By Chris Yuscavage
In rap, like Hollywood, sequels are rarely better than the originals.
Fat Joe's 2009 album, Jealous Ones Still Envy 2 (J.O.S.E. 2), couldn't hold a candle to the 2001 J.O.S.E. effort that helped introduce Joey Crack to the mainstream. Ghostface Killah's 2006 album, More Fish, sounds like a compilation of all the tracks gutted from Ghost's other 2006 LP, Fishscale. And, please, don't even begin to get us started on Jay-Z's 2002 double-disc, The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse!
But every now and then, an artist manages to create an album sequel that lives up to its name. Case in point: Lloyd Banks' new album, H.F.M.2 (Hunger For More 2). More than six years after dropping his 2004 debut, The Hunger For More, the G-Unit soldier has crafted a solid album that showcases lyrics that sound just as hungry as when his career began. With that in mind, RapFix decided to take a look back at 10 other rap album sequels. Nothing beats an original—but these came damn close.
The Artist: Raekwon
The Original Album: 1995's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...
The Sequel: 2009's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II
It sure took the Chef long enough to cook up a second helping of his classic debut. But once we heard what he was serving, we had to admit that it was worth the wait. The only drawback? You can blame Rae for Busta Rhymes' Extinction Level Event 2, Redman's Muddy Waters 2, AZ's Doe or Die 2 and all the other rappers slapping the number "2" on the end of their classic album titles in order to try and reclaim their place amongst hip-hop's elite. Read More...
By Chris Yuscavage
Want to hear something funny?
Well, don't look hear. We're all business today. But if you're in the mood to chuckle, try checking Kanye West's latest album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. On "Blame Game," a track featuring John Legend on the hook, another special guest makes an appearance: Chris Rock. After Kanye drops a couple verses about the aftermath of a relationship gone wrong (Hm ... are you listening, Amber?!), Rock drops some funny punchlines, adding an exclamation to Kanye's message of heartbreak.
This particular tactic isn't new to the rap game. Rather than try and be funny themselves, there are plenty of rappers who have turned to comedians to appear on their albums in order to inject a comedy routine into the mix. In honor of Chris Rock's latest appearance—and in honor of the fact that he's also reportedly narrating Busta Rhymes's entire next album—RapFix gathered a group of 10 comedians who have appeared on rap albums in the past. No joke: these guys provided some of the best laugh tracks we've ever heard.
The Comedian: Cedric the Entertainer
The Appearance: On Kanye West's 2004 debut, The College Dropout
The Result: Does 'Ye have a thing for comedians? Why, yes he does. (Hint: This isn't the only comedian to appear on a Kanye album on this list). Big Ced did his thing on the Chicago MC's album by playing the role of an administrator at a school. And, boy, do we wish we went to that school growing up. Read More...
By Chris Yuscavage
Tired of seeing Jay-Z in the news yet?
Over the course of the last week, he's literally been everywhere thanks to a wild press tour for his new book, "Decoded," that's seen him answer questions asked by everyone from MTV News to Jon Stewart. He's covered a range of topics, too—talking up the importance of rap music, revealing things about his own upbringing and even defending frequent collaborator Kanye West on a number of occasions.
In case you've missed it—or in case you just don't have the time to listen to 300 Jay-Z interviews (just kidding, Jay!)—RapFix decided to decode 10 of Hov's top sound bytes from his press tour. Listen up.
What He Said: "No disrespect to Nas, but if you look back, it wasn't 'Ether' the song, it was 'Ether' the record. If you take away the beat, it's a really dope record but my overall everything was better."
Who He Said It To: Hot 97's DJ Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg
What We Learned From It: Jay still feels like "Takeover" ethered the diss track Nas directed at him way back in 2001. Do we agree? Ehn, it depends who you ask. Either way, it's clear that nearly a decade after Hov and Nas feuded on record, the winner still isn't completely unanimous. Read More...
By Chris Yuscavage
Game sure knows how to stir up controversy.
Since the former G-Unit general jumped into the rap scene back in the mid-2000s, he's been doing, saying and tweeting things that have helped keep his name in the headlines. Most recently, Game took to his Twitter account and extended an olive branch to former friend-turned-foe 50 Cent.
"@50cent Aye n----, get on twitter & let's get this s---- movin !!! G-G-G-G-well, you know the rest," he wrote late last week. "@50cent All it take it 'ONE PHONE CALL'! U call me, I call BUCK, tell Banks holla at Yayo & dat puts HIP HOP @ OUR MERCY!"
