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Tag: Hip-Hop/Rap (81-90 of 188)

50 Cent is getting desperate

Kanye50centwayne_l::Sniff:: Do you guys smell something? Ah, yes, it’s the delicate scent of desperation, wafting from the general direction of 50 Cent’s mansion. Lean in a little closer to some of 50′s most recent interviews and you’ll find that odor billowing at you in great gusts. Case in point: 50 called Eminem’s Sirius XM channel this weekend to promote his repeatedly-delayed upcoming album Before I Self-Destruct – by lobbing some hateful trash at current arch-enemies Kanye West and Lil Wayne. Click here for an NSFW summary of his commentary, if you must. Lovely stuff.

But hey, what other options does this guy have? 50′s last album, 2007′s Curtis, was his worst-selling record to-date. His MTV reality show was quietly canceled. Even the car he was developing with Pontiac is dead! When you pin your entire public image on your vast sales power the way 50 did in 2003-05, blaming the economy doesn’t quite cut it. And as the Roots’ ?uestlove pointed out in a recent message-board entry — he’s the guy posting as "15" — 50 might have maxed out in artistic terms, too. Wrote ?uest: "there is simply NO coming back from the term ‘i’ll kill you.’ its like…what is more gangsta than ‘i’ll kill you!’…it solidifies your status….but unfortunately you raise the bar sohigh that you can start counting down the minutes from there." Put that all together and it’s no wonder he’s trying to get attention however he can.

The shame of it all is, some of the new music that’s leaked from 50′s studio sessions lately hasn’t been half bad. 50 Cent is a legitimate talent who’s made some great music over the years. And he has true star quality when he wants to. I’ve met him twice, and he’s come across as a smart, engaging, witty operator both times. But I guess that’s not the face he wants to show the public, especially not when his commercial future is in doubt. So the question is, after a few years watching him stick to this same holding pattern of beef, drama, and more beef, how much longer will you even be paying attention to 50 Cent’s antics?

More on 50 Cent:
50 showed up in Eminem’s exclusive personal photo album
Talking to 50 on the set of that cancelled reality show
50 performed at Sundance last year
His last album, Curtis, made EW’s Worst Albums of 2007

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Lil Wayne's Gatorade ad: Thirsty yet?

I’m not sure that listening to Lil Wayne muse on the many significances of the letter G makes me want to drink Gatorade. But it does give me hope for Weezy’s 2009. See, I am that rare hater fan with standards who thought Tha Carter III had some tasty lyrical treats, along with a bunch of undercooked dishes that were way beneath Wayne’s spectacular talents. So I consider it a very positive sign that he’s chosen to kick off this year with a round minute containing some clever wordplay and exactly zero Auto-Tuned moans. Maybe all it took was a few sips of a cool sports beverage to remind him about those of us who like it when the (Sometimes) Best Rapper Alive actually raps! And: I also like how this ad spotlights world-class athletes like Muhammad Ali, Derek Jeter, and JabbaWockeeZ from America’s Best Dance Crew. Anyone else appreciating Weezy’s little alphabet lesson?

More on Lil Wayne:
He was one of EW’s 25 Entertainers of the Year for 2008
Tha Carter III made it onto Leah Greenblatt’s 10 Best CDs of 2008
We brainstormed a $44 bargain Lil Wayne Halloween costume
Thinking over Tha Carter III when it hit shelves last June

'I'm Broke and Proud': The time is right for recession rap

I was flipping through the basic cable channels late one recent night when I stumbled across a song called "I’m Broke and Proud" on a public-access station. Check it out below; it’s a real gem (with some NSFW language). I’d honestly never heard of these rappers before in my life — the song is by an NYC dude named Rugged N Raw, featuring New Jersey’s Hasan Salaam — but their hilariously honest lyrics about the not-so-good life caught me instantly. "There’s not a lot I can make possible," spits Rugged N Raw, "only cheap ideas in the arsenal/I’ll take a chick to the museum/Looks nice, and the admission fee’s optional!" Now that’s some real talk. And the video might be even better, with RNR throwing coupons at the camera instead of cash, while hisfriends struggle to push their car up a hill. If nothing else, this definitively proves that it’s still funny to see rap’s conspicuous-consumption conventions upended, à la the Roots’ classic "What They Do."

Pretty great stuff, no? With skills like this, here’s hoping Rugged N Raw doesn’t have to stay too broke too much longer. After all, it’s been three months since Young Jeezy served fair warning that "It’s the recession/Everybody broke." Isn’t it high time the rest of the music world took notice of what’s happening to the economy?

