Chip Tha Rip!

Kid Cudi mentioned this guy Chip Tha Ripper on his song "Dat New New" a few months back, and kind of sparked my interest in the character. Then, Chip was featured on the Kidz in the Hall album and on Cudi's legendary mixtape A Kid Named Cudi.

Chip released a mixtape about a month ago entitled Can't Stop Me. It's pretty dope. His style is nothing like Cudi's, but when they hop on a track together it's a pretty dope collaboration. Check out the mixtape and download below.

Key Tracks: Mr. Alladatshit, F.R.E.S.H., Ask About Me, Can't Stop Me


LupEND to be Three Discs!

Mr. Fiasco always throws curveballs. Whether it's songs like Hurt Me Soul where he lists all the world's ills, or a concept album based on three characters like The Cool, he's innovative to say the least. I know we've all been expecting new shit from Lupe, and as he said on his last album, the upcoming one will be his last.

The album is entitled LupEND, and according to a show he recently did at Congress Theater, the album will be a 3-disc set. Fittingly, they'll be titled Everywhere, Nowhere and Down Here. Get it? E.N.D.?

That's a whole lot of new ish from the man, and that makes for a very exciting Saturday. Expect Soundtrakk to go off on the album(s).

"It ain't just gonna be one album. There are going to be 3...I love this too much to just go out with one album." - Lupe

Thank god he's not off in Paris writing a book...yet.


Ruminations on the Sneaker Game

I hate tri-colored Dunk's and SB's. I hate "rare" Bape's and "essential" Japanese kicks. I hate those people who are so crazy about the "sneaker game" that they buy more pairs than their local sneakershop houses and wear them less often than homeless people could dream of.

The fact is, people nowadays have an obsession with a sneaker game that takes advantage of their stupidity.

So, focus on making your own lane, and becoming your own taste-maker. Don't get caught up in what all the other artists and commericals are convincing you are the ish. Find your own shit.

And on that note, props to The Pack for making Vans cool again. Little late on that, but still respectable.


Some Good Things

Hey ya'll. I must say I'm happy to be writing again for your reading pleasure...and after writing two beautiful gems this morning on some real shit, I'm just going to break you off with a playlist. It's not a current playlist. It's not an oldschool playlist. It's not the ONLY playlist. This is just shit that I am listening to right now and enjoying. So take it, love it, destroy it from your memory. Whatever-the-fuck-ever, but read it.

Little Brother - Delusional feat. Oddisee
Common - Universal Mind Control feat. Pharrell
Wale - The Crazy (Nick Catchdubs Remix)
Lil' Wayne - A Millie
The Fugees - Zealots
88 Keys - Cuddle Bums
Blaqstarr - Shake it to the Ground (Claude Von Stroke Remix)
Erykah Badu - Soldier feat. Jay-Z
Estelle - Magnificent
Mickey Factz - Overdose on Life
The Roots - Criminal feat. Saigon
Fonzworth Bentley - C.O.L.O.U.R.S. feat. Pimp C & Lil' Wayne
The Roots - You Got Me feat. Erykah Badu
Jay-Z - Feelin' It

Peace, Love, the GAP. And I'm out!

Cudder on the Come-Up

Last time I mentioned an artist on the "Come-Up" to you guys, he went by the name of Wale, and I hate to say I told you so. But, I did. Since my December post, Wale has signed with Interscope Records, been featured in Vibe and GIANT Magazines and has recieved crazy press. He also recently released a new mixtape with turntablist Nick Catchdubs, and is working on another with dream-merchant 9th Wonder. Also, according to him he's working with Just Blaze and Skateboard P on tracks for his debut.
Anyway, on to newer and possibly better things, Kid Cudi! Cudi is originally from the now-hip hop defunct town of Cleveland, OH. He moved to Brooklyn a few years ago, and began working with producer Dot Da Fucking Genius. After a fateful meeting at Def Jam (where he didn't get signed) he gained the support of GOOD Music A&R Plain Pat. Soon after, Cudi signed with the newly established indie label Fool's Gold, belonging to 1's and 2's Masters A-Trak and Catchdubs. Cudder then released his first single "Day N' Night" and got a SUPERDOPE remix made for him by a couple Frenchies known as Crookers. The song absolutely blew up, and for good reason. I'd go as far as to say it's impossible to play without dancing to it, or at least seeing head nods from the "least likely to dance crew." Anyway, he came right back with a song called "Dat New New," a slow and absolutely wonderful jam that just makes you want to play it on repeat for longer than normal. He's also released a freestyle on his MySpace page and has a few downloads up online for jams such as "Maui Wowie" and "Is There Any Love."

