Lollapalooza is fast approaching this weekend with main-stage legends coming by way of Eminem, OutKast and Kings of Leon. The annual Chicago music festival held against the city’s skyline is hip-hop top heavy this year, and it make sense when you think about the town’s emerging rap scene. It’s hard to say who’s the bigger or more exciting bill between Em and OutKast, but I may have to give the nod to Slim Shady since Big Boi and Andre 3000 are hitting virtually every U.S. city this summer. So, who else do you have to catch that won’t be playing at the Bud Light or Samsung Galaxy stages?
If you find yourself in the Windy City this weekend, make sure to check out these other great non-headlining sets.
7. Iggy Azalea
Iggy’s breakout summer jam “Fancy” has dominated charts all season. Though she’s a rising name in hip-hop, you already know this crowd is going to be filled with chicks getting white girl wasted. Bring it on.
Haunting, bouncy, and beautiful all at the same time, Phantogram blends sample-based electronic music with lead singer Sarah Barthel’s tragically smooth vocals. Expect a super cool light show too.
5. Foster The People
You probably remember Foster The People destroying radio waves a few summers ago with “Pumped Up Kicks.” Well, their new song “Best Friends” is pretty addicting too. This will be sure to be an awesomely bouncy set.
This Queensbridge-native is a certified living legend, and he’s been performing his classic Illmatic in full all summer to celebrate its 20th anniversary. You don’t want to miss this kind of momentous show.
Flume breeds a kind of electronic music that is quite unlike anybody else. Both brooding and infectious, the Australian-born producer will be sure to deliver a rave for the ages.
Chromeo sets are guaranteed to be funky, fresh, and fun. Expect lots of high-flying guitar and super-soaked synths that sound like they’re blaring straight from the 80s.
1. Chance The Rapper
Hometown hero Chance The Rapper was grossly under-staged last year at Lolla, but this year he’ll be closing down Perry’s stage. With a flurry of syllabic rhymes and an addictive turn-down-for-what energy, don’t be surprised if this MC’s crowd rivals Skrillex or Kings of Leon playing nearby.
Auto-Tune was rampant in the late-2000s. Pioneered by R&B crooner T-Pain, much of the sound from this era can be generalized as over-produced, super-processed and all in all artificial. Thankfully, sonic trends like that can only last so long. It’s interesting to note that in the wake of the auto-tune era, we’ve seen the rise of the opposite in R&B: genuine, raw and emotionally-charged voices (think Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Miguel, etc.)
Enter Nylo, a Chicago-native singer/songwriter who likens to the aforementioned. I’ve slept hard on her project, Memories Speak (it dropped months ago), but better late than never, right? Her sound is a meld of The Weeknd’s erie, atmospheric production and Aliyah’s smooth, heart-melting vox. The results are quite incredible. Peep her standout track, Someone Like You, and don’t forget to cop her brief five-song EP below as well.
Oh yeah, and none other than The Don himself cosigned. I see you Nylo (and I’m crushing hard.)
— Nasir Jones (@Nas) September 27, 2012
I tweeted the other day that if Rick Ross was a dog (which, let’s be honest…he might be), I’d want him as a pet. I was questioned, but I stand by my statement. When you get jealous that my dog has titty tats of U.S. Presidents’ faces, I’ll remind you that you doubted me.
New joint from Nas and Ricky Ross. Both gentlemen go in. Beautiful bedtime lullaby for me tonight.
Urban Noize, the remix/production duo out of Florida, continue their recent rise to relevance (alliteration!) with this fantastic remix of the recent Beastie Boys and Nas collaboration, found on the Beasties’ Hot Sauce Committee, Part 1. The duo infuse an awesome funk-feel into the hip-hop track, which brings it a greatly welcome new feel. Most likely spurred on by the death of Adam Yauch, this is one of the best ways I can think of to honor the late Beastie Boy. RIP MCA.
K’Naan and Nas did a pretty incredible job with “Nothing To Lose,” but apparently K’Naan wasn’t done working on that track. He went back to the studio with Will.I.Am to work on a remix that’s inspired by Hip Hop’s “Golden Era.” I’m absolutely loving this version. The video is great too. This is the K’Naan I fell in love with a couple years ago.
