Please feel free to follow some of my Spotify Playlists. They are updated regularly but are still a work in progress!! (Click the link above)
This weeks #MusicMonday is from my current favourite US artist Yung Bleu!!! Yung Bleu recently released his EP ‘Love Scars: The 5 Stages of Emotions Deluxe’ which features the new Drake remix. I’ve been a fan of Yung Bleu since hearing his song ‘Unappreciated’ back in 2018! I find his voice and tone so soothing!
The original ‘You’re Mines Still’ was one of my favourite tracks from his EP. Hearing that Drake was going to add a verse to it, I was very sceptical. I felt like the song didn’t really need any other addition. My first few listens to the remix, I was not that impressed with Drake’s added verse however having listened to the track a lot more times, I’m converted!! I actually believe this may be Drake’s best feature verses in a while. It features classic Drake quotables which he does so well. This is why I always say it is so crucial to give music time to marinate before you make a solid decision.
Part of Drake’s verse:
“But pretty taught me ugly lessons. Pretty had me givin’ more than I was gettin’, so if pretty don’t come with somethin’, well, then I dead it.
Ashamed to tell my friends how much I’d do for you… ‘Cause they know that you would never do the same for me”…
Have a listen below:
Hello everyone! Hope you are all keeping safe! Today’s Music Monday entry is the new single from UK rapper Headie One featuring UK duo Young T & Bugsey! I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how Young T & Bugsey are some of the best in the UK at the moment when it comes to creating hooks and wow did they not disappoint. I’ve actually been playing this song non stop since the release last Friday! The song was also released with Headie One’s new album, “Edna”. Have a listen to the song below:
Happy Independence Day to my home country Nigeria!!
I will forever be proud to be from this amazing country and Nigerians will forever be my favourite people ever. We have such a rich culture stemming from iconic music and films, wonderful food, iconic fashion, endless banter and amazing spirit!
While Nigeria has been independent for 60 years, unfortunately we still have a long way to go to show all our talent. I really hope the new generation within the next 60 years are able to help improve the country and right some of the wrongs some of the older generation have made. Myself included, it is up to us younger people to help show the world the beauty in my beloved country!
Have a listen below for Nigerians national anthem sung by some of the most popular Nigerian artists; Yemi Alade, 2Baba and Rema. I really loved this rendition of the iconic ‘Arise O Compatriot’.
Happy Monday Everyone! Another new week and the last few days of September already! Today’s Music Monday entry is from new Nigerian sensation Tems!. Tems, a Nigerian singer, who may be known already for her song “Try Me” or her recent hit single ‘Damages’ follows up with a debut EP entitled “For Broken Ears“.
As a description and explanation of the projects Tems wrote;
“This is for anyone looking for an alternative to the darkness. This is for those who need a break from the toxicity they consume and supply on a daily basis. This is for the Rebels because they expected us to follow them but we made our own path, by the Grace of God. This is FOR BROKEN EARS”.
-via temsbaby on Instagram
My favourite tracks from this EP will have to be ‘Damages’ and ‘Free Mind’. For me, Tems has a very unique voice that I feel touches on so many kind of genres; Afrobeats, Alternative R&B, Soul… it would be hard to box her into only 1. She reminds me of an African version of Koffee. Hopefully this is the beginning of more to come and it will be such a pleasure seeing her grow and shine.
Check out the video for Damages below and check out her EP which is out now.
Hey everyone! Hope you are all well! Today’s post is a little something different from the usual. I’m the first to express how music makes me feel and I know that there are so many kinds of music to explain every single kind of emotion. However, even I sometimes need a break from music. Sometimes you may not want to listen to songs but still need something on in the background. Sometimes you may want to listen to something engaging or even something to make you laugh or learn from. For me, the go to for this would be Podcasts. I’ve been listening to podcasts for over 4 years and recently, theres been an even bigger market for them. Spotify even has its own podcast section dedicated to all the old and new podcasts out there. Below, I will list some Spotify podcasts that I feel are useful and I personally love. Some of the podcasts are also available elsewhere if you do not have Spotify, I will put the links of the podcasts if you need to find out more information.
With the likelihood of another nationwide lockdown pending, podcasts may be able to provide people with some fun, banter, valuable information or even support. Here are some of my top Podcasts I recommend at the moment. There should be a podcast here for everyone!
The Receipts Podcast
Country of Origin: London, UK
Podcasters: Audrey, Tolly T and Milena Sanchez
Topics: Dilemmas, Relationships, Friendship & Current Events
Frequency of Episodes: Every Wednesdays
This was the first Podcast I listened to all those years ago. The Podcast was originally released on Soundcloud before growing in popularity and snapping up an exclusive deal with Spotify. The show is hosted by 3 women who focus on dilemmas written in from listeners, everyday events and pretty much everything you can think of. There are no limits on this Podcast and is definitely one of my favourites.
