Sunday, January 31, 2016

"All Summer Sixteen, Playing Dirty Not Clean"

Now that we know Drake's new Views From the 6 will be arriving in April (probably on April 16th since Toronto's area code is 416), it's time to sit back and relax as new music trickles in over the course of the next two months. Following the mo' money, mo' fame, mo' problems, mo' haters rapper career trajectory, it seems like with every passing year Drizzy picks up a new rival. We've seen him and Chris Brown get involved physically and verbally, then there's the ongoing Meek Mill saga (yawn) and lately it's been fellow up and comers from Toronto (Tory Lanez) taking subliminal shots at Drake. Rapping over a beat concocted by Toronto's finest (40, Boi-1da and CuBeatz), Drake takes on all incumbents with subtle jabs. I'm not going to pretend to do a better job than Lyrics Genius at illuminating the beef and subsequent jabs, so if you want to dive deep, head on over to that fine site.

Do I think it's lame that Meek Mill dropped a response (War Pain) to Drake's Summer Sixteen a mere 15 minutes after the song was debuted on OVO Sound radio? Yea, I do. And while Meek may be grinning like a little school girl by proudly flipping Drake's "ghostwriter", Quentin Miller, he's still coming off like a younger brother snitching on big brother because he's jealous of the attention that big brother gets. I digress, it's all pretty stupid anyways. Getting back to the music, the slow beat reminds me a lot of Three Six Mafia's Da Summa from 2009. It's slow, heavy and bangin', setting the tone for tough talk. It's not your usual Top 40 single from Drake, but it will succeed in getting everyone to start talking. And you know what they say, no publicity is bad publicity, especially when you're about to release an album...#SummerSixteen

Drake - Summer Sixteen (prod by Noah “40,” Shebib, Boi-1da, and CuBeatz)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ride Out to Gryffin and Josef When Heading Home

It takes a certain mood, but there are certain days where chill House music is all I feel like consuming. That type of mellow EDM with soothing vocals and melodic chords that immediately forces you to relax your mind. Here's the newest example I can think of from Gryffin featuring the vocals of Josef Salvat. From the piano lead in to the echoing vocals and vibrant vocal samples, it possesses the secret sauce. It won't ignite a crowd, but if you're Heading Home and need something to put on to allow you to get past the exhausting day you just had, this will hit the spot. The way it comes together after the gentle drop may even get you nodding your head and vibing out a bit. Give it a listen if you're in the mood for a dose of chill...#HeadingHome

Gryffin feat Josef Salvat - Heading Home

Friday, January 29, 2016

Videos of the Week January 29th

Solid mix of music and sheer entertainment value in this week's top five. Led by an out of this world collaboration between Jimmy Fallon, Sia, The Roots and...Natalie Portman? Random doesn't begin to explain that collection of talent on one stage, but it came together quite well on the Mardi Gras classic Iko Iko. If that's not random enough for you, how about some Obama clips dubbed together to form Justin Bieber's I'm Sorry? I'm not sure it was as good as Thriller or Hotline Bling, but baracksdubs takes attention to detail to another level.

In the world of music, there was high profile EDM collabo, a captivating Wiz Khalifa freestyle and a debut single from Baauer. You might recognize The Right Song from a previously posted song by Oliver and Tiesto (Wombass), but this time Natalie La Rose blesses the bouncy beat with vocals. It's a rare occasion where I think the instrumental wins over the vocal version. It was a tumultuous week for Wiz Khalifa, but that didn't prevent him from showing off his ability to twist everyone's favorite Adele track into a weed anthem. Last but not least was the premiere of Baauer's new single Day Ones. Truth be told it deserved it's own post, but you can bank on plenty more releases from his upcoming album Aa to surface on this portion of the internet...#DayOnes
Jimmy Fallon, Sia, Natalie Portman & The Roots Perform Iko Iko

President Obama Sings Justin Bieber's I'm Sorry

Tiesto & Oliver Heldens feat Natalie La Rose - The Right Song (Video)

