Categories
Music

Future Joins A Growing List of Artists Selling their Publishing Catalog and Masters

Earlier this week, it was announced that platinum-selling artist Future had sold his publishing catalog for a whopping amount of money. The music-rights company, Influence Media Partners scooped up Future’s catalog for a reported eight-figures. The catalog, which includes solo songs like “Mask Off”, as well as collabs with Drake ( “Life Is Good” and “Jumpman”), Kendrick Lamar, “Selfish” with Rihanna, The Weeknd and others features more than 600 songs that were released between 2004 and 2020. 

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Although the amount may seem huge, it really isn’t all that surprising when you consider Future’s track record. He’s been one of the most prolific and successful artists of the last decade. Future’s most recent album, I Never Liked You which dropped this year and doesn’t count towards the 600+ songs he sold off the rights to— debuted at No. 1 and features the No. 1 hit, “Wait For You.”

What is a Publishing Catalog?

Just what is a publishing catalog, you wonder? According to Songtrust, it’s a collection of works controlled by a songwriter or publisher. When an artist or songwriter sells their publishing catalog, they’re essentially selling the rights to the songs they’ve created. This is a big deal, as the catalog owner controls the publishing rights and the ability to exploit the songs commercially with things like sync licenses. 

With the rise in popularity of music streaming services, owning publishing rights is probably more important than ever. While some may question whether or not Future could have gotten more money, it’s clear as day that his publishing catalog is really, really valuable. This move comes as a surprise to some but not all, since it’s a part of a larger trend. Not only have some of the most well-known artists in the world sold their publishing catalog, but also songwriters and producers have sold the rights to theirs and their masters also.  

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The news of Future’s cash out broke just days after rumor circulated that Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) was looking to sell off his publishing for about $175 million. Kanye later shut those rumors down and the most Ye way. While artists like Ye, his big brother Jay-Z and Taylor Swift have fought for ownership of their music many artists are deciding to sell off all or portions of their lucrative body of works.  

Bling Bling! Lil Wayne once rapped “I made a 100 million dollars flat.” That statement runs truer than ever nowadays. The rap G.O.A.T. brought in big bucks in 2020 after selling his extensive catalog of songs (as well as the rights to much of his Young Money roster’s music) to Universal Music Group. The price tag attached to the transaction of epic portions was reportedly $100 million. Around the same time, Universal Music Group also acquired Bob Dylan’s collection of about 600 songs for a sum of $300 million

When international megastar Shakira decided to unload her extensive catalog, featuring almost 150 songs, she made a deal with Hipgnosis Songs Fund Ltd, another power player in the music rights space. The “Hips Don’t Lie” singer reportedly sold it off for an undisclosed amount. Justin Timberlake did the same thing earlier this year, selling his publishing rights to Hipgnosis Songs, which also has the rights to songs written by iconic writers and producers such as Benny Blanco, L.A. Reid, Timbaland, Mark Ronson, The Dream and many, many others.  

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Canadian music rights management firm, Kilometre Music Group purchased superproducer Murda Beatz and platinum singer Bryson Tiller song catalogs. The announcement was made in the earlier half of 2022. According to the LA Times, John Legend “sold the copyrights as well as the rights to receive royalties from music he wrote from late 2004 through early last year” to KKR & Co. and BMG.

There are just some of the musicians and songwriters who have recently sold their publishing catalogs. And the list continues to grow.

Categories
Music

20 of the Biggest First-Week Sales in Hip-Hop History

In hip-hop, bragging rights hold a lot of weight. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that rappers like to boast about their albums having huge first-week sales. “Get ya brakes tweaked, I sold what your whole album sold in my first week,” Jay-Z once rapped on his lethal diss record “Takeover.”

First-week sales weren’t always a big deal, but by the time hip-hop started to dominate the charts there became an increased interest in the amount of records a particular album sold within its opening week. 

Eminem is the reigning king of opening week sales. With the release of his sophomore album The Marshall Mathers LP, the “Rap God” smashed records for the biggest first-week sales in hip-hop. The album sold a whopping 1.7 million copies in seven days. One of the highest selling artists of all time, Em is responsible for six of the top 20 biggest first-weeks in history. His 2002 album, The Eminem Show is second on the list. Even his movie soundtracks sold a shitload of copies. 

Eminem’s protege, 50 Cent was also a big seller in his musical prime. His debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ to this day, has the biggest opening week for a debut rap album. He avoided the sophomore slump when his second album shattered records by moving over 1.1 million in only four days. First-week sales were such a big deal for 50 that he even battled Kanye West for supremacy in 2007. And although he lost to Ye, he still managed to sell just under 700k within a week’s time. 

