The Saga Continues: A$ap Ant Releases “Addie Calipari”

For a little over a year now, I’ve been exploring and diving into A$ap Ant. The Baltimore rapper has intrigued me with his wordplay, the production of his songs, and his consistency when it comes to dropping new music for his fans. While we’re constantly focused on the “star” members of the A$ap mob, the real work is happening to the ones you aren’t paying attention to and Ant is one of them.

When I first start noticed Ant it was while I was listening to his verse on “Runner” with Lil Uzi Vert on Cozy Tapes vol. 1. Then again on Cozy Tapes vol. 2 where he made more features on songs such as “Blowin Minds”, “Walk on Water”, and “Get The Bag”. This is when I knew I had to find more music by him.

So in 2018 when he released “The Prelude”, I was able to get a sense of what kind of rapper he was and his signature sound. Seven (7) songs, each about 2 minutes or less. What I found unique about Ant, other than his lyricism, was his consistency. Since The Prelude, Ant has consistently put out great quality projects so fans like myself never have to wait for new music from him — which is something I can get behind, for sure.

It was no question that I had to support and listen to his latest project — Addie Calipari which pays homage to the head coach for the college basketball team University of Kentucky. The rapper also makes that known in his album work, created by @antawge, which shows him at a basketball game holding the net.

Artwork by @antawge

The song breakdown

The album starts off with Tyson’s Corner, a reference to an area in Virginia with high end shopping centers. Tyson’s Corner shows off Ant’s wordplay and signature sound off bat — “he like a Christmas tree, when we shoot we light him up”. Sliding into Lord Superb, Ant plays with some bars to describe his childhood over a Sparkheem beat. Next, NBA Live 2005 and Offseason Workout — both references to the cover of the project. 21 Donut (feat. Lulu P) immediately catches my attention because of the best change. The first half of the project were beats with similar tempos and bass — great none the less, but 21 Donut’s beat reminded me of an old beat Lil Flip would be proud of in 2005. Tris Stratus — which I believe is a reference to a bad bitch and my favorite WWE Diva, is more of a freestyle from Ant which I could appreciate especially since its only one minute long. Okay so I know I’m a feminist and all of that but I have to be honest, Bri Bri Keep Playin is the song I keep on repeat everyday. I know y’all might be mad because of the lyrics but listen, between the beat, the catchy lyrics, I’ve been corrupted. The slow tempo of the beat along with the relaxed tone of the rapping, you definitely get a vibe from this one that separates itself from the other songs. And Bri Bri, I hope you stopped playin. Alright so, I lied; Cross Country Elementary is the other song I have on repeat too. Maybe it’s the beat or maybe it’s Ant rapping “get yo b*tch off my f*ckin d*ck” about eight times but Spizzledoe and Ant definitely snapped with this one — #GYBOMFD is the mood for 2020? A&W Cream Soda and Beat And 1 (feat Baby 9eno) both produced by Sparkheem with Jonny Caravaggio show off more of Ant’s creative wordplay. As the project ends, Ooze Edition and Infantry Mobbin both shine a light on the rapper’s brand Marino Infantry.

Revenge of the Dreamers 3: A Conversation

The promo run for Revenge of the Dreamers 3 was the most exciting one of the year so far. We saw a multitude of artists and producers post a simple picture with their name at the top and “Revenge” in a large font against a yellow background – this was their official invitation to be a part of the project. The album was recorded in 10 days from January 6 -16th which is a marathon no matter who’s involved in the process. We got a two pack of singles at the end of that month and then another two pack at the beginning of this month. The tracklist dropped on Thursday night July 4th and then July 5th at midnight…

The album dropped.

I hit up fellow Glosse Magazine Writer Lexiii Dee to discuss the project, our favorite tracks and how we felt about the concept behind it.

This conversation has been edited for clarity.

Paul: So, off rip, what would you say were your favorite aspects of the project?

Lexiii: My favorite aspects of this project as a whole was the fact that Cole went out of his way to allow many of these upcoming artists and producers from all over the U.S. to come to Atlanta to experience the sessions of creating and putting this album together; even if they didn’t  make the project itself. You rarely hear about rappers in high positions in the game that go out of their way to let the next young artist/producer get their shine. It’s a rarity and of course we all know J. Cole is a good guy but it makes the level of respect for him go up even more. Even if a person for some reason doesn’t like him, they can’t deny this man his respect for helping the people around him. What about you? What was your favorite aspects of the project?

