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Will the summer belong to Kanye West, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar or J-Cole?

David Goodson | 6/20/2013, 3:40 p.m. | Updated on 6/25/2013, 3:40 p.m.
Kanye West

Things are about to get vurrry, vurrry interesting. If you’re tuned into the NBA Finals or scour YouTube, I’m pretty sure you caught the Samsung commercial featuring Jay-Z in the recording studio, revealing his creative sessions for the new album “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” due to drop on July 4.

Here are a few more details regarding the release. Turns out that Samsung has pre-ordered 1 million copies of the project and will give them to users of the Samsung Galaxy III, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note II for free three days before the LP drops. The mobile app for downloading the album is available beginning June 24. Featured in the spot are appearances from A-list producers and assumed album collaborators Rick Rubin, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland and Pharrell Williams.

Conspicuously missing is the presence of the other half of “The Throne,” a super producer in his own right, Kanye West. It’s understandable, because West had been at work on his own album, “Yeezus,” which saw the light of day this past Tuesday, June 18. If the single “New Slaves” is any indication, the brash, brazen, abrasive and contradictory nature of West’s music that we either love or hate remains intact.

So with arguably two of the top three emcees in the game—you can include J Cole in the mix, as his new CD, “Born Sinner,” also dropped Tuesday—putting out new music for summer consumption, I’d be willing to lay down a wager that they’re all in contention for being the second-best album on the streets right now. That distinction right now is being held in a vice-like grip by a young gunner from Compton, Calif., by the name of Kendrick Lamar.

Released on Oct. 22, 2012, the debut major label album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” came in at No. 2 on the pop charts and is steadily approaching platinum sales. Two singles have become stand-alone top 40 hits, “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and “Poetic Justice,” and rightfully so, but they’re that much more impactful when listened to in sequential order as they’re placed on the CD. With the waning attention spans of today’s consumer, a conceptual, lyrical album—and as a debut no less—could be considered suicidal, but not only does it work, it makes for one of the most impressive introductions to the masses since Nas’ “Illmatic.” Yeah, we going there.

Next weekend, Lamar will be given conquering hero status as a featured performer at the BET Awards, but as a precursor, he’ll also be honored at the 26th annual Rhythm & Soul Awards, presented by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), with the ASCAP Vanguard Award. Putting it in perspective, the ASCAP Vanguard Award recognizes the impact of musicians who will help shape the future of American music.

ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams commented: “Kendrick Lamar’s smart, structured storytelling and genre-bending sound make him stand out amongst his peers. He pushes boundaries with his creativity, perfectly illustrating everything that the ASCAP Vanguard Award recognizes.”

ASCAP Vice President of Rhythm and Soul Membership Nicole George-Middleton commented: “Kendrick is one of the most exciting acts in the rap game today, and we know big things are in store for his career. It’s no wonder that he’s been dubbed ‘the new king of the West Coast’ by rap veterans like Snoop Dogg.”

Eight-time Grammy Award winner Usher Raymond will receive the Golden Note Award at the same ceremony. Think I’m Cali bound. Still gonna be on point though.

Holla next week. Till then, enjoy the nightlife.