Wednesday, December 15, 2010
"Just Think A 2010 Version Of A Milli...But On Steroids"
The mere fact the Lil' Wayne machine has been trying to convince me the first glimpse at Lil' Wayne's next LP, Tha Carter IV was gonna be "A Milli" on HGH, I was immediately skeptical. Industry Rule #4080. But when I heard talk of Young Money/Cash Money's latest signee, Cory Gunz being involved peaked my interest. Especially seeing as how young Gunz "renegaded" Weezy on his own shit last time out, so much so the "Powers That Be" decided to strip Cor's vocals from the track and abandon the initial approach they had for the record.
Well yesterday the semi anticipated single hit the internets & after listening to it a buncha times, the "A Milli" comparisons are apt, right down to the hyperactive, sample driven production by Bangladesh (who's apparently squashed his beef with Cash Money over unpaid Tha Carter III royalties). This being Wayne first official single post Rikers vacation, the talk is some of the lyrics were actually penned while Wayne was behind bars and for those looking to see some signs that the "Martian" has fell off, you won't find em here. Although Wayne's verses on 6'7" lack the manic focus shown on "A Milli", Wayne is still one of the best at effortlessly making scatological randomness sound like the gospel. Peep...
"Real nigga all day and tomorrow
But these muthafuckas talking crazy like they jaw broke
Glass half empty, half full, I’ll spill ya
Try me and run into a wall, outfielder
You know I’ma ball ’til they turn off the field lights
The fruits of my labor, I enjoy ‘em while they still ripe
Bitch, stop playing, I do it like a king do
If these niggas animals, then I’ma have a mink soon"
But the real gem on this track is Cory Gunz, who after the debacle with "A Milli" is back for redemption and proves last time wasn't a fluke as he outshines his host one mo' gin...
"Word to my mama, I’m out of my lima bean
Don’t wanna see what that drama mean, get some Dramamine
Llama scream, hotter than summer sun on a Ghana queen
Now all I want is hits, bitch, Wayne signed a fiend
I played the side for you niggas that’s tryna front and see
Son of Gunz, Son of Sam, you niggas the son of me"
Tha Carter IV campaign has begun & I'm onboard.
Well played Mr. Carter.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Off of the latest in Millz' The Flood mixtape series, The Flood Never Ended.
He may not get the same shine as some of his more well known Young Money counterparts but Jae Millz hit the mixtape scene with a vengeance ever since the Young Money CEO started his bid earlier this year. There was definitely a period in his career when although he was still releasing music, Millz was sounding less then inspired, but every project he's released in 2010, including Dead Presidents & the two Virgo mixtapes, has gotten progressively better then the last. After all the fuss over his comments about the XXL Freshman list, Millz sounds like he's intent on making some of his detractors eat their words.
This Jahlil Beats produced banger (this guy > Lex Luger) is Millz right in pocket, spitting that Harlem shit with the same arrogant swagger that's kept him in the game for the past 10 years...
"I'm on my New York shit B, word son
A nigga hotter then me? I ain't heard one..."
Philly spitter, Meek Mill continues to impress with a rapid fire flow that at times is reminiscent of both Peedie Crakk & Lil' Wayne. Still not sure of his range beyond the braggadocious fare that has become his default but as far as just straight snapping on a hot instrumental, Meek always brings the energy with his bars. Definitely one of the up & comers to keep an eye on.
As far as Jae Millz goes, he's never been the most intricate lyricist but at this point in the game, there's a veteran's confidence in how he puts his words together. He keeps his 16's simple enough for the casual listener but with just the right amount of wit & attitude to satisfy the heads who first heard him on the battle circuit. Hopefully his hustle will get him enough momentum to get an album greenlit cause after Drake, Nicki Minaj & Tyga, who else on Young Money is marketable enough to sell records?
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Pilot Talk 2 just dropped but I'm just coming down off my high from the first set.
One of my favorites off of the OG Pilot Talk.
Also, look out for Trademark's upcoming Super Villain Issue 3: Reign Supreme (with production from Ski Beatz). It was supposed to drop this week so it should should be hitting the net any day now too.
The JETS are gaining altitude. Get fly.
Cop that Pilot Talk 2 here.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
If you take equal parts Kid Cudi & Drake, mixed with a healthy portion of Bay Area swagger & a pinch of Auto-Tune, you'd end up with Richmond, CA's "Hood Nerd", rapper/producer/songwriter, Erk Tha Jerk. A veteran on the Bay Area rap scene, Erk has been grinding it out on the independent level for the past 10 years, producing and penning verses for local artists like Too $hort & San Quinn, all the way building a loyal following with a melodic mix of Hip-Hop & R&B that's fresh & unforced. He scored his first hit single earlier this year with the raunchy radio smash, "Right Here", which became the most played song on Bay Area radio station, 106 KMEL & even made it's way on to Billboard Magazine's Hot 100.
A multi-talented artist, Erk manages to bare his soul and reveal his every day, every man struggle without being overly emo & off putting. Fatherhood, divorce & unfulfilled aspirations are typical topics, plus, as evidenced by this single, the guy knows how to make joints for the ladies as well. He may not look like your typical MC, but dude has his chops & the music is undeniable.
Erk Tha Jerk's debut album, Nerd's Eye View (Red Planet Music Group/SMC Recordings) is available on Amazon & iTunes right now but if you need more proof that dude has the goods, you can download his free pre-album EP, The Prelude right here and get familiar.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Statik Selektah is probably my favorite "underground" producer of the moment and has been consistently doing his thing for a minute now, delivering gritty East Coast styled Hip-Hop production, lacing an array of artists, ranging from street cats like M.O.P. & Sean Price to backpack faves like Consequence & Wale. His albums haven't been chart toppers but he's managed to keep the torch burning for the Champion hoodie/Timbaland crowd as well as the Nag Champa/licorice chewstick heads and for that alone he gets props over here.
On the other hand, I've never been the biggest fan of Boston rapper, Termanology. He's a straight forward lyricist & while he's gotten better over the years (Last year's Time Machine: Hood Politics VI is underrated), I never really looked at him as anything other then an "underground" cat with alot of good relationships & better production.
