Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sometimes Rumors Grow Legs...

Picture was taken on Feb 21, 2010.Could it really be true?

Sooo...maybe...some sort of truth surrounds the rumor about Dr. Dre's new single off Detox. Y'all know Optimus Prime wouldn't lie, so don't even try and tell me TheMegaTronDon lies...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bmore Club STAND UP!!! DJ Class - Party Crackin'

When I think about a sub-genre of Hip Hop that deserves more love or exposure, immediately Baltimore Club comes to mind. While it has been around since the early 90's thanks to completely unheralded artists like Scottie B., Frank Ski, Miss Tony, and DJ Spen, it has never gained steam as far as being a Hip Hop Movement.

Many adjectives could be used to describe Bmore Club, I'd start with ghetto techno, break beats on acid, the product of House procreating with Hip Hop, dance rap, or even Club Hop. While early examples of Baltimore Club were influenced from Miami Booty Bass (I love that there is a wiki page for Miami Booty Bass, really gives hope for the internet) and Chicago House. The most basic and well known first tracks that came from the movement are songs like It's Time for The Perculator and Too Much Booty in the Pants.

Fast forward to today where the young kids are at it again, makin' dances and furthering on what I consider to be (taste wise) one of the more go-to styles I rely on when I DJ. For those of y'all who have been to a dance party of mine, y'all know what's up. The two most popular dances that have come from this movement lately are the Crazy Legs and the Spongebob. Rather than bombarding this post with youtube videos I figured it'd be best to post my favorite that has a little bit of both dances all in the middle of the street no less...

Needless to say the cats in Bmore like to use their legs when they dance and are pretty damn nimble on their feet. I guess you kind of have to be when you're working with an 8/4 beat structure, which for all you playin' at home means there are 8 counts to each bar and you're counting with 1/4 notes. Ends up being about 130 beats per minute for those of you who know how to count other words pretty decent cardio if you're movin' to the beat.#onmytreadmillshit
Which brings us to the subject of the post, DJ Class, who has the most commercially recognized Bmore club track in recent memory with I'm the Ish, which still has all the ladies and fellas goin' ham in the club errrtime it comes on. Much to my chagrin, DJ Class was in the A-Town last week about three blocks away from my place, DJ-ing at a small relatively hole in the wall club for a college night. Much respect to DJ Class's first single, but I strongly believe his new single (below) Party Crackin' is a whole lot better. The 30 second long techno/Hip Hop beat rampages he goes on in between verses (not sure if you could even call them verses really) are epic. I've been rockin' this one out all week and am really tryin' to soak up all that I can out of it before the masses swallow it whole, turning it into (what should be) a summer club anthem...bang this one out...

DJ Class - Party Crackin' NEW CLUB ANTHEM!!!

Now you know I wouldn't introduce a whole sub-genre of Hip Hop without another shot (or two) of some newness. Two of my favorite new singles out right now by two of my favorite artists whose tracks just happen to have been remixed by Bmore club DJs - DJ Esentrik and DJ SyFr. I'm not even gassing y'all up when I say this post, music wise, is one of my better music posts this year. Don't leave before you sample these, I'd without a doubt play these two at a Club when I know everybody is listenin' cause they're those tracks you go "dammit I wish I knew who remixed that so I can find it tomorrow". Happens to me all the time...except you know I DO find that shit...#wordisbond + #noiphoneapp. Treat yourself and feel free to hoard the track and save it for Fri/Sat when you can play it for others and take credit...(I do it too, 0 hate from this guy)...

Drake - Be Over (DJ Esentrik remix) HOT CLUB REMIX!!!

Kid Cudi - Pursuit of Happiness (SyFr Bmore Remix)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Gossip Worth Posting...1st Single off Detox featuring Jay-Z Coming This Week??

Now I'm not one to get all excited about somebody opening their mouth about something just to gain a lil notoriety, especially if it sounds ridiculously far fetched. Wait a sec, let's posting this I'm going completely against what I just said in the last sentence, but it's one of those too good to be true rumors that could potentially make this week one to remember. Why Michael Yo from E! News and Y100 would be the one announcing this is beyond me and makes me hella skeptical of the track, album etc...but c'mon dream a little??

Supposedly this "nameless" track will be the first single off the mythical album known only by whispers through the years as Detox. It is supposed to be an "uptempo" track that again is rumored to be released this week...or at least that's what all the buzz is at Interscope.

We'll see if it comes to fruition (my guess is it won't) but I'm willing to sacrifice a little personal journalistic integrity on the mention of a potentially legendary track...

808 Check: Gucci Mane feat Ludacris - Atlanta Zoo

Am I a fan of Gucci Man? No sir, but I do appreciate a good Luda verse because they are not even close to as few and far between as the Gucc. I realize when it comes to commercial Hip Hop, Gucci Mane is the man and has a hardcore dedicated following. My best synopsis of his appeal has to do with his lyrics and flow, which are like a cheese pizza, simple and everybody likes at least one slice or song.

Call it being accessible on a hardcore gangsta tip or even street Hip pop, he's got a formula and it works. Sticking with the analogy, I like the crust and am not a fan at all of what's on top. Just so happens that crust makes a whole lotta noise when banged out in the deck, so I can get over the simple lyrics because truth be told you can't hear shit anyways when the back window looks like a mirage through the rear view. To each their own, I'm a child of bass, so stupid dumbed down tracks like this still find their way into my playlist because at least once a week it still entertains me to rattle the trunk a bit.

