Did Anonymous Force a Release Date for Lupe Fiasco's Tetsuo & Youth Album?

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Lupe Fiasco
Lupe Fiasco found himself in record label purgatory again. He went out on a preview tour for Tetsuo & Youth, his fifth studio album, last year. A couple of songs with music videos from the project dropped, but with no immediate album release date in sight. It felt like Lasers all over again. The Chicago-bred rapper complained that Atlantic Records held the project up because it didn't have a "pop" single.

That's when hacker group Anonymous stepped in this week threatening the label to give a release date or face severe consequences!

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La Coka Nostra's Hostile Hip-Hop Just Might Kill You

Categories: Hip-Hop

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When it comes to cocaine and pop culture, one blow-snorting icon towers above all. In 1983's Scarface, Al Pacino played the iconic Tony Montana, a merciless, rags-to-riches coke kingpin who (spoiler alert) goes out in a blaze of gunfire and blood. Hip-hop worships the character for his killer instinct: Nas named a song after Tony's motto of "The world is yours," and one prominent rapper even takes his name straight from the movie's title.

That said, La Coka Nostra weren't feeling the love in 2009. A Brand You Can Trust--the full-length debut from the hip-hop supergroup featuring members of House of Pain, Non Phixion, Limp Bizkit and Special Teamz--closes with a track called "Fuck Tony Montana." As an unhinged, ominous beat blasts in, Ill Bill's verse is the first fired: "Fuck Tony Montana/We kill kids/If he did, he'd still be alive." Goddamn.


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Nas: A New Doc Looks Back on Illmatic and One of Hip-Hop's Finest Living Lyricists

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Photo by Danny Clinch/Sony Legacy
Nas in 1994.
By: Ian S. Port
One rhyme in particular crystallizes the genius of Nas's 1994 classic Illmatic. It comes in the song "One Love," which takes the form of a letter to a friend in prison: "Congratulations, you know you got a son," Nas raps. "I heard he looks like ya, why don't your lady write ya?"

Did you get that? In 19 words, Nas swings from the perspective-upending pride of fatherhood -- a new human who is part you! -- to the heartache of separation, loneliness, disloyalty. He whispers the knife of betrayal into our gut with a simple question: "Why don't your lady write ya?" Nas paints not just a man in prison, yearning for the outside, but a whole web of relationships decaying in his absence.

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Veteran Rapper Buxaburn Goes 'The Distance' on His Latest Album

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In the never ending race for hip-hop supremacy, Buxaburn is a tortoise if we've ever seen one. With longevity on his side, the Santa Ana rapper has been recording music since 1992 and says he's been inspired by hip-hop culture since 1980. His latest album, The Distance is the 7th solo project for the rapper and 14th overall. It comes with beats laced by Quique Cruz (aka Bo'kem Allah) and guest features like inDJnous on the cuts. Buxaburn comes with skillfully delivered lyrics informed by street politics and often times accentuated by reggae influenced vocal inflections.

From back in the day, Public Enemy's 1987 song "Public Enemy No. 1" gets a gritty make over with Buxaburn turning in some of his finest political diatribes. "The cop on the block / Call him officer nervous / Harassment, brutality / He offers his service." Wrapping things up to the present, the rapper professes his undying love for hip-hop on the title track.

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Five Things We Learned From the 1999 Source Awards

Categories: Hip-Hop

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The Source
An Award Show So Important, it Had Its Own CD!
This month marks 15 years since The 1999 Source Awards were broadcast nationwide on UPN. While at first glance it may seem inconsequential to note the anniversary of yet another award show, these particular Source Awards were a landmark event for many reasons. Recorded at Los Angeles' Pantages Theater, the show marked the first time two major network television hours were devoted exclusively to hip-hop. From paying tribute to the pioneers to offering an accurate snapshot of the entire hip-hop nation, it's a surprisingly well done broadcast.

After revisiting a copy of the original broadcast (complete with commercials), here's 5 Things We Learned from the 1999 Source Awards.


