Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Broken Lover, Yes I Made You, Believe That I, Would Be the One To Heal You...."

Don't get it twisted, this one strays a bit from the Hip Hop/R&B path, but if I were to compare 2AM Club to another well known group, it would be Gym Class Heroes. They have a contemporary, radio friendly R&B vibe with a Hip Hop twist sound to their music.

The band consists of six guys in their 20s, Marc Griffin, emcee Tyler Cordy, guitarist Matt Reagan, keyboard player Dave Dalton, drummer Ian O’Neill and bassist Matt Warshauer. Now that I think about it, their band's sound is slightly more Hip Hop compared to O.A.R., but less Hip Hop than Gym Class. While comparisons are fun, the sound they've created for their first single is undeniably unique and intriguing.

The funk they bring in the song below, Worry About You, added to the catchy sing along chorus offset by the keyboard background is what makes this song hard to ignore. The vibe of the track is so easygoing there's no doubt it will be destined for the radio...eventually. I just hope their unique mix of styles results in more tracks like this to come and they will be able to find their niche in Contemporary/Pop music while being able to appeal to a Hip Hop/R&B audience.

You be the judge, do you think they'll have some staying power based on this single? I say jury is still out, but this is a hell of a start...I just hope they don't get lumped in with all the other "boybands" just because they are 6 guys coming together to make music. Check out their lead single...

2AM Club - Worry About You
| Download

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Top R&B Song of Feb - Pitbull feat Janet Jackson Machel Montano & Rock City - Not My Love (prod by Darkchild)

This track was initially a Pitbull only track, but in the past week, a version with Janet, Rock City and Machel Montano popped up, dwarfing the already stellar first effort made by Pitbull on a solo tip. I would have been happy with the Pitbull/Darkchild collabo by itself, just to mix in a little different sound from all his Jim Jonsin you add in a little Janet??? It's over with...

This was hands down the favorite of all R&B/Hip Hop songs last month to get some serious spins in the club and similarly a clear favorite of all the ladies out there who have gotten a chance to give this a listen. While Janet and Pitbull will clearly eat up all the accolades for this track, Darkchild is the one who deserves the most for putting together this heat rock. If you aren't familiar with who he is shame on you, he's the one pictured above next to Pitbull in the blue hoody.

The fast paced percussive beginning that leads into a the heavy club bass-line, coercing all who listen to dance and nod their heads in unison. Janet really takes this track over the top with her vocal shadowing of Rock City's "Not My Love" chanting over the chorus. Really cool how Darkchild goes a little tribal on the chanting and eliminates the beat from the 2:55 mark to 3:10, giving the song some personality and focusing on the extremely well put together vocal onslaught between Rock City and Janet.

Definitely don't wanna sleep on this one...give it a listen before everyone else says it's their favorite song...haha...

Pitbull - "I hate it when they act like the Virgin Mary, even Mary kissed a girl and she liked it, yea Katy Perry"

Janet Jackson feat Pitbull Machel Montano & Rock City - Not My Love (prod by Darkchild) HOTTT!!!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Concert Review : John Mayer at the Wachovia Center

Through the years I've seen my share of John Mayer shows...three to be exact, one for each album (Room for Squares, Continuum, Battle Studies). It'd be hard to argue that he'll ever be able to top his debut album in Room for Squares, but in my opinion he almost did that in Continuum. I haven't quite warmed up to his newest album, Battle Studies, but it's still hard to pass up the opportunity for a good show.

Venue's aside (all three were fairly big, one was a fairgrounds, one was an outside amphitheater, one was an arena), the opening act went a long way in deciding which concert of John's I enjoyed the most. With Michael Franti & Spearhead opening for John this time, I was a little underwhelmed by the performance. While I dug their reggae vibe, their songs came off a little too sing-along-y, which took away from their overall performance. They did a good job of bringing energy and mixing up the slow and fast songs, but in the end it was a little too predictable for me to get into.

In comparison, I've seen Umphrey's Magee and Counting Crows open for John Mayer, so the bar was set very high from the beginning. Playing to a packed house, John immediately set the mood for the night with one of my favorites from his new album and his new single Heartbreak Warfare. The mellow, soft rock vibe of the track sort of epitomized the sound of his new album.

The concert served as a sort of wake up call that I hadn't given his new album enough listens. Despite that, I did enjoyed hearing him play Perfectly Lonely and starting his encore with a solo acoustic version of Who Says . Also noteworthy was his "crowd voted" rendition of one of my favorite songs of his Slow Dancing in a Burning really doesn't get much better than personifying love with such peacefully destructive imagery...and in concert the sadness is even more palpable. Why I always enjoy depressing relationships going up in flames tracks, I have no idea...

