Young Thug Proclaims Himself ‘The New ‘Pac’

Young Thug dropped 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.

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.

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A Recent History of Kanye West’s Music Leaks

Truth be told, music leaks every day, and while some artists' pre-release material might move the news cycle for a bit, no one can dominate a conversation quite like Kanye West. Over the years, his leaks have become the thing of legend, with entire sections of the internet dedicated to cataloging the build-up of new Kanye music, watching it evolve from demos and pre-release material to the finished product (or, in the case of The Life of Pablo, the songs' evolution).

This is something to ponder as we try to figure out what his most recent leaks will end up being. Boasting features from Young Thug, Migos, and ASAP Rocky, the songs have been teased for over a year, with no clear cut indication on where they'd end up. Judging by Kanye's leak history, we might not even get the same songs that we heard this week.

Let's look back at Kanye West's leaked track history in recent times.

May 28, 2010: No one man should leak all that “Power”

Long before we knew what a powerhouse of an album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy would turn into, Kanye fans were just hoping he was on his way back toward traditional hip-hop after 2008's 808s and Heartbreak.

When “Power” leaked in the spring of 2010, it was all the evidence we needed to declare Kanye was back. There weren't a whole lot of changes in the song in the time between the leak and the album's final release, but the initial product was so good that it didn't really matter.

May 31, 2013: Q-Tip introduced us to “Mama's Boyfriend”

A track by the name of “Mama's Boy” had been rumored amongst Kanye fans for years, and was allegedly rapped a capella at the Facebook offices during the promotional tour for MBDTF. It didn't end up on the album, and a fake version would eventually surface on the internet in 2011.

Mercifully, Q-Tip freed what sounds like a final version of the song titled “Mama's Boyfriend” while lecturing at the Red Bull Music Academy in 2013. The upbeat snippet didn't sound like it would have fit on MBDTF, but at least it was finally confirmed to be a real track.

Aug. 12, 2014: Someone recorded “All Day” on their phone

The fight to be first on the internet is real, and it was part of the reason “All Day” hit the streets long before the scheduled release date. The leaked version was reportedly unfinished, and Kanye claimed to continue working on the song until March 2015.

Despite the shoddy quality and incomplete nature of the original “All Day” leak, it managed to rise to No. 1 on Billboard's Twitter Trending 140 for five hours. That's the power of Kanye in a nutshell.

March 11, 2015: Kanye thinks Kim Kardashian is “Awesome”

Kanye first played this song for a Met Gala crowd way back in 2013, but it took another two years—and a stolen Kanye laptop—for this song to hit the internet. “Awesome” is believed to be a salute to his wife, Kim Kardashian, but the response to the song was nothing like the title.

Fans have warmed up to Kanye's use of Auto-Tune over the years, but things went into overkill on this one. “Awesome” was never released officially, and maybe that's for the best.

April 11, 2015: Kanye's got the “Midas Touch”

Dropping seemingly out of nowhere, this gold-themed song was speculated to be a reference track for Rihanna, in the same vein of her song “Bitch Better Have My Money.” Her name is all over the track, and Kanye was working together with Rihanna at the time, with their song “Four Five Seconds” releasing months prior to the “Midas Touch” leak.

That's all speculation, however, because there has been no indication since the leak about what the song was supposed to become. Consider this a partially-unsolved mystery.

Jan. 21, 2016: Miley Cyrus hops on “Black Skinhead”

Kanye loves boasting about his ability to mix untraditional combinations of artists—call him Kwa-li or Kwe-li, he'll put him on songs with Jay-Z—and putting Miley Cyrus on a song called “Black Skinhead” certainly qualifies. Cyrus sang lyrics from Tears For Fears' “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” while West switched up the delivery of his lyrics, mixing in Travis Scott vocals alongside a toned-down inflection.

Mike Will hinted the song was in the works dating back to 2013, and hopefully you took advantage of the leak when it finally emerged, because it's a difficult track to hunt down these days.

Feb. 18, 2016: Reddit user releases a whole lot of Pablo tracks

The Life of Pablo is more of a “living” album than a traditional release, and one rambunctious Redditor thought he'd join the creative process for Kanye's latest solo album. Just days after Kanye released Pablo, original or demo versions emerged, including the original version of “Wolves,” full versions of “Waves” and “Fade,” and new tracks like “Only One,” “New Angels,” and a remix of “All Day.”

Kanye wasn't shy about telling the public he had a whole lot of unreleased music in the vault during TLOP, but he didn't comment on this particular leak.