I Dunno TBH
Country of Origin: London, UK
Podcasters: Michelle and Veronica
Topics: Current Events, Science, Mental Health & Black Excellence
Frequency of Episodes: Fornightly
A new Podcast by these two vibrant women! As a new podcast it’s crazy how much the duo have covered already! A great podcast for those that want to hear whats going on in the world and love a bit of banter, passion while covering important topics! Also, to add the title of this podcast couldn’t be any more relevant to represent 2020 as a whole. Who really knows what they are doing or what is even going on!!?
The Michelle Obama Podcast
Country of Origin: USA
Podcaster: Our forever First Lady Michelle Obama!
Topics: Politics, Family, History & Love
Frequency of Episodes: Weekly
Michelle Obama is one of those people (like her husband) that you could listen to all day. She has a gift at storytelling and it was such a joy when I heard she was going to be releasing podcast episodes! The show even features a wonderful conversation with President Obama as well as Michelle’s family members and friends. It’s so inspiring to hear her thoughts and opinions on so many things. Definitely a podcast you will finish feeling inspired.
3 At The Back
Country of Origin: Ireland
Podcasters: Deji, Jordan, Joe
Topics: Sports, Music, Culture & Entertainment
Frequency of Episodes: Weekly but currently on a break.
This was the first podcast with guys that I listened to and really enjoyed! Irish accents are a weakness for me however I do genuinely love the content! The podcast touches on so many topics especially in the past few months with the Black Lives Matter Movement. In fact, their 3rd June Episode titled ‘Enough is Enough” may have been one of the best podcast episodes I have heard. I have never really heard experiences from Nigerian-Irish men and so it was so informative hearing their opinions on what was happening. The guys are not afraid to speak their mind and express their thoughts which is so refreshing for a bunch of guys. The podcast will be loved by men and women! They took a short break recently but should be back with more episodes soon hopefully!
Country of Origin: USA
Podcasters: Sola T & Kierra Rose
Topics: Friendship, Life Lessons, Culture, Mental Health, Black Women Excellence
Frequency of Episodes: Weekly (Although Season 2 hasn’t started yet)
I LOVE this podcast! Firstly, can we talk about both their accents? Whew! They can spend the podcast reading the dictionary and I probably still listen just to hear the voices! As someone that lives in London, I think it’s so important to hear perspectives from people all over the world! Sola and Kierra and both long time friends so it’s even more soothing hearing the podcast episodes as you can genuinely hear the chemistry and partnership. Both ladies really do express themselves and expose themselves emotionally which I think is really comforting to hear. It’s nice sometimes when you hear someone explaining or talking about things that you may have difficulty dealing or opening up with. Definitely check this out!
Pennies To Pounds Podcast
Country of Origin: London, UK
Topics: Money, Financial Literacy and Management, Budgeting,
Frequency of Episodes: Weekly
This is my favourite money management podcast! I have been following for a while now and I learn so many money tips and lessons that are so important. The Instagram page is amazing and is constantly updating with all the relevant information. The podcast episodes are short but clear and concise. This is definitely a very useful and essential podcast during this current unsure climate.
The Last 3 Digits
Country of Origin: London, UK
Podcasters: Bola Sol, Nego True & DISUNOMICS
Topics: Money, Culture, Relevant UK News
Frequency of Episodes: Every Thursday
This is a great and informative podcast on all things money and UK news. Sometimes the news is so misleading and overwhelming but this podcast is perfect at summarising current events and simplifying it for us. They also talk about finance and provide so many useful gems!
A Breath of Fresh Dating
Country of Origin: London, UK
Podcaster: Mandy Mee
Topics: Love, Sex, Relationships and Online Dating
Frequency of Episodes: Weekly
This is a podcast for anyone wanting to listen to information on any of those topics. Mandy frequently has guests who are experts in their respective fields answering many common myths and questions on the specific topics. Regardless of whether you are single or in a relationship, you will definitely find some information relevant to you.
Hello All! It’s been a while I know! Today’s post is a quick continuation of my Instagram Post. It’s a debut song called ‘DAMAGE’ from UK newcomer Nico M. Very catchy song! Looking forward to seeing where the music takes Nico! I think he has a future in the scene! The single is out now!
Check it out below and stay tuned for more posts this week!
The “African Giant” also known as Burna Boy, released his fifth studio album on Friday the 14th of August! The build-up to the album was quite small as we were only really given details towards the final week of promo. Burna Boy’s previous 2019 album “African Giant” was critically acclaimed and considered by most people (including me – https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/08/19/album-review-why-i-think-burna-boy-african-giant-2019-is-a-work-of-art/ ) as his best album to date. With such high praise from an album, it was always going to be an almost impossible uphill task to live up to the same expectations. Due to this, I decided to try my best to listen to this new album with fresh ears, trying not to compare his previous genius album to it. Albums are always a reflection of where the artist is at that moment, no album is gonna be from the same frame of mind.
