Jay Z Takes On A World Tour At Austin City Limits 2017

Jay Z

Photo: Gary Miller/FilmMagic


Jay Z Takes On A World Tour At Austin City Limits 2017

Dropping hit tracks from a career stretching all that way back to 1996, the legendary lyricist reminded a packed Austin, Texas, crowd why he is one of the most honored rappers in GRAMMY history

GRAMMYs/Oct 8, 2017 - 09:57 pm

For Jay Z, timing is everything. Throughout his two-decade-long career, his affinity for punctuality has trickled down to his fans, largely due to the extensive timepiece collection he often references, and the titling of his latest album.

Privy to this detail, festivalgoers at Austin City Limits 2017 sprinted across Zilker Park to ensure they did not miss the opening notes of his set, scheduled for 8:15 p.m. But as the official call time passed, it was apparent that for Jay Z fans, patience is a virtue.

At 8:27, the black veil covering the American Express stage dropped, revealing an oversized black balloon animal, shaped like a dog, sculpted by artist Jeff Koons. Shoulders swaying, Jay Z leisurely strolled to center stage, clad in a white T-shirt, black jeans, high-top Nikes, and his signature Roc Nation hat. As he scanned the crowd, a faint smirk appeared.

As the quacking claps of his GRAMMY-winning song "Run This Town" underscored the deafening praise from the crowd, an unspoken pact was made: For the next hour and a half, Shawn "Jay Z" Carter called the shots.

While Shawn Carter may be a man of punctuality, Jay Z lives by his own rules. The two personas battle one another in an internal paradox that plays itself out in the rapper’s latest effort, 4:44, and oozed into his ACL performance.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native used his set list to take Austinites on a round-trip flight across the world, beginning by lyrically listing his illicit activities in Marcy Projects to boasting about his aristocratic experiences in Paris. Songs of remorse and vulnerability were sprinkled in between his most popular cuts, including the GRAMMY-winning collaboration with Alicia Keys, "Empire State Of Mind."

At Jay’s behest, attendees across the park raised their arms and put their index fingers and thumbs together to form the immortal Roc-A-Fella diamond. Though the dynasty he built with former business partner Dame Dash is no more, Jay Z’s effortless mix of music and business permeated across cultures and prompted fans, some half his age, to commit his lyrics to memory. 

"His music grows with him," 21 Savage told of Jay Z's ability to stay relevant. "He ain't just rapping about the same thing he was rapping about when he first came out, so that’s what keeps it interesting, because as he grows as a man and does more stuff business-wise, he applies that to the music, so that's why I think he’s been able to grow like that and stay around."

"I told you [in] ‘96 that I came to take this s*, and I did!” Jay emphatically declared during his live rendition of "Heart Of The City."

At the time he originally recorded the track in 2001, the statement might not have been more than bravado. Now, his 21-year-long résumé confirms his spot atop hip-hop's throne. Since the release of his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, in 1996, Jay has garnered 21 GRAMMY wins alongside fourteen No. 1 albums, selling more than 36 million units worldwide. Just days before his highly anticipated album 4:44 was due, he received the title as the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Who Are The Top GRAMMY Winners Of All Time?

"I remember when rap was said to be a fad," he wrote on Twitter. "We are now alongside some of the greatest writers in history."

Jay Z's point of view often came from that of a have-not, "from the school of the hard knocks." However, his rock-influenced production of “99 Problems” and emotional tribute to friend and collaborator Chester Bennington proved that his vast catalog resonates with people from all walks of life.

As hundreds of thousands of fans piled out of Zilker Park, phrases of awe pervaded conversations. In years to come, many will study the Jay Z blueprint in the hopes to replicate his savvy and success, while pondering what the key ingredient has been to his 20-plus-year career in the music business.

As he once told Forbes, "The genius thing that we did was we didn't give up."