Give it a listen, for a guilty pleasure, it's got an innocent side to it...

Gucci Mane feat Ludacris - Atlanta Zoo TRUNK MUSICK!!!

As a bonus I included another new LudaGucci collabo off Luda's new Battle of the Sexes album titled Party No Mo. You'll also notice, it's produced by every dash board's worst nightmare Bangladesh. Don't be fooled, this one goes just as hard as the track above...

Ludacris feat Gucci Mane - Party No Mo (prod by Bangladesh) Goes HARD!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jason Derulo Album Review

Pictured above is Jason Derulo with American Idol judge, and Warner Bros. Records Senior Vice President of A&R Kara DioGuardi and super producer JR Rotem holding a nice sized record plaque signifying that his first single Whatcha Say is certified platinum. Beleive it or not that record has sold over 4 million copies, with 3 million copies out of the 4 being sold in the US. Pretty crazy for someone who you were completely unfamiliar with last year.

It goes without saying, just based on his two singles Whatcha Say and In My Head, his self titled debut album should go platinum.The main critique I have read about his new album is the length, being only 9 songs with 1 digital bonus track if you buy it on iTunes. Personally, I am not going to look down on him trying to do what he needs to produce a successful album, which he may have thought is only 9 tracks deep for whatever reason. Maybe other tracks didn't fit the vibe he was going for, maybe he knew it was going to sell enough based on his two huge singles? Either way, I didn't mind, I actually think it's smarter nowadays for artists to give us less by way of an album and rely more on singles (because those sell more on iTunes than whole albums).

My only issue with the album has to do with the oversampling being a little over the top. We all know the sample worked real well for Whatcha Say (50 MILLION YOUTUBE VIEWS!!!), but with songs like Ridin' Solo borrowing Bittersweet Symphony's strings and Love Hangover sampling the classic Men at Work's Who Can it Be Now, the JR Rotem-ing of the album came off as a little over the top. I say that now, but currently Ridin Solo is ranked 12th in the Billboard Top 100 and climbing, so evidently I may be on an island with that critique. Now that I re-think it, it's almost like I'm saying he did too good of a job at creating catchy radio friendly singles that everyone could relate to sound wise due to the familiarity of the sample. To each their own, but In My Head is still my favorite single of his so far because of it's originality.

Two other tracks I've gained an appreciation for after a full listen are What If and the bonus track Queen of Hearts. I really liked the simplicity of the do do dodo on the chorus on What If. It's a catchy ballad lyrically and the slow piano vibe blends well. I've written previously about Queen of Hearts, but I really like the slower version of the track that didn't end up being the album version. The upbeat version is also good, but the slow version allows JD to shine more vocally. Check out the slow version...

Jason Derulo - Queen of Hearts (slow version) Better Version!!!

In it's entirety I'd say Jason did one hell of a job on the album mixing in samples with original material and also blending the fast/slow tracks. Fallen and Encore are the only filler tracks out of 9 in my opinion, which isn't bad at all. Out of the 7 solid tracks, at least 3 of them are going to be top 10 Billboard singles too, so I think Jaysahn can hang his hat on that. The only two tracks I haven't touched on are Blind and The Sky's the Limit, both of which I had posted about before and are respectable tracks worth a listen. The only track I really wish would have made the final tracklist is Fairytale, which was a great mid-tempo love song that would have fit well as a middle ground track tempo wise, offsetting the fast and slow tracks.

Overall I'll give the album 4 headphones because it was a great debut effort with a timeless single or two on it.

If it was a little longer with mainly original beats and lacked the aforementioned filler tracks , it would have been in the discussion as a classic album. A classic single doesn't necessarily mean classic album, but I will give JR Rotem a 4.5 headphone rating on the production of the album. Most of these songs would be naked if he hadn't laid the groundwork with accessible samples and catchy instrumentals. As a bonus, here's a new remix to In My Head with the barbie doll herself, Nicki Minaj.

Jason Derulo feat Nikki Minaj - In My Head (remix) New Beat Hot Remix!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Concert Review: Alicia Keys Prudential Center

When I think of going to concerts and what ultimately makes a concert worth attending, spending money on tickets, traveling to etc., the most attractive lure for an artist is their ability to be a musician. When I say musician, I mean you have an undeniable talent when playing that instrument, so much so that people are willing to watch you play it. Now most artists not only play an instrument, they also sing, but we've all been to concerts where you go for the vocals and the instrumentation is more of an auxiliary element of the performance.

I say all this to preface why I was so excited to see Alicia perform live. I had seen her a few times perform on TV (award shows, all star games, Oprah) and she consistently brings a unique combination of talent and charisma to her performances. I can appreciate her joy for performing because seeing her smile on stage puts on full display how much she really enjoys sharing her music with people. It also helps she has an amazing voice and an incredible talent for playing the piano, but all that wouldn't be as impressive if she didn't pour so much emotion into her music and performances.

