Monday, November 30, 2009

Album Review: Wale - Attention Deficit

When it came to upcoming albums from the freshman Hip Hop class of 2009, there wasn't an album I was more excited to hear than Wale's. The uncompromisingly independent way he goes about doing his own thing in Hip Hop is admirable. He knows that his back is up against the wall when it comes to putting Washington, D.C. on the map since he doesn't have the ability to ride the coat-tails of other local Hip Hop pioneers...he is the pioneer...and he is well aware of that. Chris Richards of the Washington Post wrote a good article titled Wale Is Poised to Put D.C.'s Rap Scene in the Spotlight, summarizing the burden and torch that Wale is carrying in repping DC to the fullest, in hopes of opening doors for other local artists. In the article Wale quoted saying:

"I think every man has his own path," Wale says by phone (from his tour bus as he zig-zags the country opening for Jay-Z). "But if D.C. comes out and supports the album heavy, I think that within 365 days at least two [local] rappers will get a major deal."

That's a good amount of pressure he's putting on himself by making that statement. I've got a lot of respect for that too, especially because he's done it his own way without a lot of support from not only the Hip Hop history of his city, but also an industry heavyweight. For example, you see B.O.B. having worked with and been signed by T.I., Drake is signed and works closely with Lil Wayne, Kid Cudi has the Kanye influence and connection on his side...Wale though? Maybe producer Mark Ronson? As good of a producer Mark has been and continues to be (think Amy Winehouse - Rehab), he still doesn't have that same name recognition and clout that Wale could springboard off of.

Some will argue that now that Wale has opened up for Jay-Z on his recent Blueprint 3 tour dates (Source: Ace Showbiz), name recognition is coming. Still the diversity of collaborations on his album show that there are no boundaries in sight for Wale and he's taking the D.C. Go-Go style rapping to another level in an effort to create his own sound and platform for Hip Hop within the D.C. area.

As far as Attention Deficit is concerned, I've come to appreciate the diversity of sound Wale brought to the table. I'll admit at first, it was hard for me to find the "diamond in the rough" tracks on this album as I continued to keep it in iPod circulation, but a few separated themselves from the pack.

From the beginning, Wale starts off with Triumph, an upbeat, trumpet laden beat that creates a high energy backdrop for listeners to be able to get a feel for his lyrical style. The first track does a decent job at getting the listeners attention, only to hit the brakes on the next track where he slows it down with a live band feel on Mama Told Me . The song serves as an attention to Hip Hop that he has arrived and he's bringing something new for a "stagnant" Rap game. Pretty vanilla track in my opinion, but most likely one of the more "necessary" tracks lyrically for Wale to get off his chest.

The third track, Mirrors, is definitely one of my favorites, 1. Because Bun-B has always been one of my favorite artists and he killed it, but also 2. because it fits Wale's style so well. You can tell that he and Mark Ronson have a lot of chemistry working together and I was a little disappointed to see that he and Wale only worked together on two tracks for this album. The upbeat, rolling guitar-synth combo mixed with the occasional trumpet compliment the above average verses on the track, which as I said before is one of the hidden gems.

The fourth track was one of my favorite tracks on the album, mostly because of the chorus by Weensey of Backyard Band and the fact that Gucci Mane was NOT originally featured on the track. I won't give you the long winded version of my dislike for Gucci Mane, but I really don't get why he's blowin' up right now. I know he's put out a crazy amount of mixtapes and been featured almost as much as Weezy, but where's the quality in the quantity? Believe me, I myself love me some Southern Trap Rap (always been a big Youngbloodz fan), but Gucci really doesn't impress me much, I just don't get it. And yea I'll admit I do like his new track, Spotlight , but it's because of Polow Da Don's production and Usher's catchy hook. Anyways, that's neither here nor there, Wale shines, but the shine needs some Armor All after Gucci gets on it.

Movin' on to another really catchy, upbeat track that Wale sounds at home on with World Tour. Great choice for a single since it is so high energy and engaging, while still showcasing his ability to match the tempo with his verses, hitting the mark, bar after bar. Jazmine definitely doesn't hurt, gooooodness she's got that raspy soul that we haven't gotten a taste of since Mary J back in the day. Not the best track on the album, but probably his best performance and most likable song to the masses.

Yea there's absolutely no doubt that Let it Loose with Pharrell is hands down the best track on the album. The way Wale weaves through the bouncy Neptunes beat with his multi-syllabic, equally bouncy lyrical attack shows experience and talent beyond his years. Oh any by the way Pharrell, that bridge on the track is a GOOD LOOK! Definitely my favorite part of the album when he takes the song to baller status by sayin:

Now tell em,
It’s in the house, so throw your money in the air and stand in the couch
Laugh at the money that’s stuck in the chandelier
Tell them girls right there that the man right here!

Dipped in swag, amen P, between this and So Ambitious with Jay-Z, you are on a roll, back to being relevant and continuing to be known as one of the best at producing catchy party tracks.

