Archive for the ‘Drake’ tag
Of all the pop/r&b artists around now I feel like only Drake could get away with releasing a single called “Girls Love Beyoncé.” Not only does he release it without batting an eye, but it’s also one of his most personal and emotional releases in awhile. It’s this dichotomy of banal expression and emotionally intense confessions that puts drake in a league all to his own. he dark, moody production work is handled by Drake’s main man, 40.
Electronic producer Feature Cuts just put out a catchy remix of Drake’s recent release, “Started From the Bottom.” It’s a breath of fresh air to hear a dubstep remix that doesn’t rely on dropping the bass to make it stand out. Instead, Feature Cuts works in the wobble with the beat itself – creating an ideal dance track for an agile mood.
I wasn’t initially excited to hear that Drake had released a new song; he’s not a rapper whose career ever really interested me for any reason other than his stint as a Canadian television star. And I was wrong to be so dismissive (though I suppose that such conflict between image and artistic viability are sort of the norm forDrake) because “Started From The Bottom” is pretty excellent. It may be difficult to think of him as a profound force in hip-hop, but Drake manages consistent returns for his fans with catchy, robust songs that play excellently to his strengths as an MC.
“Started From The Bottom,” which was released this past Friday, loops a Final Fantasy-esque piano riff under droning lyrics that hit against and recede from a consistently pleasing melody. Mike Zombie’s production is spot-on here, and manages to sharply and sufficiently remove Drake from his Young Money confines. The influence of Kendrick Lamar’s recent output is distinguishable on “Started From The Bottom,” and this borrowed mood suits Drake nicely, perhaps even giving credence to the idea that Drake is playing the hip-hop game as well as anybody.
Here’s a clever new rap from Internet sensation D-Why, “2,000 miles”. I detect some Drake and TI in this kid’s blood/ flow. Also, decent video.
Hip-Hop of the contemporary vintage sometimes seems a little too interested in conceit. There’s the goofy teenage wickedness of Odd Future, the practically retro gang-banging of Chief Keef, the incendiary irony of Das Racist. What always seems to be missing, though, is something essential, a core level of quality that glides by without hype and attitude. Which is a pretty good way of describing Kendrick Lamar.
Lamar has been kicking around for nearly a decade now, but good kid, m.A.A.d city marks his major label debut. Given that the major label in question is Dr.Dre’s Aftermath, and this is the first time in six years that Aftermath has released something by someone not named 50 Cent or Eminem, it’s fair to say that Lamar has arrived. Given the momentum accrued over the past few years and the ridiculously high profile of many of his backers and collaborators, it’s natural to assume that good kid, m.A.A.d city might just be Lamar’s first step towards stardom.
That may well be true, but the path he’s taking there seems to defy the one laid out for him. This album is an unsettling and marvelous affair, vacillating betweenWu-Tang style urban storytelling, tongue-in-cheek bombast, and profound confessional. Through it all, Lamar’s virtuosity is mesmerizing. It’s telling that instead of leading off with the ghetto-blaster “Backseat Freestyle” (sample verse: ‘I pray my dick get big as the Eifel tower, so I can fuck the world for 72 hours’), good kid, m.A.A.d city instead begins with a stilted prayer that leads into the silky “Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter’s Daughter.” It’s an earnest recalling of Lamar’s formative years in Compton, performed in a tense flow that always seems ready to rise explosively, but remains pointed and precise. The track deflates into what we assume to be a voicemail from Lamar’s mom and dad.
Tender? Frightening? It’s both, and the repeated theme of these snippets serves more to contextualize Lamar’s music than the silly or provocative ‘skits’ that populate a lot of other rapper’s records. That contextualization is important, because what Lamar has created here is meant to be more than just a record (after all, the cover art includes the subtitle ‘a short film by Kendrick Lamar’). good kid, m.A.A.d city is maybe best described by a lyric on “Swimming Pool (Drank),” when Lamar raps, ‘I release everything that corrode inside of me, I see you joking, why you laugh? Don’t you feel bad?’
