Friday, April 30, 2010

First Single off Recovery...Eminem - Not Afraid (prod by Boi-1da)

This...ladies and gents is what I'm talkin' about.'s about time...a track that isn't so cracked out lyrically that it's hard to take seriously. Nope this one is quite fitting as a lead single for his new album Recovery.

Starting with a build up that is on par with a track Maino's All the Above, you can tell that he's about to take you on a full 18 hole journey that deals directly with his recovery from drug abuse. Shouts out to Boi-1da on the production too, I'm glad to see he's getting more acclaim and work from other well known artists after being Drake's main man behind the boards for so long. Seems like this is sort of an ode to the fans and special people in his life out there who "admittedly I probably did it subliminally, for you, so I could come back a brand new me, you help see me through, and don't even realize what you did, believe me you....".

Definitely a spiritual track that is going to serve as an inspiration to those who "have been down the same road". Notable quoteables:
"When I say 'em or do something I do it, I don't give a damn
What you think, I'm doing this for me, so f the world
Feed it beans, it's gassed up, if a thing's stopping me
I'mma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly
And all those who look down on me I'm tearing down your balcony
"I shouldn't have to rhyme these words in the rhythm for you to know it's a rap
You said you was king, you lied through your teeth
""And to the fans, I'll never let you down again, I'm back
I promise to never go back on that promise, in fact
Let's be honest, that last Relapse CD was "ehhhh"
Perhaps I ran them accents into the ground
"I promise
To focus solely on handling my responsibility’s as a father
So I solemnly swear to always treat this roof like my daughters and raise it
You couldn’t lift a single shingle on it
Cause the way I feel, I’m strong enough to go to the club
Or the corner pub and lift the whole liquor counter up
Cause I’m raising the bar, I shoot for the moon
But I’m too busy gazing at stars, I feel amazing and...I'm not afraid
Real down to earth accessible track that was exactly what I needed to begin being excited again about the music Em is putting out. Welcome back Em, I'm back in your corner and absolutely can't wait for Recovery now after hearing your first single...

Check it out...
Eminem - Not Afraid (prod by Boi-1da) New Single!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Throwback Thursday: B.O.B. - Haterz

Just in case you all wanna call Shenanigans on my support for Bobby Ray and just about all the music he has put out recently, I'm gonna take you back to May 21, 2007 (to be exact) when I first heard a track from this artist we now know as B.O.B. I was doin' about 65 in cruise control on the net frequenting the music blogs and such that I was following at the time when I came across one of my favorite blogs at the time, (which now routes to, a forward focusing blog in it's own right) who was making a concerted effort to make sure I downloaded a track called Haterz.

At the time it was just another new artist, but like any talented act that is new to the game, it finds a way to rise above the hundreds of tracks that make it way onto my iPod and get quickly passed over unless I hear something I like. That "something" can be anything from a catchy beat, a whole lotta bass, well thought out lyrics, great vocals...there are lots of ways to have "it", but much more reason to lack "it". Luckily, my ex didn't let me down for a change and I was able to find what I was looking for when I was in search of an answer. You know I'm too cot damn nerdy and full of spite to be talkin' about my ex gf, so luckily my ride til I die (Seagate) ex had a file titled May 2007 Song List that reminded me B.O.B.'s Haterz song was my 26th favorite song that month. In fact my exact words about the track were:
"26.B.O.B. feat Wes Fif – Haterz everywhere….another example of how a trance beat works in rap and r&b….one of those out of nowhere tracks that has some commercial appeal….prob wont make it but, worth a listen and worth givin some credit too cause the underground is and always will be legit and underrated…..oh c’mon just cause you knew I felt that way, doesn’t mean I’m preaching to the choir"
-Excerpt from May 2007 GWDJ Song List
That Song List sample above is a not so subtle reminder that I done been on my grizzly adams on my Song List tip for years now, so while you may just now be tuning in, the rookie card has been appreciating value for more than few hot minutes now. Now that I think of it, I'm really enjoying this weekly Throwback Thursday post because over the years soo many diamonds have remained in the rough that I take pride in archeologying the shit out of these fossils since they will probably still be regarded by you there reading this as new when you listen to crispy is that word doc viewer?? My goodness I'm glad I chose to invest in such an innovative service...all the dedicated monthly Song List folk have never been caught lookin' down...cause they know waasssup! (credit :Drake)

I digress...and am very willing to admit that I was wrong about Bobby Ray not making it since his album is estimated at selling 85,000 copies the first week, which should put him comfortably atop most Hip Hip charts. And that's before pop culture gets to chew on Airplanes for a couple months, which should do nothing but increase his radio $$$ appeal.

What I was not incorrect about was the likability of the trance backdrop to his bouncy debut track. Sure, the upbeat chanting of "we got 'em goin down for the count, lookin' at the ground, I think you're a hater, I think you're a hater, haterz everywhere we go" is what makes this track catchy, but it's also anecdotal evidence of how much B.O.B. has and hasn't changed. Yes, the east Atlanta, Decatur drawl is still there and every bit as unique and memorable, but the flow is so much more refined and less choppy than this track, it's a testament to musically growing over the past three years. The simple, sing-songy lyrics are still there and every bit as dumbed down, but still upbeat and accessible as they are now on his new album The Adventures of Bobby Ray.

If you're a fan of Bobby Ray now, you'll appreciate this track and be able to consider yourself more of a true fan knowing that this was how he first started to get his name out as an artist. Give it a listen....HATERZ!!!

B.O.B. feat Wes Fif - Haterz Classic B.O.B.!!!