Now I had never been to a concert in Jersey before or visited Newark, NJ, so this was all going to be a new experience for me and while I wouldn't exactly describe Newark as clean and vibrant city, the Prudential Center (where the NJ Devils and NJ Nets play) is a great new venue and one that I would definitely go back to visit for another show. Despite the difficulty to initially find parking, I also would recommend a restaurant a couple blocks away from the Prudential Center called Fornos Spanish Cuisine. I really enjoyed their red Sangria and they definitely serve you a LOT of food when you go there, so be prepared to eat a ton.

Fast forward to the concert, it was a little before 10 PM and Robin Thicke was just finishing up his set. Coincidentally, he was singing my favorite song of his titled Sex Therapy, which he absolutely killed on stage and had all the ladies screamin' for. Doesn't get much sexier than that track and when I heard it coming on as I walked in, finding my seats became secondary, I sprinted to the nearest entrance and watched from an aisle. That was the one song I wanted to hear from him, so I was pleasantly surprised with the timing of it all. To finish his set I was pleasantly surprised to her him sing over Lil Wayne's A Milli beat...definitely left a good taste in my mouth heading into Alicia's performance.
Soon after the set was over, I found my seats and despite feeling like I was far away from the stage, it was directly ahead of me, which made for a pretty good view of the stage. It wasn't more than a half an hour when Alicia started her set with an inspiring introduction that went like this:

"I'm a renegade, I'm a truth seeker,
They told me I would never make it and I did
They told me I wasn't strong, but I am mighty,
The element of Freedom is tattooed on my heart it manifests and reads
Hope is real love in unconditional, passion and purpose is what it's about,
My name is Alicia Keys and I Am The Element of Freedom"

The inspirational beginning faded into her track Caged Bird. I wasn't as big of a fan of that track...until I heard her sing it live. That turned into the main theme of the night as I gained a bigger appreciation for some of her lesser known tracks like Wait Til You See My Smile and Unthinkable (I'm Ready). Honestly the tracks she performed with her band ended up being fairly average and didn't fully showcase her abilities in my opinion. The faster paced songs like Go Ahead and I Need You weren't as exciting to hear in concert for me because I'm such a big fan of her songs that she flys solo and does her thing on the piano...

 ...which is why when they wheeled on stage the baby grand piano, I knew I was going to like the next song being played. The onslaught of my favorite Alicia tracks started with her rendition of Diary where she got a little vocal assistance onstage at the end of the track when the Tony Toni Tone vocals come in. Check it...

There's something soo soothing about that song, it truly is one of my favorite mellow R&B tracks of all time. Seeing it live did not disappoint either because Ms. Keys sung the hell out of it.

The next track, my favorite of the concert by far, was her performance of Sleeping With a Broken Heart. Before giving my two pennies, press play below...

Standing ovation worthy is the best way to describe the way she performed that song. From the exaggerated slowed down beginning where she sucked me in at "And all the time you were telling me lies" with that vocal crescendo over the dreamy synthesizers. It gave me goosebumps to hear my current favorite song of hers be played so methodically, taking her time to first set up the track in such an out of body uplifting way and then finishing the track by bringing in the beat to top it off. I would have paid the whole price of admission just to see her perform Sleeping With a Broken Heart the way she did, truly amazing. I still can't stop watching the video above of her performing the track...mostly because it's such a great performance...but also due to the lyrical significance the track personally brings...#solodolo

Before the encore I was hoping and praying to hear my other favorite off her last album, That's How Strong My Love Is along with Empire State of Mind, which she had yet to play. Unfortunately, it was a one song encore, but I'll give her credit, as usual she really put all she had into the track vocally. Check it out below...

Overall I'd give the concert a B+. It was better than the John Mayer concert I went to, but if I had the opportunity to see her play a whole set by herself on the piano, I would pay twice the price of admission because THAT would be a perfect concert front to back. A smaller venue would have been better too, but that wasn't a big deal in my opinion. Robin Thicke was good for the limited time I saw him, but other than the songs I heard I don't think I would have liked it any more by catching more of his set. The main act is also worth coming to see regardless of the opening act because Alicia is a deeply spiritual person who really makes an effort to exude positivity every chance she gets while performing, which makes it a positive experience for any ages. I'd definitely recommend seeing Alicia in concert if you have the chance because what you see on TV is no joke. There are no smoke and mirrors that make her seem better, she's the real deal and one of the most talented artist/musicians out right now.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Perfect March Madness Song: Jamie Foxx feat T.I. & Justin Timberlake - Winner

Jamie Jamie Jamie...come on man you just missed the BIGGEST opportunity with this track. Here I am doin' my daily rounds this week frequenting the blogs and various social media outlets and I come across a collaboration of this magnitude. Just on name recognition, instant interest, in fact it was one of tracks that soon as I saw it finished on my Download Statusbar, I immediately double clicked and listened to.

I guess you can say after first listen I was satisfied, neither overwhelmed nor disappointed. After more thorough listens this week while at the gym, I started liking it even more, but eventually frustration set in when I realized the opportunity that was missed when a track like this didn't end up being THE song for March Madness. I mean damn if O.A.R. can pull off a song of the summer for the Baseball College World Series, why couldn't this track's release have been moved up maybe two months in preparation for March Madness?

The chorus begs to included in mid-game highlights on CBS:
"I feel like I can’t miss
I know they want me to fall
But ain’t nothing bigger than this
So just pass me the ball
You know you looking at a winner
I can’t miss, Can’t lose, Can’t miss
You know you looking at winner
`Cause I’m a winner
Yeah I’m a winner
I mean seriously, whoever is in charge of marketing at J Records missed a HUUUGGEE opportunity with the lyrics, which went perfectly with the positive and clean, radio friendly vibe of the track. Additionally, what better way for T.I. to get his name out there after coming out of jail recently?? Hats off to Rob Knox who laid the beat down real nice and really shined the limelight on T.I.'s verse, dumbing down the beat and letting T.I. do his thing. Who is Rob Knox you may ask, well he produced these tracks too: T.I. - Dead and Gone, Chris Brown - Lottery and Britney Spears - Mannequin. Even better, Rob is part of probably the most underrated trio of producers know as The Y's and consist of him, Justin Timberlake and one of my favorite demo singers/ writers James Fauntleroy. Considering all the elements that went into the song, the timing would have been perfect, buuuut somebody really dropped the ball...(pun intended).

Regardless of record label/marketing missteps, I encourage you to rock this track before, after, during the games this weekend and moving on to the Final Four (Naptown stand up!!)....

Jamie Foxx feat T.I. & Justin Timberlake - Winner (Prob by Rob Knox) HOOOOTTTTTT!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Who Rocked it Better? Kalf Wolf vs Toto - Africa

If you're not exactly sure who Karl Wolf is, here's a little introduction. His real name is Carl Abou Samah, his Arabic his name is كارل أبو سمح and he's a Lebanese Canadian based out of Montreal. Flying mostly under the radar during his solo career that started in 2001, this is the sole track that has gotten him some love outside of Canada. You could say I'm a little late on this one considering he released the song in 2008, but it samples one of the better old school electro pop songs and most widely recognized tracks by Toto titled Africa.

As an introduction to Karl Wolf, here's one of my favorite tracks by him titled Like This.

Karl Wolf - Like This HOTTT R&B!!!

The schizophrenic tempo and upbeat Middle Eastern inspired beat give it a unique sound that contrasts with much of what's heard in the US R&B wise. It definitely fits in lyrically with the verses and chorus sounding like something you'd hear on the radio though. Pretty cool track though all things considered because it gives you a flavor of Hip Hop/R&B that you wouldn't normally hear.

As far Africa is concerned, it was originally released in 1982 and I'd describe it as a smooth, electro, light rock track. The vibe produced by the track can only be described as uplifting and easy listening. From the mellow verses to the high pitched, high energy chorus, the song is classic.

Regardless of who you think rocked it better, covering this track was clearly a good decision by Karl considering it went 3 times platinum and has been his most successful single by millions of copies. While you're at it check out the video Karl filmed for Africa.Oh and be on the look out for Mr. Wolf's new album due out in July titled Bite the Bullet.

You be the judge though, do he rock it better than the original by Toto?

Karl Wolf - Africa Great Cover!!!

Toto - Africa CLASSIC 1980s!!!

GWDJ Verdict: In my eyes it would have been a tall order for anyone to cover this track, let alone an unheard of, yet talented artist like Karl Wolf. I'd say as far as capturing the energy and positive vibe of the track he absolutely did it. He took an iconic track and did a pretty good job with the beat and chorus in shaping it to his own sound. Where he went wrong was the whole reggaeton that was brought to the track by Culture. I thought he could have filled in the below average reggae verses with some soulful verses of his own. As a result, I'd give Toto the nod on who rocked it better because while Karl did a good job capturing the original vibe, he fell short ultimately because of the verses.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Usher feat T.I. - Guilty (prod by Ester Dean)

T.I. is making it well known that he's out of jail this month, hopping on about every track imaginable. Maybe I downplayed how big of an impact his absence was going to be the last year cause for a sec there I forgot how much I liked his flavor of Hip Hop.

This one qualifies as more of a mid-tempo ballad, centering around the only thing Usher seems to sing about...cheating, being faithful or lack thereof. It's all good though Mr. Raymond we're all a little guilty of letting girls show us a little too much love...maybe not to the scale that you're used to, but still #gamerecognizegame. Usher...only you can talk about cheating and maintain an upbeat, happy tone. This may be the only non-single standout track other than the Jim Jonsin inspired slow jam Making Love (Into the Night) that caught my attention from his new album Raymond vs Raymond. That's not really a bad thing considering how many singles he's already released the past few months and I include his new club heat rock with Will I Am titled OMG that is gonna be lighting up dance floors soon and may ultimately end up being the best track on the album (even though in my opinion it's gotta be Lil Freak).

Give it a listen and be happy Atlanta is comin' strong for up B.O.B's Adventures of Bobby Ray due out in a month...

Usher feat T.I. - Guilty (prod by Ester Dean) Hott Collabo!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Drake feat The Dream - Shut it Down (Prod. By Omen & 40)

Fresh off shooting a video for his lead single Over, we get another track (albeit the unfinished version) off Thank Me Later. The album is starting to gain steam in an atmospheric rise toward being dangerously over-hyped, even by the producers working on the project like Boi-1da who wasn't afraid to call it "one of the greatest albums I've ever heard."