Movin' with 90210, where Mark Ronson blesses us with a Nintendo sounding beat turned lullaby. The chemistry continues between Wale/Ronson and I'm not really sure where this track came from lyrically, but who knows maybe Wale has been spurned by the model types before, so he had to put them on blast a bit. Not one of my favorite tracks lyrically, but I'm not about to look down on him for venting about whatever caused him to pen the track...the storytelling angle was well done.

Shades is more of a laid-back smooth ride out track, showing a different side of Wale. A side that also works for Wale because just as he can pull off the fast paced verses, he can also sound very at home on a stop and go, bouncy mid tempo track where it can be more difficult to mesh the lines with the beat. Impressive delivery on this track, especially for a first album.

Personally, I like World Tour a little more than the next song Chillin' as a single choice, but I can see why including Lady GaGa on the chorus would only help the public appeal on the track. Definitely not scared to diversify the collabos, which is how it should be. The lack of allegiances is one of Wale's assets when it comes to him sounding unique and different. This is more on the pop side of the fence, but let's be honest you have to have a couple of these on an album to get it to sell copies these days. Decent track and much better than the next track Radio, which is about as much of a filler track as you can get. Sounds like a few of the earlier songs on the album with the trumpets (don't overdue it Wale, it's a good, unique sound, but too much can be bad).

The next two tracks Contemplate and Diary are the two biggest hidden gems on the album. Contemplate is a deep, thought provoking, lyrically analytical track that explores all the inner thoughts and insecurities of Wale. The Rihanna chorus is so simple it fits like a glove with the subject matter. Very well executed, not overdone and the end result is easy to appreciate as a result. Diary on the other hand is my second favorite track on the album. An ode to black women and the challenges and insecurities that men who try and date them have to face. The last Def Poetry Jam style verse that Wale drops is some classic shit:

See all I ever want to do is be relevant,
Just tell me that I ever meant,
Anything or that you could ever see me and you in another light,
But it's like the dark winter-endures the darkest nights,
By the wrong men,
Mostly all of them,
Have made you somewhat incapable,
Of a first impression,
What I do is channel my aggression,
With no cable,
Or antenna just intentions
To impress you,
If capable,
Hoping that the material possessions can materialize a better you,
Cars-nothing I drive
Can drive better this frame of mind
With such an ugly picture in the end,
Money-Nothing I buy
Can buy me more time
For your ears to say to your heart to listen
Diamonds-A girls best friend,
Is what they say,
But believe me with the right allegiance shorty you gonna shine anyways,
And every day that goes by is a couple more lines in her diary,
The day before is better than the present,
So anyone presented in her presence,
Endures these life...sentences,
No key for release,
No reason to be around,
Her mind's in the clouds,
She writes it all down,
In her diary... Diary - Wale

Big fan of the depth of lyrics and play on words while doing so...ain't nothin' more impressive these days that creative insight through poetry and Wale took us to the deep end with Diary. To sum up the song, c'mon ladies, just cause your man did this and that in your past relationship doesn't mean you have the right to assume I would do the same thing or make me feel bad for what he did to you in the past. Sometimes you have to forget to move on and find happiness because no man should have to pay for sins that your past man committed.

The last two tracks Beautiful Bliss and Prescription are two relatively bland tracks, but I will give a shout out to J Cole who killed his verse on Beautiful Bliss. The album definitely ends on a mellow tip, which I don't have a huge problem with due to the abundance of high energy tracks sprinkled throughout.

Music and album aside, Wale is doin' more work marketing than a lotta artists. For example, check the crispy 59 50 fitted he created:

GWDJ Verdict: Overall a very impressive debut album for Wale. I would have given it 4.5 headphones out of 5 on the rating had Bittersweet Life feat Colin Munroe and Letter feat John Mayer been included on the album instead of being throw in Bonus tracks. Nonetheless, Wale's album gave a shot of life to Hip Hop, going with a more contemporary, live band style of Hip Hop, which is becoming more common these days as some of the better up and coming rappers are stepping their game up both production wise and lyrically. I actually think when it comes to delivery, Wale has a step up on Kid Cudi and B.O.B.

As an aside, I'll comment that when you put it all together I still felt like Cudi's album > Wale's album because the amount of emotion Cudi poured into that creation was amazing and will continue to be amazing as I still have yet to take it out of my car cd player or iPod. Bobby Ray, you're up next and the bar has been set extremely high, so don't get Paul Pierce'd like Chris Bosh when he didn't come correct.

Oh and for the record Drake > Kid Cudi > Wale > B.O.B. currently for the viewers at home...Bobby Ray has the most potential to move up with a strong debut album due out in April and Drake...well...he may just end the discussion for best artists out of 2009 with his upcoming Thank Me Later project due out Valentines Day.

