Tag Archives: Lil Wayne

Review: The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty

via missinfo.tv
via missinfo.tv

The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty (2015)

Tyga

Rap / Hip-Hop

Last Kings


Way back in November of last year, Last Kings Entertainment was supposed to release Tyga’s new album The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty.  Things did not go as planned though, with a delay pushing back the release to December.  Things only got worse when it continued to get pushed back and back due to the altercations plaguing the Young Money/Cash Money scenario.  Long story short, things were looking pretty dire for the rapper’s fourth studio album.  Now, fast forward six months and the album finally has seen the light of day.  It was released this week on Spotify as a surprise, coming literally out of nowhere.  This should be good news, but the news is tarnished by the album’s quality in the end.

On the cover of the album, we see the Egyptian god Horus, which only makes sense for Tyga who is fascinated with Egyptian culture.  The Gold Album continues in the tradition of the rapper’s gloat fests, as this is the kind of style that Tyga rolls with though.  The album starts off with a banger named “Spitfire.”  It might not live fully up to its name, but the rapper does manage to spit some flame with his classic lyrical flow.  Two tracks later we have “Shaka Zulu,” in which the rapper compares himself to the most influential monarch of the Zulu kingdom.

via The Stashed
via The Stashed

The album started off pretty well, despite “Muh Fucka” which teetered on the line of repetition, but it started to turn stale and the tracks started to become more mediocre as I made my way through the eleven song tracklist.  Songs like “Hard For You” and “Down For A Min” had some potential, but ultimately fell flat in terms of execution.  Later in the album, Tyga’s collaboration with Lil Wayne, “4 My Dawgz,” also managed to fall short of what it could have been.

Tyga and Boosie Badazz’ filthy collaboration “Pleazer” had a great beat, but made me feel uncomfortable at the same time.  It gave off a lot of pedophilic vibes, not unlike some other songs on the album.  Perhaps it was the lyric “T nasty, ‘bout to catch a felony for it.”  Although Tyga explicitly stated that the line did not refer to his young girlfriend Kylie Jenner, it still does not make the weird lyrics seem any better.

via Fist in the Air
via Fist in the Air

The album has a solid production, which is one of the biggest things the album has going for it.  This time around, Tyga enlisted Kanye West, Mike Dean, and Jess Jackson as the executive producers, which can attribute to the album’s great sound.  If anyone wants an example of the album’s top notch production, “Bloodline” would have to be the track that I would direct them too.  It has a nice sound that offers up something different compared to the other offerings.

The hype and anticipation that was building up to the album’s release crumbles in on itself with a finished project full of mediocrity.  There was a select few songs on the album that were worth the time listening to, but most of the others were plain average.  Personally I was expecting a lot more from Tyga with his fourth studio project.  In a year that has been pretty great for hip-hop, The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty will probably be lost in the mix.  Not even the god Horus can do anything about it.

the gold album score

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Review: A$AP Rocky’s At.Long.Last.A$AP

via News N Music
via News N Music

At.Long.Last.A$AP (2015)

A$AP Rocky

Rap / Hip-Hop

A$AP Worldwide / Polo Grounds Music / RCA Records


The unexpected death of A$AP Mob’s founder ASAP Yams hit rapper A$AP Rocky pretty hard back in January.  It still affects him to this day.  Yams played an integral role in Rocky’s career in music and he served as one of the prime influences on Rocky.  Yams has been with Rocky ever since he broke big, which means it only makes sense that Rocky’s sophomore album, At.Long.Last.A$AP, is dedicated to the late rapper.  What makes the story even better is that Rocky’s second offering is a stellar release; serving as the rapper’s best album to date.

