5 Mob Films Essential To Hip-Hop

A comprehensive list of 5 mob films that have become essential to the hip-hop culture.

The inspiration rappers draw from mob films can’t be denied. Flicks such as The Godfather, King Of New York, Casino, Goodfellas and Scarfacehave helped shape the persona of many of your favorite emcees. Artists tend identify with characters that rise above all odds and prosper, in a criminal field or otherwise. Tony Montana, Frank White, Vito Corleone, Sam Rothstein  – the list of “inspirational” characters is a long one.

Other than character inspiration, mob movie references appear constantly in rap lyrics, whether an artist is repainting a particular scene or comparing his or herself to a specific character. Also, sampling mob flick scores and dialogue has been a staple of hip-hop production since the early years.

Written By  Nicolas James

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Independent Recording Artist Development in 2014

The game is ever changing for independent artistsentering the new music business. It’s important that you understand your role as well as the roles of others in order to break into this world successfully and professionally. Matthew Meyers gives us a look from the inside the step by step process of indie artistdevelopment on MusicThinkTank.com

Because of the high costs of artist development, the publisher needs to strongly believe that the end product is going to be a commercial success, capable of recouping the development funds and turning a profit. This means that publishers are extremely cautious about working with new talent. They tend to dedicate the most resources to a project they believe in the most, and do little or nothing to support a project with expected middling results.

Written By  MATTHEW MYERS

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XXL Commemorates 40 Years of Hip Hop

And they said it wouldn’t last. XXL magazine celebrates 40 years of hip hop this month with five collector’s special edition covers featuring some of the genre’s biggest names: Jay ZLil WayneSnoop DoggOutkastand LL Cool J.

Inside, the mag serves up the top 10 most important albums and songs per year from 1973-2013; and stories on YG and DJ Mustard, Tech N9ne, Nipsey Hu$$le, Sage The Gemini, Isaiah Rashad, Young Scooter, Bun B and more.

XXL released its first issue, a double cover featuring Jay Z and Master P in 1997. The magazine is currently one of the most popular hip hop publications in the country thanks in part to their annual Top 10 Freshman issue, which has sparked the careers of artists like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar, Chief Keefand more.

Written By Jake Rohn

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50 Cent Says Eminem Helped Hip Hop Grow In Different Areas

50 Cent also says Eminem says “no” more than he says “hi” to many opportunities.

50 Cent, whose debut album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ was co-executive produced by Eminem, recently spoke about his Shady Records boss and his ability to step away from music.

“By not having interest in a lot of other areas, [Eminem] was able to take a step back from these records,” 50 Cent said in an interview with Complex. “He just goes away and then he’d just watch [other artists] and then figures out what to do next. But [he’s] just not as active as all these other folks. Everything else that [he’s asked to] be involved in, he says no. He says, ‘No,’ more than he says, ‘Hi.’ The circle’s so tight…It speaks to the culture when people see themselves in [your] light, [your] greatness.”

Written By ANDRES TARDIO

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What the ‘Illest’ Hip-Hop Can Teach Us About Mental Illness

In hip hop, words like “crazy,” “sick,” and “ill” are compliments. But what happens when they’re also literally true?

I thought a lot about hip hop and mental illness while I was watchingDirty, a heartfelt new documentary about Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB). Before he overdosed on cocaine and Tramadol in 2004, ODB was probably the most outlandish member of the Wu-Tang Clan: He spat rhymes with a singsong delivery that dissolved into grunts and gibberish; he interrupted concerts with his bizarre rants; he spoke nervously about government agents following him; and he famously pulled a Kanye before Kanye, storming the Grammy stage in 1998 to declare, “Wu-Tang is for the children!” and complain about how much his outfit cost all while someone else was accepting an award.

Written By  Zak Cheney-Rice

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Rap Video Speaks Out Against Drunk Driving

KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) - Aspiring rapper and songwriter Michael Lane never thought that he would write a song so personal to him.

In Lane’s music video, he speaks out against a drunk driving crash that killed four people in Burleson. His friend, Sergio Molina, was among the victims. Molina is now paralyzed after he was thrown from the back of 16-year-old Ethan Couch’s pickup truck. Couch was given 10 years probation in what later turned out to be a controversial verdict that sparked outrage among the victim’s families and others.

“It sparked a lot of frustration and some animosity,” said Lane, “and the only way I really knew how to express that was through this song and this video.”

Written By Susy Solis

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The Year in Rap: Why Hip-Hop Shrinks in ’13

The year 2013 was when hip hop’s infatuation with art-world credibility and iconoclastic rejections of wealth hit critical mass. But this shift towards the conflation of artistry and status seems as much an adaptation as a movement, and maybe that’s because the money seems more finite than ever. Even the artists who do make it big – well, have continued to make it big, maybe – are cranking out high-stakes opuses that are polarizing at best. For every fan struck by Drake‘s emotional rawness on Nothing Was the Same, there’s someone who recoils at how manipulative it feels to them. For every head wowed by Eminem‘s tongue-twisting squibbily-flabbily-doo approach to lyrical-lyrics, there’s someone who desperately wishes he used all that virtuosity to say something, anything new. And for everyone wowed by Yeezus – which is probably the closest there is to a consensus rap album this year— there’s someone who finds it too far afield of whatever first made them like Kanye back in 2004.

Written By Nate Patrin

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