Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chiddy Sets Guiness World Record For Longest Freestyle

Freestyling more than a minute is a chore for the majority of Hip Hop artists. Most can't pull it off without it sounding corny or forced. That being said the bar had been set high by Naptown native, M-Eighty (@almightym80 )in 2009 when he put his name in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest Hip Hop freestyle with a 9 hour and 15 minute effort.

Earlier in the week, it was announced via MTV that the head lyricist of @chiddybang, @realchiddy, was comin' for that Numba One Spot(#ludavoice)! Marketing wise, the timing made sense as it would serve to kick off MTV's first Online Music Awards. Chiddy explains below...

Dude started freestyling as a hobby at the age of 14 and has been doing it daily ever since. Just watching him prepare and talk about doing it (below) made me feel like confidence wise, he's got it in the bag. Still even talking for 9 hour straight is draining, let alone trying to rhyme words and try to be coherent and interesting the whole time.

Then it got time to actually doin' it and lo and behold, he actually did it. Chiddy came through with a world record setting freestyle lasting 9 hours 18 mins and 22 seconds. Below is a video of the ending where his partner in crime, @XaphoonJones helps him down the backstretch, getting the crowd hype and laying a drumline for the finish.

That's good stuff folks, hopefully y'all will take heed and continue giving @chiddybang the dap they deserve as a serious up and coming group. As a treat, I included my favorite track by them, All Things Go, off their latest EP album The Preview #classicTrack.

Heads up for their new album out soon, titled The Swelly Life...

Chiddy Bang - All Things Go

Friday, April 29, 2011

Videos of the Week 04/28

Whole lotta noteworthy videos, performances and movie trailers dropped this week. Consider this a catch up post on all of the above...
Lupe Fiasco - Words I Never Said Video

The Cool Kids - Bundle Up Video (Directors Cut)

Kid Cudi Performs Pursuit of Happiness in NYC with MGMT

30 Minutes or Less Movie Trailer (Aziz Ansari, Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride & Nick Swardson)

X-Men: First Class Official Trailer

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (Official Trailer)

Alabama Tornado Almost Taking Out Bryant-Denny Stadium

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Beastie is Back With Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

Gooood god I love me some fretless bass, aka that funk filled, bouncy type of bass you hear on reggae tracks. Can't say I thought I'd ever see a day where @beastieboys would concoct a new track like this absolute diamond in the rough. Their new album is turning out to be a great comeback story though, especially with the January announcement that @MCAdamYauch beat cancer of the salivary gland after an 18 month battle. With this track, I'm actually pretty excited about their upcoming album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two due out on May 3rd. Be honest, did you ever see The Beastie Boys collaborating with @Santigold on fast paced, bouncy, reggae track? #DidntThinkSo...

It seems like a lot of comeback albums don't really push the envelope in evolving a group's musical style. With the track below, I'm thinking this may be the exception to the rule. New album out next week, heads up...

Beastie Boys feat Santigold - Don't Play No Games That I Can't Win

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Like a Bug on a Summer Night, Jay Sean Just Keeps Hittin' the Lights

Call this a fast paced, dub-step remix of @JAYSEAN's new single, Hit the Lights. For all of you unfamiliar with the dubstep sound, consider this a very mild taste of the style over a Hip Hop track. I'm pretty satisfied that @corygunz is finally gettin' a shot at the big leagues with Young Money and his new reality show on MTV, Son of a Gun, should increase his notoriety considerably. Who knows maybe he'll manage to get out of the large shadow cast by his dad Peter Gunz. Check the trailer for the show below.
Shouts out to @TYGA, who has been creepin' on a come up for a while now and will hopefully continue to get notable guest spots like this one to go along with his debut album Careless World due out in the upcoming months. I'm lookin' forward to that second single, Far Away with @drakkardnoir...#PleaseDropSoon

Stay tuned for Jay Sean's upcoming album Freeze Time, due out on July 5th. If it's anything like his first effort, it'll move plenty of copies...

Jay Sean feat Busta Rhymes, Tyga & Cory Gunz - YMCMB Heroes (Hit the Lights remix)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Concert Review: Chiddy Bang and Wale at Muhlenberg

Continuing my all day concert adventure that started out at Lehigh University with @RealWizKhalifa and @MacMiller's free show in the afternoon. In the nightcap, local up and comers @ChiddyBang were set to open for @Wale at a small university (Muhlenberg College) nearby. The consensus would undoubtedly agree a free Wiz Khalifa show beats the hell outta paying $20 to see Wale/Chiddy, but all things considered, getting to see all four in one day for less than $50 for two tickets to each event was felonious in nature and probly worse theft than gettin' a bunch of free tats. Sidebar: Smh Buckeyes...from an OSU alum, I'd say it'll be a stretch expect a BCS bowl this year. Two loss season would be overachieving with 3 losses a more reasonable expectation...unfortunately. If Tressel falls on the sword, a recession will be a reality...#NoMoreFreeTats

I digress...on to the scenery of the show which was more or less a High School gym with acoustics as good as an underground cave. Yea you could say there was a bit of an echo, but luckily the expectations aren't high for sound at Hip Hop shows. Not knowing what to expect I was smacked in the face with Chiddy's opening track, All Things Go, which I had previously never heard and currently can't stop listening to. Still kicking myself for not getting some footage of that dopeness, but hindsight is worth as much as a dollar given away yesterday, so I'm content with rocking the real track on each and every playlist in the near future.

Probably the coolest part of the set was when the lesser known half of Chiddy Bang, @XaphoonJones, polled the crowd for obscure subjects for @realchiddy to freestyle over. Needless to say crowd fuckery ensued and Chiddy spit effortlessly about random ish like Hello Kitty, chicken wings, Brooklyn, @CharlieSheen, Spiderman, Muhlenberg lacrosse, and snap backs. Really tho? I'm pretty sure an un-rhymable word woulda been appreciated to crank up the difficulty, but it was still an applause worthy effort.

Below are two of their newest joints I got footage of. The first being their new track feat @MacMiller, Heatwave, followed by another new one featuring Train titled Baby Roulette...
Chiddy Bang - Heatwave at Muhlenberg

Chiddy Bang - Baby Roulette at Muhlenberg

All in all a pretty hype set that caused me to leave the concert wanting to find more of their music, which is all artists are really goin' for when they perform. Especially for an opening band, they more than carried their weight and set the bar high for Wale.

When I was waiting for Wale to come out, I wasn't sure what to expect because honestly I haven't been a big fan of his recent Maybach Music stuff like his first single off his upcoming album,600 Benz. Still, Attention Deficit was a front to back heat rock, so there was plenty on tap that I was looking forward to hearing in concert.

...and I'm still looking forward to those tracks because I left feeling like I didn't hear a lot of the tracks I was looking forward to, like Let it Loose, Bittersweet Symphony or Diary. The stage presence and energy between the two sets were night and day, with Chiddy absolutely bringin' it and ignoring the fact that they were in front of a gym full of a couple hundred small town college kids in comparison to Wale, who seemed to mail it in. My girl's reaction kinda summed it up when she said, "Did he really just close out his set with another guy's song?", when Wale closed with his verse on No Hands. Yea, he did, and despite it being one of my favorite tracks and verses, it was still one of the more anticlimactic endings to a concert I had ever witnessed.

In an attempt to take a detour from the trip to the negative town that was his set, I was a big fan of Black and Gold. Check it below and be on the lookout for that new @rickyrozay Wale flavored album...
Wale - Black & Gold at Muhlenberg

Monday, April 25, 2011

"So paid, Rappers is Waitin’ on Trades and They All Get Knicked Like Melo"

Wow, talk about a good look and lights out collab. @ludacris + @S1AUGHTERHOUSE over a @mrporter2012 beat is a formula for destruction. Whoever decided to combine all the above elements on one track clearly wanted to get some last second momentum together for the release of Fast Five (due out this Fri). To be fair, in my mind, nobody is ever gonna touch Pov City Anthem by Cadillac Tah on the original Fast and the Furious soundtrack and if you're scratchin' your head wonderin' WTF?, then you clearly haven't been hanging around me. I wanted that instrumental as a ringtone before custom ringtones were even invented...#DreamBig
Buyer beware though, the soundtrack is nothing like the fierce track below. If possible I'd go on iTunes and start petitioning this to be sold as a single. If only you could just cop it and be done with it, but the powers that be are calling this track "Album Only" on iTunes, like I wanna fast forward through twelve tracks to get to this heat rock...#OnSomeBS

Feel free to appreciate it for what is it and don't feel stupid rewinding @therealcrookedi's verse either. Y'all ever heard of a trabalengua? Try sayin' the three bars below three times fast...#DoubtIT
"I’m a syllable, Hannibal, killer cannibal
With a mechanical manual to deliver the flammable ammo
Lyrical animal off the top"
I'll give it to you Universal, y'all almost made me consider watching the movie after hearin' this track. Daps & lbs are in order, feel free to indulge in a slice of lyrical Hip Hop delight...

Ludacris ft Slaughterhouse & Claret Jai - Furiously Dangerous (prod by Mr. Porter)
Bonus: Did anybody else see the Peter Griffin take on Mr. Washee Washee Street Fighter Style last Sunday? That jumbled together gibberish he yelled when doin' the helicopter kick had me rollin' man, that was my childhood. I used to ride and die with Dhalisim...#LongAppendagesWin

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Used to Take the Bus, Now the Boy Board Jets "

It's been a little over a month since @MacMiller's latest mixtape Best Day Ever dropped and I'm feeling like I didn't give it the love it deserved when it dropped. To put things in perspective, his mixtape has been out about 6 weeks now and has over 1 million views and 275,000 downloads...whoa! With hype tracks like Donald Trump and the title track on the album (below), you could say the buzz he created with his newest release gained some traction with fans. I wouldn't go as far to say his new tape is anywhere near as good as his last release K.I.D.S., but surpassing the success of that groundbreaking tape would have been a tall order.

To be fair, I was a fan of this song prior to seeing him in concert two weeks ago, but when he kicked the second verse of Best Day Ever acapella, I gained a new respect for his talents. Although he may only be 19 years old and may sound young, I've been impressed with the depth of his lyrics. Just take the hook of this track as an example:
"No matter where life takes me, find me with a smile
Pursuit to be happy only laughing like a child
I never thought life would be this sweet
It got me cheesing from cheek to cheek
And I ain't gonna wait for nothing cause that just ain't my style
Life couldn't get better, this gon' be the best day ever"
For a young dude comin' up who makes predominantly wild out party music, I like that he can still reel it back in and get introspective on a track if need be.

Rostrum Records is definitely in the building for 2011 and I'm starting to catch on to the general sound that @idlabsmusic has been crafting for the label. He did the beats on more than a few of my favorites off Rolling Papers like Cameras and The Race. Chalk up the track below to his production and don't ever forget that your favorite artist is able to shine because of the producers who get behind the boards to lay the foundation for their success.