For the most part, Fif ignored Game's pleas and Lloyd Banks played them off as a publicity stunt during his "RapFix Live" visit on Thursday (November 11)—but it appears that Game got us again. Without a hit record on the radio—though he did release a collaboration with Diddy called "Red Bottoms" on Tuesday (November 16)—or a new album on store shelves (his The R.E.D. Album has been delayed for months now) Game is back in the news.
This isn't the first time he's done this, and it certainly won't be the last. To show you what we mean, RapFix collected a list of Game's 10 craziest hip-hop moments. These incidents have helped to define his career and kept him relevant—even when his music hasn't.
The Date: February 2005
The Moment: 50 Cent drops Game from G-Unit after Game refuses to side with him in several beefs with New York rappers Fat Joe and Jadakiss. Then a shooting takes place at New York's Hot 97 offices.
The Controversy: 50 Cent—along with some help from Dr. Dre—helped build Game's career and gave him an identity. So when Game decided to cut ties with him by siding with Fif's enemies, it definitely looked like he was playing himself. But, all it did was build his buzz even higher and make his sophomore album, Doctor's Advocate, that much more anticipated. Read More...
By Chris Yuscavage
One of rap's biggest free agents is officially off the market.
After organizing a secret show at The Box club in New York on November 12 and promising a "big announcement," Jay-Z revealed that the show wasn't actually for him. Rather, it was for Jay Electronica—the latest rapper to sign to Hov's Roc Nation label. "My whole goal is to reintroduce magic to hip hop," Jay told the invite-only crowd. "We watched this wizard do his thing. Y'all supported him. And he's an official Roc Nation signee."
Electronica then went on to perform several of his notable hip-hop hits, including "Exhibit A (Transformations)" and "Exhibit C" as well as a new track called "The Announcement," a song that features clips of John F. Kennedy and made Jay's revelation seem even more noteworthy. "The black Gods mingled a bit, then the fingers got pricked, then the single got picked," he rapped. "Man, I'm living out my brain, I don't dream about s---."
The funny thing about Jay Electronica, though? If you haven't been heavily checking the rap blogs over the last couple years, there's a pretty good chance you were left scratching your head when Jay-Z announced that he was joining J. Cole and Willow Smith on his label. Jay's had a couple hits—who didn't jack Just Blaze's "Exhibit C" beat for a freestyle last year?!—but it's not like the guy's been all over the radio recently. He's actually done all he can to stay out of the spotlight and keep a low profile.
So with that in mind, RapFix decided to put together a quick list of 10 things you need to know about the MTV Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010 candidate. Allow him to reintroduce himself ...
1. He hails from the same Magnolia Projects in New Orleans as Juvenile
Though he might not sound like most of your favorite Southern rappers, Jay was actually born and raised in the same place as former Cash Money Records rapper Juvenile. However, he's also spent time living in Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia and several other major cities. Read More...
By Chris Yuscavage
Mood Muzik Mondays? Wu Wednesdays? Blue Fridays? And now, Timbo Thursdays?!?
Call us crazy, but we think it's pretty clear Kanye West kicked off quite the trend back in August when he debuted his G.O.O.D. Friday music promotion by pledging to deliver one new song every Friday until the release of his forthcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Now, rather than release mixtapes, there are a ton of other artists who are also choosing to release individual songs once a week to keep themselves relevant.
Since we already keep a separate calendar to separate our music days, we got to thinking: 'Why stop there?' Surely, there are other artists out there who could take advantage of Kanye's original idea by releasing music on a specific day each week. So we sat down and came up with seven new music days for artists not currently participating in the process. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?
For: Nicki Minaj
How It Could Benefit Her: Well, briefly. Nicki's album comes out next week so she doesn't have much time to capitalize on this concept. But judging by all the buzz surrounding her latest leak, "Roman's Revenge," featuring Eminem and the snippets of her LP Pink Friday, we're guessing two Minaj Mondays would probably be more valuable than a year's worth of ... someone else's days. Read More...
By Chris Yuscavage
Eminem knows how to steal a show.
Don't believe it? Just take a listen to "Roman's Revenge," the latest leak from Nicki Minaj's debut album, Pink Friday, and see Em's talent for yourself. Although Nicki runs through a range of different voices, drops some pretty impressive bars and even takes a few subliminal shots at a certain female rapper, the Detroit MC still manages to rap circles around the Harajuku Barbie by tapping his Slim Shady alter ego.
