(AllHipHop Features) Labor Day weekend has traditionally been viewed as the unofficial end to the summer, so with the hottest season of the year winding down, AllHipHop.com takes a look back at the hottest Hip Hop news stories of the last three months. Major headlines included a day time "robbery" of an Atlanta rapper, the polarizing verdict in the trial of the year, the public mending of a broken friendship, and the collapse of another former relationship over ghostwriting allegations.
Of course the music of Hip Hop's elite took center stage as well. One NYC legend amended the laws of the music business' constitution and another shared his approval of a southern transplant. The West Coast was not left out of the "Summer of Hip Hop." Rap's newest superstar challenged the entire Hip Hop community to stepped their bars up with one highly celebrated verse. Take a trip down recent memory lane in the 10 biggest Hip Hop related stories from the summer of 2013.
2 Chainz Got Robbed Or Nah?
On June 10th, reports began making the rounds online that 2 Chainz was held up at gunpoint in San Francisco. The "Feds Watching" rapper quickly took to Twitter to deny he was the victim of a robbery, tweeting: "Rule #1 if a rapper gets robbed people usually post items that has been taken. Rings, chains, watch, money etc."
Within days TMZ posted video footage of the incident, and a few weeks later 2 Chainz’s driver’s license and bank card were posted on Instagram. The A-Town native went back to social media to make the point that he was not "robbed," only "pick pocketed." He continued to advance that claim on his verse on Big Sean’s "Mula (Remix)" where he raps, "And I still ain’t never been robbed, so n*gga don’t try me/Two n*ggas with guns, natural wallet/That pick pocket they want my I.D."
Jay Z Introduces #NewRules
Jay Z has repeatedly changed the rules of the rap game throughout his career. The Brooklyn icon has set almost as many precedents as the U.S. Supreme Court. When it came time to roll out his 12th solo album Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jigga was on a mission to revolutionize the music world forever. He announced his latest LP with a Samsung commercial that introduced his #NewRules campaign. The unprecedented deal with the technology company included the purchase of 1 million copies of MCHG by Samsung helping Jay receive platinum status from the RIAA before the album was even released.
Even with Billboard refusing to recognize those sales for their album chart and privacy questions about the mobile app associated with the album, Jay managed to secure the second biggest first week album sales of 2013. The 528,000 units sold in MCHG’s opening week can be credited to Jay’s long-standing supportive fan base and his inventive promotional tactics such as debuting the cover art next to the real Magna Carta in London and the social media-shy emcee holding an hours-long Q&A on Twitter.
The Murder Of Lil Snupe
Lil Snupe was a rising rapper on Meek Mill’s Dream Chasers Records. The 18-year-old’s life was unfortunately cut short when he was killed on June 20th in Winnfield, Louisiana. Police issued an arrest warrant for Tony Holden, 36, accusing him of murdering Snupe after an argument over a video game. Holden eventually turned himself into authorities and was charged with 1st degree murder, armed robbery, and illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. A second suspect, Edrick O. Stewart, was also arrested in July.
Friends of Snupe, like Meek and Louisiana Cash, honored the young emcee in tribute songs, and the track "Lil Snupe Intro" will appear on Maybach Music Group’s upcoming compilation album Self Made 3 due out on September 17th. Lil Snupe’s mixtapes can be downloaded at datpiff.com.
Nas Tells J. Cole He Wasn’t Let Down
Roc Nation emcee J. Cole has always been vocal about his appreciation for Hip Hop legend Nas. He transferred that admiration for God Son into a personal track on his second album Born Sinner called "Let Nas Down." Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg announced the song was coming on his morning radio show in May, and the Hip Hop nation patiently waited to hear what Cole would say about how Nas was apparently disappointed by his single "Work Out."
In an unexpected turn, Nas jumped in the booth to record a remix to Jermaine’s track. On the new version, the Queensbridge rhymer tells Cole, "I ain't mad at you, young king" and "Now I'm playing Born Sinner loud/ saw you live, rock the crowd/ Like wow, you made your n*gga Nas proud." Even without an official project released in summer 2013, with one track Nas left his mark on the season, and he gave a potent co-sign to one of the leading young stars in Hip Hop.
Hip Hop Albums Dominate Summer Sales
Anyone who follows music knows that album sales have consistently declined over the last decade. Hip Hop was especially hit hard because of savvy fans who know how to find leaked copies on the internet and from a lack of high quality studio projects. This summer saw a resurgence of LP’s from rap artists that took over the Billboard 200.
Kanye West’s Yeezus, Wale’s The Gifted, J. Cole’s Born Sinner, and Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail all pushed enough units to land at Number 1 on the album chart establishing the first time four different rap albums landed in the top spot for four consecutive weeks. Add in the chart success of Mac Miller’s Watching Movies With the Sound Off, and Hip Hop set another record for maintaining the 1-3 spots in the country for three straight weeks for the first time in the genre’s history.
