Artist Profiles

Artist Profile: Young Jeezy

Name: Jay Jenkins

Nickname: Snowman, Jizzle

Birth Date: October 12, 1977

Birthplace: Atlanta, GA

Label: Corporate Thugz, Def Jam

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Artist Profile: Ludacris

Name: Christopher Brian Bridges

Nickname: Luda

Birth Date: September 11, 1977

Birthplace: Atlanta, GA

Label: Disturbing tha Peace, Def Jam

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Artist Profile: T.I.

Name: Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.

Nickname: TIP

Birth Date: September 25, 1980

Birthplace: Atlanta, GA

Label: Grand Hustle Records, Atlantic Records

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Artist Profile: Lloyd Banks

Name: Christopher Charles Lloyd

Nickname: Boy Wonder

Birth Date: April 30, 1982

Birthplace: New York City, NY

Label: G-Unit, Interscope Records, EMI

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Artist Profile: 50 Cent

Name: Curtis James Jackson III

Nickname: 50

Birth Date: July 6, 1975

Birthplace: Queens, NY

Label: G-Unit, Shady Records, Aftermath Entertainment, Interscope Records

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Artist Profile: J. Cole

Name: Jermaine Lamarr Cole

Nickname: Cole

Birth Date: January 28, 1985

Birthplace: Fayetteville, NC

Label: Roc Nation, Columbia Records

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Artist Profile: Drake

Name: Aubrey Drake Graham

Nickname: Drizzy, Heartbreak Drake

Birth Date: October 24, 1986

Birthplace: Toronto, ON

Label: Young Money, Cash Money

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Artist Profile: Notorious B.I.G.

Name: Christopher George Latore Wallace

Nickname: Biggie, Biggie Smalls, Frank White

Birth Date: May 21, 1972

Death: March 9, 1997 (R.I.P.)

Birthplace: New York City, NY

Label: Bad Boy

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Artist Profile: Mos Def

Name: Dante Terrell Smith

Nickname: Mos Def

Birth Date: December 11, 1973

Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY

Label: Good Music

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Artist Profile: NaS

Name: Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones

Nickname: Nasty NaS

Birth Date: September 14, 1973

Birthplace: Queens, NY

Label: Columbia, Def Jam

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Artist Profile: Fabolous

Name: John David Jackson

Nickname: Loso, Funeral Fab

Birth Date: November 18, 1977

Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY

Label: Def Jam

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Artist Profile: YelaWolf

Name: Michael Wayne Atha

Nickname: Catfish Billy

Birth Date: December 30, 1979

Birthplace: Gadsden, AL

Label: Interscope Records

The Natural’s Opinion:

At first glance, YelaWolf looks more like a punk skater than a rapper. After listening to him though you realize why you can never judge a book by its cover. YelaWolf, whose from a small town in Alabama called Gadsden, has a distinctive voice where he is able to switch up the flows easily and still makes the music sound awesome. Initially when I started listening to him I had trouble appreciating his music but I let his Trunk Muzik CD sit in my car for a week on repeat giving him a chance. Little by little I was more impressed by not just the flows but his lyrical content hidden in his songs. YelaWolf is from a very poor part of the country where people care about their cars and drinking beer rather than hip hop.YelaWolf is able to bring the best of both worlds in his music and offers an interesting array of songs to listen to. With co signs from artists such as Eminem, Raekwon, and Bun B I am expecting big things from the boy from ‘Bama.

