Tag Archives: Beyonce

Review: Bobby Tarantino

bobby tarantino cover

Bobby Tarantino (2016)


Rap / Hip-Hop

Def Jam / Visionary Music Group

“This motherf***er made a number one album!  Made a mixtape after…and then he’s making another concept album…like his first s*** didn’t already go Number 1?!  This motherf***er’s like butter, he’s on a roll motherf***er!”  Perhaps there’s no better way to put it than these lines from Logic’s newest mixtape, Bobby Tarantino.  This dude is quite literally on a roll.  Fresh off the release of The Incredible True Story, the Maryland-based rapper has put out a new collection of songs, a fun little side project if you will, devoid of any deep or substantive material.  There’s some thoughtful material on the mixtape, but in the end Bobby Tarantino is meant to be a diversion in between his flagship releases and it succeeds on this front.

Logic Performs At Stubb's
via Pitchfork

Minus the rather unnecessary intro track “illuminatro,” a song that acts as a special message if played backward, we immediately are thrown some bangers that not only demonstrate Logic’s undeniable flow, but his killer ambition as well.  “Flexicution,” a single that was dropped prior to the mixtape’s arrival, is a heavy beat hip-hop track laced with an extra dosage of braggadocio.  “The Jam” is…a jam.  On a song that goes hard, Logic goes on about how he’s eventually going to be bigger than Kanye West, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z.  Those are some lofty claims…but hey, there’s potential.  Logic’s got a lot more work to do though.  Besides this point, this is a pretty great track.  It would have been flawless if it weren’t for the overzealous use of auto-tune though.

Continuing the fun, we get a very humorous interlude track called “A Word from Our Sponsor,” which sees the return of the recurring character Marty Randolph.  Longer than most interludes, the track takes the form of a phone conversation between Marty and Logic’s record label that puts Marty on hold for a ridiculous amount of time.  There’s some perspective to be gained from the track, but it’s relevance and worth are largely questionable.  However, it will probably make you laugh a lot more than you thought you would laugh listening to a Logic mixtape.

bobby tarantino 2
via Follow News

The mixtape’s sole feature goes to Pusha T, on the collaborative track, “Wrist.”  The song tells the fictional story of a Colombian drug lord who decides to take an introspective walk through his inner being.  It’s a reflective track that displays some good storytelling work from Logic.  Pusha T was alright but it’s not like the track gained anything from his presence.  It’s probably safe to say that the track might have been better if Pusha T stayed on the sideline.

I think the best track off the mixtape is “44 Bars,” a well written and heavy introspective.  Over the course of the track, Logic delivers a 44-bar verse that dives into the pains and motivations that drive him to be the person that he is.  It’s a thoughtful track that cements the fact that Logic has some rapping chops…but I don’t think I have to convince you of his talent.  It might not be the most original or innovative track out there, but it’s a substantive track that stands out from most of the lighthearted fare on the project.

bobby tarantino 3
via Rap Wave

There’s some blemishes over the course of the tape that are worth mentioning.  The sister tracks “Slave” and “Slave II” didn’t really grab me.  Aside from being redundant, they don’t really offer anything new.  The notion of “being a slave to the rap game” is an idea that has been battered over and over again over the course of rap’s history.  These tracks don’t bring anything new to the table.  They sound good, but that’s about it.  Then there’s “Studio Ambience at Night,” a chaotic track that should have been relegated to the chopping block.  It doesn’t serve that much of a purpose, other than to give a preview of what’s next for Logic.  However, good luck trying to parse what that means over the humble and bumble of the track’s noise, which mimics the sounds from a late night studio session.

At the end of the day, Logic has put forth another solid project worthy of a listen.  This dude has been hard at work creating music and his hard work and dedication shows.  Bobby Tarantino is successful by giving you something to chew and digest on while the rapper grinds out his next full conceptual release.  There’s a good bit of gems amid some duller rocks, but hey, this is a solid piece of work that honestly could serve as a full-on release if it wanted to.

bobby tarantino score

On a side note, it’s kind of tough to get the album for yourself.  As of right now, I’m pretty sure it’s only available to stream on services like Apple Music, Google Play, Soundcloud, and YouTube.  I don’t think you can actually purchase it for yourself, but I’m sure that will change soon.  Personally, he should have probably just released the mixtape on the usual services…but this is a mixtape so everything’s different.


Review: Lemonade

lemonade cover
via This Is RnB

Lemonade (2016)


Hip-Hop / R&B


Last weekend Beyonce released her Lemonade into the world.  That last sentence might sound silly but it’s true, Beyonce didn’t release an icy drink but a full-length audio-visual album that debuted on HBO and Tidal.  Yes, you heard that last part right.  It released exclusively on Tidal, which makes total sense given her share in the company.  A new Beyonce album is a good reason for people to jump on the Tidal bandwagon.  However, with the album popping up on iTunes this morning, the whole release of this album further cements Tidal’s status as a joke, but that’s a story for a different time.

