Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lil Wayne Monologue on Shades..."Put Yo Panties in Yo Pocketbook..."

As soon as you see a track with Weezy F, Timberlake and Diddy, you already know you're gonna get a quality track. What type of track is always a surprise, but this little gift they threw our way is more of a sexy, seductive, mid-tempo ballad. The part I found most interesting was the monologue delivery open-mic style by @liltunechi...parsing his words delicately in an attempt to pay homage to the apple of his eye...
"Uh, before you get here,
Put yo panties in yo pocketbook
That’s what I told her, over the Motorola
Hennessy and Cola
I hold her, at attention with my manners
And even though I don’t roll a camera
She still performs
Like the superstar, she truly are
So, also I think I love her already
Damn, I think I…already
She must be the one
I look in her eyes and see the sun
Even on rainy days, aint it
Crazy mayne, yeah, that’s what I said
She do doughnuts in my head
Over and over, and over
Til the cops pull her over
And then she say some real slick sh** like
“I’m on my way to Weezy Baby”
And of course they let her go"
As it fades into the beat, the gains a heartbeat literally as @IAMDIDDY and @jtimberlake croon for over three minutes, going as far as to mention making love on marmalade? Interesting proposition, but it went with the rhyme scheme so it works right?
Interesting too how at the end of Justin's borderline corny, but creative verse that he ends with:
"You aint never heard you talk like this
It’s got my Drizzy on for you"
Sounds like ya boy Drizzy Drake has coined a style eh? They've never done a song together, but it's one of those game respect game instances, sort of paying homage to one of the best new acts by JT.

This will be out in December with Diddy's 5th studio album, Last Train to Paris. Give it a listen, it's dripped in sexy and you won't see many bigger trios than this...

Diddy feat Justin Timberlake & Lil Wayne - Shades

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When Love is a One Way Street..."I'll Catch a Grenade For Ya..."

As mentioned in Monday's post, the track below is growing on me quickly as Bruno's debut studio effort is really starting to invade my iPod and all that I listen to this week. After listening to it, you get this deep feeling of being used by someone who you'd do anything and everything for. And truthfully there are those in our lives who deserve to be valued so much you'd catch a grenade for them or throw your hand on a blade for them, but oftentimes the sentiment is not mutual. I would say we've all been there before, but it takes a real selfless person to put themselves in the aforementioned situation, so it doesn't pertain to everyone. Regardless, nothin' worse than over-extending yourself in vain to feel foolish at the end when you realize they wouldn't do the same...#CaseOfTheEx

It takes a verse for this track to hit its stride, but when the hook takes flight with the rumbling of the beat picking up with the choral hymm aided background vocals, it's hard not to like. The energy @brunomars brings throughout the track is palpable through his powerful vocals and it makes for a emotion dripped anthem that will serve as an emotional release for all those out there who always end up being too giving and too kind to those who don't deserve it.

Daps & lbs goes out to those who have had enough grenades blow up in their faces to know when it's falling on...enjoy the track and do yourself a favor and support the man Bruno Mars, there is very little in the way of him and stardom...

Bruno Mars - Grenade
| Download

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"If God Had an iPod, I'd Be on His Playlist"

"Which Would You Rather Be Underpaid or Overrated?"
Out of all the G.O.O.D. Music Fridays the past month where Kanye has consistently put out a new song every Friday, this may be my favorite. I would have said my favorite was Runaway, but that was released on a Monday after the VMAs so that doesn't count. The beat provided by Swizz paints a grimy, dark, haunting feel to it, giving it more of a freestyle sound to it. You've gotta get the right cast of characters to make this work and clearly, I'm hitting the like button on this cast and crew with @KanyeWest, @s_c_ and @pusha_T cheffing up some grade A verses over @therealswizzz maronade.

What had me scratching my head after a few listens of this was the verse by that notoriously well known artist named...CyHi The Prince? Wait what? You may have heard him under the name Prince CyHi in his single with Akon titled Shoulda Known, which was released over 10 months ago. Needless to say being signed under the Def Jam/Konvict/G.O.O.D. Music umbrella is sure to result in success, especially with @akon literally playing King Midas with everything he touches. In case you need a glimpse, heres @cyhidaprynce's verse from the track below:
I am so outrageous,
I wear my pride on my sleeve like a bracelet
If God had an iPod, I’d be on his playlist
My phrases amazes the faces in places
The favourite, huh
My cup over runneth with hundreds
Dummy, dammit, not like for me to waste it
The new commandment, thou shall not hate kid
My movement is like the civil rights I’m Ralph David
Abernathy, so call my lady Rosa Parks
I am nothing like them n-ggas baby those are marks
I met this girl on Valentines day f'ed her in May
She found out about April so she chose to March

Damn another broken heart
I keep b-tches by the two’s n-gga, Noah’s Ark
I got a seven on me, I call my dro the mark
Plus a trojan in my pocket, Matt Leinert
G-A-T in the pathfinder
Cause you haters got PHD’s
Y’all just some major haters and some math minors
Tiger Woods don’t make me grab iron
Tip of the cap to you CyHi, lookin' forward to much more quality 16s in the future since you just proved on that you can hang with the big boys. As a sidebar, it was always evident that Pusha T was the driving force behind the lyrical success of The Clipse (no disrespect Malice) and now that he has teamed up with Kanye who will surely throw him more than a few bones beat wise, there's a great chance we may have yet to hear the best of what P has to offer.

