Curren$y brings some heat on a cold winter night. Check out the video for Hold On ft Young Roddy and Trademark

Merry Christmas to all. May your years only get better.

Christmas Rap

Christmas in Hollis

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Christmas in Harlem

10 reasons why 2010 was the best year ever in hip-hop: #6 Roll the dice…this was a year of taking BIG chances and they paid off.

EVERYBODY knows the music business as it has existed for the last few decades–where sales of recorded albums are the primary financial-driver of the business–is in trouble.  The record industry, like other entertainment businesses, tends to be a bell curve:

During the vast majority of times, the music tends to be fairly straight-forward and predictable.  Occasionally, there are a couple of breakout hits and then everybody spends the next several years trying to copy what was done to make those hits (or at least hire the producers who crafted them).  When times are really, really good, there tends to be more innovation and risk-taking.  If the risk pays off, things are even better.  If it doesn’t hit, it’s not a big deal because the other blockbusters during the year make up for it.  The other time risk-taking happens is when things are REALLY, REALLY bad.  Again, it is during those times that there is a certain nonchalance, but it stems from different sentiments than those in good times.  In bad times, chances are taken because companies feel like they have nothing to lose.

2009 was a terrible year for hip-hop music, sales-wise.  It was definitely the worst in a decade and maybe even longer.  So, it’s no surprise that risks were taken in 2010 and they paid BIG dividends.  Here were some of the most high-profile risks that paid off:

1.  The Jay-Z/Eminem “Home and Home” tour – Overall, 2010 was one of the worst years in the last 20 for the live music business.  In 2000, people aged 12-24 went to about 3 concerts per year.  In 2010, that same age group went to less than 1 concert per year…It would seem like that would not be the best timing to mount the biggest hip-hop tour ever.  But, in September 2010, Jay-Z and Eminem made history by selling out 4 stadium shows (2 in Detroit and 2 in New York).  Approximately 200,000 people paid an average of $100 per ticket in 4 nights…you do the math.  It was an epic success and a historical moment for hip-hop.

2.  G.O.O.D. Fridays – Give away half of your album for FREE???  Who DOES that???  Kanye West, that’s who.  I wrote a long piece on this a while ago, so I won’t spend too much time rehashing it here, but suffice it to say that Kanye West took a huge chance by giving away half of his album (along with previewing nearly all of the other half in Runaway) and it paid off, big time.  Kanye sold nearly 500,000 copies of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in week 1 (despite not having a radio hit–and not promoting it for the last 2 weeks before release).  Beyond the sales success, Kanye also got universal critical acclaim.  It’s no surprise that Kanye, who has always taken chances musically, would try something as innovative as G.O.O.D. Fridays.  His digital game was seriously on point, in general, in 2010.  In addition to giving away music with the confidence that people would like it and buy it, he also bucked the traditional marketing system by and going to Facebook and Twitter to promote the album before going to mainstream outlets.  It is surprising however (and encouraging) that his record label went along with it. Kudos to all behind the plan.

3.  Runaway – Let’s face it.  Runaway was weird.  Okay, so yeah we get the Phoenix reference and how ostracized Kanye feels in a world that shuns honesty and destroys beauty, but still, that sh*t was strange.  But, it was also brilliant.  It was visually stunning, conceptually engaging and the music was arresting.  And, from a marketing standpoint, when is the last time you can remember a show being simulcast on BET and MTV that wasn’t related to some sort of tragedy?  Exactly…Runaway was a great example of being rewarded for taking chances:

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4. Nicki Minaj – Not to belabor the point, but Nicki took RISKS this year.  It would have been easy for her to ride on the Young Money coattails, but she was dead set on establishing her own path.  So, instead of doing a Young Money album in disguise, or even a hip-hop album, she did a pop album…and it was GREAT.  And that was just the music.  Style, image, persona, you name it.  Nicki took chances in pretty much every category in 2010 and she is poised to become a hip-hop icon because of it.  Keep rolling those dice, ma.

5.  All those who pushed the boundaries of hip-hop culture and refused to let the meaning of hip-hop be dictated to them.

Click here to see other reasons why 2010 is the best year ever in hip-hop.

Rick Ross drops his mixtape Ashes To Ashes just in time for Christmas. Check it out.

Click here to download and listen below:

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10 reasons why 2010 was the best year ever in hip-hop: #7 Rappin’ all over the world…you know that’s right when the hottest rapper of the year was from Canada.

Everyone knows New York City was the birthplace of hip-hop.  For years, the dominant s0und in the genre was from the city that never sleeps.  In the late 80’s the West Coast, particularly LA, began to take over and it had a several year reign that corresponded with the fall of East Coast rap.  After a brief resurgence of New York rap, the South took over and has dominated hip-hop for the last several years.  However, in 2010, a curious thing happened.  There was no dominant region.  Instead, hits came from everywhere around the country and, as mentioned above, even from outside of it.  Suddenly, the talent pool for hip-hop started to look like the Verizon map.  And why is that good?  Because the more diversity there is of the regions where hip-hop is produced, the more likely it is that the sounds of hip-hop will be increasingly diverse.  The reason why people were saying hip-hop was dead a few years ago is because it was all starting to sound the same.  It took breaths of fresh air like Drake, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, KiD CuDi and even Eminem, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross (all from different places) to revive the culture.  And now, it is stronger than ever before.  Here’s a look at the diversity of areas that made up the hip-hop landscape in 2010 (for more reasons why 2010 is the best year ever in hip-hop, click here):

1.  Drake – the hottest rapper of the year (Em had more sales of his album but Drake was on EVERYBODY’s record so he wins) and he hailed from Toronto:

2.  Rick Ross held down Miami:

3.  Wiz Khalifa repped his city of Pittsburgh and their NFL squad:

4.  J. Cole built on the foundation that Little Brother laid to put North Carolina hip-hop on the map:

5.  Big K.R.I.T. along with J. Cole further reinforced that Southern hip-hop was not limited to Atlanta and Miami:

6.  KiD CuDi gave people a reason to care about Cleveland now that LeBron is gone:

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7.  B.o.B. created the most fresh and clean sounds to come out of the ATL since OutKast:

8.  Eminem restored Detroit’s place in hip-hop:

9.  Dr. Dre made the West Coast relevant once again with one exhale:

10.  And the lovely Nicki Minaj brought back the city that started it all:

 

Rick Ross is not the only one dropping a dope mixtape on Christmas Eve. Check out the one Diggy Simmons just dropped hosted by the legendary DJ Premier

Wow.  This boy’s got TALENT.  Listen to the mixtape below and download it here.

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T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house the mouse was rocking to the new Rick Ross mixtape.

The mixtape will drop later today.  In the meantime, check out RetroSuperFuture ft Wiz Khalifa, which will be on the mixtape.

Click here to download.