Mac Miller performs during Behind The Scenes With Mac Miller Filming Music Choice's 'Take Back Your Music' Campaign at Music Choice on July 17, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Thundercat, Juicy J, Ariana Grande And More Pay Tribute To Mac Miller For 27th Birthday

Gone but not forgotten. 

It's not lost on many just how much Mac Miller's influence affects today's lovers of hip-hop. The rapper and songwriter's passing was a blow to the industry last year as he seemed to be hitting a special space in his creative journey.

With today (Jan. 19) being what would've been his 27th birthday, friends and musical partners are sharing stories and messages of love about their favorite Capricorn.

Frequent collaborator and friend Thundercat shared on Twitter a moment Mac helped create with the "Them Changes" artist and his family. "All three of us were in the same room, playing and creating and enjoying music with Mac," he tweeted about an impromptu session with his brothers and Mac.

"Mac was and always will be a special dude, he was definitely Lebowski to me. I will always remember a man I considered to be another one of my real brothers and best of friends in the short time we got to spend together. I miss him so much every day."

See more touching messages from Mac's friends below.

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Bisexuality Is Fluid, And TV Is Finally Catching Up

There was a lady who sold bootleg DVDs on my block when I was a kid—three for 10 dollars. My mom would usually let my brother and I pick whichever ones we wanted, and on one occasion, I specifically remember us picking out American Pie 2, Austin Powers in Goldmember, and 8 Mile. Those were the days when we’d watch movies over and over again until we could recite every line before it reached our ears. My brother always wanted to put on Goldmember. I, on the other hand, was obsessed with 8 Mile, more specifically with Brittany Murphy’s character, Alex. I understood exactly why B-Rabbit (Eminem) was so into her. She spoke in a low, sultry voice and always knew what she wanted, then went for it. That was in 2002, when I was 10. It was the first time (that I can remember) that I suspected I liked girls.

I didn’t know, for sure, that I was bisexual until I was in college. I had been “pretend kissing” girls and being turned on by ones I liked as long as I could remember, but I always attributed that to my hypersexuality. I’ve always been a very sexual person. The way I heard people talk about bisexuality reinforced that belief for a long time: bisexual men are gay boys in denial, and bisexual women are insatiable straights. I always think about how different my teenage years would’ve been had I seen more bisexual characters on TV, ones who could help me navigate questions that I didn’t feel comfortable asking and conversations that no one had with me. Right now, there are more bisexual characters on TV than ever before, and even though some shows have a lot of work left to do, lots of them are putting in the work to portray important stories and jumpstart necessary conversations. Here are 10 times TV shows actually got bisexuality right.

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Courtesy of Disney

From The Big Screen To Hip-Hop: 25 Rap Lyrics Referencing 'The Lion King'

One of the most powerful aspects of hip-hop is the culture's ability to draw from reality and translate those feelings and experiences into the beats and rhymes that provide the soundtrack to our lives. However, in many instances, creatives have been inspired by fictional tales of perseverance and triumph that mirror the everyday struggles in our own lives, giving these stories additional significance and reminding us of our own valor. Twenty-five years ago, Disney's The Lion King would have this impact on a global level, opening a whole new world to people from all walks of life and becoming one of the most beloved films of all-time.

A coming-of-age story, The Lion King is centered around Simba, a young lion set to inherit the throne as King of Pride Lands from his father, Mufasa. In an act of betrayal, Simba’s father is tragically murdered by the cub’s paternal uncle, Scar. Simba, who is made to believe that he's responsible for his father's death, flees the Pride Lands and goes into a self-imposed exile, but is compelled to return to dethrone Scar and take his rightful place as king. Released on June 24, 1994, The Lion King was a massive success, grossing $766 million worldwide and finishing its theatrical run as the highest-grossing release of 1994 and the second-highest-grossing film of all time. It gained a considerable amount of critical acclaim for its score, comprised of original songs written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with a score by Hans Zimmer.