Wiz Khalifa Goes in on Adele's Hello

Baauer Performs Day Ones with LeiKeli47 on Colbert

Photo Credit: YouTube

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"If You Had a Twin I Would Still Choose You"

Man, it was a busy week in the world of Hip Hop. You had the Wiz and Kanye childish Twitter fight over an abbreviation misunderstanding. Then J Cole dropped a live album out of the blue. And in case you needed icing on the cake or are a firm believer that things happen in threes, Rihanna also dropped a new album (ANTI)out of the blue. Unfortunately for literally everyone involved, the album debuted on Tidal. Yea you know that streaming service that those artists with a ton of money who were trying to push for higher sound quality kept trying to make work? Call this a last ditch carrot to get a quick million people to try a free trial?

I digress, but only for second before getting to Rihanna and Drake's new one Work. On the track Ri Ri worked her usual magic, harmonizing over a bouncy beat. I appreciated Drake's contribution to the track as he chipped in a throwback sounding verse where he got back to the crooning that had me proudly anointing him as my go-to artist two years ago. By no means is it my favorite collaboration between the two, but it's a solid track that deserves a few spins...#ANTI

Rihanna feat Drake - Work

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mija Takes the Edge Off Darren Styles' Come Running

By now, you've probably heard of that "blue haired chick" that Skrillex helped put on two years back. That young woman just happens to be Amber Giles, but you may know her by her stage name Mija. On the low, she's been lighting up dj sets at a lot of your favorite festivals.

Sure, it helps to have the OWSLA cosign attached to your name, but she's more than holding her own with remixes like the one below. Before indulging in her recreation, check out the vocal driven, hardcore original from Darren Styles...
While the original starts thumping and refuses to let up post-drop, Mija's remix takes the edge off the original. Greater emphasis is put on the heavy bassline and there's a much bouncier vibe that provides a softer landing from the drop. Stylistically the marshmello comparisons are fair, especially with the higher pitched vocals toward the end, but it's ends up being a really listenable track by the time you get to the end...#ComeRunning

Darren Styles - Come Running (Mija Remix)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"Dressed Up, Red Corvette, in the Middle of the Night"

Without hesitation I'd be comfortable anointing Majid Jordan as one of the top three R&B duos right now. Their soulful vocals and funk-filled music are another level of fresh in an R&B landscape that now finds itself devoid of the quality it had a decade ago. If you're a fan of theirs you've been counting down the days until self-titled debut EP lands on iTunes on February 5th.

They've already released a couple top notch singles like My Love and Something About You, but there's plenty more to look forward to on their upcoming album. Their newest release, King City, is definitely on the level of the previous two singles. It's more of a slow paced ballad, lacking the usual funky touch, but it's ever so sexy. The Nineteen85 produced track will have you zoning out while singing falsetto alone in your ride. All things considered with a third of the album having already surfaced, if they rest of the album is half as good as what they've released so far, you can bet we'll be talking about of the best released in 2016...#KingCity

Majid Jordan - King City (prod by Majid Jordan & Nineteen85)

Monday, January 25, 2016

"We've Got That Eeeeaasy Love"

Time to take a day off from the usual Hip Hop and EDM into a world of Rhythm and Blues. And it's not the usual R&B that you'd come to expect from your favorite well-known Top 40 artist, it skews more toward blues and is characterized by a laid back jazzy instrumentation has the ability to take you to another world mentally. Both Tom Misch and Carmody shine all over Easy Love with mellow verses and an ever-so-sweet duet on the hook. Whatever you do, don't skip around too much when listening because the blues guitar takes the track to another level around the two and a half minute mark. If you're like me, you have an appreciation for grown and sexy tracks like this one that sound simple, but find a way to be mellow to a point where it's thought provoking. I'm not sure that last sentence made sense to anyone but me, but I'm hoping you give it a solid listen despite it not being in wheelhouse of what I usually post. Side note - bonus points for the nostalgic and sketchy style of the cover art. It did justice to the vibe of the song and added to the intrigue...#EasyLove

Tom Misch & Carmody - Easy Love

Sunday, January 24, 2016

"Takin' Shots at the Bar Like Swish"

Being a former collegiate baseball player, you know I'm always going to give love to those who find their way into music after hanging up their cleats. You've probably heard of him by now, but Mike Seander (aka Mike Stud) has come on in a big way over the past year. First it was his splashy, critically acclaimed album Closer. Now fast forward to this year where his new album, These Days, landed on iTunes two weeks back and has been continuing to light it up since then.

