When Kelis first linked up with Nas five years back, I was confused. Here were two artists on completely different planes: Kelis hadn’t yet traded in her frizzy clump of hair for a flat-ironed coif and ironic gold fronts, while Nas was just reclaiming a spot in the top 5 D.O.A. after holding his own in one of hip-hop’s greatest battles. So with the recent announcement that Ms. Kelis Rogers has filed from divorce from Mr. Nasir Jones, can I just say that I saw this one coming?

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izza1

Last night, Georgia’s own Izza Kizza hit up NYC’s Red Bull Loft to celebrate the release of his newest mixtape The Wizard of Iz, the follow-up to his highly acclaimed debut tape Kizzaland. As guests put down free Asahi beer and Red Bull and vodkas, Izza posed for pics and mingled with the crowd, taking the stage at 11:30 to perform cuts both old and new. Throughout the set, Izza, backed by 88-Keys on the 1’s and 2’s, ran through cuts like “Red Wine” and “I’m the Izza Kizza,” entertaining the likes of Missy Elliott (she sipped Grey Goose and OJ at a nearby table) and DJ A-Trak. Hit the jump to see more pictures from the event (I couldn’t resist including one of me and Missy, who, by the way, told me that we should expect her album “soon” – whatever that means).

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At first, I thought this guy was just trying to get put on by brandishing a rap name that Missy Elliott once spit out during an exorcism (I believe she called that “Work It”). But after I saw him rock the stage at Decon’s Showcase last year during CMJ, I knew this guy was more than just a name. I wore out his debut mixtape Kizza Land, a sonic chunk of futuristic hip-hop that could take clubgoers to outer space. Now, the Southern gentleman has taken a break from recording at Missy’s studio in Virginia (looks as though copping that name did something good for him) to release his free new mixtape The Wizard of Iz to the internet masses. Hit the jump to download this ridiculously excellent tape.

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Boot Camp Clik’s Buckshot teams up with Kardinal Offishall for the third joint to drop from this year’s Smirnoff Signature Mix series, taking form as a remake of Black Moon’s classic smoove jam “I Got Cha Opin.” This shit doesn’t knock as hard as the original, but can’t hate when Buckshot hops on the mic. Not only that, but Kardi cuts back on the Jamaican accent (for the first verse, at least). That calls for celebration in my book. And if you don’t recognize that this beat is built off of MC Lyte’s instrumental for “Paper Thin,” you need to straighten up. Hit the jump to download the track.

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Only Female in My Crew

April 28, 2009

Sunday’s Nicki Minaj post had me thinking about the career trajectories of femcees. How exactly do these bad girls get put on? What distinguishes someone like a Jean Grae from a Lil’ Kim, and why does one invariably find success over the other? As you would have it, the majority of hip-hop’s most successful female emcees have all followed the same career path, whether it be mere coincidence or standard industry procedure, climbing the ranks and falling into obscurity on nearly the same exactly time line. Coincidence? Methinks not.

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Nicki Minaj à Quoi?

April 26, 2009

To be honest, I like Nicki Minaj. The whole image she’s had up until now has been a jigsaw assembly of all the right femcee cliches: Remy Ma’s thuggish unfuckwitable persona, Foxy Brown’s lyrical punctuality, Trina’s sex appeal (circa Da Baddest Bitch) – she’s got bits and pieces of every other female emcee bundled together to hold her own in the lineage of strong ladies that came before her. But with her latest DJ Holiday & Trap-A-Holics-endorsed mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty, something is a little off with the latest step forward in her burgeoning career.

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LL Cool Drake

April 23, 2009

Young Drizzy came to face unfounded popularity with the release of his breakout mixtape So Far Gone, a collection of gushy love jams appropriately released less than 24 hours before Valentine’s Day. The faux album earned him fangirls and stan boys alike, yet he’s remained on the hush hush ever since, only popping up to perform on Weezy’s I Am Music Tour and, most recently, a few of his own solo shows. But how did Drake get to the point where he’s currently at? And who exactly are all of these people buying into the Drake phenomenon? Was this a genius move, or has he lost the momentum? Let’s examine a bit further.

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