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Men In Tights: Are Today's Rappers Dressing Too Feminine?

While OG purists still side-eye hip-hop’s lust for skinny pants and Vans, today’s stadium status rappers are comfortably stunting in feminine getups and remixing the rules of style

 

When Lil Wayne grabbed a crotch-full of cheetah print jeggings during his 2011 MTV VMA performance, slander ensued. A disparaging Jim Jones tweeted: “Real men don’t wear spandex,” the Twitter account @Waynes_Jeggings hatched and blogs mocked the Young Money captain’s “gay” jeans x leggings. Seven days later, when Tha Carter IV debuted with 964,000 copies, it was Weezy and his tighties that had the last laugh. Chuckling right beside him are his gender-bending peers like Kanye West and Lil B, artists locked on dismantling hip-hop style norms in the name of artistic expression. But will they ever be allowed to play dress up in peace?

While their antics may not sway staunch traditionalists, seeing influential rappers abandoning the Timbs and triple-XL dress code is already opening minds—skinny’s the new baggy. Long before the best rapper alive was squeezing into lady pants, Pharrell was converting rap fans from drooping denims to Japanese hipster couturiers. Outkast’s eccentric half, Andre 3000 shamelessly flaunted wigs and high-waist gauchos, and Cee-Lo was man enough to pose in four wedding dresses in Gnarls Barkley’s Odd Couple promos. Yeezy upped the men-in-skirts count earlier this year, stunning fans every night of his and Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne tour by sporting a knee-length Givenchy kilt. Prior, the hip-haute clotheshorse closed last year’s Coachella Festival modeling an Italian women’s blouse. Both ensembles made blog headlines, but it was Kanye’s praised performance that made the lasting impression, proving that talent trumps a flowy shirt any day.

It’s no coincidence that the main tide-changers are primarily oddball artists whose tastes can be justified as “costumes” befitting their weirdo tendencies. But it’s an audacity that’s gradually being normalized. With artists like Lady Gaga and Ke$ha being applauded for flirting with androgyny, there’s no better time for their male counterparts to push the sartorial limit. More telling, however, is Lil Wayne and company’s impact on future male style daredevils. Shock-a-holic Lil B has openly declared an agenda to convert hip-hop’s narrow-minded—who knows if the Based God would be comfortable rocking lower-than-low V-necks and chandelier earrings if it weren’t for Yeezy’s rebellious streak? On a smaller scale, 19-year-old Dallas rap newbie DPhil Spanglishman, is spearheading what he calls the X-Y Movement, wearing floral tights and red lipstick as a salute to his softer side.

In 2010, singer Miguel, known for donning futuristic threads Spock would rock, told VIBE: “I’m unapologetic about anything I’ve ever worn. [But] at the end of the day I can’t say, ‘Pick up harem pants or an iridescent trench coat.” The goal isn’t to transform average fans into walking glow sticks, but to reward male entertainers with creative license and ultimately, accept difference. No “no homo.” Tracy Garraud


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Meek Mill Is Surrounded By His Day Ones In Visual For "Intro"

Self-proclaimed "Champion of the United States" and Philadelphia-bred rapper Meek Mill delivers the official music video for "Intro" on Monday (Dec. 10).

Directed by Kid Art, the three-minute visual frames Meek's mental state as he re-enters the rap game as he continues to battle the justice system as a young, black man. Presumably surrounded by those he considers family, "Intro" retrospectively takes a look at the 31-year-old's come up as a notable rapper out of North Philly.

Juxtaposing his current lifestyle with not-so-distant memories of the trenches, the video shuffles scenes of club confetti, bullet holes, poured out bottles of Ace of Spades and dirt bikes– a presumed nod to Meek's unjust jail sentence.

"Pouring champagne 'cause all my n***s dead/ If they ain't in the graveyard, then they in the feds/ I give a f**k if that crown heavy, put it on my head" spits Meek over the instrumental to Phil Collins' "In The Air."

Last week (Dec. 2) music engineers Young Guru and Anthony Cruz spoke to VIBE about Meek's choice to sample Collins' "In The Air Tonight" on the track, stating that "Meek had this vision" to flip the classic track since he first heard it in Paid In Full and was glad to finally make it happen in a standout fashion on "Intro."

If you haven't already, be sure to take a look at the official music video for "Intro" up top.

