Saturday, September 26, 2015

Listen to the Absurd Remix Album 'Meow The Jewels'

History has been made people. The first album created entirely out of cat noises is here. What started out as a joke that El-P and Killer Mike would remix their latest album Run The Jewels 2 for $40,000 quickly turned real when a Kickstarter campaign actually raised over $65,000. Last night, El-P announced that via Twitter that the album is complete, and available for free download on With production from Just Blaze, the Alchemist, Boots, and more, the album is just puuurrrfect (I'm sorry). The original lyrics from Run The Jewels 2 are still there, but all of the production has been stripped away and has been replaced by different cat noises. It's dumb, weird, fantastic, and one of the best things I've heard in my life. All of the proceeds are going to victims of police brutality, and you can purchase a vinyl of the album with faux cat paws on the website as well. Go download Meow the Jewels now and have a blessed Caturday.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Review: The Weeknd Solidifies His Pop Stardom on 'Beauty Behind the Madness'

I remember reading the Weeknd's very first interview in 2013.This was a few months before he was to release his major label debut Kiss Land, yet he was already a near household name, due to features with Drake and a trio of stellar mixtapes. In the interview, the Weeknd described his first mixtape House of Balloons as "the most important for me... before House of Balloons it was all freedom".

And that might be the issue with the Weeknd's latest album Beauty Behind The Madness. In a recent issue of Time, the Weeknd languishes over his mediocre Kiss Land album, and strove to create a much more popular album. And he did that. BBTM has been the number one album in the country for the last two weeks, and sold over 412,000 copies in his first week. This album serves as a turning point for the Weeknd, as he has drifted from being an R&B singer to a pop singer.

The Weeknd's voice is gorgeous, and his raw, sexual lyricism is unique for such a mainstream artist, but what truly has been his strength is the sound he has cultivated. Especially with his first three mixtapes, the Weeknd crafted a cloudy, sultry sound full of smooth synths and echoing drums. This was the glue that held together the Weeknd's artistry, and made him what he is today.

But on BBTM, he abandons most of this sound. Nearly all of the 14 tracks could easily be in rotation on radio stations. Most of the songs follow the same formula of a slow build-up, a catchy chorus, and a grand finale. Many of the tracks feature live instrumentation throughout, which isn't necessarily bad, yet it slows down the pace of many tracks, and kills the smooth, sexual vibe of early Weeknd songs.

The main theme of the album is how the glitzy, sexy lifestyle that the Weeknd croons about is dragging him down. Throughout the album, he sings about drugs and parties and women, but how destructive and saddening his lifestyle is, always ending with something along the lines of "but it's the life I've chosen". Which honestly, is pretty dumb. None of his sob stories truly seem that depressing when they are all about how many women he sleeps with. You can sense the numbness he has to it all, but that is nothing new in his music, and he never really backs up why he's complaining.

At this point, calling the Weeknd's music "alternative R&B" is a stretch. While he still plays with new sounds, he fits very well in the "pop" category. I do think he is a better R&B singer, but this switch shows that the Weeknd is now the best pop artist around.

Lyricism- 2.5
Technical Ability- 4.5
Production- 3.5
Listenability- 5
Features- 4
Overall Theme- 3
Noteable Tracks- "The Hills", "Shameless", "Losers", "Dark Times"
Overall Rating- 4

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Peep The Tracklist and Artwork for Jay Rock's Upcoming Album '90059'

Late last night, TDE head honcho Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith released the iTunes preorder for Jay Rock's much anticipated follow-up to 2011's Follow Me Home, entitled 90059, after Rock's area code. The artwork for the 11-track album is above, and the tracklist is below.
1. Necessary
2.Easy Bake (ft. Kendrick Lamar and SZA)
4.Wanna Ride (ft. Isaiah Rashad)
5.The Ways (ft. Sir)
6.Telegram (Going Crazy) (ft. Lance Skiiiwalker)
7. 90059
8.Vice City (ft. Black Hippy)
9.Fly on the Wall (ft. Busta Rhymes)
10.Money Trees Deuce (ft. Lance Skiiiwalker)
11.The Message

Currently, the release date is set at May 20, 2016, but this isn't exactly correct. On Tiffth's Instagram, the CEO of TDE said that when the preorders hit certain goals, the release date will automatically move up. No word yet what said goals are, but at least one has already been met, as the initial release date was August 18, 2016. Make sure you preorder the album, so everyone can get more Jay Rock music soon. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

5 Reasons Why Meek Mill is Losing His Beef With Drake

Unless you've been sleeping under a rock for the last two weeks, you've probably heard about the beef between Meek Mill and Drake. Meek Mill aired out his displeasure with Drake for not tweeting about Meek's new album, and said that Drake used a ghost writer for his verse on "R.I.C.O.". Since then, the beef has blossomed into an array of diss tracks, shade, and memes. But while Meek Mill started this beef, he has already lost it. Here's why.

