The Rap Up | Week of January 24, 2014

Rap Up

This Week In Music:

Justin Bieber's mug shot after being arrested for DUI. (Credit to Miami Police Department)

Justin Bieber’s mug shot after being arrested for DUI. (Credit to Miami Police Department)

As of late, Justin Bieber’s knack for hit-making has been paralleled only by his ability to make headlines for controversial topics. In the latest of these headlines, the 19-year-old was arrested in Miami for driving under the influence, resisting arrest, and driving with a suspended license. The arrest came after the pop star reportedly was involved in a drag race with fellow musician and friend Khalil Sharief. The race saw both artists travelling at speeds twice the amount of the speed limit in a residential area of Miami. Continue reading

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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 Rap Up: Week of December 30, 2013

Rap Up

The Week In Music:
Late last week, hip hop artist Doe B. was shot and killed in Alabama at Centennial Hill Bar & Grill. An Alabama native and emcee signed to T.I.’s Hustle Gang label, Doe B. was one of eight people in total who were victims of the gunfire at Centennial (six others were wounded, one other person was killed). This week, Doe (born Glenn Thomas) and his unfortunate killing have made the news once again as a suspect has been arrested after turning himself in, and faces two counts of capital murder. Thomas’ killing is one of several unfortunate incidents of its kind which have occurred in recent times, and serves as a reminder that the hip hop community still has issues that need solutions. Thomas was a mere 22 years old.
For the third week in a row, Beyoncé’s self-titled visual album claimed the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart. After releasing an additional video last week, it seems as though the R&B queen has an unstoppable momentum attached to her at the moment. It will be interesting to see how Beyoncé’s latest controversy with NASA over the sampling of The Challenger space shuttle tragedy (which resulted in the deaths of seven astronauts in 1986 and is sampled on “XO” from the new album) will affect her stock in the near future.
Finally, international artist MIA announced that she is no longer involved with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation management. After signing with the management team in mid-2012, her Matangi album was all but shelved until about a month ago. The split comes after a noted rift between the two entities, as MIA has previously alluded to both abandoning her team and needing Kickstarter in the future. It will be interesting to see where the multi-faceted artist’s career goes from here, with her number one dance/electronic album Matangi recently released and her being under new management.

The News:
Justin Timberlake sold the most albums in 2013, while Robin Thicke had the biggest hit
KISS to play first ever outdoor hockey game in LA’s Dodger Stadium
New cryptocurrency named after Kanye West set to launch
Eve and billionaire fashion designer Maximillion Cooper now engaged
New Bruce Springsteen album High Hopes arrives early on Amazon

Alicia Keys and Blackberry no longer partners in business

The Tunes:
Drake – “Trophies”
A$AP Ferg – “Hood Pope” (Video)
Timothy Bloom – “Stand In The Way (Of My Love)”
Nicki Minaj – “Boss A** B****” (Remix) (ft. PTAF)
Vampire Weekend – “Step” Remix (ft. Heems & Despot of Das Racist & Danny Brown)
Audio Push – “Tis The Season” (ft. Joey Bada$$) (Video)
Angel Haze – Dirty Gold (Album)

The Charts:
Hot 100: Eminem – “The Monster” (ft. Rihanna)
Radio: Eminem – “The Monster” (ft. Rihanna)
Digital: Pitbull – “Timber” (ft. Ke$ha)*
200: Beyoncé – Beyoncé
R&B/Hip Hop: Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Rock: Lorde – Pure Heroine
Independent: Garth Brooks – Blame It On My Roots

The Bonus Track:
Meek Mill & 2 Chainz Give Back, Chance The Rapper Gets His

The Listening Magazine’s Favorite Artists of 2013

Favorite Artists of 2013

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…

Well, this isn’t entirely true. In reality, your parents are somewhere attempting to shatter the world record for the least amount of noise made while wrapping presents. Your younger siblings are probably huddled around the family room television watching The Grinch, waiting to catch the elusive Saint Nick and deliver his snicker doodles alongside his glass of milk. For fear of being annoyed by the young ones, your relatives are poking around every room other than the guest room in search of nothing in particular. And you? Well, you could’ve been anywhere in the world, but you’re here with us. And we appreciate that. To show you how thankful we are, The Listening presents our list of our favorite artists of the year 2013. Whether you are looking for your latest music fix, grasping for midnight-hour stocking stuffer ideas, or biding your time until the gifts are unwrapped, we’ve got you covered.

Continue reading

Vignettes: Favorite Acts Of 2011

As we look back on the controversy-riddled year that was 2011, there is one thing we should all be able to agree on: it was a great year for music. Fans have been given an astounding amount of good music from the year’s outset, and that fact is sure to put a smile on the face of any listener. With that being said, we would like to give our two cents on our favorite acts of a year which has seen talented artists such as Frank Ocean, Childish Gambino, and Adele make huge waves in the industry. Here are The Listening Magazine’s favorite acts of the year.

