Hip Hop General

Today, We’ve Had 21 Years of Illmatic

Illmatic dropped 21 years ago today.

On April 19, 1994, Nas dropped his debut album and changed the game forever. We’ve already revisited the track list, but you can never really appreciate this gem of an album as much as it actually deserves. 21 years ago today, the ’90s version of the golden age of hip hop got it’s signature album as did Nas. Finally, since 1994, Illmatic has been the album that every other album is measured against — debut or not.


Nas was young.

Nas - IllmaticOne thing you gotta realize about Illmatic is that not only was it Nas’s debut, but dude was mad young considering he was only 20 when it came out. Yes, that means that Illmatic is now older than Nas was when he dropped Illmatic. Think on that, cause that shit’s crazy. A 20 year old was able to articulate the feeling of an entire city in one moment in time (the mid ’90s), and his discussion of 1994 New York has now lived on longer than the entirety of the personal experience Nas was speaking/drawing on.

Not to mention that Illmatic shaped the hip hop that came after it, from having several producers on one album, to expanding the vocabulary one could rhyme with to raising the storytelling levels you could hit with hip hop. It really makes sense that people compare debut albums (and non-debut albums) from dope rappers to Illmatic all the time, as a (completely unfair) test of how good an album is, and how lasting its power is. 21 more years from now, when the rappers of this generation’s kids are coming up, people are still gonna be saying “it ain’t Illmatic though.”

It made and ruined his career.

Illmatic CoasterObviously, such a groundbreaking album propelled Nas’s career. He reached a real high level of popularity at a real young age, and he handled it well, continuing to make music and not coasting on his accomplishments. Still, Illmatic was the best thing and the worst thing for Nas’s career. Every single album he released after Illmatic, no matter how dope, was just dismissed for not being as good as Illmatic. Even if that was true, very few (if any!) albums released since 1994 have been better than Illmatic, so Nas shouldn’t be the only one suffering for that. He shouldn’t be suffering for it at all, because it’s fucking crazy to devalue someone’s other work just cause you think they’ve done better (especially when no one else has been able to match their early shit either.) Anyways, Nas keeps trucking on, and Life is Good (his most recent album which dropped 3 years ago) is straight fire, so the real heads stay appreciating the hustle.

Library of Congress?

Anyways, if you know anything about Illmatic, you probably share my anger at it not being in the Library of Congress. This is classic discrimination against hip hop, and Obama’s gotta do something about it. But seriously, considering how important this album is, not only for hip hop but as a snapshot of New York in 1994, it needs to be preserved because it’s mad culturally significant. I will not rest until Illmatic is in the Library of Congress, even if it takes another 21 years.


Anyways, go listen to Illmatic.

If you’re like me, there really isn’t much to say at this point because all this talk of Illmatic is making me wanna listen to it. Go on and give yourself 40 minutes of rap excellence, from The Genesis to It Ain’t Hard To Tell. By the end, it’ll be obvious (if it wasn’t already) why folks are still talking so much about this one album over 20 years later.


Spit Talking

California Love: Earl and Kendrick Lamar

So Kendrick was answering some questions on twitter.

Folks were asking him a bunch of shit, then someone popped the real question, asking who his favorite rapper doing it right now was. Kendrick responded with Earl Sweatshirt, who most recently dropped I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. Let’s talk about this shit.


Southern California

Kendrick Earl TwitterSo Kendrick saying Earl might seem to come out of nowhere, but it makes sense for a few reasons. First of all, they’re both coming out of the same area, so they probably got similar tastes and shit. Second of all, Kendrick is a student of flow and rap, and it’s impossible not to appreciate Earl’s flow. Finally, you might have expected Kendrick to say a more socially conscious rapper, but Earl keeps his social commentary subtle, which I think Kendrick’s got to appreciate.