We’re here to talk about Lemonade.

lemonade 1.png

Lemonade might be the most personal album we have heard from the singer.  We’ve heard her get personal before, but this entire project feels like it was ripped straight out of her diary.  The diary contains pages about her relationship with Jay-Z, her family, feminism, and black activism.  Her message comes across loud and clear, a message that’s equal parts intimate and powerful.  It’s easy for an album’s overarching message to get lost in the sound but this was probably the clearest an album has been in a while.

Beyonce doesn’t waste time, immediately addressing the elephant in the room with her first batch of songs.  Her songs “Pray You Catch Me” and “Hold Up” address the relationship rumors between her and Jay-Z and the infidelity that is called into question.  She makes it clear that she still loves her husband, but she’s willing to go crazy to find out where his loyalties lie.  There’s also “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” a pointed track full of angst and thrashing guitars, thanks to some help from artist Jack White.  It’s a strong track that puts fear in even the most hardened souls.  With lyrics like, “If you try this shit again, you gon lose your wife,” things must have gotten pretty bad.  I don’t know what Jay-Z did, but after listening to this song all I got to say is he better watch his back.

lemonade 2
via Miss Info

There’s a lot of songs about her and Jay-Z’s relationship, which happens to be the core of the album.  “Love Drought” is a passionate plea to rekindle a relationship behind an airy cloud-synth beat in the background that really carries you away.  Then there’s “Daddy Lessons,” which might be my favorite cut off the album.  It’s Beyonce’s first foray into country, and she kills it.  It’s a song about her father and the similarities between him and Jay-Z.  It’s a deep song that really took me by surprise.  It’s not your typical Beyonce sound, but she harnesses some of her southern roots and gives us a sound that I want to hear more of.

Although songs of love cover most of the tracklist, there’s also some feminism and black empowerment to be found.  “6 Inch” is a song of female empowerment, featuring some vocal help from The Weeknd.  It’s a positive and upbeat song about the grind and success that comes when you’re willing to put in the work.  Lemonade’s sole single, “Formation” is a powerful black activism song that struck up some controversy for its imagery as well as its themes.  “Freedom” is another song about civil rights, featuring the always vocal Kendrick Lamar.  When you talk about issues of civil rights, Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar have definitely been on the forefront of conversation.  The track also ends in a touching way, with some words from Hattie White, Jay-Z’s grandmother.  She says, “I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to cool myself off.  I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.”  There we go, it’s a statement that quite literally sums up the entire album’s message.

lemonade 3

“Sandcastles” is the album’s turning point.  You can hear the pain and tears come through in her voice in one of the most personal songs off the album.  It’s on this song where she starts to contemplate what comes next.  She’s made promises in her life, some of which she wasn’t able to keep.  The same goes for Jay-Z.  Despite all of this, their sandcastles still stand strong, weathering the storm.  It’s a song full of imagery and hope.  The rest of the album features a message of redemption and optimism, especially for her relationship with Jay-Z, which is always a good sign.  “All Night” is the unofficial end to the album, topping it all off with some positivity.

Lemonade’s sound is just as powerful as her lyrics.  Featuring the production work of individuals like Mike Dean, Diplo, Hit-Boy, Ben Billions, Mike Will Made It, Vincent Berry II, and Just Blaze, the album has a wide range of sounds that all work very well.  You’re not going to find too many radio-ready songs on this release, with Beyonce favoring ballads over bangers.  This might be disappointing for some but this isn’t the type of album that’s supposed to play well on the radio.  It’s a deeply personal experience.

lemonade 4
via Ice Cream Convos

Now that the album is on iTunes, hopefully a bigger audience will be able to listen to Lemonade, which I might consider her best work to date.  It’s a fascinating project that puts you right in the center of her thoughts.  She opens up a lot in a surprising amount of ways.  Her message is emotional, powerful, strong, poignant, controversial, and most of all, hers.  She makes it clear, especially in “Sorry,” that she doesn’t care what you think.  This is her life and her message and she wants to put it all out there.  This is an album that we’re going to be coming back to a lot and it’s going to be the talk of the talk when it comes to album of the year.

lemonade score.png

The Grammys 2015: Wrap-Up

grammysIf you watched the Grammys last night, you probably heard the phrase “Grammy Moment” over and over again.  It was the main theme of the night.  “So and so is going to make a Grammy moment.”  “Don’t miss the Grammy moment, coming up next!”  The 57th Annual Grammy Awards took place last night, and there were indeed a lot of moments…some more memorable then others.