ALLA starts off with the mellow and highly meditative “Holy Ghost” that features a lot of religious imagery, with Rocky almost begging for forgiveness by the end.  Its sets the tone for the rest of the album, which goes into multiple directions, taking a deep dive into the wild life that is Rocky’s.  The rest of the album explores the vices that the rapper enjoys and goes into some of the problems that the rapper has faced as well.

via Complex
via Complex

When it comes to the rappers vices, his tribute to LSD, appropriately titled “L$D,” gives you a good idea of what I’m talking about.  The drugged up ode to the highly addictive drug takes you on a literal trip through Rocky’s enjoyment of acid.  We also get “M’s,” which can be considered a ballad to moolah.  Lil Wayne appears on the track as well and Weezy gives it his all with his colorful verse.

What makes the album dynamic is the exploration of Rocky’s problems, especially “Better Things,” which goes into the rapper’s problems with women.  The track has gained greater relevance in light of the interview that had the rapper reveal that he had three orgies with nine different women at the last SXSW.  (Yep, nine of them…)  The song also delves a bit into his hook-up with singer Rita Ora, which had an ugly ending thanks to her “big mouth,” according to Rocky.

via Promo News
via Promo News

“Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2,” also known as LPFJ2, shows off the rappers ability to lay some great verses.  Not to mention, it also contains a bumping beat as well.  The two other tracks that stood out were “Jukebox Joints” and the star-studded “Everyday.”  “Jukebox Joints” features a vocal assist from the fellow fashionable rapper Kanye West.  The two rapper/fashion aficionados give us a nice collaboration that lives up to its potential.  If I had to pick my favorite song off the album, it would have to be “Everyday.”  The track features the legendary Rod Stewart, although technically it’s only a sample of one of the singer’s past performances.  All that aside, the song, which features a smooth hook from R&B croon Miguel, is a nice package of musical goodness.

It only makes sense that the album wraps up with a dedication to ASAP Yams.  “Back Home” is a track created with love and respect from both A$AP Rocky and Mos Def.  Although the song features a rather annoying beat, the intentions are in the best place possible.  The song wraps up with a vocal outro from Yams himself, concluding what is a stellar project from the Brooklyn-born emcee.

via Hip Hop Since 1987
via Hip Hop Since 1987

A$AP Rocky is a very talented and forward thinking part of the rap game and At.Long.Last.A$AP provides all the proof you need to come to this conclusion.  The rappers debut album Long.Live.A$AP was a pretty good album on its own and it has only gotten better for the rapper.  2015 has been a big year for hip-hop, and A$AP Rocky gives us a worthy addition to the honorable list of great album that have already made their way to release. ASAP Yams would be proud.

at long last asap score

The Weekly Drop: 4/24/15

This week was pretty slow when it came to new songs.  We got some new stuff from DeJ Loaf and Tech N9ne, with his explosive rap collaboration with Eminem and Krizz Kaliko.  There was not too many mixtapes that managed to impress either.  Here’s what I was listening to…


via Hip Hop Illustrated
via Hip Hop Illustrated

“Me U & Hennessy”

DeJ Loaf (feat. Lil Wayne)

Stream

The video for DeJ Loaf’s sensual and steamy “Me U & Hennessy” released last week, but this week gives us the remix, which has Lil Wayne on the other end of the track.  The song is an explicit and overtly sexual run through of a night of drinks and love making.  DeJ Loaf gets raunchy, but Lil Wayne out does her in classic Weezy fashion.  The song has a smooth sound, perfect for any lover’s night.  If you are looking for some baby making music for your next occasion, DeJ Loaf and Lil Wayne can hook you up.


via mbjunk.com
via mbjunk.com

“Speedom (WWC 2)”

Tech N9ne (feat. Eminem & Krizz Kaliko)

Buy

If you are looking to get your heart racing, Tech N9ne may have the song for you.  With his next album Special Effects on the way, N9ne dropped his newest single “Speedom,” which was the sequel to “World Wide Choppers.”  The song features N9ne, Eminem, and Krizz Kaliko going 0-60 in trailblazing time on their respective verses.  Eminem’s verse is quite the handful, taking shots at people like Ellen Degeneres, Drake, and Kanye West.  Eminem and Tech N9ne have collaborated before, and their newest team-up efforts do not disappoint.  Be sure to catch the track if you can.