Now, an interesting thing is that they both hit national (if not household) fame at about the same time, with earl in 2010 and Section 80 in 2011. Earl is only 21 though, while Kendrick is 27 (even though he had years of work before Section 80), so they got a pretty big age difference. I gotta think that Kendrick just respects that young hustle and natural talent, which Earl’s got a lot of both. Not to mention that even though Kendrick is definitely more famous, Earl had a lot of shit to deal with by getting big so early and then having to deal with Samoa, so Kendrick probably respects that too.

So when are we getting that collab?

Earl Sweatshirt - I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go OutsideConsidering that Earl responded with a shoutout and by saying they got the coast sewed up, I gotta start waiting for that collab album. Can you imagine anything doper than Earl and Kendrick switching off between that lazy flow and that machine gun flow? Also just imagine those beats. They can both ride that real dark shit like no one else, and they can both say more in fewer words than anyone else. If they really wanna get the West Coast on lock, they gotta get that Kendrick Lamar X Earl Sweatshirt X Dr. Dre X Tyler, The Creator album going, cause that shit will go platinum in a week.


Anyways, did you expect that shit?

If you expected Kendrick to say Earl Sweatshirt was his favorite rapper doing it right now, then you got a job at Spit Talking open for you cause I didn’t expect that shit. It makes sense though, mostly cause they’re both pretty much on top of the game with dope recent releases and they’re both from Southern California. Anyways, I’ll just be waiting on that collab. Any day now.


Spit Talking

RAPstation INSTradio: Nonstop Instrumentals

I got a fucking gamechanger for y’all today.

Remember when I told y’all about RAPstation and told you to go download the app? Well if you didn’t listen to me then, you better go and do it right now. I’m serious, drop whatever you’re doing and go download the RAPstation app, because it’s now a necessity for any hip hop fan. Why am I pushing this so hard? Because they now have a station called INSTradio which plays nonstop instrumentals, no vocals, “25 hours a day and 8 days a week.” This changes everything.

RAPstation - BTN East


What’s so dope about instrumentals?

RAPstationWell first of all, these aren’t just random beats or anything, but the instrumentals of some of the dopest rap tracks we’ve heard these past few decades. They play nonstop, with no vocals (except for vocal samples in the instrumentals themselves) and no interruptions so you’re just getting straight instrumentals. If you’re trynna freestyle alone or with some friends, this is the shit you’ve been looking for, because you can just put the station on and spit without having to worry about picking the next beat or anything. It also tells you what the instrumental is, so if you dig it you can go download it or whatever.

What if you don’t freestyle?

Well, if you love hip hop at all but don’t freestyle, this is still the shit for you. If you ever wanted to read or study with hip hop in the background but the rap was too distracting, now you’re set. If you wanna fall asleep to music but want it to keep playing and don’t want any vocals, just put INSTradio on and let it do all the work. This is only  a small number of its possible uses, but the main thing to keep in mind is that if you ever want nonstop hip hop but without the rap, INSTradio on RAPstation is 100% for you.


Why didn’t anyone think of this earlier?

This shit is fucking genius and pretty much necessary for any hip hop fan. Shit, I got INSTradio on right now in the background while I write this, because I don’t have to worry about picking the next track and I also don’t have the vocal distractions you sometimes get from rap. Did I mention it’s free? Go download it and start nodding your head to some fire beats. And because its free, go make anyone you know who you think might enjoy it (whether they love to freestyle or just love hip hop) download it and start living the high life.

RAPstation - BTN East


Spit Talking

Cherry Bomb Is Running The Charts

As we know, Tyler just dropped Cherry Bomb.

Here at Spit Talking we reviewed it yesterday, in case you’re wondering how it is. It’s definitely ambitious, but it didn’t all come together except for a few highlights. Besides the highs, it’s dope but not quite as groundbreaking as Tyler could have made it. As a showcase of his production versatility though, it definitely works. Anyways, it’s a dope album and people are realizing that. Let’s see how Tyler, The Creator’s Cherry Bomb is doing on the iTunes charts.


