Friday, October 31, 2014

Nas is Back

Fall is usually when big artists begin to drop new projects. While we have releases from Big K.R.I.T., Eminem, and Rick Ross, artists like Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, and Frank Ocean have all promised new albums soon, but seem to be failing to follow through after months of teasing. But thankfully, we have one release to look forward to: Nas.

Arguably one of the best rappers of all time, Nas just celebrated the 20th anniversary of his standout debut album Illmatic by releasing a remastered version of the album and a documentary. Nas also jumped on the remix of Schoolboy Q's "Studio", and rapped that he has "Finished up my new album, single 'bout to be dropping". And yesterday, Nas followed through on this lyric. After showcasing his new single with a private audience at the Run The Jewels show, Nas officially released his first single, entitled "The Season". The new track is produced by the late-and-great J Dilla, and these two hip hop gods on the same record leaves fan wanting more. It looks like Nas Season is upon us.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: "Run the Jewels 2" is a Savage, Chaotic Masterpiece

Killer Mike and El-P first joint project was Mike's album R.A.P. Music, which was entirely produced by El-P. Last year, the duo released the free album Run The Jewels under the moniker of the same name. The album featured rapid flows, political and social issues, ferocious rhymes, and was met with immense praise. Well a few days ago, the duo released the sequel Run The Jewels 2 and it's amazing.

After signing to Mass Appeal Records earlier this year, Run The Jewels announced the release date of Run the Jewels 2 to be October 27, but they surprisingly released it on October 24 instead. The album can be purchased online and in CD format, but is also available for free download on their website, but the iTunes version contains the track "Blockbuster Night Pt. II".

Run The Jewels 2 blends elements of humor, anger, political commentary, and threats through an archaic delivery over bombastic beats courtesy of El-P. There is, and probably will be nothing like Run The Jewels. The sequel takes all of the great elements of Run The Jewels and elevates them. Killer Mike and El-P are open with how they would be more than happy to beat the living hell out every "fuck boy" in existence, with smiles on their faces. The album opens up with Killer Mike shouting that he "FINNA BANG THIS BITCH THE FUCK OUT". This album is chock-full of incredible lyrics, from "Jeopardy" where Mike spits "Fuck you fuckboys forever, I hope I said it politely/ and that's about the psyche of Jamie and Mickey" to "Oh My Darling, Don't Cry", where El-P tells his critics that they "can all run backwards through a field of dicks", or on "All Due Respect", where El-P tells you that your parent's separation is all your fault, and then Killer Mike jumps in to say that he's "gotta go bang out mom and auntie". What's so splendid about Run The Jewels 2 is that while the duo spit out insanely aggressive lyrics, they deliver them in a way that show that they are just having fun on this album.

The album isn't just savage lyricism. On the track "Love Again (Akinyele Back)", Killer Mike and El-P craft a sexually explicit song so raunchy it rivals "I Will" for the Nastiest Song Ever Made, with the help of former Three-Six-Mafia member Gangsta Boo. On "Early" (featuring Boots, the guy who produced almost all of Beyonce)  Killer Mike portrays a scenario where overzealous police officers arrest Mike over a little weed in front of his entire family, and all hell breaks loose. And on "Crown", Mike again details a story about how he used to sell crack to a pregnant woman. This poignant storytelling, in addition to the fierce rhymes, create an album that will make you want to destroy your annoying neighbor's car, and then volunteer at a soup kitchen for the rest of the day. Run The Jewels 2 is undoubtedly in the running for the best album of the year.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: Logic's "Under Pressure" is Another Solid Release

On October 21, Logic released his debut album Under Pressure. This album was one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Logic has done a great job teasing the release, with slow trickles of information throughout the year, new singles, and a tour. And last week, the album was finally released to eager fans nationwide.