Oh you've only heard the remix with Lil Wayne? Might as well include that while I'm at it...

B.O.B. feat Lil Wayne Remy Ma - Haterz (remix) Hottt!!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cypress Has Risen Up the Hill

On first look at Cypress Hill's new track list for their Rise Up album, the list of cameos is pretty impressive. What struck me is they aren't your run of the mill Hip Hop cameos, your T-pains or Lil Waynes or even Snoop...they went out and got...wait who? Former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, Mike Shinoda or you may know his as Fort Minor, and The Alchemist. If you don't know at least two out of the three artists just listed shame on you (I'll give you Alchemist, he's a great producer, but doesn't have the mainstream name power).

Personally, after hearing Armada Latina, I was already intrigued enough to give their whole album a spin. You may assume I give damn near every Hip Hop or R&B album a spin the way I talk about music daily, but truth be told I don't have the time or energy in a day to do a lot of cool stuff I wish I could...#storyoflife. On first glance of their tracklist I headed straight for the two Tom Morello tracks since it's rare nowadays to hear the type of high test guitar riffs that resonate from his crafty, well-known sound (you know I had to post a link to his well known guitar solos). Hands down, no better guitarist of my generation growing up in the 80s and 90s. Was a little apprehensive to hear how his riffs would mix with some classic Latino Rap, but I quickly found it to be an interesting shot...which probably had a little Redbull in it because of how energized you end up feeling after hearing it. Case in point, check out the new video for Cypress Hill's new single Rise Up featuring Tom Morello.

Man that high powered guitar driven hook takes me back to the real Rage days with Zack de la Rocha. Pretty hard not at least get a little hype for that one. But if we were to talk about my favorite track on the album, it would undoubtedly be their track with Linkin Park rapper aka ridiculously talented and slept on Mike Shinoda. I maintain, his solo album as Fort Minor titled The Rising Tied was one of the true classic albums of the past 10 years that did not get the credit it deserved for being a disk that was trump tight from to back.

As you can tell I was not disappointed in the least when I skipped to this track initially. From the slow, deliberate mariachi style guitar that Cypress has been known for in the past, to the progression of the beat that hits its stride midway through the first verse 8 bars deep into B-Real's tumultuous tour through his trials and tribulations. Even your favorite OG Sen Dog, brings the pain with his verse on the track. The real UV rays from this track though come from the end of the verses with the haunting harmony leading into the extremely well crafted hook by Mike Shinoda where the beat is absolutely KNOCKING, but the melodic, measured pace and slightly inspirational lyrics fit like a square peg into a square hole. There's always so much ebb and flow in between the deep bass/hard percussion and emotionally charged lyrics on Mike Shinoda tracks. In my eyes, he produces so infrequently, it's easy to appreciate his craft and regard his as a genius when it comes to producing music this enjoyable on a consistent basis.

Maybe it caters to my tastes more than yours, but in my eyes this one's a diamond in the rough...even if you don't feel the same way, it's worth a listen...

Cypress Hill feat Mike Shinoda (Fort Minor) - Carry Me Away Great Track!!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Certified Funk...N.E.R.D. feat Nelly Furtado - Hot N' Fun

Y'all hadn't forgot about Pharrell, Chad Hugo and gang had you? Well just in case the answer to that was yes, here comes a not so subtle reminder of their ability to create booty shakin' basslines that can coax even the most introverted wallflower to get on up on the dancefloor.

This is the first single off N.E.R.D.'s new album titled Nothing and everyone's favorite Timbo protege Nelly Furtado came along for the ride. Nothing too complicated about this track as the name does the track justice with an upbeat, fun, dance-worthy beat that blends into a simple, repeatable chorus. You know how in the summertime you go get ice cream and get those ice cream cones that are dipped in chocolate? Well this one is dipped in straight FUNK!

Always had an appreciation for N.E.R.D. in that they can pull off the live music, instrument driven Hip Hop that doesn't sound out of just sounds fresh. For me it's fresh in small doses because I have to be in the mood to listen to their music due to it's in-your-face intensity. For the time being though, I'm in the mood for this...and you will be too...once you hear it on the dancefloor.

No more talk...just dance...

N.E.R.D. feat Nelly Furtado - Hot N' Fun First Single!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

B.O.B. feat T.I. - Not Lost (prod by JR Rotem)

On the eve before his debut album release, I've decided that the amount of quality tracks B.O.B. has released lately has become a re-cotdamn-diculous. I've taken a lap around Bobby Ray's new album The Adventures of Bobby Ray only to find maybe 1-2 tracks that I didn't want to put on repeat out of 12 (full album review will come in the next week or so). That's insane, I don't care who it is, it could be your favorite artist regardless of genre and you'll still find your way skipping a few tracks on the album, but 1-2?? That's it?? Even better, this track he did with T.I. isn't even going to make the final cut of his album because Coldplay wouldn't clear the sample.

While there hasn't been a statement made officially declaring that Coldplay put the brakes on releasing this track, you would have to be retarded to think this wouldn't have been a huge single and big addition to his new album. Of course, who better to create the sample than the sample master J J J JR Rotem. Pretty cool that he had a minute to contribute to the album for a hot sec in between launching Jason Derulo's career to instant stardom. Tip of the cap (as usual) on the Coldplay sample, absolutely nailing to vibe of the original track with a twist of Hip Hop. Really cool how the piano intro leads into the J J J JR, giving way to an addictingly upbeat canvas for B.O.B. and T.I. to shine on.

