New Music: What I’ve been listening to…

Hey everyone, just an update on some of the latest music I’ve been listening to at the moment. Last week was a big week for music releases so stay tuned for some album reviews soon!

Chris Brown Ft Drake – No Guidance

FINALLY!!!! This collaboration has been LONG overdue!!! When I first heard the song I thought it was an old collab that had just been leaked but Chris confirmed it was new and released it. It’s nice to see that the two have sorted out their differences because I would argue that they are possibly two of the most talented artists we have at the moment. The song feels like a joint song rather than one featuring another. The end of the song when the tone changes and Drake has his verse sounds like an old school Drake vibe. Chris kept consistent energy too. I hope this is the beginning of a lot more collabs between the two.

Skepta – Gangsta Ft BBK

Skepta has finally released his new album ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ and it contains a few features. The premise of the song is focusing on people that act like they’re not. This song features some of the members of BBK. For me though, the stand out verse is from none other than Skepta’s blood brother JME. My favourite lines from him would have to be when he says “Waste of money and time, please stop (trust). You cannot buy gangster from shop, bare logos, bare designers you lot are looking like F1 drivers”. This is the idea that people equate status to the amount of labels they wear when really they look more ridiculous. Have a listen below;

CE Ft. Wavey – Drown

CE is back with another one. This time he recruits Wavey and the song is one of those songs that you would want to zone out to. It will have you singing “baby don’t tell me you’re leaving” after hearing it, trust me!

Skepta – What Do You Mean Ft. J Hus

I’ve repeated so many times that J Hus is the king of hooks! Have him on a song and it is an instant hit. Hus has the ability to give special meanings to normal words. The beat of this song was produced by IO, who has previously produced a lot of Dave songs. Someone mentioned that this song sounds very similar to 50 Cent’s song “If I Can’t” and I have noticed it ever since! Hus and Skepta bounce off eachother . As usual there are many quotables from Hus such as “You’re on the other side if you aint on my team“. A great paring.

Rotimi – Love Riddim

Rotimi is back with another slow jam for us. I love how his voice makes me feel. As a Nigerian, I hear the African influence in his music but as a r&b lover I also hear his influence from that genre. Have a listen below;

Mo Stack – Respect & Love

UK rapper Mo Stack has finally dropped his anticipated debut album. I will do a personal review on the project as a whole but this particular song has been on repeat since I first heard the album. It has such a fun vibe, I hope there is a video going to be released for it.

Tyga Ft. Chris Brown & J Balvin – Haute

Anytime Tyga and Chris Brown have a song together you already know it’s going to be a hit! This song is no different. I like the addition of who seems to be the star of features at the moment, J Balvin. I’ve always said how much I love the Spanish language in general and in songs so his addition was definitely a pleasure for the ears.

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Revisiting Time: Chance The Rapper: Coloring Book (Mixtape) – #throwbackthursday

Okay! It’s been over 3 whole years (13 May 2016) since Chance The Rapper dropped his mixtape ‘Coloring Book’ and I figured I would do a post talking about that EP in honor of #ThrowbackThursday. Here are some songs from the tape that I still love and play today.

Chance the Rapper – All We Got Ft. Chicago Children’s Choir & Kanye West

Intro tracks are so important because it is the artist’s chance to showcase a preview of what is to come. Chance even states “Hey, this ain’t no intro, this the entree“. This intro did exactly that. The fact Chance features with one of his musical heroes and use of the choir and the instruments that were used in this song are a reflection of how much work Chance puts into his music and production. The theme “Music is all we got” sits well with me as I believe it is a strong and quite realistic truth.

Chance the Rapper – No Problem Ft. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz

You don’t want zero problems, big fella“! Love the intro to this song. This song is dedicated to the record labels that all rejected Chance. One of my favourite lines from the song is when Chance says “Milly rockin’, scoopin’ all the blessings out my lap” as he is now the one that is winning and has the last laugh. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne fit the song so well too and yet again the production on this song is unique. The background vocals sound like a choir .