See All Of Our Coverage Of Austin City Limits 2017

Outside Lands 2023: 10 Female And LGBTQIA+ Performers Taking Center Stage, From Lana Del Rey To Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion performs at ESSENCE Festival Of Culture in July 2023.

Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images


Outside Lands 2023: 10 Female And LGBTQIA+ Performers Taking Center Stage, From Lana Del Rey To Megan Thee Stallion

Outside Lands is stacking a sensational lineup for its 15th anniversary from Aug. 11 to 13. From aespa to Janelle Monáe, here's 10 awe-inspiring female and nonbinary artists who are ready to rule San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

GRAMMYs/Aug 10, 2023 - 04:16 pm

This year marks the 15th anniversary of San Francisco's Outside Lands, and while the festival always boasts the Bay Area's best, the 2023 lineup is especially stacked with incredible female and nonbinary talent. From aespa making K-pop history to La Doña's homecoming, the fest's latest iteration is bound to be badass.

Whether you're planning on shimmying to Janelle Monáe, spitting every Megan Thee Stallion verse, or sobbing to Lana Del Rey, Outside Lands will be bursting with energy and seemingly endless options.

As San Francisco transforms Golden Gate Park into a lavish festival ground for three days, check out these 10 performers ready to electrify the city.

Megan Thee Stallion

Time to get lit like a match. Megan Thee Stallion has been hitting stages across the country this year — from LA Pride to her hometown of Houston for the Men's NCAA Final Four — and there's no doubt she'll bring the heat to Golden Gate Park on Sunday. Though the three-time GRAMMY winner is known for her high-hype, feel-good freestyles, her latest album, Traumazine, opens up about anxiety and the importance of self-care. So whether you're having a hot or healing girl summer, her headlining set will be the spot for festgoers to let loose.

Janelle Monáe

On Friday, Janelle Monáe will usher San Francisco into The Age of Pleasure. Sensuality and freedom flood the singer's most recent album, and for Monáe's headlining show, fans can expect bursting psychedelic soul, pop and hip-hop in an evening full of color and love.

Emphasizing intersectionality and identity (Monáe identifies as nonbinary), her wide-ranging performance will traverse her trailblazing concept albums like GRAMMY-nominated Dirty Computer and The ArchAndroid. Having conquered both the big screen and the stage as a multihyphenate, Monáe's set will be nothing short of a spectacle.


Hot off supporting Taylor Swift's Eras Tour, beabadoobee is headed to Golden Gate Park on Sunday afternoon. The Filipino-English singer/songwriter has carved out a space for herself between indie rock and bedroom pop, first becoming known for her sweet, spacey falsetto and her sleeper hit "Coffee" in 2020. The indie star has since expanded her worldbuilding abilities rapidly, spinning intricate scenes from her debut Fake It Flowers into her scenic second album Beatopia — similarly, beabadoobee's Outside Lands set will likely flaunt the vitality of her imagination.


Raveena is the definition of grace, and her Friday Outside Lands set is sure to swell with serenity. Mindfulness is the objective of the singer's soulful music as she grounds herself through tranquil mixes of R&B and pop. From her 2019 debut Lucid to 2022's Asha's Awakening, her voice epitomizes comfort whether it floats through delicate strings or stony drums. At Golden Gate Park, Raveena will bring momentary, blissful peace to the festival's chaotic fun.

Ethel Cain

Ethel Cain is ready to take concertgoers to church — even on a Friday. The experimental breakout star is known for dissecting dark, Southern Gothic themes in her music, establishing herself as a rising leader in the modern alternative genre (and also in the LGBTQIA+ community, as she is a trans woman). Her debut album Preacher's Daughter only came out last year, but the critically acclaimed album swiftly earned the musician a cult following. After bewitching Coachella audiences back in April, Cain's upcoming Outside Lands set is sure to be compelling.


