Kendrick Lamar talks about recording with Dr. Dre, the Tupac hologram, and the possibility of a Top Dawg compilation album at the Fuse house during Coachella 2012. Subscribe to Fuse for all our music coverage: http://bit.ly/fuseSub
1. T.I – NIGGAS IN PARIS
2. DRAKE FT NICKI MINAJ – MAKE ME PROUD
3. TITY BOI AKA 2 CHAINZ – THINK ABOUT IT
4. YOUNG JEEZY – CHICKENS NO FLOUR
5. TYGA FT GUDDA GUDDA & TITY BOI – BAD BITCHES
6. WAKA FLOCKA FLAME FT SLIM DUNKIN, CAPP & JUST RICH GATES – DROP IT GIRL
7. RICH FT GUNPLAY & ROME – CANT FUCK WITH US
8. PILL – POPPIN FLAVA
9. BOLAJI – U HEARD ME
10. GILLIE THE KID FT G.I THE GENERAL – STRAPPED DOWN
11. GUCCI MANE FT YO GOTTI – TRANSLATION
12. FRED THE GODSON FT THE MADD RAPPER – HIP HOP
13. EMINEM YELAWOLF, SLAUGHTERHOUSE – BET CYPHER
14. FRENCH MONTANA FT WAKA FLOCKA FLAME – HELL ON EARTH
15. BUSTA RHYMES REEK DA VILLAIN TITY BOI & LUDACRIS – BET CYPHER
16. CHRIS BROWN KEVIN McCALL ACE HOOD & TYGA – BET CYPHER
17. RICK ROSS WALE STALLY PILL & MEEK MILL – BET CYPHER
18. FACE THE MUSIC FT FRENCH MONTANA – BOSS NUMBERS
19. LIL SCRAPPY FT TITY BOI & TWISTA – HELICOPTER
20. Q DA KID FT BUN B – DREAM BIG FAST LANES
21. PANAMA – ONE DAY
22. ICE BURGANDY FT WAKA FLOCKA FLAME – RIGHT SIDE HANGIN
Tyler, the Creator: Did you ever think, like… Okay, you dropped Illmatic. How old were you? Like, 18?
Nas: When I started it, I was 18. I dropped it when I was 20.
Tyler, the Creator: So you was my age when Illmatic came out?
Nas: Yeah. The first thing I did was “Live at the Barbecue.” That was ’91.
Tyler, the Creator: So, right, when you was coming out, I wasn’t even born yet, basically? I was born in 1991, so I was probably just popping out. Did you think, 20 years later, you would still be, like, here? Like, you’re having a fuckin’ interview, about to do another magazine shoot. Like, did you think, 20 years from now, back then, that there was even a chance that you could still be doing that?
Nas: At that point, I only cared about making the biggest impact in rap. But I didn’t care about 20 years from… No, I got to say no. I didn’t. I didn’t really think that much on it. ’Cause at that time, dudes were peaking at, like, their fourth album, and that was it. Like, a lot of guys before us, they would, after their third or fourth album, that was it.
Tyler, the Creator: They was done.
Nas: You know what I mean? So I didn’t think I would be up to right here.
Tyler, the Creator: That’s ’cause you, Em, Jay, Snoop, like, you guys all started when you was exactly my age. So we could relate right then and there. But it’s just weird that you guys—’cause I even asked Snoop, and he was like, “I didn’t even think that I could go this far with that.” And the fact that you guys are still here makes me just always think, like, Fuck, could I?
Nas: Oh, you definitely can. People—someone like you is, you’re interested, for a lot of reasons. So someone like you, you can’t wait to see what’s next. You can’t wait to see how you’re going to deal with what you’ve been experiencing now that you’re in the rap game or in the music game. It’s going to be great and exciting for you as you go along.
Tyler, the Creator: This shit’s crazy. I have, like, a goal list in my head, and it gets checked off, like, all the time. And it’s just the weirdest shit. This game is crazy. It’ll drive you crazy, too. Like, I didn’t expect a lot of stuff. And it’s a lot to deal with, ’cause, like, people don’t know, but I’m running a business. Clothes, basically. Like, we got our own label. I didn’t just sign a regular little deal. I own that. Touring. I have a show with Cartoon Network that I’m writing and I’m starring in. Not only that, like, I have to put the whole team on my back. It’s a lot of us. And not just the music section. Like, I try to look out for everyone in my crew—even the photographers, niggas that skate. And I got my family. So it’s a lot to deal with. How did you deal with just, out of nowhere, people like, “Oh, shit, Nas! Oh, Nas! Nas!” Labels coming at you, and you just out of nowhere had fame. Like, how did you deal with that?