Chance the Rapper – Blessings Ft. Jamila Woods

I absolutely love this song. There’s something about Chance singing and singing with a stripped back vibe that is beautiful. Not to mention, the song is very religious as Chance sings about the glory of God. The song seems personal as Chance raves about how since giving his life to the Lord, he has received nothing but blessings and success. Jamila sings “I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him till I’m gone, when the praises go up, (Good God) the blessings come down“.

Chance the Rapper – Same Drugs

This song is quite relatable for many people. Despite the title, the song has no affiliation or relation to drugs. The song is based on the concept that Chance and the woman in question no longer have the same interests anymore. Chance uses the analogy of Peter Pan in this song to describe the situation; “When did you change? Wendy, you’ve aged…I thought you’d never grow up“. The idea that like in Peter Pan, Wendy got on with life and changed/grew up. The song basically focuses on the reality that that with some people, you both move on and take different paths and it is just a part of life. I like that Chance mostly sings in this song as I genuinely believe his singing voice is so unique.

Chance the Rapper – Juke Jam Ft. Justin Bieber & Towkio

This is one of my favourite songs ever from Chance. The flow, the feeling I get listening to this song is unmatched. The song is basically Chance reminiscing about the past and a relationship. Apparently “Juking” is a Chicago term for a form a dance similar to grinding. Justin Bieber’s feature on this song was sensual too, his voice when he sings “We got so much history baby” was perfect for the theme of the song. The song is the type of song you could have on in the background and vibe to as it feels very chilled and laid back.

Chance the Rapper – How Great Ft. Jay Electronica & Nicole Steen

Not much to say on this song but Chance follows the religious theme and delivers this beautiful worship song featuring his very own cousin Nicole. The song gave me chills when I first heard it and the feeling has not gone away. Please have a listen and prepare to be inspired.

Chance the Rapper – Smoke Break Ft. Future

Another one of my favourites from the tape. I like the sound from Future on this song and the way they both compliment eachother. The song is Chance saying how much more free time him and his girlfriend need to make for eachother since the arrival of their baby. One of the most memorable lines is when he sings “We way too young to get old“, words to live by! Future’s verse sounds very shady but one of my favourite lines has to be “Please don’t get lost in the sauce, please don’t get lost in the sauce“. Typical Future lyrics!!!! The production on this song is amazing too!

Chance the Rapper – Finish Line/ Drown Ft. Noname, Eryn Allen Kane, T-Pain & Kirk Franklin

This is the longest song on the tape but is split into two. Part 1; Finish Line is based on the success and blessings Chance has received as he sings; “But who would think the raps would turn into racks? don’t matter, matter fact, it could happen to you”. Chance tries to show that his blessings can happen to anyone with faith. The flow switches up in the second verse where he speeds up while still maintaining his joy at his blessings. all demonstrating his versatility. Part 2; Drown is where Noname talks about how God has been there for her despite the fact she is going through a tough and horrible time. The common phrase repeated in this part of the song is “The water may be deeper than it’s ever been. Never drown“. This is the idea that no matter how hard life gets, never give up and always have faith because God is real and he is all powerful. He will always find a way to get you out the water.

#ThrowbackThursday Donell Jones…A Pioneer?

Donell Jones…R&B Pioneer?

It’s nearly the end of what has felt like a very long week! Hope everyone has a nice peaceful end to it. One of the features of Spotify I enjoy is the “Daily Mix” playlist. Today’s one for me brought back some memories of some classic throwbacks I thought I’d share with you all based on one of the best Donell Jones. I’m talking about some songs from his second studio album ‘Where I Wanna Be‘ as well as some other songs. I’ve been thinking and I genuinely believe Donell Jones could be considered to be one of the pioneers of R&B. When you read about how he has written music for acts like Usher, it makes so much sense.

Donell Jones – U Know What’s Up (1999)

Possibly one of Donell’s most well known tracks and literally his biggest hit to date. This song has been cemented in slow jam and romantic music history. “Ooh say what, say what, say what…Ooh girl, you know what’s up” are lines I’m sure most music lovers know very well. I can’t even talk too much about this record because the song literally does all the talking. If you somehow weren’t aware of this song, please have a listen. Also check out the remix featuring the late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez.

