Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bei Maejor is Not Afraid to Wife Yo Sexy Ass Up

For all of you that pay attention closely, y'all know how big of a supporter I am of Bei Maejor. For good reason, I gave his previous mixtape Upside Down rave reviews for being front to back filled with a mix of great Hip Hop and R&B tracks. Not one to disappoint, he's back at it again with a sequel to his first effort, Upside Down 2, continuing his uwop ǝpısdn series.

Like his first mixtape, he mixes plenty of stories over harmonies and great beats from some of the game's best producers like @kanebeatz, @boi1da and @MAESTRO. His music has depth, purpose and ranges from trap music sounding tracks like U Know How It Go, to baby makin' music with Right Now, to inspirational stores on the Boi-1da produced Teardrops and Telephone Calls. Shoot he even mixes in a few features you wouldn't expect like the Jack Johnson guitar and vocal aided Upside Down and the Shaggy/Merrillee Rush sampled Hit Me Up Angel.

My personal favorite so far on the mixtape is the Kane Is In The Building produced Wife U Up. The beat initially reminds me of Travis Porter's Over Again with the piano leading the way into an upbeat, head nod inducing hook delivered with a touch of autotune by Bei. It's a fun track that'll have you singin' "Hey pretty girl hey sexy sexy lady, the way that that booty drop make me go crazy" by the end of the track.

Give it a listen and do your iPod a favor and supplement it with a @BEIMAEJOR playlist sprinkled with tracks from Upside Down and Upside Down 2...

Bei Maejor - Wife U Up (prod by Kane Beatz)

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Everyone Thinks That I Have It All, It’s So Empty Living Behind These Castle Walls"

Even though T.I. just got sent back to the same Arkansas prison on November 1st to serve an 11 month sentence following a drug related arrest/violation of his parole, the show must go on with his album No Mercy that is due out December 7th. Taking one quick look at the tracklist has me beyond excited to not only see a DJ Toomp track, but also a Danja, Jim Jonsin, @KanyeWest and most notably an Alex da Kid produced track. I'd say @ALEXDAKID is making quite a name for himself with all these high profile production credits of late.

The slow and steady rat-a-tat of the beat over a whiny electro-synth piano creates a perfect backdrop for T.I. to open up about how being famous and great isn't all cracked it's up to be sometimes. Sort of appropriate considering how famous and rich @TIP is, yet he can't seem to stay out of jail, making the subject of the track ominously realistic as he now resides behind walls in a castle that no man ever wants to visit. Call it a modern day critique of fame and fortune or even a more emotional, somber, present day version portrayal of a true Hip Hop star and the struggle he still goes through despite the unrelenting success, either way it's got a much deeper messages and is accentuated by a beautiful hook delivered by Christina Aguilera.

As facinated as I've become with this track, it was cool hearing about how the track came to be from the newest, hottest kid on the block named Alex...shhhh Alex da Kid is coming!

Slated to be a single off his new album, this one is headed for that NUMBER 1 SPOT! Go support T.I. when his album drops on November 7th, early prediction is that it'll compete with Eminem and Kanye for album of the year...

T.I. feat Christina Aguilera - Castle Walls (prod by Alex Da Kid)
| Download

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tron Legacy Will Be Great Because Of Daft Punk

With the 3D movie craze taking over theaters the past couple years, it's rare that an upcoming 3D movie would need another tactic to draw in viewers. Intentional or not, Tron Legacy, due out in theaters December 17th, is sucking in a secondary demographic of electro/dance fans with the Soundtrack to the movie.
The Tron Legacy OST is produced entirely by the French electronic duo Daft Punk, one of the best and most influential dance/electro groups ever. The past year or so, trailers have surfaced like the official one below, which showcase the music and how well it will fit with the movie...
The effects should be epic, but for me at least, there's nothing better than having background music that makes the movie memorable...you know? Like you remember certain scenes in a movie sometimes based on the music, that's what I see happening with Tron Legacy. When you've got the stunning 3D visuals like in the trailer above and mix them with the type of music in the YouTube video below, I'm not sure what more you need to get excited for a movie...
Soundtrack is due out December 7th and the movie comes out December 17th...cop one, watch the other...oh and say a little prayer that we keep getting more music out of Daft Punk. They hadn't released an album since 2007, three years later...one hell of a finished product in the form of a Soundtrack...

Daft Punk - Tron Legacy Theme

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Are You An 80's Baby?

This one snuck under the radar on my past month's Song List I send out, mostly because I'm not a huge fan of Busta or @50CENT in general. Off top the synthesizer lead in, followed by the upbeat roll and steady knock of the beat make it an infectious, head nod inspiring listen. Even more interesting is Wyclef's influence as he adds a verse at the end that is more singing than rapping, which gives way to the roar of the guitar riff toward the end of the track. Can't even find production credits on this one, but if you're out there serious daps & lbs on the beat.

By the end of the track @WYCLEF will have you humming the "Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh" and @BUSABUSSS's slow bars on his verses provide a potent contrast to the tempo of the beat, almost a polar opposite of the fast flow he's known for. Real chill heat rock #IMO, not a tough sell at all if you give it a chance...

