The Rap Up: Week of February 7, 2014

Rap Up

This Week In Music:
The past few weeks in music have offered a ton of newsworthy material. One of the most talked about happenings occurred during the 54th annual Grammy Awards, which saw the controversial awarding of independent artist Macklemore over hip hop favorite Kendrick Lamar in the Best Rap Album category. Kendrick’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, considered a modern day classic by most, lost to Macklemore’s album The Heist (which was a joint project with Ryan Lewis). Although Macklemore’s album contained both hit records and extremely socially-conscious subject matter (including pro-gay messages), many felt that Kendrick Lamar was “robbed”, as GKMC was the standout project from 2012 in the eyes of the hip hop community. Macklemore even went as far as to agree that Kendrick should have won, texting the emcee immediately after the awards show.

The News:
Jay-Z sued as a part of lawsuit against the NBA for the Nets’ trademark
Justin Bieber’s plane detained on the suspicion of marijuana
DMX’s potential boxing bout with George Zimmerman canceled
The Cure announce their 14th studio album
Rick Ross releases tracklist for upcoming album Mastermind
TDE confirms Ab-Soul to be the next 2014 offering
Timbaland alludes to new Jodeci album in the works
Toronto mayor declares Bob Marley Day
Slaughterhouse announce new battle rap reality television show
MURS signs to Tech N9ne’s Strange Music

The Tunes:
Major Lazer – Aerosol Can (ft. Pharrell)
Justin Bieber – Confident (ft. Chance The Rapper) [Video]
St. Vincent – Prince Johnny
Broken Bells – Leave It Alone
Kelis – Jerk Ribs
Future – Move That Dope (ft. Pharrell, Pusha T, & Casino)
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Robes (ft. Earl Sweatshirt & Domo Genesis)
Jennifer Lopez – Same Girl [Video]
The Foreign Exchange – Better (ft. Eric Roberson & Shana Tucker) [Video]
Isaiah Rashad – Soliloquy [Video] | Menthol (ft. Jean Deaux)
Ratking – Canal

The Charts:
Hot 100: Katy Perry – “Dark Horse” (ft. Juicy J)
Radio: One Republic – “Counting Stars”
Digital: Katy Perry – “Dark Horse” (ft. Juicy J)
200: Frozen – Original Soundtrack
R&B: Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Rap: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist
Rock: Lorde – Pure Heroine
Independent: Of Mice & Men – Restoring Force
*Indicates New Entry

The Bonus Tracks:
Noisey goes to Chiraq, and a $5 million violin gets taken

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The Rap Up: Week of January 6, 2014

Rap Up

This Week In Music:
Fans of live performances were highly pleased this week as several artists were announced to appear on upcoming shows and festivals. First, a few notable artists were added to the 56th Grammy Awards performers list. Katy Perry, Lorde, Robin Thicke, and special performances from Stevie Wonder (with Daft Punk) and Metallica have all been added to the bill of the January 26th show. In addition, the upcoming NFL Super Bowl will be highlighted by special performances throughout the week. The Black Keys, John Legend, and Band Of Horses will put on special concerts for Citi cardholders as a part of a series of functions that are set to lead up to the Super Bowl on February 2nd. Finally, the annual Coachella festival has announced its star-studded 2014 lineup. Taking place over two weekends in April, the festival will be headlined by Arcade Fire, Muse, and the newly reunited duo Outkast. In its 14 year run, Coachella is putting on what could possibly be their most talked about lineup in recent years.
In other news, Guggenheim Media announced that Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter have a new person running the show. On Tuesday, it was officially announced that Janice Min will now serve as Co-President/Chief Creative Officer of the Entertainment Group of Guggenheim Media, a role which is an expansion for her and effective immediately. In her new role, Min will be responsible for leading Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter as the authority of the editorial direction of the brands. We congratulate Janice Min on her growth within such an established company, and look forward to what the brand will offer in the coming future.
In more controversial news, rapper Young Jeezy turned himself in last Friday to face charges which he incurred in September of 2012, involving an altercation with his son. The rapper was arrested for battery, false imprisonment, and making threats, according to a court report cited by TMZ. The report also gives in-depth details on the altercation, noting punching, dragging, choking, and death threats (“If I could get away with it, I would kill you”). Jeezy’s lawyer did not comment on the charges, but noted that they hoped the situation would resolve itself soon.

