It’s hard to imagine the world without Kanye West, and it’s hard to imagine Kanye West without The College Dropout. Fifteen years on, we’re breaking down the sampling on Ye’s triumphant debut and talking about the creation of a classic. Things were different in 2004: 50 Cent was a musical titan, Jay-Z had retired from the rap game and Donald Trump was endorsing the … [Read more...] about How Kanye Made “The College Dropout” – Every Sample, Every Beat
November 14, 2003: with nothing left to prove, Jay Z releases The Black Album, a project billed as his last. Fifteen years on, we reflect on the production throughout the LP, breaking down the sampling, examining the sonic palette and looking at the collaborators Jay chose to score his classic curtain closer. Fifteen years ago, Jay-Z felt he’d said all he had to … [Read more...] about Behind “The Black Album”: Production & Sampling Deep-Dive
Tyler, the Creator. J Cole. Mac Miller. Childish Gambino. Kid Cudi. Hip hop's new generation seems to be filled with artists that wear the hat of both "producer" and "rapper" like never before - but this DIY movement is no recent phenomenon. We trace the lineage of today's dual-discipline artists to its origins, over 30 years ago. The storied birth of hip-hop in the … [Read more...] about Beats & Bars: The Complete History of Dual-Discipline Artists in Hip-Hop
Back in 2017 it was discovered that Nicki Minaj mentioned herself on wax significantly more than her contemporaries. To recap, 11.5% of Nicki Minaj’s discography prior to QUEEN contains self-references by Nicki.. In this analysis, Nicki was far ahead of the competition, even handily beating out noted egos like Kanye West and Jay-Z, who came in 7th and 9th … [Read more...] about Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Drake or Kanye West: Who Was the Most Self-Obsessed Lyricist in 2018?
From the hook on Pusha T's "Come Back Baby" to the quasi-unreleased Kurt Cobain demos on "Cudi Montage", the five-chapter Wyoming series produced by Kanye West contains some of the most iconic samples of the year. We break them down one-by-one to gain a glimpse behind the creative process of one of the most talented producers of a generation: Kanye West. Welcome to Conor … [Read more...] about Wyoming: Breaking Down Kanye West’s 42 Samples One-by-One
It's the question no one is asking - how could it be possible for Kanye not to have his hands in the Drake and Pusha T beef? Now that the dust has settled, we're diving into the numbers to understand what the consequences of 2018's defining beef have been - and what exactly happened between Drake and the man he once cited as "the most influential person of his career", Kanye … [Read more...] about Drake vs Kanye: Quantifying Hip Hop’s Biggest (Proxy) Beef
Imagine if Drake released his record-breaking album Scorpion in 1988, the year Straight Outta Compton hit the airwaves. Not only would the music would seem totally out of place, but he’d be straight up laughed out of the room. Now let’s flip the picture: imagine a young group of artists releasing Straight Outta Compton in today’s music scene. Not only would the music seem … [Read more...] about Gangsta Rap is Dead – and Your Favorite Rapper Has Blood on Their Hands
The journey back from the sunken place of unchecked mental illness is long, uncertain, and unmapped. The path is littered with lost souls and all progress can be rescinded in a moment. The effort to remain present and forward-facing can cost the strongest man his entire reserve of will and power. On KIDS SEE GHOSTS, Kanye West and Kid Cudi come together for their first … [Read more...] about KIDS SEE GHOSTS: Tracking Kanye and Cudi’s Fight Against Mental Illness