Rick Ross takes his steak rare, his women beautiful and his Ciroc by the bottle because he’s just “So Sophisticated” like that. Given the video treatment by Dre Film, Ross and Meek Mill’s “So Sophisticated” is a picture of opulence, replete with expensive cars, fire hot and a shirtless Teflon Don. Because what would a Ross video be without a cameo from Ross’ famous belly?
“I just make it look easy,” adlibs Ross on the song’s intro, setting himself apart from the rest. We find the two rappers in the monstrous warehouse where they garage their nicest cars and their in-house butcher shop, and where they host their most lavish dinner parties. Sometimes lights strobe and other times fire laps; we would be pretty scared to find ourselves in a place as ominous as this, but never does Ross break a sweat. Seated at the table, Ross clutches a glass of bubbly with one hand while he waves a steak knife at the camera with the other as he goes hard over a beat that’s so heavy in bass it could break your speakers. Elsewhere, he dances through flames in a Miami Heat hat and he hacks at away at an animal carcass (you free for dinner tomorrow). That is sophistication made easy.
Along with cocktails on rooftops and sunbathing by the pool, summer grants the official ok to zip by in your car with windows down blaring music from the speakers. Whether hearing someone’s music blasting from their headphones on the A train, or eating outdoors at my favorite low-key Brooklyn cafe, I look forward to observing what music gets the people going. Only hours into the official first day of summer there are already countless songs that are on constant replay on iPods or car stereos. For whatever reason, warm weather tends to bring proper music odes to the beauty of the new season. Cheers to this summer being one of producing music that makes you feel something. Here are three songs that I plan to have in heavy rotation over the next few months…
NOMINATION: Meek Mill ft. Drake & Jeremih, “Amen”
EXPLANATION: Summer time is when I indulge in rap music. The beats, instrumentation, samples and lyrics boost my energy for jam packed days. Unless you were a music journalist or a diehard hip-hop fan, it’s likely you hadn’t heard of Meek Mill at this time last year. That all changed with his successful single “I’m A Boss” and later the Dreamchasers mixtape. The buzz around the Philly rapper grew with praises of his storytelling ability in tracks from the mixtape like “Tony’s Story.” He signed to Maybach Music Group where his buzz blossomed due to his first mixtape, but it’s the followup, Dreamchasers 2, that was the real attention grabber. “Amen’s” church choir sound can be attributed to the organ, a common instrument that has been used in black church spirituals for forever. Although “amen, preach and church” are rattled off through the chorus, don’t expect to hear anything church-y. The only thing spiritual about “Amen” is its divine sound.
Despite Drake’s recent involvement (or not) in a physical altercation with Chris Brown and camp, the show goes on. On Saturday Drake’s Club Paradise tour stopped at Jones Beach in NY where he performed in front of a crowd of 15,000 yelling fans. Earlier this week he promised them a second chance at Summer Jam. Unfortunately redoing Summer Jam didn’t mean YMCMB artists Nicki Minaj or Lil Wayne would come out as special guests. But Drake snagged the hottest upcoming rappers in the game–2 Chainz, Waka Flocka Flame, Meek Mill and A$AP Rocky–to open his show. Cam’ron, Juelz Santana and Jim Jones of Dipset also reunited. “This is something that I gotta do for New York,” he said right before bringing out the “We Fly High” rapper who was later joined by his former Harlem group members. Even on stage Drake remained tight lipped about the now infamous Chris Brown brawl. But per PopDust.com, he was subliminally referencing the incident that we hope doesn’t spiral out of control. Read more…
What’s a Twitter beef when you have the camps of two superstars like Chris Brown and Drake ready to go to battle for their boys? Wednesday night’s brawl in NYC that resulted in Brown’s chin gash, his security guard’s head cut, an innocent bystander hospitalized and a bunch of broken glass is turning out to be one huge messy headache. As details continue to unfold, Drake maintains his innocence claiming he was on his way out of the club when the fight broke loose. Meanwhile, TMZ reports Chris Brown is talking with New York Police Department detectives about the incident. Due to the physical evidence Brown has he very well may have a case against Drizzy Drake. Brown’s attorney, Mark Geragos, presented evidence to the NYPD Thursday night that Meek Mill and Drake were the aggressors. But Brown released Meek Mill of any wrongdoing with a tweet that has since been deleted from Brown’s timeline. According to TMZ, Brown spoke with detectives in an undisclosed location on Thursday. And now the snitching accusations have begun.
A quick search of “Chris Brown snitch” on Twitter yields a range of responses from “Chris Brown Is A Snitch: If I learned anything from The Wire it’s don’t be snitchin’” to “So not only is Chris Brown a woman beater, he’s a snitch too? Yo can we be done w this cat already?” Sigh freaking sigh. The “snitch” label is not surprising considering the “Stop Snitching” campaign that has been popularized by hip-hop. It’s street code ethics. But not really.
Although the media oftentimes inaccurately portrays the “stop snitching” mantra as a code in the black community that protects criminals, it’s a bit more complex. More than anything the anti-snitch notion hails from blacks long turbulent history and rightful mistrust of the police. It’s not that people simply want to protect criminals, it’s moreso that certain communities feel the police cannot protect them and aiding police may be their death sentence.
