GhostfaceKyle’s 2018 Freshman Class

With the release of XXL’s 2018 freshmen class, I could take the easy route and just rip on how bad this class is with the exception of J.I.D.  Instead of taking the low hanging fruit, I decided to put together my own 2018 freshmen class. I kept the criteria relatively loose on this, but I went with the 10 rappers who I feel are most likely to break out in 2018.

J.I.D.

This is the only one I had in common with XXL because J.I.D. deserves every bit of publicity he gets. This dude comes from Atlanta but is far from the standard Atlanta sound that’s been dominating the scene. With an indistinguishable tone and uncanny ability to squeeze syllables together, J.I.D. is my top pick to break out this year. Check out his XXL freestyle below as well as his 2017 debut album, The Never Story.

Nick Grant

27 year-old rapper out of South Carolina, Grant has already been endorsed by rappers like Killer Mike and Big K.R.I.T. He boasts some great socially conscious lyrics rapped over head-nodding jazz and R&B samples. This guy’s wordplay and ability to float over a beat will bring you right back to the great albums of the 90s.

Kembe X

Fresh out of Chicago, this kid is only 18 years old but has a strong influence from classic 90s Hip-Hop. He’s already worked with heavy hitters like Chance The Rapper, Ab-Soul, and Isaiah Rashad.

Hobo Johnson

Perhaps the most polarizing rapper on this list, Hobo Johnson started garnering attention on the internet in early 2018 with his unorthodox delivery and ironic hipster vibe. Despite his dissension from traditional hip-hop, his lyrics feel genuine and I can see a future where outcast high school/college kids identify with him.

SAINt JHN

Coming out Brooklyn, SAINt JHN brings a mellow R&B/hip hop fusion to the freshmen class. He burst on the scene with his debut album Collection One, and it wouldn’t surprise me to him on a TON of features this year a la Khalid.

Bishop Nehru

Bishop Nehru is one of those guys who has been around for a couple years already but hasn’t quite gotten the notoriety he deserves. I heard “Stressin” in 2015 and thought it was only a matter of time before his popularity exploded. This kid also produces some incredible jazz-influenced beats that are only going to get better as he grows as an artist. He’s only 21 years old right now, so he’s got plenty of time.

Buddy

This kid has been endorsed by people like Pharrell and Kendrick Lamar, and I’m super high on him. Has yet to release a debut full length album, but when it does he’ll get crazy popular.

Belly

Belly was born in Palestine and moved to Canada. I thought Mumble Rap was one of the more under-appreciated releases of 2017. He’s already had collaborations with French Montana and The Weeknd, so I see him definitely continuing to pick up steam in 2018.

Lil Skies

If you’re like me and can’t stand the new wave of “Lil” rappers, I encourage you to give a pass to lil skies. His lyrical content isn’t deep, but he’s able to make actual decent, catchy hip hop songs and sometimes that’s all you need.

Joyner Lucas

Joyner has been gaining popularity through all of 2017 up until now with the use of his powerful lyrics and provocative videos. In the current age of trap beats and weak lyrics, Lucas has gone against the trends and continues to cover powerful topics with his songs.

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Tash Sultana Shares New Single “Salvation” Along With New Album Announcement

The Australian guitar virtuoso gives us a banger of a single with “Salvation”. I’m usually pretty skeptical of psychedelic rock, just because I feel like more often than not it devolves in to a song that basically tells you “smoke weed until this sounds good”. However Sultana has perfected the genre and she truly is a master of multiple instruments. She’s been wildly successful in Australia for a few years, but has started to gain popularity over the last year or so with smash hits like “Mystic” and “Jungle”.

Check out the video for “Salvation” below and keep an eye out for Tash’s album, Flow State, coming out August 31st.

A Deeper Look At Westworld’s Cover Songs

If you’re a Westworld fan like I am, you’ve most likely noticed how the producers have done a great job utilizing the soundtrack to emphasize the emotion of a scene. You’ve also probably noticed that most of these songs are piano or symphony covers of songs you’ve heard before, most notably last night’s cover of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box”.

 Behind these covers is a man named Ramin Djawadi, an Iranian-German composer who has also handled the scores for Game Of Thrones, Iron Man, and plenty of other movies/TV shows.

I’ve been fascinated with the placement of Djawadi’s music throughout the first two seasons of Westworld. In my opinion he’s done a perfect job of translating these songs in to the old-timey western, and in some cases Japanese, style. I’ve put together a collection of some of my favorite covers (with their originals) that have been used so far in the show.