In the aftermath of its blockbuster release, The Lion King was embraced by members of the hip-hop community, with artists paying homage to the film and its characters through song and producers pilfering its score for samples. From J. Cole dubbing himself “Young Simba” and juxtaposing his rise up the rap ranks to the protagonist's own tale of redemption to Jay-Z comparing himself to Rafiki, The Lion King's legacy within the culture is iron-clad and has transcended generations.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the film's release, we compiled a list of 25 of the most memorable lyrical references to The Lion King throughout hip-hop history.


1. "How Great" - Chance the Rapper feat. Nicole Steen & Jay Electronica

Lyrics: "I was lost in the jungle-like Simba after the death of Mufasa, no hog, no meerkat/Hakuna Matata by day, but I spent my night time fighting tears back" - Jay Electronica

2. "2SEATER" - Tyler, The Creator feat. Austin Feinstein, Samantha Nelson & Aaron Shaw

Lyrics: "Boy, I'm a king and I ain't lyin', boy, Hakuna Matata/Better watch for them hyenas if you flex then they swarm" - Tyler. the Creator

3. "Don’t Stop" - Wu-Tang Clan

Lyrics: "Hakuna Matata, no Mufasa, I'm not lion/You try to spit on that hot iron, you not iron" - Method Man

4. "Blow (Freestyle)" - Pusha T

Lyrics: "No weapon formed against me shall prosper/Hakuna Matata, feet up sipping java" - Pusha T

5. "V. 3005" - Childish Gambino

Lyrics: "Girl, why is you lying, girl why you Mufasa/Yeah, mi casa su casa, got it stripping like Gaza/Got so high off volcanoes, now the flow is so lava" - Childish Gambino

6. "L.M.F." - Smino

Lyrics: Hakuna Matata, I look like my father/You a lion, Mufasa/Said she Rafiki, you a lion, Mufasa/Baby ain't nothing 'bout me PG, rated X for extraordinary" - Smino

7. "Massive Attack" - Nicki Minaj

Lyrics: "So call me Simba, little mama, cause Mufasa couldn't stop a bi**h/I fly in on that chopper, just to buy Balenciaga" - Nicki Minaj

8. "Eggs Aisle" - Mac Miller

Lyrics: "Yeah I'm here, self-claimed deity/Cryin' during the Lion King, that's just the G in me" - Mac Miller

9. "Death Wish" - Jadakiss feat. Lil Wayne

Lyrics: "Big lion growl at you niggas on that Simba sh*t/I'll be on that "F**k yo' clique, I'll kill every member" sh*t" - Lil Wayne

10. "Get Em High" - Kanye West feat. Talib Kweli & Common

Lyrics: "Chimped up with a pimp cup, illiterate nigga, read the infra-/Red across your head, I'm bred king like Simba" - Common

11. "Sideline Story" - J. Cole

Lyrics: "And my lines is designed from the heart/Young Simba been a lion from the start/Dumb nigga’s, y’all been lyin from the start/My life’s like a movie, truly, and these niggas is dyin' for the part" - J. Cole

12. "Grown Simba" - J. Cole

Lyrics: "Hold up now, don’t get it twisted, I ain't hating, do your thing/I was like a young Simba; couldn’t wait to be the king" - J. Cole

13. "APESHIT" - The Carters

Lyrics: "I'm a gorilla in the fuckin' coupe, finna pull up in the zoo/I'm like Chief Keef meet Rafiki—who been lyin' "King" to you?" - Jay-Z

14. "Go Back" - Chris Webby feat. OnCue

Lyrics: "Lion King was the shit yo, enough said/When Rafiki drew Simba got it tatted on my leg" - Chris Webby

15. "Jones Indiana" - Chief Keef

Lyrics: "Get a new bi**h just how I get new clothes, yeah/Two watches, Pumbaa and Timon, yeah" - Chief Keef

16. "I Am Very Very Lonely" - Chance the Rapper

Lyrics: "This is not the castle this is just the casa tonight/Ain’t no Nala so my Simba ain't gon’ be Mufasa tonight" - Chance the Rapper