One of the clear standout tracks on his latest album is Swish. Stylistically my mind immediately goes to Drake when looking for a comparison to Mike on the mic. The rhyme schemes, hook and slow flow will have you doing a double take. Add to that all the sports references in the verses and you can bet there will be a lot of pop culture traction with the track below. It's a testament to how you don't always need a big flashy beat or high budget video to elevate a good single to a great single. Do yourself a favor and give his new album a listen because the plane is getting full and fueled up for takeoff for Mike's career...#MikeStud

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Conrad and Avicii Lead the Charge for Coca Cola

Despite generally despising corporations and their bottom dollar ways, I can't ignore it when two really talented artists collaborate on a track together. Those two artists happen to be talented Australian vocalist Conrad Sewell and Sweden's own ultra superstar Avicii. Yes, it's a bummer that their powers for good as artists are being paid for by Coca Cola to fund their new "Anthem." Normally, I'd post the commerical, but this is a music blog, not a blog that goes out of their way to give publicity to companies who do more on a daily basis to contribute to diabetes than McDonalds. {Climbs down off soap box}

Now, on to the music. Taste the Feeling is about as easy-listening as a ballad gets. There's enough tempo on the hook to get everyone excited and singing along, but it's definitely poppy and radio friendly as hell. I'm struggling discern where Avicii fit into the equation on the song, but that doesn't take away from it's likability. All in all, I'm excited for the exposure that Conrad is going to get from this spot and I hope it leads to more new music from him...#TasteTheFeeling

Friday, January 22, 2016

Videos of the Week January 22nd

For some reason, the majority of this week's collection of videos all have a serious undertone. From the rallying cry of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's promotional album video to the touching story of a mixed race kid growing up in the South in Parson James's video for a Sinner Like You to Odesza's haunting medieval visuals on It's Only video, there was plenty of emotional depth and serious messages delivered. Sometimes depth is contrived, but all three videos were really well executed and were successful is driving home their message.

On a less dramatic note, it was interesting to hear Obama give his take on Drake versus Kendrick Lamar. Fast forward to the 17:20 mark where the commander in chief explains why he'd give the nod to Kendrick over Drake if push came to shove. Can't disagree with the man, it's hard to go against K dot as a lyricist. Bringing up the rear both literally and metaphorically is Fallon's vocal impersonation of all the classic artists. Everyone from McCartney to Springsteen to MJ to Mick Jagger got some love and respect from the late night show star. By far, his best impersonation is McCartney, hands down...#Ham4Ham
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - This Unruly Mess I've Made (Promo Video)

Odesza feat Zyra - It's Only (Video)

Parson James - A Sinner Like You (Video)

YouTube Interview Where President Obama Says Kendrick > Drake

Jimmy Fallon Sings Hamilton Impersonating Bowie, McCartney, Springsteen, Mick Jagger, MJ, etc

Photo Credit: YouTube

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Flux Flips Faithless Classic Into Drum and Bass Masterpiece

One thing I really appreciate is when modern EDM artists reach back into the archives to dust off a classic. Electronic music as a whole didn't begin to start gaining appreciation from an American audience until the decade after Y2K. As a result, there's an entire history of electronic music that not a lot of people know about. For example, if it weren't for Avicii and now Flux Pavilion, I wouldn't know very much about Faithless. Evidently, they've made a lot of great music in their day, including their 2001 hit We Come One (below)...