Busta Rhymes feat Wyclef & 50 Cent - 80's Baby

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sequel To I Love College...The Hangover

Put it this way if you chuckled when you listened to Asher Roth's I Love College, then you'll enjoy this new single from @shawnchrys. Similar to the aforementioned track that lit up radios a couple years ago, this one chronicles the responsibility free life every social, single male or female in their late teens or early 20s. It's easy to relate to the "I'm never drink again..eva! I'm done!" phrase that comes out of anyone's mouth that has ever been hung over and if you combine that with the sing-along style lyrics and vibe of the track, it's got the makings of a lethal second single that'll be on his upcoming album You and Only You (Pre-Order starts on Mon)...
Give it a listen and stop sleeping on Shawn Chrys...

Shawn Chrystopher - The Hangover

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Concert Review: Wiz Khalifa

Sometimes it's tough to judge how wide of a fan base an artist has. I say that because in Hip Hop especially, concerts aren't always that entertaining, even for someone like me who has been an avid supporter and fan of the genre for decades. I'll qualify the use of the word entertaining, by describing my definition of entertaining (concert wise) as a display of skill usually through use of instrumentation that is supplemented by vocal talent. Given that description, it's hard to fit Hip Hop into that box, it just doesn't fit since there is rarely live instruments or any sort of singing. Yea it's cool when an artist rips off a freestyle or drops that verse you know word for word at a live show, but in my opinion that can only get you so far, especially when the lyrics (generally speaking) aren't as easily understood live.

I needed to preface my review of @REALWIZKHALIFA's show with that description because of how surprised I was at a lot of things I witnessed at his show. Before I get into why, rewind a minute to when I missed out on getting tickets to the show because I assumed I was going to be able to buy tickets at the door. I chose that route because I had been to many concerts at Croc Rock in Allentown before and no matter who is playing (Asher Roth, Citizen Cope, Sean Kingston), they always allowed people to buy tickets at the door.

Who would have been able to predict Wiz would be able to sell out the venue and they wouldn't sell tickets at the door? Not me...but since I had nothing better to do on a Tuesday night, I waited around a bit in hopes of finding a way in. 15 minutes of standing by the door and I saw my opportunity to get in when a group of guys (who I knew didn't have tickets) approached the door. I fully intended on paying the door price as I approached the side door where they were letting people in. Evidently one of the guys I was following was the man because they let the lead guy in and everyone behind him was getting stamped and allowed in for free. I trailed the group and after the guy in front of me was stamped, the lady at the door said, "Are you with them?". Hmm...take a minute to think about what you would have done in that situation? Would you A) Tell the lady no and you would like to buy a ticket B) Tell the lady yes and try to blend in with the group that had already entered the concert. Welp, after considering these two options for less than a split second I calmly said, "yea" and the lady stamped my hand as I walked in to try and catch up with "my group". That's how you get in free to a sold out show...by being opportunistic and blending in evidently...but still when does that ever happen?

After pinching myself a few times, I walked in and fullback-style plowed through a completely packed, small venue. Perfect...a spot in the back with a little elevation and clear view to the stage. A few quick observations as I walked in...how in the hell is the crowd 95% white? (stoners) My goodness, is this event over 18 or did I just imagine seeing little kids running around? How does the air inside already smell like 50% oxygen and 50% dank?
Interesting...and as Big K.R.I.T. took the stage after about a half hour of DJ-assisted crowd hyping with lots of Wacka Flocka and a lil Young Jeezy, I was probably one of 5 people at the show legitimately excited to see him on stage.
Such is the life for an up and coming artist in the game, but generally speaking I was impressed with the energy @bigkrit brought to the stage. The way I see it, if you don't come off genuinely excited and passionate on stage spittin' your own lyrics, then how in the hell are you going to win over fans? I enjoyed hearing him do Country Shit and my personal favorite Hometown Heroes. The acoustics were pretty terrible, so the video of his performance is sub-par, but nonetheless, I thought he brought it that night and people who didn't know his name prior to the concert took note of his lyrical ability.Best part of his set was when he mixed the last verse of Country Shit into the instrumental of Mississippi native David Banner's Like A Pimp. Tip of the cap, keep the good music comin' K.R.I.T. 

Moving on to the main act, which was welcomed with plenty of Wiz! Wiz! Wiz! chants by the crowd, literally chomping at the bit for what was about to ensue. He hit the stage with a strong contingent of his Taylor Gang in tow, creating a pretty crowded mix of hype men and cameramen flowing throughout the stage. I'll say this, prior to the concert I'd say I was a rookie when it came to Wiz Khalifa's older music. I had heard a few tracks like his huge hit Say Yeah from way back when, but most of my fandom came from his newest mixtape Kush & Orange Juice. Still, I didn't expect to be unfamiliar with the first 6 or so songs he played.

In hindsight, I can say now he did older tracks like Cabin Fever and B.A.R. (Burn After Rolling), which I've since become a big fan of after the show. That's why I love concerts, you get a better representation about what songs the artist and fans like most and since I wasn't a real fan of Wiz prior to the show, I took notes. As the show went on I started to gain an appreciation for how dedicated and die hard of a fan base he had. From the start of his set to the last word of the show, the crowd knew every word, so much so that Wiz kept stopping mid-verse to let the crowd sing and not once was a word missed THE WHOLE SHOW.