Paul: I’m 100% with you on that. That communal aspect was so beautiful to see in the documentary and it only enhanced the same feeling throughout the music of the album itself. Sticking with that topic, I liked how his goal was to highlight lesser known artists even though some names we all know were involved in one way or another too. It takes putting someone on to a whole new level. I also liked the promo run with everyone posting their invitation to social media. It was simple, straightforward and obviously very effective. BUT, in terms of the music itself I liked how there was a variety of styles, tones and moods throughout the album. Personally, I believe for any project if there isn’t some type of variety the label of “boring” or “redundant” will come up easily and frequently. 

Lexiii: I definitely agree with you when it comes to the variety of the project. Each member of Dreamville bring their own unique style to the table, especially with the newer artists on the label being involved. It was also incredible seeing Cole switch up from his style that many of his fans love him for. Even before the project dropped and seeing the tracklist, it was interesting to see which artists were on there and how it would play out. Surprisingly, it was incredible and did not disappoint. It makes me happy just seeing hip hop artists that you would never in your life think that would hop on a track together actually make it happen.

Paul: Exactly. The contrast between his verse on “Sacrifices” which is the lane we expect him in with his verse on “Rembrandt” or “Under The Sun” just showcases his range. Not to mention the fact he’s on the latter with DaBaby which is something we thought we’d never see. Speaking of verses, what would you say are your top 3 favorite tracks right now? I know something like this can change easily so the emphasis is on right now lol. 

Lexiii: In regard to you speaking on the contrast between his verses, I want to also bring attention to his flow on “Sunset.” He really got in his bag and showed us another side of him we have not seen before. Cole taking on a more gritty, trap sound made me realize this man can take on anything. Also, who would have thought Cole hopping on a track with Young Nudy would make so much sense. The top 3 tracks for me right now off ROTD 3 will definitely have to be “Sacrifices” , “Don’t Hit Me Right Now” , and “1993”, in that order. Upon the first listen of “Sacrifices”, it literally made me emotional. That track is a tear jerker for sure. Just hearing the way each artist were spitting showed just how deep the song was. Earthgang didn’t miss, Smino didn’t miss, Saba is always on his sh*t, and Cole, for a fact, made the song to me. “Don’t Hit Me Right Now” is more of those light tracks that still has a punch to it. The standout for me was ATL songstress Yung Baby Tate and how even though her part wasn’t that long, the way she floated on there caught my attention that, to me, brought the whole song together. “1993” was insane. With the way everyone was getting their verses off and Buddy interrupting and being Buddy, it was a smooth, chill yet funny track. I was annoyed with the interruption of Cole’s verse because he was about to really go off. What were your favorites off the project at the moment?

Paul: Jeez wow, how could I forget Sunset? Smh. “Sacrifices” is my number one for sure too. I felt the tears attempt to form when I listened to Cole’s verse today and that WWE to Boondocks bar was great wordplay packed perfectly between all the emotion on that one. Of course Smino and Saba held it down too – especially Saba. Johnny Venus’s flow was interesting sonically but I’m still debating if it takes me out of the mood of the song or not. “PTSD” is next because I love the stories they all told and this may be unrelated but I could see Joey (Bada$$) on it too. The piano is just smooth. Only thing that takes me out of it was Buddy’s outro but I can look past it. Costa Rica would have to be my #3 because I loved everyone’s flow on that one and I really like the instrumental on it. In fact, I’d say I liked ALL the instrumentals – everyone on production snapped. The unorthodox ones like “Down Bad” and “Wells Fargo” were fantastic. 

Lexiii: “Costa Rica” was some HEAT! Honestly the singles they released were pretty good overall. I couldn’t get into the “Got Me” single for a minute though. It was something about the tempo that didn’t really do it for me. “LamboTruck” was hard as well. Reason and Cozz had very good chemistry on the record. Towards the end of the track, I loved how the two were switching off with the lyrics and added the part about robbing Cole and Top Dawg. You could tell that they were giving off bars but having a good time creating the music. Childish Major did his thing as well. Did you feel like he should have had a verse of his own or it was perfect the way it is?

