Saturday, July 31, 2010

New A.O.N. feat Chris Echols - Like This

New slow jam from up and coming artist A.O.N. featuring the vocals of Chris Echols. Recently Myspace released a beta version of their site which allows for a lot more customization and @chrisechols88 is the first artist I've seen take advantage of the new features. Definitely has more of a styled, crispy sort of feel to it that is more asthetically pleasing in my opinion, so I'm hoping more artists take the new beta site and run with it like Chris did.

Recently I posted A.O.N.'s new bangin' track Doin' it Big, which is still on iTunes for y'all to support his grind if you're so inclined. I've got a feeling that as soon as radio catches wind of either Doin' it Big or My Girl, you may lose your opportunity to buy low on him. Check the YouTube video of his photo shoot for Doin' it Big, it's the first opportunity I've had to hear him talk about his music.

The track below is less upbeat than the tracks above and more of an R&B joint, taking on a mellower slow jam feel. On Like This we get to hear a different sound from @aonmusik, showing some versatility in conquering the slow jam. His methodical delivery works well over a slow snap beat like this one, adding to his growing collection of quality tracks that range from Pop, to Hip Hop and now R&B.

What do you guys think? Give it a listen and stay tuned for more A.O.N. in the upcoming weeks...

A.O.N. feat Chris Echols - Like This

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Tell Your Girls You Leavin, I’ll Meet You in the Lobby, I’m So Cold Yeah I Need That Hot Toddy"

Woooow...all I gotta say is Polow you are a damn fool for this beat man. The subliminally bangin' bass that gives way to an upbeat, syncopated rhythm, which is just plain stupid and deserving of nothing short of a bow followed by some dap and a quick pound. The beat methodically bangs, but at times sidesteps, giving way to a little of @usherraymondiv's seductive harmony and eventually the show-stopping verse by Jiggaman. I don't wanna sound too cliche when I say this is as can't miss of a single as you can get, but damn, go ahead and try to poke some holes in this track...oh what's that? It's too awesome?? Yea that's wassup, this one goes balls deep and is subtly dark, yet undeniably sexy.

Like everything I over-analyze, let's get into the meaning of Hot Toddy for a cold minute. defines it as "A drink consisting of whiskey, brandy, or other liquor mixed with hot water, sugar, and spices." Hmm...not too much of a stretch considering Hip Hop's affinity to the mystical wine with the water taken out, know as cognac to sophisticated folk and just Yak to anyone familiar with Hip Hop. After listening to Hov's verse a few times, at least he makes an attempt to tie the whole cognac reference to the song's underlying focus on women/sex...
I was born a God
I made myself a king
which means I downgraded to a human being
you was born a Goddess I made you my queen
which mean we upgraded to Louis the thirteen
Hot toddy her body like cognac
For all you uneducated greenhorns RemyHenny with Courvoisier residing in between on most occasions, but clearly being dependent on age (VSOP vs VS), like anything alcohol related (age is good). The Louis the 13th referred to in the verse above is made by Remy Martin and sells for about $3000 a bottle and is made from 1200 eaux-de-vie, some more than a century in age, then aged in 100+ year old barrels or tiercons in its own cellar. In other words, good luck getting to taste this stuff, there's a great reason why rappers (who are some of the only people in world who can afford to drink it) talk about it.
Hot Toddy
Got a little derailed there on that cognac lesson, but I went through a phase where that was all I drank and let me tell you what...there is a direct correlation between drinking it and having more ways than one. Suggestive anecdotal personal evidence aside, I might be crazy enough to even mix some Hot Toddys when the temps start cooling down a bit...or at least until Usher's new Versus EP drops on August 24th...which by the way has at least four legit number #1 singles with this track, Stranger, his new single DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love and There Goes My Baby.

...til then this will continue to heat up my iPod and now Phone (yea thats wassup, ya boy finally stepped his game up i game up a bit becoming an i4 pilot). Feel free to bang this one out in the trunk or dance all freaky to it...or both?

Usher feat Jay-Z & Ester Dean - Hot Toddy (prod by Polow Da Don)
| Download

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Throwback Thurs: Bun-B feat Juvenile Lil Webbie - Pop it For Pimp

With all this new @bunbtrillog circulating around Twitter of late with his upcoming album Trill OG's release coming in a matter of days (Aug 3rd), I've been giving his past material a couple spins of late. I must say, good idea to join Twitter a few weeks before your album drops. To be Frank, Earnest...or Bernard in this case, I can't see any combinations of tracks that will live up to his last album II Trill album he dropped in 2008. I had always been a UGK fan in general, but hadn't fully bought in on a whole album's worth of material from either Pimp C or Bun-B prior to II Trill.