Donell Jones – Where I Wanna Be (2000)

“But when you love someone, you just don’t treat them bad” another classic line from Donell that is reused in many of our songs today. The song itself is quite sad as it can be argued to be a breakup song as he sings “I’m not saying I’m gone, but I have to find what life is like without you”. Throughout the song he explains how much he cares for her and how sad he is that he has to eventually hurt her. The main message is that he is putting himself first and he is being honest about it.

Donell Jones – If U Want Ft. Bun B. (2006)

I’ve previously talked about my love for this song. I feel this is most likely my favourite song from him. The intro rap from Bun B; “Now if your man ain’t lovin’ you right, you need to roll with a ‘G’, get a thug in your life” grabs your attention straight away. The contrast of Bun B’s playful rapping style and Donell’s sweet voice work well. The song gives us the impression Donell is singing to a woman who is currently in an unhappy relationship with another guy. Donell encourages the woman to leave him so he can take car of her. The idea of him repeating the phrase “If u want” indicates that he is making sure she does not feel pressured to do anything. I enjoyed mostly the flow of this song, it’s very upbeat and vibrant.

Donell Jones – This Luv (1999)

This is another song embedded in my personal ‘Slow Jams Mix’. “Do you mind if I take this seat right here cos you’re sitting alone”….fist part of the song is my favourite. Donell has the ability to story tell in a song that just flows with his tone of voice which is so soothing. Something Usher also does so well. I think this is my most preferred love song from this album if I’m honest.

Donell Jones – I Wanna Luv U (1999)

Wow! Another contender in the battle for best Donell Jones love songs This song is so sensual and soft on the ear as Donell pleads how much he wants to love the woman. The lyrics are definitely very love fueled; ” You are the reason why I live, a newfound joy I can’t contain, yeah”. Whew! Love is sweet!!

Here is the album link below;

I could go on all day talking about Donell Jones songs! I will do another post soon with more recent songs of his.

New Music: What I’ve been listening to…

Hey everyone! Hope everyone has had a great productive week! I’m gonna give you all a list of a few songs I’ve been listening to recently. Have a read and a listen!

Young Thug Ft. J Cole & Travis Scott– The London

The London” is the lead single from Young Thug’s forthcoming project, GØŁDMØÜFDÖG. The song features J. Cole and frequent collaborator Travis Scott. J Cole is rumored to be producing Young Thug’s new album so I wonder if this is a snippet of their collaborative efforts. The best part of the song for me is J Cole’s verse! I haven’t felt this excited for a J Cole featured verse since his verse on Jeremih’s song ‘Planez‘. Cole raps about his success, popularity and his demand in the form of witty metaphors. My favourite from him on the song is “I left a flock of rappers dead and buried, a verse from me is like eleven birds, I did the math, it’s like 2000 dollars every word“. Cole has the ability to make his words sound so simple until you digest and pull apart the lyrics and realise all the numerous meanings. For me, Young Thug’s verse started off well until he started making his usual noises and mixed his words.

London on Da Track Ft. G-Eazy & City Girls & Juvenile

Producer London on Da Track recruits the bay area’s finest G-Eazy and Yung Miami (Caresha) from the group of the moment City Girls and Juvenile. This song is another club hit and is probably destined to be a hit during the summer. G-Eazy went in on his verse on this song proving why he’s one of m favourite rappers. This kind of beat suits his rapping style. Juvenile does his thing on his verse too, complimenting the fast pace of the song. He reminds me of the rapping style of E-40 on this song. The song is mostly based on the rappers flaunting their wealth and materialistic possessions. Have a listen below;

Ty Dolla $ign Ft. J Cole – Purple Emoji

‘Purple Emoji’ is the lead single to Ty Dolla’s 3rd studio album. I could listen to Ty all day with that sensual voice of his . This is another A1 feature from J Cole too. Another point to add is they have only released the clean version of this song for the moment. The song is a beautiful ode to their loves singing and rapping about the importance of the women in their lives. Cole even raps; “If you was to leave me, I know I’m gon’ plummet, I know I’m gon’ plummet” playing on the idea that she makes him a better person. I like the collaboration between the two and hope they do more in the future. Have a listen below;

YG Ft G-Eazy & Kamaiyah – Do Not Disturb

YG just released his latest album ‘4Real 4Real’ and while I haven’t digested the album in full, this song stood out to me. Again, another feature from G Eazy that I love. YG always has the best beats and this song will have you dancing. Only thing I didn’t like was the Cocaine reference from G Eazy’s verse. Another good collaboration.