Kinda ironic I'd post the song Best Day Ever on Easter too right? Enjoy it with your fam y'all, especially you Chreaster folks who put in time twice a year at your local worshipping establishments...#GodStilLovesYouIPromise

Extra: Check the sick stage dive he did at Indiana last week (fast forward to the 1:30 mark)...
Mac Miller - Best Day Ever (prod by ID Labs)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"If Courage Had a Height Ya’ll Would be Elves"

In case you missed it, one of the more slept on new artists in Hip Hop, @xtothev just released a mixtape titled Zero Heroes. After a lap around it, there were a few stand out tracks, like the one below feat former Fall Out Boy lead singer @patrickstump. The track has an upbeat, soulful undertone to it with Patrick singing through a gruff CB mic on the lead in that gives way to XV who delivers the first of two well thought out verses. The wordplay is what will end up giving XV a chance in the game since his words and comparisons deserve thought to be understood, which is something I can appreciate in an artist. Take for example an exerpt from his first verse on the track:
"These mortals turned my heart colder than Sub-Zero
Ready for combat, I’m back no cape, no Speedo
Kryptonite backpack, Superman ego
Darker than a Batman Knight,
But I shine like a Batman light over my city and the people"
Bunch of witty transitions, video game/comic books references in the wordplay that all tie together the subject matter while still rhyming. I can dig that, a little ingenuity makes me want to learn and repeat lyrics like that and share it with people who are open minded to new Hip Hop. When I say new Hip Hop, I mean new school artists like the @big_sean, @donnisxdonnis, @JColeNC, @WIZARDCUD, @chiddybang, and @MIKEPOSNER, all of which XV has worked with. Put it this way, if you're from the midwest (Wichita, KS) and you rub shoulders with a whole bunch of my favorite artists, you're gonna get a listen by association. That's not at all meant as a diss or that I'm only listening to him because he works with other artists, his work speaks for itself and if you're wondering what I mean, press play below to watch the Trailer to his new Zero Heroes mixtape:

Also interesting to note is that he's got Micheal "Seven" Summers (@seventracks) producing a lot of his music. To all those wonder why that should matter, give a listen to Welcome to the Midwest and Midwest Choppers by @TechN9ne, both of which were produced by Seven. KCMO is in the building folks and nothin' makes me happier than to see new artists come from rural places like Meridian, Mississipi, Gadsden, Alabama, Gary, IN or Witchita, KS.

Do yourself a favor and download his new FREE MIXTAPE so you won't be considered a bandwagon jumper when your friend tries to tell you about this new rapper named @xtothev...

XV feat Patrick Stump - The Last Hero (prod by Seven)

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Chillin' Chillin' Chillin' in a Penthouse"

Like I alluded to about a week ago when I spoke of complete and utter disappointment when @donnisxdonnis's set got capped at the knees by the powers that be at Theater of the Dying Arts in Philly. I wish I woulda gotten to hear Donnis perform more than two songs from Southern Lights because it's got a few hidden gems in there if you give it a devoted listen. The track below is one of them and might be in contention for top pick on the mixtape with Me & My Boo.

The staggered, electronic sample on the hook mixed with the club bass is what drew me into this tracks. Daps & lbs are in order for @thecataracs who did the beat and did it well. I'm excited they're getting a chance to open for @UsherRaymondIV on tour. Definitely second guessing balking at seeing Ursher and Akon light it up onstage now that they're joining the tour.

Still ya boy Donnis shines on this one, calmly spittin' his southern slang all over the track. Even though my favorite tracks off Southern Lights can't even touch his best work on Fashionably Late, y'all should still give it a good listen because it's growing on me by the day. Also, if you're wondering what his favorites on the mixtape were, check out his recent interview with The Source.
Donnis - Penthouse Suite (prod by The Cataracs)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"It’s Gon’ Get You in Trouble"

Mixtape after mixtape I've been pushing @BEIMAEJOR's music full force as it's been comin' out and for good reason. Upside Down will always be my favorite mixtape of his with tracks like Kisses in the VIP and Facelifts & Waterfalls, but as a fan of his music, I'm still eagerly awaiting a debut studio album. Don't get it twisted, I'm more than happy to keep getting song after song of great tracks and covers like two of his most recent videos Hit Me Up Angel off Upside Down 2 and The Lala Song off Throwback...
Bei Maejor - Hit Me Up Angel
Bei Maejor - Lala Song
Still, covers are covers, they are cool because they take an instrumental or melody and are shaped to the artist's vision, but they don't translate to industry respect or to making money....which is why I'm thrilled to hear his new supposed lead single titled Trouble off his supposed debut album. I haven't seen an album titled yet, which is you you're getting the italics in the previous sentence, but regardless, it's great news. The at times heavy, but bouncy snap beat should assure more than a few plays on the radio, especially coupled with a short, but to the point @JColeNC verse at the end.

As an aside, I just found out he was listed on the production credits of @RealWizKhalifa's track with @currensy_spitta Rooftops too, which adds to the mounting list of great tracks he's been behind the scenes on. While being a producer and songwriter doesn't always ensure solo artist success, I can't help but cheer for the ones with real talent behind the boards orchestrating the tracks that end up becoming singles. Ask @diggy_simmons and @souljaboy, who enlisted Bei's talent on their most recent singles, they've gotten plenty of love because of his help.

Keep spreading the #USD love and helping Bei become a Maejor force in the game...

Bei Maejor feat J Cole - Trouble

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Concert Review: Wiz Khalifa Campus Consciousness Tour

About two months ago I caught wind of @RealWizKhalifa's Green Carpet Campus Consciousness Tour announcement and was visibly excited when I saw multiple dates within an hour of where I live. Take it a step further, one of the dates was less than 10 minutes away and free. GTFOH! Yea that's wassup, no more traveling over an hour and paying $30 a ticket, Wiz was comin' to Lehigh University, aka my back yard. Even more, the timing was ideal with his album having dropped about two weeks prior, allowing me to do a few laps around it and build some familiarity prior to seeing the tracks live. As final icing on the cake for a Sunday, April 10th to remember, Wale and Chiddy Bang were going to be putting on a show 10 mins away from Wiz Khalifa's performance AND there would be no overlap between concerts since Wiz/Mac Miller were performing in the afternoon and Wale/Chiddy were playing later at night. Needless to say, the stars were aligned and for a Hip Hop fan in the Lehigh Valley, it was a perfect opportunity to get out and see a few of my favorite acts without having to get on a highway.