With the first few minutes of me digesting the album, I won’t lie, I had quite a few questions. Admittedly, from the first few listens I was a bit confused at the direction of the project. I gave it time and with further listens I began to genuinely enjoy a lot of the songs. I feel this album is an introduction of Burna Boy to the global audience. It feels that the title “Twice as Tall” is in reference to the magnitude of Burna’s rising success worldwide. A major and important fact people need to remember when listening to Burna Boy is that Burna’s music goes way beyond just beats and rhymes. His music clearly takes inspiration from politics, his spirituality, culture and activism. On this album, in particular, he takes inspiration from many other African countries. I think this is why Burna Boy never really loses his flavour in his songs regardless of what the tone of the song may be. This album is a continuation and sequel of his previous work. He never forgets his roots despite the unnecessary Diddy noises and clear American influence through features.
I would have preferred for him to be singing more in the Yoruba dialect or Igbo that he does so well (Similar to how he uses it in the song ‘Bebo‘) but I can see that in regards to a global stage, the more English the easier for others to digest.
I believe it is only fair to listen and take in this album as a solo project and not a comparison to his previous album.
It will be interesting to see how Burna Boy follows this project up and what direction he will now head into but I know that wherever he goes, Burna’s unique sound will never be far away.
Below are some of the key songs I took from the album:
Level Up (Twice As Tall) Ft. Youssou N’Dour
I really liked this intro track featuring the Senegalese singer. Straight in, Burna goes personal with his journey starting from the beginning of his career; “I remember when I couldn’t level up. I was trying, but I couldn’t level up. It was rough, you see“. The whole song focuses on the theme of never giving up and keeping the faith. It’s interesting that this is the intro track as usually people would end an album with this inspirational message proving that they are a product of keeping the faith. I really liked the vibe of this song, very laid back but motivational. It’s not surprising Diddy had a little speech on this song as after finding out he was part of the album process, this message is very on-brand with his motto, to also keep going. I personally didn’t think his input was necessary at all and is part of the new direction I was not a fan of on this album.
Way Too Big
I really liked this song and I think this was one of the songs from the album that I can see getting really good reception if played with a crowd. The song also works well with the title of the album, emphasising Burna’s journey to success. I always think when an artist is as big as Burna, they have the right to have a song with bragging rights at least. i can see crowds singing this song back to Burna at concerts or events. It also is a small reminder of Nigerian confidence and pride, to acknowledge that you are worth too much to lower your standards for anyone. This is definitely one of my favourites from the album.
I’ve previously spoken about my love for this song. This is without a doubt my favourite song on the album. We were treated to this song earlier on before the album release and I thought that this was a taster of the kind of direction Burna was going for on this album. Having heard all the songs, I now believe this song is a bit out of place with the rest of the songs. This song is pure Nigerian music. It has the inspired instruments, the tone, the beat, the feel and the language. It is impossible to listen to this song without finding yourself moving some part of your body somehow!
This is the love song for this album. The name of the song was originally in reference to the Nigerian singer Onyeka Onwenu. However, Burna Boy has said that the song is now more of a general song and can be in reference to all women. The song also references an Igbo highlife classic from Chief Stephen Osadebe titled “Osondi Owendi“. You can actually hear the similarities with the backing production of this track and the backing production of ‘Onyeka’. This is one of the many examples of how educated Burna Boy is with previous Nigerian music and how he uses it to inspire his music of today.
Naughty By Nature Ft. Naughty By Nature
Hmmmmmmmm. I don’t know where to begin with this song. To be honest when I first heard this song, I was shocked and almost offended. I think it was the complete change in pace and of how different this song was from Burna’s usual music. However, as I listened to the song more, I started to warm to it a lot more. The song reminds me of a previous song called ‘Ice Cream Man’ that Burna featured on one of his previous tapes. The song has an almost nursery rhyme theme to it. The part for me where I find is wrong is the feature from Naughty by Nature. I understand their talents separately as an established hip hop group but I really do not believe their sound goes well with the Burna sound on this song. It sounds like a very random match. If I could hear a version of this song without NbN I would definitely rate it higher. Have a listen to ‘Ice Cream Man‘ to see if you can hear the similarities.
No Fit Vex:
I really enjoyed the slowed-down pace on this track especially as it followed the very hype song “Comma”. The title of the song is pidgin for saying “No Hard Feelings”. The song is very positive and focuses on the fact that Burna Boy is just living his life and has no hard feelings for anyone.
Another emotional song from Burna Boy. With this song, he reflects on his success again but this time using Michael Jordan’s signature ’23’ number. He mentions in the introduction; “The music make me feel I be Jordan, now I understand why them say aiye gbon gan”, meaning that he understands why they say there’s enough space. Even though he is not a basketball player like Michael Jordan, he is experiencing what it’s like to also be at the top of his respective field, in this case music. The song almost sounds like we are hearing his personal thoughts of reflection as well as gratitude. This song will be so beautiful to hear with a live band stripped back.
Time Flies Ft. Sauti Sol
This song is the perfect follow up to ’23’ in terms of keeping a similar mood. It took me a few listens to pick up this song and I worry that this song could be overlooked. In terms of African music however, this song is a perfect example of the beauty of what the continent contains. The song features the Kenyan group Sauti Sol. It’s clear that Burna took a lot of joy dipping into so many African countries on this album, again exploring his global impact. The backing vocals and production of the song definitely explore the beauty of Kenyan music. In the chorus, “Siwezi wacha rhumba” is sung which is Swahili for “I’ll never stop partying” and I can see how that motto fits with the tone of the song. Burna Boy’s vocals on this song are so soothing, this is the kinf of song that makes you want to close your eyes and really take everything in.
