Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Since the age of 17, Pharrell has been living a dream. It was at this age when he wrote a verse for Teddy Riley to use for Wreckx-N-Effect's 1992 hit-song, "Rump Shaker." The song went double platinum, and Skateboard P's career has been off and running ever since. Together with production partner, Chad Hugo, The Neptunes have won numerous grammy's, produced multiple #1 hits, and have an estimated net worth of $155 million. Recently, The Selby, posted photos of Pharrell at his pad in Miami. The place looks absolutely incredible, and it's definitely fair to say that the fruits of P's labor paid off.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Fresh out the pen, it appears Wayne is wastin' no time to start promoting his upcoming album The Carter IV. Earlier today, Funkmaster Flex premiered the first single off the album, which is called "6'7"." Wayne and upcoming battle-MC, Cory Gunz, spit fire over a rawkus Bangladesh-produced beat. The result is one of the hottest songs to come out in a while. Unfortunately we only have a radio-rip for the moment, but hopefully the CDQ version will be out soon.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Deep within the abyss of Aftermath's studios, some of the most talented producers in Hip Hop work every day to create music worthy of the Aftermath/Dr.Dre-approved name. Many of the world's greatest producers- Scott Storch, Hi-Tek, DJ Khalil, Mel Man, Mr. Porter, and Mike Elizondo among others, have all worked under the Aftermath umbrella. The label's newest signee, Dawaun Parker, has put in a lot of work on recent albums, most notably Busta Rhymes' The Big Bang, and Eminem's Relapse. On the side, Dawaun has been workin on an EP of his own called The Decision. With the exception of Kanye, Pete Rock, and to a lesser extent, Pharrell and J Dilla, I'm always skeptical of producer-rappers. For whatever reason, something doesn't seem to translate properly from working behind the boards to gettin' busy in the booth. That said, Dawaun's first single, "Lost," is pretty dope and is absolutely worth a listen for the production alone. Dawaun and Dr. Dre take care of the production, and to his credit, Dawaun sounds legitimate with the mic.
The Clipse has long been one of my favorite Hip Hop groups. Even though their last album, Till The Casket Drops, didn't quite live up to expectations (sales-wise or critically), it was still better than the vast majority of albums released in 2009. To be fair, the album did have some jams- "Door Man," "Popular Demand," and "Never Will It Stop" knocked real hard. However, one of my favorite songs was the last song on the album, "Life Change." The beat was so dope, and rather than talk about their standard coke-dealings, Pusha and Malice came with some introspective lyrics that really showed how much they've grown as artists. A year later, which is incredibly late by most standards, we've now got the official video for "Life Change," which features Pharrell and Kenna. The vid is pretty cool, and the song is fire so check it out.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Thanks to my brother Andre, I really got into Big Boi's Sir Lucious Left Foot album this summer. It may have not been everything I expected and hoped, but Big Boi did his thing. Maybe 80% of the songs are too creative and well-produced to press the "next" button on them.
Here is the video for the song The Train Pt. 2. It was recorded in 2008 when Big Boi had unexpectedly linked up with the Atlanta Ballet for the production of Big. The track features Sam Chris on the chorus and is somewhat of a sequel to the original The Train, which featured Scarface, Sleepy Brown, and obviously Andre 3000, from Kast's underrated project, the Idlewild album.
I can never pass up posting a mash-up done as well as this. The dude, Xaphoon Jones, who is better known for producing for Chiddy Bang, put this together, mashing up Kanye West's Touch The Sky featuring Lupe with Radiohead. It is a welcomed Kanye-centric break from finals and my steady rotation of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
For those of you who are looking for a little something different to listen to, let me introduce you to Benga. Benga is one of the premier Dubstep artists from Croydon, South London, and alongside his partner in crime, Skream, he's helped bring Dubstep out of the dark corridors of South London and into the mainstream. I've become a pretty big fan of the genre due to its fusion of Hip Hop, House, Two-Step, Grime, and other types of electronic music. Recently, Benga teamed up with British singer Katy B to remix his song "Man On A Mission," giving birth to new version known as, "Katy On A Mission." The song and accompanying video are a great introduction to one of the fastest growing genres of music.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Everyone knows that Dr. Dre's Detox album has attained a nearly mythical status due to its numerous delays since 2002. Year after year Dre has promised that the album "was coming soon," but finally, it looks as if it is ready for release in February of 2011. For the skeptics that are saying, "yeah right, I've heard that before," you would probably be right except for the fact that we now have the official video for the first single, "Kush." When I first heard it, I was rather underwhelmed. My thought process was, The Chronic had "Ain't Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang," as a first single 2001 had "Still D.R.E.," and Detox has "Kush?" It just didn't live up to the classic status of the first singles from his previous albums. That said, the song has really grown on me and I've caught myself bumpin' it multiple times the past few days. The video is dope, and hopefully Detox won't disappoint.
