Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Here's another Rhymesayer who I haven't seen too much from in a while. This new single, Us, is off his upcoming album of the same title. This is one more uplifting and powerful song from Ali, and I really think the video helps add to that as well. The album drops September 22nd. Continue Entry»
New release from The Grouch & Eligh featuring Slug. Produced by AmpLive who is also featured in the video. I think all of their versus kill the chorus but it's not bad. You can dowloand the track at http://therealgrouch.com Continue Entry»
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Just thought I would give you guys an update on some stuff that dropped today.
To my knowledge, the only major release is Fabolous' Loso's Way which I have actually been hearing a lot of good stuff about, I got my copy but I have yet to listen to it. He has tons of features including Jeremih, The Dream, Keri Hilson, Jay-Z, Trey Songz and many more. I expect it to be worthwhile.
But also, my homie Kevin Nottingham's record label released its first album today. Nobody Famous' Order Up! Vol. 3 dropped digitally and while I haven't listened to it yet either, he is definitely someone to check out. He does all his own production as well as rapping on the album. I will post his last mixtape that was intended to hype people for this album, but I think everyone should definitely get it. Another very cool fact bout this album, it is 100% sample free! That is such a rarity in hip hop today (although I do enjoy songs that use samples) that it should be reason enough to buy the album.
Leave any comments, for something I missed that I/the readers should check out!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Having finished the Top 10 To Watch For series, I have put together a mixtape featuring 1 of my favorite songs of each artist (honorable mention and numbers 10-1). In case you started reading in the middle of the series, or missed a few downloads. Hopefully this will give everyone a taste of what each artist brings and make you want to get more of their stuff. Hit the jump for the tracklist, links to the articles as well as a short discography for those looking for more music - leave a comment if you want a download link to mixtapes. This is my first attempt at any kind of mixtape type thing so all feedback is appreciated!
HM - J.Cole mixtapes: The Come Up and The Warm Up.
HM - Young Chris mixtapes: The Newprint and The Network.
HM - Fashawn's latest mixtape: The Phenom 2
HM - Charles Hamilton has tons of stuff, my personal favorite is: The Pink Lava Lamp. album supposed to drop 8/25.
HM - Drake mixtapes: Room For Improvement, Comeback Season, Heartbreak Drake and So Far Gone. album out early 2010.
10 - Kid Cudi mixtape: A Kid Named Cudi and Dat Kid From Cleveland (unofficial), album is dropping 9/15
9 - Tyga first album: No Introduction. mixtapes: Outraged & Underage and The Potential
8 - Big Sean's mixtapes: Finally Famous Vol. 1 and UKNOWBIGSEAN - Finally Famous Vol. 2
7 - B.o.B. mixtapes: The Future, Hi! My name is BoB, Cloud 9, Who the Fuck is BoB, BoB vs. Bobby Ray
6 - Mickey Factz: The Leak Vol. 1 and 2, Heaven's Fallout, In Search of N.E.R.D. and Flashback Vol. 1
5 - Curren$y albums: This Ain't No Mixtape. mixtapes: too many to count including 7 in 2008, personal favorite is Fast Times at Ridgemont Fly.
4 - Jay Electronica: Style Wars Ep, a sampler, "Exhibit A" single on iTunes.
3 - Wiz Khalifa first album: Show & Prove. mixtapes: Prince of the City 1 & 2, Grow Season, Star Power, Flight School and coming soon How Fly made with Curren$y!
2 - Blu albums: Below The Heavens w/ Exile, Johnson & Jonson w/ Mainframe, The Piece Talks w/ Ta'Raach. Lifted EP. mixtapes:(So)ul Amazing 1 & 2, Her Favorite Color
1 - Wale mixtape: Paint a Picture, Hate is New Love, Mixtape About Nothing, 100 Miles & Runnin, Back to The Feature. album is dropping 9/22.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I would be surprised if you hadn’t already heard of Wale as he is becoming bigger and bigger every day (although not quite at Drake’s pace). Hailing from the DMV (Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia) he has taken it upon himself to gain respect for his hometown. With his single and video now on rotation on MTV and BET he is definitely on his way.
