Lupe Fiasco is on a mission. His next album Mission, drawing on his unique ability to mold concepts into stories and then lyrics, will be a tribute to cancer survivors. Even more pithy: he’ll invoke testimonials from those survivors as a template for the songs. Heavy, deep stuff. The Chicago rapper has never shied from profound subjects. This project, however, represents the peak use of his skills both socially and artistically. Watch his interview with Katie Couric after the jump.
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MMG is Rick Ross’s solid contribution to the rap game because it extends the power of his influence to recruit other great street artists to urban radio rotation. His two marquee acts are in a feud that Meek Mill set off on social media by calling Wale corny. Check the tweets after the jump.
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While Black Hippy, Top Dawg Entertainment and the Empire That Is Kendrick prepare for the tactical onslaught of music the camp will release, Ab-Soul broods. His time is nigh, but The Black Lip Pastor has shown no signs of anxiety. The unflappable, ever-cloudy emcee relays his thoughts on his upcoming project and the immense exposure his super-group has enjoyed.

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In 1938, Alex Steinweiss, an art director for Columbia Records invented the concept of album cover art, making way for epic images that continuously influence pop culture. It’s different now that most listeners stream and download music, which has ignited a market for unique album artwork to differentiate one project from the next. Also, design software is much more accessible and apps like instagram are extremely popular. That accessibility has given artists a bevy of new media to expand greatly the idea of album covers. Artists can create several album covers with a mouse click, and with a simple QR code make them interactive, or create a vine video that gives the viewer a short film in lieu of a traditional static album cover.

So it’s no shock that this year is has delivered dope album covers.

Here is my list of 2013’s Five Best Hip Hop Album Covers, based on: visual aesthetic, concept in relation to album name and theme, and creative execution.

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Last night, My Name Is My Name got its official listening treatment. And, as expected, Kanye stole the scene from Pusha T by screaming his way through an endorsement. But one particular statement may have been aimed at October’s Very Own, Drizzy. Check the quote after the jump.
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