The Top 10 Hip Hop Singles Of The Week: Cassidy, Dizaster, Birdman


 The Top 10 Hip Hop Singles Of The Week: Cassidy, Dizaster, Birdman

The Top 10 Hip Hop Singles Of The Week: Cassidy, Dizaster, Birdman

Cassidy’s battle against Dizaster tops the list and a string of DX exclusives follow behind.

This week’s Top 10 is anchored by a handful of HipHopDX exclusives and includes a breakdown of the latest news about Lil Wayne’s status at Cash Moneyand Birdman’s alleged decision to not let him off the label. At the top of the list though, Cassidy’s rematch battle against Dizaster leads the pack. In the next DX Daily, we cover the rise and fall of viral sensationBobby Shmurda, who was recently arrested with a handful of other GS9 members earlier this month.

Cassidy Vs. Dizaster “Ether” Battle

After months of lead-up, Cassidy and Dizaster finally battled at a rescheduled matchup in front of a small audience in L.A. The match was easily the biggest of the year in battle rap, and likely the biggest of the modern era of the industry as well. Shortly after, Cassidy told BattleRap.com, “I just 3-0?ed that dude.”

Birdman Won’t Release Lil Wayne

At the top of the week, a source close to Cash Money records told TMZ that Birdman has no plans of releasing Lil Wayne from his label contract and added that the rapper’s Tha Carter V album will be released on their own schedule. Catch up on the latest news below.

DX Breaks Down The Rise & Fall Of Bobby Shmurda

With the arrest of Bobby Shmurda marking one of the year’s biggest headlines, we broke down the entire story in a DX Daily entirely dedicated to the story. Rising rapper Bobby Shmurda has been arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of drug paraphernalia, and more. Authorities say the rapper is a member of Brooklyn Crip gang GS9.

This Week’s Top 10

The 2014 HipHopDX Year End Awards


The 2014 HipHopDX Year End Awards

The 2014 HipHopDX Year End Awards
  • The 2014 HipHopDX Year End Awards honors Trend We’d Like To See Die.

Welcome to the 2014 edition of HipHopDX’s Year End Awards. In keeping with tradition, this is the time of year when we collectively reflect on all that has transpired in Hip Hop during the last 12 months. To be sure, there have been high points and moments many may consider to be the exact opposite. We aim to cover them all before the calendar flips on what we expect to be a monumental year for the music and the culture.

Throughout the remainder of the holiday season, DX’s editorial staff and stable of freelance contributors will update this page with those that made this year memorable. Check back each morning for a fresh round of award winners. Salute to the victors and runners up who made 2014 the underrated year that it was, and we hope our selections make you debate and reminisce while being entertained during a safe and happy holiday season.

  • EMCEE OF THE YEAR

Big K.R.I.T.

Before making Krit Wuz Here as his “last hurrah,” Big K.R.I.T. was going to quit being an emcee. He’d go back home, get a job, and settle in. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Mere living is a lofty enough goal. But he stuck it out. And after languishing in the waiting room between good and great he dropped Cadillactica on us this year. The applause was deafening on this side. K.R.I.T. had discovered lightness and it was glorious. So much of what made him great was so heavy. He seemed like a lone torch bearer looking for his Olympic flame. And, say what you will, but maybe that “Control” verse allowed him to turn that torch back on to himself. “Mt. Olympus” followed and then the slow, steep world building of Cadillactica. He’d work with other producers, and he’d do less sampling. Sure, all of that happened. But no one told us he’d learn to control the rumbling in his writerly southern soul. That, he’d learn to mix his twin cam with love ballads that were odes to some deeply held belief. The result was a K.R.I.T. that came firmly into his own this year. Still deeply connected to the heritage of ‘Kast and UGK, but with a dash of his own comedy, his own swagger, and (as a clean break) his own thoughts.

  • RUNNERS UP

Vince Staples
2014 gave us both Shyne Coldchain II and Hell Can Wait from the sensitively blunt Long Beach emcee, which means he’s been spitting gems all year. But it would be his latter project that you’d find yourself gawking over. The way he sought to explain the myriad realities of gang life and the apprehensions and rage present in one human was challenging enough. But he did it while connecting it to wider culture. And tell me we’re not all that kid now, his house burning down and the real danger may be his homies ignoring it.

  • Logic
    Under Pressure was filled with so much studentry of craft that it was no wonder the Maryland emcee leapt so much since his previous work. It was all that was missing. His crazy backstory ensured he’d always have stories to tell, but could he tell them in a language of his own? This year the answer is yes.
  • PRODUCER OF THE YEAR

DJ Mustard

Last year’s runner up tore the crown from last year’s winner through sheer force of will. He’s been ubiquitous in 2014, ushering in and building upon the sound he doggedly crafted on YG’s standout My Krazy Life, then repackaging that for the masses. The results have been unquestionable as he’s led the rebirth of Fergie as well as the West Coast’s shadow side. And all mention of his twangy two-notes tend to fall on deaf ears now, as the man may be single handedly keeping the Rap industry afloat with not only his own beats, but his copies. Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” was not fathered by Mustard in theory, but its DNA is a 99.9% match. There are countless other examples of this phenomenon. And in a copycat league like this one that may be the ultimate compliment of all.

