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02 Feb 2012 11:11


Culture: Rapper Ja Rule’s best buds behind bars: Disgraced rich guys

  • Outside, you don’t meet guys like this every day. This place is amazing.
  • Rapper Ja Rule • Discussing his time in prison, where he’s in the middle of a two-year prison sentence for gun possession and tax evasion. The “guys like this” he’s referring to are disgraced Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski and Alan Hevesi, a  New York state politician who went to jail over a “pay to play” scheme involving the New York state pension system. Ja Rule, who will be releasing an album later this month despite his prison sentence, has been working on taking college-level courses behind bars after getting encouragement from Hevesi and Kozlowski to pursue higher education. “It’s funny,” the rapper said. “We’re from totally different walks of life. But when you’re here, you’re here.” source

07 Nov 2011 23:22


Music: Don’t wait to listen to “Camp”. You’ll be out of the cool loop.

  • Childish Gambino’s “Camp” is streaming already: You should have heard about “rap’s stepfather” by now. Childish Gambino, who you might know better as actor and writer Donald Glover, is releasing his latest album this month. Entitled “Camp,” it’s set to drop on November 15 … but if you’re cool, you can listen to it today. Thanks to NPR’s First Listen, you can listen to the entire album for free. It’s not safe for work due to explicit lyrics, but if we had our way, this would be mandatory listening material in every workplace. Take him seriously, though, as “few hip-hop artists have blurred the boundaries of rap and humor more subversively — or for a more serious end — than Childish Gambino.” source

16 May 2011 22:24


Music: Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt: There’s no need to “free” me, internet

  • … in the blink of an eye my worry changes from ‘will there still be this hype when I get back’ to ‘Oh shit I just inspired a widespread movement of people who are dedicated to the downfall of my mom.’
  • Odd Future rapper Thebe “Earl Sweatshirt” Kgositsile • Indirectly asking the world to lay off his mom, who has been blamed for the rapper’s diminished role in the group just as they’ve become the year’s biggest musical hype monster. The New Yorker’s Kelefa Sanneh wrote a huge piece on the 16-year-old rapper which isn’t available online (unless you have an iPad with a New Yorker app). But suffice it to say from the sample given here shows that things aren’t what they seem in Internetville. His departure wasn’t involuntary, and there is no need to “Free Earl.” “The only thing I need as of right now is space,” he writes. “I’ve still got work to do and don’t need the additional stress of fearing for my family’s physical well-being.” source

10 Jan 2011 21:01


Biz, Music: Irony: 50 Cent makes penny stock move using influence alone

  • 29¢ increase in a penny stock that Fitty recommended on Twitter
  • 240% the increase in the value of HNHI, a firm that sells headphones
  • $50M the increase in the value of the stock based on Fitty’s tweets alone
  • $10M the amount 50 Cent  made off his 3.8 million followers source
  • » Yeah yeah, we know the irony: A guy named after pocket change just used his power to give a penny stock a boost. And the best part? It’s entirely possible the stock (currently at 39 cents) will reach 50 cents tomorrow. See, when 50 Cent sells out his name, he doesn’t sell it out to make a quick buck on advertising. He sells it out to make a quick buck. Period.

01 Nov 2010 14:29


Culture: “My Girl’s a Republican”: Working class GOP values, set to a beat

My Girl’s a Republican from jeff on Vimeo.


  • It’s the day before the election, and what better way to celebrate than a really catchy hip-hop song about Republican girlfriends? Oh, and you should vote. (via Foster Kamersource

