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.
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.”
January 27, 2017 brought the arrival of the Migos album Culture. Aided by a hit single in “Bad and Boujee” and a timely shout out from Donald Glover, the project gave the Atlanta trio their first No. 1 album with 131,000 equivalent album units sold during its first week of release. Now there are strong indicators Quavo, Takeoff and Offset are gearing up for a repeat.
An attendee captured footage from what appears to be Future’s Nobody’s Safe tour stop in Mountain View, California. During the set, Quavo could clearly be heard chanting, “Culture II dropping soon.”
Migos wit a lil freestyle at the end of bad and boujee and hint at “Culture 2” Quavo says culture 2 comin soon😱💯💯💯 pic.twitter.com/Exb11Mwaad
The choice to release another album would be a somewhat curious one, as Culture singles “Bad and Boujee,” “Slippery” and “T-Shirt” currently occupy spots on Billboard magazine’s “Hot 100” chart. Katy Perry’s “Bon Appetit,” Calvin Harris’ “Slide” and Lil Yachty’s “Peek A Boo” also feature Migos, while Quavo and Offset can be found as featured artists on singles ranging from Gucci Mane’s “Met Gala” to 2 Chainz’s “Good Drank.”
As one of the most visible women on the planet, Rihanna deals with criticism from all angles. Her musical output, the clothes she wears, and who she hangs out with are all fodder for discussion, even if she's just trying to enjoy a casual night out to dinner.
Lately, that has included her weight. A since-deleted post at Barstool titled “Is Rihanna Going to Make Being Fat the Hot New Trend?” took aim at what it claimed was some recent weight gain from the pop star, and the post was so bad it forced a statement from the site's founder and led to the suspension of the post's author.
A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on Jun 5, 2017 at 11:02am PDT
The pop star has always been comfortable living her life and shrugging off criticism from detractors, and this situation is no different. Rihanna doesn't have to remain silent in the face of trash talk from the supermarket store-brand version of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and using Gucci Mane as a comparison also highlights some of the inherent sexism in this situation.
As a female pop star, Rihanna is judged by standards of beauty other artists are not susceptible to, and her appearance is wildly over-scrutinized. It's a battle she and other women have been fighting for years.
We all have our own standards for beauty, but that doesn't mean we have to pass those on or force them on others. Sharing the before and after picture of Gucci is a much shorter way of making that statement for Rihanna, and it sends a powerful message about body image. Never let anyone tell you how you're supposed to feel about the way you look.
Floyd Mayweather is not the type of guy to shy away from controversial statements. When you're the undefeated, undisputed champion, the trash talk tends to fly, and Mayweather is always happy to share his thoughts with you on a given topic.
In a sprawling discussion with DJ Whoo Kid that touched on Mayweather's potential fight with Conor McGregor and his success as a businessman, the boxer's most interesting comments came after he was asked about the current hip-hop scene. After acknowledging how everyone's tastes change as they get older—and a mention from Whoo Kid of Floyd's relationship with Future—Mayweather went in on the rap scene today.
“Now it's OK to be a junkie,” said Mayweather. “This is crazy that it's OK to O.D. on drugs, it's OK to take any drugs now, it's OK to be a junkie. And the legendary rappers like to stick to what they talk [about]. When you go back and really listen to the legendary rappers, this is timeless music. Guys like Biggie, guys like Pac, timeless music.”
The bit about rappers today being junkies is quite a controversial statement, especially when you consider Mayweather's relationship with some of today's favorites. In the summer of 2016, Mayweather claimed that he nearly signed Future to a record deal, and the rapper's open acknowledgment of his drug use didn't stop Floyd from having Future play his daughter's 16th birthday party.
While you can follow Mayweather's point to an extent—you've probably already heard the chorus for “Mask Off”—there's just as good a chance he's saying this to stir the pot. He seemed to shrug off his hot-and-cold relationship with 50 Cent during the interview, even going so far as to say 50 should have won more awards when he was at his peak. It's possible trash talk is the only way Mayweather knows how to show someone respect, hence the junkie comments.
Of course, what the world is really waiting for is but Mayweather's return to the ring, and not his rap music takes. Though Conor McGregor is talking tough and trying to bait Floyd into just signing a deal, Mayweather seemed like his usual patient self on the business side of things.
“He's entitled to feel how he wants to feel,” said Mayweather. “Once I get back to Las Vegas, to my hub, we'll find out how everything plays out.”
You can listen to more audio from the interview courtesy of Whoo Kid up top, and the verbal jousting will have to sustain Mayweather fans for now, because he doesn't sound like he's in a rush to box.