Number 1

Tyler, The Creator - Cherry BombCherry Bomb hit number 1 on the iTunes hip hop and general charts pretty much right after it became available to pre-order, which was a few days before the actual release but included 2 tracks. Anyways, it’s still staying strong at number 1 on iTunes a few days after release, so it’s gotta be selling pretty well. Salute to Tyler for that, and it’s dope to see some shit that’s trying to be different get so much support. I mean, shit, that’s how music pretty much evolves, right?

Along with Earl’s release of I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, this makes 2015 a pretty damn good year so far for Odd Future. Earl and Tyler were by far the most controversial rappers in the crew, and they’ve both shown incredible growth in the past few years and on their most recent albums. Now we just gotta wait for Frank’s album to drop and it’ll be a hell of a first half of 2015 for Odd Future fans. I mean, assuming that Frank’s album will be mad dope, which is not so much a safe assumption as it is a sure thing.

Kendrick?

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A ButterflyTo Pimp A Butterfly is currently at number 4 in the iTunes hip hop charts, and has slipped out of the top 10 to number 12 in the overall charts. Considering it’s been out a month, that’s definitely respectable, but I’m just disappointed in the whole country for not keeping that shit at number 1 for AT LEAST a year. In the future they’ll look back at us and laugh, because Kendrick Lamar dropped one of the hottest hip hop albums in a few years, and that shit deserves Dark Side of the Moon longevity on the charts.


You like Tyler’s album?

Regardless of the sales numbers for Cherry Bomb, how do y’all feel about it? Do you dig the smoother side or the gritter parts of it? Let me know, cause there’s a lot going on in that album and it’s aimed at a lot of different people, so I wanna know how y’all feel about it.


Spit Talking

Chance the Rapper – Sunday Candy Short Film

Chance is bringing the Sunday Candy.

Parts new song, part music video, part art, Chance the Rapper and Austin Vesely have brought us a short film called Sunday Candy on this lovely Sunday. The song’s great, the video’s dope and Chance just keeps giving us reasons not to sleep on him. Even if it’s not Sunday when you’re reading this, give yourself a few minutes of kicking back and enjoying a little Chance.

Chance the Rapper – Sunday Candy


The song

Chance the Rapper - Sunday CandyAudio-wise, the track is kind of what we’ve come to expect from Chance’s shit. I don’t mean that it’s repetitive or that he’s done it before, but I mean that it’s upbeat, positive, inspiring and makes you smile, but is also musically interesting and includes Chance tearing it up with a few different flows. Even though we haven’t gotten any new albums or anything from Chance in a while, he has been releasing a steady stream of new music, not to mention jumping on some other folks’s tracks now and then. Still, considering that it’s obvious he’s only getting bolder and better, it’d be dope to get another full album from him sometime soon. But that’s just me being selfish.

The video

The video is the main reason I’m writing to y’all today, though, and Chance is front and center in a real interesting backdrop for the track. The track is nostalgia-filled and sets the tone for the video, which features throwback clothes and other things in a cardboard-cutout set. It’s real colorful but it’s also unlike most music video sets, because it feels like it’s straight out of a coloring book or something. It definitely gives off a lazy sunday vibe, but it’s also a throwback. In a way, so is Chance.

Chance the Rapper - Sunday CandyAnyways, the video and the song combine together for a great present from Chance the Rapper to the fans. He’s gotta be one of the most famous and loved artists without an actual LP of all time, and his ear is a big part. From the beat to the great vocal work he gets on Sunday Candy, Chance has a vision and he knows what to do to make it happen. He showed that on Acid Rap (and shit, on 10 Day too), and he only keeps showing it more since then.


Nice, right?

I’d love a track/short film like this every day of the week from Chance. Knowing him and his work ethic, we might eventually get that out of him. Until then, keep bumping Sunday Candy and enjoying the ride.

Chance the Rapper – Sunday Candy


Spit Talking

Odd Future’s Best Solo Albums

Cherry Bomb’s dropping soon.