In my most recent review, of Raekwon’s Unexpected Victory, I called the Chef “probably the most gangsta rapper in the history of gangsta rap.” I still stand by that statement, but if we refine our focus from “history of gangsta rap” to “group of the ten most influential rappers in hip-hop today,” we can apply the statement to Rick Ross and throw the “probably” into the Atlantic Ocean strapped to a pair of concrete blocks. Rich Forever, the most significant hip-hop release of 2012 so far (sorry, T.I.), reaffirms Rozay’s status as the master of the street album and sets the bar ridiculously high for any subsequent “pre-album” mixtapes from other rappers.
At 79 minutes plus, the tape definitely runs a little long. However, when someone’s giving away this many great tracks for free, a little filler can be tolerated. Ross starts the proceedings off with a bang(er), “Holy Ghost,” which besides featuring another standard-meaning-excellent hoarse, shouted-word chorus from the Bauce, proves that Ricky Rozay is still the master of rhyming a phrase with itself and still having it be awesome: “My teacher told me that I’m a piece of shit/Seen her the other day, driving a piece of shit.” On a side note, I cannot recall one rapper singlehandedly rendering another one completely obsolete the way Rick Ross has done Young Jeezy.
Even though Rich Forever is, as its master of ceremonies calls it, “the appetizer” for the upcoming-and-already-delayed God Forgives, I Don’t LP, it absolutely does not lack for quality guest spots. Among the highlights is John Legend on the title track, a track that stands out and functions in much the same way as MMG underling Wale’s “Ambition” did on Ambition.
Perhaps THE highlight of the tape is the duet on the very next track, “Triple Beam Dreams,” featuring “Best Rapper Alive,” “Comeback of the Year,” and “Greatest Lyricist of All Time” candidate Nas. In what may surprise some but can be denied by none (except the most passionate H8ers), Rozay holds his own with one of the G.O.A.T., snagging the “Most Hardcore Gangster Line of the Year” honors for now with, “Fucking bitches that be giving up your whereabouts.”
“Stay Schemin’,” the penultimate track, features guest appearances from Drake and French Montana. The Canadian emcee, who is apparently set to release an entire tape entitled YOLO sometime this year with Rozay WTT-style, might or might not but definitely does spend 28 bars adding fuel to the fire of his ridiculous beef with Common, which is apparently all over Serena Williams. Yeah.
Rich Forever is a mammoth tape that, despite some unavoidable filler, continues Rozay’s pattern of releasing free street albums chock full of bangers suitable for the radio. I doubt that none of them were good enough to make their way onto the upcoming LP’s tracklist (actually, I bet some will)., but as I said before in my review of TM103, I am now more than ever expecting God Forgives, I Don’t to be one of the highlights of 2012.
4 / 5 bars
Rick Ross- Holy Ghost (Feat. Diddy)
Rick Ross – Rich Forever (Feat. John Legend)
Rick Ross Triple Beam Dreams (Feat. Nas)
Now this is what I wish house music was like. None of that standard Kaskade nonsense that borders on monotonous, and somehow a deep bass that catches your eye but doesn’t sound like
noise dubstep. San Francisco based DJ Panic City is top-shelf talent, and more than most, he understands what’s worth listening to. He’s prolific, too. Here’s his latest release, a remix of Drake and Rihanna’s excellent “Take Care.” What I like most about this is it turns it into a seriously party-friendly song. And.. yes, that may not seem so hard to do, considering the ease of making four-note bass lines and adding in a couple synth tracks, but it’s the quality that sets the good ones apart. (Thanks to Mixtape Maestro for the heads up.)
There have been a lot of takes on College and Electric Youth’s “A Real Hero” ever since the Drive soundtrack came out (yes, we fell for them too). Most of them aren’t any good – most likely because the original was so awesome. This one is one of the few truly quality ones out there.
And here are a couple undiscovered Panic City gems. Enjoy.