On their first full collaboration album as the group, 1982, both Statik & Term deliver what their known for, beats that are heavy on the boom bap & rhymes that'll make you run it back like Darren Sproles. But on this joint, (featuring the Trill OG, Bun B & fellow Beantown crooner Masspike Miles) Term & Statik flip the script & do the unexpected...a song for the radio. Peep...
1982 (feat Bun B & Masspike Miles) - "You Should Go Home"
I can't front, I fux widdit...as you should.
Statik Selektah & Termanology are 1982 in stores Oct. 26th.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Directed by Creative Control
Every time Coodie & Chike get behind the lens, you know to expect something dope but these videos they've been making with L.E.P. are some of their most inspired work.
Each new clip plays out like a movie, taking Moonie & Count's cinematic concepts to the next level visually. Synergy at it's finest.
I haven't talked about Chicago's L.E.P. Bogus Boys but they (along with Gary, Indiana's Freddie Gibbs) are making it known that the Mid-West is more then skinny jeans & V-necks. They got gangster shit too. I'll prolly do a thorough write up on their upcoming Gangsta Grillz sponsored mixtape, Don't Feed The Killaz Vol. 3, which drops Halloween night, but I'm saying it now, just judging by the couple of songs that have leaked, this mixtape is gonna open alot of eyes & ears to their movement.
Word is, L.E.P. & Creative Control have a couple more joints in the stash but this joint hit the 'net a few weeks back & I still can't stop watching it. I think it's that La Roux sample. Kills me every time.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Not as big a fan of S Dot as I was in my youth, but he's still one of the most important & compelling figures in Hip-Hop. Any insight into what makes him tick is worthy of some attention. So when word of his upcoming book hit the RSS feed, I was all
“On Tuesday, November 16, 2010, Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter and publisher Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, are set to release Decoded, the first book written by the multi-platinum, 10 time Grammy Award winning entrepreneur and icon. Unique in every sense, Decoded is a narrative journey through the lyrics and life of one of the most prolific artists of our time.
Featuring an image of Andy Warhol’s Rorschach on the cover, the beautifully designed, fully-illustrated book decodes 36 songs from JAY-Z’s extensive catalog. By telling the stories behind some of Jay-Z’s most famous and provocative lyrics, Decoded offers an intimate, first-hand account of an artist, his work, and the culture that so powerfully shaped him.
In addition to the hardcover release, Random House will publish Decoded as an eBook, as well as an interactive iPhone/iPad application that will include exclusive video and customizable content that will allow users to delve into a deeper Decoded experience.”
"When I first started working on this book, I told my editor that I wanted it to do three important things. The first was to make the case that hip-hop lyrics-not just my lyrics, but those of every great MC-are poetry if you look at them closely enough. The second was I wanted the book to tell a little bit of the story of my generation, to show the context for the choices we made at a violent and chaotic crossroads in recent history. And the third piece was that I wanted the book to show how hip-hop created a way to take a very specific and powerful experience and turn it into a story that everyone in the world could feel and relate to."
Decoded by Jay-Z with Dream Hampton in stores Nov. 16th.
If you fuck with Hip-Hop in any way at all, Jay-Z fan or not, this is gonna be a must purchase.
Bonus: Head over to HHDX for a look at the artwork & packaging for Jay-Z's upcoming greatest hits collection.
Monday, October 11, 2010
The first single off of Pilot Talk 2. Seems like Curren$y and Ski went for the quick flip, as they ready their second full length collaboration this year. Hey, as long as the quality of the music doesn't suffer, I can't be mad at em and judging by this single, I don't think quality is gonna be a issue.
Bonus: Mr. Peter Parker caught up with Spitta for a nice interview and they spoke on a number of topics, including Curren$y's early influences, his feelings on being an independent artist, thoughts on his homie Wiz Khalifa, his love of wildlife and the reasons why Michael Knight is the coolest dude ever.
Curren$y loves the kids.
Pilot Talk 2. November 16th. Get fly.
Just A Thought: SkiBeatz is the illest. Just thought I'd say that.
Off of Vado's much anticipated Slime Flu
1. Council Music
3. The Greatest
4. Beat Knockin’
6. Wake Up
7. Rugby Down
8. The UN
9. Bullets & Gun Smoke (Feat. Meek Mill)
10. Crimesquare (Feat. Griff)
12. Filthy Game (Feat. Jae Millz)
13. Shooter (Feat. Cam’ron)
14. Speaking In Tungs (Feat. Cam’ron)
Support my slime. Cop that.
Props to Shake for the hookup.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
If you've found your way to my little corner of the internet then chances are you've heard of this kid from Harlem named Charles Hamilton. Seemingly bursting on the Hip-Hop scene out of nowhere, Charles hit the blogs in 2008 as a fully formed artist, with a story (Homeless heroin addict/musical prodigy), a gimmick (All Pink Everything), an alter ego (Sonic The Hedgehog) and a label deal with Interscope Records already in place. I caught my first glimpse of Hamilton in a YouTube vid where he was having an impromptu freestyle session with Kanye West & The Game and it was clear that not only was Charles a true MC who could hang with the big boys but he could prolly rap circles around a few of them as well. Effortless in his flow, Charles Hamilton remains one of the best true freestyle rappers I've ever seen, but he was out to prove that he was more then just a one trick pony and had some very interesting (and opinionated) views on Hip-Hop and how to "play the game" .
An avid blogger, Charles continued to grow his fanbase with his words as a steady trickle of projects began to hit the 'net. A mixtape with DJ Green Lantern here, a couple of unreleased tracks here, culminating in what still stands out as one of the more ambitious musical projects I've seen to date. Eight mixtapes released on eight different blogs in a four month time span, eponymously titled, The Hamiltonization Process. Sure some of the tapes were hit or miss but the highs were much greater then the lows and the project was successful in achieving it's goal, which was to let the world (Wide Web) know that Charles Hamilton was going to be a force to be reckoned with. All the work paid off and resulted in his inclusion in XXL's Top 10 Freshmen Of 2009. After such a shining endorsement, you'd think things were looking up for young Hamilton. And you would be wrong.
