Beats, Rhymes, Life


1. Freestyles are for mic holders. Rap songs are for just about anybody with a friend who can bear recording them. Mistah F.A.B. has impressed Bay Area hip hop heads for years with his ability to spit relevant rhymes straight off the dome top. Here he is at a recent sneaker head event in the Bay. Fancy word play with a plethora of sneaker references, yes please.

2. The darker the berry….So Kendrick Lamar specifically requested for Brittany Sky to star in his recent music video, Poetic Justice. As Kendrick put it recently, “We had another girl for the lead but I had an idea where I just wanted a little bit of a darker tone [girl] in the video, It’s almost like a color blind industry where there’s only one type of appeal to the camera,” he said. Yeah, and that’s one Eurocentric type, lighter is clearly better in the eyes of countless rappers and their production squads. It’s very apparent her skin wasn’t the only aesthetic feature that got her the gig, it’s not like Kendrick went out on a limb here! And is it just me, or is this a pretty loose definition of a “dark skinned girl”?

britsky3. Fountain of youth. DJ Premier is the rap game’s equivalent of Michael Jordan. By that I mean, regardless of how much time passes, new generations of artists are aware and are very much in awe of the accomplishments of Premo. And just like new ballers still want to rock some fresh new Jordan’s, young cats in the know are looking to work with Premier. Here’s ZIF fave Joey Bada$$ being introduced to the producer extraordinaire, aptly showing the appropriate humility.

4. Ballers want to be rappers. Here’s the most recent example of sport imitating rap, this one brought to you by Kentucky basketball’s most alliterative player, Nerlens Noel. The star freshman who suffered a devastating injury that has sidelined him for the latter part of their season seemingly had some free time and released a song called “Number 9″ with a local rapper and Kentucky fan named Wes Grams. It’s as terrible as Kentucky’s chances at reaching the tourney this year.

5. Finally, it dropped. The album I’ve been hyping not so subtly for months from The Doppelgangaz was released two days ago. First listen impressions are usually the ones that count, and mine was pure enjoyment. This is rap music I’m going to proudly share with all of my non-rap listening friends, not that they’ll listen to it, said rap music is for hip hop fans, this album won’t turn you onto the genre. But if you’re yearning for more than what your favorite major is telling you that you like, start with HARK.

Beats, Rhymes and Life

1. Major drop #1. Sean Price has finally released the highly anticipated Mic Tyson album via Duck Down of course. Cop the album here. I went ahead and streamed my favorite track to give you an incentive to buy. Yes, I am your pusher, man.

Sean Price – Battering Bars (feat. Pumpkin Head)

2. Major drop # 2. Hot Sugar pushes towards the industry finish line with his new EP, Midi Murder. It’s absolutely bananas. And free! Well, you’ll have to sell your firstborns soul to Toyota, but even still! (Click the image to cop).

3. Ludacris gets ludicrous with his Halloween Costume. Possibly the best admission of doppelganger status, Luda will be going as Anthony Davis this year, for those of you unaware, Davis was the first overall pick in this years NBA draft and is known for his uni-brow. I hope Luda reuses this look for a few parties, seems like a hell of a commitment to throw away on just one soiree. #FearTheBrow

4. Speaking of Halloween, Lil Boosie is sponsoring a kid friendly Halloween party tomorrow in Baton Rouge. Only problem, he’s currently doing an 8 year stint in Angola (the state prison, not the country) for drug charges. “He won’t be there physically, but he’s giving it,” his cousin Porcha Webb tells 9News Neighborhoods.

5. Fans awaiting another Eminem album were pleasantly surprised with the announcement that he will be releasing one next year. Eminem showed off his new “tribute hat” playing off the Tigers logo with the side panel dedicated to the landmark Eminem solo albums ( it includes the year 2013). Smart eh? Needless to say the tribute would have been much more dramatic had the Tigers beat the Giants. Cop the hat here.

Beats, Rhymes, Life [Labor Day Weekend Edition]

because you had better things to do over the weekend then surf the web

1. Gaslamp Killer’s album is quickly approaching it’s departure date. The third single released off the forthcoming album “Breakthrough” is a doosy and features the festival circuit favorite and fellow Angelino Daedelus. The album will be released on September 18th via FlyLo’s Brainfeeder outfit. Considering the hype and talent, the album title is more than apropos.


2.  Azealia Banks dropped a video for her track “1991”, that was cool. Dropping it on Labor Day though? I am extremely critical about the timing of this release, I just do not see the advantage of releasing a video on a day where by definition people are not in front of their computers. Nevertheless it nabbed 320K views over the past 24 hours, so I’ll zip it. For the record, it’s her most straightforward aka vapid video yet.

