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Review: Lupe Fiasco's Verse On MMG's 'Poor Decisions' Is The Year's Best (So Far)

Lupe catches two bodies on "Poor Decisions" and delivers the best rap verse 2013 has seen thus far

It’s highly possible that Wale and label boss Rick Ross knew what they were getting themselves into when they opened the door for Lupe Fiasco to appear on the sobering track “Poor Decisions.” Since a few days of its release, the buzz-heavy song—complete with a no-frills, back-to-basics video—has given MMG’s bromidic followers a front row seat to experience the mercurial Chicago native in all his Super Lupe lyrical glory. At times pegged by his critics as a cage-rattling conspiracy theorist who's exhibited a penchant for inconsistency (the outspoken rapper’s discography has been frustratingly hit-or-miss in recent years), whenever the spirit moves Lupe he has proven himself to be the best lyricist on the planet. And that point is made loud and emphatically clear on “Poor Decisions.”

To say that Lupe towers over his gracious hosts would be an insult to giants. While Ross tries to find some heartfelt introspection (“Young thugs with so much talent/Young thugs having no balance…”), it’s a lost opportunity for the sleepwalking superstar. The Miami representative would have added much-needed depth to his verse by detailing his own “rich nigga” poor decisions, which led to him losing a high profile Reebok deal. And to his credit, Wale—the man who is riding high with his current ladies-aimed smash single “Bad”—drops this substantial jewel: “Lord help us, my generation come to an end/‘Cause we all selfish, but living shallow…how we gon’ swim?” But it all comes off as the work of mere mortals when juxtaposed against Lupe’s layered, rewind-worthy statement. “Why you letting the devil beat you out your soul?/You don’t believe in God then at least believe in odds,” he summarizes of the fast life, adding, “This house of odds is just a house of cards/Just without the yards, and nice adjacent parks.”

From there, Lupe dissects the seeds of a dysfunctional relationship (“Mind on the club just to find a little love, my regards…”); addresses unhealthy eating lifestyles in the ‘hood (“Instead of building up a habit in them vegetables/Now early ‘30s, my blood pressure’s incredible…”); and targets hip-hop’s responsibility in playing-up the violence that plagues minority communities just for profit (“Rappers influence your shooting sprees/Turn around like that ain’t got shit to do with me…”). Yes, this is rhyme-of-year caliber stuff, as Lupe goes on to flip the intended concept of the track on its head (“Poor niggas making rich decisions/ That shit right there is more efficient…”). In a perfect world Lupe would be drafted into Rozay’s hardboiled camp—the dream union of majestic, populist beats that rocks both the streets and clubs alongside lyrics that rock the soul. You know, the way hip-hop used to be.—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29).

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New Music Fridays: Pete Rock and Skyzoo, Gang Starr Ft. J. Cole, DaBaby And More

For today's New Music Fridays, New York City hip-hop from past and present both represent heavy in the release schedule, while one of rap's rookies of the year and a new Young Money artist also make strong impressions.

Skyzoo and Pete Rock – Retropolitan Rappers have spoken for years about wanting to "bring New York back," but Skyzoo and Pete Rock take the task personally on their new album Retropolitan. Skyzoo said that joint album “came from a feeling of necessity. The album is both a love letter and a wakeup call to the city of New York. In an age where hype dominates reality, FOMO supersedes integrity and gentrification has supplanted tradition, this album is screaming for NYC to wake TF up---even as Pete & myself thank the city for all it’s done for us at the same time." Their single "Eastern Conference All-Stars" with Conway The Machine, Benny The Butcher, Westside Gunn and Conway has been getting obsessive listens over here, so we're excited to hear the rest of the album by the elite Brooklyn wordsmith and the GOAT level producer. Apple Music | TIDAL

Kemba – Gilda Since changing his name from YC The Cynic, Kemba has built much of his buzz in recent years with stunning freestyles – namely an impromptu performance with and cosign from Kendrick Lamar in Brooklyn, and a bar-heavy freestyle on Hot 97 with host Peter Rosenberg. But his Republic debut Gilda – named after his recently deceased mother – showcases both his exquisite bar work, a vulnerable singing voice, and a willingness to distort his vocals to convey the whirlwind of emotions that comes with such painful loss. The album features appearances by Jagged Edge, RL of Next, Smino, Chris Scholar and Portugal, The Man, along with production by Black Milk, Brasstracks, and Kemba himself. Apple Music | TIDAL

