Tag Archives: Nas

Jill Scott, Lil Wayne, Nas, Victoria Monét and More Set for Roots Picnic 2024

Jill Scott to Star in 'Mahalia!' Biopic Executive Produced by Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah

The acclaimed Roots Picnic festival, a beacon of musical excellence and cultural celebration, is back for its 2024 edition, promising an unforgettable two-day experience. Presented by GRAMMY® Award-winning hip-hop icons The Roots and Live Nation Urban, the event will occur at The Mann in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA, on June 1-2, 2024.

Launching the excitement, Roots Picnic alumni presale tickets will be available starting Tuesday, February 20th at 10 AM ET, followed by general on-sale beginning Friday, Feb. 23rd at 10 AM ET.

The festival lineup boasts an impressive array of talent, with GRAMMY® Award-winning legend Lil Wayne headlining alongside The Roots, treating audiences to a journey through decades of hits and a special tribute to Lil Wayne’s hometown of New Orleans, featuring guests PJ Morton and Trombone Shorty. Joining the bill is powerhouse Jill Scott, captivating audiences in her hometown with her soulful style.

The festival’s spirit of collaboration continues with performances from Victoria Monét, André 3000, Gunna, Sexyy Red, Tyla, Smino, Babyface, Adam Blackstone featuring Fantasia & Muni Long, Cam’ron, Nas, Wale, Robert Glasper featuring Yebba, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, and more.

Roots Picnic 2024 promises to be a cultural landmark, bringing together generations of artists and fans for an unparalleled celebration of music and community. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary event in the heart of Philadelphia.

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Today In Hip Hop History: Nas’ Iconic ‘Illmatic’ Album Turns 30 Years Old!

Nas Illmatic

30 years ago today, Nas dropped his debut LP, ‘Illmatic.’ Released by Columbia Records in 94′ Nas recorded the album at Chung King Studios, D&D Recording, Battery Studios, and Unique Recording Studios in New York City. Produced by DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and Nas himself, the bangers on the album will be embedded in Hip Hop culture as classics merely based on their production alone.

The album sold 60,000 in the first week and debuted at number 12 on the US Billboard 200 chart. On January 17, 1996, the album was certified gold by the RIAA. In 2001 it earned a platinum certification after shipping 1,000,000 copies in the United States alone.

Lyrically, Nas delivered certified street verses on ‘Illmatic’ that influenced the majority of the ’90s and is regarded as one of the greatest LPs of all time by critics and major publications globally.

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Today In Hip Hop History: Nas’ Iconic ‘Illmatic’ Album Turns 30 Years Old!

Nas Illmatic

30 years ago today, Nas dropped his debut LP, ‘Illmatic.’ Released by Columbia Records in 94′ Nas recorded the album at Chung King Studios, D&D Recording, Battery Studios, and Unique Recording Studios in New York City. Produced by DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and Nas himself, the bangers on the album will be embedded in Hip Hop culture as classics merely based on their production alone.

The album sold 60,000 in the first week and debuted at number 12 on the US Billboard 200 chart. On January 17, 1996, the album was certified gold by the RIAA. In 2001 it earned a platinum certification after shipping 1,000,000 copies in the United States alone.

Lyrically, Nas delivered certified street verses on ‘Illmatic’ that influenced the majority of the ’90s and is regarded as one of the greatest LPs of all time by critics and major publications globally.

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The Source’s Top Five Rappers of 2023

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As we bid farewell to 2023, it’s only fitting to celebrate the lyrical maestros who owned the rap game throughout the year. From the electrifying presence of Latto to the rising force of Offset, the seasoned brilliance of Nas, the chart-topping prowess of Drake, and the poetic mastery of J. Cole – these artists left an indelible mark on the hip-hop landscape. Join us as we journey through the standout moments, impactful releases, and cultural influence that solidified them as the undisputed champions of the rap scene in 2023. Let the countdown begin as we honor the Top 5 Rappers of the Year, each weaving their narrative into the rich tapestry of hip-hop.

