J*DaVeY's New Designer Drug was one of the more fun projects that I listened to all of last year, and continue to listen to this year. Accordingly, it deserved the runner-up spot to For The Glory on my Top 15 Albums from 2011. Besides rap music, I kind of really love club-friendly, upbeat, poppy music, like Rihanna, Beyonce, Keri Hilson pre-No Boys Allowed, and I can't think of what else off the top of my head (don't judge me!!), but New Designer Drug is in a realm of its own. As described in my iTunes, it's "fusion pop," which is quite accurate (yeah, a group being able to describe their own music accurately...yeah). Traditional pop elements are there, but it feels a lot more electronic to me, which to be fair is the direction that most music is traveling in these days. In fact, some of the songs even sound like old-school video games, or maybe I'm just high off that New Designer Drug (pun intended, of course). As such, the contrast between Brook D'Leau's electronic-y beats and Jack Davey's airy vocals is dope. New Designer Drug is just like really, really good pop music that doesn't sound like it's brainwashing you. Or that's how I feel. Actually, maybe it is, because when I heard "Whatcha Lookin @" as I watched its the double video with "Kill For Fun," I was addicted. I love this song so much! I listened to it on repeat for a long time and didn't tire of it, which means something! In all seriousness, though, New Designer Drug is probably the best pop album from 2011 that I'm guessing that significant people didn't hear. I mean, they weren't nominated for a ...
Archive for the ‘Album Reviews’ Category
By "albums," I really mean "projects," which includes mixtapes, EP's, or whatever. I can't tell the difference between some albums and mixtapes, so I just wanted to make a list of my favorite 15 projects that I loved from 2011. 15. J. Pinder dropped Code Red 2.0 last January, and it was great. Pinder is more soulful than most rappers, and I appreciate that. There's just something about Code Red 2.0. For some reason, it struck a chord with me, probably because I could relate to him wanting to get out and go far. Well, I'm still in the same place, and Code Red 2.0 is still good, so whatevs. Read my original review of Code Red 2.0 here. 14. I interviewed Donnis right before he dropped Southern Lights this year, so that was pretty trill. Not to mention two of my top songs from 2011 are found on here, but Southern Lights was a dope tape from start to finish, and I'm kind of surprised that no one else is including it on their lists with production from Needlz, Syience, and the Cataracs, among others. The transition between "Ford Mustang" and "Ray Ban Vision" is uh-maze-ing. 13. Like Southern Lights, Zero Heroes was a dope tape from start to finish, and I really appreciated XV's mixtape theme throughout the project. No one has ever made nerd hop sound as good as XV, who I am pretty sure is one of the most endearing rappers out there.
Cats & Dogs was by far one of my most anticipated albums of the year for me, so I was nervous that it wouldn't live up to my self-imposed hype like Tha Carter IV and Watch The Throne. Plus, remember how I interviewed Ev a couple months ago? I will definitely remember that for the rest of my life as one of the higher points because I was interviewing one of my favorite rappers, and he was super cool! As a result, I was double nervous. I mean, I didn't doubt that Ev could make another great record, but I was still nervous nonetheless. After listening to the evidence at hand, the verdict is in: I love Cats & Dogs (pun intended). Almost two months after it dropped, and I'm honestly so excited to write about it. I'm literally sitting here, on my couch with Law & Order playing in the background, feeling suddenly energized by it . That's how much I enjoyed the record, and I hope that's reflected in my ensuing essay. Cats & Dogs still continues with the weather motif like Evidence's previous records, but it felt a little darker to me. Coincidentally, as Ev said both to me and in other interviews, Cats & Dogs would be a lot more personal, a lot more real. He raps about topics like not needing love, and being broke, two things that aren't exactly rosy, and his realness is largely what made it feel slightly darker to me. But then again, I gravitate toward the darker, less happy music for some reason. "Liner Notes," his cleverly disguised introduction to the album, captivated me immediately. I wouldn't know that it was even supposed to be ...