As is to be expected, Kanye West has been a huge force in music in the past year. West released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to critical acclaim in late 2010. As is the case with most fourth quarter releases, Dark Twisted Fantasy’s true value was recognized in the year following its release. The levels of quality and replayability remain high for the album, and the sound influenced a large amount of subsequent projects. Also, West’s collaboration with hip hop mogul Jay-Z entitled Watch The Throne has made a tremendous impact on music this year. While the project is not a grand opus for either artist, Watch The Throne is an enjoyable, adventurous album which provides touches of socioeconomic commentary while simultaneously bringing the essential element of fun back to rapping. Hell, whenever you can perform a song nine times in a row at a sold outStaplesCenter and have fans going crazy each time, you’re doing something right.

Mississippiemcee Big K.R.I.T. has proven that 2010 was no fluke. Following his rise to fame last year (which included the release of a critically acclaimed free album and a contract with Def Jam), K.R.I.T. went on to do more great things in 2011. He began the year by being named one of the freshmen of the year by XXL Magazine, a title which is coveted heavily by up and coming rap artists. He went on to release Return Of 4Eva, another free album to follow up his 2010 effort K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. Return Of 4Eva was arguably met with more acclaim than Wuz Here, ending up on the year-end lists of several notable publications. If 2011 was any indication, K.R.I.T. will continue to make outstanding music for many years to come, shattering southern rap stereotypes in the process.

K.R.I.T.’s fellow XXL freshman class member Kendrick Lamar is the voice of Generation Y. The Compton, California emcee released one of the best albums of the year this summer in Section 80, a project which speaks heavily on many of the socioeconomic issues plaguing those of use growing up in the internet age. Beyond his astounding lyrical abilities, what makes Kendrick special is his message. Section 80 has a highly political context, and tells stories which resonate with listeners from all walks of life. This makes Kendrick’s music relatable to a very wide audience, which will hopefully allow his message to spread even further in years to come.

2011 is also the year we fell in love with J*DaVeY, a Los Angeles music duo consisting of vocalist Jack Davey and producer Brook D’Leau. While the tandem has not had a large amount of mainstream success, they have a highly supportive fan base which has grown substantially in 2011. After being unable to release a project in 2010, the duo released the Evil Christian Cop: The Great Mistapes EP in early 2011 to much critical acclaim. The EP showed a distinct growth in the genre-bending sound of the group, and sparked a summer tour which included bookings around the country and internationally. Tapping into the strength which is their dynamic live performances, the pair used this tour to promote their long-awaited debut studio album New Designer Drug. The oft-delayed album was finally released in November to largely favorable reviews. With the monkey finally off of their backs, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for J*DaVeY.

Another act which was a highlight of the summer is rock band Elevator Fight. The band is based inPhiladelphia and is led by vocalist Zoë Kravitz, daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet. The group consists of Kravitz and band mates Joe Baldacci (drums), Dominic Angelella (guitar), Khari Mateen (guitar), Nick Bockrath (guitar), and Rick Friedrich (keys). They have been together since 2009, releasing songs here and there and performing at several notable festivals such as The Roots Picnic and South By Southwest. The group’s sound is lo-fi and psychedelic, and while they have yet to release an actual project, the live shows serve as a tremendously energetic showcase for the music. From first hand experience, it is very captivating to see the small songstress tossing back beer as she leads the group in a raging performance. That moment grabs a hold of you effortlessly.

Detroitemcee Danny Brown is another up-and-coming artist who has made great strides in 2011. After signing to label Fool’s Gold, Brown dropped one of the best releases of the year with his free album XXX. In commemoration of turning 30 years old, the project showcases Brown’s free-flowing lyricism and eccentric delivery. Everything about his style is highly unique and original, which gives him huge potential for success in the industry. Brown is also associated with producers (the most notable being Black Milk, with whom he released an EP this year) that provide back drops which fit his style perfectly. Brown has traveled a rough path for numerous years, and it is satisfying to see his recent success in the music business.

Last, but certainly not least, The Weeknd has crash landed onto the scene and made a huge impact on the industry. Singer Abel Tesfaye released a trilogy of free albums (House Of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes Of Silence) that have made his rise to stardom one of the fastest in recent memory. Tesfaye, along with producers Doc McKinney and Illangelo, has created a distinctly lush and atmospheric sound that is influencing the R&B genre before our eyes. The strong songwriting, atmospheric soundscapes, and detailed story arcs give The Weeknd the total package and provide an excellent experience for listeners. It seems as though Tesfaye is poised for tremendous success in the near future, with plans to re-release the “Balloon Trilogy” in a re-mastered retail form during the coming year.

We at The Listening Magazine have thoroughly enjoyed the music brought to us during the year 2011, and are extremely excited for what 2012 has to offer. We will surely be listening…