With Ice Cube‘s latest film, Ride Along, coming out in theaters today, we couldn’t help but briefly reminisce about the hip-hop hits Cube dropped back in the day. Whatever prompted him to switch gears and make forays into TV and film, we’re just glad he’s still on the scene. And of course, he’s far from the only rapper who got the itch to flex his or her acting chops, so we decided to take a look at some of the other hip-hop stars who’ve graced the big screen.
A little holiday cheer is needed between Philly rappers Meek Mill and Cassidy. The eggnog is still chilling in the fridge from Christmas, but that didn’t stop the Twitter beef and diss records from dropping. Hip-hop battles take no days off. From what we can gather the feud is merely a battle over the old (Cassidy) vs. the new (Meek Mill) taking the former’s spot. Because God forbid two rappers from the same city be on top. Read more…
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…
If we were to put together a complete list of songs that sampled the work of James Brown, it would easily run over a thousand songs. Of course, the magic that he made on wax is why RollingStone.com labeled him “the most sampled man in the biz.” No one executed funk and soul the way James Brown and his band did.
The man, perhaps best known for classic hits like “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Say It Loud,” would have turned 79 years-old today. With that in mind, we’d like to wish a happy birthday to the Godfather of Soul! In honor of this special day, we’re giving you this list of 10 incredible songs that never would have been if it wasn’t for the work of JB.
Ye and Jigga were watching the throne alright. James Brown’s musical throne, that is. Along with the Otis Redding (how noble of them to name the song after him) sample of “Try a Little Tenderness,” Brown’s “Don’t Tell a Lie About Me and I Won’t Tell the Truth on You” can be heard right when Kanye appears to be beautifully screaming. Yep, that’s James Brown screaming all over a smash record by two of hip-hop’s biggest stars.
Uprising: Hip-Hop & The L.A. Riots premieres on VH1 tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and is the latest entry in VH1′s award-winning Rock Docs series. The documentary film, narrated by Snoop Dogg, takes a look back at the riots that occurred in the wake of the Rodney King verdict exactly twenty years ago this week, and the role that hip-hop played in both predicting and ultimately chronicling the tension between the residents of South Central and the police.
The film premiered in Los Angeles last week, and our colleagues over at VH1 News got some 1:1 time with Arsenio Hall before the film began. He detailed for us a story of how Ice Cube passed along a cassette tape to him with an early version of “F*** The Police” on it, which led Arsenio to (ultimately unsuccessfully) lobby his corporate bosses to book N.W.A. on his eponymous talk show. It’s a fascinating anecdote, and one that reflects a time that’s increasingly hard to remember, a time when hip-hop hadn’t yet fully made its way into mainstream American culture.
We also put together a Spotify playlist for you below, Music from Uprising: Hip-Hop & The L.A. Riots, which contains most of the music that you’ll hear in the documentary film tonight, songs like N.W.A.’s aforementioned “F*** Tha Police,” Ice Cube’s “We Had To Tear This Mothaf***a Up” and Dr. Dre’s “The Day The N***** Took Over,” among others.
Well, ladies and gents, it looks like our Bracket Madness has come down to the final two. Running for the proverbial throne of the Greatest MC of the Yo! MTV Raps Era is … drum roll please… KRS-One vs. Rakim! We’re popping our popcorn for the showdown, as this one seems like it’s too close to call.
In Round 2, KRS-One won over his West Coast opponent Ice Cube, while Rakim annihilated MC Lyte (we still love you Lyte!) with a huge victory. Now it has come down to two heavyweight emcees known for their hip-hop legacies. Will it be the philosophizing battle rapper KRS-One or the lyrical mastermind Rakim?
For your enjoyment we’ve included two videos of the emcees in their heyday. We admire the imagination, creativity and simplicity of the videos in the pre-bling and booty generation. Reminisce on KRS-One’s “My Philosophy” vs. Rakim’s “In The Ghetto.” Then, vote for your favorite emcee of the Yo! MTV Raps era. Voting ends Monday, 04/30 at 11 a.m. ET/PT.
Ice Cube and KRS-One are such different rappers that the only way to match up the two are literally comparing bar for bar. While Ice Cube’s catalog may ring more bells for most folks (because who doesn’t know “It Was a Good Day”), KRS-One’s “The Bridge Is Over” is a classic in its own right. Ultimately, whether KRS or Cube make it through to the next round of Bracket Madness to battle it out against either MC Lyte or Rakim for the best emcee of the Yo! MTV Raps era, is up to you. Before you decide, check out three verses from each that emcee that get get the people going…because it’s provocative!
The results are in from the Round One match up of the best MCs of Yo! MTV Raps era. The king of battle rap KRS-One beat Chuck D by about 34%. Listen, that’s better than the landslide win Ice Cube had over Fresh Prince racking up 84% of the votes versus 14%. We still love the freshest prince of Bel-Air, and he could rap the theme song to “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to us any day.
With only a six percent difference, it was a close call between LL Cool J and Rakim. Ultimately, one of the greatest emcees of all-time, Rakim, came out victorious. Queen Latifah lost to MC Lyte, which we think has everything to do with Lyte’s indelible first album that has been deemed a classic.
It’s getting down to the nitty gritty in round two with only four emcees left gunning for that #1 spot. East Coast word slayer KRS-One knuckles up on West Coast reformed gangster Ice Cube. Meanwhile, the street poetry spitting Rakim takes the raw female emcee MC Lyte.
What are you waiting for? Vote for the emcee you want to see advance to round three. Voting ends Friday, April 27 at 11 a.m. ET/PT.
Now that you’ve had your nostalgia fix with 40 Greatest Yo! MTV Raps Moments, we’re letting you decide the eight greatest emcees of that era. It’s the ultimate face off! You vote for your favorite contenders hoping they advance to the next round. But only one will walk away with the coveted title of “Greatest MC of the Yo! MTV Raps Era.”
In Round One, Chuck D. takes on KRS-One, and Ice Cube is matched up against Fresh Prince. Both Chuck D. and KRS are said to be at the top of any lyricism list. That will be a close call. With Ice Cube and Fresh Prince you have a west coast, former N.W.A. member versus the fun “Parents Just Don’t Understand” creator. We’re not even sure if that’s a fair match up. How will you decide between LL Cool J vs. Rakim? And, of course, we couldn’t leave out the women of hip-hop with Queen Latifah vs. MC Lyte.
Vote for your favorite emcee if you want to see them take the crown! Round One is open from 11 a.m. today to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25. Round two opens from 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25 to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 27. The final round voting opens at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 27 and closes at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 30. Check back daily to see who is on top.
[Photo: Getty Images]
“Rodney King was the confirmation of everything we have been rapping about since the early 70s,” KRS-One explains in Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots, one of two VH1 Rock Doc features that will debut next week at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival. Narrated by Snoop Dogg and featuring new interviews with Nas, Boyz N The Hood director John Singleton and more, as well as rare archival footage of the likes of Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, the film takes a look back at the riots that went down in South Central Los Angeles back in 1992 in the wake of the acquittal of four police officers accused of beating Rodney King. The documentary will examine the relationship between the violence manifested on the streets and the rage expressed in hip-hop music, and will premiere on Wednesday, March 14th at 10 p.m. CT.
For those of you who won’t be down in Austin next week, you’ll be able to catch Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots on VH1 on May 1, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.