Fast forward to the day of the concert, where it was a complete guessing game as to when the sets were going to start. Having searched the interwebs for days leading up to the concert, I found that the Sundaze event started at noon and went til around 5PM with the main act hitting the stage between 4 and 5PM. To be safe, I left at 2PM and ended up making it into the event, which was nothing more than a huge field with a big stage, as @MacMiller was hitting the stage. Perfect timing, because I really wanted to see if Mac would live up to all this hype surrounding his music of late.
From the start he was a non-stop ball of energy, keeping the crowd involved, mixing between sing along hooks and ferocious, Twista-esque, syllable bending, hyper-speed verses. To be honest, he impressed me. I only knew a few of his tracks, but he's got talent and plenty of charisma to spare. He's the type of dude you find yourself rooting for because of his happy-go-lucky personality and the infectious energy he exudes. His set was scripted well, too, as he ended with his most notable track Donald Trump (below)...
Mac Miller - Donald Trump at Lehigh University
As his set finished, I tried in vain to improve my view for the main act, eventually settling on a raised electrical cord protector that gave me about two more inches. My girl also took notice of the ridiculous amount of kush floating and being smoked throughout the audience. I shit you not it was more of a gathering to smoke weed together with friends with music in the background, rather than a concert. She thought Dave Matthews Band had a lot of trees being burned...til she saw the demographic of people at Wiz's show. #StonersHeaven

The one cool thing about Hip Hop concerts (compared to instrument-based concerts) is the wait between sets being considerably less. As such, Wiz came on like 20 minutes after Mac got done rockin' the set. As far as my expectations for the show, they were hiiiiiiggghhh as hell, like everyone in attendance. Not only had I seen Wiz a couple months before at Croc Rock in November, but again, his new album was dope and I was excited to hear the new tracks (check the album review I did last week if you're curious why I liked it).
As the show started, I already kinda knew what to expect, since he generally follows the same formula of performing his older mixtape stuff before getting to the new stuff. With tracks like Phone Number, In the Cut, Still Blazin', The Thrill, Car Service, Never Been, Wiz kept it live and catered to all the die hard Taylors who were familiar with the old stuff. Luckily, this time I was prepared for the onslaught of old stuff, having copped all his older mixtapes after I saw him in Nov.

As he moved on past the old tracks to newer stuff off Kush and Orange Juice like Never Been and Mesmorized, I was happily surprised when he decided to deliver his verse off That Good acapella (below)...
Wiz Khalifa - That Good (Acapella Verse) at Lehigh University
As an aside, Uncle Snoopy D O Double G said High School was supposed to drop today on 04/20, but that was pushed back to June. As he wound down the older tracks with the unreleased track produced by @SmokedOutLuger, Taylor Gang, you could tell he was going to start getting into the new stuff. He started with the lead track to Rolling Papers, When I'm Gone, which acted as a mellow and perfect transition into his new songs. The one minute piano lead in on the track gave him just enough time to thank everyone for their support and shift gears into his more guided, well-put-together album tracks.

He nailed the set list too. The only tracks I really wish he would have performed would have been my favorite track off Rolling Papers, Cameras. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I really dig that track. A close second favorite would be his third Stargate produced track and potential future single, Wake Up. This track might have been my favorite track all day as it provided the necessary chill out that gave contrast to all the upbeat party music he performed. I've had a hard time not including this track in any and every playlist I've made in the past month. Off top, the line, "Ohh, long days, but I know hard work pays, so all the money getting long too" over the trippy zoned-out synths do it for me every time.

As he moved on through the new stuff, it was no surprise to see an all-college crowd go ham when they heard the beginning of his new single No Sleep. Hard to find another track that more closely embodies the mood and lifestyle of kids in college like his new single (below):
Wiz Khalifa - No Sleep at Lehigh University
Toward the end, you could tell he was nearing his "Hip Hop encore," where the artist tells you they are almost done and then play their most well-known songs. Always wondered why Hip Hop was exempt from the "walk off the stage and come back in a minute after everyone is chanting your name" style encore, but it's more to the point, I guess. Was a big fan of the lead in to his second single Roll Up, going back and forth with Chevy Woods between scratches saying "Roll Up!" (below):
Wiz Khalifa - Roll Up at Lehigh University
All in all, a really entertaining concert. It's hard to compare Hip Hop shows to shows with instruments, but if you can cope with a lot of rapping over loud beats instead of hearing live instrumentation, you'll appreciate the show Wiz puts on. He keeps it positive and fun with his characteristically exaggerated stoner laugh, but on the flip side, he brings a lot of energy to his show, which keeps the crowd engaged in his music. The lighting just so happened to be awesome the day of the show, so I got plenty of good shots. Feel free to peruse below...#SlideShowOff
Click Here For All Videos From the Show

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"You Could Be the Quote, If I'm the Lyric Baby"

I'm more than a couple months late on @migmoney's newest track Sure Thing, but it's so irresistibly seductive I'm be remiss if I didn't post it. At first I thought the lyrics were kinda corny, but I quickly abandoned that judgment when I found myself singing them when the track came on...#IDontPutTheHypoInCritical. Between this track and All I Want Is You, you could say I'm warming up to his style and am actively keeping an eye out for what's next. Like his video for the track below that he dropped in early Jan...

Just ask Justin Bieber, it's good to have @USHERRAYMONDIV in your corner and showing up to support you at Coachella. The pic below was taken two days ago at Coachella soon after Miguel got done performing tracks like Prince's Little Red Corvette.
Left click Miguel - Sure Thing, drag to BMM playlist, kill the lights, strike match, move over wick, press play...#GameOver

Miguel - Sure Thing

Monday, April 18, 2011

2011 Coachella's Epic Ending

I was planning on doing a post tonight giving a video wrap up of Coachella until I got a text from my boy Mikey Mikey who was in attendance at the Indio, CA festival this weekend. He had invited me to come along about a month ago, but with the various trips and ridiculous amounts of concerts I've seen lately, it wasn't in the budget. Regardless, I was happy I'd, at the very least, get his perspective and first hand take on the best, worst and most noteworthy acts at the festival.

