Monthly Archives: June 2014

I’m Bout To Hit These N*ggas With Some Shit That’ll Light Ya Life Up

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ImageI’m Bout To Hit These N*ggas With Some Shit That’ll Light Ya Life Up/If Every N*gga In Ya Clique Is Rich, Your Click Is Rugged/Nobody Will Fall Cause Everyone Will Be Each Other’s Crutches/I Hope You Fools Choose To Listen, I Drop Jewels, Bust It. -Jay Z

Jay Z’s classic, Reasonable Doubt, turns 18 years old today! It was released on June 25, 1996. I was listening to a lot of R&B in those days, and had just started listening to some hip hop – mostly Tupac. Later on in my music listening, I discovered Jay-Z land eventually stumbled upon Reasonable Doubt. It’s now one of my favorite albums by him. “Can I Live” is hands down my favorite track off that project but a close runner up is “Feelin’ It.” I suggest adding Reasonable Doubt to your music collection – if you don’t already have it!

 

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I Figured I Was Better Off On My Own, Thinking ‘What Could Have Been’ And ‘What Didn’t’ Is Just As Wrong

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ImageI Figured I Was Better Off On My Own/Thinking ‘What Could Have Been’ And ‘What Didn’t’ Is Just As Wrong/So I Put It To The Side And I Focus On What Is Known. -Locksmith

It’s a good day when Locksmith drops a new track, cypher or music video. Today was a good day because he released the video for “Free” featuring Rebecca Nobel! The track off his recently released album A Thousand Cuts. I really enjoy all the colors in the video. My favorite scene is when he’s rapping in front of the mural. There’s a great contrast between colors. He’s dressed in gray and darker colored clothing and then there’s a burst of color on the mural behind him. This imagery works because both Locksmith and the mural stand out – and yet neither are competing for the spotlight. I do have a soft spot in my heart for things that are colorful but too much color can be a problem, as well. It’s all about the balance – another thing Locksmith does right. It’s important to create a point of focus or something for the viewer to pay attention to, may that be on the artist or on the imagery surrounding the artist in the video. Whatever the case is, Locksmith achieves it. One of my biggest complaints about music videos is when the visuals distract from the song, meaning of the song or the artist. With Lock’s videos (at least the ones I’ve seen) that’s not the case. It’s easy to stay “in” the song while watching the video. A big plus in my book.

 

I Was Stupid To Think, That Love Could Happen Over Night

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ImageI Didn’t Make It Hard To Win/Said He Loved Me/Told Me I Was His Beauty Queen/Said I Loved Him/I Was Stupid To Think/That Love Could Happen Over Night. -Elli Ingram

Elli Ingram chooses a provocative set of visuals in her new video for, “All Caught Up.” I heard this song for the first time today, when I watched the video. The song is off her most recent release The Doghouse EP. I’ve listened to the song a handful of times today and look forward to getting the EP soon. Press play, below, and enjoy!

Love At First Sight, Is Better Than Love From Last Night

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Love At First Sight/Is Better Than Love From Last Night/Some Night Some Night/That Just Ain’t Right/Cause Your Lips Are Under Attack, Girl/Under Attack Under Attack/You Got It Bad, Girl. -Shy Girls

This discovery was made by going to a concert and getting put on to the opener for the show. I will definitely be checking up on this group from here on out. Last night, I got to cross off an artist from my “Concert Bucket List” because I got to see Maxwell perform live at The Mountain Winery, in Saratoga CA! Before Maxwell hit the stage, we were blessed with an all male group out of Portland – Shy Girls. The lead singer, Dan Vidmar has a voice that is crisp and sensual. I’m still trying to decide how I would categorize their style of music, but basically it’s Jazz melodies combined with Soul lyrics and sprinkled with some Hip Hop beats. The musical breaks in these songs are a big reason for why I like them because you can really focus on the all of the different sounds. Ultimately, you just need to hear it the music to understand. I enjoy all of the songs on their SoundCloud – definitely worth checking out. Below, is a video for the song “Under Attack,” the live version is a bit different because it’s lacking the entire band and back up singers’ support. I happen to like the live version better, for it’s simplicity, but haven’t been able to find a high enough quality link to share. This version allows you to really hear the music though. Enjoy!