Exciting stuff and don't get too up in arms about the whole Hammer line MC or should I say King Hammer?? (HA!), the 36 sec video clip of you getting at the punching bag in an attempt to intimidate Jigga is not scaring anyone. We're all looking forward to your Halloween diss record aimed at Jay-Z/Kanye, can't wait for the 90s spandex. Also, Nick Cannon, stop it with the whole Nick Cannon/MC Hammer vs Jay-Z/Eminem tag team match. Are you serious dude? Just stay married to that dime piece you out-punted your coverage with and finish that tall glass of STFU....

Give it a listen...

Kanye West feat Jay-Z, Pusha T, Swizz Beats, RZA, CyHi The Prince - So Appalled
| Download

Monday, September 27, 2010

Buzz Track: Bruno Mars - Talking to the Moon

In case you missed it, Bruno Mars is releasing his first full length album next Tuesday, Oct 5th called Doo Wops & Hooligans. Now that you're starting to get an increased dosage of his first single Just the Way You Are, as well as the remix with Lupe, which is currently sitting at the NUMBA ONE SPOT on Billboard, it's easy to see that just about anything @brunomars touches. I've already given proper credit for his growing production credits with his production team The Smeezingtons and luckily for us, it's translating to his album.

I say that because after one full lap around the album I'm thoroughly impressed. I was already a fan of the song below Talking to the Moon, prior to it being on his studio album since it was also on his latest EP, It's Better if you Don't Understand, but now this is a full fledged competitor of Just the Way You Are with best song on the album. The original version of Talking to the Moon was more of a candlelight ballad over piano, which was a more than adequate display of Bruno's vocals. It's hard to believe the album version ended up being even better with the addition of a kick to the drums and an orchestral aid during the hook. Pretty cool too at the end when he transitions flawlessly from the bridge to the hook while hitting the crescendo of the track with the final rendition of the hook. When I heard that transition into the harmony I couldn't help but rewind a few times in awe at the vocal energy in his delivery...great great moment.

Check it out for yourself, right now it's a hidden gem, but he'd be sniffing sideline chalk if he didn't consider this as single...was that too close to home? Nope Bruno is DRUG FREE! Oh man....

Bruno Mars - Talking to the Moon
| Download

Saturday, September 25, 2010

808 check: Hit Boy & Chase n Cashe - Ahh Sh**

Put it this way, just hearing this track prompted me to burn a bass mix to hear on the car speakers. Well worth it, as you have @hitboy_SC, a platinum producer for Eminem, Lil Wayne, Diddy, Snoop, etc teaming up with @chasencashe to form much of the team known as @surfclubmusic, which is more or less a conglomeration of great production talent mostly. You might have heard Drake shouting Chase n Cashe on 9 AM in Dallas:
"Yeah I try to tell them don’t judge me because you heard stuff
Chase N’ Cashe that’s my brother from the Surf Club"
 It may not be til now or even later because you're a huge skeptic, but there will be a time where you guys hear about and know about The Surf Club.

Check the video for the track below and feel free to press play below...

Hit Boy & Chase n Cash - Ahh Sh**

Friday, September 24, 2010

Buzz Track: Travis Barker feat The Cool Kids - Down

I think the only complaint you could possibly make about a collaboration this awesome is that the reins were pulled back a little bit on Chuck Inglish's signature thump in the trunk. I'd argue it wouldn't sound like a Travis Barker track if it had that though, so complaining about that is nitpicking, especially because this is supposed to be on @TRAVISBARKER's upcoming album Give the Drummer Some due out in Oct.

If you feel inclined to slap a label on this, throw it in the category of Alternative Hip Hop, or what I've come to endear as cutting edge music that make a whole lot of people uncomfortable because it's innovative and fresh. In the words of the legendary Hip Hop blog The Smoking Section, "Respect the Fresh". Music shouldn't be keyholed, categorized or have limits and if you're looking for some evidence why, press play below...

Travis Barker feat The Cool Kids - Down
| Download

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Throwback Thurs: A Tribe Called Quest - Find A Way

I'm not tryin' to fill y'all up with unleaded when I say the track below from A Tribe Called Quest may be one of my top 25 favorite tracks of all time. No matter how many times I listen to it, I can never skip past it, I have to give it a full listen and that is extraordinarily rare when it comes to my promiscuous, on-to-the-next-one attention span with music. Every element of this track is unique and blends together seamlessly, leaving with a finish as smooth as a shot of Pat Ron. From the muffled intro, followed by the bouncy, but ocean floor deep bass that creates a beautiful backdrop for Phife Dawg and Q-Tip to craft a few coherent, flawlessly delivered verses. Add to that an interesting injection of female harmony over the hook and you've got yourself the makings of a classic track.

