Posts tagged rap
Random Acts of Podcast EP253: YOUNG STONER LIFE

On this week’s episode of RAOP we break down Young Thugs new album "SO MUCH FUN". Also we give our thoughts Spider-Man no longer being in the MCU, Devin's son starting school and a ton more other topics. Remember to send in YOUR questions, #TheyNeedTheirAssBeat or #RealNiggaOfTheWeek submissions, email us at MAIL@RAOPodcast.com or call 424-260-RAOP to leave a voicemail.

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As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
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or
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Random Acts of Podcast EP242: Platinum With One Feature

On this week's episode of RAOP @mymannemcee returns to the podcast to sub in for Devin. We go into full details of this years WWDC 2019 Apple keynote, break down the @RNCRADIOLIVE Top 10 Rappers Of The Decade List, Top 5 albums so far this year and a ton of other topics. Remember to send in YOUR questions, #TheyNeedTheirAssBeat or #RealNiggaOfTheWeek submissions, email us at MAIL@RAOPodcast.com or call 424-260-RAOP to leave a voicemail.

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Sir Michael Rocks sits down on the Smoked Out Couch

Rapper and one-half of The Cool Kids - Sir Michael Rocks - sits down on the couch on the latest episode of Smoked Out Saturdaze

Random Acts of Podcast EP238: THE LEGEND OF BRITTNEY JONES

On this week's episode of RAOP Eric fills in and we chop it up the Duval legend Brittney Jones, the NBA lottery, the hip hop police during Rolling Loud, our thoughts on abortion rights and a ton more other topics. Remember to send in YOUR questions, #TheyNeedTheirAssBeat or #RealNiggaOfTheWeeksubmissions, email us at MAIL@RAOPodcast.com or call 424-260-RAOP to leave a voicemail.

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

A Letter to Nipsey
Prince Williams/Getty Images

Prince Williams/Getty Images

In my 28 years on this earth, I’ve never been the type to cry over a celebrity’s death. I managed to handle losing icons like Michael or Mac, but for the most part I’ve learned to come to grips with death simply because it’s apart of life.

That all changed March 31st, 2019. The day you died.

The news hit me like a ton of bricks. I was in the middle of a recording when I saw a picture of your body laying on the ground. It made me sick. All I could do was pray, and wish the best for you, but God had other plans for you.

Your death tore the entire team up. I found myself locked in a bathroom shedding tears, something I had never done before. It felt like I lost an old mentor, someone who along the way felt like family. Your music got me through some of the toughest times in my life and helped shape the man I am today. I remember when Hussle in the House dropped in 2009; I was so intrigued by the energy you spread on that record, reminiscent of another West Coast legend in the homie Snoop.

You followed up with The Marathon the very next year, which played a pivotal role in my college years, as did most music released during the Blog era. The one that most stood out in my most was Bigger Than Life, the hidden track at the end of the tape. At the time, I couldn’t completely comprehend your message, but I understood it came from a place of sincerity. Your music suddenly had new meaning to me, and from that day on it played a tremendous role in my transition into an adult.

I was there for your coming out party, the infamous Crenshaw tape. I was fresh out of college working for my mom’s while starting my first freelance gig with Elite Daily. We were all nuts when you announced your Proud to Pay campaign, charging $100 for one of 1,000 physical copies of the album while the digital release was free to download. It was so unique and out of the ordinary that I wasn’t sure what to expect, but you stuck with your guns and sure enough, you sold every unit in less than 24 hours. Even Jay saw the vision and bought 100 copies in support. It just goes to show that real recognizes real.

Your music was an inspiration to black creatives and kept us going through this Marathon we call life. You gave us the blueprint, told us to trust in our own process and have the upmost faith in our vision. In your abbreviated lifetime, you shaped yourself into the example of what a strong, wise, powerful black man is supposed to be, and for that I am forever grateful for you. It’s painful that you were taken from us so soon, especially considering you were in the prime of your career after your Grammy nom for Victory Lap.

