Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Windaw Seat - Erykah BAdu

After waking up from a nap, and listening to this song in the shower, I'm a happy person.

It's a soothing song, that Rick Ross really should try to emulate on his new album. It makes him almost seem like a genuine don. Course, that'll never be true, but oh well. The contrast between Erykah & Ross makes the song a little more successful.

SOOper HIgh - Officer Ricky

And wherever Curren$y is...
It's 10 am, and this song comes out. Now I'm a huge Curren$y / Wiz Khalifa (Not as much), and a Rawse fan, so this comes at a nice time where I would possibly be infatuated with this song (pause)

But it's a little dissapointing, but it is a 2010 remix. Most remixes are just ... extra verses. Nothing wrong with that though.

Along with some of the things, I'm learning everything as I go, sorry about that, the hyperlink shit, the images, yeah, just coming and coming.

Big Boi album gets released?

Wow. It's like when Raekwons album got released. People was like what? IT EXISTS?
Well besides the rather dissapointing album cover, and the questionable hype that led up to it, it's here now in all it's glory. I'm up to Tangerine (as of this post), and that's my favorite, besides Shutterbug & Daddy Fat Sax. Call those my early favorites.

SHIT. Tangerine's been in my head all day, considering I got it earlier today as the single version, and the congas, drums, everything just meshs together for some strange reason.

But my initial outlook on the album.
- Organized Sound is back!
- Scott Storch makes good productions?
- Why isn't Royal Flush on? Especially when Big Boi makes a royal flush reference on Tangerine (Apparently it's supposed to be some seduction line? Idk)
- Big Boi realizes the new southern cats are here, Yelawolf & B.o.B lok like solid guest apperances)
- Gucci Mane actually has a guest spot that's good?
- Hi janelle monae.

Sorry, Tangerine is crazy dope. Especially the T.I appearance, it really helped the song. The only thing is that, if it wasn't down down-tempo / club appealing, it would be a great single. I think it could be a single for the clubs wherever Big Boi occupies.

Shine Blockas is actually one of the best tracks off the album, and it doesn't seem to be edited when it first leaked.

Looks good right now Big Bwoi

Monday, June 28, 2010


Range is the next true signee to Roc Nation. He seems to be an R&B influenced artist, probably it's to balance out the label (J. Cole + Range = ?)

Review will be up sometime in the next few days.

His single does sound good though, Ghetto Dance featuring Rick Ross. It's got enough warmth for your lady to love, enough drums to shake too, and Range sings nicely.

It seemed to come up randomly though, no lie.

DJ Drama drops are rather minimum, nice.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thank Me Later - Drake

Thank Me Later Review

During the chorus of the song, Unforgettable, Drake claims that he “really hopes that you’ll think of me.” With that quote, it’s been simply what the whole musical world has been doing for the past year and several months now. Drake’s story has been quite phenomenal, from the relatively unknown song “Replacement Girl,” to the critically acclaimed So Far Gone mixalbum, the record deal, then the spiraling list of producers, guest features, and now here.

Honestly, through all of this journey, there’s been a lot said about Drake that’s already been said, and there’s a lot known about Drake that I probably don’t know, but you probably know already. So let’s get to the review.

Featuring Alicia Keys
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib & Crada

Thank Me Later starts with the production elements that first made Drake famous, Noah “40” Shebibs knowledge of engineering & drumming, along with the post- 808’s & Heartbreak production, lush and spacious. A bed of synths, samples of violins, and heartbeat drums, along with the beautifully sampled fireworks sound allows Drake to introduce us to the more famous him. Drake speaks upon his meteoric rise to fame, a past lesson from his girlfriend, and lastly, the profuse effects of his parents upon his character. Drake, although keeping the bar structure simple, provides us with such imagery, such as “My fifteen minutes of fame started an hour ago,” or “Got my mother in a place with some better decor / She search the entire city and I let her explore / And now she saying she more lonely than before.” Drake provides a lush introduction to the start of Thank Me Later, allowing the fans to not see him sccumbing to the pressure of talking about the past, trying to make someone feel sorry for him, but however showing us a perspective into all the hype, fame, and some more surrounding him.

I was reading upon other reviews of this same album, and it took precisely twenty five seconds for Drake to first mention the lines, “Money just changed everything, I wonder how life without it would go / From the concrete who knew that a flower would grow.” It’s already apparent that Drake beginning and upbringing is the polar opposite of his peer when they started. Something to note here, consider this a warning for the critic perhaps.

Produced by Francis & The Lights

Francis & The Lights, after some research have opened up for Drake in his past shows & done covers of Kanye West songs (One of Drakes assumed inspirations for this album) A minimalist keyboard along with a repeating drum pattern allows Drake to sing his heart about a past girlfriend, who seemed to be afraid of the whole fame that Drake had, and what her reaction was to it. She seems to be a wedding planner that moved to Alanta, and didn’t even know anyone there, all because “the spotlight made her nervous.” Interestingly enough, you can tell the passion from Drake from lines such as these lines, “I know they say the first love is the sweetest, but that first cut is the deepest.” However, apart from the neglect from Drake of the frequently told, “show but don’t tell,” line, Drake sings wonderfully, and more refined than he did in his “So Far Gone” days.

