Silver medallist Puerto Rico's  Jaime Yu
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Meet The Dominican Olympian Repping Hard For Puerto Rico

He also danced back-up for Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderon.

Just days into the Rio Olympics, we get only a glimpse of the many emotional triumphs to come. Look at Argentina's Paula Pareto, for instance, who became the first to win gold in judo. Now, ahead of his big bout, we go ringside with wrestling wunderkind Jaime Yusept Espinal. While he's quickly becoming the pride of so many Puerto Ricans (and Dominicans), his start wasn't exactly as sweet. Through hard work and dedication, the 31-year-old athlete beat the odds of poverty, before competing in front of millions at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Here are five facts about #TeamPR's Jaime Yusept Espinal.

Buenos días, para los que no me conocen, este soy yo. Jaime Yusept Espinal Fajardo, mejor conocido como Jaime Espinal.

A photo posted by Jaime Espinal (@jaimeespinalpr) on

Taino To The Fullest
Espinal has lived in Puerto Rico since he was five-years old, but he was originally born in the Dominican Republic. This is why so many Dominicans also support him, even if he his #TeamPR. Regardless of where he was born or where he was raised, Espinal reps both beautiful islands to the fullest. In a tweet, he defended his Quisqueya power while bigging up his sister island, when another Olympic athlete brought up the debate of his background.

Grappling With Hardship
Before he made an Olympic name for himself, Espinal and his family were emerging from poverty with little resources to survive. Forced to grow up at a young age, he quickly learned he wouldn't be like most athletes his age. He would come to learn the difficult dance of training while providing for his family.

Discovered At A Park
It's true what they say, great things happen in the most unlikely of places. At only nine-years old, Espinal was recruited by his coach, Pedro Rojas, at a local park in Puerto Rico. Rojas approached the young athlete while he was playing basketball with his brother, and asked him if he wanted to become a wrestler. Recalling big names like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Carly Colón, he agreed, later discovering that wasn't exactly the kind of wrestling Rojas had in mind. After his coach explained to a young, impressionable Espinal the nature of "olympic wrestling," he immediately began to pursued it.

A Cuban Experience
In 2010, Coach Rojas sent Espinal to Cuba to train for the Central American and Caribbean games, and little did he know what an impact it would have on his entire wrestling career. Motivated and influenced by the intense poverty he saw throughout the streets of Cuba, he dedicated himself to his training like never before. According to him, it was there that he began to take his training all the more serious. When talking about his experience, Espinal shared that "the difference between them and us" isn't money, but the amount of heart they have regardless of their circumstance.

Versatile AF
Outside of kicking ass, Espinal loves to soak in his Latino sazón and dance! As with lots of Caribbean immigrants, Espinal traveled to New York City with his mother for a better life. What he received upon arrival was more bigotry than he can handle, and a knife to his neck. (Yikes!) Quickly, he packed his bags and got on a plane back to Puerto Rico, where he gave up wrestling for cheerleading and dance. The multi-talented athlete even received a scholarship for cheerleading from University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón. Before finding his way back to wrestling, he spent three years as a breakdancer and worked as a backup dance for artists like Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderón. Espinal also spent some time playing baseball, and began a career as a model as well.

Alguien quería saber y yo se lo expliqué a mi manera. 😱😱 https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=c46P6GkDkNw

A photo posted by Jaime Espinal (@jaimeespinalpr) on

Watch Jaime Yusept Espinal as he competes in the men's freestyle 86 kg at the Rio Olympics, Aug. 20.

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Genres Aside, Here Are Our 25 Favorite Songs Of 2018

Keeping up with all of the music from 2018 was a full-time job, with loads of songs releasing every week and not enough ears to keep track. But the volume of music comes with an advantage: there’s something for everybody. Fittingly, our list of the 25 Best Songs of 2018 represents the multi-genre mayhem that is in everyone’s playlists this year.

Some of the entries on our list, like cuts by Drake, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino, were at the forefront of the conversation in 2018, dominating streaming services and radio around the country. Indie darling Saba made waves, and he’s included here as well. Jazz wizard Kamasi Washington dropped some of the best protest music of the year. But there are also some songs on this year’s list that spoke to the VIBE Tribe in a different way. Cardi B had hits all year, but an album cut impressed us most; Usher and Zaytoven’s new album didn’t make a huge splash commercially, but one of its songs appears here. And Beyonce appears on one of the best songs of the year that never even saw an official release–but that didn’t stop us from including it here.

Music broke the rules this year, and so did we. Read below, and tell us what surprise choices are making your songs of the year list.

READ MORE: Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

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A look back at the collaborator's up and down relationship.
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Remember The Time: 10 Times Drake And Kanye West Were Stronger Together

Kanye West and Drake aren’t exactly in the best place at the moment. West’s Dec. 13 Twitter rant detailed their issues, in which he accuses Drake of “sneak dissing” and threatening him.

“You sneak dissing on [Travis Scott] records and texting Kris [Jenner] talking about how’s the family.” he wrote among many other tweets and allegations against the Scorpion MC.

While this is a bump in the road, the two haven’t always been enemies. Despite the shenanigans surrounding them, Kanye West and Drake have had a very fruitful relationship. All drama aside, the duo have created many memorable moments in hip-hop and pop culture. They’ve written and recorded some incredible songs and shared countless stages during concerts and tours.

To abstain from dwelling on the negativity, VIBE has collected a list of moments taking you through the high points in the rappers’ relationship. Check it out below.

