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Jack Ellis

Gangsta Rap

Enter YG, a Compton-bred emcee with a legitimate grassroots following and big-league ambitions, who has just released the most exciting and fully-realized rap album of 2014.

Gangsta Rap

Distance from the center — especially for a sub-genre which once defined it — usually means a lapse in innovation.

Gangsta Rap

Things just ain’t the same for gangsters. N.W.A.‘s “Efil4zaggin” debuted at number one on the Billboard charts in 1991, and ever since, rap has maintained an impressive foothold in American popular music.

Watch out, Kendrick

Growing up happens like a thunderstorm. It’s not a steady hum that moves in lockstep with the second hand, but a nocturnal headrush of self-laceration, scatterbrained recollection, and cognitive mapping, followed by a testing period.

‘Rapping Up’ 2013

“I am the number one most impactful artist of our generation. I am Shakespeare in the flesh. “ – Kanye West Since hip-hop has splintered into so many subgenres, regional offshoots and online curios, it would be impossible to tie it up with one neat, concise narrative for 2013.

'Rapping' Up 2013

Since hip-hop has splintered into so many subgenres and regional offshoots, it would be impossible to tie it up with one neat, concise narrative for 2013.

Bold moves:

Boldy James is a Detroit rapper whose new album, “My First Chemistry Set,” is one of the year’s best.

Pusha to the limit

If Virginia hip-hop has a sound, it’s The Clipse. The duo of brothers Pusha T and Malice broke nationally with 2001’s Lord Willin’, an album of vivid drug dealer narratives produced entirely by Pharell Williams and Chad Hugo, another Virginia Beach duo who called themselves The Neptunes.

You da you da best

We’re all self-conscious. Kanye was the first to admit it, but Aubrey “Drake” Graham was the first to relish in it.

You can never break the Chainz

Out of all of hip-hop’s major label stars, no one has more reason to celebrate than 2Chainz. After rapping for 10 years as half of the duo Playaz Circle, the man born Tauheed Epps is enjoying a late career renaissance.

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