Hip Hop

by (@chrisrosa92)

13 Inked Up Rappers’ Most Memorable Tattoos

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Ever since Tupca got “THUG LIFE” brazenly tattooed across his stomach, rappers have been giving bikers a run for their money when it comes to getting inked up. Tattoos can be super cool, super embarassing or just make you say “What the f***?,” but when it comes to hip hop tats, the results are always memorable, at the very least. Even when they’re re on a rapper’s face, or should I say, especially when they’re on a rapper’s face.
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Which NBA Basketball Players Hip Hop Tracks Weren’t Just Trash Talk?

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-By Renaud Jean Baptiste Jr. 

From the moment Kurtis Blow declared basketball as his favorite sport in the opening of his 1984 ode “Basketball,” hip hop and b-ball have been connected at the hip. They influence each other in a myriad of ways, from fashion to slang, and both depend on a competition of one-upmanship, whether on the court or on the mic.  And just as many a rapper likes to claim he’s nice on the hardwood, and does whatever they can to prove it (yo Drake, I’m looking at you kid),  a bench full of ballers have tried their hands as MCs only to drop the ball (**cough**cough**Lebron **cough**cough**).

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by (@hernameislex)

Find Out Which Big-Hearted Rappers Give Back To Their Hometowns In Big Ways

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Since before Rakim rhymed about getting “Paid In Full,” rappers have been obsessed with that dollar bill (y’all). They rap about trying to get it, what they’d do with it if they had it and all the problems it creates. And they should know, as no one knows how to spend it in style like a hip hop star. There are however, a significant number of MCs who have decided to put their money back into the communities that raised them. From California to the Carolinas, famous rappers have helped fund charities, college scholarships and community centers. See which big-hearted rappers have given back in big ways and find how they’re paying it forward to help the next generation.

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by (@BHSmithNYC)

Chuck D From Public Enemy Talks About Being This Year’s Record Store Day Ambassador

Chuck_D2Chuck D at the Record Store Day Press Conference at Amoeba Records. [Photo: Getty Images]

This Saturday April 19th marks the return of Record Store Day, the annual holiday that encourages music fans to get out and support their local independent music retailers and pick up some of the limited edition goodies specially released for the day. The first Record Store Day was in 2007 and starting in 2009 each year has had an “Ambassador” to help spread the word and talk about how record stores serve a vital function in any healthy music scene. This year’s ambassador is one hip hop’s living legends, Chuck D of revolutionary rap group Public Enemy. Read more…

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Nas Says ‘Hip-Hop Has Died Many Deaths,’ Doesn’t Get The Respect It Deserves

Six years ago Nas‘ conviction on the state of hip-hop–he believed it was dead–left several of his peers disgruntled and defensive. Ticking rap heads off aside, Hip Hop Is Dead charted at No. 1. How’s that for a non-response to the critics? On the day of his 10th album release for Life Is Good, VH1 talked with the master storyteller to find out what he thought about hip-hop today. Obviously the backlash years ago didn’t phase him because he said if he felt the genre was in trouble again, he’d say it. Again. Although he doesn’t think it’s dead right now, he thinks it has died many deaths. Read more…

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Lupe Fiasco’s “Bitch Bad” Is Not What You Think

Lupe Fiasco's "Bitch Bad" New Song

Upon first glance at the title alone, “Bitch Bad,” it’s easy to dismiss Lupe Fiasco’s second single from Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album PT.1 as just another misogynistic rap song calling women “bitches.” Of course with an artist like Lupe nothing is as simple as it seems on the surface. Within the first line of the song– “I say bitch bad, woman good, lady better”–it’s clear Lupe is going to satirize the concept of “bad bitches” telling the story from how derogatory and damaging the reference can be. Read more…

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Ice-T’s Favorite Part In Art Of Rap Documentary Is Rev Run’s Story Of Sitting In The Bathtub While Syrup Dripped In

Ice-T wants rap to be respected as an art form. As director of the documentary Something From Nothing: Art of Rap, Ice-T interviewed 52 rappers and had 35 more in queue. It seems that rap’s global influence is undeniable, but that doesn’t mean the genre is respected in the way jazz or Rock is. As Ice-T put it, people think rapping is easy and anyone can do it. Through the Art of Rap Ice-T uses a legion of rappers to showcase the intricacies, complexities and technique of the music that formed in the late 70s. Read more…

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Summer Jam Vs. Rock The Bells: Who Runs It? (POLL)

Hot 97 Summer Jam vs. Rock The Bells

Summer is fast approaching and we’re ready to bring on the BBQs, rooftop parties and most of all the concerts. What’s summer without indulging in live performances of the artists you love? Two of the biggest hip-hop concerts this summer, Summer Jam and Rock the Bells, have some acts lined up that are going to be bananas! Not that you’d go wrong attending either, but because they’re as different as night and day, we’ve broken down why one of these concerts rules as the must-see concert of the summer.

