We've shared the best songs, albums, and verses of 2017 so far, but one category we've yet to highlight this year is the rap collaboration. Historically speaking, these records rise to the top when we look back at pivotal performances in years past. Think “Believe Me,” “Otis,” “Pick Up the Phone,” “Cartoon & Cereal.” No need to list off the artists involved; these moments speak for themselves.
There's a good chance a rap collab or two in 2017 joins that pantheon of greatness. With July marking the halfway point, here's a rundown of the best rap collaborations this year has had to offer.
Drake f/ 2 Chainz and Young Thug “Sacrifices”
Whenever Drake and 2 Chainz link up on a track, it's guaranteed to make waves. That said, “Sacrifices” truly takes off thanks to Young Thug's inclusion. Surprisingly enough, this song counts as Drake and Thug's first proper collaboration, and the trio of rappers don't disappoint with slick rhymes on how they finessed their situations into something better.
Wale f/ Lil Wayne “Running Back”
Wale and Lil Wayne have a history of flipping sportsreferences and metaphors throughout their careers, so it should come as no surprise that they continue it on a record called “Running Back.” The song showcases their chemistry together, along with playful lyricism that makes “Running Back” an enjoyable listen.
Playboi Carti f/ Lil Uzi Vert “Woke Up Like This”
Playboi Carti only recently started to gain national recognition through “Magnolia” and his self-titled debut project, but if you ask the ATL rapper he's already got imitators in the game. “Woke Up Like This” embodies this narrative, where Carti and Lil Uzi Vert call out those who are jacking their style. Carti and Uzi Vert have linked up a handful of times in the past, and “Woke Up Like This” is their best collaboration yet.
Kodak Black f/ Jeezy “Feeling Like”
“Feeling Like” is a deep cut off Kodak Black's Painting Pictures that details the struggles of making it out of the streets and having a target on your back even when that takes place. It's a sobering performance that shows how well Kodak and Jeezy match up, with the younger act providing his concerns in real time while the veteran ATL native keeps his success in perspective.
DJ Khaled f/ Chance the Rapper, Quavo, Lil Wayne, and Justin Bieber “I’m the One”
It may have took 10 albums, but DJ Khaled finally secured his first No. 1 single with “I'm the One.” And to his credit, he put together a lineup that was tailor-made to hit the top of the charts, with Justin Bieber handling hook duties and Chance the Rapper, Quavo, and Lil Wayne delivering their animated bars over a sugar-coated melody. Respect the process.
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Kodak Black is back on his colorism bullshit. This time, ChaneyTV caught the rapper at Master P's charity basketball game and asked him once again about his controversial comments about women. The Florida rapper said nothing we hadn’t heard already—he said prefers lighter skinned women—but he definitely added more unnecessary fuel to the already raging fire this time around.
Referencing a hypothetical other man, Kodak Black said that “if he prefers skinny women more than a chubbier or heavyset woman, if he can say that and nobody can get mad him, I just said I don’t like women with my complexion.”
He continued: “I love African American women, but I just don’t like my skin complexion. We too gutter, light-skinned women more sensitive.”
This whole mess is starting to sound like a larger psychological problem that Kodak Black has with himself and his skin color that simply won’t get solved by tweeting at him or angrily commenting on social media feeds. That said, it also doesn’t seem like the Florida rapper is at all willing to educate himself on the implications of what he’s saying over and over again.
This latest ChaneyTV interview is unfortunately only the latest failed attempt by the Florida rapper to explain the kind of women he prefers. In an Instagram Live video last week, Kodak Black answered questions from fans about which famous women he’d like to have sex with, and he eventually admitted that “I don’t really like black girls like that.”
Predictably, that revelation infuriated fans and non-fans alike, and Kodak Black took to Instagram again the next day to defend himself, stating that “I love black African American women. It's just not my forte to deal with a 'darkskin' woman.” The backlash to his defense was so strong that he eventually deleted his entire Instagram. He's since restored his account, but the post in question is gone.