RUNNERS UP

Mike Will Made-It
Take a close listen to the monstrous baselines on his December release Ransom and you’ll immediately be transported to your happy place. Mike Will Made-It made some of the best Rap music this year and they were both anthemic like the madness that was Rae Sremmurd’s “No Flex Zone” and boutique like ScHoolboy’s album cut “What They Want.” Of course there was “No Type”as well, and the thumping, jitterbug “Move That Dope,” and he did all this while piloting his own label.

DJ Dahi
Dahi’s 2014 was a breakout for the young producer, as he became the one you call when you have something to get off your chest. That bat signal was tilted upward by more than just SZA andAb-Soul, with the man finding himself on Tinashe, Mick Jenkins, and even Madonna’s new let-me-close-my-eyes single “Devil Pray.”

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Vince Staples

There’s been a bunch of career revivals this year (Dilated Peoples,Cormega) and a ton of new kids on the block. But no one lit the flame at both ends the way Vince Staples did in 2014. There’s the obvious storyline regarding his hesitancy toward music. He’s fond of saying things like, “Rappers are on the corner begging, too.” And this why he’s so fascinating. His hyper-awareness and intuition lend him possibilities in the booth most emcees take years to learn. At 21, he can’t help but catch your eye as the guy standing in the eye of the Hurricane with no way out. He drags you down through the torrent with him taking you on journey you’re not sure you’ll survive. On Shyne Coldchain II it was “Nate,” an adolescent journey through familial destruction and on Hell Can Wait it was “65 Hunnid.” A chronicling of a familial destruction of another kind entirely. Whatever he did, he gave it to you straight, and with his storytelling spreading its wings we hope he’ll be gunning for awards for years to come.

RUNNERS UP

Logic
Logic is a slayer of demons and they’re mostly his own. Under Pressure was a textbook in how to handle situations that would break most. Abuse, an absentee father, poverty, degradation and, finally, the salvation of music. It is old hat to say that music can transcend, but we’re pretty sure that music saved another life when it took residence in a corner of young Sinatra’s heart. His lyrics are always poignant and historical. They act like a bridge between his tumultuous past and his quickly moving present, begging you to take a look at another reality when you cannot yet change your own.

Cozz
The recent Dreamville signee wound up your clock when he exclaimed, gravely voiced, his “dreams of being rich.” That tenor is what would get him an audience with young Simba, and his debut Cozz & Effect is what’s going to keep you around. Whatever we had in store for 2015 we’re excited for the growth of Cozz: The guy with the talent to be Cole’s Beanie Sigel as he builds Roc-a-Fella part deux.

UNDERRATED ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Rapsody

This is the second year in a row Raps’ won this award, and she only keeps on getting more potent. Her Beauty and the Beast – EP grabbed you by the throat in a different way than 2013’s She Got Game. The Jamla emcee excelled with a snarl, calling out XXL for her Freshman cover snub, and the other women in the game who stand diametrically opposed to her understated, southern aesthetic. There’s no gimmicks, and in a world and era where people often need a syrupy hook, she may continue to maintain within the limited world of folks who value high-quality of Raps over all else. Still, the music continues to be incredible, and if anyone can raise the consciousness without compromise it’s the queen of Jamla.

RUNNERS UP

Lecrae
We’re going to try and write this without mentioning ‘Christian Rap.’ That moniker that shall not be named has often stood on the outside of the Rap spectrum. Too spiritual, or preachy, or corny or all three. Lecrae does none of those things, rising in rapid succession because of his devotion to both the craft of music and his lifelong inclinations. That’s why he managed to outsell most of Rap independently, and that’s why he needn’t compromise his message while he courts fame.

Cormega
Mega Philosophy was a singular vision with no filler. Just uncomplicated boom-bap, slice of life raps that lingered in your aural diet until you called it quits. Mega’s mild mannered grownup flow hit close to home, and it provided Golden Era flashbacks without the nostalgia ruining your sleep cycle.

COMEBACK OF THE YEAR

G-Unit

G-G-G G Unit is back. Of course, there were complications and cross-outs (ahem, Game). The 50 Cent crew filled with talented emcees in their own right came through four deep at Hot 97’s Summer Jam snatching chains (maybe), making enemies and hyping up the tri-state crowd with wafts of gunsmoke. Their ode to “Grindin’ My Whole Life” lit the blogosphere on fire, setting the scene for the return to a more aggressive form of Hip Hop lyrical content. Beauty Of Independence was a tongue-in-cheek Rap reintroduction, as the revival drew minions that hadn’t touched Hip Hop in years. Now we all patiently await 2015 and the release of both a solo 50 album and a group album for G-Unit. And, if Dre’s got some time, maybe he can hop on a track or two. Since D’Angelo dropped this year, we know anything is possible.

