MUSIC

The 7 Best Nipsey Hussle Features

Two years ago today, we lost the incomparable Nipsey Hussle.

Deep Reverence

Two years ago today, we lost the incomparable Nipsey Hussle.

In addition to the obvious slew of amazing solo projects, Nip also contributed a modicum of amazing guest features throughout his career. He gave YG's anti-Trump anthem a grounded call-to-action that caused the Secret Service to reach out and try to quell the track's existence. He also linked up with Drake early on in the OVO crooner's career and made a moody leaked single that somehow never found a home. For fans of Nip and his pithy lyrics, here are some of the rapper's stand-out guest appearances.

What It Be Like (Feat. Nipsey Hussle) – Stalley

Off of Stalley's underappreciated debut effort Ohio, "What It Be Like," with its fanfare and smooth percussion, fit Nipsey's slick street poetry like a glove. Nip uses his spot to speak on his city, and how things are never what they seem. The "city of three strikes" is full of rats "in this race for a cheese slice," all while the broke and well-intentioned of his community try to "visualize their dream life" while escaping poverty and jail.

Deep Reverence (Ft. Nipsey Hussle) – Big Sean

On this powerful feature verse, which emerged after Nip's murder, the emcee ruminates on the pressures of his lifestyle, and how being an activist and street icon was never enough to keep vultures like TMZ from spreading unflattering rumors. But Nip keeps it moving, sprinkling one more "street lesson" before proclaiming himself the don of his city and letting Big Sean take the wheel. It's a brief feature, but regardless it was so nice to hear his voice again, if only for a moment.

CANDY (Feat. Nipsey Hussle) – PARTYNEXTDOOR

A PND deep-cut that only recently found its way to streaming services via 2020's PARTYPACK, "CANDY" found Nip in a totally different vibe than what long-time listeners were used to. Over muted R&B loopings and snappy drums, Nip trades in his self-motivational bars for romantic foreplay. "Realism got you feeling the effects more," he raps, speaking on how his authenticity captivated his love interest. Regardless of if you believe this to be one of Nip's best verses or not, it was fun to hear him broach a different topic than what fans were used to, and it was no doubt exciting to hear him yearn alongside PARTYNEXTDOOR.

"FDT" – YG, Nipsey Hussle

One of Nipsey's best guest appearances, FDT was not only an anthem prior to Donald Trump's election, but morphed into an epic f*ck you track after his 2020 election loss. While YG spits gut-punch insults ("Don't let Donald Trump win, that n**** cancer"), Nipsey uses his verse to discuss more systemic issues. "Reagan sold coke, Obama sold hope, Donald Trump spent his trust fund money on the vote," he raps. With that said, Nip still has fun with it and makes sure to take a few loose jabs at the twice-impeached lunatic: "If you vote Donald Trump, you're prolly on dope."

"Fountain of Youth" – Stalley, Nipsey Hussle, Rick Ross

The Self Made 2 standout finds Nipsey cruising in his comfort zone. Placed alongside Stalley and Rick Ross, Nipsey not only handles the track's hook but raps a powerful verse about his unstoppable drive and devotion to his city. "Never vocalize my visions, actions was my spokespers' / Study rich n***** moves like my homework / Sacrilegious; however, streets was my own church."

Pleeze (Feat. Nipsey Hussle) – Dom Kennedy

Another gem that found Nipsey cruising comfortably, "Pleeze" united the dynamic duo of Nip and Dom Kennedy, as both emcees traverse the dangerous streets of LA, and speak on how life-threatening it can be to even walk home. Shoot-outs in the alley that kept Nipsey awake at night, hiding a shotgun behind his front door — all of it is vividly recalled in Nipsey's mesmerizing verse.

Killer (Feat. Nipsey Hussle) – Drake

Of course "Killer" has to be included on this list. Even though it started off as an intentional leak, the Nip and Drizzy collab has since taken on a life of its own and has been forever memorialized as the one time two legends crafted something excellent together. The result was a track that has stood the test of time, and still slaps.

In my life, there have been two celebrity deaths that shook me to the core. Those were the deaths of Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant.

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YG Says What We're All Thinking with "F*ck The Police"

The song is loud and braggadocios, and as police assault innocent protestors across the country, YG once again says what's exactly on our mind.

As protests swell across the country demanding an end to police brutality and justice for the murder of George Floyd, YG once again releases a protest song in line with the current political climate.

YG - FTP (Official Audio) www.youtube.com


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Music Features

This Haunts Me: When Pop Stars Are Desperate to Go No. 1

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are getting flack after pleading with fans to buy and stream their new music.

This month, Justin Bieber returned with his first solo single in nearly five years, "Yummy."

