Team Captain: Devin P-B
Skin: Light (w/ freckles)
Chance The Rapper
“I used to tell hoes I was dark light or off white / But I’d fight if a nigga said that I talk white” – “Everybody’s Something”
2013 was a huge year in music for Chicago, and while folks like Fredo Santana, Lil Bibby, and Young Durk held it down for the streets, Chance the Rapper held it down for hip hop. Acid Rap spread across the Internet like wildfire and introduced everyone to the SAVEMONEY militia. Chance’s sound was refreshingly different, partly because of his unique delivery and vocal inflections, but more so because he wasn’t afraid to take risks. From footwork to fear, Chance painted a vivid picture of the situation in the Chi by juxtaposing happy-go-lucky tracks like “Good Ass Intro” with funereal songs like “Paranoia.”
“Down here it’s easier to find the gun than it is to find a fucking parking spot”
Dude was penning verses of the year on a mixtape. At 20.
I’ll be damned if Pharrell Williams didn’t hold it down for #TeamLightSkin this year! Let’s start with the fact that Daft Punk tapped him to work on Random Access Memories,one of the most anticipated albums of the year. The result – one of the biggest songs of the year, “Get Lucky.” And we can’t talk about hit songs of 2013 without mentioning “Blurred Lines.” Oh shit, Pharrell is on that too! The video? *Emoji Prayer Hands* By the way, those tracks held the #1 and #2 spot on the Billboard Chart — at the same damn time. In all honesty, I was going to make a list of songs P dropped this year to prove my point, but Complex beat me to it.
Pharrell has been a force in music for the past 21 years, and continues to serve as a major influence to the artists of this generation, just ask Tyler, The Creator. P is the Creator and Curator of Cool, and has apparently found the fountain of youth; so expect him to be running shit for team light skin for the next 21 years.
I heard Beyoncé dropped a new album this year. I’ve literally never listened to more than three of her songs in one sitting, but fuck it, I’m playing to win. The Queen Bey won 2013. Beyoncé is living proof that Del the Funky Homosapien is an idiot.
I guarantee if I walked outside right now and screamed, “I have two tickets to see Beyoncé tonight, who wants to go?!” I’d have a swarm of women (and probably some dudes) chasing me like I was giving out free cronuts. Three things ladies love: Beyonce, cronuts, and Cool James.
In March of 2012 I went with a friend to catch OFWGKTA at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC. Little did I know I was going to witness “The Return of Earl.“ Fast forward one year later, it’s my 2nd month working for Mass Appeal and I’m staring at Earl Sweatshirt and Blake Anderson on the cover of Issue #52 (shout out to Sagan Lockhart for the cover photo). It’s safe to say that I’m a little biased when it comes to Mr. Sweatshirt.
Earl was one of the few rappers who didn’t drop the ball in 2013 (no NYE, though). After building the anticipation for his major label debut in December of 2012 with “Chum,” followed by several amazingly weird trailers, Doris surprisingly exceeded expectations when it finally dropped eight months later on Aug. 20, 2013. (I say surprisingly because it seemed, at the time, like there would be no way for him to surpass the hype surrounding the project.)
On Doris, Earl mixes melancholy with honesty through his lugubrious lyrics. Tracks like “Sunday” sound similar to diary entries and at times are so forthcoming that I feel uneasy listening to them, like, “Dude, you know I can hear everything you’re saying, right?”
Openness and authenticity won in 2013, and Earl Sweatshirt was a champion of both.
I know you #TeamDarkSkin members are mad at this one! You fools we’re PRAYING that I didn’t pick him. If there’s one thing you dark-skinned dudes hate to love – and love to hate – it’s Drake. Yet you listen to all of his albums in secret and think Comeback Season is the best one.
In 2013 it was all about Nothing Was The Same. After releasing the album’s first single, “Started From The Bottom,” on Feb. 1 Drake put the radio in a chokehold for the remainder of the year. Although he waited six months to drop the second single from NWTS, “Hold On We’re Going Home,” Drizzy kept busy killing features and had his catchy hooks sunk into everyone’s subconscious. I can’t even count how many times I heard folks in the office humming “No New Friends.” Do I even need to explain how big Drake’s remix of “Versace” was for Migos’ career?
Remember that one time I told you the three things ladies love? Well, I left out Drake; mainly because that would have been too much for the lovely ladies reading this article to handle.
“What’s good ma? I was thinking about grabbing a cronut then going to see Drake and Beyonce at Barclays. Wanna join?”