George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty For The Murder Of Trayvon Martin
In February of 2012, the entire country was forced to address the issue of modern-day racism once again when 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot in Sanford, Florida. Seventeen months later his killer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of murder, and the reaction from most of the African American community ranged from disappointment to shock to anger.
Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict set off demonstrations across the nation, tribute songs by various entertainers, and a speech by President Obama. It also led to Martin’s parents leading the charge to get Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law overturned, the NAACP introducing "Trayvon’s Law" legislation, a statewide boycott by Stevie Wonder, protests at Governor Rick Scott’s office, and a Coalition to Stop Gun Violence public service announcement. Martin’s tragic death will be forever immortalized in American history when his symbolic hoodie is added to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Nicki Minaj vs Ransom
AllHipHop's resident rumor mill master Illseed triggered another major discussion in Hip Hop about "ghostwriting" when he wrote a post on New Jersey rapper Ransom’s song "Man Alone." The track features a line where Ransom raps, "Before Nicki was wearing those crazy wigs I was doing verses for her just hoping she made it big." The choice of words in the lyrics left its meaning open for interpretation. Was Ran implying that he wrote lyrics for Nicki before she became a star or was he simply reminding the world of his prior connection to the Young Money femcee?
TMZ caught up with Nicki and asked her about the rumors that Ransom was once her ghostwriter. The leader of the Barbz went on an explicit filled rant telling the pap that she "don’t need no muthaf*cking ghostwriter." Nicki later admitted that she had not even heard the verse at the time she was asked the question, but she let Ransom know on Twitter that he was still partially responsible for the controversy, because as she put it, the line should have been "reworded." While Ransom maintained that he was not claiming credit for Nicki’s raps and felt he was taken out of context, the veteran rapper received the most publicity of his career from the ordeal. He booked several high-profile interviews including a sit down on Sway Calloway’s morning show.
Dame Dash & Jay Z Reunite
When Roc-A-Fella broke up it was the end of an era in Hip Hop. The trio of Jay Z, Dame Dash, and Kareem "Biggs" Burke launched one of the greatest labels in rap history. The Roc was once home to Kanye West, Cam'ron, Dipset, Beanie Sigel, Freeway, DJ Clue, and State Property, but the split between the co-founders led to artists and fans choosing sides. For years Dame and Jay remained estranged, and it seemed as if the two former friends would never repair their relationship.
Then when Jay began his press run for his latest album Magna Carta Holy Grail earlier this summer, the Roc Nation boss had several kind words to say about Dame. He told Hot 97, "No matter how many years I ain't seen him, the love is still there, because what we've done will forever be stamped in history." Dame also showed his love for Jay on Instagram when he posted a video of him listening to MCHG with the caption, "In the barber shop listening to jays new album….I can’t front… I still like hearing him pop sh*t cause I know he’s telling the truth…proud to be a part of that..#bittersweet." The mutual respect finally went from mentions in the media to real life when Jay and Dame were photographed together at Chaka Pilgrim’s birthday party in August. It was the first time the two had been pictured together in years.
Kendrick Lamar Takes "Control" Of The Game
Kendrick Lamar’s contribution to "Control" by Big Sean was easily Hip Hop’s most talked about verse in years. When one of the few platinum selling rappers of this generation claims he’s the only emcee in the same league as Jay Z, Nas, Eminem, and Andre 3000, calls out his verbal competitors by name, and plants his flag as the king of both the West Coast and New York, the gauntlet has been thrown down for scores of rappers to take shots at the throne.
Responses poured in from Joell Ortiz, Lupe Fiasco, B.o.B, Cassidy, Papoose, Joe Budden, Joey Bada$$, and many more. While none of the actual rappers Kendrick named have responded on wax yet, a few like Big Sean, Wale, Meek Mill, and Drake chose to offer their take on the friendly competition during interviews. If Kendrick’s "Control" verse sparks a continual focus on lyrics it may end up being the most valuable Hip Hop moment of the summer.
Twerking Goes Mainstream
First off, let’s be clear. Despite what some news outlets may report, "twerking" was not invented by Miley Cyrus. The dance has a long history in the south under various names like "popping," "gushing," "dropping," and "bouncing," but what cannot be denied is that the pop singer formerly known as Hannah Montana has taken the twerk dance to another level.
Miley began her reign as mainstream America's "twerk queen" when a video of her dancing to J. Dash's "WOP" went viral. That was followed by her on stage twerk debut at a Juicy J concert in June. The official coronation took place at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards when Billy Ray Cyrus’ daughter teamed up with Alan Thicke’s son for a mashup performance of Miley’s "We Can’t Stop" and Robin Thicke’s "Blurred Lines" and "Give It 2 U." Even the Oxford Online Dictionary took notice of the twerking phenomenon by adding the term to their database.
[ALSO READ: 10 Nas Songs That Can Elevate Higher Learning]