With fans (88 Keys, Wale, A-Trak, The Neptunes, Plain Pat) in high places, the Ohio-Native singer/rapper is destined to make something of himself. I'm seeing him at Knitting Factory on June 17th in NYC, I suggest if you can, you go!

Here's some links:

Oh, and check out his movie-esque trailer for his new mixtape, "A Kid Named Cudi," on his website, super dreary but very fucking cool.

Mixtape - July
Album - January
Video for Day N' Night - June

Impressively Cool Kids

Hey everyone, I haven't written in a while, but I'm back in full swing and the summer shall bring new...news. So there's been some hot music as of late, from Erykah Badu's overdue return, to the new Roots album to the Estelle's sophomore album and the Cool Kids EP. All of these albums are great, and really different sounding, but it's definitely a relief to hear artists still making music, with so many rappers who live off one single for years.

With that being said, I'm really impressed with what the Cool Kids have been doing, and as unsuspecting and ridiculous as their music may seem, they may have uncovered the future of the industry. The Cool Kids have been performing live for about a year and a half now, and have gotten some great buzz as they've opened for super-hipster M.I.A. and held the main stage at festivals like Coachella and S/SW. After getting all of the road buzz, they released a few songs to their MySpace and several online outlets, for free. Then, after a lot of internet advertising and forum-buzz, they released their debut EP through iTunes...on their own label. No middle man, no major labels, no distributors, no SOLID COPIES. They wen't completely digital, and every single dollar earned from sales was theirs and Apple's. For two kids under 22 years old, even a couple thousand copies (which would be horrible by a major label's standards) means direct profit.

It's brilliant. Just wait for this to happen more and more, and for the Def Jam's, Atlantic's and Interscope's to break down as soon as it does.


The Roots Are Back Like it's 1987

The Roots are hip-hop’s most musical group, there’s no doubt about that. With influences from Jazz, neo-soul, and old school hip-hop, they're one of the most "alternative" groups in or out of hip hop. From their first days almost two decades ago to their most recent album, Rising Down, The Roots have been among hip-hop’s premiere cult groups. Anyone that truly loves music and feels that there are elements of hip-hop that are bigger than the current sound has to appreciate the Philadelphia-bred group.

The Roots are comprised of Black Thought, the official MC of the group, ?uestlove on Drums, Kamal Gray on Keyboard, F. Knuckles on Percussion, Captain Kirk Douglas on guitar, Owen Biddle on Bass, and Tuba Gooding Jr. on the sousaphone. The lineup of The Legendary Roots Crew sounds more like Benny Goodman’s big band half a century ago than that of a hip-hop group.

Nowadays, with no more musical talent needed than some knowledge of Garage Band and Pro Tools, basically any artist can call themselves a “musician.” However, The Roots have combined raw and underrated MC’ing by the genius that is Black Thought with ?uestlove’s virtuosity on drums and a whole slew of other instruments.

....... Read the rest at:


Nas' "Nigger"


The most negatively charged, racist and hateful word a person can actually say in public. A word that marks the struggle and hatred that millions of African-Americans have seen for hundreds of years. A word that is so inconsequentially and thoughtlessly tossed around in conversation and recitation of lyrics by white boys who love rap music. A word that can cause an argument, a fight, or even a riot. And now, that word is the title of Nas’ new album.

For more, go to: http://www.thecampusword.com/content/view/2306/589/


Missy Elliot Coming Back!

It's true! Missy Elliot is making a comeback! She has been in the studio, and has recently released two new singles for her upcoming album, including "Ching A Ling." The single will be featured on the soundtrack for the Step Up 2 Movie. It will also be featured on her new album due to release in May under Atlantic. Keep an ear out for new music!

B.o.B .on the Come-Up

So, as I ran a feature on Wale a few months ago and how he's been coming up in the game in a big way, I'm doing the same on a very eclectic and creative sounding artist named B.o.B.

The Atlanta-bred rapper started his rise in the game when he was just 15, as he started producing tracks for local Atlanta acts. Eventually, he caught the eye of some label heads, and the rest, they say, is history. He is currently working on his debut album which is due out this spring, and he has produced and written the majority of the songs off the album. He has a really different sound, an extremely creative flow matched with smart lyrics and a southern drawl. He has a new single out with songstress Amy Winehouse. Keep an eye out for B.o.B.!



New Estelle Track!!

So there's this new singer/rapper/songstress Estelle from across the pond, and she is the first signee to John Legend's record label, Homeschool Records. She has an amazing sound, she's very soulful, original, and extremely funky. She has the support of Kanye, which is definitely going to be huge for her career. Her first song out actually features the recent Graduate, and it's called "American Boy." Kanye sports his newly acquired British accent for the jam, check it out!