More than 10 years after she wrote her first original song, NIKI is ready to storm the Twin Peaks stage. Her deeply sincere indie pop drifts with bittersweetness, and it's powerful to witness how well the Indonesian singer's intimacy translates to massive crowds.

Signed to label 88rising in 2017, NIKI soon found herself playing concerts for a growing global fan base that resonated with her heart-to-heart songwriting. Ranging from the dramatic depths of her debut album, MOONCHILD, to 2022's earnest self-titled Nicole, NIKI's Outside Lands set will be perfect for listeners who want to escape with their head in the clouds.

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey is the reigning queen of summertime sadness, and she'll be doin' time at Golden Gate Park as one of Saturday's headliners. Known for spinning tales of tragic romance, the GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter plans to enchant audiences at Twin Peaks stage following her release of Did You Know There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Boulevard. Her discography haunts and aches, filled with everything from folky gospel to trap pop; if one thing's for sure, Del Rey's highly anticipated performance is bound to be a spiritual journey.

La Doña

Born and raised in San Francisco, La Doña is making her city proud by performing at the Bay's biggest annual music festival. Taking the Lands End stage with her 11-piece band on Friday, the Chicana musician has come a long way since picking up the trumpet at age 7.

Centering around personal identity and community, her music beautifully merges traditional Latin folk with modern cumbia, reggaeton, and hip-hop. La Doña's progressive sound just earned her a spot on Barack Obama's annual summer playlist, and less than a month later, her hometown will get to see what all of the hype is about.


When aespa takes to Twin Peaks stage Friday, they'll make history as the first K-pop act to ever perform at Outside Lands. Exploding onto the music scene in 2020, the innovative South Korean girl group gives K-pop a fresh edge, distinctively inspired by hyperpop and hip-hop. The group's name combines the words "avatar," "experience," and "aspect," representing their futuristic style that's often embellished by a metaverse aesthetic. Their mind-blowing Coachella and Governors Ball debuts hinted that aespa is ready to pull out all the stops for their Outside Lands crowd.

Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers knows how to break free. The 2020 Best New Artist GRAMMY nominee will get the crowd hyped for Saturday headliners Foo Fighters with an enthralling set. Although her debut album Heard It in a Past Life pulses with steady revelations, her alternative follow-up Surrender leans into sweat and desire. As she's proven at many festivals past, Rogers' show will be infused with bright energy, from the slow emotional burn of "Light On" to the exhilarating "Want Want" as the sun goes down.

10 Moments From Outside Lands 2022: Kim Petras Covers Kate Bush, Larry June Gets Healthy & An Illegal Afterparty

5 Essential Hip-Hop Releases From The 2020s: Drake, Lil Baby, Ice Spice, 21 Savage & More


5 Essential Hip-Hop Releases From The 2020s: Drake, Lil Baby, Ice Spice, 21 Savage & More

The 2020s swapped record sales for big personalities and artists with a penchant for virality. Read on for five crucial songs and albums that defined the decade.

GRAMMYs/Jul 31, 2023 - 06:58 pm

It’s only been three years into the new decade, but a new era of hip-hop artists have already made their mark on the ever-evolving genre. 

In the 2020s, social media platforms like TikTok have played a growing role in the trajectory of an artist's career. Social media has given artists like Finesse2tymes, Coi Leray, Baby Keem, Ice Spice, and others their first sign of momentum, and they have all ascended to stardom by following the same formula. 

The decade has also proven to be a golden age for female rap stars, with emerging talents like Latto, Megan Thee Stallion, Sexyy Red, GloRilla, and others adding to the femme-powered charge. Male artists including Lil Durk, Fivio Foreign, Lil Baby, and others have become the leading voices of their respective cities.

Meanwhile, now-veteran MC Drake remains one of the genre's biggest names and most consistent hit-makers. Rap supernovas J. Cole, Tyler, the Creator, and Kendrick Lamar have continued to flex their culture-shifting powers in the '20s, while the legacies of late artists Nipsey Hussle, Pop Smoke, DMX, PnB Rock, Takeoff, and others have been immortalized by musical dedications, video tributes, and posthumous projects supported by those that cherished their contributions.

