jGerson: My staff picks this week are sort of unordinary for me. Yes, I do have an affinity for underground hip-hop, but I never thought that I would be praising a Lecrae song.  I’ve actually been vibing with Lecrae since he caught me off guard on “Live & Let Live,” and he didn’t’ let me down with his latest video, “Church Clothes” which you can view below. Read More

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XXL’s 2012 Freshmen Live Tour made its final stop at the Best Buy Theater in New York on Monday. Freshmen Future, Kid Ink, Danny Brown, French Montana, Macklemore, Machine Gun Kelly, Hopsin, Iggy Azalea and Roscoe Dash were joined by special guests Cipha Sounds, DJ Khaled, Red Cafe, Schoolboy Q and Tech N9ne. Photos by Bernard Smalls

Mac Miller made history this week by becoming the first independent artist to reach the top of the Billboard charts on their debut since Tha Dogg Pound in 1995. It’s worth mentioning that Wale sold about 20,000 more units than Mac on his opening week, but was shafted by Justin Bieber’s Christmas album. I guess I can see why Mac earned that number one spot, as he sounds more like the Biebs on Blue Slide Park than the MC on his seminal K.I.D.S. mixtape…Mac wasn’t the only one having a successful week; Tech N9ne sits comfortably at number 21 on the Top 200 with the latest edition to his Collabos series. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, as Tech has a rabid fan base, but this ultimately a victory as the album was barely promoted and is basically void of the noteworthy features from his last album, All 6’s and 7’s. Pusha T and Pac Div also did their thing this week with independent releases, both scanning several thousand. Check back next week when Drake. mixtape and Childish Gambino. mixtape are sure to own the charts.

Mac Miller “Ambition” – 144,237 (76% digital) [read review]

Tech N9ne Collabos “Welcome To Strangeland” – 26,222 (29% digital)

Pusha T “Fear Of God II – Let Us Pray” – 8,897 (64% digital) [read review]

Pac Div“The Div” – 2,154 (100% digital)

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