Here are a few of my favorite cuts from Wale's album too:

Wale feat Pharrell - Let it Loose

Wale feat Rihanna - Contemplate

Wale feat Marsha Ambrosius - Diary (Acoustic Version)

Wale feat Colin Monroe - Bittersweet Life

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Throwback Classic: Ghostface Killah feat Mary J Blige - All That I Got is You

This week I've had a lot of time to get away from the day to day grind of work life and visit home, which I rarely get to do since I live about 700 miles away from home. Now having run into and caught up with so many people this week that I hadn't seen in a while, I feel like I've gained some perspective...perspective that only a few slightly awkward, but ultimately beneficial conversations can give. Yea I know everyone dreads the awkward fake conversations with people they either didn't like or barely associated with from back home, but when you rarely go back home, you don't mind it as much.

All the reminiscing and catching up with long lost friends reminded me of one my my favorite "Hip Hop Ballads" of all time. Off Ghostface Killah's first studio album released back in 1996 titled Ironman, the track All That I Got is You has always stuck with me through the years. While I personally can't relate to the struggle Ghostface endured in the Staten Island, NY projects, I do remember vividly the first time I saw the video for this song. It has a really sentimental, nostalgic vibe to it, from the high pitched violin backdrop to the mellow complimentary piano to Mary J's soulful verse...I can't think of many other Old School Hip Hop songs that come off as this genuinely heartfelt (Dear Mama - 2pac and I Ain't Mad at Ya - 2pac are two others that come to mind).

What really stuck with me in this song was the monologue at the end of the song by Papa Wu. The deeply philosophical advice he preaches isn't delivered in a very coherent way, but that's why it stands out. Listening to someone you wouldn't expect say something deep that makes you think about what to value in life can be unexpectedly inspiring. Think about that...and take Papa Wu's advice because you're never gonna get to where you're goin' if you forget where you came from.

Poppa Wu's Monologue at the end of All That I Got is You:

You see the universe, which consists of the sun moon and stars
And them planets, that exist in my space
Like man woman and child
You understand?
We got to keep it real, and what reality and reality will keep it real with us
I remember them good ol days
Because see, that's the child I was
What made me the man I am today
See cause if you forget where you come from, heheh
You're never gonna make it where you're goin, aheh
Because you lost the reality of yourself
So take one stroll through your mind
And see what you will find
And you'll see a whole universe all over again
and again and again and again and again


Ghostface Killah feat Mary J Blige - All That I Got is You Classic!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Snoop Dogg - I Wanna Rock

First of all Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, hopefully if you're reading this it's amongst family loungin' around spending some QT with the people most important to you.

Here's a bangin' new track off Snoop's upcoming album, Malice in Wonderland. Not gonna lie haven't heard something like this from Snoop in while. It has that West Coast, heavy, C-walk to this sort of vibe to it, but it's different enough that I think Snoop deserves credit for something that sounds relatively new and unique.

Not many people realize that this will be his 10th studio album, mostly because after the first few classics he dropped (Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather), he's had some forgettable releases, mostly through No Limit records. Hopefully this track serves as evidence that his new album will revive that once innovative West Coast vibe he originally pioneered. Give it a listen:

Snoop Dogg - I Wanna Rock (prod by Scoop Deville) Hott!!!

As a bonus here's the remix feat Busta can't really go wrong when two of the industries most tenured rappers collaborate...

Snoop Dogg feat Busta Rhymes - I Wanna Rock (remix) Solid Remix!

As a second bonus, check out the video for I Wanna Rock...not everyday you see a bunch of Hip Hop dancing and choreography in Snoop video...pretty cool though...

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Jason Derulo - In My Head (prod by JR Rotem)

Consider J Derulo now 3 for 3 when it comes to potential singles off his first album. Sure everyone knows about Whatcha Say, but people are going to start hearing his second single She Flys Me Away and this new one titled In My Head.

Personally I'd pick this track over She Flys Me Away, just because of how well Jackie Boys demo'd it with Queen of Hearts, which was > Jason's version.

In My Head is a little more energetic, uptempo...definitely a more pop sounding track, very radio friendly. The guitar riff in the beat and well executed chorus are other attributes that set it apart. Further proof that an artist with immense talent combining with an industry giant production wise (JR Rotem) usually means a soon to be platinum album.

Also, if you're curious why you're hearing that ominous Beluga Heights at the end of Jason's songs, that's because it's JR's new record label. Led by Sean Kingston and now Jason Derulo, he's starting to accumulate a stable of solid young artists. Jason's self titled out is out this Spring, til then check out his new track...

Jason Derulo - In My Head (prod by JR Rotem) Hot!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Top R&B Song of November...Rihanna - Cold Case Love

Wow look at you RiRi...takin' a page out of Phil Collins's In the Air Tonight with your new track Cold Case Love (off her new album Rated R).

This track has a real One Republic sort of feel with the sorrow-filled organ and strings filling the instrumental. You could say lyrically this is the "I don't know why we just suddenly broke up anthem"...ya know where things abruptly end out of the blue and afterwards you feel like you're trying to sort through the clues to find out why...but all you're left with is questions and lack of closure? I do...

