Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Because Of You (Review) - Ne-Yo

(All songs produced by Shea Taylor unless noted)
1. Because Of You | 4:27 | 4 - 4.25 (Produced by Stargate)
Many people have criticized this song because it doesn’t follow the vein of Ne-Yo’s two most recognizable singles, Sexy Love & So Sick, but I feel that simplicity wins this over, at the very least.
2. Crazy (Featuring Jay-Z) | 4:21 | 4.25 - 4.75 (Produced by Ron “Neff-U” Feemster)
“But I didn’t, so maybe it’s good to be crazy, isn’t it baby?”
3. Can We Chill | 4:24 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by Eric Hudson)
4. Do You | 3:48 | 3.25 - 3.75 (Produced by The Heavyweights)
While very skillfully done, I have a feeling this is rather overproduced at times.
5. Addicted | 3:46 | 3.75 - 4
Emulates the Michael Jackson-Prince subject matter well. “I apologize for having the ability to satisfy accurately.” Looks stupid on paper, but hilarious when you hear it.
6. Leaving Tonight (Featuring Jennifer Hudson) | 5:15 | 3.25 - 3.5 (Produced by Knobody)
I see the point of the little introduction, but Ne-Yo needs to learn the show, dont’ tell concept.
7. Ain’t Thinking About You | 3:41 | 3.25 - 3.5 (Produced by Eric Hudson)
8. Sex With My Ex | 3:39 | 3.5 - 3.75
I appreciate the off-tuned piano, adds some flavor.
9. Angel | 3:28 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Syience)
Production front never really takes flight, like an angel with no wings.
10. Make It Work | 4:09 | 4 - 4.25
Absolutely adore the chorus, one of the best uses of ayo in a long time.
11. Say It | 4:41 | 3.75 - 4 (Produced by Keys)
Includes one of the more experimental / successful production fronts on the album. A little overpowering at times though, but I believe that was the artistic direction.
12. Go On Girl | 4:21 | 3 - 3.5 (Produced by Stargate)
13. Spotlight (Japanese Bonus Track) | 4:04 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by The Heavyweights)

Overall Rating: 46 - 50 | 74% | 3.7 / 5 | Impressive; well above average; TRY IT

When I read a review online for this album, I glanced over someones opinion where they compared Ne-Yo to Michael Jackson, and supported it with quite some evidence. While I dismissed this at first, when I listened to this album again, I saw the similarities and the deceased singers personality in Ne-Yo’s veins, with songs such as Addicted.

Ne-Yo is a deceptively simple artist when you look upon his albums. While he was a tad immature upon his last album, In My Own Words, this album shows the more experimental side of Ne-Yo, providing more strong vocals and a more stable, refined production front. Again, the simplicity of Ne-Yo, whether it be singing about going simple crazy for a girl or wanting to chill with a girl, is an easy, relatable expierence, and quite simply put, enjoyable. Most of the producers are consistent upon the album, with no one really hampering the tempo, rhythmn or harmony of the album in any way, and most of the efforts done here show genuine skill, particularly Ron “Neff-U” Feemster.

Continuing on with my praise of Ron’s production front upon my personal favorite song, Crazy, Ron provides the simple bed of hand-claps, drums and a twinkling piano that continues on throughout the song, as simple elements such as the plucks of a string, or the rumbling bass are added throughout the song and choruses. Ne-Yo’s topic matter, while certainly not original is heavily supported from the deftly quick Jay-Z verse and the soulful crooning. It’s certainly more of a background song, with the Jay-Z part coming and going quickly, while still being memorable, and the Ne-Yo singing just allowing you to think about that special someone.

While I stated that there aren’t really any moments that hamper the album significantly, there are points throughout the album that succeed more than the standard. The title track is certainly something, yet this something was criticized a bit for not replicating the same feelings as Ne-Yo’s singles, Sexy Love & So Sick. While all three of the songs were produced by the common collaborator (and highly skilled) Stargate, I think Because Of You is the most subtle, which helps it a lot whenver you feel up for the listen. It’s not as demanding on the ears, and that’s the charm of this song, and the album as a whole.

Songs like Can We Chill, Make It Work, Sex With My Ex or Addicted are strong songs on the album, with the production and topical matter meshing together seamlessly. Addicted features a nice Michael Jackson/Prince emulation, talking about a girl that may be addicted to him, for sex or not for, but eventually leading to sex. Can We Chill is a breezy pop song about the simple asking of a date that anyone would appreciate, and Make It Work features one of Ne-Yo’s best choruses in a while. Sex With My Ex features a risky-production front, with the helter-skelter features, but works as a whole.

The only true flaw in the album, however, is the single, Go On Girl. While Stargate provides a nice acoustic production, it seems rather similar-sounding to With You on Chris Brown’s album, who eventually did it better. It’s certainly not a bad song, but it just seems like a blatant pop moment for me.

I really wrote this review quickly, because I already knew everything to say before hand. I’m going to keep on repeating this same theme over and over, but only because it’s true. The true charm in this album is the simplicity of it. It seems so long ago that the R&B landscape had some mere innocence in it, yet now, we’re plagued with random R&B nobodies (Not The-Dream, R.Kelly, Trey Songz, or established acts already known, lets not twist my words) trying to constantly sing about sex, drugs, and money profusely. All of the album has a comfortable atmosphere around it, whether it be Crazy, Sex With My Ex, or Spotlight, all of the elements truly work. It’s a comfortable and charming listen, and proves that you don’t have to be extravagant to provide a good piece of work.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Anticipation (Review) - Trey Songz

(Produced by John “SK” Mcgee & Troy Taylor unless noted)
1. Famous | 3:39 | 3.75 - 4
2. Showerlude | 1:20 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by E.Miles & Troy Taylor)
3. Scratchin’ Me Up | 4:08 | 4.25 - 5 (Produced by Troy Taylor)
4. Does She Know | 4:07 | 3.25 - 4
5. Infidelity | 3:43 | 4 - 4.25
“How do you fix an love undone, how do you know if you fit to love someone?”
6. You Belong To Me | 3:54 | 3.75 - 4
7. More Than That | 4:06 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Troy Taylor)
8. On Top | 4:15 | 3 - 3.75
9. It Would Be | 3:40 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Troy Taylor & Patrick Hayes)
10. Make It Rain | 3:59 | 3 - 3.75 (Produced by Eric Hudson)
You should listen a little more, it’s hilarious.
11. Yo Side Of The Bed | 4:10 | 3.5 - 4 (Produced by Troy Taylor & Patrick Hayes)
12. She Ain’t My Gurl | 4:06 | 3.25 - 4 (Produced by Young Yonny & Troy Taylor)
13. Successful (Featuring Drake) | 3:34 | 3 (Produced by 40)
Mainly gave this rating because I felt that this really isn’t part of the mixtape, yet the mixtape garnered enough respect for me to help it out.

Overall Rating: 43.75 - 46 | 67 - 71% | Good; detracting problems; TRY IT

For some reason, I tend to listen to this mixtape more than his albums that came out, Ready and those other previous flops. I assume it’s because Trey Songz stays in his lane here, with twinkling, friendly, piano-laden productions from the usual suspects here. Whatever it is, I still don’t mind, considering the section of Famous to You Belong to Me is one of the more played sections whenever I’m in one of those moods.

While Trey Songz isn’t doing anything real special here, it’s the subjects that he covers (sexing a girl to make her famous, having sex, beds, more sex, and love problems, and such) that he tends to do well upon. Famous is a nice song because it sounds comfortable, as does Scratchin’ Me Up (Great R. Kelly themed song), and Infidelity is quite a song for Tremaine to croon over. Eventual album cuts You Belong To Me & Yo Side Of The Bed are quite simply put, songs that work.

While certainly not revolutionary, it’s one of the more consistently played because I feel that I know what to expect, and whatever I hear I know that I can relate at that time. Of course, the repetitive nature is what hinders the eventual outcome of this album, and it’s pretty much meant as a project to listen and then come back for a little bit.

