27 November 2015

SINGLE: Kendrick Lamar & J. Cole - Black Friday

In the same vein as Kane and Rakim, as well as B.I.G., Pac, Jay-Z and Nas, it's no secret that J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar are undoubtedly two of the leaders of this generation. Mutual respect for each other's craft during the early days of their ascension led to rumblings about a potential collaboration album being on the horizon, a rumor neither of them have outwardly denied. They have each since seen tremendous growth as artists over the years, making the idea of a joint project all the more sweeter. Sadly, all the noise has amassed into nothing more than Detox hype until today, when both Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole release individual tracks of the same title "Black Friday." K. Dot spits over 2014 Forest Hills Drive's "A Tale of 2 Citiez" while J. Cole's bars are laid over the cultural anthem "Alright" off To Pimp a Butterfly. What's interesting about these two tracks are Cole's lines toward the end where he cryptically addresses the joint project rumors with "When you and K. Dot shit droppin? Bitch never! / They can't handle two Black niggas this clever / But this February bet shit get scary when I fuck around and drop ***beep***

Either Cole let a fat cat out of the bag or he was just poppin off at the mouth to get the blogs buzzin again. Either way, mission accomplished motherfucker lol. This is more than likely leaning toward a solo mixtape or EP from Cole in the works, but it's all speculatory at this point. Peep both tracks below and let us know what you think below!

| Like us on Facebook || Follow us on Twitter |

15 November 2015

REVIEW: Bryson Tiller - T R A P S O U L

In this day & age, we've seen one hit wonders, people have their 15 minutes of fame or just abruptly become a hit. We have another case of that but this is something of a completely different magnitude. For those of you that are aware, there has been a superb new R&B artist that has made his own ripple in the industry by becoming the new face of "Trap Soul." Bryson Tiller is not the originator but he definitely is at the front of the pack.

With his sudden emergence, Bryson Tiller has came to power swiftly cultivating a very strong & solid fan base. From first listen, it's evident that he isn't just going to be a one hit wonder. Young Tiller grabs you and legitimately lets listeners know, that he is not with the shits he's here to work.

There is an absolute plethora of great songs on this album it is extremely difficult to pick a favorite 3 at a minimum. The biggest songs that have really been ground zero for his success would have to be "Let Em' Know," "Don't," and "Exchange." You can pick your own poison these three or from the rest of the 11 tracks but no matter what, they all deserve a couple flame emojis. Most of the tracks like "Exchange" are emotional and about his failures and what he would change in a past relationship of his/what he would do if he got her back. Other songs go into depth about Bryson's struggle with coming into his new found success. From living with the mother of his child's mother and her putting him out of the house to him working three jobs to try and support his family just to get serious recognition from superstars like Timberland & Drake.

Though Bryson Tiller should primarily be listed as R&B, he also can spit (nothing of a Joey Bada$$ caliber but he can flow). To a minimum, he is able to get a 16 off and it sound better than majority of the local rappers you've seen "sell" their mixtapes with a 100% discount outside of your favorite grocery store. As a freshman in the game, Tiller already has a repertoire that has him at the top of the list for Rookie of the Year.

| Like us on Facebook || Follow us on Twitter |

11 November 2015

REVIEW: Big K.R.I.T. - It's Better This Way

Last month Big K.R.I.T. dropped a surprise mixtape on us in the form of It's Better This Way hosted by DJ Drama. It's curious as to why Drama was enlisted for this project, as K.R.I.T. has never struggled with handling the groundwork on his own, but Drama's involvement never detracts from the music. In fact, It's  Better This Way falls right in line with K.R.I.T.'s best work. It's right up there with K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, Return of 4eva, and 4eva N a Day, and even shares artwork reminiscent of the latter. The intro track fleshes out this artwork even further by showing K.R.I.T. essentially being left with the decision to follow the crowd, or be a leader and blaze his own trail. This is followed by a few words from Drama (his only notable contribution) re-iterating the theme of the album before K.R.I.T. starts firing off on another lyrically impressive tirade discussing his underrated position in the game.

