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Dustin J. Seibert Dustin J. Seibert Jan 03, 2020.

Why These 10 Hip-Hop Tracks From 2019 Have Us Hype for 2020

Why These 10 Hip-Hop Tracks From 2019 Have Us Hype for 2020

There’s quite a bit of hip-hop cooking in the kitchen for 2020, in terms of scheduled and rumored releases. Full-length projects are expected from the holy trinity of contemporary rap greats—Drake, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar—as well as albums that will excite the kids (Lil Uzi Vert, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie) and us old fogies (the long-gestating Black Star reunion album).

And while those are...

Panama Jackson Panama Jackson Dec 20, 2019.

Is Kanye Cancel-Proof? A Look Back at His Controversial Decade

Is Kanye Cancel-Proof? A Look Back at His Controversial Decade

Kanye West had himself a decade. While he started out on a musical tear that had car speakers and arenas rocking, he ended it as a Donald Trump, MAGA-hat wearing, gospel-ish artist. The one consistency is that when he started out 2010, he thought he was God’s gift to the planet—and he pretty much ended the decade that way, too. Jesus is king.

It’s easy to think that Kanye effectively “fell...

Michael Harriot Michael Harriot Dec 15, 2019. 17 comments

Apparently, White People Had No Idea Who Frankie Beverly Was Until Black Twitter Taught Them

Apparently, White People Had No Idea Who Frankie Beverly Was Until Black Twitter Taught Them

If you woke up this morning and were shocked to discover that one of Black America’s favorite musical legends had gone home to glory, calm down. You don’t have to pull out your white painter’s cap, put on “Joy & Pain” and contemplate what steps you should take before you let go. Nothing happened to Frankie Beverly and all of the members of Maze are still standing right beside us and I’m told...

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Panama Jackson Panama Jackson Dec 12, 2019. 14 comments

Keyshia Cole’s ‘Love’ Versus O.T. Genasis’ ‘Never Knew’: Who Did It Better? An Analysis

Keyshia Cole’s ‘Love’ Versus O.T. Genasis’ ‘Never Knew’: Who Did It Better? An Analysis

If you have spent more than five minutes online in the past week, know some gang members, or (oddly) have a Google alert set for “Keyshia Cole” then you have been made privy to the song and video, “Never Knew,” by Long Beach, Calif., rapper and Crip-extraordinaire, O.T. Genasis.

You may remember him from such hits as “Coco”—he’s in love with it—and “Cut It”—which, if your prices are too high,...

14 Comments

Maiysha Kai Maiysha Kai Nov 23, 2019.

Skye's the Limit: Justine Skye Talks Authencity, Artistry and Her Hometown-Inspired H&M Collab

Skye's the Limit: Justine Skye Talks Authencity, Artistry and Her Hometown-Inspired H&M Collab

Justine Skye knows she’s a bit of a mystery. In fact, the 24-year-old singer has at times been better known for her influencer status and famous friends like Kendall and Kylie Jenner than her music, despite inking her first record deal at 19. Then came her late-2018 single, “Build,” the video to which both continued a much-needed conversation about domestic abuse and displayed a vulnerable...

Panama Jackson Panama Jackson Nov 16, 2019. 8 comments

Dammit Jacquees, You Had One Job! King of R&B Is Cool, but It Ain't a Kingmaker

Dammit Jacquees, You Had One Job! King of R&B Is Cool, but It Ain't a Kingmaker

When we last spoke (about Jacquees), it was in the midst of Mr. Rodriguez Jacquees Broadnax’s ill-advised decision to proclaim that he was the “King of R&B ,” a title that none of the contenders were really laying claim to, but that nearly all agreed was not Jacquees. And because of his claim, he became a punching bag, even though I’d wager that a significant number of people clowning him...

8 Comments

Jay Connor Jay Connor Oct 17, 2019. 15 comments

100 Percent That Thief? Lizzo’s ‘Truth Hurts’ Slapped With Second Plagiarism Claim

100 Percent That Thief? Lizzo’s ‘Truth Hurts’ Slapped With Second Plagiarism Claim

If the latest round of accusations is true, Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” is more than merely a chart-topping smash—it’s the byproduct of some carefully calculated theft.