As he weaved through his newest material off his mixtape playing tracks like Good Dank and Still Blazin', I felt more like I fit in with the die hards surrounding me all around. Even better, he did a methodical rendition of one my favorites Never Been, followed by everyone's favorite new track Black & Yellow. Black stripe...Yellow paint...

It was every bit as hype as I expected and the crowd energy only added to it. Only thing I wish I had was a black and yellow towel to wave.

As the show wound down I kept wondering whether he would close with an old school favorite like Say Yeah or his most popular, semi-recent track This Plane. Press play below to find out and shout out to the bouncer lettin' me get a birds eye view above the crowd for the encore...

Great way to end the show even though the track is a little calmer than a track you'd expect for an encore. Still, I gained a very real appreciation for just how white hot Wiz's buzz is by seeing how die hard his fan base is. I don't even think it's a stretch or being too audacious to say Wiz has a more hard core fan base than any other new Hip Hop act out right now and that includes Cudi, Drake, J Cole, and B.O.B. He'll need years of music to catch up with acts like Jay-Z, Eminem and Kanye, but as far as new artists are concerned, he's head and shoulders above all other acts as far as having an army of supporters repping Taylor Gang.

Goes without saying, Taylor Gang (@REALTAYLORGANG) is IN the building and whether you decide to shout TGOD! or be a Cloudkicker, it's hard not to wanna join the movement...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"I Said If You Could Be Where I’m At, You’d Wanna Be You Too"

Man what is with bonus tracks on this weeks' album releases? Between the track below and Nicki Minaj's Girls Fall Like Dominos, it seems like the thing to do now is to end albums with an exclamation point. The album I'm speaking of is Lloyd Banks's new release Hunger For More 2, which also dropped this week on iTunes.

What's cool about @lloydbanks's collaboration with Slim Shady on Where I'm At is the "I will survive no matter what" style positive message delivered on the track. Like any other @eminem (he follows NO ONE!) track or verse, the journey to the positive message is a raw, Rated R, expletive laden, brutal slice of imagery pie that leaves you chuckling at times at the creativity ("ships sink and you know its love as soon as you fall in it cause shit stinks"). It really is awe inspiring and cool that so many people can wade through the rawness and vulgarity of Eminem's characteristically brash lyrical descriptions and extract the positive message.

Maybe I'm generalizing more than I should and overstating my own personal view toward his music, but at this point of Eminem's career, it's pretty clear just how inspirational his music has become to fans of Hip Hop and I'd argue that there has never been as emotionally charged of an artist ever in Hip Hop history as Marshall Mathers. Now more than ever, consumers of Hip Hop music want real, even if it can be construed as vulnerable...we want music with lyrical depth that is delivered with creative wordplay and value an artist who shows he's human by describing when he was hurt or felt pain, especially with love.

The track below is a perfect case in point and with @boi1da behind the boards, it's done over a soft, but upbeat and harmonic enough to fit perfectly with the positive message delivered on the hook (below)...
"Cause I’m moving on, don’t worry about me
Cause I’m gon be aight without you, you’ll see
There aint no-one on this Earth I’d much rather be
Cause God-dammit I’m glad that I’m me"
Taking a quick look at the tracklist for Hunger For More 2, I now see 4 above average aingles on the album with the classic Beamer, Benz, Bentley, Any Girl, Start It Up and Where I'm At. Pretty solid for a G-Unit outcast and definitely puts Tony Yayo and Young Buck to shame as far as putting out the best non-50 solo album.

Enjoy and be safe tonight on Thanksgiving eve y'all...

Lloyd Banks feat Eminem - Where I'm At (prod by Boi-1da)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Value of A Dollar is Up In Hip Hop

I'll be the first to admit, I'm probably the last one deciding to jump on the Curren$y bandwagon. He's been releasing lots of music, mainly on mixtapes, but this year he's gotten a whole lot more critical acclaim by dropping two studio albums. Believe it or not he signed with Master P to No Limit records in 2005 and then was part of Young Money until 2007 (before it became the Young Money is it now) before landing on BluRoc  Records this year, which falls under Dame Dash's DD172 record label division, distributed by Def Jam. 

I'll be honest, between sets at the @REALWIZKHALIFA show I was at last week (review to follow), I heard a couple really hot tracks and made a point to check them out after the concert. Lo and behold, both belonged to ya boy @currensy_spitta, who rips apart verses on both tracks below. The first being over Toto's Africa beat, which has become one of the most heavily sampled beats this year. The track, which is more like a freestyle, is on fire, can't discount the lyrical ability of either artist, check it...

Wiz Khalifa feat Curren$sy - Huey Newton
Moving on to his new album, which came out yesterday, titled Pilot Talk II. The lead single from the album is Michael Knight, which was released as a single on Oct 12 and a track that the Chef jumped on for a remix (below). The track takes on the Knight Rider persona, you'll recognize the video below..

Pretty bangin' track where his grimy lyrical style festers over an instrumental that sounds like something Wu Tang would have thrown together back in the day. Fitting that @raekwon jumped on the remix and gave it even more of a Shaolin feel. Press play and go out and support the spitta in the stores...