The track below is one of the better efforts from that album and never got a chance to shine within the mainstream despite the fact could be called Back That Ass Up Part II. Same ingredients, upbeat booty shakin' 808 bass, swag infused southern lyrics and a chorus devoted to poppin' it on the dance floor. Just listen to it, at the end of the hook at the "Pop it for pimp" part, the strings are the exact same at Back That Ass Up...must be why it was listed as a sample, freakin' pecans I know. While I'm at it, might as well give a shout it to the creator of this freaknasty beat, Mouseonthatrack. He's got that dope, Mou-mouse-drop-the-track-that'll-make-you-bust-it-back intro to most of his tracks like Lil Boosie feat Yung Joc- Zoom, Lil Boosie feat Young Jeezy - Better Believe It, and my personal favorite Lil Boosie feat Lil Webbie & Foxx - Wipe Me Down

This track, Keep it 100, Swang on Em with @LUPEFIASCO and If I Die Tonight with Lyfe and Young Buck all contributed to an album that far exceeded all expectations and was a big reason why I raved about this album back in '08 on my song list, listing it as a top 5 album of that year. I was bummed out to not see any @mouseonthatrack on his new album, but a @IMADEITINC track to go with a couple @boi1da and @DRAKKARDNOIR collaborations make up for it well.

Great song to add to the weekend playlist for a college fits in well with that crowd...Trill OG comin' next Tues...

Bun-B feat Juvenile Lil Webbie - Pop it For Pimp (prod by Mouseonthatrack)
| Download

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Petey Pablo - Go (prod by Timbaland)

What ever happened to Petey Pablo? You know that North Carolina reppin', towel swingin' dude who was the voice of Carolina Hip Hop earlier in the decade? Well after his second album, Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry released in 2004, he's been on a six year sabbatical...yea I know he released an album on Death Row records in 2007, but that album went double brick and wasn't heard by anyone.

So where's he now? For starters he's created his own Carolina Music Group or CMG as he constantly points out in the song below. Most noteworthy is his decision to go back to the formula that got him where he is now, sticking to those uniquely bangin' Timbaland beats that he sounds at home over. Just looking at the production credits off his last noteworthy album, he had @LILJON and Timbland producing multiple tracks as well as Bangladesh throwin' in possibly the best track on the album with Vibrate.

You gotta love flutes that blend with all the methodical clicking and whiny synths that act as ingredients to this Timbo production. The tempo is slow though, so if you're expecting a club banger, stay tuned for the second single. Sure the chorus is a little lacking, but it's progress considering we haven't heard anything from @darealpetey in years. Merely hearing his raspy, charismatic flow is enough for me to look forward to his album due out sometime this year.

Welcome back Petey, we missed ya...

Petey Pablo - Go (prod by Timbaland)
| Download

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Paper, Scissors, Rock My Heart and Throw it All Away"

Last week I gave some more dap to Ryan Tedder who I classified as one of the best (if not the best) demo singers out. To his credit, he's also the lead singer of @onerepublic, which has allotted him more notoriety compared to the demo singer on this track, James Fauntleroy. The common demoninator is Timbaland (obligatory DJ Hero 2 plug), who frequently demos tracks with James and clearly appreciates his ability to write and produce. On the topic of production and writing credits, check out the growing list of tracks that James has put his stamp on (below)...
Most recently, James demo'd @rihanna's Te Amo single that generated quite a bit of buzz with the girl on girl action in the video. Was a real underrated track though and it's a complete coin toss on who rocked it better. Give them both a listen while you're at it..


Sure Rihanna would definitely sell more, but it goes without saying, she sang it the way she did for a reason...and that was @fauntleroy. He's definitely got a knack for writing and turning a page full of lyrics into a sculpted finished track.

The track below is supposedly a demo for Jamie Foxx, who would add comparable vocals and more name recognition to an already hype track. Timbo is of course on the production and James adds a harmonic hook to a few (slightly) autotuned verses from Timothy Mosley. Lyrics aside, the beat will suck you in with a loud, bouncy, synth-fest that sounds every bit like many of Timbo's never-ending streak of top notch beats. I still can't get over that Ghetto Techno beat...if that track doesn't someday surface I'll be shocked. #DiamondInTheRough....but not for long I'm guessing...

Give the demo track a listen and never lose appreciation for the writers and producers like @fauntleroy who do all the legwork so that someone with a better, more recognizable voice can get all the credit...

Timbaland feat James Fautleroy - Paper, Scissors, Rock
Link taken down by request

Monday, July 26, 2010

Buzz Track: Mike Posner - Please Don't Go

Now that everyone and they momma's friend's stepsister's babysitter has jumped on the Mikey Posner bandwagon after Cooler Than Me ignited on radio, the real question now is whether his upcoming album is going to go one hit deep or whether we'll be pleasantly surprised like critics were with Jeremih's debut and have a few noteworthy singles that give him a chance to establish himself in the mainstream?

Off top when I first heard the beginning of his second single starting with "Let's runaway..." all I could think of was The Fray's song Over My Head (video below)...

Anybody else hear that when they listen to this? From the tempo to the delivery, they're so similar at points of the track. Obviously, the songs diverge once the beat hits and gives way to more of a mid-tempo ballad, rather than a vocal dominated slow acoustic ballad.

