and retweets can be very surprising and telling. Also reading into his verse where he’s mentioning the perfect dream woman, you can catch that this could be another mechanism of escape from reality.

LOVE & INFIDELITY

Even though it’s been mentioned that Cole could actually be singing from a stance of the person who is in love with drugs, when you watch the visual for Kevin’s Heart which featured the man himself, Kevin Hart, you can’t help but see how love & infidelity playing a part for the album indirectly. In the video, you can see Kevin living his day to day life going to the grocery store and taking meeting at a restaurant but the only difference is that you get to see the reactions of the people around him after finding out about him cheating on his current wife, Eniko Parrish. I'm really interested in hearing the conversation about what led up to deciding upon that theme for the visual.

Kevin’s Heart

Also you can find the subject of love on Photograph as well where Cole obsessing over a woman on social media depicting the social media era aspect of love and romance. During the first verse, Cole is rapping about this perfect dream girl whom he sees on social media who isn’t into gossiping and moves to the beat of her own drum.

THE DEBUT OF kiLL EDWARD

kiLL Edward was the only feature that was on KOD. He appeared on The Cut Off &  Friends. Also a couple of days before the album dropped, there was a reference track that was on Soundcloud called Tidal Wave.

There was a lot of speculation that kiLL edward is really the alter ego for J-Cole. When you listen to his voice, it sounds like a distorted voice which sounds like Cole.  It’s also a possible confirmation that  kiLL Edward is a representation of Cole’s hatred for the man who hurt his mother. You can hear it on Windows Pain (Outro) when he says “All I wanna do is kill the man that made my momma cry.” Supposedly outside of Cole making his other new project The Fall Out that's coming son, kiLL Edward may also be coming out with his own project in the future.

SELF ACCOUNTABILITY

Whether we like it do so or not, addressing an accountability amongst your loved ones can be a tough battle to face especially when it’s something necessary for both parties to reach a proper solution to help their relationships grow to the next level. It’s important for everybody to hold each other accountable for one another's actions. But when dealing with accountability, sometimes it can force to turn around and face the one person that you may not want to face: yourself.

Cole paints the picture of self accountability on the first half of Friends when it comes to dealing with his own coping mechanisms. He talks about his addictions to the point where he gets aggravated  and conflicted when he isn’t partaking in medication. But I'm aggravated without it/ My saddest days are without it/ My Saturdays are the loudest/ I'm blowing strong/ Some niggas graduated to powder/ I dabble later, I doubt it/ My database of narcotics/ It's growing long. He also revisited accountability on Window Pain (Outro) when he questions himself about his career & purpose. Right now I'm starin' out the window of my Range and/ contemplating, am I sane?/ Have I sacrificed for fame?/ My occupation's on my brain/ Thought that I could change it all if I had change

MENTORING THE YOUTH (AKA LETTER TO NEW GENERATION RAPPERS)

When you're in your prime, time always comes experience. In life, you live and you learn from your mistakes. When you get older and  in the right position in life, life is amazing. You’ll then run across other youngins who are starting off like you in the same spot and you desire to want to guide them and see them flourish by not making the same mistakes you or anyone else in your class did. Cole emphasizes a prophecy for younger rappers on what is to come for their future career on 1985 (which also serves as the Intro for his next coming project The Fall Off). He tells the young rapper that he’s supportive of their new accolades of fame and success. While he’s happy for their success, he also advises them to be weary of the new mainstream white audiences that come to their shows.

I must say, by your songs I'm unimpressed, hey/ But I love to see a Black man get paid/ And plus, you havin' fun and I respect that/ But have you ever thought about your impact?/ These white kids love that you don't give a fuck/ Cause that's exactly what's expected when your skin black/ They wanna see you dab, they wanna see you pop a pill/ They wanna see you tatted from your face to your heels/ And somewhere deep down, fuck it, I gotta keep it real/ They wanna be black and think your song is how it feels/ So when you turn up, you see them turnin' up too/ You hit the next city, collect your money when it's due/ You gettin' that paper, swimming' in bitches, I don't blame you/ You ain't thinkin' 'bout the people that's lookin' like me and you/ True, you got better shit to do

The response towards 1985 has been of mixed reactions from not only the fans but also some of the other younger rappers. Fans were trying to speculate which of the Lil’s that Cole was talking about. People speculate that Cole was talking about Lil Pump or Lil Yachty. Pump and Spaceghostpurrp have all made their responses towards Cole. People love this Cole song while others were criticizing him for allegedly taking shots at a young rappers. Personally for me, I don’t think Cole was really trying to take shots at any of the young kids but rather just telling them to wise up on some of their decision making. Of course we all know Hip-Hop is a young man's sport. But its also important for some of the kids to listen and understand what the OG’s are trying to school the younger kids on the ins and outs of the game. It’s understood that a lot of y’all are really soaking in all of this new money and opportunity that's heading in y’all direction. But all that’s being explained is to be real mindful of the people that love you and the money that you’re spending. Everything that he said on the album holds some truth and like it’s always said in life when you feel like you’re being talked about; If the shoes fit then wear it.