The News:
DJ Drama lands a new gig as an A&R for Atlantic Records
Conor Oberst responds to anonymous sexual assault allegations
Curren$y, The Clipse, The Cool Kids announce new projects
Jay-Z brings in $1 Million with Barneys
The-Dream announces split with Def Jam
Lionel Richie, Mary J. Blige, and Erykah Badu to play Essence Festival
Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears dominate People’s Choice Awards
Chris Brown rejects plea deal on assault charge
Nas will be honored at the upcoming Vibe Impact Awards
Kid Ink set to debut near the top of the Billboard 200

The Tunes:
Beyonce – “God Made You Beautiful”
Common – “War”
Broken Bells – “After The Disco”
Yelawolf – “Louder” (ft. Inkmonstarr)
Chromeo – “Come Alive” (ft. Toro Y Moi)
Zo! – “We Are On The Move” (ft. Eric Roberson & Phonte) Video
Maffew Ragazino – Brownsville’s Jesus
Keyshia Cole – “Loyal Freestyle” (ft. Lil Wayne & Sean Kingston)
Freddie Gibbs – “One Eighty Seven” (ft. Problem) Video
Nickelus F – “Painkillerz” Video

The Charts:
Hot 100: Pitbull – “Timber” (ft. Ke$ha)*
Radio: Eminem – “The Monster” (ft. Rihanna)
Digital: Pitbull – “Timber” (ft. Ke$ha)
200: “Frozen” Soundtrack
R&B: Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Rap: Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Rock: Lorde – Pure Heroine
Independent: Garth Brooks – Blame It On My Roots
*Indicates New Entry

The Bonus Tracks:
Blu & Exile’s Below The Heavens reissues, Tupac musical set for Broadway, SNL finally adds a black female cast member

The Reviews: BJ The Chicago Kid – “A Soulful Christmas” EP

“This song is for all those people that [are] putting all that crazy stuff
on their Christmas list. You don’t even use half of the stuff you’ve got.”

BJ

The irony of the words we use lies in the manner in which their meanings can change depending on your interpretation of them and how they are used in a sentence. The above quote is the first thing the Listener hears when BJ The Chicago Kid’s latest project, A Soulful Christmas EP, begins playing. At first listen, it is easy to take BJ’s words at face value and perceive him to mean that this latest project is a short and sweet gift to his fans for them to enjoy during the holidays. However, with more thought, it could also be that the statement is referring to BJ’s development and progression as an artist in recent years, and his future plans of harnessing his growth to deliver great music. Either meaning you apply to the quote turns out to be an accurate assessment, though, as the kid from the windy city fulfills both of these meanings to the best of his abilities on his holiday-themed EP. 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