He has been featured on this site before and I even wrote a review of his latest mixtape, Back To The Feature. He has put out 5 tapes total to much acclaim including his concept tape, Mixtape About Nothing which carries a Seinfeld theme throughout. He is personally my favorite rapper of any of the Top To W@tch For. Wale just finished a countrywide tour, which is extremely impressive considering the fact that he hasn’t even released an album yet. I have posted links to the other articles about him so I won’t write much more, but if somehow you haven’t heard his stuff: GET IT NOW! His album, Attention Deficit, drops September 22, 2009.
His Five Mixtapes in chronological order:
Back to the Feature - downlo@d
100 Miles and Runnin - downlo@d
Mixtape About Nothing - downlo@d
Hate is New Love - downlo@d
Paint a Picture - downlo@d
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Blu is the most talented lyricist on my top 10 to watch for list. Every time I find a song with this guy, I am impressed by his verse no matter who he shares the track with.
Hailing from San Pedro, Ca, I believe he will be one of the front runners that brings the West Coast back to every day hip hop discussions and he should not be as underground as he is. He is closely tied with the producer Exile who actually produced Blu’s debut album, Below The Heavens. He has albums with Mainframe, as Johnson&Jonson, and with Ta’Raach, as C.R.A.C. Knuckles. I think whenever you see Blu featured or headlining a song or concert; do what you can to get it. He just recently signed with a major label (apologies, I forgot which one, update to come) so a major distributed album should be in the works.
I truly believe that if he continues doing what he is doing, he will go down near the top of any G.O.A.T. list. He has been experimenting on the boards as well, his most recent mixtape Her Favorite Colo(u)r is produced entirely by Blu himself. An incredible talent for such a young guy, Blu is definitely one of the top artists to watch for.
the C.O.R.E. Mixtape - downlo@d
(So)ul Amazing - downlo@d
(So)ul Amazing 2 - downlo@d
Her Favorite Colo(u)r - downlo@d
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
1st Class is probably the newest group we've blogged about so far, this is their first production together ever. You definitely haven't heard of them. Yet.
Coming out of the Bay Area, Salt Lake City, and Boulder, CO, 1st Class is made up of emcees Mr. Smith and Sick Sense, and producer Skinwalker. I got a chance to listen to their freshman album The Future of Classic which just dropped. Most of the album makes me want to kick back next to the pool with a blunt and a red stripe, partly because a good portion of it is dedicated to herb, but also because of a handful of made-for-summer beats that seem to be reggae or rocksteady inspired.
As far as the emcees go they both have a lot going for them. I do think Mr. Smith outshines Sick Sense slightly lyrically, and a lot as far as flow. Even where his lyrics aren't at their strongest, Mr. Smith's flow definitely makes up for it. My main beef with Sick Sense's lyrics is that they get kind of generic when he spits about drugs, money and bitches. It's not that they're bad but they don't really distinguish him. I definitely have faith in his ability to go beyond that though, and even when he does stick to those themes he sometimes pulls in surprise lines that are on point: "me and shawty both are homogenous/whisper in her ear for tonight I'm monogamous" (Mr. DJ).
Both he and Mr. Smith step it up again on "Never Going Back," the most intense track which deals with some of the harsher parts of reality beyond the party lifestyle they rep. It's definitely the most unique track on the album, I can only guess what they're going to do next. I almost wish they would've ended with this track (it's the 11th of 12 tracks) because it stops you in your tracks in a way that "The Right Way" and any other track on the album can't. It definitely is a young sound, but it's also a fresh sound. They have a lot of potential and I'm juiced to see where they go next. You can download their singles for free from thesidetracked and can cop the whole album from xcommunicated . Be sure to check out their myspace as well.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Melanie Fiona just dropped a mixtape this past Saturday of a live session she held with the Roots, ?uestlove. This tape is a must download, great music and great vocals! She is a Toronto signer who has had some hype surrounding her as we wait for her debut album.
Originally slated for May, The Bridge has been pushed back to August but this mixtape should keep you occupied until then. Here she is covering other artists' material as well as performing her own stuff. Backed by the Illadelphonics (?uestlove on drums, Adam Blackstone on bass, Randy Bowland on guitar and Eric Wortham on keys).
Friday, July 10, 2009
Nyle is a sick emcee/producer originally from Philly who's been rockin the NYC underground scene for a couple years now. After getting into college he decided to release an album for every year of school. The first two, Frosh and S'more are availabe on his website. The third album JR, he wrote while spending a year abroad in Ghana. This isn't relesased yet but he calls it his "masterpiece", with influence coming from Ghana, the Bay Area (represent!), and NYC.