Right off the bat, the award for Best New Artist, which was presented by Taylor Swift, was given to Sam Smith.  This surprised me a lot, considering the fact that Iggy Azalea was in the category as well.  (Although I really wouldn’t call her “new”)  This was the start of two new trends for the night.  Iggy, who was nominated for four awards, took home a big zero.  On the other hand, Sam Smith cleaned house with a grand total of four Grammy’s, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album, in addition to his New Artist award.  This was a big night for the emotional Sam Smith, who accepted the awards with a lot of gratitude.

grammys sam smith

Other notable award winners included Beck for Album of the Year for Morning Phase.  This was by far my biggest surprise.  Beck had a pretty successful and critically acclaimed album, but I didn’t think there was that much buzz around his album, especially compared to the other nominees in the category.  Kanye West must have thought the same thing, as he almost performed “I ’ma Let You Finish” Part 2.  Luckily, he refrained from interrupting Beck, but it was still one of my favorite moments from the night.  Others didn’t find it funny, calling Kanye a jerk.  This is true in a sense, but I don’t think Kanye did anything wrong last night…besides his later comments about Beck and his win.  Anyway…

Other award winners include Pharrell Williams for Best Pop Solo Performance for his song “Happy” and Beyonce for Best R&B Performance for her song “Drunk In Love” with her hubby Jay Z.  One surprising omission from the show was the absence of the Hip-Hop and Rap awards being presented live.  All of the awards for these categories were announced before the live show…for reasons I can’t really explain.  Either way, Eminem won Best Rap Album for The Marshal Mathers LP2 and Kendrick Lamar won Best Rap Performance for “I”.  There were a lot more awards that were left out of the picture during the live show, with only nine awards being given out at the big show.  The awards were three hours long and only nine were actually given out?  That only means one thing…performances.

grammys beck

So how were the performances?

Well, there were so much that host LL Cool J had to skip his normal comedic (that term used lightly) monologue in order to make room for the plethora of artists that made the stage.  This year there were twenty three performances, kicked off by the rock legends AC/DC with “Rock or Bust” and “Highway to Hell.”  It was a strong start to the show, and it probably had a lot of people confused as to why they were even up there.  Then things started to go downhill…

grammys acdc

We got some love songs from Ariana Grande and the duo of Jessie J and Tom Jones.  The two performances were alright, but they were nothing special.  We then got a rather forgettable performance from Miranda Lambert who sung “Little Red Wagon.”  Surprising to most, Kanye West picked things up a bit with his minimalist act of “Only One.”  It was then Madonna who gave a weird and often times uncomfortable performance of “Living for Love.”

There was then a long string of unmemorable performances that just didn’t make an impression on me.  Pharrell Williams however, gave a cinematic and epic performance of “Happy”, debuting a new elevator boy hat.  I hope the tradition continues every year.  Katy Perry, after a talk about domestic violence, gave a somber, yet dazzling performance of “By the Grace of God”, which was one of the standouts of the night.  One of the other standouts was the much anticipated performance of “FourFiveSeconds” by the trio of Sir Paul McCartney, Rihanna, and Kanye West.  It was an upbeat live showing of a song that just doesn’t get old.  They three had fun with it.

grammys four five seconds

The show closed with two final performances from Beyonce and John Legend, featuring rapper Common.  Beyonce performed an angelic version of “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”  It was a powerful performance that further cemented Beyonce’s status of dominance in music.  As an encore of sorts, John Legend and Common performed the Oscar nominated “Glory” from the Oscar recognized Selma.  It was another epic performance, complete with instrumentals and a full choir.  The Grammys started strong and ended strong…but had a ton of rough patches in between held up by the occasional memorable performance.

The Grammys weren’t what I thought they were going to be this year.  They were kind of a let down.  Yes, some very talented musicians took home there well deserved awards, but I kind of wished there were more awards, instead of the performances that were just thrown in there to fatten up the runtime.  Half of the performances could have been cut out, leaving room for more awards and what ever else they could have come up with.  It was a big night for music, no doubt…but it could have been bigger.

grammys beyonce

Here were some of the winners from the night…

Record of the Year

Sam Smith – “Stay With Me”

Song of the Year

Sam Smith – “Stay With Me” [Darkchild Version]

Album of the Year

Beck – “Morning Phase”

Best New Artist

Sam Smith

Best Pop Solo Performance

Pharrell Williams – “Happy”

Best Pop Vocal Album

Sam Smith – “In The Lonely Hour”

Best Rock Album

Beck – “Morning Phase”

Best Rap Album

Eminem – “The Marshal Mathers LP2”

Best Country Album

Miranda Lambert – “Platinum”

