Please feel free to follow some of my Spotify Playlists. They are updated regularly but are still a work in progress.
Summer 2020 – Have a follow/listen to my Summer essentials playlist for 2020!!
Please feel free to follow some of my Spotify Playlists. They are updated regularly but are still a work in progress.
Summer 2020 – Have a follow/listen to my Summer essentials playlist for 2020!!
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:
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.
Album: Doggy Bag (2001)
The second studio album from Lil Bow Wow
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”
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.
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.
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…”
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.
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.
Album: New Jack City II (2009)
Bow Wow’s SEVENTH studio album!!!
Singles & Notable Features:
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:
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:
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”
Hello Everyone! I hope you’re all doing well?! Today’s post is on all the new music I’ve been having on repeat for the past week! It’s a strange coincidence that all these releases are from men! That was not the aim haha!
I’m trying to provide you all with more content from now on for you all to enjoy! Please feel free to contact me if there’s some things you want to see more of!
My Top Playlist Picks are:
There was no way I wasn’t going to mention the man of the hour. The late Pop Smoke’s posthumous album ‘Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon’ was released on July the 3rd. The album boosts features from Roddy Ricch, Quavo, Future, King Combs, 50 Cent and many more. If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t a huge Pop Smoke fan while he was alive however I always appreciated how talented he was. He made the drill sound a mainstream success in the US and it was clear he was only just beginning his journey. I recently read a really great review from ‘Shahna Says’ of this album release that summed up most of the songs. Have a read here:
Having listened to this album however, it was clear that Pop Smoke was a lot more versatile that most people including myself expected. A few of the songs on the album stood out for me.
Burna Boy – Wonderful
Oluwa Burna does. not. miss!!!! This song is such a vibe honestly. Burna said that the song is about the impact his music has on the world and this song is a perfect example of that. Regardless of whether you can understand some of his Yoruba dialect, you will, using his words “feel it in your soul“. The song has a stripped back feel to it and has a lot of emphasis on the instruments. For me this is reflective of Nigerian music in general. The song makes me happy and feels like I’m back home. Have a listen below:
Just Rome Ft. ShoSho – Cheque In
I recently stumbled onto this song and I’ve had it on repeat ever since. This is my first time hearing from any of these artists but I’m impressed. I like the fusion of the melodic chorus from ShoSho combined with the raw rap on the verses from Just Rome. The last verse is my favourite as I love when artists have back to backs within their songs. For me, this makes me feel like both artists are in touch with one another. Have a listen below:
Ramz – Scratch Cards
I don’t know what spirit has entered Ramz but I’m grateful for it. He has completely taken a new route in music and it suits him. Coming off the release of his previous single ‘Brixton to Oxford Circus‘ he releases this new banger. Drill really suits his rapping style as he is able to keep the pace and keep his clarity which is a rare talent. In the song Ramz reflects on his upbringing but also his success now. I hope this new sound continues with Ramz and I feel there’s much more talent for him to show. Have a listen below:
Jacob Latimore Ft. Trevor Jackson & Rotimi – Real Love, Pt.2
With so many wonderful females taking over R&B at the moment it’s nice to hear men doing their thing too. This remix features 3 talented men in their own rights and the video is just as creative being shot during quarantine. I wasn’t even aware Trevor Jackson could sing as I knew him as an actor but was pleasantly surprised. Trevor and Jacob’s harmonising was my favourite part of the song. Have a listen below:
Rayven Justice Ft. Case, Eric Bellinger – Missing You (DJ Carisma Remix)
More men doing it for R&B in this song. I like the original song from Rayven which was released earlier in the year but this remix is even better. Any song that features an R&B legend like Case is always going to catch my attention I like how even though Case is old school R&B and Rayven & Eric are new school, they all blend well together.
Russ – Give Up
I have not heard one bad single from Russ before. This song continues with that tradition. Russ is so good at releasing stand alone singles that genuinely are good songs and not just throw away singles. This song touches on Russ’ love interest giving up despite Russ’ reluctancy to do the same. Have a listen below:
Franglish Ft. Tory Lanez – My Salsa
French rapper Franglish treats us to a nice anthem from his 2020 mixtape “MOOD” featuring quarantine king Tory. I hadn’t heard of Franglish before but after this song I will be checking out his other songs. Tory Lanez is perfect on this song. The tone of his voice is made for this kind of music. Have a listen below:
As a BIG rap fan, UK music outlet GRM Daily’s ‘Daily Duppy’s’ are something I always look forward to. It’s even more exciting when I hear a rapper I genuinely like is going to be featured. This was the case for UK drill rapper Unknown T. He definitely did not disappoint either!