Friday, November 19, 2010
The first signs of B.o.B's next mixtape have come to light. He recently released the video for the song Beast Mode that is set to be on his No Genre mixtape, which will be released December 7th. I hate to say it, but I may be more excited for this than I was for the album. Don't get me wrong - the album was dope. I even purchased it, but there is a certain freedom Bobby Ray is granted on mixtapes versus albums that he has always utilized to his fullest potential.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
There is a trend in the industry to release freestyles for the fans for free through the internet. I think this could be one of the smartest movements in the music industry. You need to understand that listeners are downloading the majority of their music online for free. So why not satisfy them, keep them interested, and release some music for free.
Trey Songz is one of the newest artists to do this. On a track with Fabolous, he goes in over Right Above It. While this song is decent, nothing beats him going over Gucci's Lemonade a few months ago. Here's a taste of the best songs off his #LemmeHoldDatBeat tape.
And the mixtape: #LemmeHoldDatBeat
Who would have thought that one of the most recognized of recent underground rappers and one of the most recognized hip-hop artists of all time would mesh so well together. Despite Diddy's best efforts to get Jay Electronica to his side over the past year or so, Jay-Z swooned the artist into recently signing with Roc Nation.
From this epic signing comes the duo's first product, Shiny Suit Theory. This song is just a great four minutes of hip-hop, blending the styles of two of the most talented people in the game. It also features the musical stylings of The-Dream and Charlotte Gainsbourg. This blend of raw underground skill and an established commercial medium has a lot of potential for the future.
Girl Talk has just come out with his new album, All Day, the fifth album from this widely known mash-up artist. The album is a seamless play of 372 overlapping samples that did not disappoint. While the energy of the tape is consistent throughout, the variety of samples does well to keep your attention.
The best part about this album is that it came out of nowhere, but it seems that he has been working on it since his last album. Even with no previous news of this new Girl Talk project or rumors of it's release, the internet went nuts upon it's release.
Girl Talk told MTV:
The big feature of this album is giving samples a little bit more breathing room. There are segments on the new record that are extremely detailed and cut-up and, you know, 10 samples will go by in 10 seconds, but I feel there's less of a focus on that compared to previous albums. I'm really interested in the rate of change but sticking with the same source material for a bit longer. It's a little bit more patient, mostly because I've spent just about every day working on it, editing it, going over each segment. It's been a full-time commitment.
You can take full advantage of this capitalization of copyright and sampling laws below.
Monday, November 15, 2010
The duo U-N-I out of LA just released a video to one of the tracks off their album, A Love Supreme 2.0. The track was featured on their previous release, A Love Supreme, and the rest is the album is equally as dope. If you haven't heard anything from these west coast rappers, take a listen to the album, which features the likes of Bun B, Miguel, and Fashawn.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
If you have heard Kanye's Devil In A Red Dress already, you can expect a final album version with some fresh verses. Until then you may appreciate the freestyles utilizing this awesome track. J. Cole and Joell Ortiz are two very different rappers, but they are both very talented lyricists and give the track their own individual feel.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Got myself a copy of Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager. My initial reactions have been very positive, with my immediate standout track being Ashin' Kusher. I know this is going to be in rotation for a while it's great lyrics from Scotty over a sick beat. While I would love to share tracks from Cudi's sophomore studio album, I know they would immediately be removed by the RIAA.
Whether you support the artist or save yourself some money, get your hands on a copy. Until then, you can enjoy this dope Cudi freestyle. He goes in off the dome for an On Da Spot freestyle and has fun with it, which are both something you don't see a lot these days with "freestyles."
If you haven't checked out Kanye West's Runaway video, you might want to. This 35 minute long video features the track for which it is named, but it does not stop there. The video plays through the story of Kanye and his run-in with a fallen Phoenix and successfully utilizes other tracks from his upcoming album My Dark Twisted Fantasy to tell the story.
The video is entertaining to say the least and gives a great preview of what we are in store for come November 22nd, when Kanye releases his fifth studio album. From the tracks I have heard so far, the production is insane.
You may know the name Bruno Mars from this summer's radio hit by B.o.B, Nothing On You. This young singer broke onto the scene through a popular feature, but his recognition is not undeserved. He recently released an album Doo-Wops & Hooligans, and while I've heard several songs that I enjoyed, nothing stood out to me like Liquor Store Blues.
