On Tuesday, we shared some of Tinie Tempah’s thoughts on mentally transitioning from the UK to the US as an up-and-coming artist in the hectic world of hip-hop. Because the London native goes back and forth across the pond so frequently, we also asked Tinie to give us a cheat sheet of sorts, helping to get us looped-in to the who’s who of British rap. Check out his list of personal favorites below, because after all, you never know if one of these guys might be next.
GIGGS (IF YOU LIKE: Gucci Mane)
“Definitely be on the lookout for Giggs, he’s doing his thing,” preached Tinie. After collaborating with B.o.B and a slew of other big-name British rappers, Giggs continues spitting coke-rap bars for days. Style-wise, Tinie compared him to both Young Jeezy and Gucci; embodying the hustler image, Giggs served a two-year bid for a gun charge back in 2003, but inked with XL Recordings (see: M.I.A., Tyler, The Creator, Dizzee Rascal) to distribute his third solo LP next year off of self-made label, SN1 Entertainment.
Even though Young Jeezy is gearing up to release his fourth solo albumlater this year, his show last night at Highline Ballroom in New York was dedicated to his first. Commemorating Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101’s sixth anniversary, the rapper who reps Atlanta looked both svelte and hungry while performing alongside a full band in the hot, filled to the brim venue. For those in attendance, however, it was a welcomed experience, especially once the star-studded guests began spilling out on stage.
First to show his face was Jay-Z, making a supportive cameo to spit his verse from the debut album’s third single, “Go Crazy,” making the crowd do just that. Kanye was next up to bat, joining Jeezy for their 2008 collabo, “Put On,” followed soon after by UGK legend Bun B who helped perform TM101 track “Trap or Die.” Next to hit the stage was Brooklyn rapper Fabolous, who, after performing “Flexin'” from Jeezy’s recent Real Is Back mixtape, also delivered radio favorite “You Be Killin’ Em” to the already-spoiled audience. And to cap off the laundry list of appearances, Jeezy then brought out the entire L.O.X. to perform a medley of their strongest tracks, again forcing the crowd to lose their minds.
While Jeezy’s recruits may be the impressive lynchpin in the show’s dossier, it’s absolutely worth mentioning that his fans were thoroughly content with solo performances from just the man himself. As each song dropped, the audience recognized it instantly, and the room would soon be filled with audible word-for-word rapping accompaniment. Not just some people either, it was pretty much everyone; something you don’t see at every rap show. And considering Jeezy announced that his new album, Thug Motivation 103, will be hitting stores on September 30th, I’m sure he’d appreciate it if every person rapping along to his lyrics in that room actually BUYS it.
With such an oversaturation of music from “up-and-coming” rappers these days, it’s a constant struggle to differentiate the rookies with potential from the mediocre flashes in the pan. Every day, it seems, there’s a new solo artist, duo or squad that you’re compelled to listen to, and just keeping track of the influx of talent calls can be exhausting for listeners. If you’re a rapper or emcee trying to penetrate “the game,” it must be intimidating, right? Now imagine you’ve got an extra handicap: You’re British.
With an alley-oop assist from Eric Turner’s booming “Written In The Stars” chorus, the Capitol-drafted English import rapper Tinie Tempah is gaining early momentum on this side of the pond, and remains determined to do something that very few UK spitters have done before: “break” in America. Tinie has done quite well for himself in his native U.K., as his most recent album Disc-Overy debuted at #1 on the British charts and launched four Top Five singles (including two number ones), and was England’s top-selling debut album by a Brit in 2010. Two BRIT Awards, a recent BET Award for Best International UK Artist and a well-reviewed performance at Glastonbury later, it appears the young rapper is getting on the board fast. But even with those accolades under his belt, finding quick success in America isn’t a given, and Tinie knows that. Between breaking the barriers at crossover radio without getting “too pop” while also getting acclimated with our snooty, regionally-structured hip hop scene, it would appear that his path is a bit steep.