It's very subtle, but as the song progresses elements are added to the beat. Starting with initial organ backdrop, throw in some strings after the first verse and then BAM! outta the blue at the 3:45 mark, you have that In the Air Tonight style, cascading drum that injects energy into the song, accentuating the finish of the lyrically emotional roller-coaster-esque song.

Very well done, my hat is off to your Justin Timberlake and Rob Knox for writing producing such a great track. Give it a listen folks, this one has that timeless to feel to it and will eventually be regarded as the standout track on her new album.

Rihanna - Cold Case Love (Written by Justin Timberlake) BEST SONG Off Rated R!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Swine Flu? No Problem...Juelz Santana's Mixin Up the Medicine

Every now and again Juelz drops a track that blows me away and puts him right back towards the top of my list of favorite rappers. He's definitely got that witty swag about his verses, similar to say Fabolous or even what Drake is now showing us. He really does tend to step his game up whenever he get's to rap over great beats. I'll give you three of my favorites that serve as lesser known examples of great Santana verses:

1. All I gotta say is the Heatmakerz are fools for the following beat. Earlier in this decade they did some some of the most unique sampling on their beats and produced some crazy stuff, mostly for Diplomats. This is a shining example too, sort of a booty shakin anthem and Juelz is the ringleader. Check it out:

Diplomats feat Juelz Santana & Freeway - My Love prod by Heatmakerz Hooooottttt Beat!!!

2. I'll adamantly deny ever being a fan of anything Jim Jones, but he seems to bring out the best in Juelz, so I cope. Needless to say the deep bassline and haunting organ make this track infectious. Oh yea did I mention Juelz's Hall of Fame yourself a favor and fast forward to it.

Jim Jones feat Juelz Santana - Emotionless HOOTTTT CLASSIC!!!!

3. Ah back in the day when all was well in the Dipset neighborhood...Cam and Juelz did some classic ish back in the day, no denying that. And this stadium jumpoff beat is simply more evidence of that. I may even like Juelz's verse on this one better than Emotionless, it's that classic.

Jim Jones feat Cam'ron & Juelz Santana - Pin the Tail CLASSIC DIPSET!!!

Anyways, back to the heat rock at hand, here's Juelz's new high energy single title Mixin' Up the Medicine. I tell ya what, there's just somethin' about the southern, country Alabama dialect on this chorus that YelaWolf delivers that is fresh. Do yourself a favor and play this one at the next party you go to and watch everyone start chanting the chorus by the 3rd hook. Lords know I will be practicin' what I preach...can't wait to get this on wax. Check it out:

Juelz Santana feat YelaWolf - Mixin Up the Medicine Hooottttest Hip Hop Track in Nov!!!

Oh and by the way, Kane Beatz you are officially on my antennas is up...I see you especially on this track (props to Smoking Section for the assist).


Here's a bonus joint from that aforementioned crazy white tatted Alabama rising superstar with flow known as YelaWolf. Give his new track a moment of your time if you would...

Bonus: YelaWolf - Pop the Trunk Don't Sleep on Yela!!! Hott!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

K.O.D. Concert Review...Tech N9ne and Slaughterhouse...Hip Hop Take Note

Slaughterhouse at The Silo in Reading, PA Nov 13th

Let me start this from the beginning. A couple weeks ago, I was asked by a couple friends if I was interested in going to see Tech_N9ne in concert. My first reaction was that I was interested in seeing his show, but until the day of the event was on the fence about going. I was interested because over the past decade or so he has released a lot of really out there, push-the-boundaries of Hip Hop type music with his rough-around-the-edges dark sounding tracks and choppy, in-your face fast vocal delivery.

Tech N9ne - Welcome to the Midwest (feat Krizz Kaliko) off his 2006 album Everready

Tech N9ne - Leave Me Alone New Single off his album K.O.D.

Tech N9ne - Blown Away Off his album Sickology 101 released in 2009

Those are three of his milder tracks lyrically, which is why I posted them instead of a few of my other favorites that may not be as appropriate lyrically. I intentionally posted his track Blown Away too because it is mostly a diss record about how there aren't any good performers in Hip Hop and some of the big Hip Hop acts have a sense of entitlement because of their records' monetary success even "when their stage show is horrible" - Tech N9ne. Reagardless, those three tracks give a good enough representation of his unique sound.

In general, it's hard not to be supportive of Tech N9ne because he has truly made his own success. He's one of those artists who has always fought an uphill battle because "the industry" (record execs, the suits) didn't think the mainstream would like his music. Nine albums later (all independently released), he's more popular than ever and continues to have a very dedicated underground following. I'd suggest you school yourself on his story by reading this excellent article detailing why aside from Kanye and Jay-Z, he made the most money in Hip Hop touring in 2008.

Tech N9ne - Inspirational Rapper by Angus Batey

Despite my affinity for his music and overall story I was still torn on attending the concert since it was out in the middle of nowhere about a half hour away and I would probably have to leave straight from work to get there on time.

