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Kanye West bows down to Drake, may be done with rap game

- July 21st, 2014

Kanye West may be done with the rap game.

No, seriously. He said it himself!

In a recent interview with GQ Magazine’s Zach Baron, West admitted that while taking time to focus on his wedding with Kim Kardashian and spending time with new daughter North, he’d lost the top spot in the industry to Toronto’s own Drake.

west-kanye

“Currently, that top spot is taken. Let’s be honest – he got last summer,” West admitted. “He got last summer. And I’d never given it up till last summer. It’s a real question for me[competing with Drake]. Do I want to?”

Avid fans of West know he’s been in the studio working on a new album for months, but he only just announced in the interview that his new single would probably be dropped in a couple of weeks, with the album not too far behind it.

West confessed the new single would be more in line with top pop songs receiving air time on the radio and less “beautiful,” a word he used to describe most of the tracks on Yeezus and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

“…for the new album, one new thing could change everything. I had an idea of the way I wanted to do the album. And then I got a new song that’s so good that the album has to be balanced against it,” West said, adding the new song is one that’ll be played at every club when it’s released.

The following content may contain coarse language. Viewer discretion is advised.

Reading the interview, it’s clear West still thinks he’s the biggest game changer to happen to the industry since Tupac, and when questioned about how he feels one year after Yeezus, he doesn’t even attempt to play down his own “brilliance.”

“I think Yeezus is the beginning of a completely new era of music. It has all new rules. It just broke every rule possible,” West said. “New Slaves. The second verse. I argue it’s the best rap verse of all time. It’s the Coming to America or Anchorman of a verse.”

He may still be enthusiastic about music, but the 37-year-old admitted his focus has changed. Now, he’d much rather spend time focusing on his new wife and daughter, all while preparing to launch multiple fashion lines.

But West admits he’s not the same kid he was five years ago, when it was about going home with a different girl every night and counting the dollar signs in a bank account. Now, he said, it’s about being cool as a man dedicated to his family.

“Family is super cool. Going home to one girl every night is super cool. Just going home and getting on the floor and playing with your child is super cool…having someone that I can call Mom again. That s— is super cool.”

Watch Kanye West freestyle as a teenager in 1996

- July 17th, 2014

Even before Kanye West was an uber successful artist, he was still Kanye West.

Arrogant, narcissistic, and full of incredible talent just waiting to be noticed, it’s a trip to see a young 19-year-old West lay it down in a dingy studio considering the lavish lifestyle he lives now.

The video below, which was recorded in August of 1996, shows off West participating in a free styling competition with other rappers from the Chicago area.

Warning: Video contains coarse language. Viewer discretion is advised.

According to Slate, the video was filmed in Fat Beats, an independent hip-hop record shop celebrating its successful move into a larger boutique closer to the city’s downtown core. At the time, West was just one of many rappers to come out and display their talents for anyone who cared to listen.

The minute and a half verse West spits is full of references to landmarks in Chicago, but most importantly, it’s full of typical Kanye West lines.

“But it’s not original cause I stole it from myself in the future,” is just one of the many lines West uses to reference his brilliance in the verse.

Slate also reported that while Fat Beats closed its retail doors in 2010, (after all, the death of record shops was imminent) the group still operates as a digital record label.

Hey, if they kickstarted the career of someone like Kanye West, they’ve got to have an eye for talent.

Kanye West’s ‘setlist’ released with rant rundown

- July 10th, 2014

Oh, Funny or Die, you just made our day.

After Kanye West’s epic Bonnaroo rant-fest which had the festival crowd turning on the rapper, and then his U.K. Wireless Festival grumblings about racism in the fashion industry, the comedy site decided to reveal a faux setlist with his rant prompts – with a handful of songs placed in between.

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Check out the hilarious document below (click for full view):

setlist

Kanye West booed off stage at Bonnaroo

- June 14th, 2014

Kanye West, the Tennessee festival circuit just isn’t your scene my friend.

Friday night at the Bonnaroo music festival was easily one of the most anticipated for fest goers. Both fans and curious crowds interested in seeing West’s big return to the stage after eight years was all anyone could talk about on Twitter.

Would West floor the massive audience or choke like he had prior?

As  they would soon learn, history was doomed to repeat itself.

THESE VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN COARSE LANGUAGE. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

After West took to the stage, he was met by rousing applause and just as deafening boos that lasted the entire show.

According to tweets from people at the festival, the boos only intensified when West stopped his show to deliver a ten minute rant about the importance of hard work, believing in yourself, and well, just being Kanye West.

 

As the tweets said, this wasn’t the first time West got booed off a main stage at Bonnaroo.

Back in 2008 when West performed, his “terrible” performance in combination with the amount of pauses he would take to rant about a certain topic, didn’t fly with the mellow Bonnaroo crowd.