When we sat down to interview Tinie earlier this month, he told us all about his transitional journey from overseas thus far. Lucky for him, some friends of ours helped him mentally prepare for this moment. While supporting The Script on tour in Australia, Tinie received a much-needed pep talk from the band that had experienced some tough American crowds of their own when they first made the North Atlantic journey. “Just brace yourself,” they told him, “some of the shows are going to be a little bit gun-wrenching.” The coached warning was helpful and wound up serving as an airbag when Tinie performed before crowds of ten to twenty thousand people one night, and then under one hundred the next. “It has been fun, and more than anything, it’s a humbling experience ‘cause is just shows that, you know, that you’ve never really made it until you’ve made it, and there’s always something more you can be doing, so, yeah, I like it… it’s all part of the game.”
Unless you’re an android, breakups are never easy. Although a bit tumultuous, The Script’sfirst video from Science & Faith was predominantly romantic and lovey-dovey (which matched with the song’s themes). But for the album’s second single, it seems the the Irish imports decided to go in a different direction.
A boys night out gets a little sloppy when lead singer Danny O’Donaghue drunkenly exits a bar with his loyal bandmates behind him. Stumbling and wasted, Danny surfs the wave of intoxication, screaming the lovesick lyrics to “Nothing” down the street to his (presumable) recent ex, who in this clip, doesn’t appear to be present. And hey, we’ve all been guilty of engaging in or receiving such behavior before, right? Drunk dialing, bitter Facebook posts, longing latenight email drafts… it happens! But what will come of the boys’ debauchery-ridden evening, Script fans? Come back on Thursday morning to see, when we’ll have the exclusive premiere for the full “Nothing” video here for you.
In the nineties, you could count the number of commercial white rappers on one hand. Beastie Boys. Vanilla Ice. Marky Mark (and the Funky Bunch). Maybe Everlast and even 3rd Bass count too, although their “household name” reach wasn’t nearly as long. As a result, an entire generation of hip-hop fans grew up listening to a genre that was based in a primarily Urban setting, rarely poking its nichey head above ground into the pop arena. That didn’t stop the audience’s obsession with hip-hop though, and regardless of content relatability, the music managed to draw a crop of loyal, melanin-lacking disciples.
Putting his unquestionable talent aside, it’s not a huge surprise that Eminem’sSlim Shady LP was so well-received when Interscope helped him to first put take his underground music into the mainstream back in 1999. Paving the way for the constant flow of new, up-and-coming white rappers who idolized him back then, Eminem came to market with a blunt, true-to-self, lower socio-economic class character that was refreshing and different from the previous attempts of white rappers past. Looking the accidental mockery in the face, who can forget The White Rapper Show, for example? Whether you hated it or loved it, it was a trainwreck that you couldn’t resist watching, if only to laugh at the contestants’ hilarious missteps.
On Monday, it was announced that white rapper Rich Hil, son of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, was signed to Warner Brothers Records. This news not only continues to feed the growing trend of white rapper signings, but also the perpetuates the sub-genre craze that is now commonly referred to as “Frat Rap.” Focusing less on conveying social commentary or more personal issues, Frat Rap flaunts a party lifestyle, celebrating the cliche reckless behavior associated with college fraternities, like getting hammered, bagging girls, and partaking in experimental gateway drugs. Executing lyricism and celebrating the Bronx-born culture aren’t really a priority.
If we were in a relationship with Jay-Z and Kanye West, we’d need to have a serious sit-down regarding mixed signals. We got some arguably underwhelming “H.A.M.” back in January, and next they came with haircut symbol of album completion in May. Then, two weeks ago, we got confirmation that they were quietly pushing the Watch The Throne back. Considering the LP is due out digitally on August 1st (physically on August 5th), the suspense was thickening, and we were starting to get antsy about their level of commitment.
Like most men, however, this pair just need space to come around when they’re good and ready. Virtuous patience paid off; last night, Jay and ‘Ye finally showed us some love and released “Otis,” and, just like that, our relationship is repaired. After first being played on New York City’s Hot 97 via FunkMaster Flex, the track that samples Otis Redding’s“Try A Little Tenderness” was officially liberated for consumption.