Pitchfork reports that producer Justin Raisen took to Instagram to air out his grievances with the Cuz I Love You singer and was kind enough to include receipts.

“On April 11th, 2017, we wrote a song called ‘Healthy’ w/ Lizzo, Jesse...

15 Comments

Panama Jackson Panama Jackson Sep 19, 2019. 10 comments

10 Thoughts About the Upcoming 'A Night with Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour'

10 Thoughts About the Upcoming 'A Night with Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour'

1. I could understand a Las Vegas residency for “A Night with Whitney.” What happens there, rightly stays there, so it makes sense. Yes, that’s a non-sequitur. But so is ‘Whitney was popular let’s make her a ghost and tour her.’ I’ve been to Vegas and seen things that I have not seen anywhere else, both commercially and from random passersby on the street. Las Vegas is where good and bad...

10 Comments

Jay Connor Jay Connor Sep 04, 2019. 1 comments

The Music Industry Reacts to the Passing of Grammy Award-Winning Songwriter LaShawn Daniels: ‘We Needed Him’

The Music Industry Reacts to the Passing of Grammy Award-Winning Songwriter LaShawn Daniels: ‘We Needed Him’

You might not immediately recognize his name, but LaShawn Daniels, the Grammy Award-winning songwriter who penned the soundtrack to many of our lives, has reportedly passed away at the age of 41.

The Independent reports that the cause of death has yet to be determined, but friends and collaborators have taken to social media to celebrate his legacy and mourn the loss of one of the music...

1 Comments

Panama Jackson Panama Jackson Aug 30, 2019. 8 comments

Jidenna's 85 to Africa Is a Musical Road Trip Worth Taking

Jidenna's 85 to Africa Is a Musical Road Trip Worth Taking

While August 23, 2019, probably won’t be revered in modern black music release history the same way that September 29, 1998, is—the day that Outkast’s Aquemini, Jay-Z’s Vol. 2, Hard Knock Life, A Tribe Called Quest’s The Love Movement, Black Star’s Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star and Brand Nubian’s Foundation were released—it was still a tremendously exciting day for music fans...

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Dustin J. Seibert Dustin J. Seibert Aug 28, 2019. 21 comments

The 15 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

The 15 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

Hip-hop celebrated its 46th birthday on August 11. The anniversary of the genre’s unofficial yet widely accepted formation in the Bronx just happened to coincide with the tail end of a conversation regarding everyone’stop 50 rappers list . The thought of putting together my own top 50 list always put me off; once you get past your top 15, things get muddled and subjective. I’ve no interest in...

21 Comments

Panama Jackson Panama Jackson Aug 06, 2019. 2 comments

Rapsody's Upcoming Album, Eve, Pays Homage to Black Women; 1st Single 'Ibtihaj' Keeps It All the Way Live

Rapsody's Upcoming Album, Eve, Pays Homage to Black Women; 1st Single 'Ibtihaj' Keeps It All the Way Live

Rapsody, the North Carolina lyricist known in hip-hop circles as a rapper’s rapper, has consistently delivered on both her individual releases and features. In 2017, Rapsody (born Marlanna Evans) dropped her critically-acclaimed and Grammy-nominated album, Laila’s Wisdom (Jamla/RocNation). The first record on the album—the title track—has been in my personal rotation nonstop ever since and it...

2 Comments

Panama Jackson Panama Jackson Jul 30, 2019. 8 comments

7 Thoughts About Chance the Rapper's 'Debut' Album, The Big Day

7 Thoughts About Chance the Rapper's 'Debut' Album, The Big Day

On Friday, July 26, after much leadup and life changes for one Chancelor Bennett, aka Chance the Rapper, he independently released his “debut” album, The Big Day. Boasting a shit-ton of songs, largely about relationships and the leadup to “the big day”—his wedding, presumably—he uses his “big day” (“debut” album release day) to focus on his maturity and where he is in life.

Chance puts a lot...

8 Comments

Maiysha Kai Maiysha Kai Jul 26, 2019. 19 comments

'Hot Girl Summer,' Who? Drop Everything, Because Lizzo Just Dropped That 'Tempo'—With Missy Elliott

'Hot Girl Summer,' Who? Drop Everything, Because Lizzo Just Dropped That 'Tempo'—With Missy Elliott

I been waitin’ for this one....Turn it up!

Thought you were having a “Hot Girl Summer”? According to Lizzo, it’s “Thick Bitch Summer”—and we just got our summer anthem (actually, we’ll take both, please). They say never meet your heroes, but our favorite sangin’, rappin’, body-positive phenom Lizzo just teamed up with her sangin’, rappin’, body-positive idol (and ours), the eternally...

19 Comments

Maiysha Kai Maiysha Kai Jul 16, 2019. 6 comments

‘I Am a Champion for My Brown, Dark Women’: Living Legend Missy Elliott Covers Marie Claire

‘I Am a Champion for My Brown, Dark Women’: Living Legend Missy Elliott Covers Marie Claire

Fun, fly fact: Monday marked the 22nd anniversary of Missy Elliott’s debut drop, Supa Dupa Fly.

If that anniversary astounds you, it’s likely because aside from the fact that we don’t feel 22 years older (that was legit half my lifetime ago, at this point), the song, “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” still slaps, proving Missy was always well ahead of her time.

“We created a sound that we didn’t even...

6 Comments

Panama Jackson Panama Jackson Jun 21, 2019. 9 comments

30 Days of Musical Blackness With VSB, Day 20: Phyllis Hyman, 'Be Careful (How You Treat My Love)'

30 Days of Musical Blackness With VSB, Day 20: Phyllis Hyman, 'Be Careful (How You Treat My Love)'

There’s almost no way I could do a series like this without at least one nod to my second-favorite singer of forever, Phyllis Hyman. Turns out, almost four years ago, before VSB became part of The Root and before we started writing full time, I wrote everything I was going to write today in a previous article . So I’m going to quote myself at length here:

“I remember the first time I heard a...

9 Comments

Tonja Renée Stidhum Tonja Renée Stidhum Jun 19, 2019. 13 comments

What Is the Best and Blackest Movie Soundtrack?

What Is the Best and Blackest Movie Soundtrack?

It’s African American Music Appreciation Month (lovingly known as Black Music Month) and what better way to celebrate than to honor just how much music affects another celebrated medium? That’s right, we’re talking film.

While Bill Cosby and O.J. Simpson were attempting to make this the most bizarre week in celebrity social media history, Jamie Foxx decided to bring it back to good ol’...

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Panama Jackson Panama Jackson Jun 18, 2019. 6 comments

30 Days of Musical Blackness With VSB, Day 18: The Temptations 'Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)'

30 Days of Musical Blackness With VSB, Day 18: The Temptations 'Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)'

As a child, I grew up hearing The Temptations, but I don’t recall really listening. Of course, I knew of Motown and thus I knew some of their biggest songs, some by heart, even if I wasn’t entirely up on game. “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” and “My Girl,” and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” are all songs from my childhood. But 1998 changed all of that. In November 1998, NBC aired a somewhat fictitious...

6 Comments

Panama Jackson Panama Jackson Jun 16, 2019. 2 comments

30 Days of Musical Blackness With VSB, Day 16: Gladys Knight & the Pips ‘Daddy Could Swear, I Declare’

30 Days of Musical Blackness With VSB, Day 16: Gladys Knight & the Pips ‘Daddy Could Swear, I Declare’

Happy Father’s Day!

You know what’s difficult to find? Positive songs about black fathers. I’m not saying there aren’t any, I’m just saying that the genre, as it were, could stand some more entries. So today, I decided to go with a song by Gladys Knight & the Pips. The song celebrates dads, or Gladys’ dad, by talking about what he could do almost better than anyone else: “Daddy Could Swear, I...

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Panama Jackson Panama Jackson Jun 15, 2019. 2 comments

30 Days of Musical Blackness With VSB, Day 15: Fela Kuti ‘Lady’

30 Days of Musical Blackness With VSB, Day 15: Fela Kuti ‘Lady’

I’d heard of Fela Kuti before I heard Fela. But when I finally made the discovery of Nigeria’s Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti aka Fela Anikulapo Kuti aka Fela, I was done for.

Actually, that’s a little untrue. After being told to check out his music I went out and bought the Best of the Black President double album and because the songs are so long I skimmed a lot until I got to

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