More on pop culture and the economy:
EW suggested recession-oriented plotlines for Gossip Girl, Entourage, and more
PopWatch asked how the economy had affected your entertainment spending
EW gave Young Jeezy’s The Recession a B+ review
Smallville and other shows are already hurting because of the recession
"How will the recession affect Hollywood?" EW wondered…in 1991

EW's New Music Roundup: Brandy, Maroon 5, Lily Allen, and more

Welcome to this week’s edition of EW’s New Music Roundup,aregular post highlighting the "Download This" track recommendationsfrom the latest crop of music reviews found in Entertainment Weekly.All songs are from albums that are in stores now, and most are readilyavailable via iTunes, eMusic, or similar services. Enjoy — and be sureto share with your fellow readers if you’ve got opinions on any of thefollowing albums or singles…

Brandy, Human
Genre: R&B
EW Grade: B
Download This: "The Definition"
(Check out Brandy online)

Maroon 5, Call and Response: The Remix Album
Genre: Pop
EW Grade: B+
Download This: "Goodnight Goodnight" (Deerhoof remix)
(Check out Maroon 5 online)

Common, Universal Mind Control
Genre: Hip-Hop
EW Grade: C
Download This: "Make My Day"
(Check out Common online)

Pavement, Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition
Genre: Rock
EW Grade: A
Download This: "Harness Your Hopes"
(Check out Pavement online)

Avant, Avant
Genre: R&B
EW Grade: B
Download This: "French Pedicure"
(Check out Avant online)

Staff Web Pick of the Week:
Lily Allen’s "The Fear" video
The Brit wit skewers modern celebrity as only she can in her fun new clip, with some help from a cast of surreally-costumed dancers.
(Watch it below, or click here)

B.o.B.'s love note to Auto-Tune is pure comedy

What will future generations’ pop-culture historians make of Auto-Tune, the robotic vocal effect that’s been all over the radio for the past few years? Will they see it as a brief fad that yielded mega-hits for artists like T-Pain, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and, er, Cher? Will everyone just be walking around speaking through Auto-Tune filters in their daily life by that point? Or is it possible that Auto-Tune’s most lasting contribution to our world will turn out to be all the LOLarious viral parodies it has inspired online?

Bear with me here. First T-Pain did that self-mocking skit about his relationship with the vocoder-like effect for FunnyOrDie. More recently, blogger FWMJ posted a mixtape of head-knocking hip-hop classics run through an Auto-Tune filter. (Actually, that one might be more terrifying than funny.) And now, enter Atlanta up-and-comer B.o.B., who’s created an entire song and video satirizing the Auto-Tune phenomenon (h/t):

"Could have got a vocal coach/But I ain’t want no vocal coach…" Ah, I could watch that all day. I may still be on the fence about 808s & Heartbreak, but this is one Auto-Tune binge that I can get behind 100 percent. Can’t you?

More on Auto-Tune and its Abusers:
EW gave Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak an A– review
EW gave T-Pain’s Thr33 Ringz a B review
EW gave Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III a B– review
T-Pain told EW why he’s mad at rappers who bite his Auto-Tune style
Auto-Tune made it onto EW’s list of 25 Innovations that Changed Entertainment

T.I.: Does he actually watch NBC? Straw poll!

I was both pleased and a little puzzled when I read that T.I. would be participating in that NBC promo campaign where they get musicians to reinterpret their signature three-note chime. Pleased, because Tip is a reliably dope rapper; puzzled, because I couldn’t quite envision how his talents as a lyrical beast would mesh with that hokey G-E-C chord sequence. And after watching the weird promotional video NBC just put out featuring T.I. (below — h/t), I am only more confused. First, he tells the camera that he "spoke about NBC as I would speak about myself." Not sure what that means, but okay, sure…. Then comes a mad vague rap verse which is allegedly about NBC’s current programming lineup: "From the comedies/To the mysteries/To the greatest sitcoms in history/High dramas got primetime sizzlin’/Anything interesting…." Wait, what network were we talking about again?

Look, don’t take this the wrong way. Those are clever rhymes as always, and the flow is on point. But that verse could be about any television station at any point in the past 50 years! T.I., you’re better than this. I demand a new verse with specific references to storylines on 30 Rock, Heroes, and possibly Knight Rider before I will stop thinking out loud about this very important issue. Go ahead, tell me I’m wrong.

More on T.I.:
His album Trap Muzik is one of EW’s 100 New Music Classics
EW gave his album Paper Trail a B+ review
EW visited him in the studio with Timbaland in ’07
He was PopWatch’s Winner of the Week on October 10

Stephen Colbert's 'Operation Humble Kanye': Pick a side!

Someone help me out here. The hour for Stephen Colbert’s "Operation Humble Kanye" is drawing nigh, and I have no idea which team I’m on. In case you haven’t been watching The Colbert Report this week (and why not?), check out the clip below: Stephen wants his viewers to buy the soundtrack of his recent Christmas special from the iTunes store at exactly 5 p.m. Eastern today in order to knock Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak off of the top of the iTunes chart. Now, as a loyal citizen of Colbert Nation, I am generally prepared to do anything my leader asks of me. But I am also a longstanding fan of Kanye’s music, and I know ‘Ye has a way of taking things personally. Complicating matters, I happen to be sorta ambivalent about both of these particular projects — I’m still not quite sold on Kanye’s decision to become a sadsack electro crooner, and much of A Colbert Christmas’ schmaltzy schtick left me scratching my head instead of LOLing. (Though I will admit that Kanye and Young Jeezy’s "Amazing" is, well, amazing, and Colbert and John Legend’s "Nutmeg" is an instant holiday classic that I will enjoy for years to come.)

