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joey bada$$

How Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era took over underground hip-hop in five years

It’s not often that a group of kids can take over the rap game and establish themselves as one of the best crews in just five years, but that’s exactly what Pro Era has done.

Combining 90s-inspired flows, clever punch lines, and speaking on real topics, people all around the world have gravitated towards Pro Era and, like me, have been listening since 2012.

Joey Bada$$ is obviously the most known rapper in the group and blew up when he was just 15. Since then, he has been putting his whole squad on, helping his squad show their own singular talents. When Pro Era first started, it had only four people but now they have grown to over 15 members.

Drawing inspiration from greats like Biggie, who, like Pro Era, is from Brooklyn, they were also influenced by icons like Tupac. Pro Era followed current artists like J Cole and Kendrick Lamar’s rise to fame to help sculpt their own careers and follow their footsteps. These are all students of the game.

Pro Era always promotes messages of peace in their music and with the 47 symbol. The 47 symbol comes from Buddhism, signifying peace and balance. They are a very spiritual group, so you really have to listen to their lyrics to feel what they’re talking about. This is why listeners feel deeply connected with them.

In the past few years alone, they’ve really blown up. Malia Obama was even caught wearing a Pro Era shirt while Barack was still president and Secret Service was alerted. But with all the fame and recognition they don’t let any of it get to their head, constantly making quality music with more to come.

It’s crazy to think of how popular Pro Era already is and their group hasn’t even reached their peak yet. The video above shows how far they’ve come.

Sonny Digital calls for more love for producers, drops new solo track

Sonny Digital is not fuckin’ with you if you don’t give him the recognition he deserves.

He doesn’t want to just put it on for himself either. The Atlanta-based producer is looking to put it on for music mixing masters worldwide.

Late last month, Sonny took to social media and called for producers to band together everywhere and form unions.

In an Instagram post, Digital asked that rappers to respect the people behind the boards and that the industry should give them more recognition.

Peep what he had to say:

Sonny wasn’t alone, producers everywhere showed support. Flying Lotus even showed some love via Twitter.

Producers not getting any love for their work is a shame. Even though making a hit takes both the rapper and the producer working together, a rapper putting out a song with no beat would be whack as fuck.

Can you imagine Future with no Metro or Drake with no 40? Fuckin’ trash.

So what does a disgruntled producer do when his collaborators aren’t giving him the respect he deserves? He makes the fire ass beat and spits his own bars and creates his own track. Fuck a feature!

Digital got the gas. Homie dropped a fully independent single, “Look At Me Now,” on Merica’s birthday.

We’ve been waiting all month for this track to drop.

“Look At Me Now” is available everywhere. Happy Fourth! Check out the track below.

HUMBLE. music video

Kendrick Lamar has the best visuals in rap and it’s not even close

Some are calling Kendrick Lamar the best lyricist to ever touch the rap industry. His quip bars will make a white boy’s head turn in Beverly Hills.

K.Dot really got the juice and he’s not even close to squeezing his box dry.

For all the bitch ass haters who don’t respect his music, the one thing you can throw some respect on is Kung Fu Kenny’s visuals.

The videos for his latest album DAMN. are straight up mesmerizing. I remember when the visuals for “HUMBLE.” dropped, I almost threw my Ye Olde English 40oz.

“HUMBLE,” directed by Dave Meyers and The Little Homies, opens with Kendrick standing in a holy beam of light while rocking a papal robe.

Ever seen someone rap looking like the Pope?

The scenes then switch between Kendrick spitting bars in papal garb and laying face up on a table full of money spewing cash out of a handheld money counter.

Plus he has masked bodacious babes right by his side counting his bread. TBH it doesn’t get more boss than that.

Kendrick then screams “My left stroke just went viral!” This all while he swings a golf club standing atop a rusted-out Chevy in the L.A. River.

The rest of the video flashes to scenes of Kendrick in a crowd of black bald heads, standing with his head ablaze, drinking wine with the homies in a Last Supper-like setting, and taking part in a Grey Poupon drug deal.

