Now that Yasiin Bey has championed to get people to stop calling him Mos Def he’s focused on the music. And Yasiin has not one solitary ounce of care to give about offending anyone with his latest freestyle over the Chief Keef turned Kanye West “I Don’t Like” beat. And he’s an equal opportunity offender. From tossing around the word cracker and Natzi to going in on how he doesn’t like fake thug rappers, everyone is fair game. Read more…
Within the last 10 years there hasn’t been a music success story quite like the one of Kanye West. He managed to transform himself from a well respected but not yet household name producer to a global rapper. He began producing in the late 90s for heavy hitting acts and became known for his soulful beats. It wasn’t until 2001 when he got his big break from Jay-Z’s “Izzo (H.O.V.A.).” From there he continued producing but began vocalizing his interest in rapping. Admittedly, no one one believed he could rap, thus labels weren’t willing to take the risk on signing him. Finally he signed to Dame Dash and Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella record label and debuted College Dropout in 2004. Kanye had proved everyone wrong, not only showing that he could rap, but that he could be great while doing it (College Dropout debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts).
That was eight years ago when Kanye was a hungry 27-year-old trying to turn his dreams into reality. Today he’s 35 with five albums under his belt, one collaboration album, countless producer credits, a fashion line and his own G.O.O.D. Music record label. Publicly, he’s been scrutinized for his crass statements on live TV. His public missteps and ego aside, Ye continues to be one of the greatest music talents that has emerged in the last decade. To honor his 35th birthday, check out our list of his 35 greatest songs (which we have also turned into a Spotify playlist). Feel free to disagree with our list and add your own in the comment section below.
35. “Who Gon Stop Me”
The production is insane, Kanye and Jay’s verses are a mere bonus.
34. “Hell of A Life”
Yeezy’s darkest moment has him falling in love with a porn star. Naturally, it doesn’t end well.
For the dream chasers out there, “I wonder/if you know/what it means/ to find your dreams.”
32. “All Falls Down”
We can’t help but think of Stacey Dash every time we hear this one.
31. “Gotta Have It”
Outside of the tambourine in the opening, there’s a whole lot of flossing in this one track. Read more…
Woman Tattoos Kanye West On Her Butt
How would you prove your undying love to Kayne West? One fan not only legally changed her name to Kanyeresa West, but she has two tattoos: “Kanye” on her arm, and “Kanye West” where the sun don’t shine. You have to watch this video of her talking. [Complex]
Must Watch Video Of The Day Featuring Mark Ronson, Erykah Badu and Yasiin Bey
If you only watch one video today make it the clip for “A La Modeliste,” the Mark Ronson-led track featuring Erykah Badu, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Trombone Shorty and members of the Dap-Kings. [Prefix]
Finally ready to release a new album after 1998′s Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star, Mos Def (who now goes by Yasiin Bey) and Talib Kweli are back as, you guessed it, Black Star. Backed by The Roots, Black Star performed “You Already Knew” from their Aretha Franklin-inspired mix tape, as well as a song called “Little Brother” (after the jump) on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Black Star performed “You Already Knew” with a raw, charged emotion, tapping into some of the issues Watch The Throne attempted to tackle with a sincerity and refinement that Hov and Ye didn’t quite pull off. A formidable hip-hop pairing indeed, we’ve been waiting years for the duo’s next album, and we can barely contain our excitement that it’s almost here!
A Tribe Called Quest dropped their second full-length album, The Low End Theory, in late September of 1991. Widely recognized as a ground-breaking work today because of the manner in which it experimentally weaved layers of sampled jazz elements into its sound-bed, the album earned a spot in Time?s All-Time 100 Albums List, was named the #154 album of all-time by Rolling Stone and was celebrated at 2007′s VH1 Hip Hop Honors. The group recalls that early chapter of their career vividly, and last week, for A Tribe Called Quest’s first joint-interview since 1998, all four members of the group spoke exclusively to VH1 to mark the 20th anniversary of The Low End Theory?s release.
Aside from our celebration of this Album-Versary, ATCQ has been in the news quite a bit recently. Michael Rapaport?s award-winning documentary film, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, played the festival circuit earlier this year, is due on DVD next month, and managed to kick up quite a media dirt-cloud in the process. In addition to providing an inner glimpse of the film?s starring group-members’ intertwined history, Beats, Rhymes & Life used issues surrounding a 2008 miscommunication-turned-scuffle between MCs Phife and Q-Tip as its second focus. Tribe’s fractured support of the film triggered cascading rumors of residual intra-group turmoil, but once content and contract disagreements and an intercepted-email incident were sorted out, the doc was finally released with ATCQ’s blessing.
For Questers, music fans and students of hip hop culture, Beats, Rhymes and Life is a must-see, but the effect it had on the lives of everyone involved in the project and the press frenzy that lingers might still be a bit misleading to the outside world. In order to help contextualize this landmark album’s impact, we spoke with MTV’s in-house hip hop expert Sway, cultural critic extraordinaire Nelson George, and international journalist Boss Lady about the resonance that this LP had then, and also now, 20 years later. And while A Tribe Called Quest appears to still be somewhat re-acquainting themselves with each other after dissolving in 1998 and wrestling with the last few years? shell-shocking chain of events, it was clear from the time we spent with them that Kamaal ?Q-Tip? Ibn John Fareed, Malik ?Phife Dawg? Taylor, Ali Shaheed Muhammed and, yes, even Jarobi White are still very much an unbreakable Tribe of brothers.
Even though Mos Def‘s paying tribute to Isaac Hayes at this year’s Hip Hop Honors, he had some choice words about his hero and one-time obsession, Slick Rick.???
Ghostface Killah, who is tributing Slick Rick, stopped by to share with us some of the joys and hardships of covering Slick.