You Need To Git Up Git Out And Git Something, How Will You Make It If You Never Even Try?

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ImageYou Need To Git Up Git Out And Git Something/How Will You Make It If You Never Even Try? -OutKast

CLASSIC song. It’s still ringing true in my life today. Quite possibly, ringing true, like never before. I’m all about trying new things right now…err, new things that will help improve my life, that is. 2014, the year of progress! I’m bout it bout it, ya’ll. Hope this song gives you that little push that you needed to start your day off right!

 

 

When Your Heart Becomes A Million Different Pieces, That’s When You Won’t Be Able To Recognize This Feeling

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ImageSo You Wanna Be A Man About It, Do You?/And Have You Figured Out All You Wanted, Have You?/When Your Heart Becomes A Million Different Pieces/That’s When You Won’t Be Able To Recognize This Feeling/That’s Called Tough Love. -Jessie Ware

I’ve been a fan of Jessie Ware‘s for quite some time now. On her most recent release “Tough Love,”(prod. by BenZel) she takes her singing up an octave and hits some higher notes. It reminds me of what Marsha Ambrosius did on “Cold War.” I look forward to what Ware has in store for us in the future and if it’s anything like “Tough Love,” I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

 

I Can Take Ya Number, Can’t Be Ya Man, But You Can Act Like It In Ya Instagram

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ImageA Flashy Young N*gga Before We Took The Pictures/I Can Take Ya Number/Can’t Be Ya Man/But You Can Act Like It In Ya Instagram. -Troy Ave

Since I’m still on my NYC-hype, while in en route back to the Bay, I figured I would do a quick post on Troy Ave. Previously, he fell under my group of “guilty pleasure” artists. The first song I heard by him was Lotus Powder Bomb – the keymix to Wale’s Lotus Flower Bomb. I like Troy’s version. He makes me laugh. Maybe it’s his tone of voice or that he reminds me of a little teddy bear or that he sings hooks for some of his songs. Who really knows… PS. Shout out to my boy LJ, he does a perfect impression of Troy’s voice!

His recent release, “Your Style” featuring Lloyd Banks, is a hot track! A perfect anthem for your summer playlist – I already have it on mine. Peep the video.

 

 

I Just Sit Back And I Look At The Game And The Game It Disgusts Me, I See It Clearly You Fear Me Cuz Lyrically No One Can F*ck With Me

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I Just Sit Back And I Look At The Game And The Game It Disgusts Me/I See It Clearly You Fear Me Cuz Lyrically No One Can F*ck With Me. -Locksmith

Yesterday my Twitter timeline was buzzing all day about this cypher from last month’s Mission Underground event in Los Angeles presented by Team Backpack. The cypher features three artists out of California: A-1, Anilyst and Locksmith. If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know that Locksmith is one of my favorite artists right now. If you haven’t been reading, scroll down and find out more about him! He absolutely kills the cypher. I first listened to it less than 24 hours ago and have already listened to it more times than I can count. I really can’t say much more about it because, honestly it’s hard to put into words just how dope it is! See for yourself, below & if you like it, download the mp3 here.

 

All The Love Came From My End, You Couldn’t Save Yourself If You Tried

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ImageAll The Love Came From My End/You Couldn’t Save Yourself If You Tried/And I Want To Believe You/Though I Know I’m Wrong/But My Heart Isn’t Yours To Break/It Can Only Make Me Stronger. -Anais Aida

I’ve been listening to “Love Can Burn,” by singer and songwriter Anais Aida since I first heard it in 2011. I love the opening sounds on the track and they often get stuck in my head. By the time I had heard the first 30 seconds of the song, I was already hooked. All of us at one point or another have been “burned” by love and can relate to the song. The video is pretty intense, I wouldn’t take that route but hey…

 

Recently, she released some new music that I’ve been jamming to. For example the sad song about a relationship with too many mishaps – “Single Rose.” Another worth mentioning is the sultry, “Watchawannado (Remix)” featuring Topaz Jones. The song is available for free download via her SoundCloud account. I can’t wait for her to release a complete project! Listen below.