The sound of the track is about as smooth as it gets Hip Hop wise, but what has stuck with me over the years is the relate-ability of the lyrics. The subject matter of the track borders around that always tenuous gray area between being friends and more than friends. It centers around the complete let down feeling you get when you think you're becoming more than friends with a girl, but then she gets to talkin' about "next man" and coincidentally that guy doesn't sound like you. And to make things even more complicated, the girl has "Got me like a friend what confuses me though, is kisses when we greet tell me what's the deal yo?". The whole mind game behind figuring out feeling is always intriguing because the emotional stakes are high and it's never easy for anyone to figure out or predict...#DontFront, you yourself have found yourself in this position before. The reason why the story is so great has to do with the logical progression that a guy goes through where he's first trying to start a relationship with the girl, then finds out she's not tryin' to be with you in a relationship despite acting like more than friends, which eventually results in this final reaction:
"Start to make affections, which is good not the hurt
But it, it aint me, and I, I ain't blurred (uh)
I'ma still just chill with you
Maybe things could change if you change your view (come on)
If not then I guess it is cool (yeah)
just, to keep to yourself and adbide by the rules, right"
Yea that's right kick rocks 'til ya getcha mind right girl, that's wassup. While it can be fun to be casual, it's hard to be that way with a person you really like, hence the predicament.

Last week Kanye sent out a cheers to the douchbags and assholes, so I figure I might as well second that toast to all the no good, trick-ass women out there tryna play mind games actin' like they interested when they just tryna get ahead and string a brotha along. Go ahead with that bullshit, actin' like we can't see through it even though it's been sprayed all proper with Windex through the years. Ain't no way you ever gonna ever be able to keep a good man ridin' the emotional fence by being just friends one day and FWB the next. That act is played out, word is bond, raise a glass!

Seriously though, when I say classic track, this is in the mix of tracks whose shine will never get tarnished...get it a couple listens and pay respects to ATCQ, one of the best Hip Hop groups of my time...

A Tribe Called Quest - Find A Way
| Download

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

“They Say Real Girls Ain’t Never Perfect, Perfect Girls Ain’t Real”

Sort of an out of left field collaboration, but one that I was and still am really excited about. Tank is somewhat of an under-appreciated R&B artist, having dropped heat rocks like I Love Them Girls Part II, as well as offering us timeless love songs like Please Don't Go. Clearly, his bread and butter is the classic slow jam and the track below is no deviation from the mean.

Don't get it twisted, this has a lullaby sound to it and more than it's fair share of repeatable harmonies. Not only does @therealtank hit a few enviable high notes on the track, his hook on the track is addicting when he hits that high note on "It's like Fiiiirrrreeworks just light up the sky". I see Drizzy's verse as icing on the cake to an already great track. There is no other artist who crafts verses better over R&B tracks, which is why I'm looking forward to his upcoming Mixtape titled It's Never Enough, dropping sometime in Nov-Dec. Check the verse below:
How’d I do how’d I do, baby tell me how you feel
They say real girls ain’t never perfect, perfect girls ain’t real
I’d I agree, but I guess we’ll just wait and see
Cause I swear you act like perfect is the only way to be
Nothing matters ‘cept for you, don’t let no one out here blind you
Don’t remember why you love me, please allow me to remind you
And I know you left me once, but I came right back to find you
Even though I like being in your past you got a bright future behind you
Oh, damn, oh
Girl I must admit I look amazing next to you
Girl you crazy, sexy, cool and you stayed obsessed to school
But thats good, cause you know that them grades impress me too
And my free days are just for you, but I don’t get many
Its like every time we spend time, it feels like the first time
Cause we never spend enough time, you catch me at the worst time
It ain’t like your not worth time, just I don’t control it
But tonight I made it happen just to celebrate the moment
Give it up one time
If you're in the mood for a slow jam with a side of @drakkardnoir, this hits the spot...check it...

Tank feat Drake - Celebration
| Download

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"My Chick Got a Coke Fetish...Cause She Runnin' Through Lines Like Jerome Bettis"

Interesting collaboration here with the two excommunicated members of G-Unit coming together on a highly anticipated track that will be on Young Buck's upcoming mixtape Back on My Buck S**t Vol 2 hosted by @djscream. I've never been a huge fan of G-Unit or much of anything @50CENT  has put out, but I'm not gonna knock the hustle, he has found a way to stay relevant every which way in turning himself into somewhat of an icon through Vitamin Water and various movies.

