Dave East Speaks On "Survival", Nipsey Hussle, Nas & More

Dave East is doing his interview rounds and sat down to chop it up with the L.A. Leakers. In case you’re living under a rock, East just released his fire debut album Survival and his fans have the project on repeat. In the interview, the Harlem rapper talks about getting the right vibe in the studio, his friendships with Nipsey Hussle and Nas, and more.

East says that a studio session with him is “like a Bob Marley session” with champagne and good vibes. He says that when some people come through with a bad vibe he even tells them to “holla at me later.”

Dave East Speaks On "Survival", Nipsey Hussle, Nas & More
Dave Kotinsky/Getty s

The conversation moved on to Nipsey Hussle where he spoke on the incredible loss and how he can remember conversations with the late Crenshaw rapper. On whether or not he would put out posthumous music with Nip he said, “it’s not easy for me to revisit that just for some money.” He continued saying that if he puts something out with Nipsey Hussle on the record it’ll be for Nipsey’s children. 

On working with Nas, East calls the experience “priceless.” He says that Nas gives him freedom, lets him “do me” and that there was “no compromising for the label” on the album. He likens the experience working with Nas to “making it to the league” after looking up to Michael Jordan as a kid and now being on MJ’s team.

When asked about the best advice he has ever received he instantly says, “mind my business.” And on the advice he would give to a younger version himself he says he’d say the same and then he adds, “and listen to your mother and father.”

For more gems from the interview watch the video below.

Keeping The Same Energy: Billy Danze Talks New Music & M.O.P.’s Legacy

New York, NY – Few groups have managed to endure two decades of an ever-evolving industry without compromise quite like M.O.P. — who seem to have kept the same energy throughout it all.

Having become synonymous with hard-as-nails street-hop, earning an extremely loyal core following, the duo of Lil Fame and Billy Danze tasted significant mainstream success following the release of their fourth LP Warriorz, which contained their now culturally embedded stick-up anthem “Ante Up.”

This year marked 25 years for the group — and next will mark 20 years removed from their pop-culture climax. Fans from both before and after their iconic single can revel in the fact that the Mashed Out Posse is far from finished writing their story.

Though their last album as a group was 2014’s Street Certified EP, they have been working on solo material. But, as Billy Danze tells HipHopDX, nobody should get their status twisted.

“I’m getting a lot of people asking me how it feels to be a solo artist … I’m not a solo artist. I’m just doing a few solo releases,” Billy states. “I’ll never be a solo artist. I will never not be a part of M.O.P.”

His latest 13-song release The Bakers Dozen — a follow up to March’s 6 Pack — is anything but conventional.

Though it’s easy to classify as an LP, by sheer virtue fo the length and depth of the project, Billy clarifies that this is (like the six-song release before it) a single.

“The full project is called The Billy Danze Project,” he reveals. “I’ve been in the music industry for a long time, so I still want to do some things traditionally … but I want to think out of the box. Typically, you have the first single, the second single and then the project.

“So, 6 Pack was my first single … it’s a six-part single. This second single is 13 parts,” he explains. “I owe the people a lot of music. I got to make sure I provide my people what they need. They need good music. It’s why I’m here.”

Billy expresses a noticeable excitement that longtime fans will get more of him as a person with his solo material. “I’ve been confined to 16-bar verses for 20 plus years, so I’ve got to get it all out. Now I can take you on a journey.”

He points to the group’s image as an obstacle in terms of letting fans deeper into his full spectrum. “People always had this thought that [M.O.P.] were just wild animals, right? Like we are these hyenas like we’re not human. We don’t have emotions.”

As the voice of those who grew up — as Billy puts is — in harm’s way, he not only gives fans what they expect on his new singles but also much needed growth they didn’t realize they were missing.

There is a sense of elder statesmanship that permeates at points, though he admits that maintaining the balance is not that difficult, as he is merely just being himself across his catalog.

“I’m not portraying anything,” he says. “I’m glad that people are receptive of my new music because they get to see who I am, as opposed to typecasting me as being somebody whose just yelling on the record all the time.”

When asked about the shift in approach when he rocks alone, he says that the lack of wall-to-wall M.O.P. energy is to be expected.

“To sustain that energy that I had to sustain throughout the 20 years of my career, it’s doable if I’m doing every record with my partner,” he says with a laugh. “Now I have to do this entire project by myself, lyrically.

“I write for performance,” he says, likening the writing process to the role of a director. “I may fall out trying to do what I’ve done over the past two decades by myself.”

2019 has proven to be an amazingly generous year for iconic acts, with names like Black Moon and Gang Starr releasing brand new projects; Billy assures us that new music and shows are on the horizon for M.O.P., and doesn’t rule out ideas like documentaries as potential legacy pieces.

However, as they’ve always done in the past, he says it would have to be their way.

“Everybody is doing these documentaries and things like that, that’s something that we could do. We don’t do what other people do … we don’t make music that way. We don’t perform that way. We don’t market ourselves that way,” he reiterates.

Having been — at various points — part of the game’s most influential labels, from Loud Records to Roc-A-Fella and G-Unit, they’ve seen (and remained consistent) throughout many noticeable shifts. It’s this experience that helped Billy pen “This Thing Of Ours,” one of the tracks he hopes will generate the most conversation on his latest release.