Curren$sy feat Raekwon - Michael Knight (Remix)

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Sky Lines and City Lights Are All I See as I'm Wasting Away"

"Its Ups and Downs to my Understandings,
To be Fly There's Gonna be Take-Offs and Landings"
Below is a new-ish buzz track from potential breakthrough duo Nikki and Rich featuring F-A-B. Pretty cool story with Nikki Leonti (@nikkileonti) being a California-born pastor's daughter who grew up singing in church, and Rich Velonskis, a Queens born former DJ and established hip-hop/R&B producer who got his start spinning in New York City clubs as a teenager. Having met in 2007 when Nikki was a backup singer for Carrie Underwood and Rich was producing under the name Rich Skillz for artists like Eve, Robin Thicke, Mario, and Ludacris, Rich was looking for a vocalist to produce for and the two have since gotten together to form the formidable duo of Nikki & Rich.

As for what you can expect from @nikkiandrich, good production and strong vocals are the name of the game. On the track below, City Lights, @nikkileonti shows off her soulful pipes over a slow clap beat that is made by the background piano leading the way. You're not gonna hear Rich on the track, but his talents are felt through the emotion evoking backdrop he paints.
If you're wondering what they're like, below is the trailer to their documentary, which gives you a dose of their personality and the fun they have making music together...
The biggest reason I like this track is the fact that it doesn't sound like something you'd expect @MYFABOLOUSLIFE to add a verse over. The 16 he adds fits so well and really gives it a lot wider likability demographic wise, which is cool. I'm torn whether the lyrics are depressing or inspirational as Nikki talks about wasting time away, but still surviving and taking energy from the business and vitality of the city. Either way, plenty of food for thought and room for interpretation, which is great.

They're a up and coming group, feel free and check out more of their stuff on iTunes and give their standout track a listen...

Nikki & Rich feat Fabolous - City Lights

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"These Girls Fall Like Dominoes, D-D-Dominoes"

With all these high profile albums dropping this month from Kanye to Cudi to Twista to J Cole's mixtape, I'd even throw in Nelly, Black Eyed Peas, Yelawolf and Lloyd Banks to the list of notable releases, it's going to be easy to overlook the Nicki Minaj's debut album, Pink Friday. After giving her album a full listen, I'm sold man, she's got damn near 10 tracks that I have a real hard time skipping over. My current favorites are the track below (which is surprisingly a bonus track despite it's obvious single appeal), Blazin' feat Kanye and her track with Drake, Moment For Life.

You take the three tracks I mentioned above and put it with the singles she has already Check It Out with Will I Am, Your Love, Massive Attack and current single Right Thru Me, that's an epic debut effort that deserves a lot of credit. I'd even venture to say other than Kanye's new album, Pink Friday is the best album that is dropping this month, even over Cudi's MOTM2, which is hard for me to admit.

It's hard to go wrong when you put JR Rotem behind the boards too and he didn't deviate from his sample based beats in creating another masterpiece. This time J-J-J-JR taps into UK's electro-rock duo The Big Pink's hit Dominos from 2009, which interestingly enough was a top 50 single in the US at one point. Check it out below...
Before JR sampled the track, I had never heard the original, which is also a really good track. If this doesn't end up being a single at some point then @nickiminaj's A&R and Marketing staff will be under utilizing it's potential. Only reason I can think of it not originally making the tracklist is because of sampling clearances? Ya never know...

Either way, this is a standout track, it has that high energy, engaging sound to it that makes it really hard to not like. Call it the JR audio cocaine special, he's a magician and this will serve as another feather in his cap. Oh and give Nicki her due, she has carved her own niche in Hip Hop and is far from flash in the pan, career wise...in other words this is only the beginning and she's going to continue to garner respect from her peers as well as fans of Hip Hop. Go support her debut effort when it drops tomorrow, it's way better than what I expected...

Nicki Minaj - Girls Fall Like Dominos (prod by JR Rotem)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"One Time For the City, Two Times For You"

Without a doubt, the track below is one of the standout tracks on J. Cole's recently released Friday Night Lights mixtape. I'm not gonna go as far as to compare it to Drake's So Far Gone, but the quality of tracks front to back on this mixtape is consistently high, like something you'd traditionally expect from a studio album. For me as a fan of Hip Hop, I'm a big supporter of the developing trend that is artists putting more time and effort into their mixtapes, going instead for quality rather than inundating fans with diluted, DJ tagged tracks. Now it's more about buzz and can you gain fans with consistently good music, regardless of whether it is a mixtape or studio album. You can call it an increase in accountability, I see it as artists taking more pride in the product they are putting out. Don't take that as a knock on effort, there isn't any difference between new artists and Hip Hop legends that have been in the game, the only difference is in the way artist's now make money and go about monetizing their skills. You're not gonna get paid by selling cds anymore, you can make about as much cash with a single on a mixtape as you would an album, iTunes doesn't know the difference.

I digress...but the track below has this soulful undertone that emerges out of church choir style background vocals mixed with a soft piano, flute, violin over a calm beat. It's a beautifully put together track and something you feel like Kanye would be behind, but guess who produced it? Yup, @jcolenc produced it, wrote the verses and all, which gives more credence to why I'm such a huge buyer of his talent as a whole. He makes music, I wouldn't even call it Rap, I'd call it Hip Hop with substance and meaning. Maybe I'm reading too much into the tea leaves, but you don't see Jay-Z sticking his neck out and signing just anyone to a record deal.

