Lonzo Ball Says These Are His Top 5 Rappers at the Moment

Last year, someone dug up a 2016 tweet from Lonzo Ball where he ranked his top five all-time rappers. The list included Lil Wayne, Future, DMX, 50 Cent, and Tupac. As you would expect, it received its fair share of controversy.

Nearly two years since that tweet was posted, Ball was asked to give his current list of top five rappers. Since Lonzo recently dropped his album Born 2 Ball, we expected him to go full Dylan and name himself in all five spots. However, Ball provided an actual list, and it goes as follows: Future, Drake, Quavo, Offset, and 21 Savage.

Since the question started off by pointing out that Ball was currently in Atlanta, the “capital of hip-hop,” it’s hard to determine if that lead-in was the reason behind the Atlanta-centric list. Considering Ball named Future on his all-time rappers list, it's no surprise that he would include him alongside Drake, Quavo, Offset, and 21 Savage. 

Drake has been arguably one of the most consistent rappers over the last couple of years, so it makes sense to have him on the list. Quavo's name was attached to two of the most highly anticipated projects of the last few months in Culture II and Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho. Offset (who was obviously also on Culture II) and 21 Savage dropped their surprise project Without Warning not too long back.

Each list is subjective, so we can't knock Lonzo too much for what he considers to be his favorite rappers at the moment. But all we want to know is where's the love for Kendrick Lamar? K. Dot released the Grammy-nominated Damn last year and served as co-executive producer on Black Panther: The Album. Where is the disconnect? That's all we want to know. 

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Diddy Crops Out French & Fab, Can Tekashi 69 Last In Music Industry? | Everyday Struggle

On today’s #EverydayStruggle, DJ Akademiks, Nadeska, and STAR debated about whether or not Boosie and Kevin Gates ending their beef is a good thing, if DMX can get help, if streaming services are really paying artists, and more. The crew wrapped the show with a debate about whether or not Tekashi 69 can stick around in the music industry. 

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Kodak Black Takes Playful Jab at Jay Z

Hip-hop’s generation gap has never been more prominent. While old heads constantly question the skills and originality of the new wave, the new wave disregards the old heads as out of touch and irrelevant. It’s an intense debate that has resulted in some controversial statements from each side trying to defend their respective era’s superiority. And now, Kodak Black has entered the old vs. new discussion with a bold—and almost laughable—argument: He suggests his lyrics are better than those of Jay Z

Take a minute to let that soak in. Yes, he’s comparing himself to Jay Z—the Grammy-winning, platinum-selling hip-hop mogul whose discography spans more than two decades. But hey, it might also just be Kodak messing around or trolling, as some call it. 

Kodak made a post to Instagram titled “Rap in the 90’s [sic] vs. rap now” with a side-by-side photo of him and Jay above their own lyrics. The post featured the hook from Hov’s 1998 “Money, Cash, Hoes” song featuring DMX and compared it to the hook on Kodak’s 2016 “I Can” track. The Painting Pictures rapper captioned the image: “Real Shit B Goin On .. None Of Dat Hopscotch Shit.”

 

Real Shit B Goin On .. None Of Dat Hopscotch Shit

A post shared by Project Baby (@kodakblack) on Dec 12, 2017 at 10:40am PST

Kodak tried it. Though we doubt this is a serious jab, many fans were quick to call out Kodak for attempting to prove his lyrical skills were better than those of Shawn “I’ve sold more than 100 million records” Carter.

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That Time Kobe Bryant Helped a Childhood Friend Record With Jay Z

Back in the late 1990s, Kobe Bryant tried hard—very hard—to get his rap career off the ground. Even though Kobe was still just a few years into his NBA career and even though he should have, in theory, been spending more time on the basketball court than in the studio, he spent a ridiculous amount of time, energy, and money recording his debut album, Visions. It was an album that went through many different iterations with Kobe creating an underground-sounding project first before his label Sony Entertainment made him switch things up and make something more commercial. And it was also an album that eventually got shelved, meaning Kobe essentially put forth a ton of effort for, well, nothing.

