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Vince Staples Releases Eighth Studio Album ‘Dark Times’

vince staples dark times

Vince Staples today unveiled his eighth studio album, Dark Times, via Blacksmith Records / Def Jam Recordings. This album marks a new era in the prolific artist’s career, blending dense lyricism with lush, layered beats, and offering wry, melancholic observations about life, while finding pockets of light in an endless dark.

Dark Times features minimal guest voices, relying on samples, studio friends, and a narrative outro by iconic alt singer-songwriter Santigold, who shares an apocalyptic yet awe-inspiring dream with Staples. Notable moments include the track “Liars,” which incorporates an excerpt from a 1973 conversation between Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin about Black love, and “Government Cheese,” where Staples raps about an imprisoned friend reaching out after seeing him on TV.

The album balances its introspective themes with celebratory tracks such as “Étouffée,” a bouncy ode to Staples’ Louisiana roots, and “Little Homies,” a message encouraging the younger generation. “Freeman,” the final song before Santigold’s outro, showcases Staples’ reflective coolness.

Ahead of the album’s release, Staples shared the first single and visual for “Shame On the Devil.”

 “It’s a testament to where I am right now and how I view things—it’s just a timestamp,” Staples says of the album. “I might not feel like that again tomorrow. But in the process of making this project, these were the things that spoke to me.”

In support of Dark Times, Staples will embark on his headlining BLACK IN EUROPA TOUR, starting June 4th in Cologne, Germany. The tour will visit Berlin, Paris, London, and Manchester before concluding in Birmingham, UK, on June 13. Staples will also perform at various European festivals in August, including Oya in Oslo, Flow Festival in Helsinki, and HipHop Open in Stuttgart. For tickets and the full list of dates, visit www.vincestaples.com/tour.

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CyHi, Mr. EGOT, Drops “On The Radar” Freestyle

CyHi, Mr. EGOT, Drops "On The Radar" Freestyle

Atlanta artist Mr. EGOT, formerly CyHi, made a powerful return with a freestyle at On The Radar’s studios in New York. This marks CyHi’s first offering of 2024, following the November 2023 release of “Mr. Put That Shit On,” featuring Pusha T, inspired by ‘The Wiz’ and released via EMPIRE.

“Mr. Put That Shit On” signaled CyHi’s comeback as he prepares for his upcoming concept album. As CyHi recently explained on Instagram, the album will explore “the fascinating journey of Philip Michael Thomas, an accomplished American actor and musician who coined the term ‘EGOT.’”

CyHi shows no signs of slowing down with his new album on the horizon. He has collaborated with industry giants like Lil Wayne and T-Pain, consistently delivering hit records that resonate with fans worldwide.

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WATCH: Common and Pete Rock Release New Single and Video “Wise Up”

Common and Pete Rock Release New Single and Video "Wise Up"

After much speculation, Common and Pete Rock have finally released their new single, “Wise Up.” The track blends the essence of the Golden Age of Hip Hop with a contemporary feel, creating a sound that resonates across all eras of hip-hop.

This collaboration brings together one of hip-hop’s most evocative emcees, Common, with one of its most celebrated producers, Pete Rock, setting a tone for what could be their most impactful work in decades.

To launch “Wise Up,” Common and Pete Rock partnered with director Marleaux Desiré to create an inspiring and creative visual presentation. The video captures street-level community stories, visually representing the themes explored in the song. It includes visual ideations from ILLIMITÉWORLD and still photography by creative director Alonzo Hellerbach.

“Wise Up” marks a significant moment in hip-hop, showcasing the perfect pairing of Common’s lyrical depth and Pete Rock’s legendary production skills. The single pays homage to their roots in the Golden Age and demonstrates their ability to evolve with the times, offering a universal appeal that transcends generations.

This release is highly anticipated by fans and critics alike, as it signals the potential for more potent collaborations between these two iconic artists. With “Wise Up,” Common and Pete Rock reaffirm their status as influential figures in hip-hop, continuing to shape the genre with their innovative and thought-provoking work.