"Yeah, look who's back again, bitch keep actin' as if you have the passion as I have/Yeah right, still hungry, my ass/You ass d---- had gastric bypass," he raps.
Ouch. Em's made verses like this a habit throughout his career. Though he's earned the respect of the mainstream audience with his solo albums, he's earned the respect of his peers by competing toe-to-toe on songs and spitting spectacular guest verses. In honor of his latest, and the fact that Keyshia Cole wants to work with him—'Love The Way You Lie III"?—RapFix collected 10 of his best guest verses through the years. Take look at Slim Shady as he steps into the spotlight.
The Song: Missy Elliott's "Busa Rhyme," from 1999's Da Real World
The Show-Stealing Lines: "I'm bringin' you rap singers two middle fingers/I'll flip you off in French, then translate it in English/Then I'ma vanish off the face of the planet and come back speakin' so much Spanish, Pun can't even understand it"
The Reaction: Um, did he really just say that?!? At the height of the Slim Shady era, Em teamed up with Missy for her Da Real World album and dropped a bunch of bars that were, quite simply, out of this world. Read More...
By Chris Yuscavage
Wiz Khalifa hasn't exactly kept his love for Mary Jane a secret—his latest tour is called "Waken Baken." He's posted photos of himself on the Internet toking with Rick Ross. His biggest mixtape to date is called Kush & Orange Juice. He's even gone on the record with us to talk about how he likes to "bake" with his mom!
So it's no surprise that the Pittsburgh MC was arrested in North Carolina on Monday (November 8) on drug trafficking charges. Following a show at East Carolina University, authorities boarded his tour bus, found 60 grams of marijuana and charged Wiz with a felony count of trafficking marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released shortly thereafter, but not before he posted $300,000 bail and took one of the most memorable mug shots in recent hip-hop history.
Fear not, though, Taylor Gang.
If things play out the way that we think, your fearless leader won't abandon you anytime soon. Because if history is any indication, rappers who get caught with weed rarely find themselves in much trouble. To illustrate, RapFix canvassed the in-house legal library (aka "Google") to find out what happened when 10 other notable rappers were locked up for marijuana possession. Judging by these, Wiz shouldn't worry.
The Rapper: Snoop Dogg
The Arrest: The Doggfather—who sent Wiz a series of tweets yesterday about his arrest—got busted back in October 2001 when a couple of his tour buses were stopped in Cleveland. A quick search netted an astounding 200 grams of marijuana (take that, Wiz!). Snoop was arrested on possession charges. Read More...
By Chris Yuscavage
Kanye West has been everywhere this year but his travels aren't limited to the Internet, the news or the radio, either. No, and the Chicago MC is traveling so much that he's decided to hold concerts while he's flying. RapFix says,why not?
During the early part of 2010, 'Ye spent his time shacked up in Hawaii recording tracks for his forthcoming album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and flying friends like Q-Tip, RZA and Pete Rock out to visit. Over the course of the last month, he's been around the world showcasing his short film "Runaway" for journalists in Paris, London and New York City. And, most recently, he announced that he would be accompanying Jay-Z on trips to the south of France and London, where the two will put the finishing touches on their collaborative album, Watch the Throne.
And that got us to thinking two things; one, it must be really, really nice to be Kanye West right now. And, two, 'Ye must have a lot of frequent flier miles racked up!
Luckily, RapFix is happy to report that they are not going to waste because this blog tracked down a source* who gave us the exclusive scoop on exactly what Mr. West has been buying with all of the frequent flier reward miles he's racked up and what else he plans to purchase with them. In typical Kanye fashion, these rewards are only available to him and are top-of-the-line—read: no headphones, T-shirts or coffee mugs! Read More...
By Steven Roberts
On Tuesday (November 9) Kid Cudi hosted an album signing at New York's Bape store, celebrating the release of his sophomore LP Man On The Moon II : The Legend Of Mr Rager. *puts on the trendiest sweat shirt in our RapFix closet* Last week, the MC-cum-singer announced via Twitter that he, rapper Cage and Shia LaBeouf—yes, the "Transformers" actor—are planning to release a short film for Cudi’s single “Maniac.” That news got us thinking; what other albums and/or songs would work as short films?
Kanye’s “Runaway” was visually and sonically stunning, and it definitely set the standard for what's to come in the next few years from others in hip-hop. We'd say there’s enough creative know how in Cudi, Cage and Shia to expect nothing less than the 'that was pretty good' as a evaluation of their forth-coming project. But what other efforts could work as short films? RapFix came up with a few ideas ... Read More...