Real Life Ft. Stormzy
Burna Boy and Stormzy have already collaborated on the smash hit song “Own It” also featuring Ed Sheeran. I already knew that they potentially would make another great song but I did not expect the direction this song went in. I’m a Stormzy fan but I’m not so fond of his singing on songs, HOWEVER, this song put all my doubt to rest. Stormzy’s singing was the perfect component to this song. I had this song on repeat when I first heard it. This is another beautiful song and I loved the fact Stormzy was able to do something different on this record. They are both superstars in the music world for different reasons and this song is an example of how beautiful they can sound merged together.
Bank On It (Produced by JAE5)
What a track! As soon as I heard the drop I knew it was a JAE5 produced track. Burna and Jae have collaborated on quite a few tracks now and it is clear they always make hits. The song almost reminds me of one of their songs “Calm Down” in the sense of a similar drop. It is a great way to end the album as the song reflects on the fact that life is precious and that we are all human and will make mistakes in life. Despite anything and everything that may happen in this life though, Burna Boy wants to make it clear that he will continue being successful.
Overall, this is an album you really need to take in to understand Burna Boy’s new perspective. There is alot of gratitude, praise and success mentioned on this album and it is clear this is the journey of a huge star.
Hi All! Happy Monday!! Today’s post is a focus on the new project that has just dropped from CE. I’ve mentioned his music before on the site & I really enjoyed this tape. It seems he’s exploring more sounds and it definitely pays off with this new music.
My personal favourites at the moment are:
- If I Ft. Fxze
- Loving Please Ft. AD28
- Who Am I? – (I’ve talked about this song here: https://musicandlifeblog.com/2020/05/22/playlist-picks-new-music-and-what-ive-been-listening-to/ )
Check out the tape below!!
Hello Everyone!!! Hope everyone is hanging in there! This year seems to be speeding by which is probably for the best given the state of it!!! Today’s post is dedicated to top songs I’ve been playing recently that have given me such good vibes! These are the kind of songs you could have playing while you’re just chilling. Good vibes only!
Brandy – Borderline
Brandy has always had a sensational voice but this new album ‘B7’ is just reminding me of all of her beauty. This was the second single released from her new album but this is by far my favourite on the whole project. The harmonies and vocal range she displays on this song are heavenly. I would love to hear perform this song live, it’s the kind of song that just touches your soul. Stunning!
Rebecca Garton Ft. Ling Hussle, Alana Maria & Tia Carys – All Me Pt.2
Women globally are doing BIG things. This time it’s the turn of the UK talented queens. Rebecca Garton previously released the first part of the song with WSTRN’s Louis Rei which I loved. I was happy to see Ling Hussle on the lineup as I’ve previously spoken on my love for her voice and wow this song was another perfect way for her to showcase her talent. Rebecca Garton seems to also be the one to watch this year! Women are really shining and I love to see it! I hope this is the first of many more collabs from them as their voices blended so well. I also really enjoyed the video where they all paid homage to the Queen Lil Kim. The visuals, vocals and harmonies on this song are perfect!! Have a watch below:
Da Baby Ft. Young Thug – BLIND
Da Baby recently dropped the deluxe version of his smash hit album ‘Blame it on Baby‘ and this song was definitely one of my favourites from the new version. Young Thug always does great features and is so lucky his voice is so versatile to so many different beats. One of the things I loved most about this song is that we can see and appreciate a slower side to Da Baby. We are all so used to his fast rapping style and while this song still contains his signature rapping style it has been slowed down to match the beat. I actually like this slowed down Da Baby. The ‘Blind” reference is in relation to the fact both artists are now successful and are getting the opportunities they always dreamed of. Really inspiring sentiment. Have a listen below:
Dexta Daps Ft. Beenie Man – Obviously
Dexta Daps is by far one of may favourite artists at the moment! It feels like he is incapable of making a bad song and I’m all here for it! He released an album July 31st called ‘VENT’ which I found out about last week! There’s something so sensual about his voice that makes you want to hear every single word he is singing. His Jamaican accent sounds somehow always sounds more sexier than usual! He is immensely talented! This was one of the songs that caught my attention early on while listening to the album. The fact it features the legend Beenie Man is an added bonus! Have a listen to the beauty below:
Rick Ross Ft. Finn Matthews – Pinned to the Cross
The King and pioneer of luxury rap is back with another thought-provoking single! One of the main lines that stood out to me was “I just want to be free, another black man on the run”. In this song Rozay touches on the racial inequality happening in America at the moment. Have a listen below:
Christina Aguilera Ft. XDNA (aka LEWIS HAMILTON) – Pipe
I had to emphasis the feature on this song because I am still shocked. The song was originally released in 2018 with her album ‘Liberation’. However, Lewis recently revealed to the world that he is indeed the secret feature on the song! Hamilton is currently one of the best drivers in Formula 1 and has six world championship titles to his name. It seems rapper/singer is now something else he will be adding to his already huge list of talents. As a Lewis Hamilton fan myself, it is exciting to finally hear his music as he has always expressed his love for making music. I really hope this is not the last music we hear from him because his verse was great!
