Give It Time Give It Time, Cuz This Ain’t No Race

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Give It Time Give It Time/Cuz This Ain’t No Race/You’ll Be Fine You’ll Be Fine/Do Whatever It Takes Oh/Just Realize Realize/It’s All What You Make It. -JMSM With Ta-Ku & Sango

Last month I had the pleasure of seeing JMSN live in San Francisco. If you don’t take anything else from this blog post, at least take this…if he is playing live in the city you live in and you have the chance to go…GO! I promise you will be thoroughly pleased that you went. Oh and he plays with a live band. Truly remarkable. I had it in my mind that he would have just sang with a DJ backing him but the live band aspect took it to a whole new level. The song I’m posting here is amazing but another great song to check out by JMSN is “The One.”

These days there’s been sooooo much talent that’s caught my ear and the artist has been from Australia. So it was almost no surprised when I looked up Ta-ku and found out he’s from the land down under. “Love After” is the first single off Ta-ku’s upcoming EP, Songs To Make Up To, releasing on June 12th!  JMSN’s vocals mixed with the production on this track makes this song one not to be skipped over. There are so many different sounds that make this song aesthetically pleasing. It’s got this 90s-choir-modern-soulful-hiphop vibe to it. The track also features the works of Soulection‘s Sango. Truly something special

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Sell Me That Gold In Your Veins, I Want Your Fortress Next To Mine

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Why Don’t We Open Up Sometime?/Sell Me That Gold In Your Veins/I Want Your Fortress Next To Mine/Every Nightmare On Your Plate/Can I Trust That You Won’t Mind? -Gallant

It’s been a reaaaaally long time since I’ve posted a new blog post but this song truly moved me to do so. Lately, I’ve had a thing for vocalists such as SZA, FKA Twig and this newcomer, Gallant. He hits all the right notes in all the right places to transcend directly to my soul. The way the song is written reminds me a bit of what Frank Ocean did on “Thinkin Bout You,” with all the contradictory ideas in order to prove one single point. Writing like that really catches my eye and ear. This song has been giving me LIFE for the last few weeks since it’s release. Listened to it on repeat for a couple days straight. Peep it below and I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do.

Wanna Share My World, Don’t You Understand? Your Love Is A One In A Million.

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Wanna Please You In Any Way I Can/Wanna Share My World/Don’t You Understand?/Your Love Is A One In A Million/It Goes On And On And On… -Aaliyah

A couple days ago I was tweeting about how when I was younger I wouldn’t listen to or buy full albums. I would just buy a tape or CD single of the song I liked at the time. But today, I was reminded of the album One In A Million by Aaliyah and this was one of the two full albums I used to listen to. (If anyone is curious, the other album was Mya’s self titled Mya.) Originality, uniqueness and true talent are three things that Aaliyah embodied and this is something I look for in artists today. I remember when I heard the news of her passing it felt surreal and I didn’t even know her personally, but I was extremely sad. Her music, especially this album, truly touched me and took my heart and soul to different places that I really didn’t know existed at the time or didn’t know what it meant. Now, being older and being as into music as I am – I understand. It’s the passion. And, for that, I am thankful. Happy Birthday, Aaliyah. Rest In Paradise.

I Read Somewhere That In Order For An Arrow To Fly, The Bow Had To Be Drawn Back

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Photo Credit: Behind The Lens View

Photo Credit: Behind The Lens View – Contact: behindthelensview@gmail.com  

I Read Somewhere That In Order For An Arrow To Fly/The Bow Had To Be Drawn Back/There’s Some Pressure Involved And I Think We’re All Feeling That Pressure. -Yasiin Bey (FKA Mos Def)

I don’t normally get political or share my thoughts on what’s going on in the world outside of music. I have my reasons. But his words struck a cord in me and I felt compelled to share. This entire speech is beautiful: to the ears when you hear it, the eyes when you read it and your heart when you let it sink in. Thank you to OkayPlayer for posting this!

Thoughts On The Upheaval From A Global Perspective:

Where are we? We’re at critical time. We’re at watershed moment for humanity. I imagine we’ve been here before and I imagine we’ve probably been here longer than we realize. I think many of us are becoming even more aware of where we are. And the urgency to change this miserable condition on this earth” (as Malcolm X said) is occurring to many of us and reaffirming itself.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It’s an opportunity for necessary change. Positive change. And it’s not necessarily convenient or comfortable. As I’m sure is with any period of growth.

I read somewhere that in order for an arrow to fly the bow has to be drawn back. There’s some pressure involved and I think we’re all feeling that pressure. Some of us are more aware of it than others. Some of us are trying to drown it out. But we all feel it one way or another in indelible ways in these times and days.

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” Quoted from Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata.  Go on and marinate on that for a moment.

