JPEGMAFIA Makes Some Anxious-Ass Rap Music

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JPEGMAFIA“Disappointed.” In the weeks leading up to the release of his new album All My Heroes Are Cornballs, JPEGMAFIA used that word over and over, like a mantra. He used that word onstage, in interviews, in video promos for the album itself. He used the word so much that I actually thought the … More »

The Wu-Tang Clan’s New Hulu Show Is Beautiful Mythmaking

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Wu-Tang-An-American-SagaThere are many, many reasons why I love rap music. One of those reasons, I have learned, is this: At a young and formative age, I had my mind blown by superhero comics. Many rappers — most of the best rappers — present themselves as flesh-and-blood superheroes. (In this, rappers are like action-movie stars or … More »

Scam-Rap Is The Future

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Teejayx6In The Secret Life Of Pets 2, Kevin Hart plays the voice of a bunny named Snowball, a former anti-human revolutionary who has come to believe that he is a superhero. The movie ends with Hart, as Snowball, rapping way too much of Desiigner’s flukey 2015 smash “Panda” while dressing up in what I suppose … More »

Brockhampton Let Their Depression Flow

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Brockhampton“We want to make a summer album. Feel-good. Not too sad and like, ‘Oh, our life sucks,’ just more like, ‘Just enjoy what’s in front of you.'” … More »

Young Thug, Transmitting Live From The Astral Plane

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Young-ThugWe never got our snake. A year ago, by way of promoting his Slime Language project, Young Thug had pet snakes sent to a bunch of different websites and magazines. People were just sitting at their desks, banging out blog posts, when delivery guys showed up with surprise snake terrariums. Writers tweeted excitedly. More »

Kenny Beats’ YouTube Show Might Be The Rap Album Of The Year

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Kenny-BeatsA fascinating thing about rap music: It may be the only form of music where personality and digital ephemera matter at least as much as music itself. Within rap music, hit songs make a difference, of course. So do classic albums. But they aren’t the only things that matter. Transcendent rap moments can come in … More »

Cardi B’s Circus Comes To Town

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Cardi-B“Stank-ass rappers make me sick! Everybody on the goddam stage got a mic! Forty motherfucking people! All of ’em got a mic! Motherfucker, why? We can’t understand what one of your asses is saying. How you giving everybody a goddam mic?” Steve Harvey was, at least a little bit, speaking truth to power. In The … More »

DaBaby, You’re A Star

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DaBabyThe most important performance in the history of the XXL Freshman Cypher was three years ago. Lil Uzi Vert was grouped together with a crew of likeminded young rising stars: 21 Savage, Lil Yachty, Kodak Black. (Denzel Curry was in there, too, rapping better than anyone else while seeming like he wanted to be anywhere … More »

Blanco Brown’s “The Git Up” Raises The Question Of What Rap Music Even Is

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Blanco BrownA recent conversation with my seven-year-old: “Dad, put on the cowboy boogie song.” “You said you hated that song.” “I did, but then you played it, and it was stuck in my head. So I started singing it, and then I wanted to hear it. And now it’s good.” He has figured out the way … More »

J. Cole’s All-Star Dreamville Rap Camp Makes Beautiful Chaos

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DreamvilleThere have been rap camps before. In the sessions for his album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West famously flew basically all the artists he liked out to Hawaii, hung a “What would Mobb Deep Do?” sign on the studio wall, and tried to figure out whether he could create any magic. He could. More »