Ghostface Kyle’s Hip Hop Dungeon

Much like the esteemed Wonton Don, I also consider myself a bit of a hip hop head. I’ve loved the genre ever since I started listening to music as a little kid, and I’ve always tried to appreciate different types of hip hop.

Inspired by Donnie’s blog, I put together a list of a few newer rappers who are putting out quality hip hop, and probably aren’t getting the recognition they deserve at the moment. I’m willing to make this a recurring series if enough people are interested, but for now enjoy these guys and feel free to send me some of your own.

 Nick Grant

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27 year-old rapper out of South Carolina, Grant has already been endorsed by rappers like Killer Mike and Big K.R.I.T. He boasts some great socially conscious lyrics rapped over head-nodding jazz and R&B samples. This guy’s wordplay and ability to float over a beat will bring you right back to the great albums of the 90s. Here are a few recommendations to get you started:

 Mick Jenkins

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Probably my favorite rapper on this list, Mick Jenkins hails from Chicago and is, for lack of a better term, the “total package” for old-school Hip-hop fans. Intelligent lyrics and a powerful yet smooth delivery over jazz-influenced production makes Mick one of my favorite rappers out right now. I could go on and on about this guy, but it’s probably easier if you just listen to the tracks below.

 J.I.D

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I really respect what J.I.D has been able to accomplish so far just by setting himself apart the recent barrage of Atlanta mumble rappers dominating the scene right now. He’s actually a former college football player with a unique, relentless flow.

 Kembe X

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 Casey Veggies

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I was hesitant to put Casey Veggies on here just because he’s been pretty well known among underground hip-hop fans for a while, but has never really gotten the widespread recognition many thought he would get. As a founding member of Odd Future, Veggies left the group in 2007 before the group exploded to focus on his own solo career. Quite the risky move in hindsight, but I think it was the better move to not be grouped in with the Odd Future crew.

 

 

Your Guide to the Complete History of the Pusha T & Drake Beef

If you’re like most people, you witnessed the internet explode last night over a diss track from Pusha T aimed at Drake. If you felt slightly (or very) lost during the whole ordeal, you’re not alone. After some research, I tried to put together a comprehensive, yet easily digestible, guide to help you better understand the timeline of everything.

The seed for the beef can be traced all the way back to 2002, with the release of the track “What Happened To That Boy” by Baby feat. Clipse, and produced by The Neptunes. (For those unaware, Clipse is Pusha T’s former group with his brother No Malice and The Neptunes is Pharrell’s production duo with Chad Hugo.) The track blew up and was a huge hit for everyone involved, but there were rumors swirling of Baby not paying Pharrell for the song.

Fast forward to 2006, there were never any more collaborations between The Neptunes and Baby/the rest of the Young Money Cash Money crew. At this point, Lil Wayne posed on the cover of Vibe Magazine wearing a Bape sweatshirt. Now, for anyone not experienced with streetwear, Pharrell and Clipse played a HUGE part in popularizing Bape clothing and bringing it to the mainstream. This pissed off Clipse and Pharrell enough for them to make the track, “Mr. Me Too”. An obvious nod to “someone” stealing their style.

After this track released on Hell Hath No Fury, the beef basically got pretty quiet. It’s 2006/2007, Lil Wayne doesn’t really give a shit anymore since he’s hotter than anyone in the game coming off the release of The Drought 3 mixtape.

Fast forward to 2009-ish, here’s where we stand: 

-Lil Wayne gets locked up for a gun charge

-Malice leaves Clipse to be religious

-Pusha T joins Kanye with G.O.O.D. Music

-Drake is quickly becoming the next hip hop superstar as a part of Young Money.

Sooo it’s all over now, right? Think again. 2012 comes around and Pusha releases “Exodus:23:1” which throws shots at all of Young Money. This track basically kicks off the GOOD Music and Young Money beef.

At this point, we now have 2 clearly defined corners of the whole saga. Young Money Cash Money (Drake/Wayne/Baby) and GOOD Music (Pusha/Kanye/Kid Cudi/Common). In response to “Exodus 23:1”, Drake throws a few subtle jabs at the GOOD Music crew on “Tuscan Leather”.