Latto

A new generation of female artists have been dominating hip-hop for the past few years and this year was Latto’s chance to lead the pack. Following multiple “Best New Artist” nominations in 2021 and 2022, Latto hit 2023 running, securing a “Best New Artist” nomination at the Grammy Awards in February of 2023 and winning the BET Artist award in 2023. In February, she also released her hit single “Lottery” and was featured on South Korean singer Jungkook’s solo single “Seven,” which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song won Billboard’s “Top Global K-pop Song” of 2023 award and multiple MTV and MTV Europe awards and nominations. She was named iHeartRadio’s artist of the year for 2023 and her song “Big Energy” received their coveted Titanium award for 1 billion total plays on iHeartRadio stations. She was also honored on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of musical artists of 2024. Her performance on Amazon Prime’s Thursday night Amazon Music Series (following Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football) broke records for the platform about viewership. As her track record shows, she is one of hip-hop’s most versatile artists and has shown that her popularity can crossover to not just other genres, but other countries as well.

Nas

One of the most well-respected names in the industry, Nas, has continued to influence hip-hop and music in general in 2023 significantly. Following multiple award nominations for his 2022 album, King’s Disease II, Nas hit the ground running in 2023. In July of this year, Nas dropped Magic 2, his sixteenth studio album. Magic 3, a collaboration with Hit-Boy, dropped in early September with his 50th birthday. Both albums were met largely with positive reception from audiences and music critics alike. His documentary, Supreme Team, which debuted at the Tribecca Film Festival, was nominated for an Outstanding Crime and Justice Documentary Emmy award in 2023. His two albums this year follow a string of successful releases in which he has shown his versatility and range, collating with artists of varying genres and generations. He also continues to show how he is not only a master lyricist but also creates timeless classic beats and music that will continue to inspire future generations of artists.

Drake

Drake was everywhere and doing everything in 2023 it seems. Following the release of his 2022 studio album, Honestly, Nevermind, Drake entered 2023 prepared for a whirlwind year including a major tour and album release. In July, Drake kicked off his It’s All a Blur North American Tour with 21 Savage. (The tour, his first major one in five years, will continue through March of 2024.) In October, he dropped his eighth studio album, For the Dogs, which featured guest appearances from album features guest appearances from Teezo Touchdown, 21 Savage, J. Cole, Yeat, SZA, PartyNextDoor, Chief Keef, Bad Bunny, Sexyy Red, Lil Yachty, and more with the Scary Hours edition of the album dropping in November. His song “Rich Flex” won the 2023 Billboard Music Award for Top Rap Song and the Billboard Music Award for Top Rap Album. He also won the BET Hip-Hop Award for Best Album of the Year in 2023 and nominations in multiple other categories. In late 2023, he reunited with Nicki Minaj on the song “Needle,” courtesy of her new album, Pink Friday 2. As Drake continues his tour, fans can expect even more collaborations and Drake to push even more creative limits in the coming years.

J. Cole

J. Cole was all over the place in 2023- literally and figuratively. He appeared on numerous other artists’ tracks including 21 Savage’s song “a lot,” 6LACK’s “Pretty Little Fears,” Wale’s “My Boy,” Lil Durk’s “All my Life,” J-Hope’s (of BTS) track “On the Street,” Summer Walker’s “To Summer, From Cole,” and more. “All my Life” earned him the BET Award for Best Collaboration and Impact Tract (he was also nominated for four other awards including Best Artist). In 2023, he began teasing a new album, It’s A Boy, the follow-up to his 2021 hit The Off-Season. He also is preparing for a 2024 tour which kicks off in January. Considering that his 2022 Off Season Tour was nominated for Billboard Music Best Tour Award, fans can expect to be in for an epic performance from this multifaceted and extremely talented artist who has mastered the art of blending complex melodies, beats, and lyrics to create some of the generation’s top hits.

Offset

Despite the recent relationship struggles, 2024 proved to be a key year for Offset. Taking in the pain of his fallen brother, Takeoff, Offset put the focus on the music delivering his album, SET IT OFF. Powered by “Jealousy,” Offset delivered an album full of quality, showing a range of bangers with rappers like Future and Latto, reviving the Hip-Hop and R&B collab on “Princess Cut” with Chloe, and delivering a sleeper song of the year candidate on “Worth It” with Don Toliver. And when it comes to music videos, very few can find the range of Offset, evoking the energy of Michael Jackson to Baby Boy in each video he delivers. Who said a rapper can’t hit an eight count? The brand of Offset also stretched into film, becoming the animated Offshark in Baby Shark’s Big Movie and fashion, showcasing that he is one of the figures to watch in Hip-Hop. A key moment for Offset this year was his reunion with Quavo on stage in celebration of their fallen member’s legacy. What’s best about Offset, he seems to just be getting started.