Fresh home and on a roll with his releases, this Daily Duppy was long overdue. Filled with the usual wordplay format, his signature adlibs and signature dance moves, this is easily one of my top Daily Duppy’s.
Unknown T has also announced his new mixtape will be dropping on the 17th of July 2020 and I for one, cannot wait!
Check out his Daily Duppy below:
I loved his previous BBC Live Lounge performance last year which for me demonstrated his versatility. As a drill artist you expect them to stay in one lane especially with a distinctive voice like Unknown T has. However, this live lounge really solidified him as an all round artist in general. It’s a wonderful rare talent for an artist to be given any genre of song and any sound and still be able to make it their own. For me, Unknown T is one of the best in the UK right now.
Check out his previous live lounge below;
Hello all, hope you are all well! It’s been a very traumatic month for most people, me included but I hope you are all taking care of yourself. Before we go even further, a friendly reminder that BLACK LIVES MATTER…ALWAYS HAVE…ALWAYS WILL.
This post is dedicated to all the incredible women out there doing their thing and working twice as hard to be considered on the same level as men. The post is specifically highlighting the talent of Black women. I truly believe black women have the hardest ladder to climb sometimes, in music, sports, the corporate world. With sexism and racism against us, sometimes I feel we are always underestimated and overlooked. Today’s post is about all the new music that has come out recently from some incredible black women. There’s always a misconception that female artists have to act or dress certain way to be noticed. Each women in this post represent different aspects of womanhood in their own unique ways. Hopefully the different women in this post prove that you can be anything you want to as long as you are unapologetically yourself.
Have a read and listen below to some female power! (HAVE A LOOK OUT FOR THE MOOD/THEMES IN EACH ENTRY DEMONSTRATING THE VERSATILITY OF FEMALE ARTISTS).
Beyoncé – BLACK PARADE
THEME/MOOD: ACTIVISM, HUMAN RIGHTS, BLACK POWER
Queen B is back with another song and this one is an ode to all things black. The song was released on the same day as the Juneteenth celebrations. A day that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. In addition, she also released the song with a very important message; “Being Black is your activism. Black excellence is a form of protest. Black joy is your right“. Words to remember. I liked how she emphasised her views in the second verse with; “Yeah, yeah, I’m for us, all black All chrome, black-owned“. On Beyonce’s website following the release she listed many black owned businesses celebrating black excellence reiterating the point in her verse. Another stand out part for me in this song is in the second verse when B sings; “Rubber bullets bouncin’ off me…Made a picket sign off your picket fence“; for me the metaphors are a representation of despite all that is thrown at her and black people, we will never stop fighting for our rights. This is not the first time and I’m sure not the last that B has spoken about injustice and racism and activism. I am however happy that the song is quite positive and motivational for the black community. Beyoncé’s harmonies in this song also make it even more soothing on the ear. Have a listen below;
City Girls – City On Lock (Album)
THEME/ MOOD: CAREFREE, DETERMINED, RICH, FEMALE BOSS, SEXY.
City Girls are back in full form!!!! The duo had to unfortunately release the album earlier than scheduled due to a leak a few days earlier. However, as one of the millions of fans of this duo, it was great news for us! For me, City Girls represent women in an unapologetic form, I feel they say things that many of us women think but would never say. I believe every woman has an inner city girl within them! They’re fun and exactly what we need at a time like this! Listening to the album had me smiling throughout, I found myself living vicariously through the music describing their carefree and fun lifestyle. In comparison to their first two albums’ “PERIOD” & “Girl Code”, you can hear the maturity in this album, Yung Miami definitely takes more of the lead on this album too which I assume could be due to JT’s time away. I would definitely warn that this album is very Rated R! Here are some of my favourite tracks;
Teyana Taylor – The Album
THEME/MOOD: SEXY, VULNERABLE, LOVED,SAD,HAPPY, SATISFIED.
I’m a fan of Teyana’s music. I’ve always felt she wasn’t given the respect she deserved. However I’m noticing that recently she has been respected and praised a lot more which is great to see. Her previous album was released 2 years ago and I enjoyed that project. This new album is even better in my opinion. There is so much depth on this album, we really feel all the emotions she feels on this journey. Her features on this album are some of the best I’ve seen. Nearly all of them work so well and compliment one another perfectly. Here are some of the songs that have stood out for me:
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album and it will be on rotation for a while. The album is filled with so many gems! Honourable mentions to ‘Concrete‘, ‘Friends‘, ‘How You Want It‘ Ft. King Combs, ‘Made It‘ and ‘We Got Love‘ featuring the legend that is Lauryn Hill!!!
