Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nothing Odd About Frank Ocean's Future

It's a sad, but expected modern evil to get your news and current events from social networking. Facebook is always a good place to find stuff out about people you know, while Twitter has morphed into the vehicle that carries breaking news. Now any time I need to check the legitimacy of something I heard in the news, all I need to do is click the Twitter app on my iPhone and see what's trending to get confirmation.

Such was the case last week when I ended up giving @frank_ocean more of a listen when @chrisbrown went out of his way to give Frank an unsolicited compliment, saying he "reminded him of a young James Fauntleroy or Kevin Cossum." That touched a nerve evidently because it caused an all out Twitter fight that @fucktyler jumped in on. Honestly it's funny when it precipitates to a point where everyone starts talking about how tough they are like they're out to prove that they're harder than the next man. The best part of all this was when @thegame played Hip Hop police and offered some wisdom to both Frank and Tyler that only a seasoned vet who is harder than both bickering crews combined could give...
Needless to say it came as no surprise that cooler heads eventally prevailed this week with the squashing of the beef. I can see why he didn't want to be likened to the two very talented and underrated artists, but when you put out a single like Novacane, how do you not expect to be regarded as an R&B artist? Yea it's subtly in your face like everything OFWGKTA, but it's every bit radio worthy and what you'd expect from an R&B artist.

Seeing as @fauntleroy and @kevincossom are two of my favorite R&B singer/song writers, I felt like that comparison alone gave me reason enough to give his whole Nostalgia Ultra EP a listen. The mixtape was released back in February, so I'm more than a little late on it, but I was surprised at what I heard when I gave it a full listen. The EP is filled with a lot of unique, do I explain this...uniquely contemporary sounding stuff that is marked by a lot of really solid vocals. The main takeaway is that Frank has a really good voice and a really strong desire create his own unique sound. While I don't really fux with anything Odd Future has done to this point and don't really see @fucktyler's music as being more than shock value Rap, Frank Ocean gives @OFWGKTA a glimmer of hope in being appreciated rather than alienated for their unapologetically brazen music.

Below are two of my favorite cuts off the newest mixtape that you can find here at datpiff or here at livemixtapes. The first, Strawberry Swing, definitely sounds like something James Fauntleroy would have demo'd, AND THATS NOT A BAD THING FRANK. You get to see hear the vocal range and potential over a slow and steady acoustic beat.

Frank Ocean - Strawberry Swing

Probably the best track on the tape, but honorable mention goes There Will Be Tears, which is more of a heartfelt ballad that starts slow and progresses over a basic, rhythmic clap. There's good reason why Nostalgia Ultra went gold on datpiff with over 100,000 downloads of his latest tape and if you haven't followed suit with the masses already, you should do the same and catch up this week like I did...
Frank Ocean - There Will be Tears

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Foster the People - Outrun My Gun

Los Angeles band, @fosterthepeople has built quite the following of late, even selling out their stop through my city of Austin, at famed venue Emo's. Given the chance to see them at Coachella in April, I couldn't resist; I had heard so much about them, and the only song of their's I knew, Pumped up Kicks, was oozing with potential. It has since become one of my favorite songs of the summer, and though I've played out the original (with video below), the remix from @itstheknocks is pretty epic, and we've got that mp3...
Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks

Lo and behold, their Coachella was absolutely packed. It wasn't long before I realized that I was surrounded by a crowd of 16 to 20 year old's that screamed and danced like their life depended on it.

I came away less than impressed, and I have only myself to blame. They are very good at catering to a certain pop-music crowd, that previously unbeknownst to me, I wasn't a part of. Upon listening to their album after the festival, it only reiterates those thoughts. They are very well liked, and I don't mean to discourage you from listening, I guess I just expected something different.

Foster the People - Helena Beat

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Buzz Artist: Javier Colon

Making my normal rounds on my nightly RSS route, I was faced again with the usual task of deciding what to check out and what to pass on. Generally I give the inbox a look for submissions first and if it strikes my fancy, I talk about it on here. After that I click the drop downs on all my Top 25 sites on my Live Bookmarks to pick, choose and read valued opinions, as well as form my own.

A week ago, I went outside the normal Hip Hop realm when I saw one of the sites I frequent post a sample from an Acoustic EP by @javstwtr.

After digging a little deeper, I found out that Javier is performing live tonight in the finals of NBC's The Voice. A graduate of The Hartt School at the University, he's clearly more seasoned than that average breakthrough artist. He's been a part of EmcQ, The Derek Trucks Band and has quietly released two full length solo albums (Javier, Left of Center) while with Capitol Records. You may remember his single Crazy back in 2003?

There's little doubt, he's a got a great voice and a very underrated talent, but luckily for him NBC realized that and he's now in the final 4 of The Voice. Check out his most recent performance and pay attention to the reaction from the judges at the end. It speaks volumes with the speakers being turned up...
Listening at the end to @ADAMLEVINE rave about his voice, even going as far as saying it's one of the best he's ever heard that was pretty cool. Not sure why they made such a big deal out of him taking off the hat, maybe he's weird about it, but what does it matter, without dispute, dude has an absolutely amazing voice. If you're wanting your own copy, the folks at NBC were smart and gracious enough to get a studio version of the song above of Fix You.