In hindsight, it was a pretty awesome track that I wish I had known about earlier. But, luckily, Flux has my back because he modernized the original by adding his own special sauce. There are few that can impart the type of awe inspiring drum and bass progressions that Flux Pavilion is able to generate. This isn't just a solid remix, it's a great remix that adds in a few exclamation points and a whole lot of a head nod worthy bass. If you want to know what in EDM specifically resonates the core of what I like about music listen to this exemplary display of drum and bass and you'll understand me a little bit better...#WeComeOne

Faithless - We Come One (Flux Pavilion Remix)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"I Like Your Bougie Booty, Come Erykah Badu Me"

Last week we got a preview of the much anticipated Kanye and Kendrick collabo. Today we got the full six minute version and it's every bit the lyrical gymnastics you would have hoped. Minus a few brief moments for the hook, it's takes on the personality of a cypher with 'Ye and Kendrick trading long-winded, non-stop bars. The beat delivered by Kanye and Madlib is intentionally dumbed down and repetitive, but it produces the intended effect of a grimy, bare knuckle boxing style sparing match.

Vibe wise, it's the type of fast paced storytelling that put him on back in Through the Wire days. While it will probably never reach the heights that his breakthrough single did, stylistically it's the best comp I got. More than anything I loved that Kendrick got to shine all over this one and provide a huge bump to the track. No More Parties in LA is the third of three G.O.O.D. Friday releases in 2016 and we can most likely expect at least four or five more leading up to the album release. Overall, it will add an interesting flavor to Swish, which will be landing on your favorite digital outlet on February 11th...#NoMorePartiesInLA

Kanye West feat Kendrick Lamar - No More Parties in LA (prod by Madlib)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Avicii & RAC Kick Start Two Beautiful Heartbeats

I'll admit, today I punted. Generally, I constrain myself to picking one, and only one, song to post per day. Mostly due to time constraints, but also to ensure that what I post about is something I generally like quite a bit.

So what could cause such indecision that a toss up was warranted? Well, when two Grammy award nominated producers attack the same track in two different ways, sometimes ties work out for the best. I say tie because it was damn near impossible to pick a favorite between Avicii and RAC's remixes of Morten and Frida Sundemo's Beautiful Heartbeat. On one hand, you've got the dramatic, slow vocal build up leading up to a characteristically melodic, progressive house chord progression on Avicii's version. On the other, you've got funky, bass heavy deep house mix delivered by RAC. Both showcase the original's stellar vocals, but go two different, equally likable directions. Flip a coin or cop both of them both, you can't go wrong here...#BeautifulHeartbeat

Morten feat Frida Sundemo - Beautiful Heartbeat (Avicii Remix)

Morten feat Frida Sundemo - Beautiful Heartbeat (RAC Remix)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Louis the Child Gets a Little Bit Genghis Khan

After watching Miike Snow's recent video for Genghis Khan, I haven't been able to stop humming it to myself. The funky overtures and quietly catchy vocals make for a deadly earworm combination. If you thought Animal was a catchy track, you'd be hard pressed to convince me that their latest single is anything less than that.

Enter up and coming Chicago duo, Louis the Child. They took the essence of the original version of Genghis Khan and transformed it into a chopped up, Future Bass track. The strength of the vocals carries over to the remix, but sound very different over the less funky, but more bouncy reincarnation. Can't fault you one bit for choosing this over the original, but in this instance, I'm going funk over bass and sticking with the original as my go-to...#GenghisKhan

Miike Snow - Genghis Khan (Louis The Child Remix)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

"I'm Only Human Can't You See, I Made a Mistake"

There's a lot of irony in me posting about Flume's new single, Never Be Like You. The entire song is about asking for forgiveness after making a mistake. Now, as I'm writing this, I feel like I need to ask for forgiveness for not posting enough of Flume's music.