Boosie Badazz and Zaytoven – Bad Azz Zay Boosie Badazz released two projects in 2018 – Boosie Blues Cafe and Savage Holidays – and he's taking time away from his hilarious IG live appearances to drop another album, Bad Azz Zay, produced by Zaytoven, the Atlanta producer known for his collaborations with Gucci Mane, Usher, and Future. The album clocks in at 13 tracks and 41 minutes, with one feature from Tokyo Vanity. Apple Music | TIDAL

Gashi – Gashi Libyan lyricist Gashi has spent the last few years racking up streams and building up his fan base with songs like "Safety" with DJ Snake and "Creep On Me" with French Montana and DJ Snake. This week, off the momentum of the G-Eazy-assisted single "My Year" performing in the top 40, Gashi releases his self-titled debut with RCA Records. He showcases his various musical influences across 16 tracks and 51 minutes. Apple Music | TIDAL

Euro – Don't Expect Nothing Providence, Rhode Island rapper Euro first introduced himself to the masses with an appearance on "Live Life," a song from Lil Wayne's Dedication 5 mixtape. After paying dues and dropping loosies over the years, he's releasing his debut album Don't Expect Nothing under Secret Weapon Entertainment and Empire, with Young Money's backing. He reunites with Tunechi on "Talk 2 Me Crazy," and other album highlights include "A Billion Dollars," "Georgia" and "More Life, More Luv." Apple Music | TIDAL

Gang Starr featuring J. Cole – "Family and Loyalty" It's been more than 15 years since Gang Starr's last album, and nine years since the rap half of the group, Guru, died of cancer. But after a cryptic voicemail from Nas on DJ Premier's phone surfaced earlier this week, DJ Premier has released a brand new single from the legendary duo. "Family and Loyalty" features DJ Premier's timeless scratches and focused, thematic lyrics by a posthumous Guru. And after a year and a half of bodying every guest appearance in sight, J. Cole continues his run with another passionate, multisyllabic 16 that he says will be his last feature. Apple Music | TIDAL

DaBaby – "INTRO" DaBaby has had a hell of a year in 2019: his hit "Suge" has made him a star, and guest appearances with the likes of Megan the Stallion and J. Cole. But after dropping his solo album Baby On Baby earlier this year, it appears that another is on the horizon with the release of "INTRO" this week. Over a soulful beat by DJ Kid, DaBaby gives a heartfelt breakdown of his humble beginnings, his rise to success, and his continued aspirations. Spotify | Apple Music | TIDAL

Casanova "Stay Wit It" Casanova has had a hot summer: "Coming Home" showed his romantic side with a cameo from Chris Brown, and the Fabolous-assisted "So Brooklyn" has taken his hometown by storm, inspiring rappers around the world to rap over it in the #SoBrooklynChallenge. Now, he's released a new song called "Stay Wit It," announcing an Oct. 11 release date for his album Behind These Scars. Apple Music | TIDAL

Lucky Daye – "Buying Time" With his The Painted Tour beginning tonight (Sept. 20) in Portland, Ore., Lucky Daye released "Buying Time," a smooth, guitar-tinged song outside of his album Painted that was released earlier this year. Apple Music | TIDAL

Aaron Rose – "Pyramids" Pro Era lyricist Aaron Rose, formerly known as A La $ole, has released his new single "Pyramids" with a knocking, atmospheric backdrop by A Silent K and high-energy bars by Aaron. The song appears on Aaron Rose's upcoming album Rozart, which will be released through Pro Era Records.

Th1rt3en - "Palindrome" Th1rt3en is the trio of Pharaohe Monch, Daru Jones and Marcus Machado – and in preparation for their upcoming performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on Saturday, Sept. 21, they've released the song "Palindrome." The record showcases Monch's unreal lyrical abilities, as he plays with palindromes – words that read the same backward and forward. Watch the video below to keep up.

Mickey Factz - Enigma "Y'all know what I do to lyrics. Why I gotta do a gimmick just for you to get it?" On the self-titled song from this three-song EP, Bronx lyricist Mickey Factz ponders that, sick loved ones, and other pressing issues. Mickey is a rapper's rapper, and that's clear from these songs: the wit, wordplay and flows are always precise, and this is a solid sampling of his skill set. Apple Music | TIDAL

Cantrell – "I’m So Georgia YAKWTFGO" After impressing us with his video for Devil Never Even Lived single "WaY BaCK," Mass Appeal lyricst Cantrell has continued his #FreeShxtFriday series with his take on Casanova and Fabolous' "So Brooklyn."