If you're like me, you've already been to iTunes a few times to check out his most recent live performance covers (like his duet with Adam Levine, covering Man in the Mirror). Below are my two favorites off his latest studio release, The Truth Acoustic EP. If you're like me and don't watch too much American Idol or any live talent competition reality show, consider this a wake up call to one of the more talented, soon to be stars in Javier Colon. Oh and if you want to see Javier and all the other contestants live, check the 6 tour dates they have booked so far for this summer...

Javier Colon - Meant to Be

Javier Colon - Come Through

Monday, June 27, 2011

Kid Ink is Poppin' on the Low

I'm more than a couple minutes late on the track below, but after giving @kid_ink's new album a listen and seeing his new video for Low Key Poppin, I had to share a few thoughts. In case you missed it, Kid just released a mixtape titled Daydreamer a week ago that was executive produced by @DEEJAYILLWILL. This album all the sudden became pretty noteworthy to me personally when I saw the likes of @THERUNNERS, @SMOKEDOUTLUGER and @thabizness on the production credits. Put it this way, I'm more of a fan of producers than I am artists because there's a lot stronger correlation between music I like and who produced it...#My2Cents

Fresh outta LA and ink'd up damn near head to toe, you can probably guess where his name came from. What you wouldn't expect is that he's been behind the scenes collaborating with a lot of your favorite artists while beginning to write his own stuff in preparation of launching his own solo career. Now signed by The Alumni Entertainment Group (who have one of the flashier sites I've seen in a while), you can expect that the near 30k downloads of his new album will only increase.

I did my part and copped the album and it'd be worth your while to check out tracks like Blackout and Live it Up, which should find a way on there more than a few iPods the next month or two. If you have any doubts check the video and ride out to the dope Runners beat...

The west coast needs someone to lead the new school Hip Hop charge and I'd throw Kid Ink in a small group of up and comers like @kendrick_lamar, @NIPSEYHUSSLE and @jayrock who have the ability to run with the likes of @THEREALCROOKEDI in keeping the buzz high out in Cali. Hip Hop needs Cali to be strong in order to continue being recognized as one of the most powerful genre's out. I'm cynical based on what the new crowd has to offer as a whole, but there's a lot of hope and the track below is a big reason why...

Kid Ink - Low Key Poppin' (prod by The Runners)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Trust Issues Exist...Even on The Weeknd

My guess is the next name you will hear about that's coming out of the T Dot is @theweekndxo. You may have missed it, Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd released a debut album titled House of Balloons back in March and it was well received, generally speaking. Pitchfork gave it an 8.5 out of 10 and Rolling Stone, which isn't known for consistently high reviews, gave it a 4 out of 5 star rating.

Sure, the @drakkardnoir co-sign has really helped, but alone, he's got some talent to write home about. Case in point, his track Wicked Games, that is covered in raw emotion and pain.

To take it a step further, he'll be all over Take Care, which should do nothing but help get his name out there. Along the same lines, he took a stab at his PIC's new ballad, Trust Issues. On the cover, he did a sufficient job of making it his own, taking it a completely different direction, adding a little more harmony and importing his own lyrics.

You be the judge, did he do the original justice? Either way, get used to hearin' him, with Drake's help, you'll know his name sooner or later...#Watch

The Weeknd - Trust Issues (Remix)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Script Concert Review at Mann Music Center

As a frequent concert-goer and current recovering concert addict, I (obviously) like going to different venues and seeing what each has to offer. Whether that be the big amphitheaters, the dive bars, the outdoor-threw-a-stage-in-a-big-grassy-area, or the small, seated artsy theaters...I've seen a few different places in my day. Normally I'd say take what I say with a grain of salt because there's probably someone out there with the same sort of experiences and perceived wisdom that can argue an intriguing counterpoint. This would not be one of those times as I'm feeling pretty confident that I'm well versed in dissecting the pros and cons of various destinations.

I preface my review with that disclaimer strictly based on what I'm about to say about the venue I attended. The Mann Music Center is hands down one of the best venues I have ever seen a concert at. Why you ask? To start with, easy to get in and out of parking wise, a big plus. Second, it's great for pre-gaming, bringing a cooler and kickin' it pre and post-concert. Third, the amphitheater is just plain awesome. It's built into the side of a hill, so really, the farther back you are row wise, the better because you're more elevated. I'd contend the balcony seating is just as intriguing because it's even more elevated with a birds eye view. There's also really easy access to bathrooms, lawn seating and even a catered dinner available in a tent within the confines in case you'd like to eat like a champ prior to the show.

Not sold yet? Welp, check out the view below of the city of Philadelphia, which just so happens to be perfectly on the horizon and easily visible from the top of the hill inside the venue. (See below)
Maybe it helped that it just so happened to be the perfect night temp wise with some sun to boot, or even that I was able to lounge on the cushy couches under a tent pre-show, which was relaxing after a usual 8-5. Either way, it was all very noteworthy and deserving of a few paragraphs...#UrWelcomeMannCenter

Alright on to the show, where evidently @safetysuit was the band that opened for @THESCRIPT. I say evidently because I was so enamored with my surroundings and subsequent wanderlust, that I wasn't concerned in the least who was opening. I failed you there, but they sounded worthwhile in the distance and as a token of my appreciation, go check out their new album Life Left to Go.