From losing rap battles to fans (I thought the white kid came with some writtens) to losing a war of the words to Soulja Boy (But I can't front, he took an L on this one), rap beef was the least of Hamilton's problems in 2009. Yeah, he got punched by a girl. So what? Son mighta got a little slick with the lips but she's the one who was emotional and outta control. I think Hamilton handled himself like a G given the circumstances. Only thing you can fault him for is messing around with some unstable chick. But when you from the hood, this happens sometimes. (Shout out to my baby mama! The check's in the mail.)
Yeah, he lied about knowing Dilla's mom's but I think he was more shocked at the reaction people had to him wanting to have J Dilla posthumously executive produce his debut album "This Perfect Life". I know I was. I saw it as a sign of respect for a man who he obviously felt influenced his music as well as the music of many others. Hamilton even made a tape entirely based around Dilla beats (And Then They Played Dilla), right around the time it seemed like it became en vogue to do so. At least Hamilton can say Dilla directly influenced his production style. Some of the cats who were jumping on those beats had no connection to the man what so ever. I found that more disrespectful then trying to honor Dilla by giving him credit on his album.
Soon after, Charles' major label debut was shelved and subsequently leaked on the internet and in the months after, Charles got dropped from Interscope, took a self imposed sabbatical to Los Angeles, returned to the bloggersphere with an apology and a bunch of new music with production from cats like DJ Toomp and Jim Jonsin. For a minute it appeared as if he was taking his lumps with a smile.
But after a lukewarm reception to his new material, as quickly as he had reappeared, he disappeared once again.
Most recently, Charles checked himself into New York Presbyterian Mental Hospital for a short stint and showed up a few weeks later at the offices of XXL Magazine where he dropped this epic 27 minute freestyle...from a wheelchair. Yeah, it's always something with Chuck.
Since then, Charles has been releasing a new mixtape almost every other day and even though I'm a fan, I can't lie, these days he misses way more often then he hits but therein lies the appeal of Charles Hamilton. At least to me anyway. Dude is so willing to experiment and put himself out there, even if it's not his best work, even if he might lose some fans because of it. There's a fearlessness in that act and that's admirable but at the same time, if he wanted to just make music for himself, why release it? I think he owes more to the fans who have followed him from the jump, but more importantly, he owes it to himself to fulfill the promise he showed early on.
Chuck's music manages to straddle the line of extreme fantasy (the high concept Well Isn't This Awkward... and it's follow up, Well This Isn't Awkward (Winner Takes All) ) or reality (He dedicated an entire tracklist to his ex's on Every Charles Hamilton Ex-Girlfriend's Worst Nightmare along with the deeply personal, The Pink Lavalamp and This Perfect Life), I find his best work is when he tones down the dramatics & tries to make songs that people will listen to and enjoy instead of rapping solely to show people he's nice at it.
There's a certain contingent of Charles Hamilton fans who eat up everything he releases, lackluster or not. These "Starchasers" (As Hamilton affectionately calls them) are a part of the problem, enabling such a talented musician to continue to put out occasionally brilliant but for the most part, sub par music and treat it like it's the reinvention of sound. Well I'm here to tell you Charles, it's not. The potential for greatness is still there and I think focused efforts will yield better results but for the time being, I'm willing to ride out this wave of obscure music in hopes that he'll eventually get his shit together somewhere later down the line.
After combing through all the Hamilton music I have been able to get my hands on, I present a cohesive collection of what I feel are his best songs since The Hamiltonization Process ended. Without further ado....
This Is Charles Hamilton
1. The Loser's Revenge
2. Sega Music (Last of the Mauritians)
3. Some First Single Type Sh1t
4. Brooklyn Girls
5. Cali Oriental
6. Q and A
7. MTV Cribs (Produced by The Chonchords)
8. Body Roc (Introducing Show TuFli)
9. The North Pole Feat. Max B.
10. Tengo Una Pregunta
11. Loading Feat. MC Lyte
12. Do It
13. Heroin Girl (Produced by DJ Toomp)
14. Think Twice Feat. Yung Nate & Show Tufli (Produced by Woody)
18. SuperSonicLove RMX (Produced by DJ Toomp)
After all my filibustering & my comp of handpicked songs designed to turn even the most hardcore hater to a fan, if all that doesn't work & you still can't bring yourself to give dude his props as a rapper, there is no way you can front on him as a producer. As a bonus, here's a gang of instrumentals, all produced by Charles Hamilton.
Bonus: Charles Hamilton - Hamiltonstrumentals
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Freshly unzipped, it's contents shuffled into the thousands of mp3's that make up my iTunes, a full two weeks before it's June 15th releases date, one of the year's most anticipated albums, the most talked about debut from a Hip-Hop artist since The Game's The Documentary, the follow up to the critically acclaimed 2009 mixtape, So Far Gone...Drake's Thank Me Later.
I got a twinky of sour and a couple sheets of Bamboo.
Thank Me Later makes So Far Gone look like a mixtape.
Not that I necessarily think Thank Me Later is better then So Far Gone. At least not this early on after hearing it for the first time. But as a collection of songs, it matches SFG sonically & thematically, taking the somewhat dark tone of SFG to a natural progression. Like the beats on SFG, the production on TML (helmed by 40 & Boi-1da) is full of sparse drum patterns and meticulously layered arrangements. Outside work from heavyweights like Kanye, No I.D, Timbaland & Swizz Beats, along with contributions from lesser knowns like Omen, Tone Mason, Jeff Bhasker & indie Pop band, Francis and the Lights, provide just enough nuance to expand Drake's sound without changing what made the mix of original & repurposed production on SFG so special.
I don't typically do the track by track review style but since this isn't a review, but more my first impressions of the album, I figured why not?
Fireworks (Feat. Alicia Keys) (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib): First things first...why'd they change the hook? The couple of lines Drake added to the front of Alicia's vocals kinda saps the energy and momentum she had going into the hook on the leaked version. I guess Drake wanted to take more ownership of the song but there is no such thing as too much Alicia Keys.
Or maybe Drake got miffed by being reduced to background duties on "Un-Thinkable" & after not even getting a cameo in the video, this is his way of getting some payback.
The track opens with the sound of actual fireworks bursting in the distance (Points for creativity) and transitions into a beat that's at once reminiscent of "Houstatlantavegas" & "Lust For Life" & yet another verse where Drake talks about his favorite topic, how the fame and the money have changed his life, blah, blah, blah...
"Money just changed everything, I wonder how life without it would go
From the concrete, who knew that a flower would grow
Looking down from the top & it's crowded below
My 15 minutes started an hour ago"
One should be bored with this subject matter, especially coming from Drake, but always self-aware, he manages to put just enough humility into these kinda verses to still make them listenable, even though it seems like we've heard them all before. The next two verses are about Drake's other favorite topics, lost love (between him and an ex and between his parents, respectively) and finding new love. There's a dip in quality from the first verse but this track sets the album up perfectly. Emo-Rap is his specialty and Drizzy Drake goes for the tri-fecta on the opener.
I'm still pissed at the chorus change though.
Karaoke (Produced by Francis & The Lights): I guess this is TML's "Let's Call It Off"/"A Little Bit". Produced by synth-pop maven, Francis Farewell Starlite, production wise, it's a very post 808's & Heartbreaks type of track and fits well in the overall scheme of things. It's the fact Drake ain't really saying shit and the way he's not saying shit that kinda sinks this one for me. I've heard throwaway tracks ("The Winner" & "Killer feat. Nipsey Hussle" come to mind) that are better then this. Saccharine sweet. My teeth hurt after listening to this. I've spun it at least 5 times and I'm still not quite sure what Drake's talking about.
The Resistance (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib): "The Resistance" meaning Drake's second thoughts about fully giving in to his ambitions along with his new lifestyle and not being able to take everyone with you. Yeah, again with the money & the fame & the blah, blah, blah. Again, Drake goes to the "Oh woe is me, I'm rich and famous" well and again his honesty and willingness to set aside macho posturing and reveal insecurities and fears is far more compelling and endearing then the average rapper's default tough guy facade. Gotta give it to 40. Dude has those ambient, atmospheric kinda beats that set the tone before Drake even says a word.
Over (Produced by Boi-1da): By now, you've probably been bombarded with this joint from radio & video shows to the point you mumble the chorus to yourself in your sleep. Thankfully, the song breaks up the sullen mood with an energetic instrumental (the strings are so serious) so sick you almost don't notice the mediocrity in Drizzy's lyrics.
From the Michael Jackson line to the Ebert & Roper reference to the awkward dead prez bite, there are more clunkers here then a used car lot. When it first leaked, many looked at the hook as the culprit but even though it was kinda wordy for my tastes, like anything that's forced on you multiple times a day, it grew on me to the point where I realized that the hook is the only positive element Drake adds to this song. For an MC like Drake (who wasn't the best lyricist from the gate), dumbing down your lyrics for the Young Money crowd may help you sell a couple records but it won't convert any detractors. Funny part is, I'm not sure if Drake was dumbing down or if he was just plain lazy with the lyrics. Catchy hook but Bo1-1da deserves alot of credit for this one.
Show Me A Good Time (Produced by Kanye West): The first of the two Kanye West produced tracks, this being the joint I could've actually heard Ye rhyming alongside Drake on. That's probably cause Drake flows just like Kanye would've had he actually bothered to give up 16 bars.
The beat straddles the line between Graduation & 808's & HB's Kanye, boasting summery piano chords backed up by Electronica infused drums with a few computerized yelps and some crab scratching (just to keep it Hip-Hop) to round it out. Drake comes off more relaxed here then any of the previous tracks and he sounds just as comfy on the hook as he does on the verses, for once pushing the downside of his success to the back and enjoying his newfound celebrity, guilt-free. I found myself digging this one way more then I expected to.
Perfect song to bump in the ride and set the tone for a night of clubbing and lowered inhibitions. Get your pre-party on.
Up All Night (Feat. Nicki Minaj) (Produced by Boi-1da): Picking up right where the last song left off, "Up All Night" finds Young Money Drizzy stunting in the spot with YM's first lady, Nicki Minaj riding shotty. Over a dark, brooding Boi-1da joint, Drake reaffirms his allegiance to his team and wastes a perfectly good track with his superfluous lyrics...
"Okay, now we outta here, toodles to you bitches
And if you doll'd up I got the voodoo for you bitches
Yeah, I'm busy getting rich, I don't want trouble
I made enough for two niggas, boy, stunt double"
Young Angel tries to get his Hov on but ends up falling way short. Good thing Nicki leaves her "Black Barbie" shtick at home and delivers a standout verse to pick up the slack...
"Yo, if Drizzy say get her I'ma get her
I get the kind of money that make a broke bitch bitter
I got that kinda…(wait wait) fixate
Which bitch you know made a million off a mixtape?
That was just a keepsake"
Who woulda thought Drizzy would get murked on his own shit by a girl? If Ms. Minaj can keep her animated antics to a minimum, I'm actually thinking her debut will be something worth checking for.
Fancy (Feat. TI and Swizz Beatz) (Produced by Swizz Beatz): I won't lie, I expected this jawn to be terrible. Surprisingly, it's pretty decent. Dedicated to the chicks who keep "everything did", the high heeled contingent of Drake's fan base will eat this one up. The track is a MJB throwaway that didn't make her last album (You can still hear her on the hook), but after Drake provided the assist on "The One", I guess Mary let him take it and run with it.
T.I. turns in a decent performance but his presence really wasn't needed. He actually sounds outta place. Swizzy & Drizzy would've handled this one just fine without him. Not a huge fan of this song myself but I won't front, when the beat drops out and Drake hits the 3rd verse, I can't help but think the track should've been more like this the entire way through.