Above all else, your focus stayed on building up your community - through your words and your actions - and making the world a better place for your family. God bless Lauren and your blended family, and surround them with love. You may no longer be here in the physical, but your spirit lives on forever. Your legacy will not die. We will make sure of that. Now more than ever, it’s up to us to take the mantle and lead the revolution you started.

The Marathon continues for us, and we’re going to hold you down by picking up where you left off.

Long Live Neighborhood Nip.

Random Acts Of Podcast EP227- D-Wade Had Yaki In His Hair

On this week's episode of RAOP we give a recap of this years Black History month to determine if it was trash or not. And give detailed/honest reviews of Offset "Father Of 4" and Gunna "Drip Or Drown 2". Remember to send your questions, #TheyNeedTheirAssBeat or #RealNiggaOfTheWeek submissions, email us at MAIL@RAOPodcast.com or call 424-260-RAOP to leave a voicemail.

RAOP Songs Of the Week Playlist

Apple Music- https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist/raop-songs-of-the-week-2019/pl.u-2aVvHq6P7Bj
Spotify- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7bsF5xBBcazmduI7ENGKsw?si=KKCgsANRSMakry2sA6H9YQ

Follow Amp on Twitter: @Ampaveli

Follow Devin on Twitter: @DevinDavinci

Rep THE MAN just in time for Wrestlemania with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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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. 

Random Acts of Podcast EP 208 - Draco get to kickin like Liu Kang

DAY ONE of #12DaysOfPodcasts is here. During our trip to Art Basel we sat in our hotel room and chopped it up about our first time Art Basel experience, racist gamers being angry over the new Mortal Kombat 11 trailer, how celebrities should apologize over old tweets and we give our thoughts of the new Avengers 4: End Game trailers. Also we answer emails and voicemails from the listeners. 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.

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"
The songs of Summer '18

The vibes for Summer 2018 were a little different this year. I can't put a finger on why, but the season is almost over and there's not an anthem that truly defines this summer. Some songs fall into that category, but the masses haven't decided on one singular banger like usual. I've taken the liberty of picking out a few songs that could hold that distinction. I'll let you be the judge.

Ella Mai- Boo’d Up

This song  was originally on Ella Mai’s Ready EP which was released last year. But somehow it resurfaced this year and created a  life of its own. I appreciate the “Trust the process” story. Ella Mai is deserving of all this attention he’s getting. Everybody loves it especially the guys.

Drake - Nice for What

It’s not Summer without a club anthem from Drake. From the song to the visual, you can tell this was dedicated more to the women out there working hard and looking simultaneously. He made it clear for the women that this was the summer to start acting up and letting the men know what time it was. .

YG - Big Bank

Everybody loves a ratchet west coast style single from YG alongside DJ Mustard on the production boards. Its felt good to hear Mustard & YG linking back up again for Stay Dangerous. You can't help but do your dance when “My bitch drive an all white range/ Couldn't hit if you niggas had aim..” first comes on.

Jay Rock - WIN

This isn’t just a song. It’s a Life mantra that the people strive to live for in life. This was the perfect to officially kick off Jay Rock’s run with Redemption, which happens to be one of top rap albums albums so far in 2018. Once again the TDE brand remains strong.

Tory Lanez ft Rich The Kid - Talk to Me

I was having a tough time trying to choose between BID and Talk to Me but the chorus alone for Talk to Me is so catchy that it just rolls off of your tongue with ease. Tory is planning to drop a new project Love Me Now right after releasing his Sophomore Effort Memories Don’t Die.

Drake - In My Feelings

When i first heard this record on the night Scorpion released, I already knew this was going to be a smash single, between the New Orleans influence and Drake giving City Girls catching a huge look, it had all of the ingredients for a successful moment. And it all kicked off when comedian Shiggy started the “In My Feelings” challenge.