24 Oct 2010 19:46


Biz, Music: The super-rich Jay-Z knows how to build a brand for himself

  • Jay-z may not have that vitamin water money to his name like 50 Cent, but he does OK for himself. The rapper recently showed up on the cover of Forbes with Warren Buffett, and he’s managed to continue to bring in millions of dollars on his own brand by signing the right business deals and finding ways to creatively work with partners. One could argue that you could have a whole business strategy class on how Jay-Z works in business, because he knows how to time his moves very well, and has really only had a small handful of flops (that first collaboration he did with R. Kelly comes to mind). Some more details:
  • $450 million in total net worth, which is pretty rad
  • $150
    the size of Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s profit-sharing deal with Live Nation, which is profitable despite the lack of signed artists
  • $204
    the amount Jay-Z received for Rocawear in 2007 – but get this; he kept creative control of the line and heads day-to-day operations
  • 45M the number of albums he’s sold so far; all of his albums have gone platinum in the U.S.
  • 10 the number of Grammy awards he’s won in his two-decade career (show off)
  • 11 the number of chart-topping albums in his career – nine solo and two collaborations source
  • » Other business ventures: Don’t think that he stops with clothes and songs. He also has a restaurant chain to his name, The 40-40 Club; a Greenwich Village bistro, the Spotted Pig; a co-ownership stake in the Carol’s Daughter beauty line; and best of all, an ownership stake in the New Jersey Nets, which will end up in Brooklyn in 2012 thanks partly to him.
  • » And he’s just getting started: The next thing on Hova’s agenda? He has a book coming out with a fairly interesting concept – basically, he took the lyrics to dozens of his hit songs and explained them in depth. “Decoded” also has Microsoft on board for the advertising campaign. Because that’s how Jay-Z rolls. He gets corporate sponsors to back his projects, and the corporations win because they can bank on Jay-Z’s name to give them cool points. And let’s face it, Microsoft can use as many of those as they can get.

13 Oct 2010 20:21


Music: Live your life: T.I. talked a guy out of jumping to his death (wow)

  • T.I. just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
  • Atlanta Police spokesman James Polite • Explaining how rapper T.I., a.k.a. Clifford Harris, convinced a man on the rooftop of a 22-story Atlanta hotel not to jump. The rapper reportedly came out of nowhere in the middle of police negotiations with the man and talked the guy out of the jump. T.I., known for both his chart-topping success and for going to jail at the peak of his career, will face a judge this week and may possibly get his probation revoked over drug charges in Hollywood. Wow, that guy leads a busy life. source

22 Jun 2010 00:29


Music: Rapper turns death rumors (lemons) into PR opportunity (lemonade)

  • All these rumors that I’ve been shot are phony just like half the rappers in the game. I’m still here, promoting my R.E.D. Album, so when it drops, go get it or else you might end up dead like me (laughs).
  • Rapper Game • Dispelling the rumors about his untimely demise and at the same time getting his new album a little much-needed publicity, which he hasn’t had a lot of lately, because he’s Game (formerly “The Game,” which was way cooler). For a period today, “the game dies in shooting” was the top trend on Google, giving the rapper an opportunity to live to see some of that Tupac money. source

22 May 2010 17:05


Music: Rapper Drake: I’m not a legend yet, but it’d sure be nice

  • That’s the most flattering thing in the world but at the same time, real, legendary status can’t be dictated by the people who are still here witnessing it.
  • Rapper Drake • On being calling a legend, already, before his first full album has come out. Dude’s riding a pretty large wave of hype right now, one that promises to only get larger as “Thank Me Later” comes out next month. Why the hype? Part of it is his everyman approach to rap. In his rhymes, he comes across as an average guy who just happened to become famous, a dude who says he didn’t cry when Tupac died but will when Jay-Z does. He’s not ready yet but he’s looking forward to getting there: “I’m young. I’m 23. This is too soon. I really want to grow and be that guy.” Not bad for the guy in the wheelchair on “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” source

06 May 2010 22:24


Music: Non-expert opinion: Hip-hop icons who talk big game

  • Disclaimer: We know as much about rap as we do about gardening. We can tell you what a flower looks like, we can tell you if it smells pretty, but we sure as heck suck at putting seeds in the ground and making them grow. That’s kind of the idea behind this new occasional feature, where we try to explain things we don’t particularly understand all that well. Next week: Quantum mechanics.

  • he knows he’s arrived Drake has more buzz than any rapper this side of his inmate buddy Lil Wayne, and with “Over,” he doesn’t underestimate his abilities nor does he pretend that there isn’t a dark side to the fame. It’s kind of refeshing – like Kanye when he used to be headier.

  • The comeback kid Lupe Fiasco’s album sales haven’t matched his cred as a hip-hop artiste, but he doesn’t let the haters get to him. “I’m Beamin'” is a great I’m-still-awesome comeback anthem. (Disclosure: Our good friend Rob Simmons did the visual effects on this awesome video.)

  • too full of himself Diddy hasn’t done anything of note with his music career in about a decade, and even then, he was kind of seen as a sell-out. It’s with that image of him we show you this teaser to a blog that doesn’t even exist yet. Kanye already has the hip-hop blogging game won, man.