A few months ago, the North Carolina MC Rapsody released Laila’s Wisdom, one of the year’s best rap albums. The track that initially got all the attention was the Kendrick Lamar collab “Power,” but the one that got nominated for a Best Rap Song Grammy was the lush, bubbly party song “Sassy.” Now … More »
Streaming changed things. 2017 was the year that rap once again reaffirmed its stranglehold on the collective imagination of America’s youth. Like the moment when Billboard first started using Soundscan and inadvertently proved the massive popularity of N.W.A, the streaming services of the world showed just how powerful this music remains. Rap dominated streaming charts. More »
Big K.R.I.T. has always sounded like a throwback, but when we first met him, you could sound like a throwback and also sound like the future. Seven years ago, I interviewed an ascendent K.R.I.T., just after he released his breakout K.R.I.T. Wuz Here mixtape and just before he announced that he’d signed with … More »
The first wave of UK punk was a big, loud, obnoxious negation of almost everything that had come before, of all the tasteful ’70s stuff that had been in the air. Johnny Rotten famously wore an “I hate Pink Floyd” shirt to his Sex Pistols audition, and the entire movement existed in direct opposition to … More »
Two years ago, the North Carolina MC Rapsody was one of the only guest rappers on Kendrick Lamar’s landmark album To Pimp A Butterfly. Tomorrow, Rapsody will release an album of her own, following up last year’s Crown EP with the new full-length Laila’s Wisdom. And she’s just shared the new track “Power,” … More »
(AllHipHop Editorial) Why isn’t Missy Elliott considered the best female rapper of all time?
She’s one of the best ever, period, but she’s not mentioned enough. She’s clearly one of the best ever – of any gender. The Virginia native has the hits, the lyrics, the production skills, the longevity and overall swag. Moreover, she’s dope across the board.
Most people think of Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj or Foxy Brown (and others) when talking about the G.O.A.T. female emcee. If they know Hip-Hop, Rapsody, Rah Digga, Lady of Rage or Rah Digga (and others) will come up. And yet, Missy is often overlooked by the critical Hip-Hop community.
Here’s her new song, which I like lots.
However, we know (or should know) Missy has been around since the 1990’s and has put it down with her own blend of musicality and innovation. Lyrically, she has been very unconventional, but has never been wack.
Here are some of Missy’s greatest hits.
With a daunting cascade of releases spewing from the likes of DatPiff, LiveMixtapes, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud, it can be difficult to keep up with the overbearing yet increasingly vital mixtape game. In this column, we aim to immerse ourselves in this hyper-prolific world and share our favorite releases each month. The focus will primarily be on rap mixtapes — loosely defined here as free (or sometimes free-to-stream) digital releases — but we’ll keep things loose enough to branch out if/when we feel it necessary. (Check out last month’s installment here.)
Rome Streetz – I Been Thru Mad Shit
Rome Streetz bridges the gap between grim urban mundanity and surrealist menageries of escapism. The Queens-based rapper has an ornate flow that pours profusely from beats that propel tales of intoxication, violence, narcissism, and romance, which gives this tape gravitas, as though we are on the precipice of something grand and supreme. Streetz’s flow is almost unsettlingly confident, gliding through the rickety pulse of “Acid Reflux,” the mawkish dirge of “Leroys Fist,” and the gnarly bombast of “Trill Street Bluez” — it’s a gripping combination of styles that’s kept impeccably tight with Complexx Productions at the helm. And with at least two mixtapes already under his belt, I Been Thru Mad Shit is somewhat of a crowning chapter in 2016, making Rome Streetz a rapper to keep firm tabs on in the new year. Mark it.
Morgue! – 1990Morgue
Philadelphian dark-trap architect Morgue!, 5 Finger Posse’s most crepuscular digit, channels the restless pneuma of Memphis Horrorcore’s heyday while riding dense, forward-thinking production to the forefront of SoundCloud’s avant-garde. 1990Morgue is propulsive and precise; though the tape’s sinister, fragmented patchworks of excess can drag listeners into strange and harrowing depths, rubbery constrictions of sub-bass dispatched by OogieMane and Forza keep Morgue’s material suspended in aural deprivation. Morgue flirts with the underworld that houses the grime-encrusted, occultish output of SpaceGhostPurrp and co., but is ultimately tethered to to the more energized sense of play that drives the creativity of Lil B and Lil Yachty. Although initially jarring, 1990Morgue displays aggression’s ability to give way to comfort after sustained periods of time. It’s the tornado siren that soon fades to the the back of your conscious — the fan’s oscillating hum that you can’t sleep without.
Sh3llz – Black in Amerikkka
G-funk is most immediately associated with the West Coast, but if you know your history, you know the style spent some very formative years in the Midwest and South as well. On Black In Amerikkka, Sh3llz shows up for Detroit g-funk with scrappy irreverence. Here, the kinds of bass lines that turned out hits for Iggy Azalea and Kendrick Lamar are brought to trial by fire, found guilty of criminal negligence, and sentenced to community service. Think that’s getting off easy? Think again. Sh3llz’s tragic tribulations may translate seamlessly, but it’s hard labor all day in these parts.