We’re Just Trying To Paint The Town Tonight, Hey We Ain’t Coloring Inside The Lines

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We’re Just Trying To Paint The Town Tonight/Hey, We Ain’t Coloring Inside The Lines/Hey, We’re Just Trying To Live Our Lives. -Jinx

Everyone needs a little feel good music from time to time! That’s exactly what you get from this song and video. Jinx blends hip hop, pop and alternative stylings into the perfect combination and his goal is to continuously defy genres while never limiting himself to just one. He’s definitely headed in the right direction with this mentality. We have so many artists out there nowadays such as FKA Twigs, Shy Girls, and Los Rakas to name a few. I love the mixtures and different sounds artists are able to create. The track, “Alive” is upbeat, positive and fun. It has a great rhythm, beat and a catchy melody. In anticipation of releasing his debut album in 2015, he’ll be dropping some more tracks in the near future. Watch his new video for “Alive” below and have a beautiful day!

I Was Settling For Less Than What’s Meant For Me

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Can You Admit It?/You Don’t Deserve Not A Memory/Not Even A Thought Of Me/I Admit It This Might Be For The Best/I Was Settling For Less Than What’s Meant For Me. -GRACE

Aaaaaaaand finally my almost-two-months-of-no-writing hiatus is over. I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve started, set aside, and then haven’t gone back to during this time. I’m excited to be back but even more so excited to introduce you all to this talented newcomer, GRACE. I first heard her back in September and revisited her music last month. In that short amount of time I’ve seen her transformation and growth as an artist. This songstress, hailing from New York, describes her music as basement soul with a mix of hip hop soul that delves into some trap sounds. She keeps it real in her song about loving and being left for another. She channels her feelings of hate into a “really dope love song.” If you like what you hear, be sure to check back here as I’ll be premiering her project TASTE which will be released in 3 volumes.

Honestly Gotta Ask Myself, Time And Time What I’m Working For, Is It Worth It Though?

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Honestly Gotta Ask Myself/Time And Time What I’m Working For/Is It Worth It, Though? -Black Milk

When I saw Black Milk live for the first time last fall at Santos Party House in NYC, I had never heard of the Detroit rapper before. My friend dragged me out (shout out to Andre) that night and I contemplated leaving before Black Milk even hit the stage – due to sitting through some terrible opening acts. After enduring that, as soon as Black Milk and his band Nat Turner hit the stage…I was completely blown away. I had never seen so much talent together on one small stage. His drummer was absolutely amazing. There’s something wonderful about a live band backing a hip hop artist. The beats hit that much harder especially over some dope flows – which Black Milk had no trouble producing for the crowd.

Since then I’ve definitely become a new fan of his music. He recently released a new album If There’s A Hell Below and I’ve been listening to it on a regular basis. Don’t sleep on Black Milk, ya’ll! Below are some visuals for his single “What It’s Worth,” from the new album.

Like The Rain In The Desert, I Need You Like A Prophet Needs The Future

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Like The Rain In The Desert/I Need You Like A Prophet Needs The Future. -Tiaan

There was a time in my life when I was really feeling artists from the UK. I still have a special place for them and, of course, would love to find out about more. But right now, a lot of the artists I’m listening to are from Australia. There’s A LOT of talent coming from there. Tiaan is one of four Australian artists I’ve really been feeling. I love her live, studio version of the track “Dive Deep.” I’m not going to say much else except for check out the video below and put her on your radar. I can’t wait for my chance to see her live…!

My First Love – The Best Part – Summer In The City – Dark Days – Is It Real – Take It All

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I’m A Poet/All My Rhymes Potent/Beats Is The Potion To Get Ya’ll Open/And I’m Expressing In The Highest Form. -First Love

Where You Wanna Take This/Felt Your Vibe At The First Kiss/Felt Your Soul At The First Touch. -The Best Part

We Movin/We Coolin Out In East River Park/Took A Tab Of That Acid Watch The World Become Art. -Summer In The City*

Motherfuck A Critic Keep Doin You/Dark Days/No Inspiration/No Motivation/No Fucking Patience. -Dark Days

Your Appearance Ain’t All That I Care/About I’m Tryna See Where Your Mind At/What Your Gals Are/Where You Spend Your Time At. -Is It Real