Chloe x Halle – Ungodly Hour
THEME/Mood: Female Power, Love, Sisterhood
R&B Sister duo Chloe and Halle are back, this time with their second studio album. To be honest, I’ve never listened to a whole project of theirs before this album. I listened to this one and I really enjoyed it. It seems like the sisters have certainly matured in their music and content. This album for me is like a rebirth of Chloe and Halle, a new age, a grown and unapologetic version of them. I think my opinion on them has changed slightly and it’s nice to see their growth in the music business. One thing I will say is every single song on this album was produced so well, every beat is perfect for the song. Here are some of my favourite tracks from the album:
Some other singles from some other Melanin Queens to check out:
If you haven’t already…check out my Summer playlist below and feel free to follow and enjoy!! Have a nice weekend everyone!
“I trust God and know that everything that happens is for our greatest good, but man….it’s tough right now. Blessings to all the families that have lost loved ones to police brutality” These were lyrics said by Jay-Z on his song “Spiritual” released in 2016 after the deadly racist police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. 4 years later and those lyrics couldn’t be any more relevant. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
On May 25th 2020, George Floyd, a BLACK man was MURDERED by a police officer in Powderhorn, a neighbourhood in Minneapolis. Shortly after, videos and still images of the officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck started to circulate. These kind of murders are not isolated incidents and this is one of the substantial amount of killings by the hand of US police against black people. The past few months alone, to name a few, On February 23rd 2020, we saw the murder of Ahmaud Arbery who was jogging before being chased cornered and killed by 3 white racist men. On March 13th 2020, Breonna Taylor, a BLACK woman, was killed by police by being shot EIGHT times in her home. A further point to add is that all of these murders have taken place in the middle of a global pandemic. For me it is clear that the biggest deadliest virus here is racism. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
As a result of these murders, people have started to protest against racism in America as well as the UK. I don’t condone violence of any kind when innocent people are being hurt. However, Colin Kaepernick, the ex NFL player knelt peacefully in protest to the racism black people face in the US daily and there was a public uproar. It even resulted with him losing his job. Now, people are taking a different approach via the rioting and protests which is happening in the US and UK. However, yet again people are complaining, this time focussing on the destruction caused by the rioting and looting rather than what got people to that place in the first place. To make it worse, I am seeing numerous counter arguments to the statement ‘Black Lives Matter’ with another statement “All Lives Matter”. I just want to point out ONLY racists have an issue with the first statement. Black Lives Matter is a statement to argue that our lives matter TOO, it does not mean ‘instead of’. People that do not understand this are part of the problem. PRO BLACK DOES NOT MEAN ANTI-WHITE.
I live in London and I have grown up with numerous stories about death caused by racism whether it is by people or via police. Cases like Stephen Lawrence, Damilola Taylor, Mark Duggan are just a crumb of the numerous racist fuelled deaths in this country. I read an article that Black people in the UK are “40 times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by the police“. This is despite the fact white people outnumber black people in the UK. As a Black 26 year old woman living in the UK, I too have experienced racism in my lifetime. Some of this racism has been subtle, either by looks or flippant statements or even by lack of acknowledgement of myself. However, some has been blatant and loud. 95% of my black male friends have been racially profiled and stopped and searched at least once by police in the UK. None has been because they have committed a crime but simply because of how they look. The majority of my black female friends are working in organisations where they are the “only black person” in the room. UK racism is not as subtle as people like to believe, some of it is as clear as the sky is blue. The Wind Rush Scandal, Grenfell Tower fire, stop and search and even when it comes to medical issues, it is very evident. I don’t know what it will take for a change to come, I don’t whether there will ever be a day I am not reminded of the fact most of the world is against my people or that I will always have to work extra hard to even be seen on the same level as white people. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
It is tiresome having to constantly wait for tragedies to occur for us to scream that our lives matter too. It is tiresome having to constantly worry about our brothers and sisters knowing the system was not made for them.
It is tiresome having to bite our tongues knowing that we cannot react to EVERY racist incident without falling into the “angry stereotype”.
Being black in this society is having a good day because you hear that there was “The first black person” somewhere that has achieved greatness and then turning on the news and hearing an unarmed, innocent black person was murdered in cold blood for simply being black.
Being black is worrying about what racism is going to be like in the country you want to visit on holiday.
Being Black is assuming you will most likely in most corporate places, be the only black person in the room.
Being a black woman is having the burden of having to constantly worry about our black brothers, sons, boyfriends, husbands or even friends knowing that at any moment they can be targeted for the colour of their skin.