The other Best Rapper Alive, Lil Wayne was also one of the top-selling artists during his peak. He did a milli in a week with 2008’s Carter III and almost did it again with the fourth installment in his Carter series.  

Drake, who was crowned the artist of the decade, is a G.O.A.T. due to his impact, hit songs and of course, records sold. Even though his most recent album Honestly, Nevermind barely did over 200k in its opening week, his previous album Certified Lover Boy, moved 600k in the same amount of time, and that was with only a week of promotion and without the release of any lead singles. His 2018 album, Scorpion did even better. And the album before that, Views crossed the million mark.  

DMX, Hov and The Notorious B.I.G. have also sold a bunch of records in a week’s span. But which of their albums have had some of the biggest first-week sales of all time? Here are 20 albums with the biggest first-week sales in hip-hop history.

1. The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
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Artist: Eminem

Sold: 1,760,000

Lead Singles: “The Real Slim Shady”

2. The Eminem Show (2004)
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Artist: Eminem

Sold: 1,322,000

Lead Singles: “Without Me”

3. The Massacre (2005)
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Artist: 50 Cent

Sold: 1,140,000

Lead Singles: “Disco Inferno” & “Candy Shop”

4. Views (2016)
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Artist: Drake

Sold: 1,075,000

Lead Singles: “Hotline Bling,” “One Dance” & “Pop Style”

5. Tha Carter IlI (2008)
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Artist: Lil Wayne

Sold: 1,006,000

Lead Singles: “Lollipop” & “A Milli”

6. Tha Carter IV (2011)
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Artist: Lil Wayne

Sold: 964,000

Lead Singles: “6 Foot 7 Foot,”  “John,”  “How to Love” & “She Will”

7. Graduation (2007)
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Artist: Kanye West

Sold: 957,000

Lead Singles: “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” & “Stronger”

8. Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003)
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Artist: 50 Cent

Sold: 872,000

Lead Singles: “In da Club”

9. Late Registration (2005)
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Artist: Kanye West

Sold: 860,000

Lead Singles: “Diamonds from Sierra Leone”& “Gold Digger”

10. Doggystyle (1993)
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Artist: Snoop Dogg

Sold: 803,000

Lead Singles: “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)”

11. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)
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Artist: Eminem

Sold: 792,000

Lead Singles: “Berzerk,” “Survival,” “Rap God” & “The Monster”

12. Scorpion (2018)
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Artist: Drake

Sold: 749,000

Lead Singles: “God’s Plan,” “Nice for What” & “I’m Upset”

13. Recovery (2010)
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Artist: Eminem

Sold: 741,000

Lead Singles: “Not Afraid”

14. Nellyville (2002)
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Artist: Nelly

Sold: 714,000

Lead Singles: “Hot in Herre”

15. Encore (2004)
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Artist: Eminem

Sold: 710,000

Lead Singles: “Just Lose It” & “Mosh”

16. 8 Mile Soundtrack (2002)
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Artist: Eminem

Sold: 702,000

Lead Singles: “Lose Yourself”

17. ..And Then There Was X (1999)
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Artist: DMX

Sold: 698,000

Lead Singles: “What’s My Name”

18. Curtis (2007)
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Artist: 50 Cent

Sold: 697,000

Lead Singles: “Amusement Park,” “Straight To The Bank,” “I Get Money” & “Ayo Technology”

19. Life After Death (1997)
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Artist: The Notorious B.I.G.

Sold: 690,000

Lead Singles: “Hypnotize”

20. Kingdom Come (2006)
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Artist: Jay-Z 

Sold: 680,000

Lead Singles: “Show Me What You Got”

Categories
Music

Celebrate Black Culture this Juneteenth with Reflection and A Fire Playlist 

It’s a celebration fr fr! For the second year, Juneteenth National Independence Day aka Juneteenth — which commemorates the unofficial end of slavery here in America — is being officially recognized as a national holiday.

“We must understand that Juneteenth represents not only the commemoration of the end of slavery in America more than 150 years ago, but the ongoing work to have to bring true equity and racial justice into American society,” said President Joe Biden after he signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, establishing June 19th as federal holiday.

It wasn’t that long ago that Ye reminded us listeners that “racism is still alive.” And boy, was Mr. West right. Just think about the recent increase in hate crimes such as racially-motivated mass shootings that have taken place in churches and supermarkets or the everyday interactions with “Karens” that go viral or how COVID-19 disproportionately impacted certain communities.

These are just a few of the constant reminders for so many Black Americans that their Blackness is simply inescapable. That Blackness is, however, also bold and beautiful and artists from Beyoncé to Billie Holiday have made sure to remind the world of that.

Way before Juneteenth was celebrated across the country, African-American artists had been using their music and platforms to shed light on their people’s struggles, culture, achievements, beauty and heritage. “Say it loud! I’m Black and I’m proud,” said James Brown with his 1968 hit “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.”

From showing love to Black girls that rock and neighborhood hustlers who have upped it to boss status, classic songs and contemporary bops have spoken to the richness and diversity of Black culture. With statements like fuck the police and we gon’ be alright, leading musicians have straight up confronted the plethora of inequalities, injustices and other unjust realities that have plagued certain Americans since the birth of this nation.

In honor of Juneteenth, ONE37pm put together a playlist of songs that pay tribute to the resilience and creative spirit of the Black community. Our 2022 Juneteenth Playlist is comprised of anthems crafted by icons such as Nina Simone, Marvin Gay, Aretha Franklin and Jay-Z, as well as contemporary hit-makers like J. Cole, Polo G, Meek Mill, Joey Bada$$ and Kendrick Lamar.

Vibe out, turn up and reflect with this collection of songs celebrating Black history, Black culture and Black progression.

Happy Juneteenth!

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Categories
Music

Bops That Just Dropped: New Music Roundup

Every week a bunch of new projects, songs and snippets hit the airwaves and streaming platforms and it can be a tall task sorting through all of the noise. Luckily, ONE37pm is here to help keep you in tune with what new music should be on your radar.

“True Love” — Kanye West featuring XXXTENTACION
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Many of us Ye fans have been yearning for that Old Ye. Well, the artist formerly known as Kanye West resurrects some of them vintage vibes for his latest single, “True Love.” Featuring the late XXXTENTACION, the two-and-a-half minute long song is sonically and lyrically reminiscent of classics from Ye’s 808s & Heartbreak and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy eras. The moody track that was previewed during his epic Donda 2 listening session back in February, makes its official debut the same day that the latest Yeezy GAP engineered by Balenciaga collection debuts.

“Sleazy Flow” remix — SleazyWorld Go featuring Lil Baby
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SleazyWorld Go took the Tiktok world by storm with his “Sleazy Flow.” The 24-year-old’s breakthrough record made its way onto the Spotify Viral Chart, SoundCloud, Apple Music’s Global Chart. It also caught the attention of platinum stars like Jack Harlow, Lil Nas X, Lil Durk and Lil Baby. Lil Baby liked the record so much that he hopped on its remix. Released this week, the “Sleazy Flow” remix features the emerging rapper from Kansas City and the Atlanta super star trading flows.

“24 Hrs” — Kaash Paige featuring Lil Tjay
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Kaash Paige is back with a silky smooth record called “24 HRS.” The singer who reps Dallas, Texas teamed up with Bronx bomber Lil Tjay for the sexy track. With this being the 21-year-old’s second single release in about a month, it makes us think that there’s going to be more music to come in 2022. Her last project, Teenage Fever, dropped in 2020. Since Kaash landed on the scene in 2018 with bops like “Love Songs,” she’s appeared on joints with Don Toliver, Alicia Keys, Travis Scott and others.

Also this week, Moneybagg Yo returns with something to say. The Memphis star comes hard with his new track “See Wat I’m Sayin.” Sleepy Hallow delivers with his 347aidan-featured “Die Young.” Jelly and Pi’erre Bourne unleash The Wolf of Peachtree 2. Logic dishes off his latest Vinyl Days single, “Orville.” NY OGs Jim Jones and Maino debut their joint project, The Lobby Boyz. Brooklyn drill rapper 26AR drops his Rob49-assisted “Hottest In My City” banger. BRS Kash, KCAMP, FBG Goat, and others also released new music this week.

Tap in with our weekly playlist below and don’t forget to come back next Friday and every Friday after that for a round up of what’s new in music.

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Categories
Music

A Mother’s Day Playlist for All of the Best Moms Ever!

Don’t get it twisted, rappers know how to love, especially when it comes to their mothers. The phrase I’ll always love my mama, resonates with many of hip-hop’s finest. They can be extra affectionate when it pertains to the women that birthed them and their loved ones.

Rappers have given credit to the superwomen in their lives for being caregivers and bill-payers, as well as for nurturing and inspiring them. Throughout their careers, artists from Kanye West to Drake to Jay-Z to Lil B have rapped about the values their mothers have instilled in them and how those values have helped them become the bosses they are today.

Rap stars have created loving mother-themed songs showing the appreciation they have for the most important women in their lives. 2 Chainz, Ghostface Killah, Rick Ross, YG and so many other rappers have shown gratitude for the life lessons and the tough love they’ve received from their mothers with heartfelt songs.

It’s Mother’s Day! In honor of this very special occasion, ONE37pm put together a playlist for all of the amazing moms out there. To pay homage to these lovely ladies we’ve selected songs that celebrate motherhood and all that it entails. This very special playlist consists of some of our favorite hip-hop tracks that show love to Mommy dearest.

Whether the moms in your life are rap fans or not, this collection of songs has something for them. It features well-known classics from 2Pac and Ghostface Killah, as well as more recent tracks from 21 Savage, Kanye West, and Big Sean. There are songs to dance to as well as tracks that could make the moms in your life tear up. Celebrate the best moms ever this Mother’s Day by showering them with love and by also checking out this playlist we’ve put together for them. 

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Categories
Culture Music

Fivio Foreign Discusses “B.I.B.L.E” And Working With Kanye West

Since Fivio Foreign broke onto the scene with his hit single “Big Drip” three years ago, his career has been a case study of how an artist deals with sudden success. Once an artist stuck within New York City’s busy rap scene, Foreign has experienced various highs (collaborating with Drake, and Quavo) and lows (losing close friends Pop Smoke, King Von, and T Dott Woo to gun violence) but is still standing, this time bigger than ever.

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Following his stellar verse on Kanye West’s Donda via “Off The Grid” last summer, the Brooklyn, NY native has seen his star significantly rise. Alongside West becoming a frequent collaborator of his, the multi-time Grammy-winning rapper and producer is the executive producer of Foreign’s biggest project yet, B.I.B.L.E (April 8th). “Me and ‘Ye got a lot in common,” Foreign said. “We’re both spiritual people and try to make things as normal as possible.”

B.I.B.L.E, a 17-track effort that includes notable features from Quavo, Lil Yachty, and DJ Khaled, witnesses Foreign maintain his signature sound while still improving as an artist. A greater effort was exhibited in his songwriting, and experimentation with different melodies. As the conversation surrounding Foreign now turns to his newest body of work, he’s confident in what he will do next.

Last weekend at the Dreamville Festival, ONE37pm spoke with Fivio Foreign about making B.I.B.L.E, what it’s like working with Kanye and Nicki Minaj, and more.

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ONE37pm: What was your biggest lesson learned while making B.I.B.L.E?

Foreign: I learned you can’t go crazy on records before you send them to people. It’s best to send them a little something such as a hook, just so they can be comfortable with what they’re hearing and how they can perform on it.

ONE37pm: On a project that has so many features, how did it come together?

Foreign: S***, it was all love and vibes because of our relationship and how we rocked with each other. They understood the cause and the movement so, with all of those features, I’m happy because I actually look at them a certain way.

ONE37pm: You have this ongoing and positive rapport with ‘Ye who is executive producing your album. What made the two of you click?

Foreign: We relate in a lot of different ways, especially with how much we believe in God and that helped me a lot.

We initially connected because of the freestyle, I did on [Funkmaster] Flex after I came home and he loved one line for when I said “I got a question for the Reverand/if you kill a killer, do you go to heaven?” and ‘Ye said “I need bars like that on my album.” The next thing, I know I’m on the jet to Atlanta and the rest is history.

ONE37pm: To further speak about New York City, you recently collaborated with one of the city’s greatest MCs in Nicki Minaj. How important was that for you?

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Foreign: It means a lot. Salute to Nicki and everyone who is coming into the drill world and supporting it. It means a lot to us who’ve been a part of the drill community from the beginning because people forget this sound wasn’t always worldwide.

We {drill rappers} were just speaking to our communities about what was happening and how we lived. So for Nicki to come through, especially as someone from the city who is big, and do a record with me is nothing less than big.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

Catching You Up On jeen-yuhs Ahead Of Episode 3

As Kanye West preps the release of his eleventh studio album DONDA 2, fans are not only looking forward to the new music ahead of them, but they’re also getting a look back at the life and career of the Chicago legend. Kanye’s jeen-yuhs documentary is releasing weekly and in the first two episodes, fans have three hours of nearly all brand new footage of Ye on the come up. The third and final episode drops on March 2nd but before that, we’re getting you up to speed on what’s been happening.

When does jeen-yuhs episode 3 release?

The third and final episode drops on March 2nd but before that, we’re getting you up to speed on what’s been happening.

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What Is jeen-yuhs?

jeen-yuhs, pronounced “genius” by the way, is Kanye West’s documentary which has been in the works for over twenty years, shot by Coodie and Chike. The way it’s spelt is truly fitting because while many of us would agree that Kanye is a genius in some form or fashion, he’s certainly an unorthodox one.

While we’ve seen footage in bits and pieces from the documentary over the years, the announcement of the full doc only came in May of last year. Netflix reportedly acquired it for $30 million, which seems fair since the footage is so highly valued.

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jeen-yuhs act i: VISION (Episode 1)

The first episode of jeen-yuhs, titled VISION, shows just that. Kanye is young and getting beat placements for big artists, but struggling to get people to believe in and take him seriously as a rapper. We see how his and Coodie’s relationship formed and some of the behind the scenes struggles of even a somewhat successful artist with big dreams.

One of the more memorable scenes sees Kanye at the Roc-A-Fella office in New York City. At this point, he had already laid down the blueprint for The Blueprint, but as far as he was concerned, producing was only him getting his foot in the door and to really set things off, he needed a record deal.

He walks through the office, playing ‘All Falls Down’ for a couple of execs. They seem mostly uninterested and are easily distracted. To hear a GRAMMY nominated song that hit #7 on the charts get an extremely flat reaction from those in the music industry is a truly unique experience. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Ye as you see him disheartened by the response, or lack thereof.

This is a theme throughout the first episode; Ye trying to get people to believe in him. It really feels like it’s him against the world. His name gets spelt wrong on big platforms, friends are dissing him on the radio and even when someone does believe he’s the future, there’s little that they can do to support him.

Of course, knowing who Kanye West is now, whether you like him or not, it’s hard not to be incredibly inspired seeing his humble beginnings. It’ll make you feel that no matter how hard a journey is for you, the destination can always be reached.

The episode ends with Ye getting signed to Roc-A-Fella, but of course, the hard work is really yet to begin.

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jeen-yuhs act ii: PURPOSE (Episode 2)

PURPOSE opens on a high note, amidst the chaos of signing a deal. Ye is asked what’s next for him with the Roc, he buys a new car and his beats are in even higher demand. He finds himself in the studio with Young Guru and JAY-Z, where Hov is working on The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse. Kanye raps what ended up being his verse on ‘The Bounce’, his first real collaboration with JAY despite him not even being credited on the original version of the album.

He gets coached by Jigga in the booth and when he’s done recording his verse, JAY says “a closed mouth don’t get fed, you wouldn’t have said nothing, you wouldn’t have been on that”. It’s a testament to the Chicagoan’s perseverance.

This episode also covers the near-fatal car crash that Kanye was in in 2003. As well as being a life-altering experience for him as it would be for anybody, it really put a pause on things with his career, killing his momentum. It meant that Roc-A-Fella’s focus shifted to other artists who fit their image a little more and now Ye was left trying to once again prove himself to a label, albeit this time one that he was signed to.

Not getting studio time of his own, Kanye has to find time in other artists’ studios when he can. Here, we see a lot of The College Dropout get recorded, including ‘Slow Jamz’, ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ and ‘We Don’t Care’. Seeing classic moments like DeRay Davis’ hilarious skits or Jamie Foxx’s intro on ‘Slow Jamz’ get recorded is mind-blowing and makes you wonder how footage like this was left vaulted for so long.

In the end, the video for ‘Through The Wire’ gets a great response and helps put Roc-A-Fella’s attention back on Kanye. He gets to release his debut album to worldwide success. The change feels almost overnight for Kanye, even though we’ve seen first-hand that it clearly wasn’t. The episode ends with Ye’s famous GRAMMY speech.

What To Expect From jeen-yuhs act ii: AWAKENING (Episode 3)

The preview that we get for AWAKENING at the end of episode two is interesting. Some of the more infamous moments of Ye’s life and career get shown in a montage; him saying George Bush doesn’t care about black people, his mother’s death, the Taylor Swift incident at the VMAs, his support of Trump, his Presidential election.

It’s tough to say how much of this we’ll really see behind the scenes footage of and how much will be covered somewhat from afar. The episode should be somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours long, so the potential for coverage is great, but we’ll find out when it airs on Wednesday.

Either way, the episode should be a treat for Kanye fans and will likely help you feel like you know the man behind the mask a little more.

Categories
Sports Strength

Ranking The Ten Best NFL-Inspired Hip Hop Lyrics

If you were to ask any rapper which sport they could play best, the answer is likely basketball or football. With the NBA and NFL being influential in hip-hop culture, it’s not a surprise that rappers commonly shout-out some of their favorite (or sometimes least favorite) athletes. Accordingly, football’s relationship with hip-hop is fueled by rappers who are die-hard fans of the game; for proof, just look back to the early 2000s when NFL jerseys were hip hop’s jersey of choice.

Down below are the ten best NFL-inspired lyrics from hip-hop.

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1. Kanye West on Tyler The Creator’s “SMUCKERS,” 2015

“They say I’m crazy, but that’s the best thing goin’ for me.

You can’t lynch Marshawn if Tom Brady throwin’ to me.

2. Drake on “Paris Morton 2/Pound Cake,” 2013

“Yeah, after hours of Il Mulino.

