Monday, June 22, 2009
Two hugely anticipated mixtapes dropped over the weekend, the first being Wale's "Back to the Feature".
This thing has been pushed back a few times, and the finished form is a pretty impressive product, but not really because of Wale.
Often times it is grating when a bevy of guest spots are put on an album, but the choice to give bars up on each track does not serve Wale well. I will still check for the D.C. spitter since "Mixtape About Nothing" was such an ambitious and rewarding outing, but the rapper consistently gets outshined on his latest.
Perhaps he is saving some real heat rock for his debut, but not much here is outstanding wordplay. Maybe that is why he consistently speaks at the end and beginning of tracks about how he is a "different" rapper.
According to Wale, he is "different" because he is rapping over beats that are not inherently hip-hop, and no one else is doing that right now. Well, the other rapper who dropped an anticipated mixtape this weekend is in fact doing that, and in much more interesting ways.
"B.o.B. vs. Bobby Ray", B.o.B.'s most recent work, is his rapping ego (B.o.B.) struggling against his singing/producing/songwriting personality (Bobby Ray).
When the videos started popping up on youtube with the rapper saying he was straying from hip-hop, I immediately got worried. This type of side-step usually never ends well.
Then there was video of him playing guitar (immediately cringeworthy Wayne guitar plucks popped into my brain) and sitting at a piano. But he seems to have his act together.
The latter half of the mixtape is all produced by the man himself and finds the artist doing more singing than rapping, and he can actually sing. A rarity in hip-hop these days.
The production skills range from near electro-pop to updated reggae grooves to catchy clap-along pop work.
The mixtape's first half finds the rapper doing the same as Wale, grabbing a bunch of dudes to jump on tracks with him, but he actually holds his own, often outshining his guests.
B.o.B. is a terribly ambitious guy, and so far the fruits of those ambitions are pretty sweet.
Links jacked from TSS
Saturday, June 20, 2009
This unreleased Ryan Leslie track with ya neighborhood Pusha attached has been making the rounds.
Leslie's 2009 record is my favorite R&B record of the year for sure. The man definitely has a swagger about him, with a serviceable voice and great skills behind the boards he is a bright spot in the world of watered down top 40.
Pusha T is fine here, but him and his brother need to stick to gritty, Neptunes throwback-esque tracks. I don't need to hear the Brothers Thornton rapping about a special someone. They do trap talk, not puppy love musings.
Otherwise the track is fire, give it a try and then grab Leslie's self-titled.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
"It's almost as if Ramis and Black and Cera got together and said, "We need to make a movie that will take all three of us down and sully our reputations. We don't want just a blemish -- we want lifelong friends who've seen it to cross to the other side of Montana Ave. when they see us coming. Now, how do we do this?" In this sense, Year One is a success."
Wells slaughtered "Year One" today. I cannot say I am surprised however.
None of the trailers have contained more than a half-hearted chuckle, even with a pretty good cast.
I have been over Cera for years, his wiener-emo shtick got old about halfway through "Superbad". It was tolerable in "Arrested Development" because the rest of the cast was so aces he was not relied upon to hold up every frame.
Black definitely has chops and has done some wonderful work, but before seeing this film I think most people were banking on him not carrying the it.
I'll still be seeing it this weekend for the bit players alone. The Rudd/Cross Cane and Abel stuff in particular.
Also, if you have not clicked on Wells' film blog on the links to the right, do it daily. The man is severely opinionated and often hilarious. It is a great read.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The sun came out for the first time in like three days this afternoon.
As I pulled out my iPod and began to make a selection for my walk to a friend's place I scrolled to the perfect piece of nostalgia for my sunny trek.
The Promise Ring released "Very Emergency" 10 years ago this month and the album has aged fairly well.
I remember purchasing the CD back when it came out. I was still in a punk/emo haze and probably just picked it up because they were on Jade Tree Records.
The album was much more poppy than most everything I was listening to at the time, but the hooks were just so plentiful and so catchy. I played this thing so much my discman was probably sick of it.
I probably had not listened to this record since seventh grade before today and as I was letting its sticky,sweet pop melodies invade my ears, I could not believe i did not pull it out sooner.
As my tastes matured over the years this record should have been one of the few which made the transition with my jr. high to high school listening habits. It is a simple record, sonically and lyrically, but not every album needs to be progressive.
Sometimes it is just nice to enjoy some simple, pleasing pop music.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Lucero is one of those bands I can listen to no matter what mood I am in.
The band creates perfect updated southern rock, without a misstep in its discography.
Supposedly there is a new album finished and ready for release in the fall.