Being a black woman is having the burden of making sure at work you are “approachable”, “not too loud”, or “not too intimidating”.
Being a Black Woman is knowing that in some instances you have to avoid reacting so you are not portrayed as the “angry black woman”.
Being a Black Woman is knowing your hairstyle has to be “professional” when going for job interviews, adhering to the “caucasian look”
One thing I will say, it is down to white people to contribute and join us on this fight to equality. Ultimately, it will have to be white people that eradicate racism as they are the ones in a position of power. The more white people and non black people speak up against the injustice and racism, the closer we all are to finally fighting this. I don’t know if there will ever be a day when Black people would not have to worry about the things we currently do but I pray that day comes. We are exhausted of constantly being hunted, targeted and mistreated and I really hope and can only pray that one day a change will come. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Some people have previously asked me “Why is this blog called Music & Life? What does it mean?“. On my very first post on this blog I stated that music IS life. There is a song that relates to every possible human experience and life itself. For me music is supposed to be a comfort, whether it’s to energise you, empathise with you, educate you or even disagree with you.
I have made a playlist with some songs that help reflect in detail what I have and most black people have been screaming. The songs help bring awareness to the racial injustice we feel on a daily basis. Here are just a few of the songs featured, full playlist is included below for you all to follow and play:
Childish Gambino – This Is America (2019): This is possibly one of the biggest examples and insights into Black America as of recent. The juxtaposition of the happy tone with the dark and deep context surrounding this song is a great ploy to get people to take in the subject at hand.
Common Ft. John Legend – Glory (2014) – This song was from the ‘Selma’ soundtrack and it feels like a fantasy of what the world could be like when or if we are ever seen as equals.
Freedom is like religion to us, justice is juxtaposition in us. Sins that go against our skin become blessings”In a sad twist of irony, sometimes our suffering is used for the greater good or have been catalysts for change.
Bashy – Black Boys (2009) – UK rapper Bashy is possibly loved by so many men due to the impact of this song. In the intro Bashy says ; “This is out to all the black boys growing up, yeah. There’s bare positive black boys around you making movements…making movements toward success“. This song is an ode specifically to Black Boys all around. In a world where they are the minority and sometimes persecuted due to their colour, this song lets them know they are not alone. The song touches on the successful Black Men in media and in life that are doing and where doing well. All those men could be considered role models to young black boys listening. This song is still relevant today in a society where Black boys are being killed in every part of the world, some black boys may be feeling de motivated or alone but they must remember “Ooh child, things are gonna get easier…Ooh child things will get brighter”.
No we ain’t hooligans, just young and talented nubians with potential and promise”
Ty Dolla $ign Ft. Big TC – No Justice (2016) – This is one of my favourite Ty songs. The opening lines “Seem like shit is getting worse before it’s getting better” can be applied to the current climate.
Kenneth Whalum Ft. Big K.R.I.T – Might Not Be OK (2016) – WOW. One of the most powerful songs on this list. There is absolutely no way you can listen to this song and not hear the pain being spoken about in this song. It would be an injustice to point out a specific line in this song because you really need to hear the whole song to take it all in.
The Game Ft. Rick Ross, Fabolous, Diddy, 2 Chainz, Wale, DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz, Yo Gotti, Problem & more – Don’t Shoot– Following the murder of Michael Brown, the Game brought together 10 14 other artists for this song. The song focusses on the constant injustice of how black people keep getting killed repeatedly for no reason other than their race. The song also focusses on the lack of trust between the black community and the police. The songs’ chorus is sung by The Game’s daughter.
Throwing up our hands don’t let them shoot us…’Cause we all we got, we all we got. God ain’t put us on the Earth to get murdered, it’s murder”
YG – Police Get Away with Murder (2016) – Self explanatory. Facts too. This song was YG’s response to the numerous cases where police literally got away with murdering black people with no consequences.
Gotta watch how I walk and wear my outfit…White tan brown black, white tan brown black…Black males in a hoodie that’s a target to them”Powerful.
Jay Z- 99 Problems (2003) – One of Hov’s most popular songs. The second verse is a prime example of racial profiling. Jay Z narrates the scene perfectly demonstrating an insight into the lives of black men in America.
Half a mill for bail cos I’m African”Demonstrating the way black people are treated. Bail is usually set extremely high knowing majority of the time, will not be able to be paid.
Joyner Lucas – I’m Not Racist (2017) – This song is perfect for those that do not believe race is an issue in America or even the world. It focusses on the disconnect between Black people and White people. Joyner raps from both perspectives in order to emphasise the point at hand. The video is incredible and I love the fact he creatively explains the main issue regarding racism.
Below is the Playlist: