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 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 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