The Resistance
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib

The signature bed of synths, heartbeat drums are represented fantastically here, with 40 providing a off-beat drum pattern that Drake adapts to perfectly. Drakes speak on this resistance, which presumably from the song is the resistance to break mentally from all of the fame, and situations that constantly try to hamper him from acheiving himself. Drake speaks upon his perspective of fame in Toronto & around the world (Still with the same team I started with / The game needed life, I put my heart in it / I blew myself up, I’m on some matyr shit / Holding my weight for my city like a cargo ship,” and “I avoided the coke game and went with Sprite instead”), more disconnection from his family (“I heard they just moved my grandma to a nursing home / And I be acting like I don’t know how to work a phone / But hit redial and just see that I called a chick I met at the mall that I barely know at all”), and a harrowing robbery, all packed into one cohesive song

During listening to this song I was reminded of one of my other favorite Drake tracks, “The Calm,” and “Say What’s Real,” two tracks expressing Drakes ability to tell his own honesty in his own ways, usually self-depreciating and a borderline-depression. Drake’s been doing this specific niche for some time however, so consider this the part two of those two mentioned songs, to a very long line of Drakes introspective ways. This songs a lot to digest for any Drake fan, the atmosphere, and the attitude of the song is very descriptive and lush. Drake seems to have been through a lot in his rise of fame, from the jealously, mistrust, and the heartbreak that he’s related in this song.

Produced by Boi-1da & Al Khaliq

This song (presumably) continues on from the last line on “The Resistance,” “I just need some closure / Ain’t no turning back from me until it’s over,” and as Drake said it from there, he proves it nicely here. The first buzz single that Drake released, along with frequent collaborator Boi-1da’s hard-hitting boom-bap drums & violin strings, and a bunch of other oddities does this nicely. Drake speaks about basically, that “I’m doing me,” while providing the listener with the necessary punchlines to back it up (“I could try to make you speak my languge, Rosetta Stone”) Although the production is a little awkward for it’s placing after three soft / heartfelt tracks, it’s a nice song regardless, though I’m not really going to be listening to this, because it’s been played out somewhat. However, I do appreciate that Drake put this song here to make a change of pace for the next songs that come up.

Also, I didn’t notice that there was a constant sound of a woodblock on my right ear. I’m not sure why, but it makes the song a lot more listenable.

Show Me A Good Time
Produced By Kanye West

I was anticipating this track when I saw that Kanye West producing it, considering Kanye West has been gone for about eight months now, with about two tracks, “Power” & the snippet of “I’m So Appalled.” But, this is about Drake, however. A summery thumping bass, along with Kanye’s signature chipmunk soul samples start the song, then flourishes out into a classy piano, that allows for Drake to speak upon his version of this good life, and his famous lifestyle. Drake gives us some nice descriptions, such as,

“Cash Money, Young Money, pop champagne,
Presidential Suite girl, Barack Hussein
Tell me we can kick it like Phife Dawg
People really hate when a backpack rapper get rich and start living that life dawg...
Out in L.A. blowin’ clouds of the killa
But I came up in the underground though
So I’m a blow another ten thousand for Dilla…”

It’s a nice, pop song for Drake to rap in. I like the breakdown of the beat in the end, where it returns to the chipmunk soul / drum pattern too. A soft song, one of the areas Drake excels very well in., and considering he claims that “this our dream, Wu Tang Clan niggas want that cream,” it just might speak true.

Up All Night
Featuring Nicki Minaj
Produced by Boi-1da

I feel sometimes this is the first song that transcends to a moment where you’re going out on the city just feeling great all around. Simple claps & an everlasting vocal sample that continues throughout the song starts out this deceptively simple track, with Drake spitting the pleasantaries in his life, until the songs evolves into a ridiculous bass emenating, violin strings, synth blasting, monster of a track, all just for Drake to talk about the grandiose. Drake shows us that he isn’t a lyrical setback, dropping his signature odd one liners, like, “Uhh, I ain’t done trying to tell you that Drizzys nice / Bracelets saying you quit, cars saying f**k your life,” or “I made enough for two ni*gas, stunt double.” Nicki Minaj, whom I was quite skeptical about, doesn’t slouch either, with lines like “Which bitch made a million off a mixtape / That was just a keepsake ...” All in all, the production gives a demanding listen upon the ears, with it’s erupting sound, and gives Drake and Nicki Minaj a track to just tell about their success. The sound of the track is very intoxicating, from the bass lines and the dramatic feel of it.

Featuring T.I & Swizz Beatz
Produced by Swizz Beatz

Consider this the lavish moment right after “Up All Night,” for Drake, where it’s the fantastical party happening in the exquisite ballroom near the rivera. Swizz Beatz paints a beautiful picture, with fresh vocal samples & live instrumentation, along with his signature crowd chanting moments. Drake’s first verse, describing a woman prepping up for the party & after that moment, draws some similarities to Drakes verse on his remix of “Unstoppable,” where he also describes woman taking “dirty public transit,” and “papparazzi snappin’ candids,” and their “virgin island tans.” Drake however just put into a couple of more of his one liners, such as “... as long as they’ve got a little class like half days,” just for additional effect. T.I, fresh off his “F*ck A Mixtape,” gives us a smooth verse, describing the same life that Drake has been living, and although smooth, raises some questions of where T.I has gone from his “King” or “Paper Trail” albums, and is he going to be permanently on his “Whatever You Like” state of mind.

However, there’s even more to this song, as Drake somehow convinced Swizz Beatz to breakdown the song right after the lavish moments, where he raps about a unspecific “Cinderella” at this time. Drake spits lyrics that only this singer / rapper has only seemed to portray nicely with the small verse:

“Cinderella ’bout to lose the glass off her foot, and when I find it is when I find you
And we can do the things we never got the time to
Better late than never, but never late is better
Hey tell me time is money, but we’ll spend it together
I’m down for whatever, you just lead the way
We go to dinner you don’t even look at me to pay…
I just knew that she was fine like a ticket on the dash.”

