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SD Exclusive: Mobb Deep on Unreleased Songs, Favorites Off New Album, The Future & More

In April, Mobb Deep released what will likely end up one of the best slept-on albums of the year. The Infamous Mobb Deep commemorates their 20th anniversary and marks their first album since 2006. A whole lot has changed in the rap world, but Prodigy and Havoc's chemistry has stayed ...

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SD Exclusive: Kid Ink on Most Expensive Date He's Had & Diving Back Into Producing For Next Album

Kid Ink's career has been a slow burner. Since he made his first steps into the industry, he has built up his name over the course of three mixtapes, various records and a lot of videos before releasing his independent debut album, Up & Away, in June 2012. Touring followed. ...

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SD Exclusive: Kirko Bangz Explains Bigger Than Me Album Title & Creating Love Rihanna

It's been three years since "Drank In My Cup" and Kirko Bangz is finally ready to release his debut album, Bigger Than Me, this June. Many might think he missed his window to capitalize off the success of his earlier singles, but Kirko feels otherwise. "A lot of niggas would've ...

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Access 206: J. Pinder Interview

At some point in an artist's career, he can feel like he only do so much in his city. For J. Pinder, that happened and he ended up moving down to Los Angeles in 2012. A move that might have been criticized a little bit, but has turned out to ...

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Review: Rick Ross - Mastermind

Mastermind, previously slated for release on December 17th, 2013, is in stores this week. It’s Rick Ross’s sixth studio album, and his second in a row to miss a winter release—despite statements over the years by Ross and the MMG twitter account that the Untouchable Maybach Empire does not do ...

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Ty Dolla $ign’s rise in hip-hop has only just begun. This year we’re slowly seeing the XXL Freshmen artist pop up on many albums and projects, including those by Trey Songz, B.o.B, Wiz Khalifa, Lupe Fiasco and soon to be more. He’s charted high through Billboard with “Paranoid,” and followed up that success with his Beach House EP. Still, the Cali native still feels like there is a bit more work to be done before his album drops, hence why we’re getting a free mixtape, $ign Language, before the warm weather disappears.

Despite Free TC, his debut album, coming later than fans expected, Ty$ is certainly not shy on hyping up the album with various details here and there. In our talk, he reveals additional collaborations with T.I. and Brandy, the latter of which will be featured on his current favorite titled “L.A.” with Kendrick Lamar and possibly more. Drake may not have appeared on his “Or Nah (Remix),” but he’s hopeful the two will work on something else. Being a talented producer is definitely playing a role in the creation of his album too. He states that every song he’s been including his input on. Whenever the album drops, it’ll be Ty$ season for a while.

Shot by: Darryl Reese.

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It’s unlikely that Neon Icon will ever receive its due. The icon himself, RiFF RAFF, aka Jody Highroller, never has. His reputation as a white trash EDM Super Saiyan who stops partying just long enough to make joke raps is off putting to both die hard rap fans who dismiss him as a clown and casual listeners worried they may not be in on the joke. But while his enigmatic eccentricities will prevent Riff Raff from getting the credit he deserves as a skilled rapper and a great maker of pop songs, Neon Icon is one of the best rap releases of the year. It’s easily the most fun.

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Review: Mac Miller – Faces

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Mac-Miller-Faces-mixtape

Mac Miller has had one of the best transformations in hip-hop. Always a fan of the legends such as Wu-Tang Clan or A Tribe Called Quest, he turned himself from the fun loving, college niche rapper into a fun loving, true lyricist. There has always been a trace of this person dating back to his Eazy Mac days but now it’s come out full force. It must be the drugs, right?

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Your Old Droog is an up and coming rapper who has a lot of musical resemblance to Nas. Knowing how the internet operates, the rumors ran rampant that this could be an alter ego but without a purpose or reason. When you listen to his self-titled EP, it’s hard to dispute those claims. It wasn’t until a few notable sources like Eskay and Complex confirmed that Droog is indeed a separate person that rumors ended. However, the story is far from over.

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Wiz Khalifa 30

Who could forget Ditto. The 132nd Pokemon is easily identifiable with its silly putty-like shape and creepy smile. However, the appearance isn’t the most memorable thing about it. Ditto has one move and only one move: transform. If there’s a Charizard opposite it, there’s now two Charizards on the field. He takes on the form of his opponent, stealing their moves, but not the strength.

Meet the musical equivalent: Wiz Khalifa.

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Freshmen 1st Class: Vic Mensa

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Vic Mensa

Every year, XXL shakes up the music industry for a little while with their annual freshmen cover. Forget all debates about what a freshmen is, who deserves the spot or not, Freshmen 1st Class is a series between KhariYoh and myself to discuss the artists who made the list, what we think about them, their potential for longevity and more. Today, we venture into Chicago for the second, but certainly not the last, time in this series to talk about Vic Mensa.

Check out past installments with Isaiah RashadChance The RapperTy Dolla $ign and Rich Homie Quan too.

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TyDollaSign

Every year, XXL shakes up the music industry for a little while with their annual freshmen cover. Forget all debates about what a freshmen is, who deserves the spot or not, Freshmen 1st Class is a series between KhariYoh and myself to discuss the artists who made the list, what we think about them, their potential for longevity and more. Next up, we’re taking a trip to the beach and lounging with some fine dimes as we dissect the inner makings of Ty Dolla $ign.

Check out past installments with Isaiah Rashad and Chance The Rapper too.

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In April, Mobb Deep released what will likely end up one of the best slept-on albums of the year. The Infamous Mobb Deep commemorates their 20th anniversary and marks their first album since 2006. A whole lot has changed in the rap world, but Prodigy and Havoc’s chemistry has stayed the same. Branching out to new producers and old favorites, the album boasts hard-hitting material like “Get Down,” “Legendary,” “Say Something” and many more. Another draw was the bonus disc of unreleased material from sessions during The Infamous‘ creation.

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Isaiah-Rashad-1-1

Every year, XXL shakes up the music industry for a little while with their annual freshmen cover. Forget all debates about what a freshmen is, who deserves the spot or not, Freshmen 1st Class is a series between Khari, Yoh and myself to discuss the artists who made the list, what we think about them, their potential for longevity and more. First up is TDE’s Isaiah Rashad, so continue below to read our thoughts. Head over to The Tape Deck for our analysis on Chance The Rapper too.

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Grynch 3

Seattle hip-hop is a very supportive market. It’s evident when everybody from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to Wizdom, Sol to The Physics come to support one of their own, and, on May 2, this time it was for Grynch. His fourth album, Street Lights, dropped on April 29, so tonight was a celebration of that hard work. Aside from all the familiar faces, The Crocodile slowly filled up with fans until it was at the point of sold out status. A feat that has taunted Grynch for years of nearing that level but always falling short by an unnoticeable amount from the crowd perspective. Overall, it was an epic night that began with the opening acts.

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