What do yall think? Is this better than the original? In case you forgot what the original sounds like, here’s a reminder:
MP3: “Nothing To Lose” (ft. Nas) – K’Naan
Someone call the cops on him…
Oh yes. Nassir Jones! He’s almost back. This is the second single from his upcoming 10th LP due out this summer, his first release since 2008’s “Untitled.” If the first two singles are any indication of what to expect from Nas, it’s probably to expect greatness. Nas is still one of the best ever to touch a mic. Even with his recent inconsistency in releasing music, his consistency in quality is definitely there. Peep it!
K’Naan is one of my favorite artists that I’ve discovered since I started blogging back in 2008. We haven’t heard from him for quite a while now, but he’s back with a track that features Nas and the announcement of an upcoming EP called More Beautiful Than Silence, which will be releaesd on January 24th and will precede a full length album. Check out the new track from K’Naan below (quite the chorus, no?) and the tracklisting for his upcoming EP.
K’NAAN More Beautiful Than Silence Tracklisting:
This is actually pretty sad for me to listen to, only reminds me of how amazing Winehouse could have been if she had been able to get her life back on track. This one is the first single off of her upcoming release “Lioness: Hidden Treasures,” her posthumous album. With beautiful production courtesy Salaam Remi, Amy’s voice sounds absolutely beautiful and Nas’s flow acts as the perfect compliment to her soulful voice.
“Like smoke, I hang around”
If only you could have hung around for a little bit longer, Ms. Winehouse. You had a legendary career awaiting you.
Download “Like Smoke”
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Wait What has done it again: Nasd Out, an album long mashup of Nas and Washed Out. You might remember Wait What from the in-fucking-credible mixtape, the notorious xx. I dare say that a few songs on that mixtape are some of the mashups I’ve ever heard.
Although it definitely doesn’t outshine the notorious xx, Nasd Out takes on a similar feel. Nas’ killer rhymes over Washed Out’s ambient, chillwave hums. My only gripe is that some of the Nas samples sound a little grainy, but check it out for yourselves:
The song we’ve all been waiting for has finally surfaced. This is rap at its best. Nasir and Common. Old school feel. Two of the best lyricists in the game. Must I say more? In fact I will. I’m excited for both of these guys to drop a new one! And Common signed with Warner Bro’s so lets see where that takes him. Enjoy!
Rapper Elzhi came out with a free mixtape last month that is a full tribute to Nas’s Illmatic. Believe it or not, I’ve never been a huge Nas fan. Trust me, even I’M stunned by this one. It doesn’t make any sense. I like his content, I like his ideas…for some reason I’ve just never clung to the delivery. Well, as much of a sin as it may be to say, I am really digging this Elzhi tribute. Maybe I need to give Illmatic (widely proclaimed one of the best hip hop albums of all time) another shot. I think I will. Either way, Elzhi has killed it. Here’s a sample from the tape and the full download link. Courtesy of XXL. Tracklisting after the jump.
Private planes. Dom Perignon at 30,000 feet. Aston Martins, Bugattis, McLarens, Ferraris, and Bentleys. Gucci loafers. Damier print. Welcome to the life. Wealth. Class. #Jets
Curren$y is the ringleader of the #Jets crew, kind of like Wiz has the Taylor Gang. His swag is effortless, his flow is crisp, and this is perfect to listen to when you’re just running things like a boss. Hit the jump for the full tracklist and download link.
“Michael Knight” – Curren$y
Lames catch feelings, we catch jets. Jets, fool.
“We Back Soon” – Lil Wayne
Sittin’ in a Ferrari, thinkin’ bout money/ I swear I will go head up with all o’ y’all/ Bumper cars
One of my favorite Sam Adams tracks, this one has some great rhymes from Sam and has that trademark Spitta flow on it. Great collaboration between Curren$y and sam right here.
“Fly Jets Over Boston” – Sam Adams feat. Curren$y
I’m the three white keys in C, you a minor/ Knew my shit banged when my music hit the highways/ Found out that hardwork pays off, like Fridays
Truth be told, Chip’s flow might very well be my favorite flow in the game right now. Not saying he’s my favorite rapper, but the dude flows like a goddamn faucet.