1.  The headliners tell you everything you need to know about a show.

One of the biggest names in hip-hop, Nicki Minaj, is headlining Summer Jam along with Rick Ross, Waka Flocka and Young Jeezy. As far as mainstream rap, Summer Jam has it covered. With Nicki you’ll get a bit of hip-pop, Waka will make everyone dance and Rick Ross and Jeezy offer the trap anthems to make even the most suburban girl get hype.

Where do we even begin with the headliners for Rock the Bells? Its very big name acts run the gamut of the likes of Nas, Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa, Missy Elliott & Timbaland and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. It doesn’t get more versatile than Nas, one of hip-hop’s legends, and the fairly newbie Wiz Khalifa rocking the stage at the same festival. And Missy Elliott & Timbaland…together! That’s some epic 90s skeez right there. We’re singing, “Supa dupa fly, supa dupa fly” just thinking about it.

2. Whose lineup has the most artists hot in the streets right now? Read more…

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ALBUM REVIEW: Go! Pop! Bang! Is Rye Rye’s Energetic Ode To Baltimore

Rye Rye Boom Boom Video

When other high schoolers were sneaking on the phone at the wee hours of the morning to talk to their crush, Rye Rye was touring with M.I.A. After DJ Blaqstarr discovered the young rapper at the age of 15, they collaborated on “Shake It To The Ground,” a youthful dance track that caught the attention of M.I.A. only months later. Now, 21, the Baltimore, MD rapper has released her debut album Go! Pop! Bang! that was four years in the making. To appreciate Rye Rye’s music one must understand the oftentimes disparate state of her hometown. Then one must consider the city’s definitive musical sound unique to that place and its natives. The arts was a way for the young funky teen to express herself outside of the confines of the housing projects she grew up in. As much as Rye Rye is a rapper, she’s a dancer. And the latter inspires the sound of Go! Pop! Bang! more than the expected hardened environment she grew up in.

Her first single, “Boom Boom” (video below), is a perfect indication of what to expect from the album. It’s about partying, boys and having a bloody good time. The whole point is not to take herself too seriously. Over the video game beat, Rye Rye raps in her semi-fast, edgy tone about wanting a guy in her room. Tracks like “DNA” featuring Porcelain Black, “New Thing,” “Dance” and “Hardcore Girls” are where her Baltimore club influence is most dominant — a mix of house, D.C. go-go and techno-electro. On “Crazy Bitch,” she teamed up with Akon in a more concept driven track where the beat is slightly slower than the usual uptempo beat. With the help of Akon she pokes fun at being considered the “crazy bitch” in the relationship. “Sunshine” and “Bang” both feature M.I.A. and have the bombastic drum beat M.I.A. tends to love on her own tracks. Both records offer that distinctive voice that only an M.I.A. feature can add. Her rhymes in “Bang” slow the listener down from the natural inclination to dance to actually listen to her rhymes. “Never Will Be Mine” featuring Robyn is one of the slower tracks on the record but still manages to keep the light fun mood of the rest of the album. Read more…

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Is Iggy Azalea Rising To The Top Or A Fad Of The Moment?

There’s been a great deal of incessant chatter about rap newcomer Iggy Azalea. While some question the 21-year-old Australian rapper’s authenticity, others know all the words to her latest single “Murda Bizness.” Iggy first made a few splashes on the Internet after the release of her video “Pu$$y.” To date, “Pu$$y” has over 835,000 YouTube visits. In September 2011 Ignorant Art dropped as her first official mixtape. “My World” directed by Alex/2Tone was the next video released that garnered Iggy the much needed attention to get the ball rolling on her career. Her high fashion look and undetectable accent was captivating. People wanted to know who the latest white female rapper to hit scene was. She wasn’t anything like Kreayshawn. Her southern influence, apparent in her sound, set her apart from the competition–if there ever was any. People quickly wondered if she had the chops to break through the genre dominated by black males.

This year, Iggy’s career hit big. In January, she was signed to Interscope Records by none other than Jimmy Iovine himself. According to Iggy, she restructured her deal so she could sign with Grand Hustle, T.I.’s label, having the best of both worlds. In April, XXL featured her on their Freshman Class list. With a nod from the self-proclaimed King of the South, coupled with XXL’s stamp of approval, Iggy seems to be on her way to a skyrocketing career. But what about longevity? Does she have what it takes to weather the ever-evolving world of hip-hop?

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