“Why won’t we take care of Hip Hop? Why won’t we take care of this thing that’s taken care of us,” he says. He points to how the genre has segregated itself, and how holding each other back actually stops participants within the culture from growing.

“I’m from Brownsville, Brooklyn … I come from where shit was crawling around the size of my forearm,” he says. “Today, I got four college graduates. Where’d that money come from? That money came from Hip Hop. I paid for three homes. All that money came from Hip Hop. I traveled the world four times … that travel came from Hip Hop. You know what I mean?”

Protecting the genre (as an asset) — a genre that came from within urban communities and grew to become a multi-billion-dollar industry — is something he says needs to be done at all costs, becoming more audibly impassioned as he makes his case.

As part of a duo that was known to pull-up on bootleggers in its heyday, he remains remarkably open-minded. Especially in the face of a new generation obsessed with an almost daunting brand of similarity — often finding itself duped by false authenticity.

Though he may not be the biggest fan of all the faces of the new generation, he is a fan of people who come nothing making positive life choices rather than “putting themselves in harm’s way.” In short, those who Hip Hop gives the same opportunity it once gave two young men from Brownsville.

Steam Billy Danze’s The Baker’s Dozen, below. You can keep up his movements his Instagram.

Interview: AzChike Is A Bonafide L.A. Rockstar

AzChike looks like a rockstar. Walking into Culver City’s Undergrind Café, his shimmering Rich & Ratchet chain instantly jumps out, outshined only by the diamond-encrusted gauges on both of his ears. Of course, his affinity for the party is well documented, and his music is the soundtrack to that party. Add in the fact that he’s been taking the experience across the country all year, with multiple tour runs next to artists like Shoreline Mafia and 1TakeJay, and you start to get a sense of why he categorizes his music the way that he does. “We’re bringing a different genre within the L.A. scene, between gangsta and ratchet,” he said. “The rockstar half.”

AzChike was born in South Central, but he’s lived in Compton, Long Beach, Palmdale, and even Virginia for a brief period. In 2013, he began pressing his mother for a desktop Mac and soon set his eyes on becoming the next big “conscious rapper” to come out of Los Angeles. He compares his early experiences in the industry to a chicken running around with his head cut off, going into bad situations with a lack of expectations.

“I fucked up a lot,” he said. “I watched other people fuck up a lot. I would pay to open at some bullshit show and perform songs that weren’t even out. So nobody would even know them.”

But that was then; before “Burn Rubber Again” found viral success with its unmistakable sample of Too $hort’s Bay Area classic, before major labels and million-dollar companies came calling soon after. The skeletal, skull-shaking music he’s making now is far removed from the conscious efforts of years past, thoughtful bars about the state of the community replaced by bone-chilling barbs that are equal parts menacing and playful. He’s still early in his career, of course, and as we talk he hints of tackling more complex sounds and topics as he continues his ascent. “It’s my first real project, I don’t want to get too deep too early. Give me room to grow,” he emphasized.

For now, AzChike just wants to have fun with it. That leaves us with Rich & Ratchet, a glossy snapshot into the life of a rapper fresh off a deal with Atlantic Records through R Baron and The Machine Works. The cover art features a blood-red AzChike brandishing his chain during a performance at the Roxy and oozes with the same rockstar energy that permeates the album from the first hi-hat to the final bass hit.

The album is a 14-track exercise in shit-talking, that leaves its cozy, West Coast-centric tempo only one time — that’s on “Bussin,” where Shoreline Mafia’s Rob Vicious joins him to boast his lifestyle and intimidate all challengers. On this song and throughout the album, AzChike sits upon a braggadocious throne, proclaiming his greatness and casting down insults with sneering yet unconcerned venom.

In February, an early snippet of “Mmmhhmmm” made waves on social media with its infectious hook, and the final version has performed unsurprisingly well on the album. “I made that song in February at [AzSwaye]’s session,” he said about its creation. “A month or two before that I had gotten signed, I was going in. If I didn’t have a session, I was going to the homie’s session, I was just invading them.”

As often as he’s had to relocate within Los Angeles, his comradery with the rest of his peers should come as little surprise. A watershed moment arrives at the conclusion of the tracklist when AzChike brings out the city on the aptly titled “Every Nigga.” Here, several smaller cliques come together — Mackk&Co, the 1TakeBoyz, and Chike’s own AzCult are well represented — for the sonic equivalent of a class photo of the LAnd in 2019. “We were all crammed up in the booth, taking shots, smoking, breathing on each other,” he said. “I’m arguing with Rucci, like ‘spit your four bars and let me go after you.’”

If it’s not L.A.’s most significant posse cut since “Vice City,” it’s certainly among the contenders. Aggressive, menacing bars play a major role, of course, but it’s the prospect of where each vocalist could be in the next five years that makes it so compelling.

“Seeing everyone shine right now is top 3 motivations,” AzChike said. “We definitely need to see us get bigger than where we are now, but it’s dope as hell right now. It keeps you on your shit too, you wake up and see some amazing shit happen to the next rapper. You’re like, ‘damn, I need something to happen for me too.’”

AzChike’s sound is all his own, but he credits some of the people in that jam-packed booth for showing him how to take it across the country. He has plenty of personality in real life — “when I want to,” he’s quick to qualify — but admits he had to work on engaging the crowds at his concerts. He cites 2019’s OTX Tour with Shoreline Mafia as the moment where his concert performance leveled up, even falling off stage in Seattle while sporting an oversized bunny rabbit mask on his head.