That begs the question: is Chris Brown a snitch? No, no and no again. Based on the facts—a bottle was thrown by someone in Drake’s entourage and Chris Brown was hit in the chin with said bottle— we can gather Brown was assaulted resulting in an injury. When normal, rationale people are assaulted they tend to call the police and file a police report. It’s really that simple. For those that believe he’s breaking some type of code, what would you have him do? Certainly people don’t believe two rich superstars should take matters in their own hands and perpetuate more violence, right? Right?
Maybe Twitter isn’t the best outlet for Chris Brown to express himself at this stage in his career. Only days after his Twitter spat with Brian McKnight, Brown was accused of allegedly tweeting that Cher needs a beating, according to Rollingout.com. Like, who has beef with Cher? Allegedly Brown tweeted:
In a chain of events few would have expected, Hot 97 Summer Jam was as much about who was performing as it was about who wasn’t performing. By the time Tyga performed “Faded” and “Rack City” there was a dark cloud looming over the nearly 80,000 attendees, and that cloud had nothing to do with the weather. Tyga’s boss, Lil Wayne, had just abruptly pulled the plug on any of his artists performing, including the show’s headliner–Nicki Minaj.
Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg, known for his loose (opinionated) lips introduced Kendrick Lamar during the pre-show and dropped a bombshell that set the tone for the rest of the night. “I know there are some chicks here waiting to sing “Starships” later. I’m not talking to y’all right now. F*ck that bulls*it,” he said to the crowd. “I’m here to talk about real hip-hop s*it.” The YMCMB president got whiff of the perceived diss and tweeted, “Young Money ain’t doing summer jam.” With that one tweet the boss had spoken. But the show did in fact go on. And in a major way.
Opening acts like Maino, Joe Budden and Joel Ortiz rattled through their old hits to a barely there crowd. That didn’t keep Budden from declaring he and his crew were the “best rappers in the universe.” People started filling in once Waka Flocka hit the stage with the wild, crazy, party energy he seems to carry with him anywhere he goes. The signature Waka Flocka move–shaking his dreads from side to side–was in full effect during “Bustin At Em,” “It’s A Party,” “Hard In the Paint and “I Don’t Really Care.” “No Hands” served as a segue into Wale’s set as the two shared the stage. J. Cole proved he’s studied in the School of Jay-Z as he was the first to perform with a live band. No entourage needed, he commanded the stage with his mere talent.
When you’re one of the flyest badgirls on the planet like Rihanna, you don’t sweat the small stuff like having a pop singer and rapper throwing subliminal shots at each other on Twitter over you. For Memorial Day weekend Rihanna hung out (and held hands) with Drake down in Miami, according to NecoleBitchie.com. The two were in Miami to shoot French Montana’s “Pop That” video. Rihanna sure does have a forgiving heart. It was just a couple of weeks ago folks were up in arms over Drake’s alleged diss about Rihanna in his verse on 2 Chainz’s “No Lie.” While she was schmoozing with Drake, who has confessed his love for this woman a million times before, Chris Brown and Meek Mill seemed to be throwing jabs back and forth on Twitter. Yes, you read that right. Rihanna’s in Miami partying it up with Drizzy, meanwhile Chris Brown and Meek Mill are engaging in petty beefs on social media. All over Rihanna. Play on, player! Read more…
We tend to like our beef on a bun or with A1 steak sauce, but if it’s rap beef, put it on wax rather than Twitter. Well, that’s exactly what Pusha T of G.O.O.D. Music did in his hot new track “Exodus 23:1″ where he disses Drake, Lil Wayne and the entire YMCMB squad. GlobalGrind.com suggests the diss is a response to Drake’s slight jab on Meek Mill’s “Amen.” On the record Drake raps, “G.O.O.D ain’t good enough, and your hood ain’t hood enough.” Although it’s not clear if Drake was throwing shade Pusha T’s, Pusha T responded on his latest track featuring The Dream. Read more…
Since Jay-Z’spress conference in Philadelphia last week we’ve been on pins and needles anticipating the announcement for the lineup of the Made in America festival he’s curating and headlining on September 1 and 2. Jigga man delivered on the goal he’d set for himself asking, “Is it going to push the culture forward?” With such a diverse selection of musical acts crossing multiple genres, we’d say the answer to Jay’s query is unequivocally, “Yes!”
Oh, can we talk about Jay sangging R&B singer D’Angelo (who hasn’t released an album in 12 years) for a minute? Over the weekend D’Angelo made headlines when a GQ profile hit the net with him looking rather scrumptious. The singer is working on an album, and whatever Jay did to get him to perform at Budweiser’s Made in America, we salute you, Jay. As diverse as the list of performers is, even more acts will be announced next week. Jay-Z can check off successful curator from his bucket list.
MTV have unveiled their seventh Hottest MCs list, and it’s a pretty accurate reflection of the current hip hop landscape. Coming in at number one for the first time is the distinctive Rick Ross, of whom MTV says, “When Rick Ross experiences a personal moment of triumph, a hearty grunt typically marks the occasion. Built up from the bowels of his belly, Rozay’s baritone call has become as ubiquitous as his titillating one-liners — not that a simple ad-lib is the only thing that earned Rick Ross the #1 spot on MTV News’ Hottest MCs in the Game VII list, his first time up top.”
Coming in at number two is Drake, who had a great year in 2011 with his album Take Care (does this settle the beef with Common, who doesn’t appear in the list at all?). Kanye West appears at number three, oddly enough three places above Watch The Throne collaborator and veteran rapper Jay-Z. And the only woman on the list is Nicki Minaj at number four — the female Weezy coming in one spot above the real Weezy! See the full list after the jump.