Yung Lean – Frost God
Dropped in December without any prior promotion, Yung Lean’s Frost God channels lessons learned from his thrilling side-project debut full-length, Död Mark’s Drabbad av sjukdom, with a concise, eight-song package of hip-hop reinvigoration. The sonic equivalent of an igloo trap house, Lean’s newest blends the gritty undertones of his recent work with the chilling atmospherics of Gud’s and Whitearmor’s production magic that defined his earlier treasures. Synths glisten like fluttering snowflakes amidst clattering hi-hats on the anthemic, A$AP Ferg-featuring “Crystal City,” while “Head 2 Toe” finds Lean injecting genuine swagger into a track that would have otherwise fit comfortably on Unknown Memory. The rapper’s poise is not always conveyed via posturing bravado, though, as album standout “Hennessy and Sailor Moon” manages to deliver airy, R&B goodness with his sung vocals front-and-center. On the hook, Lean declares, “I could be your savior, with everything we’ve been through.” Like many of his lines, it’s a bit awkwardly phrased, but it’s a defining moment of confidence renewed for a young frost god as he continues to find his footing in a cold, cold world.
K9 – Mad In The Cut 2
“I like to mix the sour and the sweet.” Could easily be an allusion to zoots and Ribena, but it holds true for K9’s ruff MC’ing and his typically awesome beat selection, with cuts from previous collaborators (and heavyweights in their own right) Dark0, Mssingno, and Visionist featuring here. And it’s not like Mad In The Cut 2 doesn’t slap, either. Nine lean tracks, ‘ard riddims, serious bars. Trap and grime are kindred scenes, really, and the possibilities explored by the likes of GAIKA and K9 in synthesizing both styles is exciting going forward; now that Kruddy Ninez is two-for-two in the mixtape circuit, it’s not hard to see him getting even sharper. “If you’re not down with K9, then get with it, blud.”
Rapsody – Crown EP
“Whatever you dream, you can do,” opens Rapsody’s latest mixtape, Crown. The North Carolina MC has been collaborating with the likes of Big KRIT and Kendrick Lamar since 2010, but accession to Roc Nation in 2016 marks a significant power move. Although none of the guests on Crown are Roc royalty, Rapsody displays veteran confidence. Her chemistry with Anderson Paak. on “OooWee” is strong, and the beat contains the same feel that gave 2 Chainz’s “Feds Watching” a formidable heat factor. Regardless of the beat’s flavor, Rapsody’s wordplay and flow is immaculate: on “Mad,” I double-take on deftly acrobatic lines like “the boss man’s wife’s sister’s sample is what I’m on.”
Lil Uzi Vert & Gucci Mane – 1017 vs The World
What a time. The winter is cold and heavy-hued, but a little play can go a long way. Freed Gucci Mane’s low-stakes November collaboration with young punk rocker Lil Uzi Vert is effortless and colorful, alive with elastic flows, and lit by brotherly love. The diamond-precious beats from Gucci’s rogues gallery pause an open-world game for the pair’s surprising chemistry, hooks and verses shared like special combo moves. Like the Gucci & Future mixtape from the same month, 1017 feels a minor victory lap for the only happy story from 2016. Two weird voices finding harmony in new peaks, the short-and-sweet runtime dripping with spontaneity. The versus is less about who the two are against and more about who else could fit in this groove. To be alive: It means you can change the weather like Uzi and Guwop.
L’Orange – Koala EP
Déjà vu again?
The tyranny of permanence or
The freedom to forget
Choose your weapon
Dig dug dead
UGHH said the corpse
Izzy Izzy Izzy?
Slept 20 hours straight
Cousin went missing
Like Itt or not
Lil Durk – They Forgot
If Lil Durk 2x was the eponymous rapper’s first successful attempt at merging the singular melodic style that brought him to prominence with Def Jam-sized exposure, surprise Black Friday drop They Forgot comes full circle, doubling down on the speed and minor-key repetition that typified Durk’s early tapes while blending in a newfound vocal dexterity and a palatable sense of urgency. At a slim 40 minutes, They Forgot is a fitting mantra for the tape’s Chicago-heavy yet success-inviting ethos: Durk honors where he came from, even as, in the glow of fame, these details become ever more invisible to those who are watching him.
A couple of weeks ago, the entire rap world welcomed A Tribe Called Quest back with open arms. That was exactly as it should’ve been. Tribe had come back with We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, their first album in 18 years, and it was absolutely stunning — a warm … More »
Thanksgiving is coming up, and many of us are dreading the difficult conversations we’ll be having with family around the dinner table this year. By all accounts, 2016 has been rough, but hey: At least we still have the music. Right? RIGHT??!!?! Here are the best songs of the week. More »
After killing a slew of features and one-offs for a couple years since 2014’s Beauty And The Beast EP, North Carolina MC Rapsody is back with a surprise EP called Crown. At 10 tracks it plays more like a mixtape or full-length, and it certainly boasts album-worthy features with the brilliant Raphael Saadiq, steadily rising … More »