I'm hoping this will act as a springboard to his studio effort in Cole World, but even if it doesn't I'm more than satisfied with the mixtape he put out. It deserves a top down listen and if you're looking for quality Hip Hop that filters out all the bullshit, giving you a glimpse an artist with a lot to talk about and who can weave together creative comparisons through his wordplay, you might end up being impressed like me...

J. Cole - Before I'm Gone
|Friday Night Lights Mixtape

Friday, November 19, 2010

How to Throw Up a European Deuce

The never-ending track record of what was once an underground favorite that morphed into one of the year's most memorable tracks. I think everyone can come together on a consensus that the remix to the original is a leading candidate for remix of the year as @drakkardnoir, @KanyeWest and Andre 3000 all brought their A game in taking a hot track to another level. The original was good, the remix was great and I'd say this is somewhere in the middle. Everyone loves a good dance mix and when you add in a cup of @misskeribaby to a euro club beat while maintaining the well known, identifiable hook.

Great track for a Friday if you're lookin' to let loose a lil' bit...left click, hold, drag into iTunes Dance playlist...#DoIt

Chris Brown feat Keri Hilson - Deuces (Pop_Euro_Remix)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

For Real This Time? Detox First Single

To be honest, I wasn't sure I'd ever see the day that Dr. Dre would formally announce a finished track off his legendarily delayed Detox album that has been coming out each of the past seven years (supposedly). All good things come to those who wait? That's a pretty stupid assertion, everyone knows it's going to be a classic album filled with select cuts that could all be singles...I mean this long...it has to filled with the absolute best right? If you let fine wine grown from the best grapes marinade in a cellar for years, it tastes pretty damn good...nam sayin?

Regardless, the classic Dre traces are sprinkled all over this track from the bouncy piano scattered throughout the track to the speaker punishing bass and gruff verses. Add in a little Snoop and some Nate Dogg Cheif Thunderbird aka Sly on the hook...wait what? Cheif Thunderbird? C'mon Nate raise up off that retirement for one hook just like the good ol' days man! As as aside, the beat ride out at the end is appropriate and I hope he continues to go with that on all of these top notch beats.

“I see the finish line right now,” Dre added. “I’m wrapping it up. I need about two or three more songs, and hopefully I’ll start the mixing process at the end of next month. From that point I’m about 30 days out. One of the reasons it was taking so long was because I felt like I was doing it more out of obligation as opposed to actually feeling it.” (Nov 16)
The sheer fact he's even hinting at being within reach of finishing is epic and implying he's actually feeling the material is enough to reinvigorate all that excitement I've harbored for years like a lil' kid who keeps running down to the Christmas tree to find nothing but wrapping paper, a few unwrapped gifts that look like pieces of what you wanted and the promise of better prsents next year.

Give it a listen, I mean the song even has a damn website dedicated to it, there's not much more I can say that will make you like it any more than you already will...it's Dr. Dre...he's incapable of producing sub-par Hip Hop music and is so well respected I'd venture a guess that even my parents would know him by name and be able to sing along to one or more of his songs...

Sidebar: Under Pressure > Kush...#IMO

Dr. Dre feat Snoop Dogg and Akon - Kush

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Got More Bounce Than A Salamander Boy, Need a Rich Girl Like I Need a Headache"

Although it seems like Yela's debut release Trunk Muzik 0 to 60 didn't have the momentum I wish it would have had heading into it's release next Monday, the track below a solid addition to the album. I'll put it this way, I give this one a thumbs up over his last single with @gucci1017, I Just Wanna Party.

@yelawolf remains one of the few artists that I follow on Twitter because I'm a huge buyer of his talent in general. I can't quite put my finger yet on why I believe in his abilities, but it has a lot to do with his one of a kind style and personality. He looks like and acts like a skater, has a flow as erratically on point as Twista and is as out there as Andre 3000. I haven't seen anything like him and I feel like the more high profile collaborations he gets into the next year, the more he'll become a household name and appreciated for his diverse appeal.

Even though the concept of his track below is laughable, the way Yela pitter patter flow sounds over the heavy beat (delivered by @dramabeats) is something to write home on the blog about. Even cooler, the video was shot at Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory, check the behind the scenes footage...
I gotta say man, dude is just weird, but weird like an on-some-other-shit type of weird, like as unique as Republican politician supporting Hip Hop and someone you wish you could get drunk with kick it with. Bang this one out, it's meant to ride out to...I'm talkin' like a hillbilly in Beverly Hills ride out style...check it out and support Catfish Billy next week when it drops....

Yelawolf - Daddy's Lambo (prod by Drama Beats)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Baby You Summertime Fine, I Let You Get On Top, I'll be the Underline"

Throw this is in the category of high profile collaborations that did not disappoint and fully lived up to expectations. Off of J. Cole's new mixtape Friday Night Lights that dropped last week, the track is laid out over a soft piano beat that draws you in, hinting at an R&B undertone. Surprisingly though, the track lacks a true R&B hook and instead is more of a mid-tempo seductive track where both @jcolenc and @drakkardnoir do their absolute best to entice the ladies into a replay of the night before...morning after style.