...that all changed when I realized I had made the biggest rookie mistake ever. I didn't even bother to check who the opening act was for Tech N9ne. So about 3 hours before the concert started, I checked it out only to find that Slaughterhouse (best rap group in Hip Hop currently) was set to open for Tech N9ne. It was one of those rare moments in life where expectations were surpassed (kind of like this) and you were left feeling like you had bought that $1 power-ball ticket, fully expected to not win, then found out that same ticket you are holding is worth a whole lot more than you had thought.

Fast forward to the concert, which a concerted effort was made to be at well before any act was supposed to hit the stage because I was NOT going to miss Slaughterhouse. When I first walked into the Silo , I felt like I had entered a Juggalo convention and felt as out of place as a white kid could feel amongst other predominantly white people. I'll admit, I went through a phase in High School where I got a kick out of some of the crazy music that ICP produced, but I could only take so much of the violent, insane lyrics and it just got old. Still, I began to have a weird "this is about to be a train wreck" feeling because Slaughterhouse and Glasses Malone especially don't cater to this type of crowd.

When Glasses Malone hit the stage, he came out blazin' to one of his characteristically West Coast funk infused beats:

I didn't know he had signed to Cash Money Records, but evidently his upcoming album to be released in February titled Beach Cruiser is going to be released under that label with production coming from none other than DJ Toomp. Excited about that, but in general I felt bad for Glasses at the concert because (as you could tell by the crowd reaction in the video above) he definitely wasn't performing to a group of people that could appreciate his style Hip Hop. I'll be lookin' for that new album in February G Malone, glad I got to meet you after you performed.

Moving on to the much anticipated Slaughterhouse, who within one group brings together a regionally diverse combination of Hip Hop (Detroit, Long Beach, Brooklyn, Jersey) and fuses it together in such a high energy, engaging and witty way that you would swear they all were cut from the same cloth. Speaking of the regional pride each one of them brings to the group, here are each one of the members of Slaughterhouse paying tribute to where they came from by doing a quick rendition of a classic Hip Hop track from their home city:

Joe Budden Naughty by Nature Jersey Tribute with Slaughterhouse

Royce da 5'9 Detroit Tribute with Eminem's The Way I Am with Slaughterhouse

Joell Ortiz Biggie Hynotized Brooklyn Tribute with Slaughterhouse

Crooked I Ain't Nothin But A G Thang West Coast Tribute with Slaughterhouse

Apologies on the sound quality, the bass was a little much for my camera to handle...clearly. Still, Slaughterhouse rocked their set playing high energy favorites like Sound Off, Woodstock, The One, and even a Joe Budden led rendition of Pump it Up. To top it off the four lyricists made themselves accessible after their set at the merch booth (hence the up close and personal group photo above), openly greeting and taking pics with any and everyone. Basically everything you'd want and more than you would expect from four of the most underrated MCs in the game. True salt of the Hip Hop earth, passionate creators of independent Hip Hop. Despite their style differing from Tech N9ne's I can definitely appreciate their unrelenting passion for the craft of Hip Hop because they refuse to change their ways to make money like so many other acts in Hip Hop now. Looking forward for more to come from Joell, Royce, Crook, and set the bar high with the first album, I hope you all stay the course in doing your thing and remaining uncompromisingly dedicated to keeping it 100 and setting an example for Hip Hop to follow.

That leaves us with the main attraction, none other than Kansas City, MO's proudest inhabitant, Tech N9ne. Rather than trying to explain the hype and energy surrounding his entrance, I'd just press play below:

Yea he came out blazin' with his legendary machine gun flow. On a smaller scale it was sort of like Lil Wayne's entrnace to his show I went to earlier this year with the eerie lighting display. He came out looking like a killer with the white face paint and trademark 9 shirt. To go with his look, his stage show followed suit because he murdered the stage....absolutely killed it.

He performed like a seasoned vet who had been in the game for over a decade and I was impressed with how his other two sidekicks (Krizz Kaliko and Cutt Kalhoun) supported his act and seemed like they were actually a very necessary element of his stage show. For example, when he goes back and forth with Krizz on the track:

Welcome to the Midwest

I found it real surprising how well Tech was able to sample Dean Martin's song Sway and make those dramatic strings in the background of Dean's song fit with his HorrorHop feel. My favorite track he performed may have ended up being Caribou Lou, which is definitely one of the more a jump around style party track that will have you chanting the lyrics and mixing drinks like you're back in college.

Caribou Lou

From the jerky manor-isms to deep, wavering ghostly vocal tones, he set the stage for the crowd that showed up. He's like the Hip Hop King of the Misfits...a true outcast that has been able to inspire even the most death metal, goth stereotype into taking a liking to Hip Hop. Sure the lyrics can be more vulgar then Eminem and there's just as many drinking, smoking and sexual references scattered about his lyrics to scare the living daylights out of any parent currently raising a teenager...but that's his demographic. You gotta get in where you fit in and I've got a lot of respect for Tech doin' it by his lonesome, while also managing to inspire his lonesome following.