Or Sotto Sotto, just talkin’ women, and vino.

The contract like ’91 Dan Marino.

I swear this guy Michael Rapino’s boosting my ego.”

3. Max B on “Blow Me A Dub,” 2009

“I’m Tom Brady, you a Testaverde.

Yeah, old, washed-up with no arm strength.

He don’t show no remorse, he ain’t got a conscience”

4. Lil Wayne on “Green And Yellow,” 2011

“Money green, yellow broad.

Aaron Rodgers: MVP award.

This is Green Bay, b—- we go hard.

This is Packer country, where’s your Green card?”

5. Mobb Deep on “Get Dealt With,” 1996

“We got to take position, ready for face-off.

We blitz like Dallas in the Super Bowl face-off.

We form like n—– in the yard up North.”

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6. Nas on “Blaze a 50,” 2002

“Met her in San Diego at the Super Bowl party.

Had the Henny, sipped it up with Terrell Davis.

MVP, we flicked it up from Sports Illustrated.

I was silked out, flossing with Stoute, he had the gators.

When she walked in, she lit up the room like Las Vegas.

Terrell said her man’s a fullback for the Raiders.

A drunk who’d f— cheerleaders and wind up in the papers.”

7. The Diplomats on “Dipset Anthem,” 2003

“I’m on the Westside of Chicago, lookin’ for a bust down.

And make me put my two arms up, touchdown.

8. Inspectah Deck on “Wu Tang Ain’t Nuthing ta F— It,” 1993

“Put the needle to the groove I gets rude and I’m forced.

To f— it up, my style carries like a pick-up truck.

Cross the clear blue yonder, sea to shining sea.

I slam tracks like quarterback sacks from L.T.”

9. Andre 3000 on “Da Art of Storytellin (Part 4),” 2007

“I started off starvin.

Now they got me out here Brett Favre’n.

Tryna see if I still got it (got it).

I guess it’s like a bike, think about it.

10. Jeezy on “Gangsta Music,” 2005

“We don’t talk on the phone ’cause it might stick.

Gotta play for the seven, call it Mike Vick.

Dirty birds, n—-, we play wit’ dem Falcons.

Know some n—– in the Decatur that pay for dem falcons.”


Categories
Sports Strength

Ranking The Ten Best NBA-Inspired Lyrics In Hip-Hop

If you’ve been around sports and hip-hop long enough, then you’ve come across this quote– “Rappers want to be like athletes, and the athletes want to be like rappers.” The two very influential entities, specifically basketball and hip hop, have a special chemistry. It has become familiar as the sunlight to find our favorite rappers sitting courtside at games or our favorite players quoting their lyrics. But their relationship is sustained by tributes (or plain disrespect); rappers pay homage to ballplayers in their songs, which sparks another round of conversations.

Down below are the ten best NBA-inspired lyrics from hip-hop.

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1. Ice Cube, “Today Was A Good Day,” 1992 –

“Get me on the court and I’m trouble.

Last week f—– around and got a triple-double.

Freaking n—– every way like MJ.

I can’t believe today was a good day.”

2. Jay-Z, “Encore,” 2003 –

“As fate would have it, Jay’s status appears.

To be at an all-time high, perfect time to say goodbye.

When I come back like Jordan, wearing the 4-5.

It ain’t to play games with you, it’s to aim at you, probably maim you.”

3. Drake, “Thank Me Now,” 2010 –

“I can relate to kids going straight to the league.

When they recognize that you got what it takes to succeed.

And that’s around the time that your idols become your rivals.

You make friends with Mike but got to ‘A.I.’ him for your survival.”

4. Lil Wayne, “Kobe Bryant,” 2009 –

“Kobe doin’ work, 2–4 on my shirt.

He the greatest on the court and I’m the greatest on the verse.

Going for the fourth ring like it was his first.

Gotta get the bling, do it for Kareem.”

5. Jay-Z, “Pump It Up (Remix),” 2003 –

“Go ahead, bug out, I’ll Raid, n—-, scurry.

Worry, I’m, not, the Mike Jordan of the mic recording.

It’s Hovi, baby, you Kobe, maybe; Tracy McGrady.

Matter-fact, you a Harold Miner.

J.R. Rider, washed up on marijuana.

Even worse, you a Pervis Ellis.

You worthless, fella; you ain’t no athlete, you Shawn Bradley.”

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6. Kendrick Lamar, “The Heart Part IV,” 2017 –

“Tables turned, lesson learned, my best look.

You jumped sides on me, now you ‘bout to meet Westbrook.

Go celebrate with your team and let victory vouch you.

Just know the next game played I might slap the s— out you.”