The truly inspirational verse from T.I. is what serves as the proverbial icing on the cake for an already great track. Check the lyrics:
T.I. Verse

All I know is keep going, sh-t don’t stop
until the hustle double up and put the click on top
used to wanna have the bricks on lock
til we went to prison saw we couldn’t pick them locks
easy decision, now a n-gga think I lost my touch
listen if I aint the realest ever done it, I aint off by much
so please don’t wake me up if I’m dreaming in the fast lane speedin’ no safety belt
and it’s a marathon pace yourself
in this race for wealth, talkin’ sh-t just a waste of breath
chasing me like chasing your tail, your never gon catch it
respect is something you never get if you never had it
I’m looking back and laughing, this life of mine
brought me all the way here from my life of crime
just a constant reminder that the end I’ll be always the one who knows all see’s all
[via killerhiphop]
Pretty rare to get such a personal, down to earth verse from T.I. like that, so take it for what its worth...(quite a bit). Also really liked how Bobby Ray went off the beaten path on his last verse with an off the brain, simple rhyme laden, storytelling-style prediction freestyle of sorts to finish the track. All I have to say is what are you thinking Coldplay??? Are you honestly scared they were gonna top you on your own track? All joking aside that may have actually happened considering T.I. always gets mainstream credibility, JR Rotem has been responsible for numerous #1 singles and on top of the B.O.B. currently has the #1 single on Billboard right now.

Give it a listen...

B.O.B. feat T.I. - Not Lost (prod by JR Rotem) Great Sample!!!

In case you're not as excited as me for his album (100% chance), check out these four short professional videos of some of his backstage and concert footage. The fourth episode was just released hours ago. I would pay a lot of money to see him in concert right now and know for a fact it would be more entertaining than Drake...(sorry homie, dude rocks the guitar and sings too)...these will probably make you go look up his tour schedule...#justsayin

The Adventures of Bobby Ray Episode 1

The Adventures of Bobby Ray Episode 2

The Adventures of Bobby Ray Episode 3

The Adventures of Bobby Ray Episode 4

Man I wish I had cool tour videos that were edited with my music in the background makin' me look waaay cooler than I really am. Seriously though, go out and cop his album, dude has given us 6 free ones, show some love.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Concert Review: Drake at Penn State

As you may or may not know I am kind of a fan of Drake. I had circled this concert date on my calendar since the day the tour was announced...and then got tickets. I knew it would be a nice two and a half hour trek to Happy Valley and a stretch to make it in time after work, but what the hell, might be my only chance to see Drake in a smaller venue before his new album Thank Me Later drops and he ascends to the upper echelon of Hip Hop.

Fast forward to me getting off work early enough to get to State College to grab some Qdoba with my roommate Mike, who wasn't 1/100th as excited for the concert as I. Didn't bother me one bit, I had enough motivation for the whole crowd both of us...especially after seeing the abundance of college dime pieces that I am no longer privy to viewing in my current geographic location. Really made me feel like I had done myself an injustice for not living up and taking advantage of being young and irresponsible...until I realized that I still do the exact same things now on the weekend with a smaller group of friends, no homework and slightly more ability to buy drinks. Do I wish I was still poor doing homework? Hell yes I do, have you seen the way college girls dress/act these days? No.

Anyways, fast forward to a slightly forgettable opening act, k-os, who had a few covers that got the crowds attention, but was a reminder why the tickets were so affordable. Slightly before 10 pm, the lights were killed, leading up to this hype intro with his verse from Forever:
Intro to Concert

Overall a pretty solid entrance, can't complain, it's probably his most recognized verse by now and an attention grabbing track. The first song was definitely an indication of what was to come with a lot of cameo verses from other tracks and a slightly unfamiliar live band sound to his music. Not gonna lie I was slightly cynical of the live band sound meshing with his music, but I kept an open mind and my thought process changed a bit throughout the concert.

From Forever, he took us on a So Far Gone journey around a couple less appreciated tracks like Unstoppable, the subtly inspirational Lust for Life and the cult/ladies favorite Houstonatlantavegas. To be quite honest, I never really did have the right appreciation for Houstonatlantavegas, but like a fine wine I'm appreciating it more and more as time goes on. Amidst less appreciated tracks from his mixtape were two of my favorites, the first being Uptown, where I was more than a little curious to hear if he was going to give his mid-first verse shout out to my Ohio State Buckeyes or whether he would switch the lyrics up to reflect the college he was performing at (Penn State). Lo and behold, Drizzy Drake kept it 100 and shouted out the Buckeyes, despite performing in front of a crowd of 100% Penn State fans. Daps & lbs were well deserved as he then continued on to perform my favorite track of his November 18th. To be honest I still get chills watching him perform this track in Houston where he literally couldn't get in a word because the whole audience was all over every word. Below is the track you all may or may not have heard me rapping in my car...for select audiences (you with a smile on your face right now know who you are...haha)
November 18th

No matter how many days/years go by that will always be one of my favorite tracks because it has so many elements of why I love music all in one track. From the DJ Screw inspired first verse with the slowed down tempo giving way to the R&B verse in the middle with the soulfully suggestive's as close to a perfect track to fit my musical tastes that you'll ever find. Was happy to hear it live...