Drake once again shows that specific aspect he excels in the best, which is obviously women. Although in the long while, may prove to be an overstatement, but Drake is probably one of the only rappers / singers who can pull off the R&B inspired love raps to a woman without sounding overtly cornball. He vividly describes a fantasy that probably someone was too afraid to express in true life.

Besides all of this Swizz Beatz does a fantastic job of adapting to Drakes vision of such an album. This song is a very interesting song, not because of the independent woman subject matter, but the presentation of it, including the fuzzed out breakdown of Drakes shoutouts, and the whole song itself.

Shut It Down
Featuring The-Dream
Produced by Omen & Noah “40” Shebib

Consider this the hybrid mainstream version of “Houstalantavegas,” and “A Night Off,” replacing Lloyd, with the “radio killa,” The-Dream, yet with all the love-making intact. A slow serenade of synths, keyboards, and steel drums play continuously on as Drake & The-Dream sing about shutting this place down, and making love. There’s no true complaints after I really immersed in this song, although The-Dream continues his typical corny lines, such as “Ice cream conversations, they want the scoop,” or “Like a computer, I’ll shut you down.” Although the song would’ve been production-wise, typical, at around the five minute mark, Omen & 40 allow the song to truly breakdown, into a synths-vibing, simple drum kicks instrumental, simply called Lay You Down, allowing Drake to sing even more, and even expose it more. As the whole product, the song works magnificently, but if the song was shown as individual parts, the song does suffer a little bit. Regardless of this, it really is a very laidback love song, and sometimes not enough words can describe a song you just have to listen too.

Featuring Young Jeezy
Produced by Boi-1da & Noah “40” Shebib

Firstly, a huge rest in peace for Aaliyah, as her vocal sample fits in beautifully over here. With the subtle electric guitars and signature soft synths, along with the snare drums, the atmosphere seems quite right for the contemplation and introspectiveness that Drakes been known to possess, along with his claimed “big brother,” Young Jeezy. Drakes speaks true to this songs purpose, speaking rather vaguely upon his quest to be one of the unforgettables, claiming this is “his dumbest flow ever.” Although Drake does mean well, his verse proves to be rather bland in comparasion to what the production does demands. After the very smartly thought out back & forth chorus between Young Jeezy & Drake, Young Jeezy proceeds to claim that this is his “realest flow ever.” Young Jeezy, although mainly known for providing the ignorant drug anthems that he usually does, gives a nice little verse that shows shades of the softer side of him. All in all, although this song is a little underwhelming to what the rappers provides, the way it’s presented suits everyone quite well.

Drake also claimed that this was his favorite song upon the album. I can visualize that, considering the atmosphere of the squealing synths leaning on the (my) right headphone, along with the soft, subtle tones really sound like the new “Drake” feeling.

Light Up
Featuring Jay-Z
Produced by Tone Mason & Noah “40” Shebib

Deceptively simple piano chords start out the track, but then proceed to become a lush & vivid atmosphere, with the production squad, Tone Masons sharp drums, guitars, fantastic piano & synths. It provides such a feel of the common traits associated with Drakes songs, feelings of contemplating, thought, swaggering, and so much more. Drake speaks upon the lifestyle that affects him right now, what associations he’s parlayed to now, and the ills that he believes can affect himself and everyone else, and what his dedications are.

Drake drops a bunch of lines pertaining to his perspective, such as “Rolexes, chauffeurs, and low fades / I keep thinking how young you can die from old age,” one example of his everlasting struggle to adapt to the lifestyle that people (such as Jay-Z) appears to live in, or “Yeah, and I’m a motherf*cking missed target / But a target none the less, and I just started,” another sign of Drakes vulnerability. However, Drake does drop his signature one liners, such as “Storytellers, and they ain’t even need a campfire,” or “Getting busy because I’m a star, no spangled banner.” However, I would like to point out this specific moment where Drake allows himself to give a true perspective upon this lifestyle that he lives with the concluding lines of his verse with:

“Welcome to Hollywood, don’t let this town ruin you
And if you pillow talking with the woman that are screwing you,
Just know that she gonna tell another ni*ga when she through with you,
Don’t get impatient when it takes too long
And drink it all when it taste too strong, yeah,
I gotta feel alive even if it kills me
Promise to always give you me, the real me”

Although these kinds of lines don’t seem particularly spectacular, in the whole spectrum of pop music, and Drakes common lane, he shows such a vulnerability most pop stars don’t truly express in such a simple way, where you get the true message in such an instant.

However, the ever famous Jay-Z drops upon by to seemingly give his own veterans perspective of a life that Drake is about to live. Although he gives some classic tongue in cheek lines such as, “Owww, Hov turning heads like, owls / I’m the man of the hour / Triple entendre flow don’t even ask me how,” or, “The smart moneys on Hov, f*ck what the dummys talk / I don’t do too much blogging, I just run around the town, I don’t do too much jogging,” a huge step up from his simplistic flow on the controversially talked about Blueprint 3, and an example of how Jay-Z still has that presence upon the microphone. Although he does give some nice lines, he concludes with a true veterans perspective that Jay-Z has been preaching for such a time now, with the ending lines,

“But these bright lights turned me into a monster
Sorry momma I promised they wouldn’t change me
But I would’ve went insane, had I remained the same me
F*ck n*gas, bitches too / All I got is this money, this will do.”