This track was one of the digital singles released to promote the album and featured Damian Marley. They could not go wrong with this collaboration.
Hasn't even been half a day since my last post on Wiz, but I can't go without sharing a Rick Ross remix of the song which I figure is unofficial and well as a few decent freestyles over the track.
It seems like plenty of people have been flowing over this, but the only ones that remain in my playlists are from Wale and Donnis, both going at the beat very differently.
This song could be in the running for my favorite song of the year. Pharrell linked up with Swedish House Mafia to create some pure fire on the house groups first single, One. This track takes it to another level. The house offerings of SHM alongside Pharrell's crooning fits together flawlessly in an almost mesmerizing way.
I wanna know your name... or, better yet, stand there and just do that.
"Ironic you've been sleeping on the one that you've been dreaming 'bout."
The issue I sometimes have with posse cuts is that because of the star power the track has, artists tend not to go off as if they would on their own track or a track they are on with just one other artist. No matter the length and importance of your feature, artists need to understand that these tracks are showcases.
The issue I sometimes have with posse cuts is that because of the star power the track has, artists tend not to go off as if they would on their own track or a track they are on with just one other artist. No matter the length and importance of your feature, artists need to understand that these tracks are showcases.
I definitely enjoyed the newest installment of G.O.O.D. Fridays. The track is called "Looking For Trouble" and has a line-up of Kanye, Pusha, Cyhi, Big Sean, and J. Cole. What first caught my interest on the track was the Cole feature. He is set to release his latest mixtape soon, but I'm glad he took the time to get into Kanye's weekly music movement.
Both J. Cole and Big Sean went off on this track. Not to take away from any one else's performance but there is a clear difference in these artists energy levels. You can see for yourself below.
“I don’t know what it is [when it comes to features]. What it comes from is fear, that’s why I go so hard [on guest spots]. I’m a real competitor. It’s just a fear of somebody besting me and dominating me with a better verse. Not every song is like that, but on a song like ‘Looking For Trouble’ it is. It’s that spirit of hip-hop: Let’s see who can come the best. I don’t know if I’m going to have the best verse, but I know ain’t nobody just gonna kill me.”
I try not to love or on certain artists because of affiliations or common enemies, but the G-Unit situation has always been interesting to me. I was definitely into 50 when he was doing it big, I still regularly listen to The Game and Young Buck who I think are both talented artists, but with Lloyd Banks, I figured my interest had died with my last memory being The Cake off Rotten Apple.
With the resurgence of his popularity this summer with the joint Beamer, Benz, or Bentley, I figured it was just a small shot at something of a comeback - like 50 Cent has been trying to do for a while now. I may have been wrong, though. Since then, I have been hearing a couple real nice tracks that he put together, including a feature on a G.O.O.D. Friday track. You can be the judge for yourself with these tracks.
Celebrity (ft. Akon, Eminem)
Start It Up Remix (ft. Kanye, Swizz, Ryan Leslie, and Fab)
It was bound to happen, but Wiz was busted in North Carolina for possession. I couldn't pass up any opportunity to blog about Wiz, but you can check the full story here.
In honor of Wizzle Man getting locked up, I wanted to share a track I recently discovered on an unofficial Wiz mixtape. The track is a mash-up of a couple Notorious B.I.G. verses over Kanye's say you will, with Wiz doing his best "Biggie flow." You can also check out another pretty cool mash-up with Wiz and Biggie here.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
If you haven't heard of XV, you might want to do a little research. The young rapper from Wichita, Kansas combined with the powers at Warner Bros. recently re-released and remastered Vizzy Zone, XV's most recent mixtape, which has a couple of mixtape gems to say the least. The tape also features the likes of Mike Posner, Talib Kweli, and Bun B for starters. And what other rappers do you ever get to hear from Kansas? Grab the mixtape and check out the video for Mirror's Edge.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Recently heard a new collaboration between G-Unit's two fallen angels, The Game and Young Buck. These two artists once teamed up in a track called Hate On Us about a year or so ago, and it definitely shows a bit of growth.
I think both of these artists are great lyricists who are making their respective marks on the industry. While Young Buck continues to work on his mixtape series, The Game has been releasing several mixtapes in preparation for his new album, The R.E.D. Album.
Check out both the collabo tracks as well as a link to The Game's newest mixtape, Brake Lights.
Brake Lights Mixtape
The Game - Hustlin' (Champions) off of Brake Lights
After everything Chris Brown has gone through under the scrutiny of the public, it's almost a surprise that he is still around and producing relevant content.
