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?!

Advertisements

The Rap Up: Week of February 13, 2012

Weee’re baaack! This week in music:
Iconic vocalist Whitney Houston passed away on Saturday, February 11th at the age of 48. CNN reported that the famed singer was found dead by her bodyguard in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Houston’s passing came as a complete shock to the world, and comes on the heels of the deaths of African-American music icons Etta James and Don Cornelius. Houston sold over 170 million albums and singles over the span of her career, and touched the lives of countless fans around the world. With her passing on the eve of the Grammy Awards, it was expected that the show would be altered in order to honor the fallen legend.
The 54th Annual Grammy Awards took place on Sunday, February 12 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The awards were hosted by LL Cool J, marking the show’s first official host in seven years. The show featured performances from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Chris Brown, and Jennifer Hudson. The biggest winners of the night included Adele (6)., Foo Fighters (5), and Kanye West (4). Tributes were given for fallen icons Whitney Houston and Etta James, both of whom had passed away within the last month.

News:
First pictures of Jay-Z & Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy hit the internet
Bonnaroo Festival releases its lineup for 2012
Nicki Minaj, Mary J. Blige set to perform for NBA All-Star Game
Cee-Lo announces the return of Goodie Mob; new solo effort
Common ends lyrical feud with Drake

Releases:
V-Day releases from Raheem DeVaughn, Usher, Damian Marley, Yelawolf, etc.
Nicki Minaj releases new single “Starships” from her forthcoming album
Former White Stripes front man Jack White drops video for his solo album’s lead single
Chris Brown releases self-directed video for new lead single “Turn The Music Up”
Childish Gambino gives CAMP’s second single, “Heartbeat”, the visual treatment

Album Review: Childish Gambino – “CAMP”

Donald Glover is a multitalented individual, to say the least. The 28 year old Stone Mountain native is widely known for playing the role of Troy Barnes on the acclaimed NBC sitcom Community. He is also an award-winning writer, writing for programs such as The Daily Show and sitcom 30 Rock. While Glover’s skill set is undoubtedly versatile, Childish Gambino is “just a rapper”, whose debut album CAMP has just been released to the public.

Camp is a tremendous studio album debut for the up-and-coming Gambino. Since the release of the acclaimed Childish Gambino EP, fans have been clamoring for more from the emcee who gave them songs like “Be Alone”, “Freaks and Geeks”, and “Not Going Back”. Those who enjoyed the EP should be excited to know that Gambino uses Camp to pick up where he left off with the release of his previous project.

Camp is a very personal and revealing project for Childish Gambino, which should not come as a surprise to his fans. The majority of his music is heavily introspective and thought provoking, and is focused around numerous themes including race, social classes and stigmata, family life, relationships, individuality, and perseverance. These topics are touched on from the outset of the album and remain present until the end of it. For instance, Camp begins with “Outside”, a track which sees Gambino revisiting his past in order to provide a back story of sorts for the listener. The song details stories of Gambino’s upbringing, touching on several of the aforementioned themes of the album in the process. With lines like “I just want[ed] to fit in, but nobody was helping me out/they’re talking ‘hood s–t and I ain’t know what that was about”, Gambino is able to express how he was a social pariah growing up. Similarly on “Hold You Down”, Gambino speaks on the exclusionary tactics of racism, as well as ostracism within his own race. Stating that “N—-s got me feeling I ain’t black enough to go to church/culture shock in barber shops because I ain’t ‘hood enough”, he shows that his outcast identity has followed him from childhood into his adult life and spreads further than he previously thought. Tracks like “All the Shine” see Gambino turning the lens on himself, offering pieces of self-criticism concerning his identity and authenticity in life and in music. These various storylines are woven together throughout the album and create content that listeners can identify with. The ability to craft relatable material for listeners is one of the strengths showcased on Camp, and will ultimately play a huge part in Gambino’s success as an artist.

Another one of Camp’s great feats is the cohesive sound of the album. While the instrumentation and subject matter varies from song to song, Gambino establishes an overall feel and makes the album more enjoyable as a whole. This is mainly due to the fact that the album was produced entirely by Gambino and . The duo’s sound is often compared to that of contemporary acts like Kanye West. While this is a reasonable conclusion, Camp’s compositions have other influences incorporated into those pre-existing sounds, which include indie rock (“Sunrise”), symphony orchestra (“All the Shine”), house (“Heartbeat”), and even gospel music (“Outside”). Also, Gambino’s rhyme patterns, levels of inflection, and styles of delivery are constantly changing, which increases the replay value of the album as a whole.

In summary, Camp is a great debut for Childish Gambino. While the album has its missteps, the highs do more than enough to balance out the lows. He is a strong lyricist who is able to incorporate witty wordplay into his storytelling, which is shown often throughout the album. Along with Göransson, he has established a distinct sound which is rich and enjoyable. The content of the album is relatable, introspective, heartfelt, and thought provoking, which should have a strong appeal to listeners. Childish Gambino is the definition of hip hop, choosing to find his own identity and express himself in his own manner. “What’s the point of rap if you can’t be yourself?”

Highs: “Outside”, “Bonfire”, “Backpackers”, “That Power”

Lows: “Heartbeat”, “L.E.S.”

Rating: 4.0/5