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 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 Vignette: A Tribe Called Quest, “Butter”, & Natural Beauty

Butter

The popularity of fads changes as surely as the seasons do. As human beings, we constantly influence one another with our contrasting behavioral patterns and thought processes, commonly resulting in us turning the “it” thing into something that can go from being flavor of the month to being out of style, and back again. However, when a trend becomes more transcendent and everlasting, it becomes what is known as a movement. While rare in comparison to the frequency of a fad, a movement has an undeniable presence and drastically affects our lifestyles. And when it comes to movements, A Tribe Called Quest qualified just as well in the 90’s as the natural beauty movement for women does today. Continue reading

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 Vignette: J. Cole, The Blow Up, & Your New Year

“Keep grinding, boy. Your life can change in one year. And even when it’s dark out, the sun is shining somewhere.”
– J. Cole, “Premeditated Murder

Resolution

J. Cole has grown and progressed during his time as a recording artist. (Photo credit to Candice Rose & The Come Up Show, respectively)

As 2013 nears its closing moments, it’s safe to say that a good number of us will take the time to reflect on the year as a whole. Between a spoonful of black eyed peas and a big sip of your cider of choice, chances are your thoughts may drift to become those of an introspective nature. Before the dust settles, you will analyze, pick apart, compare, and contrast your year to years previous, as well as the years of others. The resulting thought pattern almost always consists of us identifying at least one area in which we are willing to commit to improving – commonly referred to as a resolution. Giving up soda and fried foods. Losing the extra inches off of your waist. Committing more time to your loved ones. Is anything ringing a bell? If so, then you probably catch my drift. 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