Although it seems Kodak Black is only attempting to explain his (rather misguided) views, it’s not likely people will let him off easy.
Bossipreports Kodak applied to have his name legally changed. Not his stage name of Kodak Black, but his government name Dieuson Octave. While that's a unique name, Kodak's got something even more interesting to be called: Bill Kahan Blanco. What does that mean? UOENO, and neither do we. Maybe he's paying homage to famed mathematician William Kahan? #Shrug.
Also, would this effect his son, King Khalid? Also, what bearing on his stage name will this new name change have?
Young Thugdropped his Beautiful Thugger Girls album over the weekend, with the release seemingly coming out of nowhere. Late Saturday, Thugger gave a brief explanation for the timing of his release via Twitter.
“I dropped E.B.B.T.G on 2PAC'S bday because I'm the #newPAC,” Young Thug wrote. “I feel like I am the thug he didn't get to become #SoImGoinFinishWhatHeStarted.”
From Max B calling himself “Biggaveli” to Kodak Black releasing Lil B.I.G. Pac, and Troy Ave naming an album NuPac, there are several examples of artists invoking the name of the late Tupac Shakur to promote their projects.
June 16 marked not only the late Shakur’s birthday but an official Tupac Shakur Day recognized by Oakland, California Mayor Libby Schaaf. One can point to a rather direct correlation between Shakur’s frequent practice of calling himself a thug and using the acronym T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. and Young Thug’s rap moniker.
However, many took issue with the statement. Shakur fans and Young Thug supporters found themselves clashing in Thugger’s mentions after he posted the tweet.
Young thug is the greatest musician to ever walk this earth
This wouldn't be the first time Thugger has name checked one of his influences. Jeffery was peppered with the rapper's inspirations, with artists like Swizz Beatz, Wyclef Jean and Kanye West working their way into song titles. Young Thug’s Beautiful Thugger Girls is available for purchase and streaming now.
Kodak Black has been released from Broward County Jail. Sun Sentinel reporter Brett Clarkson shared an automated message he received regarding Kodak Black's release, noting that the release had not yet been confirmed.
Just got this text saying Kodak Black has been released from jail. I'm out of the office so I don't know if this has been confirmed or not pic.twitter.com/G3LWfew7pS
XXL has since confirmed the rapper's release through a representative at the Broward County Sheriff's Office. Complex has reached out to a rep for Black and will update when available.
The Painting Pictures artist was apparently quick to jump on Instagram Live following his release:
In May, Kodak Black was sentenced for violating the terms of his house arrest. Black violated his house arrest terms by attending a boxing match, visiting a Miami-Dade strip club, and “other places” without prior authorization of a probation officer. Though he was sentenced to jail time for the violation, he was also given the opportunity to be released within 30 days upon successful completion of a life skills course. Prior to the sentencing, Black fired two of his attorneys.
In a separate case, Kodak Black is accused of sexual battery against a woman in a Florence, South Carolina hotel room following a show. In the arrest warrant, Black (Dieuson Octave) is accused of forcing the victim “onto the bed in the room and then onto the floor of the room.” Black is also accused of biting the woman. A sexual assault kit, the Sun Sentinelreported in November, confirmed the victim's injuries.
Black was removed from Future's Nobody Safe Tourin April.
Waka Flocka joined the new school vs. old school debate this weekend when he commented on a meme that featured Lil Uzi Vert and Nas. The image had the words “Your Hip Hop” and “My Hip Hop” written above the artists, respectively; however, it appears Waka had an issue with Uzi’s description.
As pointed out by HotNewHipHop, the 30-year-old rapper claimed Uzi doesn’t fit in the genre, and that his style is more rock and roll than anything else.
“This post ain’t bool @liluzivert is Rock not HipHop!,” Waka wrote in the now-deleted message. “This generation has #Logic #Jcole #Meek #KDot etc. let my era just be great!!!! Side note rock artist always been edge. #ImJustTakeUp4HipHop & #TheseStreets #TheseYoungNiggasUp Big old Facts #BigHomieFlock #BigDawgBigDawg.”