Yo, that cover absolutely terrifies me. Rihanna looks possessed or something. I turn my phone around so I don't have to see it when I listen to Talk That Talk at the gym, since it's a phenomnal album to listen to while working out. I'm scared of it. Most of the time, kind of like King B, I am on the fence about Rihanna. Right now, I like her, and I really like her gun tattoos. If tattoos were my style, I would seriously consider those. I have necklaces and earrings that are guns. Anyway, I pretty much enjoy this album from start to finish, and I haven't felt that way about a fair amount of releases this year. I didn't like her previous album Loud all that much, even though practically every song was a hit, so I didn't have very high expectations for her sixth album in as many years. It's kind of exhausting, but Talk That Talk is my favorite to date. Now that I think about it, the albums that I anticipated usually sucked to me, while I enjoyed the albums that I had little or no expectations about. Miraculously, I have somehow avoided to listening to "We Found Love" at all before the video dropped, primarily because I just don't listen to FM radio. Inexplicably, watching the video made me kind of like the song, although I didn't really care for the video, and yes, I'm aware that doesn't make sense. Regardless, I kind of like "We Found Love," and I really like "Where Have You Been." I can only imagine how ham I would go in a Roman nightclub to these techno-influenced tracks. But, alas, last time I checked, I'm still in Seattle, and I'm perfectly okay with hearing the other club-friendly ...
Reverie is a badass emcee in Seattle by way of LA, and I met her back in March at the Fashawn concert. I was hanging out by myself, as it usually is when I go to concerts, when this nice girl and her brother started talking to me. I go to a fair amount of shows solo, and it's not very often that other girls actually talk to me. Normally I just get hit on by weirdos, who I then see out at other concerts, and don't remember me so they try to mack on me again. True story. Anyway, I mentioned that I have a blog, she mentioned that she raps, we both love Evidence, and that was that. It wasn't until a few months that I actually listened to the CD she gave me, and when I did, I was blown away. Ohmygosh! This girl can spit! is what I thought to myself. Since then, Reverie has released Sitting Upside Down, her first official album that was entirely produced by Louden, and like the CD that she gave me months ago, is full of dope, aggressive rhymes. The "Bwreckfast" introduction kind of scares me, like the mom sounds brainwashed or something, but don't let that deter you, because homegirl gets it in on the following track. Actually, she gets it in on every track found on Sitting Upside Down. "Roots Like The Trees" is probably my favorite cut off the album, as it immediately caught my attention. Not only can I relate to it, not wanting to get old, not wanting to get fat, and not wanting kids (I have cats), but I like the concept of the song, and Reverie does a great job of storytelling in it. She might go off on tangents, ...
If Cole World: The Sideline Story was meant to catapult J. Cole into the mainstream starting lineup of hiphop, then it failed. If anything, it cemented his place on the sideline. I wanted him to make the starting team, and make that winning shot, and not just sit there and observe it from the sidelines. But enough with those basketball metaphors. I can't remember where I read it (otherwise I would link it), but Cole explained that "A Sideline Story" paid homage to how he was on the sidelines as a team manager for the St. Johns basketball team for three years before he finally made the actual team as a starter senior year. He worked really hard, and when it was his time, he made it. With that in mind, I still find it odd that he's repping The Sideline so hard, like he's limiting himself or something. We get it; you're the underdog (or so you think). But is he really an underdog if he is signed to The Roc? I don't think so. It just feels like he is lessening himself by not allowing himself to not be on the sidelines. He should have titled it something like Cole World: I'm the One Man Basketball Team That Wins Every Game, Sit Down Heaux. Or a derivation of that. For an album that is almost entirely produced by J. Cole, I was surprised by the lack of cohesiveness. I loved his production on other projects from 2011, like Section.80, Zero Heroes and Higher Learning 2, really stood out to me, but all his songs blend together. In other words, it's like eating an entire bag of Halloween candy and then not appreciating Twix bars anymore. As I've alluded to before, I really like ...
As usual, nothing can sway my love for The-Dream. I definitely didn't give this its proper listen when it initially dropped, but trust I'm making up for lost time. My mind continues to be boggled at how he consistently makes such incredible music. 1977, released under The-Dream's government name Terius Nash, is markedly more angst-ridden and heart-wrenching than any of its predecessors. I've always felt like he was one of the more emotional singers out there, but 1977 feels as if it delves into a far more darker realm, with Terius' typically more upbeat, rosy love songs replaced by sad, almost desolate songs. I mean, he sings "if you can't see the tears running down my eyes, I guess I gotta make the sun cry" in "1977 (Miss You Still)." He just sounds so tortured throughout the album. I'm definitely one of those weirdos who enjoys listening to depressing music when I'm feeling down, even though it doesn't really make me feel any better. Everything just seems worse and magnified when you're tired, and that's what's up with my world today. That, and I'm tired of coffee. So that basically means I am having an identity crisis. And, ok, I'm done rambling about my non-problems. Anyhow, the album starts with Terius asking to be woken when it's over, and it doesn't really get any happier. Perfect. Each song is like another kick in the stomach while you're already down. I haven't been in a fight before, but I can imagine that that's what it feels like. Figuratively, and far less painful. I fortunately haven't experienced it, but I imagine it would be like being in a fight, and each song is like another kick to the stomach while you're already down. Like a ...