What's strange is that despite all the beef with The Game vs G-Unit and Young Buck vs G-Unit, there is hardly any mention of G-Unit on the track. Coming from two of the biggest rap beef artists in the game, it's surprising to me the topic isn't put on full blast by both of them uniting against their former group. Maybe they've moved on?? #YeaRight

With @thegame has one of the most highly anticipated albums coming out in the 4th quarter of 2010, one thing has become increasingly clear. He's found his post Dr Dre niche with tracks like Pushin' It, Better Days and Higher, which will all be featured on The R.E.D. Album. Basically you can't go wrong with @iamjimjonsin, IAMDRUMMA, @therealswizzz and @COOLANDDRE filling in for the good doctor on the production side. Don't discount @youngbuckmarley's verses either, in recent tracks he's been bringing that same flow that made him a lot of money on tracks like this one.

This seems like an unfinished version, but even unfinished, it's still noteworthy due to the circumstances surrounding the collaboration. Stay on the look out for Back on My Buck S**t Vol 2 and The R.E.D. Album and give the track a listen, it's more than a little heavy on the bottom...#DrummaBoy

Young Buck feat The Game - The Blues (prod by Drumma Boy)
| Download

Monday, September 20, 2010

"I'm Lookin' At An Angel, And Believe Me When I Say, She Got That Whole Thang Glowin''"

Lead single from the often delayed release of Akon's anticipated upcoming album Stadium Music. This is the third rumored track produced by D Guetta that is supposed to make album cut, following Nosy Neighbor and Party Animal. Seems as if the duo is still feeding off the chemistry and success of their golden child Sexy Bitch.

It's very Europop and danceable, like everything else you'd expect from @davidguetta's unending pop/club hits. Not lacking one bit in catchiness, it's got a mid-tempo dance feel to it, as if to invite others to flip it into a club remix. This version will suffice for radio though and probably make it to platinum single status before it's all over. Not gonna hate one bit, this is a great pick for a first single and like anything else @AKON has created, it will eventually sell really well (ask Lady GaGa who he said made him rich).

What do you guys think of it? Good enough first single to support and album we've been waiting to finally drop?

Akon - Angel (prod by David Guetta)
| Download

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Indie Artist Spotlight: Matt & Kim

Enter Matt & Kim, a dance/punk duo that has been together for about 6 years now after forming in 2004. Really all you need to know is that Matt is from Vermont, Kim is from Connecticut and they met in Brooklyn at a party while attending the Pratt Institute. Matt handles the vocals and keyboard while Kim handles the drums, creating an energetic, loud mix of synth, indie, pop, rock dance music. My description was probably so vague, that it's best you hear Matt's description of their sound in an interview with
"TNG: How would you describe your sound?
Matt: As far as having a short-description genre we figured that we fit into the category of dance punk. We try not to pigeon-hole ourselves. Some bands only play with the same types of bands, but we play with all different types of bands from hip-hop, to punk rock, to dj’s — we’ve even played with metal bands; any place that people want to get wild. We did a tour with Against Me & in contrast to them we seemed like the quintessential indie dance band. Now doing a tour with Cut Copy we seem kind of like a punk rock band. -Source"
To get a glimpse of their personality, check out the interview below from 2007 at South by Southwest where they talk about how the concept of SXSW is like cramming fun down your throat.

To me it's just cool to see an artist, or in this case a group, be that visibly ecstatic about performing multiple times a day and genuinely seeing it as more of a fun opportunity than a burden. They just seem like two happy people who love making interesting, boundless music that refuses to be normal enough to be keyholed into a genre or category. And as "Indie" as their music may sound, it's starting to get the attention of a lot of people...and when I say a lot of people I mean Hip Hop in general, starting with @kanyewest. And what is Kanye most known for and takes most pride in musically? Being a maestro when it comes to laying down drums. So when he was gushing about the drums on a Matt & Kim track, it's worthy of note. Read below:
Give a look and listen to the song titled Daylight that Kanye was gushing about from their album titled Grand released Jan 2009.

Matt & Kim - Daylight
I can't really disagree with Kanye's assertion that the drums are sick, they remind me of a lot of Neptunes (now N.E.R.D.) produced stuff back in the day (like this one). That song went a long way to get them on the map and as a result, their new upcoming album Sidewalks, due out November 2nd, should be more widely received and acclaimed.

As icing on the cake, it was announced this week that one of my favorite up and coming Hip Hop artists, Donnis is going on tour with them for a few dates in October. He called them "the king and queen of hipster music" when asked to comment about the tour. If you are looking to see them, @donnisxdonnis will be on tour with them from Oct 14 through Oct 31.