Shut It Down (Feat. The-Dream) (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib and Omen): Drake knows who his fanbase is and I'm not mad at him for catering to the ladies. Another one of the early leaks, I've been bumping the unfinished version for a minute and I've been curious to see whether the fully mixed & mastered album version would be an improvement or a step back. The verdict? Both. Adding a full verse from The-Dream was very necessary. His vocals bring an energy that Drake's singing typically lacks.
Now Drake's rap verse is another story altogether. It seems shoddily put together and on a track as well crafted as this one, it's a rush job that really takes away from the overall vibe. Luckily he manages to make up for it with an extended 3rd verse that brings it back around and officially makes it a Drake track. I think there was a concerted effort making sure Drake wasn't outshined by his features and in this case, it worked. If nothing else, you walk away from this song realizing exactly how talented a songwriter Drake is. This could have easily been a song for The-Dream.
Plus, the longer this album plays, the more you understand exactly how important 40 is to the whole Drake movement. His creativity on the production side pushes already dope tracks to new heights.
Unforgettable (Feat. Young Jeezy) (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib and Boi-1da): The best hook Young Jeezy ever recited was written by a Jewish kid from Canada. Go figure. This collabo with Young Jeezy (Drake's favorite rapper) is Drake firmly in his lane, effortlessly switching between rap & R&B mid verse over a 40/Boi-1da track that conjures a similar vibe as SFG's "Successful".
The worst part of this track is that Drake & Jeezy could only muster up a verse a piece.
Light Up (Feat. Jay-Z) (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib and Tone Mason): The collaboration everyone has been waiting on (cause "Off That" is too horrible to actually count), Aubrey gets a chance to work with his idol, Jay-Z on this one and the results exceed expectations. Over a somber backdrop, Drake continues to explore the alienation that success brings, with lines like...
"They always tell me no one is working as hard as you
And even though I laugh it off, man, it's probably true
Cause while all of my closest friends out partying
I'm just here making all the music that they party to"
...you get the sense that the fame and fortune is far more bitter then it is sweet. Even though Drake delivers one of his most concise lyrical performances on the album, it's a standout verse from the old head that gives this song it's weight. Obviously drawing from recent events in his own life, Jay gives Drake a glimpse at the dark side of winning...
"And since no good deed goes unpunished
I'm not as cool with niggas as I once was
I once was, cool as The Fonz was,
But these bright lights can turn you to a monster
Sorry mama I promised they wouldn’t change me,
but I woulda went insane, had I remained the same me
Fuck niggas, bitches too
All I got is this money, this'll do"
Probably one of Jay's most insightful verses in a while, easily surpassing BP3's best moments. Even though I'm still trying to decipher his triple entendre this is a classic Jay-Z verse and one can only hope his new material is as candid & revealing. Overall, this is one of the crown jewels of Thank Me Later and both MC's rise to the occasion. Well played gentlemen.
Miss Me (Feat. Lil Wayne) (Produced by Boi-1da and Noah “40″ Shebib): Originally slated for Bun B's upcoming album, this song made the rounds on the internet as "All Night Long" before it was re-tooled and Bun got replaced by Lil' Wayne.
Cece’s Interlude (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib)
Find Your Love (Produced by Kanye West)
Thank Me Now (Produced by Timbaland)
More To Come
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
So you're a 21 year old Pop star with the world at his feet but it all gets taken away after you lay the smackdown on your Pop Diva girlfriend. Now, you're a blog pariah and radio has all but ignored your last album. Many say your career is over. How do you go about repairing your fractured reputation?
Do what Chris Brown did. Become a rapper & make a mixtape.
I mean, where else is beating a woman down not only acceptable but worthy of a pat on the back? R. Kelly's legacy was only strengthened by his penchant for urinating on teenage girls. Mystikal raped a woman and the fans are awaiting his new single with baited breath.
But I digress. Back to the mixtape.
Chris Brown has flirted with rap before on songs like David Banner's Get Like Me and a few mixtape joints in the past but this is the first time he's really stepped out in full on rapper mode. And he's not by himself. L.A.'s Tyga (a.k.a. the only cat on Young Money besides Drake & Nicki who had a career going before they signed with Wayne) steps in to co-captain this effort and if I had to take a guess, I'd say he played a heavy hand in the writing/structuring of CB's rhymes. The two's verses are damn near interchangeable. Surprisingly, Chris can actually flow, even though his punches sometimes leave much to be desired (i.e: "Just keep your eyes on, got a whole buncha niggas behind me wearin' red, Verizon". Ugh!). Tyga is obviously very comfortable rapping and his verses tend to ground the mixtape somewhat. I don't know what an entire mixtape of Chris Brown rapping would sound like but the duo function best when Tyga is on the rhymes & Chris slips back into "Sanga" mode on the bridges & hooks. Don't get it twisted. Even though this tape is billed as Brown's "Rap Debut", it's still very R&B at spots. The songs deal with some standard teeny bopper topics (i.e. falling in love, dealing with an ex, etc.), the sorta stuff you'd find on Bow Wow & Omarion's Face Off album, except it's good and there's an adult edge that makes it listenable for the 25 & over crowd. The production (handled by newbies KMack & Jahlil Beatz) is official and there is a real good vibe between the two artists which makes the tape flow much more organically then the aforementioned Face Off. Standouts include "Dueces", "Movin 2 Fast", "No Bullshit" & "Number One". My only issue is the amount of unnecessary cussing. There should definitely be an NC-17 rating on the cover because "Young" Chris & Tyga Tyga have a severe case of the potty mouth.
Is this tape indicative of the direction Chris Brown needs to take to get his career back on track? In a way, yes it is. I think Graffiti failed to present Brown in the "Adult" image he's so desperately seeking to attain and this tape does a better job at realistically "growing him up" and tactfully touches the issues he had with his ex without being overly dramatic or heavy handed.
Plus, Tyga gets some mainstream exposure (away from Young Money) that gives him an opportunity to show his talent to the masses. I expect to hear alot from this kid in the near future (If Wayne is smart...and that's still up for debate).
But I smoke a ton of weed so I could be completely wrong. Why don't you give it a listen and tell me how far off I am...