THEY Ft. Tinashe – Play Fight
I stumbled on this very randomly, but I’ve enjoyed it ever since! The song is such a vibe. THEY are an R&B duo that I had never heard of before this song. However, after hearing this song, I will be checking out more of their songs! The song has a 90’s nostalgic feel and I love how the verses let us hear from different perspectives. Have a listen below:
SIDE NOTE: The African Giant, Burna Boy releases his highly anticipated 5th studio album tomorrow (Friday 14th August). Stay tuned for an album review for that new project. If you haven’t already, please read my previous Burna Boy album review:
Shad Gregory Moss born 9th March 1987 also known as Bow Wow and formerly Lil Bow Wow has been in the music scene for over 2 decades! He burst into the scene as a small and cute but feisty rapper with his signature hairstyles and confident personality. He then gradually moved into movies and made a name for himself in the acting world. As he grew up, he moved into producing movies and tv shows and even hosting TV shows. Along the way he has gained numerous awards for his music and acting abilities. He was once even featured in the Guinness Book of Records for being the youngest rapper to have a no1 hit. In addition, he holds the record for having the most retired videos on the popular BET Network show 106 & Park where he also eventually hosted. It has always been clear that Bow Wow was destined for success with all his talents.
However, the issue sometimes with child stars is that sometimes their domination is often forgotten about and overlooked. Hopefully this post can remind everyone of some of his accolades and prove the immense talent Bow Wow has. Revisiting these albums have been an absolute joy for me as a huge Bow Wow fan. I hope you can all feel the love throughout this post.
I’ve picked the top songs from seven of his albums as well as some features that he has been infamous for:
Album: Beware Of The Dog (2000)
This was Lil Bow Wow’s debut studio Album and was executively produced with his mentor at the time Jermaine Dupri.
- Bounce With Me Ft. Xscape – The leading song is one of Bow Wow’s most notable songs and features vocals from the girl group Xscape. The song was also featured in the movie ‘Big Momma’s House’. For me the song is incredible to think that the person rapping is a 13 year old boy! Lil Bow Wow demonstrated his talented flow on this song and it was clear from the jump that he was not to be ignored.
- Puppy Love Ft. Jagged Edge – The fact that a 13 year old could even feature with a prestigious group like Jagged Edge on his debut album is evidence that he was the boy once upon a time. This is personally in my top 10 of Bow Wow songs. Lil Bow Wow at the time was rapping about his fame and the women that were falling for him. Jagged Edge provide such beautiful vocals on the chorus of this song. The video is just as great.
- Bow Wow (That’s My Name) Ft. Snoop Dogg – How many rappers can say they have an anthem?!! No matter how old Bow Wow is, this song will follow him forever. When this song came out, it was played everywhere!!! The video was also the first of many of his videos to be retired on BET’s 106 & Park countdown.
Album: Doggy Bag (2001)
The second studio album from Lil Bow Wow
- Thank You Ft. Jagged Edge & Fundisha – This was the first single from this second album. For me this song has such a beautiful sentiment. For someone so early on his career, the fact he made a song just to thank his fans at such a young age was beautiful. The whole song is an ode to all the fans that have supported him from the beginning and made his dreams come true. Not many young artists are that self aware at a young age and be able to show gratitude like he did. One of my favourite lines from the song:
I wanna thank you for the groups that came befo’ me (uhh). All of y’all in the office that promote me in the streets. All the mom and pop stores that don’t get a lot of credit”
- Take Ya Home – If you aren’t singing back “Lil’ Bow Wow, you just don’t know, the way you move so fast across the floor” after this song then I really don’t know! Another one of his infamous songs. This song is extra special as it features as the theme song to his smash hit 2002 movie ‘Like Mike’.
- All I Know – Another one of my favourites. The song samples Another Edition’s “Candy Girl”.
- Basketball Ft. Jermaine Dupri, Fabolous & Fundisha – The song wasn’t featured on the album but was also released for the Like Mike Soundtrack. This is probably one of the most notable songs from the movie!
Album: Unleashed (2003)
After his film debut, Lil Bow Wow became Bow Wow by dropping the Lil. This was the first album where Bow Wow was known under a different name. It is also the album you can hear his growth with a change in his style and flow. His voice is notably deeper too which is proof thatthis album was reaally the birth of a new chapter of Bow.
- Let’s Get Down Ft. Baby – Another classic song from Bow featuring the one and only Birdman. The song happened to be one of his highest charting singles.
- Eighteen – This was definitely a growing of age single. For me, this was the single on the album that reminded us all that Bow Wow was now growing into a man. Gone were the songs where he was rapping about puppy love and his Mickey mouse chain, now he wanted to be respected and seen as a man. Every young rapper has a coming of age single when he starts the new adulthood process in his music and for me, this was the song.