Notable too is the effect that all this touring is having on Drake's voice, which comes off hella raspy on this track. Between this track and interviews with Sway, it sounds like somebody needs a break. When it comes, it'll be short too because he's set to tour Europe with Cole in January.
Ladies no matter if you summertime fine or wintertime cold, it's never a bad decision to hit it in the morning. My favorite line of the track, delivered by Drizzy Drake (of course)...
"I mean you kinda like that girl that’s in the US Open
I mean I got this hidden agenda that you provoking
I got bath water that you can soak in
Things I could do with lotion"
The sexiness is subtle, classy and delivered in a way that on first, second and third glance, appears to be irresistible to ladies' ears. Indulge folks, doesn't get much better than this in current Hip Hop, two stars entering/in their prime getting together on track that allows them to shine as lyricists and prove why they are the ones setting the bar these days...

J. Cole - In The Morning feat. Drake (prod by L&X Music)

Monday, November 15, 2010

808 Check: The Cool Kids - Big Talk

Perusing Twitter last week while on my 9-5, I came across a whole lot of chatter from Chi-town's favortie duo, @Chuckisdope & @sirmichaelrocks. Since y'all are more visually learners, I'll post pictures...
Translation: Immediately burn cd to listen in the car, letting loose the severe thunderstorm warning style rattle from the Chuck Inglish forecasted 808 bass onslaught.

Disappointment didn't follow the first listen as the hypnotic low rhythms fell lower than the Laurentian Abyss that Megatron was banished to...#TransformersRef. The lyrics are as slow and methodical as you'd expect from the tag team, but the speaker thumping bass is the order winning quality on this track. #BusinessClassRef.

Brain massages get your mind outta the gutter are sometimes a necessity on my commute to and from work...yea it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say this one made the bass mix cut...#SpeakerGameProper

The Cool Kids - Big Talk

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Keri Hilson feat Rick Ross - The Way You Love Me (prod by Polow da Don)

For being such an avid fan of everything Keri Hilson, I don't think I've posted enough of her stuff on the blog. That should all change with her upcoming No Boys Allowed due out sometime presumably in the next 6 months. I say presumably because the picture above is from @misskeribaby's new video for the song below The Way You Love Me, which will be her official first single off the album, replacing potential singles turned bust Breaking Point and Pretty Girl Rock.

Really all you need to know is that her vocals are going to be matched up exclusively with the production of Polow da Don and Timbaland on her album, which has a potential success rate that makes 100% feel like the starting line. To sum it all up, it's the perfect storm of awesome where two of the best producers in the game see how great of an artist she is and know how to bring out the best in her. The single below is exactly along those lines with @polow_da_don stepping up to take the first jab at a top 10 single. As far as a single choice is concerned, it's a no-brainer with Keri spreading her high pitched, high energy vocals over an uptempo club beat that will be sure to coerce it's fair share of hip to gyrate. That 808 bass is spot on too, giving it the audible depth that is necessary for running a dancefloor. Like any great producer, Polow hits the gas and break throughout the track, providing a contrast of tempo while managing to keep the energy on blast like it was on Four Loko, minus the blackout consequences. That stuff is no joke by the way, I've already hear more than my fair share of horror stories from people who have indulged.

Rather than go HAM on COKE with Four Loko, indulge in the track below and settle for a few beers and shots, it's now become old fashioned, but it remains a potent way to fight that awful sentiment known as inhibition...#DontBeASquare

Keri Hilson feat Rick Ross - The Way You Love Me (prod by Polow da Don)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sample Justice: Black Eyed Peas - Dirty Bit vs Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes - Time of My Life

If you've read my blog much, you've probably come to disdain I have for the re-gression of the Black Eyed Peas post Fergie. All of you that disagree with me and see their rise in becoming a leading pop icon weren't around when they were Fallin' Up, rocking not only Joints but also Jams and breakdancing on stage...basically representing true grassroots Hip Hop to the fullest. I remember being awed by their stage presence when I saw them and De La Soul open for Wyclef like 8 years ago and brought an innovate and organic Hip Hop sound to their live performance. #ThoseWereTheDays

Don't get it twisted, all the work they've done with D Guetta has had it's highlights, but in general, they've become too popular for me to appreciate anymore. Call me a hater, call me anti-bandwagon, but I fight the power and take pride in finding my own way through the woods that I think is best. Nam sayin?

Anyways, this Sample Justice piece is meant to bring to light the bastardization sampling of a classic track that is absolutely revered because of the integral part it played in a timeless movie. If you're not sure what movie or song that was, shame on your parents for listening to shitty music (love you Mom & Dad! hah!)...
There are a couple facts of life, you don't mess with Patrick Swayze (RIP), you don't shamelessly sample a classic by making it a trance song (below) and you SURE AS HELL don't put baby in the corner. Gotta love Dirty Dancing, it's one movie that is consistently on either TNT, AMC or TBS, it's like money in the bank.