Best R&B Performance

Beyonce ft. Jay Z – “Drunk In Love”

grammys happy

Now, what about my predictions?  Well…here’s how I did…

Record of the Year

I predicted… “Shake If Off” by Taylor Swift

Actual winner: “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith

Album of the Year

I predicted… In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith

Actual winner: Morning Phase by Beck

Song of the Year

I predicted… “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

Actual winner: “Stay With Me” [Darkchild Version] by Sam Smith

Best New Artist

I predicted… Iggy Azalea

Actual winner: Sam Smith

Best Pop Vocal Album

I predicted… Prism by Katy Perry

Actual winner: In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith

Best Dance/Electronic Album

I predicted… While (1>2) by Deadmau5

Actual winner: Syro by Aphex Twin

Best R&B Performance

I predicted… “Drunk In Love” by Beyonce feat. Jay Z

Actual winner: “Drunk In Love” by Beyonce feat. Jay Z

Best Urban Contemporary Album

I predicted… Beyonce by Beyonce

Actual winner: Beyonce by Beyonce

Best Rap Song

I predicted… “I” by Kendrick Lamar

Actual winner: “I” by Kendrick Lamar

Best Rap Album

I predicted… The Marshal Mathers LP2 by Eminem

Actual winner: The Marshal Mathers LP2 by Eminem

grammys taylor swift

Basically, I didn’t do so well.  I knew Sam Smith was going to win some awards, but I wasn’t expecting him to take the show.  I also expected Taylor Swift to take his place with the top song categories.  Obviously that didn’t pan out.  As for the Rap categories, I did alright.  I also did a good job with predicting Beyonce to win big as well.  I could have done better, but I went with the popular route.  I should have known better…

Sorry 4 The Wait 2 Impressions

via LIFE Records Entertaiment
via LIFE Records Entertaiment

Lil Wayne has been riding the struggle bus recently.  There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the YMCMB name.  Wayne has been trying to distance himself from the Cash Money label, as well as some other rappers.  He’s also trying to put in work on his next album The Carter V, but the album has been pushed back due to some recent complications with Birdman and some others.  Wayne’s literally in a position that he can’t get himself out of, as seen on the cover of his latest mixtape, Sorry 4 The Wait 2.

There’s three messages that resonate from the project: Lil Wayne’s sorry about the delay on his album, the situation he’s in sucks, and he’s going to still be on top of his game through it all.  The first track on the mixtape, “Coco”, gets right to the point and sets the stage for the rest of the album.

via Slate
via Slate

What we have in Sorry 4 The Wait 2 is a Wayne that is on top of his game.  His famed wordplay still breaks through every song, and his lyrical flow runs deeper than ever.  His auto-tune is a little heavy and overused, but it doesn’t put too much of a blemish on the project.

As we have seen with previous Weezy mixtapes, there’s a lot of remixes and covers.  We have remixes and samples from the likes of Future, Migos, Troy Ave, I Love Makonnen, Meek Mill, Rae Sremmurd, and more.  They all sound familiar, but Wayne puts his own style on the tracks that make them a product of his own.  Some standout remixes include “Dreams and Nightmares”, “Trap House”, and “Hot N***a”.

via In Flex We Trust
via In Flex We Trust

Drake, Mack Maine, and 2 Chainz offered some verses as well.  Wayne’s “Used To” featuring Drake was by far one of the better tracks on the mixtape.  It’s also notable given the situation with YMCMB.  It’s obvious here that Drake sides with Lil Wayne and his situation.  It was also surprising how much “Birdman diss” Lil Wayne put in the tape.  (Yeah, I’m looking at you “S**t”)

Christina Milian, rumored to be Lil Wayne’s hubby, also lends some help with the remix of Beyonce’s hit “Drunk In Love.”  Their version of the tune is a lot more raunchy and sensual, with Christina Milian stealing the show.  Her version of the hook is on par with Beyonce’s in terms of brilliance, and she takes it and runs with it.  It was one of my favorites, if not the best, song on the mixtape.

via Hot New Hip Hop
via Hot New Hip Hop

I also have to mention “Alphabet”, one of his most fun songs on the mixtape.  Lil Wayne walks us through the alphabet, and for each letter he gives a little description of the women that he has been with.  There’s a lot of humor in this one and it was unique enough that I had to mention it on its own.

Sorry 4 The Wait 2 is a pretty solid piece of work as a whole.  Some of the songs don’t quite hit the mark as much as others (e.g. “You Guessed It” and “No Haters”), but the overall package is something that most fans of Lil Wayne can appreciate.  Wayne makes it crystal clear that he is extremely sorry for the delayed album, with the message appearing in every song.  I think fans will understand.  This mixtape is the appetizer for his fans, and now we wait as Lil Wayne cooks up the main course that is The Carter V.

Review: The Pinkprint

the pinkprint coverThe Pinkprint (2014)

Nicki Minaj

Rap / Hip-Hop

Young Money / Cash Money / Republic Records

A lot of people have been proclaiming Nicki Minaj as one of the “queens” of the rap and pop industry.  It’s hard to deny the fact, given the amount of successes she has had this year.  She’s hosted award shows, released one of the songs of the summer, and continues to do more and more.  The Pinkprint, her third studio album, is going to be her closer for the year, her “pinkprint” on the year, per say.

the pinkprint 2

One of the things I enjoy most about the album is her trip back to her mixtape roots as a primarily rap artist.  Before she was known for her “dance-pop” sound, she was an up-and-coming rapper from the Young Money label.  On The Prinkprint, she leaves that “dance-pop” sound from Pink Friday and brings back her older sounds.