If you've read this blog at all the past few months, you've probably noticed the continuing stream of awesome Indie music that Mike has shared, which has provided a break from all the Hip Hop/R&B I post. Dude knows Indie music and he's just as passionate of a writer as I am, which means regardless of who is posting, we're taking it upon ourselves to sell you our favorite music. As such, you could imagine why I was surprised and instantly intrigued when I got the text below from him:
"Dude! Kanye put on one of the best shows I've ever seen last night."
Hmm...out of all the must see Indie acts like Freelance Whales, Two Door Cinema Club, Cold War Kids, his favorite act was Kanye? I got that text two hours ago and every minute since then has been spent watching the various videos of his performance and gaining a complete understanding of why he felt that way. The videos do all the explaining that my words can't as the visibly emotional Kanye put on one of the most noteworthy performances this decade. Yea, it's one of those performances people will be talking about for years down the road as Kanye called it, "The most important show to him since his mom passed" and further explained how great it was to get the chance to close out Coachella. Below are my three favorite clips of his set...#PressPlay...
Kanye West - H.A.M. Intro/Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West - Say You Will/Speech

Kanye West - Hey Mama/Outro

Below is a video of the whole hour and a half performance, but I've had a hard time getting the video below to play tonight. Hopefully if it stays up you'll click on it tomorrow when everyone on the internet isn't trying to load it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Who Rocked it Better? Karmin Music vs Chris Brown - Look At Me Now

First it was Danny Vola's cover of No Hands, now we've got an equally caucasian remix of @CHRISBROWN's Look At Me Now. The remix comes from the duo Karmin Music, consisting of Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan, a couple who met at Berklee College of Music in Boston. They've been dating for about 5 years, are now engaged and after writing a couple songs together decided to start their own pop/acoustic group. In an interview from November, Nick describes the formation and reasoning behind their group name.
"After we decided to form the band, we spent 2 months trying to decide on a name. We wanted something simple, but the “Beatles” was already taken. Karmin is actually a combination of the word ‘karma’ and the Latin word ‘carmen’ which means song."-Source
Put it this way, in the whole wide world and history of Hip Hop, there hasn't really been a caucasian word smith that has ever been able to compete with the Twistas, Busta Rhymes' and Tech N9nes, so taking on the pace of Chris Breezy's track below on a cover is no small task. Yet, after I finally picked my jaw up off the floor, I felt inclined to rave about Amy Heidemann's absolutely on point flow, enunciating every word and hitting every bar flawlessly over the three challenging verses. Like a judge who can't speak, words won't do justice, feel free to compare below and read word for word on the lyrics if you feel so inclined...

Chris Brown feat Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes - Look At Me Now (Orginal)
Karmin Music - Look At Me Now (Cover)
Tip of the cap to Amy for nailing every bar at the pace of the original, with even more clarity and listen-ability. Was only half sold on the original anyways, so the cover gets the nod on the WRIB decision #HandsDown. Check them out on Twitter @KarminMusic, subscribe to their channel on Youtube, Facebook and freely use their hash tag while you're at it #GoKarmin.

Oh and thanks Pigeons and Planes, for the continually interesting content.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cochella Day 1 Highlights

First day of Coachella 2011 was relatively eventful with the likes of Lauryn Hill, Cee-Lo Green and Flogging Molly hitting the stages. Below are a few videos from Day 1, check 'em out...
Lauryn Hill 2011 Coachella

Cee-Lo 2011 Coachella

Flogging Molly - 7 Deadly Sins (2011 Coachella)

Cold War Kids 2011 Coachella

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wiz Khalifa - No Sleep at Lehigh (video)

Concert review to follow, but the video above is one of the highlights from last weekend's Campus Consciousness concert at Lehigh, where @RealWizKhalifa performed a couple new tracks off Rolling Papers

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"We’ve Been Off Slave Ships, Got Our Own Pyramids, Write Our Own Hieroglyphs"

Compton's new prince, @kendrick_lamar, has quite a bit of momentum and excitement surrounding anything he touches these days. Ever since Dr. Dre left Compton, there has been a general lack of Hip Hop talent out of that area aside from @nipseyhussle holding down LA. Because of that it wasn't a huge surprise that @drdre endorsed Kendrick on radio, saying he'd like to work with the relatively unheard of rapper. See below as Kendrick describes the 30 messages he woke up to the morning Dr announced it on radio without having even met him...
For me, that woulda been like Ryne Sandberg giving me a shout out when I was 10 years old comin up a Cubs fan and playing baseball. Every city has their own heroes and as someone coming up and trying to make a name for themselves, there can't be a better feeling than the king of the city goin out of his way to pull you into his success in hopes of it boosting your career. Don't get it twisted though, it's not like Dre went out of his way just to shout out a kid from his home city, Kendrick is slated to be on the mythical album Detox, which is like going from tee ball to game 7 of the World Series.

When you think of Compton you think of gangs and the life that surrounds surviving on the streets. So you'll be equally surprised to know Kendrick was a straight A student who wasn't gang affiliated. Call him the rose the grew from concrete, I call him an intelligent dude with the lyrical ferocity of a hungry rookie. I say rookie because even though he's been releasing mixtapes since 2003, he's only now starting to really burst onto the scene having made the 2011 XXL Freshman cover this year. To give a sample of why he deserved that honor, check out this absolute heat rock he dropped back in November titled Look Out For Detox.
Yea, I know, dude's got some skills on the mic. Below is the first single off his upcoming album Section 80, set to drop this spring. @JColeNC doesn't donate any verses, but instead handles the production on the track, showing why he's much much more than just a rapper. Real smooth rhythm on the beat and Kendrick does not half step one bit, absolutely goin' IN on three verses.