“Movie” – Chip Tha Ripper
Dog my life is like movie/ All of the cars and places we are/ All my girls look like dem girls off in the movies
“Final Hour” – Big Sean
Catch me runnin’ to the money/ Until my feet lose feelin’/ Stack it wall to wall till it’s leakin’ through the ceilin”
When Lil Wayne does a song called “Bill Gates,” you know it’s going to be about serious skrills.
“Bill Gates” – Lil Wayne
Polo Ralph Lauren bitch/ That’s what my pajamas say/ Big tall glass of some shit you can’t pronunciate
“Glass House” feat. Curren$y and Big Kritt – Wiz Khalifa
One of the dopest/ I’m schedule 1 you just ibuprofen
The entire album that this next track is off of, “The Crash Album” by DJ Moondance, is one of the best mashup albums I’ve ever heard. He doesn’t just mash track A and B, rather he takes elements from each song and puts them together. This is my favorite cut off of the album. Effortless swag.
“All-American Party” – DJ Moondance
Brushin’ off my three piece/ I make this look too easy/ So tall and lanky/ My suit, it should thank me/ I make it look good to be this hood/ Meyer Lansky mixed with Lucky Lefty/ Gangster, effortlessly/ Poppa was a rolling stone-its in my ancestry
“King Kong” – Curren$y
Fuck around get popped like a collar/ For slippin’ in my city get bitten, chewed, swallowed/ Fool, what you think you like me?/ Your idol and your rival I be
“Gossip” – Lil Wayne
Stop analyzing, criticizing/ You should realize what I am and start epitomizing/ Legitimate I got the heart of the biggest lion
Chuck Inglish productions are always dope, and with three of the slickest flows over this one, you know it’s going to be nuts. Extra crispy flow from Chip, Spitta, and Sean on this.
“Fat Raps” feat. Curren$y and Big Sean – Chip tha Ripper
Your girl show me L-O-V-E/ I drop the O, and the E/ And just took the LV/ That’s Louis Vuitton luggage every time you see my passport/ Damier print, got me lookin’ like a chess board
“Cool Head” feat. Kid Cudi – Travis Barker
I’m in my own world/ Literally, no bullshit baby
“We Major” ft. Kanye West and Nas – Big Z Remixes
Turn nothin’ to something now pimpin’ that’s the Savior/ Best things are green now pimpin’ get your paper/ High off the ground, our status skyscraper
I’m very on and off with Wale. Absolutely hated his last album, but I am definitely a fan of his ability to flow, which is really accentuated on this track. Plus, I love Aston Martins, so swag.
“Aston Martin Music” – Wale
My garments shouldn’t be here, I’m somewhere near the future/ As far as being hard, I feel I’m somewhere near Medusa
“She Said” – Mac Miller
Ayo my herb smoke tastin’ like a Nerds rope/ Imma get rich so I can buy my bitch a fur coat/ Something like a millionaire in training/ Still my shit amazing
”The Number Won Competition” – Wale
Fuck it we on the move/ None of us tryin’ to lose/ I am out of this world/ and you a man on the moon
I was stoked when I first heard this track because I was already a big fan of the song “Walking on a Dream” by Empire Sun. That combined with Wiz, I knew it was going to be dope.
“The Thrill” – Wiz Khalifa
Wake up drunk, go to sleep fucked up
Just some classic, heavy hitting, laid back Lil Weezy. Nothing’s better.
“Lighting Up My Lalala” – Lil Wayne
It’s, Little Wayne Imma shine in the rain/ Now nothing gets cleared without me signing my name/ I’m just, headlining the game/ Won’t stop till I’m/ A Rodding the game, they riding the bench
“Feel Good” – Chip tha Ripper
If you tryna fuck wit me then you better have some commas/ I be wit them OGs i’m probably stuntin wit yo fathaaa
One of my favorite Jay-Z classics with some of that tight Ratatat vibe, all around great track.
“Allure (Jay-Z & Notorious B.I.G.)” – Ratatat
The allure of breaking the law/ Was always too much for me to ever ignore/ I got a thing for them big body Benzes/ Indulge my senses/ In love with a V-Dub engine
Dream Big, Swag Out