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WATCH: Chief Keef Drops “Runner” Music Video from ‘Almighty So 2’

Chief Keef Drops "Runner" Music Video from 'Almighty So 2'

Chief Keef has just unveiled the music video for “Runner,” a standout track from his latest album, Almighty So 2. The song expertly samples Nancy Wilson’s 1974 single “Streetrunner,” adding Keef’s signature kinetic drums and percolating pianos.

In “Runner,” Keef engages in witty and aggressive dialogue with the sampled vocals, reflecting on his upbringing in Chicago and his experiences on the streets. The video features Keef rhyming from a confession booth, with his longtime manager Peeda Pan playing the priest, before taking viewers in his Rolls Royce.

The soul-sampling track captures Keef’s state of mind, offering a glimpse into his early years and his challenges. With “Runner,” Keef continues to showcase his unique blend of storytelling and musical innovation.

The music video for “Runner” adds visual depth to the song’s narrative, providing fans with a cinematic experience that complements Keef’s raw lyricism and production style.

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Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” Tops Spotify’s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of the Streaming Era

Kendrick Lamar's "Alright" Tops Spotify's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of the Streaming Era

Spotify has unveiled the 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of the streaming era, from 2015 to the present, as part of its Spotify CLASSICS catalog program. Topping the list is Kendrick Lamar’s influential track “Alright.”

The newest iteration of Spotify CLASSICS, a celebration of catalog music chosen by Spotify’s North American editorial team, highlights major hits such as Drake’s “God’s Plan,” Future’s “Mask Off,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” and “WAP” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion.

Spotify’s hip-hop editorial team undertook the ambitious task of reviewing thousands of songs to compile this definitive list. Unlike other rankings, Spotify CLASSICS is entirely qualitative, focusing on the quality, impact, replay value, influence, and cultural significance of each track. The list reflects the editors’ music and cultural expertise, rather than being driven by streaming data, meaning that massive streaming numbers were not a prerequisite for inclusion.

The full list is available below.

The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of the Streaming Era 

100. Coi Leray – “Players” (2022)

99. Fivio Foreign – “Big Drip” (2019)

98. Doechii – “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake” (2020)

97. YG ft. Nipsey Hussle – “FDT” (2016)

96. Sexyy Red – “SkeeYee” (2023)

95. Freddie Gibbs, Madlib – “Crime Pays” (2019)

94. Moneybagg Yo – “Time Today” (2021)

93. Lil Durk ft. Gunna – “What Happened to Virgil” (2022)

92. Flo Milli – “Never Lose Me” (2023)

91. Denzel Curry – “Ultimate” (2015)

90. A$AP Rocky – “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2)” (2015)

89. Yo Gotti – “Down In the DM” (2016)

88. Doja Cat ft. Rico Nasty – “Tia Tamera” (2019)

87. Young Thug – “Check” (2015)

86. Nicki Minaj – “Chun-Li” (2018)

85. Mac Miller – “Self Care” (2018)

84. Saweetie – “My Type” (2019)

83. YoungBoy Never Broke Again – “Outside Today” (2018)

82. Megan Thee Stallion – “Big Ole Freak” (2018)

81. Ice Spice, Nicki Minaj – “Princess Diana” (2023)

80. MadeinTYO – “Uber Everywhere” (2016)

79. Playboi Carti ft. Lil Uzi Vert – “Shoota” (2018)

78. Lil Durk ft. J. Cole – “All My Life” (2023)

77. Tyler, The Creator ft. YoungBoy Never Broke Again & Ty Dolla $ign – “WUSYANAME” (2021)

76. Nipsey Hussle ft. YG – “Last Time That I Checc’d” (2018)

75. Lil Uzi Vert – “Money Longer” (2016)

74. Drake – “Know Yourself” (2015)

73. Central Cee – “Doja” (2022)

72. Trippie Redd ft. Travis Scott – “Dark Knight Dummo” (2017)

71. Latto ft. Cardi B – “Put It On Da Floor Again” (303)

70. Pooh Shiesty ft. Lil Durk – “Back in Blood” (2022)

69. Young M.A. – “OOOUUU” (2017)

68. Young Thug ft. Gunna – “Hot” (2019)

67. Jack Harlow – “WHATS POPPIN” (2020)

66. A Boogie Wit da Hoodie ft. Kodak Black – “Drowning” (2017)

65. Polo G, Lil Tjay ft. – “Pop Out” (2019)

64. Migos – “T-Shirt” (2017)

63. Future – “F*ck Up Some Commas” (2015)

62. A$AP Ferg – “Plain Jane” (2017)

61. Lil Baby, Gunna – “Drip Too Hard” (2018)

60. Drake, 21 Savage – “Jimmy Cooks” (2022)

59. Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future – “King’s Dead” (2018)