I'm sorta lukewarm on this to be quite honest, it's a safe choice for a second single, it'll definitely get some radio play and I don't see it as a detriment to his debut effort 31 Minutes to Takeoff. Pretty trippy electro infused bridge between the last verse and the final hook too, which is interesting and kinda unique. You better believe @MIKEPOSNER is going to make his living with that soft, melodic voice of his and it's admirable that he's not going to have any guest spots on his debut album. Definitely a risk, but I can respect high risk, high reward, I'm cheerin' him on. Especially because my sources in the Chi-town seem to rave about his live show, check the tour here.
Do him a favor and support his debut on iTunes or Amazon if you're so inclined. You gotta admit, it's cool seeing a breakthrough artist sell some's like watching some dude from triple A get called up and tear it up...I see you Danny Valencia. #FreeFantasyAdvice

Give it a listen and don't sleep in two weeks when his album drops and his 31 Minutes are up...

Mike Posner - Please Don't Go
Links taken down by request go here to purchase

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dr. Dre Remasters the Laptop with HP Envy

So is this supposed to mean that since Dr. Dre used his new high tech HP Envy Laptop to remaster his "supposed" first single Under Pressure (off Detox) that Detox is imminent and coming soon?  Sidebar: What is that retractable face covering in the commercial that looks like some sort of storm trooper sunglasses with a cup shaped breathable mouth region? Also, does that come with the laptop? I'm just saying, if I'm going to make an informed purchase of a laptop that is over $1,000, I need to know the capabilities of this robotic Dr. Dre beat mask and whether or not they are included in the price of the laptop. If they are included, will they contribute to my digital mixing skills? Finally, would mixing goggles or beat facemask be appropriate names for this apparatus and if not, can I still buy them separately to wear when I'm not mixing and in a social setting?
Retractable beat mask aside, like all good things that are too good to be true, I'm gonna assume the role of devil's advocate hater and point back to that Coors Light commercial he did that spotlighted the immaculate beat from the "supposed" Detox reference track The Next Level made with the help of The Neptunes (@chadhugo & Skateboard P). Remember when he did this beat and everyone hopped on the "OMG Detox is coming" bandwagon in 2007. See below...

But, what if it is true that this is another step toward the album and first single? Well, this is what Dr. Dre posted on his website about the unfinished leak of Under Pressure.
Adding more drama to the story, Scott Storch who co-produced Under Pressure with the good doctor, said
"Dr. Dre was looking for the right hook for the single Under Pressure" and now "the hook is now ready and chosen." - Source
Honestly, I'll be happy if I still like Hip Hop music in 50 years when Detox is finally released...til then it'll continue to be the lock ness monster of Hip Hop. For real though if he includes finished versions of The Next Level with Snoop and Under Pressure with Jay-Z on Detox, it's over with...Hip Hop will have a King and I will would fully watch a 1 hour special anoiting him that, even if it doesn't involve any free agency. With these "hypothetical" lead tracks, I really don't think the momentum for his album could get any unstoppable...wait a minute...
I'll let that marinade for a bit for all my hatinass friends who look down on my loyal @justinbieber support...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Artist Spotlight: Big K.R.I.T.

"He say, she say, rumors all day,
The Rap game is High School and life's a hall-way"
To be honest, I've been guilty of pressing the snooze button one too many times on Big K.R.I.T.. I've seen multiple blogs I follow post stuff of his, yet I've continued to pass on his music. But...that all changed immediately after one listen of his track Hometown Heros...which then turned into 5 consecutive listens as I experienced that competitive phenomenon on my iPod I like to call "The Takeover". It happens rarely, maybe once every 2-3 months, but it happens when I come across a song that I haven't heard yet that blows away everything I've recently added to the iPod. The scenario results in a fixation on said song because no matter what song(s) follow it, they fail to match the complete awesomeness that the recently Taken Over song brings.

Hailing from Meridian, Mississippi, he has an undeniable Southern Swag to go with a laid back, polished flow that reminds me stylistically of a young Pimp C with the passion you heard from a young T.I. I'm not tryin' to gas you up by throwin' out two of the South's most legendary artists in the comparison because of the immense respect I have for for Chad and Clifford. If you ain' know, K.R.I.T. stands for "King Remembered in Time", presumably an attempt at foreshadowing a career destined to stardom. As an intro to him and how he goes about making music...and when I say making, I mean writing, producing and rapping all by his cot damn self...
There is no mistakin' @bigkrit's deep southern drawl and quiet confidence as he speaks about paving his own way in the Hip Hop game. Clearly flattered and slightly bashful on the comparisons to legendary artists like Pimp C, there is absolutely no doubt he respects the artists that came before him and you've gotta admire his goal in trying to resurrect that "Soundo of the South" and "soulful passion of the golden era".

What stood out to me when I listened to his tracks and interviews was his passion for his own music, which speaks for itself. If you haven't heard his latest Mixtape titled K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, I would click on that link and download it for free or cop it on iTunes if you appreciate his grind and want to support him. I'm tellin' you, your music collection would be impressed by your new addition...
I'll start with his track Hometown Heros, that set it all off for me and is much of the reason I made this post. Before I speak on it, check out the video brought to you by Creative Control.