This is more of the BMM variety, with Drake slowin' it waaay down a la tracks like Houstonatlantavegas, A Night Off and Brand New. Not too many of his slower tracks have resulted in the acclaim as his well known hits, but he's clearly still trying to do his R&B thing on a couple tracks on the new album. Stylistically his brand of R&B comes off different in that he harminizes with some pretty edgy lyrics...for R&B at least. For example, when can you remember an R&B artist sing lyrics like this?
I got this little song for you to get ready to
Put those fuckin' heels on and work it girl
Let that mirror show you what you're doin
Put that fuckin' dress on
And work it kinda viscous like somebody takin' pictures
Shut it down, down, down
You would shut it down, down, down
You'd be the baddest girl around, round, round,
And they notice, they notice

Nonetheless, this is just another ingredient going into the 12 layer fudge cake masterpiece of an album that Thank Me Later is being hyped to be. Again, I'm choosing to reserve judgment on this track because I realize I may like this a lot more than I do right now after listening to it a few more times. Not gonna hate on the collabo though with The Dream steppin' in with a few vocals himself and putting his "Love King" stamp on this lyrically uplifting ode to women being confident in themselves.

Love or Hate it, you'll warm up to it and find a special time and place to play it and hopefully do yourself a favor and learn the lyrics beforehand. Lord knows I will...#wordisbond, #thatsmyshit, #shutitdown...

Give it a listen....
Drake feat The Dream - Shut it Down (Prod. By Omen & 40) HOTT Slow Jam!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Heads Up Fellas...Here Come the Girls...Riding in a Truck...Headed North

Refreshing to give out a little love to one of Philly's own, an artist named Truck North. Being a protégé and frequent collaborator of the legendary and also Philly based Roots Crew is among many of his notable accomplishments. Case in point the collaboration below with The Roots which was a bonus track off of their Rising Down album released in 2008...

When you listen to the track below you'll immediately associate the Hip Hop, band driven style of beat that you'd expect to hear from Black Thought, ?uestlove or even Cody Chestnutt if you want to be thorough. The drummer boy style beginning draws you in and is immediately followed by a funky sax driven Hip Hop head nod worthy beat. Real upbeat and like an F-150, he powers through the beat keeping the energy high and living off the accessible Ernie K Doe 1970's version of Here Come the Girls. Strikingly similar to the original, almost to the point I'd ask Who Rocked it Better?, but neither song is going to become well known to the masses so it would probably end up being a rhetorical question.

If you're wanting to check out more stuff from Truck North, give a listen to his Truck Jewels mixtape. At the very least, give his breakthrough track a listen or two...

Truck North - Here Come the Girls Hoootttt!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

He's a Mike Killer on the Low

Yea you've heard of Killer Mike or Mike Bigga and probably know him more for his effort on Bone Crusher's Never Scared...

Or even on his collabo with Outkast that ended up winning a Grammy...

Either way he's never had that single or that album that puts his name in everyone's mouth...not just people around the ATL or the South. Still, he's dropped a few tracks that have went completely unnoticed and have been easily ranked in the top 10 on some of my monthly song lists. Many would argue he's just another Freeway or Beanie Sigel from the South and while that's a pretty good argument since they all have a similar, grimy and abrasive way they go about telling their stories and spitting their verses, I'd argue he's better than both.

First case in point, a track that I came across last summer that samples a track that only the salt of the earth type of Hip Hop fans would know by SA-Ra's track Butterscotch Frequencies. Somethin' about the beat, the gruff, muffled chorus with the slow moving clap of the beat augmented by the high pitched chimes throughout the track. Now listening to it, it's got a subtle funk about it that is infectious. Mike Bigga killed the sample though, he flipped it and owned the track, give it a listen..

Killer Mike - Doin' It Well Great Track!!!

Moving on to the newer track that was up there with Drake and T.I.'s lead singles as top 5 Hip Hop tracks last month. What I like about it most is the Mohammed Ali samples at the beginning of the verses. This was taken from a poem around the time of his Rumble in the Jungle fight with George Foreman in 1974:
"For this fight, I’ve wrestled with alligators,
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And throw thunder in jail.
You know I’m bad."
-Mohammed Ali

That's the type of ol skool swag is the brand that artists like Drake and Fabolous are bringing with their verses on a track by track basis. Slightly corny if you really think about it, but at the same time fun and creative enough with the imagery and rhyming that it's strangely inspirational in an on some other shit sorta way. Know what I'm sayin?

Before the last verse he continues with the Rumble quotes with Ali exclaiming..
"Just last week, I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick"
-Mohammed Ali

While the beat does its part by bringing an inspirational tone, lyrically Mike brings it on the track too with lines like "I'm a fighter, I'm warrior a pugilist, I'm Ali talkin' Cash Money stupid shit" and "You don't know you better ask the click about me, movin' birds Matt Ryan, Steve Bartkowski, scramblin' with the yams like Cunningham, took it in for the win and cried I'm Goin HAM!!"

Pretty hype track that'll get you runnin' a lil' faster on the treadmill if ya know what I'm sayin'...

Killer Mike - Didn't I Tell Ya HYPE!!!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Artist Spotlight: Shawn Desman

What do you call a Portugese Italian born and raised in Canada? Shawn Desman...oh what did you expect a joke there? No joke about this dude's talent and while I've dubbed him a new artist, I should re-phrase...he's been around for about 15 years now. If I were to draw a comparison, I'd say he's got a sound and versatility of another artist yet to make it big, Francisco. Only huge thing that separates them is Shawn's unique off center "side-hawk" hair style, that he has become known for over the years.