Not more than a half hour or so passed between the set change (which was appreciated) and as I found my seats I remembered having cashed in on the pre-sale, which meant dope, up close seats. I would have preferred being centered, but you can't complain much being 15 rows from the stage. Going into the concert I was only semi-familiar with much of The Script's music. I was a big fan of their big hit For the First Time, but hadn't taken the time to collect some of their earlier work. That ended up being a good thing as I left the show having taken lyrical notes of 3 or 4 different tracks that I really liked. Like for example, the one below, The Man Who Can't Be Moved which seemed like an obvious fan favorite...
The Script - The Man Who Can't Be Moved (live @ Mann Music Center)

It's always cool hearing past memories of a current, well-known band (like The Script) speaking on past memories of when they came to the same city years ago as an up and coming artist. The sincerity comes across when they remember what song stuck with the fans that night because they sang along word for word. That pretty much sums up why The Man Who Can't Be Moved stuck with me, every single person (except me) knew every lyric, word for word. I get goosebumps with that kinda stuff...#ThatsWhatConcertAddictsSay

After witnessing a full set, their Irish accents really stood out between songs as they made idle conversation with the audience. I feel like the expected U2 comparisons are fair and not too far off base. There's no getting around how vocally talented lead singer @Dannythescript is and while they may never reach the heights of U2, they're definitely making a name for themselves and continuing to put Ireland on the map for Contemporary Rock.

Heading into the encore I was full aware that they were probably saving their most notable hit, For the First Time for last, but what I forgot was that they also were the ones behind Break Even. That came as a total curveball to me as the last song and made me feel really out of touch with their music. I got some good video of them performing their latest hit, though, so don't be bashful and give it a look (below)...
The Script - For the First Time (live @ Mann Music Center)

Fun concert overall at a great venue, I really couldn't have asked for much more. I'd recommend seeing The Script live because like me, you may find yourself not realizing that they're got more hits out there than you know.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Videos of the Week

Lots of entertaining stuff this week including Bill O'Reilly defending Obama vs Lupe (in an extremely overly cut 5 min excerpt that was aired) and a whole lot of fun between Cudder and Matt/Kim's videos. Oh yea, what do you think about an all cello version of Welcome to the Jungle?
The Cud Life Tour V-Log #6

@mattandkim - Block After Block (video)...they really are the epitome of fun

@LUPEFIASCO takes on Bill O'Reilly on his show the @oreillyfactor

2 Cellos (Sulic & Hauser) - Welcome To The Jungle...pretty unique and awesome video

@ITSPACDIV's new video for Your F***ing Song

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Hey! I See You Flashing Me Your Taillights"

As the days count down to July 12th when the @coolxkids finally release their first full length album, When Fish Ride Bicycles, I'm finding it hard to hold back the excitement as the leaks steadily find their way onto the internet, then shortly after that, to iTunes. Seems like finally breaking free from the suits (no swimming) and finding a home on Green Label Sound is proving to be the perfect combination of awesome for @ChuckisDope and @SirMichaelRocks. When I say awesome, I mean both monetarily and creatively, as they're able to give us what they want us to hear like they've done on their extremely dope and unheralded mixtapes like Tacklebox and Gone Fishing, as well as make ALL THE PROFITS from their upcoming album. #MostArtistsWish

Below you'll find their newest single, which will be song 9 on When Fish Ride Bicycles. It's an uptempo, laid back, fun, party starter type track where the guitar will make you shake your hips a bit as the subterranean bass provides a not so subtle reminder of why you installed those after market subs in the trunk...
Yup, that's wassup, no half steppin' with the treble heavy laptop/PC speakers, do the song some justice and loosen the screws a bit in the back of your car. All in all, it's a solid track and @MAYERHAWTHORNE will reel in the ladies with his smooth vocals, make no mistake about it, he's got a high pitched, but grown and sexy appeal to his music. I don't like this track as much as I did Bundle Up, but it's still worthy album track and worth adding to the newest playlist you're goin' with.

So far there hasn't been a let down one bit from the high that Hip Hop is continuing to ride with all the high profile, great new singles that have dropped this month. All I ask of you, yea you reading this, is that you go out and support TCK and cop their album on iTunes when it drops so that they can get rewarded for their unique and undeniably thrown back style of music. In other words, they're a big part of what's keeping Hip Hop evolving and continuing to be interesting, so at the very least that should warrant you at least copping an iTunes single. #ThinkAboutIt

The Cool Kids feat Mayer Hawthorne - Swimsuits

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Let's Call Up I’m Drinkin', Let's All Get Wasted"

I'm not sure whether to call this a B side or R&B remix of I'm On One, but it's lethal dose of somber R&B, that's for sure. I take that back actually, he throws in an obligatory 16 near the end of the song, sorta like he did on Shut it Down. C'mon y'all what'd you think that a sensitive dude like @drakkardnoir would actually like all these fast women surrounding him? Child please, ADG is tryna find a mature businesswoman type who enjoys the finer things of life like wine and has her sh*t together...