- My Baby Ft. Jagged Edge – Bow Wow is so good with the slow songs and this song is by far one of the best of them. The song is quite deep as he raps about a woman he meets who was in an abusive relationship. Throughout the song he tries to profess his love for her and convince her to leave the toxic situation she is in. Jagged Edge’s harmonies on this song are perfect. They always make such a good partnership with Bow.
- To My Mama Ft. Amerie – Another deep song of gratitude from Bow Wow. Despite at this point wanting to be seen as a grown man on this coming of age album, Bow did not forget to show appreciation to his mother. Bow Wow grew up with his mother who was a single parent and she was his biggest supporter. She got him connected to Jermaine Dupri, she assisted and followed him on his tours and even took part in his album productions. It was such a nice touch that at this point even though he was now old enough to do more things for himself, he was still able to show thanks and appreciation for all his mum had done. The song is really beautiful.
Album: Wanted (2005)
This was one of the most memorable albums for me as I can remember physically buying a copy. Living in England, it was harder to hear Bow Wow music without searching for it. We had to wait even longer for release dates in that time but I was so happy to have this album in my hand. This is probably the album where I know pretty much every song on it off by heart.
- Big Dreams – I feel this song is one for everyone to hear Bow Wow’s storytelling ability. He is able to portray a whole storyline on this song which is quite deep, all with the same message. I will never forget the chorus of this song:
When you got big dreams, don’t listen to what nobody say & don’t let nobody turn you away. When you got big dreams, keep your eyes on the prize, don’t fall to the wayside…”
- Let Me Hold You Ft. Omarion – Another absolute classic from Bow Wow and is probably one of the most favoured. This was the first collaboration of many between Bow Wow and Omarion. The song has been certified platinum and is still regarded as one of their best collaborations. The song uses Luther Vandross’ “If I only had One Night” as a sample. The song, the dance moves, the video, the hair beads, this song is ICONIC. By far, this is in my top 3 Bow Wow songs. I could recite it in my sleep!
- Fresh Az Im Iz Ft. J-Kwon & Jermaine Dupri– This was gangster Bow Wow! It was nice to have a change in pace for Bow Wow after his two big hits from this album that were more slowed down. If you’ve ever seen clips of Bow Wow performing this song you can tell this is one of his favourites.
- Like You Ft. Ciara– Wow. This song will go down as one of the best couple collaborations. Unfortunately Bow Wow and Ciara are no longer together but at the time, they were the hottest couple out. This song was huge and still is! If you can sing the whole chorus without falling out of breath then you are a real one! (I can of course)
- Honorouble Mentions on this Album: Caviar & B.O.W.
Album: The Price Of Fame (2005)
Now this was a monumental and pivotal album in Bow Wow’s career. Being the fifth studio album from Bow Wow, it was clear he had gone through a lot in his career. The intro of this album he addresses: “It’s like Shad Moss’ diary i’ve been dealing with the price of fame from the the beginning of this year until now even til this even til this day”. This album was a way for him to express and eject all the struggles and stress he had been through and portray it within his music.
- Outta My System Ft. T-Pain & Johnta Austin – This song will most likely be in most peoples top 5 Bow Wow hits. It is clear that Bow Wow has such big talent when it comes to the slow and emotional type of rap songs and this song is a prime example. The song was in reference to his break up with Ciara but it is evident he pours his heart and soul on this track. The vulnerability and honesty on this track is refreshing.
- Shortie Like Mine Ft. Chris Brown – It’s soooooo crazy to think that Chris Brown was just at the start of his career with this song. This was Chris Brown’s FIRST featured single. This song was huge and loved by so many young women at the time. I remember having the lyrics printed and stuck on my wall! Bow Wow and Chris Brown’s musical chemistry is so evident in this song and I’m so glad they continued their friendship. Bow Wow’s flow in his last verse is UNMATCHED!!!!!!
- Honourable Mentions on this Album: I’m a Flirt, How You Move It & Tell Me
Album: Face Off With Omarion (2007)
This was Bow Wow and Omarion’s first collaborative album! Omarion always brings out the best in Bow Wow so this project was greatly appreciated.
- Girlfriend – Another fan favourite! This song was the first single from the album. The video was iconic and it was clear that Bow Wow, over 10 years in the game was still on top form!
- Hey Baby (Jump Off) – If you watch the video to ‘Girlfriend”, you hear how it leads to this song. The song was also featured on the ht tv show ‘Ugly Betty’.
- He Ain’t Gotta Know – This was one of the slow songs on the album but worked so well. Omarion’s harmonies and Bow Wow’s slowed down pace was a recipe for success. Definitely one of my favourites on the album!
- Listen – The way Bow Wow and Omarion use this song to narrate a conversation is incredible. The back and back between them in this song is so good! I remember watching a studio video of this song with them acting it out and it added even more to the song. The song was never released as an official single but I wish it was.
- Honorobale Mentions: ‘Bachelor Pad’, ‘Can’t Get Tired of Me’ & ‘Take off Your Clothes’.
Album: New Jack City II (2009)
Bow Wow’s SEVENTH studio album!!!