Here’s “HUMBLE.”

Moving forward, the next visual “DNA.,” for a lack of better words, is dope AF. Directed by Nabil and The Little Homies, “DNA.” starts off with actor Don Cheadle interrogating Kendrick Lamar.

Cheadle is preparing to administer a lie detector test and tells us what “DNA.” stands for: DEAD NIGGA ASSOCIATION.

Upon commencing the lie detector test, Cheadle becomes possessed after tapping into the truth, Kendrick Lamar’s test readings.

A possessed Don Cheadle is not the only thing you will see. After opening Cheadle’s mind, Kendrick Lamar exits the building wearing a Kung Fu Suit.

Kung Fu Kenny is then seen playing dice with the homies, in a coffin holding roses, karate chopping a brick of cocaine, and dodging paparazzi.

This is all while we see B-roll of baddies whipping around recklessly. For the cherry on top, the video ends with Schoolboy Q throwing up gang signs while smoking a fatty.

Kendrick Lamar’s  “DNA.”

His latest visual for “ELEMENT.” separates the “black artists from the whack artists.” The video, directed by Jonas Lindstroem and The Little homies, looks like something straight out of a Gordon Parks photo shoot.

This video definitely paid a little homage to the late photographer, musician, and filmmaker. Gordon Parks was known for developing films describing the experience of slaves, struggling Black Americans, and creating the blaxploitation genre.

Check out some screens shots from the video that undeniably show that Parks was an inspiration.

Besides the Gordon Parks references, the “ELEMENT.” video gives viewers an inside look at what makes Kendrick, Kendrick.

Watch a house fully ablaze, OGs hopping out of the back of pickup running up on some poor soul, and Kendrick Slapping the shit out of someone.

The scenes where Kendrick’s spitting bars under a black silhouette before swinging a pool stick at someone that looks like he said some stupid shit, puts a dude with dreads in the crazy headlock, and the guy in the hoodie falling off of a building are not for the weak-hearted.

They won’t take me out my “ELEMENT.”

Hopefully the Compton rapper has much more in store. I’m hype to see what else Kenny has up his sleeve.

Impressed by Kendrick’s Videos? Let us know what you think.


How Metro Boomin went from St. Louis high schooler to king of the trap

Earlier this week, Metro Boomin posted an Instagram announcing a new project.

The caption read, “tomorrow night #haterswillsayitsphotoshop” and Twitter immediately went into meltdown mode suspecting Metro was about to drop a full-length project or beat tape.

When it turned out that Metro was teasing a new single, “No Complaints,” with verses from Drake and Offset, some people were a little disappointed.

But Metro was quick to point that, well, he never said that there was any album!

The fact that rap Twitter went into quasi-meltdown mode because of a social media post shows just how massive of a figure Metro Boomin has become in the hip-hop world.

It’s been a ridiculously quick rise to the top for Young Metro, who went from having his mom drive him from his hometown of St. Louis to Atlanta while Metro was still in high school so he could collaborate with artists on the Atlanta scene, to becoming the most exciting young producer in hip-hop.

But how did a teenager from St. Louis go on to shape the sound and aesthetic of contemporary Atlanta trap music?

Metro Boomin, born Leland Tyler Wayne, wasn’t held back by things like basic geographic barriers. He saw where the culture was thriving most, where he could work within a tight-knit community of artists and flourish.

The St. Louis kid started making beats when he was in middle school when his mom copped him a laptop and he downloaded the primitive but seminal production program Fruity Loops.

After spending some time in the school band, Metro focused solely on hip-hop. Initially he was just making beats to rap over, but soon realized his talents were exclusively in the production realm.

During his junior year in high school, Metro and his mom began driving back and forth between St. Louis and Atlanta so the 11th grader could get his beats straight to the source.

Metro made his first splash in the game in 2010 and 2011, making the beat for Big Sean’s “Home Town” off Finally Famous Vol. 3: Big and multiple tracks on OJ da Juiceman’s mixtape Culinary Art School 2.

By going back and forth between Atlanta and St. Louis, Metro was able to work with artists face-to-face and collaborate with a litany of popular ATL artists.

Metro even moved to Atlanta for college, enrolling at Morehouse for a degree in business management, but he dropped out after a semester when the music shit was really taking off.

2013 was a breakout year for Leland Wayne, appearing on five different Gucci Mane mixtapes alone.

While that’s an obvious testament to East Atlanta Santa’s infamous work ethic (five mixtapes!), it also basically ensured Metro Boomin’s place as a figure in the Atlanta trap scene.

Once you get that Gucci Mane cosign, not to mention produce on five different mixtapes, you’ve gotten the official ATL seal of approval.

Metro’s career took off from there, producing his first major single, Future’s “Karate Chop.”

The original “Karate Chop” appeared on Future’s Freebandz label compilation mixtape F.B.G.: The Movie, while the remix added Lil Wayne and popped up on Future’s full-length album Honest.

Besides “Karate Chop,” Metro produced “I Won,” featuring Kanye West, “Honest,” and “How Can I Not” off Honest.

“Karate Chop” and Honest were the start of a career-altering partnership between young Metro and Future.

In 2014, Metro blew up. He produced for Migos, Waka Flocka, YG, Fredo Santana, Travis Scott, Rick Ross, Future, Nicki Minaj, iLoveMakkonen, Young Thug, and, of course, Gucci Mane, often producing multiple tracks off these artists’ projects.

Working with artists who were on the come up, like Migos and Travis Scott, meant Metro’s own career progression mirrored theirs. These dudes basically came up together, influencing each other’s sound and style.

That sound has become Metro’s signature. Often pairing menacing and dark synths with deep, banging bass, and snares and hi-hats that slap you right in the face.

When Genius asked Metro back in February what some of his influences were, he had an interesting response. Metro told Genius,

“Green Day, just because, when I started making beats back then, they had that shit out, American Idiot. Just the sonics of that shit—that whole dark, moody vibe. I naturally, when I make beats, aim for a darker tone just because I’ve always preferred those types of feelings. More than any artist, I feel like horror-movie music influenced my music more than all that shit.”

The horror movie part makes sense. I mean listen to the “I Don’t Sell Molly No More” beat, that’s some Friday 13th shit.

Partnering up with up-and-coming artists allowed Metro to make exclusive collaboration projects. In doing this, the producer can shape the creative direction and have his name attached to an entire project.

After years of hip-hop producers lingering anonymously in the shadows, youngins like Metro Boomin are changing the way they make money and make a name for themselves.

Metro’s exclusive collaboration with 21 Savage last summer was a haunting introduction to last year’s XXL Freshman member.

The summer before in 2015, Metro exclusively produced Future’s instant classic DS2 as well as the Future and Drake collaboration album What a Time to Be Alive.

While Metro had a little help from Drake’s right hand man Noah “40” Shebib on WATTBA, this stretch of work as an exclusive producer, even an equal artist, on some of the biggest releases of the last two years, made Metro Boomin a legitimate figurehead in hip-hop.

On What a Time, Future also gave Metro Boomin’ his now-infamous producer tag “If Young Metro don’t trust you I’ma shoot you,” a phrase that rings out across the hip-hop world, and beyond, today.

Most recently, Metro has produced all of Gucci Mane’s album DropTopWop, three songs off Big Sean’s I Decided, including the smash “Bounce Back,” Migos’ “Bad and Boujee,” which reached number 1 on the Billboard charts, and Metro’s own release on Friday “No Complaints.”

Next up is apparently “Perfect Timing,” an alleged collab album with Toronto artist NAV.

Metro Boomin has created an interesting new lane for hip-hop producers to come up. Instead of just finding random placements on big artists’ albums (which Metro still does), the St. Louis native provides the entire template for an artist.

That Metro collab, along with his now-famous producer tag, has become one of the most highly-coveted cosigns in hip-hop and a top-quality guarantee.

From driving 9 hours with his mom every weekend to Atlanta, to producing an entire collaboration album with Drake and Future, Metro Boomin has conquered the production world.

2 Chainz

The greatest 2 Chainz quotes that proves he’s low key a philosopher

2 Chainz is TRUUUU AF.  He’s been in the game since 1997 and has been keeping it a buck from the jump.

Straight out of College Park, the Pretty Girls Love Trap Music rapper has always been real. When it came to stunting on Nancy Grace while debating the use of medical marijuana, he killed it.

Tity Boi not only stated what the positive effects of the drug could have on the human body, but he also pointed out the positive monetary effects it could have on the community.

And the homie took a bong rip in the name of Nancy Grace. Hannn.

He’s inspired by his own circumstance and beginnings as most philosophers are.

Check out his brand CEO Millionaires. The brand is dedicated to giving natural born hustlers a vision. No, CEO doesn’t stand for chief executive officer. CEO stands for CREATING. EVERY. OPPORTUNITY.

Music is his trap. 2 Chainz is “never not working.” He always needs a studio so he can record in real time. When he makes music it’s therapeutic to him. He has studios at his cribs in LA, Miami, and books time whenever he’s in NYC.

Homie even got a scholarship to college and he finished. Check out what he had to say to The Daily Beast regarding his education and it being an inspiration to his career now,

“Truth be told, I was a felon before I was old enough to drive, vote, do a bunch of that shit. But that don’t define who I am now, because I’m a success story. Me getting a scholarship and going to college, that had a lot to do with me being smart. In Georgia, they had a thing called the HOPE Scholarship where, back then, all you needed was a 3.2 grade point average. I could’ve stayed in Georgia, sold dope, and went to school, but I decided to sell dope and go to school somewhere else.”

Now, isn’t that the most TRU thing you’ve heard?

2 Chainz is the definition of a success story. He had to hustle hard for what he wanted and it didn’t just happen overnight. He didn’t have any special connections that put him on or a rich daddy to support his career.

He had his philosophy and that’s just being TRUUUUUU.

NYC announces $150 million Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Museum coming in 2018

Hip-hop has been around for almost half of a century and it is finally getting the appreciation it deserves.

Yesterday, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio dubbed June 8th Global Hip-Hop Day where true rap enthusiasts from all over helped reveal Hip-Hop Blvd at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the Bronx, where the genre is said to have originated.

It’s about time

The homies Ebro, Joey Bada$$, and Ryan Leslie came through for a quick panel, something light for the kids

Remy Ma was also honored at the event

June is starting out to be a great month for hip-hop.

A global day to commemorate the world-changing genre as well as the announcement of a $150M Capital Fundraising Campaign to complete acquisition of a building and development site for a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame.

The Hip-Hop Television Channel released a press release proudly announcing that the Official Hip-Hop Hall of Fame and Museum won its bid to acquire a major Harlem building and development site.

The project is expected to go through two phases. According to the press release the project is expected to open in February 2018, already has a bunch of key investors, and will enable 25,000 NYC public school students to visit per year.

JT Thompson, the creator of the first ever Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Awards TV show and Founder of the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Museum said,

‘The preliminary plan includes a ground floor themed HHHOF café, gallery, visitors bureau, and retail gift store with a second floor HHHOF museum, event space, offices, and multi-media studio for film and television content production in partnership with the HHHOF Arts & Media Youth Academy students that will be training for careers in tech and media, while producing real-life content for the museum, and the hip hop television channel network’

Peep the sketch for this Hip Hop Hall of Fame… 2018 finna be lit

a$ap mob

How A$AP Mob took their squad and created a global empire

When it comes to flipping a dollar into a dream, nobody’s done it better than A$AP Mob over the course of the past few years.

From platinum records to world tours, they’ve created a brand that’s allowed them to cross over into different lanes and genres.

It’s hard to imagine A$AP Mob only really been getting that recognition since 2011, but the ground they’ve covered in that short time is nothing short of remarkable and a lot of kids could learn from them.

Of course they had some of the realest talent to work with, but it was the vision they had as a squad that’s helped them expand into a global operation. These dudes are really out here.

With Rocky as the star that put them on the map, Yams had the vision, the aesthetic, and knew the necessary movements they had to make to get to the next level.

Now every member in the group is breaking out and finding their own lane, all while keeping their brotherhood alive. Ferg, Nast, Twelvyy, Illz, Bari, Lou, and many more are all cooking up something different. Their story is far from over.

Check out the video above and quit playin’.

murda beatz

Murda Beatz is the Toronto producer behind some of hip-hop’s biggest hits

The beauty of social media and the internet, as it pertains to the music industry, is that if you have the skills, you can reach and connect with other artists, no matter your background or where you’re from.

This is the case with Murda Beatz, real name Shane Lindstrom, who has become one of the hottest producers in hip-hop, seemingly out of nowhere.

Hailing from Fort Erie, Canada, the town directly across the border from Buffalo, NY, Murda Beatz wasn’t exactly from a hotbed of hip-hop.

For This Life I Cannot Change

A post shared by YOUNG MURDA (@murdabeatz_) on

Despite the fact that Lindstrom was just down the road from Toronto, the producer saw the States as the land of opportunity for this music shit.

So how did the producer of such bangers as “Pipe It Up”, “Like Dat”, and “Portland” go from Fort Erie, Canada to becoming one of the most trusted producers for Gucci Mane, Drake, Migos, and the rest of the biggest acts in hip-hop?

As he told the Fader in a August 2016 interview, Chicago’s drill scene was Murda’s intro into the American music scene, but then he found about these dudes Migos on the internet. Skippa Da Flippa (the real inventor of the dab) connected them,

“I went to Chicago and tried to get big in the drill scene. With GBE, Lil Durk, all those guys. Then I wanted to get my music into Atlanta. Found these guys the Migos on the internet before they blew up. Started sending beats to Skippa Da Flippa. He started showing them my beats. From there, they started liking the stuff, and they blew up. They started flying me out and I started living with them, around 2012, 2013. Going on the road with them. That’s how we built our good relationship that we have now. I’m glad that we still have that close bond. Now, I can help them in ways and they can still help me in ways.”

Murda has established relationships with artists to where they’re literally family.

Despite the fact Murda Beatz was able to forge his connections over the internet and social media, those personal relationships, and working together in person in general, are still important in the biz.

Murda claims that those close friendships will see him and Migos keep making music forever.

Although Murda Beatz got his official start in America through the drill scene in Chicago and networking with the right dudes from Atlanta, he has made some vital Canadian connections as well.

Murda claims that he and Toronto crooner PARTYNEXTDOOR are “really good at making music together” and one could argue that PARTY’s “Like Dat” is definitely proof of that. PARTYNEXTDOOR’s own production skills surely help during the songwriting process, as he sees things that other artists might not.

Murda Beatz then connected with Drake beatmaker Boi-1da at a Wiz Khalifa show and they started working together. Murda spoke about Boi-1da Fader,

“I started talking to [his camp] more and started going to his house and making beats with him. I learned a lot making beats with him, about mixing and everything. He’s a guy that I looked up to in the industry. He’s a very humble guy. He’s very successful.”

Collaboration is another crucial aspect of Murda Beatz’s process, and hip-hop production in general right now. Murda told the Fader,

“There’s more people on beats now. People are collaborating. People are using samples. People are just taking elements from other people and producing records together. It’s kind of like in the pop world, where there is four people on beats. I feel like that’s happening more in urban music as well. It’s good to see that. I am actually producing records and bringing people in for certain things. Molding records together. Co-producing after records are made and placing them as well.”

Murda Beatz is truly the representation of the 2017 music industry. A Canadian kid from along the Niagara River reached out to American rappers on the internet and started building a growing empire out of nothing.

Watch this dude’s moves over the next couple years. In the meantime, here’s a couple Murda bangers.

“Yacht Master” Swae Lee, 2 Chainz

“No Shopping” French Montana ft. Drake

“Back On Road” Gucci Mane ft. Drake

“It’s A Vibe” 2Chainz ft. Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz, Jhene Aiko

“Sweet Sweet” Travis Scott