I’m So Georgia YAKWTFGO - #SoBrooklynChallenge #FreeShxtFriday @CASANOVA_2X pic.twitter.com/i0jN5lmw5L

— Cantrell (@iamcantrell) September 20, 2019

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Tekashi 6ix9ine performs at the 2018 Made In America Festival - Day 1 at Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 1, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation

Footage Of Tekashi 6ix9ine's Alleged Kidnapping Surfaces

A new video showcasing the kidnapping of rapper Tekashi69 last year in Brooklyn by his former Nine Trey Bloods associates has been obtained by The Daily News. Although we don’t see Tekashi or his accused kidnappers—Anthony “Harv” Ellison and Ellison’s friend who goes by “Sha”—we do hear the whole ordeal as they drive through the dark, rainy streets of Brooklyn.

When the footage of the kidnapping ends, the video transitions into scenes with Jorge Rivera, Tekahi’s driver, who attempted at following the vehicle in which he was kidnapped and retrieve the license plate number. We hear Rivera calling 911 in Spanish to come to Tekashi’s aid. Rivera immediately became a witness in the case.

The “FeFe” rapper’s alleged feud with Ellison came after a dispute over how the rapper (né Daniel Hernandez) would share all his earnings with the gang.

During his recent testimony at Manhattan Federal Court earlier this week, the 23-year-old recalled the kidnapping stating the gang members ended up going against each other. “The gang, it was divided. We’re all part of the same gang but we’re attacking each other,” Tekashi revealed.

Hernandez also detailed that the kidnapping began around 4 am ET when Ellison crashed a stolen car into Rivera’s Chevy Tahoe SUV at Atlantic Avenue and Bedford Ave on July 22, 2018.

According to Tekashi, Sha opened the door of the Chevy armed with a gun and demanded that he get into the car with him and Ellison. Ellison was allegedly armed as well. In the video, you can hear Tekashi trying to reason with Ellison about the situation.

“I put money in your pocket, bro, I’m scared, bro…I don’t know...everybody is saying extortion this, extortion that,” he said.

“I’m pleading with my heart...yo, don’t shoot,” Tekashi would later say in court about the incident.

Ultimately, after the rapper obtained several injuries from both Ellison and Sha beating him up and demanding that he say loud that he is no longer part of the Bloods gang, they came to a settlement. If Tekashi relinquished all of his jewelry, they would let him go.

“We came to an agreement. If I gave them the jewelry, they would let me go,” Tekashi said.

Eventually, the crew made it to his girlfriend’s home where they retrieved the jewelry. Later, Tekashi would allegedly escape from the backseat and get into a random car which dropped him off at a precinct.

During part two of his testimony, Hernandez also revealed other inner workings of the gang and their attempts to fatally shoot rappers like Cheif Keef, Casanova and Trippie Redd.

More details on the fate of Tekashi’s case are still pending. You can hear/watch the alleged kidnapping over at The Daily News.

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Premiere: Guaynaa Uses His Handyman Skills To Impress The Ladies In "Buyaka" Video

After releasing his hit single “ReBoTa,” Guaynaa is back with the cheeky visuals for “Buyaka.” With a crew of handymen in blue overalls, the 26-year-old is seemingly trying to seduce and impress a beautiful blonde haired young lady. As they perform for her and attempt at fixing the bad plumbing in her kitchen, Guaynaa (né Jean Carlos Santiago) charmingly performs the track laced with suggestive lyrics.

Santiago’s out of the box style seems like an anomaly among his peers which is refreshing. The artist told Billboard earlier this year that his stage name, Guaynaa, is a term used to describe a wealthy/high-class person in his native country of Puerto Rico. He also expressed how his parents are his main inspiration for his musical aspirations.

“There are many factors that inspire me as an artist. But, my family is my inspiration. My mom and dad are trovadores,” he said. “But, I really felt the inspiration after listened to other singers, like Residente. Growing up, I tried to imitate them and I realized that I have a true passion for music.”

Guaynaa's musical inspirations also come from some of reggaeton's other classic acts like Zion y Lennox and Julio Voltio.

Watch the video for "Buyaka" above.

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