There was at least one good thing that came out of Kobe’s rap career, though (and no, it wasn’t this). Kobe’s childhood friend Russell “Russ” Howard, who served as one of the main producers on Kobe’s ill-fated project, spoke with Bleacher Report recently and talked about what it was like to work with Kobe. He documented how hard Kobe worked on the album, the serious approach he took to honing his craft, and the disappointment they all felt when Sony pulled the plug on the project. But he also pointed out that, on a personal level, Kobe played an instrumental role in helping him land the biggest beat placement of his entire career.

It seems Kobe loved what Russ came up with for his album and thought he should be working with other rappers, too. So one day, while Kobe was on the set of the music video for Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker,” he stepped to Jay Z and told him about the producer. And even though Kobe wasn’t exactly an established voice when it came to dishing out music recommendations, Hov listened to what he had to say and ended up working with Russ.

From the B/R piece:

Howard and Bryant were in constant communication about what direction they wanted to pursue. Bryant, so happy with his friend's work, approached Jay Z on the set of the “Heartbreaker” music video and recommended the legendary rapper to check out his friend. Not long after, Howard was working with Brooklyn's own on Vol. 3 Life and Times of S. Carter, producing the beats of “S. Carter” and “There's Been a Murder.”

And Russ wasn’t the only one of Kobe's producers who ended up on Jay Z’s Vol. 3. Back in 2013, Grantland ran a lengthy story about the “secret history” of Kobe’s rap career, and it included a small nugget buried deep in the footnotes about how another producer Kobe was working with at the time also ended up doing some work for Jay Z before working with other Roc-A-Fella artists. Sean “S-Dot” Francis, a producer from Philadelphia, worked alongside Russ on the same two Vol. 3 tracks after a chance meeting with Jay Z during a studio session with Kobe.

From the Grantland piece:

“Kobe is in the booth rapping,” Francis says. “All of a sudden, I look in the reflection of the booth and I see this diamond chain—all diamonds—with a Rocawear shirt. Then I heard someone say, 'It sounds like you know what you’re doing in there.' And it was Jay Z. [Sony A&R] Lenny Nicholson told Kobe to come out of the booth. Kobe was like, 'What’s up?' Jay said, 'I heard you’re doing big things.' He’s like, 'Yeah, I’m getting it together.' Jay’s like, 'Let me hear what you got.' So we played him some things and he asked us if we produced…Next thing you know, [Russell and I] did two beats [“S. Carter” and “There’s Been a Murder”] on Vol. 3…The Life and Times of S. Carter.”

After working with Jay Z, Howard went on to work with DMX, Lupe Fiasco, Paul Wall, and more. Francis, meanwhile, landed beats on projects from Beanie Sigel, State Property, and others. So hey, at least Kobe’s debut album wasn’t a total waste, right?

Oh, and if you’re wondering where the songs from that album ended up after it got shelved, Howard provided B/R with the answer. “They’re out there,” he said. “Ray Donovan has them.”

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It Sounds Like Lonzo Ball Is Taking This Rap Thing Pretty Seriously

Los Angeles Lakers' Lonzo Ball is set to drop new music soon. Ball, who's made headlines recently with his 21 Savage and Jay Z comparisons, opened up about his musical ambitions in a new interview with XXL. Ball discussed his early musical influences, the importance of Lil Wayne, and his future plans.

As a kid, Ball revealed, he listened to “a lot” of 50 Cent and DMX. “Those were probably the two main rappers I was listening to when I was young, but my favorite rapper has always been Lil Wayne,” Ball said. As for why Weezy stands tallest among his influences, Ball said he feels the Young Money boss has remained consistent with his output. “Lyrically, he's definitely one of my favorites to do it,” he said. “I need him to be free so he could put that other album out for me, but he's already put a lot towards the game.” Ball credits his father, a devoted 2Pac fan, for introducing him to music.