The most surprisingly likable song of the whole concert was without a doubt his cover of the Fleetwood Mac song Half of My Heart. While I'm not one to ever find a bright side within the genre of Country music, I find a way to enjoy it when it is attempted by non-Country artists...weird right? Between this cover and his cover of Bruce Springsteen's I'm on Fire, there's no doubt that John Mayer knows best when it comes to choosing tracks to cover.

As the concert continued on and I continued to hope and pray that by some stroke of luck John Mayer would just let David Ryan Harris play a couple songs by himself, I was left with a couple notable songs on the "wish he woulda played list". My all time favorite Comfortable was missing, along with the undeniably sexy, fretless bass laden I Don't Trust Myself With Loving You, Dreaming With a Broken Heart, Bigger Than My Body and of course my new favorite I'm On Fire.

Without a doubt the best part of the show was an unscripted display of talent by a 12 year old kid named Austin. Pictured above, Austin had been in the front row holding up a sign that said "Let me play Belief with you" or something to that effect. Feeling spontaneous as usual, John invited him up on stage, gave him a guitar and let him play the guitar while he sang. I still can't come up with the words for the type of poise this lil dude had when he kept his cool on stage in front of thousands of people. Below are two angles of him playing on stage with John, one farther back (where I was) and a close up crowd shot:

Here's a much closer angle of Austin rockin' out Belief on stage with JM:

Crazy man...most adults would have shit their pants just being on stage with John Mayer, let alone jumping in his set mid concert unrehearsed and rocking out a couple guitar riffs for a minute and a half. Mad daps & lbs to Austin, the coolest 12 year old I've seen do anything in quite a while.

A final video below is the second verse from his first encore song, Who Says...

Overall I'd give the concert a B, definitely wasn't the best Mayer show I've been to music wise, but thanks to the company I was with, it turned out to be one of the more fun concerts in recent memory. Kinda cool that 90% of the time I go to concerts it's all about the music, but this one was memorable for reasons completely separate from the music I went to see. Good lookin' out CC...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"She Need Somebody to Save Her, She Don't Wanna Be Alone...Sick of the Bad Guys, You Need a Hero"

Another really interesting collaboration or mix of musical styles. Would throw this into a Trance/House meets R&B category if I felt like putting a label on it. I think the two styles are allowed to come together thanks to what we like to call "Pop" music now which encapsulates all music that is dance worthy, relatively clean and programmed to be heard by the masses.

Gotta give some love here to Novel, who has gotten my attention with a couple tracks lately. He's another "hybrid" artist similar to Drake in that he can go both Hip Hop and R&B, whatever he feels like doing, he can pull it off. On the track below, Caffeine & Cigarettes, he creates a scapegoat/excuse laden track that blames most of his problems on the various substances he chooses to partake in. While the lyrical content isn't exactly thrilling, the delivery is executed well and you'll get a hint of that Lyfe Jennings's style sound out of this one...

Novel - Caffeine & Cigarettes Hott!!!

If this next one doesn't make you think of D'Angelo, I don't know what you're listening to. The beat has a slow, sorrowful vibe to it, that creates an empty canvas of emotion that Novel paints a vivid picture of the most picturesque Velvet Sky you could ever imagine. The chorus bleeds so much emotion it gets close to being too forced and over the top. Still, this is my favorite track by him, you can tell he put it out there and I've got respect for the different tones his voice takes on throughout the song. Check it out...

Novel - Velvet Sky
Great R&B Ballad!!!

As for the title track to this post, well it's a collaboration that you hope for. The one that you never saw coming and mixes two distinctly different styles to created a compromise sounding pop track. Just fast enough to get your attention with the piano that blends into a uptempo dance beat. Really becoming a fan of your boy wanna talk about someone overseas who has jumped head over heels into what is now American Music. Gotta give him his due, he pioneering his way into radio hits with R&B, Pop and Hip Hop artists. The track results in a real catchy mix of a new school R&B ballad with an upbeat hook and a beat that while simple, allows the story to take shape the way it mixes tempos. Do yourself a favor and listen to it...

David Guetta feat Novel - Hero Hotttt!!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Who Rocked it Better? IYAZ - At Last (prod by JR Rotem)

First recorded by Nat King Cole in 1957, the song At Last has been since covered more times than wide receivers opposite Darrelle Revis (assist Joey).

Regardless of what artist covered the song, the bluesy feeling that results from the harmony and strings in the background is timeless. I'd even opine that this track has been covered by three of the greatest ballad vocalists ever (Nat King Cole, Celine Dion, Beyonce). Pretty tall order for an up and coming R&B act putting out a first album to follow in those footsteps. helps when you have the sample master JR Rotem, who is re-shaping the genre of Pop-R&B with the likes of Jason Derulo and Sean Kingston . Dare I say this sounds strikingly familiar to JR Rotem's use of Ben E King's Stand by Me by Sean Kingston? Some may hate on JR for "borrowing" past songs and more or less cashing in on the built in familiarity that comes from sampling these songs, but you can't argue that he does re-shape the recycled tracks into something that this generation can relate to sound wise. By building musical generational bridges between sampled tracks and new tracks, he allows older generations to relate with the younger sound. Whatever JR supposedly lacks in originality by sampling these oldies, he makes up for in genius by flipping them into radio friendly pop anthems.