via Rap-Up
via Rap-Up

“Thuggin'”

Glasses Malone (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Buy

Up till this point, we haven not heard too much about Glasses Malone’s upcoming project Glasshouse 2.  In a leak on Monday, we got to hear the rapper’s first song from the album, entitled “Thuggin’.”  The song, produced by Sega, is a song about the thug life over a sample of Bone Thugs n Harmony’s “For the Love of Money.”  It starts off with a snippet from an 1994 interview of 2Pac outside of a courthouse and then leads to Glasses Malone giving us a clinic on what it means to be a thug.  The rap powerhouse Kendrick Lamar also provides some lyrical help with a one-two punch of a verse.  As most songs of this nature like to do, it took aim at some of the current issues that stand today.  It is a promising preview of Malone’s future music he has in store.


via Can't Stop Hip Hop
via Can’t Stop Hip Hop

Trips to Trinidad EP

Trinidad James

Stream

It’s been a while since we have heard any music from Trinidad James.  His new EP, Trips to Trinidad gives fans something to devour in the meantime however.  The small collection of songs has “Island Music” written all over it.  The first two songs, “Trini Wolve$” and “$.T.I.Y. (Save the Island Youth),” are one part reggae and one part rap.  The last two tracks give us a freestyle, and some wisdom to go with it.  “TTT Free$tyle” is a pretty average freestyle that has a different sound from the previous two tracks, and it probably could have been excluded from the project as a whole.  “Po$$ible No Guarantee” has Trinidad speaking about relationships at the start, only to move on to his outlook on life as a whole.  It might have felt scattered at times, but it was an interesting piece to end with.  The project, largely produced by Dark Conceptz, is nothing special, but it still manages to please.


via Datpiff
via Datpiff

No Chill

Jae Millz

Pass

I have been following Jae Millz ever since “Green Goblin,” his collaboration with Chris Brown.  His style of music could almost be classified as dark and menacing, with some heavy beats to back it up.  No Chill, the newest of his many mixtapes, continues in that style of music, but did not impress in it’s execution.  There were some songs from the project that caught my attention, like “Shining” and “Yeah I Know,” but most were nothing to write home about.  Most of the songs on the tape ranged from average to below average, which does not make it worth going out of your way to listen to it.  Jae Millz has done better.


via Hoodstok
via Hoodstok

Life of a Soulja II

Lil Soulja Slim

Pass

If you have not heard of Lil Soulja Slim, that is okay.  He has not hit it big yet.  He is the son of Soulja Slim, the rapper who died at the hands of an unknown shooter.  Soulja Slim’s son continues on, furthering his father’s legacy.  He has not put out that much music yet, which is why his second mixtape in the Life of a Soulja series was intriguing to me.  I wanted to see what his rapping abilities looked like.  It is fair to say that he sounds a lot like his father, but some of his lyrics do not fly too well.  He needs some work, as demonstrated by the quality of the mixtape.  The release has some good production from producers like Playboy Pat and Crack Tracks, but his lyrical abilities were not all there.  The last song on the mixtape “Listen,” which happened to be a bonus track featuring Juvenile, Young Juve, and Danny Heartless, was probably my favorite out of all of them.  His newest offering can probably be passed over, but I will be interested to see if he gets better over time, and if he gets any traction and recognition in the future.

Review: Tyler, the Creator’s Cherry Bomb

via Miss Info
via Miss Info

Cherry Bomb (2015)

Tyler, the Creator

Rap / Alternative Hip-Hop

Odd Future Records / Sony


What a year it has been so far for Rap.  We are a little past a quarter of the way through the year and we have already had a plethora of great albums from some of the day’s best rappers.  Everyone must be on their A-game I presume.  The party continues with Tyler, the Creator’s newest offering, Cherry Bomb.  Tyler gives us another worthy rap release, although some minor quibbles and missteps put a blemish on the finished product.