Khalid ft Ty Dolla Sign & 6lack - On the Way

The visual and vibe of this song gave me 90s vibes with a twist. It’s always great to hear feel good R&B records that you just automatically know is going to stand the test of time especially when hearing great young R&B acts. Ty Dolla currently on his run with best guest features in 2018 so far meanwhile everyone is anticipating 6lack’s next album release at any moment.

Valee ft Jeremih - Womp Womp

The rising stardom of Chicago rapper Valee has been an trajectory to watch this year from his debut EP GOOD Job, You Found to Me to watching other rappers try and imitate his rap flow.  This is one of the records that helps highlight the up-and-coming Valee. I'm looking forward to hearing his next project with Cardo to see where he’s going to go next with his music.

Tyga ft Offset - Taste

With all of the constant slander and jokes that the masses have made towards rapper Tyga, we forget about his ability to keep a hit record under his belt. At first I wasn’t sure what to think about the reactions to the song, but after listening and living with this song, I was sold. Between that, his other record Swish, and his new LA Leakers Freestyle, I’m liking what he’s doing with his music and hope he continues this streak of great music.

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

M.I.D. Summer: Three takeaways from the Wyoming sessions

Chaos begets excellence in the strange world of Kanye West. At least it used to. It's similar to T'Challa's advanced body armor: the more negative blows Ye's accumulates, the stronger his kinetic energy becomes when working on the latest composition. History has proven that he thrives in a chaotic environment, which is often self-made by spewing outlandish statements or ranting on stage psychotically.

Source: Chris Rock

Source: Chris Rock

We've seen this narrative play out several times over his solo career. It's like a Sixth Sense for Kanye loyalists: he just made an ass out of himself publicly...but that means he's about to drop some fire for the summer. From the Mike Myers headjerk (once) to the Taylor Swift incident (twice) to the public scolding of media personalities (the keyboard need an infinity sign), Kanye has never shied away from controversy. It's the catalyst that drives the conceptually forward-thinking music creative that's within. Until 2018.

This method showed signs of deterioration during the manic frenzy that was The Life of Pablo era in 2016. Although it was widely considered to be a lower-tier release in his catalog, TLOP provided flashes of brilliance like the chilling and cinematic "Ultralight Beam" that reminded many fans why they put up with Kanye's bullshit outside of the music.

Even the shaky rollout that was all-but-off-the-rails culminated with one of 2016's biggest events in entertainment: Yeezy Season 3, a runway show that doubled as an album release party for 18,000 people at a sold out Madison Square Garden. Lasting memories were created there while his ignorance off the boards was brushed to the side (but not forgotten).

We're a little more than a month removed from the last release from the Wyoming Sessions and it's becoming increasingly obvious that the self-proclaimed genius had failed with his experiment in the grandest of ways. "Failed" because of the collective lack of care for the final execution of the projects. "In the grandest of ways," because of the collateral damage he caused along the way (see: "Slavery was a Choice" and M*GA/Dragon Energy).

When he announced the lineup of five consecutive weeks of new releases - Pusha-T, himself, Kid Cudi & himself, Nas, and Teyana Taylor - while primarily handling the production as well, it was safe to assume that G.O.O.D. Fridays were finally back.

Nope.

Compared to Hawaii and the glorious run in 2010 resulting in a classic album, the Wyoming Sessions proved to be weird cousin Arnie from Hey Arnold: recognizable, but awkwardly shaped and dull. Aside from the whole Drake fiasco, it was hardly a Cruel Summer from the vaunted G.O.O.D. Music camp. But it wasn't a complete trainwreck. 

Here are a few thoughts I had about the "experience" overall:


1. Pusha-T was the Trojan Horse of the experiment

DAYTONA had to work. As the pace car for this five-week circuit, it had to be damn near perfect; to many, it lived up to expectations. If the long-awaited true follow-up to My Name is My Name was anything less than stellar, the already mild anticipation for the rest of Wyoming would have dried up even quicker. Serving up the purest brick of Peruvian white, the G.O.O.D. Music President delivered his best solo project to date with DAYTONA; raw, cut with no filler whatsoever.