Moving on to a new verse he has recently performed in concert from his track Fireworks. The lyrics to this track are like most of his music, personal and introspective. Can't wait for that whole song to drop on that one, but that was the first of 7 straight cameo verses where he took us from his verse on Killer with Nipsey Hustle to his verse off of Money to Blow, I'm Still Fly and a special rendition of I'm Going In where the crowd rapped out Lil Wayne's verse that was being taped and was supposed to air on Hot 97 the next day for big homie up at Rikers Island. He continued on with his verse off Fabolous's Throw it in the Bag remix (which I had forgot he even did til I heard it again) and finally finished with his second most played out verse off the Young Money track Bedrock.
Bedrock Verse

After the barrage of quick cameos I had a couple thoughts. 1) How many damn songs am I gonna get to hear tonight? (this is awesome!) 2) He really hasn't even released an album yet and he's got this many huge cameos that everyone knows the words to? That speaks to the amount of respect he has already garnered from his peers in the game.

Moving forward I appreciated the tempo of his set list slowing a bit for the ladies with his background vocals on the sexy Unthinkable with Alicia Keys, his duet with Lloyd on A Night Off. Most people don't even know he collaborated with Alicia on that track, but he aided a little bit of background harmony. Lotta people have slept on that BMM quality slow jam on A Night Off too...that's some grown and sexy ish right there.

It was cool to hear him speak so highly of his "favorite" track lyrically with Fear, which was a bonus track on his re-released So Far Gone.I'd suggest checking out why this is his most personal song. My favorite lyric of the track is:
"The honesty of my music has left me too exposed
All my old friends think I got a new crowd
And people seem to notice every time I do smile
I guess that mean they come few and far between
Even though am living out what you would call the dream."

Nobody would ever truly feel bad for someone who has to do with the problems that come from success and money, but the struggles are real. Biggie said it best, Mo Money Mo Problems man...and while I think deep down inside Aubrey Drake Graham is just a regular dude tryin' to kick it and be normal, the challenges that come with becoming successful changes people. The fact that he can openly vent about that through tracks like this makes his music all the more accessible and as a result, me at least...I know I over analyze...#gift/curse 

Got a little sidetracked there, but as Drake headed toward the finish line, he brought us back in with well known tracks like Successful and Invented Sex with Trey Songz, Say Something with Timbo and the classic Best I Ever Had. All were about what you would expect, I really enjoyed hearing Successful live though and would have probably lost it had he thrown in that extra "lost" verse, but was still satisfied when he chose not to go four verses deep on a three verse track.

As 11 o'clock was rolling up and he was getting ushered off the stage like he had just sung My Way, he still (of course) had one left in him, his new single Over. I really think as people continue to warm up to this track with it getting more radio play, it will get to the point where it's as recognizable as Best I Ever Had, but it won't be the track that his album is remembered for. Now thats a 100% blind prediction, I'm not sitting on any underground knowledge other than a blueprint for a tracklist at this point, but I don't think Over has reached it's peak popularity by any means so far. Predictions aside here's a clip of his concert ending performance of Over.  

Overall I'll give the concert a solid B because all in all it was a good show, I got to see a lot of my favorite tracks of his live and in person. What it was missing was a good opening act and a smaller, more private venue. I'm still not sure if I really liked his live band aspect, but I can see where he's tryin' to go with it in making it more of a show than him rapping for the whole concert. Sure I could be picky and say I wish I would have heard an off the brain rendition of his Say U Will freestyle or wish that he would have done his classic track Congratulations, but those were far from expected to be on the set list. I only saw about 2 or 3 college kids get kicked out for being too intoxicated, so you could say the crowd was slightly rowdy, but well controlled and still into his music, which made it more enjoyable too. My hope is that once his album drops I can catch him at a smaller venue (probably not going to happen) and hear a more up close version of a lot of his tracks, which would make the emotion he pours into his music that much more palpable. Still if you get a chance I'd catch him if he's coming near you soon....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weekend Party Track: Will I Am - Fly Away (prod by Crookers)

You wanna talk about a good look...Will I Am and Crookers getting together on a dance thats a GOOD LOOK! With the multitude of Black Eyed Peas dance tracks that Will has been a part of, it's a logical progression of quality and a step up from what you'd usually hear from the Black Eyed Peas in my opinion...who for the record, were an awesome, organic, true Hip Hop group before Fergie eff'ditallup came into the picture.

Lyrically it's your typical dance track with a very repeatable chorus "Fly Away, Fly Away, Fly Away" and it even has a little autotune mixed in, just too make it that much more processed for general consumption. Just another example of how Hip Hop/R&B mixed with House/Techno can be a match made in heaven. It's about time we had an injection of quality European house/techno into Hip Hop from producers like David Guetta and Crookers.

Will I Am - Fly Away (prod by Crookers) HOT CLUB Track!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Throwback Thurs: Mr Pookie & Mr Lucci - Late Night Coastin/Crook 4 Life

Back around 2000, I was going through my Texas rap phase, growing a stronger appreciation for the likes of UGK (Pimp C, Bun-B), Scarface, stuff produced by Michael 5000 Watts...basically any and everything surrounding Swishahouse and Houston. During my audio journey around Texas, I stumbled on a couple lesser known artists that caught my attention, Mr. Pookie and Mr. Lucci.

Being the older of the two, Mr. Pookie hit the scene around 1999 with his debut album titled Tha Rippla, which to this day (according to Soundscan) is the highest selling Hip Hop album (selling over 90,000 copies independently) by a rapper from Dallas (between regular and chopped/screwed).

Mr. Lucci is considered more of the protege, being 5 years younger (17 when he released his first album Diabolical). Together the two form a great one-two combo, so much so they have Myspace page together? While they both  have slightly different tones when rapping, they both have a quick paced flow and are known for their Southern drawl. They also subscribe to some of that low bass, which isn't afraid to do a little work on the posterior end of motor vehicles...

You won't know who the hell these guys are, but it's different from what you usually hear and is classic playlist worthy in my modest opinion...give 'em a listen...