No doubt he is still a talented performer. When you take a song that has already reached popularity and remix track with plenty of guest verses, you're bound to have a decent song. While I do enjoy this Deuces Remix, I have to say it is because of each artists individual performances than the track as a whole. I feel like its almost pieced together with the assumption that it would turn on great with names like Drake, Kanye, and Andre 3000 among others. Chris Brown himself barely has a presence on the track, but what are you going to do besides enjoy.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
As many of you know, Kanye has been releasing a song every Friday for the past month and a half or so, and dubbed the day G.O.O.D. Friday. He's vowed to release a song every Friday until the release of his new album, which is still untitled. However, a little controversy struck earlier this week when one of the songs on Kanye's album leaked online. This kinda stuff happens all the time, but the song was unfinished and unmixed- clearly not intended to be heard by anyone outside of 'Ye's studio. Naturally, Yeezy got pissed that after a month and a half of giving away free music, someone would hack into his email/harddrive and post a song that a) didn't belong to them, and b) was clearly not meant to be heard, yet. Kanye threatened to put a halt on G.O.O.D. Friday, but out of the kindness of his heart, he's graced us with yet another song to bump. Enjoy.
There are very few artists out there as timeless as Gil Scott-Heron. The man's legacy is set in stone, yet after all these years he's still putting out new music. He really is completely original, to pigeon-hole him into a genre of music really wouldn't be fair. His spoken-word is totally unique, case in point with the classic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." His poetry has led many to consider him to be "the godfather of rap," but to be honest, he's simply a genius. Last February, he released his first album in over 10 years, titled "I'm New Here." It got great reviews and had a very eclectic sound, drawing on influences from his old, spoken-word days, Hip Hop, Alternative, and just about everything under the sun. The lead single off the album was "Me And The Devil," a dark, almost hypnotizing song that quickly became one of my favorites of the year. The video is incredible, and I felt it's one that everyone should see. Be sure to check it out below, as well as the song "New York Is Killing Me" feat. NaS... great song.
Friday, October 01, 2010
One of my favorite up-and-coming MCs, Mickey Factz has been doing his thing, albeit very quietly, for the last couple years or so. Back when I was in the middle of doing the "Who's Next?" series, I fully intended to include Mickey on the list. It's so unfortunate that this dude isn't more well known- the man can spit. If you're not familiar with him, he just released a new mixtape that you NEED to check out, called "I'm Better Than You." A bold title for sure, but he does his best to back it up. Do yourself a favor and download this, you won't regret it.
Every generation has a time period in Hip Hop that they refer to as "the golden age." Sure, most people refer to "the golden age" as the mid to late 80s with Eric B. and Rakim, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, and a slew of other dope MCs. But for me, there was nothing like the early to mid 2000s when Roc-A-Fella was really killin' it, with Just Blaze and Kanye working behind the boards. There was a slew of Roc-affiliated artists who benefitted from great production, like Freeway, Young Gunz, Beanie Sigel, and even Memphis Bleek had some hot songs (check out "Like That," and "Is That Your Chick" if you don't believe me). But the group that benefitted most from the Roc-A-Fella co-sign was The Diplomats, who today are generally referred to as Dipset. I used to love Dipset back in the day. Diplomatic Immunity was my shit, I'd bump that 24/7. There were so many classic cuts, and it was amazing to turn on BET (haha, yeah I know) and see the video for "Dipset Anthem," which was pretty epic. Even years later, "I Really Mean It" is still one of my favorite songs ever.
However, when news broke a few months ago that Dipset was getting back together, I actually wasn't too optimistic about it. It's been a while since I heard a Dipset affiliated song that I thought was hot. And I'm not talkin', "oh yeah, this is pretty cool," I'm talkin', "wow, this is fire." I guess the thing that worried me the most about a Dipset reunion wasn't whether or not the chemistry was still there, but if these guys still had an ear for great production. Back in the day, The Heatmakerz, Just Blaze, and Kanye would hook them up with some gems, but lately, the majority of songs I hear just sound like throwaway mixtape tracks. No disrespect to Araab Musik, but he is not even close to being on the same level that those guys were circa 2003, and he's clearly in a different league by today's standards. However, this morning when I logged onto nahright.com, I saw a pic of Jim Jones, Cam, and Juelz standing in the studio with Dr. Dre. "The Capo," a.k.a. Jim Jones had posted it on his twitter, along with the caption "Just finished our 1rst session with Dr Dre incredible." Upon seeing this, I thought maybe things will truly be different this time around. As opposed to being cheap, and working with a bunch of bootleg mixtape producers, maybe they'll actually go out and get the production that they deserve. There are few albums I'd like to see more than a new Dipset joint, if it's done right. There's no reason why they shouldn't reach out to work with great producers. Feel free to comment on this if you like, but I just had to get that off of my chest.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Well, another summer came and went, and I didn't post a single thing. FAIL. Anyways, I'm back on the grind, and it's time for me to step my blog game up. Musically, the next few months look to be quite promising with Kanye's new album, Pusha T's solo mixtape, the Jay-Z/Kanye collabo EP, Mos Def signing to G.O.O.D. music, and way too many other great projects to mention.