Send your quesitons, comments, or concerns to the writers and/or @MassAppeal
Team Captain: Mr. LXXXVII
Coming off of a successful 2012 where his rise to prominence in pop culture only increased, Kevin Hart’s second wave hit shores forcefully in 2013. In 2012 Hart hosted the VMAs, won Best Actor honors at the 2012 BET awards, and was selected as the MVP of the 2012 NBA Celebrity game – Hart would follow this up by winning the MVP again in 2013 despite being ejected for “misconduct” late in the game. 2012 proved to be a great year for Hart that resulted in his own comedy series on BET at the top of 2013 titled “Real Husbands of Hollywood.” The show featured a star-studded cast including Duane Martin, JB Smoove, Nick Cannon, Nelly, and Boris Kodjoe, with cameos by Shaq, Cedric The Entertainer, and Chris Rock, just to name a few. Hart also hosted SNL in March.
To close out the year, Chocolate Droppa released his feature length comedy special “Let Me Explain,” stared alongside Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro in “Grudge Match,” and had ads everywhere for his upcoming film “Ride Along.” Proving to also be a hilarious pitch man, he even closed the year out with next pick LeBron James in a new Samsung Galaxy campaign where the two show their skills…so to speak…on the golf course.
LeBron, recently chosen as the Associated Press Athlete of the Year, saw his stampede of success only continue into 2013. Winning his second straight NBA title enabled him to also reign in his second straight NBA Finals MVP award as well. To close out his 2012-2013 NBA season he also pulled in a number of honors; his fourth NBA regular season MVP award, selected for his ninth All Star appearance, seventh NBA All Team First Team selection, fifth NBA All Defensive Team selection, and named the NBA’s most popular player for the second time in his career. On top of his athletic prowess he has also been the face of a number of campaigns including Beats by Dre, Samsung Galaxy, and a successful line of footwear and apparel products with Nike. Lebron was everywhere this year, collecting trophies and checks along the way.
After making his rounds in the amateur ranks in prior years, skateboarder Ishod Wair saw his efforts culminate with his selection as Thrasher Magazine’s 2013 Skateboarder of the Year. His march to prominence began with a series of contest wins including Tampa Am, the South Africa leg of the Maloof Money Cup, and being selected as a member of Team Koston in the fifth installment of The Berrics: Battle At The Berrics. He was also featured in number of videos, notably, for his board sponsor Real Skateboards and Nike SB’s latest video “SB Chronicles 2.”
His talents have also helped him acquire a laundry list of sponsors including Nike SB, Real Skateboards, Thunder Trucks, Spitfire Wheels, Fourstar, Stance Socks, Reign, Monster Energy, Brick Harbor Europe, and Mob Griptape. With the talents he possesses, and a knack for the spectacular, Ishod is sure to be, if not already, one of the pillars that will keep the house of skating standing in years to come.
With an ascension that began around 2011, Rocky has reached a bit of a plateau, but only because 2013 saw him at his coziest. Reclaiming and reinventing the abbreviation A$AP he and his mob of uptown cohorts with a downtown aesthetic have risen to prominence in the realm of rap and rap inspired fashion. This was proven when industry heavyweight Drake brought Rocky, new bastion of the East Coast trill, and West Coast savior Kendrick Lamar, along for his 2012 “Club Paradise” tour. Rocky followed this up by releasing LONG.LIVE.A$AP. which debuted at number one on Billboard’s charts at the very top of 2013.
Rocky established himself as the new cool and added another major notch to his belt when Rihanna brought him along on her 2013 “Diamonds” tour. As A$AP’s most prominent flag bearer, Rocky has established himself and opened the door for the rest of the mob – Nast, Twelvyy, Ant, and Ferg – and they have all subsequently emerged.
Proving that he isn’t merely a one-trick-pony, Rocky also stepped into the director’s chair, producing under the alias Lord Flacko, and became a cultural and controversial fashion icon. He was also linked to an array of ladies ranging from Rihanna to Kathy Griffin. Despite some legal pitfalls, he has made a major mark on the masses and the youth here in America and abroad, indicative of his aesthetic and sonic influence. In addition to aforementioned success he has also collaborated with Swizz Beatz for a Best Buy campaign as well as being the inspiration for Jeremy Scotts’ latest edition of Adidas Wings series.
Signing a deal at the top of 2013, Ferg would put his foot in the door with “Work” and for the rest of the year, do his best to keep that foot on necks. Emerging from the streets of Harlem, Ferg was already a member of direct hip hop lineage – his father was a graphic artist in the ’90s for a number of hip hop’s most prominent labels and stars – and would solidify his reign as the Hood Pope.
After a number of popular singles in 2012 and 2013, Ferg’s buzz and following grew immensely culminating with the August release of his highly anticipated debut aptly named Trap Lord. With an accompanying BAPE celebratory collaboration in support of his album’s release, it was evident that Ferg’s reach extended past the streets of Harlem and shores of America. Pulling in guest appearances from the likes of Onyx, B-Real, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Trap Lord may have been one of the most unique rap releases of 2013.