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As for his plans to follow his debut single “Melo Ball 1,” Ball revealed he's currently working on new music. In fact, the next Lonzo Ball release will be backed by the family-owned Big Baller Music Group. “I won't be able to to do so since I'm focused on the NBA season ahead, but definitely one of my dad's close people that he works with will handle the record label,” Ball said. So far, Ball hasn't enlisted any guests for the mystery project.

Ball also noted what he's been listening to the most recently, including 21 Savage's Issa Album and Lil Uzi Vert's Luv Is Rage 2. Check out the full interview here.

Ball turned a few purists' heads earlier this month with his Nas comments. Nas, however, apparently has no idea who Lonzo Ball even is.

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DMX Placed on House Arrest After Failing Four Drug Tests

The latest development in DMX's tax evasion case finds the rapper finally catching a break. After pleading not guilty back in July, X was let out on bond but faced strict conditions, including travel restrictions. However, he violated that last part with a trip to St. Louis—a trip that might have landed him in jail.

However, on Friday morning the judge took it easy on DMX, keeping him out of jail despite his travel violation—and despite the fact that the Ruff Ryders icon failed four separate drug tests for marijuana and cocaine, according to TMZ.

Instead, X was placed on house arrest and ordered to wear an ankle bracelet. TMZ reports that the conditions are so strict that he can't even go outside to mow the lawn.

DMX is accused of hiding millions of bucks in income from the government in order to avoid taxes. In all, the U.S. attorney's office says the alleged “multi-year scheme” had X skipping out on a $1.7 million tax bill.

“For years, Earl Simmons, the recording artist and performer known as DMX, made millions from his chart-topping songs, concert performances and television shows. But while raking in millions from his songs, including his 2003 hit 'X Gon' Give it to Ya,' DMX didn’t give any of it to the IRS,” wrote Joon Kim, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who was probably working on that joke for weeks. “Far from it, DMX allegedly went out of his way to evade taxes, including by avoiding personal bank accounts, setting up accounts in other’s names and paying personal expenses largely in cash.”

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DMX Pleads Not Guilty to Tax Evasion Charges

DMX was released from jail Friday after pleading not guilty to 14 counts of tax evasion.

According to the Washington Post, the 46-year-old rapper was let out on a $500,000 bond that required two co-signers; however, he must abide by court-imposed travel restrictions that prohibit him from leaving NYC unless he is cleared to perform in other areas. Additionally, DMX is prohibited from carrying a firearm while on bail and will be under strict drug testing.

The rapper spoke to reporters Friday as he was leaving federal court in NYC.

“It’s allowed me to not be scared of the situation and face it head-on, you know what I’m saying?” he said as he stood by his attorney, Murray Richman. “My life is in God’s hands.”

DMX turned himself into federal authorities Thursday after he was accused of conducting a multi-year scheme to avoid paying $1.7 million in taxes. The IRS accused the artist of providing false information on bankruptcy forms as well as using other people’s bank accounts to hide his earnings. The rapper is now facing up to 44 years in federal prison if found guilty.

Despite the legal drama, DMX told reporters he still plans to headline the 2017 Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival on Saturday night.

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DMX Has Been Arrested for Tax Evasion

Things aren’t looking too good for DMX.

Nearly three months after reportedly checking into rehab, the 46-year-old is now facing 14 counts of tax evasion. He surrendered to federal authorities Thursday and is scheduled to appear in federal court Friday in Manhattan.

According to Billboard, the rapper has been accused of concealing millions of dollars of income from the IRS to avoid paying $1.7 million in taxes. Joon Kim, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, released a statement outlining DMX's “multi-year scheme.”

“For years, Earl Simmons, the recording artist and performer known as DMX, made millions from his chart-topping songs, concert performances and television shows. But while raking in millions from his songs, including his 2003 hit ‘X Gon’ Give it to Ya,’ DMX didn’t give any of it to the IRS,” Kim wrote. “Far from it, DMX allegedly went out of his way to evade taxes, including by avoiding personal bank accounts, setting up accounts in other’s names and paying personal expenses largely in cash.”