Anyways, I decided to kick things off a little differently. For those who don't know, or have been living under a rock for the last couple years, House music is starting to come back in a big way. A-Trak, who's known for winning DMCs World DJ Championship at age 15 (!) and for being Kanye's tour DJ, has been working with American House DJ, Armand Van Helden, under the name of Duck Sauce. You may not recognize the name Armand Van Helden, but you've probably heard at least one of his songs, most likely 1999's "You Don't Know Me." Together as Duck Sauce, they've been putting out House music in the vein of the old French/Disco style from the 90's. If you haven't already checked them out, I urge you to do so as they've been releasing some quality music.
Today, they released the video for their song "Barbra Streisand." There are a ton of cameos including, Kanye West, Just Blaze, Pharrell, DJ Premier, Yelawolf, ?uestlove, among others.
Also, be sure to check out Uffie feat. Pharrell- ADD SUV (Armand Van Helden Club Mix), it's a "banga"
Monday, September 06, 2010
After what seemed to be a long hiatus from music that included a lot of rumors and antics, Kanye West, arguably one of the greatest entertainers of our time. He raps, he produces, and now he is delivering quality music to us every Friday. Many people have already heard the radio a buzz with Power, the Power Remix, and the hard-hitting Monster.
This Friday, though, he brought us a track produced by Bink! that is reminiscent of Kanye's soul samples in a track called Devil In A New Dress. These tracks are great to hold us over until Kanye's 5th studio album,
Good Ass Job Dark Twisted Fantasy.
DJ Premier was cited as saying, "Well, first of all, if you look at all of Kanye West's output, he actually did a lot to bring back sampling and make it cool again, even though he's more of a mainstream artist...but his new album is strictly hard beats and rhyme. He's totally done with electro. You're gonna be surprised what you hear." Definitely looking forward to that album, but in the meantime, I'll enjoy whatever I can get my hands on.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Summer used to be a time of rest and relaxation. Sadly growing up has forced me to get a job and really cut the time I try to spend on here. Can't be making excuses, though, so why not throw up a track while I'm here.
This is a real smooth track with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys on the chorus. On the song, Oil Money, brought to you by Freddie Gibbs, he is accompanied by fellow young artists Chip Tha Ripper and Chuck Inglish of The Cool Kids, as well as the veteran who will never miss a feature opportunity, Bun B.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
There was a great KiD CuDi collabo that I recently heard called All Summer. He was recruited by Converse to make this awesome track with Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend and Best Coast.
Also, if you haven't heard the few tracks that have been released from KiD CuDi's new album, check out Erase Me and REVOFEV.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
I was checking out the website today and noticed two things...
1. Mr. Evans and I haven't poster anything since last month. Granted we are only four days into the month, but that still means our last post was almost two weeks ago.
2. The last post I got around to was about J. Cole, Roc Nation's first official artist. The one thing I can say is this kid's pen game is ridiculous. His lyrics are endless, and you can tell that he has been putting in the work. Recently I really got into his second and most popular mixtape, The Warm Up. Many argue that J. Cole has more potential talent and potential than fellow up-and-comer Drake, and this mixtape definitely gives Drizzy a run for his money. After listening to this mixtape through a few times, it's hard to argue that this isn't a Cole World.
Just like one of my favorite roommates back at Boston College, this lyricist hails from Fayetteville, North Carolina. His goal, through his delivery, is to put the Ville on the map, and only few can argue that he isn't doing just that. There is no doubt that J. Cole is a talented rapper whose performances and lyricism, if they prevail, will keep this kid around for a while.
This mixtape gets me excited about this young artist, who has the ability to change the game. Check out his newest mixtape, The Warm Up, to understand what I am hearing. If you get more curious like me, download The Come Up, the mixtape from 2007 that started it all.
Download: The Warm Up
J. Cole's 2009 Mixtape that will serve as a prelude to his freshman album due later this year.
Bonus : The Last Stretch
This is a great track that J put out a year after the release of The Warm Up over Diddy's Angel.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Here is a view of Asher Roth and Pharrell getting to work in the studio to finish up a track off his upcoming sophomore album, The Spaghetti Tree.