Mr. Pookie feat Mr. Lucci - Crook 4 Life Classic!!!!

Mr. Lucci feat Mr. Pookie - Late Night Coastin' Classic!!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Artist Spotlight: Na Palm

As I alluded to earlier in the week, Chi-town is becoming more and more of a hotbed of talented Hip Hop artists. Sure we all know The Cool Kids, Kanye, Lupe, Common, Rhymefest, even further back to the 90s when The Legendary Traxster was layin' down consistently under-appreciated beats for the likes of Do or Die and Twista. For the record, Do or Die's Headz or Tailz album was hands down one of my favorite Hip Hop albums of the 1990s. Yea everybody loved Still Po Pimpin', but Just Ballin' and All in the Club were my two favorite tracks on that disk I still rock to this day.

But this post isn't meant to pay homage to those who have made themselves a name in the Windy City, it's more to shine the light on an up and coming artist, Craig Steven Palm aka Na Palm, who is quietly making a name for himself. I say quietly because dude has over 17,000 fans on his Facebook page and you haven't even heard his music yet. Shit I'd be happy if 17,000 people recognized my name, let alone followed me on Facebook (hah!). I'm not even tryin' to take full credit for stumbling on him either, a couple of buddies I went to High School with schooled me on his stuff recently (good look Herring!) and since that, I've taken a liking to some of his material, most notably his new single Go Go Girl.

Not lacking on charisma once he grabs the mic, with high energy flow and engaging stage presence, Nay epitomizes the hype the you'd expect from someone heavily influenced by the movement that was Chicago House. Unafraid to call out Asher Roth on a diss record, describing his personality as off the chain may not do him justice. Matter of fact, if you've been around Chicago of late, you might have seen your boy out at any and all clubs in the area (Crescendo, Enclave, Alhambra Palace, V Live - THIS SUNDAY!) goin' AbraHAM Lincoln, doin' his best to live up to his unapologetic "Party Rapper" image.
(art by Na Palm)
As far as his music is concerned, I'll be honest, I've heard just as many freestyles as actual tracks, but the non-freestyles are every bit techno/house/go go as they are Hip Hop. In fact, you should probably go check out a lot more of Na Palm's stuff on FakeShoreDrive, the home of all that is Chicago Hip Hop on the internet. I've got a lot of respect for the quality the folks over at FakeShore have been putting out for over three years, you'd probably be better off and more in the know Hip Hop wise by subscribing to their feed or becoming a fan on Facebook or Twitter. Needless to say they probably don't need a shout out in comparison to the small but steady grind I've got goin' on with this site, but my buddy is good friends with the creator, so I'm sure he'd appreciate the support.

Back to the track at hand, his new single Go Go Girl, which sounds more like it came from DC, than Chi-town. Starts out with a lil' piano & melody delivered by Ben One, giving way to a syncopated, upbeat rhythm, shadowed by a measured bass, snare, hi-hat. All elements characteristic of the Go-Go flavored Hip Hop that artists like Wale have recently started bringing to the limelight with tracks like this.The rhythmic, but soothing vibe of this track is a 180 compared to a lot of the party tracks that Na Palm has done, but it's a safe bet to get him more than a few listens on radio stations. Big fan of the unique sound of the track, more artists in the game should have the same fearlessness to develop their own Hip Hop sound rather than rely on the tired old cookie cutter, vanilla formula.

Check out the track and go show him some love this Sunday when he and another favorite new act of mine, 2 AM Club are opening for Mike Posner at V Live....

Na Palm - Go Go Girl Hot New Single

As a bonus, here are two more sides to Na Palm's game, the first being a hard hitting party/techno track called Two Days Straight, which sounds like a shot of Goldschlager. The second is a recent freestyle I managed to find on a stroll down FakeShoreDrive. First one will get you dancin' in the club, the second will give you an appreciation for some quality lyricism...

Na Palm - Two Days Straight House Rap

Na Palm - The Coolest (Freestyle Remix) Dope

...and in case you haven't been schooled on the main act for Sunday night's concert, check out a crazy remix of Mike Posner's new track Cooler Than Me...

Mike Posner - Cooler Than Me (Gigamesh Remix) Great Remix!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

B.O.B. feat Eminem & Hayley Williams - Airplanes Part II

With only one week to go before his April 27th debut release The Adventures of Bobby Ray, we get an upgrade on an already stellar track. How do you take an already stellar track and upgrade it to classic? Throw an Eminem verse on there and slow the beat a bit to make it sound slightly more Hip Hop. You may say, "nah man, not another drug induced verse like that ish he did on Relapse and Relapse: Refill", but similar to the verses he spit on Drop the World and Forever, we're able to see that spark generated when he gets personal with his lyrics in telling us a story. I can only hope that he continues this sort of "serious", down to earth, inspired verses from Em on his next album Recovery out June 22nd.

Cool thing about Airplanes II are the completely different verses and the characteristically slow methodical clap of the beat. Bobby Ray again takes us back to when he was just like you and me, "back in 98 when he was eatin' lunch of Styrofoam plates", "when everybody loved and nobody hated". His story is a stark contrast to what Eminem came up with, which is why his verses are less raging, but you get two sides to the story from a "how I came up" perspective. "Think Mockingbird or even When I'm Gone if you're wanting Eminem tracks that match the sort of soft piano vibe created on this track and in his verse. The ultra emotional, slightly aggressive, but subtly inspirational verse pulls you in because his personally raw story is delivered with such vigor that it takes you back to when he captivated his audience with his audacity and vehemence.