Ye & Mike Dean really shined with the minimalist production paired with gritty sampling to create a menacing atmosphere. His delivery is grimy, yet relaxed and confident like it hasn't aged a day since Lord Willin'. Most importantly, there were no stale bars or wasted lines from Push; similar to a technical boxer accruing points over the course of a fight to earn the decision in the 12th round, as opposed to the knockout artist getting winded by the fifth bell. For an added measure to retain maximum attention towards Wyoming, there was "The Story of Adidion."

Terrance and Aubrey have traded their fair share of subs in years prior (essentially over a BAPE hoody), but after the scope of the battle was lined up with "Infrared," Drake quickly responded with a clip that has presumably in the chamber for a while, saved for a moment like this. "Aight, bet," said the Virginia Beach native and proceeded to expose a lot of shit about Drizzy that the public wasn't privy to (sidenote: you're allowed to enjoy Scorpion AND still think "YOU ARE HIDING A CHILD" is hilarious too. Let these jokes breathe).

There's an unconfirmed report from a credible source that Ye learned about Aubrey's now-public son when he brought Drake to Wyoming for a writing session. If this is true, it's very possible that Kanye gave this ammo to Pusha-T, strategically use him as a conduit to create a huge controversy for maximum attention. If so, it might be time for Kanye to reevaluate his promotional tactics. The numbers and metrics may have inflated because of it, but is a (supposed) shady move like worth a loss of credibility, Ye?

2. Nas and Teyana Taylor deserved better, especially Teyana

Teyana Taylor signed to G.O.O.D Music in 2012. Since then, she's had 1. a few placements on Cruel Summer; 2. released VII, a solid, but under the radar studio album; 3. an incredibly skilled and sexy performance for the "FADE" music video. Limited as they may be, she has shined with every opportunity given to her and has been patiently waiting to show the world why she should be considered a true force in RnB. An album executively produced by arguably one of the most important producers since the start of the millennium was supposed to launch her to that height.

Keep That Same Energy deserved a traditional and proper rollout, complete with lead singles and visuals to match. Hell, at the very least, she deserved a completed album. Waking up to texts from friends, the day after it was supposed to drop (!), when it didn't, to realize it wasn't the final version you thought was coming out (!!), should never be the way to first hear your "completed" album. Teyana sang her ass off on KTSE, but the production and final mixing arrangment felt incomplete.

And with Nas, I don't know. Maybe Escobar Season was experiencing Climate Change 'cause this ain't it, chief. And he knows that. The album felt rushed and disjointed, as if the lyrics were recorded acapella and blindly matched to beat stems at the last minute, without any final input from the artist.

On the process of recording with Kanye. “Wyoming was weird.” 😅 pic.twitter.com/5dX9cv5auB

— Eric Diep (@E_Diep) July 27, 2018

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When I heard the news about NASIR, I was expecting seven "We Major" level tracks.  That bar was set way too high. But it looks like a more carefully thought out, traditional hip-hop project from Nas is coming soon:

And another Nas album on the way. He has been in with Swizz Beatz and RZA. pic.twitter.com/E9uaZLvi0o

— Eric Diep (@E_Diep) July 27, 2018

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3. Rev. Ty Dolla $ign and 070 Shake are co-MVPs of the Wyoming Summer League

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TY Dolla Sign

The five TY$ tracks every new fan needs to know

Not much to say about Ty; in 2018 he has definitively cemented his status as an RnB star with his incredible run over the past three years, a run that started with Free TC. Many jokes flew about the mediocre nature and output of the Wyoming Sessions, but none of these shots landed in the vicinity of $.  Say what you will about Kanye, but he's a veteran at utilizing his guest features as elements on instrumentals in bold and sublime ways. Ty Dolla $ign's harmonizing and gospel-esq vocals stole the show on "All Mine," "3Way," "Wouldn't Leave," and "Freeee (Ghost Town Pt 2)." 