We have already seen what Ash can do with Pharrell on the boards before. On The Greenhouse Effect mixtape, he went in over The Clipse's Neptune-produced track, Mr. Me Too. Check out the track and the video below.
Friday, June 11, 2010
This summer is slated for some major album releases including Eminem's Recovery, Drake's Thank Me Later, and Rick Ross's Teflon Don. The list goes on. For me, though, I would say that this summer is all about the mixtape. There is just so much good music that artists release for the fans through their mixtapes, and a lot of times it gets looked over.
My favorite so far is the newest release from my man, Wiz Khalifa, and it will be one mixtape I know I will be bumping all summer long. This young rapper has come a long way from Say Yeah, and his flow has only gotten smoother. His newest mixtape Kush & Orange Juice is a great play, essentially from start to finish.
The mixtape has little bit for everyone. Every beat has it's own original, cool feel, and a few tracks feature some great samples. You can cop it below, and check out a few little videos he created for a couple of the tracks. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Download: Kush & OJ Mixtape
Thursday, June 10, 2010
"Yo ATL, I know you haven't heard anything like this in a minute."
Donnis shouts out his home town in the intro on one of his new tracks. On the track he goes over OutKast's Aquemini, and he flows impressively, incorporating this old school, synthed up Atlanta joint. Enjoy this until the release of his next mixtapes, The Invitation and Fashionably Late, which includes one of his old bangers, Gone.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
The Cool Kids are one of my favorite Hip Hop groups around, and while I'm still waiting on their upcoming album When Fish Ride Bicycles, it's been a while since they've released some new music. Yesterday, I'm pretty sure they surprised everyone when they said they had a new mixtape dropping on Memorial Day. Well, ladies and gentlemen, thanks to the good people at illroots.com and the LA Leakers, I present to you the newest addition to The Kids' catalogue, Tacklebox.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I've long been a fan of Just Blaze, who I consider to be one of the top producers in Hip Hop. Most know him for his scorching beats, having worked with the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Fabolous, Cam'Ron, and The Game, but many are unaware of his background as a House/Dance music DJ. Lately, Blaze has talked of returning to his roots in Dance music, and is looking to release some music on popular House music DJ A-Trak's label. Recently, he posted a video of a remix that he did of the A-Team theme song. It's a cool video of a genius at work, so check it out.
Monday, May 24, 2010
The more opportunities I've had to listen to Drake's music, the more I've grown to appreciate him as an artist. Although my first impression of him came from "Best I Ever Had," songs like "Forever," "Fear," and "Successful," have shown that Drake is more than just an R&B crooner who raps once in a while. In fact, he is one of the stronger up and coming MC's, who's not afraid to try something different. Case in point with his newest single, "Miss Me." The beat is anchored by a dope horn-driven sample, and the song is absent of a catchy hook- something that is usually demanded by record labels these days. Since Drake's signed to Young Money, as far as I know he has no A&R's to listen to, and is free to do as he pleases. I applaud him for releasing something this unconventional as a single, rather than releasing a tired radio single that is no different than anything else.
Friday, May 14, 2010
I'm a huge fan/critic of Swizz Beatz. No question the dude has laced some top-notch artists with heat, but for every banger I hear, I feel like he releases a couple beats that I would classify as mediocre, or dare I say... "wack." Nonetheless, Swizz deserves to be acknowledged for the numerous hit songs that he's crafted, as well as the dope "NYC-keyboard" tracks he's done. In an era when sampling was popular, Swizz threw the industry a curveball and created tracks using keyboards such as the popular Korg Triton, among others. The difference was, where other "keyboard producers" crafted songs that were cheesy or sounded like pop music songs, Swizz was able to get the grittiness out of these same keyboards, and create some of the hardest beats NYC had heard. Take a listen...
1) DMX- "Ruff Ryders Anthem"
When Dark Man X came onto the scene with "Ruff Ryders Anthem," it set the tone for the rest of his career. His debut album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot is one of the best Hip Hop albums of the '90s, and one of the "hardest" as well. If you didn't know what DMX was about before "Ruff Ryders Anthem," you most definitely knew afterwards. "Anthem" was Swizz' first big hit, and he instantly became the go-to producer in the Ruff Ryders camp.
2) Busta Rhymes- "Touch It"
It's hard for me to choose what my favorite Busta song is since the dude has hits for days, but "Touch It" might be top 3 for me. Swizz sampled Daft Punk's song, "Technologic," and created an amazing hook, and programmed some hard-hitting drums to craft one of my favorite songs of 2006.