What the average person will miss and fail to understand is how his music has actually matured to a point where it sounds like he's using his clout and taking to that pedestal as the "Hip Hop King of the Misfits" to use his voice to now make more down to earth music that can appeal to the masses as well as the misfits. Yea everyone wants to be left alone and this beat could definitely get some love on the radio actually. Unfortunately, Tech stays true to his roots and throws in a little extra vulgarity just to be sure that he stays true to his roots and ensures he will never be that guy on the radio. I really think he would quit if everyone knew about him and liked him, it's just like that. Without further introduction here's his new song (can't really call it a single since there is no much thing in his life):

Leave Me Alone

"Where i'm at right now, I ain't got no tolerance for somethin stupid, or hatred, or envy.
If you bringin any one of those, How bout, Leave me alone.
They pray i'll free fall any day, Well I don't need yall anyway.
Negativity give me nay ya finna hear me say.
Just leave me right here with my henny, say my chicks an plenty pay.
Your boy Tech done blown, an still rep the home, but now I just wanna be left alone.
They wish death and my flesh and my chromosomes slept my songs, they need a little bit less Patron. - Tech N9ne (first verse)

Overall, I enjoyed the show that Slaughterhouse and Tech N9ne put on...and I feel like the my message in the title about Hip Hop taking note wasn't just a feeble attempt at a newsworthy headline, I meant it. You can tell that Tech N9ne appreciates his fan base and truly cares about the quality of his show. There's no mailing it in during his act because he really likes the niche he's created in Hip Hop and takes pride in leading that group. He's the CEO of his own Strange Music record company and would you believe that Snoop Dogg is only two weeks older than Tech N9ne? You don't see a 38 year old Snoop jumpin' around all crazy in middle of nowhere PA trying to inspire the local teenagers to keep their hands up for an hour and a half do you? No you sure as hell don't and Snoop is also not making the same $$ as Tech N9ne touring...I rest my yourself a favor and find some Tech N9ne songs like Midwest Choppers, Now It's On or even It's Alive(which he says my full name at the 3:21 mark of the lie listen to it). I'll leave you with DJ Chill cuttin' up some Tech N9ne favorites:

Click Here for over 10 more videos from the concert

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Drake Verse off New Song Performed Live

You'll have to fast forward a bit to find the new verse, but it's clearly marked. Here is the verse if you're curious what you're missin' out on by not watching the video:

Man I'm the one, and you should let the boys know too,
Show them fellas every single thing I showed you,
I'm here feelin' like 50 back in 02,
And erbody sayin I'm the true,
But what does it take to feel secure?
A place with wooden floors, space to put awards,
Couple of parking spots, maids to do the chorus,
The cars you always wanted, the women that you adore,
Well I got it, I got it,
I wonder if I'd be happy without it,
I doubt it,
I try not to really think about it,
I made it, but I'm still playin' like I'm bein' scouted...til I'm outed,
Gametime b****, I know you're proud of us,
King James ish watch me throw the powder up,
This OG got my whole suite clouded up,
And I betcha I'll be outta time fore I'm outta luck
They ain't rootin for me,
They ain't clappin for me,
I'm always sayin' can't somebody just be happy for me
I really hate to tell you I told you so, so I bite my tongue...but you know you know"

Fierce...that's about all the adjective needed to describe that verse.

"Salute to All the Veterans and Girl Your Love is Like a Nuclear Weapon..." Sean Kingston Concert Review

Sean Kingston live at Crock Rock

So the true highlight of last weekend was this:

...but before I could get to watching the Buckeyes dismantle the Nittany Lions in person, I took a trip up the block to see Kisean Anderson (you knew that was Sean Kingston's real name right) do his thing in concert.

Going into the concert I had very reasonable expectations for the concert...yea he's got some songs I like, but his music and everything that goes into his songs didn't really strike me as something you'd necessarily "look forward to in concert." And as a result, I had a good time. He played most of the songs I wanted to hear (but he did leave out Wrap You Around Me, which is currently my favorite off his album Tomorrow) like Me Love and Fire Burning to go along with:

I'm at War feat Lil Wayne....

...the timeless Beautiful Girls

and of course his new heat rock and personal favorite
Face Drop

All in all a pretty small crowd and fairly lackluster when it came to bringing the energy in supporting the artist, which Sean could definitely tell (since he went through the motions, which is mostly what we deserved as an audience). Still I can't complain, I had low expectations and a relatively fun time. I do wish he could have conjured up maybe just one encore song, but again, it's not like we were chanting his name begging for one. It was sorta like an amicable break up at the end of the night where we had fun but both sides were better off just turning around and continuing their lives without one got me?