IYAZ isn't really a candidate for vocalist of the year, but his album (similar to Jason Derulo's) is shaping up to be a splash. It's hard to imagine that both Derulo and IYAZ have yet to release an album but both have two heavyweight radio hits with JD - Whatcha Say, In My Head and IYAZ - Replay, Solo.

Give the five songs a listen and I encourage donating your 2 cents on the poll below...

GWDJ Verdict: Overall, I give IYAZ's version a B+, it's catchy as hell and will make moves on the radio without a doubt. I can't take anything away from Nat King Cole and Etta James's versions, I bet if I was like 40 years older I would still be rockin' both those on 45' records. Celine Dion definitely brings it vocally in a grown and sexy way on her rendition of the track, but in my opinion Beyonce rocked it the best. She brings the soulfulness through her voice that was meant for this track, which is why she

Monday, February 22, 2010

Slow Jam of the Month: Shontelle - Impossible

I've posted a lil' bit of before where she and J-Status won over Sean Paul and Keri Hilson on the Jamaican love song Pieces.

This one is more of a ballad (hence the slow jam) where Shontelle does her best Beyonce impression absolutely killin' the verses with her crazy melody and vocals. This one is sorta inspiring in a way lyrically, it'll give you a pick me up if you're in the car comin' home from work and need somethin' chill that you can vibe to and tilt the balance of your day to the good side. If you're in the mood for a little piano and some powerful lyrics give this one a listen...

Shontelle - Impossible Hottt Slow Jam!!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

LMAO...Crooked I - Fireflies (freestyle)

Here's the history of this freestyle coming to fruition....

There was first a hint dropped by Crook that he was a fan of Owl City's song Fireflies.

Interesting to say the least that an artist like Crooked I would take a liking to such a glaringly "pop" song. Personally, I like the obscure mix of elctro/piano style pop of Owl City, it's what makes their first song Fireflies so catchy. In case you haven't heard the track, check out Owl City's video:

The lyrics are real heartfelt and soft, which matches the electro inspired beat to create a dreamy sound. The style and everything about it the exact opposite of Hip Hop, which is why I hoped Crooked I would have the audacity and balls to freestyle over it and do something different, even though his peers could potentially take it as an opportunity to call him soft. In other words, you don't see any other West Coast rappers taking a quirky pop anthem and freestyling over it...could potentially hurt the "image" .

And then to my disbelief he actually went in on the Fireflies beat when he announced via Twitter he'd done a freestyle...

Daps & lbs to Crook for doing what few rappers would dare do by rapping over this uh...instrumental? I don't even know if you can call it a beat...haha. I seem to be driving this point into the ground, but the artists that stand out to me are the ones who are more than rappers and aren't afraid to take chances by incorporating a different genre of music into Hip Hop. Some call it selling out, some call it wack, I call it innovation. Get with the times rappers, the most successful new artists are the ones who can get the attention of the non-Hip Hop fans...

"Shining like I'm 10 million Fireflies, if I fall Crooked I will rise"

Not gonna lie when it gets toward the end and he starts singing Owl City's version of the song, it was downright foolish...haha. Had me laughin', that's a good look Crook....check it out...

Crooked I - Fireflies (freestyle)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Madonna feat Justin Timberlake - Across the Sky (prod by Timbaland)

I've been on sort of a Hip Hop binge of late, so to even things out a bit give this little under the radar All-Star collabo a quick listen. Can't go wrong when you put Justin and Timbo together...add in a little Madonna and it goes beyond noteworthy.

For the record is that not the most adorable pic of Justin and Madonna above? For get the fact that Madonna was 23 when Justin was born, they're a good look when in frame together with those infectious smiles.

Timbo absolutely laces this track with his upbeat, percussion and bass-fest of a dance track. Don't get me wrong Madonna owns this track with her low key, but always melodic lyrics. What baffles me is Madonna is on the other side of 50 and she's still rockin' new school sounding R&B/Pop anthems. Whole lotta people her age may be more inclined to say "please turn it down" than mix it up on the dancefloor to this one.

Give it a listen, I'm sure it'll hit mainstream soon enough...tracks like this don't go unnoticed...