Tyga & Chris Brown - Fan of a Fan (Hosted by DJ Ill Will & DJ Rockstar)
Bonus: The two joints that initially got my attention from this mixtape didn't even make the final cut but I tacked them onto the end of Fan Of A Fan just for good measure (not to mention the fact that I kinda, sorta liked both of them). I threw up the links along with the accompanying videos for your viewing pleasure...
Holla @ Me
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Young Jeezy – Trap Or Die II: By Any Means Necessary
The dropped yesterday as scheduled but I'm just getting the chance to post it today.
I've been playing it non-stop the past 2 hours (while partaking in the proper libations of course) and for someone who heard TOD after I had already copped Thug Motivation 101 & the Boyz In Da Hood album, I think the sequel lives up to it's predecessor. For one, Jeezy is 10x the rapper he was back in 2005. Technically there's been some minor improvement and while I doubt Jeezy will ever be on the level of his peers (ie. T.I., Lil' Wayne, Rick Ross, Gucci Mane) lyrically, it's clear there's been somewhat of a shift in his emphasis from what he's actually saying to how he's saying it.
You niggas thought I was gone, just gone go away
Want me gone like the wind, and just blow away
Want me hang up my mic and put the blow away
Why I refuse to let em treat me like a throwaway
Remember times nigga, I was doin' 4 a day
Same nigga 4 times made me 80K
Now I'm feeling like the shit, took me 2 showers
Now I gotta count this shit, took me 2 hours
Four 12's in the back, that's my favorite trunk
Black Chevelle, white stripes, lookin' like a skunk
Black soles, white stripes, that's my favorite dunks
40Cal, stainless steel, that's my favorite pump - "Problem"
But unlike his peers, Jeezy's street credibility has never been in question and while he used to boast of being a "trap nigga" as opposed to a "rap nigga", somewhere between The Inspiration & The Recession, the lines that used to define him as a rapper have blurred considerably. Sure, for the most part the subject matter is standard fare (cocaine, money, cars, being gangster, getting high, women, did I mention cocaine?) and Jeezy will never blow you away with his flow but he has found a way to keep it compelling all the while making it seem effortless...sorta like Pac back when he was having his run.
You already know, outta sight, outta mind
Can't trust a soul, that's prolly why I'm out my mind
Homie hit me up, he say I'm runnin' outta time
The only thing I'm worried bout is running outta dimes
The only thing he worried bout is runnin' outta nines
Can talk it all night, I doubt I'm runnin' outta lines
Hustle hard, get your own, you niggas got the time
This gotta be the right road cause I can see the signs
Momma said fuck them niggas, get ya head up
Momma said fuck them niggas get ya bread up
And damn what a nigga say
And when it get rough, all you gotta do is pray - "I Remember"
The production doesn't stray far from the usual tinny, monolithic stuff you'd find on his albums (Although I would've liked more joints from mainstays like Drumma Boy & Zaytoven. Plus, Shawty Redd's nightmarish sound beds are noticeably absent) and the joints with high profile features (ie. Scarface, The Clipse, Bun B, Baby, etc.) could easily be cuts from TM103. Some of the songs stand out more then others, but that tends to happen when a disc is 22 tracks deep with no skits. Don Cannon continues his track record of putting together dope "street albums" but he's still no more tolerable then he was on the last tape he hosted (I hope the NoDJ version is on the way). Still, Trap Or Die II: By Any Means Necessary is a worthy installment in Jeezy's catalog (even though DJ Drama's shit talking and the Gangsta Grillz branding would've made it that much better) and a perfect appetizer for Thug Motivation 103, set to hit stores this summer.
Props to 2DB for the hookup.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
"See a lot goin' on, this where the real at, real recognize real, yeah, I know you feel that..."
The internet has been going nuts today over new joints from Aubrey & Marshall but personally, this joint right here has me psyched!
Jeezy & Don Cannon's Trap Or Die 2: By Any Mean Necessary is set to touchdown on Tuesday and I'm anticipating plenty of snow.
I wasn't too fond of The Cool, but it seems like Wasulu has taken it back to his Kick, Push/Food & Liquor steez. Inspirational but catchy, simple but with deeper meaning, and with an assist from The Neptunes, I'm Beaming succeeds on all fronts. My favorite verse...
"Do you remember me, the guy from verse one
Failure’s my last name, Never’s my first one
You see I hood a lot and yeah I nerd some
Hood’s where the heart is, nerd’s where the word’s from
Don’t represent either, because I merge them
There’s kids who wanna leave and I encourage them
Go out and see the world, never return from
Yeah, you don’t come back unless you learn some
And baby girl, what does it matter where you purse from?
Your hurr done, your nails did, your ass phat but you’re dumb
Mix Melyssa Ford wit Maya Angelou
Become a Top Model and Sojourner too
I try to follow this, what Mohammad do
It’s such a old soul inside this sonic view
That’s why I’m Ferrari’d up and I’m conscious too
I don’t prophecize, I promise you "
Lasers is on the way.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Off of B.O.B.'s The Adventures Of Bobby Ray, which is in stores now.
This one is colorful as a pack of Skittles so if you're prone to seizures I'd consult my physician before viewing. Not really the treatment I expected for this joint. I mean, B.O.B. doing choreographed dances, getting his M-A-$-E on? Really? But the boy Bobby Ray has been dancing to the beat of his own drum for a minute now and this is as close to "Haterz Everywhere" B.O.B as we've seen in a long time so I can't be that mad. Plus, scrams snaps on this joint and Tip delivers his best verse since stepping out of the pen earlier this year.
And anytime a cat like Playboy Tre can get a look, I'm all for it.
So J. Cole drops finally his first single and strangely, I'm kinda underwhelmed. I'll admit, I jumped on the J. Cole bandwagon early, not just due to his RocNation signing, but more due to the fact that his first two mixtapes had some dope album quality songs. Which is why the choice of this joint as a first single is somewhat puzzling. Cole is obviously talented. Look no further then his scene stealing appearances on Wale's debut & Reflection Eternal's latest. "Who Dat" doesn't really reflect how dope dude is.