Paul: Actually I don’t because as you said Reason and Cozz had perfect chemistry. With Cozz name dropping practically everyone on TDE and REASON’s verse basically starting like a conversation about Cozz then ending with one with him I feel like if anything had been added it would have just seemed out of place. That track and “1993” which you mentioned had that communal aspect we mentioned at the beginning front and center. However the concept of “1993” to was definitely a creative one and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see it done again with a different group of artists. But aside from all these great things, personally the project was not completely flawless for me. I saw you mentioned “Got Me” didn’t do it for you earlier and I wasn’t a fan of that one either. I also understand the concept of “Ladies, Ladies, Ladies” but I’ve never been a fan of songs like that. 

Lexiii: I gave it about a 9/10 mostly based on the production end. Though the artists were a huge part of this as well, the instrumentation really did it for me. However, if I wasn’t viewing it from that perspective, I would give it a solid 8 just because I didn’t like about 3 or 4 records on there. Now let me ask you this, how did you feel about the decision of adding J. Cole’s single “Middle Child” on the project? Do you feel like it fit or should have been left for his own solo album?

Paul: Ah I knew that question would come up. So outside of the line “If it ain’t ’bout the squad, don’t give a fuck” and the bar “What good is the bread if my niggas is broke?/What good is first class if my niggas can’t sit?/ That’s my next mission, that’s why I can’t quit” “MIDDLE CHILD” just doesn’t fit the theme of the album. That single is literally about Cole’s place in the industry as an individual. BUT, because of his place he can do a song with Young Nudy as we mentioned or a song like Sacrifices and kill each one because of his place and ability to connect with multiple generations. But, also, it is the only solo track on the album and some may see it as selfish to only give the “face” of the label a place for a solo track – especially one that’s already gotten acclaim. Sorry if that wasn’t a real answer lol. I guess my conclusion is I can see why it would be there but I also see why it shouldn’t be. 

Photo @dreamville on Instagram

Lexiii: If we are looking at this from another viewpoint, maybe it was to help with the numbers. However, with the way they rolled out this album, it wasn’t needed. The promo itself already raised the anticipation. Personally, the track did not fit the project and should have not been apart but I see how you mentioned about Cole’s place in the industry and how he is able to connect with the generations and I agree. I wouldn’t say it seems selfish but I think it should have been left off. How did you feel about the duration of the project? Because I’ve been noticing many artists nowadays have been putting together projects that are usually less than 14 tracks long but not with this one. Do you feel like these newer artists have stepped away from projects that have longer tracklists like there were before earlier in time?

Paul: I feel newer artists in the public eye put out longer projects to help with streams and while it is a logical business move some people do not need projects longer than 14 tracks like you said. There’s going to be filler for sure for some of those artists. However, for this project specifically I feel like the one hour length is completely fine even though I think some tracks could be cut based on personal preference. 45 minutes to an hour is what I’ve personally come to expect so anything under that I’m somewhat surprised. Artists who make shorter albums generally believe in quality over quantity as we’ve seen this year. However, I believe I read they had over 50 tracks to choose from for this project? So the fact we got 18 as opposed to 25 shows just how hard the narrowing down process can truly be. I saw you gave the full thing an 8/10 earlier so I’ll follow and say I’m leaning towards a 7/10 myself. Definitely enjoyable but the standouts greatly overshadowed the ones that weren’t quite up to par.

Lexiii: Speaking of standouts, other than Cole, which artist on the project was the standout and who did you wish received more attention? 

Paul: J.I.D as a standout easily and I feel Ari Lennox should have gotten more attention. I understand the overall sound of the album wasn’t her sound but for being on two songs and personally only liking one – not a good look for her being she’s been there since the second installment. 

Lexiii: I completely agree with everything you said. J.I.D was literally in every single track and personally, I believe he is right under Cole in regard to the artists on the label. Not that the rest don’t, but he is hungry and really loves doing what he does and it shows. Another person that was a standout to me was Buddy. Other than what was on the documentary, Buddy was really on it when it came to the songs. His personality added so much to the tracks he was featured on, Ari definitely could have gotten more shine but with the direction of the project, I understand why she didn’t and it doesn’t take away from her at all. I wouldn’t say it isn’t a good look though because she did just release an album.

Paul: Right and I enjoyed the album. Guess I was just hoping to hear more and see her blend with different people. So…final thoughts on the whole album?

Lexiii: From seeing the way Revenge of the Dreamers has grown since it first became a thing is beautiful. Dreamville is not called Dreamville for no reason. It’s more than music. This group of individuals have worked hard to achieve their dreams and they are letting it be known that you too can accomplish anything you put your mind to. It’s inspiring and it pushes you to want to do better for yourself and those around you. Overall, the album was amazing and I am excited to see what else they have in store. Even though the summer isn’t over yet, this is definitely a Dreamville summer.