“You can’t be stale on stage, I’m already a stale ass nigga in real life,” he said. “I’ll sit in the corner and not talk all day. But it was about learning how to move on stage, it’s supposed to be entertainment. [Rucci and 1TakeJay] gave me the idea, and Shoreline gave me the platform.”

After years of grinding, each of those names has now been blessed with significant industry backing. Rucci secured his deal with EMPIRE earlier this year, while Shoreline Mafia, 1TakeJay, and AzChike aligned with Atlantic Records. For Chike, that shift in structure not only motivated him to elevate his art, but the way he presents it to the world.

Interview: AzChike Is A Bonafide L.A. Rockstar

Photo: Kenan Draughorne

He says he felt more internal pressure in 2018 when he released My World, his first full-length project, as he lacked a clear direction of where he wanted to go with his music. Now having solidified his sound, creating Rich & Ratchet was as fun to make as it is to listen to, but having a major label attached to his name meant an added focus on the branding aspects.

“We’re fucking with multi-million dollar companies, but we have our own shit too,” he said. “Rucci may be with EMPIRE, but he has Mackk&Co. I may be with Atlantic, but I got AzCult. We still need to make sure we’re making ourselves look better than we’re making them look with the deal.”

Within Los Angeles, he’s certainly done just that. Both Chike and AzSwaye have kept the AzCult in the spotlight all year, relentlessly dropping singles and videos while popping up on stages throughout the city and beyond.

In the eyes of AzChike, the real challenge was distinguishing himself in a city with more aspiring rappers than there are places to house them. Now that he’s secured his place in the upper echelon of L.A.’s underground, he’s confident the wave will carry him over to the national profile he truly seeks.

“Honestly, L.A. is harder than the national scale,” he said. “It depends, but I feel like you can make so much noise in L.A. and the West Coast, that it can take you national.”

21 Savage Shares Goofy High School Selfie With His First Designer Glasses

When you don’t got the coin, you need to resort to flexing on a budget. What do you do when you can’t necessarily afford the bust-down Cartier glasses? When you don’t got the dough for a shiny chain with an extravagant pendant? You either end up dealing in some shady business or you head to the nearest flea market or thrift shop to score some cheap goods. 21 Savage recently started to sway away from jewelry but his eyesight still requires a little bit a boost and, these days, he prefers to see life through Cartier lenses. Back when he was a youngster though, he was rocking that flea market drip.

21 Savage Shares Goy High School Selfie With His First Designer Glasses
Neilson Barnard/Getty s

Sharing a goy throwback selfie from when he was a young boy, 21 Savage got a little relatable in his new upload. Throwing up hand signs and flexing his gold teeth, the Atlanta-based rapper had a good laugh at his former self. “My first pair Cartier’s came out Glenwood flea market times was hard,” he wrote as his caption.

These days, you’ll rarely see 21 Savage in some expensive drip. He’s still donning that Saint Laurent and other designer brands but when it comes to jewelry, he would rather spend his hard-earned money on re-investing. Still, peep the Cartiers.

A$AP Rocky Is Designing Uniforms To Donate To Swedish Prison

It was recently announced that, next month, A$AP Rocky will be making his first return to Sweden since his arrest. On December 11, he will be performing a concert at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. Forbes reported that Rocky shared at Summit L.A. that “most the proceeds from performances in Sweden] will go to inmates and prison reformation.” 

The rapper’s first step towards improving the living conditions  the inmates  Kronobergshäktet – the prison where Rocky spent four weeks in custody – is donating new wardrobes. Furthermore, Rocky will be designing the clothing himself. “When I was going through my whole situation, the whole time I used to look on television and see Swedish fans showing me so much love and I want to give it back,” he said at the summit. ”I’m trying to do what I can with what I can, I just want to keep creating and encouraging whoever is after me to do it better.”

Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladetconfirmed that Rocky has reached out to the prison to arrange the donation. Kronobergshäktet’s Detention Manager, Fredrik Wallin, told the paper that Rocky’s lawyer had e-mailed him designs for green sweaters (with “PROMENVD” printed on the chest) and trousers, but the arrangement has not yet been finalized. 

Rocky was found guilty assault in August, but the fense was not deemed severe enough to warrant more jail-time

Carmelo Anthony’s New Number With The Portland Trail Blazers Revealed

Carmelo Anthony ficially put pen to paper on his one-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday morning. According to Shams Charania, Anthony’s contract will be worth $2.15M if he remains on the Blazers’ roster past the guarantee date in January.

And now that Melo is ficially a member the Blazers, it’s time to find out what number he’ll be rocking on the court. That number: 00.

The 35-year old veteran has not played in the NBA in over a year, following a brief 10-game stint with the Houston Rockets during which he averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. In his 16-year NBA career, Melo boasts averages 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3 assists per game, with 10 All Star appearances, six All-NBA nods and a scoring title in the 2012-13 season.

Anthony, who has only worn No. 15 or No. 7 since his freshman year at Syracuse, will make his return to the court tonight in New Orleans as the Blazers (5-9) take on the Pelicans. Portland will also be featured in the first game TNT’s Thursday night double-header, as they visit the Milwaukee Bucks.