3) Jay-Z- "Money, Cash, Hoes"
Nothin' better than a little braggadocio from Jay-Z, and "Money, Cash, Hoes" is a perfect example of that. Jay spits over Swizz' cascading synthesizers, and DMX even stops by to lend a hand. When this was released, no other producer was doing beats like this. A straight up keyboard beat, that happened to have the dirt and grit that NYC rappers were looking for.
4) Styles P- "Good Times"
Wanna talk about a classic song? "Good Times," or known by most people as "I Get High," absolutely bangs. With the Freda Payne sample for the hook, it's easy to figure out what this song is about, but it helps create an unforgettable track.
5) DMX- "Party Up"
The definitive DMX song. Period. I still don't think I've heard a song that gets me as hype as "Party Up." I remember the first time I heard this was back in the day, watching TRL. All I could think was "this DMX guy is crazy." Eleven years later, it still keeps its spot as one of the rowdiest songs in Hip Hop history.
6) Beyonce- "Check On It"
Officially released as the official song for the 2006 movie The Pink Panther, Swizz gave Beyonce an infectious beat, and brought in Texas-based rappers Bun B and Slim Thug to help add a little street cred to the track. It ended up reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and was a chart-topper overseas as well.
7) Cassidy- "I'm a Hustla"
By sampling a line from Jay-Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," Swizz made this one of my favorite songs of 2005. "I'm a Hustla" was the first song by Cassidy that I gave a serious listen to, and it didn't disappoint. The beat is heavy, and Cassidy spits some straight battle raps.
8) T.I.- "Bring 'Em Out"
While it's not my favorite T.I. song, "Bring 'Em Out" is still a noteworthy song. It reached #9 on the Billboard charts, and was yet another Swizz-produced song that sampled a Jay-Z song, although this time it was "What More Can I Say."
*Excuse the dude dancing in this video, but it's the only one I could find where the embedding wasn't disabled.
9) Jay-Z- "Jigga My Nigga"
"Jigga My Nigga" is probably my favorite Jay-Z/Swizz collaboration. It was featured on the Ruff Ryders' first album, Ryde or Die Vol. 1. I still can't believe they never made a video for this- anytime this song drops, people go crazy.
10) DMX- "Get It On the Floor"
Although I wouldn't put "Get It On the Floor" in the same category as any of the previously listed DMX songs, it's still dope. Swizz definitely helps to create a raucous atmosphere saying, "if you don't wanna party then your ass gotta go." When DJs drop this at clubs, it usually sets the place off.
Honorable Mention: Beyonce- "Upgrade U," Eve- "Scenario 2000," Eve- "Gotta Man," Ruff Ryders- "WWIII," Jay-Z- "Coming of Age (Da Sequel)," The L.O.X.- "All For the Love"
I'm a little late posting this, but here goes the new Jada mixtape The Champ Is Here Pt. 3, co-hosted by DJ Drama and DJ Green Lantern. So far, it's one of my favorite 'tapes of the year, right behind Trap or Die 2. I'm real pumped for Jadakiss' new album Top 5, Dead or Alive which reportedly has production from DJ Premier as well as some other NYC heavyweights. Hopefully, it'll be much better than The Last Kiss which, quite frankly, was lackluster at best. Be sure to check out "Top 5 Dead or Alive," "You Will Remember Me," and "Who Shot Ya," which are my favorite joints on this mixtape.
It's no Green House Effect, but Asher Roth is still having fun with his music. While there are plenty of songs on his newest mixtape, Seared Foie Gras, that I would never give a second listen, there were at least five tracks on here that are worth keeping in rotation. Some of the highlights include tracks featuring Talib Kweli, Ryan Leslie, and Pac Div, as well as production borrowed from some of the industry's most talented.
One of those tracks, Muddy Swim Trunks, just got the visuals to go along with it. The video itself plays off the title of Asher's first album, Asleep In The Bread Aisle, with him walking through the grocery store.
You can check the video out here:
Take a listen to a few select tracks that I was really feeling.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Done studying, and I finally have my last exam tomorrow. I'll tell you this, it's been a long week, but I feel like I made it. And now that my obligations at school have passed, I'm back to the music. A track off Big Sean's Finally Famous seemed to fit so well.
The track, Made It also features fellow newcomer Drake. Not only do you get a great Drake hook, but he hits you with a verse right off the bat. Big Sean finishes off the song in G.O.O.D. music fashion. The production was done by WrighTrax alongside Kanye West. I'm curious to see how the album turns out, dropping sometime later this year.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Finals week, baby. The last thing I should be doing is posting instead of preparing for my exams, but we all need a break sometime. With finals in mind, it's always nice when you find some music that you can just put on and get to work with.