The album starts off with a pretty emotional track from Nicki, which is not to characteristic of the singer.  “All Things Go” is an open door to her love life, her family, as well as her abortion that she had to go through.  The song is then followed with “I Lied” and “The Crying Game”, which both showcase the vocal talent of Nicki as well as her emotional side.  At this point, I thought I was listening to a deep and emotional R&B album…until the next songs started to ramp up the energy.

“Get On Your Knees” featuring Ariana Grande was energetic, but nothing really special.  The song was then followed by “Feeling Myself”, which was actually one of my favorite songs from the album.  It features verses from both Nicki and Beyonce, who both come off as cocky, which is no surprise given the position they have in pop culture as of late.

2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival - Night 1 - Show

Other stand-out songs include “Only”, which was the banger featuring verses from Drake and Lil Wayne, and a hook by Chris Brown.  The thing that makes this song stand out is the things that the Young Money founders set straight on the track.  We also have “Trini Dem Girls”, which features a little help from Lunchmoney Lewis.  The song is probably one of the cooler sounding songs on the album, giving tribute to Nicki’s Trinidadian roots.

“The Night Is Still Young” is a pop-infused song which provides a lot of vivacity to the album.  “Pills N Potions”, one of the first singles that was released from the album, is another one of my favorites.  It’s a soft-spoken, yet powerful song that features a mesmerizing hook.

Your probably wondering why I’ve made it this far talking about The Pinkprint without mentioning “Anaconda”, arguably her most popular song of the album.  Even though it is her most popular song, doesn’t mean it’s her best.  In fact, it’s probably far from her best.  The overtly sexual nature of the song will probably put most off, and the song gets pretty old when you listen to it a couple of times.  The Sir-Mix-A-Lot sample was probably the coolest part about the song, and that’s about it.

the pinkprint 3

The album closes with the deeply emotional “Grand Piano”, where Nicki delves into a man who has lied to her, “playing her heart like a grand piano.”  It’s a fitting end to an album that begun in a similar way; a deep venture into her once private situations that she was dealing with.  She doesn’t have anything to hide anymore.

The Pinkprint remarkably shows off the vocal variety that Nicki Minaj has when it comes to her music.  The album features a mix of emotional ballads, lyrical rap prowess, club bangers, and “poppy” radio hits.  It’s all there in Nicki’s arsenal.  There is still part of me that wishes she would just pick one style and run with it though.

This album was probably my favorite Nicki Minaj album.  However, this might not be the same for everybody.  She got popular with her dance-pop sound and not too much of that sound is present on the album.  If you are wondering whether you should get the album, it probably just depends on what type of Nicki you are into.  Although, there is a bit of everything on the album.


2015 Grammy Awards Predictions

The lists are out and the nominees have been announced!  There looks to be a lot of tough races in some of the categories.  It’s going to be interesting once it all goes down on February 8th.  Now, it’s time for me to make my semi-educational guesses as to who will take home the big awards…

RECORD OF THE YEARgrammy 2014 1

-“Fancy” by Iggy Azalea feat. Charlie XCX

-“Chandelier” by Sia

-“Stay With Me” (Darkchild Version) by Sam Smith

-“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift (WINNER)

-“All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor

This was one of the tougher categories to choose.  The favorites are probably “Fancy”, “Shake It Off”, and “All About That Bass”.  However, I think Taylor Swift will be the lucky lady that takes home the award.

ALBUM OF THE YEARgrammy 2014 2

Morning Phase by Beck

Beyonce by Beyonce

by Ed Sheeran

In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith  (WINNER)

Girl by Pharrell Williams

This was probably the toughest category for me to choose.  All of the albums that were nominated have an extremely likely chance of getting the award, however I thought that Sam Smith had a hell of a year and his album might sit well with the board of judges.   I guess we will have to wait and see.


-“All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor

-“Chandelier” by Sia

-“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift  (WINNER)

-“Stay With Me” (Darkchild Version) by Sam Smith

-“Take Me To Church” by Hozier

“Shake It Off” was the song that got in your head every time you listened to it, no matter if you liked Taylor Swift or not.  It’s a catchy tune that served as one of the standout tracks on her album 1989.  I am going to go ahead and say that the award will be in Taylor Swift’s hands by the end of the night.