RUNNERS UP

Dilated Peoples
Evidence, DJ Babu and Rakaa literally came out of nowhere in 2014. Directors Of Photography was their first album since 2006. Imagine, when they last dropped, Facebook had yet to open it’s doors to anyone but college students and the iPhone was still in Apple’s secret labs. It was an extraordinary reintroduction, as the trio did, quite possibly, the best work of their long careers. It’s interesting that it should happen now, as Hip Hop has finally begun to allow their legacy acts to start to get the credit they deserve. It was also a lesson in patience. Only make it when it feels right.

DJ Quik
Midnight Life felt like the clouds were clearing for Quik. He was fresh and spry, precisely tossing out his brilliance in controlled, funky-as-hell doses. He went all analog, purposely, and made an expensive masterclass in music making. And so the legendary West Coast everything is now back in his rightful place: with his music on the tip of your tongue.

PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR

“Move That Dope” by Mike WiLL Made-It

Mike WiLL Made-It continued his stellar sonic streak with this rock-hard Future single, one whose stellar sonics featured murky keyboard accents, blaring sirens and, of all things, an ode to Salt ’N Pepa. The beat was so scintillating that it transformed Pharrell into some sort of hardcore rapper, one whose rapid-fire ratchet rhymes held their own with Pusha T’s nose-candy raps. Now that’s an amazing beat.

RUNNERS UP

“Tuesday” by Sonny Digital and Metro Boomin
In an era where manic beats typically rule the charts and the clubs, this understated gem gained traction because, after all, who doesn’t like celebrating something counter-culture — like hitting the club on a Tuesday. The light, atmospheric and airy synths were a perfect match forILOVEMAKONNEN and Drake’s tales of pill poppin’ – or in Drake’s case, your pill poppin’.

“Sanctified” by DJ Mustard and Kanye West
DJ Mustard’s known for taking it to the club on the strength of a note or two, so the reworking co-producer Kanye West must have done to Rick Ross’s “Sanctified” may have been magical, possibly divine. West raps with aplomb over the paradoxically soulful yet bombastic selection, as do Big Sean and Rick Ross. It’s a splendid musical collision, one where sonic genres, attitudes, tempos and energies combine for aural ecstasy.

VERSE OF THE YEAR

Big K.R.I.T. “Mt. Olympus”

Southern rappers tend to flow with Texas-sized chips on their shoulders when it’s time to showcase their lyricism. In Big K.R.I.T.’s case, he carries Mississippi on his back as he ascends to Godly Rap heights on the spectacular “Mt. Olympus.” After a first verse where he addresses Kendrick Lamar’s rhymes on Big Sean’s “Control” and not crowning Andre 3000 King Of Hip Hop, the ’Sip rapper shifts into a higher gear on the cut’s second verse. He snaps so hard that it sounds as though he’s about to combust, raising his intensity, increasing his speed and ratcheting up his venom as he lays claim to being the King of every castle. Like many lyricists before him, K.R.I.T. wrestles with creating art in a genre where success isn’t always measured by quality: “What’s good for Hip Hop may not be good for my soul.” Thankfully, he keeps flexing’.

RUNNERS UP

Jay Electronica “We Made It”
There he goes again. Rap’s reclusive savant reemerged from another self-imposed –or so we’re lead to think, ha – exile to deliver a mind-blowing verse on the searing “We Made It.” Part history lesson, part social indictment and all the way lyrical mastery, Jay Electronica dazzles with his references, his effortless flow and his God talk. Bow down.

J. Cole “Fire Squad”
On the final verse of this 2014 Forest Hills Drive selection, the North Carolina rapper takes aim at Eminem, Macklemore and Justin Timberlake. He makes the case that these White artists are (presumably) among those who have “snatched the sound.” It’s a lyrical passage that is provocative and problematic, controversial and confusing. Most importantly, perhaps, is that it is thought-provoking and that it references Wu-Tang Clan. We’re sure Drake is proud, if nothing else.

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

“i” by Kendrick Lamar

It starts with beef, quickly goes into peace and proceeds with Kendrick Lamar getting his groove on before traveling throughout the streets of Los Angeles – spreading peace and love throughout the process. It’s a rare video that is both edgy and somehow feel-good. There’s also Ronald Isley portraying some sort of gangsterfied chauffeur. Having an Isley Brothers sample on “i” may have helped him land the role. Either way, it all results in a captivating music video that seems to channel Collateral and The Dark Knight, two meditations on characters whose journey through their respective cities has a ripple effect. In Kendrick Lamar’s case, it’s to spread peace, love and happiness.