K.R.I.T.'s mixtapes have such a unique feel versus his studio albums where there's an unapologetic sense of rebelliousness heard throughout. On the track "King Pt. 4," he spits lines like 'Culture, consumer, vultures / The music that I make ain't for radio, bogus / The people just wanna hit the club and have fun / And I don't make that kind of shit and that's really the culprit,' which illustrates the ever-widening divide between listeners who prefer substance versus those who gravitate toward the cookie-cut approach. The title track "It's Better This Way" sums up K.R.I.T.'s entire career in a nutshell. It is becoming more apparent that he is unconcerned with shifting the landscape of Hip-hop. Instead of trying to change everyone's minds about what great music is, it's almost as if the King Remembered In Time is conceding by simply saying he's better off continuing to follow the road less traveled. Fans are the beneficiaries of this more than anything, as that approach over the past six years has given us a collection of projects that are nothing short of impeccable.

There's something special about a new Big K.R.I.T. record that makes you wish he were around fifteen years ago, instead of being forced to carry the burden of keeping the soul of the south alive. Tracks such as "Vanilla Sky" and "Can't Be Still" literally sound like Dungeon Fam classics. On your first listen, it may appear as if they were crafted by the legendary Organized Noize themselves, and you almost expect a verse from Outkast or Goodie MOB to follow every hook. While It's Better This Way is far from his best mixtape, it's clear the greatest parts of the south still run through Big K.R.I.T.'s veins, and it's admirable to see him remain resolute amidst a landscape littered with retardation from his southern peers. K.R.I.T. continues to deliver in ways no one else from his region is even capable of anymore. Every year that passes by sees the King Remembered In Time fully living up to his name, and showing a rare level of consistency that caters to longevity.
| Like us on Facebook || Follow us on Twitter |

10 November 2015

NEWS: President Push

Yesterday Billboard announced that Pusha T will be the President of Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music imprint. I will try to be as unbiased as I can, but for the most part I gotta champion the VA emcee (two up..two down). Let's run through a quick CV.

Push took his first steps in the rap game with his brother Malice (known currently as No Malice), as the rap duo the Clipse. Their first LP, Lord Willin', dropped in 02 and has gone on to platinum status. At the time they were under Pharrell's Star Trak Entertainment record label. It was this collaboration that gave birth to the sound that made the two emcees household names for hip hop heads. Lyrically they were one of the strongest duos to come out of VA. And Push started planting the seed that would take the emcee further as a solo act. In 2008 the brothers started their clothing line Play Cloths. Since then the clothing line has expanded and has netted them millions of dollars. In 2010 Pusha T signed to Kanye's label, G.O.O.D. Music. The following year he dropped the critically acclaimed mixtape Fear of God, and later that year the follow up EP Fear of God 2: Let Us Pray. Since then his exposure (and wallet) has grown exponentially. With the exposure of the single Mercy (off of the G.O.O.D. Music compilation album, Cruel Summer), and multiple features throughout Kanye albums, the VA spitter has seen his stock rise in mainstream circles. Push's feature collection has grown to showcase a melting pot of mainstream artists: Kanye, Jeezy, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Future, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Kelly Rowland, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop, Jadakiss, The-Dream, French Montana, Omarion, Fabolous and Teyana Taylor. While I would probably only listen to about 5% of that list, it was made to prove a point. A kid from VA who started rapping about drugs, guns and money is now rubbing elbows with a catalog of big name pop artists. But what he has done so well is, that even though he has expanded his fan base, he still makes sure to keep his day one fans happy. His 2013 G.O.O.D. Music debut LP My Name Is My Name was void of radio friendly tracks (even though he did have a few radio singles, and had a feature roster full of said mainstream artists). He stuck to that formula of genuine hard bars and tough beats to satiate his Clipse fans.

I've read some people post that this would be downfall of G.O.O.D. Music. Some were funny, like (paraphrasing):

Push: Just rap about crack.
R&B singer: But Push..I am an R&B singer.
Push: Nah..just crack. Trust me.

