With Jesus Is King's release date changed once again to this Friday, let's take a look at hip-hop's other infamous releases that never materialized.
Chances are October 25 will come and go without a new album from Kanye West.
We've come to expect being disappointed by Kanye. And despite his recent official "announcement" about the release of his album Jesus Is King via Twitter, fans were quick to troll and dismiss the tweet as a false promise. It's been a rough road for Kanye fans in the last year. His recent "Sunday Service" performances have disturbed the masses. Some believe they affirm Kanye's long-held God complex, while others view his latest post-MAGA obsession to be more of a manic episode. Some believe he's simply spreading the gospel and that he's truly been "saved." Regardless, it's all cast Jesus Is King in a puzzling light, and fans truly don't know what to expect, or whether to expect anything at all. The one thing we know for certain is that the guy is a total pr*ck to his wife these days.
Will Jesus Is King become the next Fear Inoculum? Probably. It would be quite like Kanye to be his own hype beast. In the meantime, let's take a look back at a few of hip-hop's other notorious unreleased projects, all of which are, honestly, more likely to be released in 2019 than Jesus Is King.
MC Hammer and 2Pac's "Too Tight"
MC Hammer signed with Death Row in 1995, but his highly-anticipated label debut, Too Tight, never saw the light of day. The project was much anticipated because of Hammer's alleged collaborations with Tupac Shakur on the project. The former left the record company shortly after the death of the latter. He later explained in an interview his concerns over the circumstances surrounding Tupac's death. He spoke to the rapper right before he died, and he was in Las Vegas the night of the shooting. Hammer later released "Too Late Playa," which featured the late Shakur as well as Big Daddy Kane and Danny Boy.Too Tight probably would have been amazing.
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Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.
Villains always have the best outfits.
From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.
Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com
But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.
Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.
Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.
Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com
Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.
As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.
History of Nazi Chic
For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.
The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.
Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it
Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.
The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com
Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.
Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.
Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com
Nazi Chic in Asia
Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.
A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.
In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.
OF COURSE. i.imgur.com
That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.
In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.
So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?
The answer is not so black and white.
On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.
But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.
Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.
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Pretty much anyone else...
We've heard about it for months now, but for those of you that live somewhere other than America, Maroon 5 – along with Big Boi and Travis Scott – are set to perform at the Super Bowl LIII halftime show this Sunday.
People weren't happy with the band saying yes so quickly, because of the whole Colin Kaepernick thing; and when given the opportunity to answer to some of the brewing controversies, Maroon 5 canceled their pre-performance press conference, and ignored the conflict all together rather than using their pop culture influence to try and hold the NFL accountable. "The spectacle is the music," frontman Adam Levine said in an interview following the cancellation. "We wanted to bring it back to a time when it was a little more simple when the focus was the connection to the songs." I won't even get into how entitled and lame that statement is.
Unless you're a tween, chances are you haven't "connected" to a Maroon 5 song since "Sunday Morning." But after Rihanna, Jay-Z, and Cardi B all reportedly turned down the performance to stand in solidarity with Kaepernick, I imagine Maroon 5, the whitest, most-overproduced pop machine on the planet, was an easy-sell considering they have no idea what it's like to be oppressed. Even Travis Scott and Big Boi made the NFL donate half a million dollars to a social justice charity before agreeing to perform. (For the record, Maroon 5 did this too, but only after coming under fire for cancelling their press conference, so they don't get a pass here.) Regardless, this all feels like one big missed opportunity, and it's going to be hard to watch these acts perform without thinking about their controversial decision to play. Here are a few acts we would have rather seen tackle the halftime show if the NFL just, you know, gave a damn.
1. Kendrick Lamar
I mean, do I really need to make much of a case here? The To Pimp A Butterfly icon is one of the most politically-charged artists in the world, and considering how thought-provoking and stunning his previous award-show performances have been, the Super Bowl halftime show would have been legendary. Considering the circumstances, he probably would have laughed at the offer before turning it down, but one can dream.
2. Frank Ocean
Again, I don't really need to say much here. Frank Ocean is one of the most emotive singer/songwriters on the planet, and most people connect with his music on an almost metaphysical level. Since his teachings on love and acceptance serve as a driving force behind his music, a Super Bowl performance from him would have made us all feel a little more connected to one another, which is something we desperately need.
Whether she knows it or not, SZA has become a commanding force in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Her preachings of self-love and acceptance, her vulnerable lyrics, and her ability to dissect the messiness of young relationships would have made for a heartwarming Super Bowl performance.
4. Childish Gambino
This is America? Live? In front of the leaders of the NFL? In front of all those who want to see justice for Kaepernick? It would never happen, but boy would it be epic if it did.
5. Against Me!
With Laura Jane Grace representing everything that is Rock and Roll in the world, an Against Me! performance at the Super Bowl would easily be the most talked about show for years to come. Can you imagine watching them perform Transgender Dysmorphia Blues in front of the NFL heads? We can.
Mackenzie Cummings-Grady is a creative writer who resides in the Brooklyn area, Mackenzie's work has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, Billboard, and Metropolis Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @mjcummingsgrady.
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