March 31, 2016: Apple Music accidentally leaks “Saint Pablo”

Rappers are always happy to tell you when a record label or third party screws the pooch, and Kanye had a case to make when “Saint Pablo” leaked in early 2016. Ye's link up with Sampha was accidentally posted on Apple Music for a few hours in March, taken down, and then eventually added to Pablo in mid-June.

It wasn't an unknown property when the tech giant let it fly—Kanye had been performing it at shows prior to the leak—but come on, Apple. You only had one job!

Oct. 6, 2016: A Young Thug-assisted version of “Famous” hits the net

Kanye's controversial Pablo track came under fire for targeting pop icon Taylor Swift, but an unreleased version of the song that surfaced later in 2016 changed the formula entirely. Rihanna and Swizz Beatz' vocals got dropped from the track in favor of Young Thug, and West name-dropped his ex, Amber Rose, rather than firing shots at Swift in the track's intro.

The Kanye-Thug collaboration sounded like it was unfinished, but I guess we'll never know—we're still waiting for an official release of this one.

June 4, 2017: Collaborations with Young Thug, Migos, ASAP Rocky, and Travis Scott surface

Individuals behind a site called Music Mafia allegedly hacked Drake's Twitter and afterward were able to get their hands on two songs from Kanye—”Hold Tight” featuring Migos and Young Thug and “Euro (Switch Hands)” featuring ASAP Rocky—as well as a preview of another track with Travis Scott. 

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Swizz Beatz Featured in Powerful Spoken Word PSA for National Foster Care Awareness Month

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. To celebrate and to raise awareness around issues of foster care and foster care reform, the organization Children's Rights is teaming up with comedian Monroe Martin and legendary producer Swizz Beatz (who is on the group's board) for a campaign called #FosterMyEducation. Swizz, Martin, and some very special kids teamed up for a spoken word PSA about the effort, which focuses on the educational needs of children in foster care.

“Education in this country is a fundamental right for every child, but right now, we are turning our backs on our foster youth,” Swizz says. “We all need to do whatever we can to help make sure these kids’ voices are heard.  They’re not someone else’s responsibility; they’re all of ours.  Let’s foster their futures by really fostering their education.”

Sandy Santana, Children’s Rights Executive Director, explains, “As a society, we are failing thousands of our most vulnerable children. It is unconscionable that youth in foster care face multiple barriers to accessing their educations, and the young adults in this video know better than anyone else that changes must be made. We are honored to work with them.”

Celeste Bodner, Executive Director and Founder of FosterClub, a national network of current and past individuals in foster care, says that the PSA “amplifies the voices and educational needs of a population that is rarely seen or heard.”

Swizz Beatz recently spoke with us about raising awareness for foster care in America, which you can watch above.

Check out the powerful PSA below, and learn more at FosteringTheFuture.com.

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Swizz Beatz Talks About the Importance of Foster Care Awareness Month

For those who don't now, May is Foster Care Awareness month. It's estimated that on any given day, there are over 400,000 children in some form of foster care in the United States. It's a much needed aid for many American youth, during some of their most formative years—which is why awareness around caregiving is necessary messaging to help provide assistance for youth in need. 

That's where Swizz Beatz comes in. The legendary producer and artist has made it his mission to help draw attention and educate the masses about the importance of foster care through his work as a board member of Children's Rights. We caught up with him while he was filming a PSA in honor of the month to learn more about how he got involved with Children's Rights, what he wants the masses to know about foster care, and he also chats with a few Foster Club alum about the importance of education.

Check out the video above.

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The LOX And Action Bronson Set For ‘RapFix Live’

(Swizz Beatz gives an update on LOX album)

Fans have been waiting more than 10 years for The LOX to drop a follow-up to their 2000 LP We Are the Streets, and it looks like we might finally be getting close. In December Jadakiss, Styles P, and Sheek dropped the four-track Trinity EP out of the clear blue sky and on Wednesday they’ll join us on “RapFix Live,” where Sway will hopefully get an update on the due date of We Are the Streets 2. Action Bronson, who is currently on his Blue Chips 2 tour, will also be live in the studio and Shakespeare will close out the episode with a freestyle.

Catch The LOX and Action Bronson on “RapFix Live” Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT on MTV Jams and on RapFix.MTV.com. Be sure to join the Twitter conversation using the hashtag #RapFixLive. Send your questions for the artists to @MTVRapFix!