I gotta tell you as low budget as that video is above, it was perfect in capturing the vibe of the track and giving the visual Hometown feel. You don't need to have all the money and jewelry and video girls to make a respectable video for a track, sometime a down to earth, sorta grimey video without a whole lot of crazy editing is perfect for a track.

The intro from the track comes from Friday Night Lights, y'all remember that part? Sets the tone for the track as he spends the whole track very methodically storytelling about speaks on his struggle that brought him to where he's at. The fact that he produced this track is crazy, that "King City...King...King City...third...third coast reppers in a Mississippi sippi land" chopped up hook is addicting. From the build up on the verses as he hits second gear after a few bars, to amping up the intensity, swagger and overall energy of each verse leading up to the hook that by sound pays homage to screwed and chopped music in its own all just fits together to form a great track. At this point it doesn't look like it'll fall off any of my iPod playlists soon and between this and Got Your Back by @Tip and @misskeribaby, I now have two tracks for locks in my top 10 of 2010. I can't stress how great this track is man, and as icing on the cake, @yelawolf's verse on the remix is top notch as well, adding a little bit more greatness to an already classic track.

Give it a listen...

Big K.R.I.T. feat Yelawolf - Hometowm Hero (remix)
| Download

If you're not in the mood for a serious, introspective track and prefer something to ride out to, give Country Shit a listen. The first verse is why everyone is comparing him to Pimp C, read the lyrics below:
“I told ‘em aww man, hold up
What you know about it,
Candi cars, superstars,
rubber bands in my pockets,
A couple broads for the poppin,
If she ridin then she boppin,
B**** I’m selling if you shoppin,
If you need it, then I got it,
If I want it, then I cop it,
If you don’t like it n***** top it,
Why you worried about mine, hoe,
What’s off in your wallet?
I was riding my screw sh**,
Rims chop choppin,
Top droppin,
Throwing bread crumbs,
Crows start flockin,
Knockin pictures off the wall,
We sit tall, but we still crawl,
We still shoot, we still score,
We still win, so we still ball,
We still hood, so f*** them laws,
I got nuts and I got loot,
If you can’t see the king in a n***** like me,
Well f**** you too.”
If you can't picture Pimp C when you hear that verse, you haven't listened to his lyrics, Texas slang, southern drawl or delivery. This one goes hard for all the country folk ridin' slab, chunkin up deuces, rollin' round backwoods wit a pocket full a stones....

Big K.R.I.T. - Country Shit
| Download

As a final bonus cut, check out his track Viktorious, also off his newest Mixtape K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. On the track, he definitely "goes in" on the verses, rapping fast over a steady piano beat that adds a little bass at the end. This track is how you make your presence felt with that in your face delivery that takes no prisoners.

Big K.R.I.T. - Viktorious
| Download

Look for a lot more of K.R.I.T.'s material to be posted on this blog as I've gained a great deal of respect for his talent and what he brings to the Hip Hop game...someone outside of Atlanta that has a deep south sound. @yelawolf and @bigkrit are doing wonders for expanding the reach of Hip Hop in the south now that Alabama and Mississippi can boast two legit rising stars. Lots to be excited about stay tuned folks....

Friday, July 23, 2010

Buzz Track: Outasight feat Freddie Gibbs - Near The End

So what if I told you there was this new artist out of NY that described his music as an "Energetic hip hop mixed with melodic soul" with influences from other genres such as classic rock and soul. If you're intrigued, read on because that's the Modus Operandi of ya boy Outasight. In case you missed it, he quietly dropped a studio joint titled Further EP a few months ago in March. Fueled by the single Catch Me If You Can and a Mixtape fueled by the Hip Hop clothing company LRG, he's started to get his name out for his unique rock soul/rock, bluesy sound that borders on both Hip Hop and Pop. Video below:

I'll be the first to admit, I was sorta lukewarm on his material at first, but I respected his off-the-beaten-path, unique sound. Then...I saw a collaboration with of all artists, Freddie "Gangsta" Gibbs. Really?? Definitely struck me as odd that the two would get together on a track considering their somewhat polar opposite realms of new school Hip Hop sounds.

But to their credit, they made it work on Near the End. The upbeat, rolling bassline is aided by a catchy guitar riff on the hook, setting off the laid back, effortless delivery of @outasight. And I'm gonna stop selling @FREDDIEGIBBS short (like I did on my rating of the 2010 XXL Freshman) after hearing this track and being impressed with his ability to blend with a "non-Hip Hop" sounding beat. Major Daps & lbs to (Gary, IN STAND UP!)for killing his verse on the track, matching the fast paced tempo of the beat bar for bar and managing to give it the Hip Hop flavor it needed.

There is a LOT to be excited about in Hip Hop these days with newcomers summoning the courage to stick to their own unique sound that isn't at all like the cookie cutter crap that plagued the early years of this decade. Didn't see this one coming one bit, but that added to the allure and is a big reason why this track gets it's own post.

Give it a listen...

