For years now, Freeway Rick Ross, the real life drug dealer upon whom rapper Rick Ross bases his stage persona and kingpin image, has been trying to nail Ross (the latter) for making millions by selling his music under an appropriated drug lord persona. Last week, a California judge dismissed Freeway Rick’s most recent appeal, citing the rapper’s creation of original works that only used the name as a jumping-off point. Freeway Rick was not amused.
In a statement issued following the judge’s rejection of his appeal, the real Freeway Rick Ross remarked: “There is a teachable moment about the state of our community when a man who has a respectable job as a correctional officer, has to recreate himself in my former image as a large-scale kingpin to gain what he feels is social acceptance as a successful man.” Though Freeway Rick’s indignation does have a point here, he misunderstands Ross’ motivations. Ross was never thinking about perceived social acceptance as a successful man. He was thinking about actual success. And he actually achieved it by making insane amounts of money because he understands the fan inclination to want to believe that artists’ music reflects a truthful depiction of their lives.
Hip-hop culture has always been based on the appropriation and re-interpretation of communal objects from the past. It’s called sampling. And hip-hop artists have been doing it in with their stage personas forever, pretending to be harder and more dangerous than they actually are. So when Ross took on the symbolic identity of a historical drug dealer, he was doing just that: “sampling” someone else’s life and then turning it into something new. And that is exactly why Rick Ross’ recent lawsuit against LMFAO for interpolating the lyric “Every day I’m hustlin” from his 2006 song “Hustlin” is so ironic, because when LMFAO jokingly altered that line, they were doing the exact same thing. Though Ross’ lawsuit states that LMFAO’s similar lyric is “an obvious attempt to capitalize on the fame and success of “Hustlin,” the reality of the situation is a bit more nuanced.
Kanye West has found himself tangled in a lawsuit for sampling a vocal track of soul singer Ricky Spicer (The Ponderosa Twins Plus One) in his track, “Bound 2.” Spicer filed a lawsuit against West this past Monday, along with Roc-a Fella Records, Universal Music Group, and Island Def Jam Music Group, with Spicer seeking “an injunction and damages for alleged violations of New York civil right of publicity law (section 51), unjust enrichment and common law copyright infringement.”
The lawsuit states that after recording “Bound” with The Ponderosa Twins at age 12, Spicer went on to perform with acts such as James Brown and Gladys Knight. “For all his accomplishments,” the court papers state, “Mr. Spicer was not fairly compensated.” Check out the two tracks below and let us know what you think. (more…)
Hip-hop is no stranger to violence, whether it’s in boastful lyrics, videos, or the actual past lives of emcees who’ve escaped the streets and struggles of the inner city. Sometimes, though, it gets too real. Cut to Monday morning in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Rick Ross barely escaped a barrage of bullets in an apparent drive-by shooting on the morning of his 37 birthday. Ross and girlfriend Shateria L. Moragne-el were reportedly on their way to a birthday breakfast when a gunman from another car opened fire on Ross’ 2011 Rolls-Royce. Ross sped away, only to quickly crash into a nearby apartment building. Though the bullets pierced the window of a nearby diner, neither Ross, nor his girlfriend, nor any of the diner patrons were injured. The night before, Ross has been celebrating his birthday with P. Diddy at the LIV nightclub in Miami. (more…)
OurStage artist Yonas has just released the official video for his new single “Clockwork” off of his upcoming EP The Black Canvas, which drops on February 4. “The black sheep in life is the person that stands out amongst the crowd,” Yonas describes. “The black canvas is the art that stands out amongst the industry.” Check out the video below.
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Nobody can talk about grassroots success like Canadian hip-hop artist Classified, who has been blazing his own independent trail since 1995. The emcee and producer has toured with the likes of Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and Busta Rhymes, and has sold over 100,000 albums in Canada alone. Oh, and that awesome song in Madden ’12, “That Ain’t Classy?” Yeah, that was him. We sat down with one of the biggest names in Canadian hip-hop to chat about the Nova Scotian scene, his production styles, and his love/hate relationship with Kanye.
OS: What’s the Nova Scotian hip-hop scene like?
Classified: The scene is very Nova Scotian [laughs]. If you’re down here and you’re involved in the scene, you know what’s going on. You can go to the shows and check it out. But besides me and maybe two other guys, there aren’t many guys getting past just Nova Scotia to even the rest of Canada. We’re very secluded. We don’t get as many shows as they draw in Montreal or Vancouver. But it’s a dope scene. There’s been great artists coming out of here since ’95, when I started. People putting out albums, putting out their viral videos and stuff. It just still seems like a lot of people in the rest of the world haven’t been exposed to it because a lot of the artists aren’t pushing their stuff that hard. But really dope scene, great DJs, breakers, graff writers, emcees. (more…)
Originally living in shamanic clans on the world of Draenor, 2 Chainz and Juicy J were forced to abandon their peaceful culture after the demon lord Kil’jaeden of the Burning Legion vengefully corrupted¦oh, sorry. We’re getting word that 2 Chainz and Juicy J are actually featured in their own video games. Our mistake.
It has been quite a while—6 years in fact—since Andre 3000 has released a full studio album. Outkast‘s 2006 soundtrack for their movie Idlewild, is the last major release by the hip hop/R&B artist. Since then he has only been on featured tracks or his own sporadically released single tracks. This has raised a lot of questions and rumors among his fans, especially as to whether or not there will be an Outkast reunion.
According to Complex.com, Andre 3000 explained in a Rolling Stone interview just where he stands currently as an artist, and frankly, he is not sure. He says that “things are kind of up in the air with me, and some days, I feel like yeah, I’ll do it. Some days, I feel like, I don’t. I don’t know the future of music right now. I have no idea what I do. I honestly don’t.” Andre also mentioned that he feels a judgmental pressure from fans and critics who are watching his every move in the music world “because I don’t do it much, they analyze every word and before, you could’ve had a shitty verse and people just forgot about it. So it’s different now.”
As for a reunion with Outkast, he simply states that he has tuned out all rumors and expectations because “it makes me mad to read it sometimes,” he says, “I don’t read the Internet.”
Meanwhile, Andre’s former Outkast partner Big Boi is set to release his next solo album, coincidentally named Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, on December 11th. Hopefully Andre will get back into the swing of things, and perhaps the two will join forces once again, but as of now, that seems unlikely.
If you like Outkast or Andre 3000, check out OurStage artist MIRK.
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Given that President Barack Obama had the hip-hop vote pretty securely in the bag, it’s only fitting that the day after his re-election is awash in a wave of celebratory tracks from artists big and small. Here are three notable songs paying tribute to Obama’s second term that range from the inspiring to the incomprehensible.
Young Jeezy “ “We Done It Again”
The newly minted Senior Vice President of A&R at Atlantic Records manages to cram Trayvon Martin, Hurricane Katrina, and the trillion-dollar deficit into a mere two and a half minutes. In the spiritual successor to his 2008 track “My President Is Black,” Jeezy sends out his message to “every ghetto in the world / Every little boy and little girl.” Though the new track is more cautiously optimistic this time around (“Waiting on a savior, maybe Barack”), it still a clear show of the rapper’s full support of the president.