He's got a soulful, but Usher-esque performance swag to him. As an introduction here's a video of his track Shook, which has a sick electro dance beat and exhibits his style fairly well:

Another club worthy exhibit by Shawn is a track produced by Darkchild titled (appropriately) Sexy...

I know what you're thinking by now, why hasn't he had a breakthrough single yet? To be honest I have no answer for that because I had one hell of a time selecting tracks to post because I liked so many of them. When searching for songs anytime I come across a Desman I always feel like it has above average odds of being really good.

Be careful when you peg him as a strictly club hit, fast R&B sort of artist because he can just as easily slow it down with songs like:

Shawn Desman - Dynamite (Tic Toc) Great Ballad!!!

Shawn Desman - Something Stupid
New Version!!!

Shawn Desman - Pullin Me Back Hott!!!

Another notable fact about Shawn is that he is the older brother of another great R&B artist Danny Fernandes. If you aren't up on Danny, then click here, here and here (with Juelz Santana). As tempted as I was to leave you with those great slow jams, I'll instead bless you with a few more club tracks.You want to talk about a talented ass family, holy hell! Either way between these guys and Justin Bieber I think the Canadians are hoarding R&B talent. It's about time they start sharing with their big brother from the South.

Anyways I'm not gonna leave you with some facts and slow jams, here are a few more faster club R&B tracks from Shawn....

Shawn Desman - How We Do HOTT Beat!!!

Shawn Desman - Electric New HOOTTT!!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Italian Beat Murders...Crookers feat Mike Snow - Remedy

I hear this in the club I'm goin' HAM! No denyin', no beatin' around that bush, I'm losin' it because this beat is disgusting. From the rolling techno beat to the high pitched synthesizer, everything meshes to create a bangin' symphony. I've already posted a few Crookers remixes in the past and they've found their way on my radar being that they were Cudi tracks.

If you haven't heard Crooker's (Italian Production Duo - Bot and Phra)debut album titled Tons of Friends then you're missin' out. I've only begun to enjoy the entire sound of that album and on first listen I'd put it up there with recent great dance/techno/Hip Hop albums like David Guetta, Basshunter, and Tiesto.

If you're curious my favorite tracks off the album so far are We Love Animals, Have Mercy feat Carrie Wilds and No Security feat Kelis. Needless to say, when you think of Crookers think in your face loud, electro Hip Hop inspired Dance music. The energy of these tracks are awe inspiring, do them some justice and play them at the next rowdy house party you're at and watch the results.

The beats may be sick, but Bot and Phra have the Remedy...

Crookers feat Mike Snow - Remedy HHHooottttt!!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Oh Everytime I Close My Eyes...I See My Name in Shin-ing Liiiiiggghhhtttsss"

This track had me at hello...I'm talkin' like the first 10 sec Bruno Mars (pictured above on the right) reeled me in like a poor kid just saw a $20 hit the ground. Between this track and Bruno's collabo with B.O.B., you better believe he's the next go-to R&B sensation for soulful, but radio friendly hooks.

The sound of this track is so carefree and fun, it's undeniably addictive. Sure it's more pop than R&B, but the contrast between the harmonic chorus leading into the bouncy Jamaican inspired guitar (think Dwight Pinkney) Hip Hop beat is well drawn up. At first you really don't know what to think when Bruno starts in with his "I wanna be a billionaire, sooo f'in bad and buy all of the things I never had". You don't expect to hear a soulful vocal lead in with an f bomb within' the first five words, but it's that slight edge that makes it a little more than your average pop track. It takes the bubble gum wrapping off the chorus a bit and makes it more of an attention grabbing, cool sing-along rather than a "man I can't be caught singin' this?" type of track.

Travis or Travie McCoy which he's now going by, is more well known for being the lead singer of Gym Class Heroes, but he's launching a solo album this spring titled The Lazarus Project. I'd rank this one right up there with T.I. and Drake's new singles as the three best songs to come out thus far in 2010, I really do think that highly of this track. It's lightheartedly fresh I'll call it cause you can't help but smile hearin' Bruno can actually hear the smile in his voice inflection and it's a nice touch. Enough of my rhetoric though, y'all be the judge and stop sleepin' on Bruno!!!...

"I'd probly pull an Angelina and Brad Pitt and adopt a bunch of babies that ain't neva had shit..."       - Travie McCoy

Travie McCoy feat Bruno Mars - Billionaire

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kid Cudi feat Snoop - I Do My Thing (prod by Dr. Dre)

This was the trifecta of the week with both Drake and T.I.'s singles also dropping. This is a rumored Dre production and I haven't gotten 100% confirmation on that, but it sound Dre-ish enough that I'll roll with it. Sort of a bouncy psychedelic stoner anthem is what to expect from this one.

This track would have fit like a glove on his last Man on the Moon album with the whole bouncy, trippin' feel to it. Really hope that tracks like this pop up on his new effort titled Cudder. Expect more of these star studded collabos on his new LP as he's working heavily with Pharrell on a few tracks as well as the man behind the single Jim Jonsin. Only difference between the two albums is going to be the seriousness of the tracks. That's bad news for me since I was a big fan of the emotionally intense tracks (Pursuit of Happiness, Cudi Zone, Soundtrack to My Life) as opposed to the party tracks like Poker Face.