Sounds and styles of other regions continue to meld with those of domestic hip-hop artists. Among the biggest cross-genre trends, afrobeat, reggaeton, and afro-swing hits like Travis Scott and Rosalia’s "TKN," J Hus and Drake’s collab "Who Told You," and Chris Brown and WizKid’s "Call Me Every Day" showcase hip-hop’s musical expansion. While the 2010s pointed to the boundless nature of rap music, the genre is as socially diverse as ever in the 2020s. 

From new flows, collabs, and incredible beats, hip-hop will undoubtedly continue to evolve over the next six and a half years. Read on for five releases that have defined the 2020s thus far.

Lil Baby - My Turn (2020)

Lil Baby has blossomed into one of the leading figures in Atlanta rap. He built up momentum with mixtapes Too Hard, Street Gospel, and his collaborative project with Gunna, Drip Harder. But Baby’s full ascension came with the delivery of My Turn, a culmination of his biggest street anthems and most conceptualized hits.

The 20-track project was filled with the year’s biggest trap records, which featured fellow rap stars Lil Uzi Vert, Moneybagg Yo, Future, Young Thug, Rylo Rodriguez, Lil Wayne, and 4 Pockets Full signee 42 Dugg. The album drew an all-star ensemble of beat makers too, with super-producer Hit-Boy, Murda Beatz, Tay Keith, Quay Global, Twysted Genius, and others lending a hand in the production. 

My Turn earned Lil Baby his first No.1 album and topped the charts in 10 countries. And along with major sales, the single "Bigger Picture" was nominated for two GRAMMY Awards in 2021 and introduced the world to the Quality Control Music rapper on a global scale. 

Tyler, the Creator - Call Me If You Get Lost (2021)

Tyler, the Creator took a sonic pivot on Flower Boy and 2019’s Igor, which earned the "See You Again" artist a broader audience and new hardware for his trophy collection. The two albums were deeply transient, personal bodies of work that showed Tyler’s artistry in ways previously unseen. 

He embraced a more alternative sound that was led by harmony-driven romantic tales, punk-ish "f–you" records, and occasional flashes of the Tyler of old. But 2021’s Call Me If You Get Lost ( (hosted by legendary music executive DJ Drama) was the full return of Tyler, the MC. Although it had been years since the California-based artist showcased his lyrical prowess on a full-length project, his skills never faltered.

Tyler regained his distinct delivery from 2013’s Wolf and his older works. He flaunted his riches on the braggadocio-fueled "Runitup" and "Lemonhead," explored romanticism on "Wusyaname," and addressed his rise from unknown artist to international fixture on "Massa." 

The sound of the project was largely crafted by Tyler himself with other contributions from producers Jay Versace, Madlib, and Jamie xx. The finished product was praised by critics and notched Tyler his second award for Best Rap Album at the 2022 GRAMMYs. And nearly two years after the album’s release, Tyler released a deluxe version of the album that featured eight additional songs with appearances from artists A$AP Rocky, YG, and Vince Staples. 

Kendrick Lamar - Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers (2022)

Before Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, it had been five years since fans heard a full-length project from Kendrick Lamar. The Compton rapper took his time with the release of his fifth studio, which was a particularly sentimental one for the "DNA." artist. Not only did it mark his first project under his new creative collective PGLang, but it also closed the book on his time at Top Dawg Entertainment. 

With major changes brewing, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers was a masterful reflective body of work that mirrored Lamar’s journey in therapy. Themes surrounding alcoholism, grief, celebrity worship, infidelity and childhood trauma are sprinkled throughout the album. The conscious undertones were overlaid with richly-crafted beats by long-time collaborators DJ Dahi, J. Lbs, DJ Dahi, Sounwave, and Bekon, with additional contributions from Boi-1da, the Alchemist, and others.  