Paul: You’re exactly right. Not only do I have new artists to check out but, I know that they’re headed in the right direction and everyone will only go up from here. Thank you for talking about this album with me! 

Lexiii: Of course!

 

 

 

I’ve Been In Love With Iamddb Since 2017 & Here’s Why You Should Be Too

I’ve been listening to Iamddb for the past two or three years. Like most people, I was put on by a *friend* of mine. I was always intrigued by Black music artists from the UK but was unsure where to really start. So this friend of mine sent me a song by Iamddb and from that moment, at least one of her songs stays on all of my playlists.

Iamddb shot by Scott Trindle for British Vogue

I remember vividly which song made me say “wow, yes this girl has something” — Leaned Out. She had the soul of Erykah Badu and bars of Lauryn Hill. So immediately I was drawn to her flow and versatility. Her music made me feel like the baddest bitch in the world and that men were a mere spec on my radar but then balanced me out with wanting to cuddle and smoke with my man. But that legendary balance comes from her Pisces sun. Yes, as you all know, I am a Pisces. “It’s mermaid season”, her famous intro and outro to most of her songs plays off of her water sign sun. So there may be some bias but I promise you, this girl is IT!

Aside from her musical talent, Iamddb, born Diana DeBrito, has proven she is also a fashion girl. With her clothing line “Hoodrich” names after her 4th EP, Ddb recently opened S—ply concept store with her designs on shelves and a space for fans to come and meet the artist.

Ddb is no stranger to going outside of the box with her looks. She’s done bleached blonde eyebrows, long blue braids, orange braids, and so forth. In fact, her hair styles is what truly makes her so relatable for me. As a Black girl, we’re constantly rocking protective styles like braids and twists and Iamddb has fully embraced these looks. Braided bobs, long individuals, rocking her afro, passion twists. As Black girls, we need that. We need to be reminded that the Black women we listen to share some kind of link with us.

Iamddb for British Vogue

Now let’s talk about why you’re really here. Her discography. Iamddb has released five (5), what she calls, volumes since 2016. Each project with its own theme and vibe throughout. So let’s break it down for you and then I’ll come back and give you my top five (5) songs.

  • Waeveybby – her first project released 2016. Waeveybby gives off new neo soul/hood jazz vibes. Six (6) songs of Ddb floating and harmonizing over beats that sound like a mix of early 2000’s neo soul, modern jazz, and deep bass.
  • Vibe – released in 2017, Vibe shows a side of Ddb that starts coming into play for the rest of her songs; her famous hood jazz lyrics. Giving off an arrogance that makes it known that she’s here to stay so get used to her.
  • Hoodrich – this is where we get the full effect of Ddb in her new state. Deeper beats, raunchier lyrics, more arrogance, more of the reason why she’s about to be the new IT girl coming out of the UK. You wanna be reminded how bad of a bitch you are? This is the EP for you.
  • Flightmode – now flight mode was a bit of a shift in Ddb’s discography. Still with fire lyrics but the vibe changes to something we’re more familiar with — the hood jazz vibe. The beats are more toned down. More harmonizing. More enjoying the art of the music. Similar to the vibe of “Pyramids” by Frank Ocean. Changes in sounds. Random mixes. Where the lyrics are pushed towards the back and the production of the beats are brought forward.
  • Swervvvvv.5 – her latest release (Feb 22, 2019). Swervx5 is a compilation of Ddb’s versatility. Staring off with her signature”Urban Jazz” sound (the first song is actually called Urban Jazz, too), Ddb takes us on a trip through the genre she created. After the first interlude, Ddb slides into some very ass shaking music. With “Sweg” and “Ass$s$”, those cocky lyrics come back. I listen to Sweg eight times a day with no remorse. Ending the project, mellows is down with R&B vibes. Vibes you listen to when you’re prepping for bae to come over. Vibes that sound amazing with a spliff.

So are you ready for my top 5? Alright so I originally had it in my mind to do one song from each project but I figured since Swervvvv.5 is my ultimate favorite project, I’ll switch it up a bit.

  1. Swervvvv.5 EP
  2. XOX (Flightmode)
  3. More (Hoodrich)
  4. Pause (Vibe)
  5. Childsplay (Waeveybby)

Now, I believe I’ve convinced you to at least listen to one song or even check out her Instagram. I truly believe Iamddb is the next music IT girl. When she becomes this, come back to this post and remember I told you so.

