2Chainz1_0

5 Reasons 2 Chainz Wins On His Solo Debut, "Based On A T.R.U. Story"

"Tru" or false? Two years ago, you thought 2 Chainz would have one of the most anticipated albums of 2012.

With all due respect to the-artist-formerly-known-as-Tity-Boi's favorite ad-lib…FAAAAAAALSE! In fact, if you'd told us two years ago that we'd be sitting here bumping 2 Chainz' solo debut, Based On A T.R.U. Story, as hard as we are right now, we probably would have told you that you were crazy. If we're being honest here, we thought we'd crown Papoose the "King of New York" before we'd ever give our complete and total attention to one of the guys from Playaz Circle. And yet, here we are! We're bumping 2 Chainz solo debut super hard and enjoying every second of it.

Well, almost every second of it. You see, there were such high hopes for B.O.A.T.S. after all the guest verses 2 Chainz dropped in the last 24 months that it was impossible for him to jump over the bar that was set for him in the months leading up to his album's release. So, B.O.A.T.S. isn't exactly a classic rap album. But, for the most part, we think 2 Chainz did a pretty solid job delivering an album that, as the whole, is plenty enjoyable. It's packed with solid beats, ridiculous rhymes, and, for lack of a better word, lots and lots of swag. It's clear 2 Chainz has found what works for him over the course of the last two years—and he uses it to his advantage on B.O.A.T.S.

To show you exactly what we mean, we put together a list of the 5 Reasons 2 Chainz Wins On His Solo Debut, Based On A T.R.U. Story. If you haven't pressed play on it yet, this is why you should. Truuuuuuu!

Reason #1: 2 Chainz doesn't try to get too deep or take things too seriously on the album.
In the long run, this could hurt 2 Chainz. Artists with staying power are able to give a little bit of themselves to their listeners. But, for now, we're glad that 2 Chainz didn't take himself too seriously on his debut. If you've heard him rap in the past on other peoples' stuff, you're not going to be thrown for a loop when you listen to his album. He talks about money, strippers, clothes, cars, more strippers, and…well, you probably get the point. Again, this formula won't work forever. But, we can't blame 2 Chainz for continuing to use the formula that's worked for him thus far.

Reason #2: 2 Chainz doesn't pack the album with guest appearances.
We'd imagine that there are plenty of artists out there who owe 2 Chainz a favor. So, he very easily could have gone ahead and called them all in to get a ton of guest appearances on his album. He didn't do that. Sure, Lil Wayne appears on a track, as does Drake, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj. But, 2 Chainz doesn't let anyone steal the show and he also allows his own stuff to breathe by limiting the guest appearances elsewhere. In doing so, he proves that he can shine on his own when he has to.

Reason #3: 2 Chainz sounds really confident on every single song on the album.
We mentioned the word "swag" in the intro to this list. And, we hated doing it. It's become the most generic word in rap. But, really, there's no better word to describe the way 2 Chainz is rapping right now. Even if you're not a fan, you can't deny that the guy is rapping these days like he really believes that every single thing he says is the hottest rhyme ever. That confidence shines through on every song. Just go listen to "I'm Different" and try to tell us otherwise.

Reason #4: 2 Chainz drops plenty of funny #What2ChainzWouldSay lines on the album.
Remember that silly #What2ChainzWouldSay hashtag that popped up on Twitter a few months ago and had everyone putting together their own 2 Chainz lines? 2 Chainz apparently didn't take that to heart, because he has plenty of funny lines scattered throughout the album that follow the rhyme pattern that everyone clowned when the #What2ChainzWouldSay hashtag was popping off. And, you know what? We love them all.

Reason #5: 2 Chainz leaves himself room to grow as an artist on the album.
Unfortunately, when most highly-anticipated debut albums drop, they're disappointing. A lot of times new artists produce such great stuff at the beginnings of their careers that they simply can't match it on their first full-length projects. But, on his debut, 2 Chainz simply keeps the momentum going by dropping an album that, if nothing else, is consistent with what we've come to know and love about 2 Chainz. Is it a classic? No way. But, did we listen to it and say, "We got all excited for this?" No way. Instead, we more or less got what we expected from B.O.A.T.S. and we're excited to see which direction 2 Chainz takes his career in next. In our book, that's a win.

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Ella Mai Puts The Ball In Your Court With "Shot Clock" Visuals

Kobe, KD, Kyrie, how about Ella Mai?

Marking her third official single from her self-titled debut album, the 24-year-old dropped a new video from her charting project, bringing "Shot Clock" to life in her B-ball themed clip.

The Colin Tilley directed visual captures the essence of the young singer, framing her unique style and iridescent vocal abilities. The clip captures the various parts of Mai's magnetic energy, as she stars in her own thematic love story.

The two-time Grammy nominee goes through the many downs that occur in relationships while the red beams of shot clock shine in the background slowly reaching zero, a neon indicator of her lessening patience, the singer finds herself alone.

This visual was released in the midst of the "Boo'd Up" songstress' first debut tour currently venturing through the United States and Parts of Europe. Check out the tour dates below to see if R&B's new golden child is coming to a city near you and watch her video for "Shot Clock" above.