The album was led by three singles, "N95," "Die Hard," and "Silent Hill" featuring Kodak Black, which helped the album shoot to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the "Alright" artist’s fourth chart-topping project and went on to earn him Best Rap Album at the 65th GRAMMY Awards and re-established his dominance in the genre.

Drake and 21 Savage - Her Loss (2022)

When one of the South’s biggest stars links up with rap’s most consistent hitmaker, it’s bound to shake up the genre. And after collaborating on songs like "Sneakin," "Issa," Mr. Right Now" and others, that’s exactly what Drake and 21 Savage’s Her Loss managed to do. 

The collab came at a good time for 21 Savage, who was two years removed from Savage Mode II, and for Drake, who had just released the critically mixed dance album, Honestly, Nevermind. The 16-track album was riddled with street hits like "BackOutsideBoyz," "Rich Flex" and "Treacherous Twins."

For all the album’s peaks, controversy loomed over the project immediately after its release. On the song "Circo Loco," many fans claimed Drake dissed fellow rap star Megan Thee Stallion on the song with the lyrics, "This bitch lie 'bout gettin' shots but she still a stallion / She don't even get the joke, but she still smilin'." The story was picked up by several publications, and fan theories circulated for weeks following the album’s release. 

Still, the album topped Billboard 200 with more than 400,000 album-equivalent units, replacing Taylor Swift’s Midnights from the top spot. All tracks debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, with eight of them landing in the top 10. 

Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj - "Princess Diana" (2023)

Ice Spice’s "Munch (Feelin’ U)" had fans gravitating to the curly-haired Bronx native, who struck gold with the viral hit that left a new generation of men questioning whether they’re called strictly for pleasure or genuine affection. The sudden stardom opened doors for the "Bikini Bottom" MC. 

After landing on magazine covers and appearing at the illustrious Met Gala, she collaborated with her idol Nicki Minaj on the hit "Princess Diana." The song was the second track on Spice’s debut EP,  Like..?, but the addition of Minaj boosted her twerk-obsessed, oats-loving brand to new heights. 

With the success of "Princess Diana," the two artists collaborated again on the Barbie movie soundtrack song "Barber World (with Aqua)." The collabs only added to her series of Internet smashes, a list that includes records like "Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2" and "In Ha Mood." She still has a long way to go for her success to be proven substantial, but Spice has already established herself as the hottest commodity in the 2020s. 

Essential Hip-Hop Releases From The 2010s: Ye, Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar & More

How Drake & 21 Savage Became Rap's In-Demand Duo: A Timeline Of Their Friendship, Collabs, Lawsuits And More
Drake and 21 Savage perform in Atlanta in 2022.

Photo: Prince Williams/Wireimage


How Drake & 21 Savage Became Rap's In-Demand Duo: A Timeline Of Their Friendship, Collabs, Lawsuits And More

As Drake and 21 Savage embark on their highly anticipated It's All a Blur Tour, take a look at the evolution of their friendship — and how it spawned one of rap's most illustrious partnerships.

GRAMMYs/Jul 5, 2023 - 04:20 pm

When 21 Savage emerged as a fresh face on the ever-changing rap scene in 2016, Drake crowned the tattooed, gold-toothed rapper "a young October king with all the juice right now." Seven years later, they're co-headlining one of the summer's hottest tours.

The rappers' friendship has resulted in a number of collaborations over the years, culminating in the blockbuster release of their frisky joint project, Her Loss, in November 2022. The pair will bring the album — as well as their respective hits — on the road with the It's All a Blur Tour, which kicks off July 5 in Chicago and runs through Oct. 9. 

The 21-Drizzy partnership is more mutually beneficial than it might seem on the surface; even 21 Savage himself has compared their bond to that of Los Angeles Lakers legends Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. While Drake has long been rap's never-aging chameleon, he always challenges himself to keep up with the genre's new faces. And combining 21's street cred with Drake's commercial appeal, they've created a unique partnership that's hard to duplicate. 