It’s a harrowing story from the drug dealer turned rapper in such a few lines, and the implications of this line, could possibly be a warning to Drakes, or any aspiring rappers career. After all, Jay-Z’s story is similar into Drakes into a few ways, through their specific point in time, they got their way through into the rap game. A very dark, and such a fantastic song for anything, from the demanding production of Tone Mason, all through the delirious verse of Drake & Jay-Z.

Miss Me
Featuring Lil’ Wayne
Produced by Boi-1da & Noah “40” Shebib

This song is interesting, because I couldn’t really find the meaning of it initially. Intitally, the song reveals itself to be Drakes evaporating trust of women in general, but in my thoughts, it looks like another song about Drakes walk into the fame, and that he hopes “... hope you miss me a little when I’m gone,” and then some. Although Drake does make a lot of references to the peoples / locations that are currently with him and on his mind, he provides some nice lines about his jump into his fame, such as “I’m about my paper like a motherf*cking scratch and win / World Series attitude, champagne bottle life / Nothing ever changes so tonight is like tomorrow night,” or “Yeah bills everywhere, trill everything / And Drake just stands for Do Right And Kill Everything.” However, besides this seemingly obvious subject matter, Drake does give us an odd part when he says, “I love Nicki Minaj, I told her I’d admit it / I hope one day we get married just to say we f*cking did it / And girl I’m f*cking serious I’m with it if you with it / Cause your verses turn me on and your pants are mighty fitted.” I’m not sure what that parts about though.

Lil’ Wayne is consistent as usual, giving us his usual helter-skelter, drugged out, non chalant flow, and the production front by Boi-1da & 40 is rather odd, with Boi-1das signature air trumpets, cymbal crashes, and a looming percussion background, combined with 40’s engineering skills. Not to say this song doesn’t work, but it’s a terribly weird song, just because there’s nothing specific that can describe it. I was a little dissapointed however, because I expected something similar along the veins of their obviously better song, “Ransom.”

Cece’s Interlude
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib

I really did like “Bria’s Interlude” on So Far Gone, using the “Friendly Skies” instrumental from Timbaland, slowing it down a little bit, and just singing about an unknown Bria that we may never know who. But however, 40 does give us a nice typical 40-styled instrumental, with steel drums & a lurking guitar solo in the background. Drake does sing quite well, with the melody of him and the instruments doing quite fine, but claiming to not want to be famous? Isn’t most of the album about him talking about being famous?

Find Your Love
Produced by Kanye West, Jeff Bhasker & No I.D

808’s & Heartbreak. That was the same feeling that was evoked when Drake did So Far Gone, and it’s the same feeling that Kanye West evokes here too. The subject matter, the production quirks of the 808’s, pianos and synths are all unified into such a melodic song. I think it’s songs like these where Drake’s true pop-rap crossover really shines. Through the tiny synth squeals, the constant 808’s & and the deep strokes of the piano, Drake sings up a confessional tale of surrendering to a lost love, all packed up in a small package for the radio. With lines like, "I'm more than just an option, hey hey hey/Refuse to be forgotten, hey hey hey/I took a chance with my heart, hey hey hey/And I feel it taking over,” it seems simple why Drake is the pop-star he is currently.

Even when I intitally viewed this song, I still found the simple 808’s playing upon the background, and the twinkling pianoes, it felt like Drake actually wanted someone with a passion and then is on that struggle. Relatable, but in the new modern way.

Thank Me Now
Produced by Timbaland

The conclusion usually has to be stronger than the introduction or at least has to be on the same skill level. My Global History teacher taught me this, and this idealogy has stuck with me for the remainder of my freshman and sophmore year. A lot of people (including me) agree that this is probably one of Timbalands most hip hop / electronica inspired production in a while, with the bed of synths, the twinkling strings, giving a more sophisticated conclusion then most hip hop albums give these days. Consider this the fleshed out and heavily flourished version of “Outro” in So Far Gone.

Much like conclusions and ending tracks of albums, it’s usually used as the time to truly reminisce upon the course of the album, and the life of the star in general. Drake, much like his other rap contemporaries chooses this time to remember the past, and the future, and the fact that “we want it all, half was never the agreement / Who’d thought this route we chose would ever end up this so scenic,” which shows a simple example of the amazement a young Toronto teenager has upon discovering this life he lives now.

It’s also apparent that Drake realizes his new found fame, because some of his lines in Thank Me Now are occupied with him speaking upon his perspective in the music world, and just making some punchlines try to work. He speaks himself as being “on the brink of influential,” or that he’s “in this bitch shining, jump up in the sky and put the stars in alignment,” or the fact that he has “flows for the Marilyn Monroe’s,” and lastly the fact that he says, “I’m feeling like Nas, who am I to disagree.” While I’m not entirely surprised by these kind of lines, it’s an indication that this is one aspect of Drake, while awkward and rather conceited, he feels that he’s been in the position that he can describe himself this way. It’s a common testament, heavily evidenced by further lines such as when he says, “Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonomous / Cause’ we wanna be them, and they wanna be us.”

Of course there’s the introspective and reflective Drake albeit, a little mainstream reflection, but regardless, it’s reflection. All of the common aspects of Drake appears in this five minute song, and specifically with a title like “Thank Me Now,” you’d think that he would appear rather celebratory & introspective. I get a quizzical look with lines such as, “At this point, me is who I’m trying to save myself from / Rappers hit me up and I never know what to tell them / Cause they think that I can help them get back to where they fell from.” Not that I disrespect the honesty, but does Drake truly have that talent to ressurect a persons career? What exactly does Drake have that he can pass upon the generations of future rappers that influentials before him already did?