Despite the Snoop and Dre influence, I wouldn't put this over any of my aforementioned favorite tracks on Cudi's last album, but I take it for what it is as an introduction to a new more upbeat sound comin' outta ya boy Scotty.

Give it a listen...
Kid Cudi feat Snoop - I Do My Thing (prod by Dr. Dre) Hottt Collabo!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ask Yourself - Are You Living or Are You Existing?

I've always had my eye on Kidz in the Hall because of their refreshingly organic, true Hip Hop sound. Being signed to Rawkus Records with the likes of Mos Def and Talib Kweli, you can see where the organic Hip Hop comparisons come from by association. On top of that, they've always been intriguing duo to their close proximity with MegatronDon (Just Blaze)who has invested in both Naledge and Double-O after he oversaw their first album School Was My Hustle.

With tracks like Wheelz Fall Off and their block rockin' banger Drivin' Down the Block, their new album titled Land of Make Believe is sure to push more than a few copies when it is released on Tuesday March 9th.

Credit is due to the track below for the uplifting message provided lyrically and the inspiring intro Naledge uses set up the performance. There aren't too many Hip Hop songs these days that encourage you to challenge the way you're living life and strive to get the best out of the hand you're dealt like this track does. In the words of Naledge:

"We party and shit right?, but at the end of the day, we all have a dream, you know we not on this earth for nothin', so I ask you one question
Are you living or are you existing? see what I'm doing right now is I'm livin,, for the hope that you take this what I'm doin right now leave out here and can go to your job and live too and if you not living the right shit, shit tell your boss I'm bout to stop existing god dammit..."

I was more than happy to snack on the food for thought with the Living vs Existing argument because when you think about it and over analyze (like I tend to do with everything), it can be pretty thought provoking. Generally speaking I don't have much sympathy for people who fight to exist everyday because usually they're too lazy to change and lack the intrinsic motivation to make a change that will allow them to live. I know it's not always that cut and dried and there are extenuating circumstances that can make living seemingly impossible, but life really is what you make it and there are plenty of people who have it worse than you, so you might as well do your best to view the glass as half full or at least have the desire to make a change that may cause the water level in the glass to rise in some way shape or form. Just sayin', positivity is contagious, so tracks like shouldn't go unnoticed and truly are the hidden gems that deserve to get to the masses (unlike most of processed music you hear on the radio).

As I climb down off my soap box, I'll again encourage you to give this track and their new album Land of Make Believe a listen when it comes out on Tuesday. I would also be remiss if I didn't point out Colin Monroe's positive influence and mellow contribution to the chorus in giving this track it's inspirational tone. Give it a listen...

Kidz in the Hall feat Colin Monroe - Taking Over the World (prod by Just Blaze) Great Great Track!!!

"And dreams like women, if you only sleep wit 'em nothin' ever comes from 'em, but I bet you still love 'em" - Naledge

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Heeee's Baaaaccckkkk! T.I. - I'm Back (prod by TrackSlayerz)

What a great week...first Drake's lead single to Thank Me Later, then a new Kid Cudi Snoop Track track rumored to be produced by Dr. Dre and to cap things off we are fortunate enough to get a comeback single from the newly free T.I.P.. If you're thinking it's some run of the mill mixtape track that he quick rushed out of jail to create, think again. With an intro like this and his willingness to openly provide the track to the entire internet there's no doubt he's out to make a statement...
"I never let you down I’ma shine on sight
keep your mind on your grind and off'a mines alright
hard I'ma ball on them squares I float
quarter million dollar cars everywhere I go
I the lead it may see me might be
but no matter what they doing they don’t do it like me
like a G I hold it down for the town I’m at
and I flash like that
recognize I’M BACK!
Strike a match catch a fire
Any moment I decide..."
Oooook...anybody else hear any complacency in his voice from his year long stay in Arkansas??? (crickets). For the record this blows Drake's lead single away as the most noteworthy Hip Hop track of this month, it's almost like T.I. felt the need to assert himself as Alpha Dog the second he got out of prison just in case you forgot what he brings to Hip Hop. Not to put down Drake's single, it's still legit and a solid first single, but I have a feeling he's got a lot more in store for us with tracks to come.

The irony here is Lil' Wayne's began serving his 8-13 month sentence at the Island (Rikers) today, so in a sort of tag team gesture, the torch has been passed by Lil' Wayne to T.I. as he enters jail and T.I. gets out. Despite Bun-B's somewhat outrageous comparison of Lil' Wayne to Elvis, I agree the game is gonna miss him, but there are so many great new talented Hip Hop acts, he'll only make the world of Hip Hop that much more excited to hear The Carter 4 when he gets out.

Also notable is the Trackslayerz "welcome to the world moment" with T.I. putting a lot of faith in their beats and introducing us to a new (but seemingly familiar) sound to Grand Hustle. The beat sounds like a lot of other past tracks, but the hunger and grind are back in the verses as T.I. is out to prove how he's been deprived of his living the past year. Let this be a shot over the bow...Hip Hop take notice...The King of the South is BACK!

"Strike a match, Catch a fire, see T.I add gas
What's a Molotov cocktail that never break the glass?"

T.I. - I'm Back (prod by TrackSlayerz) HHHOOOTTTTTTT!!!!