Most of these comments are made in jest, because I don't think anyone can question his hustle. From his first Clipse LP, you could tell that Push had visions of being more than just an emcee. This is evident in his venture into the fashion game, which I feel is a true testament to his business acumen. Besides music, I would say that the fashion world is very cutthroat and hard to stand out in. With an over saturation of "urban" clothing lines, it speaks volumes that Push (and his brother) have not only stayed in the clothing game, but have continued to grow and make a substantial profit. Hip hop artists (some who arguably more "fashiony" than the Clipse) have invested in clothing lines, and the majority are extinct or endangered. Play Cloths is making money because, as Push says in the Billboard interview, "He[Kanye] knows I’m outside all the time. He knows that I’m of the people. He knows that I’m in those specific mixes of things that are bubbling up, whether it’s online or before it even really gets hot online. He knows I study those different avenues." No matter how "mainstream" Pusha T might get, he knows where he came from and who are the people that got him here. He is able to bring balance to two industries that have to constantly evolve, music and fashion. Push knows that music is just one of the pillars when it comes to the hip hop culture. And in order to truly grow, they must be aware of ALL the slices that make up the hip hop pie (yes, it is almost lunch and I'm starving). I wish Push the best and hope that he is able to continue contribute to the culture (and keep VA on the map). At his core, he is a genuine kid from the top of the south. Hip hop is bigger than a coast, it is worldwide. Here's to Pusha T showing the world what we are about.

Peep one of the first music videos from the Clipse below..13 years ago. Salute King Push.

| Like us on Facebook || Follow us on Twitter |

VIDEO: Add-2 - Stop Play Rewind ft Rapsody

This September, Chicago emcee Add-2 dropped his first studio album Prey For the Poor. This is his second Jamla Records project (the first was the mixtape Between Heaven & Hell) since signing to 9th Wonder's It's A Wonderful World Music Group back in 2013. Both have met positive reviews from hip hop heads nationwide (I definitely slept on the albums, but I plan to give them more spins after my next review is up). Like most Jamla records, Add-2's Prey For the Poor takes advantage of the in-house stable of producers (known as The Soul Council, who JUST added Hi-Tek!).

Last week Add-2 dropped some visuals to the single Stop Play Rewind. The Khrysis produced track features Rapsody. The video plays with the track title (Stop Play Rewind) with edits that chop up a linear story. It is "scratched" with portions that move forward in time, but for the most part the video is played in reverse. The main story (if played from beginning to end) in the video is of Add-2 going to see his girl, but instead finds her throwing his clothes out her apartment window. There isn't really a direct correlation with the video to the lyrics, but the overall effect of the video plays well with the track.

One of Add-2's dopest verses is: "R-r-r-r-rock it, all you rappers out your element/ Earth, wind and fire: Kwame, Linka, Wheeler/ Earth, Wind and Fire: Maurice, Verdine, Philip." The first trio (Kwame, Linka, Wheeler) are three members of Captain Planet's Planeteers. Kwame is the black dude who could control the earth element, Linka is the blond (Russian?) girl who could control the element of wind, and Wheeler is the American red head who could control the element of fire. And Maurice [White] , Verdine [White] and Philip [Bailey] are of course from the legendary group Earth, Wind & Fire.

Peep video below.

| Like us on Facebook || Follow us on Twitter |

09 November 2015

VIDEO: Skyzoo - Playing Favorites ft Christon Gray

This summer Skyzoo dropped his 6th studio album, Music For My Friends, to favorable reviews (including ours, peep it). The !llmind produced track Playing Favorites features vocals from Ohio singer-songwriter Christon Gray. The song depicts Skyzoo spitting game at a female. The smooth instrumental and hook provide the foundation for Sky to come correct as he pursues said female. Sky channels his inner LL and delivers something for the grown and sexy. You're gonna need to hit replay a few times to catch all the metaphors and double entendres young Skyler drops.

Peep video below.

| Like us on Facebook || Follow us on Twitter |