Recommended Songs:

1) Pop the Trunk (Trunk Muzik 0-60)

2) Box Chevy (Trunk Muzik 0-60)

3) That’s What We On Now (Trunk Muzik 0-60)

4) Love Is Not Enough (Trunk Muzik 0-60)

5) I Wish (Trunk Muzik 0-60)

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Artist Profile: Jay-Z

Name: Shawn Corey Carter

Nickname: HOV

Birth Date: December 4, 1969

Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY

Label: Roc Nation

The Natural’s Opinion:

Jay-Z has done so much for the rap game it’s truly unbelievable. He is not one of my favorite artists out there but I can respect how he goes about making music and his savvy business decisions he has made. Jay-Z has single handily changed much of the rap game in the style of his rapping has the swagger you need to be successful in the music industry. Jay-Z has had all the number one singles and had all the number one albums a person could dream of. He has had sold out shows wherever he performs and has a huge business in Roc Nation and the clothing line Rocawear. His lyrical ability is incredible and touches on subjects ranging from his days of dealing drugs to now dating one of the most beautiful woman in the world. Regardless if you like Jay or not you have to respect what he has to offer to the rap game.

Recommended Songs:

1) Moment of Clarity (The Black Album)

2) A Dream (The Blueprint 2: The Gift)

3) Renegade (The Blueprint)

4) December 4th (The Black Album)

5) Meet the Parents (The Blueprint 2: The Curse)

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Artist Profile: Kanye West

Name: Kanye Omari West

Nickname: Yeezy, Ye

Birth Date: June 8, 1977

Birthplace: Chicago, IL

Label: G.O.O.D. Music, Roc-A-Fella Records, Def Jam Recordings

The Natural’s Opinion:

Kanye is a very unique individual and that’s what makes him such a great artist. Kanye does not conform to what everyone else does but really stands for his beliefs and sticks with them, even though this is what hurts his public image. I am not here to judge him on his image. I am here to judge him musically because Kanye brings a lot to the table. First off every album he has come out with has really been quite impressive starting with College Dropout up until the recently released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Although 808s & Heartbreak was looked down upon by the hip hop community it showed a different side of Kanye that was very creative. The album was not rap but was definitely high quality music nonetheless. Kanye has the ability to make songs that are hit songs on the radio, dance songs, and deep songs that can make you think for awhile about life. This creativity carries over into the studio where he produces for many artist producing exceptional music and generally befriending many good artists along the way. If you can get past the fact that this man has very strong opinions and a large ego you will see that his music can be truly inspiring and always worth the listen.

Recommended Songs:

1) Family Business (The College Dropout)

2) Homecoming (Graduation)

3) Hey Mama (Late Registration)

4) Blame Game (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)

5) Spaceship (The College Dropout)

L.O.E.’s Opinion

G.O.’s Opinion

Artist Profile: Tupac Shakur

Name: Lesane Parish Crooks

Nickname: 2Pac

Birth Date: June 16, 1971

Death: September 13, 1996 (R.I.P.)

Birthplace: Marin City, CA

Label: Death Row Records

The Natural’s Opinion:

Like many other people the first 2Pac song that I heard was Changes. At the time I didn’t really think much about it but a few years later that would spark my interest in 2Pac. My sophomore year of high school I had to do a project about a poet so somehow I was able to coerce my teacher into letting me choose 2Pac and from then on I just couldn’t get enough. 2Pac is similar to Eminem in the way that his songs bring out emotions in you when you listen to them. 2Pac is able to talk about the West Coast lifestyle he lived but can also talk about sensitive subjects such as people struggling on the streets trying to make it. His style of telling it how it was hooked me as well because only so many rappers will tell you exactly what is on their mind without fabricating numerous events. 2Pac is a legend in the rap game and one of the best to do it.

Favorite Songs:

1) Life Goes On (All Eyez On Me)

2) My Block (Better Dayz)

3) Dear Mama (Me Against the World)

4) R U Still Down? (R U Still Down)

5) Holla At Me (All Eyez On Me)

Artist Profile: Dr. Dre

Name: Andre Romelle Young

Nickname: Dre, The Doctor

Birth Date: February 18, 1965

Birthplace: Compton, CA

Label: Aftermath Entertainment, Interscope Records

The Natural’s Opinion:

Don’t get me wrong here I love Dr. Dre, but as a rapper I really can’t respect his craft anymore. Detox will take so long to come out it will most likely become a posthumous album. The first single “Kush” really wasn’t anything special even though it was just a single he had to release to get some hype around the album but this album is so hyped up I find it hard to believe it will live up to any of it. Other than Detox, Dre does not write his own rhymes and I feel like he should stick to his producing skills and scouting potential talent for the label. Dre seems to be a real cool guy who has a good flow but it’s very disappointing knowing that he does not write his own rhymes. Having said that, I am hoping that Detox will be a solid album so Dre can end on a good note with the hip hop community.