3. Underground favorite and ZIF regular Quelle Chris finally got signed! This is a big score for Mello Music Group who announced they got his signature on a multi-album deal. The Los Angeles via Detroit based emcee has been making noise via his Crown Nation work with Denmark Vessey as well as random hodge-podge efforts on his own now that he’s in LA. Pairing up with MMG makes a lot of sense stylistically, he clearly would mesh well with fellow labelmates Gensu Dean and Apollo Brown. But was this deal selling himself short? In my opinion Quelle has big time commercial potential, whereas Mello Music Group is clearly indie country. Apart from Odissee is anyone on Mello actually paying bills? If Danny Brown had signed to MMG last year for a multi album deal, it’s clear that his reach would have been limited for a few years. Either way, we wish the best for Quelle. Here’s some work to wet the appetite (mind that spelling).

4. Nicki Minaj is a Mitt Romney supporter? No, of course not, but on a new track with Lil Wayne she does turn some heads with the following lyrics

“I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney / You lazy b—-es is f—ing up the economy.”

Now, everyone and their favorite political mama know that this is a gimicky way of getting mainstream exposure to what would have been just another Minaj mixtape verse. However, it does accentuate the tenuous relationship Obama has with hip hop artists and frankly black youth in general. Read more about that here. Peep the rhyme in question below.

5. House Shoes has finally dropped his video for his track “Sweet” with Danny Brown. Sweet.

Beats, Rhymes, Life

1. If you have a soul, you stopped listening to The Black Eyed Peas somewhere after Bridging The Gap and the release of Elephunk. Without a doubt, everyone at some point has had their fill of the global pop group. Needless to say that Will.I.Am is the braintrust and one true talent of the bunch, yet he’s been equally annoying in his existence, plus he produces for terrible acts. Well, apparently NASA disagrees with everything I just said. About half and hour ago they blasted Will.I.Am’s new single ” Reach for the Stars” via the Mars Rover to pretty much the whole galaxy I’m assuming. Here’s the official link to NASA’s press release about it all, plus some live streaming of the event. Galactic fail if you ask me. The picture, not so official.

2. Falside, a name we haven’t uttered on ZIF for a minute now. Well, that sure hasn’t stopped him from pumping out dope product quicker than your favorite burger chain. If there’s a beatsmith who has put out more quality beat tapes over the last 3 years, I have not stumbled across he/she. This track is off his “Strictly Streaming” series, nice concept, better beat.


3. Local dope: When you think of South LA rappers, you’re bound to get stuck on the TDE train (Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar). Skeme is a rapper from Inglewood that has been on my radar since I moved here half a decade ago, known for his knockabout rhymes with an equally smooth flow, could we looking at the next TDE addition? Perhaps, as for now, here’s a collab off his Alive & Living album out on October 16th with “LA Diddy”, Schoolboy Q. THC produced, light it up.

4.  When old music is new sounds. Sean Price is a sporadically minded artist, constantly putting out videos, interviews, and music that can be labelled random often. Needless to say when I saw that he had released a pack of “new sounds” via his SoundCloud, I had my suspicions. The music isn’t new, P explained on Twitter it’s actually old material that has been lying around. He also went on to say it has made him excited about the prospects of dropping a new LP. Sweet. After months of letting Duck Down release his music, he hooked up his own SoundCloud page, check it often for new and “new” music.

5. I’ve said this once, and I’ll say it again. The Doppelgangaz are the most underrated rap act out of NYC. Here is another video, the final one, promoting their project Beats for Brothels, Vol. 2. Stream the album, and pre-order below the video. Stop saying I don’t give you the what’s what, here it be.

Beats, Rhymes, Life

1. The first video off the Nas album will be “Bye Baby”, as you can see from the tweet from Tyler The Creator, lots of people considered this their favorite track off the Life Is Good album. Personally, I thought Nas let his feelings about Kelis shape that album way too much, this track included. Certainly listenable though, and the video is likely to be fire.

2. So it’s #TDEFanAppreciationWeek , as in Top Dawg Entertainment home of LA spitters (Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and Ab-Soul). The plan has been to relase new music all week long from the Black Hippies, yesterday was Jay Rock’s turn, YOLA!

Be sure to keep that hashtag handy for new TDE material this week.

3. Azealia Banks recently had a photoshoot with UK magazine Dazed & Confused for their September cover. Apparently the pictures were too racy for some, six countries banned the cover. Click the cover to see more “racy” photos.