Madonna feat Justin Timberlake - Across the Sky (prod by Timbaland)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

4 New B.O.B. Tracks...Album Pushed Up To April 27th

To what do we have the pleasure of a multitude of quality material from the kid becoming known by many as Bobby Ray? Well, it seems that his new single Nothin' On You is doing so well that his album has been pushed up a full month from May 25th to April 27th. So many times we hear about albums continually being pushed back (yea that was directed at you Usher), it's a breath of fresh air to have a record company so excited to release an up and coming artist's album that they move up the release date significantly. See the Twitter post by Bob below..

This one is a deeply soulful, almost haunting track. Has that sort of Ain't No Sunshine feel to it, with some subtle snaps and a brief verse. Has the feel of an unfinished track that had a lot of potential in my opinion.Give it a listen...

The track above is nice, but the real new music from Bobby Ray is below off his newly released May 25th Mixtape hosted by DJ Drama.

In my opinion it goes like this Drake > Kid Cudi > Bobby Ray > Wale. They are head and shoulders above the emerging new artists that are revolutionizing the sound of Hip hop and expanding it's boundaries with every track. Even better they all have different places they call home (Toronto, Cleveland, Atlanta, DC), which results in each bringing their own unique ingredient to modern Hip Hop.

Bobby Ray has taken it as his responsibility, especially while T.I. has been locked up this past year, to further the progress and sound of Southern Rap with his own country slang and southern drawl. If you didn't know T.I. was the one who signed Bobby to his Grand Hustle record label and they both share an unmistakable way they pronounce their letter A's with an extra W added. I think in my last life I was from Atlanta...

Anyways, this first track goes Olympic downhill skiing hard...which by the way, isn't it crazy that we only see the US skiers runs and then all of the horrific crashes?? The speeds they're reaching are no joke...just like this track, which will have you bouncin' and lookin' both know what I'm talkin' bout, you'll be doin' it. The beat is perfect for Bobby Ray's choppy, bouncy, back and forth flow. Not gonna lie Playboy Tre's verse on the track is somewhat of a show stealer...hadn't been a huge fan of him as an artist (much bigger fan of his comedy when he acts himself at here when he talks about gettin' his house robbed...his rant about the speakers around the 2:20 mark had me LMFAO). Anyways, do yourself a favor and give Bet I a listen, it's one of the better B.O.B. tracks I've ever come across...

B.O.B feat Playboy Tre - Bet I (prod by Kutta) Best off Mixtape!!!

Movin' on, here are two more of my favorites from his May 25th Mixtape, the first being another rhythmic, choppy, drum and percussionfest that B.O.B. seems pretty at home over like the first track...and it's followed by a track that is a polar opposite to the first two when a lil' dose of acoustic guitar finds its way on the track. I always preach being able to expand the sound of Hip Hop and not be known for just one type of song (cough cough Baby cough cough 50 cent). Versatility is key and B.O.B. is clearly into a little bit of rock and not very afraid at all to bring some different sounds into Hip Hop, which is very welcome in my book...check it out...

B.O.B. - B is for B.O.B. Hottt!!!

B.O.B. - Don't Feel So Good HOT!!!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Drake Tour Dates, Sprite Commercial & Announcement of 1st Single "Over"

Pretty cool commercial that debut over the weekend, centered around with the NBA All-Star game. They're really milking Forever for all it's worth, but for good reason, 4 of the hottest MCs one one track. Solid intro to the commercial building energy for Drake jumping head first into his verse with Sprite providing "The Spark" to his flow...

On a funny note, Chuck Inglish of the Cool Kids commented on the commercial via Twitter:
"@Chuckisdope: Now if I was on the mixing boards. And my homie in the booth rapping ... Transformed in to a robot breaking to pieces .. I'm Leaving"
Haha...that's good stuff. In other news, Drake just leaked the fact that his first single is going to be titled Over. Normally, that wouldn't be newsworthy, but as anticipated as Thank Me Later is becoming, it deserves mention. See below...

Along the same lines, here are the upcoming tour dates from the Campus Conscious Tour that Drake is headlining along with Canadian rapper K-OS and Francis & The Lights, a synth-pop band based in New York City.

Tour Dates:

Charleston, IL
Eastern Illinois University

Columbus, OH
Private Location

State College, PA
Penn State University

Boston, MA
Private Location

Lock Haven, PA
Private Location

East Lansing, MI
Michigan State University

Rochester Hills, MI
Oakland University

Morgantown, WV
West Virginia University

Orlando, FL
University Central Florida

Greenville, SC
Furman University


New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Kansas City, MO
University of Missouri – Kansas City