Straight up, For The Glory is one of my favorites to drop this year. I haven't stopped listening to it since its September 17th release. It's in the whip, it's one of the few albums on my iPhone, and I stream it at work. Yeah, you get the picture; I'm basically obsessed. Whatever. And, instead of continually revising this review, I'll just post it. And every single time I listen to For The Glory, I swear, I hear another funny and clever phrase that I had somehow missed before. I'm not even exaggerating the slightest. Punchlines on punchlines on punchlines. At first, I was going to list a few of my favorite lines--"I called a girl special, I just meant retarded" (like...what? seriously? who says that and gets away with it?!)--but I have too many favorites. Plus, it doesn't do Nacho justice by listing one-liners out of context because it tends to lose the overall effect of the song. If you don't have a sense of humor you're not into Nacho's subject matter, the production is absolutely stellar with Blue Sky Black Death and Raised By Wolves, and Eric G producing "Dynamite." I love that their darker instrumentals perfectly compliment the darker topics being rapped about throughout the whole project. Not a single second is wasted on "Bad Guy" in cultivating said darker mood. Nacho establishes himself as a villain, likening himself to Lex Luger and Eddie Brock, among others, but then saying he "just puked in the new car that your parents bought, then cameo'ed in the porno your parents shot." I wouldn't say that he's necessarily a lovable villain, but one that you find yourself rooting for, and you might not even be mad that he puked in your parents' new car, although ...
Tha Carter IV (C4) might be one of the more amusing albums of the year to me, even though it's completely and unequivocally mediocre, at best. Most of the album is rather unmemorable, and really served to make me appreciate "6 Foot 7 Foot" again, and give me a new-found appreciation for "John." When "6 Foot 7 Foot" came out, last December, 9 months ago, it made me so excited for C4. The Bangladesh beat was distinctive, dope, banging, and lyrically, I felt like Weezy was as good as he had ever been. I was so excited for the rest of the album to be like that! As such, I had high hopes for C4, but quickly lost interest by the time it was actually released some 9 months later. There are just so many suspect lines throughout the record that make me giggle, but unfortunately just because I can laugh at something does not mean it is a masterpiece. In fact, I could probably write an entire blog post about "It's Good" because it is the most unintentionally humorous song that I have heard all year. I listen to this song and just laugh, over and over. "It's Good" is indeed good, but because it makes me laugh, and I enjoy laughing. Jada's verse is a little simple, rhyming "son" with "son" three times, and making me pause when he said "my god son just became my real son" because it was so reminiscent of Nicki Minaj rapping "You ain't my son you my muthafuckin step-son" in "Did It On 'Em." And no, that isn't a good thing. Oh well, at least I learned that there is no salary cap or collective bargaining in the dope game. Kind of like Beyonce teaching me that a diva ...
F.A.M.E. stands for "Forgiving All My Enemies," as if all of Chris Brown's "enemies" haven't been made by his own doing. That semi arrogant attitude, coupled with how he acts, prevents me from truly enjoying the album, which is unfortunate because it is his best album to date. Musically, it sounds to me like he is really figuring out who he is as an artist, after those awkward teenage years. The reality of his situation is that not only will people always remember what he did to Rihanna, but he reminds us of his reprehensible actions after his New York rampage. I was conflicted about supporting him because he has made some high quality music, but at the end of the day, his negative actions outweigh his positive music. It's not that I'm #TeamBreezy or #TeamRihanna, it's that I'm #TeamChrisBrownNeedsTherapy. While F.A.M.E. is an enjoyable project, the album has a feeling of hollowness and ironies are abundant throughout. "Deuces" was a hot song (are you throwing the deuces to Rihanna?), and "Look At Me Now" is an even hotter one (yes, Chris, look at you now...that's what I mean by "ironies"). Or on "Oh My Love," he sings "take a chance with me/ girl you know I won't do you no harm," and later sings that "I'm a bad man." And I will give you one last example, with part of the chorus to "Should've Kissed You:" I left you standing there, And now I regret it, Seems like every time, I get the chance, I lose my cool, and I blow it, And I get all tongue tied, Lost in your eyes, I'm a fool, and I know it! Anyway, if you can get over all that crap, you will probably appreciate and enjoy F.A.M.E. more than I am able ...
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- Download: Drumma Boy’s 4th of July Playlist July 4, 2012
- Hot song – Chief Keef ft. Fat Trel “Russian Roulette” #TrapTuesdays May 15, 2012
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