Straight up, it's songs like Never Be Like You that are the reason I'm getting really excited about how more artists are mixing Hip Hop and electronic sounds into a new one sound. It's a beautiful concoction of emotion dripped, slow trap that disguises itself as a ballad. The heavy bass and vocals from Kai win on so many levels. Credit Flume for how well he manipulates the tempo with masterful drum and bass and experimental sounds throughout. Matter of fact, *slow clap* for the up and coming Aussie, he just turned into a must see on Sunday for me a Coachella...#NeverBeLikeYou

Flume feat Kai - Never Be Like You

Saturday, January 16, 2016

League of Legends Goes Full on EDM

Full disclosure, I'm definitely not a video game guy. Command and Conquer is about where I ended my PC and console gaming and that was back when MMO games were just starting to pop up. So when I hear about all this mobile and online gaming, I'm always amazed with how immersive and easily accessible gaming has become. It's literally a whole new universe and the stuff I used to play was seriously clunky, child's play in comparison.

The one really cool thing about gaming becoming big is the emerging cross over opportunities into music. For example, League of Legends reeled in a whole bunch of EDM talent and had them remix a bunch of instrumentals played throughout the game. If I had to pick a favorite on the 11 track Warsongs EP, I'd go with Marshmello's remix of Flash Funk. It has the crisp, but bouncy chords that he's becoming known for stylistically. You better believe it goes hard and sprinkles in the high pitched samples that are usually found in his best work. Even more unbelievably, all the tracks are free to download on Soundcloud, so have at it while it's still a free for all...#LeagueOfLegends

League of Legends - Flash Funk (Marshmello Remix)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Videos of the Week January 15th

This week's top five is all about variety. There's a bit of Trop House, Hip Hop, Pop and even some mashed up alternative. Led by the editing insanity of The Usual Suspect on his use of 183 movies to mash together Linkin Park's In the End, there was some high end novelty potential this week. No idea how long it took for him to create that video, but the nearly two million views are well deserved. Coming in close behind is a much tamer, but equally awesome performance Stole the Show from Kygo and Parson James on Ellen. Sidebar - Kygo killed it last night in SF.

In the realm of Hip Hop, DJ Mustard and Travis Scott led the way with their booty shake inducing new one Whole Lotta Lovin'. Speaking of booty shaking, the final two videos offer plenty of dancing. 99 Souls video for The Girl is Mine is about as fun as it gets with creative editing and interesting transitions. The final video of the week from Miike Snow is about as interesting and outlandish as it gets from a plot perspective. Picture a Dr. Evil-esque villain who is experiencing some bit of sexuality confusion. Then, he falls for the secret agent that he captures and lives happily ever after as a same sex couple. Can't make that type of stuff up, you just have to watch...#GhengisKhan
Kygo Performs Stole the Show on Ellen

Linkin Park's In the End Sung by 183 Movies

DJ Mustard feat Travis Scott - Whole Lotta Lovin' (Video)

99 Souls feat Destiny's Child & Brandy - The Girl is Mine (Video)

Miike Snow - Ghengis Khan (Video)

Photo Credit

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"I'm Free To Do What I Want and Have a Good Time"

Very few people can resurrect previous hits with a new spin like Pitbull. Some would knock him for his unoriginality, but I've always found myself on the admiration side of the fence when it comes to Mr. 305. This time he put his own spin on the Soup Dragons' I'm Free. Based on the psychedelic, low budget style of the video, you can probably guess it was from 1990...
Those of you who grew up in the MTV era should be feeling a bit nostalgic right now. But even if you're not, you've got to be at least mildly amused with what Pitbull was able to do to the original. He managed to put his own upbeat, party anthem flair on Freedom. There's not much new and novel about it, but if you like previous releases of his, you'll enjoy this one. With his 10th studio album, Climate Change, on the horizon, there are very few obstacles in his way toward yet another platinum album...#Freedom

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Milk N Cookies Reforget How to Lauv

It's been a while since I've heard a mellow house track that blew me away. Rarely do R&B and EDM cross paths nowadays, which is why I tend to appreciate when they do in a tasteful way. I can't say I'm crazy about the original version of Lauv's Reforget, but for what it's worth, it's the best slow jam I've heard this year. Slow rock to the original below...