Below is their new single titled Cameras, which has every bit as much of an awe inspiring drum loop to go with the jumpy, rhythmic synth (especially from the 2:20-2:45 mark). I was a big fan of Daylight but I'm even more of a fan of Cameras, where Matt's vocals are increasingly more harmonic than on previous tracks I've listened to. To me it sounds like they're taking a step up in overall song quality that will do nothing but increase their likability and fan base. You be the judge and keep an eye out for @mattandkim's new album Sidewalks out early November...
Matt & Kim - Cameras

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pittsburgh STAND UP!...Wiz Khalifa - Black and Yellow

With the new behind the scenes photos of Wiz Khalifa's upcoming video for Black and Yellow dropping this week, I felt inclined to share the track. When people think of Pittsburgh, PA, it's sort of a mixed bag when it comes to sports pride since the Steelers are always good and the Pirates are always bad. Regardless of competitiveness, they share the same black and yellow colors, which @REALWIZKHALIFA uses to his advantage in the song below, uniting all this is Pittsburgh by the similar colors.

With the Steelers playing tomorrow, it's about time you check the track out if you're a fan of the team or city. Notice I didn't say if you're a Pirates fan? Yea that's because I've never met a fan of the Pirates, nobody would claim to follow such a losing franchise. #IJustLied + #ImACubsFan

Give it a listen and shouts out to the Norwegian wizards of production, Stargate who produced this one...
Wiz Khalifa - Black and Yellow (prod by Stargate)
| Download

Friday, September 17, 2010

"She Was 17 We Took a Rocket Machine To Mars..."

The way I see it, this was the best R&B ballad last month, but there was steep competition from Bruno's demo of Brandy's song. To be honest I though this was a Travis Garland track before I saw who behind it, but that doesn't take away from it one bit. If anything I gained some respect for Kevin's versatility because we're more accustomed to hearing him on more of a Rock tip. With his last album, To The Sky, or at least his single I Made It making a splash, he's turning out to be a good find for @liltunechi on Cash Money Records.

So what if I told you this was a demo for Justin Bieber? Interested now? Yea, I'd give it less than a week for this single to go platinum with @justinbieber's vocals. It's a real simple b-boy beat that mixes well the vocals and general feel of the track. When I say feel of the track, I mean the vibe is upbeat, which matches the ambitious "I would do anything to get her" direction the the lyrics take you. Put it this way a whole lotta tweens would be able to relate with the lyrics below:
"She was seventeen we took a rocket machine to mars
Was something out of this world she had me seeing stars
Then just like magic I blinked to think and she was gone
But i know she's out there yeah shes out there somewhere"
Ah to be 17 again, young and in love...those were the days man, y'all remember that high school sweetheart from way back when? No matter how much time goes by those memories will always be associated with growing up and in hindsight, good or bad, those times were invaluable because at that age it's all about being able to remember what the road signs looked like before you made those wrong turns. Nam sayin? #Nostalgic + #MetaphorProper

Tip of the cap to you @kevinthecity, I didn't know you had this sorta sound in ya. It's a good look, give it a listen...

Kevin Rudolf - All Mine
| Download

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Throwback Thurs R.I.P. 2pac Edition...I Ain't Mad At Cha

Kinda crazy that this past Monday was the 14th Anniversary of 2pac's death in 1996. On the real, kinda makes me feel old and that I didn't really appreciate the depth of inspiration he provided Hip Hop (and me) until years after he passed away. I'm not gonna lie man, I got a little choked up watching the various reactions to 2pac's death on the 30 for 30 titled One Night in Vegas, centering around the Tyson fight the night he died. It's not the well-funded documentary, but the emotions were real no matter how low budget it looked. In case you missed it, here's the preview of the documentary...

It's unfortunate Hip Hop didn't know what it had when he was running the game back in the mid-1990s. He gave off a prophetic aura, always living life like a playboy but remaining grounded and entrenched in his beliefs that always came off so bold and with so much conviction you couldn't help be inspired. As a tribute, it's only right to dedicate Throwback Thursday to one of my favorite songs of his that touches on how he dealt with the death of a close friend of his.

To any true Hip Hop fan who grew up being inspired by your words, I could think of no better song to commemorate the anniversary of your death...
"I kiss my Mama goodbye, and wipe the tears from her lonely eyes
Said I'll return, but I gotta fight the fate's arrived
Don't shed a tear, cause Mama I ain't happy here
I'm through trial, no more smiles, for a couple years
They got me goin mad, I'm knockin busters on they backs
in my cell, thinkin, "Hell, I know one day I'll be back"
2pac - I Ain't Mad at Cha
| Download

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

808 Check: Chip Tha Ripper feat. Chuck Inglish, Dom Kennedy, Big Sean, Boldy James & Asher Roth - Fat Raps (Remix)

Even though the remix is relatively fresh, having been on the shelf for about two weeks now, the original was first leaked back in November 2009. The original version was seen off @chip216's mixtape Finally Famous Vol 3, hosted by @doncannon. Really all you need to know is that Chuck Inglish of The Cool Kids produced the beat...and from that you can assume that the bass on the track sounds like two silverback gorrilas are having a domestic dispute in your trunk. I'm not even 1/4 joking when I say I felt like Ray Lewis hit me after listening to this track with the subs turned up a bit in the car. Wait a sec, Dustin Keller knows how I feel...