...which leads us to the subject of this track, Trust Issues. The whole slow jam over an @ovo40 beat deals with the constant mental struggle and temptation of having women on ready 5 to treat him like a trophy (f word) when all he's craving is some substance in a woman. Don't look down fellas, not all men like happy meals that are quick and fulfilling, some crave aged prime rib (pun intended + bad wording/example), you feel me?

Subject matter aside, I'm appreciating the diversity on Drake's newest leaks. They've been heavy on the 40 beats, which has been giving his tracks more of a So Far Gone vibe, but the artist we now hear on tracks is a different person with different types of stories and problems. Being a fan of depressing, somber music that is heavy on emotional content, I can dig tracks like the one below because it's raw and transparent, which is rare and again why I can level with Drake's tracks better than your average Hip Hop track. Three cuts in a couple weeks after relative obscurity, consider yourself lucky and hope for more...(like that new single that's droppin' in July)

Drake - Trust Issues (prod by Noah "40" Shebib)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bon Iver - Don't You Cherish Me To Sleep

For you Hip Hop heads out there, Justin Vernon, the lead singer of @boniver, was instrumental in the success of Kanye's latest album, offering vocals on the opener Dark Fantasy, Monster, and lastly, Lost in the World, which was a sample of Justin's previous track titled, Woods.

In case you haven't heard, it's national "Bon Iver Day" in the indie-world, as today welcomes the nationwide arrival of the band's second full-length self titled album, Bon Iver. One record store in lead singer Justin Vernon's hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin is actually having an all-day listening party with prizes and bonus material available, while another store opened it's doors at midnight specifically for this album's you could say, it's kind of a big deal to indie-kids.
What can I say that hasn't been said about this band, and the man behind it, Justin Vernon, in these past few weeks? He's been on the cover of both Billboard and Spin Magazine, received great reviews from tastemakers and Rolling Stone, and he was even featured in Vanity Fair for goodness sakes.

The band is currently in New York, filming appearances on The Colbert Report last night, and Jimmy Fallon tonight, and I couldn't be happier for them, as they deserve every bit of this success. They've resisted the seemingly inevitable backlash from fans that most indie-bands receive when they blow up like this, as they've consistently remained humble, never losing that sense of intimacy that their music created for fans to latch onto in the first place.

Bon Iver - Minnesota, WI

Before hearing this record for the first time, I thought there was no way it could live up to expectations; I loved the first album, and I was of the mind that anything remotely close to the first would be a success. Lo and behold, I was thoroughly amazed to find this record showed remarkable growth, offering an album that flowed together beautifully from start to finish, leaving me with two tracks, Minnesota, WI and Calgary, that became instant favorites.

So if you get the chance, give these songs a listen, and seek out the others, because, I can assure you, they won't be hard to find.

Bon Iver - Calgary

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Why Do I Always Feel Invisible?"

Man just when I was about to say somethin' stupid like @skylargrey can't possibly top her first buzz single Dance Without You, she goes and drops an official single that trumps it like the right bower over the left in euchre...#MidwestStandUp!

Coincidentally, Holly's new album's title Invinsible is a portmanteau of the first single below, Invisible and the word invincible. That type of duality is pretty damn creative and the song below appropriately touches on her quick ascension from nothing to something, as the album title suggests. A fun fact I learned this week is that Skylar Grey = Holly Brook...the same Holly Brook featured on @m_shinoda's track Where'd You Go? Y'all remember that track? I couldn't stop playing it and that was much in part to Holly or Skylar's angelical hook.

I love it when a supposed new artist surfaces and I find out that I've liked them all along and didn't even know it. Call it re-branding, call it getting a break, call it a talented young woman rising to the matter where you go with it, it's a great story.

Endless dap needs to be shelled out for yet another extremely dope beat by @alexdakid, who continues to be THE trendsetter in Hip Hop. The 808 thump on Invisible would make @chuckisdope blush and when it's set to a perfect tempo and kick to boot, it's just beautiful. If this track were a painting it'd be in one of those museum's you gotta pay for, you got me?

I made a pretty audacious claim in my last post that Skylar would be as well known as Rihanna by next year. At this pace, that prediction looks pretty safe with only two tracks in the bank on her debut album. Time will tell, but her debut album is shaping up to be an IPO that would make a venture capitalist salivate...

Skylar Grey - Invisible (prod by Alex Da Kid)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"She Familiar with Fendi, Comfortable in Chanel, And You Know Errthang' High When You Livin' Swell"

About 8 days and 9 hours before @bigsean's debut album Finally Famous drops. After one lap around it I've found a few favorites like the one below and his collab with @LUPEFIASCO, Wait For Me, which are all added bonuses because tracks like My Last, I Do It and (my personal favorite) What Goes Around were enough to make it a solid album. I'm not proclaiming front to back greatness regarding the yet to be released album, but I'll at least note that there are hidden gems in there that make you feel like you're not playing Air Penguin jumping from single to single and avoiding filler tracks.

On the track below you're going to get a couple well put together verses big Sean Don that showcase the pause and stop flow that he coined before artists like Kanye, Lil Wayne and Drake followed suit. The features are fitting too with @realWizKhalifa starting his verse with a trademark, glee club quality harmony followed by a fierce, energetic 11 bars. Put it this way, how could you NOT involve Wiz in a track called high? #NoBrainer...