RUNNERS UP

“Studio” by ScHoolboy Q f. BJ The Chicago Kid
Despite the way it is often imagined and sometimes portrayed, hitting the recording studio is typically a bland experience. ScHoolboy Q knows this, so he spiced it up with the video for this catchy cut. As he fantasizes about playing Operation with his lady’s anatomy, the TDE rapper’s video visually delivers the goods, featuring a collection of shapely women in various stages of undress – and with the AC seemingly running to the hilt. The black and white imagery adds a nice touch, as it accentuates the longing for an impending late-night rendezvous.

“TiP TOE WiNG iN MY JAWWDiNZ” by RiFF RAFF
He may have sworn off molly and coke this month, but RiFF RAFF must have been on something serious when he made – or at least approved – the bizarre clip for this NEON iCON standout. With a bevy of snow bunnies, a skull that intermittently gets draped with paint (not the candy variety, though that would be a nice touch given his Texas heritage), owls perpetually ready to take flight, ice stalactites and a slew of Jordans, the video stands as a crowning achievement in the long line of RiFF RAFF’s video canon. We were hoping to see that Mango Lexus, though.

DISAPPOINTING ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Wu-Tang Clan – “A Better Tomorrow”

When we got word in 2011 that Wu-Tang Clan would be dropping a new album, there wasn’t a fan in sight who wasn’t excited for the comeback. Over the next of couple of years, various members of the clan spoke out on whether or not the album would come out and it wasn’t looking promising because of the chemistry issues seemingly rampant within. Three years later, the Wu-Tang Clan drop off A Better Tomorrow to much fanfare, which is the first album from the collective in seven years. Though any album featuring the legendary collective is an event, this one was marred by talk of a pay scale within Wu’ as well as other group issues. The album flows like a classic Wu-Tang album but many of the records played with the Wu-Tang sound, a wrinkle many weren’t ready for. Plus, with the vibe seemingly off between key members, it seemed this was a project going uphill from the beginning.

RUNNERS UP

T.I. – “Paperwork”
Almost two years after dropping Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head, T.I. returned with his ninth studio album, Paperwork. The album had a bag of notable moments, though, unfortunately, it also had moments of sheer bewilderment. And with all the lead up to the album (comparing it to classics like Aquemini and The Blueprint respectively) it just didn’t manage to live up to it’s incredible billing. A shame, because the featured very strong singles like “About The Money” featuring Rap’s resident weirdo Young Thug.

Wiz Khalifa – “Blacc Hollywood”
In August, Wiz Khalifa let go his fifth studio album, Blacc Hollywood. The album appealed directly to his now monstrous fan base. The feature, and an amazing one, was “We Dem Boyz,” a stadium record eerily similar to his ubiquitous “Black and Yellow.” That record was actually nominated for a Grammy, and the rest of the project followed a similar set of Wiz’ tropes: uber catchy and yet ultimately jagged songs meant more to entice than inspire.

NON HIP HOP ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Jhene Aiko’s debut studio album, Souled Out, won us over this year as the best non Hip Hop album of 2014. Aiko built up the anticipation for her album with her Sailing Soul(s) mixtape and Sail Out EP. With Def Jam executive NO I.D. handling most of the production for the album, Aiko was free to lace the 12-track offering with her heartbreak-driven lyrics. Upon its debut, Souled Out topped the U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Aiko grew to “it” girl status during the year as well, drawing rumors of several high profile relationships.

RUNNERS UP

D’Angelo – “Black Messiah”
Neo-soul pioneer D’Angelo returned to the spotlight with his long awaited album, Black Messiah. Its sudden arrival seemed almost as mystifying as the artist that created it. Although its been nearly 15 years since the R&B recluse released his last offering, Voodoo, Black Messiah is a sure sign D’Angelo hasn’t lost his soul.

FKA Twigs – “LP1”
Anchored by its strong singles “Video Girl,” “Two Weeks” and “Pendulum,” FKA Twigs’ LP1 is a superlative debut. The U.K. songbird has captivating vocals that are both soothing and smooth and her range is to be admired. LP1 is a magnificent crossover album for the rising star, who straddles both the pop and R&B genres.

COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR

Common And Vince Staples – “Kingdom”

Common and Vince Staples’ “Kingdom” is a track fans can feel from Chicago, IL to Long Beach,CA and beyond. It packs a powerful message that resonates with listeners outside of the rappers’ own stomping grounds. The Def Jam labelmates detail the destructive, violent behaviors that plague communities across the country with vivid, gritty lyrics. Throw in a gospel choir to bolster the chorus and you have a hit.