In case you haven’t heard, Tyler’s dropping Cherry Bomb in just 2 days. From what we’ve heard, it’s gonna be dope. But anyways, I got to thinking about some of the other Odd Future solo albums we’ve heard and decided to talk about some of the best ones. These are some of the dopest albums we’ve heard from rappers coming out of Odd Future.


Tyler, The Creator – Goblin

Tyler, The Creator - GoblinThe album that started it all. It definitely wasn’t Odd Future’s first album, and it wasn’t even Tyler’s first solo album (and Bastard is mad dope), but it elevated Odd Future to national fame and got folks talking about some of the other rappers in the group. Goblin is often criticized for its length, but I don’t think Tyler could have worked it as well without that stream-of-consciousness style for the therapy session. It had quite a few hits, and is also probably one of the more controversial albums (for its content) of the last few years. Anyways, Goblin showed people that Tyler is definitely not perfect, but that he’s got a lot going on. Shit’s deep.


Earl Sweatshirt – Earl

Earl Sweatshirt - EarlEarl just recently dropped I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, and it was consistently dope and showed that Earl just keeps getting better. But I still think that Earl (the mixtape) is the dopest shit he’s done, considering it’s only 26 minutes long, he was only 15, it had terrible sound mixing and people will still be talking about it years from now. Also controversial, Earl stated upon coming back from Samoa distancing himself from the lyrics of his old shit, saying he doesn’t need fans that only liked his graphic content. Regardless of the lyrics, Earl’s wordplay and flow were almost as good as a 15 year old as they are now.


Domo Genesis – No Idols

Domo Genesis - No IdolsFrom the beginning, Domo’s always been one of my favorite rappers from Odd Future. Rolling Papers was funny and had some highlights, but just wasn’t too solid overall. Under The Influence was real good, and showed how hungry Domo was. Shine and Benediction are two classics from that mixtape alone. Then Domo came through with No Idols, which I still think is his best shit yet. It’s got a lot of features, but Domo carries the whole thing, even though Earl jumps on a few tracks. No Idols is just 40 minutes of great beats and great rap, and show why Domo is easily the most improved Odd Future rapper and probably one of their top 3 right now.


Think Cherry Bomb’s gonna top Goblin?

Wolf was a hell of an album, and may have been musically more interesting than Goblin, but I still think Goblin is his best. Cherry Bomb looks like it’s gonna reach back a little bit into those days, and it’ll be interesting to see what Tyler’s got for us. I hope he gets Earl and Domo on more than a few tracks too.


Spit Talking

Tyler Tearing Up The Charts With Cherry Bomb

Cherry Bomb is killing it.

As we know, Tyler, The Creator is dropping a surprise album called Cherry Bomb in just a few days, and you can preorder it on iTunes right now. It doesn’t actually come out until April 13, but a lot of folks have preordered because it comes with 2 tracks right now if you do. Wale’s The Album About Nothing dethroned Kendrick and had a good little run, but Cherry Bomb has dethroned Wale despite not even having come out yet. Good shit, Tyler.


Competition in Hip Hop

Tyler, The Creator - Cherry BombThese days, with all the suprise album releases and what not, no album has stayed at the top of the hip hop charts for very long. I think since people can’t really anticipate albums any more, they almost have to buy shit just to see what it’s like when surprises drop out of nowhere. I mean, I know I’ve spent some cash already on albums just cause I gotta hear what they’re like before anyone else. Anyways, Cherry Bomb isn’t the first album to hit number 1 on the iTunes hip hop charts before release this year, just ask To Pimp A Butterfly.

I also think that people’s attention spans are getting shorter, so they’re always looking for the next album. Combined with the fact that we seem to get a real dope hip hop album or two every week in 2015 so far, people don’t seem to start listening to an album if they didn’t catch it right away. In other words, it’s real easy for even a mad dope album to get lost in the shuffle. On the one hand, that’s dope because it means we’re drowning in dope hip hop, which is always a good thing. On the other hand, it’s impossible for a rapper to release an album every month, so unless they make a big impact all their hard work goes unnoticed to a lot of people who might like it.