Fan Of A Fan (Review) - Chris Brown & Tyga

(All songs produced by K Mac Beats unless noted)
1. Intro | 0:40 | 3
2. What They Want | 3:12 | 3 - 3.5
Chris Brown goes on to repeat the poland spring / wet metaphor several times more.
3. Drop Top Girl | 2:37 | 3 - 3.25
4. Dueces (Featuring Kevin Mccall) | 4:23 | 3.5 - 3.75
Now that this is an official single, I’m interested to see how this will do, for all of the artists, including K Mac. In terms of breakup songs, it’s better than the general standard.
5. No Bullshit | 4:06 | 3 (Produced by Tha Bizness)
Should’ve replaced that Tank track on the album, since this seems less forced
6. 48 Bar Rap | 2:33 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by Jahlil Beats)
“Two girls at the same time, what the fuck?”
7. Ballin’ (Featuring Kevin Mccall) | 3:33 | 2.5 - 2.75
“I’m ballin like a bitch,” a la Lil’ B style.
8. Middle Talking | 0:20 | 3
9. Ain’t Thinking About You (Featuring Bow Wow) | 3:55 | 2.5 - 3
10. Like A Virgin Again | 3:35 | 2.75 - 3
Real original rap Tyga. Or is it Chris Brown? I really couldn’t tell the difference here.
11. Have It (Featuring Kevin Mccall) | 4:02 | 3 - 3.5
12. Number One | 3:44 | 3
Is it me, or does the piano sounds exactly like the one used on Ain’t Thinking About You?
13. Make Love | 3:43 | 3 - 3.25
This track grows a little bit over time, since the cartoonish production was offsetting at first.
14. I’m So Raw | 1:57 | 4
“I’m so raw, turn the oven on / Chef Papa John, I get the parmesan / She want a yellow nigga, corn on the cob / Indian giver, slob on my knob.” It sounds better when Tyga pronounces the words. The production is a rendition of I’m So Appalled, so whoever re-engineered & mastered it, I’m very impressed.
15. I’m On It (Featuring Lil’ Wayne) | 2:54 | 3.25 - 3.75 (Produced by Calvo da Gr8t)
16. Movin 2 Fast | 3:29 | 3 - 3.75 (Produced by K.E On Tha Track)
Reflective Tyga is a success.
17. Regular Girl | 3:31 | 3 - 3.75
18. Outro Talking | 0:45 | 3.5
Bonus Tracks
19. G Shit | 4:04 | 4 - 4.5 (Produced by Jahlil Beats)
Blissful ignorance during the summer. These are the kind of tracks that should’ve been on the album.
20. Holla At Me | 3:15 | 4 (Produced by Jahlil Beats)
“I bag bad bitches, motherfucker Kat Stacks.” What?

Overall Rating: 63.75 - 66 | 64 - 66% | 3.3 / 5 | Good; detracting problems; TRY IT

I was relatively interested in this project; due to the relatively growing buzz of this collaboration mixtape, and the fact that Tyga was slowly growing buzz from me. With his “One Verse, one hearse,” series, and his constant stream of freestyles, I was willing to let my original impression slide away. It really helped that the standout tracks G Shit & Holla At Me came out before the project.

There are many typical R&B Chris Brown tracks dominating throughout the album, but that’s to be expected. Unfortunately, most of the tracks tend to be quite average, with the post-middle section (Ain’t Talking About You to Make Love, excluding Have It) to be the generic tracks that the general critic populations seems to despise excessively. It’s more because of not the production fronts by K Mac, it’s just that the topic of what’s being sung is frankly, quite typical. Chris Brown has definitely been doing this for some time, so I definitely don’t expect him to change his ways.

However, there are some nice Chris Brown singing highlights, which are mostly on the rap-themed tracks and also the beginning section, primarily. Drop Top Girl, the first of many Chris Brown singing ventures to come talks about the simple girl who drops her top. It’s a cute, summery song, and retains that Chris Brown innocence factor. No Bullshit, a supposed leftover from the album, has Chris Brown talking about how he’ll do a girl without any bullshit, exenuating the solitary feeling with a couple of hard hitting congas and pianoes. Not to say these tracks are really different, but it’s a little better than most of the tracks on the album.

Chris Brown also has these times where he just wants to go straight fly / stunna mode on the crowd, and to say the least, they do work. What They Want & Have It are generally acceptable tracks, with Chris Brown rapping over and over on minimalist tracks, with a delievery & beat preference inspired from his fellow contemporary, Tyga (Who also happens to rap on Have It) 48 Bar Rap is a more interesting turn from the singer, mostly because the superior Jahlil Beats produces upon it, and gives a wobbly-synth dominating track for Chris Brown to rap about stuff. Chris Browns raps however, do seem forced, and excessively tries to go the battle / pretty boy rapper lane.

Tyga, as the other contributor to this mixtape easily surpasses Chris Brown, whether it be on the tracks they rap on together, or with Kevin Mccall. Tyga’s three main songs in the end of the album, mainly I’m So Raw are defintely indicators of what is really to come for the young rapper. I’m So Raw, with the interpolation of the Kanye West produced, I’m So Appalled, allows the young rapper to stay in his niche of combining the youthful swagger and the punchline-laden raps that he’s been secretly developing. I’m On It provides a askew production front from Calvo and Movin 2 Fast provides something a little extra compared to the typical Tyga tracks.

Of course, now it’s when they work together is more interesting. While the synth-roller Ballin, obnoxious-drum influenced Number One, and the jazzy-organ rumbling Regular Girl are all nice pictures into their collaborative skill, it’s mainly the Deuces track, and the two promotion / bonus tracks that truly stand out. G Shit isn’t revolutionary in any single way, but the Jahlil Beats inspired production allows the breeziness (no pun intended) and summer feel to cascade all over the typical fly pretty boy lyrics from both Tyga & Chris Brown, with neither person dominating the track. Holla At Me is another Jahlil Beats jerking-style production that allows both rappers to do the typical and succeed at it again. Dueces is an interesting trio combination that allows all of the rappers to talk about “chucking up the deuces.” Nothing overtly dominates the other, and it’s another success.

If we’re on the topic of producers, simply Jahlil Beats is a far superior producer to K Mac Beats. K Mac Beats, while certainly not average, he just panders to Chris Brown & Tyga with his productions, and that’s not really something that I can criticize. Jahlil Beats has made his start on this mixtape, so I expect more from him to come.

Essentially this is more of a Chris Brown mixtape featuring Tyga, but that’s to be expected; considering Chris Brown is hastily trying to get back into the industry from his controversial situations. Of course, being a Chris Brown & Tyga mixtape, you’re going to get the usual teenager-pandering subjects, which is of course, girls, more girls & themselves being fly and better than everyone else. That, while many would tend to discriminate against it, shouldn’t be given a double standard because it’s what Tyga & Chris Brown just tend to do. Both have to appeal to their crowd, and both of them do it in a successful, cohesive way, with this album not lagging or becoming excessively boring. A definite project to listen to in the summertimes ahead.

Sidenote: I understand that this review was excessively long (pause), but we’re discussing about my generation here, and while it’s not the highly sophisticated of subjects, it’s sitll relevant to some extent.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

5:01 Overtime (Review) - Laws

(All songs produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E League unless noted)
1. Overtime | 4:07 | 3.5 - 3.75
Beyond me why they give someone not on their label such as Rick Ross excessively superior productions, rather than giving their main artist a rehashed Maybach Music (Ironic isn’t it?)
2. If I Could Change (Featuring Blazed) | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by The Kaliphat & Paperboy Fabe)
3. Hold You Down (Remix) (Featuring Emilo Rojas & Big K.R.I.T) | 3.75 - 4 (Produced by DJ Khalil)
Never knew Big K.R.I.T would sound comfortable in this kind of production.
4. Believer (Featuring Jason Caesar) | 4:33 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E)
5. Audio Savior | 3:19 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by Illmind)
I have a lot of tough love for this song.
6. 5:01 Interlude | 1:07 | 3
7. Illumination | 1:57 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Benjamin Plant)
8. Number One (Featuring Jay Rock) | 3:42 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by S-Type)
I love the way Laws starts out the third verse, one of my more favorite parts of the album.
9. Murder | 4:25 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Tn2 Productions)
10. This Is Me | 2:38 | 4 (Produced by L.A Da Craftzman & Feb. 9)
The beginning few seconds is my favorite part, though the production grows on you nicely.
11. Wall To Wall | 3:20 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Benjamin Plant)
The speech should’ve been put somewhere else, since the production doesn’t convince me.
12. Vintage Futuristic 2 (Featuring Funkghost) | 3:26 | 2.75 - 3 (Produced by M-Phazes)
13. Want It All | 2:57 | 4 (Produced by Feb 9)
Adore it when the production switches up to, “Ask about my race we gonna beef like bistroes....”
14. Flashback | 5:04 | 3.25 - 3.5
If anything is interesting, it’s the verses.
15. Shining | 4:23 | 3.75 - 4 (Produced by 9th Wonder)
16. My Chick (Featuring Don Primo) | 2.5 - 2.75 (Produced by Benjamin Plant)
17. Hustle (Featuring Mason Caine) | 3:22 | 3.25 - 3.75 (Produced by L.A Da Craftzman & Feb. 9)
Maybe I don’t take them seriously because of how the rappers sound. Catchy chorus though.
18. Colors (I Don’t Care) (Featuring Calvin Harris) | 2:51 | 3.75 (Produced by Calvin Harris)
“I rhyme up or whatever / Swing by the crib we could fuck or whatever.”
19. So Nice (Featuring Jason Caesar) | 3:09 | 4 (Produced by S1 & Caleb, co-produced by Apple Juice Kid)
20. We Like It | 3:46 | 3.25 - 3.5 (Produced by Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E)
21. Runaway | 3.75 - 4
Laws is quite a storyteller, like the fact that he gives more details than other rappers.