- What They Call Me Ft. Nelly & Ron Browz – I loved this song! Nelly killed his verse too!
- You Can Get It All Ft. Johnta Austin – When I hear this song, I can instantly see Bow Wow on a beach with Johnta in the background singing! Loved the video! It’s also a clear indication that Bow Wow definitely appreciates quality when it comes to features. Johnta is a prominent feature in his albums and it is evidently a match made in heaven.
- Like This Ft. Johnta Austin & Dondria – I absolutely loved this song when i first listened to the album. The chorus is beautiful and yet again Bow Wow takes a slowed down pace to compliment the theme of the song.
- Honorobale Mentions: ‘She’s My’, ‘I Ain’t Playing’ Ft. Trey Songz & ‘Pole In my Basement’.
Singles & Notable Features:
- Destiny’s Child – Jumpin, Jumpin’ (So So Def Remix) Ft. Lil Bow Wow, Da Brat & Jermaine Dupri (2000) – This remix was legendary and seeing a small boy like Bow Wow hold his own to so many grown women was wonderful!
- JoJo Ft. Bow Wow – Baby It’s You (2004) – Another great feature from Bow Wow!
- Dem Franchize Boyz – ft. Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat & Bow Wow– I Think They Like Me (2005) – Every rapper has a memorable featured song and I believe this is the one for Bow Wow. He completely owned the whole song and it is not surprising that he still performs this verse today.
- Bone Thugs N Harmony Ft. Mariah Carey & Bow Wow – Lil’ L.O.V.E. (2007) – So many legends on one song! Mariah owned this song with her incredible vocals! Bow Wow’s fast pace on this song is great!
- For My Hood Ft. Sean Kingston (2010) – This was the soundtrack song for Bow Wow’s movie “Lottery Ticket”. I love the message behind the song and even all these years later, it is still a hit!
- Ain’t Thinkin’ Bout You Ft. Chris Brown (2010) – Now this song was originally on Chris Brown’s joint mixtape with Tyga without a Bow Wow verse. Bow Wow remixed the song and kept Chris on the chorus and it became a nationwide hit! It would have been nice to have heard a joint project with Bow and Chris because they really make good music together!
- Better Ft. T-Pain (2012) – Another song showcasing Bow Wow’s talent at storytelling.
Greenlight Mixtape Series:
Bow Wow should also be known and remembered for his infamous Greenlight mixtapes. There are currently 6 mixtapes in the series but Greeenlight 4 was my favourite. Here are some of my favourites from all of them:
- Regret (Greenlight 1) – A deep track where he addresses his failures, drug addiction and rumours.
- You Know I’m Nasty (G1) – One of my favourite Bow Wow songs in general. Warning: the song is very raunchy.
- All My Life Ft. Jermaine Dupri (G1)
- Why They Hating (Greenlight 3)
- What I Do (G3)
- Cumming (G3)
- I Got Em Let Em Know (Greenlight 4)
- Why They Hate Ft. Gunplay (G4)
- Everywhere I Go (G4)
- Let’s Get Closer (G4)
- Boy or Girl (G4) – This was the song that Bow released after finding out he was due to be a father.
- We In Da Club (G5)
- Suge Freestyle (G6)
- Death Row Freestyle (G6)
Here is a playlist I have compiled with some of the hits mentioned in this post:
Hey everyone! Another week, another EP review! Today’s post is extra special as I collab with the hottest journalist on the scene ‘Shahna Says’! We were both excited for the launch of this tape so figured it would be the perfect time to collaborate together.
UK Drill rapper Unknown T blew onto the scene with his smash hit ‘Homerton B’ back in 2018. Instantly, his infamous deep voice and unique flow became a household name. It can definitely be argued that he was one of the most important figures that contributed to the recent success of the drill genre. There was a setback with a recent jail stint but luckily, he was able to overcome and has finally got the time to shine. Straight in at the deep end, Unknown T releases his debut mixtape ‘Rise Above Hate’ and it’s clear from this tape that he is here to stay. One thing you can be guaranteed with an Unknown T project is that you will get unlimited hits. Having released many freestyles in between it was clear that Unknown T was more than just a ‘Drill” rapper. (One of my favourite live lounges from him has to be the Busta Rhymes cover). He has proven himself to be an artist and more importantly a versatile one. For me, this was one of the reasons I highly anticipated this mixtape launch.
The tape starts off quite calmly as if Unknown T is preparing us for a big journey to come. Throughout the tape however, we are taken on a fun ride with all kinds of surprises along the way. Here are some of the tracks that we loved:
For me the intro track was just a preparation for what was to come. ‘Deh, Deh’ is really where it all begins. Unknown T’s signature emphasis on the pronunciation of words is so evident on this track too! In this song Unknown T reminds us that he raps about his personal experiences. The accompanying video is great too as we are able to witness Unknown T executing his signature dance moves!