7. J. Cole, “Return of Simba,” 2011 –

Ced said, ‘Look, my n—–, we got a foot in’.

Being good is good, that’ll get you Drew Gooden.

But me, I want Jordan numbers, LeBron footin’.

Can’t guard me, Vince Lombardi, John Wooden.”

8. Jadakiss, “Put Your Hands Up,” 2001 –

“And y’all scared I can tell.

That I’ma get Bucks like Milwaukee, cause like Sam, I ca’ sell.”

9. Kanye West, “New God Flow,” 2012 –

“Went from most hated to the champion god flow.

I guess that’s a feeling only me and LeBron know.”

10. Drake, “0 to 100 / The Catch Up,” 2014 –

“I’ve been Steph Curry with the shot.

Been cooking with the sauce.

Chef Curry with the pot, boy… 360 with the wrist, boy!”




Categories
Culture Music

The Best Kanye West Albums, Ranked

No matter which way you feel about him personally, you can’t help but agree with this unanimous statement – Kanye West is simply a beast behind the boards. 

When he steps into any studio, an amalgamation of incredible sounds will form under his watchful eyes and ears to create a soundscape like no other. The man is responsible for producing some of the greatest beats the world has ever laid witness to for the GOATs such as Jay-Z, Common, Brandy, and so much more. 

His beat-making mastery is legendary, but so is his lyrical deftness and strong ability to put together an unforgettable body of work on one album. Since 2004, Yeezy has dropped solo projects that have either stood the test of time or been relegated to a forgettable footnote in his storied career. This writer in particular has listened to all of Kanye’s LPs from front to back for an assignment that I’m sure will elicit some “passionate” responses. 

In my humble opinion, these are all of Kanye West’s albums ranked from worst to best.

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10. ‘Jesus is King’

I commend Kanye for finding a newfound appreciation for non-secular music. He’s certainly been through a lot during his star-making run and has been stricken mentally by the ills that come with the price of fame. I was super excited to hear what he managed to cook up for this project that was focused on showing love to the heavens above.

Sadly, however, I came away largely unsatisfied with what this album has to offer. Jesus is King certainly puts forth a powerful and positive message, but the actual execution leaves a lot to be desired. “Every Hour” and “Follow God” are this album’s standout tracks, while everything else disappoints due to a mix of mediocre production and unimpressive wordplay. Even the cover for this album clues you into just how uninspired it ends up being. Let’s all hope Kanye comes correct the next time he decides to honor the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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9. ‘Ye’

Ye isn’t remembered too fondly and I can certainly understand why – at the time of this album’s release, Yeezy was given a lot of slack for its questionable lyrics. Plus the public perception of the man himself wasn’t exactly the most positive. Even with all that being said, I still enjoyed this shockingly short compilation of tracks. “Ghost Town,” “No Mistakes” and “Yikes” go extra hard, while “Wouldn’t Leave” and “Violent Crimes” both offer more soothing listens that impressed me way more than I originally thought they would.

“I Thought About Killing You” is a pretty dark verbal look into Kanye’s innermost struggles, but its overall message has a way of pulling me in for a full listen every time it comes on. Ye’s relatively short run time when compared to Kanye’s other full projects holds it back from being higher on this list, however.

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8. ‘Donda’

After a series of big stadium status listening sessions and false start release dates, Donda finally arrived on streaming services everywhere. And after sitting with it for a good while, I came away from it feeling a bit underwhelmed. Sure, it has a series of bass knockers and Sunday Service worthy anthems. “Off The Grid,” “Junya,” “Jail,” and “Hurricane” command everyone’s attention thanks to a combination of strong features and amazing production. “24” even brought a tear to my eye due to the sensational choir singing its praises on it.

But with 27 tracks in total on Donda, it ends up feeling overstuffed. The usage of Part 2 variations of songs that are featured earlier on this LP feels unnecessary, plus some of the album’s later tracks end up being completely forgettable. Ye’s bars also pale in comparison to his more melodic performances here, which is something I never thought I’d say out loud. Donda starts strong, but peters out the longer it goes.

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7. ‘808s & Heartbreak’

808s & Heartbreak is one of those left-turn albums that completely caught me off guard when it dropped. Here I was expecting Good Ass Job and what I got instead was an R&B-centric compilation full of introspective cuts. And for the most part, I enjoy what’s on offer here. “Say You Will,” “Heartless,” “Amazing,” and “RoboCop” have and always will enrapture me every time I hear them.

This is one of those Kanye LPs that switched things up to a major degree and ended up succeeding in the end. I might not be the biggest fan of some of the other tracks on this album, but I’ll always commend Kanye for going in a completely different direction with 808s & Heartbreak. The fact that it influenced an entire generation of artists that came after him can’t be understated.