The album features production mainly from Logic and his in-house producer 6ix, along with production from S1, Dj Dahi, No I.D., among others. The production contains fast,layered instrumentals, and many rapid vocal loops. This speedy producing approach matches well with the fast-paced lyricism that Logic is known for. And this lyricism is a staple on this album. Logic's wordplay and pace has been one of his strongest attributes, and arguably some of the best in the industry. Similarly to his previous mixtapes, Logic spends the majority of the album rapping about his come-up and what he's currently going through. Logic constantly said that the album would be much darker than his previous efforts, and somewhat similar to Nas's Illmatic. While it certainly is different, it's not too dark. Songs like "Gang Related" and "Growing Pains III" feature darker lyrics the portray his childhood in Section 8 housing in Maryland. Darker lyrics are woven throughout the album, but this album doesn't feel like a street album, and more like an album about a new artist enjoying and struggling with new success. There are many standout songs on this album. "Buried Alive", one of the singles off the album, is a radio friendly song with a nice, flowing production created entirely by Logic. "Nikki" is a fabulous concept song, where Logic speaks on his nicotine addiction by personifying the addiction as a woman Logic is in love with. The outro, "Till The End" is my favorite song on Under Pressure. The production is extremely catchy, and the song features some of the best wordplay on the album, with lyrics such as "Won't speak on my bank account/so many commas I'd have to pause/and I can't afford to just waste the bars". The deluxe version of the album features the songs "Driving Miss Daisy", "Now", and "Alright", which have all been released previously, and are all great songs. Under Pressure is definitely a contender for album of the year.

While this album is great, it still has its weaknesses. Some of the aesthetic elements seem unneeded, like a narrator named Thalia who gives information about the album. Logic tries to portray his childhood through the eyes of a character named "Bobby" in the album, but "Bobby" is used sparsely throughout the album, and there seems to be absolutely no difference between "Bobby" and Logic himself. Also, while the gritty, dark aspects of the album are a nice addition, they aren't extremely concentrated. I would love to hear vivid anecdotes about Logic finding out about his sister's rape, or seeing his father cooking crack, or his brother selling crack, or his mother's mistreatment of her children. Knowing Logic's amazing lyrical finesse, this storytelling would be a superb addition. Parts of the album seem a bit repetitive, with many lyrics repeated, many from his previous mixtapes. And while I really like the song "Under Pressure", it seems like a knock-off of Kendrick Lamar's "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst", even with an extremely similar drum hook. Nonetheless, this is an incredible debut album. My main constructive criticism I can give to Logic would have a more focused sound and direction on your next album.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Social Experiment Will Be Releasing New Albums Soon

Remember that time I said Chance the Rapper will be releasing a new project soon? I was right! Around a week ago (no Bobby Schmurda jokes), Chance the Rapper had a very revealing interview with Billboard. In the exclusive interview, he talked about his new song "No Better Blues", working with J. Cole and Frank Ocean, and his new project(s). He revealed that he has been working with his band the Social Experiment extensively, and will be releasing a variety of free albums with the band. Chance stated that the first album will be released before the year's end, and it will mainly feature work by bandmate Nico Segal. But Chance said that each bandmate would have the spotlight on one of the albums, so we might be getting a pure Chance album featuring his bandmates pretty soon. Along with the new projects, Chance said in the interview that the Social Experiment is working on a Lion King-esque live concert series. All of the announcements are good news to Chance fans, and also show a completely new and strange artistic direction, Keep a look out for more news on the projects (but only look on this blog because this blog rocks).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review: Daniel Caesar's "Praise Break" is Beautiful

The Toronto music scene has been buzzing recently. Spearheaded by Drake and his OVO crew, the Canadian city has birthed the "No New Friends" rapper, along with crooners PARTYNEXTDOOR and The Weeknd. As Drake said on the "Tuesday" remix, he's "put the world on a sound"; the sound of Toronto. But there's a new singer from the city who seems to have broken away from this mold of the Toronto sound. His name is Daniel Caesar, and his new EP is immaculate.

Daniel Caesar is relatively unknown, bolstering around 1,600 followers on SoundCloud and a little over 1,000 on Twitter. His EP, entitled Praise Break was released a few days ago fro free via SoundCloud. The 7-track EP showcases Caesar singing his heart out over slow instrumentals of pianos and electric guitars. Caesar croons about his first love and religion mostly on Praise Break, but don't let that discourage you. Caesar's new soul sound is absolutely gorgeous, and anyone can relate to it. The religion in the EP is not overbearing at all, and is most subtle, with samples from gospel songs and a gorgeous prayer in the middle of the song "Pseudo". Caesar sings with ease over the simple piano production on "Chevalier" to the haunting guitar riffs on the 6 minute epic of "We'll Always Have Paris". Praise Break is one of the most stunning projects I've heard all year, and I would recommend it to anyone.

