rap = an element of hip hop

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These screencaps weren’t even that hard to find. 

The Get Down needs your help. It needs stronger viewing numbers. And you can help! (If you want to. Which, um, you should, it’s a really good show and very much worth checking out.)

For the Hamilton fandom, this should be a very, very, VERY easy migration. Both The Get Down and Hamilton share common story elements, themes, and core values. Both The Get Down and Hamilton are the stories of a young man orphaned in traumatic circumstances who is struggling to make a name for himself based on his skills as a wordsmith during a tumultuous and violent time in American history, told via rap and hip hop music. The fandoms even share a common actor: Daveed Diggs. 

Usual Suspects kicks off the record with a fierce dub-step track and sharp-tongued rap. How We Roll introduces some more rock-inspired riffs and synth beats. Kicking over to a more alternative rock sound, the title track Day of the Dead is not only one of the best, but will get stuck in your head with its infectious chorus. The acoustic intro to this song is great. War Child is also equally infectious but completely different; this is one of the party songs on the record. Dark Places begins with a music box playing and then jumps into a swaggering hip hop beat that has the slight flavor of old school rap, like a modernized version of Hotel California. Wandering back to the rock side of things Take Me Home is more rock oriented and a little heavier and darker than the rest of the record. Gravity is a danceable track that has the pop elements of Good Charlotte’s The River and the beat of Static X’s Push It. Disease is up next and it also is uniquely arranged, mixing riffs reminiscent of Marilyn Manson’s The Beautiful People with drums like Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit In The Sky. Flipping back away from the rock, Party By Myself is just one of those songs that you will be singing over and over again and is the most fun song on the album. Live Forever is a feel good upbeat pop rock song. Piano introduces Save Me, a slow groove ballad with just enough fire to keep it from interrupting the flow of the previous songs. Guzzle, Guzzle is all about tight beats, sounding much like something off a major Hip Hop artist’s album. Going in a very different direction all together, I’ll Be There is sweet, lighthearted with its acoustic guitars and sounds like a rock version of Phillip Phillips’ Home. Rounding out the album, Let Go brings back the dub-step, blending darker riffs and melodies together.

There’s never been any doubt in my mind that Los Angeles based producer Nosaj Thing is a music genius. His atmospheric, droopy, hypnotic productions are subtle yet nuanced. On May 5th, he’ll be releasing new album Fated on Innovative Leisure, and today he slays it on newly revealed album track Cold Stares, which features entrancing vocals by Chance The Rapper. The syrupy, haunting song is smooth yet heady, a smorgasbord of chilling and sensual elements. Nosaj Thing will be touring this spring across the states, leading up to the album release.

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This Day In Hip Hop and Rap History

September 11th – Kanye West releases his third album, “Graduation”, on Roc-A-Fella Records, also on this day in 2007.

The Grammy Award winning “Graduation” went multi-platinum and to the top of the charts.

“Graduation’s” title continued West’s education theme of his two previous efforts, “The College Dropout” and “Late Registration”.

Inspired by U2, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, West wanted to make an album that would stand the test of time, more than his previous two releases, and one day be considered a classic.

One of the elements he used to achieve this was to expand musically.

“Graduation”, although hip-hop at its core, merged snippets of electronica, rock, lounge music, prog-rock, reggae, dub, pop and synth-pop.

West also incorporated more live instrumentation in addition to sampling on “Graduation” as well.

“Graduation” spawned the hit singles, “Good Life”, featuring T-Pain, “Flashing Lights”, featuring Dwele, “Homecoming”, featuring Chris Martin of Coldplay, “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and the monster smash “Stronger”.

Other guests on “Graduation included, Mos Def, DJ Premier, Lil’ Wayne, Jay-Z, Ne-Yo, John Legend and Connie Mitchell of Sneaky Sound System.

West would produce “Graduation” along with Mike Dean, DJ Toomp, Nottz, Warryn Campbell and others.

The album’s cover was designed by Japanese contemporary “superflat” artist Takashi Murakami.

“Graduation” would be the first of West’s more introspective albums that he would release.

Fugees

the fugees were an hip hop group who rose to fame in the mid-1990s. Their repertoire included elements of hip hop, soul and Caribbean music, particularly reggae. The members of the group were rapper/singer/producer Wyclef Jean,  Lauryn Hill and rapper Pras Michel. Deriving their name from the term refugee.  In 2007, MTV ranked them the 9th greatest Hip-hop group of all time.

Grammy insiders unveil their Album Of The Year secret ballots
  • The Songwriter: Common thought is Taylor Swift has it. R&B voters would split between Kendrick and the Weeknd. And the older rock vote would split Alabama Shakes and Chris Stapleton. I wouldn’t be surprised if it went to Alabama, like Beck beating Beyonce in 2015. But my pick is Taylor Swift.
  • The Artist: Kendrick Lamar should win. And I think he will. His album was so musical, and he did a good job of combining rap and hip-hop elements with punk and soul.
  • The Producer: I have to go for Chris Stapleton because I can’t even believe it’s in that category. That album was done from such a pure place—it was just about making good art.
  • The Artist: Kendrick. I’m a huge Kamsai Washington fan, and I really love the tracks he did for Kendrick. They’re badass.