1. Q: At what point do you think the features became more important than the songs themselves?

    A: A long time ago, especially for the artists that can’t carry a record on their own. And since the era of developing artists has died with record companies over 10 years ago, a lot of dudes had to come out here and figure out how to get hot on their own. A lot of the times, the novelty of a name that’s popping in the market is the easiest way. So the feature became more important than the record a long time ago. It’s unfortunate, but I think there’s a change happening: A lot of the new dudes aren’t doing it. They started to realize chasing down a hot motherfucker was a shit-ton of work, cause when a hot motherfucker think he’s hot, they become divas real quick. And it’s the bag full of shit that you’ve got to get through to get to the hot motherfucker. And the so-called motherfucker might not even be worth it, especially when you end up with some lackadaisical shit because they think they so hot, they ain’t putting the effort in no more and it was a waste of time. You’re better off putting your own blood, sweat and tears into your own shit and living or dying on your own inequity. You lose no sleep when you can’t blame nobody else for why your shit didn’t do well. It’s kind of why I put out my first single without a feature.

    — Busta Rhymes to Rolling Stone.

  2. The ProGuide Styler can give any cut you want. It’s the perfect tool for facial hair.

    — Andre 3000, the same guy rapping the third, mind-melting verse on this song.

    (Source: vibe.com)

  3. Kendrick Lamar, “Compton State of Mind” (2009)

    Feeling inspired after having a thoughtful Twitter (!?) discussion on Kendrick Lamar, I came across this 2009 video I missed. He was probably 22 at the time, which is young but definitely old enough to know remaking “Empire State of Mind” — with an Alicia Keys knockoff, no less! — was destined to fail.

    It’s a good example of the type of rapper Lamar was (and in many ways, still is) — precocious, confident, hopelessly idealistic, cheesy, proud, charming but in a way that still makes me slightly roll my eyes. He’s getting better all of the time, so that makes these little artifacts even more fun to stumble across (like watching a Rookie of the Year’s high school reel tape). I won’t say I’m looking forward to the inevitable Kendrick Lamar (feat. Lady Gaga) (or even scarier, vice versa), but by then, his talent and taste could keep him out of harm’s way (such as ending up like B.o.B). Which doesn’t even really matter (these days, no matter the collaboration — one song is just one song). It’s going to be fun to watch either way, and I’m pretty sure we’re going to get some excellent rap songs out of it along the way. 

  4. Download Now: Kane Mayfield, 'Hydrants' →

    Finally got around to posting this solid Kane Mayfield song over at Midnight Sun.

  5. Starlito & Don Trip, “Life” (2011, Stepbrothers)

    "Success is bittersweet: I got a six-figure check and my sister got diabetes / Proud of my son, afraid for my niece / ‘cuz the doctor say she may not ever learn how to speak / Try to dry the tears before they make it to my cheek / It’s a cold, cruel world and you’ll freeze if you weak"

  6. Los, “Lord Knows (Freestyle)” (Internet, 2012)

    Will a Baltimore rapper ever blow up? Los seems as poised as anyone from Charm City to crossover. His easy-to-follow but densely packed rapping works well over beats as busy as “Lord Knows.” I wrote about it for the Sun; while Brandon wrote a smart piece on Los, Mullyman and XXL’s Freshmen 2012 List for City Paper.