You be the judge, I'm being critical of it mostly because I'm a fan of the timlessness of the version done by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, but I'll probably still find a way to dance to this at the club at some point in a couple months when it has finally permeated the brain cells of every living creature capable of hearing. I exaggerate, but serious radio, take it easy for a change, it's legal to NOT play them every 15 minutes....

Black Eyed Peas - The Time (Dirty Bit)

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Yes I need it, Everybody Does, Cocktails and Conversation, Music and Making Love"

Seems like a busy month for great albums to come up as tons of artists hit that fourth quarter release. While you're clamoring over Rihanna, Kid Cudi, Kanye, Twista and Pitbull (just to name a few), don't let the Soul Machine slip through the cracks. Granted he's made his album pretty damn difficult to neglect with hisForget You! anthem that is ungracefully landing on radio stations prompting everyone to still use the middle finger despite the FCC doing their absolute best to water down the brazenly unapologetic expression of scorn through song. Never has such a vulgar song pulled so many people together in rejoice, it's really pretty cool when you take a second to really think about how ironic it is that such an angry track has become an emotional outlet for so many people. #My2Pennies

Anyways, aside from that track, there's more greatness on the album and lucky for us, the greatness comes in different flavors. The flavor below is my current favorite, mostly because it's twice dipped in funk and has those classic 1970's strings in the background. Know what I'm talkin' about? Think Chips style strings + funk...
Gotta love Ponch, Erik Estrada was the man back in the day. Speaking of back in the day, doesn't the bassline of this track remind you a little bit of MJ's Thriller (80 millions views by the way, THAT is epic)? That was my first thought when listening to the rolling bassline of the track, but Cee-Lo's high pitched, soulful vocals bode well on the instrumental. I've been on Cee-Lo's bandwagon cross country, Oregon Trail style since his Goodie Mob days and I still maintain to this day his verse/monologue on Beautiful Skin was one of the more thoughtful, well-crafted and under-appreciated verses on Hip Hop history.#StillStandingIsClassic

I digress, this track makes me wanna go to the disco...bars and clubs are played out, this is a perfect vehicle for time travel back to the sound which had hippies dancing uncontrollably...check the song and video below...

Cee-Lo Green - Bright Lights, Bigger City
|Cop It

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who is Justin Vernon?

As many of you know by now, Kanye's album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, is set to be released later this month, November 22nd to be exact.

The guest appearances read like a who's who in hip hop: Kid Cudi, Raekwon, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Swizz Beatz, Pusha T, and Nicki Minaj. The one name that you might not recognize is that of Justin Vernon, (or Bon Iver).

Justin appears on the song Monster, (which features Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Nicki), kicking off the song with the lead in "I shoot the lights out", and finishing it off with "I'm heading home". Press play below, lyrics on the YouTube video...
That wasn't his only contribution, as Justin plays a much stronger role on the song Lost in the World. This song is a sample of his previously released, Woods which appeared on the Blood Bank EP. It's song #12 on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy's final tracklist, give it a listen...
To those of you unfamiliar, Justin is a major star in the indie-world. His For Emma, Forever Ago album was record of the year in 2008 for many fans and critics alike.

I first took note of him when I heard the track Skinny Love...

Bon Iver - Skinny Love

It's an emotion packed song, capturing the very essence of a difficult break-up. As a whole, the record encapsulates every emotion one can feel once love is lost, ending with the realization that, as bad as it hurts, the future offers the opportunity to pick up the pieces and start anew.

Justin's not your typical star; he's a humble dude from Wisconsin, most comfortable with a plaid shirt and a dirty beard. That's what makes this collaboration with Kanye all the more surprising. The guy goes back to his hometown to play concerts with his high school jazz band. He plays epic sunrise shows in cemeteries and he's just as comfortable playing Radio City Music Hall as he is playing with his side project during the middle of a massive kickball tournament. The point is, he's everything we hope we'd be if we were famous...

As a bonus, give his track Blood Bank a listen to get a little more acclimated...

Bon Iver - Blood Bank

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Concert Review: Kid Cudi @ Bloomsburg

In September when I first noticed that Kid Cudi was coming to my neck of the woods to visit Bloomsburg University, I circled it on my schedule as a must-see. Forget that he's my favorite artist not named Drake or that I already gained an appreciation for his live act last year when I saw Scotty open for Lady Gaga...I was really excited to hear material off his new album live and saw it as a great opportunity to get an up and close look that would be infinitely more intimate than seeing him from a distance when he opened for Gaga at Susquehanna.

I was scouring ticket availability for the whole month of October, finally finding out that tickets were supposed to go on sale Oct 13th to students, then get released to the public a few days later. It all sounded fine and good...you know, except for tickets completely selling out in 3 hours to students and as a result, the tickets never making it the public. Shit! No worries, Stub Hub right? No dice, not even a listing for the event...Craigslist? One listing that lasted less than a day and tickets went for $15 over face, which I gladly would have paid had I fully known the scarcity of supply. The latter part of October was pretty frustrating figuring out slowly that tickets did not leave the campus and there was no availability online. So I ask you, what would you do given the circumstances with tickets and the concert being an hour and a half away?