Two words...JACKED UP! I probably woulda ran outta bounds short of the first down on the last play of the game too if I knew @raylewis52com was in the same zip code.

I digress...but this remix does not regress one bit with three of the more underrated talents in the game @asherroth, @big_sean and @dopeitsdom adding verses to an already heaaavy track. The version below is going to a track off Chip's upcoming debut album Gift Raps, which will be entirely produced by @chuckisdope...#GetExcited + #StayTuned

Give it a listen, but be careful, the neighbors are gonna be piiiiissseeedd when you turn the volume up on it...

Chip Tha Ripper feat. Chuck Inglish, Dom Kennedy, Big Sean, Boldy James & Asher Roth - Fat Raps (Remix)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"I Feel a Vacancy, In Your Heart, In Your Heart, In Your Heart"

Alright here we go off the beaten path again for a hot min, venturing toward pop with this one from new pop group out of the UK, The Wanted. Alright sue me, they're labeled as a new "boy-band" since the five members Max George (@maxthewanted), Siva Kaneswaran (@sivathewanted), Jay McGuiness (@jaythewanted), Tom Parker (@tomthewanted), and Nathan Sykes (@nathanthewanted) range in age 17-22. Real original and unpredictable with the Twitter names too..haha. Recently signed by Geffen Records, their debut album is due out Oct 25th and they already have a number 1 single in the UK titled All Time Low. The single is way more upbeat of a track and a whole lot more club friendly.

But that doesn't by any means it's better than the song below. For all you visual learners out there, check out the video for the featured song on this post, Heart Vacancy.
Prior to looking up The Wanted, I was under the impression they were more of a contemporary/acoustic band, but they're more the heartthrob boy band type, which doesn't take away from the likability of this track, but it serves as more of a forewarning for expectations on their album. I'm not afraid to admit I'm a sucker for pop ballads like this one I posted from One Call late last year.

Might be a little more for the ladies and fellas out there with a hidden softer side, but I'm a fan of the track...give it a listen...

The Wanted - Heart Vacancy
| Download

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Baby I Got a Plan, Runaway Fast as You Can"

A lot has happened in 24 hours with MTV's Video Music Awards giving us a quality helping of top notch performances, debut, drama and of (main) course a large meat dish flavored with some Gaga. Going into the VMAs I was most excited to see B.O.B.'s performance with Hayley Williams and Eminem's rendition of Love the Way You Lie with Rihanna. Truth be told, when you mix in a little Linkin Park, the performances were pretty hype (especially when EM turned around into the theater to finish Not Afraid).

As a sidebar, I was thoroughly entertained by @Ladygaga...sure her antics may get a little played out and you can only be so attention grabbing with the outfits, but the energy and emotion she brings every time she opens her mouth is admirable and consistently raw, which is cool. There truly is no stage too big for her, but I guess that's more of a byproduct of her being so out there and unapologetically independent. Anything that intense, in your face and audacious is easy to hate, but if you take her for what she's worth and don't take her antics too seriously, the energy she emantes is pretty epic. Maybe we were Born This Way...
But all the above was more or less a precursor to what turned out to be one hell of a grand finale. Yea I made sure and made a point to watch it when I heard Kanye was dropping a brand new track and I saw the trailer below providing an intro of what to expect...see below:

...what I didn't know is that he was bringing the MPC on stage to inject his own computerized add-libs throughout the track. That took the whole live debut experience to a whole nother level, especially when you throw in a Pusha T verse and surprisingly in your face lyrics..see performance and MP3 of live performance below...

Kanye West feat Pusha T - Runaway (Live from VMAs)
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It must be Christmas all over again because thanks to Funk Flex, we now have the CDQ version of the track. It's as good as advertised and @pusha_T's verse is even better on the real track. It is every bit vintage @KanyeWest, with the depressing undertones and ego-driven lyrics that poke fun at himself, but expose much of what makes him the asshole he can be. I don't think anyone is in disagreement of that, but my god the music that he has the ability to create is awe-inspiring. There's no doubt Dark Twisted Fantasy has the potential to live up to and surpass previous albums'...check out the real version...
Kanye West feat Pusha T - Runaway (CDQ)
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chiddy Bang feat MGMT - Opposite of Adults (Kids)

I know I know, I'm like a year late on this one since it surfaced around Oct 2009, but I skipped Throwback Thurs this week and their debut album The Preview is dropping in about a month. I'll probably end up doing a New Artist Spotlight on Chiddy Bang as soon as they start releasing some more new music, but in the meantime this will be more of an hors d'oeuvre to the main course.