Lexington, KY
University of Kentucky

Lowell, MA
University Mass Lowell

Syracuse, NY
Private Location

Boston, MA
Private Location

East Rutherford, NJ
Bamboozle Festival

Worcester, MA
Holy Cross

Towson, MD
Towson University

Cheney, PA
Cheyney University

Ithaca, NY
Private Location

Plymouth, NH
Private Location

Furthermore, it's awesome for Drake that he makes $75-$80k per concert, which is as much as say Ludacris and Snoop...already!! I learned of this thanks to the always intriguing folks over at The Smoking Section, who brought this to my attention. I always wondered what the splits were like as far as how much artists made per concert. It's a tragedy that Keri Hilson makes $20-$30k per wanna talk about a bargain. Oh wait, what about The Cool Kids who pocket $10k per show...better get to booking them soon cause that's about as "buy low" of a stock you could ever imagine. Man, if I had a venue I'd be makin' bank hosting some of these artists....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Major Lazer feat M.I.A.& Busy Signal - Sound of Siren (prod by Diplo)

Really hard to categorize this track, maybe electro-hop or Alternative Hip Hop with a hint of Dancehall/Raggeaton. Either way it goes hard, starting with a building drum roll over haunting M.I.A. vocals on the chorus, eventually giving way to a beat with more knock to it than a Jehovah's witness knuckles. Sort of sounds like Beanie Man on the verses, but really it could be Taylor Swift for all I care, the beat wins on this one.

There's something intriguing about the unique style Sri Lankan born M.I.A. and Philly based DJ Diplo have brought to Hip Hop. It's a largely untapped sub-genre of Hip Hop that I hope continues to expand with speaker rattling tracks like this. Give it a listen:

Major Lazer feat M.I.A. & Busy Signal - Sound of Siren (prod by Diplo)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Foot in Mouth...John Mayer's Week

In case you haven't heard, John Mayer has had one hell of a week. A week that would have been pretty calm on tour had it not been for him opening up his mouth and sharing a few inner thoughts...I emphasize "inner" thoughts because they aren't meant to ever be outer thoughts that are shared with other people. I'm not talking about other people like a few best friends, I'm talking about sharing those thoughts in a Playboy Magazine article for everyone to read. Sometimes it's good to get secret, inner thoughts off the brain, it can be thermoplastic to let someone in on how you really feel about something personal, like which girls you chose to date. everything in life, there is a line and when you cross it and tell people things that can leave a lasting (potentially bad) image of you in their heads, it can be very bad. Case in point, some of John Mayer's comments in the recent interview:
Playboy If you didn’t know you, would you think you’re a douche bag?

John Mayer: It depends on what I picked up. My two biggest hits are “Your Body Is a Wonderland” and “Daughters.” If you think those songs are pandering, then you’ll think I’m a douche bag. It’s like I come on very strong. I am a very…I’m just very. V-E-R-Y. And if you can’t handle very, then I’m a douche bag. But I think the world needs a little very. That’s why black people love me.

Playboy: Because you’re very?

John Mayer: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.”

Playboy: Do black women throw themselves at you?

John Mayer: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.

In response to the outrage that his comments caused, JM apologized in a series of Twitter posts. He claims his intentions are not to be a shock jock and admits he should probably stop being so "raw" in interviews. Also, see below his on stage apology in Nashville, where he apologizes and pokes fun at himself as a "possible future grown up" while sincerely noting that he let his band members/friends/ family down with the recent comments.

It's pretty clear he insulted a lot of people, mostly African American and women, with his comments and similar to Kanye he needs to develop that filter that nips seemingly ignorant and WTMI confessions in the bud. As a white guy, even if you have black friends whom you're comfortable with and know you, that still doesn't mean you can freely use the N word. Even though it was clear he wasn't using it in a derogatory fashion necessarily, it should NEVER be considered a safe word in any white man's vocabulary. I think I speak for most people when I say John just keep using music to vent all of these innermost thoughts, insecurities and vulnerabilities...being open and emotional about life is part of what makes your music worth listening to...but it's not something we really care to know about away from music. Next time do a better job of parsing your words because at this point you should know its pretty easy to take things out of context when they're printed. I like that he vows to just keep playing the guitar and stay out of the media, which is what we all hope he really does after this incident...

Ending on a more positive note...below is him performing the cover of I'm On Fire by Bruce Springsteen, which is a bonus track (and my favorite track) off his new album Battle Studies.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ladies Take Note - Valentines Day Etiquette

Now let me first explain...Valentines Day over the years has gotten a stigma or reputation for being a holiday where the lady gets pampered and gifted up, while your boys get to worry about whether the flowers are makin' it on time and how well their gift or dinner plans will be received...etc.

That's all fine and good, ladies I got no problem giving you this holiday, I get it, it's about you on the most romantic holiday of the year. I'm just here to encourage the ladies out there to take a little initiative like Cassie did above and do a lil somethin' special or out of the ordinary for your man. Believe it of not, creativity and effort doesn't have to have dollar amount (unless you're lazy) and it is actually appreciated by not just women, but your boys too.