Overall Rating: 70.25 - 74.75 | 67 - 71% | 3.5 / 5 | Good; detracting problems; TRY IT

Mainly, the problem with Laws is the production that he chooses. Sure, he sounds comfortable on basically any production you give the kid, but that’s no excuse for the producers to give such dull, original beats. Producers such as Benjamin Plant, Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E, Tn2 Productions, M-Phazes, and even the ever-consistent J.U.S.T.I.C.E League really drop the ball here, giving dull, electronica-tinged production fronts. While that kind of production isn’t a crime, the way it’s presented makes me wonder what would happen if Laws recircuited better producers for the album.

However, not all the problems lie in the production, though that’s really the main issue that the rating detracts from. Laws is primarily a battle / punchline rapper as evidenced by many of the tracks here, and I completely understand if Laws tries to appeal to the mainstream or other groups, but when you have tracks such as Murder, or Hustle, it’s really hard to take Laws seriously, because Laws sounds rather uncomfortable in these kinds of songs, and his voice on these songs doesn’t help matters either. Of course, the mainstream Laws has to be explored also, and while songs such as My Chick and Vintage Futuristic 2 are admirable attempts, they come off as another typical attempt in the end.

Yet, I still previously stated that I still appreciate the energy that Laws brings to the tables. Consistency is brought on with tracks like the fan-favorite Hold You Down (Remix), which has a double-timed Emilio rapping for his life, Big K.R.I.T sounding consistent as usual, and also a rejuvinated Laws attacking the wailing, guitar influenced production of the quickly rising DJ Khalil. Songs such as Audio Savior, Number One, Runaway or Shining show that Laws is definitely not someone to ignore in the long run. While Audio Savior and Number One are mostly the boasting and bragging topics that Laws tends to discuss, Shining is an interesting 9th Wonder production that allows Laws to reflect upon him “shining” in the music industry. Runaway talks about an unnamed breakup that Laws had, describing the journey ever so vivid.

There are also tracks which I appreciate, which are the actual legitamite mainstream attempts, which are the Calvin Harris produced synths track of finding women in different colors, or the typical Laws boasting track of So Nice, with personal favorite producers S1 & Caleb, and added with a little go-go flavor from Apple Juice Kid.

However, my favorite songs on the album were definitely the songs that were produced by L.A Da Craftzman and Feb. 9, two unknown producers who prove their worth to Laws. As a duo, they produced Hustle & This Is Me, with This Is Me becoming a crazy helter-skelter rolling drums track, allowing Laws to represent himself. Feb. 9 also provides a solo track upon his own, with a conga, strings drowning type of track, which is quite intoxicating.

The question of whether the wait for 5:01 Overtime was actually worth it, and I believe it was. While you’re not exactly getting a true sequel to the original 4:57, you’re getting a couple of nice listenable extras, mostly the Hold You Down (Remix) in a nice album form, and tracks you’re left to determine whether it’s discarded or kept. Besides, this tape isn’t in the DJ version, eliminating the useless Rock and Roll Survival track that existed before, and the Don Cannon drops.

From what I see about Laws, there are many quirky element that he shows.

Laws is a rapper that needs to have the right elements to make himself appeal to the mainstream. I was recently watching a quick freestyle he put out a couple of days before this came out, which was Last Day (Pharcyde Freestyle) where Laws literally described the last day of work on the classic Passing Me By track. I kept on listening to that specific track, because it showed that Laws could actually tell a story, and also proved me something else. Laws is someone that should be listened in burst intervals, not because he’s a bad rapper, but his whole persona tends to get dull after a while. Yet, that shouldn’t be a reason that you shouldn’t listen to this original album. Laws is definitely someone that I’ll be looking out for in the future, however he must fix his flaws.

However, these are one of the rare times I wish I seriously could’ve given this album a higher rating, because I still appreciate Law’s evergoing charisma, as he is constantly adapting to every track he goes on, whether it be electronica, rock, or hip hop based production.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Say What's Real: Everybody Has A Story To Tell - QuEST

"Now everybodies doing the honest route, and honestly thats what I tend to rhyme about."

Shit, next time I'm not going to sleep.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On Some Bee Buzz: Willie Da Kid & Lee Bannon

I was attempting to write some quick verses just for satisfaction, when I glanced upon a previously downloaded track, Sky Miles, with Curren$y. I realized, these are the kinds of joints that I like for a couple of minutes, mostly because their short, easy to rap over and they have a concise feel.

Then I realized, these tracks were all by Willie Da Kid, a lyricist I dimissed because of his surroundings, and the seemingly generic factor he had surrounding him. Of course, I picked up all the tracks that were going to be on this aptly titled EP, Never A Dull Moment. It seems correct, and a budding concept that other artists should follow, short, cinematic-produced tracks with a quick verse or two, and just moves on. This A.D.D concept is an interesting one, and three rappers I definitely would consider of doing it is Curren$y, Rick Ross & Tyga. It seems that a punchline-ridden, flowtastic verse always works.

Even more interesting is Lee Bannon. While I've never really heard of him (Downloading some stuff now, actually), these productions that he does for Willie Da Kid seems themed, catering towards some specific topic that Willie's gonna start talking about, which is usually The-Game kinda topic, the talking shit about anything topic. Works quite nicely.

I'm going to give Never A Dull Moment a good rating in my book, because it's forming terribly nicely. While Willie Da Kid isn't necessarily the greatest rapper ("Soft like a marshmallow" isn't really a gut-grabbing metaphor, while Lost In France is a great concept in it's own) Lee Bannon however, he's definitely someone to look out.

So, on some bee buzz shit is Never A Dull Moment EP in my eyes.

Sky Miles (Featuring Curren$y):

I mean, obviously Curren$y's verse exposes Willie Da Kid, but the way that this track is designed is just to let the rappers just rap on and on about the same, comfortable topics.

Lost In France:

I've already stated it, but it's a concept done right.

Hickory Smoke:

Again, cementing the Lee Bannon production front.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Say What's Real: Houstalantavegas - Drake

"We all got dreams and we all star reaching, all star peaking, all star weekend"

Let's see if Drake can replicate this feeling again.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Exclusive (Deluxe Edition) Review - Chris Brown

(All songs produced by The Underdogs & Rob Knox, unless noted)

Throwed | 3:02 | 4 (Produced by State Of Emergency & Bryan-Michael Cox)
This song is so innocent, some people should just listen to Chris Brown sometimes.
Kiss Kiss (Featuring T-Pain) | 4:11 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by T-Pain)
Never understood why this song was popular, maybe it was the T-Pain craze.
Take You Down | 4:06 | 3
Some bass would add the much needed warmth.
With You | 4:12 | 3.25 - 3.5 (Produced by Stargate)
Picture Perfect (Featuring Will.I.Am) | 4:13 | 3.25 - 3.5 (Produced by Will.I.Am)
Unlike Damn Girl, a similar subject-sounding song, this Will.I.Am feature wasn’t necessary.
Hold Up (Featuring Big Boi) | 4 - 4.25 (Produced by Andre Harris & Vidal Davis)
This song would’ve really helped on if it was put on Graffiti. Nice genuine moment here.
You | 3:22 | 4 (Produced by L.O.S. Da Mystro)
Besides the original name, Dream pens a successful song once again, successfully sung.
Damage | 4:17 | 3 (Produced by The Runners)
Just sounds standard, not necessarily bad.
Wall To Wall | 3:43 | 2.75 - 3 (Produced by Sean Garrett)
I can completely understand why this song wasn’t a hit.
Help Me | 3:17 | 3
I Wanna Be | 3:46 | 3 (Produced By Antonio Dixon & Eric Dawkins)
Gimme Whatcha Got | 3:48 | 2.5 - 2.75 (Produced by Jazze Pha)
I used to like this song, but then I realized the production really needed work.
I’ll Call Ya | 3:54 | 3 (Produced by Swizz Beatz)
Lottery | 3:41 | 3
Nice (Featuring The Game) | 4:32 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Scott Storch)
Hey, a Game rap that makes actual sense! Also, we get the change of pace here.
Down (Featuring Kanye West) | 4:17 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Bigg D)
Phoned in Kanye West verse, and overpowering production, on an otherwise nice song.
Forever | 4:38 | 4 (Produced by Polow Da Don)
This song is a straight hit.
Superhuman (Featuring Keri Hilson) | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Harvey Mason Jr. & Oak)
Heart Ain’t A Brain | 3:41 | 3 - 3.25
Picture Perfect (Remix) (Featuring Bow Wow & Hurricane Chris) | 4:12 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by Chris Brown)
Cuts off that really annoying Will.I.Am part I hate, and the pedestrian appearances don’t matter.
Fallen Angel | 5:32 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Bryan Michael Cox)
The vocal distortion is a little distracting, it gets a little irksome.