On Monday, Melo posted a brief video on his personal YouTube page, detailing how he and Damian Lillard have been talking about teaming up for years now.

“I always kept my eye on Portland. It just didn’t work out at other times, but now it seems like it’s a perfect opportunity,” Anthony said.

Check out the full video below.

Carmelo Anthony Says Blazers’ Signing Is A "Perfect Opportunity": Watch

Carmelo Anthony is finally back in the NBA, as the 10-time All-Star reached a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers that he views as a “perfect opportunity.” On Monday, Melo posted a brief video on his personal YouTube page, detailing how the deal came to be and why he thinks he’ll be able to contribute for the 5-9 Blazers.

“I always kept my eye on Portland. It just didn’t work out at other times, but now it seems like it’s a perfect opportunity,” Anthony said.

Says Anthony, “Me and Dame Lillard], we’ve been talking for the past couple years f and on. … I just look at that opportunity, that team and say, ‘Look, this is what I can bring to the team, this is where I can help them.’ It will only work if all parties see it the same way.”

The 35-year old forward appeared in just ten games last season before being cut by the Houston Rockets, and he has not appeared in an NBA game since November 8, 2018. He averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in those ten games with Houston.

“This happened at a point in my life where I do have a lot clarity and understanding different situations and just life,” Anthony says. “My approach is totally different.”

The Blazers will visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night, followed by a nationally televised (TNT) road game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night. Portland has not yet announced when Melo will make his season debut, but it is believed that he’ll be on the court tonight in NOLA.

Hip Hop Week In Review: John Witherspoon’s Funeral & Bad Azz’s Death

HipHopDX – This week in Hip Hop, a judge denied Nipsey Hussle‘s alleged killer a motion to dismiss attempted murder charges. Also, John Witherspoon‘s funeral was held and Dogg Pound Gangsta Crip Bad Azz passed away while in jail.

Nipsey Hussle’s Alleged Killer Has Motion Denied

Eric Holder, the man accused of killing the late Nipsey Hussle, motioned to have two of his attempted murder charges dropped but was denied by Los Angeles courthouse Judge Robert J. Perry on Thursday morning (November 14).

Earlier this week, Killa Twan issued a warning to Blueface and his manager Wack 100 to be a bit more respectful towards Nipsey Hussle’s name too — or else.

Read more about Eric Holder’s trial here.

John Witherspoon’s Funeral

On Tuesday (November 5), the late John Witherspoon was laid to rest at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California. Hundreds came to pay their respects, including Ice Cube and Shawn Wayans. Both shared personal stories about their time with the talented comic.

During Wayans’ speech in remembrance of Witherspoon, he revealed the only comedian that didn’t like The Boondocks star.

“So we’re at the Laugh Factory and John Witherspoon is on,” Wayans recalled. “And he’s killing. Me and Paul Mooney is in the back. John’s on stage doing his Mick Jagger impersonation, just destroying the whole place. And Paul Mooney’s back there – he gotta go on next – and he leans over and says, ‘Pancakes homie, pancakes. Everyone loves pancakes.’

“And what he was trying to say is, ‘Spoon is hilarious but he don’t got no edge. Now I disagree. But the one thing I’ll agree with is that everyone does love pancakes. Look at everybody here to see this man off.”

Read more about John Witherspoon’s funeral here.

Rest In Peace Bad Azz

Bad Azz of Tha Dogg Pound Gangsta Crips died while in jail this week. He was 43.

Snoop Dogg, Daz Dillinger and KXNG Crooked all paid their respects to the late rapper on social media.

Read more about Bad Azz passing away here.

Reviews

– Summer Walker — Over It

– DJ Premier & Gang Starr — One Of The Best Yet

– Kembe X — I Was Depressed Until I Made This

– Damani Nkosi & Ill Camille — HARRIETT

– Earl Sweatshirt — Feet Of Clay

#DXclusives: J.J. Fad, Westside Gunn and Wynne

J.J. Fad Geeks After Their ‘Supersonic’ Hit Is Chosen For ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ Trailer

MC JB, Baby D and Sassy C of J.J. Fad learned their 1988 hit “Supersonic” is being used in the official trailer for the upcoming animated film Sonic The Hedgehog, so JB spoke to HipHopDX about it.

“We are so excited,” she told DX. “They just contacted us in August out of the blue and asked for clearance. They said they weren’t sure if they were going to use it or not. So today, when I got all these calls and texts, I was like, ‘Well I guess they used it!’”

Read the full J.J. Fad interview here.

Interview: Westside Gunn Talks Foresight, Sacrifice & Legacy: ‘Give Me My Roses’

Westside Gunn spoke about his growing legacy of independence and intentional innovation in a conversation with DX.

“I had to rap on DJ Premier and drive a Maybach…I rhymed with MF DOOM while driving a Lamborghini,” he recalled. “I had to rap on a fucking Pete Rock beat and go shop at TV Johnny. I don’t have a song on the radio or a song in the club. I don’t have a video on TV. I’m showing you it can be done.”

Read the entire Westside Gunn interview here.

Wynne Reveals Why She Didn’t Use Viral Clips & Eminem’s Daughter Misnomer To Launch Career

Wynne was once misidentified as Eminem’s daughter when a clip of her rapping went viral. She spoke to DX about not using that moment to jumpstart her Hip Hop career.