 

 

Who I Am Is Deeper Than What They Giving You – Damn I Don’t Wanna Be The N*gga That’ll Go Astray – Let Me Prove I’m An Exception To The Rule

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ImageWho I Am Is Deeper Than What They Giving You/But Second Guessing Myself Was My Biggest Issue. -Who I Am

Damn I Wanna Leave/Damn I Wanna Stay/Damn I Don’t Wanna Be The N*gga That’ll Go Astray. -Fuckin’ Idols

Men Are Only Faithful To Their Egos/Is That A Weapon Or A Tool?/Let Me Prove I’m An Exception To The Rule. -I.O.U.

I found out about Locksmith about two months ago. I’ve been listening to his most recent album A Thousand Cuts for the last month and a half. In that short amount of time he’s quickly risen to the top of my short list of “Favorite Rappers,” maybe even “Favorite Artists.” It’s really hard to choose a “favorite” of something but here’s how I know Locksmith is there…

Have you ever read a book, finished it…and then the next day or later that afternoon picked it up and re-read the entire thing, again? I haven’t either – not even with my favorite book, “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” by the late Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But with Locksmith’s album, that’s exactly what I’ve done over and over again. I don’t skip any songs or fast forward through anything – I listen to the album from start to finish, every time. This has been mind blowing for me because it’s the first album I’ve done this with. Oh, and there’s been other favorites, “Friday Night Lights” by J. Cole, “Is Your Love Big Enough” by Lianne La Havas, “Acid Rap” by Chance The Rapper, “1999” by Joey Bada$$ and “Channel Orange” by Frank Ocean. I’ve loved each one of these albums and listened to the songs a lot – but never from start to finish on any type of regular basis.

I’ve also been stuck on ATC so much that I haven’t even bothered to venture out and listen to any of his previous releases. Which is another thing that I’ve always done in the past. Musically and lyrically, I feel like I’ve gone straight to the top. I know, eventually, I will listen to the rest of his discography, but right now ATC is just that good – that I can’t.

The album is personal, powerful, and pure. His delivery is flawless, clear and concise. Some would probably categorize Locksmith as a conscious rapper, but to me he’s just real. This realness can also be felt when having a quick conversation with him – I know because I felt it when I met him (pictured, above) at his album release show in San Francisco in April. Big thanks to 2DopeBoyz (the only blog I go to discover new hip hop) and Team Backpack for putting on an amazing event! He is humble, down to earth and genuinely enjoys interacting with his fans.

There isn’t a song on the album that I don’t like, but some of the ones I really like are: Who I Am, Hardest Song Ever (first song I heard by him before the album dropped), Your Loss, I.O.U., Why You Leave and Hip Hop. The track “Fuckin’ Idols” is one that I used to consider my least favorite up until a couple weeks ago. Last week, Locksmith used social media to let fans decide which video he would shoot next. Voting ended on Friday, he made the music video on Saturday and released it today! I think it’s pretty cool that my new current favorite – “Fuckin’ Idols” is the track we (the fans) chose!

An aspect about the video that stands out to me is that when the music speeds up, in certain parts of the song, the imagery in the video also speeds up. The video really compliments the song. Another thing that I’ve noticed about his music videos (at least the ones I’ve seen) is that it’s mostly him, alone, accompanied only by the music. In videos I think the imagery associated can be distracting and can make it difficult to follow the lyrics and pay attention to the song. Locksmith’s videos don’t do that. Another plus.

Press play, below. Head over to iTunes to purchase his album. Oh! Also, if you’re in the Bay Area on July 10th, he will be performing in Oakland at The Uptown, tickets can be purchased here.