Overall Rating: 67.25 - 70.25 | 3.1 / 5 | 64 - 67% | Good; detracting problems; TRY IT

Let’s just forget all of the bias, controversey, and all the general situation just for a little bit.

It’s the year 2007, where Chris Brown was merely starting to become a force in the R&B-sex / booze fuckery inspired of a world, and compared to his many other contemporaries, which were generally Usher, R. Kelly & The - Dream (Who funny enough, wrote one of the best songs here), many people considered him to an emerging fresh breath of air, with his babyface looks and soulful singing about the more, innocent things in life.

Of course, this is generally a double-edged sword. While most general listeners appreciate the nature of Chris Brown’s lyrics, that doesn’t necessarily mean it provides an outlet for the most creative or inspired songs. Most of this album’s rating was hampered mostly because of the incessantly dull middle section, from the songs Damage to Lottery (Or the song, Nice, if you don’t feel it that much) Now, don’t get me wrong, these aren’t by any means terribly produced or sung songs, it’s the way their presented seems to be formulated to fit the mainstream needs, and not the artistic talent of Chris Brown himself. Soulful singing doesn’t get you away from singing the most dull of subjects, or the most uncreative of lyrics. There’s not much more I can explain about the middle section, morely because it just slowed down my receptors, and just caused me to speed up a little bit through it.

Again, a double-edge sword indeed, because there are also sparks of moments where Chris Brown truly shines. Admist all of the drab decorum that’s littered throughout the album, a few songs of interest defintely captivate the listener. Throwed, my personal favorite song on the album is a nice switch up of the production that we were used from Chris Browns go-to producers, with State Of Emergency giving an innocent vibe of the claps, bongos, congas and all of the bass drum kicks. It helps that Chris Brown talks about something else besides pleasing the ladies. Hold Up is also another interesting moment, where Chris Brown talks about the wait where he’s going to “meet the parents,” and see if he can date that “Miss Smith.” Big Boi’s preformance adds a little flair to the otherwise unchanging pace of the song. You, is also another song of note, because The-Dream pens a cute song for Chris Brown to sing the same subjects, but with a more mainstream twist. Nice, Down and the whole bonus deluxe edition songs do provide a little more variety than the norm, which is pretty nice, particularly Picture Perfect, because it shows some skill from Chris Brown as a producer, and his C-list contemporaries.

I felt like I should personally dedicate a section to the singles that Chris Brown had. Kiss Kiss & With You, two wildly popular songs (Especially Kiss Kiss) on the radio. While certainly above the average standard, it’s more of an example of how a little innocence really can bring success. With You, talking about the obvious or Kiss Kiss, a deceptive song about trying to appeal to a girl, are just little milestones to hop over for the young singer. Forever, the main reason why the Deluxe Edition was actually reviewed is definitely one of the main highlights. Mainly the start of Polow Da Don’s string of R&B hits soon to come over the years, and one of Chris Browns best vocal preformances, it’s quite a single that really appeals to the demographics it wants too.

Chris Brown is certainly not a weak artist, though the mainstream currently thinks so (They are starting to let go of that fifteen minutes of hate now, however) Sure, his lyrics aren’t necessarily the most revolutionary, but they show a consistency that most R&B artists fail to follow (Trey Songz on instances, Lloyd, Omarion, or even T-Pain), which is most definitely needed in this commonly sex filled, booze guzzling, one night lust loving landscapes. Sure it’s flawed, but it’s definitely worth a listen.

Jets + Boston Rich Boys? The Sam Adam & Curren$y duo

I've always thought this duo, a straight quoted from itunes, "Mixing Shwayze-like beats, the caustic attitude of Kesha, and a tough version of suburban rap," kind of kid (whose been gaining steady fame), and a chill laidback weed smoker, wasn't exactly the correct duo. But yet, it works.

Firstly, there are many circumstances of why this supposed duo wouldn't work. Firstly, it's the material that both of these people present. With Sam Adams, it's pretty much frat music, electronica-synth sounds (Swang Your Drank, for example), or mainstreaming production with the dude. Curren$y is just pretty much all over the place, shredding anything. Oh, and Curren$y doesn't use ... auto tune.

So we have two songs here, Fly Jets Over Boston, and Walk With These, two hazy inspired tracks from emerging (and interesting, I would love to freestyle over this)) producer Xperiment, that apparently started with this collaborative project about literally Jets over Boston or something along the matter.

Take a listen for yourself:
Fly Jets Over Boston (Featuring Curren$y): http://usershare.net/zi4l0pwxrg5l
"You got screen door lyrics, we can see through em'."

I've noticed that Curren$y usually tries a little more on Sam Adams tracks, maybe it's the friend factor, or just that he wants to? Curren$y + Xperiment is a interesting project idea.

Walk With These (Featuring Curren$y): http://usershare.net/st2b6701z8pk
"When I already told ya to walk with these, guess you want me to lace them up for you too"

SHIT Curren$y, that's a nice opener. Sam Adams doesn't slack either.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tunnel Vision (Hosted by DJ Drama & DJ Khaled) - Paypa

1. Light Up - Freestyle (Intro) | 3:23 | 3 (Produced by Tone Mason)
Would’ve just been better if Drama just oversaturated everything else.
2. Paypa Cuts (Featuring Rick Ross & Dj Khaled) | 4:35 | 3
Rick Ross just killed Paypa, and the track.
3. Ha Ha (Slow Down) - Freestyle | 2:41 | 2.5 - 2.75 (Produced by Scoop Deville)
4. Paypa | 3:31 | 2.5 - 2.75
He’s really pushing the gimmick to it’s limits. The sample goes on for too long at the end.
5. Inkredible - Freestyle | 2:36 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Mr. Inkredible)
Rating is mostly because of the production, and the fact I haven’t listened to the original.
6. Giant | 3:13 | 2.5 - 2.75
7. I Am Bitches (Featuring The Game & Jim Jones) | 5:12 | 3.5 (Produced by Embryo)
Should thank Grandad “Bitches” Freeman for this.
8. La Cosa Nostra (Featuring Hayes) | 4:05 | 2.25 - 2.5
I like when Hayes starts out with talking about being a lawyer, but that’s it.
9. Frankenstein (Featuring The Menace & X.O of Black Wall Street) | 4:32 | 2.25 - 2.5
10. Billionaire | 4:13 | 2.25 - 2.5
I’m pretty sure even millionaires, or the general population don’t listen to this kind of music.
11. Kobe (Featuring Los) | 3:49 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Los)
Los might be the only one that actively takes influence from Soulja Boy. Hook isn’t as infectious as Pretty Boy Swag though.
12. Satellite | 3:24 | 2.25 - 2.5
13. I’m Cool | 3:21 | 2.5 - 2.75
14. Dope Boy (Featuring Ace Casino) | 4:16 | 2.25 - 2.5
15. Hey Joe (Featuring Seefor & Young B) | 3:37 | 2.5 - 2.75
Points for trying.
16. Unthinkable - Remix | 2:42 | 3 (Produced by 40)
17. The Corner | 4:10 | 2.5
Too original.
18. Not Afraid - Freestyle (Outro) | 3:33 | 3 (Produced by Boi-1da)
Could’ve not come any more original for an outro.

Overall Rating: 47.75 - 50.75 | 2.7 / 5 | 53 - 56% | Average; BE WARNED.

It’s certainly bad when an mixalbum comes out today and you have a review put up as quick.

Some rappers, like Paypa get chances from me (and anyone really) because of the singles that they put out, which in this case was, I Am Bitches. A simple song really, just consisting of simple organ stabs and highhat sixteenths, it was enough for me to invest a little interest in Paypa, mostly because someone told me that he was putting out a mixtape.