Of course, this seems like I’m becoming to harsh upon this song, because in the meanwhile, this song is quite entertaining and a smooth ride. Drake does show us his true introspective output, with doubting lines of his own character such as, “I think I have a chance at love but knowing me I miss it / Cause’ me dedicating time just isn’t realistic / Man the good girls went silent on me,” showing that even though the fame may have rushed into his brain, he still has time to set aside for his return to earth.

Even more interesting however is Drakes specific niche, as shown with lines like “do I ever come up in discussion over double pump lattes and low fat muffins, do I?” It’s that specific niche that truly defines Drake. Consider the Nas statement he made earlier. Drake may not be lyrically or stylistically like Nas, but he has that observation, while unblossomed, that key for observing his general surroundings and compacting them into a digestable verse / sound. Drake’s use of imagery, when he states “It’s December 31st and we in Miami just meditating,” or a simple mention of “OVO clique, Red Wing boot gang,” it’s a simple look upon Drakes life. Of course he also has to mention that “PAT ron straight up.”

However, all good things must come to an end, as Drake finally recites the lyrics, “And I’m aware this could be the last time you listen / So while I’m in this position, you could thank me now,” showing us, regardless of all the fame he’s achieved, if the idea of failure may cross paths, then why not take it. His fames been fantastically monumental already, and that if he chooses that graceful fall, at least he has Timbalands wonderful, lush string filled instrumentation to fall back upon.


On Thank Me Now, Drake said, “Shallow nigga but deep enough to go swimming.” Consider that what Drake is as the general characterization of him. Throughout the course of Thank Me Later, it seems like the continuation of what Drake spoke about in So Far Gone, the perils of fame, personal struggles, depression, pursuit of happiness, paranoia, anxiety, and of course, woman, are repeated in this album (albeit glossed up, but still)

But I feel that repeating the already known ideas is redundant, because there’s so many different views on the subjects that Drake speaks upon. However, on the song, The Calm, when Drake said: “Where dp we go wrong? Where do we belong? / Caught up in the game and it’s one that I can’t postpone.” These are one of many quotes which Drake speaks true of, because it’s just what he’s put himself into to.

I know that I overtly-praised this album on my initial listens, but that was because I have a bias for Drake in general, and I’m admitting it. But yet, with every artist that I admire, there are flaws to everyone one of them, and Drakes are even more emphasized (partly due to the mainstream hatred of people) Yes, he has terrible punchlines, he can be weird, his singing isn’t the most refined, and he is very superficial.

Yet, that’s what a developing artist does. Everyone does have flaws, but it’s the true test whether the artist can improve on these flaws or not. There’s a reason I keep on stating quotes from “The Calm,” (Part of So Far Gone, the last real track) and that’s because it’s what Drake predicted, even when he didn’t have a career. He was correct. He mentions his father in Fireworks like he did exactly on The Calm. There are people exclaiming ever so quickly that Drake is a leader of the new school and generation. Drake is still talking about his solitude and apparent lack of him fitting into society. It’s not to say that Drake is rehashing the topics, he’s trying to just express it in his own way, and you can’t really argue with that.

Although you can pinpoint it out easily though. Drakes overt bragging of fame on Show Me A Good Time, attempts of making that “certifed banger hood song for the trunks and traps,” on Up All Night, Drakes swooning attempts on Shut It Down, and the sorrows of fame demonstrated on Cece’s Interlude, and the plain weird preformance on Miss Me. Although all of them aren’t bad songs by any means, but it’s blatant, annoying, and hampers the listeners view upon this supposedly introspective / reflective and humble emcee.

There’s not much more I can say now that I haven’t said before for Drake, because it just seems that when he also stated in “The Calm,” that, “With my diamond chain is on, still nothing set in stone,” it spoke true throughout Drake’s career. He’s always going to speak upon the ills of his newfound fame, and more, because it’s come so quickly, and made such a dramatic change in this past year and this year when Drake suddenly rose up.

After all, he’s a “leader of the new school, it’s proven and it’s known, I’m sitting in a chair, but in the future it’s a throne.” Drake can easily make the journey into pop-star eternalization, only if he quits his punchline tendencies, marriage proposals, blatant auto-tuning. He then can adapt constantly, or truly carve out his lane in the hip hop game.

Rating: 80 / 100

Love King (Deluxe Edition) - The-Dream

Love King (Deluxe Edition)
Artist: The-Dream
(All songs produced by L.O.S Da Mystro & The-Dream unless stated)
All scores out of 5