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Drake's Freestyles Over Many Beats By 'Ye

Before he was one of the most sought-after rappers in the world, Drizzy has looked up to Kanye West and sampled his work. For “Say What’s Real,” a single off his mixtape So Far Gone, the “In My Feelings” MC sampled Yeezy’s “Say You Will” off of his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak. The admiration continued throughout the years, resulting in more freestyles over songs like “Swagga Like Us” and “Barry Bonds.” Both tracks feature beats created by the Chi-town native. 

‘Thank Me Later’ Proves Their Shared Power 

After meeting in 2009, the duo came together to bring Drake's Thank Me Later album to the next level. They collaborated on two tracks- the futuristic love songs “Show Me A Good Time,” and “Find Your Love.” With West holding down production, deep-pocketed 808’s and table-top scratch sounds were highlighted. The accolades for the latter song resulted in the No. 5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts as they created their own lane.

Drake Calls Kanye “The Most Influential Person”

In a 2009 interview, the then-industry rookie had some nice words for West. Speaking specifically about the 41-year-old’s 808’s and Heartbreak album, the Toronto rapper described ‘Ye as "the most influential person” who was important to young emcees in the game.

"Before I ever got the chance to meet him, Kanye West shaped a lot of what I do, as far as music goes," Drake said. He knows how to utilize great sounds and great music. So before I met him, I had the utmost respect for Kanye West. I'd even go as far as to say he's the most influential person as far as a musician that I'd ever had in my life."

Their Collaborations On Wax 

The pair has been making music together for nearly 10 years, with some standout tracks including “Forever,” the remix to “All Of The Lights,” and “Pop Style.” On their 2017 song “Glow” off of Drake’s playlist More Life, both rappers discuss their growing, limitless success. West was rumored to initially appear on Drizzy’s smash-hit “Nice For What.” He reportedly had a verse on the critically-acclaimed track until the beef between Drake and his G.O.O.D. Music cohort Pusha T became lethal.

The Joint Mixtape That Never Happened

Drake and Kanye are no strangers when it comes to making joint albums with other artists. Drake worked with Future on the platinum-selling album What A Time To Be Alive, while Kanye released Watch The Throne with JAY-Z to critical acclaim. However, it has been hinted for the longest time that the two were working on a full-length album of their own.

Kanye confirmed the plan to release an album with Drake to Vogue in 2016, shortly after hinting at a joint project during OVO Fest. The Take Care rapper co-signed the announcement, saying "What my brother was asking before was, are you ready if we make an album?"

Drake Writing For Kanye’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’

Drake wrote a song for Kanye’s 2016 effort, The Life of Pablo. The Canadian hip-hop star helped pen the Isaac Hayes and Nelly-sampled “30 Hours.” Drizzy was also reportedly on the original, unreleased version of Pablo’s “Wolves,” which featured Icelandic artist Bjork (the album version features Vic Mensa and Sia).

The Duo Become Friendly, Competitive Neighbors

By the time of their initial meeting in 2009, Kanye already clocked in nearly a decade of music industry knowledge, and Drake was making the transition from teen TV star to full-time rapper. But who would have thought the duo would have eventually become actual neighbors?

Drake eventually moved to Calabasas, Calif.- a neighborhood in Los Angeles many celebrities call home- around the same time West began publicly dating his now-wife, Kim Kardashian. In the 2016 bop “Summer Sixteen,” Drizzy jokes, “Now I got a house in LA, now I got a bigger pool than Ye / And look man, Ye’s pool is nice, mine's just bigger's what I’m saying.”

 

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There goes the neighborhood

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Kanye Supports OVO Fest

Drake created a hip-hop festival called OVO Fest in 2010. Not only does it feature notable acts in urban music, but it also gave a platform to upcoming artists from Canada who might not have gotten a platform back home. Kanye West was one of the first supports of the music event, performing at three of the festivals.

He also admitted that Drake inspired him and JAY-Z to record Watch The Throne during 2013’s OVO Fest, stating, "Me and Hov would've never made Watch the Throne if this ni**a wasn't putting pressure on us like that, so I just wanna pay my respects.”

Kanye Apologizes To Drake Over G.O.O.D. Music Album Rollouts

Earlier this fall, Kanye West apologized to Drake in a series of tweets for planning the rollout of albums by artists under his G.O.O.D music roster around the proposed release of Scorpion.

In one of the tweets, Kanye wrote “Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place. We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.” In another tweet, ‘Ye revealed that he never listened to the diss tracks between him and Pusha, and didn’t have conversations regarding Drake’s child with him.

Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place … We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.

— ye (@kanyewest) September 5, 2018

They Shared Laughs Over Meek Mill Memes

Drake and Meek Mill were in an infamous feud back in 2015. After performing his diss track aimed at Meek- "Back to Back”- at the 2015 OVO Fest, Drizzy, Kanye, and Will Smith enjoyed a laugh over the countless memes mocking the Philly MC.

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VIBE / Nick Rice

Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

What a year 2018 has been for music lovers.

Listeners enjoyed a buffet of diverse melodies, savoring in the choice of curating the tunes they craved as opposed to consuming more than they can digest. Rumored albums from veterans like Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V and The Carters' first joint project battled its way to the top of our personal charts alongside music's innovators like Noname, The Internet, Buddy, and Janelle Monae.

Within that aforementioned list of artists, a new generation of lyricists and vocalists found their footing with fans and critics alike. The rising crop of talent released projects that should motivate each of them to carve out space for forthcoming awards. While we took into account the albums released from Dec. 1, 2017 to Nov. 20, 2018, that moved us emotionally, we also checked off a list of requirements like replay value, overall production, critical reception, and cultural impact.

Here are the 30 albums (in alphabetical order, not ranked), that instilled pride in our culture, made us take a look within, and encouraged us to appreciate music all over again.

READ MORE: 25 Hip-Hop Albums By Bomb Womxn Of 2018

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