Of course, this is what we have here. Typical punchline laden rapper, rapping over (Very) uninspired production, dabbling in a couple of mainstream / established tracks, just to draw in some people in case the production doesn’t.

I think Paypa works best when he’s trying to not really convey a message (which is mostly in the middle - end of the mixalbum), but really when he’s just trying to do his usual independent thing. Tracks like Inkredible (I like the potatoes line), I Am Bitches or even Kobe, are decent enough tracks, because Paypa isn’t really trying to say something important, he’s just trying to say something.

Yet, there are so many unnumerable rappers that do that already, so why try this? Maybe if you’re a Miami citizen, and want to support your fellow brother, but really, you don’t gotta care about this.

Pilot Talk (Deluxe Edition) - Curren$y

(All songs produced by Ski unless noted)

1. Example | 2:00 | 3.75 - 4
2. Audio Dope II | 4:10 | 4.25 - 4.5
“Spitta get this whole shit jumping like, kangaroo pouch, louis vutton, the small thangs make me different from these fools.” It just grows into more calypso-boom bap bliss.
3. King Kong | 3:01 | 4.75 - 5
Incredible when it’s dark and rainy, great any other time.
4. Seat Change (Featuring Snoop Dogg) | 3:51 | 3.5 - 3.75
The live instrumentation helps this song out a lot.
5. Breakfast (In & Out) | 2:50 | 4.75 - 5 (Produced by Mos Def & Ski)
I’ve memorized the whole song already, including the ad-libs.
6. Roasted (Featuring Trademark Da Skydiver & Young Roddy) | 4:25 | 4.25 - 4.5 (Produced by Monstabeatz)
“Olympic swimming in bitches Michael Leon, Phelps.” Everyone is consistent here.
7. Skybourne (Featuring Big K.R.I.T & Smoke DZA) | 4:16 | 4.25 - 4.5
8. The Hangover (Featuring Mikey Rocks) | 3:23 | 3.25 - 3.5
The chorus is intoxicating, especially when you’re walking early in the morning listening to this.
9. The Day (Featuring Mos Def & Jay Electronica) | 4.5 - 4.75
10. Prioritize (Beeper Bill) (featuring Nesby Phips) | 3:14 | 5 (Produced by Nesby Phips)
“That’s a mean pair of kicks, kudos love.” Not sure why this is my favorite line.
11 .Chilled Coughee (Featuring Devin Da Dude) | 2:08 | 3.5 - 3.75
This song over time has grown to be more humorous than originally thought.
12. Address (Featuring Stalley) | 3:07 | 5
13. Life Under The Scope | 3:04 | 5 (Additional production from Michael Sterling Eaton)
Deluxe Edition
14. Clothes Off (Featuring Klassik) | 3:41 | 3 - 3.25
I adore the moment where Curren$y’s opener goes back to his track “Sole Man” off his first official mixtape, but everything else is really dull.
15. Scaling The Building (Featuring Wiz Khalifa) | 3:58 | 4.25 - 4.5

Rating: 63 - 66 | 84 - 88% | 4.3 / 5 | Expectational; Repeated Listens demanded, BUY IT.

Sometimes, it’s not about what the artist really has to convey to us, it’s how he conveys the ideas and philosophies that he already knows to the best of his knowledge.

So it makes sense that Curren$y, armed with his Creative Control influences of the recently affiliated reinvigorated Ski Beatz, and his old buddies Monstabeatz and Nesby Phips, that Curren$y would proceed to talk about the same topics he’s been doing for the past five years or so, weed, women and the excessively fly society that he inhabits.

Already with the opener, Example, you notice the live instrumentation guitars strumming and the twinkling pianoes provided by the ever consistent Ski. There’s a lot of words that can be provided on the overwhelming beauty of the production that’s presented here. From the live “cabana” feel of Breakfast, or the brooding “king kong” synths on King Kong, the howling vocal samples repeated throughout Address, or the rumbling bass that hides under the pianoes on Life Under The Scope, Ski is an incredible producer, showing his versitality with the slow serenading piano jam feel of The Hangover, cartoon like piano plunks with the screwed up guitar, the calypso boom-bap feel of Audio Dope II, live instrumentation on Seat Change, switching up of productions on The Day, or the soothing piano airplane feel of Skybourne.

That’s not to say the remaning two producers slack off either, with common collaborater Monstabeatz providing a steamy, hazy piano line that drifts onwards, or the highlight, Nesby Phips, providing a brooding, moody synths jam that teases us with what can he provide next. Perhaps Nesby and Curren$y should do a project together...

Of course, this is a Curren$y album, not an attack of the producers persay. Of course, I’ve been following this guy for a couple of days now, listening to his mixtapes from the hype that surrounded him, starting from his eight mixtape bombardment til’ now. Sure, he’s been spitting the same things for so many years now, but on this mainstream release, they feel even more focused, have the same wit, hilarity and tightness to the beat that Curren$y’s perfected over the years. There are just innumerable verses and lines I could just list here all day, from the straight freestyled drawl of Audio Dope II, the pep shown in Breakfast, the hunger expierenced on King Kong, arrogance on Prioritize, and the reflective serenity of Address and Life Under The Scope. Curren$y rarely fails to impress, and it’s just shown even more gracefully here.

Of course, the guests don’t fail to dissapoint, though none of them surpass Curren$y on any given track. But that’s not to say none of the rappers are terrible, freshmen such as Trademark & Young Roddy don’t necessarily deliver their best verses, but delightful, weed-happy verses that would fit anywhere, or even affiliates Smoke DZA & Big K.R.I.T allowing their energy to fit in with the Curren$y mold. Of course, established acts, such as Jay Electronica do provide stellar guest spots, just not enough to surpass Curren$y, or Mikey Rocks with his sleepwalking verse. Even veteran Devin Da Dude, even though he preforms a stellar verse with his usual humor and raunchy mindset, and certainly the best in years, can’t even pass Curren$y on this track. Of course, these aren’t degragatory comments, but really all the guest verse compliment Curren$y quite nicely, and that’s the way it should be.

Curren$y is remarkable in his own specific catering, and also in the rap genre as well. (Though an insult) Compared to people such as Gucci Mane, Wiz Khalifa, or the majority of rappers, they all seem to be content with talking about the same subjects, where most trappers talk about the trap, their “jury,” and anything related to that, Curren$y is the weed equivalant, talking about weed, the fly and of course, women. Curren$y, unlike most rappers in his lane, chooses to layer slick wordplay, metaphors, and his own commentary mixed in, to make this kind of product, the intoxicating product that is Pilot Talk.

I’ve played this straight through everyday ever since the album came out, and this album does not fail to impress, growing on me more and more as the days went by. Sure, I initially thought the hype was too much for Curreny to truly deliver, but apparently to him, none of that really matters. Let him do this thing, and we’ll appreciate it, regardless of what he does. Simply, quite an fantastic album.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What The Cool Kids Listen to these Days: Rick Ross songs!

Now you have this reviewer officially stoked for Teflon Don.
Honestly, there's a lot of fucking words I can say to this, but ... I'll let the music speak for itself, something I don't do every often. I really do like to talk.

Aston Martin Music (Featuring Drake & Chrisette Michelle): http://www.mediafire.com/?t5jhnmnrjje
Maybach Music III (Featuring T.I, Jadakiss & Erykah Badu): http://www.mediafire.com/?on1gn0yq5yf
Live Fast, Die Young (Featuring Kanye West): http://www.mediafire.com/?zckznnykiyg

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In Love With My Future LP (Review) - Ghostwridah

(Produced by Lowkey unless noted)

1. To Be In Love (Featuring AG Lyonz) [Intro] | 2:51 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by Rem)
The really overproduced version of Lust For Life. Singing isn’t really necessary, in my opinion, I would’ve preferred the beat to just ride on, and let the vocal sample expose. The song has grown on me though.
2. Larger Than Lyfe | 3:26 | 3.5 - 3.75
Sounds more important than it actually is, and it’s not as bad as you think when I typed it.
3. Crazy | 3:29 | 3.75 - 4 (Produced by Don Cannon)
Though a little generic, the production does fit what Ghostwridah says rather nicely.
4. Red Bottoms | 3:46 | 4 - 4.25 (Produced by Don Cannon)
Reminds me of Christian Rich’s production. Sample was so obvious.
5. Look At Me Now (Featuring Kirby) | 3:25 | 3.75
Absolutely love the moment where the beat drops to a minimalist (phoned in sounding) heartbeat. But why does every single production sounds like it’s using the same synths?