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Emcee Classiq Sounds Off On Ferguson With a Furious Freestyle

Categories: Hip-Hop, politics

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Local rapper Emcee Classiq dedicates an impassioned freestyle against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri. It's been 10 tension-filled days since police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The young African-American's death set off clashes in the streets between militarized police and angry residents that continued last night in more arrests and unrest. Like rapper J.Cole's raw tribute song "Be Free," Emcee Classiq took to the mic to express his pain.

"Just reading the news and learning another person, and a young person at that, died by the hands of the law, that was just enough to dive in and finally speak up," the rapper says. Emcee Classiq teamed with Weekly to premiere "Ferguson Freestyle."

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Rapper Sage One Delves into Doo-Wop

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Sage One and Deejay Lala
Sage One turns into a retro rapper in his latest musical move, one that would make Art Laboe proud. The 21-year-old Costa Mesa wordsmith is dialing back the clock to the smooth vocal harmonies of doo wop. Melding classic cuts with boom bap beats, Sage One presents The Oldies But Goodies Collection. Samples of "I Only Have Eyes For You" by The Flamingos and Pete Wingfield's "18 With a Bullet," show the merits of the audio experiment. Sage One's 420 makeover of "Mr. Sandman" stands out as the most hilarious with the chorus rhyming: "Mr. Weedman / Bring me some weed / You've got the dankest shit / That I've ever seen!" The Chordettes probably never thought of being re-imagined in such a way!

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Hip-Hop Didn't Begin the Way You Think it Did

Categories: Hip-Hop

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To hear most people tell it, the history of rap goes like this:

MCs were originally rapping primarily to showcase their DJs. That is, until Sugar Hill Gang put out "Rapper's Delight" in 1979. It was the second rap record of all time, and an enormous hit, proving there was a market for rapping on wax.

From there, Kool Moe Dee battled Busy Bee and changed how rappers could rap, Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel put out "The Message" - changing what rappers could rap about - and Run-DMC released "Sucker MCs (Krush Groove 1)," which changed how rap could sound.

At the start of it all, of course, was DJ Kool Herc's 1973 block party in the Bronx, which effectively birthed hip-hop as we know it.

Those are the bullet points, but they don't answer the question: How did rapping get started in the first place?


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Is Iggy Azalea's Career a Hip-Hop Conundrum or An Inspiration?

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Nick Nuk'em
Iggy Azalea at the Observatory
It's hard to sum up exactly what Iggy Azalea means to music just months after releasing her debut album, The New Classic, which to date has sold over 100,000 copies. Her single "Fancy" is now double Platinum. Most critics, rap journalists especially, have had nothing but negative things to say about the 23 year-old's commercially successful effort for reasons that are quite obvious. The white Miami transplant from Australia sounds and looks different than other emerging emcees before her, still she is lumped into categories with other fair-skinned, "Thrift Shop" rappers who catch flack for having a ghetto pass that's invalid everywhere but the Hot 100 charts.

Let us not forget about the 2012 track "Murda Bizness" featuring her then label head T.I., where she proclaims "If you was on fire, wouldn't piss on y'all hoes." Even T.I.'s verses on that song didn't get anywhere near as gutter and grimy as Azalea's. It was a song that quickly showed she could write lyrics that could at least keep up with the status quo of hip-hop's biggest mainstream artists. In the time before "Fancy" commandeered radio waves, Iggy also collaborated with rap contemporaries YG, Problem, and Wale while Miley's "hood" antics continued to be the laughingstock of TMZ.

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The Foreign Exchange Are Hip-Hop Chameleons

Categories: Hip-Hop

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Proper fusion can be a messy and tricky plane for an artist to conquer. Mixing and matching different styles of music can make a final product come across like a random mish-mash of sounds. Experiment too much and you risk losing much of your audience. Experiment too little and you risk losing critical support and not achieving the perfect hybrid you were in search of. Despite the possible pitfalls and the risks involved with making something that synthesizes multiple, disparate sounds, R&B/soul fusionist duo The Foreign Exchange has seemingly hit a sweet spot between all possible positive outcomes.

Dutch producer Nicolay and North Carolina rapper/vocalist Phonte spent the better part of the past twelve years perfecting their premium blend of soul, R&B, pop and similar stylings. Tastemakers such as Pitchfork have lauded the pair for their organic take on the aforementioned genres.


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