Outasight feat Freddie Gibbs - Near The End
| Download

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Throwback Thurs: Indie Hip Hop Looks Like an Orange Shirt

About a week ago my buddy Mikey B schooled me on some of what he deemed the cream of the crop of the Indie world. I respect his opinion mightily as he embodies the life of a Hipster (<---your goal should be to get posted on their Brado), frequenting musicfests like SXSW as well as a recent road trip to Pitchfork in Chicago. Plus, anybody with the audacity to try and aid in the effort to bring back jorts deserves some serious dap for resurrecting a once popular style. Aside from the undeniable Hipster swag Mikey B brings to the table, he's got a ear for music, which is why I made sure and took note of his response to my recent post about Cudi's collabo with Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij when he said:
"You have to check out this collaboration called Discovery where it was this same Rostam from Vampire Weekend and Wes, the lead singer from Ra Ra Riot (another fave of mine). It's definitely Indie-Dance, and It turned out to be one of the most underrated albums of the decade, just give this song a shot:"
Hmm...Discovery, never heard of them and they're damn near impossible to Google, try it, there's a lotta shit that has been discovered or named Discovery over the years. Long story short, the duo represents two of the better Indie bands with Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend and Wes Miles, the lead singer for Ra Ra Riot. For the record, in case you're wondering I think Ra Ra Riot & Vampire Weekend, but that's probably more because I really dig the strings of Ra Ra vs the more punk vibe Vampire gives off.
So my first reaction when listening to their standout song Orange Shirt was, "Whhaaattt?!?! Is this Hip Hop?" Just listen to the beat, it's got some thump to it and was not at all what I expected from two dudes from Indie bands. Moral of the story here is that @matsor killed the beat and percussion while @tennismanswharf threw down some harmonic verses that blend with the beat like Mr Palmer himself was mixing tea and lemonade. Notice too at the end of the track how Rostam chops up the last hook, adding even more Hip Hop spice on an Indie sandwich. Put it this way, it's only taken one lap around Discovery's LP to start wondering myself if this is the most slept on album in the last year. Early indications are yes...

For a follow up shot of Discovery check out Osaka Loop Line and So Insane, which are every bit as solid as Orange Shirt, but slightly less Hip Hop and a little more Indie-Rock/Electro. What they do on the So Insane beat is illegal in 48 states and absolutely sick...matter of fact as I listen to it now, I might actually end up liking it better than Orange Shirt because I am a sucker for speeding/slowing down the beat mid-track as seamlessly as they did on that track. Assist to the Steve Nash of the Hipster kingdom, folks at home note the Mikey B post tag at the bottom...much more to come...

Don't forget the feature presentation below and folks...seriously...quit sleepin' on some of these Indie bands...they're not afraid to be different like your current favorite artists is...

Discovery - Orange Shirt
| Download

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"I Got That Courtney Love For Ya, That Crazy Shhh"

"Uh, it take a certain type of man to teach
To be far from hood, but to understand the streets"
You might be wondering where Drake got the title for his new track Paris Morton Music? This "new track", is actually more of an extension of the original called Aston Martin Music off Rick Ross's new Teflon Don album. Below is a longer version of this song with the same beat. See below...

You better believe Drake didn't just pull the title out of his ass neither, the real Paris Morton is a model from Jacksonville, GA (pictured below):
Yea I'd say she's adequate enough subject material to warrant being the title of the song. It doesn't just stop at Paris either, like all good things, Mortons come in threes. Seems she didn't take all the good looks in the family as her two sisters Brittony (@BRITTONYMORTON) and Ashley Morton (@mortonashley) are just are fine as her. Check out their Myspace page and Twitter @themortonsisters. See all three pictured below:
So now when @DRAKKARDNOIR makes a remix to Paris Morton Music and titles it The Morton Sisters, y'all will be at least a few steps ahead on the background info. Background info aside, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League (@ROOKBEATS) produced the type of beat that Drake shines all over. You know the ones where he can slow it down with an R&B hook, but still crank out a top notch verse.
Notable Quoteables include but are not limited to:
"I took some sense and made a nickel of it"
"I got that Courtney Love for you, that crazy shit"
"Which one of y’all got fleets on your keychains? The seats for these Heat games?"
(Sidebar: Little foreshadowing with the Heat signings? Or did he add the verse after the signings? My guess is its post-Three Kings, which makes it that much more fresh)
"Havin’ lunch and debatin’ Ferrari prices
23 and goin’ through a midlife crisis"
And my personal favorite, where he ends the verse showing how well he knows his place in Hip Hop, being able to relate with the hardcore Hip Hop heads, but manage to not lose respect when he get's deep and at times sensitive:
Uh, it take a certain type of man to teach
To be far from hood, but to understand the streets
I never threw away that paper with my Grammy speech
Because I haven’t hit the pinnacles I plan to reach
Yeah, you gotta own it if you want it
Kisses all on her body, she tells me live in the moment
And, baby, I’ll never forget none of that
Girl, I told you I was coming back
I think through all the feedback Drake has wwwaaay more knowledge about what type of songs his fan base covets. Is it me or does this sound more like a track from So Far Gone than Thank Me Later? I know I know all the damn comparisons between the two albums need to be put to an end...but between this and 9 AM in Dallas, it's becoming pretty clear that Thank Me Later was him doing him regardless of what people thought.