17. "What Kind of Love" - Childish Gambino

Lyrics: "You like to call me koala/I'll be your Simba, you're Nala/Wherever you go I'll follow—little lies" - Childish Gambino

18. "Track Two" - Ab-Soul

Lyrics: "Can't lose, you niggas must admire defeat/You lyin' like Nala, nigga, you know where to find a nigga" - Ab-Soul

19. "Perfect Imperfection" - Kevin Gates

Lyrics: Aerosmith jaded/She looked like Nala when she got on top me/I gazed in her eyes and responded, 'Can we go half on a baby?'" - Kevin Gates

20. "Work It Like A Pro" - Waka Flocka Flame feat. Giggs

Lyrics: "Call me Lion King, turn Mufasa for it/Wanna sell that pussy? Then I buss her for it" - Giggs

21. "Bosses" - Plies feat. Kash Doll

Lyrics: "I stand by us like a Lion King/She dancing here like a designer queen" - Plies

22. "Better than you ever Been" - Taylor Bennett feat. Young Thug

Lyrics: "She a horse, voice raspin'/Tiger stripes on her booty, call her Lion King/White toes and they tiny/Ask her do she like hoes, she's say 'slightly'" - Young Thug

23. "Ring" - Gucci Mane

Lyrics: "Quarter million dollars, spent that on that one ring/In a ring full of lions, I'm The Lion King" - Gucci Mane

24. "Hollis to Hollywood" - LL Cool J

Lyrics: "Hear it, pull it like strings, got mad cash to swing/When I do my thing my balls is hairy like The Lion King/I'm in the jungle laying down my mack/You brothers need to chill with that" - LL Cool J

25. "Fuck What You Think" - RZA feat. Islord & 9th Prince

Lyrics: "Of the dark ninja, Lion King of the jungle, Simba/Cut the roof to your family tree, timber" - RZA

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The Dreamville Records roster - Lute, Omen, J. Cole, Ari Lennox, WoWGr8 of EarthGang (above), Cozz (below), JID, Bas (standing), Olu of EarthGang (kneeling) - pose for a photo from the Return of the Dreamers 3 sessions at Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta, Ga.
Jonathan Mannion / Courtesy of Interscope Records

Revenge of the Dreamers III: The Top Seven Artists Who Stood Out

The much-awaited Revenge of the Dreamers III compilation album was released this past Friday (July 5), and it exceeded all expectations, and then some.

The first two records of the trilogy predominantly featured Dreamville acts, and their in-house producers. However, this time J. Cole’s label shed their reputation of sectioning themselves off from the rest of the industry and embraced artists and producers from outside of their circle.

The melodic, often raspy, only occasionally recognizable voices of the 32 rappers and singers featured on the 18-track album, echo throughout the project. As was expected, J. Cole spit lots of great verses, but the the other emcees certainly weren't masked by his shadow. In fact, Cole gave ample room for the young bloods on ROTD3 to showcase their clever lines, their vocal range, and their artistry as a whole.

While it was hard to narrow down which artists on ROTD3 were the best, there are several on the project who stood out and earbed than a couple of rounds of applause. The five have yet to achieve chart-topping status, but after their performance on ROTD3, that achievement isn’t far away.

1. Buddy 

Buddy proclaimed himself the “Rap Camp MVP,” and his praise was validated by the Dreamville documentary and the record itself. The 25-year-old’s valley voice can be heard on three songs off the project and he was unlike anyone else, bringing an eccentric vibe to the songs he was featured on. In fact, Buddy’s one of the best parts on the album’s standout song, “1993” and he didn’t even rap on it. Hearing Buddy playfully cut off and hound Smino, Cozz, Doctur Dot (EarthGang), J.I.D and Cole himself, so they could focus on more important things such as smoking weed, brought a carefree element to ROTD3. Some may not expect such jovial vibes from the usually thoughtful Dreamville camp. Like Cole said, Buddy is “a real life legend.”