BEST NEW ARTISTgrammy 2014 3

-Iggy Azalea  (WINNER)


-Brandy Clark


-Sam Smith

Iggy Azalea has had a busy year.  She’s been on many hit singles and she has put out a hit album as well.  She also has come under a ton of fire from some of her hip-hop superiors.  Don’t forget about her night at the American Music Awards as well, where she took home all the awards for the hip-hop category.  She has handled herself really well through all of this, and that is why I think she is the best new artist of the year.  However, Sam Smith would make a good choice as well.

And now for some of the other categories that interest me…


Ghost Stories by Coldplay

Bangerz by Miley Cyrus

My Everything by Ariana Grande

Prism by Katy Perry  (WINNER)

by Ed Sheeran

In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith


Syro by Aphex Twin

While (1>2) by Deadmau5  (WINNER)

Nabuma Rubberband by Little Dragon

Do It Again by Royksopp & Robyn

Damage Control by Mat Zo


-“Drunk In Love” by Beyonce feat. Jay Z  (WINNER)

-“New Flame” by Chris Brown feat. Usher & Rick Ross

-“It’s Your World” by Jennifer Hudson feat. R. Kelly

-“Like This” by Ledisi

-“Good Kisser” by Usher


Sail Out by Jhene Aiko

Beyonce by Beyonce  (WINNER)

X by Chris Brown

Mali Is… by Mali Music

Girl by Pharrell Williams

BEST RAP SONGgrammy 2014 8

-“Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj

-“Bound 2” by Kanye West

-“I” by Kendrick Lamar  (WINNER)

-“We Dem Boyz” by Wiz Khalifa

-“0 to 100/The Catch Up” by Drake

BEST RAP ALBUM??????????????????????????????????

The New Classic by Iggy Azalea

Because The Internet by Childish Gambino

-Nobody’s Smiling by Common

The Marshall Mathers LP2 by Eminem  (WINNER)

Oxymoron by Schoolboy Q

Blacc Hollywood by Wiz Khalifa

*Side Note: This category should be interesting given all of the controversy and words that have been exchanged between Iggy and Eminem.

With that, my predictions have been made for the big categories as well as the categories that interest me the most.  Now we will have to wait till February 8th to see whether or not I was right about these choices, or a complete idiot.  Probably the latter, but I like to think that I am better than that.



The 2014 American Music Awards – Recap

The 2014 American Music Awards have come and gone, and it was certainly an action packed show.  The night was hosted by everybody’s favorite, Pitbull.  I guess hosting award shows is what Pitbull does now, because he seems to do a lot of it.  He did an alright job, but his opening monologue was hit-and-miss and some of his jokes just came off plain creepy.  (Yeah, I am looking right at that “Booty” joke)

Fan choice award shows, especially fan choice music award shows, tend to make me grumble.  It’s when one band gets a massive following to stand behind them and vote them to the top of every category that they are nominated for.  Yes, this may speak to an artist’s talent, but this always isn’t the case.  Sometimes a band can get a massive following do to their looks, for example.  A massive fan-base is not always proportionate to an artist’s talent.


With that being said, it was One Direction that took home the most awards of the night at the Nokia Theater in L.A., including the big one; Artist of the Year.  For Artist of the Year, the band was up against the likes of Iggy Azalea, Luke Bryan, Beyonce, and Katy Perry.  All four of those artists, in my opinion, probably deserved the award the most.  But since there was no committee voting for the awards, it was the fans that had the final say.

Iggy Azalea was also a big winner last night, wrapping up all of the awards for the hip-hop category.  There is some interesting commentary that can be had about this as well, given the recent controversy between Eminem and Iggy.  If you haven’t heard already, Eminem released a snippet of the song “Vegas” of his newest album that contained lyrics about physical harm and rape directed at both Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea.  Iggy ended up getting back at Eminem by calling him an “old man” and speaking her thoughts on Twitter.  Both Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea were at the awards last night, and it was Iggy that got the last laugh.  She was facing both Drake and Eminem for the two hip hop categories, and she came out on top for both of them.


In her speeches, she name checked Eminem (in the lightest way possible) saying that because she got the award, she knew she was heading in the right direction.  These two awards were the first two AMAs she has ever received.  Her mentor T.I., who seemed to have picked up the role of peacemaker in light of all of Iggy’s harassment, was right by her side during the acceptance.  It was a big night for her.

Other notable awards included Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, which went to Sam Smith.  The Favorite Rock/Alternative Artist award went to Imagine Dragons, who has been having a pretty big year.  The Favorite Country Album award went to Brantley Gilbert for his third studio album Just As I Am.  Taylor Swift also won big, being the recipient of the Dick Clark Award for Excellence.


But anyway, the American Music Awards, in my opinion, are about the performances and the moments that come along with them.

Taylor Swift kicked off the show with a bang, performing her newest hit “Blank Space.”  She transformed the stage into a black-and-white striped mansion and danced all throughout the halls with her army of back-up dancers.  It was quite a spectacle and a great way to kick off the show.