During the middle of his now infamous set, he was booed off stage, prompting the artist to go on the offensive for weeks following the show, calling out both organizers and the attending crowd.

Bonnaroo festival organizers responded by not inviting the rising star back to their gathering, effectively blacklisting him from the circuit.

As West grew in popularity and maturity, it was hard for the festival committee to deny his charismatic presence, and the motion was put forward to have West return and redeem himself.

Which, as it turns out, some Bonnaroo attendees thought he did.

 

 

 

But even the strong sign of support wasn’t enough to keep the singer from losing his cool.

The most important question after this whole debacle? Did Yeezus play the new song he promised to drop during his set?

Tip: Don’t hold your breath.

Arctic Monkeys, Kanye West among the year’s best albums

- December 28th, 2013

In 2013, the music world saw Miley Cyrus twerk her way into everyone’s living room, the polarizing figure that is Kanye West had tongues wagging once again with a new album (as well as a new baby), Beyonce shocked the industry by dropping a new effort out of the blue, and the Thin White Duke made a triumphant return after a decade-long absence.

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My best albums of 2013 include some of these artists, but there were plenty of other notable musical acts that served as my soundtrack this past year. You’ll also see a few big albums from Canadian superstars, while lauded by many, I took a pass on — you won’t see Drake or Arcade Fire’s latest efforts on this list. Please, don’t strangle me with the red and white flag.

Take a listen, and let me know what you think in the comments.

10. Chvrches
The Bones of What You Believe
(Universal)

’80s-influenced synth pop was back in a big way this year, and leading the charge was this Scottish trio, showcased by the sweet, catchy, melodic vocals of frontlady Lauren Mayberry. I dare you put this one down.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “The Mother We Share,” “We Sink.”

The Mother We Share by CHVRCHES on Grooveshark

9. Nine Inch Nails
Hesistation Marks
(Universal)

To my delight, Trent Reznor is just as dark, miserable and powerful as he’s ever been on NIN’s latest.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Copy of A,” “Came Back Haunted.”

Copy of A by Nine Inch Nails on Grooveshark

8. Kings of Leon
Mechanical Bull
(RCA)

The Kings make a triumphant return after going on hiatus following lead singer Caleb Followill’s now-infamous boozy concert in Texas a few years back. Their best since 2008′s “Only by the Night.”

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Temple,” “Beautiful War.”

Temple by Kings of Leon on Grooveshark

7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Mosquito
(Universal)

The art-rock threesome — led by flamboyant singer Karen O — spent four years on a new canvas, and it turned out to be a picture of beauty.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Sacrilege,” “Slave.”

Sacrilege by Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Grooveshark

6. David Bowie
The Next Day
(Sony)

He may have been away for almost 10 years, but judging by the power and range of “Next Day,” Bowie never lost a step. Let’s hope his follow-up is not titled “The Next Decade.”

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” “Love is Lost.”

Love Is Lost by David Bowie on Grooveshark

5. Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires of the City
(XL Recordings)

These Vampires have more than enough bite on their third try, and were a big highlight at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival back in April.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Unbelievers,” “Diane Young.”

Unbelievers by Vampire Weekend on Grooveshark

4. A$AP Rocky
Long.Live.A$AP
(Sony)

Rakim Mayers, a.k.a. A$AP Rocky, took the rap world by storm by hitting No. 1 on the Billboard charts with some big hits and a pretty good guest list of stars.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “F***in’ Problems,” “Wild for the Night.”

Wild For The Night feat. Skrillex by A$AP Rocky on Grooveshark

3. Queens of the Stone Age
…Like Clockwork
(Matador)

A brush with death left the coolest guy in rock, Josh Homme, feeling like a mere mortal. What results is some of the most dark and beautiful tunes the band has ever put out.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “My God is the Sun,” “If I Had a Tail.”

My God Is the Sun by Queens of the Stone Age on Grooveshark

2. Kanye West
Yeezus
(Def Jam/Universal)

You see there’s leaders and there’s followers,
But I’d rather be a d*** than a swallower

Yup, Kanye made his mark in 2013 – and that’s even without the Kardashian sideshow. The most polarizing figure in modern music unleashes a torrent of firecrackers — from the kick-ass intro “On Sight,” you know the self-anointed rap god is about to back up his big mouth.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Blood on the Leaves,” “Black Skinhead.”

Blood on the Leaves by Kanye West on Grooveshark


1. Arctic Monkeys
AM
(Domino)

One of the most consistently good rock bands in recent memory is finally getting tons of attention on this side of the Atlantic, even without a stand out hit track. Let’s hear it for the old school way of making it big — with great albums.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Do I Wanna Know,” “Arabella.”

Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys on Grooveshark