6. Release Therapy [Futurelude] | 2:36 | 4.25 - 4.5 (Produced by Mr. Familiar)
Ghostwridah truly sounds like he’s on the edge of paranoia, which works very well with the production front.
7. Still Not Famous (Featuring Mayday) | 3:44 | 3 (Produced by Miami Beat Wave)
So generic.
8. Ridin (Featuring Bun B) | 2:58 | 4.5 - 4.75 (Produced by DJ Ideal)
An relatively perfect representation of the marriage of elements of electronica and the Texas screw. Absolutely love the moment where the drums come in when the production is truly chopped & screwed, I really wish this was like 20 seconds longer.
9. Bright Summer Lights (Featuring Summer J.A.E) | 4:25 | 3.5 - 3.75
10. Celebrate Lyfe | 4:10 | 4 - 4.25
Very artfully produced.
11. Welcome To Goodbye (Featuring AG Lyonz) | 4:05 | 4.25 - 4.5 (Produced by Rem)
The drums really stick out in this sound, which ultimately helps it in the long run. His verses are striking here, and the singing actually works. “The word families overrated, so I trust few”

Overall Rating: 42 - 44.25 | 3.9 / 5 | 76 - 80% | Solid; few major reservations; repeated listens suggested: TRY IT

Although it may not look apparent at a first glance, this is just the start of the mixtapes and rappers that will allude to Drake’s So Far Gone, and in a broad spectrum, Kanye West’s 808’s & Heartbreak.

Ghostwridah, much like many new rappers are part of the new generation of rappers that many eyes will be observing, and this is one of the early decades offerings of the new standard. Ghostwridah is a rapper who I would put into this “heartbreak rapper” category, rappers who specifically talk about the struggles, heartbreak, woman, and topics that is sensitive to them and the viewer, and someone who feels directly influenced from 808’s & Heartbreak. (This is even more apparent from Ghostwridah, considering his last mixtape was directly influenced from Kanye West, 305’s & Heartbreak) Ghostwridah, on this mixtape doesn’t necessarily talk about woman, he wants to get his artistic integrity across, through the trials, struggles, aspirations, events through this pursuit and journey to the controversial subject of, fame.

Partly because it’s a mixtape, the quality of this is somewhat lesser than the “heartbreak” album compatriots, but regardless of the engineering / overall feel, this is a very offical project regardless.

There are aspects of this endless journey that Ghostwridah specifically speaks about, which is all under the subject staying true to the idea of fame. This includes the idea of being larger than life, feeling insane, celebrating this short life, the simple ideas, such as just riding around in the hood, or the deeply personal, such as the confession of your troubles, your sins, and a lot more. Ghostwridah, while being very personal much like Drake, he gives this album a more, “hip hop flair” than Drake did on Thank Me Later. Sure, Ghostwridah can’t sing, but Ghostwridah just gives us the straight rapping about the issues that truly concern him.

The strongest aspect of the album is definitely the production from the relatively unknown producers. While Don Cannon is expected to do well (And he does) with the seemingly soothing synths of Crazy, or the clunking cowbell, serenading, nightlife track, Red Bottoms, Don Cannon doesn’t give the best preformance here. It’s when Ghostwridah truly dives into the concept of the whole song, and gives us masterpieces such as the Mr. Familiar produced, brooding, very paranoid track, Release Therapy, or mabye the electronica, chopped & screwed combined trunk rattler, Ridin from DJ Ideal. The common in-house producers in Ghostwridah’s team also have their moments, with the (previously, but still good) wailing electric guitar-fest Celebrate Lyfe, or the final, drum-slamming, synth-riding, conclusion, Welcome To Goodbye. When the moments work, they really do make Ghostwridah part of this “heartbreak rapper” category seem truly genuine.

Of course, that’s not to say that doesn’t have it’s flaws. Drake on TML gave us the concept, and the seemingly backdrop story, the music, all packaged in to the pop moment, Ghostwridah, while delivering it well, simply gives us the songs, without any real sequencing, or true feel to them. The main gripe is the song, Still Not Famous with features generic production from the lone production spot of Miami Beat Wave. While, this is a song that continues the flow, it’s the song that I hoped that Ghostwridah wouldn’t mistakenly make. Generic guitar sounds, typical chorus, it doesn’t work unlike the rest of this album. I’m not saying this to insult him, I feel that he gave this album quite admirably, but when you’re trying to do emulate styles like Drake or Kanye West, it’s a lot more personal, indepth, and also makes the most sense, to yourself, not to the fans itself. I can easily discuss about the lyricism, but it’s definitely heartfelt from Ghostwridah, so I would prefer that you just listen.

This album is an unexpected gem of 2010, because initally I didn’t except too much from this emcee, who I originally downloaded, just to give him another chance. Don’t let my rating influence you, while this review gives a respectable 78 average for this album, the real rating is however you interpret it as you listen to this album. If you can relate to Drake, Kanye West, or other unnamed similar contemporaries, much like myself, then you’ll find this a compelling, and another reason for anticipating the rest of this year. This is the new standard of a mixtape, so all you rappers listen in.

The Rest Is History (Album Review) - Jin

(All songs produced by Neo Da Matrix unless stated)

1. Intro - The Signing | 1:15 | 3 (Produced by Tuneheadz)
2. Here Now | 3:44 | 3 (Produced by Tuneheadz)
I’m always partial to introspective songs, but the production is relatively uninteresting and all of this doesn’t really help supplement that Jin is going on and on about this.
3. Get Your Handz Off | 3:08 | 3.25 - 3.75 (Produced by Swizz Beatz)
Swizz Beatz helps a lot of here.
4. Club Song (Featuring Just Blaze) | 4:15 | 2.25 - 2.5 (Produced by Just Blaze)
For a parody of a club song, couldn’t it at least be a little more exciting? Just Blaze does some of his worst production here I’ve ever seen. Jin does some Smurf line that’s really stupid.
5. The Come Thru (Featuring Twista) | 3:52 | 3.25 - 3.5 (Produced by Bink!)
Essentially what the Club Song really should’ve been. I didn’t know that Twista was rapping for a second there, I thought Jin was doing double-time flow. The chorus is bad.
6. So Afraid | 3:35 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by K1 Mil)
Battle rap Jin song, just formulated for an album. K1 Mil provides production that I would hear on the internet, which isn’t good.
7. I Got A Love (Featuring Kanye West) | 3:59 | 4.25 - 4.5 (Produced by Kanye West)
Kanye West’s production helps a lot, and during this time it was simply developing. Jin spits at his most genuine here.
8. Chinese Beats (Skit) | 1:57 | 3.5
I love how all these beats sound exactly the same with the twinkling, stereotypical guitar thing. “That’s gabbig!”
9. Learn Chinese (Featuring Wyclef Jean) | 4:34 | 4.25 - 4.5 (Produced by Wyclef Jean)
Still questions me to this day why a Haitian person is producing a chinese song. Jin sounds his most comfortable here, and every Chinese person should memorize this song, which I already did.
10. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly | 4:01 | 3.75 - 4 (Produced by J.R.)
A concept that Jin does successfully, he’s better at storytelling than doing typical, generic tracks. He should try to switch up his flow though.
11. Senorita | 3:54 | 3 - 3.25
Just listen to I Got A Love, though I’m forgiving because I personally like latina girls myself. Rather boring though.
12. Love Story (Featuring Aja Smith) | 4:41 | 3.25 - 3.5 (Produced by Mr. Devine)
While the production is ultimately very dull, I appreciate the honesty in this song.
13. Cold Outside (Featuring Lyfe Jennings) | 3:58 | 3.5
The production gets a little more interesting here, thankfully. Once again, the honesty speaks here.
14. C’mon | 4:07 | 3.5 (Produced by J.R & Denaun Porter)
Production and the emceeing works together in this song. The C’mon gimmick works, to say the least.
15. Karaoke Night (Featuring Styles P) | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by Elite)
Cole’s go to producer made his roots here. The production fittingly goes with the stutter flow that Jin seems to adopt here, which fits seemingly “amateur” flow here. Good concept.
16. Same Cry (Featuring L.T) | 3.75 (Produced by Mr. Devine)
I cannot hate on songs like these.
17. Thank You | 6:22 | 4 - 4.25 (Produced by Mr. Devine)
Jin realizes that you should keep the rambling at a low on these kinds of tracks. Very good track, and I think J. Cole sampled this song in Knock, Knock. Everything works here, and it's good that Jin recognizes everyone that helped him along his way.

