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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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The Stud Summer tour is a sign of the things to come for Mike Stud. Over 30 cities across the United States selling out (or close to) off his sophomore album, Closer, which sold an impressive 15,000 copies in it’s first week just wrapped around his fans. This landed him looks from Billboard and several other big media outlets that wanted to know about him and his rise in the industry. The week after the album dropped, he revealed his distribution deal with 300 (that was signed a week before the album came out). Speaking to Sermon’s Domain, one of the things highlighted was why he chose this path of independency over a major label deal. On top of that, he cites why he didn’t want to push the album back to further build up a radio campaign.

Prior to the album’s release, Hoodie Allen released “Nolan Ryan” and threw a random shot at Mike. In our interview, he says he doesn’t know what provoked it and views Hoodie as a “square” for that move. This generation is more quiet on diss records, so it was surprising to see the two traded songs back and forth. Mike also mentions that Hoodie has tried to reach out after the fact but isn’t interested in making amends.

In our 13 minute sit-down, we also talk about the differences between this tour and 2013′s, meeting French Montana and making “Turned Up,” five rappers he’d want on his baseball team and more. Check out the interview above.

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When it comes to breaking artists, Game’s track record is very limited. Only his core fans really knew about Black Wall Street, and it seemed like, as the years went on, there was no intention of putting the label on the forefront. This is something to worry about when he announced his new label, Blood Money Entertainment (an obviously homage to Cash Money), and signed two of California’s buzzing up and comers in Dubb and Skeme.

“I believe anybody could’ve did better in any situation they were in,” Skeme says when asked about BWS. In our discussion, he reassures his fans that he’s a different breed and has an understanding of what he must do on his own vs. relying on Game to carry him. This mind-state has been apart of Skeme’s career all along too. Staying independent with TDE, Interscope and others chasing you has to be a tough decision to make. It paid off, though, with his debut album, Ingleworld, being well-received late last year. Even now he hasn’t traded that sense of independence with the Blood Money deal giving him the freedom he’s desired.

Also discussed in the interview, Skeme talks about free vs. retail projects, his upcoming Play Dirty, Stay Dirty mixtape with DJ Drama, being safe with sipping lean, collaborating with T.I. on several songs, his upcoming sophomore album and more.

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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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artworks-000081348079-f0em9k-t500x500

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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