The police report for Tiger Woods'DUI arrest has been released, and it appears his claim that alcohol wasn't involved might be correct. Breathalyzer tests on the report came back with a .000 rating, which changes the context of his arrest.
Woods' police report, released early Tuesday morning, noted Woods was “slow, sluggish, very slurred,” but maintained Woods was cooperative as possible throughout the process. You can view a copy of the police report below:
Tiger Woods was found asleep at the wheel and had to be woken up, according to police; scored a .000 on two breathalyzer tests. pic.twitter.com/wW1LnUWXy5
Subsequent documents paint a more vivid picture of what transpired at the scene. According to local news outlet WPTV, Woods was found asleep at the wheel with the vehicle running and his seatbelt on. The golfer claimed to be on his way home from California and that he had no idea where he was when he was arrested. A probable cause affidavit disputes this version of events, and said Woods “changed his story of where he was going and where he was coming from.”
Woods was also reportedly asked to take road sobriety tests once the police found him disoriented in his vehicle. The police report noted he had trouble standing on one leg while touching a finger to his nose, and police say they had to give him instructions multiple times before he successfully said the alphabet backwards. Woods allegedly thought he had to recite the national anthem backwards.
Though this new information doesn't necessarily mean he will avoid a DUI conviction—the prescription drugs he claimed to use could still qualify—it adds another wrinkle to the story, and may change public reaction.
Along with the new record, 2 Chainz has unveiled the full tracklist for Pretty Girls Like Trap Music. Guests on the 16-song project include Nicki Minaj, Migos, Pharrell, and Swae Lee. Drake also pops up on “Big Amount,” which 2 Chainz previously released on his 2016 mixtape Daniel Son; Necklace Don.
Check out “4 AM” and the tracklist for Pretty Girls Like Trap Music below. The project, due out June 16, is available for pre-order on iTunes.
1. “Saturday Night”
2. “Riverdale Rd”
3. “Good Drank” f/ Gucci Mane and Quavo
4. “4 AM” f/ Travis Scott
5. “Door Swangin”
6. “Realize” f/ Nicki Minaj
7. “Poor Fool” f/ Swae Lee
8. “Big Amount” f/ Drake
9. “It’s a Vibe” f/ Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz, and Jhené Aiko
10. “Rolls Royce Bitch”
11. “Sleep When U Die”
12. “Trap Check”
13. Blue Cheese f/ Migos
14. “OG Kush Diet”
15. “Bailan” f/ Pharrell
16. “Burglar Bars” f/ Monica
During this weekend's Billboard Music Awards, it was Sway who point-blank asked Lil Uzi Vert what was up with Luv Is Rage 2. Uzi's response was a simple… and confusing: “It'll be out soon. Like, really soon. Like sooner than soon.”
What does soon mean in rapper time? That's hard to say. Travis Scott recently said he'd be dropping new music “in a few days,” which turned into three songs being posted on his SoundCloud… 10 days later. With his insane tour schedule (and some legal trouble), we can understand Travis not being able to make it to SoundCloud-dot-com to bless the masses with new material. Uzi? Uzi's been teasing Luv Is Rage 2, the sequel to 2015's Luv Is Rage, since late 2016, though.
For true Uzi fans, how soon is “soon”?
And while we're on the subject, what do we really know about Luv Is Rage 2? If you've followed Lil Uzi Vert on Instagram, you've probably heard a grip of tracks from this project, and the anticipation is high as hell right now, especially for diehard Uzi fans (including those of the “shoot up my school because I don't have your project” variety). Let's cut the bullshit and figure out everything we know about Luv Is Rage 2.
Again, let Lil Uzi Vert tell it, Luv Is Rage 2 is going to be out “soon.” His Twitter bio says “coming Soon,” he told Sway that it'd be dropping “sooner than soon,” and while I don't know what it means to tweet your project title next to a sleepy face emoji and a fire emoji, something tells me that too might just mean “soon.”
Let DJ Don Cannon (who co-founded the Generation Now label that Uzi calls home), though, the project isn't coming out “no time soon.” At least, that's what he said in April of 2017. “If you didn’t hear, Luv Is Rage  is not dropping no time soon. It’s not going to be a long time from now, but not within this month. We still working on the album. It’s a process. You got to make the album, mix the album, master the album. Put it out. That takes time when you’re perfecting it.”