In other words, this part two of him reeling us back in...

Drake - Paris Morton Music (prod by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League)
| Download

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"When I See Your Face, There's Not A Thing That I Would Change..."

If you haven't bought stock in Bruno Mars yet, you're opportunity to buy low is fading by the day. Between his 4 song It's Better If You Don't Understand EP and his two assists on singles that have blown up on the radio with @bobatl's Nothin' On You and Billionaire with @traviemccoy.

Tough call on my favorite track by @THATBRUNOMARS, but this one just entered conversation for That #1 Spot! (Luda voice). If you would have asked me last week, it would have been (hands down) Talking to the Moon where he absolutely owned the heartfelt ballad over the soft piano beat. Now on Just the Way You Are, he maintains the same genuine lyrics, this time opting for more of an ode to that special woman. You know that one who is amaazing and perfect just the waaaay she is?? #FairyTaleShit
On the real though, this tracks is going to do seeerious damage to radio stations and ladies hearts alike. It takes on elements of a sing along with well executed, upbeat verses, giving way to a slower, drawn-out harmony on the hook that you could just picture a whole crowd singing along with. It's not overdone and it takes on sort of a U2 feel with the rolling background beat and dramatic, emotional energy on the track. Fellas...send this one out to that special lady...matter of fact learn the damn lyrics so when it hits radio you can try and play Bruno Mars for a hot minute, allowing you to donate it to that brownie point bank you're always wishing you'd invested in earlier. #BeckyIsNotFree

I've got the audacity to predict this being a top 5 song for the month of July (for me personally) with radio catching up in August, making it a Top 10 Billboard single by September. Oh by the way Billionaire is still a Top 5 single right now. Anybody wanna dare bet against Bruno Mars? #crickets

Enjoy folks...

Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are
| Download

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ryan Tedder is the Man

Find me a better all around artist/group member/demo singer/writer and producer than Ryan Tedder. Dude does it all, he's been behind countless singles that have blow up on the radio and oh yea, ya he's also the lead singer for One Republic. I like how he's got a whole album's worth of hits listed on his wiki page as sort of a footnote that is explained as "Other Songs performed by Ryan Tedder". If you haven't heard his version of the songs below, it would behoove you to scour the internet for them:
  • All For You
  • Back To Me
  • Boy Like That
  • Dance
  • Day In The Life Of
  • Everything
  • I Will Try
  • If This is Love
  • Listen
  • On My Way Here
  • Show Me
  • Strong Enough
  • The Look
  • Unbroken
  • Gravity
  • Not 2 Luv You
  • Ice
I see at least 4 songs that I feel like are Billboard Top 100 Single worthy(The Look, Everything, Gravity, Not 2 Luv You), but they have yet to make it to the general populace. Maybe he's saving them as demos? Maybe they'll surface someday? Who knows, but it's getting a little absurd that he hasn't decided to launch a solo career based on those songs. I can respect how he's leading One Republic on their tour that's about to head overseas to Europe next month after finishing up their US tour by in Philly tomorrow night though.

As far as his two new tracks, it's a toss up right now which one I like better. I'm leaning toward Not 2 Luv You because as the track progresses so does the intensity on the synthesizers, blending perfectly with the head nodding beat and RT's on point vocals. It doesn't surprise me in the least that the always underrated Norwegian production team of Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Storleer Eriksen known as Stargate are behind the boards on both these demos. Peep the NY Times article putting a spotlight on the magic this duo creates without getting any publicity love for their creations. Check the first track below:

Ryan Tedder - Not 2 Luv You (prod by Stargate)
| Download

I could definitely see Rihanna doin' some serious work on this next power ballad. After hearing Ryan kill yet ANOTHER demo (Battlefield, Halo, Unbroken), I'm starting to think he's actually a terrible demo singer because he consistently sets the bar waaaay too high on his version. Sure @THEREALJORDIN and @BEYONCE were able to match his skills on the demo versions he had of Battlefield and Halo, but damn, you wanna talk about pressure, try following this dude. Definitely more of a dramatic, pull at your heart strings type of captivating ballad that is accentuated perfectly with the use of piano throughout the verses giving way to a crescendo of energy building up to the hook. At this point, I'm hoping Rihanna attempts to one up Tedder...gooood luck @RIHANNA...

Ryan Tedder - Ice (prod by Stargate) (Rihanna demo)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sample Justice? 2 Pistols vs The Divinyls - I Touch Myself

On first listen, you wouldn't think this sample by 2 Pistols of the 1991 song I Touch Myself by The Divinyls sounds anything like the original. The knock of beat and uptempo bars by 2 Pistols are in stark comparison to the original, which is a lot slower and soft rock driven. The original is still sooo seductive in its own 90s laid back way, check the video and original below.