Wstrn Ft Unknown T – Medusa

I’m a big fan of Wstrn. I feel like they are the most consistent UK group at the moment. This song does not disappoint. Drill rapper ‘Unknown T’ adds his own style to the song and it’s a nice change to hear him on a softer song. I don’t feel Wstrn get enough credit because how many artists can you say have released nothing but hits! Have a listen below;

DJ Khaled – Father of Asahd Review

On May 17th, DJ Khaled released his highly anticipated 11th studio album ‘Father of Asahd‘.  As expected, the album features some of the best rappers and singers out at the moment. I also want to add that DJ Khaled incorporates some of the best musical samples in this album and manages to add his own spin to some of them.

Here are my views on some of the songs on the album that have resonated with me;

‘Holy Mountain’ (featuring Buju Banton, Sizzla, Mavado & 070 Shake)

This is the intro track from the song featuring the recently released Buju Banton. I like the reggae vibe that Khaled has created with this song. My favourite verses of the song are from 070 Shake. Admittedly, I had never heard her before this song but her voice suited the song perfectly especially the tone change of her last “blessing” on her verses. I will be checking out more of her music. DJ Khaled has always incorporated Caribbean influence into his music and I love that he appreciates different cultures. Some of the greats always pay homage to different genres.

Wish Wish’ (featuring Cardi B and 21 Savage)

I was looking forward to this song due to the fact I feel recently Cardi has been on excellent form on her features. In this song Cardi oozes confidence as she argues she is here to stay from the beginning; “They say my time is almost up, tell them bitches, “Wish, wish”. She uses a lot of metaphors in this song and she reminds me of the old Cardi. The old Cardi that used to release freestyles. “Whatever you do sis, keep it cute sis” is a line that I’ve definitely been singing over.

Jealous’ (featuring Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Big Sean)

This is one of my favourite songs on the album! The song reminds me of the impact Chris Brown’s song “Loyal” had. It’s glad to hear Lil Wayne back on a record as he has been missed. He has a line where he says “The brighter the rainbow, the badder the weather” that had be thinking how real that statement was. Lil Wayne is the best at those kind of metaphors. Chris Brown’s voice makes the song easy on the ear and I am convinced this will be one of the songs of the summer. The video features one of the funniest moments where Khaled catches a piece of meat with his mouth. Music aside, I love how much fun Khaled shows himself to have when it comes to music. The summer vibes in the video are also very contagious! Another great video from Khaled, even the extended version haha!

‘Just Us’ (featuring SZA)

Not much to say on this song apart from the fact the Outkast “Ms Jackson” sample on this song is perfect!!! This is a more slowed down version and Sza does the beat justice.

‘You Stay’ (featuring Meek Mill, J Balvin, Lil Baby and Jeremih)

Hands down my favourite song on the album and at the moment in general! On the track, all artists complement each other. The usual sensual voice from Jeremih as he wonders why the woman is staying with someone that doesn’t deserve her. My favourite lines from him; “I just want to see you happy, I just want to see you laughing, I just want to see you smiling “. The usual rugged flashy rapping style from Meek; “Because I caught you slipping, left you no choice, you ever cry again, it’s gon’ be in a Rolls Royce“. To make this song even better, J Balvin inserts his beautiful Spanish language to it. I wish I could understand Spanish because his part is my favourite part of the song.  DJ Khaled did so well with the production of this song too. The song could have done without Lil Baby’s addition but otherwise, such a tune, definitely a song ladies will love

‘Higher’ (featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend)

I’ve previously talked about this song and the accompanying video; https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/05/17/higher-by-dj-khaled-john-legend-the-late-great-nipsey-hussle-thoughts/

However, I just want to add that is the first song in a while that anytime I hear, I get chills from. Also, to add, John Legend really did his thing on this song because his voice is incredible. Rest in Peace Nipsey Hussle.