1|Love King|4:12 4.25 - 5
It takes a little time for this song to truly grow upon you, but when it does, it’s candy-coated with extra sprinkles. The remix really brought my opinion of this song, but since the remix isn’t really part of the mix, I’m not gonna criticize.
2|Make Up Bag (Featuring T.I)|4:44 4 - 4.25 (Produced by The-Dream)
The unrelatable song you want to relate to, dont’ lie.
3|F.I.L.A.|4:12 4 - 4.5 (Produced by The-Dream)
I used to despise the original mix with T.I, mostly because of the quality and the fact that it went on too long. But it’s truly grown upon me, along with it’s whimp*ering horns.
4|Sex Intelligent|5:11 4.5 - 4.75 (Produced by The-Dream)
The-Dream’s chopping & screwing the beginning, compared to none from the first leak really set the song into a higher gear. Classic hook though, probably one of my favorite ones to sing along. The end does kind of tire out a little bit however.
5|Sex Intelligent [Remix]|4:03 4 - 4.25 (Produced by The-Dream)
The first six seconds when he says “She wants me to ... remixx this dummbb shitt,” really just captivates me. And I wasn’t doing the extra letters to be overtly obnoxious.
6|Yamaha|4:55 4 - 4.5
It’s not supposed to fit in with anything, but it does by some miracle. The idea is interesting (?), calling an unknown beauty his Yamaha. I guess the idea that Yamaha rhymes (?) with “momma,” works though.
7|Nikki, Pt. 2|2:41 3.75 - 4
For some reason this song never really clicked with me, even though it’s The-Dream at his more introspective moments.
8|Abyss|4:39 3.75 - 4.25
Seamless transitition. This song is nice more by itself, than really the flow of the album, in my opinion. I thought this song was probably when The-Dream tried to actually say something
9|Panties to the Side|4:06 3 (Produced by Tricky Stewart & The-Dream)
Bores me for the first twenty seconds, then gains some luster that doesn’t shine as the song goes on, partly through production, and the seemingly bored nature of The-Dream.
10|Turnt Out|4:26 4.75
The-Dream doing what he does best.
11|February Love|6:15 4.5 - 5 (Produced by The-Dream)
Actually, this is also what The-Dream does best.
12|Florida University|5:28 4 - 4.25 (Produced by The-Dream)
I used to think that this song was either the most stupid idea, or the most genius idea that The-Dream has ever concoted in his mind, but I just kept on singing the chorus regardless.
13|Veteran|4:55 4.25 - 4.75
Song feels a lot longer than it is, but that’s a good thing in this case.
14|Priceless|6:04 4 - 4.25
I like the song, but I can’t never stand to finish it, even though I get very close too. It’s a shame though, I really have an interest in this song.
15|Take Care of Me|5:40 3.5 (Produced by The-Dream)
I just hate the guitar. However, that occurs for a period of time, which isn’t good.
16|All Black Everything|3:53 4 - 4.25 (Produced by The-Dream)
Little engineering and small production changes really does wonders for a song.
17|Sorry|3:41 4.25 (Produced by The-Dream)
Contains one of the best Dream lines that seems genuine.
18|Love King [Remix] (Featuring Ludacris)|5:33 4.75 - 5
This is what a remix should be. I need to explain more.

Overall Rating: 73.25 -78.5 | 4.2/5 | 81 - 87%: Great, repeated listens suggested; BUY IT

Generally with the start of the new decade, it should presumably mean that artists have an “incentive” to branch out and change some of their abnormalities into normal tendencies (if they desire, but still) Of course, throughout the past years that The-Dream has been in the ever-changing environment of R&B, it really seems that his natural quirks and traits, aren’t going to stop. From writing hits such as “Irreplaceable,” or “Single Ladies,” both for Beyonce, or Rihanna’s popular hits, the infamous “Umbrella,” or recent club / radio track, “Hard,” his spectrum of influence in the music industry is secretly monumental. Let’s not forget to mention the current relatable song, “Baby,” from Justin Bieber, and also his numerous production / singing credits on many hip hop artists (Rick Ross, Fabolous, Plies, Lloyd Banks, and recently, Drake)

As evidenced here, why fix something that isn’t broken? Using The-Dream’s commonly referred term to be described, as the actual description of him, The-Dream is truly a Radio Killa. Unchallenged, and unsurpassed by anyone in his age group, it’s a wonder why The-Dream doesn’t have the parallels of success he has in comparison to his songwriting / production for other artists.

Now, that’s not to say he doesn’t have hits. He has had several seminal songs, particuarly during his first stint doing albums on the scene with the songs, “Shawty Is The Sh*t,” “I Luv Your Girl,” and “Falsetto.” Nodima (A fellow reviewer who I’ll give much respect for my blatant copying of the rating system, and some of the elements I discuss) pointed out that also in 2007, the memorable hit, “Bed,” by J. Holiday proved one of the elements that hindered The-Dream’s fame, which was the fact that while his preformance as a whole was stellar, the main part of R&B, is singing, which The-Dream doesn’t excel in.

Not to say that The-Dream has no singing talent, even with the auto-tuned vocals, he pales as a singer, not necessarily an artist, to his mainstream contemporaries, Ne-Yo, Trey Songz, and of course, his inspiration, R. Kelly. As I previously stated before, as an artist, this is where The-Dream knows the kinks of. He’s proven with previous albums, The-Dream can stick to a concept, and ride along with it smoothly. He’s explored the highs and lows, the comparison of loving, yet hating someone just as much on Love/Hate,pondered and struggled upon the true satisfactions of a woman, love or money, in Love VS Money, and with both, taking his craft of using the eighties as his inspiration, Prince, Michael Jackson, and spinning and weaving these influences with deep, heartbeat 808’s, woozy synths, all to make songs appealing to his specific demographic of glamourized, glitzy everything, where the women seem to have the lowest standards, and The-Dream, willing to dive into those waters.

So why did I present this essay of The-Dream’s summed up past? As with anyone, or anything, everything has a past of it’s own, and Terius Nash is no exception to the rule. With Love King, The-Dream has once again learned to conform with the times, while providing his own form of what the current, modern scene he inhabits offers. Sex Intelligent revists the old trick of chopping and screwing vocals, previously established in his own songs, such as Fancy, or She Needs My Love, and the recent hit (Also produced from him too), Ride, from Ciara. Songs, like All Black Everything copies the themes from Jay-Z’s song, Run This Town, and other songs, such as Florida University, or Love King, follow the ever recurring idea of superficial singles that pleases the minds anywhere.