Some of the best gifts in life don't cost a damn thing, so take advantage of this opportunity to show your man tomorrow that even if #heaintshit 364 days out of the year, he's your man for a reason and deserves a lil love tomorrow...


Jason Derulo - Blind (prod by JR Rotem)

Another new one from Jaysahn who keeps the sentimental mood goin' with this piano laced ballad titled Blind. The track had originally been released as a demo, but this version is the finished product.

Bet you didn't know Jason is a Haitian-American and his original name is Jason Desrouleaux. Again, his album will be released in a few weeks on March 2nd with the following confirmed track list.

Confirmed by iTunes & his website:

1. Whatcha Say
2. Ridin' Solo
3. In My Head
4. The Sky's The Limit
5. What If
6. Love Hangover
7. Encore
8. Fallen
9. Blind
10. Queen Of Hearts (Digital Bonus Track)

This is more of an ode to those of us who have been Stevie Wondered through a relationship experience, thinking everything is going right then you wake up one day and can't see.

Give it a listen....

Jason Derulo - Blind (prod by JR Rotem) Hot Ballad!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Artist Spotlight - Hayes

If you're wondering, Hayes is the one in the picture above to the far right with his arm around Dr. Dre. Pretty hard to find this dude on the web (no wikis), but here's a start with his website titled iamhayes, which looks to be a pretty well crafted site (lots of flash with "surveillance photos", buddy icons, wallpapers etc.). Self described as a "Detroit born Cali transplant", he has the something out of nothing story where he dropped out of school at an early age, sold drugs to make ends meet know the stuff they talk about in Gangsta Rap, he lived it.

Rather than get too deep on his story and where he's coming from, I think it's best that you get a view first hand of one of his intense and real stories with his intro to his latest mixtape The First 48 titled Welcome to the First 48 (this is the track that plays when you first enter his website)...

Definitely in your face with the language and intensity, no doubt. Really like how he shows the ability to build and tear down emotion based on the intensity of the beat.

You may ask though, what's so great about this guy? He sounds like Shyne (who was a underappreciated rapper in my opinion before he got locked up) telling Gangsta Rap tales 50 Cent style. Well, the answer to that is pretty simple, he's co-signed to Interscope Records through Dr. Dre and to Mosley Music Group...hmm Mosley Music Group...wait isn't there a Tim Mosley?? Ah yes, Timbaland...who runs Mosley Music Group. Here's a quote from Timbo describing the signing of Hayes:
“Me and Dre just signed this guy named Hayes from Detroit. Incredible storyteller. Incredible. Reminds me of how B.I.G. tells his stories. He kind of was around the table. He wrote some of Dre’s Detox – if Dre is ever gonna do it – but he wrote a lot of that for Dre. He’s just been around the camp. I knew him from my homeboy, so he’s been around both camps. Me and Dre both think he’s a crazy artist. So we said: Let’s do him together.” - Source
From Hayes's perspective on the signing and working on tour with Timbaland:
“The deal is that Dre does half of my album and Tim does the other half. So after shows, Tim is recording tracks with me on the tour bus or we go to the studio and work." - Source
Let's do him together??? Laying down tracks on Timbo's tour bus while touring with him??? Damn, I'd equate that to winning the Powerball lottery in two different countries. The good news is, Hayes understands he's in a privileged position and all he has to do is not screw up or go to jail to make the best of this situation. When asked what are you learning working with Dr. Dre? Hayes said,
"The greatest thing about working with Dre is the learning process, because it’s two totally different classes (Dre and Timbaland) and they’re both great classes. If you could come out of either one of these schools, you’ll be great. I’m with two great teachers and I’m learning a lot and I would say the best part about this process is studying under Dre and Timb because they teach you how to make good music."- Source

So let's connect the dots here:

1) Dr. Dre (legendary producer) sought out and signed Hayes through Interscope records.
2) Timbaland (legendary producer) thought Hayes was such a good storyteller that he talked Dr. Dre into co-signing him.
3) Hayes is helping write Detox...yes Detox, that album that started being recorded in 2004 and has been rumored to be coming out EVERY year since then, but evidently the formula isn't quite right so we're left waiting...for years...but Hayes is talented enough to help Dr Dre with it.

While I haven't really heard a WOW! track from Hayes yet and sort of question just how easily he will be able to carve a niche into a fading sub-genre of Hip Hop (Gantsta Rap), I'm finding it really really hard to believe he's not going to succeed given the producers who have invested in him. I figure if looks like it, smalls like it and feels like it, it must be it right?

