Joey Bada$$ does things a little differently on "Unorthodox."
Joey Bada$$ is definitely riding some '90s nostalgia vibes on his latest track, "Unorthodox," with a classic hip-hop beat produced by none other than golden era icon DJ Premier. It was only a matter of time until the Brooklyn-bred '90s hip-hop revivalist (and MTV 2013 Artist To Watch) would hook up with hip-hop's Brooklyn godfather, and the beat is an instant classic, similar to DJ Premier's own (former) group, Gang Starr. With some obscure record samples chopped up with drum machine patterns and his signature scratches, Joey spits a super-lyrical flow, running through an endless string of multi-syllabic punch lines that would even make New York greats like Big Pun take notice.
Listen to Joey Bada$$' "Unorthodox" after the jump.
Meek Mill makes his Maybach Music major label debut.
Not many rappers in their mid 20s have been in the hip-hop game for nearly a decade. But, then again, not everyone is Meek Mill. Meek comes from a long and storied tradition of super-lyrical Philadelphia street rappers. By his mid-teens, he was climbing the notoriously difficult Philly battle-rap ladder and racking up thousands of YouTube views with lo-fi freestyles taped on street corners. Though he's earned the ire of a Philadelphia pastor from his Drake-assisted hit "Amen," Meek's mostly stayed out of trouble and stayed focused on making great rap tracks.
Watch Meek Mill perform "Burn," and watch Meek Mill music videos and interviews after the jump.
"Kendrick have a dream."
If you don't know who Kendrick Lamar is, you probably haven't spend much time on the rap blogs lately (OR you've been teaching English in another country with limited internet access). Either scenario is fine, because we're here to get you up to speed on hip-hop's most promising young talent. The 24-year-old Compton, Calif.-bred MC (his real name is Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, which is an all-time great name), has been rightly included in every "best rapper right now" list since releasing his Overly Dedicated mixtape in 2010. A year later, he was featured on XXL's Freshman Class cover, released the critically acclaimed independent album Section.80, was granted given a full solo track on Drake's mega-smash Take Care, and signed the holy grail of major label deals with Interscope and Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records. Uh, not bad for only a year or two.
+ Download Kendrick Lamar's "The Recipe," watch him perform the song live, and see more interviews and performances after the jump.
Is 2 Chainz one of THE hottest rappers in the game right now? TRU.
The road to rap stardom used to be long -- real long. Rappers could spend years hustling on small stages before finally getting a chance to shine, and if by some chance one DID experience their big break, sometimes the highest they'd get on the industry ladder would be with a single guest verse on a new hot song. So it’s interesting that in this era of the overnight sensation machine, that the old-fashioned way to stardom has actually paid off for rapper 2 Chainz and made him the bona fide hip-hop star he is today.
Watch videos featuring 2 Chainz after the jump.
Meet the kinder, softer side of Major Lazer.
You never know what you're going to get with a new Major Lazer video, you know? So color me surprised (or whatever) when I first watched the video for "Get Free", Major Lazer's excellent homage to Jamaican dancehall culture. There's no doubt Diplo's sincere in his musical endeavors, but his reggae/dancehall project Major Lazer has always walked the line between parody and homage, especially when it comes to the videos. Previous visuals have featured an animated Major Lazer with a rocket-powered skateboard and lazer arm, eternal man-child Andy Milonkis, and two videos directed by comedy surrealist Eric Wareheim (of Tim & Eric). So you might not be expecting something that's more like the video for his NOLA bounce jam, "Express Yourself" than "Orginal Don" but quit your bloodclot cryin', because the "Express Yourself" video is great.
Watch Major Lazer's "Get Free" video featuring Amber Coffman of The Dirty Projectors after the jump.
Learn more about the Diddy-signed Cleveland rapper, MGK.
MGK's had quite a year since signing to Bad Boy Records last summer. He's had several legit hits and one of the biggest remixes of the year with his "Wild Boy (Remix)," which clocks in at seven rappers strong, including Mystikal, and Jackass's Steve-O (who's just on the intro, and not technically rapping, in case you were curious/worried). And if MGK's boss, Diddy, has been looking for his own answer to the great white hope, Eminem, then he's finally found it.