The Marathon is continuing.

‘Big Boy Talk’ (featuring Jeezy and Rick Ross)

I knew this could potentially be a big record. As a huge fan of Rick Ross, I know when it comes to features he always delivers. His memorable lyrics being “Much richer then I last was (Woo), you could tell by the laugh, cuz (Hahaha) .

‘Freak n You’ (featuring Lil Wayne and Gunna)

I know I complimented DJ Khaled’s use of samples originally but the more I listen to some of these songs, this one in particular I realise it could be considered an easy way out. This song was not redone enough to make it something other than a Jodeci remix. I like Lil Wayne on the  song but if I’m honest, I don’t’ think there was any need to re do the original.

Overall, those are the songs that had the most impact for me. Like I mentioned earlier, the use of samples for me had positive and negative connotations. I feel that some of the songs could have done better with an original production and I feel that the use of samples was an easier way out. I’m all for people paying homage to the greats but I feel it should be a hint of homage and not a whole dose. I’m positive this album will do well numbers wise and pretty much all the hits are summer singles so it’s nice to have some positivity within music. However, whether I will be still listening to this album as a whole in a few months time? Time will tell…

My overall rating is: 7/0

“Higher” by DJ Khaled, John Legend & the late great Nipsey Hussle – Thoughts.

DJ Khaled has just dropped his new album and his most recent single is called “Higher”. On “Higher,” DJ Khaled enlists John Legend and the late great Nipsey Hussle for his first posthumous verse ☹ .

It’s crazy because when a well-known or well-loved artist dies, people always seem to find lyrics in their songs that hint that they were somehow aware of their future untimely deaths. With this being the last song Nipsey recorded a video for before he died, the lyrics were always going to be under the microscope. If you are just listening to Nipsey Hussle for the first time and heard this song, its understandable how you could come to that conclusion.

With this being the last song Nipsey recorded and filmed a video for before he died, the lyrics were always going to be under the microscope. The song feels very spiritual and I believe DJ Khaled was going for that exact vibe. John Legend fits perfectly in this song as his voice has a calming effect while he sings; “Oh, you keep taking me higher and higher (Yeah) But don’t you know that the devil is a liar?”. Nipsey starts off his verse by saying “My granny 88, she had my uncle and then a miscarriage back-to-back every year for like ten”. The reference to his Gran is similar to his previous release “Racks in The Middle” where he says; “See my granny on a jet, some shit I’ll never forget”. In his first verse apart from the mention of his Grandma, Nipsey references his girlfriend Lauren London, his parents, kids, his heritage and his area.  Nipsey has always rapped about those topics and it proves how much he believed and was fueled by all those factors that made him who he was. Regardless of the meaning behind the song we all knew exactly what he meant by those references whenever he mentioned them.

The second verse of the song people may feel more chills for. Nipsey talks about God and how “I was thinkin’ chess moves but it was God’s grace”, every time he thought he was lucky he has now realised was due to his faith and to God. Nip also states “South Central state of mind, high crime rate” demonstrating the lack of peace in the community he lived and loved. In his final lines of his verse he states “Homicide, hate, gang banging’ll get you all day (Yeah, yeah)…And look at my fate”. This is more chilling due to the fact he was also unfortunately killed in this area due to hate and jealousy.

There are so many personal interpretations for this record and I don’t believe anyone has a “wrong” view. For me, this song just demonstrated and reiterated the views and wisdom Nipsey had. He was also very realistic, he knew he lived in a society that could be dangerous at times and all he did was try to encourage us to do better. He didn’t specifically predict his death but he was describing the reality of his surroundings. Somehow the video to this song feels like a video done for someone in memory. Nipsey is in his usual Blue coloured clothes with his people wearing his clothing label which is great and most importantly, he is the main attraction of the whole song.