“Obviously, a lot of opportunities kind of come through that a lot of people hear about you,” she said. “And I guess I wasn’t really like dropping music off the back of these viral moments because that’s not necessarily … I didn’t want to market myself as Eminem’s daughter — as a white rapper and as a woman.”

Read the full Wynne interview here.

9 Underrated Albums You Should Check Out

In fields like literature, cinema, and hip-hop music, you’ll occasionally hear the canon discussed. The term refers to those projects deemed essential, those that represent a medium’s artistic merit while factoring in the greater historical context. Simply put, there are projects that anybody interested in hip-hop history should check out. Nas’ Illmatic rings true, as does the seminal work 2Pac, Biggie, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, DMX, OutKast, Lil Wayne, Juvenile, and many more; to name them all would be a lengthy task, one for another time. Those worthy inclusion are ten hailed as classics, which inadvertently sets the bar for the rest the albums. Given the appropriately lty pedigree, fans eager to familiarize themselves with the history will likely draw from the canon first, thus leaving many an-unsung gem in the dust.

In the process, many great albums go forgotten, left only to the devices their loyal fanbase. This is by no means a definitive round-up the best underrated albums all time. It’s simply a means shining a light on some unsung projects, many which remain excellent listens from start to finish. If you’re looking to check out something beyond the beaten path, perhaps consider giving one these a spin. And feel free to suggest your own recommendations, as sometimes word mouth is the only way to keep a legacy thriving. 

STICKY FINGAZ – BLACK TRASH: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF KIRK JONES

Coming f his brash run in Onyx, some were quick to label Sticky Fingaz as a rugged gangsta rapper void any creative depth. When he delivered his debut solo album Black Trash: The Autobiography Of Kirk Jones, the narrative cartwheeled. Sticky had crafted a sprawling and conceptually dense tale, complete with hard-hitting cuts like “Come On” and “My Dogz Is My Gunz”, introspective ones like “Sister I’m Sorry” and the Eminem-assisted “What If I Was White,” and full-blown storytelling joints like “Money Talks” and the stacked “State Vs. Kirk Jones.” All the while, Sticky plays director to his own titular autobiography, laying the framework Kendrick Lamar would one day follow on Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.

RAH DIGGA – DIRTY HARRIET

In 2000, Rah Digga delivered one the grittiest albums the year in Dirty Harriet. An affiliate Busta Rhymes’ Flipmode Squad, Digga strung together a solid cast producers for the occasion, including Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Nottz, Rocwilder, and Bus-A-Bus himself. With a soundscape steering boom-bap into slightly darker territory, Digga unleashed bars upon bars, solidifying herself as the spiritual successor to The Lady Of Rage. Though she’s currently holding it down alongside Lord Jamar on The Godcast, Dirty Harriet serves as a reminder her peak lyrical prowess, with songs like “Curtains,” “Lessons Of Today,” and “Tight” ably emphasizing those points and then some.

9 Underrated Albums You Should Check Out

J. Vespa/Wire/Getty s

NON PHIXION – THE FUTURE IS NOW

On paper, a trio made up Ill Bill, Goretex, and Sabac Red produced in bulk by Necro would suggest a specific, and likely disturbing tone. And yet on Non-Phixion’s debut album, The Future Is Now, the Uncle Howie signees united for a tight and well-written foray into conspiratorial and aggressive boom-bap. While the macabre references still fly, they’re delivered over lush and cinematic production, contributed by a stacked team Necro, Large Pressor, Pete Rock, and DJ Premier. In many ways an integral piece New York underground, The Future Is Now is chalked with bangers, including the hypnotic “Black Helicopters” and the paranoid “CIA Is Trying To Kill Me.” Even if you aren’t interested in Necro’s horrorcore music, his work on The Future Is Now reveals a versatile musical depth not ten appreciated by the masses. 

CUNNINLYNGUISTS – SOUTHERNUNDERGROUND

The choice between Cunninlynguists’ Southernunderground and A Piece Of Strange wasn’t easy, and in truth, deserve a little time and appreciation be discovered. Yet there’s an undeniable charm imbued within the former, with Mr. SOS, Deacon The Villain, and Kno’s stringing together a new form Southern Lyricism. Equally playful, thought-provoking, and emotional, songs like “Doin Alright” and the RJD2-produced “Seasons” showcased the depth the group’s lyrical ability, particularly that Deacon The Villain. His work throughout is top tier, as he navigates Kno’s production with a well-rounded pen game. Between the Linguists themselves, and a standout feature from QN5 Head Huncho Tonedeff, Southernundergound is a brilliant fering from one the game’s quietly consistent groups. 

GUILTY SIMPSON – ODE TO THE GHETTO

Acquaint yourself with some Detroit gangsta rap courtesy Guilty Simpson, whose debut comes alive through united fire from Madlib, Mr. Porter, J. Dilla, Black Milk and more. Released in Spring 2008, Simpson’s Ode went largely under the radar, earning critical acclaim but failing to move any commercial mountains. Yet musically, the project stands as one Detroit’s most uniquely representative, capturing futuristic and bouncy soundscapes with hard-nosed G-shit bars. As a leading man, Guilty skews closer to antihero than his contemporaries, reflecting on his circumstances with an OG’s swagger. Whether he’s exuding threats on Mr. Porter’s opulent bounce “Robbery,” or floating over Madlib’s mischevious “Yikes,” Guilty Simpson’s debut is a celebration regionalism, bleeding Detroit in damn near every facet.