RUNNERS UP

Rich Gang – “Lifestyle”
Whether you knew the words or not, Rich Gang’s “Lifestyle” was almost inescapable this year. Birdman’s latest proteges happen to be two of Atlanta’s most promising young rappers: Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. The duo teamed up seamlessly over the London On Da Track produced-banger. Sure, it may be difficult to decipher Thugga’s lyrics but that didn’t stop you from singing along. “Lifestyle” is a classic rags-to-riches anthem that dominated Rap radio stations across the country this year, for months.

Jay Z And Jay Electronica – “We Made It”
Jay Electronica and Jay Z hijacked Drake and Soulja Boy’s triumphant tune, “We Made It.” The Roc boys flipped Soulja’s hard-hitting beat into a thought-provoking track, equipped with historical references and playful jabs at Misses Drizzy. While each rapper’s verse is distinct in its own right, it’s difficult to decide which Jay came out on top here.

MOST IMPORTANT FREESTYLE OF THE YEAR

Eminem, Slaughterhouse And Royce Da 5’9 – “Shady CXVPHER”

Eminem rounded up the Shady Records crew for an epic label-exclusive cypher. The impromptu rhyming session depicted each member of the Shady label in their own hometowns and in their own element. It was used as promo for the subsequent Shady XV album, which featured a mix of new and classic material from the Shady roster. Beginning with Kxng Crookedin Long Beach, CA, the unprecedented cypher visited Joe Budden in Jersey City, NJ, Yelawolf in Gasden, Alabama, Joell Ortiz in Brooklyn, NY, Royce Da 5’9” and Eminem in Detroit, MI. Each rapper held their own. But Shady, well, he was sort of… shady and took the moment to low-blow pop singer Lana Del Rey. Nevertheless, the Shady Cypher was 19-minutes worth of pure, unfiltered Hip Hop.

RUNNERS UP

King Los – “5 Fingers Of Death Freestyle”
After explaining to Sway that he had departed from Bad Boy Records, yet remains cordial with Diddy, King Los took on the “5 Fingers Of Death” freestyle challenge on Sway in The Morning. Five beats “weren’t enough” for the Baltimore-bred rapper, who seemed to weave through each one effortlessly. Without a cell phone or notepad in sight, Los obliterated the tracks, causing Sway to lose control of his headphones and mic., on his own show.

Logic – “5 Fingers Of Death Freestyle”
Logic’s “5 Fingers of Death” freestyle on Sway in The Morning may not have been entirely off the dome, but it’s hard to deny the young Gaithersburg, MD rapper’s lyricism. Drawing from the narrative he told on his debut Under Pressure, Logic’s freestyle on Sway’s radio show reflected on his family’s dysfunction. When he flips the script and rhymes on the spot, his clever wordplay shines and it’s evident he’s passionate about Rap. Despite a few made-up words here and there, Logic came prepared.

STORY OF THE YEAR

Dr. Dre Becomes An Almost Billionaire

Only a mere $560 million (pre-tax) separates Dr. Dre from his nearest Cash Kings competitors Puff Daddy and Jay Z. At least that’s what Forbes reported in its annual list of Hip Hop’s highest earners. Beats’ sale to Apple for $3 billion last Spring sent ripples through Wall Street and tidal waves through the culture. Rap’s waited impatiently for roughly a decade for the release the much ballyhooed Detox, but it appears the Good Doctor’s focus on headphones netted infinitely more than simply another platinum plaque. Though technically Dre has yet reach a Billi’, he can at least add two new accolades to his nearly untouchable lore: The $620 million he received from the Beats sale is the “highest annual total ever evaluated by Forbes” as well as more than the combined total of the remaining 24 Cash Kings in 2014. Maybe now Aftermath’s chieftain feels financially secure enough to release a batch of new music.

RUNNERS UP

Solange Attacks Jay Z
To this day we’re still not sure of the specific reason for Solange Knowles’ leg-tastic attack on Jay Z in New York’s Standard Hotel elevator. Was it truly because Hov was hovering too close to Dame Dash’s ex-lady Rachel Roy? Was it because Hov planned to keep the Met Gala-party going with Rihanna without Beyonce? The details are still murky, and maybe it’s better that way. Family business is family business and most of us aren’t famous enough for our funky family business to fascinate a planet. But if there is a winner in this uproarious occurrence it’s the bodyguard who stopped the elevator mid-fight, giving the Carter family time to reattach their cool. If only Ray Rice had been as fortunate.

Cash Money’s Implosion?
The house that Baby and Slim built seems to be slipping into its next era. Lil Twist hit Twitter in October blasting YMCMB, labeling his management team “the worst management team in the history of management teams.” Reportedly he was upset because his the label would not release his latest project. Tyga did the same the same week, charging at Young Money for holding up his album Gold, which he says has been ready for release for a while. Fringe acts are one thing, but when the face of the organization unleashes a series of the same accusations, as Lil Waynesurprisingly did earlier this month, it’s difficult not to ponder how the future will look for Cash Money.

