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

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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.