The-Dream obviously does please someone, because now, he’s not so worried about wondering what the controversial idea of love is anymore. He’s not concerned about determining the medium between how a person can love and hate someone at the same time, not concerned about this one, true love that seemingly has to exist, or whether the women love his money or him as a person.. Now, he’s just done being (loosely) philosophical, and just wants to further state that he apparently is the best person, treating them better, making them live better, buying anything better, it’s all exemplified here. The-Dream has now successfully created the modern day candy-coated sugar sweet album, and this concept seems to show us that this album is probably a distant land far away from the supposed normals, and the supposed people who can’t afford or isn’t sophiscated enough.

All of this glamourized, glitzy, fantastical superficial world is shown, and we merely have the perpherials, just seeing the mere perimeters / boundaries in the tracklisting. Furthering in, we see The-Dream big pimping girls, girls, girls (See what I did there) a la Jay-Z in the summer anthem, Love King, acting non-chalant about buying five thousand dollar bags for a disgruntled girlfriend, making his claims to a girl that she’ll fall in love again with Terius himself on F.I.L.A (Though the coincidental relation to the shoe doesn’t really make much sense), are all aspects we must understand about The-Dream to actually relate to this album. Just some subjects we see, and we’re only three songs in.

The-Dream has some kind of interesting quality, which is the fact that the song as a whole means more than what Terius actually says himself. Show but don’t tell, a lot, a deceptive idealogy that Terius has successfully done in all of these short three years his albums have been released. Songs, such as Turnt Out, a simple song about Terius just apparently turning your girl out on the bed, or Florida University, a deceptive, quirky song about that “Fuck you,” to a former significant, at first, seem like such retreaded and boring concepts, but Terius finds some way to make sure the song proclaims more than it really seems.

Of course, it’s not obviously due to The-Dreams singing, but the production and engineering skills that he, and his production team, L.O.S Da Mystro & Tricky Stewart possess. Songs such as Yamaha (A recycling of Fast Car, by far), should stick out completely, but through some engine rev’s on Sex Intelligent [Remix], it’s made possible, like it was fated to mesh in with the album. Of course, the fact that a song about an unknown beauty can seamlessly transcend into a song about the reminsicing of Terius’s former wife, Nikki, is a wonder by itself. Nikki Part 2, wonderfully swoops into the next track, the moody, somber, Abyss, which has such a transition that is uncomparable to any of the other sequencings on the album too. Also, Sex Intelligent, as previously mentioned also gets the doctors treatment, and although it’s split, this ten minute suite of serenading, chopped & screwed moments, infectious lines, it’s just a breeze through, and a very smooth one, one with the calm winds and the sunny skies.

The track, Feburary Love does deserve more specific mention, mostly because it alludes to my specific favorite track from The-Dream, Fancy. While both are of female subjects, and the length is similar, those are simple claims. Fancy, where this twenty three year old woman’s heartbreaker story is told from Terius himself, Feburary Love, seems to be the pleas of Terius to that woman herself, a rare moment of vulnerability, but also being a rather interesting scene, because he knows what’s impending, but just rather face the consequences and deal with the pleasantaries now. It’s these kind of sections where The-Dream seems to be more than what meets the usual listener. It also helps that both songs were very well (and similarily) produced, emphasizing that (somewhat) thoughtful music doesn’t have to be bland. However, admist all of this, I do speak of Terius’s introspective ways, rather broadly, which does ruin his image, though it is very true, yet this is not a detriment. It’s a bittersweet compliment.

Of course, nobodies perfect, even in Terius’s seemingly fantastical utopia. This flawed concept, while a relatively simple idea that The-Dream would throw out of the ballpark, it’s instead a unrealized song, which is “Panties To The Side.” It’s not the most jarring mistake, but The-Dream sounds uninspired and pedestrian, on his own creation. It’s not exactly Terius’s restrained vocal preformance that brings the song down, it’s also handed to Trickys lone production on this project. Being a third of the three man trio team (L.O.S, The-Dream and him), and being the one who provided the majority of the production on the superior Love VS Money, it’s a surprise that Tricky would provide a bland synths laced production with similar sound inflections to a previous dud, Ditch That. Course, that’s not to say that Tricky is a bad producer just because of this blunder, he has created vivid soundscapes for Terius such as the fantastic, Fancy, Love VS Money, Sweat It Out, Falsetto, or a personal favorite, Fast Car. The fact is, it’s not exactly about the songs that I’m emphasizing, but it’s the fact that Tricky was the elaborate producer, willing to switch out of his comfort zones and create tracks Terius easily adapted too, such as Mama (deserving mention of it’s distinct production and different subject matter) and the previously mentioned tracks. My main point is that all of these tracks sounded different, with Sweat It Out’s, violin synths and fuzzed out sounds, or Fancy’s melodic accordians, or even Falsetto’s genius use of the wailing electric guitar. So it’s a shame that this song sounded so similar to the album as a whole, and Terius doesn’t help matters either.

The specific deluxe edition songs, which I haven’t discussed yet, are truly important, because they all provide their own specific lanes the album as a whole has, and the three last songs (From Take Care Of Me to Sorry), are some of the more varied productions Terius has accomplished in his career. For example, All Black Everything, a song about setting up a date with all black everything, twinkles with simple pianoes, emenating woozy synths, engineered background vocals, and the classic chopped and screwed voices. All the parts work together as a whole, which is the main selling point Terius has been able to sell to the masses all these years. Songs, like Sorry, while the incredible minimalist production should drive away anyone, The-Dream just adds enough of bass, and snaps, to take a interesting introspective turn that hasn’t been humbly shown since tracks like Mama. Also, not forgetting to mention the first two tracks, where L.O.S provides some deviation from his usual standard of production, with the pianoes, synths, and all of the aspects. Priceless and Veteran are two interesting tracks, because they seem to work together as a suite, much like Sex Intelligent, and Sex Intelligent [Remix] did.

