Mumford & Sons – “Lover Of The Light”
It’s hard to tell exactly what Idris Elba is thinking in this video, but it sure is nice to look at. The clip shows a blind man (Elba) who is seemingly thrilled by the sunrise, talking to himself at breakfast, and almost running to his death off the cliffs of Wales. Elba co-directed the intimate video, and does a great job telling a somber story backed by an uplifting song.
Kid Cudi – “Just What I Am” (feat. King Chip)
Don’t be fooled by the frame: This video isn’t quite fine art. Cudi claims “all my videos will be in a baroque frame. I create art, so it will be presented as such. ART IN MOTION.” Um, okay. Unfortunately for Cudi, the visual companion to “Just What I Am” is nothing we haven’t seen a million times before – red solo cups, crowded party, toasting to the good life. Oh well, the song’s not bad.
Swizz Beatz – “Everyday Birthday” (feat. Chris Brown & Ludacris)
Chris Brown wakes up in bed with a “crazy” girl, Luda wakes up in a shower, Swizz is chillin’ on a yacht in Cannes. So begins “Everyday Birthday,” a whirlwind visual feast of bottles poppin’, club hoppin’, and some very evil French girls.
More like this:
The first thing you have to know about TAMPPA is that he loves his hood. Born and raised in Brooklyn, the rapper considers the borough his muse. On Brownsville Grind, a nod to one of Brooklyn’s public housing projects, TAMPPA paints a picture of his hustle. The track is a soulful, brassy, hip-hop hot cooker with an intro by none other than Ludacris. TAMPPA’s got connections”his cousin is Anthony Cruz, a.k.a. the rapper and frequent Nas collaborator, AZ. As you can hear, talent runs in the family. TAMPPA’s tracks are filled with lyrical smart bombs. On Gotta Be More he talks about rising above his situation and chasing the dream, rapping, Like the late, great Michael, I gotta go thrill ˜em. By Fix Your Face he’s arrived. Over rattling textures and a fat bass line he proclaims, We are kings, and ghetto legends. All hail the next great MC of Kings County.
Bonus update. Tamppa has a personal message about his latest collaboration:
Everyone wants to be a star. Especially rappers. While many brag about their ability to court members of the opposite sex, the wide breadth of their earthly possessions, their height of their stacks, and most importantly, swag, it all really boils down to status. Which, in turn, is attention. The higher one’s prestige, the greater their worth and the more eyeballs and ears they will attract.
Fortunately in hip-hop there is also a deep tradition of collaboration. Posse cuts are always dope. And a rapper without their beatmaker would just be a solo street accapellist. Spitting bars out in public, especially with a hardened affect while talking about violence and an ostentatious lifestyle, would not be a good look on anybody. Except maybe on this guy.
And you’re not him.
Which brings us to the topic of today’s piece, the feature rapper. When would the motivation to stand out ever be stronger then on someone else’s track? A game changing guest verse (or a couple hundred of them, in some rapper’s cases) has been enough in the past to launch careers much in the way a Top 40 charting single would. So here are some of our picks for the best feature rappers in the game right now. Please note that this list is objectively correct; we came to these rappers after a series of rigorous tests that followed the scientific method. Lab coats were worn while this list was put together.
A new year means new music from some of hip hop’s biggest names. Now that 2012 is finally here, we’re seeing the first round of release dates roll out, and we’re expecting big things from some unlikely players.
Estelle: One of my favorite females in music right now is Estelle, and she’s ready to release her third studio album next month. All Of Me will drop on February 28. With singles, Thank You and Break My Heart featuring Rick Ross already climbing up the charts, we can’t wait to hear the completed project.
Rick Ross: Ross dropped his Rich Forever mixtape last week, and so far it’s getting rave reviews. The twenty-track mixtape is just what you’d expect from the Maybach Music chief, who enlisted help from heavyweights like Diddy, Drake and Nas on the project. My personal fave is Mind Games featuring Kelly Rowland.
Nicki Minaj: While there’s still no release date for Nicki’s sophomore release, Birdman told media in November that he plans to release the project in the first quarter of 2012. We’ve heard rumors of a Valentine’s Day drop, but we’ll have to wait and see. What we do know is that the album will be highly influenced by Nicki’s hard-hitting alter ego, Roman.
Big K.R.I.T.: The Mississippi-bred rapper is ready to release his highly-anticipated mixtape, 4evaNaDay on February 20. He’s also dropping the first single, I Got This off his upcoming Def Jam debut, Live From The Underground on February 1. In his Twitter announcement, he told fans, Its goin’ down shawty cant wait for y’all 2 hear this!
Tyga: Just last week, Young Money’s youngest troublemaker was arrested in Las Vegas. Only time will tell if his latest project, Careless World: The Rise of the Last King will actually make its original release date. Still, Tyga says fans can expect to see some major growth and maturity on the project, as well as an intended departure from the sound of his mixtapes.
In an interview on ThisIs50, Tyga said, It’s a theme album so it’s the first installment of the story. It’s about me becoming a king in this place called Careless World. It’s just a story from beginning to end. This album will show a lot of growth in the music and a lot of maturity. People are gonna definitely understand who I am more as an artist. Mixtapes is more like party, talkin’ shit type records that you just put together. This is my first real project that I’m putting together that has a theme.”