On another note, I would like to dedicate this blog post to my grandmother, Ann Kirk. She had been battling Alzheimer's disease for the past five years, and passed early this morning. Similarly to Caesar, she was a devoted Christian, and I've related a lot of what he's been singing about back to her. When my grandmother was near the end, and her mind was nearly gone, she would still pray. She was a loving, kind, selfless woman who left behind a family that misses her dearly. This is a music blog, but I want to pay respect to the memory of a very special woman in my life. My grandmother is in a much better place now, but I still love and miss her profoundly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chief Keef is Unsurprisingly Dropped From Interscope

Oh Chief Keef. The epitome of what people who don't listen to rap music think rap music is has done it again. After countless scandals, run-ins with the law, and sub-par music releases, Keef has been dropped by Interscope. According to HotNewHipHop, Keef was dropped due to differences in musical direction and over the release of Back from the Dead 2. It's surprising he's been on the label for over two years, considering his piss-poor mixtapes Bang 2 and Almighty So, and his various legal issues, from his first arrest for heroin production to not appearing at a benefit concert. Keef is still signed to 1017 Brick Squad Records and Glory Boyz Entertainment, which Keef started himself.

Keef seems to be following in the footsteps of other trap artists, but with less success. Epitomized by Gucci Mane (who Keef reportedly has a mixtape with, entitled BigGucciSosa), many new artists refuse to release proper solo albums, and instead release a multitude of collaborative, or Internet-only projects. While some artists like Migos have projects that are can be purchased online, most can also be downloaded for free. Young Thug, Migos, Gucci Mane, Chief Keef, Trinidad Jame$, and countless others are straying away from the standard "drop a few mixtapes, maybe an EP, get signed then a debut album" way of releasing music, and instead are dropping projects that meet somewhere between an album and a mixtape in quick succession. In the fight for quality over quantity, quantity seems to be winning for many artists. This is a shame, since many new artists are taking this route and never really get out from the underground, nor make huge sums of money.

In other label news, Mac Miller just signed to Warner Bros Records following his leaving of Rostrum Records. Warner Bros signed Miller, along with Miller's own label REMember Music for a whopping $10 million. Miller will still run REMember Music, signing and creating music with artists in the label, but all music released will be released through Warner Bros/REMember.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Listen to Chance the Rapper's New Song "No Better Blues"

Chance the Rapper has been blowing up recently. Without ever releasing any for purchase-projects, and only two mixtapes, Chance has garnered a huge worldwide following. Following the success from his breakout mixtape Acid Rap, Chance has been touring constantly and featured on songs with various artists, such as SZA, James Blake, Skrillex, and Justin Bieber. Additionally, he has created a band called the Social Experiment, which is made up of Chance and musicians Nate Fox and Peter Cottontale, among others. Most of the songs the Social Experiment has released so far feature stripped-down producings, and soulful rapping by Chance. Yesterday, Chance and the Social Experiment released a new song, entitled "No Better Blues". The song is a satire of pessimism and criticism, and features Chance singing/rapping over a slow piano and drum production. Chance lists everything he hates for the entirety of the song, but most of them are paradoxical, such as "I hate to love and I love to hate" and "I hate racists, I hate white people". There's no word yet when Chance will be dropping a new project, or what the project will be, but judging by his rising popularity and then new songs he's released, there will probably be a new project fairly soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Incredibly Convoluted Connections Between Childish Gambino's Recent Videos

For the last year or two, Childish Gambino has been creating very weird music, videos, and a movie script. Most of them seem like deranged projects with no connection or relevance, but he's stated on his Twitter account  they're connected. He's dropped few hint, but they still seem completely random. But, I think I have figured out possibly what is going on with all of his work, and its pretty insane. Keep in mind, Gambino's plot may not be over yet, and my idea could be completely wrong. Also, a thread on Reddit has helped me with this idea, so I can't take full credit for this hypothesis.

What I'll be concentrating on is the music videos. In the last year, four songs from Because the Internet have been made into music videos: "The Worst Guys", "3005", "Sweatpants", and "Telegraph Ave". Each video is pretty strange, and for a reason. Basically, Gambino is showing in his various videos that an parasite-like animal has taken control of his body, and by the year 3005, has spread and taken over the world.