With every track I'm becoming a bigger fan of @chiddybang and more specifically @xaphoonjones when he surfaces on the production credits. The heavy bassline with a touch of percussion and synth sets the tempo well on this and set the stage for all three verses. I still need a listen or two before I make a final judgment, but the likelihood of Finally Famous living up to the high expectations is a good bet.

Big Sean ft Wiz Khalifa & Chiddy Bang - High (prod by Xaphoon Jones)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Gripping That Stick Like an Icicle, Sweet Like a Candy Cane"

I've always been a hesitant to embrace posthumous releases, but the obvious exception would be for anything Chad Butler related. Having ruled the South with their characteristically slow delivery and no holds barred lyrics, Pimp and @BUNBTRILLOG will always be regarded as two of the biggest opinion and style leaders musically in Hip Hop. They blazed a path their own way with audacity and swagger that Hip Hop had never experienced from the Lone Star state.

Sure in a perfect world, @bigkrit woulda found a way to collab with Pimp C prior to his passing, but the world isn't perfect unfortunately, so we as Hip Hop fans will have to find a way to appreciate Pimp's style that lives on through King Remembered In Time. The track below up the ante on Pimp's upcoming album Still Pimping that will drop on July 12th.

Also, if you're a fan of the shirt pictured above, feel free to cop it here for $26 + Shipping. Man if only Hip Hop could keep up this constant flow of great tracks every month I'd have an easy job picking what to post like I have this month. Enjoy it while it lasts folks...

Pimp C Feat. Bun B & Big K.R.I.T. - Grippin' on the Wood
|Cop It

Friday, June 17, 2011

Videos of the Week

@billmaher & @janemarielynch Read "The Weinerlogues"

@IAMSEANGARRETT feat @rickyrozay - In Da Box (video)

@Eminem & @therealroyce59 Perform Lighters at @bonnaroo

@NEWBOYZ feat @ChrisBrown - Better With the Lights Off (video)

@timwestwood interview with @Yelawolf before his performance with Wu Tang in the UK

@RYANLESLIE Performs Joan of Arc at the Apple store on 14th Street in New York City

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Let's Take a Journey Across My Mind and Fall in Love With the Things We Find"

I've been putting on blast a lot of high profile summer singles this week and to cap the week off (let's be honest the week ends on Fri at 5PM when people with lives live on the weekend and put blogging on hold #Perspective) it'd only be fair I threw you a bone as far as an underground joint with serious potential that's a little off the beaten path. To be fair, @richkidsndsystm has been creepin' on a come up for a while now with promises of a new mixtape coming out this summer followed by buzz tracks like the one below and Not Far From Home (below)...

...oh yea and A Little Bit of Time...

I've heard a lot of bloggers call their music fun, summery and even beach music, all of which are in the ballpark for trying to pin down their sound. RKSS definitely give off that Indie vibe where their music is a constant attempt to be different and incorporate live instrumentation with their beats. It's safe to say they accomplished that mission on the track below, Sonnet 27, their most noteworthy track to date. The beat is something I'd picture @wizardcud goin' in on with the dreamy lyrics, but in their own way they managed reel me in with the razor sharp hook that quickly landed them at the top of the majority of playlists this week. Add to the electro-synth beat breakdown around the 2:38 mark and I was sold man.

All around a great track and very appropriate for any and every summer cookout, beach adventure or top down ride through the city. RKSS, you've got my full attention after this heat rock, I look forward to similar creativity from the upcoming mixtape and will be on ready 5 to review it if proves to be as quality front to back as Sonnet 27...#StayTuned

Rich Kid Sound System - Sonnet 27

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

James Drake - James Blake x Drake Mash-up Mixtape

james drake Mixtape! James Drake (James Blake x Drake)

Few things excite me more than when two of my favorite artists collaborate. In this case, though, it isn't so much a collaboration, but a mixtape mash-up of @jamesblake and @drakkardnoir, produced by Philadelphia's own DJ Bombe and Mr. Carribean, that has me incredibly excited.

James Drake Mixtape (DJ Bombe & Mr. Caribbean)

James Blake, the UK sensation, took the indie-world by storm this past year with his debut self-titled LP, headlining shows and festivals across the globe.

Drake, I probably don't need to preface. He's been killing it for years now, and judging by the two leaked singles from his forthcoming album, Marvin's Room and Dreams Money Can Buy, things are only getting better for this dude.

In what's come as a bit of a surprise to me, Drake has really taken on a life of his own in the indie-world. Recently, his track Marvin's Room, took over the #1 spot on's list of most popular singles, a site known for promoting the best of the best in Indie. And also, more importantly, the elitist tastemakers at seemed to have taken a real liking to this guy, too, consistently mentioning his whereabouts and promoting the projects he's involved in.

Enough talk though, let's get to the mixtape. The first half of the album is much stronger than the second, in my opinion, with Wilhelm's F***ing Best being an instant favorite.

Drake x James Blake - Wilhelm's F***ing Best

Successful CMYK and Forever Bells are also worth noting, but Drake fans be warned, this mixtape is definitely geared more towards James Blake fans. Blake's style is very much dub-step, fairly slow and methodical, and you won't find a lot of singles here, just an abundance of consistently good tracks. This project definitely showcases the talents of these producers, in their ability to fuse together two seemingly contrasting styles, but I was definitely holding out for more.

