The Rap Up: Week of January 17, 2014

Rap Up

This Week In Music:

Outkast performing over a decade ago. (Credit to

Outkast performing over a decade ago. (Credit to Joe Goldberg)

Just a week after being announced as the headliner of the 2014 Coachella Festival lineup, legendary hip hop group Outkast has announced an official comeback tour for the upcoming year. In honor of their first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmusik, reaching its 20 year anniversary, the Atlanta duo will embark on a tour of at least 40 festival shows throughout the year. This news is incredibly exciting for fans of the group, who have been anxiously awaiting new material and performances for over five years now. Fans should stay tuned to the official Outkast facebook, where the announcement was made, for future updates.

Juicy J on stage. (Credit to

Juicy J on stage. (Credit to Jay West)

In other news, rapper Juicy J (formerly of Memphis rap group Three 6 Mafia) awarded a $50,000 scholarship to one lucky female college student. Usually deemed as a good deed, the scholarship became the subject of controversy due to the award’s supposed requirements. Juicy J originally announced the scholarship back in the summer of 2013 as a scholarship for “twerking”, a dance that involves the explicit movement of the female body which has recently been brought to the mainstream by artists like Miley Cyrus. While fans have argued that Juicy J implied that the fund would go to the candidate who could twerk the best in a video that was sent to him, the rapper never officially listed twerking as a requirement needed to win the scholarship. The Listening Magazine congratulates the winner, Zaire Holmes, and acknowledges Juicy J for honoring his word.

Kanye West

Kanye West (Credit to Tyler Curtis)

Justin Beiber (Credit to

Justin Bieber

Finally, two of the biggest superstars in the music industry are in hot water with the police this week for separate incidents. First, rapper/producer Kanye West is under police investigation after reportedly being involved in an altercation with an 18-year-old. Taking place in a Beverly Hills chiropractor’s office, Kanye reportedly attacked the man after he called Kanye’s fiancée Kim Kardashian a “n****r lover”. In other news, pop sensation Justin Bieber came under the scope of Los Angeles police after being the suspect of the egging of a house neighboring his own. The 19-year-old superstar had his home searched following the incident, and one of Bieber’s friends was arrested for possession of cocaine which was found in his home. Details on both incidents are still being relayed to press sources, and will be interesting to hear about in the coming days.

The News:
Jhene Aiko announces May release date for Souled Out
Pharrell secures Oscar nomination for “Happy”
Mac Miller announces departure from Rostrum Records
Ciara and Future announce pregnancy
Drake releases new Saturday Night Live promotion videos
Rick Ross’ Mastermind receives new release date
Native Tongues TV series to feature Q-Tip, Jonah Hill, and Leonardo DiCaprio
Method Man reveals artwork for new mixtape titled The Meth Lab

The Tunes:
The Cool Kids – “Computer School” / “Chop” (ft. HBK Gang)
Shakira – “Can’t Remember To Forget You” (ft. Rihanna)
Isaiah Rashad – “RIP Kevin Miller”
Childish Gambino – “The Worst Guys” (ft. Chance The Rapper) [Video]
August Alsina – “Make It Home” (ft. Jeezy)
Ty Dolla $ign – “Paranoid” (Remix) (ft. Trey Songz, French Montana, & DJ Mustard)
Trae The Truth – “Wid It” (ft. Problem & Freddie Gibbs)
Danny Brown – “Side B (Dope Song)” [Video]
Mister Cee’s Aaliyah Birthday Tribute Mix
Kenneth Whalum – “Away” (ft. Big K.R.I.T.)
Marsha Ambrosius – “Dear Tremaine”

The Charts:
Hot 100: Pitbull – “Timber” (ft. Ke$ha)
Radio: Eminem – “The Monster” (ft. Rihanna)
Digital: Katy Perry – “Dark Horse” (ft. Juicy J)*
200: “Frozen” Soundtrack
R&B: Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Rap: Kid Ink – My Own Lane*
Rock: Lorde – Pure Heroine
Independent: Garth Brooks – Blame It On My Roots
*Indicates New Entry

The Bonus Tracks:
Nas, and Hip Hop, at… Harvard?!

The Spotlight: Run The Jewels

Run The Jewels

With genres within the art of music beginning to cross paths more than ever, it is very rare to find an act that is a throwback to the original sounds of a genre. Typical artists are sonically similar to one another due to the high level of influence that exists, and sounds tend to drift further away from their foundations as music becomes more cookie-cutter and widespread. For these reasons, finding an artist whose style calls back to the origins of a genre is extremely refreshing for a hardcore fan. For those searching for a breath of fresh air, look no further than Run The Jewels. Continue reading

The Vignette: A Tribe Called Quest, “Butter”, & Natural Beauty

Butter

The popularity of fads changes as surely as the seasons do. As human beings, we constantly influence one another with our contrasting behavioral patterns and thought processes, commonly resulting in us turning the “it” thing into something that can go from being flavor of the month to being out of style, and back again. However, when a trend becomes more transcendent and everlasting, it becomes what is known as a movement. While rare in comparison to the frequency of a fad, a movement has an undeniable presence and drastically affects our lifestyles. And when it comes to movements, A Tribe Called Quest qualified just as well in the 90’s as the natural beauty movement for women does today. Continue reading

The Hype: Sneaker Releases For January 2014

Sneakers: January '14

Last month, retail companies worldwide put forth their best and most notable products for consumers to gift during the holidays. Included in this group are sneaker companies, evidenced by the quality and notoriety of the releases that occurred within the last month (LeBron X Dunkman, various KD XIs, Oregon Foamposite One, Gamma Blue XIs, Taxi & Gamma Blue XIIs, etc.). With 2013 officially in our rear view, these entities will now shift their focus towards carrying the holiday season momentum into the new year. Here are the hottest upcoming sneaker releases of January 2014.

