BlackBook Tracks #8: Gift Raps

I originally made this for my friend’s mixtape club under the theme “gift raps.” It is exactly what it says it is.

Le1f – “Wut”

Underground rap’s summer anthem of 2012 has been on repeat for weeks.

Iggy Azalea – “Murda Bizness” (ft. T.I.)

The latest party anthem from the Australian upstart shows off her undeniable star power. It’s also accompanied by one of the year’s best music videos so far, a spoof of the child pageant world.

Kanye West – “Monster” (ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Bon Iver)

Remember those days when Nicki Minaj was just doing guest verses and had yet to do anything that people considered disappointing?

Angel Haze – “Werkin’ Girls”

NYC rapper Angel Haze is Universal’s toughest new signee, and this cut from her latest release Reservation shows why.

Das Racist – “You Can Sell Anything”

#RappersThatSpitTheTruth isn’t trending on Twitter any more, but this is still my pick.

M.I.A. – “URAQT”

Have a throwback to 2005 to remember that this bad girl has always done it well.

A-Trak – “Ray Ban Vision” (ft. CyHi The Prynce)

This hilarious/infectious track was a favorite in fall 2010 and still sounds fresh, thanks to the ever-reliable A-Trak’s amped-up production.

Dominique Young Unique – “Gangster Whips”

This Florida-based rapper has remained fairly underground for years now, but she’s slowly but surely going to make her way out.

Yelawolf – “Lick The Cat” (ft. Diamond)

This song contains the line “White boys eat pussy like a sandwich.” That is all you need to know about it.

Azealia Banks – “Fuck Up The Fun”

If you haven’t already, listen to this track from Azealia Banks and Diplo and you’ll immediately know why our friends at Vibe put this dream team on their cover.

Kitty Pryde – “Orion’s Belt” (ft. RiFF RAFF)

Resistance is futile. Recent Mad Decent signee RiFF RAFF is one of the most bizarre, compelling figures in pop culture today, and Kitty Pryde’s honesty and self-awareness is inherently likeable.

BlackBook Tracks #4: There Are No More Original 4th of July Puns

Yesterday was the Fourth of July, sure, but why not carry on the party through the rest of the week? Let’s hear it for a five-day weekend, everyone! With that in mind, here’s a loosely patriotic playlist to pair with your upcoming weekend’s woeful lack of a fireworks display.

Primal Scream – “Country Girl”

Sure, Primal Scream are Scottish, but their take on Americana still sounds pretty good.

The Hold Steady – “Atlantic City” (Bruce Springsteen cover)

The Brooklyn band looks to Jersey in this spirited take on the Boss.

The Black Keys – “Dearest” (Buddy Holly cover)

Dan Auerbach may not sound as charming as Buddy Holly, but the Black Keys’ offering was a highlight of last year’s Rave On covers collection.

The Apache Relay – “State Trooper” (Bruce Springsteen cover)

This Springsteen cover from rising Nashvillians the Apache Relay starts off minimalist and slowly builds, showcasing Michael Ford, Jr.’s earnest vocals.

Yelawolf – “Made In The USA” (ft. Priscilla Renea)

According to my sources, Yelawolf is popular abroad because the Alabama rapper is seen as being really good at representing America. Exhibit A.

These United States – “Let The River In”

The band name alone says it all, but this cut from These United States’ self-titled new album will hold up well while you’re throwing some burgers on the grill tomorrow.

Vampire Weekend – “I’m Going Down” (Bruce Springsteen cover)

Vampire Weekend delivered this mellow rendition of the Springsteen classic on their 2010 live EP.

LCD Soundsystem – “North American Scum”

For those of us who have complicated relationships with being American.

Kid Cudi, Best Coast, and Rostam Batmanglij – “All Summer”

While this isn’t an ode to California, it’s a little more inclusive and will sound great while you’re swimming/barbecuing/bald eagle-watching.


It’s called “USA Boys,” so it must be them

Yelawolf & the Pop-Up Shady Museum at Brisk Bodega

Pop-up venues are all the rage these days since it’s rare to remain “cool” past six months, but this weekend Brisk opened the first pop-up bodega in NYC. Brisk and Eminem’s Shady Records label took over a warehouse space on Bleecker Street, converting it into a casual, chill out spot complete with snacks, beverages, and stickered walls (but no bulletproof glass). Inside, there was a museum-style display documenting ten years of Shady Records, and after museum hours Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse celebrated with a private performance.

Along the back wall of the makeshift venue was a neat spread of memorabilia—more than a few from Eminem’s popular music videos—that Shady aficionados would be able to identify instantly. Magazine covers, album plaques, and photos detailed the legacy of Shady Records artists such as 50 Cent and D12, but our favorite finds both happened to be from “The Real Slim Shady” video.

1. Eminem’s superhero outfit. image

2. The milk carton plastered with Dre’s face. (For reference: “And Dr. Dre said…Nothing, you idiots, Dr. Dre’s dead. He’s locked in the basement…”) image

The pop-up museum closed to the public around 5pm, but doors reopened later that night for a private show headlined by Yelawolf (who will drop his debut album Radioactive on Shady Records in October) and the rap quartet Slaughterhouse.

Yela, dressed in a button down and a beanie, opened the show with “Good to Go” from his popular Trunk Muzik mixtape. His 45-minute set also included “Pop the Trunk” and his new single “Hard White (Up in the Club)” featuring Lil Jon, but by the time he made it to the last song, he’d lost his shirt, giving the crowd a close look at his ink work (no complaints).

(courtesy of RapRadar)

Royce Da 5’ 9’’ (half of the duo Bad Meets Evil with Eminem) was the next Shady artist to hop onstage, where he was eventually joined by his Slaughterhouse groupmates Crooked I, Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden. Together, they performed some of their popular tracks including “Sound Off,” “The One” and “Microphone.

Yelawolf Takes it to the Club With Lil Jon on His First ‘Radioactive’ Single

Earlier this month, Yelawolf lost his marbles when someone leaked the track “Gangster of Love” from his upcoming Shady Records debut, Radioactive. The Alabama-born skateboarder-turned-rapper sent out a pretty good Twitter lashing to the culprits, then said farewell to the social media site. Last night, however, there was no bad blood when the album’s first single, “Hard White (Up in the Club),” premiered. Fear not that Lil Jon is featured on a song set in the club—Yela makes it work.

Besides the fact that we have newfound respect for Lil Jon after his stint on The Celebrity Apprentice, he also sort of adds to the setting of the track, painting a scene in the VIP where Yelawolf can go in over the crazy beat, courtesy of Tha Hydrox.