The Cleveland, Ohio emcee reps his hometown hard, and his city seems to answer with unconditional support for the 22-year-old. But so does New York: He's had two successful runs at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and he's made several appearances on BET. But MGK's rapid-fire delivery and unchained energy levels tend to hush any haters, if not change their minds completely. There's something uncanny and irresistible about being from the Midwest and being able to speed rap with technical precision. MGK fits in well with hometown heroes Bone Thugs, as well as Tech N9ne (Kansas) and Twista (Chicago) -- both of whom happen to be featured on his upcoming debut album, Lace Up.
Watch MGK videos and interviews after the jump.
Don't f*** this one up, Mr. November.
Fresh off their Toothy Wavy collaboration with Phoenix rapper/bare-knuckle boxer Isaiah Toothtaker and the incarcerated Max B (Free Wavy Crockett), indie rap mashup artists The Hood Internet are getting ready to drop their debut album, FEAT, on Decon records. The first single, "Won't F*** Us Over," is a song that started out as a cover of The National's "Mr. November," but they ended up using only the hook, getting Au Revoire Simone's Annie Hart (who sounds great over these Young Jeezy horns) to record the vocals. Hood Internet looked to fellow Chicagoans, the politicized, kind-of-revolutionary dance rappers BBU, for some words on their expectations for a supposed second term for Obama (Mr. November) next year.
If you don't pay close attention, "Won't F*** Us Over" is more fun than serious. This could be some breakup anthem for you, and November could be just a metaphor like that Wyclef song. BBU's raps have substance, but they're having fun too -- Travis Porter with a bachelor's degree.
The Hood Internet are about to hit the West Coast for a tour with Chicago Rhymesayer Psalm One and Brooklyn/Cincinnati's Tanya Morgan, which actually sounds like a pretty good show.
+ Listen to and download The Hood Internet's "Won't F*** Us Over," featuring BBU & Annie Hart.
Ca$h Out's shows off his cars (obvs) in his latest clip, 'Turn Up.'
Southern party rapper/ wordsmith Ca$h Out took a break from giving away gift cards (yes, he lives up to his name) to drop a video for "Turn Up," one of the standouts from his recent "In My Time" mixtape. Thanks to the likes of Future, 2 Chainz and Juicy J (get your "Turn Up"-branded freeze cups here; they come in packs of six or 12), we can add another ode to this summer's rallying cry of a million Instagram accounts. If you have a few hours, browse the more than 95,000 photos with the #turnup hashtag. Not a lot of surprises there, but it's pretty amusing; more photos of seafood than I would've expected, though.
Watch Ca$h Out's "Turn Up" video featuring Young Swift after the jump.
Lil Wayne, with the help of Big Sean, brings the weird to the suburbs in 'My Homies Still.'
Not content with letting Odd Future be the only rap crew terrorizing the suburbs, Lil Wayne packs up any loose YMCMB-er's just hanging around the pool, and hits the cul-de-sac for a cartoonish bath salts trip in the video for "My Homies Still." Just like the ludicrously NSFW first verse, this video goes from zero to full-on Pee Wee Herman mania pretty damn fast. Lil Wayne party-rocking up and down the block (in what could only be described as a criminal amount of zebra-patterned attire) is already a lot to deal with. Now throw in a real live, Banksy-style pink elephant, white mannequins strewn over people's lawn like a psycho high-school prank, a dog switching heads with its owner (why not?), and a dinner party where the animals eat people. This video is really starting to harsh my mellow.
Watch Lil Wayne's "My Homies Still" video featuring Big Sean after the jump.
Endless supply of Azealia Banks cover art provided by NYC designer CPLU.
Azealia Banks domination continues here at MTV (it's like Shark Week, but with just The Little Mermaid, Splash, and, I don't know, Lady In The Water on repeat for seven days... also, I made that up, but I'd watch it if it were true) with the almost-release of her long-awaited, magically underwater-themed mixtape, Fantasea, which, according to her Twitter, will involve "sounds I thought were progressive, beats made by close friends, different flowsss." And all of that is true on "Neptune," which finds Azealia reprising her "212" flow, mixing in some Caribbean R&B, and going reggae on the hook for good measure, all over a relaxed, bubbly riddim. Grime princess Shystie lends her East London skills on the track as well -- definitely expect to see more of her Stateside now that Azealia is blowin' up.
Fantasea drops all over your innanets in, basically, like, 90 minutes from when I'm writing this.
+ Listen to Azealia Banks, "Neptune" featuring Shystie on SoundCloud (NSFW lyrics):