Needless to say after 7 leaked tracks that could be released as singles and have won over my fandom, support and appreciation, is there any question how great this album is going to be? It's almost like anything else from here on out on the album would just be icing on the cake and I'm left feeling like Bobby Ray never got the memo that everybody has at least a couple filler tracks on their album.

It is what it is...enjoy this picturesque Spring mix of Hip and Pop with a little hardcore Rap dressing....

B.O.B. feat Eminem & Hayley Williams - Airplanes Part II GREAT Track!!!!!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Buzz Track: AON feat IYAZ - My Girl (prod by JR Rotem)'s officially cool nowadays to go by an acronym rather than your real name. We have two examples of that here with IYAZ whom you've now heard a few different hits from. IYAZ's real name is Keidran Jones and I really have no idea how that loosely translates to his stage name. On the other hand we have new up and coming artist AON, out of all places Chicago (is it me or is Chicago gettin' it in of late with new artists?). His real name is Hence Opoku, while his stage name stands for Ambitious Or Nothing, which makes for a little more understandable and unique real name/nickname combo than IYAZ.

On top of that, dude is only 16! Pretty crazy, but my guess is captain radio hit himself (JR Rotem) snatched up this talented kid, put his new artist IYAZ (who has a undeniably radio friendly voice now) on the hook and said let's see if this catches fire?. My prediction is that once a few people get a listen of this track it will end up being a pretty sizeable, well-known top 25 hit and do some serious work on the charts. I don't know if it will be able to reach IYAZ's Replay status, but still this is a real feel good summertime feeling track. I'll be the first to admit, I slept on this track last month and didn't give it the proper credit...until I realized on my road trip to DC this weekend how much I actually liked the track.

I'm not about to discount this as a young cat jumping on a ready-made Rotem hit either. AON has some swag about his flow, he doesn't sound like he's 16 at all. While the hook is what will suck people in with IYAZ's addicting reggae flow, the verses aren't a let down at all in my opinion. Given it's easier to drive when you've got JR at the wheel, but still there's something more here than just a young kid making one radio hit. Take for instance the last verse of the track where AON shows a lil' lyrical creativity...

"It's a fact, I should have them bragging rights
cause my girl be the baddest and uh...she actin right
it's magic right how she keep me Glad-ys night
I gotta beat it, cause lil momma bad as Mike
Her body mean even when she actin nice
In fact I might, wife if she actin right
Give her bling so bright it will max the light
Can't be a playa no more, I have to wife"

And then when he finishes with a line like...

"You so can keep my first and my last name...HAHA!!"

...smh...but still a good line and an exhibit of the swag on deck. Lookin' forward for more to come from AON, but man no lie, every time I've listened to this track the past week it's done nothing by pour more gasoline on it's potential...somethin' tells me if you don't get to listenin' to this soon, you're gonna miss the bus and it's gonna be on everyone else's playlist before you...don't be typical, cop it and share it with your friends you greedy melon farmer...

AON feat IYAZ - My Girl (prod by JR Rotem) HOTTT SUMMER TRACK!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Did They Do The Sample Justice? Rhymefest - Familiar Faces on Gary Jules - Mad World

I'm always a fan of artists grabbing a song from a different musical genre and flipping it with their own touch of Hip Hop. This track is no exception, as Chi-town native, Rhymefest re-did Gary Jules' track Mad World to the fullest.

You may be scratching your head wondering wtf Gary Jules is, but I bet you've heard the track narrating the commercial for Xbox's Gears of War :

or even in the movie Donnie Darko starring Jake Gyllenhaal (see clip below)...

There's something undeniably depressing and haunting about this track and most of it (obviously) comes from the lyrics...
"And I find it kind of funny,I find it kind of sad, The dreams in which I'm dying, Are the best I've ever had"
Gary Jules takes the mood of the track waaaay past being simply lyrically depressing with his shaky, pleading tone. The folks who chose this track for the Gears of War commercial are geniuses because as a whole the song epitomizes the uncertainty of imminent danger closing in on you. The track makes the feelings unpredictability and skepticism that creeps into all humans' brains very real. Regardless of whether it's good or bad, a track that can capture emotion and portray it in such a palpable way is deserving of my respect.

Which is why I'm really glad a talented storyteller like Rhymefest took on the challenge of sampling this track and making it his own. I say that because this isn't the first time 'fest has taken a folk track and put a Hip Hop spin on it. Who could forget his intense mix of Citizen Cope's Bullet and a Target. Similar to this track, Rhymefest took more of a serious, storytelling realistic angle on the lyrics, first about how young kids sign up for the army and are shipping away into battle...furthering the "Bullet and a Target" song name and breathing life into the metaphor with a literal shot of reality, then warning of the dangers of unprotected sex and how that can put you in the path of a bullet. Each tale equally harsh, but fitting for the subject matter.

This time he again matched the mood of the track to a T, with lyrics like:

" can feel my rage, I'm burning inside nobody can speak my language, we all wanna be different but we're doing the same shit!"

"Same heartbreak we carry the same scars, I carry the same scars!! And when you've finally made it, there's no real friends just smiling faces..."

"Does it start on our birthday? Half of us wasn't even planned in the first place, other half of us was given everything we got, there you have it, the have and the have nots, I was born on a black spot, my life's a plane this song is the black box"

"It's hard to separate reality from fantasy, So does it matter if I'm here or not? If no one's around could you hear the shot? Would my father miss me? You think a tear would drop? And would the world stop spinning...and the clock stop?......I think not"

Wow...heavy stuff...I could never find myself thinking this negatively in real life, but some would argue a lot of the points he made on this track are a shot of realism. For example, when you've finally made it big, you attract a lot of people who hang around you for money (the smiling faces he calls them) and the notion that a lot of people don't have to work hard to be given opportunities in life (the haves/have nots). It's all interesting and delivered in a dramatic way with the help of underrated producer Emile, who is starting to be known as the king of depressing productions (he produced much of Kid Cudi's Moon Man album).