Now onto what Milk N Cookies was able to transform the original into. I'd characterize it as melodic house to the max. It takes full advantage of the original vocals while adding some soothing chords into the mix. There's enough tempo to afford a drop, but the other side of the drop is much more chill than hype. Speaking of hype, if you're don't be afraid to give it the old up vote on hypem...#Reforget

Lauv - Reforget (Milk N Cooks Remix)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"Yeah I've Been Waiting For Your Love, Love, Love"

Despite the inundation of copycats onto the EDM scene, in general, the world could always use more feel good house music. What I'm talking about is smooth, slightly funky tracks like Oliver Heldens and Throttle's new one Waiting. It's fun, upbeat, repeatable and is another example of how disco is creeping back into electronic music.

The disco infusion is coming from the 19 year old Aussie, Throttle. It's not just disco, though, it's Dirty Disco. If you want to better understand what Dirty Disco is, I'd encourage you to check his remix of Avicii's You Make Me or his remix of Conrad Sewell's Hold Me Up. The style brings back the infectious funk that disco was known for back in the day, but in a much more accessible way. Feel free and cop it via Beatport if you feel so inclined...#Waiting

Oliver Heldens & Throttle - Waiting

Monday, January 11, 2016

Dr. Dre Leaks a Compton Leftover, Back To Business

I'm not one to post streaming radio versions of tracks, but then again, Dr. Dre doesn't release new music very often. Evidently the track below found itself on the chopping block when the final track list for the Compton album was solidified. Back to Business is about as a good of an example of how Dr. Dre wakes up and pisses excellence. Saying that the track wasn't in the top sixteen tracks of any album is laughable. Featuring a slow bangin' beat, solid verses from all hands on deck (including the Good Doctor) and a fine hook from Victoria Monet, there's a lot to like. Join me in hoping that a non-tagged version finds its way onto our electronic devices in the near future...#BackToBusiness

Dr. Dre feat T.I., Justus, Victoria Monet, and Sly Piper - Back To Business

Sunday, January 10, 2016

"I Don't Need No Lip, Just a Whole Lotta Lovin'"

I've been impressed with how DJ Mustard has went from one of most well-known Hip Hop producers to an artist who has the capability of headlining a show. It's an evolution that not a lot of Hip Hop producers have been able to make and it speaks to his ability to produce a wide range of high energy music. Recently I've enjoy how he's been able to start catering to the electronic demo by bringing in some trap elements to his music.

Case in point, his new one, Whole Lotta Lovin', with Travis Scott. The track starts with a cooled out, snappy vibe, but by the time it gets to the hook it takes on a whole new personality. There's an EDM-esque build up that gradually works its way to the top before giving way to a trippy, bass heavy breakdown. It's not something I saw coming, but that's what made it so interesting. All in all, definitely one of my favorite tracks to date from Mustard...#WholeLottaLovin

DJ Mustard feat Travis Scott - Whole Lotta Lovin'

Saturday, January 09, 2016

"How Many of Us? How Many Jealous? Real Friends"

It'd be going a bit far to say that Kanye is back to making legendary music, but all signs are pointing that direction. His success has always come from his ability to produce music and tell a story. Keeping that in mind, it's no surprise that he's received overwhelmingly positive reviews for his new single Real Friends.

Songs like Real Friends are a reason why I will always be willing to give Kanye respect. On the track he did what he usually does, pulling together a lot of talented pieces including an assist from Ty Dolla $ign on the verses and Boi-1da on the beat. And while you'll never anoint 'Ye as the greatest rapper of all time, you can't hate on his ability to come equipped with raw emotion when he gets into storytelling mode. Not the rapping about clothes and cars Kanye, the one who speaks about real issues that people can associate with. Maybe common folk don't have to worry about having real friends as much as he does, but it's nonetheless one of those rare down to earth glimpses into his genius...#RealFriends

Kanye West feat Ty Dolla $ign - Real Friends

Friday, January 08, 2016

Videos of the Week January 8th

Admittedly, it was an underwhelming week for videos. Rarely am I ever scraping the barrel for a top five, but it was a slow start for the year. I say that but Kendrick Lamar's debut performance of his latest Untitled track on Fallon was the show stopper of the week. You want to talk about energy in a performance! He brought his A game to the party.