Favorite Songs:

1) Forgot About Dre (2001)

2) What’s the Difference (2001)

3) XXplosive (2001)

4) The Watcher (2001)

5) Let Me Ride (The Chronic)

Artist Profile: Eminem

Name: Marshall Bruce Mathers III

Nickname: Slim Shady

Birth Date: October 17, 1972

Birthplace: Detroit, MI

Label: Shady Records, Aftermath Entertainment, Interscope Records

The Natural’s Opinion:

My favorite rapper ever hands down so this may be a little bias but its my blog so I will say what I want. From Infinite to Recovery Eminem’s journey has been crazy and that is why I think I like him so much as an artist. Lose Yourself was the first song to get me interested in rap and from then on I couldn’t get enough. Eminem’s ability to put his life out there for the whole world to listen to is unparalleled from anyone else. His music is so relate-able for so many different people. I remember going to the Eminem/Jay-Z concert and Yankee Stadium and seeing age ranges from 10-65, all different races, and types of people. His diss tracks can be funny but at the same time prove the point he is trying to make by staying on the topic instead of rambling on. The most impressive thing about Eminem though is his ability to change and adapt. This is in regards to his multiple CDs and his style of rapping on other artists songs. He may be the only rapper who is able to change his voice so many different times but still make successful music. You either love him or hate him but you can’t deny the fact that he has an uncanny ability to produce incredible music.

Favorite Songs:

1) Infinite (Infinite)

2) Stan (The Slim Shady LP)

3) Marshall Mathers (The Marshall Mathers LP)

4) Square Dance (The Eminem Show)

5) 25 To Life (Recovery)

Artist Profile: Big L

Name: Lamont Coleman

Nickname: Coleone

Birth Date: May 30, 1974

Death: February 15, 1999 (R.I.P.)

Birthplace: Harlem, NY

Label: Columbia Records

The Natural’s Opinion:

Big L left this world way too early. If L was able to put out another album or two before passing I would say you could put him in the same category as 2Pac and B.I.G. Big L could switch up his flows during the same verse and used crazy word play all over the place. The one thing that stood out to me was his ability to craft a story because it made you feel as if you were reliving that moment with him. One of the most underrated MC’s who passed away much to early.

Recommended Songs:

1) The Heist (The Big Picture)

2) ’98 Freestyle (The Big Picture)

3) M.V.P. (Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous)

4) Ebonics (The Big Picture)

5) Street Struck (Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous)

Artist Profile: B.o.B

Name: Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr.

Nickname: Bobby Ray

Birth Date: November 15, 1989

Location: Atlanta, GA

Label: Atlantic Records

The Natural’s Opinion:

B.o.B is one of the most talented artists out right now. I am not saying he is one of the best rappers because he is no where near that category yet, but he has a talent that many artists dream of having. The man can rap, sing, play guitar, make pop hits, or form up with Eminem for an amazing song. He has certain similarities to T.I. but is more unique because of the way he can change his voice, flow, and overall tone on a song. Although some people thought his album was a pop “sell out”, it really was just an overall showcase of his talents. People need to listen to his mixtapes and get a taste of his other songs rather then what you hear on the radio.

Favorite Songs:

1) The Kids (The Adventures of Bobby Ray)

2) Not Love (Hi! My Name Is Bob)

3) Room 34 (Hi! My Name Is Bob)

4) Cold As Ice (No Genre)

5) No Mans Land (B.o.B Vs. Bobby Ray)


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