Now it’s 2013, Pusha and Drake are lobbing shots back and forth and Wayne is completely out of the picture. In response to “Tuscan Leather”, Pusha drops “Suicide” and “HGTV” (which in my opinion is the best actual track out of this whole situation).

“HGTV” resulted in what I think is the weakest track from Drake, “Two Birds One Stone”. It’s basically him just talking shit about how Pusha exaggerates his drug dealing.

Having fun yet? Doesn’t matter, because you’ve made it to present day in the timeline. From here, which I’m sure you all know, Pusha drops “Infrared”, Drake comes right back with “Duppy Freestyle”, and Pusha comes for the jugular with “Story Of Adidon”.

Where do we go from here? Honestly, I have no fucking clue. Pusha surely is ahead as of this writing, but let’s not totally discredit “Duppy Freestyle”. He peppered the entire GOOD Music crew with facts to try and cause some drama among themselves. However, Drake has got to tread lightly because that ending of “Adidon” sure makes me think Pusha has more ammo in the tank.

My Prediction:

Drake has one track on Scorpion going back at Pusha T, and Pusha has a possible verse on Kanye’s album throwing back another jab (or releases a standalone freestyle). After those two swings, I think everything calms down a little bit. Pusha and Drake will both enjoy very solid album numbers, sell a ton of tour tickets (Drake doing more obviously), and both guys walk away with no decisively clear cut “winner”.

New Singles From Kevin Gates, Jay Rock, and Death Grips

Got a few new tracks to help you get through that mid-week lull. First up is three brand new singles from Kevin Gates fresh off his January release from prison. On the first track, “Change Lanes”, Gates reflects on how he’s changed since getting out of prison. Now I’m just a random music blogger with zero connection to Kevin Gates, but he really does seem focused on just putting out music and staying out of the bullshit. Also, Go Grizzly’s production is perfectly on point for Gates on all 3 tracks.

I gotta be honest, I don’t love this single from Jay Rock. Something about the beat feels a little too slow for me, and reminds me a lot of “U Mad” by Vic Mensa. I’ve been rooting for Jay Rock’s career to really take off, but for whatever reason it still hasn’t happened. He’s currently touring with the rest of TDE on The Championship Tour which will give him some much needed exposure, but we still need that album. Rumored to come out later this year, but we’ll see.

We also got a new track from Death Grips, and it’s….something. These dudes are pretty hit or miss for me, but they’re certainly worth mentioning and I really appreciate the way they push genre boundaries. This one is the second single off the upcoming Year Of The Snitch album which has yet to receive an official release date. Check out all the tracks below and let me know what you guys think.

Beastie Boys To Release Memoir This Fall

The long-awaited memoir finally has an official release date of October 30th. This book has been rumored since 2015, so it’s great to finally see it come to fruition.  I’ll always regret not seeing Beastie Boys live, but this 592-page will at least be a cool opportunity to get an inside look at their career.

I’ve been fascinated with musician biographies for as long as I can remember, and they’re a large part of the reason I pursued a career in the music industry in the first place. You’re able to get such an in-depth look in to the story of these people’s lives and why they turned out to be the superstar they’ve become. If you’re looking for a something to read at the beach this Summer, check out my top 5 music biographies/autobiographies below.

1.  Scar Tissue – Anthony Kiedis

2. Heavier Than Heaven – Kurt Cobain

3. Mo’ Meta Blues – Questlove

4. Life – Keith Richards

5. Room Full Of Mirrors – Jimi Hendrix

Pre-order Beastie Boys Book here

Drake and Migos Announce ‘Aubrey & the Three Amigos’ Tour

Big hip hop news to kick off your week as Drake and Migos announce a 41 date Summer/Fall tour. With Drake’s album, Scorpion, dropping in June and no festival performances currently on the calendar, it was only a matter of time before we got a tour announcement. Adding Migos as support is a great move business-wise and is likely to cause a quick sell out across most markets.

Full disclosure I’ve never seen either Drake or Migos live in concert. Plenty of people have told me Drake is the top-notch performer you’d expect, while I’ve heard a ton of mixed reviews on Migos’ live show.

The tour kicks off July 26th, and spans across the United States and Canada, with major markets receiving multiple show dates. Tickets go on sale to the public here this Friday, however there are a couple pre-sale options allowing customers access earlier in the week. Prices right now are shown as $60-$230 BEFORE fees and taxes *exaggerated jerk off motion*. Full list of tour dates below.