These two artists are stars, and maybe I was being greedy in expecting too much, but if you like James Blake, it's still very much worth checking out, just don't expect a revolutionary album, a la the Danger Mouse's Gray album

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"My Heart's a Stereo, It Beats For You So Listen Close"

There have been some fierce, potential chart topping tracks that have surfaced this week and all things considered my iPod has been busy, which has made my time at the gym productive. Y'all know what's up, and when I say this one made it to the top the past two days amonngst the stiff competition brought on by the likes of Drake, Skylar Gray, Coldplay and Bad Meets Evil, you know it's serious. Sure this one is soaked in candy and will ultimately rival @TRAVIEMCCOY's Billionaire single last year that had everyone repeating the hook. I know I know, that'd make it a top 5 Billboard hit, but still, I stand by my audacious prediction because this is every bit as repeatable, fun loving and upbeat.

Ask yourself too, when was the last time you were like man @ADAMLEVINE killed that hook!! I'd say other than Misery last year, probably back in 07 with Makes Me Wonder? Either way ya boy Travie has a knack for recruiting hooks and that's a great talent because it's keeping his solo career afloat merely with the strength of these mammoth singles he's been dropping. Shouts out to @itsbennyblanco on the form fitting backdrop that allowed both Travie and Adamn to drop what will be regarded as one of the most overplayed singles this summer...#SpoilerAlert

Cop it now before the masses start that whole "nah man I was rockin' that song like a couple weeks ago" garbage... #FThatNoise + #KennyPowersVoice ...

Travie McCoy feat Adam Levine - Stereo Hearts (prod by Benny Blanco)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bruno Mars Susquehanna Bank Center Concert Review

A couple months back I got the Live Nation nudge saying @brunomars was coming to see me. Being a fan of Bruno and knowing that it would be a rare chance for both me and the lady to enjoy one of our mutual favorites, it was something I couldn't pass up. I've seen four shows now at Susquehanna Bank Center and I still contend, the city that it resides in (Camden, NJ) is the literal armpit of the world. What other place closes pharmacies and Dunkin Donuts on a Saturday night at 5PM, dude? Hmm wonder why...oh yea that's right, they've still got top billing for America's most dangerous city.

City and ridiculous parking fees aside ($25 to park in a lot close to the venue), the venue isn't terrible. As a sidebar, I U-turned from that lot, said kick rocks to the parking attendants and opted for the $1 hour meters about two blocks up. Definitely bring quarters folks, it pays...literally. I'll say too, I definitely prefer the indoor concerts rather than the outdoor, lawn shows because the entire one mile area surrounding the venue becomes one big cluster F word when that many people are allowed in.
As far as the show is concerned, I caught most of @4PLANB's set, which was interesting. I had heard a lot of buzz about him from a few folks who subscribe to the monthly song list and I get why he has a niche. His combination of live band with a some Hip Hop and Contemporary is a testament to his talent as an artist. I'll be looking out for his stuff from now on because he's an intriguing act.

The second opener, @janellemonae is crazy, super, uber talented and unique in every single way. The show she puts on is hard to sleep on, just like the out of this world vocals she's been blessed with. I wouldn't consider myself a fan of her music, the music she makes doesn't appeal to me all that much, but goood lawd she can rock a set. In other words there is good reason why award shows like the Grammys are cool with her performing, despite the fact you probably haven't heard much of her music.
Finally, the main attraction came, fairly shortly after Janelle, which was much appreciated. Nothin' worse than having to wait like an hour between acts, that's why you hire folks to work the set changes. Off top Bruno brought the noise, opening with his track The Other Side. Semi-dope opener, not exactly my favorite track or the most energetic, but it did the job.
To sum it all up, I kept thinking to myself what track do I really want him to play? Sure I knew he'd play the hits like Grenade (below), Just the Way You Are, Nothin' on You/Billionaire(hooks) and The Lazy Song, but there were a lot of fillers too like Liquor Store Blues and Our First Time. Hearing the song Marry You in concert really made me feel like I was surrounded by thousands of teenie boopers, which was a little alarming. It wasn't all bad though, I gained a stronger appreciation for tracks like Count on Me and Runaway Baby, which were executed really well.
Bruno Mars - Grenade (live)

What took an otherwise pretty decent show to a show worth talking about was his encore selection. Nothing shows how in tune an artist is with their fan base than first of all making sure one of your most appreciated songs isn't a single and then furthermore, rewarding the audience by playing it as your encore. If you're not sure which song I'm talking about, you haven't read much of what I've said about Bruno in the past.
Bruno Mars - Talking to the Moon (live)

I can't think of any better way to end a concert if you are Bruno Mars that to close with Talking to the Moon. Serious, serious, SERIOUS dap needs to be given to him for not making that track a single and letting us all appreciate it that much more, rather than feeding it to the ravenous masses who would have chewed it up and spit it out when they move on to the next thing the record companies want them to indulge in. Sure, like most concerts I really wished he would have played a couple tracks like Today My Life Begins, Her World Goes On and Killa on the Run, but that's just me being picky and enjoying good demo tracks that need to (eventually) be put on albums. I'd definitely recommend seeing Bruno live, he's a safe bet all things considered, especially if you want to include the family in on the action. Can anyone say follow up album??