It is immediately apparent that there are a lot of different sound and musical influences on the album from some of Tyler’s idols.  Some of the more notable influences that we see on the album are from Stevie Wonder and N.E.R.D., especially in the album’s opening track “DEATHCAMP.”  Tyler also managed to get some of his idols as features, including the likes of Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and the Colombian singer Kali Uchis, who seems to have hit it off pretty well with Tyler.  The songs that they worked on together, including “FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT” and “FIND YOUR WINGS,” are some of the highlights from the thirteen song track list.

via NSS Mag
via NSS Mag

The two most intriguing features out of the bunch came from Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Pharrell.  “SMUCKERS” received a lot of hype prior to the album’s release due to the fact that the hip-hop legends Kanye and Wayne would be on the track.  The song might not have lived up to the heavy amounts of hype, but I was still pleased with the outcome.  I really enjoyed Pharrell’s feature on “KEEP DA O’S” because it brought us back to the 2006 Pharrell, with Slim Thug’s Already Platinum.  It was a cool sound from Pharrell, one that most contemporary pop fans are not too familiar with.

If you could not tell already from the album’s track list, the album has a theme of flying, or finding your wings.  “PILOT,” “RUN,” and “FIND YOUR WINGS,” as well as other songs, all carry out the overarching theme of finding your own place in life.  Doing what you want to do without anybody else judging you or bringing you down.  It is a pretty positive overtone that is sort of a far cry from some of Tyler’s past work.

via NME
via NME

The album’s production and musical choices are what hurts the album and takes it down a couple of pegs.  It is like Tyler just figured out what distortion and compression was, and decided to sprinkle the effects everywhere.  His overuse of these musical effects made some of the songs sound like a jumbled mess of noises.  They work well with a tiny minority of the tracks, but they do not really have the effect that Tyler probably was wanting them to have.  The best example I can give is the album’s title track, “CHERRY BOMB,” which turned out to be a mess.

There is also some instrumentals that find their way on to a couple of songs which sound pretty good.  The sax solos in “2SEATER” give the song a mellow and moody feel and “BLOW MY LOAD” is another smooth sounding “ballad” about the dirty act of *ahem* blowing your load.  Only on a Tyler, the Creator album.

via DIY Mag
via DIY Mag

Any fan of Tyler, the Creator will most likely find their selves at home among the goofy and often immature lyrics and weird sounds.   Cherry Bomb might be some of Tyler’s best work when you compare it to the likes of Goblin and Wolf.  Both of those albums had some great moments, but so does Cherry Bomb.  The album could have used some work on the production side, with Tyler not going crazy with the weird musical effects, but we get an album that was made “by Tyler, for Tyler,” if that makes sense.  He accomplished a lot of his dream projects and goals on this one, which gives a pretty authentic and real feel to the album.  If Tyler’s happy, I guess we must be happy too.

cherry bomb score

The Weekly Drop: 3/27/15

This is a new weekly series that I will start that will cover new singles and mixtapes that were released throughout the week.  Every Friday, I will go in depth and let you know whether you should download, stream, or pass on the newest releases.  On the blog, I have reviewed a lot of albums, but I have never really looked at the other types of releases that come out in a given week.  So, without further ado…

This week pretty much centered around Rihanna’s new single, “Bitch Better Have My Money.”  She has been releasing some snippets from the single, but on Thursday she finally released the full song.  We also saw a comeback from T-Pain.  In terms of other releases, we had some new stuff from Gucci Mane, Que, T.I., Yelawolf, Ludacris, and more.


via Beyond Gossip
via Beyond Gossip

“Bitch Better Have My Money”

Rihanna

Buy

There was a lot of hype surrounding the single from Rihanna’s next big album.  “Bitch Better Have My Money” is the second single of her upcoming album R8.  The song features a mix of singing and rapping, with a bunch of confidence.  The bass heavy song, produced by Deputy, is no doubt going to be a hit for a while.


gibberish“Gibberish”