Nyle just graduated from the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at NYU so of course the fourth and final album is about to drop. Capstone is about to drop, and you can sign up to get it free when it does on his website as well. In the meantime, check out this DOPE video which he co-produced and which was also "filmed in one take, with audio being recorded simultaneously with the film." This guy is starting to get some coverage from big names like MTV, and this video was apparently even featured on Kanye West's own blog.
Wiz Khalifa, like Curren$y, is not quite as new as the other guys on this list because he has already released an album but the coverage and distribution was not quite on a national scale. Anyway, he is definitely someone to keep your eye on with plenty of new material this year and al album do sometime 4th quarter. He comes from Pittsburgh, Pistolvania and represents them well considering how few rappers from there have reached the popularity he has already.
A very creative guy, the 2008 hit and his most well known song “Say Yeah” features an old dance song “Better Off Alone” by Alice Deejay. He clearly enjoys rapping and seems to be having fun without getting careless or sloppy. He raps about what he knows, be it tattoos, marijuana, or even the leaked photos of naked celebrities. He keeps his stuff up to date and interesting and his mixtapes never get boring, only outdated by his new material. Even still I look back to his old stuff all the time and am pleasantly surprised when I remember how much I like them.
The reason he is someone to watch for because his best material has been released in the last two years in the form of two mixtapes: Star Power and Flight School. From 2008 and 2009 respectively, the production value has increased immensely from his early work (kind of as expected) but his rhyming is definitely getting better too. He brings a real chill sound that can be applied to different kinds of situations, similar to my #5 To Watch For, Curren$y. And in fact, they are collaborating on a mixtape as I write this; How Fly is slated to drop sometime this month (I am expecting it next week but we will see).
I am putting download links to Star Power, Flight School and the leaks from How Fly
Flight School - downlo@d
Star Power - downlo@d
How Fly (leaks) - downlo@d
Monday, July 6, 2009
I have already done a post on Jay Electronica but in making a list of artists to watch for, it would be a crime to keep him off. He is a very interesting guy because he is incredibly talented yet seems to not collect on it much of the time. Despite being pressured to make a real album he hasn't put anything out. A single was just released on iTunes but I am not sure it is new, from what I have read it leaked a long time ago. One thing I think is worth noting is that he releases his songs through web forums but rarely are they musical web forums. He has been known to put a link to his new song in a tech discussion (for example) and just watch it spread around the internet.
He is the real deal tho, his lyrics are incredible and his production is always on point. He displays all types of his musical knowledge throughout the different pieces he puts out. I will put a link to the free downloads I have found online but you can buy a couple of his songs on iTunes also.
Last Post with more information
StyleWars Ep - downlo@d
Sampler - downlo@d
Scratches & Demo Tape Vol. 1 - downlo@d
Friday, July 3, 2009
Coming off a very dark and heavy first album, Donny Goines goes the opposite direction in almost every way for his sophomore release, The Breakfast Club. Minutes After Midnight had to be bought, TBC is available as a free download; MAM was dark and straight off the street, TBC is diverse, MAM had minimal features, TBC includes many great emcees.
Lyrics: Goines lyricism is not his strongest attribute but I feel that there is a very solid performance on each and every song; the lyrics never hurt the song. Compared to his first cd, the growth is tremendous. He is not a poor lyricist but the rhymes that he uses are not always the most complex. Even still, as said before, they do the song justice and every now and then you get a gem such as “if the money talks and a picture is worth a thousand words/then my cd cover’s priceless including the nouns and verbs.” One of his biggest strengths as a lyricist is definitely his story telling. What made Minutes after Midnight so good can be found sprinkled throughout The Breakfast Club. He tells stories about what he has gone through to make it to his point and shorter stories like one of his bad days (Track 16 - Can’t Get it Right). As for the features, Donny completely holds it down on his own but it is nice to hear him work with other rappers from all over the country and build chemistry. This also takes some pressure off of him to write 3-4 verses per song and allows him to focus on the 1-2 and make them better. He is able to hang in there with Tanya Morgan, Planet Asia, Emilio Rojas, A Pinks and many more. Sometimes the feature outshines him but when you work with such great emcees it is bound to happen, and it is not a usual occurrence.