I’m A Hotboy And I’m Not Ashamed Of It

In middle school, I believed I wasn’t “allowed” to listen to any artists that were women because I was a boy. Yes, I know – VERY ignorant mindset. This changed in high school when SZA signed to TDE and I just thought her voice was dope af. I also loved Syd’s voice and felt The Internet was my own little secret band that none of my friends listened to – which they didn’t at the time. Anyway, the point is I got over myself and my toxic masculinity and just decided to enjoy the music because it was good music.

Why can’t some grown men do this when it comes to Megan Thee Stallion?

In 2019, it’s obvious women have made their presence known in rap. In a genre dominated by men, they have to work twice as hard and people make twice the assumptions about them too. Just like with the men, there are clear standouts and some are better than others and that’s the way it should be. Megan Thee Stallion fits both of these categories. She has a commanding presence about her and does this using a combination of her personality, looks and most importantly her skills on the mic. Like a lot of people (yes, I know some of y’all have been there since her very first tape) I first heard Ms. Stallion when her freestyle on the “Big Poppa” beat (Or, “Between The Sheets” whichever you prefer) went viral and I was very intrigued. I decided to wait for Fever to drop and was slightly disappointed as the songs outside of “Realer” and didn’t have the feel of that freestyle or others I had heard from her…then I listened to Tina Snow and officially became a Hot Boy.

Many men have said they don’t like Meg because they don’t want to hear her rap about sex. But, what’s the difference between her doing it and literally any other male rapper doing it? It’s the same exchange just from the opposite perspective. This is especially interesting because Kevin F., who has been listening to Ms. Stallion for months was drawn to her for this same reason saying “There’s something engaging about hearing a woman own her sexuality and be as aggressive as men while still owning her femininity”. When Megan says things like “Imma need that head, give me neck like a vertebrae” and “Sitting on your bae face, I’m the ‘bae-by’ sitter” some men would rather say “I ain’t tryna hear all that bro” instead of just admitting these are simple but clever and fun bars. But if their favorite male rapper said “Got the moves like I’m Ryu/Yellow diamonds, Pikachu/When I switch my hair to blonde/I’m finna turn up like Goku” they’d be all over it. Too bad because Meg said that too.

“There’s something engaging about hearing a woman own her sexuality and be as aggressive as men while still owning her femininity”

Megan Thee Stallion for XXL Freshman

Perhaps it’s because some men can’t handle that she is better than some of their favorite male artists bar for bar? As our very own CEO Amani put it “Imagine a new rapper coming in, rapping circles around current artists, using vulgar language, and looking amazing while doing it. No it’s not a typical male rapper, it’s Houston’s very own Megan Thee Stallion” There are multiple women that are rappers that are legendary as well as those who are popular or not popular now. However, unfortunately they are still overshadowed by men and treated unfairly behind the scenes too. It’s almost as if some people have regressed all the way back to elementary school and are saying “Girls can’t do that” Kevin alluded to this too saying “Some men want their women to be inferior to them and when a woman comes to them and shows up as their equal or maybe even superior to them they get intimidated” Megan is making her presence known among men and will continue to whether they listen to what she has to say or not. Writer Kennadi H. put it bluntly saying “I feel like anybody that has a negative opinion is a hater…” This is an excellent point too. Some men simply decide they do not like a woman because she is bringing change to something they thought “belonged” to them. If you don’t like her simply based on the fact she is a woman that raps you are 100% in the wrong.  This mindset exists outside of the rap world too and can be attributed to movies, games and TV Shows that have had strong women taking over leads that were previously held by men.

“…she goes outside of the box people try to put female artists in. She speaks her mind, has an unapologetic attitude and an empowering amount of confidence! Not to mention her sex appeal…that’s on a whole different level.”

Outside of the haters, we fortunately have another segment of the male population with a much more favorable opinion of Megan and these are her Hot Boys. A “Hot Boy” is simply just the male counterpart of a Hot Girl. These men love and support her just as much as the women do. YouTuber and Hip Hop Critic Kenya P. believes the reason men feel this way is “…she goes outside of the box people try to put female artists in. She speaks her mind, has an unapologetic attitude and an empowering amount of confidence! Not to mention her sex appeal…that’s on a whole different level.” Meg’s technical ability as a rapper is what draws a lot of men in too. On the surface, she may sound like other popular female rappers but when it comes down to it – the bars are still there. And, she writes her verses herself. Also, as Kenya mentioned, men enjoy attractive women obviously but an attractive women doing something they already enjoy and doing it well? It’s a package deal.  Meg’s confidence is what pulls me in personally which easily comes through in her flow and her bars. She says what she means and means what she says. Also, her punchlines are clever and sometimes even funny as she has referenced Spongebob and The Jackson Family in the same verse. Her production is always on point too as it compliments her energy and makes every word just stick. Not to mention she’s an anime fan and as of the day this was written her current favorite anime is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure which happens to be one of my favorites too. So basically, I’m sold all the way on her. Hot Boys aren’t afraid to admit they love Ms. Stallion because they see nothing wrong with loving her. Can we 100% relate to everything she says? Of course not. But, can we with most rappers? No. Good music is meant to be enjoyed by anyone and everyone and that is exactly what Megan Thee Stallion creates.

Hotties Stand Up. Haters Tune Out.

Real Street Festival: The Hottest Festival Of The Summer

Just when you thought festival line ups of summer 2019 couldn’t get any better, Real 92.3 announces their Real Street Festival line up. With top hip hop acts such as Migos, Future, A$ap Rocky, Meek Mill, and the Bronx’s very own Cardi B taking over the stage.

In August 10 to August 11, the Honda Center grounds in Anaheim, CA will be shut down with the hottest acts and even hotter brand activations. The festival will feature three stages, and a number of inviting and interactive experiences such as art installations, live murals, an artist alley, a vendor village, the California Love Thunderdome, and more. Along with these activations a car show located inside the Honda Center along with Big Boy’s Neighborhood.

According to John Reese, founder of Synergy Global Entertainment (SGE) and producer of Real Street says, “Hip hop is a GLOBAL SOCIAL PHENOMENA and the ability to produce a music festival of this magnitude in the heart of Southern California is a dream for SGE. Working with the Honda Center and its grounds has brought so much to the event. The building will be open so people can actually use a real bathroom at a music festival! Plus Big Boy’s Neighborhood and other attractions will be on the Honda Center floor center court. Real 92.3 is an awesome partner, and with so many interactive experiences, three stages of amazing artists, special food and drinks, and so much more, Real Street will be the place to be this summer in SoCal.”

Who would want to miss the biggest hip hop festival in California?! Real Street is a festival FOR the culture. From the graffiti walls to Big Boy’s Neighborhood, festival goers are bound to be immersed into what real hip hop culture is. For decades Big Boy has been a staple in the hip hop game. With his transparent interviews and love for music, Big Boy has become an icon in media as well.

If you haven’t, make sure to grab you ticket and your homeboy/homegirls a ticket too because there won’t be any other hip hop festival like this one! We’ll see y’all there and make sure to come see the Glossē team while you’re out there!

For more information or to purchase your ticket: https://realstreetfest.com

#NewMusicFriday: What You Need To Hear

Another Friday and another batch of new music has arrived. Tonight we have a great mix of genres and moods so let’s not waste any time.

Indigo – Chris Brown

This project has 32 tracks and 16 features. Whew. If you love Chris I’m sure you’re overjoyed or pleasantly overwhelmed. I’m sure there’s a Song of the Summer contender on here but personally I won’t be listening to find out.

CASE STUDY 01 – Daniel Caesar

This project was a surprise release with most of us not finding out about it until Thursday afternoon. Daniel has already taken his place among the next generation of R&B artists and he looks to continue his success with this project. With features from Pharrell, Brandy and John Mayer this one will truly be something special.

Bandanna – Freddie Gibbs x Madlib

The last collab project from these two was on everyone’s AOTY list in 2014 and may very well be one of the few releases of this decade to actually deserve the “classic” classification. They’re looking to continue the legacy with this project. With features from Black Thought, Pusha T, Yasiin Bey and Black Thought you already know this one is straight hip hop. And with Madlib on production you know the samples will be wonderfully perfect.

Perfect 10 – Mustard

Once you’re done head nodding and making the stank face while listening to Bandanna you can slide over to Perfect 10 to get your fix of fun tracks. We already Mustard’s production style but he seems to have improved on his formulaic approach and done some new and creative things too. The clear standouts on this one would have to be “Surface” which features Ty Dolla $ign and Ella Mai, “Woah Woah’ with Young Thug and Gunna and of course “Perfect 10” which features Nipsey Hussle. A$AP Rocky and Ferg, Playboi Carti, Young Thug, Meek Mill and more also appear on the project.