9 Underrated Albums You Should Check Out

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CAGE – MOVIES FOR THE BLIND

If Cage’s Movies For The Blind could be packaged to a curious fan, it might be fair to label it The Slim Shady LP’s deranged and deeply troubled cousin. There’s an uncomfortable horrorcore vibe pervading Cage’s debut album, one that manifests through callous vocals and haunting lo-fi production from DJ Mighty MI, RJD2, EL-P, and Necro. Themes and violence are pulled from the New York rapper’s toolkit, strung together with meticulous care and a unique, occasionally unsettling cadence. There’s something unforgiving about Cage’s imagery that makes his darker songs incredibly difficult to listen to, but not exactly in a bad way; it’s simply a testament to his vision, one realized with malevolent auteurship on Movies For The Blind. Case in point: the classic “Agent Orange,” which flips A Clockwork Orange for a little bit ultraviolence. 

DRAG-ON – OPPOSITE OF H2O

Anyone who remembers the Ruff Ryder’s meteoric rise will likely agree on one finer points: Drag-On can spit bars. For a moment, the DMX protege was touted as a promising up-and-comer, standing out on classics like “Down Bottom” and later, the Ruff Ryders “Street Team.” Yet when his debut album Opposite Of H20 hit shelves, Drag’s buzz failed to manifest into anything befitting his potential. Yet in hindsight, there’s much to enjoy on Drag’s debut, a nostalgically well-crafted batch New York early millennium bars. Production comes courtesy Swizz Beatz and P. Killer Trackz, with the latter imbuing Drag with some his signature jams. There’s something refreshing about an underground piece Ruff Ryder’s history, one that cements Drag-On’s hunger and skillset over a charming production style long declared deceased.

9 Underrated Albums You Should Check Out

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WC – GHETTO HEISMAN

While west-coast legend WC might go overlooked by fans, it’s likely his peers would be quick to show him big love. The Westside Connection rapper set October 2002 ablaze by way “The Streets,” the national anthem for the self-declared “Ghetto Olympics.” Though the Nate Dogg & Snoop Dogg-assisted single made heavy waves, the albumfrom whence it came was an equally solid body work from Big Dub C. A true West Coast homage, Ghetto Heisman features production from Scott Storch, Battle Cat, Rick Rock, and Tony Pizarro, who conjure the perfect backdrop for Dub’s frenetic bars. Years healthy competition alongside Ice Cube and Mack Ten come to manifest time and again, be it the G-funk flex on “Bellin” or the devastating kidnapping saga, album closer “Somethin 2 Live 4.” 

RAS KASS – SOUL ON ICE

Every so ten, Ras Kass’ name will be tossed into a “best lyricists” discourse. This is, course, largely in part due to his debut album 1995’s Soul On Ice. With a notably low-budget and old-school feel, the album’s strengths become evident within the opening track “On Earth As It…”, as Ras absolutely obliterates the grimy instrumental. Lyrically, his rapid-fire flow and reference-heavy playbook coalesce into bars thought-provoking at one turn, slyly comic the next. The cult classic “Nature Of The Threat” found Ras penning a historical origin story though an Afrocentric lens, dropping gems that could only be annotated by Nas. It’s not surprising that Ras’ debut never quite cemented him a mainstream star, despite being one the West Coast’s most thorough and intellectual lyricists; Soul On Ice remains a dense and challenging experience, though the spoils are plentiful for those willing to take the plunge. 

9 Underrated Albums You Should Check Out

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Tory Lanez Threatened By SpaceGhostPurrp Over "Chixtape 5": "I’ll Shoot You"

The fact that SpaceGhostPurrp is out here making threats on video, waving a gun around and allowing a little girl to reach for the weapon is truly problematic. SGP has enjoyed quite a historic career already, being viewed as one the most influential rappers/producers to have come out Florida. In recent years though, the young man has been having some serious problems getting along with his peers. This year alone, Purrp has hurled threats at both A$AP Rocky and Denzel Curry, spitting the most absurd so-called “facts” ever. Now, Tory Lanez is receiving the brunt his anger.

Tory Lanez Threatened By SpaceGhostPurrp Over "Chixtape 5": "I'll Shoot You"
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In a new video uploaded to SpaceGhostPurrp’s YouTube prile, he addresses Canadian rapper Tory Lanez, condemning him for allegedly writing an entire album about his girlfriend. “I got your girl, bruh,” he said. “She with a real n***a. You over here making love songs about her. She’s over here kicking it with me. You gotta get your mind, right.” Throughout the rant, SGP can be seen with a handgun in his grip, pointing it at the camera and threatening to use it on Fargo. 

“You so much a bitch I’ll shoot you in your leg…and have you walk around with one leg,” he said to Lanez, according to XXL. Some the remarks being made in this video are very disturbing. Hopefully, Purrp was just joking. So far, Tory has not responded to the criticism.

Celtics’ Jayson Tatum Debuts Air Jordan 34 "Lemonade" PE: First Look

Boston Celtics swingman Jayson Tatum unveiled yet another exclusive Air Jordan 34 colorway on Sunday night in Sacramento, following up the “Chinese Takeout” colorway he debuted last week. This time around, Tatum’s Air Jordan 34 PE comes in a yellow “Lemonade” design, inspired by his favorite drink.