Beats: With a variety of producers on this album, the sound changes up nearly every track yet I thoroughly enjoy each one. As I listen to the cd, I do not skip over any song and the beats set the tone 100%. I am not sure if he picked these beats from a larger group or if they were designed specifically for him but Donny either: a) has a great ear for choosing beats or b) has great chemistry with a number of producers. “She Likes” and “Oh No” are examples of beats that are very different yet very fitting to his style. No two tracks sound alike. Some taking samples of 80’s pop, some from funk, some straight rock and roll and then as expected there are head banging rap songs on here too. The beats are at different tempos and general styles forcing Goines to step his game up which leads me to my next point.
Flow: Donny Goines greatest ability is by far his vocal flexibility. As mentioned above, the beats are so different from track to track, that it does not seem like he would have been able to just get in rhythm and spit out a few songs. Not only is the melody different but drum patterns speed up and slow down throughout a song. Donny Goines is capable of slowing up his words and truly enunciating if need be. But he is also equally gifted at stringing words together to spit faster and faster. Although he is not always saying the cleverest words, they always have meaning and more importantly they always ride the beat. He makes it seem like any rapper should be able to rap at different speeds and change their flow effortlessly but unfortunately this is a skill that is not held by all. 8/10
Album Title: I was talking with Anu, and we were talking about how important the album title can be towards an album’s success. She had some insight that I thought was worth putting on here. It is all speculation because we don’t know why he chose the title he did but in reference to the cult classic film of the same name, Goines is capable of bringing together different types of sounds and producers much as the people in the movie were not meant to go together and be friends but found a way. Breaking barriers and stereotypes is very apparent in the movie, but equally seen in one listen of Goines' album as well.
Overall: After a very “one-sounded” debut album it is relieving to hear such a diverse effort the second time around. Both albums are very good but I would have hated to see Donny Goines get pigeonholed into one type of sound and that will definitely not be the case. This album is like going to a music festival: there are all types of music on here and Goines just happens to be rapping on every track. I think that this cd proves that Goines’ potential is seemingly endless because I feel that he could really collaborate with ANY artist out there no matter their genre. The flexibility partnered with his hard work ethic and improvement will only lead to good things. Based on what I have seen: his improvement from one album to the next, the interviews I have watched and read, as well as social outlets such as his blog and twitter; Donny Goines seems to be one of the hardest working musicians out there. I look forward to hearing what he does in the future.
The Breakfast Club - downlo@d
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The Chicharones are an underground Hip-Hop collaboration between rappers Sleep of Oldominion and Josh Martinez aka The People's Champ. Together they have released two full length albums and an EP: When Pigs Fly, Swine Country and Pork Rind Discotheque EP . Sleep and Josh Martinez have been working together since a chance meeting at the South By Southwest festival, which led to the eventual formation of the group. Swine Country came out this year and I highly encourage everyone to go out and get it, but in the meantime I'll post a link to their 05' release: When Pigs Fly. The Chicharones seem like two pretty smart guys with great senses of humor (see above picture) and it definetly comes through in their music too. The beats are always nice and the punchlines clever, check em out!
If you aren't familiar with Hasan Salaam (something he's struggling with--check 15 Minutes), he's a half-white, half-black, black Muslim from Jersey who's been rapping since he was 10, and getting recognition since '04. He sounds sort of like Dead Prez or Immortal Technique, which is paradoxical because what makes those guys who they are is that they don't sound like anybody else. The reason you listen to these guys is that on every track they're gonna have something to say which no one else is saying, even if they're doing a similar thing. Having said that though, I would say he's not quite as militant as Tech. He actually volunteers at local schools in his area and reminds people to "fuck a revolution, first learn how to spell" (History of Violence).
Children of God paints a grim but honest picture of the world we live in today--and not that bullshit world of hoes and cars. It's the world of politics, race, history, poverty, but also love. While super star, musically lacking, radio-played rappers are calling themselves gangstas Salaam points out that "it's overcrowded at the bottom swept under the rug/gentrification claiming more turf than crips and the bloods" (Someplace).
This is one of those cds where every track starts and you just think, "ay, what is that?" Listening to it you can't help but be pulled in--it's not an album to listen to in the background. The truth is, this album is just poetic in every way--lyrically, musically, and spiritually. 50 cent can rhyme a word with itself, while Salaam spits like this: "my mind's been stuck in a state of nostalgia/and memories keep fading like my pops body from fibromyalgia" (Best Time to Pray).