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Top 23 of 2023: Hip-Hop Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Essence Fest Hip-Hop Pioneers

Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary took center stage in 2023, marking a year of celebratory events honoring the birth of the influential genre. From LL Cool J’s Rock The Bells Festival to the iconic ESSENCE Festival, the prominence of the 50th year of Hip-Hop was evident, alongside it being featured at culture’s biggest award shows such as the 65th Annual Grammy Awards and the MTV VMAs

3. Happy 50th Anniversary, Hip-Hop!

ESSENCE Festival Honors Hip-Hop’s 50th Anniversary

The ESSENCE Festival, held in July 2023, served as a platform to pay homage to several hip-hop icons and celebrate Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary. The festival featured an unforgettable performance by Lauryn Hill, who headlined the event alongside other pioneering figures of the genre. 

Hennessy & Sprite Partnerships Reflect the Milestone Year

Rapper Nas embraced the spirit of Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary through various brand collaborations. One notable partnership was with renowned liquor brand Hennessy, presenting a special edition release celebrating the milestone. 

Additionally, Nas joined forces with Sprite for a collaboration that involved fellow artists Rakim, Latto, and GloRilla, further emphasizing the significance of the genre’s 50-year legacy.

5. Queen Bey’s ‘Renaissance Era

In the vibrant landscape of 2023, where the essence of Black culture thrived, Beyoncé claimed the top position with her monumental “Renaissance” era. As we delve into the top 23 highlights of the year, Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary stands out as a pivotal moment that shaped the cultural landscape and showcased the genre’s enduring impact.

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Today In Hip Hop History: Nas Released His Fifth LP ‘Stillmatic’ 22 Years Ago

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On this day in 2001, the self-crowned “King of New York” released his fifth studio LP, Stillmatic. During Nas’s musical absence the power in New York had shifted and Jay-Z had stepped up and eclipsed Nas as the best MC in New York. The title itself shows that Nas had a chip on his shoulder and used this album to show the world who was STILL the best rapper alive out of the five boroughs.

Nas and Jay-Z were in the midst of one of the biggest feuds in rap. With this being the theme of the time, the lyrics of this album carried a malicious flavor. This new side to Nas’ sound is most prominent on the track Ether that is one of the most straightforward diss tracks in rap. The disrespect that was put on on this record makes the Drake/Meek Mill conflict look like a childhood dispute. Throughout the album Nas continues to showcase his no-holds-barred style of lyricism, dropping names of those he feels have disrespected him left and right and setting records straight about his spot in Hip Hop. With every bar, you can feel Nas attacking the game and making sure his place is felt by everyone listening. This album is also a lot less openly righteous than his previous work. Nas is a righteous individual so there will always be undertones of positivity in his work, but on this album, the focus was on the cold and darker side to Hip Hop and New York City in general.

Released on Columbia Records, the album debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 chart and sold 342,600 albums in its first week. Within a month, the album claimed the #5 spot and was certified platinum on January 16, 2002. By July 2008, the album had sold 2,026,000 copies. This “comeback” album received majority positive reviews from critics. Nas was praised by critics from Rolling Stone, AllMusic and The Source, who gave this album the coveted 5 Mics.

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Today In Hip Hop History: Nas Released His Sixth Studio Album ‘God’s Son’ 21 Years Ago

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On this day in Hip-Hop history, Nas released his sixth studio album, God’s Son, in 2002. This may be Nas’ most emotional album coming at a rough time in his personal life. With the passing of his mother and his bout with fellow New York rapper Jay-Z at its height, Nas catered his lyricism to be more introspective in relation to his own trials and tribulations. Nas crowned himself “God’s Son” in tribute to his mother’s legacy and to point out a self-acclaimed likeness to Jesus Christ.

The production Nas collected for this project was astounding. Working with The Alchemist, Salaam Remi, Eminem, and even Alicia Keys helped to create a sound true to New York Hip-Hop with its own modern twist. Salaam Remi produced the bulk of the album and in a time when rap was something for the club and a Neptunes’ beat was a signature this soulfully classic sound was refreshing.  The beats alone were critically acclaimed being mentioned in Vibe and Stylus Magazine and by countless critics.

Lyrically, Nas went in the opposite direction of what was popular at the time. As always, there was a true and necessary message behind everything that was said on the album, not to mention his flow and delivery were impeccable. The content was also deeply connected to what was going on in his own life. His references on songs like “Warrior” and “Last Real N***** Alive” were in reverence of his recent past mother. He even dedicated the track “Dance” to his mom. There were also a lot of Christian undertones throughout the album. Whether it be through titles of a song or metaphorically in bars spat, Nas’s religious views were intertwined with the majority of this album. Some of the other lyricists featured on the album were Alicia Keys and Nas’s ex-wife Kelis.