I found myself tearing up listening to this song and watching the video. However, I felt a sense of calmness and that is due to the fact Nipsey has left behind a legacy. People will learn about him for years to come and with DJ Khaled saying he is donating all proceeds from this song to Nipsey’s children, I couldn’t think of a more fitting song to leave them with.

We will forever miss you Nipsey Hussle but we will never forget you and what you have taught us. Long live Nipsey Hussle!!

THE. MARATHON. WILL. CONTINUE.

Throwback Thursday: Bad Boy Hits!

In honor of Throwback Thursday, today’s theme is dedicated to hits from the Bad Boy franchise! The Label was founded by Diddy in 1993 and is one of the most known African American labels. The label is the home for so many greats including Biggie, Mase, Lil Kim, 112 and many more. During the 90s, it’s safe to say this label dominated many of the charts and even in 2019 are still consistent!! When you think about some of the hits released from Bad Boy, they were pioneers in the rap and hip hop scene. Even till today, their songs are being used as samples . I have left out songs originally by Biggie as I have previously written a post just for him and wanted to focus on some of the other Bad Boy artists.

Here are just a few classic hits from the Baaaaaaaaad Boooooooooyyyyy franchise!

Craig Mack – Flava In Ya Ear Ft. Biggie, LL Cool J, Rampage and Busta Rhymes. (1994)

The original of this song was actually the first song released from the Bad Boy label. The remix is my favourite version. The song contains a sample of “We’ve Only Just Begun” by O’Donel Levy. However, this song was also sampled in the Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule single, “Ain’t It Funny (Murder Remix),” as well as the song “Don’t Leave Me” from the Backstreet Boys. R.I.P Craig Mack!!

Mase – Lookin’ at Me Ft. Puff Daddy (Diddy)  (1998)

‘Lookin at Me’ was the 3rd and final single released from Mase’s debut album ‘Harlem World’. The song was produced and features Diddy (he was known as Puff Daddy at the time). The song is based on the idea that when these men go to the club with their ladies, their “ops” always stare not realising that the woman is just as fierce.  It’s funny because I always felt like Mase sounded a lot like Diddy so hearing this song it takes me a while to realise who is rapping in the verse. The infamous first verse contains “Now what the hell is you lookin’ for? Can’t a young man get money anymore?” which has been referenced in so many modern songs including Kanye West’s song ‘Theraflu’. Have a listen below;

Diddy – Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down Ft. Mase (1997)

Can you believe this the first single from Diddy?! The song is possibly one of the most important Bad Boys songs as it signalled the beginning of dominance for this record label. If you’ve heard Drake’s song ‘4PM in Calabasas’, you’ll recognise that Drake uses the Diddy sample in some of the song. He also sings “They look at me like the golden child…Can’t nobody hold me down” (in the same tune as Diddy did). This is further proof that Bad Boy records were the starting point for many of the songs released nowadays. Have a listen to both songs below;

112 – Peaches & Cream Ft. Diddy (2001)

Peaches and Cream!!!! What a classic song! This is one of those songs that can never get old in my opinion. As soon as you hear “From the car to the bar, from the bar to the telly, your neck to your bra, your bra to your belly”, you know what time it is!!!. I prefer the remix with Diddy but the original song is also great! Have a listen to both below;

Original Song
Remix with Diddy

112 -Only You Ft. Biggie & Mase (1996)

I feel like this is one of those songs that most people my have heard and not known who sang it. This was the debut song for group 112 and what a song to burst onto the scene with!! For me, growing up this song was played a lot and I loved the video which was filmed in Times Square. The infamous line “Bad Boy get more money than you can count” still gets me today.

Mase – Feel So Good Ft. Diddy & Kelly Price (1997)

“Bad, bad, bad, bad boy (Yeah), you make me feel so good (Bad boy)”…This song could be argued to be one of the most popular Bad Boy songs! This is Mase’s first single from his debut album Harlem World. Honestly Mase sounds exactly like Diddy, this is another song I had to double check who was rapping. Mase’s style of rapping was so chilled and laid back which is a big difference from some of the rappers today. He had one of the cleanest and smoothest flows I’ve heard from a rapper.