M&L: I like the switch up from this song. The song starts off melodic with the voice of M Huncho along a trap type beat. The breakup allows us to have a bit of a break from the known greaze of Unknown T. It takes a talented artist to have songs with different sounds and still make it work. Unknown T is the king of this. When his verse comes in, it works so well without having to change the tone of the song. There are a few real messages I picked up in this song such as “It’s kinda sad that kids are killing kids” as M Huncho and Unknown T both touch on how the environment some kids are brought up is a key factor on how they turn out.
Shahna Says: Addicts’ with M Huncho has got to be one of my favourites and not because I’m an M Huncho super fan but because of the vibe they have together. We see Unknown T slow down his flow and sound a bit to compliment Huncho allowing him to take the first verse and chorus before we hear Unknown T. ‘I’m trapped in the ends with skengs, drug addicts and drillers, ballies and dingers’ lyrics like this give a nod to the artwork of the block of flats he grew up in and the whole projects theme. Other songs such as ‘Prison’ and ‘Fresh Home’ deal with the same openness with listeners appreciating the fact that he is out and all that he has been through.
Main Squeeze Ft. Young T & Bugsey
M&L: This song features the UK duo who have owned this quarantine period after the success of their song ‘Don’t Rush’. They provide their signature sound on this song and provide us with a memorable chorus and hook. This is not to take away the way Unknown T did his thing on his verse. His delivery and entrance on the song was just a prime example of how effortlessly talented he is. This song is also a great indication of how the UK scene is on top right now with both artists showcasing their individual talents in one track. It will be extremely hard to convince me that there is a genre Unknown T cannot make his own. I can see this being a commercial single.
Shahna Says: Main Squeeze’ has already hit the radio playlists, easily becoming the UK’s fave alongside his promo single ‘Deh Deh’. Main Squeeze is a girl song you could say and we hear Unknown T singing to a potential love interest and the placement of the song allows the listener to move away from the drill lyrics to a vibe that can be played while driving or in the club. Balance. Young T and Bugsey always bring their own vibe giving the song that afro swing feel. I look forward to a video for this one.
My thoughts on some other tracks I loved:
- SS Interlude – This was a pleasant surprise on the tape. It’s clear that Unknown T enjoys switching up within his music. This may be a short track, but I feel he uses this interlude as a diary and a way to be vulnerable. He sings “Sometimes I struggle mentally”, a juxtapose from all the rough and tumble he is used to rapping about. It also seems like he is directing this at a love interest. I liked the change in pace at this point on the tape.
- LV Ft. Young Adz – I really enjoyed this collaboration. Since the release, this is one of the songs I’ve had on repeat. I love the production on this song, it reminds me of the type of sound you would hear on a game.
- Leave Dat Ft. AJ Tracey – I don’t know where I was when this song was originally released a year ago but wow! I’m not usually a fan of AJ Tracey’s style but I feel this is the sound for him. We are all used to hearing Grime AJ but maybe he should consider more drill. His rapping style compliments the fast pace of the drill beats so well. These two could easily make a joint tape! What a track! A year later or not!
M&L: The final track on this tape and wow what an outro! The stripped back production and slow pace prepares us for what feels like a heartfelt response from Unknown T. He uses the track to look back on how far he has come and how much of it has paid off. He also lets us know that he is not done yet; “I’m coming for the game, that’s my main ambition”; hinting that he is only beginning. This is exciting to hear as I truly believe Unknown T is one of the most talented artists in the UK right now. It’s clear that there are no limits to where his talent can go, and it is promising to hear that he is just getting started.
Shahna Says: The final song ‘Ambition’ feels very heartfelt and reminds me of other rappers such as Skrapz, Blade Brown, Asco and Nines when it comes to rapping about your previous life and what you’ve been through. The pain and drive is felt and heard in Unknown T’s voice as he explains he’s coming for the game that’s his main ambition. Touching on now being able to have designer clothes, dealing with relationships and his dream and vision overall. A perfect way to end the project.
Overall, this tape for me has been everything I expected and more. Unknown T constantly proves his talent and it is such a pleasure to hear his constant growth. I really hope there is more to hear from him in the future and it will be such a joy to see and hear how he expands his already growing fanbase.
Don’t forget to pop over to Shahna Says’ page to read more of her views on the project. The great thing about music is that it hits everyone differently! Hopefully this is the first of many more collabs with her!
Link for her page is also: https://shahnasayss.wordpress.com/
This week’s video pick is the new freestyle from UK rapper Ghetts! It’s crazy to think this is only his first ‘Mad About Bars’ freestyle. Ghetts is one of the best in the grime scene and his witty punchlines and wordplay was evident throughout this whole freestyle. For me, Ghetts, Kano, Chip and Wretch 32 are some of the best when it comes to wordplay in the UK rap scene.
There are so many quotables in this but my favourite lines have to be;
“How can I talk about killing my ops and in the same breath say black lives matter”
“Fill up the lorry with G’s Units…you know what the payola says, the mandem got yayo for days. & I got alot of money in Lloyds Bank, I’m real cakey I’m way overweight. That’s 50 in the rucksack”
“Bar after bar after bar after bar…right now I’m in a drunken state”
“I know Rona’s lurking somewhere, all I can do is pray she don’t come this way”