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We’re not sure if the “Money Longer” artist would be insulted by Waka’s comments; after all, he is a self-proclaimed rock star who’s had plenty of rock star moments, so he might embrace the comparison. But is he OK with being excluded from the hip-hop realm?
Uzi and many other new school rappers like Lil Yachty and Kodak Black have been frequently called out for failing to adhere to the more traditional sounds and styles of hip-hop. Uzi doesn’t seem too fazed by the criticism, and has attempted to lift up his fellow new-school rappers by reminding them “the old must die.”
Kodak Black was sentenced 364 days in county jail Thursday for violating the terms of his house arrest, according to on-the-scene journalist Brett Clarkson. If Kodak completes a required life skills course, however, he could be out of jail within 30 days:
364 days in county jail … but could be shorter #KodakBlack
New attorney Brad Cohen, ahead of the sentencing, told the court that allegations in police documents against his client were “one-sided” and that he was not a “danger to the community.” According to Clarkson, Cohen added that Kodak was a “good kid” who “treats everyone well.”
He's a good kid. Nice kid. Treats everyone well. — Lawyer Brad Cohen on Kodak Black. References Kodak bonding out two other inmates
The court also heard from additional witnesses, including Kodak's godmother and Michael Kushner from Atlantic Records, the label behind this year's Painting Pictures album. Kushner said Atlantic will hire a full-time “handler” for Kodak.
Kodak's godmother just spoke. She was in tears. Close friend Vanessa Antoine about to speak.
The Broward County state attorney's office had previously expressed their desire that Kodak, whose real name is Dieuson Octave, serve eight years for the violation. The Sun-Sentinelreported that prosecutor Meredith Hough said last month that the Painting Pictures artist had “essentially squandered” his chances. His Florida Department of Corrections probation officer, however, had instead recommended a 30-day sentence and an additional year of house arrest. In a separate case in South Carolina, Kodak is accused of “sexually attacking” a woman at a Florence hotel in 2016.
Last month, Kodak Black was replaced with ASAP Ferg on Future's Nobody Safe Tour.
The verdict of an alleged February incident that featured frequently in trouble rapper Kodak Black has been reached. On Wednesday, a Florida judge reportedly found him guilty of five counts of violating his house arrest; however, the Sun Sentinel reporter Brett Clarkson tweeted it still unknown if the ruling will extend Kodak's jail time. He will return to court on May 4.
Judge finds that Kodak Black is guilty of five counts of willfully and substantially violating his house arrest.
The 19-year-old rapper was accused of punching and kicking a 34-year-old woman at a Miami-Dade strip club called “Club Climaxx.” The Florida Department of Corrections then added that incident to their list of claims that Kodak had violated his parole.
The assault is said to have occurred around 3 a.m. on Feb. 2, while the victim was at her shift as a club bartender. She told police that he “approached her and started acting belligerent.” After she pushed him away he “began to punch her numerous times all over her body and then kicked her, stopping shortly after.”
She reported the altercation to the cops during her shift on Feb. 3, where it was listed as misdemeanor battery.
Kodak is already in jail without bail for violating his house arrest, and is also facing allegations that he sexually assaulted a female fan in South Carolina. In addition to those legal problems, earlier this week it was also reported that Kodak grabbed the wrist of his anger management counselor after she threatened to call 911 due to his refusal to leave her class.
A Miami-Dade police detective said the investigation is still open because the accuser never showed up to the police station to finish her report:
MDPD det. handling allegations made by former strip club bartender against #KodakBlack says accuser never went to police station to meet her
On today's episode of Everyday Struggle, Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks debate whether Future is in the top tier of rap, and who will be the next star out of Lil Uzi Vert, Kodak Black, 21 Savage, and Lil Yachty. Later, the guys break down the state of rap beef in 2017 and if it's needed in this climate or just corny in general. To that end, Budden addresses his current feud with Troy Ave, who dissed him on “Press Spray” off his new project NuPac. You can hear it below.