There were a lot of acts that involved first time live performances of a lot of songs.  Imagine Dragons sung their newest hit “I Bet My Life” with an energetic and sentimental performance.  We also saw Lil Wayne later in the show debuting his new song of the Carter V, “Start A Fire”, with Christina Milian.  We also got a performance by Sam Smith and A$ap Rocky, who performed “I’m Not The Only One”.

The most fun performance of the night probably came from Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj who performed the hit “Bang Bang.”  I always like when they play this song live because it’s easy to see how much fan the trio have with the song.  You can tell that they never get tired of it.  Fergie also had a colorful and exotic performance of “L.A. Love” with DJ Mustard and YG.  There were some massive set-pieces and a lot going on onstage.  It’s was a performance that evidenced that Fergie is still relevant in today’s music sphere.


Ariana Grande gave a brilliant acoustic performance of her songs “Problem” and “Break Free”, which really showcased the true talent of the young artist.  Her performance was finally topped off with a rendition of her newest song “Love Me Harder”, which featured the vocal magic of The Weeknd.  Those two on stage together was a pretty awesome showing.  We also got “emotional performance of the night” from Selena Gomez, who sung her deeply intimate “The Heart Wants What It Wants.”


There were a bunch of other performances, some lackluster and others completely fine.  The most intriguing performance was Garth Brooks, who came live from North Carolina and performed the song “People Loving People” to a large arena crowd.  We also had Iggy Azalea and Charlie XCX, who both gave performances of their songs “Boom Clap” and “Fancy”.   Iggy Azalea went back on stage with Jennifer Lopez at the end to close out the show with “Booty.”  The performance was not big enough to close out the show, but it did deliver on the promise of high levels of booty.


Like I said before, there was a lot going on during last nights festivities.  I may not have agreed with most of the winners, but I knew I wasn’t going to before the show even started.  However, there was a lot of great performances that made up for it.  Pitbull should also stop hosting awards shows.  That is all.

The full list of winners can be found below:

Artist of the Year: One Direction

New Artist of the Year: 5 Seconds of Summer

Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist: Sam Smith

Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist: Katy Perry

Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group: One Direction

Favorite Pop/Rock Album: Midnight Memories by One Direction

Favorite Country Male Artist: Luke Bryan

Favorite Country Female Artist: Carrie Underwood

Favorite Country Duo or Group: Florida Georgia Line

Favorite Country Album: Just As I Am by Brantley Gilbert

Favorite Rap/Hip-hop Artist: Iggy Azalea

Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album: The New Classic by Iggy Azalea

Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist: John Legend

Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist: Beyonce

Favorite Soul/R&B Album: Beyonce by Beyonce

Favorite Alternative Artist: Imagine Dragons

Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist: Katy Perry

Favorite Latin Artist: Enrique Inglesias

Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist: Casting Crowns

Favorite EDM Artist: Calvin Harris

Single of the Year: “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry, featuring Juicy J

Top Soundtrack: Frozen

Dick Clark Award for Excellence: Taylor Swift

Review: Sweet Talker

sweet talker coverSweet Talker (2014)

Jessie J

R&B / Pop / Soul

Label: Lava / Rebublic

Jessie J’s music career has always been intriguing to me.  It just seems like not that much people are talking about her.  She has the ability to make pretty big hits.  Her single’s “Domino” and “Price Tag” did very well and she even wrote Miley Cyrus’s hit “Party in the USA.”  So like I said, the ability is there, but where is her star power?

With the British singer’s recent release of Sweet Talker, Jessie J’s third studio album, it seems as if her star power will reach a maximum.

The album starts out with a bang (no pun intended) with four of my favorite songs off her release.  She starts off with the energetic “Ain’t Been Done” and then moves to the even faster “Burnin’ Up” with 2 Chainz.  We then have the title track “Sweet Talker”, in which Jessie J gives a strong performance.  Lastly, “Bang Bang” is probably my favorite track off the album.  When it was released as a single, it was a bona fide summer hit, featuring the likes of Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.  The track also warranted a VMA performance that was truly something else.

However, the rest of the album did not stand out as much as the first four hits.  Jessie J started to slow it down with sweet sounding melodies, which started to run together towards the end.  There wasn’t too much variety as the album started to come to a close, but Jessie J still managed to make them entertaining to listen to, with her powerful and melodic voice.

She almost reminds me of a hybrid between Beyonce and P!nk.  She has a wide vocal range and a booming voice, with some pop, hip-hop, and r&b influences.  She doesn’t have the name recognition of those two artists, but she still has a voice that can be singled out of a crowd.

Sweet Talker could be considered A+ material if there was only some variety towards the latter part of the album.  However, Sweet Talker is still a strong release from the brit. Her single “Bang Bang” propelled her into the US spotlight, now it’s up to her what she does with it.

Hopefully she provides us with more impressive chart-topping hits.