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Sugar, Don't Call Me When You're Lonely Again"

I'm not sure whether this was a demo or just another version circulating with the Love Suicide beat that @CHRISBROWN first did, then @TINIETEMPAH eventually put on his new album. Rather than sticking to the original lyrics of Love Suicide, @neyocompound flipped the track into his own R&B version that is just as emotionally invested, but is instead written from the perspective of a lover who is tired of being taken for granted. Regardless of who did it first or who did it better, Stargate deserves some dap for putting together such a promiscuous and well received beat.

If I were to pick, I'd put Ne-Yo's version up there with Chris Brown's original Love Suicide as far as who did it best. The silky smooth delivery and well executed hook on Lonely Again are hard to ignore. Put it this way, I was humming "Don't call me when you're lonely again" long after first listen today and that was after I had given it top billing on today's iPod playlist. Oh you don't make playlists daily for workouts, yard work, etc>? To me that's like reading yesterday news man, gotta keep up with the daily newness so I can share it with y'all.

It's been a while since I've posted some quality R&B anyways, so here's a top shelf dose...#NoChaser

Ne-Yo - Lonely Again

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"I’m Just Sayin’ You Could Do Better"

Back again with an emotionally charged R&B track, it's been too long since we've been privy to album quality material from @drakkardnoir. Listening to his new track Marvin's Room is a reassuring reminder to fans that he's sticking to what got him to the top of the mountain in Hip Hop. Nobody in Hip Hop can pull off a track like this, not one artist is comfortable enough in their own skin and talented enough vocally to go R&B for 3 minutes then transition on a dime to a line like, "I think I’m addicted to naked pictures, And sittin talkin’ ’bout bitches, That we almost had."

It's difficult at times for me to explain why I'm such a fan of his music, but as I listen more and more to his work I'm starting to think that his ability to switch gears between R&B and Hip Hop makes me listen closer to what he's saying. Sure he's just as guilty as the next rapper in talking about the luxuries that are now afforded to him, but his lyrical content is much more relatable since he's not afraid to be raw. Like, I've had that same night where I'm out at a party and with a girl, but all I can think about is another girl that's not there and also not single. And it's never a good idea to call them drunk, which always results in saying way too many honest things that shouldn't be said to a girl who has a boyfriend, but it happens because when you're drunk it seems like a good idea to say what you think.

Lyrical content aside, the simple, but mellow instrumental put together by @ovo40 will definitely take you back to So Far Gone. With @boi1da's career having skyrocketed much in part because of the visibility that Drake helped him get, it's only a matter of time before 40's career takes that same route. The only thing that really sucks is that we have to wait about four and a half months until Take Care drops on Drake's birthday, October 24th. Between this and Dreams Money Can Buy, Drizzy is 2 for 2 without having dropped a single yet, which is scary. Next month we get a single and until then I'll keep enjoying the two pieces of the story he blessed us with this past month...

Drake - Marvin's Room (prod by Noah "40" Shebib)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Videos of the Week

@yelawolf's Daddy's Lambo Video

Bad Meets Evil - Fast Lane Video

@BIGKRIT feat @ludacris & @BUNBTRILLOG - Country Shit (Remix) Video


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Skylar Grey Will Be As Well Known As Rihanna in A Year

I'm really at a loss trying to describe @skylargrey's solo debut single Dance Without You. I'm torn between using works like epic, intriguing, different and awesome to describe the song. The tribal drums literally smack you in the face and make you feel like you're at some sort of African campfire with aborigines. Adding to the thunderous percussion is a beatbox sample and electro synth riff that make you feel like you're listening to an @_m_i_a_ track.

Simply put, it's one of the freshest songs that have dropped since the new year and I'm not even tryin' to fill you with unleaded either. There's a good reason why the likes of Eminem, Lupe Fiasco, Dr Dre, and Diddy sought out Skylar on their album topping singles. She's got a sultry, but soothing tone to her voice that manages to be unique and blend well over Hip Hop flavored beats. I'd be remiss if I didn't give a chunk of the credit to @ALEXDAKID too, since he was instrumental in the production of the track below and helped put Skylar on the map. Really excited that he's got his own record label now with KIDInaKORNER. You wanna talk about the King Midas of producers right now, dude is like Matt Kemp at the plate this year when it comes to records. He's one of a few producers I follow on Twitter because the quality of tracks he produces is assumed, which is rare. He should be at 100,000 followers, make it happen --->>@ALEXDAKID.

Feel free to tease yourself below with the one minute collage of Skylar Grey's features, as well as a bite of what to expect from the video of the track below. Bandwagon is about to leave the station on Skylar Grey, it would behoove you to get in on the IPO because she's about to be your friend's favorite artist. School that fool on what's next and please introduce him to this track...#BeAnOpinionLeaderNotAFollower

Skylar Grey - Dance Without You (prod by Alex Da Kid)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

"Terrible, But Not Rippable, Invincible, I Hung Invisible"

Two words, lyrical ferocity. That's all the description needed to describe the faced paced diamond in the rough and absolute heat rock off @Eminem and @therealroyce59 new EP, Hell: The Sequel. While bloggers like me have been raving about Lighters and On Everything, this one has managed to hover under the radar a bit. I'm betting after folks take a full lap around the disc that will change as it's hard to ignore the verse both lyricists smear all over the @MrPorter2012 head nod symphony.