In addition to checking this track out, you should do is cop Rhymefest's new mixtape titled Dangerous 5:18 Mixtape. The track below is on it along with a track he did with John Mayer titled Letter. In case you can't tell, I definitely believe Rhymefest did do the Gary Jules sample justice...opinions?

Gary Jules feat Michael Andrews - Mad World Folk Classic!!!

Rhymefest - Familiar Faces (prod by Emile) Great Sample!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Setting a Lyrical Standard...Royce da 5'9" feat Crooked I & Bun-B - Nobody F'in With Us

With half of Slaughterhouse being represented on this track in combination with one of my favorite artists, Bun-B, it wasn't a stretch to say I was going to like this track before even listening. After listening to it, I left thinking to myself...wait hold up...Crook and Bun killed it, but again I was reminded of how incredibly underrated Royce da 5'9" is as a lyricist. Evidently this isn't even the final version of the track as Joe Budden and a few others are going to lend a verse which will eventually push the track length over 10 mins. Let's just rail off a few notable quotables from the track:

Bun-B off top -"Let's get it started like transmission and alternators got the keys in the cage ready for who you call the greatest"

Crooked I - "I'm the present in the future, like Christmas in 2012 I'm the present in the future"

"I am tighter than the Biggest Losers cruisin in a smart Car, distinguished alke, the flask on the ar-mour"

Royce da 5'9" (best verse by far, he gets it all posted)
"Flow tight I should probably ghost write for your idol
my pen game is god like I could write for the Bible
I'm so good
That after I rock it tonight
I'ma go Sexual Chocolate and drop the mic!
Don't even attempt to stop me
Mention me, top me
my pencil is nice it should only be mentally dropping the dice
I'm a speech beast you best do not approach me
Matter of fact I think I'll second that emotion like a retweet
my stock goin up like a Lamborghini door
I feel like Chuck Woolery in the damn Bernini store
You playin yourself you remind me of the lotto
You was good then you turned hood you remind me of Muscato
I don't aim I'm like Dick Cheney
The fo sprayer, light yo head up like lil pay-in when he get angry
This ain't Simon says, b**** this what Ryan says
I hit the track and its a wrap like Aunt Jemima's head
I'm beyond out of my mind
If you can imagine using Magic's Johnson without a condom I'm BONKERS! the streets goin dude is tremendous
If I come for your blood I ain't gon be usin' syringes
I am raw, there is a difference between I and y'all
You oppose, you throwin an iron wall
The sound of Alan G Black signin his name on the dotted line
is your favorite rapper signing off...."

Crazy creativity, wordplay and flow....can't wait for Joey to bless the track too. Give it a listen if you're in the  freestyle mood and can appreciate some lyrics dipped in swagger....

Royce da 5'9" feat Crooked I Bun-B - Nobody F'in With Us HOTTTT!!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Throwback Thurs: Did They Do the Sample Justice? Afu-Ra Whirlwind Thru Cities on Les McCann's Roberta

This post all just came together a night last week while catching up on daily Twitter activities. In an effort to continue this Throwback Thursday, I've been scouring the incredibly disorganized library of tracks that I consider to be worth of the Classic title. Let's start from the beginning though, when Asher posted this on Twitter:
Me being curious, made an attempt to figure out who this guy was and why Asher was speaking so highly of Les. On my curious journey I found that one of my favorite tracks from way back in 2000 by Afu-Ra's Whirlwind Thru Cities sampled Les's track Roberta. Much of the reason I first started liking Afu's track was because of that storybook mellow piano that was evidently not his own. Here's the original track by Les McCann...

Les McCann - Roberta Great Piano Sample!!!

While you'll never recognize a name like Afu-Ra, he did make some noise back in early 2000 with his album Body of the Life Force. Being more of a Hip Hop artist than a rapper, you can tell by his well thought out verses, he's more of a cerebral artist. This is without a doubt my favorite track of his and it's more of a mellow, but slightly uptempo track that has lasted the test of time with me and remained on iTunes playlists.

Give it a listen and do yourself a favor by taking Asher's advice and putting Les McCann's name in Pandora to see where it takes you...

Afu-Ra - Whirlwind Thru Cities Classic!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Top Hip Hop Song of March: Charles Hamilton - Choices (A Wave for Alex)

In all honesty it's been a while since I've heard a Hip Hop track that moves me like Charles Hamilton's new track Choices (A Wave for Alex). Before I get ahead of myself about the why, it would be advantageous to understand just how maligned Charles has been over the past year. Even a year and a half ago, if you would have asked me who the top 5 up and coming artists are in Hip Hop, potential-wise, I would have said without hesitation that Charles belongs in that group.

With can't miss tracks like Brooklyn Girls (which was heard on the HBO show Entourage and is still a relatively underground classic in BK), Tears of Fire he did with Crooked I, his track Barbara Walters (a personal favorite)...oh yea and you can't forget that slept on track he did with Asher Roth and B.O.B. titled A Change Gon Come. It's undeniable, he's an intellect, a poet, and takes pride is producing his own tracks. Unfortunately he quickly became one of those "he's the only one who can get in his way stories..."