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6. ‘Yeezus’

Yeezus is one of Kanye’s most braggadocious albums. And what makes that so is his choice of bars and the electronic music influences that can be heard over most of this project’s outlandish beats. When this album hits, it hits extra hard. “New Slaves,” “Blood on the Leaves, ” and “Black Skinhead” stands out as the most impactful tunes on this album.

That’s because the production backing those songs gives them that stadium status, which paints them as the types of tunes that would make a concert venue full of fans lose their collective minds. Yeezus certainly has a lot going for it thanks to the fact that it showcases a point in time where Kanye went all-in on hard-hitting electronic soundscapes. What keeps this one from being placed higher, you ask? “Hold My Liquor.” Yeah, never really enjoyed that track too much.

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5. ‘The Life of Pablo’

I’ll never forget how convoluted the rollout for this album was. Kanye’s a perfectionist, so it wasn’t all that surprising to find out that he continued playing around with the mastering of its tracks even after release. When I finally got to listen to the final version of The Life of Pablo, I was thankful for Yeezy’s decision to make it sound as crisp as possible.

What’s so funny about this album to me is the fact that Kanye refers to it as a gospel album – it certainly comes off a lot better than Jesus is King, if you ask me (please don’t smite me for that comment, whoever’s up there.) This album’s high quality just can’t be denied – “Ultralight Beam, “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” ”Waves,” and “Real Friends” are the best confirmations of that statement. I find myself going back to this album on the regular just so I can hear “I Love Kanye” and reminisce over all the commendable traits he reflects on all over that short yet still effective track. The Life of Pablo may run a bit long, but I enjoy most of my time spent with it.

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4. ‘The College Dropout’

I can remember being one of those kids in high school that blasted “Slow Jamz” at annoyingly high volume levels for all my friends to hear during rides back home on the train. That single took over my world and still holds a special place in my heart. The same can be said for The College Dropout as a whole. This is a hell of a debut for Kanye that captured my imagination due to its incredible production and college student struggle bars (which I came to experience later on in life).

The College Dropout stuck to a central concept and reflected the best/worst parts of that experience from front to back. “All Falls Down,” “Spaceship,” “Jesus Walks,” and “Get Em High” are my favorite joints off this LP. And I even got a kick out of all the skits littered throughout this super-strong debut album. This was a hell of a sendoff for Roc-A-Fella’s storied run on top.

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3. ‘Late Registration’

It’s something about the cover for Late Registration that hits me right in the soul every time I see it. The instantly recognizable bear mascot that accompanied Kanye’s first three releases comes through those college doors and looks deathly afraid of whatever’s coming next. Thankfully, what follows is an album that shows Kanye leveling up on his production and lyrical dexterity.

Another aspect of this album that really sticks with me is its features – Kanye rubbed shoulders with legends such as Jay-Z, Nas, Cam’ron, Lupe Fiasco, and even Maroon 5’s Adam Levine for this amazing follow-up to The College Dropout. “Heard ‘Em Say,” “Touch the Sky,” “Gold Digger,” and “Drive Slow” are some of Kanye’s greatest songs. And thankfully, those and a whole bunch of his other top-tier tunes are strewn all over this album. Late Registration is well-deserving of its classic Kanye album classification.

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2. ‘Graduation’

From the very first chords that kick off “Good Morning” right up until the heartfelt dedication to Jay-Z that is “Big Brother,” Graduation excels as a championship victory that solidifies Kanye’s placing among the GOATs. Every song on this album has a purpose that was greatly fulfilled – “Champion,” “Everything I Am,” ”Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” and “Flashing Lights” are the types of tracks that could get a deeply introspective thesis paper dedicated to them.

Kanye was definitely at the height of his career for this album and easily thrashed 50 Cent during their album release rivalry. Even “Drunk and Hot Girls” has a bit of merit to it (which I still recognize as one of Graduation’s weakest tracks). The great stuff that’s on tap here still slaps and the art that comes with this album’s cover is God-tier. Graduation is simply amazing.

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1. ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

“Dark Fantasy.” “Gorgeous.” “Power.” “So Appalled.” Those four tracks alone would already guarantee this album’s legendary status. But My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has a collection of other tracks that push it to the top as Kanye’s greatest album of all time. The beats that are heard here are next level – Kanye, No I.D., and even RZA constructed the types of productions that hit you right in your soul.

Besides this album’s prodigious array of beats, it also features some of the best hip-hop/R&B posse cuts I’ve ever heard. “Monster,” “All of the Lights, and “See Me Now” brings together some of music’s biggest artists for audio celebrations. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy easily takes the top spot as Kanye’s magnum opus. Now lemme head off to watch those super dope visuals for “Runaway” real quick…