The Divinyls - I Touch Myself

The verses on 2 Pistols new version are somewhat hurried and hard to follow, but the lyrical expectations weren't all that high in the first place for @2pistols. I can't hate though, I was vibin' out to his She Got It track with T-Pain for a whole calendar year in 2008. Unfortunately, there hasn't bee much of a follow up music wise, just news of him getting knocked out by the now deceased artist Dolla.

What you can take away from this sample is how much Jovi Rockwell shines on the hook. She absolutely Did the Sample Justice. In fact you may have slept on her single Keep It Real that she released in May. She has that Jamaican dialect that is taking over of late with @seankingston and @RIHANNA's influences. Hard to tell on this sample, but on her solo work you can hear the dialect a little better. Either way, give her Psycho Therapy mixtape a listen and check her out on twitter @jovi_rockwell.

What do you think, was sample justice achieved?

2 Pistols feat Jovie Rockwell - I Touch Myself
| Download

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"A Chance is Like a Picture, It’d Be Nice if You'd Just Take it..."

I think I figured out why I have so much admiration for Drake as an artist. A lot of his appeal to me has to do with his unrelenting honesty when he exposes his innermost insecurities and vulnerabilities through his lyrics. I can't think of any Hip Hop artist that has dared to leave themself so exposed in going against the traditional Rap mold of emotionally hard lyrics and unwaivering confidence on the mic. It's refreshing to hear an artist have so much confidence and security in themselves that they are unafraid of being judged for coming off as too sensitive even though that's truly who they are.

Hip hop lyrics post-Y2K have been dominated by lavish tales that embellish success to a point where it became monotonous to keep hearing about the same tall tales of money, women and cars. Now don't get me wrong, before I get Shenanigans called on me for being a hypocrite because Drake has done his fair share of flaunting the finer things in life, I'll be the first to admit as long as the success talk can be backed up and spun in a creative way on a verse, I'm on board. As long I feel like there's some depth and intelligence behind the way an artist crafts a verse, it really doesn't matter what the subject matter is, as long as I can follow the thought pattern and a minimal level of coherence is attained.

With all that being said, the verse below on the remix of Alicia Key's track Unthinkable (I'm Ready) is one of my favorite Drake verses. As I alluded to above, he's not afraid to be honest and share with everyone his innermost insecurities, like worrying about finding the right woman and even then when he finds one, ending up with someone who has been run through more than a finish line. Through all his lyrics it's easy to tell he's had more than one failed relationship that has generated his cynical outlook toward finding a partner and that's really easy to relate to. But it has to be difficult to admit that to millions of strangers? You know what I'm sayin'? In case you've never done it, it can be therapeutic to share with strangers your innermost insecurities (counseling), but man does it take some balls to first jump off that bridge. Not many artists in Hip Hop can claim that degree of confidence in being so unafraid of being judged that they can be sensitive and not give a damn about the people lining up to mount their high horses and judge.

When I first found out that @DRAKKARDNOIR wrote this song for @aliciakeys I was hoping that he would add a verse to it instead of sticking to the background vocals. When he finally did add a verse, he killed it in a subtle way that you have to listen to appreciate. I like how he starts the verse off by fully displaying his fear of being alone, yet he deals with it head on as he seeks a women who can "rescue him from his destiny" as he uses the rest of the verse to try and convince a woman that it'd be worth taking a chance on him. Verse below:
"Ugh, Tez keeps telling me he just turned 30
having dreams of being single forever he’s getting worried
and I’m scared too cause I’m in the same boat
good women are rare too, none of them have come close
me I have’nt changed much, you know how I play it
better safe than sorry
instead of searching for substance at every single party
baby being part of this life
I feel like I’m bound to end up with somebody
that’s been with everybody
I need you to rescue me from my destiny
I’m trying to live right and give you whatever’s left of me
cause you know life is what we make it and a
chance is like a picture, it’d be nice if you just take it.
Or let me take it for ya
I’m just down to ride
or we can roll around the city until you finally decide
I got more than a thing for you, tattoo and ink for you
right over my heart girl I do the unthinkable"
I can respect the cynicism toward love and relate with his ability to remain confident despite past should-have-beens. It's so easy to become skeptical when adversity overtakes a relationship, but being able to remain fearless or willing to take a chance on someone after a recent investment in someone resulted in bankruptcy is a sentiment that also hits home with ya boy. I think Drizzy said it best when asked to fill in the blank in a past XXL issue:

7. I need a girl who understands life better than I do - Excerpt

Well put and more concise and wise than any relationship advice I've gotten from someone younger than me. I now understand why you're "23 and goin' through a mid-life crisis"...because you've seen and experienced things most people your age don't get to learn at your age. Wherever the wisdom comes from, I hope that success doesn't alter your ability to be honest because whether you realize it or not, you say a lot of creative and thought provoking shit that can turn out to be inspirational to folks who really me.