Sure, it's a single so I didn't expect it to be too deep as far as the subject matter and as it is, it's a cool little song with a dope beat (co-produced by Cole and frequent collaborator Elite) that has a few sharp punches but for the most part doesn't require any heavy lifting from the listener. But as the second song most people have heard him on (Jay-Z's "A Star Is Born" being the first) this is an important look and I just don't see "Who Dat" setting radio request lines on fire, let alone selling any albums. I'm not counting light skinned Jermaine out just yet, but he's gonna need something more potent if he plans on catching up to his competition
And for the record...
Lights Please > We On > Who Dat
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Usually when someone artistic passes away, everyone come out of the woodwork saying how great they were and sometimes the postmortem hype outweighs the persons accomplishments when they were alive.
But Guru deserves every ounce of praise he's sure to receive in the coming days. His monotone voice and deadpan delivery are so distinct that they sometimes overshadow his wordplay, but make no mistake, Guru was a lyricist first & foremost and his songs always had a level of depth to them. His choice of moniker fit him to a tee
"Sometimes you gotta dig deep, when problems come near
Don't fear things get severe for everybody everywhere
Why do bad things happen, to good people?
Seems that life is just a constant war between good and evil
The situation that I'm facin', is mad amazin'
To think such problems can arise from minor confrontations
Now I'm contemplatin' in my bedroom pacin'
Dark clouds over my head, my heart's racin'
Suicide? Nah, I'm not a foolish guy
Don't even feel like drinking, or even gettin' high
Cause all that's gonna do really, is accelerate
The anxieties that I wish I could alleviate
But wait, I've been through a whole lot of other shit, before
So I oughta be able, to withstand some more
But I'm sweatin' though, my eyes are turnin' red and yo
I'm ready to lose my mind but instead I use my mind
I put down the knife, and take the bullets out my nine
My only crime, was that I'm too damn kind
And now some skanless motherfuckers wanna take what's mine
But they can't take the respect, that I've earned in my lifetime
And you know they'll never stop the furious force of my rhymes
So like they say, every dog has it's day
And like they say, God works in a mysterious way
So I pray, remembering the days of my youth
As I prepare to meet my moment of truth"
The past few months have been filled with drama and speculation. I hope Guru finally finds some peace
Rest In Paradise
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
What up gangster? I know, I know, I didn't write you during your bid like I said I would, but I've been caught up in a buncha bullshit since you've been gone. Living life. You know how it is. I copped the album though. The official shit too, not the bootleg. Godfather Buried Alive. Shit was just what the streets needed to hold us over until you came home. It took a minute but they finally had to let you go. Now I know immigration got you caught up and they ended up sending you back to Belize, but from what I hear, you're back on your feet already. I know L.A. Reid basically handed you a new big money deal with Def Jam. That's a good look!(Let me hold somethin' Po!) I heard the joint you did for Khaled's album and even though alot of people hated on it, (I'm not gonna front, I didn't know what to think) you get a pass from me.
DJ Khaled feat. Akon, Shyne & Movado - All My Life
It's like a fighter, sparring, shaking off the ring rust, getting back in fighting form. Shit, honestly, it wasn't even that bad, just not quite the first look you'd want after being away for all those years. And the lyrics weren't bad at all. I think the problem most heads had with the song was your voice. I don't know what you were doing with your time at Clinton but whatever it was, it definitely changed how you sound on the mic. I was hoping that Khaled song was just a warm up joint but these latest joints I've heard aren't any better.
Shyne - Messiah
Shyne - Rude Boy Freestyle
Actually, they're kinda worse.
Cause it's not just the voice that's not working. It's the flow, the words, everything. I hate to sound like a dick, but exactly what were you doing with your time up north? Now I know you've been through some shit the past 10 years and I understand that, but fam, you're gonna have to come better then this if you're expecting to try and get your career back. The people you have around you obviously aren't telling you the truth, so let me do you a favor and tell it like it is...
Step Your Bars Up, Son.
After all that time away, people are anticipating something epic and so far, all we've gotten is below average, especially for a cat who's had as much time on his hands as you have. You know the streets got love for you Po, but you gotta give cats something to cheer about and these past couple of joints ain't it.
Just a little something to think about. I'll holla.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Banks has his first decent look in years and I can't front, this joint has been heating up on the radio here in NYC. Wasn't really feeling it on the first listen, but the beat knocks and both Banks & Elz kinda kill it. Juelz especially. I fux wit Vado, but some of you cats who are saying he's better then Santana may need to re-think that.
One question though...The fuck is Beanie Sigel doing in this clip? Ol' gut & butt looks painfully out of place.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
So R&B is dead, huh? Well, somebody needs to let Terius Nash b.k.a. The-Dream know, cause for the past 4 joints, dude has grown from the chubby cat with the catchy vocal tics to the most bankable male R&B/Pop artist in the game. You may be able to say Ursher's marriage (and subsequent fall off) had something to do with it. Justin Timberlake has been quiet since his last album, seemingly bitten by the acting bug (Good luck). Chris Brown has been making hits, only problem is, the biggest ones weren't made in a recording studio, they were in his Lambo (He got Rihanna on the hook). Brown quickly went from being the next Michael Jackson to being the new Ike Turner. T-Pain was poised to make a move to the forefront (If you wanna even call what he does "R&B") but with so many cats copying his style, it diluted his movement somewhat and after Jay-Z's "Death Of Auto-Tune", his career's been a couple of dirt filled shovel full's away from being D.O.A.. All that left just enough room for The-Dream to come in with his patented brand of "Luv Songs" to fill the vacuum and take the number one slot.