Long-Overdue Ghostface Review

The one and only Ghostface Killah released his latest album, "The Big Doe Rehab" on the first week in December, and I apologize for not yet reviewing it. I also bought the Scarface, Wyclef, and Daft Punk that week, and just haven't quite gotten around to listening to Ghost until this week. Anyway, the album is crazy. I have always been a Ghostface and Wu fan, but Ghost killed his latest album while Wu was definitely lacking with "8 Diagrams."

Ghost is in a league of his own as far as gangsta rappers go, because it's said that only conscious rappers can be amazing lyricists, but Ghost disproves the theory. He definitely follows the subject matter of a lot of others, and repeats his own style a bit, but he does it oh so gracefully. He's funny and entertaining, and listening to each song is like your ear watching a masterpiece film. He enlists Kid Capri for the very jubilant "We Celebrate," where he boasts: 
"'What's that in your pocket Ghost?'/
A dill pickle. 'Not that'/
Oh that's the 45 Stainless Nickel/
I'm pullin the green/
Got a G for the fattest ass  on the floor/
Who look right in them jeans"

On "Yolanda's House," Meth and Raekwon join Ghost and describe a hilarious scene at a female's house during a drug bust. Finally, on "Slow Down," Chrisette Michele joins Ghost in a very soulful and jazzy jam.

Ghost definitely proves he's the only gangsta rapper worth mentioning nowadays with "The Big Doe Rehab."

Rating: Go Buy it, and Frame it!


Year in Review

Hey everyone! First off, happy new year to everyone reading this, I hope that everyone got to celebrate and bring in an amazing 2008. So, before there's anything coming out and we start to get excited about new acts and releases, we can look back at an active and abundant 2007.

2007 saw some phenomenal releases and projects, so let's break it down.

Best Albums of 2007 ~

Lupe Fiasco - The Cool This album was definitely the best album of the year. Amazing production and features-mostly all by underground artists. Lupe proves he's the smartest rapper out there and created a classic.

Jay-Z - American Gangster Jay came out of retirement for the second time to create a concept album based on Ridley Scott's "American Gangster." It has a classic old school feel, with production from The Hitmen and JD. Features are perfect and necessary, and he's definitely making a case for himself to never retire.

Kanye West - Graduation Kanye uses his brilliant mind yet again to capture strange, obscure, and electronic sounds from artists around the world. But...it works. He used electronica heroes Daft Punk for his epic single "Stronger" to make one of the biggest hits in a long time. He even overcame 50 Cent who released his album the same week and outsold him by nearly double.

Talib Kweli - Eardrum Most people compare this album to Common's "Finding Forever" because they're both of the conscious side. However, I pick this album over Comm's any day. It's longer, includes great and diverse features, and Kweli goes back to his old days and kills every single track.

Best Artists of 2007 ~

Kanye - He's taking over the world. Quickly. No setbacks could slow him down, and the next few years are definitely his.

Daft Punk - Performers of the year, hands down. Held Alive 2007 tour a decade after their last Alive tour to hundreds of thousands of dancing Americans.

Wale - Went from obscure rapper on Mark Ronson's Allido Records, to a huge name in the industry featured on the cover of URB Magazine.

Lupe Fiasco - Featured in what seems like thousands of publications throughout the year following up on his epic first album with a sophomore effort that outshines every album of the year.

T-Pain - Followed in label-mate Akon's footsteps and got features on the biggest songs of the year. Anywhere you turned, you heard his animated and electronic voice, and you danced to it. 2008 promises to be even bigger.

Biggest Songs of 2007 ~

I'm So Hood (feat. Just about every rapper in the game) - DJ Khaled

Crank That - Soulja Boy

I Get money - 50 Cent

Rehab - Amy Winehouse

D.A.N.C.E. - Justice (Which Wale remixed, quite amazingly, if I may say so)

Low - Flo-Rida

Good Life - Kanye West

There's been some amazing things done in music in 2007. I hope that 2008 can promise to be even better.


The Last Stand & The New Industry

It's been said the last quarter of 2007 would be the music industry's last stand, in the record stores, at least. With such a statement up in the air, the line up of artists did not disappoint. From 50 Cent to Jay-Z to Kanye and Lupe Fiasco, to the return of Wu Tang, there were some amazing and monumental releases these past few months. Regardless, with sales constantly and surely declining, it's simply unreasonable for labels to keep pouring unbelievable amounts of money into projects and printing if the sales are just not there. These labels and artists are at odds, and the industry is definitely at a crossroads.

Major labels have been following the same format and sales routines for the last 20 years, and there are undoubtedly going to be some growing pains. Some labels are adapting though...

T-Pain recently announced that he was starting his own label, called Nappy Boy Records, which would abolish record stores completely. However, his major label is still not up, and it will be upwards of 4 years until he actually kicks this plan into action. Either way, artists and labels have to learn to change with the times...and fast. They simply cannot afford to make shitty music by artists who have no true talent or longevity.