TWEET OF THE YEAR

Azealia Banks’ Timeline

When Azealia Banks blasted Universal Music Group for delaying Broke With Expensive Taste, she did so over Twitter. When Azealia Banks blasted T.I. for backing Iggy Azalea; for calling her a “musty-mouthed thot-bot;” for not threatening Snoop Dogg for e-attacking Iggy the way she believes he e-attacked her, she did so on Twitter. When Azealia Banks revealed that the reason Broke With Expensive Taste sounded like “literary nonsense” was because she also penned a fable with the same name, she did so over Twitter. From January 2014 to December 2014, Banks kept interest piqued by tweeting early, often, and earnestly. Say what you will about the Harlem-lyricist. Just be wary about what you say to her on Twitter. Clearly that’s her home court.

RUNNERS UP

Weezy Airs-Out Baby
It only took four tweets to stop Hip Hop in its tracks. On December 4, Lil Wayne targeted Cash Money CEO, Bryan “Birdman” Williams as the reason Tha Carter V is still loitering on a hard drive. “I want off this label and nothing to do with these people but unfortunately it ain’t that easy,” Weezy tweeted. “I am a prisoner and so is my creativity…” The macro story is still unfolding. But on a micro level… damn.

Anonymous Secures Release Date For Lupe Fiasco
If there’s an example of the influence Lupe Fiasco carries, here it is: On Tuesday, October 14, the official Twitter account for powerful hactivist group, Anonymous fired off a tweet to Carrera-Lu’s label, Atlantic Records. The tweet stated simply, “You have 24 hours to present a statement announcing the immediate release of @LupeFiasco’s album.” On Wednesday, October 15, Atlantic Records’ official Twitter account released a tweet stating, “@LupeFiasco’s #TetsuoAndYouth 1/20/15.” Atlantic never went on record confirming that the release date was prompted by Anonymous’ threat, still, the hacktivist group claims victory. Here’s what’s interesting: in 2010, Atlantic Records agreed to release Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers after fans of the emcee navigated the legal system and held a New York City sanctioned protest outside of the label’s headquarters. Somewhere some music executive is sitting back shook like, no one man should have all that power.

INSTAGRAM OF THE YEAR

Snoop Jokes On Iggy Azalea

It all started as a joke. It was supposed to be harmless and hilarious but instead, things escalated into a heated exchange. After Snoop Dogg posted a filtered photo of a sunburned woman with cornrows joined with the caption: “Iggy Azalea no make up” via Instagram, the actual I-G-G-Y found out. Instead of sharing an image of her own on Instagram, Iggy took to Twitter to air out the OG and his bodyguards. The social media sparring continued with Snoop Dogg sharing more Instagram images explaining the “beef” started playfully. Once the headlines reached T.I., he decided to squash his protege’s feud with a phone call to Snoop. No harm, no foul.

RUNNERS UP

50 Cent Claiming Floyd Mayweather Can’t Read
The ALS ice bucket challenge captivated the country during the year. So when 50 Cent set out to pour a bucket of ice cold water over his head, it seemed believable. But the rapper had other plans. Instead, Fif challenged undefeated boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. to read a single page of any Harry Potter book, offering to donate $750,000 if he completed the task. The champ declined Fif’s offer by posting a picture of two checks worth $72,276,000. We’re guessing there isn’t a written test with a reading portion to join the Money Team.

Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” Artwork
Nicki Minaj shut down the internet in July by sharing the racy cover art for her rump-shakin’ anthem, “Anaconda.” Once the image of Nicki — in a pink g-string and Jordan 6 Retro GS — surfaced online, it immediately went viral. From bedsheets, to phone covers, to your best friend’s desktop, Nicki’s booty was everywhere. Thankfully, the music video for the song packed just as much ass.

TREND WE’D LIKE TO SEE DIE

Hip Hop Defending Justin Bieber

The shocking part wasn’t that a video surfaced of Justin Bieber dropping N-bombs as part of a racist joke about Black people and chainsaws, nor the second video of him singing racism carols. The shocking part was the number of Hip Hop notables that sprinted to his defense as soon as the heat turned up on the Biebs. Young Money President, Mack Maine said Bieber “has legitimately adopted the culture of Hip Hop—African-American culture and doesn’t have a slave mentality.” Soulja Boy reasoned that since all of Bieber’s homie’s are Black, then he can’t be a racist (which worked about as well as it used to on Jerry Springer).Usher, Nick Cannon, Lord Jamar, you name it and chances are they chimed-in defending Justin Bieber’s naive, childish actions. Whether Justin Bieber is a racist at heart is between him and his convictions. But sincerely… who knew Hip Hop had that much love for a Canadian Pop singer?