58. Tyler, The Creator ft. Kali Uchis – “See You Again” (2017) 

57. BlocBoy JB ft. Drake – “Look Alive” (2018)

56. JACKBOYS, Travis Scott, Young Thug – “OUT WEST” (2019)

55. Tee Grizzley – “First Day Out” (2017)

54. 21 Savage ft. Future – “X” (2016)

53. Travis Scott – “BUTTERFLY EFFECT” (2018)

52. Lil Mosey – “Blueberry Faygo (2020)

51. Internet Money ft. Don Toliver, Gunna, NAV – “Lemonade” (2020)

50. Lil Uzi Vert – “Just Wanna Rock” (2020)

49. DaBaby – “Suge” (2019)

48. Metro Boomin ft. Future & Chris Brown – “Superhero (Heroes & Villains)” (2022)

47. Hitkidd, GloRilla – “F.N.F. (Let’s Go)” (2022)

46. Gunna – “fukumean” (2023)

45. Future ft. Drake & Tems – “WAIT FOR U” *(2022)

44. Doja Cat – “Paint the Town Red” (2023)

43. Drake, Future – “Jumpman” (2015)

42. City Girls – “Act Up” (2018)

41. Travis Scott – “Antidote” (2015)

40. XXXtentacion – “Look At Me!” (2017)

39. Chance The Rapper ft. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz – “No Problem” (2016)

38. Lil Baby – “Freestyle” (2017)

37. GoldLink ft. Shy Glizzy & Brent Faiyaz – “Crew” (2016)

36. Kodak Black ft. XXXtentacion – “Roll in Peace” (2017)

35. Baby Keem ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Family Ties” (2021)

34. Mustard ft. Roddy Ricch – “Ballin” (2019)

33. Playboi Carti – “Magnolia” (2017)

32. Offset, Metro Boomin – “Ric Flair Drip” (2017)

31. J. Cole – “MIDDLE CHILD” (2019)

30. Kanye West ft. Chance The Rapper, The-Dream, Kelly Price & Kirk Franklin – “Ultralight Beam” (2016)

29. Drake – “Back To Back” (2015)

28. Kendrick Lamar – “DNA.” (2017)

27. Post Malone ft. 21 Savage – “Rockstar” (2018)

26. Rae Sremmurd – “Black Beatles” (2016)

25. Tyler, The Creator – “EARFQUAKE” (2019)

24. Polo G – “RAPSTAR” (2020)

23. 21 Savage ft. J. Cole – “a lot” (2018)

22. Meek Mill ft. Drake – “Going Bad” (2019)

21. Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen” (2015)

20. Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP” (2020)

19. French Montana ft. Swae Lee – “Unforgettable” (2017)

18. Lil Baby ft. 42 Dugg – “We Paid” (2020)

17. Kodak Black – “No Flockin” (2015)

16. Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE” (2017)

15. Kanye West ft. Kid Cudi – “Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1” (2016)

14. Roddy Ricch – “The Box” (2019)

13. Travis Scott ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Goosebumps” (2016)

12. Future – “Mask Off” (2017)

11. XXXtentacion – “Jocelyn Flores” (2017)

10. Juice WRLD – “Lucid Dreams” (2018)

9. Pop Smoke – “Dior” (2019)

8. Sheck Wes – “Mo Bamba” (2017)

7. Travis Scott – “SICKO MODE” (2018)

6. Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert – “Bad and Boujee” (2016)

5. Future – “March Madness” (2015)

4. Lil Uzi Vert – “XO Tour Llif3” (2017)

3. Drake – “God’s Plan” (2018)

2. Cardi B – “Bodak Yellow” (2017)

1. Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” (2015)

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Tyla Drops Video for “Jump” Featuring Gunna and Skillibeng

tyla-jump

Tyla’s meteoric rise continues with the release of the music video for “Jump,” a fan-favorite collaboration featuring Gunna and Skillibeng from her debut album. Directed by NABIL, the visually striking video showcases the trio traversing the vibrant streets of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tyla’s proud hometown. Skillibeng, hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, contributes a never-before-heard verse, adding to the song’s dynamic appeal.