Celtics' Jayson Tatum Debuts Air Jordan 34 "Lemonade" PE: First Look

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The yellow 34s are highlighted by teal and orange accents, as well as matching lemonade logos on the heels. As always, Tatum’s son’s name, Deuce, sits on the inside the tongue. 

Tatum and the Celtics came up short in Sacramento on Sunday, as their 10-game winning streak came to an end, but they’re still the top dog in the Eastern Conference with a record 10-2. Up next for Boston are three straight road games, starting with Monday night’s matchup against the Phoenix Suns.

Check out some additional images the “Lemonade” Air Jordan 34 PE in the IG post embedded below, and stay tuned to see which exclusive Tatum laces up next.

Travis Scott & Kylie Jenner’s Daughter Stormi Copies Her Dad’s Hairstyle

Travis Scott shared adorable photographs Stormi sporting his gear with her hair in his signature braids. In the photos shared on Instagram, Kylie Jenner and Travis’ adorable daughter is repping her dad in a forest green Astroworld t-shirt. The famous toddler’s look is complete with small chains and Travis Scott-style braids with white beads at the bottom. We all know Stormi loves Travis’ music, with Kylie recently calling Stormi “a little rager,” but now she really looks the part a rager too. 

 

Scott captioned the first photograph with “Daddy’s Hair” and the second with “Stormi’s world.” It must have been a trip for Travis to see his daughter dressed like him. It’s true that when you have a child everything becomes about them, and Scott agrees that becoming a dad has changed him. In a recent article with GQ Germany Travis said, “fatherhood is the most impactful thing that ever happened to me.” Word. 

Playing dress-up is fun for anyone, but dressing up like your dad who is a rockstar has got to be exciting for a child. Clearly Travis Scott was just as excited as Stormi was about the occasion and now Instagram is that much cuter for it. 

"The Fall Off": Is J. Cole Setting The Stage For His Masterpiece?

They say “uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” Particularly when the kingdom you survey is one that’s entirely your own devising. At age 34, J. Cole has already accomplished everything an aspiring artist could conceive . Sold out shows around the globe, multiple platinum albums— many which are without features — and as 2014, his own utopia a label with Interscope distribution. If he was to bow out tomorrow, the North Carolinian would be hailed as one the few that managed to leave with the audience still pining for more. But as the past year and a half have made abundantly clear, that’s not Cole’s plan– rather, he appears to be gearing up to deliver the most complete document his artistry.

At one time, J. Cole was viewed as a wily observer; taking stock, harvesting the talents that he saw ripe for inclusion on Dreamville rather than deriving anything from the genre that was evolving around him. Self-produced and self-directed, there was a period time in which Cole’s ambitions didn’t stretch beyond satiating his own impulses as an artist. But ever since the promotional obligations for 2018’s KOD ground to a halt, he’s transitioned from taking hip-hop’s temperature to actively wading into it.  

From “Middle Child” through to Revenge Of The Dreamers III, Cole has been accentuating his place in the game and the things he’s capable manifesting into reality. Now, he’s planning on topping this period extended cultural visibility with the classic project it deserves.

"The Fall Off": Is J. Cole Setting The Stage For His Masterpiece?

J. Cole performing at Day N Vegas 2019 – by HNHH

Unveiled during his performance at Day N Vegas, the lauded artist’s forthcoming album was teased through a tongue-in-cheek vignette. Purporting him to be “the hero” that the country needs, the video parodied the hyperbole that’s crammed into every second a presidential campaign video and concluded on an optimistic note with the message “The Fall Off 2020.”

Of course, there is an intentional irony to a rapper that once warned the deceptions perpetrated by hip-hop’s “False Prophets” billing his album as “the one true unifier.” The difference is, his manifesto that’s laid out in the video hasn’t been delivered through a spate audacious claims but through action. Healer the inter-generational war? Just look at the amalgam artists from all sects hip-hop that he worked with during that all-encompassing features spree and sit-down summit with Lil Pump. Bold ideas? Look no further than getting artists and producers from across the musical spectrum to congregate in Atlanta for the ROTD3 sessions.

Let loose on hip-hop for a glorious 18-month spell, it appears that Cole is finally putting time aside to bring his 6th studio album to the masses. However, rather than emanating from one exponentially busy period in the studio, this record has been coming together in fragments for quite some time now. Prior to the release his last record in April 2018, Cole made numerous allusions to the project that we’re now awaiting. “Was working on the fall f,” he informed an inquisitive fan, before reiterating it again with another fan in the same Q&A session. Then, in a rare longform interview the next month, he told Angie Martinez that “he’d been working on it for a year and a half.” Stowed away down the pipeline since 2016, this level robust planning is uncharacteristic Cole in recent years. Formulated while he attempted to vacation in Italy and Tanzania, 2018 saw him break streaming records with what was, for all intents and purposes, a creative whim in KOD.

Speaking to DJ Booth in 2017, Dreamville in-house producer Elite revealed that it was a similar moment serendipity that formed the bedrock 4 Your Eyez Only after the title track emerged.