With every listen, this track grows on me. I gotta feeling I'm gonna look back on this as the starting line of a well respected lyrical career. #TimeWillTell

"Everybody put three fingers in the air...."

Kendrick Lamar - HiiiPower (prod by J Cole)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Concert Review: Travie McCoy and Donnis

About a month ago, during the heart of March Madness when the VCUs and Butlers were still wrecking shop on the industry heavywieghts, I ventured down to TLA to catch one of my favorite up and coming artists @donnisxdonnis. The irony on the timing of this review is that he just released his much anticipated Southern Lights mixtape yesterday via Karmaloop , which I'm still on my first full lap around as I write this. Sounds pretty dope so far, but you can be sure I'll find a way to run a mile around it before I make any judgments.

Alright, so, rewind back about a month and I find myself walking into Theater of the Living Arts confused as hell as I see @PETEWENTZ onstage with a girl I don't recognize and have never heard of before. As it turns out, he and Bebe Rexha recently former a band called the Black Cards and they were the openers for the opening act. Being a pretty hardcore Fall Out Boy fan at one point, I was happy to see Pete back in action, but at the same time mad as hell all over again because the group disintegrated. If you're curious how they sound, it's very upbeat, punk, reggae influenced music that sounds sorta like No Doubt. Not really my cup of tea, but it was sort of alarming when 90% of the crowd cleared the floor just to get an autograph from him, which left about 50 fans to watch the upcoming acts. Makes sense considering his 2.5 million followers, but to be honest (and he knows and admits this willingly onstage), it's weird to have a guitarist talk just as much or more than the lead singer between songs. Sorta goes against the whole hierarchy of tradition for band performances, but considering his popularity, I guess it's warranted?

For me, Donnis, not @TRAVIEMCCOY was that someone who I'd made a point this year to somehow find a way to see. As he hit the stage with a burst of energy, I immediately felt like it was a great decision to pay the price of admissions. Despite the sound crew sabotaging his entrance by muting his mic and making him literally replay his walk out song, Donnis took it in stride and even joked about it as he continued on. One thing was for sure, the diminutive crowd wasn't gonna hold back the characteristically charismatic MC from creating a party atmosphere. Below are two of my favorite tracks he performed, Tonight and Gone ...
Donnis - Tonight at TLA
Donnis - Gone at TLA
Front to back, it was a greatest hits so far type of performance where he spotlighted damn near every song you may have heard from him. I got more videos of him doing his new track Me & My Boo as well as his first breakout single Over Do It, but the audio is waaay to heavy so it's more for visual. All in all it was a great performance EXCEPT he was capped at the knees early when the powers that be shortened his set for some probably terrible reason. He got to perform maybe 6 or so songs before being CUT, which pissed me off quite frankly. Even worse, I was actually looking forward to seeing @xtothev, but he was completely axed from even getting on stage. I don't know who made that ruling, but it was messed up and ultimately made me feel like the money I spent on the concert was mostly wasted. No disrespect to Black Cards or Travie McCoy, but I didn't come to watch them, I came to watch one of the game's up and coming stars and y'all cut him short. Oh hell-to-the-naw...#VenueFuckery

I don't wanna sound entirely negative either because Travie did his thing, he held down his live-band-style Hip Hop sound, was engaging and funny throughout the performance. You'll appreciate his rendition of Billionaire below...
Travie McCoy - Billionaire at TLA
The energy was high throughout the concert, which kept my attention and gave some entertainment value. Still, I expected more from the lineup and am more pissed off at the powers that be for pulling the wrong strings for seemingly no reason. I came away wanting to hear a lot more from Donnis and feeling like I wasn't as big of a Travie McCoy fan as I thought. To each their own though, if you like his music, you'll enjoy his live act, but it didn't end up bein' my favorite cup of tea.

What you need to do is download Donnis's Southern Lights mixtape though, it's well worth a download and multiple listens...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sade is the Sound of Beauty Amplified by 40

You're probably asking yourself why Drake is pictured above on post highlighting a @sadeofficial track. The answer to that is, don't overlook the white guy next to him, @ovo40 aka Noah “40” Shebib. Before you say "so what?", I'd check the production credits because he is all over So Far Gone, as well as tracks like @liltunechi's I'm Single, Jamie Foxx - Fall For Your Type, Drake's Successful, Fancy, Miss Me, Light Up...I could go on, but I'll let it marinade on you for a hot min...

Previous productions aside, Sade's silky voice over 40's slow piano beat is a masterpiece that could only be made better with a thoughtful verse from @s_c_. Like every other successful track he's produced, the beat is relatively simple, but manages to extract the emotion of the lyrics by providing nothing more than a beautiful scenery for the main characters to steal the show. In other words, 40's beats won't jump out at you and steal your attention, but that's why they are so great. Less is more when it comes to spotlighting lyrics and creating a mood on the track and there's no better nowadays than Noah Shebib.

Real smooth, grown and sexy R&B off Sade's upcoming greatest hits The Ultimate Collection due out May 3rd...

Sade feat. Jay-Z - The Moon And The Sky (Remix) (Prod. by Noah 40 Shebib)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Top April Song: DJ Drama ft. Wiz Khalifa, Fabolous & Roscoe Dash - Oh My (prod. by Drumma Boy)

If there's such a thing as slow club Hip Hop, @iamdrumma has mastered that sound. If you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about press play below...

