The Rap-Up is a weekly round-up of all things hip-hop. Check it out every Wednesday.
Blu makes music without much time, Cormega gets live with a band and Young Dro loves Polo -- read on for the weekly rap-up.
Blu Keeps Getting Fans ‘Open’
Although he landed a major label deal with Warner Bros. Records a few years ago and keeps releasing quality material independently, Los Angeles-based rapper-producer Blu remains an enigmatic figure.
Always one on the move, he released the album “Open” this week, a collection that features him contributing vocals to two songs and producing the entire album. “Open” collaborator Sene recently explained working with Blu and likens it to being in a foreign country and finding someone who speaks your native tongue.
Other rappers who appear on “Open” include Fresh Daily, Scienze, Versis, Aaron Smartz and Tribe of Levi. Blu seems committed to doing things his way, releasing music that he believes in regardless of its form or whether or not he raps on it. He’s a rare rapper who seems to care more about making music than making headlines.
Cormega Remains ‘Raw,’ Independent
Given their proximity to the hub of the music business, New York rappers have generally shunned the independent route. One notable exception is Cormega, a tremendous lyricist and powerful storyteller. Of course, the Queens rapper broke through more than a decade ago as an original member of the Nas-fronted supergroup The Firm.
After falling out with God’s Son and being shelved by Def Jam, ‘Mega set out on the independent route and has become one of the genre’s most prolific and successful independent artists. His new release, the double LP “Raw Forever,” arrived in stores this week and features 11 of his standout selections from his catalog as well as 11 new songs. The new material was recorded with The Revelations, a collection of musicians and vocalists.
Mobb Deep’s Havoc, KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane are among Cormega’s collaborators on the new songs, resulting in a project that acknowledges rap’s history while remaining current.
T.I. Offshoot Young Dro Salutes His Wardrobe
Run-DMC championed adidas in the ’80s, Grand Puba made Tommy Hilfiger matter to the rap community in the ’90s and since the turn of the century, most rap stars have hawked their own clothing line. All this makes Young Dro a throwback of sorts.
The T.I. protégé loves Polo clothing and has named his forthcoming album “P.O.L.O. (Players Only Live Once).” Dro’s affinity for Polo gear has been on full display since his smash single “Shoulder Lean” dropped in 2006.
Since then, Dro has dealt with personal and professional setbacks, but his new single “Racked Up” shows that the clotheshorse hasn’t lost a thing on the mic. With T.I. coming home and Dro back in effect, Grand Hustle seems poised for another run.
For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter: @SorenBaker.
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