While it’s not exactly on the official album, it’s an official song regardless. When Love King [Remix] came out, I was intrigued. Not only did the percussion hit incredibly hard, rivaled only by Shut It Down, but it was what a remix really should’ve been. Being the summer too, this song was constantly played every single day by me, for the past month when it first came out. The tagged version came, then the clean version came, then the uncensored version finally arrived, but I didn’t care either way. The song just sounded complete, with the hard hitting drums, innocent piano keys, the double-timed Ludacris verses (Which I have memorized already), and of course The-Dreams attention to write a complete song. All of it truly worked, and this the song that made me excited for Love King. Not to say that I wasn’t before, but if The-Dream could make a song like this, why should anyone argue against whether his vocals aren’t the greatest, his songwriting isn’t the most refined. Music has so many different aspects and viewpoints, and The-Dreams realizes that he can do whatever he wants to do, and it doesn’t matter. It’s just right, and I can’t express any further that this is a seminal song, because it’s fantastic, and adds to this dreamland vision.

The individual does not make the whole, and this point is exactly what Terius Nash emulates successfully. While R&B albums, hell, albums in general rely on the seminal single, but don’t bring much else (I’m looking at you other numerous rappers, and fellow R&B singers such as Ray J, Jason Derulo, Iyaz, Ciara, T-Pain, Trey Songz, Slim, Rihanna, Lloyd, Mario, and so many more. It’s also ironic that The-Dream writes/produces for these people too) Note that most of these stars, particuarly Rihanna, Trey Songz, T-Pain are the supposed forefronts of R&B right now, but yet their albums are suspectible to the mainstream effects of mediocrity, blandess in production, and other small quirks. The-Dream is undisputably the Radio Killa right now, because he can overcome all of these boundaries with such leaps of grace. He doesn’t just have the singles, he has the album to support it too, this candy coated, sugary sweet, dreamland of being the Love King. It’s a seamless, breezy, sleazy, easy trip throughout Terius’s eyes of the strip clubs, cities, exotic locales, and beds, that is accompanied through the production that makes him.

The-Dream initially stated that he was going to stop dropping albums, that Love King was his final opus. A radiating middle finger to the masses. If no one gave him the true success he’s worked his life for, then why should he waste it then? He has his fancy lifestyle regardless. Yet, on Sex Intelligent [Remix], he claims, “Just for you, imma drop that love affair,” also stating that “six / seven, twenty eleven (2011), imma drop that Love Affair.” Of course, I’m not worried at all. The expectations of each album were increasingly higher (And increasingly predictable, also) from Terius’s fans, and The-Dream constantly delivers and delivers, finding a way to make the the recycled concepts, cornball musical fetishes, and everything to work so successfully. It’s The-Dream as a whole, this conceptual idea that is expressed more and more throughout these three albums he has put out, the common idea of love that Terius Nash tries to perfect. Love King is quite simply, a fantastic album, and as fellow reviewer Nodima said, the only mainstream R&B album worth purchasing this year. The Deluxe Edition is certainly the correct method of listening to this album, because The-Dream provides some his most ambitious, daring, and melodic production to date, and it does provide a functional, more cohesive conclusion. This album is definitely not to be missed.

Mentionable Quotes:
A disclaimer before we get to the discussion. The-Dream isn’t (as stated), the most intelligent, or humble person ever to live. Infact, he is rather vain, and isn’t hesitant to use any musical line that sounds good on the song. Anyways:

“On her like a poster pimpin
Yeah I got her pinned up”

This specific part that’s chopped and screwed on Sex Intelligent, it’s always made me laugh, and testament to how corny The-Dream can be, but yet can pull it off so successful, and some of the reason is that, The-Dream’s metaphors are so elementary, you can understand them.

“Everytime I mention you, I say, Yamaha, yamaha, ohh yamaha”

It’s a question to me why The-Dream would call an unknown woman a yamaha. Maybe because it’s the engine / vehicle reference.

“Now let the waterfall, abyss
Only the sun would come, and drive the water away
But you’re in the abyss, my lady,
And you won’t see another
Now cry til’ you drown in your face”

Always thought it was an interesting part, because it shows The-Dream being vulnerable.

“Phantom in the driveway, sitting on the courtside
Shawty I ain’t new to this, you better get used to this
Thirty foot ceilings, lifestyle appealing,
Check my 09’ taxes, I made a killing,
Haters want to kill him, real n*ggas feel him,
Dream ain’t on the credits, then must’ve got a feeling, like,
Yeah he so silly, don’t mean to be rude, some of these n*ggas ain’t got a clue”

This part (and then some) is the allusion that I said earlier that Feburary Love had to Fancy. It seems like this is the response that The-Dream was giving to this unknown twenty three year old girl about what he explained she was doing. I dont’ care whether it’s already been said (in different ways) by The-Dream so many times, it works out. Just think about it.

“If you’re in love, then don’t dare sing along with me”

This quote is relatively simple, it just states that The-Dream isn’t truly in love even after all of his journeys to find it. But, I feel it’s the most humble moment that The-Dream has had, and in Sorry, it’s a confession that feels honest.

Oh, and every chorus and hook he sangs.