RUNNERS UP

People Saying 2014 Was The Worst Year For Hip Hop Music

Better be careful what you toss into the echo chamber—you never know how shortsighted it will sound when it inevitably bounces back. If there’s a nominee for Rap Word Vomit Of The Year it’s the number of times artists have regurgitated the fallacy that 2014 is the worst year in Hip Hop history. Not only is that comment supremely difficult to digest for anyone old enough to remember Snap Music (which is just about everyone), but it immediately dismisses the incredible projects released by legacy acts Run The Jewels, Pharoahe Monch, Dilated Peoples, PRHyme,Jeezy. It immediately dismisses the supremely talented array of fresh faces releasing major label records like Logic, Vince Staples, Big K.R.I.T., ScHoolboy Q, J. Cole. It immediately dismisses the resurgence of female emcees, million dollar albums, apps for all and all of the other awesomeness 2014 delivered. If 2014 was a year of wackness, then the future’s so bright that even the nights are sunny.

Reunions That Produce Underwhelming Music

Sometimes it’s awesome when your favorite band gets back together. They blitz the media with tales of strife and triumph for a few weeks. They go on a mini tour or two and perform their greatest hits. The sheer excitement of it all is enough for the you from 10 years ago to do backflips in celebration. But when that reunion is marred by a batch of craptastic songs, it’s like a piece of your soul got smacked out of you never to return. Unfortunately in 2014, a couple of reunions left us with that exact feeling.

Previous Year-End Awards

The 2013 Year-End Awards

The 2012 Year-End Awards

The 2011 Year-End Awards

The 2010 Year-End Awards

The 2009 Year-End Awards

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Hopsin Reveals “The Truth” On Why He Claimed To Be Leaving The Music Industry (VIDEO)


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Hopsin

It turns out Hopsin was just trolling the Internet. He released a Dumb And  Dumber To inspired video announcing it was all a gag and his Pound Syndrome project is on the way in 2015.

[ALSO READ: Hopsin Calls It Quits, Moves To Australia]

Watch Hopsin’s video below.

Suspects who torched a tourist camp sought


An investor from the UK, Mr Peter Jones (left), briefs journalists who visited his Ndarakwai estate which also hosts a tourist camp recently. The property was reportedly torched by Masai herdsmen in November this year, causing a Sh1.5 billion loss. PHOTO | DANIEL MJEMA

By Daniel Mjema,The Citizen Reporter

IN SUMMARY

  • Last month, Maasai herdsmen set ablaze 16 tented camps, 11 vehicles and other properties all valued at Sh1.5bn. Now, authorities are searching for the suspects

Siha. The government has announced a manhunt in a bid to arrest people, including political leaders, who are alleged to be behind the recent torching of Ndarakwai Tourist Camp in Siha District, Kilimanjaro Region.

The camp, with a four star tourist hotel and a large zoo with various animals, is owned by a Briton, Mr Peter Jones.

In the incident which occurred on November 4, this year, 16 permanent tented camps, 11 vehicles and other properties all valued at Sh1.5 billion were set ablaze.

Talking to journalists yesterday, the Siha District Commissioner, Dr Charles Mlingwa, said they have started to gather information, which they would use to trace people suspected to have conspired and planned the attack on a private property.

“We’re continuing with the work of identifying these people who conspired, hatched and committed the crime which led to destruction of so much property. As the government, we believe that this was planned by some people,” he insisted.

According to the district commissioner, the camp is located in Siha District and not Longido as reported by some Maasai pastoralists recently. “Apparently, they used that information as a basis of invading and torching the camp on the pretext that the investor has encroached on their grazing area. But connecting this crime to border disputes is a simple way of looking for excuses to hide the crime which has been committed,” he said.

Dr Mlingwa said he has served as Hai District commissioner for three consecutive years and he cannot recall a single meeting of government or community leaders which discussed the border dispute involving the camp.

He insisted that until now, his office has no report on any border dispute between the investor and the pastoralists.

“We are not going to be averted by anything, the main issue here is that there are people who committed the crime and they should know that this is intolerable. We’re going to hunt them down whether they are in Siha or anywhere else. We’ll bring them to book,” he said.

Mr Jones said apart from the direct loss of property, the fire has made him lose business calculated at Sh210 million from tourists who had booked between November and March next year.

“I’m in my estate and I have a title deed to it. The surrounding villages and I know our borders. There is a need for the law to protect all people equally,” he said.

Girl gets Sh40m scholarship


Natural Resources and Tourism minister Lazaro Nyalandu (right), congratulates trainee pilot Anna Laroya (left) after she was given $25,000 for further training by the Managing Director of Game Frontiers (T) Ltd, Mr Mohsin Abdallah (centre) in Arusha recently. PHOTO |LUCAS LIGANGA.