Many fans and critics alike weren't on board. It's catchy, sure—but it seems even his newly knotted marriage with Hailey Baldwin couldn't spark a chorus much deeper than "you got that yummy-yum."

Nevertheless, the Biebs persisted. In an absolutely ruthless attempt to milk his comeback for all it's worth, Bieber promoted the absolute sh*t out of "Yummy." His end goal—one he narrowly missed—was to reach the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100. As a few internet analyzers have pointed out, he went to some embarrassing lengths to try to achieve it.

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MUSIC

Rick Ross's "Port of Miami 2" Is Stale and Overrated

The 43-year-old emcee's latest effort is mostly a tepid recycling of the same thing he's been at for the last 13 years.

Rick Ross, if nothing else, loves to repeat himself.

Whether it's his famous "Maybach Music" adlib or the endless repetition of themes and rhyme schemes, Rick Ross has struggled for years to be original. Ross's imaginative shortcomings even seep into his persona. In 2010, the rapper was sued for $10 million by former drug kingpin, Rick Ross, who claimed that the emcee appropriated his name and criminal history, which resulted in a rather lucrative music career. Ultimately, though, according to The Independent, California judge Robert Baron ruled that "Roberts [Ross, the rapper] created a celebrity identity, using the name Rick Ross, of a cocaine kingpin, turned rapper. He was not simply an impostor seeking to profit solely off the name and reputation of Rick Ross. Rather, he made music out of fictional tales of dealing drugs and other exploits..." Either way, 13 years is a long time to be churning out tales of drugs, opulence, and promiscuity, especially when these subjects are not being offered up in any new, daring, or innovative ways.

The creative stagnancy of Ross's latest album, Port of Miami 2, is seen early on. On "Act a Fool," which features Wale, Ross raps, "10 stacks on the stage cause a whirlwind (Whirlwind) / Take a couple stacks and give that to your girlfriend (Woo) / Love to see pretty bitches kissin' on pretty bitches / Number one in my book is all the realest bitches." Ross's stale rhyming of "whirlwind" and "girlfriend" could probably be overlooked if he was leaning on the tired rhyme to say something new. But he isn't. It's the message of 'I'm so rich, I could steal your girl."

To add to this barrage of antiquated sentiments, Ross follows it up with a declaration of how much he loves attractive lesbians (or, at the very least, girls who are willing to engage in bisexual behavior solely for his viewing pleasure). The other 14 songs on the album, unfortunately, do not show much in the way of departure from these bars in "Act a Fool."

The project has some occasional highlights, but those moments have little to do with Ross himself. The production, for example, is on point, thanks to beat-making masterminds like Just Blaze, Jake One, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and Beat Billionaire. And there are some head-turning features from heavy hitters like Meek Mill, Jeezy, Nipsey Hussle, Teyana Taylor, Lil Wayne, Drake, and John Legend. Rick Ross is at his best when he's surrounded by talented artists that force him to step up his bars lest he be outshone.

While Rick Ross shows little growth as an artist on Port of Miami 2, that's never been his aim. He has always (and likely always will) continue his one-note shtick of drugs, sex, and violence. And it can be fun in the right context: at a club or a house party, where you will likely only hear a song or two throughout the night. And most of the songs on this album could easily slide into rotation at a wild Miami night club. So, in that regard, Port of Miami 2 sees Rick Ross at his best--making background music to party to, as opposed to crafting innovative and creatively satisfying albums.

Port of Miami 2

CULTURE

8 of Megan Rapinoe's Greatest Moments

The soccer champion has become a beloved icon on and off the field.

Megan Rapinoe, the player who led her team to victory in this year's FIFA World Cup, has also managed to win the Internet's heart.

Well-spoken and radically feminist off the field, not to mention an indomitable star on it, she's successfully presented herself as a powerful, unapologetic woman, a symbol of political resistance and intersectional liberation.

"Disagree with her? Fine," writes Jerry Brewer in the Washington Post. "But there she is, striving to add to our women's soccer prestige. She's America. Like her or not, Rapinoe is going to represent us, and all of our spectacular complications. She is a mirror, unflattering, uncomfortable. Unavoidable." In essence, Rapinoe is America in all of its brashness and fearlessness; she's America in the radical vision and defiant spirit that the nation's founders dreamed of; she's America in the chaotic anger and exuberance that defines her country today. Here are six of her most memorable moments.

1. That time she spoke out against Donald Trump

Rapinoe's name made its way into national consciousness when a reporter asked her if, should the team win the World Cup, she would visit the White House. Her response has become a rallying cry for those opposed to Trump: "I'm not going to the fucking White House," she said.

This prompted a response from Trump himself. "Megan should WIN before she talks," he said. "Finish the job!" Later, the inflamed president continued, "Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team," continued Trump, also telling Rapinoe to "be proud of the Flag that you wear" because "the USA is doing GREAT!"