Whether or not you'll be catching Drake and 21 Savage on their 2023 tour, find out more about the history of their friendship and musical connection below. 

2016: Drake Rents 21 Savage A Ferrari For His 24th Birthday

All 21 Savage wanted for his 24th birthday was to be in the driver's seat of a Ferrari while cruising the streets of Beverly Hills — and Drake made it happen.

Many thought Drizzy purchased the candy-red sports car for 21, but the gift ended up being a loaner for the weekend to help the Atlanta rapper move around L.A. in style. Savage loved it so much that he went and actually bought a Ferrari for himself.  

"Nah, he ain't buy me no car," 21 later cleared up in an interview with Real 92.3. "He did some real s—. We was just talking, and I was like 'Man, I want a Ferrari or some s—.' 

"So, he just got me one for the whole time I was in L.A. for my birthday. But I fell in love with the car, so I just went and bought one. He looked out. Shout-out to Drake. N—s ain't doing s— like that. N—s barely even tell n—s 'Happy birthday.'"

21 even told GQ that was the only gift he received altogether for his birthday that year.

2016: Drake & 21 Savage Drop First Collab With "Sneakin'"

"Sneakin" arrived in a care package shortly after Drake's 30th birthday, alongside "Fake Love" and "Two Birds, One Stone." The bristling track served as the first offering from the 6 God and 21, which drew rave reviews.

Floating over London On Da Track production, Drake crowns himself "The GOAT," and revels in his various rap feuds while riding high coming off of his dismantling of Meek Mill a year prior. 

21 dishes out menacing rhymes and gives himself the fitting nickname of The Reaper while letting the world know "Baby, I'm a savage, I ain't a romantic."

2017: "Issa" Leaks Early & Doesn't Make 21's Issa Album

"Issa" was widely expected to land on 21 Savage's July 2017 album of the same name, but the Drake and Young Thug-assisted potential banger didn't end up making the cut. According to engineer Alex Tumay, 21's label didn't believe the tune would receive the proper love from the public since it was leaked in the months leading up to the LP.

Perhaps "Issa" will most widely be remembered for 21 reigniting his brief feud with Tyga and name-dropping his former boo Kylie Jenner. "Issa Kylie, might be Jenner — hold up," he raps. 

While it's not on streaming services, "Issa" — the catchphrase 21 made popular from his 2016 VladTV interview — is available on platforms such as SoundCloud and YouTube for fans to enjoy nonetheless. 

2018: 21 Savage Says Drake Doesn't Get Enough Respect For Helping Emerging Artists

Drake makes dishing out assists look as easy as NBA legend (and fellow Canadian) Steve Nash did on the basketball court. Drizzy has laid out the tarmac for countless rappers to take off into stardom, from Migos ("Versace") to BlocBoy JB ("Look Alive")  — and 21 is appreciative of the opportunity.

"Drake just a genuine-ass good-hearted person," Savage told GQ in 2018. "He did a lot of s— he didn't have to do. He do a lot of s— for up-and-coming rappers, period. I don't think he get his respect for that. Every f—ing year, he pull a new artist up. Ain't no other artist on his level do that s—."  

Even 15 years into his decorated career, Drake is still willing to share lucrative real estate on various tracks with emerging artists and lend co-signs that lead to millions of dollars. (Most recently, Drake hopped on rising UK rapper J Hus' "Who Told You.") 

2020: Drake Joins 21 Savage & Metro Boomin' For "Mr. Right Now"

After spending 2018 cementing his one-of-a-kind hitmaking ability with Scorpion, Drake joined forces with 21 once again in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic for "Mr. Right Now."

The bawdy track — from 21 Savage and Metro Boomin's Savage Mode II — sees Drizzy and 21 trade places, with the Slaughter Gang honcho handling hook duties this time around. They ruminate about their love for classic R&B over titillating Metro Boomin production. 