July 26 – Salt Lake City, Utah – Vivint Smart Home Arena
July 28 – Denver, Colo. – Pepsi Center
July 31 – Kansas City, Mo. – Sprint Center
Aug. 1 – Minneapolis, Minn. – Xcel Energy Center
Aug. 10 – Toronto, Canada – Air Canada Centre
Aug. 11 – Toronto, Canada – Air Canada Centre
Aug. 14 – Detroit, Mich. – Little Caesars Arena
Aug. 17 – Chicago, Ill. – United Center
Aug. 18 – Chicago, Ill. – United Center
Aug. 24 – New York, N.Y. – Madison Square Garden
Aug. 25 – New York, N.Y. – Madison Square Garden
Aug. 30 – Brooklyn, N.Y. – Barclays Center
Aug. 31 – Brooklyn, N.Y. – Barclays Center
Sept. 4 – Montreal, Canada – Bell Centre
Sept. 7 – Boston, Mass. – TD Garden
Sept. 8 – Boston, Mass. – TD Garden
Sept. 12 – Washington, D.C. – Capital One Arena
Sept. 13 – Washington, D.C. – Capital One Arena
Sept. 15 – Philadelphia, Pa. – Wells Fargo Center
Sept. 16 – Nashville, Tenn. – Bridgestone Arena
Sept. 21 – Miami, Fla. – AmericanAirlines Arena
Sept. 22 – Miami, Fla. – AmericanAirlines Arena
Sept. 24 – New Orleans, No. – Smoothie King Center
Sept. 26 – Dallas, Texas – American Airlines Center
Sept. 29 – Houston, Texas – Toyota Center
Sept. 30 – Houston, Texas – Toyota Center
Oct. 5 – Las Vegas, Nev. – MGM Grand Garden Arena
Oct. 6 – Leas Vegas, Nev. – MGM Grand Garden Arena
Oct. 8 – Phoenix, Ariz. – Gila River Arena
Oct. 12 – Los Angeles, Calif. – Staples Center
Oct. 13 – Los Angeles, Calif. – Staples Center
Oct. 16 – Los Angeles, Calif. – The Forum
Oct. 17 – Los Angeles, Calif. – The Forum
Oct. 26 – Oakland, Calif. – Oracle Arena
Oct. 27 – Oakland, Calif. – Oracle Arena
Nov. 1 – Seattle, Wash. – Tacoma Dome
Nov. 3 – Vancouver, Canada – Rogers Arena
Nov. 4 – Vancouver, Canada – Rogers Arena
Nov. 6 – Edmonton, Canada – Rogers Place
Nov. 16 – Atlanta, Ga. – Philips Arena
Nov. 17 – Atlanta, Ga. – Philips Arena

Wale Releases New EP, ‘Self Promotion’

It looks like Wale hasn’t missed a beat since leaving Atlantic Records earlier this year.. Building on the momentum from his March release of the It’s Complicated EP, Wale drops his second EP of 2018 with Self Promotion. 

I wasn’t a fan of the It’s Complicated EP, which was primarily R&B influenced love songs that just weren’t for me.  On this project Wale switches up the style and brings a more serious rap flow to all 4 tracks. He throws a couple subliminal jabs at Atlantic on “Negotiations”, and addresses racial tensions in the cleverly titled “Salary Kaep”.

Wale’s been known to put out quality mixtapes, so we’ll see if he continues with this string of EPs or puts together a full album. Give a listen below and let me know what you guys think,

 

 

Mac Demarco Releases Two New Songs

Got a nice Tuesday treat for everyone, as Canada’s #1 musical export drops two new songs seemingly out of nowhere.

“She’s My Sweet” and “Fuck The Toronto Raptors” are technically credited to a new band by the name of Met Gala, whose members and song credits are listed in the Youtube description. Demarco credits himself with “Computer, Waves plugin, Vocal Hooks, Autotune”, but if we’re being honest I’m jealous of Andrew Neville being the basketball consultant in charge of finger snaps.

The tracks are only available together in the Youtube video below. With no announcement of an official streaming release, it’s very possible these songs were just products of fucking around in typical Mac Demarco Fashion.

Both songs have a heavy R&B influence, featuring lots of soft piano and funky bass lines. Mac pitches in with some silly autotuned vocals that somehow work very well. Overall I LOVE the direction of both of these songs and am hoping these are a sign of things to come on Mac’s next project. Check out the songs below and let me know what you think.