Overall Rating: 58 - 61.25 | 3.5 / 5 | 68 - 72% | Good; detracting problems; well above average; TRY IT

Welcome Jin, the only major label asian rapper to ever exist in the USA. Essentially, this is a seminal landmark in hip hop, mainly for the fact that this was the first major label album an asian actually put out. However though, much like many debuts, Jin is trying to test out what really works for him, and there are many highs, and many lows on this album.

I think the main issue for me was the sequencing on the album, and the subject matter that Jin likes to talk about. Mainly for the first few songs, Jin wants to appeal to the mainstream crowd, which means club songs with big bass, and intoxicating instruments. While, being from the Florida, Miami area, these kinds of songs would be entertaining with the crowd, Jin does come off as forced, and rather boring. Songs such as Club Song, or Senorita are dull, because Jin knows he can do a lot better than the generic rapper.

However, there’s the other side of Jin, which is the overtly introspective Jin that this album really tries to exenuate after those “mainstream” tracks. Again, blame the sequencing, because these tracks roll and roll off each other, which (feeling guilt for saying this) comes off boring, and just goes on and on, because their all next to each other. The production, especially on songs such as Here Now, C’Mon or Love Story are especially dull, and cliche, really hampering the album down.

Yet, I really don’t want to bash on the only asian representing the U.S.A. Jin does have untapped creativity, which is expressed on songs such as the niche Learn Chinese, soulful production such as I Got A Love, the stuttering chugging Karaoke, the trumpet-typical Swizz blaring Get Your Handz Off, and even the seminal conclusion, Thank You. Elements like these scattered all throughout the album make you appreciate Jin the emcee more.

My main gripe about this album was the production. Almost all the tracks here really have hampering, boring production, and as Jin said on one of his skits, “That’s gabbig!”

There are other problems though, it's mainly the little things that bother me, mainly the terrible sequencing / order of the songs, where it was just put on there, or the fact this album goes on a little too long, which I blame the introspective tracks put in the end for giving it a slow feel.

All in all, it’s a flawed debut album, though it’s an admirable effort from someone like him. Label politics and the standards of the people here really have driven a guy like this away. He really could’ve done something here, but Asia is where he belongs though, considering he’s more appreciated there. Jin really is a humble emcee in the heart, amongst all his battle rapping, and his other range of subjects, which really should be considered. It really is a damn shame most asians in the states know that this dude exists.

Futuresex / Lovesounds (Review) - Justin Timberlake

(All songs produced by Timbaland, Justin Timberlake & Danja unless stated)

1. Futuresex / Lovesound | 4:02 | 3.25 - 3.5
Taken a little more seriously than it really is.
2. Sexyback (Featuring Timbaland) | 4:03 | 3.5 - 3.75
This song has really lost it’s luster over time though. Still, regardless an intelligent song for what it is, not what it is about.
3. Sexy Ladies / Let Me Talk To You (Prelude) | 3 - 3.25
4. My Love (Featuring T.I) | 5
Very layered, artistic beat, operatic singing, and T.I’s stellar flow. Nothing goes wrong here.
5. Lovestoned / I Think She Knows Interlude | 7:24 | 4 - 4.25
I’m more into the violin strings in Lovestoned. I like the little concept that spread out throughout the four (in total) tracks, it’s an interesting pop moment that people should consider.
6. What Comes Around ... / ... Comes Around | 7:29 | 4 - 4.25
Continues to develop very nicely on Comes Around.
7. Chop Me Up (Featuring Timbaland & Three Six Mafia) | 5:04 | 2.25 - 2.75
It goes on for a little too long, I would’ve preferred just Justin singing only, Timbaland doing his usual backup vocals thing, and Three Six eliminated. I do sing the chorus whenever I hear it though.
8. Damn Girl (Featuring Will.I.Am) | 5:12 | 4 (Produced by Jawbreakers)
A very fun, poppy song. The Will.I.Am verse doesn’t really bother the flow either.
9. Summer Love / Set The Mood (Prelude) | 6:24 | 4.25 - 4.5
Summer Love holds a special place in my heart, and it really helps that it’s a all around very good song about the innocent of summer love. I have grown more partial to the interlude though, it is well thought out.
10. Until The End Of Time (Featuring The Benjamin Wright Orchestra) | 5:23 | 4
All around good song. I wonder if a rapper would ever try productions more artistic like this album provides.
11. Losing My Way | 5:22 | 2.75 - 3
Apartside the inspiration used to create this song, everything trips on it’s on feet.
12. (Another Song) All Over Again | 3 (Produced by Rick Rubin)

Overall Rating: 43 - 45.25 | 3.7 / 5 | 71 - 75% | Impressive; well above average; TRY IT

This album is seminal to me, because it was during a time where I started to dive into the music world, which was around the 6th grade. This recently came out, and I was definitely impressed with the world of pop music, and what this (obessively girl loved from my old friend) Justin Timberlake had to offer.

Now it’s four years removed from that album, and I still give it spins, partly due to the fact that this was Timbaland’s seemingly final great moment of producing in pop (Well until Drake’s Thank Me Now existed, but that’s another story), and Danja’s breakthrough. It’s a hell of an album, because there’s a sub-conscious idea that all these free-flowing elements really fit together like the complete pop package that their supposed to do. I also listen to it because of the singing, obviously.

This album although not realized at the time, is a small icon, a small landscape for what the pop album really had to offer. Sure, not every element works (Losing My Way, Chop Me Up), but when the moments truly work, such as the start of My Love onto the end of ...Comes Around, it’s an exhilirating ride, because all these instruments, the melodic singing of Timberlake, it was genuine and just great on the ears.

Don’t let my humble rating influence you otherwise, this is truly a great pop moment. The only true flaws that I saw within this album was the lack of Neptunes production at the time, (They were at some of their best moments when they worked with Timberlake, only rivaled by Clipse, yet they’ve fallen off with them too) and some of the moments where Timberlake or Timbaland tried a little too hard, such as the last two songs on the album, where the pace slows down.

But, remember this is a definite pop moment that works successfully and admirably.

Say What's Real: RePPin For U - Black Milk

I especially love the second verse. shit, I love everything. The production. The Drums. The wit. Ugh, too much for me.

"Then one day...
This dude asked me what's the answer to this hip hop cancer,
I'm so hungry for real shit it seems like I'm fastin'..."


Monday, July 5, 2010

Say What's Real: A Little Bit - Lykke Li

Dedicated to _____.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Best Rapper (Mixtape Review) - Soulja Boy

1.DJ Holiday Intro | 0:39 | .25
2.Digital | 4:06 | 1.5 - 1.75 (Produced by Lex Luger)
Lex Luger reuses the B.M.F melody, just into a more, “trap” setting for Soulja Boy to self-parody the gangster rapper on. His voice sounds like he’s trying to make an impression, which is hilarious.
Take Off | 3:40 | 2.75
“Clipse & Pharrell, Tony hawk, a lot of grindin.”
The Blues | 3:35 | 1 (Produced by Lex Luger)
I know he’s saying “drank” but it sounds like “Drake.” The last verse he emulates the Lil’ B style, just without the Lil’ B.
All (Featuring Waka Flocka Flame & Lil’ B) | 3:25 | 1 - 1.25 (Produced by G5 Kids)
I can see what Soulja Boy likes in Lil’ B, which is the fact that Lil’ B can get away with saying abominally retarded shit and make people (like me) still listen to him.
I’m Boomin’ | 3:50 | 2 (Produced by Lex Luger)
Soulja Boy sounds weird on this track.
Pretty Boy Swag (Remix) (Featuring Gucci Mane) | 4:42 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by G5 Kids)
As much as I would love to front, this song is the shit.
Best Rapper Freestyle | 3:26 | .25
“Soulja tell them he’s really the king, so what the fork are you really saying.” I’m done.
Rich Girl (Featuring Justin Bieber) | 4:38 | 2
10. What About My Clientele | 3:29 | .5 - .75 (Produced by Lex Luger)
Sounds like every other Lex Luger track, and this the only time I’ve heard him outside of B.M.F.
Fresh! Fresh! | 3:10 | .75 - 1
“Life is a gamble, and I’m gambling.” Poetic.
Mall Of America | 2:41 | .75
Points for having a different production. But this song is retarded, just retarded.
Dope Boy Swag | 1:14 | 1.5 - 1.75
“This here is my, wait for it .... dope boy swag.” Yeah, he even allows us to fill in the obvious. It is rather catchy, and length helps.
Young Boss Music | 3:14 | 1.25
I love how there’s a Rick Ross drop in a song where the song tries to do a straight Rick Ross feeling. I meant, a really bootleg Rick Ross.
In The Club (Featuring J-Bar) | 3:42 | 1 - 1.25
Touchdown | 3:53 | .5 - .75
So original that he “raps like Gucci Mane.” That’s obviously an insult.