After wrestling with the decision for oh...I dunno...maybe a few hours that was highlighted by the encouragement of my wonderful girlfriend (who somehow understood the meaning of the concert to me despite only having known for less than two months), thought what the hell, let's go up there and see if we can find a way in. It was sort of a landmark move for me since I'm usually the one who buys tickets the day they come out so that last second scrambles can be avoided. Sounded like an intriguing adventure, nothing else to do on a Sunday night let's be honest the Cowboys are awful and felt like seizing the opportunity...after all, not everyday you get to see Cudi the week before his album comes out right? (Even though I saw Drake perform in Philly coincedentally right before his album was released...weird...but awesome nonetheless)

Fast forward to now standing in line at the door with the long line of students who ALL...every...single...last...one...of...them coeds...had tickets and there were exactly ZERO scalpers/students looking to sell. What was odd too was that once the initial rush of students got in the door, there was no secondary rush or even a steady trickle in of latecomers, something I had never seen before. So where did that leave me and my girl MeLo, alone outside of the doors, ticketless, looking inside at the metal detectors, plotting our next move. In a "what do we have to lose" , sort of cut the bullshit, might as well ask move, I went inside and sheepishly boldly explained to the student who was working the door that we didn't have tickets and were bummed it was sold out. The lady without hesitation says, "You can buy them inside, go ahead". Wait what?? (first pick jaw up off floor, then back the bus up) As I walked up to the metal detectors, I wasn't greeted with the same answer by other workers, who instead told me it was sold out. But...after waiting another minute, I got a final answer from the lead volunteer who wasn't a student that walked up and pointed toward the ticket booth where they did in fact STILL have tickets for sale. We explained we weren't students and proceeded to pay the face value for non-students of $35 as we walked away from the ticket booth with a feeling like we had just gotten away with a misdemeanor...#ThatShitDoesntUsuallyHappen

When walking into the high school gymnasium Chip tha Ripper was already a couple bars deep on a track, kicking off the show as everyone was still getting situated. Since no opener was announced, I was pleasantly surprised to see him onstage. My thoughts immediately moved on to what if he did that All Talk track that sampled Dance Yrself Clean by LCD Soundsytem...how badass would that be to see live? Nah...no way they'll play that right? Hope is a powerful thing, but you gotta be realistic right?

After about five or so songs, the audience had been sufficiently warmed up and didn't have to wait more than 20 or so minutes to be greeted by Mr. Rager himself. Check out the concert entrance below, which coincedentally is the lead track on Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr.Rager, Scott Mescudi vs. The World...
Off top the crowd energy was palpable and despite the audience not being very aware of his new stuff, seeing that it hadn't been released yet, they were still head nodding in acceptance the duration of the show. What I really liked was his mix of old and new stuff and to be honest I was really surprised he played so many of his new songs. That's the main reason why I went though, so overall I was impressed with his mix of songs.

My favorite new track he performed off his new album had to be Marijuana, which came off surprisingly harmonic as Cudi started the track off acapella. Definitely captured my attention and was probably one of the first ever performances of the track live. Give it a look...
In general, I don't mind the vulgarity or talk of drugs in songs as long as there is some artistry behind it and it's delivered in a passionate, non-threatening way...case in point the song above which comes off as more or less a tribute to his favorite plant in the world, as he takes on a gentle tone in praise. Turns out to be a beautiful track if you can just listen and zone out to it.
As he moved through song after song I couldn't help but notice how much better he is to witness in a smaller venue. His music is personal, it's deep and very artistic, so hearing it up close in a very spacious gymnasium enhanced the experience for me. Without a doubt, the highlight for me came when Chip joined him on stage to sing a few songs...and when I say a few songs they did the one song I thought there was no way in hell they'd play, All Talk. Shouts out again to Cudi, who is single handedly the reason for me becoming familiar with great bands like LCD Soundsystem and Ratatat...
For "just messing around in the studio", the track above had a serious ripple effect in my fandom and expansion of musical tastes.

You could tell the concert was winding down and coming down the back stretch when he finished up his newer stuff like his track Don't Play This Song with Mary J and his one minute interlude We Aight (Wake You Mind Up) and finally finishing with Mr. Rager, Erase Me and everyone's new favorite Ghost (below)...
Ghost is still probably my favorite current track on the new album, it's the best as far as inspirational and introspective lyrics are concerned. After finishing the new stuff he continued on to his upbeat tracks like Memories and the Crookers remix to Day n Nite. Like the great cerebral mind reader he is, he read my mind in playing my my three favorite tracks from his last album Man on the Moon: The End of Day, Soundtrack to My Life, Cudi Zone and finishing with Pursuit of Happiness.

Looking back my one take away was the set list...serious, serious love goes out to the choice of tracks. It ended up being an ideal mix of everything he's done that I'm a fan of. I'm usually hard to please when it comes to nailing the set list, but daps & lbs, Cudi killed it and even though I'm still warming up to his new album and am pretty sure I'm not going to end up liking it as much as the first, it's still shaping up to be a great album. Similar to Drake's album, the expectations were so high after the first album, anything he put out was going to fall short...but that's to be expected and as long as he keeps putting out his brand of emotionally raw, out there, melodic music I will have absolutely nothing to complain about.
Do him a favor and go cop his album here, here or here.

Click here to get to my YouTube Channel where all the video are posted

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