After announcing the release of his forthcoming studio album Mailbox Money with “50 N***az” Nipsey Hussle teams up with Rick Ross for “1 Hunnit a Show,” the second official preview we are getting from Mailbox Money. However, if you want a physical copy of Mailbox Money you’re going to have to cough up some big bucks seeing as it’s a limited release with 100 total copies available and they’re being offered at $1000 each. Peep Nipsey and Rozay’s “1 Hunnit a Show” after the jump.

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Nicki Minaj’s highly-anticipated new album The Pinkprint is due out December 9th and The Harajuku Barbie herself is sharing a new cut for the frothy fans out there. Produced by Boi-1da and Vinylz “All Things Go” is the first song Nicki has shared since announcing the official release date for The Pinkprint. Nicki’s The Pinkprint is set to feature guest appearances from Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Drake, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Jeremih, Skylar Grey, and Meek Mill (who was recently released from prison.) Listen to “All Things Go” after the jump!

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The wait is finally over, Wu-Tang Clan’s first album in over seven years, A Better Tomorrow, is here. After teasing the album with singles like “Ruckus In B Minor,” “Necklace,” and “A Better Tomorrow” the Staten Island rap collective has made the entire album available for stream via YouTube. Take a listen through the album after the jump, which will be available for purchase beginning December 2.

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Download Jaden Smith’s New Album CTV2

 |  November 18, 2014
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A mere day after his 14-year-old sister Willow dropped a brand new track featuring SZA, Jaden Smith returns the favor with a new album. Entitled CTV2, Jaden has made the entire project available via his very own music app. While the project is a brief eight tracks one particular track “Let It Breathe” clocks in at over ten minutes. Needless to say Jaden continues his reputation as a stream-of-consciousness, liberated spirit on the project (see previous releases like “Trophy” and “Melancholy” for reference). Listen after the jump.

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Your Old Droog is real and so is his self-titled debut album. The Droogster (once mistaken for Nas) has made his debut album available for stream via NPR’s website. The project consists of the self-titled EP that he released earlier in the year and eight new tracks including “Free Turkey,” and more. Listen after the jump.

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After sharing a few songs from their forthcoming collaborative project PRhyme, DJ Premier & Royce Da 5’9″ drop the visuals for “U Looz”. The project is duo out December 9th and features guest spots from artists the likes of Schoolboy Q, Mac Miller, Common, Killer Mike, and Jay Electronica. Check out the video for “U Looz” after the jump.

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Flying Lotus is giving you a treat: you can now stream his outrageous, out of this world new album You’re Dead! But you gotta be quick as FlyLo is streaming the new album for only the next 24 via a continuous, looped visual, courtesy of Xavier Magot on YouTube. Go check it out after the jump. Be advised: the visuals presented are pretty freakin’ trippy.

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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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