Which brings us to his downfall last year where he was somewhat exposed for his cocky demeanor. DJ Jay's said it best when they borrowed from a little Charlie Murphy by calling him a "habitual linestepper". He was clearly ahead of the game technology wise with blogging and twittering...but the only thing is he used those technology outlets to talk shit non-stop, taking on a Roger Clemens like ego in the process and becoming one of the most hated MCs. Then there was when he overdid the sarcasm a bit with an ex girlfriend during a street interview turned battle and took a fierce right hook from her at the 2:33 mark. And the final nail in the coffin was when he tried to convince everyone that J Dilla, a legendary Hip Hop producer who had recently passed away, had helped produce the album he was about to release. Let's just say he pissed a lot of people off and on top of it, got dropped by his record label Interscope.

Seems he sorta pulled a Tiger Woods on us and laid low for a few months getting his life in line and staying out of the spotlight. My guess is, he took the advice of one of the best bloggers in the game,Contra of the Smoking Section, when he eloquently told Charles last June to STFU for a hot minute, apologize and get back to making music..

Months later...that actually happened...he kept his mouth shut and Hip Hop forgot about him for a while (luckily). On the real, he actually stopped blogging and moved out to Southern California to life with his uncle Jeff in an attempt to get his life back together.

Sometimes it takes time, other times it takes a bit of growing up...for Charles it took a very real experience. The family he was living with's son, 17 year old Alex Capozza was killed in a drunk driving accident (he got in a car with a drunk driver).


Which...leads us to the present track where Charles manages to sound humbled, introspective and extraordinarily candid with his past misgivings, in an attempt to bring to light his problems as well as shed light on a 17 year old whose death should serve as a "lesson to all the irresponsibles out there". Much of this is coming straight from his own blog,, where he did a very lengthy post in dedication to Alex. In an open letter to Alex's family, he describes the purpose of the track:
"The song “Choices” – A Wave For Alex, serves as a reminder of how precious and short our existence is and how our fate can be altered by the choices we make. I swear I could feel Alex as I wrote this song, guiding me through his last moments as if they were my own. Alex paid dearly for the choice of getting in a car with a drunk driver at the wheel. Without the intervention of some very supportive people, I was on a path to a similar destiny. It is hard to think about my own bad choices and substance abuse days and this reminds me of how grateful I am to be surrounded by people, including your family, who cared enough to get me back on track. Although I never had the opportunity to meet your brother, your family has become part of my extended family and this tragedy has had a profound affect on me. My heartfelt prayers go out to you.

This song is dedicated to Alex. I can only hope that this serves as a reminder that we should all make wise choices. Listen carefully to the lyrics of this song.
~~Charles Hamilton~~"
As far as how I feel about the track, it really did stick to me on so many levels. If you've been paying attention to my lovefest continual posts about Bobby Ray and how much of a fan I am of his recent music, saying this track was better than all of his the past month is not a small feat. The abstract nature of Charles' lyrics on this track come off sounding profound and deeply personal. In a world where Hip Hop is starting to shift toward intelligent lyrics and artists exposing their inner demons, a track like this should be the standard. Please if you listen to this track, first click on the
so that you can gain an appreciation for why this track stands out. Some of the notable quote-ables:
"In my bedroom
Re-introducing wrist to knife
Chicks are my kriptonite
Spliffs are my lifted spirit
Seemed like everybody hated the work I put in
Now you waitin' for the goodness I been makin'
What good is it if I die?
Y'all don't know when I cry
My laptop does
That's NOT love"

"Normalcy is so important to me
But if u force it, it will force you into morbid dreams"

"To some, I grew some
I just let the rapist take what they can lose, won
Up the world, is the whisper
But I love the world, is what was spiked in my plight elixir"

Me being a spiritual person in nature, one who lives (literally) on faith and (survives) on belief in positivity (F&B as me and my friend Chelsea call it) can relate on a lot of levels, with the song coming from a deeply moving perspective of someone struggling with their inner demons. Having followed Charles for quite some time I can appreciate the way he's able to lyrically vent about the pain on his journey for self improvement. When I'm at my most vulnerable I tend to do, say, write, produce many of the things I'm most proud of, including this blog. I see Charles as being no different, life clearly ganged up on him and (whether he deserved it or not) probably made his inner struggles 100 times worse. Regardless of whether we know the person or not, hearing about a teenager having their life cut short by making one bad decision is gut wrenching. Judging by the video below, Alex touched a lot of peoples' lives and there was probably no better way to pay respects for Alex (who loved to surf) than to have everyone (looks like hundreds of people?) together holding hands in the ocean chanting his name. See below:

Man...that was a heavy for me to watch. I applaud Charles for the creativity in song title, paying respect to Alex through surfing as well as waving goodbye and naming the song Choices so it serves as a lesson for others. This beat couldn't have been more perfect either, taking on a sad tone on the sample with a steady powerful rhythm. At the end of the track where he paints a visual of the video tribute and manages to take the audio sample of the video where everyone is yelling ALEX!! all just fit together to form an incredibly powerful and moving track. Even infusing a little humor at the end by saying

"Wish we coulda hung out sometime man, my balance ain't that great on a surfboard but you know...I'm really good at surfing the internet!"

...he left the listener with a smile on their face after taking us on a very real and emotional journey. Speaking of which I'm about all out of that...emotion...after writing about my affinity for this track.

(a picture drawn by Alex weeks before he passed away)

I hope if you all don't read any of my posts the next year, you read this one. It moved me and I hope in some way shape or form, it moves you too...listen below.

Charles Hamilton - Choices (A Wave for Alex) Best Hip Hop Song of March!!!

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