070 Shake, however, didn't have an established base prior to the Wyoming experience. Being a relatively unknown artist, the New Jersey native had the most to prove, and, when called upon, brushed off that chip on her shoulder with ease. She undoubtly made a mark with a distinct and haunting vocal presence on "Santeria," "Ghost Town," and "Not For Radio,"; songs that feature Push, Ye, Cudi, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Nas, and Diddy. Not a terrible way to start off one's career. If she's not shelved as a background artist only brought out for experiments (*coughs* Teyana deserved better), then the sky's the limit for Shake's future with G.O.O.D.


Kids See Ghosts did take us a little over a year-and-a-half to just get it tight and where we wanted it to be... Months went by, and we just kept working on it and chiseling away at it. It was funny to us when people were talking about how the album was rushed or last-minute. I knew what it took. I was there the whole time. - Kid Cudi for Billboard; July 2018

Many consider Kids See Ghosts as the most well-round project to come out Wyoming. Stripped of excessive arrogance, Kanye and Cudi (whose hums were in peak form) created a powerful 7-track diary of sorts, detailing their bouts with depression and mental health. The primary influencers of Mike Dean, Plain Pat, and Dot the Genius, as they've done on previous work (i.e. 808s & Heartbreak, Man on the Moon) made the duo sound as sharp as they've been in the past decade. Thoughts can be birthed quickly and finalizing the product could take 7 days, but that kind of focus to make sure that the arrangement of sounds and performance from the lyricists/singers normally isn't overnight.

It can work for some, but it's not for everyone. Aside from Kanye playing active defense against the opening track's attempt at not sounding like a trainwreck, KSG had a sense of completeness that ye (lyrics scrapped and recreated in 8 days), KTSE, and NASIR did not have.

Music opinions are subjective and number ratings are arbitrary but if I'd have to rate the Wyoming experience, it'd be 2.5/5; the 2 representing the successes (DAYTONA and KSG), the .5 representing the half-baked ideas of the other 3.

Each collection arguably had at least one song with replay value beyond 1-listen:

1. Push's grizzly and boastful "The Games We Play" (No jewelry on, but you richer than everybody // You laugh a little louder, the DJ say your name a little prouder //And we don't need a globe to show you the world is ours);

2. "No Mistakes" featuring Charlie Wilson (I'm definitely gonna need an hour-long Kanye-less version that loops Uncle Charlie's chorus like what someone did with the horns from SpottieOttieDopaliscious);

3. A therapeutic Cudi glides on "Reborn" which featured a Kanye that suddenly remembered how to rap his ass off on a Graduation era type of feel for the overall song;

4. "Bonjour" feels like the perfect soundtrack to sail along the Amalfi Coast to, boo'd up, with a never-ending glass of expensive alcohol in hand, without a care in the world. NASIR deserved 6 more of these.

5. From the raps and to boldly sang vocals, Teyana bodied her performance on the sample-driven and orchestral "Rose in Harlem." KTSE suffered the most from "demoitis," but she, as best as she could, rose to shine from the fractured cement better known as the Wyoming Sessions;

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.

Random Acts of Podcast EP 191: an hour and 41 minutes of toxic masculinity

On this week's episode we get extra Toxic and give our Top 5 male chauvinist pig bars on Future's new Beast Mode 2 EP, break down Plies IG videos, crazy women and a ton more other topics. 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 Devin: @DevinDavinci
Follow Amp: @Ampaveli

Nearly Canceled: Power s5e1 - Dre turned into Jason Bourne

They saaayyy this is a Big Rich Town! It's the debut of a brand new TV review pod: Nearly Canceled! We kick things off with the fifth season of the hit Starz drama: Power! Scott, Joe & Pierce recap the season 5 premiere, Ghost Tommy & Kanan's attempt to kill Dre, the aftermath of Raina's death & how grief affects each character in the show, the unholy alliance of Tasha and Angie, the FBI's continued push to nab Ghost and what to make of the Italians aligned with Tommy. Plus we make one bold prediction on who will die this season, and we name our player of the week!

Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Joe: @Flowsandolini
Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega

Jay Rock's "Redemption" story launches him into the mainstream
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Top Dawg Entertainment has been leading the rap industry by setting the bar as being one of the best record labels in rap. Coming off an award-winning 2017 with the releases of DAMN & CTRL, the crew decided to go double or nothing this year, and what better way to start off the takeover then with one of the OGs of the crew, Jay Rock.

Rock released his third album Redemption after a more-than-two-year hiatus after his sophomore album 90059 and the aftermath of his motorcycle accident. King’s Dead, which served as one of the lead singles for the Black Panther soundtrack, is also the lead single for Redemption, along with the song WIN, a play off of TDE's current "Championship tour" theme. With his life mantra exclaimed proudly on the song - “Win Win Win Win/Fuck everything else/ Win Win Win Win,” - he reminds listeners why his words still hold value.

Redemption is unique compared to its predecessor thanks to a healthy mix of modern mainstream production & the true essence of Rock's artistry - gangsta rap. The balance is evident on up-tempo records like Rotation 112th, Knock It Off, & Tap Out. One of the fun standout records on the album is Wow Freestyle.  We listen as Eastside Johnny & Cornrow Kenny take it back to when Top had the Red Charger going bar-for-bar over an energetic Hit Boy production. With more friendly production and catchier hooks, day one TDE fans and newcomers alike can enjoy the album. I’d say that is a “Win-Win” if you ask me.

There’s also some introspective songs on the album. Rock raps alongside J-Cole on OSOM where he influences listeners to create an idea of what paranoia feels like. Along with SZA’s beautiful chorus and K-Dot's background vocals, Rock paints an image on the song Redemption of what his funeral would've been like had he not survived his motorcycle accident. This feels like Rock’s second chance at showcasing to the world that he deserves as much love as the rest of the TDE camp. He’s known to all the day ones as the first artist that started it off with TDE. He sacrificed and went through trial and error at the beginning stages of the label, which in the long run helped his team reach the current positions they’re in now. Because of that ultimate sacrifice, it's helped Rock mature as an artist and as a person.

Overall, Redemption is a dynamic story of what second chances can do to those who take advantage of it. Even dropping amongst big names like Nas and The Carters, Redemption still holds its own as a standout album that could potentially be one of the top hip-hop albums of 2018.

XXXTentacion's murder and the nuance of addressing the past transgressions of the dead
Uproxx Studios

Uproxx Studios

When you die, your memory gets placed in a vacuum. Your fans and those you hold dear choose to remember the good; the positive influence you left on them or the strides you made, both professionally and personally. Others will analyze you as a whole and come to a determination on whether or not you were a quality person. One sinful transgression is all that is needed for a person to formulate an unwavering opinion about your time here on earth.

(John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

(John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

The murder of rapper XXXTentacion - born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy - stunned social media Monday, leaving a flood of tweets memorializing the 20-year-old and debates on how his life should be remembered. The volatile star lived a very grim life; born to a single mother whose last priority was raising a son, XXXTentacion was only 6 when he stabbed a man while protecting his mom. A violent childhood followed him, and he was later expelled from middle school, and arrested in high school for a number of reasons, including armed robbery, burglary, and illegal possession of drugs and firearms. During a 2016 interview with No Jumper, XXXTentacion talked about his time in juve, and shared a story about stomping on his cellmate's head, smearing his blood on his face like warpaint, because he thought he was staring at him naked.