If the band comes anywhere near you this summer, do not miss out. The dudes tear up live just as hard as on record.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Deer Tick's sophomore outing was one of my most anticipated records of the summer.
"Born on Flag Day" continues where the band's debut left off, as it is a record full of solid folk and country tunes.
John McCauley's vocals are just as rough as the first go round, lending a rugged edge to the band's vintage sound.
"Flag" is not as immediately enjoyable as "War Elephant" but the record is a definite grower. If it does not click right away, do not fret. There are great songs within, they just take a bit more time to grab on to.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Todd Rundgren is one of those artists who I know I should I listen to but never really got around to.
I have had a few records on my computer for years, but now I have started really digging into his 1972 masterpiece, "Something/Anything?"
The record was a 4XLP upon its release, so basically a double disc if it came out ten years ago or like two mediafire uploads if it came out today.
Rundgren runs through a whole slew of genres, basically owning each one. Whether it be power pop, or heavy rock, or Motown, or white boy soul the man killed it here.
For those who get all tight in the jeans when Animal Collective start noodling around with studio effects, give this record a listen and know Rundgren was messing with knobs and dials before Panda Bear was out of grade school.
*this is probably one of the best youtubes of all time
Friday, June 05, 2009
"[E]verybody don't sell crack no more, man. I don't sell crack, yo. I ain't movin' no bricks or none of that other shit. I ain't shoot nobody in like ... since the early ‘90s, man. How long you gonna be 40 years old and actin' like you still sellin' cracks and you on the block and you doin' this and you doin' that when times is more serious, man. We in a fuckin' recession, B! Ain't nobody gettin' no money, man! We gotta stop lyin' to ourselves and lyin' to the fans. And the fans gotta stop bein' so dumb and ignorant, and know it's time to talk about grown-man situations. Shit that happen in the real life, inside your household, your love life, your personal life, that's just like, "Damn, it's hard for a nigga to get some money!"
The Wallabee Champ making some great points here.
Now don't get me wrong, I love me some good trap talk, but Ghost is on point here.
The only thing is, not many men in the rap game have the skills to go off on other topics. Their rhyming starts and stops at slanging, cars, women, etc...
Hopefully this just means Ghost is going to bring some serious fire on his next outing and inspire those emcees in his age bracket to do the same.
First big leak from "Blueprint 3" for months.
It's called "D.O.A. (Death of Autotune) and is produced by No I.D. and Yeezy.
Just a radio rip for now, but it's pretty clean.
This is just the street single. Proper will drop in July and feature Drake.
Drizzy graces this new Mary J. Blige track. I was expecting some ballad, but Mary J. shows up with a banger. Drake's blowing up folks.
The first leak off of Big Sean's upcoming debut features a Kanye verse from a previous track called "Wheely Shit". This one is called "Glenwood", Big Sean is definitely someone to keep an eye out for.
Lastly, a new jam from Columbus, Ohio crew Fly. Union. The group has been making some waves and the great blog, 2DopeBoyz has been riding for them for a bit.
It's called "I Can't Feel My Face".
Links jacked from Nahright and 2DopeBoyz.
Both blogs are a must for daily visits.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
The new Mos Def, "The Ecstatic" is what rap heads have been waiting for since the man's classic debut.
Mos sounds like he has something to prove.
Which, in a sense he does.
After two disheartening records, one of which did not even see a proper release and the other being a sad foray into blues and rock, he needed to come back proper.
This is Mos at his most proper. He is rhyming with a passion here over real nice beats from the likes of Madlib and Chad Hugo.
Recent contributor to this site, Luis C. Medina was just saying how he was waiting for a good summer hip-hop release.
Well Mr. Medina, it has arrived.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
I have watched this so many times since it came out.
Seriously, if you are not up on Galifianakis, this dvd is a great starting point.
The man does uncomfortable, absurdest humor like few others.
Every time I watch the man I miss getting up on stage and attempting some humor. That is one bummer of summer time, there does not seem to be an outlet for that facet of my life.
In last weekend's edition of the Times there was a great piece on the comedian.
It's a lengthy read, but does as a good of a job as words could do attempting to explain his humor.
Monday, June 01, 2009
I saw "UP" this weekend and loved it as much as I expected. It is the second best film I've seen in the theater this year.
I'm writing a review for the DE this week, so I'm saving all my thoughts for the space that pays me. I'll get a link up here Wednesday when the review goes online.
Other than that this weekend I spent time with my newest TV obsession and watched a lot of sports.
I'll get on some music tomorrow or later tonight.