DEALING WITH THE GROWING PAINS OF LIFE

The KOD intro sets the tone for what the album is about. You can hear one of the phrases being echoed throughout the album. Life can bring much pain/ There are many ways to deal with this pain/ Choose wisely Life can a bitch and a half sometimes when you think about. You experience the good times and bad times in life. Especially the bad times. Life can really bring pain when it can. But at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, It’s important to know that there's so different ways to managing your pain so choose wisely.

Random Acts of Podcast ep. 182: Who Invented Trap Music

On this week's episode of RAOP, we bring on @34Kel_ & @MacknSweetJones and chop up about who invented trap music, COONYe West being Trump's puppet, Kel's new mixtape, which rappers not really from Atlanta and a ton more other topics. This might be the most Atlanta podcast episode to hit the internet EVER! Remember to send in your listener questions, #TheyNeedTheirAssBeat or #RealNiggaOfTheWeek submissions, email us at MAIL@RAOPodcast.com or call 424-260-RAOP to leave a voicemail.

34 Kel: The Art Of War- https://soundcloud.com/34kel/sets/stesso-gang-kel-the-art-of-war
Apple Music- https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/stesso-gang-kel-the-art-of-war/1354475761
Spotify- https://open.spotify.com/album/4W3KTFoSrHKKt5l5OBr4qo

Rico's Playhouse Shorts: the year of the black blogger ft. blogger Diamond Bell

On this edition of #PlayhouseShorts, blogger Diamond Bell, creator of DiamondsDosage.com,  joins Rico to discuss the history of the black blogger, black blogs that cover sports, gossip and entertainment. They also discuss how black bloggers/blogs have impacted mainstream media/blogs as well their impact on culture.

Cardi B's ascends to best female rapper in the game with "Invasion of Privacy"
BG Falcon Media

BG Falcon Media

Ever since introducing herself to the world, Cardi B has been a polarizing figure ever since introducing herself to the world years ago, and people can't seem to get enough of her. Her come up is shaping out to be one for the books.

The Bronx native first started off stripping, creating an exit strategy to a better life. Sometime during 2013 she first started gaining traction through all of her videos on social media, which caught the eye of TV producer Mona Scott, resulting in Cardi joining the Love & Hip-Hop New York cast. During her Love & Hip-Hop stint, she started messing with music on the side, later transitioning to a full time music career.

Then she dropped the summer smash Bodak Yellow and the record became bigger than life. There was just always something about Cardi’s personality - from the way she conducts herself, how she talks, and her owning up to her flaws while learning and growing as a human being. Not to mention she’s showed the world that she is way smarter than meets the eye.. She’s fearless when she is speaking her mind, no matter how problematic she may come off at times. There’s not too many people in the entertainment industry who can just make such an impact by just simply being themselves.  When you can sit back and put that into perspective, you can understand why Punch compared Cardi B to Tupac.

People, women especially, can’t get enough of Cardi B. She’s is just about every woman's spirit animal. Everything she says and does resonates with fans. But with all of the love received also comes hate. Even though her fanbase is growing every day, there’s still others who continue to pray on her downfall. Those people are more concerned about criticizing her every life move outside of music, from always referencing her past life as a stripper, down on her engagement to Offset or rumored feud with Nicki Minaj. If it isn’t one thing with Cardi then it’s another. But despite all of the opinions hurling at her direction, Cardi still sticks to her guns and moves forward living her best life.

After tearing up the whole summer last year with Bodak Yellow, the anticipation of Cardi’s debut album started to grow. Prior to Bodak, she dropped Gangsta Bitch Music Volume 1 and 2, which reeled in her audience. But even with the success of the single, some were still skeptical on how good Cardi was as a rapper. She had already dropped the single Bartier Cardi with 21 Savage and contributed to Migos' Motorsport.

The name of Cardi's debut, Invasion of Privacy, is the perfect description of her life while juggling fame and getting ready to enter motherhood. She kicks off the album strong with the intro Get Up 10, which was a played snippet that went viral all over social media. The whole vibe of the record is real reminiscent of the classic Dreams & Nightmare from Meek Mill from the beginning of the song to the build up of the second half. I always love when an artist kicks an album off like that because it lets you know what’s about to be in store.

Cardi continues the trend of creating these ratchet empowerment anthems for all of the ones wanting to shake their ass while having a good time. Bless your heart if you’re at the day party and Bickenhead comes on. As for most of the ratchet turn up anthems, Cardi never fails to disappoint with records like Drip, Money Bag & She Bad, and ESPECIALLY She Bad with YG & Mustard on the boards. It’s nothing like that good ole west coast ratchet sound that keeps your heart pumping.

Cardi has also showcase her versatility  while working on different songs like Be Careful, Ring, & I Like It. When I think about Cardi when she is at her best, the first thing coming to mind is when she doing records like Get Up 10, No Limit remix, etc. But I loved that she stepped out of her shell to do something completely different like Be Careful, even with its mixed reactions received. That tells me that she wants to let the world know than she’s more than just a creative for ratchet anthems.

Cardi’s whole entire team is deserving of their flowers for helping making her album run flawless, and it is only just beginning for young Bardi. Whether you love her music or not, you have to give your props to the one of the newest ladies in hip-hop today. She’s shown that she's capable of holding down the throne while allowing for other women rappers to co-exist. There’s so much dope and talented women in hip-hop right now, from Cardi to Dreezy, Rico Love, Tink, etc. Each of these women have brought something dope to the table and everybody deserves that respect.

Especially Cardi.