Nas: Well, for me, it was really easy in the very beginning, because only thing I was concerned about was not going to jail. ’Cause I was still not removed from the block. So when I first got a check, it was my check, but everybody around me was still in the grind. So we had plans to make moves with that check, you know? Street moves with that. And, you know, you had that thing, but, you know, you really can’t straddle the fence. You can’t have one foot in the street and then one foot in the light, where you can change your life for the positive. You can’t do it. It won’t work.
Tyler, the Creator: Yeah, that shit’s hard.
Nas: It won’t work, and it’s stupid to even attempt to stay in the street and then still think you’re supposed to get something out of this legit world. You know what I mean? If you’re going to get legit, go all the way. So it was simple for me, because I kept it normal. I kept it cool. I stayed around the way until I got too busy to be there.
Tyler, the Creator: That’s how it was with me. After a while, it’s like, you got people hitting you up, “Why you ain’t hit me up?” [And it’s like,] “I’m sorry, dude. I’m on tour, with 30 other things on my head.” It’s just, at first, it’s cool, with people finally recognizing you, and it’s like, “Oh, shit, I’m going to…” Oh, shit. “Okay, bye, Grandma. I’ll talk to you later.” And then it’s like, you kind of… I’m legitly in the rap game now. Not even in the rap game, just in the music industry. Like, I didn’t even, it didn’t hit me until a couple weeks ago. ’Cause I’m still me. I wear the same fuckin’ clothes I had. I’m still eating at fuckin’ McDonald’s, when I could go to a fuckin’ 30-star restaurant or some shit. So it’s just weird how even little things I say, like, it’s a big controversy on if I’m a homophobe or anything. And that’s just how me and my friends talk. So it’s just weird for me being myself, going into a world where everyone is watching you and critiquing every little thing that you’ve been used to doing for the past 20 years of your life. It’s a lot to deal with.
Nas: No one wants you to say what you wanna say, what’s really you. You can’t say what you really feel no more, ’cause they’re gonna kill you for it.
Tyler, the Creator: And after a while, it’s like, I don’t really care what anyone say. I’m just gonna do me regardless, ’cause that’s just how I was brought up. But after a while, when you have just so many fuckin’ people, like,
the world just coming onto you, you kind of sit back, like, Wait for a second. Am I doing something wrong? No, I’m not. I’m good. I’m fine. And they just keep coming. You’re like, Wait a minute. You kind of look back, like, Fuck, maybe I am doing something fuckin’ wrong. And that shit’s a lot to deal with.
Nas: Yeah, it is. It is. But you can only do what you can do, man. You’re a human being. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you know what I mean? No one is going to be totally satisfied. You can’t please everybody. You’d be crazy if you’re trying to. So take some time out to do some things for yourself. Remember, always take time out to do things that you enjoy. Got to. ’Cause then, why else you out here doing these amazing things, and you’re taking care of everybody else? But if you’re not taking care of yourself…man.
Tyler, the Creator: There’s no point.
Nas: It’s refreshing to see you do that, because everything else is just the same thing over and over. Shit is lame. Everybody’s doing the same shit. Even me. I’m caught up in some of the same shit. It’s just the shit I grew up loving, so I keep doing a lot of the same things. ’Cause I love what that is, but it’s still a hundred, a thousand people doing the shit.
Tyler, the Creator: That’s different, though. You love that shit. Like, I’m stuck in 2006. Pharrell is, like, my idol. So I’m fuckin’, I listen to In My Mind, his album, every fuckin’ day and watch his videos. Like, I have a fuckin’ bookcase of BBC Ice Cream and Bape shit from 2006 that I just put on, and listen to fuckin’ Clipse. That’s because you love that shit. You grew up on it, so it’s shit that you love. Like, when you was in the phase where you had your fuckin’ big gold ropes and shit.