Might as well enjoy it.

Earl Sweatshirt - I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go OutsideI guess there’s no point in complaining about being so lucky, so we might as well just kick back and enjoy the music. In just the last 3 weeks, we’ve gotten To Pimp A Butterfly, The Album About Nothing, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, Mr. Wonderful and Ludaversal. That’s 5 real dope albums, and we’re about to get what looks like it’s gonna be a 6th in just 4 days. Damn, it’s a great time to be a hip hop head right now, huh?


Anyways, good shit Tyler.

It says a lot about an artist’s popularity when they hit the top of the charts without even dropping yet. There are 2 tracks out there from the album though, so people must have liked what they heard from those and decided to preorder. Either way, good shit Tyler, you deserve it.


Spit Talking

Tyler, The Creator’s Next Album: Cherry Bomb

Tyler, The Creator has announced his next album.

His new album is called Cherry Bomb, and it’s dropping real soon, on April 13. You can preorder it on iTunes for 11 bucks, and you’ll get 2 tracks right now (DEATHCAMP and FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT, then 11 more when the album actually drops) if you do. It makes sense that Tyler’s dropping some shit, considering Earl just dropped I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside and Frank’s dropping (what might be called) Boys Don’t Cry sometime in July. Let’s see what the album might be like.

Cherry Bomb - Tyler, The Creator


The 2 tracks we know of

Tyler, The Creator - Cherry BombSo like I said, there’s already 2 tracks out on iTunes from Cherry Bomb that you get if you preorder. Y’all know I preordered that shit, so I got DEATHCAMP (the first track) and FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT on my phone right now. DEATHCAMP is like Tyler’s take on Yeezus, a hard-edged track with mostly electric guitar providing the beat. It’s definitely got that dark Tyler vibe, but it’s somehow different. If you like Tyler’s shit or not, you gotta scope DEATHCAMP. It’ll be a hell of an intro to the album.

FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT is the 10th track, and it’s real different, showing that Tyler’s gonna be jumping around genres again like he did in Wolf. This sounds like R&B more than anything, even with the weird shit about temptation calling and how this girl’s perfect but way too fucking young. Again, it kind of sounds like some shit Tyler’s done before, but mostly it sounds different. Then with about 2 and a half minutes left (it’s a 6 and a half minute song) it switches up into some different R&B shit, and it sounds real good.

So what can we expect from Cherry Bomb?

Tyler the Creator - WolfWell, again, I think we can expect a lot of different sounds, cause Tyler’s diverse musical tastes seem to have only gotten wider. Old fans will feel comfortable with the general atmosphere, but there’s a lot of new shit Tyler’s picked up with experience. Think of the direction he took his career in with Wolf, and then imagine him doing that again, but even more experimental but polished at the same time. Also, don’t expect too much of a focus on the rap, cause it looks like it’ll be about the beats and singing more than anything. Then again, Wolf had tracks like this but also had hot ass verses, so I guess we’ll see in a few days.


Check back then.

Whether or not you decide to preorder, make sure to check back here at Spit Talking for the review in a few days once the album actually drops. I was wondering when Tyler would drop his next shit, but I didn’t expect it to be this soon. Then again, we’ve been real lucky with all the good hip hop this year. As for Cherry Bomb, I can’t wait to see what he does with it.

Cherry Bomb - Tyler, The Creator


Spit Talking

Frank Ocean’s New Album Coming Soon

Frank’s new album is dropping in July.

He announced it on tumblr, along with a new magazine he’s starting. The magazine is called Boys Don’t Cry, and the album may or may not be called that, were not sure yet. Anyways, its dropping sometime in July (Frank only said July 2015, no specific date) which means it’s only 3 months away. Let’s get hyped, and if you’re not sure why just follow along.