Alicia Keys feat Drake - Unthinkable (I'm Ready)
| Download

Friday, July 16, 2010

"I Keep on Runnin, Keep on Runnin' and Nothing Works, I Can't Get Away From You"

Continuing with the rock-infused tracks that I had alluded to on a previous post this week on his Converse promo. This is the CDQ version of his first single off his upcoming album Man on the Moon: The Legend of Mr. Rager. It definitely has a throwback guitar riff, sounding more like Weezer than Duran Duran, whom Jim Jonsin tried claiming he sampled for this track. Still have yet to find out what Duran Duran track he actually sampled on this, but whether or not he sampled anything is still being refuted. Cudi claims that there was no Duran Duran sample and "he'd sample a 90s record before an 80s record anyday" in response to Jim's interview with The Rap Up.

No idea why @therealkidcudi downplayed the collabo to a point where he said he wasn't even sure if he'd use the track he did with Jim on the album, but judging by him using the track as a lead single and him raving on Twitter about how proud he was of the track, it must have grown on him??
Whatever's clever,  it's a collabo with all the right ingredients that pushes the traditional Hip Hop envelope...oh and all you haters, quit shaking your head claiming it's too Pop for Hip Hop. Roll with the punches, adjust with the times, Gangsta Rap was damn near 20 years ago (#WeOffDat) and Hip Hop has evolved into a more listen-able, innovative and intelligent genre. Fans award creativity and being different now, so tracks like this, while they may sound different are opening up so many doors...doors that we don't even know are there, but the ones kids with talent who are inspired by this stuff will one day walk through.

Take it for what it's worth and use it as reason to be genuinely excited about the direction of Hip Hop as well as Cudi's new Moon Man adventure that's set to drop on September 14th...

Kid Cudi feat Kanye West - Erase Me (prod by Jim Jonsin)
| Download

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Throwback Thurs: "Born N Raised in the County of Wade"

With all this excitement that's being generated in and around the Miami metro area with the signing of the Three Kings (pictured above), I couldn't help but Throw Thursday all the way back to 2006 when DJ Khaled introduced us formally to what we then called Dade county. When I think of Dade County, I think of Pitbull screaming 305 on every track, I think of The Runners beats that make you wanna drive fast (yes I know they're from Orlando, but they have been behind 90% of all the noteworthy hits to come out of the 305). I think of Rick Ross's raspy flow over loud beats and most noticeably I think of DJ Khaled yellin' WE THE BEST!! and LISSSSTEENN!! over every track.

Many will point to Uncle Luke as the King of Miami in terms of putting Hip Hop on the map. Me, I was a little too young at the time to gain an appreciation for that, so it started for me with Trick Daddy around 1998 when his single Nann got some radio and TV exposure. Looking back it may not have been the highest quality Hip Hop, but it started burning the coals around the Miami Dade County area for Hip Hop. My next memory came when I was on a baseball trip to Boca Raton my freshman year hearing Oye by @PLANETPIT on a local radio station and being genuinely excited about the sound of Miami's upbeat Reggaeton infused Hip Hop. That was his first track and while he's stepped up his game from that point, his music still hasn't changed all that much, which is cool.

Since then it has grown so much that it's one of the hotbeds of Hip Hop, mostly on the backs of @PLANETPIT and @rickross305. Sidebar: If you haven't copped Ross's new album, he definitely shows off a more laid back side of his game, which lends to a higher quality sound if you're a fan. I love his past @COOLANDDRE/@THERUNNERS tracks though, so to me my favorite part is missing, but still it's definitely worth copping the Teflon Don.

Give the real Dade County anthem a listen while you're at it...hate to give all the credit to production but The Runners beat goes HAAARRRD!

DJ Khaled feat Trick Daddy Rick Ross & Pitbull - Born N' Raised (prod by The Runners)
 | Download

While I'm at it, let's address all this Wade County talk and non-stop booty chatter by @DWADEOFFICIAL, @chrisbosh and @kingjames. In case you somehow missed Lebron forecasting that the Heat will win up to 7 titles on the night he signed, it came off as pretty ridiculous. I mean I've heard of believing in yourself and  your teammates, but maybe a little too much hype?? I can see why Cudi wanted to congradulate you with the back of his hand after dumping Cleveland publicly and Dan Snyder's reaction was a little bit too much like an ex-gf, but when I think about it, I'm missing the end game here with all this talk. If you predict it and do it in 7-10 years, you know you'll be able to unquestionably call yourself the man and I can respect you setting public goals to self-motivate. Just understand a whole lotta people don't like that type of off top cockiness especially when it's unfounded so far. Time will tell, but until then I'm gonna cop one of these fresh Wade county joints. White or Black?
As a final aside, what's even more annoying is now rappers are jumping on your bandwagon of predictions and claiming it's in the bag. SMH with capitol melontruckin' letters y'all. Seriously!? Man I really hope Hip Hop in Miami benefits from the exodus to Miami and doesn't lead everyone thinkin' they're on top of the world when a game hasn't even been played yet. Cool out y'all...on the real...

Song below if you care to listen to listen to the consequences of Lebron's prediction...

Flo Rida feat Billy Blue, Brisco, Brianna, Ballgreezy & Picalo - We Already Won (Miami Heat)
| Download

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