MAX feat. Hoodie Allen

Stream

As it turns out, singer MAX and up-and-coming rapper Hoodie Allen are actually best buds.  That’s why it makes sense that they release a song together, entitled “Gibberish.”  The song, which is about meeting a girl and realizing that she is not who you thought she was, is something that we have all heard before in pop music, but it still manages to be pretty catchy.  Hoodie Allen also brings a good verse to the equation as well.  It’s definitely worth a listen, but that’s about all.


charge it to the rap game“Charge it to the Rap Game”

Ludacris

Buy

Ludacris’ next album Ludaversal is going to be pretty big.  However, there hasn’t been too much released yet from the album, with “Good Lovin” being the only single released so far.  “Charge it to the Rap Game,” produced by Illmind, shows off that classical lyrical flow that Ludacris has been known for.  The rap game has a lot of highs and lows to it, and Ludacris weighs in on all of it.  This might not be a groundbreaking track by any sense of the word, but it is still pretty good.


via hulkshare.com
via hulkshare.com

“Project Steps”

T.I.

Pass

T.I. has made it known before that his past was not pretty, growing up in the hood of Atlanta, Georgia.  His newest song “Project Steps,” produced by Mars of 1500 or Nothin’, goes into the struggles that T.I. faces with not reverting to his past ways to solve the problems he comes across today.  A song as hard and raw as this seems like it should be faster and not as sluggish.  The beat in the background also got a little repetitive as well.  I was expecting more from T.I.


via Rap Wave
via Rap Wave

“I Go Hard”

T.I. feat. Kat

Buy

This is the better of the two T.I. songs that were released this week.  “I Go Hard,” is inspired by Get Hard, the Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell comedy that comes out this week.  T.I. also plays a role in the film, starring as Russell, a former convict.  The song actually appears on the ending credits as well.  The track goes hard, with a loud and booming hook from Kat.  T.I. lays some hard rhymes over the tough sounding song.  The song definitely lives up to it’s name.


via Juno Download
via Juno Download

“Roll the Bass”

Major Lazer

Stream

Major Lazer has been around for a while, with is third major studio album Peace is the Mission on the way soon.  “Roll the Bass”, a single from the new album, is an energetic mix of Major Lazer’s reggae style of music with the heavy beats of trap step.  It is fast and it is fun, and it will most likely have you dancing in no time.


via Rap Wave
via Rap Wave

“American You”

Yelawolf

Buy

This song is actually pulled from Catfish Billy’s next album Love Story.  With Eminem and Malay handling production duties, “American You” has Yelawolf talking about the kinds of things that go through a young teenage American’s mind.  We get some nice vocals from the rapper, with a nice and easy sound.  There are some instrumentals in the background that really just make the song feel like an American piece of work.  It was surprisingly really good.


via XXL
via XXL

Dessert (EP)

Gucci Mane

Pass

If you are talking about the hardest working rapper in the game, you are most likely talking about rapper Gucci Mane.  Last week, the rapper released three full-length albums; Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.  To top things off, he also released a three song EP this week as well, called Dessert.  The mixtape features some good production work from the likes of Mike WILL Made-It and The Honorable C-Note, but the three songs are just average at best.  “Don’t Make Me Mad” was probably my least favorite of the three tracks, with it sounding like a garbled mess at times.  It is hard not to applaud the work ethic that Gucci Mane puts out, but I would honestly like to see him channel that energy into making less albums, with a bigger focus on quality.  Putting out song after song, album after album, is not always a sound strategy of success.  This is a pretty good example of why that does not always work.


