This summer Lonzo Ball will be traveling to Lithuania to perform his first ever rap concert. Going to an Eastern European country for your debut rap concert would seem to be a bizarre move, until you consider that his two brothers are currently playing professional basketball over there. (Actually it still seems kind of odd, but whatever.)
Lonzo's announcement came as his dad, LaVar, was giving out the award for Hip-Hop Act of the Year at the M.A.M.A. Awards (which TMZ describes as being like the “Lithuanian Grammys”). He then introduced his oldest son via a prerecorded video:
For those who are either unaware or in need of a reminder, Lonzo has performed and recorded a number of songs (under the name “Zo”), including “Super Saiyan”:
Just days after he delivered “5IVE STAR$” and “ABOVE,” the Harlem rapper came through with a new track called “Money Bags Freestyle.” The song was shared on AWGE’s official Soundcloud account Thursday night and was paired with the updated cover art for his upcoming album (presumably called Dummie).
The song’s description read: “THIS IS A TEST,” just like the descriptions of the previously released tracks. The Dummie title and bright yellow cover art are obvious references to crash dummy tests, which led many fans to wonder if these cuts were, in fact, official singles, or if Rocky was simply “testing” out a new sound. The rapper later took to Instagram to clear up the confusion: “What five star and above were #dummies #asaprocky #ThatsWhyTheyreFree.”
In October of 2017, he dished about his upcoming album in an interview with GQ, explaining that it was all about “testing new sounds.”
“People are scared to test new sounds, so they go with what’s current ’cause it’s the easy thing to do. The top 100 songs sound a certain way. People cater more to that because it’s a bigger demographic behind that, or it’s a guaranteed demographic behind that,” he explained. “I prefer to experiment and have my crowd grow with me and to reach new crowds. I don’t just rap—I actually make music. That’s why it takes time. These sonics represent me.”
While we wait for more details about Rocky's new project, you can listen to the “Money Bags Freestyle” below. The track features Babyfather’s “Meditation” produced by Dean Blunt and Arca.
Tuesday night was historic because The Diplomats reunited again at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York for Spotify’s RapCaviar Live showcase. The Dips weren’t alone as they shared the stage with ASAP Mob and Highbridge the Label, featuring artists A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Don Q. Building off the momentum of their Heatmakerz-produced track “Once Upon a Time” that dropped earlier this month, it seems like a Dipset takeover is back in full effect.
Backstage at the show, Juelz Santana revealed some news about a major collaboration. Captured by hip-hop personality ItsBizkit, Santana is on FaceTime with Drake talking about a future song with Lil Wayne. The conversation turns into talking possible joints from Drake for the guys to hop on. The Dips and Drizzy? Needless to say, this should sound pretty dope.
“Get Throwed” is a landmark song for Houston rap music, and means much more beyond being a massive single off Bun B's first solo album, Trill. After UGK linked up with Jay Z on 2000's “Big Pimpin,” they were catapulted to a new level of fame, so Jay coming back and returning the favor with a feature only felt right.
But there's apparently a little bit more history to the song than we knew. During a new interview on the Rap Radar Podcast, Bun B confessed that Jay's appearance wasn't as innocent as it may have seemed on first glance. The Houston legend says Jay was clapping at someone on “Get Throwed,” and it sounds like it may have been someone close to him.
“If you listen to 'Get Throwed,' to Jay's verse—to some people it's going to be clearer than others—but there were shots fired in bars 8-12, and there were more shots from bars 12-16,” Bun B explains. “This was before [Nas]. This was more internal. You go back and listen to it, that's the only clue I'm going to give you.”
There are only 15 bars in Jay's verse, so we'll have to assume Bun meant 12-15 in his claim. But this begs the question: who the hell was Jay firing at on “Get Throwed,” and why? First, let's parse through the actual lyrics in question, starting from bar eight.
The competition is none, they deceased to exist
Let it breathe a little bit
He's off his rocker, he's a lil schiz'
Throwed like a football, Hov' used to cook raw
Now I got the game sewn like granny's good shawl
Pshaw, y'all niggas want war
Y'all got it backwards, y'all should want raw
Y'all should want more
The timeline suggested by Bun makes it really difficult to tell. Though “Get Throwed” came out in 2005, Bun claims this is something that came “before” his beef with Nas. What that means is anyone's guess; is Bun referring to how far Jay's relationship with the person goes back, or the period in which Jay was angered enough to pen these bars?
Things only really started to pick up between Jay and Nas around the turn of the century, but they had been trading subliminal shots for a lot of the mid-to-late 1990's. If Jay's animosity for someone in his crew goes back that far, it has to be someone real close. Either that, or Bun doesn't have the best grasp of the timeline, but he's the narrator here, so we gotta roll with it a little bit.
Here are a few of the strongest candidates.