Anyway, the whole issue may be moot by now, since Britney Spears and Akon seem to have unseated Kanye on the iTunes chart as I write this. But my dilemma still remains, even if it’s a symbolic one. Should I go purchase Colbert’s soundtrack or Kanye’s album (or, shh, neither) at 5? One more Colbert clip to help you make up your mind is after the jump.

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EW's New Music Roundup: Britney Spears, Kanye West, the Clipse, and more

Britneyclipse_lWelcome to this week’s edition of EW’s New Music Roundup,aregular post highlighting the "Download This" track recommendationsfrom the latest crop of music reviews found in Entertainment Weekly.All songs are from albums that are in stores now, and most are readilyavailable via iTunes, eMusic, or similar services. Enjoy — and be sureto share with your fellow readers if you’ve got opinions on any of thefollowing albums or singles…

Britney Spears, Circus
Genre: Pop
EW Grade: B
Download This: "Unusual You"
(Check out Britney Spears online)

Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak
Genre: Hip-Hop
EW Grade: A–
Download This: "Welcome to Heartbreak"
(Check out Kanye West online)

The Fireman, Electric Arguments
Genre: Rock
EW Grade: B+
Download This: "Sing the Changes"
(Check out The Fireman online)

Los Campesinos!, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
Genre: Indie Rock
EW Grade: A
Download This: "Miserabilia"
(Check out Los Campesinos! online)

Neil Young, Sugar Mountain — Live at Canterbury House 1968
Genre: Folk
EW Grade: B+
Download This: "Birds"
(Check out Neil Young online)

Akon, Freedom
Genre: Pop
EW Grade: C–
Download This: "Right Now (Na Na Na)"
(Check out Akon online)

Musiq Soulchild, ONMYRADIO
Genre: R&B
EW Grade: B+
Download This: "Radio"
(Check out Musiq Soulchild online)

Staff Web Pick of the Week:
The Clipse’s Road to Til the Casket Drops mixtape
The last album the Clipse (pictured, right) recorded was infamously tied up in industry limbo for ages before finally hitting shelves in 2006. Fingers crossed, now: All signs suggest the duo’s follow-up LP, Til the Casket Drops, will arrive on schedule in 2009. In the meantime, the Thornton brothers are keeping rap fans happy with another brand-new mixtape, laced with the venomous poetry that’s kept them on top of critics’ lists for the better part of a decade.
(Click here to stream it online for free)

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Quote of the Day: Neneh Cherry edition

"What is he like? What’s he like, anyway? Yo man, what do you expect? The guy’s a gigolo, man.You know I mean?" –Neneh Cherry, "Buffalo Stance"

Hey, 50 Cent! Make music, not war, with Taco Bell!

50cent_l_2You may have heard the news last week that Taco Bell slapped 50 Cent with a countersuit over the trademark-infringement case brought by the rapper last summer; the initial lawsuit involved the fast-food restaurant chain’s promotional letter suggesting Fitty change his name to "79 Cent," "89 Cent," or "99 Cent," in an effort to promote Taco Bell‘s delicious/nauseating Value Menu.And while I can certainly understand the outrage prompted by Taco Bell using a line like "We encourage you to ‘Think Outside the Bun’ and hope you accept our offer" in its initial note, wouldn’t it be better if the legal combatants set aside their differences in a spirit of cooperation, mutual self-promotion, and financial gain?

To that end, I have penned a little rap ditty to the tune of Fitty’s 2002 smash "In Da Club." (Original track embedded after the jump, should you want to sing along.) I only wrote an intro and a first pass at the chorus, but by all means, feel free to suggest lines for the verse in the comments section below. If you can find a good rhyme for Crunchwrap Supreme, you’re a better wordsmith than me.

Go, go, go, go
Go, go, go Taco
It’s your birthday
We’ll dance with señoritas like it’s your birthday
We gon’ eat Gorditas like it’s your birthday
And grab a Steak Grilled Taquito
Even if it’s not your birthday!

[Chorus]
You can find me at the Bell, ’cause I like what they sell
We’ll trade our Glocks for guac, join the Chalupa cartel
I’m into hard tacos, I ain’t into the soft shells
Reduced-fat sour cream? Oh I’ll tell you "go to hell"

You won’t find me at Chipolt, their menu is revolt…
Fast food’s better super-processed, if the truth be told
I’m into Prevacid, I ain’t into poppin’ Tums
So come give me a hug. And a 7-Layer Stuft…

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