Commercially, this album was successful as well. It was certified platinum on January 14, 2003, and peaked at #18 on the US Billboard 200 chart. It also claimed the #1 spot on the Billboard Hip Hop/ R&B chart. The singles from this album, “Made You Look”, “I Can”, and “Get Down,” were also hits. Two of the Three released claimed spots on the Billboard Hot 100. “Made You Look” peaked at #32 and “I Can” peaked at #12. “I Can” has become a timeless song in Hip Hop over the years being an anthem of lifelong success for children in the black community.

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Hit-Boy Believes He Will Win Producer of the Year at 2024 GRAMMYs

Hit-Boy

Hit-Boy is one of five Producer of the Year nominees at the 2024 Grammys. But if you ask him, it’s already in the bag. TMZ caught up with Hit-Boy, who revealed he wants to win this time.

“You just gotta look at the discog I went crazy on albums, really giving people a sound so we’ll see,” Hit-Boy said.

You can hear it below.

One of the testaments to Hit-Boy’s year is his work with Nas. Nas and Hit-Boy have concluded their two rap trilogies, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be collaborations in the future. Speaking in a clip shared on Instagram, Nas stated he now knows he could return to create more together.

“For me, there’s an emotional moment because to complete something beyond what you thought you were even working on, we didn’t know we’d do six albums,” said Nas. “So to be at this point, it’s satisfying, it’s gratifying, it’s a feeling of accomplishment on another level for myself as an MC, and I’m lucky enough to work with some of the greatest producers in the world.”

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Today in Hip-Hop History: The Firm Released ‘The Album’ 26 Years Ago

the firm

On this day in Hip-Hop History, New York-based supergroup The Firm released the sole studio album, The Album. As a collaborative effort made by Nas, Aftermath label-head Dr. Dre and marketing genius Steve Stoute, The Album was designed to boost the commercial and mainstream appeal of four of New York’s most prolific emcees: Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Cormega (unfortunately Cormega and the rest of those involved never saw eye-to-eye and he was swiftly replaced by Queensbridge Nature prior to finishing The Album).

Around the time of the group’s formation, its future members were at a pivotal moment in their careers. Nas, who had recently released his prolific debut Illmatic, was not receiving his due respect as one of the greatest active rappers of the time. Of course, he was in great standing with the actual rap community (he was the first non-Wu Tang member to appear on a Wu-Tang track), his fame among the public was disproportional. This disparity forced Nas to hire Stoute as his manager in an attempt to change his commercial approach.

Ironically, this was the second collaborative project of East Coast and West Coast artists involved in the coastal beef of that era. The first being the late Tupac Shakur and the Boot Camp Clik’s 1996 One Nation project.

Simultaneously, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Cormega were all experience a momentous rise in success. Foxy Brown’s work from 1995 with Jay-Z’s hit “Ain’t No Nig*a” in 1996 lead to her becoming one of the most coveted female emcees in New York. Her popularity in the industry led to a bidding war for her contract, won by Def Jam Recordings. AZ was coming off the success of his 1995 debut LP Doe or Die and Cormega was just released from serving a bid in prison. It would seem that the stars had aligned so that this project could take place.

This first time the quartet appeared on a single was Nas’ “Affirmative Action” on his sophomore LP It Was Written. The group’s chemistry and the single’s critical and commercial success made coming together as a supergroup a no-brainer for all involved.

Both the group’s name and the title of the album are an illustration of the 1991 John Grisham legal-thriller novel The Firm

Commercially, the endeavor as a whole was a mass success. The Album debuted at #1 on both the Billboard 200 chart and Top R&B/Hip Hop chart. It sold 147,000 copies in its first week and went on to sell 925,000 in the United States. The record also had international success charting in Canada (where it sold 50,000 units), France, and the Netherlands.

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Top Hip-Hop Videos Of All-Time

RZA, Benny Boom, Black Thought

As the 27th annual Urbanworld International Film Festival approaches, it’s set to honor the most iconic rap videos of all time. With Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA serving as the festival’s ambassador, a special tribute titled Lights, Cameras, Rhymes: 50 Years of Hip Hop on Screen will spotlight legendary music videos, featuring discussions led by acclaimed director […]

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