"Mr. Right Now" has arguably become most memorable for Drake's revelation about dating SZA when she was just a teenager. "Yeah, said she wanna f— to some SZA, wait/' Cause I used to date SZA back in '08/ If you cool with it, baby, she can still play," he raps. 

2021: "Knife Talk" Lands On Drake's Certified Lover Boy

Initially intended for Savage Mode II, Drake and 21 Savage completed "Knife Talk" in a race against the buzzer to make the cut for Drake's 2021 LP, Certified Lover Boy. It became an ominous album standout — and though it never became a single, "Knife Talk" is a prime example of the kind of commercial appeal this duo serves.

Built around Metro Boomin's icy piano keys and a cinematic Plain Pat-sampling backdrop, 21 repeats "gang s—hit that's all I'm on" in a sinister, almost hypnotic flow. Meanwhile, Drake raps with slight paranoia, while sending more subliminal shots in Kanye West's direction — but ultimately retreats to his mafioso persona.

2021: 21 Savage Admits He Wouldn't Listen To Drake If He Wasn't A Rapper

In Atlanta, there's a contingent of rap fans who believe Future is a bigger artist than Drake. In explaining this hot take to DJ Akademiks in 2021, Savage admitted that before they became friends, he didn't listen to Drake much.

"N—s don't be listenin' to Drake like that where we are," he said. "If I wasn't a rapper, I don't feel like I still would listen to Drake, for real. It's just I'm a rapper so I understand the work he puts in and how hard he goes. When you ain't no rapper, all them statistics don't mean s—."

21 went on to detail how his circle paired hip-hop culture relevance with who was getting played in the night clubs rather than using Billboard chart hits or streaming statistics to support their beliefs. 

"A regular street n— don't give a f— about how many times you went No. 1, how many white people listen to your s— because them n-—s, the furthest they think is the club," Savage added. "Who's selling this club out? That's who they think is the biggest n—."

2022: 21 Savage's Manager Reveals His Drake Features Are Free Of Charge

The 6 God and Slaughter Gang bond organically grew to the point they don't even charge each other for features. And they actually never did in the past either, according to 21's manager Justin "Meezy" Williams.

"A lot of the artists, they are low-key peers," Meezy explained during a Clubhouse chat with Druski in early 2022. "So s— just be happening naturally. A n— might be in the studio, somebody ask, 'Ay, can you do this song?' And it happens, because n— f— with each other, so you ain't gonna talk about money." 

21 added that considers Drake family at this point, as Meezy compared the rappers' relationship to what Savage has with Young Nudy, who is his cousin.

"Most of the time, when you bring up Drake or Nudy...if Nudy got a song, ain't nobody even thinking about no paperwork if Savage get on something," Meezy continued. "We know that's going to get handled whatever. It's relationship-based, a lot of times it's like that.

"N— ain't paying each other for verses. I think where [Drake's] at he's just choosing who he f—s with. I know anything we've ever done with him, there's never been money involved, ever."

2022: "Jimmy Cooks" Closes Out Drake's Honestly, Nevermind

Drake took his fans to a musical destination they'd never been with his dance-leaning album Honestly, Nevermind. But before haters could react, he brought them to a comfort zone to prove he was still at the top of the rap food chain — and of course, it involved 21.

"Jimmy Cooks" is an instant turn-up anthem, an opposite vibe to their sinister "Knife Talk" collab. The change was effective: "Jimmy Cooks" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, scoring Drake his 11th chart-topper and another win on the scoreboard alongside Savage.

The official music video arrived on 21's 30th birthday that October — the same day a release date for their surprise Her Loss album was revealed — though the joint project was delayed a week due to Drizzy's right-hand producer Noah "40" Shebib contracting COVID-19. 