Yea that's that ish that folks wild out to at the clubs and more recently, in between sets at every concert I've been to the past 4 months or so. Supposedly the first single off @djdrama's upcoming Gangsta Grillz 3 album, due out sometime in 2011, the track is so felony dope, like get sent upstate for like a 10 to 20 type of dope. Not only is the beat a heavy, rolling 808 masterpiece, it includes verses from two of my favorites @MYFABOLOUSLIFE and @RealWizKhalifa. Fab's whole verse deserves to be put on blast so follow below as you press play...
"I got one in Miami, she mean with a mouth piece
She like LeBron, I’m taking my talents down the south
Pineapple to chase it, go on girl just chase it
All we drink is my shit, coco loso wasted
Love that lil waist shit, damn them hips just sit out
Now I see who all these hating girls be talkin’ shit bout
From the front looking like she got some ass probably
They say that’s a sign girl ass-trology
Tight denim with them little rips in ‘em
Wait in line jeans, take a minute to get in ‘em
BBD say you poisen well I want some of that venom girl, girl" - FAB
In Hip Hop there's like Drake, Fab and Wayne type of lyrical creativity, then there's the rest (Honorable mention to Royce 5'9" and Joe Budden). So many repeatable, witty one lines scattered throughout each and every verse...if I had a style as a lyricist, I would strive to reach the creative and intellectual heights he does on his verses.

Pretty cool video below of Wiz dropping his verse below in a makeshift studio (props to Decatur Dan). Believe it or not this is actually how tracks are pieced together these days, all cut and paste style on the verses. Kinda cool how it works so seamlessly, right?

I'm adding this to new Josh HAMilton mix I created, powerful and beats in the (upper) deck...

DJ Drama ft. Wiz Khalifa, Fabolous & Roscoe Dash - Oh My (prod. by Drumma Boy)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Phantogram - When I'm Small (RAC mix)

@phantogram is a co-ed duo from New York, that is tough to describe, but easy to enjoy. They share vocals, which adds a dimension to their sound, but the beautiful @sarahbarthel primarily takes the reigns. In an attempt to categorize them, I found myself at a loss for words, so I've found with bands like this, it's best to let the music do the talking.

Phantogram - When I'm Small (RAC mix)

When I'm Small was one of my favorite tracks of 2010, and this remix from RAC adds another dimension to it. (RAC or Remix Artist Collective consists mainly of three guys: Andre Anjos (@andreanjos), Andrew Maury (@aemaury) and Karl Kling (@karlkling) that specialize in remixes, garnering a ton of attention for their work with @RaRaRiot, @TheShins, @radiohead, and @thisisblocparty). The track Mouthful of Diamonds was the 2nd part of Phantogram's 1-2 punch off their debut release, Eyelid Movies, that kept me coming back for more. Give it a listen!

Phantogram - Mouthful of Diamonds

Saturday, April 09, 2011

"So Many Girls in Here, Where Do I Begin?"

Same loveable upbeat club sound, slightly new cast, same result. Matter of fact now that I think about it, it's been at least a few minutes since @davidguetta released a new #1 club hit. This time with a little autotune from @official_flo and a verse by the effervescent and audacious @nickiminaj, DG takes aim at American contemporary club and hits another bullseye.

This is probably a stupid supposition, but I wonder if people in Europe or more specifically France (where David calls home) enjoys the Americanized sound of his music now? The electro, techno sound has to translate and travel well overseas, but I'm wondering if they view him as all sell out since he went for the more lucrative overseas challenge of taking over and shaping American pop music.

Selfishly, I'm not too upset he came over and has helped fill the techno/house void that pop has been without for years. Can you think of ten American-made songs that you remember that have a techno beat and was gobbled up by contemporary radio? It's a challenge for me, so I'm gonna fall in line and keep subtly enjoying the hotness DG keeps putting out...that is until it's beaten into our brains and overplayed, then I will probably learn to hate it like I do most music that enter the final stages of a "popular" song's life cycle.

David Guetta feat Flo Rida Nicki Minaj - Where Dem Girls At

Thursday, April 07, 2011

"We Fly, I Mean so Fly We Need a Whole Wing TGOD"

You’ve been asleep for quite a while if you think @REALWIZKHALIFA is a new artist or that nobody knew about him before Black and Yellow caught fire. In 2006 he was called a new artist to watch by Rolling Stone, only to cover the same magazine five years later when he released his first, highly anticipated album. Again, not his first, second, but his third studio album has everyone taking notice and joining the army that has become Taylor Gang.

From a first hand account when I saw him in concert a couple months back, I wrote about how I felt like I was missing something when everyone in the crowd knew verses word for word from tracks off mixtapes he did years ago. Other than @drakkardnoir, you just don't see that type of die hard fandom very often where fans can go years back to a mixtape and know every word. It's hard enough to get people to listen to your studio album, let alone a free mixtape. I also noted in my review how his sound caters to a huge demographic of suburban white kids. They are the type of Hip Hop fans who are drawn to white collar living. Ironically, they are also drawn to the in-your-face rebelliousness of Wiz’s music, highlighted by rampant Kush smoking. Add easily understood, repeatable lyrics that aren’t littered with the N word and you’ve got a style that a 15-30 year old white kid can get down with.

Rolling Papers is no different. He makes easy listening Hip Hop, characterized by chilled out rhythms that are more Pure Moods sounding than 808. The tone is set on the first track When I'm Gone, with a full minute of peaceful piano giving way to characteristically audacious lyrics. The persona of a Taylor is epitomized by the hook where Wiz harmonizes:
"I'm gonna spend it all
Why wait for another day?
I'ma take all this money I own
And blow it all away
Cause I can't take it when I'm gone"
After the intro comes the three high profile singles with the @IAmJimJonsin produced On My Level, Black and Yellow, and Roll Up. On My Level stands out on the album because it's the only track on the album produced by an industry heavyweight, so some may argue it doesn't mesh well, but tempo and hook wise it fits perfectly with the exaggerated, slow rhythms and mellow harmony. I don't even need to touch on how classic Black and Yellow turned out to be, but it's interesting to note I posted it on September 26th, literally 6 months before Rolling Papers dropped. Crazy how long anticipation has been building for his album and that it took 5 months for the second single Roll Up to drop. It ended up being a great decision because it kept the ball rolling with another radio friendly Stargate produced, smooth, synthy, feel good track.