During his livestream, Don Cannon also spoke on how Uzi's massive hit “XO Tour Llif3” would be getting a special guest when it hits Luv Is Rage 2, but as of right now, there's no word on WHO this guest will be. Judging by his recent output, Uzi could have everyone from Migos to ASAP Rocky to Iggy Azalea to Travis Scott and Gucci Mane on Luv Is Rage 2. Hell, he might get on his EDM shit and do something new with Steve Aoki. Both Young Thug and Wiz Khalifa were on the first Luv Is Rage release as well, so it'd be safe to assume that one of them would be on this.
In terms of producers, we'd assume that Don Cannon would be all over it, as well as Sonny Digital, TM88, FKi, and the other producers from the first Luv Is Rage. Uzi's Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World also featured beats from Metro Boomin and WondaGurl, and beatsmiths like Zaytoven and Nard & B were on The Perfect Luv Tape. We feel like somewhere in the middle of these producers (plus some surprises) will make up how Luv Is Rage 2 will sound.
This is the area we know least about. The only confirmed track on Luv Is Rage 2 is “XO Tour Llif3,” but it was also a part of the four-track Luv Is Rage 1.5 EP that dropped on Feb. 26, 2017. During the last few months, Uzi has spent time previewing track after track on Instagram. Of course, none of these have had track titles, but there's some heat in these snippets.
A post shared by @liluzivert on Nov 27, 2016 at 6:45pm PST
Hopefully most of these are on Luv Is Rage 2… or drop at some point.
This is an important moment for Uzi. After making a name for himself via his 2016 grind, this is truly the year he should be shining in. “XO Tour Llif3” proved without a shadow of a doubt that he has widely-appealing tracks at his disposal. Problem is, he's going to have to raise the bar in terms of his hit-making ability. “XO Tour Llif3” can't be the only gem on this project.
Mike Will Made-It has had no trouble building a production empire without the assistance of Kendrick Lamar. The Georgia native's influence on music has been vast over the last few years, with the superproducer teaming up with everyone from Miley Cyrus to Future.
When you're bouncing from job-to-job (in a good way!) like he has, there's bound to be work you produced with one artist in mind that ended up being a better fit with someone else. That appears to be the case on “Humble,” Kendrick's first ever No. 1 single as a lead artist and the first single for Damn. Mike Will told NPR when he first made the beat, it was with Gucci Mane in mind:
I made that beat [last year] when Gucci Mane was getting out of jail; I made it with him in mind. I was just thinking, damn, Gucci's about to come home; it's got to be something urgent that's just going to take over the radio. And I felt like that beat was that.
I ended up not doing it with Gucci and I let Kendrick hear it. I was thinking, if Dot gets on this it'll be his first time being heard on some[thing] like this. At the same time, it kind of has an NWA/Dr. Dre feel, an Eminem kind of feel. So I thought, let me see if Dot f**** with it. And he heard the beat and he liked it.
When you hear the beat kick in on “Humble,” it does sound a lot more up Gucci's alley than Kendrick's. Coming off a jazzy project like To Pimp A Butterfly, the trap-inspired beats on Damn represent a change of pace for K-Dot. Don't expect any ice cream tattoos on Kendrick's face anytime soon, but he has proven he can weave in and out of different styles with the best in the game; in his early days, Kendrick even flipped a Gucci sample into a song about materialistic obsessions.
Mike Will also shared a story about the creation of “DNA,” a fan favorite and the second single from Damn. Impossible though it may sound, the producer claims he only made the beat for “DNA” after Kendrick rapped the entire song a cappella and challenged him to build the production around his voice.
“[Kendrick] said, 'I just want to see if you can put some drums around this,'” said Mike Will. “I said, 'Man, hell yeah.' But he was going so hard; that man was rapping so crazy. Just imagine him a cappella rapping the second half of 'DNA.' and I had to build a beat around that.”
That creative process would explain the dramatic change-up halfway through “DNA”; Kendrick transitions rather quickly from a laid-back, conventional flow to artillery fire on the mic, and it necessitates a shift in the song's mood. Thankfully, Mike Will was there to guide the song where it needed to go.
The two have reportedly spent countless hours in the studio before they officially put it on wax for Damn. Hopefully the success of “Humble” and “DNA” inspires more collaborations between the hip-hop heavyweights in the future.
Wifisfuneral has been grinding for years, growing a dedicated fan base and racking up millions of streams. He released his album When Hell Fallsearlier this year and signed to Alamo/Interscope in March, so it's safe to say that the Florida rapper is in a great spot right now.
While he was in New York, Wifisfuneral stopped by to explain where his unique rap name came from, what it means, and why a good name is so important in 2017. “I think I fucking suck at picking names,” he admits, also breaking down his previous rap names that were inspired by artists like Earl Sweatshirt and Gucci Mane.