The-Dream - Love King
So you say he can't really sing and his lyrics are crass (often times they're just flagrantly sleazy). Point taken. But don't front like you haven't gotten at least one of his infectious hooks stuck in your head at one point or another. The-Dream has a mastery of melodies and rudimentary as his songwriting may sometimes be, there's a sense of mischievous charm and a vulnerability that allows him to get away with much of it. Through all the playboy bravado, it's clear through his music that The-Dream is a helpless romantic and the way he tackles the basic topics of love, sex and money has resulted in critical acclaim, even if the album sales haven't necessarily reflected his popularity. Plus, simply put, the guy knows how to make hit records. Since his 2007 debut, Love/Hate, The-Dream has been nearly omnipresent on the Hip-Hop/R&B charts. Actually, he was there even before his debut (The-Dream wrote Rihanna's "Umbrella", Chris Brown's "You" and both "Bed" & "Suffocate" for J. Holiday). Following last year's re-up, Love Vs. Money, Nash has kept busy with numerous guest appearances & features (Fabolous's "Throw It In The Bag, Snoop Dogg's "Gangsta Luv", Rick Ross's "All I Really Want") as well as a slew of side projects (Mariah Carey's Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel, Electrik Red's How To Be A Lady Vol. 1, Christina Milan's upcoming album, Elope & Ciara's as yet untitled 4th album). He might not be an A-List star yet but his hit making acumen is already certified. Whether it's a genuine collaboration or a close facsimile (i.e. Jeremih's "Birthday Sex", Trey Songz entire last album, etc.) you can't turn on your radio or favorite video channel without bumping into a song from The-Dream or something clearly inspired by his music. The question is, while writing all those hit records for everybody else, does he have anything left in the tank for the Return Of The Jedi chapter of his "Love" trilogy. Well, The-Dream answers with the first look and title track off of his third album, Love King, and after riding with it for a hot minute, I'd say the answer is a definite yes.
The track (Produced by L.O.S. Da Mystro) is full of the same electronic clicks, snaps and soaring synths that have become familiar territory on a Dream song. The same musical elements found here can be found on alot of other records from The-Dream, but the fact that they're used in such a way that they still sound just as fresh as they did when you first heard them speaks volumes. On it, The-Dream runs down a list of all his conquests over the past couple years (at one point, the song sounds like a commercial jingle. I hope son got paid for a couple of those name drops) but he's still campaigning for those last few holdouts, urging, "If you don't know me like that/Girl, you should know me like that". And just for good measure, The-Dream throws in every catchy run, rift and adlib he's got in his cache, to the point the song is bursting with The-Dream-isms. You just wait, once radio/video picks this up, it's gonna be pretty hard to avoid.
I've seen the talk around the net and the main point I see being brought up is that "Love King" sounds like "Shawty Is The Shit". Or it sounds like "Rockin' That Thing" or "I Luv Your Girl" or any one of his other hits. Is it formulaic? Yeah, but I think that's exactly the point. In fact, the song itself is an ode to that very formula, a celebration of the sound that The-Dream and his production team (Tricky Stewart & L.O.S. Da Mystro) have rode to multi-platinum success, at the same time influencing the R&B genre in a way we haven't seen since R. Kelly dropped his game changer, 12 Play back in '93 (an artist and an album that are obviously major influences for The-Dream). Quietly, Nash and his "Dream" team have been making some of the best Pop records in recent memory and still managed to get snubbed by the Grammy's. But you know how that goes. Fuck a Grammy.
As far as first singles go, "Love King" is everything we've come to expect from The-Dream. This is both a good thing and a not so good thing. See, that's the thing about formulas. When they work, no one cares how many times they're used or how eventually they all seem to blend together (ie. The Neptunes Discography). It's only when they turn stale and repetitive do they become a problem. As prolific as The-Dream has been in his brief career (and he doesn't show any signs of slowing up), the quality of the music has never faltered. But how long can he keep going to the same well before it dries up? I'm giving "Love King" a pass because it's the "single" but at the same time, I question his decision to go with such a safe record. With this set to be his 3rd and final release a s a solo artist (I'm calling bullshit right now), I'm waiting to hear if he can top his previous efforts because if The-Dream doesn't continue to try and find new wrinkles in his format, I'm not sure if there will be any royal coronations in his future.
Well, I'm back off hiatus. Excuse my absence but I've been grinding, getting to the money. Figured I might as well show my face around here for the one or two heads that check for me (Luv ya Ma!). I'm sending this one out to all my cats on their grizzly, 9 to 5 or otherwise. Keep pushin' my G'z.
Off of Hi-Tek's Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip...(The guitar at the end sings to me)...
So Tired (Ft. Dion, Bun B, Devin The Dude & Pretty Ugly)
"I trust no niggas & trust no hoes, and I'm never really asleep, it's only one eye closed..."
New posts on the way.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Talk of Killa Cam's demise has been premature. Cats shitted on Crime Pays but I was one of the few waving the flag and I still think it was one of 2009's sleeper Hip-Hop albums. Revisit it and you'll see that the wordplay on that thing stands shoulder to shoulder to any of his earlier albums. Then Cam followed up with two highly underrated Boss Of All Bosses mixtapes with DJ Drama and a high profile feature with The Clipse, Cam's been working more this past 9 months then he had the past 3 years. As much of a Killa stan as I am, I'll admit that at times Cam has sounded less then enthusiastic about rapping, but on the first salvo off of his new group, The U.N.'s upcoming album, Cam’ron Presents The U.N. - Gunz N' Butta, he proves that the fire is still there. His protege, Vado, doesn't bring quite the same energy that Juelz used to, but he more then holds his own on the track next to the big homie.
Cam’ron Presents The U.N. - Gunz N' Buttais due to hit store shelves March 23rd on E1 Records.
Harlem, we back in the building!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
In case you couldn't tell from the picture at the end of the video, the guy about to duff this idiot out is none other then hip-hop veteran, Freddie Foxxx a.k.a. Bumpy Knuckles. Not the guy to fuck around with. After watching dude act like a maniac in that "freestyle", you know he deserved exactly what was on the receiving end of that punch. Hopefully some footage of the actual "fight" will surface soon. Seeing Freddie Foxxx actually land that death blow would make sitting through this idiots rap conniption that much more amusing.
Just A Thought - I say this cat releases a diss record any day now.
Video clipped from Dallas Penn.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Consider this a public service announcement, cause after watching this documentary about "jailhouse love", I'm pretty sure all you hard rocks (nhjic) & wannabe thugs will think twice before selling that last jumbo crill or pulling that next strongarm robbery. I know for a fact I'm not built for this.