via Far Out Hip Hop
via Far Out Hip Hop

The 6th Man

Que

Stream

Atlanta’s own Que is here with a new mixtape called The 6th Man.  The album is primarily a one man show, with the only feature from Young Dolph on “Weak.”  The mixtape includes a pretty good sounding intro, which leads into one of my favorite tracks from the project, “Type I Am.”  Some of my other favorites include “Stick Up Kid” and “Emotions,” a song that features some vocals from the rapper.  Not all of the songs are A-grade material however.  “Type of Party” gets a little repetitive after a while and “Digg It” leaves more to be desired.  However, the XXL Magazine nominated Freshman of the Year has some good flow and his lyrics roll off the tongue pretty well.  The mixtape also sounds good, with some production from up-and-coming producers like OZ and 30roc.  I do not think that the mixtape is worth a download, but I still think you should give the rapper a listen.


via All Hip-Hop
via All Hip-Hop

The Iron Way

T-Pain

Download

It’s been four years since the release of T-Pain’s Revolver.  Say what you want about the album, but it was not really a big commercial or critical success.  It was a good time for T-Pain to take a break and lay low.  Fast forward to 2015 and we now have The Iron Way, T-Pain’s comeback mixtape if you will, hosted by DJ Drama.  The tape contains twenty tracks, as well as a star-studded features list.  Lil Wayne, The Dream, Big K.R.I.T., Yo Gotti, Migos, and more lend verses to the project.  The Iron Way contains some hard and raw raps from the rapper, including the mixtapes intro “Kill These N*****,” as well as those seductive auto-tune ballads that you have come to expect from T-Pain, like “Let Your Hair Down,” featuring help from The Dream and Vantrease.  Some other good cuts are “15,” the bouncy club anthem, as well as “Let Me Through,” the feature with Lil Wayne.  It is interesting to note the apparent absence of T-Pains collaboration with Aaliyah, titled “Girlfriend.”  He played the song at a recent preview session in Manhattan, but perhaps the internet backlash was the reasoning for its cut off the album.  T-Pain’s intentions are clear and he wants a swift comeback.  If this spawns another album, that’s great.  If not, we at least got some more music from the auto-tune genius.

Review: Tetsuo & Youth

via Dawgz.fr
via Dawgz.fr

Tetsuo & Youth (2015)

Lupe Fiasco

Rap / Hip-Hop

Atlantic Records


Album delays have been a prominent theme in hip-hop the past couple of months.  Lil Wayne has been very public about the inner altercations with Cash Money which have prevented his album to come out, leading him to release his Sorry 4 The Wait 2 mixtape.  Tyga has been facing the same sorts of trouble with his album as well.  Lupe Fiasco was pretty much in the same situation, except he was caught up with Atlantic Records.  Lupe’s made it clear that his fifth studio album, Tetsuo & Youth, is his last album with Atlantic Records and that he is going independent for the rest of the road.

It’s pretty safe to say that Tetsuo & Youth, which was supposed to be released last year, was worth the wait.  Lupe has done a lot of work on the album, and he brings his a game on this release.  The album’s artwork is actually a piece from Lupe himself.  He calls the oil painting “Uomo Mangiato Tigre”, which translates roughly to “Man Eating Tiger.”  It’s a peculiar piece of artwork, and it’s fitting for an album that is a piece of artwork in itself.

via Ddotomen
via Ddotomen

It’s hard to pick out the most eminent themes on the album, considering there is so much to take from it.  The complex nature of Lupe Fiasco’s style is bursting through in every single track.  The album starts off with an instrumental titled “Summer”, and goes through the rest of the seasons intermittently throughout the album.  You could consider them a signifier of progress through the album, or you could consider them the calm before the storm, considering they are followed by mammoth eight to nine minute songs.  They’re an interesting touch.

Those epic songs include “Mural”, “Prisoner 1 & 2”, and “Chopper”, which features the likes of Billy Blue, Buk of Psychodrama, Trouble, Trae The Truth, Fam Lay, and Glasses Malone.  They were probably the standout tracks on the album.  It’s amazing how much ground Lupe could cover in these pieces.  “Prisoner 1 & 2” is a very deep song that has multiple moving parts that drive it.  The song talks about incarceration and racial profiling, which have been unfortunate trends present in the current climate.

via Hype Trak
via Hype Trak

A lot of the songs on this album act as double edged swords in terms of meaning, which is common with Lupe Fiasco’s rapping style.  A lot of the songs had multiple meanings besides the surface level concepts.  My go-to example would be “Deliver”, which was released as the first single for the project.  On the surface, it talks about how a pizza shop won’t deliver to a house because it is located in the rough parts of town.  Going deeper, we see themes of deliverance, and the absence of deliverance in the ghetto communities.  The song, which features Ty Dolla $ign, is a perfect example of a song that has a ton of substance no matter which way you look at it.