Either way I wanna extend a Happy Veterans Day out to all. I myself have plenty of friends and family who have held down the country through their tireless work in the armed forces. I would have been remiss if I hadn't given them a Lil Weezy style shout out in the title (which by the way wasn't meant to be belittle our Veterans' efforts in any way with meaningless rap lyrics). Just seemed fitting and convenient that Sean chose to play Weezy's verse in I'm At War in an attempt to personify the struggles of love...but seriously there are a lot of people really at war and they deserve the love and respect beyond what little words I can offer to support their effort.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Like Wings....Jason Derulo - She Flys Me Away

Here's some more new J-Derulo produced again, by J.R. Rotem, aka the wingman to Jason's new-found success. Can't hate though, Mr. Whatcha Say deserves it because he's been chillin' out on the mainstream success horizon for more than a few hot minutes, mostly writing huge hits like the new IYAZ - Replay song (video below)

Anyways, here's the new uptempo ballad where Jason again reminds us how good of a writer he is...oh yea then there's the obvious vocal talent too, love the acapella ending. Check it out...

Jason Derulo - She Flys Me Away (prod by JR Rotem) Hoooottt!!!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Jay-Z Performs Sunday Bloody Sunday With U2

Wow...I would be doing everyone on earth a disservice by not pointing out this live collabo of epic proportions. The most notable was Bono ripping off a 10 sec quasi-freestyle at the 4:30 mark as if summoning the Hip Hop energy that Jay-Z was giving off.

Pretty cool that Jigga could infuse a shot of Hip Hop into such the revolutionary, classic song that is Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Who Rocked it Better?..."Baby You're All That I Want, When You're Lying Here in My Arms..." new Pitbull - Pearly Gates

Bryan Adams
Pitbull DJ Sammy

Interesting comparison of songs here, all having the same sample, but from three different genres (contemporary rock, techno, hip hop), all made at least 7 years apart (1984, 2002, 2009). Over the years the "Baby you're all that I want, when you're lying here in my arms..." has become a timeless lyrical sample garnering instant pop culture recognition mostly because the original track done by Bryan Adams was such a pop/rock success.

I think I gained more of an appreciation for the original track when I first heard DJ Sammy and Yanou's techno version. Personally I would put it in the top 10 contemporary techno songs of all time and adamantly believe they did the original Bryan Adams sample justice, taking it to another level popularity wise by expanding the likability to another demographic (trance/house/techno).

Fast forward to the present, where the unstoppably dynamic duo of Jim Jonsin (producer) and Pitbull (artist) are now trying to migrate the sample to Hip Hop. The version I'm posting seems like an unfinished version and it remains to be seen whether Pitbull will be able to get the sample cleared, but nonetheless, it's a solid effort and is destined for radio/club success if he decides to make it a single.

Listen and decide for yourself:

Bryan Adams - Heaven Classic from 1984!!

DJ Sammy & Yanou - Heaven Classic Techno!!

Pitbull - Pearly Gates (prod by Jim Jonsin) new Hip Hop!!!

GWDJ Verdict: If I were forced to pick a favorite, I would go with DJ Sammy's version with Bryan Adams's original,classic version as my second choice. Ranking Pitbull's version 3rd shouldn't at all discount how great of a track it is, I think his version is also extremely club friendly and just as addictive as the previous two versions. I had to give the nod to DJ Sammy because of how iconic his version turned out.

Here's your chance to vote, Who Do You Think Rocked it Better?

The Streets are Hungry....B.O.B. - I Feed These Streets

Just as I was about to anoint Wale as the second best new comer of the 2009 Freshman Hip Hop Class (behind Kid Cudi), B.O.B. sends a shot over the bow with this track titled I Feed These Streets.

The track is loaded with such a backwoodsy southern swagger, it's addicting. People are starting recognize that there hasn't been someone who has been able to pull off the same southern drawl and coherent lyrics since T.I. Anecdote 1:

"Therefore I handle flows
With that Atlanta soul
Even my gramma known that I got that antidote
I'm so exquisite with these lyrics I immaculately spit it
Even though I'm from the South I got that grammar tho'

Make no mistake, this does go hard in the deck, don't let the bluesy chorus throw you off. It's going to take a monster effort to surpass Cudi's Man on the Moon album as the best effort of 2009 class, but I do believe B.O.B. has the right energy mixed with lyrics to challenge him. I'll elaborate on my thoughts about Wale in my upcoming album review of Attention Deficit, but for now let's let Bobby Ray enjoy the limelight with this above average effort that momentarily monopolized my eardrums and put the rest of the Hip Hop world on the back burner this week.

B.O.B. - I Feed These Streets

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

"And I'll Take Probation. I Don't Want That T.I. and Vick Vacation...."

You may not have heard, but Lil Weezy just Plaxico'd himself into a 1 year prison sentence this past week for a NY gun charge:

"Lil Wayne pleaded guilty to felony gun possession in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday (October 22) stemming from a July 2007 arrest following his first headlining concert in New York. The rapper will be sentenced to one year in prison as a part of his plea deal and must also give up his passport. Wayne quietly told the judge yes when asked if he understood the terms of the plea he was making."
-MTV News

Looks like Weezy got away with a slightly less punishment than Plax, but still:

"Wayne will be sentenced in February 2010 and is expected to serve eight to 10 months, assuming good behavior. He must also appear in court in December for a parole update."
-MTV News

Man, just when he was really starting to reel in the glory for the Carter III, he's now going upstate for the greater part of a year. Needless to say, NY gun laws are OFFICIALLY no joke after this sentence.