The Genesis of “Exodus”: The History Between Lil Wayne & Pusha T

What’s beef? Apparently, beef is when emcees address one another through subliminal disses and indiscreet tweets. For those who have been paying attention to hip hop news lately, rappers Lil Wayne and Pusha T have officially heated up the summer by sparking the latest case of rap beef. Each of the artists has released songs aimed at the other in the past, and it seems as though a large-scaled back and forth is on the horizon. However, the beef itself is nothing new. The issues between the two artists, while never becoming a headline, have existed for several years now. Seeing as though a lyrical battle is sure to ensue, it’s appropriate that The Listening Magazine takes you back in time to detail the origins of Lil Wayne versus Pusha T.
The history between Lil Wayne and Pusha T was not always filled with tension between the two artists. In fact, the artists and their affiliates worked together on multiple occasions. In 2002, Pusha T and his brother Malice (known collectively as Clipse) released their debut studio album Lord Willin’ on the Star Trak record label. The lead single from that album, “Grindin’”, became a hit and was the song that allowed the group to break through into the mainstream. Fans of the Clipse’s first album know that the remix of this classic record features none other than Lil Wayne and Cash Money counterpart Birdman. In the same year, Birdman (then known as Baby the #1 Stunna) released his debut album as a solo artist. The Clipse were featured on “What Happened To That Boy”, one of the album’s singles. At this point in time, it seemed as though both camps supported one another thoroughly and were on good terms.
Now fast forward to 2006. Lil Wayne is the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive” and Clipse are gearing up to release their long-awaited and oft-delayed sophomore album Hell Hath No Fury. At this time in his career, Wayne began to shift his style in terms of his music and his image. One of these changes was the addition of BAPE, a clothing line which the Clipse (as well as producer Pharrell Williams) were infamous for wearing, to his wardrobe. Wayne can be seen wearing BAPE apparrel on the cover of Vibe Magazine, as well as in his video for “Hustler Musik”. Coincidentally (or maybe not so much), the first single from Hell Hath No Fury was titled “Mr. Me Too” and was centered on people who copy the styles of others. In an interview with Complex Magazine, Wayne stated that he felt the Clipse single was about him and proceeded to attack the group and their affiliates. This marked the beginning of the tension between the two parties.
In the next couple years, the Clipse would go on to talk about the beef in interviews with radio stations and publications to express their views. This expression later found its way onto records. On the Re-Up Gang‘s We Got It For Cheap Volume 3 (2008), Pusha rapped “Lil’ nigga flows, but his metaphors boring, don’t make me turn daddy’s little girl to orphan, that would mean I’d have to kill Baby like abortion”. At this juncture, the group had clearly thrown shots at Wayne and Cash Money Records. However, with the Cash Money label experiencing tremendous amounts of success, the shots went largely unanswered and the Clipse went on to eventually disown the beef entirely.
In 2011, the issues between the two artists began to bubble back to the surface once again. While Pusha T went as far as to congratulate Wayne on being freed after his prison stint in Riker’s Island, he took issue with Wayne’s protégé, Drake. As quiet as it’s kept, Drake has thrown some subliminal shots of his own towards people close to Pusha. The Canadian emcee hinted in an interview that Kanye West and Jay-Z‘s Watch The Throne album was a concept that Wayne and he came up with first. Also, Drake rapped “the throne is for the taking” on DJ Khaled’s “I’m On One”, possibly referring to Kanye and Jay. Now a member of Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label, Pusha has appeared to respond with countless subliminal shots in a myriad of tracks he’s released since 2011 (including “Don’t F**k With Me”, in which Pusha raps “the swag don’t match the sweaters”). An admitted Clipse fan, Drake has yet to engage with Pusha to this point.
Pusha’s most recent subliminal attack came this week is in the form of “Exodus 23:1”, which is supposedly a single from his upcoming G.O.O.D. Music debut. The song features lyrics, some more specifically catered than others, which are directed at the Young Money conglomerate (including Drake and affiliate The Weeknd). Appearing to be fed up with Pusha’s attacks, Lil Wayne tweeted “F*k Pusha T and anybody that love em” from his @LilTunechi account on Thursday. The tweet would eventually become the opening line in “Goulish”, a song aimed at the younger half of the Clipse. Malice, Pusha’s partner in rhyme, tweeted that he was unconcerned about anyone that had problems with his younger brother. Likewise, Pusha’s label mate Kid Cudi tweeted that he loved Pusha T, and welcomed any oncoming controversy.
With the storied beef between Lil Wayne and Pusha T approaching its presumed climax, there are several questions hip hop fans are anxious to have answered. Will Pusha respond to Wayne’s attack? Will Drake engage in the confrontation? With affiliated parties involving themselves, will this become Young Money versus G.O.O.D. Music? Or will the beef simply die out on a whimper? Whatever the case, this feud is sure to have fans on the edges of their seats in anticipation of what is to come. From the looks of it, it’s going to be a cruel summer…

The Rap Up: Week of January 23, 2012

We might be two days late, but not two dollars short. This week in music:
Madonna has been named as the headliner for the upcoming NFL Super Bowl on February 5th. The iconic pop star will perform at halftime when the surging New York Giants match up against the perennial powerhouse New England Patriots. Madonna has recruited a host of fellow musicians to perform alongside her, including Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., and Cee-Lo Green. Madonna also has several tricks up her sleeve, which have intentionally been kept under wraps. Those who like surprises should feel inclined to tune into what is sure to be one of the more exciting halftime shows in recent memory.
In other news, Rihanna has become the first female artist to reach two billion views on music video website VEVO. With numerous hit records such as “Man Down”, “Rude Boy”, and “What’s My Name”, the female pop sensation has experienced a huge amount of internet and digital success in addition to her success on the airways. Considering the fact that the music industry is moving into a more digital environment, Rihanna’s achievements are remarkable and should be applauded.
Finally, rap super group Slaughterhouse has announced a release date and title for their sophomore studio album. The LP, entitled Welcome to: Our House, will be released on May 15th. The album will be the group’s first since signing with Shady Records in early 2011, and it will be executively produced by label founder Eminem. In order to promote for the album, the skilled lyrical conglomerate will embark on a two month tour. The tour will begin in March and end in May prior to the release of the album. Now that they are being backed by Eminem and the Shady Records brand, it will be exciting to see what the group can do in a mainstream spotlight.

News:
D’Angelo performs for the first time in 12 years
Stones Throw Records reveals the Stones Throw Digital Discography
Kid Cudi releases track listing for upcoming WZRD album

Releases:
Bruce Springsteen releases “We Take Care Of Our Own”, single from Wrecking Ball
Up-and-coming songstress Elle Varner releases Conversational Lush mixtape
Rock duo Sleigh Bells drops a video for their new single “Comeback Kids”
NY emcee Saigon releases the third installment of his Warning Shots mixtape series
Mixtapes: Chip Tha Ripper, Young Buck, Emilio Rojas, Rockie Fresh, Lyriciss
Wichita rapper XV drops a video for “Batteries”, his Trae the Truth-assisted single
New artist Yuna releases the Pharrell-produced single from her forthcoming album