Common: Aside from his release of Sweet, Common has released another cutthroat track, and this time, there’s no confusing the target. In his latest drop, Common takes aim at Drake again on his remixed version of Rick Ross’ Stay Schemin’ a song that originally featured Drake and French Montana. He released the single on MTV’s RapFix: Live, unveiling scathing lyrics like, My motto is Chicago bitch, everybody know you’re sweet, what the problem is? / Don’t play dumb, I’m the one that acknowledged this,” “The rapper of the moment, the style he don’t own it / Acting all hard when he hardly like that / You gon’ mess around and make me catch a body like that / Don’t do it, ’cause every song you make Joe is really hoe music.
Ludacris: Luda announced a May release date for his eighth studio album, Ludaversal. Just last week, the rapper-turned-actor-turned rapper said he had already collaborated with fellow Atlanta favorite, Usher on the album. Usher is one person that I’ve already worked with, and in terms of other artists, you can say that there’s going to be a lot of surprises on here, he told Billboard. Fans can expect more production from The Neptunes and can hope for a single in March. It’s been a minute since I’ve been away from music, and there is just so much to talk about¦ So [the album] is mostly about my personal life, my travels, my experiences, rumors, gossip”you know, everything coming together in one.
Lupe Fiasco & Pharell Williams: According to Lupe‘s official Web site, he and Pharell are back in the studio, hard at work on a collaborative album. On the site, he simply stated, Food and Liquor 2 coming soon. Lupe and Pharell album coming soon. This isn’t the first time these two have teased at a collaborative project. I seem to remember a rumored group formation with Kanye West, Pharell and Lupe circling last year. Still, I’m holding out hope that this project will materialize.
“I get high with a little help from my friends,” Ringo Starr sang on the Beatles‘ 1967 classic. These days, so do many of music’s top stars. Two’s company, and so is three and sometimes four. The more the merrier, the higher and higher they get.
On the charts, that is.
In the Top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100 for the week ending December 10, seventeen songs were collaborations between separate recording entities. Four of them featured Drake, and three apiece featured Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, who both appeared on tracks with Drake and with each other. But will.i.am featuring Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger”and debuting at No. 36 with “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever),” which the threesome performed on the November 20 American Music Awards”was probably the one that nobody saw coming.
Old-school Rolling Stones fans must be cringing at the idea of Jagger going anywhere near Lopez and will.i.am so soon after Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera went to No. 1 by invoking his hallowed name on “Moves Like Jagger.” But for a sixty-something legend like him, hit records”even if in name only, a la Duck Sauce‘s GRAMMY-nominated “Barbra Streisand”are a near-impossible dream unless they’re in tandem with other, often younger, stars.
With performances from Will.i.am, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Pitbull and Drake among others, the 2011 American Music Awards provided an eclectic mix of music this year.Andthanks to thenineteen performances sprinkled throughout the show, fans were able to see some of musics brightest stars shine on the big stage.
Nicki Minaj was on top of the world last night after nabbing two of the biggest hip hop honors of the night. She scored Favorite Artist and Favorite Album for Pink Friday, beating out Jay-Z and Kanye Wests Watch The Throne and mentor Lil Waynes The Carter IV. She also delivered a killer show-opening performance of Superbass and Turn Me On alongside David Guetta, and some serious wardrobe that included speakers in her backside. In her acceptance speeches, a truly touched Minaj thanked her Young Money crew, Weezy, and Taylor Swift and wore an unusually classy, green gown, proving this girl really does clean up nice.
50 Cent was on deck to introduce Chris Brown, who he called the main event, noting youve never really seen this performer unless youve seen him live, before Brown and his bleached-blonde hair hit the stage for dance-heavy renditions of All Back and Say It With Me. Although Brown was nominated for two awards, he wasnt a winner, getting beat out by ex, Rihanna for Favorite Album and Usher for Favorite Male Artist.
Another big winner for the night was Jennifer Lopez. Aside from two show-stopping performances (one with Pittbul and a Fiat, and one with Will.i.am), she also nabbed Favorite Latin Artist, breaking a five-year winning streak for Enrique Iglesias. When she first hit the stage in a jeweled, skin-colored bodysuit (Britney, anyone?) and danced in, around, and through, her perfectly placed Fiat, she proved to the world that shes still got the moves of a fly girl. Later, she gave an amped-up performance alongside Will.i.am, performing his new single, T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) which also features rock icon, Mick Jagger.
Enrique Iglesias hit the stage later to perform his hit, I Like How It Feels backed by the Crenshaw High School choir, and was later joined by Ludacris, who spit his verse on Tonight (Im Loving You) in a preppy sweater look. British import Adele, racked up three awards including Favorite Artist, Favorite Album, and Favorite Female Artist for her groundbreaking project, 21.
Mary J. Blige hit the stage in an all-white suit to perform Mr. Wrong without Drake, who later took the stage to give his own performance of Headlines in front of a live band. After her performance, MJB gave a heartfelt tribute to fallen friend, Heavy D.
Missing from the audience this year were Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and a handful of other hip hop heavyweights. In their defense, with only two real hip hop categories, the AMAs are not a major destination for these guys, unless they have an album to promote.