 "The Worst Guys" is the very first video released. In the video, Bino and some of his friends spend a day at the beach. The entire video is upbeat and happy, except for one scene. At the 1:47 mark, for a split second, Gambino is seen limping with a giant gash on his leg. This is extremely odd for such a happy video, and I think it's because at this moment, an aquatic alien attacks Bino, and buries itself into him.

The next video released was "3005". The video features Gambino and a large teddy bear ridding on a Ferris Wheel. It's a very basic video, but there are some very interesting details if you look closely. Near the beginning of the video, everyone on the and nearby the Ferris Wheel seem fairly young, in their 20's. But as the Ferris Wheel spins and the video progresses, everyone gets older. The riders and guests of the theme park all look like they're in their 60's or 70's. And the teddy bear with Gambino gets more and more deteriorated as the video moves forward. I think this is to show that years have passed during the duration of the video, but Gambino doesn't age. This could be evidence that he's an alien.

The third video is one of the weirdest videos. "Sweatpants" shows Gambino walking into a diner, sitting with his friends, leaving the diner, and then checking his phone. This repeats throughout the video, but with a twist. Each time Gambino enters the diner, more and more of the patrons become clones of Gambino, and they become more aware of him. By the end of the video, every single person in the diner is a clone of Gambino, and they are all staring at him. These clones are other people that have been infected by Gambino, and are now quasi-aliens themselves.

The most recent video has the most proof for the theory, and was the reason for the theory. "Telegraph Ave" opens up with Gambino hanging out with his muse Jhene Aiko. The video takes place in Kauai, and Gambino seems to be very happy with Aiko, a detail missing in most of the other videos. But in the last scene of the video, Gambino is hit by a car. Two armed men come out of the car, and pull Aiko away, telling her to leave and that she is in danger. Gambino was hurt by the car, and most of the left side of his body was bloody and cut open. Spilling out of his wound was a moving red and purple growth with large tentacles. The tentacles quickly grabbed and killed the armed men, and the video ends with the Gambino/alien staring at Aiko.

The order of the videos doesn't make a ton of sense in the order they were released, but make more sense when placed in order of how they appear on the album. "The Worst Guys" is the fifth track, and this is where the alien attaches to Gambino. The seventh track is "Telegraph Ave", and this is where Gambino is revealed to be an alien. "Sweatpants" is the next track, and it shows Gambino spreading the alien to the general populace. And the final track, "3005", shows Gambino as the alien, living for many years unchanged as everyone else ages

There are various other works that fit into this theory. Most of the songs past "3005" on Because the Internet seem to strengthen the idea. The song "no exit" feature the lyrics "please don't run away, I'm a murderer, what can I say?". These lines seem to be directed at Aiko, asking her to not leave him although he's a murdering alien. In the next song, "Death By  Numbers", Gambino says "No one has to know, so let it slide baby", which again seems to be directed at Aiko, asking her not to tell people that he's an alien. The song "Flight of the Navigators" features lyrics about flying overhead, like a spaceship would, and contains the lyric "We became the same", possibly referring to the "Sweatpants" video. And in the song "Urn", Gambino croons "I watched them all pass by the moon and stars". This song is at the end of the "Sweatpants" video, and the scene shows Gambino standing in a field with a large green light overhead, another huge clue that Gambino is an alien.

There are various other pieces of evidence woven in Gambino's other works, such as in the screenplay"Clapping for the Wrong Reasons" short film, and the STN MTN/Kauai mixtape/EP. The latter features a hidden track, which is a remixed version of "3005", where Gambino laments about how in the year 3005, everything that he once loved is gone. These works are extensive, and I haven't had the time honestly to figure out how they all fit in. This entire theory could be wrong, or mislead, or missing facts, and it probably is. If you have any opinions or add-ins, let me know.


Gambino has posted a new video, for the song "Sober". I believe it fits in the storyline, and I've written an article explaining the connections here.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Listen to Run the Jewel's New Track "Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)

Run the Jewels, a recently formed rap collective consisting of Killer Mike and El-P, are gearing up to release their second album Run the Jewels 2. Two days ago, they dropped one of the songs from the album, entitled "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)" featuring Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine. The song sounds equally awesome as the title. Mike and El go in over looped vocals from Rocha, followed by an ending verse from Rocha. "Close Your Eyes" contains the fast-paced, savage word play typical of Run the Jewels. Two other songs from the album, "Oh My Darling Don't Cry" and "Blockbuster Night Part 1" have been released in the last month.