By  Lucas Liganga,The Citizen Reporter

IN SUMMARY

  • The soft-spoken girl, who completed her initial training stint in South Africa, is set to undergo pilot training in the United States
  • Tanzania has only pilot schools in Dar es Salaam that train for Private Pilot Licences (PPL) for private uses–there is no commercial school. Recruitment of new pilots depends on airlines own set standards. But, in Tanzania, basically most pilots come from America, South Africa and Uganda, with some holding commercial licences with about 200 hours of flying. The airlines then mend the newly recruited pilots according to the internally set standards, which correspond to international standards.

Arusha. Thirty-two-year-old female trainee pilot Anna Laroya was all smiles on December 17 when she was awarded a $25,000 (about Sh42.5 million) scholarship by firms in the photographic and hunting tourism industry to pursue her training in the United States.

“I thank God. And this scholarship is a challenge for me to complete my training and become an accomplished pilot,” she said.

Ms Laroya is a wildlife management officer at the Arusha-based Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (Tawiri).

The soft-spoken Laroya completed her initial training stint in South Africa in 2010 and now with $25,000 she will proceed to the United States to complete her training.

Ms Laroya is not destined to fly commercial flights to world capitals, but her mission will be to fly wildlife research and anti-poaching aircraft.

The money given to her was part of over $50,000 donated by 15 members of the Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (Tahoa) and the Tanzania Safari Operators Association (Tasoa) to cover the training of the pilot, $10,000 as condolences to bereaved families of four pilots who were killed in a helicopter accident in Dar es Salaam recently, and the remaining for wildlife research at Tawiri.

The donation was presented to the minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, by the managing director of Game Frontiers (T) Limited, Mr Mohsin Abdallah.

Mr Abdallah said Tahoa and Tasoa will work closely with the government and other stakeholders towards wildlife conservation in the country.

“Today we have decided to contribute towards the training of our young pilot to enhance our anti-poaching activities and to improve research in wildlife,” said Mr Abdallah, adding: “The contributions will be continuous.”

Mr Nyalandu thanked members of Tahoa and Tasoa for their contribution, saying his ministry was working tirelessly to increase the number of pilots and helicopters to be involved in anti-poaching activities.

The minister reiterated his distress at the deaths of the four young pilots who died while on training, saying: “Their lives were cut short while their services were mostly needed.”

“The government will continue to boost its air power in the fight against poaching,” said Mr Nyalandu, adding that his ministry was in the process of acquiring a total of seven pilots and not less than five helicopters in the near future.

Fake infant formula hits stores as genuine remains out of stock


    • A brand of Lactogen baby formula  PHOTO | THE CITIZEN PHOTOJOURNALIST

      By Saumu Mwalimu,The Citizen Reporter

      IN SUMMARY

      • Another brand of Lactogen baby formula which has not been registered by the regulator is on the market

      Dar es Salaam. Unscrupulous traders have taken advantage of the shortage of baby formulas to import and sell uncertified products, The Citizen on Saturday can report.

      This plot enables them to cash in from unsuspecting and apprehensive mothers who for more than three months now have been looking for the products but in vain.

      About three weeks ago The Citizen on Saturdayexclusively reported panic among lactating mothers after importers of Lactogen conceded the shortage of the product. Mothers were also looking for other popular brands like S-26 and SMA, which have also run out of stock.

      Further investigations by this paper have established that some traders have imported in the country another brand of Lactogen baby formula which has not been registered by the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA).

      The authority has since warned people to be wary of the new brand, which they can easily identify through its labelling.

      Unlike the registered brand whose instructions are in English and Kiswahili, the circulating product has its instructions printed in English and French.

      Speaking to this reporter recently, the spokesperson of TFDA, Ms Gaudencia Simwanza, said the matter has also been brought to their attention and urged mothers to be very careful when buying powdered milk for their babies.

      “They should look for brands whose labels have been written in Kiswahili and English, that should be the number one indication that the product has our blessings. Kiswahili is the language that most mothers in our country understand,” she cautioned.

      According to her, manufacturers have been given the condition of not using images of a healthy baby on the containers of infant formulas. The rationale, she said, is to discourage mothers from believing that the formulas are better than mother’s milk. Lactating mothers are encouraged to as much as possible breastfeed their babies. This, she said was another indicator that mothers should watch out.

      Third, the formulas should not have any pictures of toys and last the instructions should be printed in the steel cane and not the paper label.

      “Infant formula is one of the high risk products and because the person using it cannot communicate until the effects are shown up using various body signs, therefore, TFDA is keen to make sure that only safe products reach our market. Mothers should be careful when they reach the store counters, otherwise they should consult the doctors before changing to another brand to prevent their babies from any allergy development,” said Ms Simwanza.

      The spokesperson also dealt a blow to mothers who have also been looking for another popular brand, SMA, which is also out of stock in many shops. She noted that the popular powdered milk was not in the list of products registered by TFDA.

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