When I hear Chiddy Bang, I liken them to a mix of Kids in the Hall with Travie McCoy. So yea, you could put Proto, who is the rapper in a lot of their tracks, in the same breath as Naledgeof Kidz In the Hall and Travie McCoy. They've got that fun, easygoing vibe to their tracks, which add to their sort of Indie/Organic Hip Hop sound. I say organic because their subject matter has substance and their sound is somewhat unique and unprocessed. Seeing that I've always been a big MGMT fan and I'm a growing Passion Pit fan, I find it pretty cool that they frequently sample them in their music. For being 19, these dudes are pretty innovative and their fresh Indie vibe is a shot of life to Hip Hop. There will be more to come on this blog from these guys, but as a first impression check out their big head video for Opposite of Kids as well as the track below...

Chiddy Bang - Opposite of Adults (Kids)
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Friday, September 10, 2010

"We Gon Shut the City Down, Shut the Shut the City Down!"

With the way Hip Hop music works these days and music frequently leaking, it's hard to find a track whose radio rip leaks then doesn't surface for 6 months. This here is the exception to the rule as I was head over heels for the radio version of this track in March and I alluded to it in a mid-May New Artist Spotlight I did on Donnis. Yea that's right I did wait intently for the no tagged version for 6 months, it's a really good track, I'm not playin'.

Truthfully I'm kinda mad at myself for missing Donnis opening for Chiddy Bang and 2 AM Club in Philly last week at TLA. Assist goes to B, my eyes and ears on the ground in the Illedelph who is quite the fan of that group who did a track with MGMT. I'm diggin' that big head video by the way, between that and Cudi's All Summer Long video, that fad must be in.

As far as the track is concerned, the proofs in the pudding and there's plenty of evidence why I was so high on @donnisxdonnis's placementin this year's freshman class. I did have the audacity to rank him above @REALWIZKHALIFA at the time, but now I see them neck and neck for the 2nd spot behind the beast known as @jcolenc. But this track has a real hype vibe to it on the hook with the whole "Shut the city down, shut the shut the city down" lyrics that almost force you to rock back and forth with a drink in the air. #YallKnowWassup

I know y'all probably caught the tagged version on @DEEJAYILLWILL and @CLINTONSPARKS hosted mixed Fashionably Late, but to me it makes all the difference to have the tags taken off. This has the feeling of a lead single and to be honest it would be smart because it has some radio appeal, it's repeatable and catchy, all solid elements of a track that could start to get him some legit buzz. Truth be told I hope more buzz is created because Donnis is still flying under the radar a bit and shame on you if you haven't heard his single from 2009 titled Gone.

We've only begun to see the ceiling for Ladonnis Crump and this may be one of the final warnings before he becomes a household name...#BetterBuyStock....check it...

Donnis - Tonight (CDQ)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Mikey-Mike's Indie Music Corner Debut: Yeasayer

Welcome, Ladies and Gentleman, to Mikey-Mike's Indie Music Corner! I'm here to get you up-to-date on all things Indie; I take the best of what's out there, and bring it to you in an easy to use, easy to access format. Think Sparknotes for hipster-trends!

I'm starting out with a bang folks, so I hope you like it!

Yeasayer is a band from Brooklyn, and they've been doing big things ever since their debut album, All Hour Cymbals, was released in 2007.

Here's a couple reasons why you might have heard of them:

First off, they opened on tour for MGMT, who as we all know, blew the f*** up.

Also, their song Sunrise was featured during the end-credits of an episode of Entourage. (The one where Vince's house gets broken into, and the guys freak out, getting guns and Ari's international security team to protect them.)

I'll admit, I wasn't always sold on Yeasayer, and sometimes I still have my doubts, but one thing's for sure, these guys make hits!

The first time I really took note of them was on the Dark Was The Night charity album. Designed to raise funds for HIV and AIDS, this double disk release featured a who's-who in indie pop; Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, The Dirty Projectors and Grizzly Bear all lent tracks, as did Ben Gibbard, Iron & Wine, and Feist.

Needless to say, this album was a big deal. But there was one song that I kept going back to, and it was Yeasayer's song Tightrope. It's incredibly catchy, and with empowering lyrics like "Wishing never solved a problem. If you want to get it big time / go ahead and get it, get it big time!", I was most definitely smitten. Give it a listen...

Yeasayer - Tightrope
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Cover Art for Odd Blood Album
Tightrope built quite the buzz leading up to their second album release, Odd Blood, and they didn't disappoint. The first single, Ambling Alp, showed that these guys were for real. Not only did Yeasayer make another indie hit, but they did so while telling the inspirational story of 1930's boxer Joe Louis, who became a political icon, in part, because of his defeat of Max Schmeling, the pride of Nazi Germany. Track below...

Yeasayer - Ambling Alp
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And last, but most definitely not least, is the song ONE. This song leaves me chanting the chorus every time. "No / You don't move me anymore. And I'm glad that you don't / 'cause I can't have you anymore." It seems to be about fighting an addiction, whether it be a former lover or a substance, I'm not sure, but I love it nonetheless.