Then there's the accusations of violence against women. An old video surfaced earlier this year, which appears to show XXX striking a woman from behind. His ex-girlfriend, Geneva Ayala, accused XXXTentacion of brutish, horrifying abuse, from breaking her phone and slapping her in the face, to raping her with a barbecue fork, to daily verbal attacks and threats, to holding her underwater and threatening to drown her, and guilt-tripping her into near-suicide attempts.

Mirror

Mirror

When XXXTentacion went to jail for armed home invasion and aggravated battery charges, Ayala fled and dated someone else. When he found out after his release and them moving back in together, Ayala claims he punched, strangled and threatened to kill her and their unborn child. He was on trial for aggravated battery on a pregnant victim, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness tampering at the time of his death.

Obviously there is a high degree of difficulty analyzing XXX post-life. To most, the horrifying accounts of his 20-year-old life will outweigh his music and his influence, and that's fair and reasonable. Others have an easier time separating the artist from the art. To some, his short existence is the most tragic part of the story; a child who wasn't able to overcome a difficult childhood & reach his potential on this planet. A large section of people - particularly the youth - are mourning his death because his words - full of pain of hopelessness - resonated deeply with them.

It's an uncomfortable conversation to have. My mother, god rest her soul, always taught me to never speak ill of the dead. There's a bad taste that fills your mouth when you damn someone who's not able to defend themselves.

It's a shame for a life to be taken so young. Nobody deserves to go out at 20, but his death and his young age doesn't give him a pass for his alleged mistakes either. He was reportedly working on becoming a better person, which is great. Your actions do not tell exactly who you are as a human being, but if what XXXTentacion was accused of doing is true, that can't be swept under a rug. He cannot be made a martyr of. He is not Biggie or Pac. He's not even Malcolm, the man some people have compared as a controversial youth who grew into a man who moved mountains. Let's make it clear: domestic violence is not a "mistake" you made when you were younger. You do not have "growing pains" learning how not to hit women. Just don't hit women. The practice is elementary.

Where society can take XXXTentacion's death and create positive discourse by having a raw discussion about the grave effect abuse has on a child that lingers well into adulthood. XXX was very vocal about the life he had growing up, and how it led him down the path that ultimately led to his death. His music and his words touched a lot of young people who felt depressed, anxious, fucked up and defeated. Some of them lived similar lives to Jahseh Onfroy, or have had some kind of personal affliction addressed in his music. His pain was raw, but it was real, and it's a real feeling inside many of us.

Our society sucks at talking about mental health. People are made to feel as if their feelings and traumas - true and excruciating as it may be - are inconsequential or invisible. But we're all flawed, every single one of us. If we can stop ignoring when others lay their pain bare on the table and just listen, we make a tiny, yet huge leap towards saving our kids.

Jahseh Onfroy's death is a sad tale of an abused child growing up to abuse others. The best way we can remember him is by trying as best as we can to break the cycle.

Kanye West VS Cancel Culture : Yeezy wins

Cancel (can·cel  \ ˈkan(t)-səl ) verb " to destroy the force, effectiveness, or validity of 

 A digital bullet with murderous motives, packed with lethal power aiming to end careers, the word cancel has become a weapon against questionable behavior yet more often than never, the target is left unscathed. Many problematic faves appear to be crafted from a cloth stitched with confidence, controversy and Teflon. The fiery outrage of mass calls for cancellation rarely transforms lively careers to ashes.  

Understanding the terms and conditions of the word "cancel", the heavy, sometimes harsh and swift judgement of the public leads to a new proposed cancellation every three to five business days. With social media encouraging little-to-no privacy among celebrities, exposing the entirety of their stardom to fans, their views, opinions and behaviors are also placed under a microscope. The validity of cancellation may vary from person to business, to brand to app. 

Recently, Kanye West, a man whom may offer many reasons to be under anyone's cancellation radar, is the latest celebrity to face backlash for political views, controversial statements and brash behavior.  His return to the spotlight debuted a more peculiar Yeezy than normal. Sporting a MAGA cap, Kanye's Twitter rants about creative licenses, supporting Donald Trump and "free-thinking" caught the attention of many, for better or for worse.