1. Meek should have released "Wanna Know" right after "Charged Up"

During the OVO Sound Radio on Apple Music, Drake released "Charged Up". It was billed as diss track, but it's another one of many songs that Drake has made addressing anonymous haters. Since the public took this as the first diss track leveled against Meek, he should have taken this opportunity to drop his own diss track "Wanna Know". This would have given him the upper hand in the beef, even though "Wanna Know" isn't that fantastic of a diss track.

2. Meek isn't taking the beef seriously

One of the ending lines in "Wanna Know" is "you let Tip homie piss on you at a movie theater". If that's true, that's hilarious, but not exactly a very strong diss. Meek also announced he would be releasing "Wanna Know" on Sunday, July 26, but instead posted an Instagram video of him screaming. Every time Drake has fired back strongly at Meek, the Philadelphia rapper has responded via Twitter or Instagram. While the Internet age has certainly revolutionized feuds between rappers, joking captions on Instagram can't take the place of serious shots and hard-hitting songs.

3. Drake is having a more successful few weeks than Meek Mill

In the time since Meek Mill alleged that Drake uses ghost writers, Drake has released four singles, hosted the sixth annual OVO Fest, and was rumored to have donated a recording studio to Meek Mill's old high school. In the same time, Meek Mill has just been on tour with Nicki Minaj... and that's about it. In the midst of the beef, Drake is doing better than ever, which weakens Meek's claims

4. Meek Mill's timing is dreadful

As I said before, Meek Mill waited until Drake released not one, but two diss tracks before Meek released his own. The second track from Drake, "Back to Back" was filled with gut-punches, with lyrics like "trigger fingers turned to Twitter fingers, you're getting bodied by a singing n***a" and "is that a world tour or your girl's tour?". But beyond waiting, Meek also made the mistake of starting this beef just weeks before Drake had his own OVO Fest. It was a slaughterhouse for Meek, as Drake performed behind memes making fun of Meek and making a mockery of Meek the entire time. It was the final nail in the coffin. 

5. No one really cares if Drake uses ghost writers

What's been interesting about this beef is that the initial allegation that Drake used ghost writers in many of his hit records has been an after thought. Drake hasn't really addressed it, and both Funk Flex and Meek Mill have released reference tracks of "10 Bands" and "Know Yourself". So there is a very good chance that Meek is right, and Drake does use ghost writers, but no one really cares. Drake's lyrics have never been ground-breaking or thought-provoking, but he excels at making insanely catchy and listenable music. Drake's sound, not his lyrics, are why people love him, and not that many people care how real either are. If a renowned lyricist like Kendrick Lamar was found to be using ghost writers, that would be a different story, but the fact that Drake very well might be using ghost writers changes little. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Listen to "No Feelings" from PARTYNEXTDOOR and Travi$ Scott

On the second installment of OVO Sound Radio on Apple Music, Drake let off three new songs, including a remix of D.R.A.M.'s "Cha Cha", and a Meek Mill diss track. These songs had the internet ablaze, but Drake also released a new cut from OVO member PARTYNEXTDOOR. "No Feelings" is a short but silky surprise release from the Canadian crooner. Over spacey piano chords, Party lays down vocals about women and drugs with an added verse from Travi$ Scott. The two are becoming a powerful duo, with each new track better than the last and the sound of the pairing is a great mix of each individuals' strengths. No word yet if this will be a part of Party's next project, but Scott stated that his debut album Rodeo will be released on September 4th.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Why I Haven't Been Writing In Awhile

I want to preface this by saying that while this is mostly a music blog, and I write mostly to inform and entertain others about music, this is also my blog. This post is not about music, and is about something very personal to me.

I wrote a recap of Forecastle Festival on Monday. That was my first post in three months. I feel a bit embarrassed to take such a long break, as I would normally post multiple times a week. At first, I slowed down because I was busy. Spring break and school ending soon left very little time for me to research music and write. But I told myself that once summer started I would write again.

The start of my summer was June 6. That was the day I graduated from high school. My sister, step dad, and mom all came out to watch me graduate, and it was one of the happiest moments of my life. I noticed that my dad wasn't there. My parents had been divorced since I was three, and my dad was often late to events, so I assumed he either forgot to show up, or just sat in the wrong area and I couldn't find him. So I left with my sister to go to his apartment, so that we could at least have lunch together.

When I opened the door, I saw my dad slumped over in his bed, not breathing. I called the paramedics and attempted to do CPR on him, but it was no avail. My father died of a heart attack the night before my graduation.

It was sudden, horrific, and something I would never wish on my worst enemy. I've been dogged by the images in my mind of how I found him, and the fact that the sweetest, most loving man in my life is gone forever. The first two weeks were odd. I was still in shock, and couldn't really feel anything. But after that grief set in, and an awful mix of nostalgia, depression, pain, and loneliness have been washing over me a lot since then.