Additionally, Run the Jewels will be remixing their new album entirely out of cat sounds. As a joke, Run the Jewels announced a bunch of fake pre-order bonuses. One, entitled Meow The Jewels, costs $40,000 and would have El-P and Killer Mike recreate Run the Jewels 2 using only cat noises. Well, someone took it seriously and created a Kickstarter campaign to have this actually happen. Both El-P and Killer Mike have agreed to create the album if $40,000 is raised, and El stated that he would donate his share to the families of Eric Garner and Mike Brown. Well, the campaign gained popularity, and as of today, has raised over $48,000. This means that the album will be happening, and producers Just Blaze, Alchemist, Baaur, Boots, SKYWLKR, and others have agreed to help. Catch the real Run the Jewels 2 album on October 27, and look out for the release date of Meow the Jewels.

In unrelated news, Jay Rock dropped a new song "Parental Advisory" yesterday. This is the first official release from Rock in years, and is presumed to be part of his to-be-announced new album. Also, BJ the Chicago Kid dropped another song, probably his best recently, entitled "Good Karma".

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

What Ever Happened to Rapper Beef?

Feuds are a staple of rap. Violence, boasts, and narcissism has historically lead to rappers beefing with other rappers. Beef came from competition, threats, and broken promises/misunderstandings. While it may seem like a hindrance, beef has historically produced gold. Nas and Jay-Z's beef gave birth to the best diss track ever, "Ether", followed by "The Bitch in Yoo", Common's diss to Ice Cube. Kanye West's feud with 50 Cent led to largely publicized album releases, which boosted both of their sales. And the beef between the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac epitomizes the East Coast vs. West Coast rivalry of the 90's.

But where is beef now? Since Jay-Z and Nas squashed their beef in 2005, there seems to be little feuds of any importance. Of course, there are still vendettas between rappers, but this is often between less successful rappers vying for attention, or related to rival gang allegiances. Rappers today seem to be more eager to squash even rumored beefs, than to carry them on. There are few publicized feuds I can think of this year. Jay-Z (again) traded small-time shots at Drake for the past year, but it hasn't amounted to anything yet. Freddie Gibbs dropped "Real", which attacked his ex-labelmate Jeezy, but Jeezy downplayed and quite frankly squashed the beef with "Holy Ghost". The quasi-beef between Kendrick Lamar and Drake (again) seemed to have the most potential, but it never really had much of a basis, and was mostly kept alive by the media. "Control" seemed like it could reignite feud-culture, but in my opinion didn't really create much change. The only people who responded were usually unknown rappers, and after about a month no one cared much about the verse. Also, Lamar wasn't really calling anyone out, since every single rapper he named he had previously worked with, and virtually all of them took no offense to the verse.

Many people cite the 1990's as the "golden age" of hip hop, partly due to the competitive nature of prevalent feuds. But the age of feuds seems to have ended, but I think a new era is upon us. Lately, the number of collaborative tracks, mixtapes, and albums has increased significantly. While feuds create rivalry that promotes more quality music, the absence of feuds allow for rappers to work together like never before. There seems to be very little regional conflict anymore, so you see rappers from the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, and the South all working together, which hasn't happened on a large scale for years. And the sheer number of new rappers on their come up leads to increased competition. The rise of collaboration may lead to a whole new golden age of hip-hop.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Watch Logic's Insane New Music Video for "Under Pressure"

Logic unveiled the title track of his debut album Under Pressure a few weeks ago, and today he released a music video for the song. And wow, it is crazy. The video is entirely shot via first person view, and feels like you're playing a video game. Logic and his pals don masks and gloves, and begin a robbery/mass murdering spree through an apartment block. I honestly don't know why Logic used this for his first video, since you never see Logic rapping, or anything really connected to hip-hop at all. But, the video is still awesome, since it feels like you're actually in a video game. Watch the crazy video here, and don't forget to grab Logic's album when it drops on 10/21.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Vince Staples is Bringing Back True Street Hip-Hop

For never having released an official album yet, Vince Staples has had a fairly large music career so far. Starting when he was only 16, Staples connected with Earl Sweatshirt on his infamous first mixtape, and stayed connected to Odd Future for a few years. He also formed a collective with Joey Fatts and Ashton Matthews, called Cutthroat Boyz. He's worked closely with TDE and Mac Miller, and has been featured by Jhene Aiko and Common. And today, he dropped his first ever for-sale project: Hell Can Wait.

The Long Beach native didn't really gain a lot of popularity until last year, with his Mac Miller-produced mixtape Stolen Youth. Earlier this year, Staples released Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2, which was produced mostly by No I.D. This was one of the best projects so far, and Staples just one-upped himself on Hell Can Wait. This is one of the realest rap projects released so far. Staples grew up poor, surrounded by and taking part in gangs. Staples raps viciously and frantically about these issues, and tells them truthfully. You aren't gonna hear boasts of nice cars or shout-outs to expensive clothing brands. You hear about fiends knocking on Staples's door begging for a fix, and hearing gun shots from his door steps, and threats thrown at rival gangs. Staples paints a vivid picture of Long Beach, surrounded by violent gangs, violent fiends, and violent police. He isn't making an album filled with radio-friendly hooks and choruses, but focuses on graphic story-telling with addictive production.

There isn't a single bad song on the seven-track EP. Whether is be the slow, creeping "Screen Door", the melodic "Limos", or the anthem-like "Feeling the Love", each song contains a hooking narrative and a catchy beat. For instance, on the song "Hands Up", Staples responds to recent police brutality with a poignant tribute to slain victims. At the same time, he blends in brooding production that makes you want to chant with Staples that "LAPD, no they ain't got shit!".

The only criticism I can give on this EP is that at times, Staples's voice can be a bit monotone. But his hurried pace matches well with the subjects and production on the EP, especially on "Blue Suede". I would also love to hear Staples collaborate with more artists, since his work on Nobody's Smiling was phenomenal. Staples raw street storytelling feels similar to Kendrick Lamar and Nas. Make sure you cop Hell Can Wait.

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Review: Childish Gambino's New Project is...Interesting

Childish Gambino has had a big year so far. He dropped Because the Internet, and has been preforming at a multitude of festivals this summer. He's been teasing his fans that he'd be dropping a new project for the last few months, as long as saying he's working on an EP with Chance the Rapper (but that won't be out anytime soon).  Bino explained that his new project was split into two parts, the first is called STN MTN, and it's a Gangsta Grillz mixtape, while the second part is entitled Kauai, and it's an EP, and all the proceeds go to beautification projects in Kauai. Two days ago, Gambino released STN MTN completely out of the blue, and the next day dropped Kauai. And they're both pretty weird.

STN MTN can be found at the bottom of Childish Gambino's unique blog. The mixtape opens with Gambino talking about a dream he had, where he controlled a bunch of Atlanta specific things, like local record labels and radio stations. He then says he dreamed that he had a Gangsta Grillz mixtape. And then the rest of the mixtape is just that: an Atlanta-themed Gangsta Grillz mixtape. It's basically 11 songs of trap-heavy production from Grillz and other ATL producers, with Gambino rapping the entire time. And it doesn't blend very well. The beats would blend perfectly with Future or 2 Chainz,  but not at all with Bino. It just sounds really awkward to hear Bino's high voice rapping about the same stuff that Migos raps about. And having each song introduced by Grillz talking is horrendous. There are some okay songs, like "No Fucks Given" and "U Don't Have To Call", but there's also a two minute commercial of a promoter yelling about a Childish Gambino show in Atlanta. I think that Gambino was trying to be a more regional rapper on this mixtape, although I personally believe a rappers should move past regional rapping, but there are a lot of times that the songs just seem like a joke. With so much attention on the Atlanta rap scene now, I think Gambino was trying to remind everyone that he grew up there too. He summarizes the objective of this mixtape in "U Don't Have to Call": "I was never a thug and they used to respect me for it, but now the game's fucked up and I gotta Micheal Coreleone these niggas". Or, this whole mixtape could just be a joke to Gambino.

Kauai is a completely different story. The EP contains lovely, floating instrumentation with Gambino singing for most of the EP. It truly sounds like being on a beach. Some of the production sounds reminiscent of 80's pop music, but with a contemporary twist. Rapping is sparse in this EP; instead Bino sings in the majority of the songs. Kauai is not without it's odd elements either. One song contain Jaden Smith somewhat rapping. Yes, Jaden Smith. That guy with the horrendously "deep" tweets. Smith is supposedly portraying "the Boy", who was the main character in Bino's screenplay.