While the jury is still out and the comparisons to Biggie are definitely premature, I'm thinking Dre and especially Timbo will maybe tone down Hayes' vulgarity and the degree of realness to his stories, so that his stories will come off as well conceived and articulated, but still real enough to know he experienced it (like Biggie)...rather than like 50 cent who has been successful through his portrayal of Gangsta Rap, but lyrically could never be considered half as legendary as Biggie because he lacks the engaging lyrical content that connects with everyone, not just hardcore rap fans.

You be the judge, here are four of Hayes tracks, the first three from his new mixtape 
The Frist 48 (pictured below):

Hayes - Welcome to the First 48
RAW!! (From Video Above)

Hayes - I Can't Love You Hot!!!

Hayes - Big Boy Shit Hot!!

Hayes - Go Hard

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SNOWED IN!!!....Joe Budden & Royce da 5'9" - 40/40 Club

Thought this was a fitting combo post with snow being the main theme of the week since it's being measured in feet rather than inches. Above is ya boy Joey standin' proud next to his "thugged out snowman" Bernard Jr.. Is it me or does Bernard Jr look like he's up to sumthin'?? haha.

Anyways, the track being highlighted in this post was my second favorite joint this past month behind the Nappy Roots track I just raved about. The why part is easy, the two verses Royce Nickel 9 and Joe spit have so many intelligent, pop culture relevant lines throughout the track that it's deserving of mention and praise. Let's examine a few notable quotable from Royce:
“My momma got fangs, my daddy got ducks feet
I was genetically predisposed to f*** freaks”

“Get it right, my sh** is knocking like our words be doors
We can fight — that’s right, put your dukes up
And let you fist pump like you on the Jersey Shore”

“I claimed the town before I give you lames the crown
You’ll get it soon as Snoop gains a pound”

Alright how about a few from Jersey's finest Budden:
“What part of the game is this, bunch of dicks in the studio
So I take mine elsewhere, I'm Rick Rubio”

“Rap for hire, call me if help is needed
I got this whole sh** covered, Darrelle Revis”

“I'm interrupting with no pardon, I ain't Mike Wilbon
From day one, he just speak his mind
Cause loose leafs don't come with subtitles, can't read between the lines”

Wait a second, was that last line a PTI shout out? Damn right it was and it was rewarded by Wilbon on show when he gave a shout out to Joe Budden. Check it...

Now what I wanna know is who alerted Wilbon that he was given a shout out on the track? Let's just say I'd be very surprised to hear he was scouring his favorite hip hop blogs or even following him on twitter to even find the song. Given this track has been circulating for a couple weeks now and I know I'm late on donating my two pennies about it, but I woulda been breakin' some law by not giving credit where credit is due...and credit is and continually will be due to 1/2 of what makes up the most talented Hip Hop group in the industry right now. Please don't act like you don't know, that act is getting moldy its so old...

Royce, as a cucumber...Crook throwin' up a Dub reppin' LBC....and Joey FOCUSED! Kinda like this track, give it a listen and admire the way the duo weave through verses like like Javier Arenas...

Joe Budden & Royce da 5'9" - 40/40 (prod by Soul Searchin) Hoootttt!!!
Listen Here

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

LOL is Overrated...Whatever Happened to the Old Fashioned Ha Ha?

When was the last time you actually laughed when you wrote "lol"? Grow up Peter Pan, lol has become the expression you put when you have nothing to say...whatever happened to uncomfortable silence or just not answering? Are we really that soft as a culture that we have to humor people everytime they think they're being funny (I sure hope so, my confidence is dependent on that) or is it just lazy flirting (both). Everyone knows lol has lived it's shelf life and it's about to get put on special sale...what's special sale you ask? I'm talkin' that "oh the price just got marked down by 50% at the grocery store cause whatever you're buyin' is damn near rotten" type of special need to patronize anymore...keep it 100 with exclamations, CAPS, even mix it up with a hehe if you're feelin' frisky, just don't be lazy with an that shit grinds my gears and in the words of Jigga, society "WE OFF THAT!"...

I needed to get that off my for the music, you may be wondering to yourself what does the person above have to do about laughing or even more importantly the track below, Fat Joe's new single Ha Ha feat Young Jeezy. Seem rising producer extraordinaire Scoop Deville also put his mark on this track with what you could call an "attention grabbing" beat. If you accused me of being a favoritist of loud, percussion laced, heavy beats I'd applaud you for payin' attention.

Now when I use the face "attention grabbing" I mean beats like this here by Dr Dre (Detox may or may not end music as we know it) or the legendarily low A Milli beat by Bangladesh or this heat rock by DJ Khalil this here by Polow da Don, maybe these two by Timbo/Danjahandz shoot I'd even give a long hard look at this Ryan Leslie beat.

Now I'm not trying to compare this beat to those in the last paragraph, but I will compare it to Scoop's first beat I Wanna Rock with Snoop. Considering how many artists freestyled over the beat, it's pretty clear that the whole Hip Hop game took note of the production credits.