When Rapinoe was asked to clarify her statement, she said, "I stand by the comments I made about not wanting to go to the White House with the exception of the expletive. My mom will be really upset about that."

2. That time she won the World Cup

Not only did Rapinoe's team win the World Cup, but she scored one of the game's two goals. In that moment, it was almost as if she always knew that she was destined to send that soccer ball ricocheting into the netted mouth of victory. It was a small kick for woman, but a giant, spiteful, radiant kick for womankind.

Needless to say, that goal was just one of Rapinoe's countless incredible moments on the field.

Top Ten Megan Rapinoe Goals www.youtube.com

3. That time she kissed her girlfriend after winning the World Cup—and all the gay moments that came before

Though the fact that Rapinoe has a girlfriend might be devastating to many of her adoring fans, admittedly, their relationship is beyond adorable. Rapinoe and her girlfriend, Sue Bird, met at the Olympics in 2016. Afterwords, Rapinoe "sauntered" into her now-girlfriend's DM's (in Bird's words) and the two have been together ever since.

These two really are the definition of a power couple. Bird is a championship-winning WNBA basketball player herself, so she can certainly understand Rapinoe's athletic lifestyle. She's also been supportive of her partner's newfound political drama, even penning an essay called "So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend." Among other things, Bird wrote about how she sometimes tries to see the world through Megan's eyes. "So the idea of Megan Goggles, I guess, it's this idea of like — they're this thing that I put on, and it helps me loosen up a bit?? And just open my eyes, and see the world from Megan's Extremely Megan perspective," she wrote. At the end of the essay, she brought it all back home with a statement that anyone who watched the soccer match can relate to. "But on Friday? It was like for this one, perfect, fleeting, uncomplicated day….. I was everyone. I was happy. I was crazy. I was PROUD. I was pretending to know about soccer. I was a little overwhelmed. I was pretty damn American. And I was in love with Megan Rapinoe." Same, Sue Bird. Same.

Image via CNN International

As if this relationship wasn't enough of a triumph for the queer community on its own, Rapinoe has long been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, she said, "You can't win a championship without gays on your team. It's never been done before. Ever. That's science right there."

Then, of course, there was the time she was the first openly gay woman to pose in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.

Image via Sports Illustrated

4. That time she and her team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation and demanded equal pay

The U.S. Women's Soccer Team showed its true tenacity when it sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender discrimination in March 2019. Regarding the suit, Rapinoe told The New York Times, "I think to be on this team is to understand these issues." She added, "And I think we've always — dating back to forever — been a team that stood up for itself and fought hard for what it felt it deserved and tried to leave the game in a better place."

Later in the interview, she continued, "We very much believe it is our responsibility, not only for our team and for future U.S. players, but for players around the world — and frankly women all around the world — to feel like they have an ally in standing up for themselves, and fighting for what they believe in, and fighting for what they deserve and for what they feel like they have earned."

So just how vast is this wage gap? The winners of the men's World Cup took home $400 million in 2018—while the prize for the women's game still stands at $30 million. In support of Rapinoe and her team's efforts, the crowd began chanting "Equal Pay" during the celebrations after Sunday's game, showing just how intertwined these athletes' political efforts have become with their sport.

5. That time that she took a knee for Kaepernick

Rapinoe's been publicly expressing her beliefs for a long time. In 2016, she was both the first white person and the first woman to take a knee in line with Kaepernick's protest against police brutality during the signing of the national anthem.

Image via the Los Angeles Times

Before the final match against the Netherlands, Rapinoe protested the anthem once again by refusing to sing it. When critics called her "un-American," she responded, "I think that I'm particularly and uniquely and very deeply American. If we want to talk about the ideals that we stand for, all the songs and the anthem and sort of what we were founded on, I think I'm extremely American."

6. That time she quoted Nipsey Hussle

After winning the World Cup, Rapinoe posted a photo of herself along with lyrics from the late rapper Nipsey Hussle's "Hussle and Motivate" as the caption. This only deepened her fans' adoration, as Hussle was a beloved figure who was extremely active in his community. In a sense, Hussle embodied the kind of compassion and drive that Rapinoe's also becoming known for, merging talent and activism into a public persona that might serve as a beacon of inspiration for us all.



7. That time she became a meme

Even if you have no idea who Megan Rapinoe is, you've probably seen her in meme format. One photo of her in particular—the one in which she's beaming and holding her arms aloft in a celebratory gesture—has become an emblem of triumph and pride.

Now that she's worked her way into the Internet's collective consciousness by way of memetic distribution, one thing is for certain: Rapinoe is going to be seen and heard for a long time, societal expectations and American presidents be damned.

Image via PEOPLE.com