2. J.I.D

J.I.D. is quickly becoming one of Dreamville’s most recognizable acts, and it’s easy to see why he was featured on five different songs on the album, more than any other artist on ROTD3 aside from Cole. He represented his hometown of Atlanta effortlessly, especially on the lead-up single “Down Bad,” where his voice— unique as ever—uplifts the chorus. He’s hard to keep up with and he’s always quick with his rhymes, but there's no reason why J.I.D should have to slow down. With a style similar to Kendrick Lamar’s, J.I.D’s destination to the top is inevitable, and the quicker he gets there, the better. After all, who else could have came up with the bars: “I was just f***ed up, I was just down, down bad/I had to tighten the f**k up, but I’m here for the crown/Board of Education vs. Brown/I was bored of education, left the town/F**k a résumé and f**k a cap and gown/F**k a background check back’round when I get the check/N***a, that’s now.”

3. J. Cole

Dreamville founder J. Cole always carries high expectations with him, and he showed out with his seven appearances - more than any other artist - on ROTD3. The project saw Cole working differently from usual, but he displayed adaptability and flourished outside of his comfort zone. On “1993,” fans hear a version of Cole that he often keeps hidden – a fun, wild side that keeps up with the the carefree energy of the younger rappers on the track. For those other listeners who were itching to hear old school Cole from his Born Sinner days, he brought that out on the song “Sacrifices.” Sure, the North Carolina native can be the butt of Twitter memes — but who else can go platinum with no features — but every time he shows up, he shows out and shows the rap industry why Dreamville is such a force.

4. EarthGang

Doctur Dot and Johnny Venus are two most versatile rappers on ROTD3, and together they form one of the most formidable groups in hip hop. While their verses are crafty, it’s not so much their rhymes that command a song, but rather the way they play with and control their voices. Both Doctur Dot and Johnny Venus have a talent for manipulating the tone and range of their vocal chords, and that is especially evident in “Swivel,” their song on the album. They bring a unique sense of quirkiness to each appearance, and when they link up with the equally unconventional Buddy or Smino, magic happens.

5. Guapdad4000

Guapdad4000 is largely known for his hilarious viral social media videos or for his songs about scamming, but he took Revenge of the Dreamers III as an opportunity to show off his musical talents at a high level. He told VIBE, "I felt that I wasn’t going to go down there and outrap the super rap rap ni**as, even though talent-wise, I am a super rap rap ni**a. ... My plan was to just be true to myself, let my tone carry." The Oakland artist does exactly that, turning in two of the best choruses on the album with "Don't Hit Me Right Now" and "Costa Rica." His airy vocals and catchy, earworm hooks hold together the songs he appears on. And he also briefly bars up on "Wells Fargo." Guapdad4000 is hilarious, but his skills are nothing to joke about.

6. Cozz

Cozz is Dreamville’s youngest member at 25 years old, joining the label in 2014 and reintroducing himself to the world on ROTD3. Although he has two projects already released under Dreamville, this is without a doubt the biggest “stage” he’s ever been on and he took advantage of it. The Los Angeles native was bold on this album with his record featuring Top Dawg Entertainment artist, Reason, called “LamboTruck” and speaks to his artistry. He’s a risk taker, a big one at that given the fact that the Kal Banx-produced song is him expressing a few frustrations he has with his label. Every bar Cozz let off on the track was crafty and clever, which is definitely a strength of his, and as a listener it was entertaining figuring out the underlying meaning. Cozz is not one to be slept on, and it’s about time is welcomed into the new class of young rappers.

6. Ari Lennox

Lately touted as the “First Lady of Dreamville,” Ari Lennox can always be counted on to bring heart and soul to any project she touches. Her syrupy, raspy voice was the perfect touch to ROTD3 to make it whole and her heartfelt lyrics were the cherry on top. On “Got Me,” which was a single released prior to the album’s drop date, fans can hear the DMV songstress harmonize effortlessly with features king, Ty Dolla $ign. “Self Love” is a relatable ballad that strikes a chord with people every time Lennox croons, “self love is the best drug/but your love is the worst drug.” With her own debut album Shea Butter Baby already making big waves this year, plus her features on ROTD3, Lennox is taking the R&B world by storm, and she’ll let it rain on anyone who lets her.

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