That means no more Hurricane Chris or Lil' Boosie. But this also means a lot more Lupe Fiasco, and artists of the sort. Somehow, I think we'll survive.


Wale on the Come-Up

DC-bred Wale has recently hit the scene in a major way, with being featured on the cover of URB Magazine and being featured as the single of the week on iTunes. He first came on the scene with a feature on Lily Allen's "Smile." Mark Ronson quickly signed him on his own label, Allido Records, to join hip-hop's hottest sophomore, Rhymefest, young crooner Daniel Merriweather, and world renowned DJ's Jus Ske and Doug Grayson. 

Since the Lily Allen feature, Wale has made an amazingly acclaimed and successful mixtape, in "100 Miles and Runnin'," and has been on tour through Europe for months. After wildly successful tracks like "Nike Boots" and "W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E.," which he performed at the 2007 MTV VMA Awards, he is on track to make it. 

Wale is definitely a fresh and new sound amidst all the bullshit music being released nowadays. He uses amazing wordplay, intelligent banter, and his extensive knowledge of fashion to capture the listener's earlobes. The debut album truly cannot come soon enough. 

Wale ~ "Nike Boots"


And the Winner is..."The Cool"

Lupe Fiasco's new album dropped in record stores a few hours ago, and I have been losing my mind listening to this album. I feel as if I have not heard good music for decades before today. The album begins with an "Eardrum"-esque spoken word poet on the intro, leading to an inspirational chant-song in "Free Chilly." The album then quickly goes into arguably the three best tracks off the record, "Go-Go Gadget Flow," "The Coolest," and "Superstar." Lupe's flow is in deed quick, smart, creative, and so different from the shit we have been hearing. For the album, Lupe enlists a lot of features, most of whom are not exactly big-name. However, every feature is not forced, rather helps complement every song. Some people say he's the savior of hip-hop, some say he's a defamation to the old-school, but Lupe has undoubtedly made the best album of 2007 with "The Cool."

Rating: 5 Stars ~ Buy it, and Frame it!

Lupe Fiasco ~ "Hip-Hop Saved My Life"



Here Comes Lupe

It's the final weekend of the record industry's 2007 calendar year, and one of its newest contenders will be stealing the spotlight in two days with his sophomore album. Lupe is the last heavyweight from the enormous 4th quarter to release an album, and there has been a tremendous amount of controversy and expectation leading up to this album, and everyone's bets are still on Mr. Fiasco. This year alone he has gone through Fiascogate, in which he performed at Hip Hop Honors to honor Tribe Called Quest...and forgot the lines. No one could believe that one of hip-hop's newcomers could so deeply offend the culture and such a legenday group. Regardless, Lupe's singles off the new album sound amazing, from "Dumb it Down" to "Superstar," and the recently released "The Coolest." Lupe is impressing even the nay-sayers, and I don't know about the rest, but I cannot wait for Tuesday to hear the rest.

The New Wu

So there's been a lot of acclaim for the newly released Wu-Tang album. It's been over five years since their last group effort, and die-hard fans of the Wu are definitely disappointed with the latest effort. There's been a lot of controversy surrounding the album's release, from rumors of disagreement between Wu members Raekwon and Ghostface with the Rza. Ghost and 'Kwon claimed that Rza was going his own direction with the project and didn't consult the other members when making critical production decisions. Either way, the album came out pretty good. For new listeners, it's definitely a nice segue from other mainstream hip-hop nowadays into the teachings of the Wu. However, old fans are not pleased, and even go far as to claim the rhymes sound lazy on almost all the tracks. Decide for yourself, and go pick up a copy of "8 Diagrams."

Wu-Tang ~ Heart Gently Weeps



Jay-Z to Move To Sony?

So there have been rumors lately about Jay-Z's possible move from the head position over at Def Jam. He has released two solo albums with Def Jam, and has been the driving force behind some epic-selling records, from Ne-Yo to Rihanna. However, his contract is finally up, and though Jay and Def Jam have begun negotiations for a new contract, there has been a lot of action elsewhere. Sony has recently had immense layoffs, and with cohort Rick Rubin and future wife Beyonce still at Sony, there is a great possibility that he's headed there. Also, there has been talk about Apple starting a music division headed by Beyonce and Jay, which would undoubtedly make some history. Either way, no matter where Jay ends up, he will definitely keep making music and be the force behind quality music rather than some of the stuff flooding the market nowadays.


A Few More Tracks to Check Out

Lupe Fiasco - The Coolest
Wale - Nike Boots
DJ Drama - Cannon(Remix)

The Game - I'm a Soldier
Jay-Z - Dear Summer
Lil' Wayne - BM Jr.
The Clipse - Cot Damn