As far as the album review is concerned, to me the review starts here because damn near every album these days begins to fall flat on their faces after the glitter of the singles wears off. Anyone can get a top 25 single on the radio, but it's rare for an album to keep my attention for the duration. As I started track 5, Hopes and Dreams, I was hesitant because the letdown was beginning as I wasn't a fan of the track. It's a little too slow for my liking and was too much of a mundane sing along. Luckily, as I skipped to the next track I was immediately drawn in by the third Stargate produced track Wake Up. The back and forth steady knock of the beat fits Wiz's delivery to a T like Taylor. If you want to hear him in his zone, listen to the first verse on this track. Dude even sings his own bridge, opting against the cliche T-pain or Akon collab sound and instead going with his own sound, which is beyond admirable considering how easy and popular it is to fit the industry norm...serious #Daps&Lbs for that.

Next, The Race is a dreamy, zoned out track that lands softly on the ear drums, emanating a soothing vibe throughout the track. To say it's a chill track is an understatement and doesn't do justice to the uniqueness of the guitar backbone on the beat. Star of the Show was filler track number two on the album, just not my cup of tea. Luckily, like the first filler, it was followed by one of my favorites, his third single off the album No Sleep. This will be a late spring, early summer anthem that has already reached the heights of the first two singles. The song makes me think of summer break in college when you didn't have a job or care in the world and all you did was party. No Sleep is perfectly suited for teenage/college kid consumption, emphasizing what matters to people in their late teens/early 20s, livin it up on the weekend. Again, perfectly nailing his demographic, which will only serve to convert more college kids into TGOD believers.

Get Your Shit is an emotional ballad that shows a lesser seen, vulnerable side of Wiz, as he tells his own breakup story saying, “I swear I love you but this ain’t right for us”. The back and forth knock and glee club style harmony on Top Floor sucks you in with an out of left field, tribal vibe on the track. Fly Solo is a nice acoustic change of gears, showing a little versatility in his sound by opting against the heavy Hip Hop beat and catering to a more contemporary sound. Rooftops continues the harmonic sound of the album with an echoing hook that offsets the aggressive, high caliber lyricism and chemistry shared between Wiz and @currensy_spitta.

The final track on the album, Cameras, is without a doubt my favorite on the album. It’s a feel good track with uplifting lyrics that go together perfectly with the upbeat, head nod worthy beat that keeps your attention with the calming guitar riff throughout. It's got a repeatable sound and genuinely happy feel to it, which ends up being a perfect way to cap the album. It won't be hard to imagine this as a final single to carry home the final push for sales and keep building on the 191K first week sales.

Wiz Khalifa - Cameras (prod by E.Dan)

All in all, Rolling Papers is front to back fresh. By my count there are only two out of 14 tracks I skip when listening to the album and that's very rare considering my on-to-the-next-one taste for music. He deserves credit for the homegrown sound, opting against the inclusion of typical hooks by Akon, T-pain, Chris Brown, or Trey Songz and instead singing the chorus on every song. I wouldn't call him a singer or say he's always on tune, but his own soft harmony maintains cohesion between verses and defines his style, making it unlike anybody else in the game. Sure his hooks are mostly sing-songy, but I’d argue that his G-funk sound is a continuation of the style Snoop, Warren G, and Nate Dogg coined a decade ago. The Grammys this year were another glaring example of how Hip Hop is still not on level ground with less controversial, more traditional genres like Country, Folk and Rock, but with Wiz, Drake, Cudi, and B.O.B. bringing a more contemporary, easy listening sound to Hip Hop, it’s only a matter of time before you'll see a true Hip Hop act perform at the Super Bowl.

Also noteworthy was that Wiz has his own Boi-1da in E Dan (@idlabsmusic) who did a great job in crafting a different sound that further differentiated Wiz’s sound from anything else in Hip Hop. The three Stargate tracks mixed with his production are instrumental (pun intended) in shaping the dreamy calmness that's comparable to Kid Cudi’s music, but a lot more middle of the road lyrically and generally happy in comparison. Call it happy stoner rap, rather than depressing stoner rap, with the contemporary instrumentation (plenty of acoustic guitar) that you’d hear on B.O.B.’s music. For a 23-year-old that smokes copious amounts of weed, he's undeniably smart/experienced enough to understand why his fans enjoy his music. With lines like, "Got money minor league turn major, Got money white people turn neighbors" on Wake Up and, "No socks in my boat shows now a n**** eatin’ good like whole foods” on Rooftops, he's not trying to make trap rap like T.I. or Pusha T, he's staying true to who he is and where/how he grew up no matter what type of Hip Hop fan he attracts. Five years ago his Hip Hop peers would have looked down on his style and called him "soft" for not rapping about drugs, guns and bitches, but now, thanks largely in part to artists like Drake, Cudi and B.O.B., Hip Hop has moved away from the harshness of Gangsta rap in favor of a more listen-able, relate-able and instrumentation based sound that I'm clearly excited about. #YouShouldBeToo

As a result of non-leaked, extremely well done tracks like No Sleep, Cameras, Wake Up and Top Floor, I'm giving Rolling Papers a 4 out of 5 headphone grade. It surpassed my expectations in both quality and quantity, firmly planting himself in my live starting 5 of up and coming MCs. Keep it up Wiz and I'll see you this weekend...

BONUS: Below are two recent videos and my favorite track on the album, Cameras for your viewing/listening pleasure.

Wiz speaks on trimming the features and "saving the suspense of future bigger collaborations" on Rolling Papers.

Interview with Ground Breaking Productions answering the basic pre-album question like what it feels like to be Taylor Gang and how it feels to come up like he has.

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