Nas: Yeah, I’m total opposite of what you was listening to. [Laughs]
Tyler, the Creator: Yeah, but you grew up on EPMD and, like, Rakim. And shit where that’s what they did. And that’s what you grew up on, so that shit stuck with you and shit. But that’s, like, organic. Like, you love that shit. That shit makes you fuckin’ smile.
Nas: Right. And we share that culture with the world. When we do our records, it’s in us. Whatever you grew up on and whatever I grew up on, it’s in us, it’s a part of our culture, and we keep reproducing it. That’s a good thing. It keeps it alive. And we interpret it in new ways, which is nice. (full story)
Rolling Stones has dubbed Eminem “The King Of Hip Hop” above Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake & Lil Wayne…it is not measured on him being the “ALL TIME GREATEST” but on his album sales, “where comeback king Eminem takes the top slot by an absurd margin.”
Let’s start with the tally that comes with the biggest bragging rights: album sales.
Were we saying something about a close contest? Not on the album tally, where comeback king Eminem takes the top slot by an absurd margin. Thanks to his two latest chart-topping albums, 2009′s Relapse and 2010′s Recovery, the man otherwise known as Slim Shady sold more than two and a half times the number of albums as the second-ranked Lil Wayne during our survey period.
More than half of Eminem’s 7.5 million in sales were taken by Recovery. Now past four million copies in the U.S. alone, Recovery was the best-selling album, period, of 2010. One-fourth of those albums sold digitally, making it the first album in history to sell more than a million non-physical copies, a mark it crossed just last month. Despite losing the Album of the Year Grammy in an upset to Arcade Fire, Recovery still took home Best Rap Album, Eminem’s fifth win that category. It also doesn’t hurt to have a crossover hit song to fuel album sales, and Recovery had a monster: the Rihanna-supported ballad “Love the Way You Lie,” which topped the Hot 100 for two months last year and probably fueled more soccer-mom album purchases for Shady than at any time in his career.
What’s most impressive about Lil Wayne’s second-place showing is he did it with a handicap – his smash Tha Carter III came out in 2008, before the start of our survey period. He’s sold another 750,000 copies of that blockbuster from 2009 to now. An even bigger handicap might have been Weezy’s eight-month prison sentence in 2010–11, but he managed to release two discs in 2010 before going to prison, and both had strong numbers: about 750,000 for the rock-rap hybrid Rebirth, and just under a million for his hip-hop return I Am Not a Human Being. All this is besides his numerous mixtape releases, which have sold tens of thousands. The guy is nothing if not prolific (just wait until we get to the songs tally).
Unlike Weezy, most of the acts in our survey only managed one album release during our two-and-a-half-year survey period. Jay-Z’s third-place showing was mostly the result of his two million-selling 2009 smash The Blueprint 3. But Jigga likely would have looked impressive no matter when we took this survey over the last decade. With 11 Number One albums on the Billboard 200 over his career, Jay holds the title of the most chart-topping albums among solo acts, rappers or otherwise; and he is second among all artists, behind only the Beatles (who have 20 Number One discs, so Jay’s got a way to go there).
Among acts lower down in the tally, respect should be accorded to Rick Ross, who only placed eighth but has been a model of album-chart consistency in his five-year career. All four of the big man’s albums have debuted in the Billboard 200′s top two, and while none has been a megablockbuster, each has sold in the mid-six figures. Of the two discs he released during our survey period, the second – 2010′s 650,000-selling Teflon Don – was his first to miss the Number One spot, but it still managed to out-sell its predecessor, 2009′s Deeper Than Rap, by nearly 200,000 copies.
Fueled by the tail end of his Blueprint 3 Tour and a vast portfolio of business interests, Jay-Z barely edged second-ranked Diddy—who raked in $35 million, roughly half of that total coming from a lucrative partnership with Diageo’s Ciroc vodka—but handily topped West, who earned $16 million. The duo is steaming ahead with plans for co-headlining tour starting this fall.
“Jay-Z and Kanye are hip-hop ambassadors,” says Steve Stoute, chief of branding firm Translation and author of The Tanning of America. “They bring the art form around the world, and they’ve taken production and everything to the next level. Now they’ve got a chance to grow with their global audience.”
The Watch The Throne rappers, whose album debuted around the world exclusively on Apple’s iTunes, aren’t the only ones making millions by going global. Fresh off a eight-month jail stint, Lil Wayne released a new album and performed a slew of shows from Buffalo to Vancouver, netting $15 million over the past year. That sum tied him with his mentor and label boss, Cash Money Records co-founder Birdman, for the fourth spot.
“If we ain’t number one now, we’ll be there soon,” said Birdman while discussing his billion dollar dreams with FORBES. Farther down the list, Swizz Beatz also looked to the future: “I will be #1 next year,” he wrote in an email. Wiz Khalifa—whose high earnings landed him at No. 11—seemed pleasantly surprised to learn he’d be making his Cash Kings debut. “I’m one of them?” he exclaimed. “That’s what’s up!”
The success of hip-hop’s top earners shows just how powerful the genre has become as a commercial force. The top 20 on our list combined to earn $271 million; 13 different artists earned $10 million or more, taking home cash from live shows, recorded music, endorsements and a wide range of other entrepreneurial ventures. The top five combined to earn $118 million in 12 months.
Next on the list is a troika of grizzled veterans—Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Eminem—all tied for the sixth spot at $14 million. Dre’s income got a big boost from Beats by Dre, his lucrative headphone venture with Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine; Snoop cashed in on touring and endorsements from Pepsi Max, Metro PCS and others; Eminem continued to earn from his Grammy-winning album, Recovery, as well as a handful of lucrative concerts with Jay-Z at Yankee Stadium in New York and Comerica Park in Detroit.
“There are four hip-hop artists that sell hard tickets: Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye and Lil Wayne,” says Randy Phillips, chief of concert promoter AEG. “Those are the big four. In the past, it hasn’t really been a live medium … Is it changing? When you look at the business Jay and Eminem did in Yankee Stadium, I think it is.”
Touring was one of the many revenue streams we looked at to come up with the Cash Kings list, which charts pretax earnings for all living artists whose work is primarily classified as hip-hop or rap. The estimates also include income from record sales, digital downloads, films, merchandise sales, endorsements, books and other ventures; management, agent and attorney fees are not deducted. Earnings are calculated for the period from May 2010 to May 2011 and based on data from Pollstar, Nielsen SoundScan, the RIAA and individual record labels, as well as interviews with numerous lawyers, media buyers, managers and many of the artists themselves.
This year’s list features plenty of newcomers. Besides the aforementioned Wiz Khalifa, there’s Nicki Minaj, who debuts at No. 15 with $6.5 million—making her the first female rapper ever to grace the list. Another, Atlanta-based rapper-singer-songwriter B.o.B, squeaked on with $5 million. Sandwiched between Minaj and B.o.B is an additional newbie, Pitbull, who released two albums, performed 50-plus shows and inked a seven-figure endorsement deal with Kodak.
“Pitbull is great with brands,” says Adam Kluger, chief of brand partnership firm The Kluger Agency. “Endorsements with hip-hop artists work because hip-hop artists typically set the most trends … It’s every brand’s goal to be seen in the mainstream, and hip-hop music has become mainstream music.”
MTV News reports — Just when we thought Eminem had fully escaped his demons following the release of his multiplatinum 2010 album Recovery, Marshall Mathers takes his own life with a single gunshot to the head in his new “Space Bound” video, which is now available on iTunes.
The video is a gut-wrenching look into another of Eminem’s tumultuous relationships, much like the one exhibited in the video for “Love the Way You Lie” — this time with deadly results.
Filmed in Los Angeles in February, the Joseph Kahn-directed clip starts with our leading man walking down a foggy road in the middle of the night. Obviously perturbed, a sullen Em marches on, hands in his pockets, until a passing car picks him up. In the driver’s seat is the Detroit rapper’s love interest, played by porn star Sasha Grey. Things clearly aren’t all peaches and cream.
Eminem jumps in the front passenger seat, with a pensive look on his face, while another, more cynical version of Em rides in the back. The differences between the two Shadys are apparent. The front-seat version is calm, with his eyes darting back and forth between his girlfriend and the gun that sits in the glove compartment. The other Em is riled up, hurling insults at Grey, though she is unaware of his presence.
As the couple pulls up to a pit stop, Grey exits the vehicle first with a gun in her back pocket, while Em follows her. They enter a diner, Grey first and the rapper a few steps behind. Here, the director splits the screen and the two Eminems go their separate ways, one to the counter and the other to the booth where his girlfriend sits, texting on her cell phone. FULL STORY