2022: 21 Savage Compares Himself And Drake To Shaquille O'Neal And Kobe Bryant

On the heels of "Jimmy Cooks" being crowned the standout moment of Honestly, Nevermind, the Atlanta-bred rapper took a victory lap on Twitter. He confidently compared himself and Drizzy to one of the best duos the NBA has ever seen: Laker legends Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

No words were even needed for the declaration, as Savage tweeted out a still from the "Sneakin'" music video alongside a photo of Shaq and Kobe celebrating their first NBA championship in 2000.

2022: An Album Rollout Filled With Spoofs

America was collectively trolled by the Her Loss rollout, as even some of the most nuanced of fans and news stations across the country were fooled by their fake press run. Not only did they spoof a Vogue cover, but they also pulled off a faux Tiny Desk concert, Saturday Night Live performance, and Howard Stern interview with headline-making "admissions" of Drake's porn fetishes.

It was mission accomplished for Drizzy and 21, who arguably made as big of a splash with the media tour that never was than if they actually did any of that. While Howard Stern saluted the shrewd spoofs, Vogue's parent company Condé Nast wasn't as thrilled — they filed a lawsuit over trademark infringement against the rappers. (More on that later.)

2022: Her Loss Arrives After A Short Delay

Her Loss arrived on Nov. 4, filled with 16 tracks that served up a little bit of everything. Drake stars front and center, with the OVO boss returning to his braggadocious rap post-Honestly, Nevermind; though 21 Savage takes more of a backseat, the two pick up where they left off on "Jimmy Cooks" as one of hip-hop's premier tag-teams.

Travis Scott is the lone credited feature on the track list ("Pussy & Millions") while collaborators like Lil Yachty played an integral role in the album's formation as he earned a handful of production credits.

Her Loss debuted atop the Billboard 200, earning Drake his second No. 1 album in less than five months. The album also held plenty of valuable real estate on the Billboard Hot 100, occupying the No. 2 through No. 9 spots on the chart's Top 10 — only for "Rich Flex" to be boxed out by Taylor Swift's "Anti-hero" for the top slot. (Never shying away from his pettiness, Drake blocked out Swift's name on the Hot 100 when celebrating his chart dominance in an Instagram Story post.) 

2022: Drake And 21 Savage Helped Push Each Other's Pen Game

Any co-writing discussion is a touchy subject for Drake fans ever since Meek Mill's ghostwriting allegations in 2015. But that isn't the case with Drizzy and 21, as they admitted they helped each other with their verses for Her Loss during an interview on SiriusXM's Sound42 channel last year. 

"I ain't gon cap, Drake wrote some of my verses on this album," the Atlanta rapper candidly revealed. "These facts. I don't give a f— what a n— say, Drake helped me with some of my verses on this album."

Drake returned the favor and gave 21 credit for helping push his pen on the joint project as well, adding, "By the way, you also helped me with s— too.

2023: Drake And 21 Savage Settle Lawsuit Over Fake Vogue Cover

After demanding $4 million in damages, Condé Nast and Drake's high-powered legal teams reached a settlement in February for an undisclosed sum, according to Variety.

The hefty check will allegedly go toward bolstering the company's "ongoing creative output, including Vogue editorial," per a memo sent out by Condé Nast's counsel.

Condé Nast's attorneys claimed that Vogue attempted to "resolve the matter amicably" but their efforts "were repeatedly ignored" by OVO and Slaughter Gang enterprises. 

Drizzy and 21's fake Vogue cover duped fans across the globe as the magazine was posted to social media, and a limited number of copies were actually distributed to lucky fans in select U.S. cities. Who knows, it may just make another appearance on the It's All a Blur Tour.

Songbook: How Jay-Z Created The 'Blueprint' For Rap's Greatest Of All Time

A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 


A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."


Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.


L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

The Rise Of Underground House: How Artists Like Fisher & Acraze Have Taken Tech House, Other Electronic Genres From Indie To EDC