Coming in a close second was Gallant, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists. With the help of Sufjan Stevens, he showed again why he's THE rising star when it comes to R&B vocalists. Continuing with an R&B tip, Majid Jordan made news this week when they released the tracklist for their upcoming album along with the new video for their latest single Something About You. In electronic news, if you were wondering how easy or hard it is to make a track, Flux Pavilion was willing to show you in a matter of ten minutes. Pretty cool how it all comes together more quickly than you'd imagine. And last, but not least, your boy Yonas came through with yet another interesting cover. This time, he did work on Adele's Hello. But, to his credit, he put his own interesting rock twist on it with the help of Living in Fiction...#Yonas
Kendrick Lamar - Untitled 2 (Live on Fallon)

Gallant & Sufjan Stevens - Blue Bucket of Gold (In-studio Video)

Majid Jordan - Something About You (Video)

Flux Pavilion Makes a Track in 10 Minutes

Yonas feat Living in Fiction - Hello (Adele Cover)

Photo Credit: YouTube

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Kanye Chips in on Sia's New Single Reaper

Remember how Kanye announced his presence in a not so subtle way on New Years with Facts? Well, he isn't just making his own music, he's also chipping in by writing and producing other artists' new music. Like for example, Sia's new one Reaper, which isn't nearly as dark as you'd expect from the song title and reputation that Kanye brings with his music. Instead, you're getting a well-executed, mellow, sing-along ballad that is more inspirational than anything. In fact, I'd go as far as saying you would have had a hard time convincing me that Kanye had anything to do with the track. Other than the subtle funk in the bass line, there's nary a breadcrumb from West in the mix. While it's not my favorite song from Sia, it has an uncanny likability to it that's hard to ignore. As an FYI, you'll be able to cop this one on January 29th when Sia'a This is Acting album drops...#Reaper

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

"There's Nothing But Space Between Us"

You know that feeling when an artist that you feel like you know really well goes into uncharted waters? I'm talking about that uneasiness and momentary discomfort as you decide whether this new sound expands your respect for them or erodes away at the base of your fandom for them. Well that just happened for me as I tried to wrap my head around Keys N Krates' new one featuring the vocals of Laura Aqui.

The entire first minute of Nothing But Space I thought they were about to launch into a full-on pop ballad, which would have been a really big departure from the boomy trap they usually put out. Then the drop came and gave way to the steady thump that I was expecting all along. Now after the third listen, I'm really liking the stark contrast between the chill vocal build up and the melodic, post-drop beat. All in all, the track is net positive for me because it evolved what I thought the duo from the T dot was capable of putting out. That beat ride out the last minute and a half is cooooold too. Don't sleep on that or their new Midnight Mass EP that will be landing on iTunes in about a week on January 15th...#NothingButSpace

Keys N Krates feat Laura Aqui - Nothing But Space

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Kill Transitions to Chill With Ease

Out of all the music stories that didn't get the publicity it deserved in 2015, I'd rank Kills Paris's name change to Chill Harris right at the top. In case you missed it, shortly after the Paris attacks Corey Baker decided that moving forward with his current name wouldn't send the right message...
Sure, you might say that the name change was a no brainer given what happened, but when you've established yourself with a given name, there's plenty of risk involved. The good news is, Chill Harris hasn't changed one bit and he's still making great music. Case in point his latest remix of GRiZ's Stop Trippin', where he turns the jazzy, sax heavy original into a cooled out, slow trap banger. It's easy to understand how the remix was "inspired by cruise control drives through the Rocky Mountains." It's plenty mellow enough for you to zone out and listen to at work, which gets the job done (literally) in my world...#StopTrippin

GRiZ - Stop Trippin' (Chill Harris Remix)

Monday, January 04, 2016

"Oh My, Oh My What a Wonderful Time"

It's as if The Weeknd was starting to worry that the public perception of him was full-on-pop the way he's been attacking the Hip Hop scene the past week. First it was his collaborations with Future on Low Life and Jeremih on Pass Dat, now it's Travis Scott.