Monday, March 08, 2010

"It's Like an Angel Came By and Took Me To Heaven, Cause When I Stare in Your Eyes It Couldn't Be Better..."

When it comes to teen heartthrobs it doesn't get much better (Jonas Brothers aside) than your boy Justin Bieber. I mean honestly, just look at the picture above...lil man knows how to play to his demographic. When it comes to pop ballads like his first single One Time, JB is killin' it. The harmony coming out of his voice is staggering, it's one of those things that make you double and triple take and is the reason why Usher signed him immediately after watching him sing You Got It Bad. Yea take note, 5.1 million views of that video...pretty nuts.

Anyways, this new track Never Let You Go is off his My World 2.0, which is a continuation of his debut My World EP. Similar to his first single off last album, it's another mid-tempo love ballad that allows him to shine vocally. Combine his vocals with the writing and production of two of the best behind the scenes R&B talents in B. Cox and Johnta Austin and you've got all the ingredients for a great single.

Add this to the list of songs that'll have the young ladies gettin' all hot and bothered over the Canadian icon. I swear the only thing that could ever derail this kid from becoming a legend is puberty. Keep killin' 'em Justin, I don't even fit into your target demographic, but I've still got mad respect. Give it a listen...

Justin Bieber - Never Let You Go (prod by B Cox and Johnta Austin) Hooootttt!!!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

New Artist Spotlight: Dom Kennedy

Repping the streets of LA since he started rapping when he was 12, Dom Kennedy is starting to gain notoriety outside of the West Coast for the first time with his recent release of his Future Street/Drug Sounds mixtape. With the help of the Los Angeles Leakers, he's been able to make a name for himself on the Left Coast with mixtapes and such. I consider him sort of the 6th man on the Starting Five that is The Cool Kids x Pac Div.

 He first came across my radar when Rich Boy and Slim Thug hopped on a remix to the first track of the mixtape, Hard Work, which was also produced by Chuck Inglish of the Cool Kids. Being a fan of everything that is Cool Kids and all of the unique, heavy bass laden beats produced by Chuck Inglish, it took one play on some decent speakers for me to get hooked to this one. Chuck's style of sampling a lyric on the track and scratching it into the hook (a la Black Mags) comes off so fresh, but old school sounding it's hard not like. Here are the original version of Hard Work and the remix with guest spots...

Dom Kennedy - Hard Work (prod by Chuck Inglish of The Cool Kids) Hott!!!

Dom Kennedy feat Rich Boy Slim Thug & Don Cannon - Hard Work (remix)(prod by Chuck Inglish of The Cool Kids)
Hott remix!!

If I were to describe his style I would liken it to the slower, measured pace of a Slim Thug, but with the laid back West Coast swag of a Too Short. I use those two artists as reference points, not saying he is or ever will become as big as either artist, but he's got a nonchalance about his flow that is unique. You don't hear of many up and coming West Coast Hip Hop artists these days, so it's good to hear a new artist like Dom making a splash and providing a heartbeat to the Coast that birthed so many legendary artists.

Two other tracks that caught my attention from Dom are off his 25th Hour mixtape released in 2008. There's something real catchy about his hook on his Watermelon Sundae that caught my ear.

"Life ain't sweet, Saturday through Monday, but in the summertime you're my Watermelon Sundae"

The slow back and forth clap of the beat provides an adequate backdrop for the creative and subtly sweet lyrics. Here's a video of Dom performing it live followed by the download link below it:

Dom Kennedy - Watermelon Sundae
Great Track!!!

Final track is a sample off Notorious B.I.G.'s Big Poppa beat. Hard to hate on any artist using this beat, it shines on it's own. Give it a listen and look out for more Dom coming your way in '10.

Dom Kennedy - Notorious D O M Biggie!!!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

808 Check: Balance Feat. Erk Tha Jerk, Messy Marv, Clyde Carson, Big Rich, Keak Da Sneak - Swagga Jackin (Remix)

For those of you unfamiliar with the Hyphy movement, consider it the West Coast version of Crunk. I compare it to Crunk because Crunk in the South came just before Hyphy and both share the same loveable 808 bass that rattles the trunk and clubs. Many people point toward E-40's track Tell Me When To Go as the most noteworthy track for the Hyphy movement.

Although you probably don't recognize anyone on this track, if you were out in the Bay Area you would know who they are. I have a few Clyde Carson and Keak da Sneak tracks sprinkled throughout iTunes, but I wouldn't consider myself a huge fan. As usual, I'm a sucker for the beat and Dem Jointz keeps the rearview blurred on this effort. The sample is kinda catchy in it's own right with the whole robotic "Please Do Not Swag-ger Jack Me" voice. Gives sort of a haunting Swagger Like Us feel to the track and combined with the low bass is lethal.

With all this great sunny weather throughout the Midwest and East coast, it's your duty to give the kind pedestrians a little secondhand Rap with the windows rolled down. Lord knows between this track and Drake's new single Over, I took the longest routes to the errands I ran today. Just make sure if you do play this for the kind folks you drive by you don't have speakers that sound like these in your car. Those factories just won't suffice when it comes to a track like this...give it a listen...

Balance Feat. Erk Tha Jerk, Messy Marv, Clyde Carson, Big Rich, Keak Da Sneak - Swagga Jackin (Remix) (prod by Dem Jointz) HEAVY!!!

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