It's been sort of a ho hum month so far with new releases and I feel like the Bad Meets Evil disk is sustaining me until some more heavyweights drop like @BIGSEAN's Finally Famous and the much hyped @kanyewest & @s_c_ collabo Watch the Throne. Not a huge surprise that Carter 4 got pushed back after that weird single leaked last week...still smh about that one. Alas he made up for it with his interesting decision to go unplugged and cover Pac's Hail Mary during the set. Should be entertaining to see Weezy F do somethin different when that drops in a bit.

Don't be afraid to give Hell: The Sequel a full listen, it's well worth your time. Just don't cop out and get the non-Deluxe version cause that Echo track prod by @imadeitinc is harder than the contents of a toolbox...#HiddenGem

Bad Meets Evil feat Claret Jai - Above the Law (prod by Mr. Porter)

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

"Cause Tonight We Won't Remember, With the People We Can Never Forget"

Right in his back pocket is where American Pop music continues to reside, as @davidguetta continues to shuffle whatever recognizable artist in and out of his studio on his non-stop dance music style assault. This time, @iyazlive provides the vocals over the slightly-uptempo electronic beat with the sugar sweet hook. Put it this way, not deviating from a formula that works will get you 20 million facebook likes, so it'd be stupid at this point to go against the feel me?

If you don't like the harmonic electronic dance rhythms that have been invading radio of late, you probably can't wait until this fad ceases or the likes of David Guetta de-ceases. I'll admit, going with the hype and getting sucked into what everyone else likes isn't usually the admirable thing to do as a self respecting blogger. I'm here to provide you a glimpse into what I like and the reason I don't always post what's on other blogs is because you can probably find a million other people that like the same song on the radio or blog about, which makes it impossible to differentiate yourself as a writer or blogger by going with the grain. As a result, while some reading this probably yawn and go to the next page or even better yet, just wait til tomorrow's post, I'm ok with that because most of you know I'm a buyer of dance music in general. Just because American pop culture decided to get on the same wavelength as me doesn't make me a $ell out, but it does make me cliche. I'm ok with that tonight though, I'm still gonna rest easy, so don't you worry bout me homeboy.

(Steps down off soap box)...anyways, big fan of
D Guetta's Soundcloud though, that's a great one stop spot for high quality electro beats. No word yet on a new album for IYAZ, but between this and his new track with @TRAVIEMCCOY Pretty Girls, it's headed in the direction of success. Hope you like carbonated water and sugar because there is no diet in this pop...#MidwestPeopleDrinkPop

IYAZ - Last Forever (prod by David Guetta)

Monday, June 06, 2011

"I Turn the Music Up, I'm on a Roll This Time, And Heaven is in Sight"

Leave it to @COLDPLAY to continue to make inspirational, uplifting music. I can't think of any better adjectives to describe their new single Every Teardrop is a Waterfall. It's every bit the lead single that Viva La Vida was, but this time instead of violins, they went the acoustic guitar to start and offset it with a triumphant guitar riff throughout.

Even more interesting, Coldplay's upcoming, yet to be titled fifth studio album is supposed to be more edgy and address the band's struggle with personal vices and industry drama. Wait what? Not sure how that comes across in the track below, but their drummer, Will Champion made an interesting comparison below to drive the point home...
"There's a phrase which my wife told me from a book, I can't remember which book, but a man is asked, 'Are you married?' And he says, 'Yes, of course I'm married. I have a wife, kids, the whole catastrophe,' " he said."Catastrophe just means something big and seismic but not necessarily bad. It's all about embracing the whole thing. Appreciating the good and bad and realising it's all part of life." - Source: MTV
Whatever the finished product comes out to be remains to be seen, but all I know is that I've had this on heavy repeat since I got it. Be sure to cop it at either Amazon for 69 cents or iTunes for $1.29, especially if you need a pick me up...

Coldplay - Every Teardrop is a Waterfall

Sunday, June 05, 2011

311 is Still One of My Favorite Bands

Through the years I still haven't found a better live alt rock band than @311. Sure I'm biased because they incorporate a little more Hip Hop and Reggae than the guitar based band, but they really kick ass in concert. I'm feeling really out of the loop since it's been a few years since I've seen them live, but the good news is they are coming to see me in a month. I'm betting they're coming to see you too, so click here for their full tour schedule.

When you go out and support them make sure you're up on their new album Universal Pulse, due out July 19th. The lead single below, Sunset in July is about what you'd expect from them. It's every bit as fun and laid back as you'd expect with their signature quirky, upbeat guitar riffs throughout. Maybe it's the repeatability of their music or the fact that it's damn near impossible to be in a bad mood listening to their upbeat funk, all I know is their brand of music is undeniably classic. I dare someone to argue against that...#Haters

Peep their homemade video visual below and don't ignore the Universal Pulse this summer. Oh and Happy B-day P-Nut..

311 - Sunset in July

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