It's been about six weeks now. I'm no where near over grieving, and I still feel pain each and every day, and I will for many days to come. This has been the hardest, most exhausting time of my life, but I am making it through this. The march is dark and heavy, but each day the light gets brighter and the weight gets lighter. I will still feel waves of grief for many years after this, probably for the rest of my life, but I know I will get through this, and I will be a stronger man because of it.

Without the love and support from my friends and family, I would be in a much different, much worse scenario. The outpouring of loving has been astonishing, and I was dumbfounded by the amount of people who came to my father's funeral. I would like to thank all of those who have supported me, especially my mother and my friends Alex and JohnRoss, who have been my rocks. And I couldn't be more proud of or more loving of my sister, who was with me when we found our dad. She has been stronger than I have and has comforted me when she was the one who needed comfort.

During this time of grief, one thing oddly stuck out to me: people kept asking about my blog. Family who I hadn't seen in 10 years and acquaintances I've only met a few times would ask me if i was still writing. And I told them no. I just couldn't handle all this writing while I was grieving so heavily.

But then I got a press pass to Forecastle. I applied for one many months ago, but had completely forgotten, and I honestly never thought I would actually get one. But I did, and had a great time. On the last night I sat in the back of the crowd and watched Widespread Panic play as the sun set. I realized that if things were different, I would have been sitting right next to my dad watching them play. It hit me then that I needed to start writing again. My dad loved this blog, and read every post even when he didn't understand any of them. So I've started writing again, for him and for me.

Dedicated to Nicholas Eastman  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Recap of Forecastle Fest 2015

On the weekend of July 17-19, tens of thousands of people from all over the country poured into Waterfront Park in Louisville, Kentucky to take part in the 2015 Forecastle Festival. For three days, fan gathered along the river to enjoy music, food, and good times. I arrived around 6 PM on Friday, to the sounds of St. Paul & The Broken Bones. I made my way over to the Ocean Stage to hear an electrifying performance from Kiesza. Evening in the brutal Kentucky heat, Kiesza danced and sang with passion, and it was a fantastic start to the weekend. I made my way over to the Mast Stage, where Cage the Elephant was performing, but kept my distance so I wouldn't be stuck in the crowd, so I could get good standings for Big K.R.I.T. The King Remembered in Time came out fifteen minutes early, but was still energetic and vibrant till the end of his set. His show was reminiscent of last year's OutKast performance. He even brought out Talib Kweli for a song, since Talib was performing at a late night show that evening. Afterwards was Sam Smith. This was his first show since a vocal chord surgery he had later in the year, and he sounded excellent. Unfortunately, his set was cut short as a huge storm came through and Forecastle had to be evacuated.

The next day started about two hours later than usual due to the storm the night before, but the day ran much smoother. I arrived in time to see Dr. Dundiff & Friends perform, which was basically a sampling of Louisville rap music from artists like Jack Harlow, Jalin Roze, and the 1200. The show came to a climax when all the artists came on stage for a freestyle accompanied by My Morning Jacket's lead singer Jim Jones. Next was ILoveMakonnen. I'm not a huge fan of Makonnen, and don't like the way he wavers his voice out of tune in his verses, but his show was incredible. He kept a more medium tone, and had the most explosive bass I have ever heard (or felt, rather). Every fiber of my being was vibrating during his performance, and I'm surprised my eardrums stayed intact. My night ended with the lively and vibrant performance of Cherub, as the duo laid down smooth track after smooth track.

The final day felt the hottest, and happened to be filled with the most electric music. First up was Lizzo, a female rapper I had never heard of before but turned me into a fan. Then came Robert DeLong, who was immensely talented. DeLong sang, played the keyboard, drums, and would make beats right on stage. Following Delong was RL Grime. While Grime didn't have the same stage presence as DeLong, he brought alone immense tracks that had the packed crowd bouncing around for the hour-long set. I was drenched in sweat and water, and was to exhausted to stay for Widespread Panic for very long.

Forecastle is a mostly indie-folk/rock band, and there was always enticing guitar chords and rustic vocals playing in the background. Big hip-hop names like last year's OutKast and Action Bronson were substituted for smaller, lesser known acts such as Fat Tony, Dr. Dundiff, Lizzo, and the People Under the Stairs. I barely knew any of the bands besides the big names, and was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had. My only complaint was that many of the bands I wanted to see were playing at the same time, such as Big KRIT and Houndmouth, Sturgill Simpson and Cherub, and The Tallest Man On Earth and RL Grime. I would recommend Forecastle to anyone, especially any Louisvillian since it doubles as a social scene. If you're a fan of any type of music and fun, then Forecastle Fest should be your destination in late July 2016.