4. Toronto based rapper K’Naan is known for his global awareness and Somalian roots. His content is extrememly conscious and his poetic flow has been praised for its ability to penetrate mainstream sound, i.e. he gets radio love even though he’s more spoken word than trap rap. In true form, he will be putting out a 32-page, full-colour book, which also has a brief history of the Somalian conflict. K’Naan says “I wanted to write a children’s story that reflects the new immigrant’s sense of family and identity, which can sometimes be lost in translation. In this book, the main character is Wavin’ Flag, a song whose ownership has been long claimed by children all over the world”

5. Rumors finally became fact when Lady Gaga announced that her and Kendrick Lamar had cut a track together titled “Partynaseous”. Considering he just released “Swimming Pools” a track breaking down the dark side of heavy drinking, I am postulating that this will be something in that vein. MTV reported that the track is about “Jakarta”, whatever the hell that means, Indonesia? Gaga enticed Kendrick to talk a little about it on Twitter today. The track is due for release next month. (Good luck protecting that from a leak)

Beats, Rhymes, Life

1.  UK based youth Charli XCX is following the Jai Paul formula, foregoing an album and releasing just a few singles a year and focusing on marketing them hard. This one gets remixed and features OFWGTA’s The Internet.

2. Ghanaian wonder duo the Fokn Bois have been pinching hearts and minds in Europe as well as their native Ghana. Hopefully the visa issues get resolved and they finally can touch down on US soil. If there are two harder working men in the scene then these two, I am yet to be introduced. The new video continues a rich tradition of shooting unique aesthetics while keeping things lighthearted.

3. Some dogmatic website released their list of The 20 Richest Rappers Alive Today, you may find the results (below) predictable for the most part. Surprises for me included Rick Ross only being worth a quarter, T-Pain being tied with T.I., and that Master P is ranked #3 with a net worth of 350 million, beating out the likes of Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. Ice cream sells!

#20 Rick Ross – Net Worth $25 Million
#19 Tie between T-Pain and T.I – Net Worth $30 Million
#18 Nelly – Net Worth $55 Million
#17 Busta Rhymes – Net Worth $60 Million
#16 Ludacris – Net Worth $65 Million
#15 Beastie Boys – Net Worth $75 Million Each
#14 Timbaland – Net Worth $75 Million
#13 Pharrell Williams – Net Worth $77.5 Million
#12 Tie between LL Cool J and Akon – Net Worth $80 Million
#11 Kanye West – Net Worth $90 Million
#10 Lil Wayne – Net Worth $95 Million
#9 Ice Cube – Net Worth $100 Million
#8 Snoop Dogg – Net Worth $110 Million
#7 Birdman – Net Worth $115 Million
#6 Eminem – Net Worth $120 Million
#5 50 Cent – Net Worth $250 Million
#4 Dr. Dre – Net Worth $260 Million
#3 Master P – Net Worth $350 Million
#2 Jay-Z – Net Worth $475 Million
#1 Diddy – Net Worth $500 Million

4. For those wondering how many ways we can connect the Olympic Games to hip hop, here’s a pretty legit bond. Everyone knows about Ryan Lochte right? Anyways, he’s an Olympic swimmer for the US that has already retrieved some gold. Upon being given the chance to show off his medal for photogs, he was sure to include his custom-made grill from hip hop artist and impresario Paul Wall. Wall is famous for his custom grill business and apparently laced Ryan with 4 of them, apparently the one he showed off with the gold medal is worth a cool 25k.

5. The contest that turned into a viral joke finally turned into Pitbull visiting and performing at a Walmart in Kodiak, Alaska. The campaign was originally designed to market an energy strip for Walmart but quickly turned into a wonderfully consolidated effort by “fans” to “exile” him to the farthest Walmart possible. Much to the chagrin of residents of Kodiak, Alaska. Unfortunately there were no messy bear spray incidents.

Beats, Rhymes, Life

1. REK’s new video “Bang Bang”

I saw Wale talking about how that MMG promo video was like a “movie”. Nah homie, this dope REKS video is “like a movie”, REBULUTIONARY the album came out today. Cop it.

2. The Dogg becomes a Lion

Snoop hasn’t made a relevant hip hop track in almost half a decade, teaming up with Diplo makes sense, he’s a master of making anything sound playable with the right Lazer sounds.

3. Twits: Danny Brown cops a date with a porn star

Rappers love Twitter for this kind of shit. Regardless if that “date” happens, fans on both sides imagine all sorts of fantastical things about their respective idols. Note toKristina Rose fans, don’t idolize.

4. Gay rap is not a genre.

Yes, Le1f is a gay rapper, but like he says “I’m proud to be called a gay rapper, but it’s not gay rap. That’s not a genre.” Then what’s all the recent fuss slash buzz about? Here’s the video that got things started.

5. Ice-T is not the NRA, but they might like what he has to say about guns.

Oh Ice, always trying to push the envelope.