READ MORE: Young Guru And Anthony Cruz Discuss Engineering Meek Mill's 'Championships' Album

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Gucci Mane, XXXTentacion, & More Friday Releases You Need To Hear

Another week, another list of Friday music releases. The week's of 2018 are dwindling, but there is a little more time left for some last-minute music releases. From Gucci Mane, to XXXTentacion, and Ice Cube, here are the albums and singles that you need to hear.

Gucci Mane – Evil Genius

Gucci Mane's 13th studio album is here. The rapper dropped his new project, Evil Genius, featuring an all-star list of talent, including, Quavo, Kevin Gates, Lil Skies and 21 Savage. The LP also features production by Metro Boomin, Murda Beatz and Southside.

The latest music drop marks the perfect finish to an eventful year for Guwop. He previously dropped DropTopWop, Mr. Davis, and El Gato The Human Glacier this year. Even so, the rapper suggested that he wants to make a bang with Evil Genius.

"I think this time, this album was like the first time I kind of had more fun making the records," he said during an interview with Beats 1. "With the intentions of just going in the studio and just had fun and this is what came out. But before, I was kind of going and expressing myself, talking through the mic, like I had a lot of my chest. This album was like, let's find the best beat, make the best song and put it out."

XXXTentacion – Skins

In celebration of XXXTentacion's posthumous album, Skins, his estate and friends through a livestreamed event at 9p.m. EST, featuring Trippie Redd, PnB Rock, Ski Mask the Slump God, Matt Ox and more.

There has been quite a bit of buzz surrounding the late rapper's new release. It's his first since his death in June 2018. The album features only one guest appearance from Kanye West. On the track, which is entitled "On Minute," Ye reportedly addressed abuse allegations brought against X. In support of the album, Kanye also released a Yeezy capsule collection, commemorating their single.

Since X's death he has been regarded as a young legend, gone too soon. His sophomore album ?  peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Listen to Skins below.

Ice Cube – Everythang's Corrupt

Ice Cube is make with Everythang's Corrupt. The album's only feature is OG rapper Too $hort.

Cube already got fan excited after released the one of the LP's single "Arrest the President." The track takes aim at President Trump's corruption and racist policies. The album's cover art features Cube holding a 100-dollar bill in his bloodied hands.

Everythang's Corrupt is Cube's tenth studio album and his first in eight years. It's a follow-up to 2010's I Am the West.

Sneakk Ft. YG & Tyga – "Spray"

New artist Sneak has joind forces with YG and Tyga to bring their new banger "Spray." It's Sneakk's first track released through Def Jam. The single definitely sounds like the new stripper anthem or the perfect track to ride down the block to.

Ahead of the single's release, the rapper's shared a teaser on social media featuring a behind the scenes look at their music video.

Michelle Williams – "Fearless"

Michelle Williams is back. The songstress – best known as a member of the popular girls group Destiny's Child – recently dropped a new solo record entitled "Fearless."

The pop record is an inspirational anthem, encouraging fans to face their fears and chase their dreams. This is a huge moment for Williams, as it is her first single in nearly four years. It also follows an overwhelming year for the singer, who got engaged in Apr. 2018, as well as publicly revealed her battle with depression and mental illness.

Listen to the new track below.

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Premiere: Fuego And A. Chal Take Over The Strip Club In "Dancin" Music Video

Dominican trap artist Fuego has created an ode to the art of stripping with his new single “Dancin,” featuring producer and R&B extraordinaire A. Chal. The visuals for the track are laced with bright blue club lights and brief salacious interludes of voluptuous young ladies dancing provocatively.

The two are seemingly in a never-ending party in efforts to promote strip club etiquette through their tantalizing lyrics. There's no denying that Fuego's sound is reminiscent of today's prominent trap artists like Migos and Future, but he packs in a Latino flair, like his contemporaries Bad Bunny and El Alfa. The Washington D.C. native's sound is similar, but it's worth noting he's been on the scene for a while, steadily etching his mark as his musical prowess rises within hip-hop and Latin audiences.

“For some reason, I've always wanted to do a sound that American hip-hop has, and then break that my way,” he tells VIBE. “When it comes to putting stuff together and making fusions of music, I've done it all my life. When I first started out, I did reggae beats, but I was rapping over them. There’s a little more urban, hip-hop sound in the Latin community. Before, it was mad reggae. It either had to be a tropical type song or reggaeton song. I've always wanted to come out with hip-hop music."

Watch the video for "Dancin" below.

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