I know, I know, Bun insists this is not about Nas. But you have to raise the question any time a Jay diss from that time period is mentioned, and it's not totally unfounded.
It's unclear whether the line about being a “lil schiz'” (short for schizophrenic) is referring to Jay himself or the person in question, but duplicity is something Jay attacked Nas hard for during their infamous battle. He referenced it briefly on “Takeover,” when he told the story about showing Nas his first Tec-9, but went even further on the title track of Blueprint 2. “Is it 'Oochie Wally Wally' or is it 'One Mic'? Is it 'Black Girl Lost' or shorty owe you for ice?”
The reference to “war” was also a trademark of his beef with the Queensbridge native. “If you want war then it's war it's gon' be,” he said on the BP2 intro, and he told the “little soldier” he wasn't ready for war on “Takeover.” There's a lot of circumstantial evidence suggesting Nas is the party in question.
But we'll take Bun's word for it on this one, and besides, by 2006 the two rappers were linking up for a song on Hip Hop Is Dead, the infamous “Black Republicans.” I doubt they'd be working together a year after “Get Throwed” if the battle was still raging on.
Here's a candidate that would appear to fit all the criteria for a good target. Dame Dash and Jay have a long and storied history together, having partnered with Kareem “Biggs” Burke to launch Roc-A-Fella Records in 1996, and nothing can build resentment like the passage of time. As Bun mentioned, this was allegedly an internal struggle, and given how influential Dame and Jay's voices were in any internal Roc-A-Fella conversations, there's no doubt they had some serious battles over the years.
During the mid-2000s, as the Roc's star started to rise, Jay and Dame began to clash even more, eventually leading to their separation as business partners. In interviews about their split conducted in the years since, other members of the Roc have admitted that Dame got a little too big for his britches. Consider what Beanie Sigel said in 2012.
“Dame was spending a lot of company money, going on a lot of trips and to other business ventures, robbing Peter to pay Paul,” he said. “Taking money from outta here and trying to build a brand and stuff, without consulting with his partners. That's what sort of really brought demise to Roc-A-Fella.”
When Dame did take his talents elsewhere, he started up a completely new venture, Roc4Life (which would eventually become Dame Dash Music Group), and tried to undercut Jay by taking some of his talent. That would explain Jay referring to multiple people wanting war in his verse; the shade was directed at Dame, but it also hints at the artists flocking with him to a new label.
Of course, there's one group in particular the two parties had a massive conflict over.
Cam'ron and the Diplomats
This is the answer that probably makes the most sense. Killa Cam and the gang coming to Roc-A-Fella in the first place was primarily orchestrated by Dash, a childhood friend of Cam'ron, and Jay was never really on the inside track of that relationship.
Though the partnership was successful and led to Cam's Come Home With Me going platinum on Roc-A-Fella, there was never a proper level of trust between all parties. Jim Jones and Dash accused Jay of stealing the beat that would become “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” during a studio session in 2001, claiming the track was originally promised to Cam'ron. To make matters worse, Jay was in Europe and out of the loop when Dame Dash announced at a 2002 listening party that Cam'ron would be promoted to Vice President of Roc-A-Fella; Jay denied the promotion over the phone, and it was all downhill from there.
As it relates to “Get Throwed,” the bars seen up top can probably be seen as a shot at the Diplomats and Dame Dash simultaneously. Dame went off and did his own thing starting in 2004 following the sale of Roc-A-Fella to Def Jam, and he brought his friends along with him. Saying “y'all should want more” could be taken as a hint to Cam'ron, Jim Jones, and Juelz Santana that they were getting fucked over in whatever deal they had with Dash. Since Jay had worked with Dash for the majority of his career up until that point, he probably had an inkling of what they were in for.
Cam's first real shots at Jay didn't come until 2006 when he dropped “You Gotta Love It,” so Jay coming through with the subliminal in '05 may have been enough to prompt a full-scale attack from Cam and Co. later on. And if we're interpreting Cam's first Jay diss as a response to the bars on “Get Throwed,” there's even a not-so-subtle hint to back it up at the end of “You Gotta Love It.” Throwing the war line back at Jay, Cam apologizes to Beyoncé for what's about to go down with her man: “I'm sorry B, but I want a war.”
The real answer to the “Get Throwed” question is that it's probably intended to mock Dash, the Diplomats, and anyone else who was planning to team up with them in order to undermine Jay. The Diplomats were never really known as the most stable set of personalities in the world, so the schizophrenic nod could also be a nod to their eccentric, colorful (in Cam's case, literally colorful) personalities, which are either a flaw or a feature depending on how you feel about their music.
We'll probably never know if that's the answer for sure, because Jay doesn't do a whole lot of talking about old beef these days. But all signs point in this direction, so for now, it's what we'll choose to believe.