Proud and pompous verses ricochet back and forth between the two emcees on the song, invoking nostalgia for past collaborations like “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)” and “Never Let Me Down.” And even though the intoxicating sample is sprinking pixie dust in our eyes, this may not be the powerful single and Song of The Summer that we’ve been waiting for. That said, the gang is intact, and they definitely haven’t let us down.
Gather around, y’all … we’ve got scoop. After undergoing emergency surgery to drain an abcess from his tonsils, it’s been announced that R. Kelly is currently recovering in Northwestern Memorial Hospital in his native Chicago. Reps for the 44-year-old singer, famous for his incredible vocal ability on naughty songs like “Bump N Grind,” “Feelin’ On Yo Booty,” “Thoia Thoing” and “I’m a Flirt,” report that he’ll be “laid up indefinitely.” On this end, we certainly wish the R&B crooner a speedy recovery and hope that he can return home soon. Going under the knife is never fun, especially when the area being treated affects your livelihood!
Jeff Bhasker has worked with a slew of talented artists, penning and producing songs for Drake’sThank Me Later, Alicia Keys’The Element of Freedom, Jay-z’sBlueprint III, and Kanye’s808s and Heartbreaks and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. With legit hits under his belt, it should be no surprise that his discerning ear also has some strong opinions. But sometimes, opinions are like a-holes, are they not?
Yesterday, when the producer who most recently worked on Beyoncé’s4 album (“I Care,” “Party,” and “Rather Die Young”) took to Twitter tocriticize former Destiny’s Child vocalist Kelly Rowland’s current hit “Motivation,” you could almost hear the record player come to a screeching stop. Confused as to why a song “with the weakest beat and melody of all time” could catapult Kelly to #1 on the Urban chart, Bhasker wound up justifying the feat by crediting at the song’s featured verse from rapper Lil Wayne.
Every now and then, somebody needs a little therapy, and ten years ago today, that somebody was Mariah Carey. When the pop diva decided to make a surprise guest appearance on MTV ‘s TRL (Total Request Live), it was already being reported that she was undergoing a tragic mental breakdown, coping with being overworked and recently single, post-breakup with latin singer Luis Miguel. Taking the impromptu entrance as well as anyone could, host Carson Daly couldn’t help but roll with the punches and point out the obvious (“Mariah Carey’s lost her mind!”) as the Glitter-promoting diva erratically moved around the Times Square studio, attempting to hand out popsicles to fans.
The best part? Before removing an over-sized, shamelessly plugging “Loverboy” t-shirt and gifting it to Carson by way of a PG striptease, Mimi pushed the frozen treats into the studio herself and requested that Carson give her a therapy session. No good deed goes unpunished! But don’t worry, underneath her shirt, Mariah revealed a tank top that read “SUPERGIRL” and a pair of teeny-tiny gold shorts that she then requested not get in the shot since they were so, well, short.
Of course, this event forebode the career disaster that was the theatrical release of Glitter (which, it should be noted, opened on 9/11), but as we all know, Mariah was able to turn her life around when The Emancipation of Mimi went multi-platinum a few years later and all was once again well in MC’s world. However, between her random, wild comments, constant running out of breath, and seemingly “medicated” mania, this clip is one to be cherished, even ten years later. And don’t forget, y’all: “If you don’t have ice cream in your life, sometimes you just might go a little bit crazy.” Mimi taught me!
Sporting a handsome suit and a shiny pink bow tie, Chris Brown took to the stage this morning before upwards of 18,000 fans (!), performing “Forever” (video above), “She Ain’t You” (video below) and “I Can Transform Ya” on NBC’s TODAY in New York City. While a string of recent controversies seem to follow the troubled young singer, the large audience may serve as a band-aid step in the right direction.
NBC stated on their site that the show was “one of their biggest concert events ever,” but OK Magazine is reporting that this concert was, in fact, the largest in TODAY history, beating out pop force of nature Lady Gaga. However, Jezebel claims that 20,000 Little Monsters showed up to watch their Mother Monster perform, so