Hip-Hop

J. Cole's Surprise, Kanye's Return, Drake's 'Scorpion' & More: Recapping Hip-Hop's Wild Week

Kanye West and J. Cole
 Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Kanye West and J. Cole attend the 5th Annual "Two Kings" Dinner at Craft on Feb. 19, 2011 in Century City, Calif.

It’s been a wild, whirlwind, jaw-dropping week for rap. Not only did J. Cole roll out a surprise album in the span of four days, but hip-hop heads were given plenty to look forward to this summer, from a new Drake album to a string of Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music projects (Teyana TaylorPusha T!) and Lauryn Hill’s return to the touring grind.

Having trouble keeping up? We’ve got your back below, with a day-by-day recap of every tweet, announcement and historic moment that made this week one of hip-hop’s greatest.

Monday, April 16

Monday started off strong, as Kendrick Lamar became the first non-classical or jazz artist to win a Pulitzer Prize for music with DAMN. While the critically acclaimed album lost the Grammy for album of the year to Bruno Mars24K Magic in January, the Pulitzer board called the album a “virtuosic song collection” that captures “the modern African American life.” Try and stay “HUMBLE” about that.

Hip-hop Twitter continued its frenzy later that day, when Drake announced his upcoming June album Scorpion with a not-so-cryptic Instagram post featuring a shiny black jacket embroidered with the title (the rapper later confirmed the release details to Rolling Stone).

 

-- JUNE 2018

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Meanwhile, J. Cole butted in with a mysterious tweet directing fans to a “no phones, no cameras, no bags, no press list” event that night at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre. Those lucky enough to get inside were treated to a performance of 12 new tracks, which Cole eventually revealed would make up his surprise album KOD, out the coming Friday.

Oh, and happy birthday, Chance the Rapper!

Tuesday, April 17

Another day, another Kanye rant. The elusive rapper, who recently returned to Twitter, kicked off the morning with a string of motivational tweets, reminding fans that “distraction is the enemy of vision” and “sometimes you just have to get rid of everything.” Lauryn Hill begs to differ: The iconic rapper the same day announced that she’ll take her multi-platinum debut, 1998’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, on an anniversary tour beginning July 5 in Virginia.

On the charts front, Nicki Minaj made her solo Hot 100 debut for 2018, as “Barbie Tingz” and “Chun-Li” opened at Nos. 83 and 92, respectively, after only one day of sales.

Wednesday, April 18

Between urging Twitter followers to “stop lying about shit” and “be here now,” ‘Ye revealed that -- “by the way” -- his outpouring of mantra tweets actually constitute a book. That’s right: West, notorious rule-breaker and master of the surprise, is penning a philosophy book on Twitter, with no publisher, publicist or page limit. But are we really all that shocked?

In other news, Post Malone unveiled the full track listing for his sophomore album Beerbongs & Bentleys (featuring Minaj, Ty Dolla $ign and more), Cardi B discussed baby names on Ellen and Kodak Black’s attorney spread the news that the rapper will be released from jail in September.

 

preorder beerbongs & bentleys tonight at 12am EST link in bio --

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Thursday, April 19

Kanye nearly broke Twitter with two bafflingly nonchalant tweets: “my album is seven songs” and the presumed release date, “June 1.” But the news didn't stop there. The rapper went on to announce a stream of G.O.O.D. Music projects, including a collaborative album with Kid Cudi (it does exist!) under the moniker Kids See Ghost (June 8) and new releases from Teyana Taylor (June 22) and Pusha T (May 25).

Friday, April 20

TGIF. Hip-hop’s jam-packed week concluded with the speedy release of J. Cole’s KOD, plus new tracks from Khalid (“OTW” featuring 6LACK and Ty Dolla $ign), Rae Sremmurd (“CLOSE” feat. Travis Scott) and more. And yes, Kanye is still tweeting.