The release of the “Jump” video comes as the track experiences a significant spike in chart performance. Produced by Sammy Soso, the record has amassed 75 million streams worldwide. It currently holds the #1 spot on the UK Afro Beat chart and has peaked at #3 on the US Billboard Afrobeat Chart. Tyla’s hit “Water” continues to dominate the #1 position, while “Truth Or Dare” and “Art” secure the #5 and #6 spots, respectively. Her collaboration with Tems, “No. 1,” rounds out the Top 10 at #8.

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Vince Staples Announces Eighth Studio Album ‘Dark Times’

vince staples dark times

Vince Staples revealed his eighth studio album, “Dark Times,” which will be released on May 24 via Blacksmith Records / Def Jam Recordings. This album marks a new era for the prolific artist, showcasing his signature dense lyricism over lush, layered beats while offering wry, melancholic observations about life and finding light in the darkness.

“Dark Times” was recorded over seven months in North Hollywood. The album title came intuitively to Staples after he listened to the record in full, noticing heavy motifs that kept reappearing. The album cover, featuring a faintly seen noose, was similarly intuitive, encapsulating the themes of struggle and perseverance that permeate the project.

To coincide with the album announcement, Staples dropped the first single, “Shame on the Devil,” accompanied by an evocative visual. The track features Staples rapping over a warm, spectral beat, reflecting on the anointed nature of his life despite experiencing loneliness and fallouts with friends.

Calling the project “a personal achievement,” Staples said, “it’s me mastering some things I’ve tried before that I wasn’t great at in the beginning. It’s a testament to musical growth, song structure—all the good stuff.” Fans can expect a deeply introspective and richly produced album that continues pushing his artistry’s boundaries.

“Dark Times” promises to be muscular and revelatory, refining elements that have been present in Staples’ catalog for the last decade. Be sure to mark your calendars for May 24 to experience the full journey of “Dark Times” and catch the first single, “Shame on the Devil,” now available for streaming.

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MC Lyte Set to Make a Triumphant Return with New Music

MCLyte

Iconic rapper MC Lyte is gearing up to make a splash in the music scene once again, announcing her first release in nearly a decade. Fans of the groundbreaking MC can anticipate new music dropping this summer, marking a highly anticipated comeback for the trailblazing artist.

In a recent interview with Rock The Bells Radio, MC Lyte revealed the exciting news, setting the stage for her much-awaited return. With a new single titled “Woman” slated for release in June, followed by an album scheduled for August 9, the anticipation among fans is palpable.

While details about the upcoming project remain scarce, the announcement alone has generated significant buzz within the hip-hop community. MC Lyte’s profound impact on the genre, coupled with her undeniable talent, promises an album that will captivate audiences and solidify her legacy as one of hip-hop’s most influential figures.

MC Lyte’s contributions to the culture extend far beyond her music, as evidenced by her recent recognition at the inaugural SEED Summit + Awards. Honored alongside esteemed industry figures, MC Lyte continues to inspire and empower the next generation of creators and artists.

Known for her advocacy for women and girls in hip-hop, MC Lyte’s unwavering commitment to the culture is evident in her participation in events such as the I AM Woman celebration at the Kennedy Center. Reflecting on the significance of women’s contributions to hip-hop, MC Lyte emphasized the enduring legacy of the genre and its ability to inspire and unite individuals from all walks of life.

As fans eagerly await the release of MC Lyte’s new music, her forthcoming album promises to be a testament to her unparalleled talent and enduring influence in hip hop MC Lyte continues to leave an indelible mark on the culture, reaffirming her status as a pioneer and icon.