Prosecutors also accused DMX of providing false information on bankruptcy court documents. He allegedly listed his 2011 and 2012 earnings as “unknown,” and listed his 2013 income as $10,000; it was later revealed he had earned hundreds of thousands of dollars each of those years.

The indictment also states the rapper refused to film the reality show Celebrity Couples Therapy until he was reissued a $125,000 check that had no withholding taxes.

“Celebrity rapper or not, all Americans must pay their taxes,” Kim wrote, “and together with our partners at the IRS, we will pursue those who deliberately and criminally evade this basic obligation of citizenship.”

If convicted, DMX could face up to 44 years in federal prison.

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Gunner Stahl Talks Photographing Gucci Mane and Getting Turned Down by DMX | The Culture

In just a few years Gunner Stahl has gone from a name to know in the photography world to being one of the elite photographers documenting some of the biggest names in hip-hop. On top of that, he's also released two photo books, shot a magazine cover, and hosted a number of gallery exhibits.

Even with the rapid success, it's safe to say his biggest moment has yet be captured. In the debut episode of The Culture, Complex's own Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins links up with the 25-year-old photographer to find out how he got to this point, and where he's going next.

Stahl's work behind the lens began at the age of 18 when he bought his first camera. He didn't get into portraits of musical acts until 2014 when he shot Wiz Khalifa after the Pittsburgh rapper had just dyed his hair purple. That moment inspired him to pursue photography more seriously.

Gunner Stahl
Image via Complex Original/Photography by Andy Hur

After a quick stop at a camera shop, Stahl and Jinx hit the studio for a photography session with ATL rapper Rich the Kid. There Stahl highlights the importance of trust between photographer and subject, and reveals his favorite commissioned gig was doing the cover art for Playboi Carti's self-titled debut mixtape.

Stahl also admits he got turned down by a high profile figure: “DMX… got me hyped bro.”

Check out the full episode above, where Gunner Stahl talks about capturing the moment Gucci Mane and Young Thug reunited after Mane was released from prison, and why he's inspired by photographer Chi Modu. Subscribe to Complex to catch more episodes of The Culture, and keep up with Stahl's latest moves on Instagram.

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Lonzo Ball Dragged for Old Tweet Featuring His Top 5 Rappers of All Time List

Like most kids his age, Lonzo Ball likes rap music. He likes rap music so much that he dropped a freestyle over Drake’s “Free Smoke” recently. There’s even a chance that he’s going to continue to pursue a rap career once he enters the NBA in June. But does he really know rap music?

That question came under heavy debate on Tuesday night after someone dug up an old tweet that Ball put up listing his top five rappers of all time. Ball posted his list back in May 2016. It featured Lil Wayne, Future, DMX, 50 Cent, and 2Pac on it.

Now, everyone is entitled to their own top 5 list. It’s part of what makes all the debates that take place over top 5 lists so much fun. But pretty much everything Ball says and does at this point creates some level of controversy, so of course, there were plenty of people who were outraged with his list.

Some people questioned why Future was on it:

Others wondered why 2Pac was so low on it:

And there were a whole lot of people who suggested other names that they believed should have appeared on the list:

But mostly, people just clowned Ball’s list with one meme after another to show their disapproval of it:

For what it’s worth, Ball is, at the very least, consistent with his top 5 list. In March, he made an appearance on Chris Broussard’s In the Zone podcast and provided the same exact list when he was asked to name his top 5 rappers of all time. You can hear him talk about it at the 2-minute mark here:

Ball also released his list of his top 5 rappers “rn” one day before dropping his top 5 rappers of all time list. You can check that out here:

We don’t know if we would necessarily agree with either of Ball’s lists. But he is 19. So are people really that surprised to see some of the names on them?

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