The abrasive comeback of Kanye West earned him the side eye from many fans, foes and friends, his time on TMZ is where many drew the line. Mr. West appeared on TMZ and alleged that the enslavement of African people, kidnapped and sold to colonizers and trekked across the Atlantic was a choice in which the victims could have opted out. 

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years ... for 400 years?” he said. “That sounds like a choice.”
— Kanye West

The disregard for historical accuracy and cultural ignorance placed Kanye West on the fast track to destination cancellation. As if his political support of Donald Trump, a man whose platform succeeded based on the suffering and mistreatment of those who create Kanye's fan base, wasn't enough, his remarks on slavery echoed "WAKE UP MR WEST" sentiments across the internet. 

Immediately, TMZ correspondent Van Lathan assertively interjected, informing Kanye West of the danger and ignorance of his statements, reminding him that he is indeed entitled to believe what he believes yet the underlying issue with his proclamations. The interview, rightfully, caused a Twitter storm, unpredictable by anyone. Kanye West transformed into Coonye and many dealt with the weight of visioning slavery as a choice with the comical hashtag #IfSlaveryWasAChoice. 

It has been proven many times that although Twitter births hilarious jokes, awkward interactions,  sometimes successful events and endless memes, not all hashtags are created in vain. Twitter has successfully impacted political campaigns, created social awareness, ended and began careers and highlighted racial disparities in professional and casual settings. When Twitter "does its thing" the results are often in favor of the majority. But when it comes to cancelling Kanye, the tides have turned. 

Still, the call for cancellation was not answered by all. While some of Kanye's famous friends sought to privately (and some publicly) direct Kanye to the error of his ways, the artist was met with some support. Yeezy stans, various rappers, MAGA trolls and the Ankh-Right's finest free thinkers all flew to his defense.  

The freedom of speech allows anyone, including Kanye West to be loud and wrong with potential consequences to provocative statements. In the case of Kanye, the clap-back targeted his career.  For some his antics became intolerable and the cancellation commenced.  Almost a month following the weary night of the TMZ appearance, Kanye has released new music which many vowed not to support, yet somehow his album still came out on top. While others who make statements that get them "cancelled" must issue iPhone press releases and apology tweets, somehow Kanye thrives in mania. 

His latest album Ye, his solo project created while in Wyoming, did not suffer. Ye had rappers, fans, media personalities and more flying to Wyoming for a listening party, streaming the project and carrying on about his genius. The case of Kanye offers many conclusions that are not provable with quantitative statistics. Either way, Kanye came out victorious over cancel culture. Who gets the credit (or the blame) for Ye's rise to the top of the charts? Did his cosign from Donald Trump encourage the MAGA crowd to support their new brethren or were people not serious in their call for cancellation?

The failed cancellation of Kanye West suggests that he, like others, have amassed a level of stardom and success that comes with an invisible impenetrable cloak. No matter what he does, he has proven that he can say anything and still have the support of millions. What does this say about the effectiveness of cancel culture? Where is the line drawn?   

Celebrities must realize the power of influence and the potential their words have to change the world. Kanye's statements aren't as damaging coming from a random person with 600 Twitter followers and a 9-5 as they are coming from someone with his platform. Kanye has the clout levels to mold impressionable minds. His political views, and historical blunders have undeniable impact and blur the line between right and wrong. When the MAGA crowd got the Kanye co-sign they were further pushed from seeing the error in their ways and used him as a reasoning to support their deadly ideals. 

As far as who allows fame and fortune to correlate to influence and power, the people carry the burden. As a culture, we have the ability to strip superheroes of their immortal powers by not supporting their artistic endeavors. Drawing a line and cementing the placement on what will and will not be supported is seemingly tricky yet simplistic in nature. James Baldwin writes  "The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place."