Some other favorites of mine included the deeply emotional “Madonna”, which relates mothers in the ghetto who fear for their sons to the Virgin Mary, and her fear of prosecution of Jesus.  This isn’t the only song that features a lot of religion as a driving theme, considering that the next song is “Adoration of the Magi”, which was another one of my favorites.  It was also revealed by Lupe Fiasco that this track was his favorite as well.  As he revealed in a tweet, “Adoration of the Magi is my favorite song off the album.  I had a conceptual epiphany (pun intended) in the studio & been smiling ever since.”  The song contains a pretty clever hook and a lot of lyrical substance that made me realize why it was Lupe’s proud accomplishment.

via Upprox
via Upprox

The production work, which included work from S1, SimonSayz, Vohn Beatz and DJ Dahi was next to flawless.  The songs sounded great and profoundly added more weight to the songs.  The sax solo by Terrace Martin at the end of “Body of Work” is remarkable and ever so smooth.  The amount of hard work that went into the sound on this album was clear as ever.  No I have to admit, some of the songs ran a little long and dragged on a bit.  It wasn’t a big problem, but it was still there.

Tetsuo & Youth is a complex piece of work that consists of so many different, but connected parts that all come together like a nicely oiled machine.  This might not be much of a surprise for fans of Lupe, since a lot of his work has been like this, but it really shines in his latest work.  Plus, it’s always refreshing when you get an album that has more substance and metaphors than you can point a stick at, especially when you have the endless stream of “gangsta rap” that can’t go any deeper than the surface.  Testsuo & Youth is a wonderful example of how it’s done.

tetsuo & youth score

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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

Drake’s 6 God Impressions

00 - Drake_6_God-front-largeDrake has been busy the past couple of days.  It has been rumored numerous times that he has been hard at work on his new studio album titled Views from the 6.  He also recently released a trio of songs that are off the new album to take aim at a couple of hackers who got a hold of the songs.  The songs include “6 God”, “How Bout Now”, and “Heat of the Moment”.

The three tracks are all standouts.  “6 God” is probably the standout of the trio, with some intense lyrics from the Toronto-based rapper like “Got me feeling like a ball hog / I don’t pass it when I get it / I’ll admit it, I’ll admit it.”  There is a ton of energy in the tracks and it sounds like Drake is on his A-game.

Then, on Monday, a mysterious mixtape was put on Datpiff.  Titled, 6 God, it was released by TrackkMasterz as the “new Drake mixtape.”  I couldn’t figure out if it was released by Drake himself, but all the evidence points to a yes.  The mixtape features all three songs from above, plus some others.

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The mixtape starts out with “Views from the 6” which I am assuming will be the title track for his new album.  If not, it just gives us a tease at what the album will be about.  We also hear songs like “Draft Day” and “The Catch Up” which both offer that familiar Drake sound.

However, there are some tracks that already have been released as well.  The song “Tuesday” featuring iLoveMakonnen is on the mixtape, as well as the more popular song “Grindin”, which features fellow Young Money member Lil Wayne.  The mixtape also ends with Lil Wayne’s song “Believe Me”.

The mixtape features a mix of old and new, but it only leaves me more excited for what Drake is working on when it comes to View from the 6.  I recommend giving 6 God a listen, especially since it includes the three songs that Drake released all in one place, as well as some new cuts from the artist.  I also just can’t help but appreciate the bootleg feel that the mixtape has.

You can listen to it here…