3 Years

Frank Ocean - Channel OrangeChannel Orange, Frank Oceans last album, came out in 2012. That’s 3 years ago! That’s a Kendrick-level wait right there, and Channel Orange actually came out before good kid, m.A.A.d. city so its an even longer wait. Since then, at least on the music side, Frank’s supported some of his Odd Future dudes on their albums, and a few months ago he dropped Memrise, which may or may not be on the next album (but I’m guessing not.) He’s been rapping rather than singing in some of these cases, but that might just be because he only sings on his own shit and wants to switch it up.

What will it sound like?

We don’t really know what to expect from Boys Don’t Cry (if that ends up being the title), but we can guess. It’ll probably define R&B for a decade, because Frank is the king right now. On a smaller level, it’ll be another great evolutionary step for Frank Ocean. Just look at the jump from nostalgia, ultra to Channel Orange. His earlier effort, nostalgia, ultra, was a raw, soulful mixtape whereas Channel Orange was a more polished, atmospheric (and longer) album.

Frank Ocean - nostalgia, ultraI love them both about equally, but he definitely refined his shit more on Channel Orange. If his next album is a mixture of the two, that would be incredible. I wonder if he’s been slowly working on it this whole time, or if he just recently jumped into the studio. Even if he hasn’t been working on it that long, I can guarantee you that he’s been thinking about it for a while. It’ll also be interesting to see if he gets like Tyler or Earl on this shit, or if he’s gonna do another all-Frank concept album. Either way, it’ll be real dope.


Stay tuned at Spit Talking.

Until the release date gets closer, we won’t know when in July Boys Don’t Cry (or whatever Frank’s next album is gonna be named) will drop. It’ll also be dope to see what that magazine’s got for us, cause Frank’s a genius. If you wanna be 100% up to date, you better stay tuned here at Spit Talking by join the newsletter or following Spit Talking on twitter. You can do either of them up top on the right sidebar.


Spit Talking

Hip Hop Charts: Wale Killing It

It ain’t all about the money.

But money definitely does have something to do with what goes on in music. I mean, it’s the music business, so right there you know money’s involved. As we know, artists who sell keep getting contracts and keep getting to make albums, while artists who flop unfortunately usually don’t get to keep making shit, at least not with the control they could before. Whether or not it’s fair, sales usually define this more than the quality of the project. Anyways, let’s look at who’s making some nice money off their music by looking at the iTunes hip hop charts.


Top 5

The top 5 albums on the iTunes Hip Hop/Rap charts are:

  1. Wale – The Album About Nothing
  2. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
  3. Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
  4. Ludacris – Ludaversal
  5. J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive

Wale

Wale - The Album About NothingFirst of all, congratulations to Wale for knocking King Kendrick off his throne with The Album About Nothing. I don’t think it was perfect, but it was a real interesting album with the way Jerry Seinfeld and Seinfeld clips were used to tie everything together. Anyways, it looks like the critics agreed that this was Wale’s best shit yet, and I guess the fans agree. I wonder how long it’ll stay up there, though.

Ludaversal is also starting strong, dropping a week ago like Wale did. Then Drake and Cole show that you don’t need to have come out recently to kill it on the charts, and it’s especially impressive for Cole cause it’s been like 4 months since 2014 Forest Hills Drive dropped. It still bumps though, and the charts are pretty much showing that.

2 weeks ago

Action Bronson - Mr. WonderfulThe 2 big albums that dropped last week (Wale’s and Luda’s) are killing it, but how about the big ones from 2 weeks ago, Mr. Wonderful and I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside? They’re not holding it down quite as well, as you can see in their absence from the top 5. Action Bronson’s holding down number 10 and Earl Sweatshirt’s right behind him at 11. I think those should be switched, but whatever that’s just me. Point is, even if they’re not blowing up or anything, recent releases are still doing alright on the charts.


Congrats to Wale again.

The Album About Nothing is damn interesting, and it might shape some of the future of hip hop with the way it uses Seinfeld. To Pimp A Butterfly wasn’t at number 1 for too long, but I don’t think it’ll slip out of the top 5 or so for a long while. Anyways, thanks for reading and let me know which of these albums you’ve been bumping the most.


Spit Talking