THE DEBUT TOUR

Jan 18 – Berlin, DE- Festsaal Kreuzberg Jan 20 – Hamburg, DE- Grosse Freiheit Jan 21 – Copenhagen, DK – Vega Main Hall Jan 22 – Stockholm, SE - Berns Jan 24 – Oslo, NO – Rockefeller Music Hall Feb 12 - Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom Feb 14 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo Feb 15 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom Feb 17 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades Feb 19 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater Feb 20 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst Feb 22 – Phoenix, AZ – The Marquee Feb 23 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues Feb 25 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre Feb 27 – Lawrence, KS – The Granada Feb 28 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater Mar 2 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrew’s Hall Mar 3 – Chicago, IL – Concord Music Hall Mar 5 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues Mar 6 – Toronto, ON – The Danforth Mar 7 – Montreal, QC – Club Soda Mar 9 – Boston, MA - Royale Mar 11 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel Mar 13 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts Mar 15 – Silver Spring, M.D. – The Fillmore Silver Spring Mar 16 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Sound Stage Mar 19 – Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle Mar 20 – Orlando, FL – The Plaza Live Mar 21 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Revolution Live Mar 24 – Houston, TX – House of Blues Mar 26 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues Mar 27 – Austin, TX – Emo’s Mar 28 – San Antonio, TX – The Aztec Theatre

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Smif N Wessun

9th Wonder Talks Collabo Album With Smif N Wessun And The Soul Council

A few weeks fresh off the 23rd anniversary of their classic debut album, Da Shinin', Brooklyn duo Smif N Wessun (Steele and Tek) have released the video for the soul smacking single, "Testify" produced by Khrysis, off their newest album, The All. The project, produced entirely by Grammy-nominated producer 9th Wonder and his Soul Council team, brings the hardcore feel of SNW's best work to the forefront.

“9th Wonder and the Soul Council provide the perfect backdrop for Tek and I to deliver heartfelt lyrical content,” Steele reveals directly. “It’s a true tale of ups and downs, wins and losses, growth and acceptance. It speaks to the hearts and minds of all people; particularly our followers and fans of all ages and ethnicities.”

When artists who rep a certain quality sector of hip-hop music resurface to offer newness to an audience, the longtime fans are looking to bring that old thing back while looking to reflect and push forward at the same time.

"'Testify' is a realistic reflective look back on our accomplishments and failures throughout our career and serves as a precursor to what you will experience on The All,” Steele continues. "This project is a reality check for SNW, one that reflects the struggles and obstacles that we’ve had to endure to survive at the level we occupy in the hip-hop arena."

9th Wonder took the project on as a lover of the group, "My goal is to make sure that we cement the legacy of the artist, but at the same time update the artist. We came up with the concept of  The All (based on a speech from Louis Farrakhan), you can never underestimate the essence of Islam in Hip-Hop. Given the fact that SNW are both Muslim and so many others are as well, we couldn't forget that part."

Going into new chambers of living is needed when you have been recording albums for over 20 years. 9th explains, "we wanted them to talk about stuff they wouldn't normally talk about on records, as they are in a different point in their lives, very grown man. It gives something to our generation to listen to, appreciate and celebrate without feeling old, without feeling outdated. We also wanted to let them know, the legends can still do it."

As the word legend gets thrown around a lot, it's not a far off title for the duo of Tek and Steele. "Some bestow the 'legend' tag upon us (we are very appreciative of that)," says Steele. "And we are chronicling that journey throughout the album.”

The full project will be dropping on February 22nd, 2019 on Duck Down Records. You can pre-order the album here and group merch here.

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Premiere: Duck Down Records' Smif-N-Wessun Returns With Khrysis-Produced 'Testify'

It's been nearly 25 years to the day since their classic debut Dah Shinin' impacted in January 1995, but legendary Brooklyn duo Smif-N-Wessun is still representing the culture with authority and authenticity. "Testify," the premiere music video from their upcoming album The All, adds another notch to their storied catalogs.

"Testify" begins with old photos of group members Tek and Steele in their 90s heyday, but they don't spend much time there before getting busy with present day rhymes. Over a backdrop from Khrysis, the Duck Down Records duo confidently announces their return while solidifying their legendary pedigree. The song gives a short but sweet taste from The All, their upcoming album produced entirely by 9th Wonder and the Soul Council.

“9th Wonder and the Soul Council provide the perfect backdrop for Tek and I to deliver heartfelt lyrical content,” Steele told VIBE. “It’s a true tale of ups and downs, wins and losses, growth and acceptance. It speaks to the hearts and minds of ALL people; particularly our followers and fans of ALL ages and ethnicities.”

‘Testify” is a realistic reflective look back on our accomplishments and failures throughout our career and serves as a precursor to what you will experience on The All,” Steele continued. "This project is a reality check for SNW, one that reflects the struggles and obstacles that we’ve had to endure to survive at the level we occupy in the hip-hop arena. Some, bestow the “Legend” tag upon us (we are very appreciative of that) and we are chronicling that journey throughout the album.”

The All is scheduled for a February 22, 2019 release on Duck Down Records, and is available for pre-order.

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