Nike Lunar Ballistec

Nike Lunar Ballistec
The upcoming Lunar Ballistec is a tennis shoe that draws inspiration from the plethora of basketball and football models that Nike has recently released. Designed for optimal quickness on the tennis court, the Ballistec is about half as heavy as a normal shoe, weighing in at 10 ounces flat. The upper portion of the shoe is synthetic leather and mesh material, which also uses flywire technology. The foam core Lunarlon technology forms the full-length midsole, while the stripped outsole is designed using outrigger technology. The Nike Lunar Ballistec is set to launch worldwide on January 2nd at Nike.com.

Nike SB Lunar One Shot

Nike SB Lunar One Shot
Continuing with shoes designed with Lunarlon technology, the Nike SB Lunar One Shot is a skateboarder’s fantasy. Tagged as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, the One Shot is comprised of several components which make it the one of the better skate shoes on the market. The shoe features a padded heel, mesh heel pocket, flexible herringbone outsole, a Hyperscreen traction layer, Lunarlon cushioning, and two-piece construction. Although the shoe comes with a hefty price tag for skatewear (US$110), the One Shot may very well be the future of skateboard sneakers.

KD XI Away II

Nike KD XI “Away II”
After experiencing a huge boost in popularity, the Kevin Durant signature shoe line from Nike looks to continue its tremendous success with the release of more colorways of the KD VI. Enter the “Away II” model, utilizing a black base with accents of vivid blue, volt, and dark gray to craft a second pair of kicks for the Oklahoma City star to match with his road uniform. The usage of volt color and precision timing print on the sneaker symbolizes Durant’s ability to strike at any time while on the court. With a suggested retail of US$130, expect to see the newest KD Vis to release on January 11th.

Jordan X Bobcats

Jordan X “Bobcats” & “Infrared”
The Jordan brand will stick to the retro releases at the top of the year, unleashing two new colorways of the shoe that Jordan wore in his first return to the NBA. The “Bobcats” colorway is a pretty straightforward concept, utilizing the color scheme of the team which Jordan holds ownership of, with a wolf grey leather upper dominating the shoe. The “Infrared” model features a mostly charcoal grey suede upper with black and infrared accents. Both pairs are set to release on January 11th for US$170.

Reebok Kamikaze I

Reebok Kamikaze I “White/Black/Dark Green”
After the successful retro of the Kamikaze II last year, Reebok is now deciding to bring back the original Kamikaze model that first became popular in the mid-90s. The first colorway of this release will be the “Sonics” model, which is influenced by former Seattle Supersonics star Shawn Kemp and accents a black base with white and dark green counter-blocking. Look for the Kamikaze I to hit Reebok retailers on January 17th for US$115.

Nike Air Max 90 PRM

Nike Air Max 90 PRM “Navy/Volt”
The classic Air Max 90 design receives another premium colorway in the upcoming Navy/Volt scheme. The shoes is simple is design, yet extremely attractive in its simplicity. The shoes navy blue upper is made of premium suede, and is accented by tonal leather swooshes and a volt tongue logo. The feature which makes the shoe pop is the midsole, which features a strong volt color on the half closest to the heel. The contrast provides character for the entire shoe, and should make this one a favorite when it drops on January 20th.

The Vignette: J. Cole, The Blow Up, & Your New Year

“Keep grinding, boy. Your life can change in one year. And even when it’s dark out, the sun is shining somewhere.”
– J. Cole, “Premeditated Murder

Resolution

J. Cole has grown and progressed during his time as a recording artist. (Photo credit to Candice Rose & The Come Up Show, respectively)

As 2013 nears its closing moments, it’s safe to say that a good number of us will take the time to reflect on the year as a whole. Between a spoonful of black eyed peas and a big sip of your cider of choice, chances are your thoughts may drift to become those of an introspective nature. Before the dust settles, you will analyze, pick apart, compare, and contrast your year to years previous, as well as the years of others. The resulting thought pattern almost always consists of us identifying at least one area in which we are willing to commit to improving – commonly referred to as a resolution. Giving up soda and fried foods. Losing the extra inches off of your waist. Committing more time to your loved ones. Is anything ringing a bell? If so, then you probably catch my drift. Continue reading

The Rap Up: Week of December 23, 2013

The Listening Magazine is back, once again, to let you know about the hottest news and music to come out of this week!

Rap Up

This Week In Music:
The minds behind the immensely popular Rap Genius lyrics website are in hot water this week after attempting to “hack” or “bypass” Google servers in the quest for new viewership. Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam attempted to gain this viewership by partnering with pre-existing blogs and essentially using them to link-build, a genius sneaky move for the website that would result in massive traffic. Google, however, was made aware of these actions and subsequently punished Rap Genius by moving their results off of the front page of the Google search engine. If the plan would have come to fruition, Rap Genius would be the extreme beneficiary of a database of Justin Bieber’s lyrics. Continue reading