Time for you to take note of a bangin' first single by Joey Crack...oh and a little bit of Jeezy mixed in...sorry auxiliary, replaceable artists, the beat gets the dap on this one...

Fat Joe feat Young Jeezy - Ha Ha (prod by Scoop Deville) Hoott!!!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Fresh Like a Summer Breeze...Nappy Roots - Ride

My goodness I miss me some Nappy Roots. This track is that middle of winter style southern breeze that hits your face, giving you a quick break from winter or uh the next snowstorm about to beat the brakes off the Midwest and East Coast.

This track Ride is being tagged as the lead single off their upcoming album The Pursuit of Nappyness to be released in early April.

There's just somethin' about that laid back Southern Comfort drawl (even if its a Kentucky Bourbon drawl) cut with a lil acoustic guitar. Another great thing about their music is that it usually has an uplifting vibe to it and is socially accessible to their audience. From the effects of the recession to the personal effect the war is having on's all out there for you to associate with as listeners.

The hook, simple as it may be, is catchy as hell, with the deep chanting of Where Did You Go , offsetting their quick rhymes and upbeat flow. I'd venture to say this has legitimate staying power and might even end up on the legendary Piece of Mind Hip Hop playlist I've organized throughout the years...without a doubt my favorite Hip Hip track this month, check it out...

Nappy Roots - Ride Best Hip Hop Track of Jan!!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Jason Derulo - Locked in Love (prod by JR Rotem)

This new one is more of a demo than something you'll hear being made into a new song. JD is not afraid to do a whole song is falsetto, case in point Locked in Love. Still, a piano beat by JR Rotem + lyrics about bein' in love...pretty hard to go away from that formula.

Not my favorite of his tracks, but he seems to be what everybody is feindin' for at the moment, so I felt obligated to share. We're less than a month away from his March 2nd release of his self titled album. No confirmed track list yet, but my guess is I'll be pretty busy the next month posting and raving about a lot of the songs we still haven't heard yet.

If you're a fan of the high notes, be sure to give this a play or two...

Jason Derulo - Locked in Love (prod by JR Rotem)
New Demo!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

What does Reverse Cowgirl mean?

Ohhh so that's what it means! Takes quite a bit of audacity and creativity to come up with such a truly awesome outfit like the one above...

Sorta fitting considering the song below is an ode to um...uh...the outfit...haha. Only thing that is a little puzzling about this top notch collabo between T-Pain and Young Jeezy is the in between mid-tempo-ness of the track. While it has clear potential to become another radio roadkill victim, it's a little too fast to be a slow jam and play its part on a BMM playlist and still waaaay to slow to get any club love.

One thing I immediately noticed (that probably no one else cares or would have paid any attention to) is that Wipe Out style high pitched laughing at the beginning of the track, similar to this track here with Juelz Santana as well as that Bedrock joint by Young Money. Evidently Kane Beatz is puttin' in work in 2010 and doin' his best to make a name for himself as a go-to producer. Three legit hits with Hip Hop heavyweights in a matter of 2-3 months is a great way to pave a road to success.

Give it a listen, it's catchy...
T-Pain feat Young Jeezy - Reverse Cowgirl (prod by Kane Beatz) Hottt!!!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

New Ish...Flo Rida - Star (prod by The Runners)

Not used to such a laid back look from the man known for lighting up dance floors year round. To be honest, I gained more respect for him with this song than any of his other platinum club hits (here, here , here and of course here). Nothin' more refreshing than The Runners "Aaaaaaahhhhhhh" at the beginning of the song. I'd liken it to climbin' up the hill on a roller hear it and you know you're about to get something great.

While Flo Rida is never gonna win awards for thought provoking lyrics, he still deserves a whole lotta dap for trail blazing his way to the top with his unique, undulating multi-syllabic flow that is as at home as koala bear enjoying a eucalyptus cough drop (oh what? Koalas don't get colds too?? Its freakin' cold/flu season, come on! Click here for a random koala fact) over a fast (usually Runners) beat. I'm glad he's mixin' it up a bit tempo wise even if he's stickin' to his guns flow wise...always good to see a little versatility.

I'm very pleased to say this probably won't becoming radio roadkill anytime soon because it's not as fast as his usual hits and he'll probably drop a lead single dance track before falling back on a real smooth track like the one below. Not counting it out as single material yet though cause any artist would be stupid not to use a Runners beat as a single. Guess we'll see...check it...

Flo Rida - Star (prod by The Runners) Hooootttt!!!!

As a bonus check out an under the radar guest spot off up and coming R&B artist J. Lewis title Dancing For Me...definitely worth a listen...

J. Lewis feat Flo Rida - Dancing For Me Hot!!

eXTReMe Tracker