The Grammy Awards: My Predictions

It’s that time of year again.  It’s the Grammy’s, dubbed music’s biggest night.  Just like previous years, the competition looks pretty fierce.  Some artists will get lucky, while others will be locked out of heaven.  The anticipation for Sunday night is getting radioactive as the lines are getting blurred on who will win.  It will be royal.  Sorry, that was a lame attempt at using the record of the year nominees.  Anyway, on to my predictions…

(Bold lettering denotes my winners)

*I included all of the major categories and/or the ones that matter the most to me.  Obviously there are a lot more categories that I am not mentioning.

Record of the Year

*Get Lucky – Daft Punk (feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)get lucky

*Radioactive- Imagine Dragons

*Royals – Lorde

*Locked out of Heaven – Bruno Mars

*Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke (feat. T.I. and Pharrell)

Album of the Year

*The Blessed Unrest – Sara Bareillesthe blessed unrest

*Random Access Memories – Daft Punk

*Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City – Kendrick Lamar

*The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

*Red – Taylor Swift

Song of the Year

*Just Give Me A Reason – Jeff Bhasher, Pink and Nate Ruesssame love

*Locked out of Heaven – Ari Levine, Philip Lawerence and Bruno Mars

*Roar – Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Katy Perry and Henry Walter

*Royals – Joel Little and Ella Yelich O’Conner

*Same Love – Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert and Ryan Lewis

Best New Artist

*James Blakekendrick lamar

*Kendrick Lamar

*Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

*Kacey Musgraves

*Ed Sheeran

Best Pop Solo Performance

*Brave – Sara Bareillesroar

*Royals – Lorde

*When I Was Your Man – Bruno Mars

*Roar – Katy Perry

*Mirrors – Justin Timberlake

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

*Get Lucky – Daft Punk (feat. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers)stay

*Just Give Me A Reason – Pink (feat. Nate Ruess)

*Stay – Rihanna (feat. Mikky Ekko)

*Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke (feat. T.I. and Pharrell)

*Suit & Tie – Justin Timberlake (feat. Jay-Z)

Best Pop Vocal Album

*Paradise – Lana Del Ray2020 experience

*Pure Heroine – Lorde

*Unorthodox Jukebox – Bruno Mars

*Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke

*The 20/20 Experience -The Complete Experience  – Justin Timberlake

Best Dance/Electronica Album

*Random Access Memories – Daft PunkRandom-Access-Memories

*Settle – Disclosure

*18 Months – Calvin Harris

*Atmosphere – Kaskade

*A Color Map of the Sun – Pretty Lights

Best Rock Album

*13 – Black Sabbaththe next day

*The Next Day – David Bowie

*Mechanical Bull – Kings of Leon

*Celebration Day – Led Zepplin

*…Like Clockwork – Queens of the Stone Age

*Psychedelic Pill – Neil Young with Crazy Horse

Best Alternative Music Album

*The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You – Neko Casevampire weekend

*Trouble Will Find Me – The National

*Hesitation Marks – Nine Inch Nails

*Lonerism – Tame Impala

*Modern Vampires of the City – Vampire Weekend

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

*Power Trip – J. Cole (feat. Miguel)holy grail

*Part II (On the Run) – Jay-Z (feat. Beyonce)

*Holy Grail – Jay-Z (feat. Justin Timberlake)

*Now or Never – Kendrick Lamar (feat. Mary J. Blige)

*Remember You – Wiz Khalifa (feat. The Weeknd)

Best Rap Song

*F**kin Problems – A$AP Rocky (feat. Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar)kanye

*Holy Grail – Jay-Z (feat. Justin Timberlake)

*New Slaves – Kanye West

*Started from the Bottom – Drake

*Thrift Shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Wanz)

Best Rap Album

*Nothing Was the Same – Drakeyeezus

*Magna Carta…Holy Grail – Jay-Z

*Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City – Kendrick Lamar

*The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

*Yeezus – Kanye West

Best Performance on the Grammys

(I know this is not a category, I just feel like picking who is going to have the best/most talked about performance on the Grammys on Sunday.  Since there are so many, I will pick 4 winners.)

*Beyonce and Jay-Zbeyonce and jay z

*Billie Joe Armstrong (of Green Day) and Miranda Lambert

*Bruno Mars

*Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams & Stevie Wonder

*Hunter Hayes

*Imagine Dragons

*John Legend

*Juicy J

*Kacey Musgraves

*Katy Perry

*Keith Urban

*Kendrick Lamar


*Macklemore & Ryan Lewis


*Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Blake Shelton

*Metallica and Lang Lang

*Paul McCartney and Ringo StarriHeartRadio Music Festival - Day 2 - Show

*Pink and Nate Ruess

*Robin Thicke and Chicago

*Sara Bareilles and Carole King

*Taylor Swift

*Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue