Toronto-based artist Chris O’Keefe was challenged by a fellow artist to draw a picture a day for an entire year. After drawing an initial blank (no pun intended) on his subject matter, he settled on pictures of his favorite Hip Hop artists. Forty-three days and 1,400 Reddit subscribers later, O’Keefe is focused on seeing his year-long commitment through. So far, the results have been dope.
In case you were wondering what LL Cool J is rocking on his streaming playlist, it probably isn’t too many of these younger acts. The 49-year-old Queens rapper took to Twitter on Tuesday night (May 22) with an ambiguous shot at “terrible rap records” floating around.
For a Hip Hop artist, making the Billboard Hot 100 is no easy task. Take someone like DJ Khaled, for example. After churning out star-studded collaborations for over a decade, Billboard announced earlier this week that his “I’m The One” recording featuring Quavo, Chance The Rapper, Lil’ Wayne and Justin Bieber became his first No. 1 on the chart.
It’s a cause for celebration — and the ultimate sign of true commercial and cultural viability. Or is it?
Most heads with any sort of hand or ear to the Jersey scene has heard of Broadway Blake. Born and raised in one of Newark’s toughest neighborhoods, Blake — like many of his peers — needed all the inspiration he could find. Luckily hip hop was the escape that provided him that. He came in the game with a strong mixtape run, followed by a solid indie release, Broadway Empire. He’s currently to work towards Broadway Empire 2 while contributing as a member of the buzz worthy LiFECREW collective.
Brother Ali is back on the scene — after a five-year lapse — with a deeply personal new project entitled All The Beauty In This Whole Life (out now). Upon first listen, the album’s second song, “Own Light,” immediately jumped out at me — as a seemingly overarching guiding principal for the project, and an overwhelmingly positive message. “I mean, it’s interesting that it’s the manifesto of the album,” he told me in conversation (for another publication), “it’s a mission statement of the album — and of my life right now.”
After a five-year hiatus since the release of Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, Minnesota rapper Brother Ali — one of Rhymesayers’ most revered acts — is back with a new collection that stands as a refreshing beacon in the current sea of releases. “I always take a long time,” he tells Exclaim! “I don’t really like to be creative if I don’t feel like I have something that I really want to offer. So when I’m full, then I feel like sharing — and then when I’m not, then I just don’t.”