Even though I'm not particularly looking forward to it, we'll at least get to see a new side of Lil Wayne before he goes to prison when he releases his debut "rock" album titled Rebirth.

When asked to comment on the CEO of Young Money heading to do his fair time, Drake said:

“I’ll just do what I can to keep the whole Young Money/Cash Money team going, and I just want to play my part as a team member and keep the brand strong until the boss gets home.”
-The Rap Up

All in all I don't think he got too bad of a deal considering he was originally supposed to get a 15 year stint and was able to cop a plea deal for a year. Let's just hope before he goes away, he can get on a years worth of cameo's and plan a re-release of his album...wait someone else already did that...yea Clifford, you're "The King" at that (pardon the pun). Too bad Tupac was the first to pull off the same career sustaining move while in prison before both T.I. and Lil Wayne.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Timbo is Onto Something With These Beats....

It goes without saying that Timbaland is one of the most influential producers of the past twenty years. He's helped spark the careers of so many artists like Justin Timberlake, Ryan Tedder (One Republic), Bubba Sparxxx, Missy Elliot, Keri Hilson, Aaliyah...the list goes on. He's continually produced radio and club anthems, while many of his slower jams you probably continue to sleep on. Oh yea, don't forget his recent dabbling into rock/contemporary with this underrated hit, as well as this slightly overplayed classic.

As I've started to preview some of his tracks from Shock Value 2 (which has been pushed back to December 8th) I've noticed him continuing to use a new style that I really like and deserves attention.

The two most noticeable examples are from Timbo's song with Justin Timberlake that you may have forgotten about, Lovestoned and a song on his upcoming album titled Ease off the Liquor.

The first song, Lovestoned, starts off with an upbeat, mid-tempo, booty shakin' vibe that coerces your hips to move...I'm serious, listen to it standing up, you're powerless. But as the song fades toward the 5 min mark, the tempo slows considerably into a much softer, melodic, strings (violin/guitar riff) dominated backdrop that provides Justin a canvas for his strikingly simple, but often overlooked lullably/interlude. In my opinion, the song becomes interesting stylistically when Timbo is able to seamlessly transition a track from one beat to another in the same song...almost providing a lyrical cause and effect between the two personalities of the song/interlude. Despite the song being 7 minutes long, you feel like you've just listened to two different songs, but in reality, you've just taken in a longer "story" than you're accustomed to hearing from a "usual" track.

Give it a listen since you haven't heard it for a while:

Justin Timberlake - Lovestoned/I Think That She Knows (Interlude) One of Justin's Best!!!

Lovestoned has always been one of my favorite Justin tracks, mostly because there's literally no ice, it's blended together so well. Now fast forward to today, where I've spotted another track that seemingly continues on forever because of the Timbo again, adding/taking away an element of the beat to create a whole different vibe to a track. This time he manages to coin another booty shakin' anthem dominated by a rolling bassline and in your face, characteristically loud percussion, to go with a dash of crazy synthesizer. The song evolves into a call/response theme as he bounces back and forth with SoShy (pictured below):

YEA, I agree, she's good looking. Anyways, back to the lecture at hand...toward the 4 minute mark, the bassline evaporates into what becomes a salsa dancers dream of beat featuring trumpets and what appears to be a Mariachi inspired, guitar riff. Pretty cool in my opinion, two styles mixed in one, all within a 6 minute span, combining two different (albeit both uptempo) vibes. Check it out, off Shock Value 2:

Timbaland feat SoShy - Ease Off the Liquor (prod by Timbaland) Hooottt New Timbo!!

Think about it, what other songs can you think of are able to mesh together or seamlessly continue two tracks that are related lyrically into if providing a second chapter to the same story, but remaining uncompromising to the length of the song?

Ok other than Stairway to Heaven, I'll give you that one...and yes that is partially why I like that Timbaland is managing to bring that style, which was created over 30 years ago, to Hip Hop.

Wait did I just compare Timbaland to Led Zepplin? Yes, it was intentional...

And since Justin and Timbo were on the menu for this post, please don't forget your Carryout....

Timbaland feat Justin Timberlake - Carryout (prod by Timbaland) New Off Shock Value 2 Hooott!!!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Drake and Jay-Z Perform Successful live in Toronto

Just came across the video from Jay-Z's Halloween Concert in Toronto, home of none other than the growing legend of Aubrey Drake Graham. This marks his first performance since re-injuring his ACL in front of my very eyes at his concert in Camden, NJ.

You'll notice, he didn't do any jumping around when he performed Successful and you gotta admit, it's pretty cool to see both Hov and Drizzy on the same stage. Hopefully there is a lot more of this to come as I eagerly count down the days til the highly anticipated Thank Me Later, which is slated for a Valentines Day 2010 release...

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