With all due respect to the first two tracks, Wonderful is by far my favorite of the three. It has that type of gritty, bass heavy production that Kanye West fell in love with when he started shouting out Travis. Normally I get annoyed with the use of autotune, but there's something tasteful about the way Travis utilizes it that adds to the value of the track. It's hard to mess with a bangin' beat (shout out to T-Minus and Boi-1da), a couple catchy verses and a hook that listeners can latch onto with ease. Love everything about this collaboration because of how well these two artists' styles work together...#Wonderful

Travis Scott feat The Weeknd - Wonderful (prod by T-Minus & Boi-1da)

Sunday, January 03, 2016

"I Feel Like I Hit the Light Switch"

You won't find a more quippy rapper than Big Sean. He is the epitome of smooth. If you listen closely to his lyrics, there's another level of intellect just below the surface that is easy to miss because of how casual he delivers each bar. Between the rhymes, analogies, and storytelling, you'd be hard pressed convincing me there is a more polished rapper than him in the game. Critics will say his lyrics can be too sing-songy or he's too white collar, meaning he's not "gangsta" enough, but he doesn't get enough credit for how much he's influenced many of your favorite rappers (namely Drake).

Bonus points are in order for Pharrell who delivered a subtle, but appropriate hook on What a Year. Sean Don brought so much polish and wit that he didn't need to do much more than drop a few lines. It's not a flashy beat, but it's perfect for the message that Sean wanted to deliver. Low key works well when you're equipped with his kind of lyrical punch. If you had a successful 2015, this is the perfect "I made it big time", come-up anthem. If you need some visuals to go with the sentiment of the track, Sean's got all the proof you need below...#WhatAYear

Big Sean feat Detail & Pharrell - What a Year

Saturday, January 02, 2016

"Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy, Just Jumped Over the Jumpman"

If you thought 2015 was going to end without Kanye making a big, loud statement, then your thoughts were answered with an exclamation point. On New Years Eve, Yeezy released an aggressive, bass heavy banger in the form of FACTS. It's more of a three and a half minute, stream of consciousness type of freestyle that shouts out everything from clothing brands to professional athletes to pop culture figures that may or may not have just been released on bail for a cool million. It's loaded with braggadocio and will serve as the warning shot for his upcoming album Swish. No definitive word on when we can expect it to drop, but now that he has all of our collective attentions, you can be it will be more sooner than later...#FACTS

Kanye West - FACTS

Friday, January 01, 2016

Videos of the Week January 1st

This week's top five kicks of 2016 in an interesting fashion. Before moving full speed ahead into the New Year, give Mashup Germany's seven minute, 53 song mashup put a nice bow on 2015. Such a great time capsule that will serve as an easy way to go back to a lot of mental bookmarks. And for those of you now starting to experience winter after a warm January, check out Ja Rule reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Why include this on VOTW? Well why not, I can't think of anything more random.

In the land of new music, Skrillex came through with some visuals for his new remix of his own song Stranger. If eye candy is what you're after, imagine for a minute Selena Gomez stalking you. Yea that's not the worst visual and the video reflects that sentiment. And last, but not least a slighty NSFW video for Kendrick Lamar's latest short film, God is Gangsta, contains two of the tracks (u and For Sale) of To Pimp a Butterfly. If the song lyrics don't make you think about some things, then the video sure will...#GodIsGangsta
Mashup Germany's Top of the Pops (Year End Video)

Ja Rule Reads How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Video)

Skrillex - Stranger (Skrillex Remix with Tennyson & White Sea) (Video)

Selena Gomez - Hands to Myself (Video)

Kendrick Lamar - God is Gangsta (video)

Photo Credit: YouTube

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