Three Point Stance – Juicy J feat. City Girls and Megan Thee Stallion

This song sounds exactly how you’d imagine it would sound. However, Juicy J does hit us with the whispering technique on the hook which was unexpected. Megan and Yung Miami drop a verse about their most powerful asset and Juicy J shares his appreciation for this asset. I don’t see one available right now but a clean version of this song would be absolutely hilarious because…

Ghostwriting: What’s The Big Deal?

In the music world there are singers. There are also rappers. There are also songwriters. Sometimes these positions overlap.

They are not required to.

In the past few months, the conversation of ghostwriting has come back to the forefront again. Some feel it should never occur in the world of rap and I disagree with this. Songs are made to be enjoyed by the listener one way or the other. This enjoyment does not always have to produce happiness but can even be sad or another non positive emotion. Regardless sometimes an artist may need help conveying these emotions. This is when the songwriter comes in. The songwriter knows what words and arrangements touch people and they may be cliche but they still work. The more accessible the song is the more successful it will be. And, the success of the song is at the forefront of some artist’s minds while others could care less about it.

The dividing line for me personally when it comes to ghostwriting is the type of song that is being written and the persona of the artist. For the sake of this conversation we will stick with rap for now and take a classic song like Wu-Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck”. Debates on who had the best verse on this song are still had today. This song flows perfectly and combines hype and bars effortlessly. Based on the Wu’s reputation and image we expect each verse to have been written by each member and each member only. And they all were. But what if it was revealed that this wasn’t the case? Would our perception of the legendary group change? Of course. This is because when it comes to them we expect them to write their own verses based on who they are. And, this is a verse driven song – not a hook driven one. Sure, you’ll rap along if you know it but the average listener can not get up and dance to it. This was not the song’s intention – it wasn’t written to be accessible by the average listener.

Now let’s look at an oldish Kanye West (STAY WITH ME) song “All Day”. This song has three audible voices on it – plus the whistling of Paul McCartney. It also has 21 credited songwriters. Why? Because this is what Kanye does. We affectionately call him a “coraller” or “maestro” as he knows how to bring the right people together for a song and of course a full album. We expect multiple people to be involved when it comes to his work. He believes in giving credit where credit is due and even you make a small writing suggestion or are the original artist of the sample on a song – you’ll be credited as a songwriter. Songs like “Monster” and “All Of The Lights” have multiple writers (obviously) and are fantastic songs. They’re easy to sing along with and are accessible by the average listener. Songs like “Jesus Walks” and “Flashing Lights” have only one additional credited writer each and while carrying a message with them, still are accessible by the average listener. All four of these songs have a completely different tone to them, are excellent overall and in my opinion – timeless. This just shows how sometimes having multiple writers can enhance a song or sometimes multiple ones aren’t needed.

The world of ghostwriting is a tricky place. When we found out Joey Bada$$ had writing credits on “rockstar” and Lil Yachty had writing credits on “Act Up” in which he said “I wrote the whole song, except J.T.’s last verse” our minds were blown. Did that stop us from enjoying the songs? Of course not. An artist can have ghostwriters however if they say they wrote the song by themselves then that becomes an issue. Or, if the artist has ZERO writing credits on the song then that is an issue as well. Artists like Drake who are huge are likely to have ghost writers based on the fact that their music is supposed to be successful and accessible. We should not condemn them for this. Artists whose careers are based around their verses as opposed to their song’s accessibility are likely to have no ghostwriters and likely only bring other writers in for hooks. Having ghostwriters is not a bad thing – it just depends on how you use them.

#NewMusicFriday: What You Need To Hear

Whew this is probably the heaviest Friday so far this year. Ross is back, Lil Nas X has dropped his first EP and Nicki is back too. And that’s only a small sample of what we have. Let’s get into it.

 Lords of Flatbush 3 – The Underachievers

Continuing the theme of the series LOF3 is a series of aggressive bangers with fast flows and clever wordplay. The hooks stand out and the short length makes sure the job gets done without overstaying its welcome. Production comes strictly from YDNA making this one a easy gym playlist entry.

7 EP – Lil Nas X

This is arguably the most anticipated release of the day but without a doubt the most promoted. Through snippets, memes, fan interaction and tweets that went on for weeks, Lil Nas X insured everyone knew this EP was dropping. The product itself isn’t for everyone but definitely is in a lane on it’s own with multiple style influences floating throughout the project. He’s made it clear he doesn’t want to sound like anyone else and yet is trying to find what his sound is at the same time.