Yeasayer - ONE
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In the end, I hope you give these BK boys a chance. They sing of standing up for what you believe in, and fighting to make your dreams come true, and as musicians, they've done exactly that.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

"If Talk is Cheap, Then My Silence is Diamonds"

Big breath of fresh air hearing a great, new track from Lupe. In my mind he has yet to half-step one bit when it comes to producing quality albums. His last one The Cool was great and the one before that, Food & Liquor was nothing short of classic. To this day, I can't help but leave Sunshine on every single time it comes around on my iPod.

It's pretty stupid that the record execs at Atlantic for @LUPEFIASCO have been holding his album hostage, enraging fans so much they attempted an extensive petition to get it released. So what if it leaked prematurely, it happens to every album these days, live with it, you might as well it's not going to make any money collecting dust on a shelf.

As for the song below, it's a really mellow, chilled out track where Lupe lulls all the haters and wannabe players to sleep lyrically. If you're more of a visual learner, check the live performance of the track thanks to LupE.N.D. blog...
Credit: LupE.N.D. blog
This will probably end up being a single off his upcoming album Food & Liquor II since his album that was leaked and never was able to be released called Lasers may never be released from it's hostage. With buzz surrounding the All City Chess Club coming together to form a supergroup and more material leaking of late from Wasalu, it's a good time to be a Lupe fan.

Indulge in the artistry of his rhymes, it's long overdue, we missed you @LUPEFIASCO...

Lupe Fiasco - Go To Sleep

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Stromae feat Kanye West & Gilbere Forte - Alors on Dance (remix)

This track was originally more of a global hit than a US hit, with Rowandan/Belgian Hip Hop/Electro rising star Stromae leading the way. In May, this track had become a number one single in France, the Netherlands, Greece, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Romania and the Czech Republic. Yet you had never heard of it until @KanyeWest dropped a cameo verse on it...isn't that some shit?? Weird how musical tastes differ so greatly in different countries/regions.

For all of you paying attention closely, I posted a version of this track that Lumidee covered back in May, around when the original was making waves in Europe. At the time, I didn't realize Lumidee was covering the track, but it's a little ridiculous how insanely popular this track is. Check it out, YouTube video has almost 13.5 million views?? Seriously??

It's catchy, danceworthy and club-friendly...I'm left wondering why this wasn't released in the US earlier? I'm betting in my naivety, there's a lot of music out there like that and maybe being a #1 single in 20 countries was enough? What I want to know is how @STROMAE went #1 in that many countries and still only has #4,381 twitter followers? #MaybeImAHater
Yea what he said, (anyone know French?)...give it a listen...

Stromae feat Kanye West & Gilbere Forte - Alors on Dance (remix)
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Monday, September 06, 2010

How in the Hell is this Going to Make it on the Radio?

It's been a while, maybe since Buckcherry's Crazy Bitch, that I've heard a track so perfectly crafted for contemporary radio consumption, but be waaay too vulgar lyrically to meet "radio standards". First off, Cee-Lo Green is in fact The Soul Machine and if you weren't a fan of his work prior to his headfirst dive into contemporary music with Gnarles Barkley, you missed out on some great southern Hip Hop he did with the Goodie Mob. Most notably this classic album that didn't get near the credit it should have, both sales and respect wise from Hip Hop fans.

The premise for the song below has to do with Cee-Lo playing the role of spurned lover who was left for another man with more money. It's an unenviable position and you could understand why there would be anger associated with getting the short end of the stick. The fact that the song is so well executed, layering the soul on so heavy that it's impossible not to chuckle a little bit when the backup singers bring the church-style harmony in singing "Oh she's a gooold digga, just thought you should know n***a". Put it this way, you know your song has been an internet sensation when CNN takes the time to comment about your expletive laden track. Check out the video below:

When asked about why the expletive laden track, Cee-Lo backed up his creation saying:
"What I've tried to accomplish, like, is making art products ... so I still believe that (the song) can be classified as art because it's an original piece and the edge and alternative is there, and the integrity is intact" - Cee-Lo (AP)
What's unfortunate is that it's become so popular that a "Forget You!" clean version will soon be floating across the radio waves, in essence stripping the "artistic expressionism" on the track. What I absolutely love about the track is that is was written by Bruno Mars and produced by his production group The Smeezingtons, marrying their catchyuplifting sound with one of the south's most uniquely soulful voices. My guess is the song will probably end up being the lead single off his upcoming album, The Lady Killa due out in December as it is now skyrocketing sales wise.

My advice on the song below is to keep an open mind about the song, don't let the strong language dissuade you from seeing the humor and intention of the song. Everybody has gotten the urge to tell someone eff off at some point and the fact that @theladykilla was able to spin the negativity into a soulful sing along is creative and he should be given credit for his "artistry." There's good reason why 5 million people made this an internet sensation the past month, so allow yourself to laugh a little bit and enjoy the talents of one of the more eccentric cats to come out of the ATL...

Cee-Lo - Fuck You!
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