Overall Rating: 20.25 - 22.5 | 1.3 / 5 | 25 - 28% | Terrible; DON’T EVEN BOTHER

I reviewed a Soujla Boy mixtape.

Now, there’s so many introductory lines that I could say right now, like the fact that Soujla Boy’s latest mixtape is called “Best Rapper,” or the fact that Soulja Boy has an apparent lack of talent, but the possiblities are endless.

Really, the only reason that I even glanced at this mixtape was because there was much production from a recent rookie, Lex Luger, who did the absolute banger, B.M.F with Rick Ross, so I was interested to see what he would provide the (heavily stated throughout this mixtape) nineteen year old kid.

The problem that I see with Soulja Boy is that he has two kinds of personas, one that appeals to the traphouses / dope boys and girls, and also the teenybopper / general teenager population. While I don’t see a problem in that general aspect, it’s how he appeals to them. Soujla Boy’s demeanor, his attitude of these dopeboy songs (What About My Clientele, Digital, I’m Boomin, Dope Boy Swag), seem like parodies, mostly because he switches his voice around, and also the fact he’s not really describing much, except himself and the ideas / things related to him. I’m pretty sure people just absolutely love people talking about themselves through the whole mixtape.

While there’s the teenager population that happens to listen to Soujla Boy. I believe, with me being part of this general population, I would be more forgiving of DeAndre’s obvious lyricism. Generally, with the three songs mainly being aimed towards my generation (Rich Girl, Fresh! Fresh!, and Mall Of America) were generally worse than the actual album in general. I’m not going to discuss Fresh! Fresh! and Mall Of America, because I just don’t, but Rich Girl, the latest Justin Bieber / rapper track just goes to show that even Soulja Boy alone cannot appeal to the masses like he did with the past two times. Honestly, it’s not Justin Bieber that ruins the song, he tries to keep within his general range of subject matter, trying not to take too many risks. However, Soujla Boy, he just wants to go with anything that seems “cool,” with innumerable moments that just take a toll for the worse as the song goes on. Obviously, this is going to be a hit, but why?

I really dont’ need this much time spending what you should’ve already known from the start, but there are moments where I forgive Soujla Boy. These are two moments, specifically one where he goes all rapping mode, and another song where Soujla Boy is in his own environment. Take Off, is specifically a song I can forgive, because you can’t really blame DeAndre for trying to pedastal the song with just his own rapping. The production has some variation throughout the song, which is nice. My personal favorite, Pretty Boy Swag, especially benefits from the stellar Gucci Mane verse, and the fact that Soulja Boy fits in to these kinds of songs, twinkling piano keys, and some other minimalist production. Call it a guilty pleasure, but it’s not a bad song as a whole.

There is a problem with Lex Luger now that I listened to this tape. All his productions sound similar, and almost everyone of them have that really, gigantic bass, but yet all of Lex Luger’s productions tries to make the artist sound important, thus people like Rick Ross & Soulja Boy infinitely need this person. Lex Luger’s productions are definitely the highlight, but they tend to sound rather similar, thus getting rather dull.

So as Soulja Boy put it, “what the fork are you really sayin’” Relevance? I should be the best reviewer alive, just for doing this heroic deed. That's what the fork I'm really saying.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What the Cool Kids listen to these Days: Hello Brooklyn - Jay-Z

It seems effortless that a Jay-Z post would come up eventually, wouldn't it?

While this song is my least favorite on the album, because it's awkward, the bass is too fucking ridiculous for words, especially when the song is a great quality.


Shoutouts to one of my mothers, brooklyn.


What the Cool Kids listen to these Days: Rockin' & Rollin' - Mickey Factz

I've always appreciated the retro throwbacks that The Cool Kids have done over the few years their sparse material has been out, and this was one of their more interesting features, partly due to that Mickey Factz wasn't really established yet. Although Chuck Inglish goes on to reuse his verse, the accordians and drum patterns from Percize (Producer) and the quirky verses from Mickey Factz, Chuck Inglish & Mikey Rocks, it's a very respectable track.

I have a Ghostwridah review coming up in the next two days, and currently rockin' (no pun intended) and rollin' too that Ab-Soul mixtape.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Range (Mixtape Review)

Range (Hosted by DJ Drama)
Artist: Range
(All songs produced by Range, unless noted)

1. Ghetto Dance (Featuring Rick Ross)| 3:05 | 3.25 - 4
Ultimately, it’s a standard featured Rick Ross song, which isn’t bad, but not amazing. The drums need to hit harder though.
2. Try | 3:41 | 3.25 - 3.5
An ultimately nice song that does wear out due to the lackluster production.
3.Baby | 3:40 | 2.75 - 3
4. Come Back To Me | 2:42 | 3.25
5. Nothing Wrong | 2:25 | 3.25 - 3.5
6. One Hundred | 2:39 | 3.5 - 3.75
It gets progressively better from here, at least production wise.
7. As Is | 4:08 | 3.5 - 3.75
8. Speedin | 2:52 | 2.75 - 3
The production here is what you would expect it to be. The vocals stand out more here, I’m not sure why. It does save it, at least.
9. Scared Money | 2:04 | 3.5 (Produced by DJ Clark Kent & Remedy)
I think Range could probably be like Masspike Miles, or occupy himself with what Trey Songz does for rap, sing hooks for drug dealer rappers.
10. No One Else | 3:09 | 3 - 3.25
11. Just Wanna Love You | 3:55 | 3 - 3.25

Overall Rating: 35 - 37.75 | 3.3 / 5 | 65 - 69% | Good; detracting problems: TRY IT

I’m guessing that Jay-Z needed a singer for his (and J. Cole’s) future albums, not named R. Kelly.

Range is the newest (official) signee to Jay-Z’s label, Rocnation, behind J. Cole. While I heard that Range was going to make a mixtape somewhere online, the release date, and promotion, was nowhere to be found. Yet, when I found this mixtape, I figured that if J. Cole’s Rocnation sponsored mixtape (The Warm Up) worked so well, why shouldn’t this one?

Much like any new artist, Range is trying to test out what his flaws are, what his strengths are, basically what is the standard that he’s going have to emulate over the course of his career. If we want to compare, Range’s range (no pun intended) of topics reminds me of fellow rookie R&B contemporaries such as Jason Derulo, or Iyaz. Which means that the topics specifically aren’t terrible, or straight cheeseball, but their ultimately rather dull in the long run, maybe because a lack of memorability, or that the fact none of the albums / mixtape are cohesive.

Range, however is better than those two artists, because he actually knows how to write a good song. Songs such as Ghetto Dance, As Is, One Hundred, or even Scared Money, or Try, are all good songs (And the main highlights), because Range tries to switch up from the basic, R&B newcomer song subjects. Their also better vocal preformances from the young kid too, because as a song, all these songs seem stronger.

If we wanted to compare Range’s singing voice, I think the closest link would probably be Ryan Leslie. It does help that both of these people do know how to produce nicely, but Ryan Leslie is the better artist out of the two. Of course, Range is very new on the scene, but, much like Ryan Leslie, he’s a jack of all trades. He knows how to produce a song (Ghetto Dance, As Is), and he knows the production that’ll let his voice fit comfortably in it, which is pretty much every song. However, Ryan Leslie does know how to sing a lot better than Ranger, considering over the course of the tape, I haven’t heard Range express his vocal limits besides a medium volume spectrum. At least Leslie can hit the high notes nicely, unlike the kid. Range’s production does need some refining also. While it’s certainly respectable, and will help (in terms of budgets and stuff, since Jay isn’t exactly the most responsible CEO), generic synths, drums, all of the instruments, are very boring ultimately.

Range is a respectable artist, and I’m glad he made this a mixtape, because this is probably a mirror image of Jason Derulo’s and Iyaz’s albums, except that Range’s mix-album wasn’t mastered & engineered as expertly as the forementioned artists. All in all, Range is a nice artist, though he doesn’t express the talent that’s required to break him into the mainstream yet.

DJ Drama also is quite quiet for some reason, but we all love that, so that's good.

Outasight + Freddie Gibbs = Damn.

Considering that this collaboration would've never been expected from a fan like me in any lifetime, Outasight makes the best use of the polar opposites to again prove right to the theory that, opposites do infact, attract (no homo)

Freddie Gibbs fits into this track surprisingly enough, even though it's rappers never really did fare well in acoustics, or guitars in general.