“That was the song that kinda started the whole concept the album and everything else was trying to get to that point,” he revealed. “That was a beat he found on SoundCloud by a producer who was pretty unknown BLVK] and just blacked out for like 24 hours. He wrote and wrote and wrote to that loop…”

Since he burst out the tunnel swinging on The Come-Up, Cole’s projects have always been a time capsule to where his psyche was at that moment. On Sideline Story, he was a brash up-and-comer, willing to compromise on his vision to gain the public’s adoration and making decisions that he’d later rue. On 2014 Forest Hills Drive, he’d surpassed youthful indecision and had the self-assurance to deliver the thought-provoking studio project that had always dwelled within.

"The Fall Off": Is J. Cole Setting The Stage For His Masterpiece?

J. Cole performing at Rolling Loud 2018 – by HNHH

The Fall Out, on the other hand, has been played close to his chest and it all comes down to the fact that it’s a project that’s been envisioned with a cultural shift in mind. Described as “the answer” in that very same promotional video, its language— parodical as the delivery may be— and the difference in rollout from the singular tweets that pre-empted both KOD and 4YEO make his intentions plain. This is intended to be his magnum opus, the album that transcends his diehard fans and impacts the world on the grandest scale. And what’s more, he may be taking some risks along the way.

Derided in some quarters for “playing it safe,” a 2018 prile with Vulture— that was penned long after the proposed timeline in which he’d began The Fall Off— saw him exhibit a new attitude that was unencumbered by the conservatism that some believe to have hindered other projects.

“These are the fuck-its,” he beamed. “And this is the fuck-it period.”

Throughout his career, Cole has always been frank about his shortcomings. After all, this is a man who dedicated an entire song to the fact that he’d fallen foul the high standard that Nas had held him to. An artist without artifice that’s prone to making his intentions plain to see and righting wrongs where needed. 

Forced to contend with accusations that he’s “boring,” The Fall Off’s title is not only a self-deprecatory nod to those who’ve waited for his demise, but is paradoxical when viewed in line with the prevalence that he’s had in the game in recent years. Where some MCs are winding down their career by the time they reach their mid-30’s, Cole plans to deliver the emphatic statement that some his more ambivalent observers believe him to be lacking in. If they want him to throw caution to the wind, all signs suggest that this is the album on which he’s prepared to surpass their preconceived notion what his art entails.

As if the album itself wasn’t enough, his brief interaction with Nardwuar The Human Serviette after his Day N Vegas set would suggest that he has an almighty victory lap planned for after its release. When asked if they could link up in Vancouver for his long-awaited return to the eccentric interviewer’s YouTube channel, he remarked that “it’d probably be late next year or in 2021.” So, much like the presidential candidates that he lampooned in The Fall Off’s announcement video, Cole will be heading out on the campaign trail with, if all goes to plan, his most seminal and culturally important album to date.

Blazers’ CJ McCollum Provides Update On Aunt He Had Requested Prayers For

Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum led the team to a road win against the San Antonio Spurs over the weekend, as he poured in a game-high 32 points to go along with seven assists and six rebounds.

During his post-game interview following Portland’s 121-116 victory, McCollum asked fans to pray for his Aunt Renaa. Just hours later, the 28-year old guard took to twitter to inform his fans that his aunt had passed away.

McCollum and the Blazers are now 5-8 for the season with five games remaining on their current six-game road trip. Up next is a matchup against the Houston Rockets on Monday night, but newly acquired forward Carmelo Anthony will not be making his Blazers’ debut against his former team.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Melo isn’t expected to play until Tuesday night’s game against New Orleans, at the earliest. 

“He looks like he’s changed his body a little bit,” McCollum said Melo, per ESPN. “Started lifting more on his legs, his lower half. He was dunking this summer. He doesn’t usually dunk, so that’s how I knew he was feeling good. I don’t know if it was because the work or because he’s been f or a combination, but he looked like he had new life, more bounce in his step.” 

Bruce Springsteen Performs Surprise Concert In Asbury Park, NJ

Bruce Springsteen performed a surprise two-hour set Asbury Park, New Jersey on Saturday. According to Rolling Stone, the event was meant to raise funds for Boston College.

E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg and Bon Jovi guitarist Bobby Bandiera both helped Springsteen perform some his most popular songs such as “Born To Run,” “Spirit in the Night,” and “Dancing in the Dark.” The group also covered The Beatles’ “Twist & Shout” as well as others.

Springsteen has performed charity concerts at the venue before. In the 2000s he would raise money for each his kids’ schools as they grew up.

Springsteen’s next show (that isn’t a surprise at least) is scheduled for December 9th at the 30th Anniversary Rainforest Benefit at New York’s Beacon Theater. There, he’ll be joined by Sting, Shaggy and more.

The complete setlist for Saturday’s show, courtesy Rolling Stone, is as follows:

1. “634-5789”
2. “Seven Nights to Rock”
3. “Darlington County
4. “Spirit in the Night”
5. “Growin’ Up”
6. “Because The Night”
7. “Two Hearts”
8. “Cadillac Ranch”
9. “Rendezvous”
10. “The Boy From New York City”
11. “From Small Things”
12. “I’m On Fire”
13. “Waiting on A Sunny Day”
14. Talk to Me
15. “Fourth July, Asbury Park (Sandy)”
16. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out”
17. “Dancing in the Dark”
18. “Born to Run”
19. “Rosalita”
20. “Detroit Medley”
21. “Twist & Shout”
22. “Thunder Road”