The Plugs I Met – Benny The Butcher

This one is for the people who want hard bars and beats that are just as hard. And I don’t mean hype I mean hard. This is head nods and stank face reactions to bars type music right here. Benny alreadys snaps on every track and with features like Jadakiss, Pusha T and Black Thought you already know how good this one is.

Megatron – Nicki Minaj

Nicki sticks to her guns and dropped the single and the video at the same time for this one. While it does have a decent bounce the autotune and hook push me away from it personally. I’m sure the Nicki stans will love it though.

Act A Fool feat. Wale – Rick Ross

Ross is back in full effect. This one carries an interesting yet fun hook and Ross flows like only he can. Wale offers a solid verse with some flow switches that are complimented excellently by a few ad libs from Ross. And at this point it’s safe to say he’ll never retire the Maybach Music tag…and I have no problem with that.

Other Drops

Westside – The Game

The Life of Pierre 4 – Pierre Bourne

Delusions Of Grandeur – Gucci Mane

Stripper Bowl – Migos

Out The Mud – Lil Baby & Future

 

#NewMusicFriday: What You Need to Hear

Once again we have a laundry list of releases. However this time around the amount of singles dominates. I can’t get to everything but I can get to the ones you should prioritize.

ZUU – Denzel Curry

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Following 2018’s TA13OO which was many people’s AOTY, Curry is already back with another full project. While the last was highly conceptual this one takes Curry back to his Carol City roots. With all featured artists hailing from his home state of Florida, this one is all about Curry paying homage in his own way. Curry has always been one to be versatile so expect gym tracks, smooth tracks and everything in between.

Broke Leg – Tory Lanez feat. Quavo and Tyga

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Tory said this would be the Summer Anthem. Personally I believe we as the listeners should bestow the title annually as opposed to the artists telling us. Do you agree with his bold statement?

 Crop Circles – Jon Bellion

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The rapper who is a producer and vice versa is a deadly combination. When they put an immense effort into both they’re practically unstoppable. Jon fits this bill perfectly and his behind the scenes videos show how creative he is behind the boards as well as the mic. This one puts that on full display.

Press – Cardi B

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The snippet of Cardi playing this one in the studio has been all over our TLs and now the full song is here. Let’s hope it doesn’t suffer from The ZeZe Effect.*

* The ZeZe effect is when a snippet for a song gets everyone hype and then when the song drops we realize we enjoy the snippet more than the full song. 

#NewMusicFriday: What You Need To Hear

After we got an abundance of musical blessings last week it looks like the rain isn’t stopping any time soon. Let’s get into it.

Escape From New York – Beast Coast

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Albums from groups are in a league all their own. However this project is from a SUPERGROUP, consisting of groups The Underachievers, Flatbush Zombies, and Pro Era for a total of 10 artists. These guys were essentially the soundtrack to my high school career with their solo work so to see them all come together for a full project is a nostalgic dream becoming reality. Before we were all invested in astrology and stones Beast Coast was already telling us to keep our third eye open. Being able to go between conscious rap, mellowed out vibes, hype or straight up gritty tracks is a tough feat but for these guys its simply in their nature to be masters of all of them.

Apollo XXI – Steve Lacy

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Steve is the coolest guitarist/singer on the planet. After producing on the Grammy nominated Ego Death before graduating High School and expanding his production resume with credits on projects by Kali Uchis, Ravyn Lenae and of course The Internet themselves it’s safe to say he had a big couple of years. Now we finally get his his debut solo album following his EP like project Steve Lacy’s Demo from 2017. Worth the wait? Absolutely.

Flying Lotus – Flamagra

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Some of y’all may not recognize this name. But, you’ll be very familiar once you finish listening. Flying Lotus is a producer but his music goes far beyond a melody and some drums. This project is 27 tracks long KEEP READING and features Anderson .Paak, Solange, Denzel Curry, Tierra Whack and more. There’s a healthy dose of instrumental tracks as well. If you don’t find something up here you like I don’t know what to tell you.

4 Real 4 Real – YG

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With a rollout that’s gained mixed reactions YG is here with his latest album. Keeping to his West Coast roots he’s looking to redeem himself after his last project which was not well received by multiple fans. Will he be successful?

All these albums are available on streaming services now!