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Lupe Fiasco Announces New Album ‘Samurai’, Drops Title Track With Visuals

Screenshot 2024 05 17 at 2.27.59 PM

A master of his craft, Lupe Fiasco wields his pen with the discipline of a swordsman, striking with deliberate strokes meant to knock off-balance as often as they draw blood. Today, Lupe Fiasco sharpens his focus in anticipation of the release of Samurai, his ninth studio album. The upcoming album is produced in full by Soundtrakk, making it their second full album collaboration following 2022’s DRILL MUSIC IN ZION, and the first album that Lupe and Soundtrakk worked on with their longtime manager, and 1st & 15th co-CEO Charley “Chill” Patton, since 2007’s The Cool.

“I sometimes get tagged by my fans as not doing personal records” Lupe says,“but I always tell people there’s me in there if you listen closely enough. This album is one of my more personal records to date. It’s not a full biography, but my personal experiences are tied up in all of my music. A lot of the records are me. Some are from the POV of a character. and some are me. The album weaves things from my life as an artist, touching on things other artists go through.”

On the upcoming album, the veteran rapper retreats inward, to give fans one of the most personal albums in his discography. Samurai follows a loose narrative, tracking the career progression a rapper through the battle rap circuit, focusing on the small moments that make up the rapper’s career and drawing parallels between the battlers of today and the warriors of old. Musically, the new album finds Lupe delighting in the simple pleasures of assembling assonant syllables into playful and poignant narratives. The 8-track album is smooth, yet cerebral, brimming with ideas, but always radiating Lupe’s pure love for the art of emceeing and committing himself as a servant of the rap game. Now available to pre-save and pre-order on vinyl, Samurai arrives in both physical and digital formats on June 28th via 1st & 15th.

“The word ‘samurai’ means to serve,” says Lupe. “My relationship to that word has always meant that you need to be at the service of other people, either in the overall community, or in this instance, the rap community at large that I’ve been a part of for years.”

Along with the announcement of the album, Lupe shares the album’s title track, “Samurai”. A loose and soulful record, “Samurai” gently lopes along with a prominent drumbeat and a lilting soprano sax lick, as Lupe dons his battle rap persona, attempting to draw a crowd with his poetic devices. While the chorus imitates a busker or carnival barker’s call for attention, the verses dig deeper. The first verse analyzes the awkward relationship between hip-hop culture and high culture with deft internal rhyme: “Big eyes lookin like skies in binoculars/Two nights live, singin’ by the opera house, but not in it/Just by it, somewhat alongside it/A long silence,” he opens. The second verse tells the story of a struggling artist, contrasting her glamorous dreams with her gritty reality, but brimming with her unbroken spirit. The warm and inviting “Samurai” is the perfect introduction to the upcoming album, setting the mood for a smooth, yet thought-provoking journey. The video, directed by Chris & Blaq, spotlights Lupe as he performs the song in the hometown of Chicago, with the city’s skyline in the distance.

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BIG30 Drops Highly-Anticipated Album ‘Still King’

BIG30 Drops Highly-Anticipated Album 'Still King'

Memphis hip-hop artist BIG30 has officially released his long-awaited album, Still King, today via N Less Entertainment/Connect Music. The 17-track project showcases BIG30’s return to the scene with collaborations from Fredo Bang and KCarbon, delivering his signature high-energy bars and authentic Memphis sound.

“Still King” serves as BIG30’s third album, following his sophomore release, “Last Man Standing,” which featured hits like “On My Mama” and “Protest.” His debut project, “King of Killbranch,” earned him recognition on the Billboard 200 chart and boasted collaborations with industry heavyweights like Yo Gotti, Future, and Lil Durk.

The album’s lead single, “N Less,” dropped in March, offering fans a taste of BIG30’s gritty street narratives and unmistakable style. With his trademark ‘Blrrrd’ ad-lib and candid lyrics, BIG30 continues to solidify his status as a force in the rap game.

“Still King” is a testament to BIG30’s resilience and talent, reaffirming his position as a dominant figure in hip-hop. Fans can now stream the album on all major platforms, immersing themselves in BIG30’s raw and captivating storytelling.

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