I had originally wanted to write this special segment of my blog after Bryant Dope released the first four installments of #RawDopeWednesdays but I lost track of time, got busy and it didn’t happen. I’m actually happy though because through planning the execution of this post I realized that not only do the songs themselves tell a story but the order in which they were released also tell a story. Before I get into that, Bryant Dope announced in mid-July that he would release a new track every week on Wednesdays “for the fans only,” he calls this series #RawDopeWednesdays. There’s been talk about him releasing the Raw Dope 2 EP (follow up to Raw Dope – I suggest getting that) and #RawDopeWednesdays is certainly creating a buzz for that release. I’ve loved every single #RawDopeWednesday release thus far and I always anticipate the next one! Before I do a song by song recap, I want to go back to my earlier thought on the progression of the songs themselves and how they tell a story based on the order in which they were released. From the title of “My First Love” we can tell it’s the start of something, “The Best Part” lets us know that whatever that something is – it’s going good, “Summer In The City” is a song about having fun and enjoying life, then we hit the ‘climax’ of the story with “Dark Days” where something is amiss and the focus may have been lost or it’s having a hard time pushing through obstacles, things get better in “Is It Real” but there’s still some questioning going on and some uncertainty, the last song “Take It All” suggests that the story is over but since this track hasn’t been released yet…this is obviously just a speculation; which leaves me all the more curious to hear it and get the missing puzzle piece. Let me take a minute to recognize all the dope artwork for these songs…I placed them in a collage but definitely do your research and check out the full sized images! Everything about this project is so unique and different – I don’t think I’ve seen another artist do something like this in the past.

1. MY FIRST LOVE: Track is produced by Hannibal King (see my previous post on this blog). The song samples from Erykah Badu “Searching” which actually is a song of the same name originally made by Roy Ayers. The beginning of this song also reminds me a bit of the melody in Bobby Caldwell’s “Do For Love.” This song has a jazzy, hip vibe to it one that can appeal to an older audience as well as a younger, more hip hop geared crowd. This track is Dope’s ode to Hip Hop – what a great way to open up the series. He raps, “I”m A Poet/All My Rhymes Potent/Beats Is The Potion To Get Ya’ll Open/And I’m Expressing In The Highest Form.”

2. THE BEST PART:  Track is produced by Tom Misch. In the song Dope raps about the beginning part of a new relationship and the infatuation that ensues. All the feelings are new and in his eyes it’s “the best part.” On the track he raps, “Where You Wanna Take This? Felt Your Vibe At The First Kiss/Felt Your Soul At The First Touch.”

3. SUMMER IN THE CITY: Track is produced by Soul. The song samples Sade’s “Sally.” It has a very sloooooooow beat which is fitting since there’s some drug usage in the song and the song is all about cruising around the city with no agenda except to hang out. There’s also a jazzy sounding melody backed up by a hip hop beat. This whole song emits a carefree lifestyle. (*Disclaimer: I don’t use drugs and try not to promote drug usage…but I can’t help it but like this line in the song.) He raps, “We Movin/We Coolin Out To East River Park/Took A Tab Of That Acid Watch The World Become Art.”

4. DARK DAYS: Track is produced by Marc R. The beat on this is mystical (with a C not a K) sounding and reminds me of a video game or a movie tune. The song describes a feeling we’ve had: giving up. Some days are harder than others and continuing on seems impossible. Dope raps, “Motherfuck A Critic, Keep Doin You! Dark Days/No Inspiration/No Motivation/No Fucking Patience.” But as the song progresses the message does too…

5. IS IT REAL: Track is produced by Les Nubians. I recognized this song immediately, as Les Nubian’s 1998 single “Makeda.” (*Side Note: If you don’t know of Les Nubians, it’s a definite must that you get familiar with this french duo. I had the pleasure of seeing them in concert for the first time (finally!) in March at Yoshi’s in SF and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. I don’t speak French, but there’s this thing about music…it touches your soul regardless on if you speak the language or not. MUSIC is the universal language of the soul.) I love this song with Bryant’s raps over the beat. I think he’s rapping about the same chick in the other songs. They met, infatuation occurred, they had a fun day riding around the city, they possibly went through a hard time, and now he’s questioning if it’s really real. He raps, “Your Appearance Ain’t All That I Care About/I’m Tryna See Where Your Mind At/What Your Goals Are/Where You Spend Your Time At.”

6. TAKE IT ALL: Track is produced by Hannibal King. Anyone recognize the artwork? Paid in Full! My mind is filled with curiosity and wonder for where this song is going to go and what direction it’s going to take the whole project in. Stay tuned for it’s release later today.

Take It all

 

Black And Educated, Tell My Mama I’ma Make It

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hannibal-king-floral-printBlack And Educated/Tell My Mama I’ma Make It/Me And Mom Bout To Get It Off The Books This Year. -Hannibal King

I found out about Hannibal King by way of Bryant Dope‘s #RawDopeWednesday releases. (Search that hashtag on Twitter to find all the songs.) The first track released in that series, “My First Love” is produced by Hannibal King. The beat on that song is amazing especially because of the way it compliments the song. The track piqued my interest in Hannibal King. I started following him on Twitter, did my research and realized he had two songs: “Fast Way” featuring Adrian Lau and Bryant Dope and “Never Die.” I’ve been bumpin’ these two songs ever since. One week from today, on September 2, Hannibal is set to release his first project of raps Floral Print. I’ll definitely be getting that! In the meantime, he just released his video for “Never Die,” which will be featured on the project. Watch below, and mark your calendar for September 2nd.