This week, I found myself turning to a couple different artists and mixtapes to get me through this last week of school. One of my favorite has been Dilla Jawns. This was a mixtape that The Legendary Roots Crew had put out on Dilla's birthday.
The Roots are literally so talented that I could listen to a whole album of them just playing. It's not always about the message that is relayed, but it's about the music. The Crew understands this and exhibit the bands musical talents by recreating and reinterpreting some beats created by the late, great producer J. Dilla with their time-tested, live instrumentals. If you're not familiar with Dilla, he was one of the most talented producers the industry has seen, working with the likes of Common, The Pharcyde, and A Tribe Called Quest.
For those of you who still have exams, enjoy this amazing bit of studying music. I can just throw it on in the background and truly enjoy it without being distracted from my work by any lyrics. I envy those who are done for the year, and you, too, can enjoy this compilation.
Download Dilla Jawns
Due to an absurd amount of work the past couple weeks, I've been unable to post anything. Well, what better way to make a comeback than to post the new DJ Drama-hosted Cam mixtape, Boss of All Bosses 2.5. I haven't had the chance to listen to this yet, but hopefully it's in the same league as Jadakiss' Champ Is Here Pt. 3 (which I will post for those that don't already have it). Hoping for it to be as hot as Jeezy's new 'tape, Trap or Die 2, is asking a bit much as that's undoubtably the hottest mixtape of the year so far. Nonetheless, I'm sure Dram F. Kennedy and Cam have put together some quality material.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
The clever guys over at The Real have most recently put up a video they made that put's a little commentary about Dre and the whole Detox situation.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Trey Songz is one talented dude. On this song, he signs over Gucci's Mane's Lemonade. The track is produced by Bangladesh. For those of you that don't know, he is the same guy that produced Wayne's A Milli. His unorthodox production seems to shine especially on this track with the pianos hitting hard. Trey goes in for a couple verses before Nicki Minaj comes in at 1:20, and his verses only seem better with the presence of hers. I can't listen to the song after she comes in, and cut the track short on my iTunes, but for those who do like her, you'll enjoy this that much more.
The last XXL Freshman I am highlighting is the up and coming Atlanta rapper Donnis. Donnis is to what this years Freshmen class what B.o.B was to 2009's. He is a talented rapper whose wordplay is impressive. His 2009 mixtape, Diary of An Atlanta Brave, met him with a lot of internet attention and jump started his career and exposure. It's a mixtape that I can listen to pretty much all the way through while still enjoying each and every track.
Donnis says "Atlanta raised me. Tokyo made me a man." His story is interesting really. It was when he was stationed over seas that he fell in love with Japanese culture and fashion, like Bape, and it was his experiences that shaped the rapper he is today.
Mike Posner ft. Big Sean, Donnis, Jackie Chain - Smoke & Drive Remix : This isn't a Donnis track, but he tears it up, and the song overall is dope without a doubt.
It surprised me to see Jay Rock on this list, not because he is not a talented artist who can have a place at the top of the music business, but because he has been around making a buzz for a while now. Similar to Pill in style and substance, but born and raised in Cali, Jay can definitely take the claim as a "New Breed of Hustler." It is rappers like Jay and The Game who are opening the door for West Coast gangster rap to take it's hold on the industry once more. His debut album, Follow Me Home, is set to be released sometime this year.
It seems like the term "A Breed of New Hustlers" is fitting for some of this years freshmen class more than others. Pill is one of those artists. Hailing from the South's Adamsville, Tennessee, Pill has a very unique sounds as well as a quick delivery. I only recently became familiar with him, but from what I have heard, he is definitely putting in the effort to become successful in the competitive industry that is hip-hop.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
When Young Jeezy first came onto the scene, I just wasn't feelin' his music. But after three albums, and numerous mixtapes, I've had the chance to revisit most of his work and I've now become a pretty big fan. "Trap or Die," "Standing Ovation," "Still On It," and "Circulate" always stay in rotation on my iPod. I'm real excited for him to release his upcoming album, Thug Motivation 103, but until then I'm hoping his new mixtape, Trap or Die 2: By Any Means Necessary (which is hosted by Don Cannon), will be able to hold everyone over. Anyways, here's the first leak off of the new mixtape... the Needlz-produced "Greatest Trapper Alive." Check it out, it's solid.
EDIT: A few people came by trying to download this track, but the link was dead, so I re-upped it.
Monday, April 19, 2010
I wanted to post some more Big Sean. He was featured on the XXL Freshman List and right here he is on some Soulja Boy shit. It's a pretty simple flow but he does take it to another level, and I appreciate that. Enjoy this track off his album, Finally Famous, because this is my jam right now.