STN MTN feels like a bad continuation of R O Y A L T Y , while Kauai feels more similar to Because the Internet. While the mixtape and the EP sound completely different, they are supposed to go into each other, and they both feature some of the same subjects: women, success, insecurities. I appreciate that Gambino is trying something different, but as the saying goes: "Don't fix something that isn't broken".

Friday, October 3, 2014

Listen to A$AP Rocky's newest song "Multiply"

Well, the countdown was revealed. Yesterday at midnight, Lord Flacko Jodye II, aka A$AP Rocky (I don't understand what his name means at all), dropped a new music video. "Multiply" is his newest single for his new album, which will be out sometime this year hopefully. It's a great song, but the video says that the song features Juicy J, yet he only speaks in the background for a small amount of time. The video shows the whole A$AP Mob gooning in the streets. They beat up some white kid that looks like Eminem, ride a bunch of bikes, and flick off the camera a lot. Hopefully, there will be more news coming soon about Rocky's sophomore album. 

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Who is BJ The Chicago Kid?

The Chicago music scene has been buzzing lately. While Los Angeles, New York, and more recently Atlanta have all been giant rap hubs, Chicago has been on the come up recently. After spawning legends like Kanye West, Common, and Twista, a multitude of new rappers have been getting the spotlight in the last few years. Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Rockie Fresh, are all talented spitters from Chitown, all without even an album out yet but major national attention. Additionally, a new genre of street rap has been born in "Chiraq": drill music, which is headlined by artists such as Chief Keef, Lil Durk, Fredo Santana, and Young Chop. But very little attention is on the singers of Chicago, and one of the newest and best out of the city is BJ the Chicago Kid. There is a very good chance you have heard him at some point. He's been featured on tracks with Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Ab-Soul, Ty Dolla $ign, Jay Rock, Vic Mensa, Freddie Gibbs, Chance the Rapper, and most recently, ScHoolboy Q's overly blatant sexual single. But who is this guy? In short, what Joey Bada$$ has been doing for classic East Coast rap, BJ is doing for old school Motown music. He blends hip hop elements with beautiful harmonies and slow, instrument-driven production.

But BJ The Chicago Kid is more than just a feature artist. His online-only album, Pineapple Now-Laters was one of the best albums of 2012, and included a moving story on "His Pain II" with Kendrick Lamar. One way that BJ separates himself from other R&B artists is his perspective on women. He doesn't call them "bitches", but instead croons about their love, beauty, and perfection. BJ falls closer on the spectrum to John Legend than the Weeknd or Ty Dolla $ign. BJ the Chicago said last year that he was gearing up to release a proper debut album, through Motown Records, actually. And in the last month, he has unexpectedly dropped six individual songs. Most sound like the gorgeously crafted tracks BJ crafted on Pineapple Now-Laters, but a few, such as "Go Girl" seem a bit too poppy, and sound somewhat tacky and cliche. All the songs are free, and can be found on Keep a look out for BJ The Chicago Kid's debut, and definitely don't sleep on the Chicago crooner.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sorry Everybody, Tupac is Probably Dead

On September 7th, 1996, Tupac Shakur was shot multiple times on a Las Vegas road, and died a few days later. For most of his fans, that was the end of the road. The king of West Coast rap was dead, and few people would ever be able to match his prowess. But, some people believed, and still do believe that Tupac is alive. No one was caught for the murder, and Tupac's remains were cremated, which led many to believe that he wasn't dead at all. There have been reported sightings of Tupac in South Africa, and even in other rappers' music videos. Even Suge Knight, who was in the car with Tupac when it was shot up, claims that he's still alive. But one of the most interesting theories is the Makaveli Theory. Tupac changed his rap name to "Makaveli" for his last album, and many believe that this is a sign that he's still alive. The real Makaveli, author of The Prince, suggested that faking one's death is good move to gain power, and Makaveli did this, and then revealed himself eighteen years later. Many theorists believe that Tupac would do the same, and reveal that he has been alive for the last eighteen years. This September marked eighteen years since Tupac's death, but as far as I'm aware of, Tupac didn't return. This seems like the final nail in the Tupac conspiracy's coffin. Sorry everyone, but it's October 1st, and Tupac hasn't returned.