New Music: What I’ve been listening to…

Hey people! It’s that time where I give you all an insight into what i’ve got playing on rotation. I just want to say, the past week or two has been a barrage of new music! There’s so much music out at the moment, that I’m even getting a bit overwhelmed!!!! I still have a few album reviews (Burna Boy and Chance the Rapper) to talk about and I will make sure I get to them! For now, here’s a list of some songs I’ve been playing in the past week or so. Enjoy!!

Big Sean – Single Again

Big Sean is back!!!! SO happy as he is one of my favourite artists. Sean recently said that he needed to take time off to work on himself and recharge. In this song Sean reflects on the fact he is now single after the breakup of his relationship. In the song he talks about the importance of “being strong on your own”. The song serves as a reflection of the lessons he has learnt while being single. One of the quotes he says that I like: “Looking for the love in somebody else that I probably should have given to myself“. It’s clear that this time away was needed for Sean’s mental health and I’m glad he is rejuvenated. Ty Dolla provides additional vocals along with Sean’s ex Jhene Aiko.

Headie One – Rubbery Bandz

I’m beginning to become a fan of UK rapper Headie One. He has just recently released his tracklist for his upcoming album and it looks immense! This song is his latest single from the upcoming album and I love it. This is a perfect song to blast in the Summer and do a little dance to. The production and his flow compliment each other on this song. Can’t wait to hear more music from him. Have a listen below;

Rick Ross Ft.Drake – Gold Roses

Ricky Rozay drops another single from his anticipated upcoming album ‘Port of Miami 2’, this time featuring Drake. This may be an unpopular opinion but I am not a fan of Drake’s verse on this song. I feel that the song would have been fine with just Ross. I like the concept of the song with the idea that you should give people their credit and praises while they are still alive rather than waiting until they are gone to appreciate them. With the numerous tragedies that have been happening recently for example the tragic death of the late great Nipsey Hussle, this is more relevant than ever. I heard an interview with Rick Ross where he said him and Drake did have Nipsey in mind when they recorded this track. One of the reasons I love Rick Ross is because he has the ability to rap about something deep and meaningful in a way that does not sound like he is preaching. He is very consistent and him and Drake do usually have a wonderful partnership. Have a listen below:

Burna Boy Ft. Jorja Smith – Gum Body

Burna Boy has just dropped his latest album ‘African Giant’ and while I haven’t taken in the whole album properly, this song for me has had the most replay value. I won’t lie I’m not usually a fan of Jorja Smith but her voice on this song is sensational. Her voice has a kind of huskiness to it that makes me want to reload every time. So beautiful…have a listen below;

Davido Ft. Chris Brown – Blow My Mind

It took me a while to get into this song but I’m a fan now. Nigerian artist Davido collaborates with Chris Brown for this hit. Davido has colloborated with many American artists for example his song with Russ; “All I Want” that I have written about before. I really like how Chris Brown adapted to African sound on this song demonstrating yet again his versatility.

Quality Control Ft. City Girls, Saweetie & DJ Durel

This is a ladies summer song right here! Girl power galore! It’s nice to hear JT on a track with a new verse too. Have a listen below;

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Beyoncé – The Lion King: The Gift Review…

My review on Beyonce’s latest project.

Beyoncé recently blessed us with an album inspired by the newest remake of Lion King. It’s so good to hear new music from Beyoncé but even more exciting to hear she took a different approach to the music this time.

The album is mixed with interlude’s with clips from the film as well as new original songs with Beyoncé and some of the best African singers. I’m gonna talk about some of the songs that gripped me the most.

Beyoncé – BIGGER

This is a great intro track as it really does soothe us in. To me, this song feels personal to Beyoncé herself as well as relating to the Lion King and it’s surrounding themes. She mentions “Trying to be a good wife, still really hard, I can’t lie” matches some of the content in some of her other songs. The idea that not everything is as easy and nice as it looks, in life there are challenges and we have to go through them. I feel that for this song Beyoncé encourages us all to see we are “part of something way bigger” in the sense that there is so much more to life. This relates to a scene in the film where Mufasa tells Simba something similar. Have a listen to the song below:

Beyoncé – DON’T JEALOUS ME Ft. Tekno, Yemi Alade & Mr Eazi

This is the first feature of Africa on the album and the song features 3 Nigerian artists. As a Nigerian myself, this of course is one of my favourite songs. From the first second I feel the African drums and you know this is going to be a good song. Throughout the song Tekno says “Sheep don’t run with lion…Snake don’t swing with monkey” which makes me laugh as it is such a typical Nigerian/African saying to have. The song also features a bit of Igbo (A Nigerian language) and Pidgin language. Yemi Alade starts her verse saying “Oh Oh Odogwu (Odogwu), abeg make them talk” which is a reference to a man in a high position, she is asking him. The song does not actually feature Beyoncé vocals which is even more refreshing. I say refreshing because it is nice for Beyoncé on her own album to give the stage to others to showcase their talents too. I like how respectful and inviting she has been in regards to Africa for this album.

Burna Boy – JA ARA E

Yet again, Beyoncé passes on the stage to someone else and in this case it is Nigerian superstar Burna Boy. For anyone that is not familiar with him, please search him up and look into his own music, for me he is one of the best current Nigerian artists. In this song Burna Boy does his thing while referencing “watch out them for them hyenas” which could be very ambiguous. It could be literally in reference to the film as they are the ones that caused the most trouble. In addition to that it could be a reference to life, where people who are like the hyenas are those that look forward to your weakness in order to pounce and take advantage. Stay away from people like that. The title of the song is a Yoruba term meaning “wise up” which could mean stay alert at all times and be prepared.

Beyoncé Ft. Jay Z & Childish Gambino– MOOD 4 EVA

This is a celebratory anthem that I love! Personally I don’t think Jay Z was really needed on the project however it would be strange to have a Beyoncé project without her featuring her husband. The song features an intro from another African star, this time coming from Mali, singer Oumou Sangare. In the song Beyoncé sings “‘Cause every day above ground is a blessing” and Amen to that! In Hov’s verse, he name drops some of the legends; Nelson Mandela, Nigerian artist Fela Kuti as well as Biggie and Prince. The song is just a feel good anthem, perfect for the summer!

Beyoncé Ft Wizkid, SAINt JHN & Blue Ivy Carter- BROWN SKIN GIRL

Where do I even start with this song?! Before I even get into the lyrics, I just want to point out that for me, this song has one of my favourite productions. The beat is so simple but so effective. I’ve seen so many challenges where young girls have been dancing to this song and I can see exactly why they love it. It is such a feel good song to heat. I know this is one of the most popular songs from the project and with good reason. This album as a whole I feel, was a way for Beyoncé to pay homage to the African culture which inspired Lion King. This song pays homage to black women and brown skin, dark skin women in particular. Beyoncé wants these women to embrace and be proud of their skin and celebrate it. I love how she puts her daughter Blue Ivy in the song as she sings; “Brown skin girl, your skin just like pearls” to give it a more personal touch. Beyoncé also name drops some dark skin celebrities; “Pose like a trophy when Naomi‘s walk in, she need an Oscar for that pretty dark skin. Pretty like Lupita when the cameras close in…Drip broke the levee when my Kellys’ roll in”. Those that are young listening to this song can know there are so many role models that look exactly like them which could comfort them.  

There are so many beautiful words Beyoncé sings in this song. One of my favourite lines is when she says “Melanin too dark to throw her shade” and “Same skin that was broken be the same skin takin’ over“. That last quote is so powerful, it shows the contrast between the way black skin was discriminated against leading all the way back to slavery and now when you look at countries such as America (even with those she name dropped as examples) we are now “taking over”.

Personally when I first heard the song I felt very emotional because I know the criticism and isolation many brown/dark skin women have faced growing up. This song is a perfect love song to them with the lesson to be proud of who they are. This is such a powerful and uplifting song that I hope is played for many generations to give hope and confidence to future ‘Brown Skin Girls’. Have a listen below:

Tiwa Savage Ft. Mr Eazi – KEYS TO THE KINGDOM

Nigerian matriarch Tiwa Savage takes control of this song. It took me a few listens to get into it but now I feel it’s a song that you can have playing in the background and just vibe along to it. I like Mr Eazi’s addition to the song too.

Beyoncé Ft. Shatta Wale & Major Lazer – ALREADY

YES!!!!! This song is such an anthem!!!! I LOVE how dedicated Beyoncé was to incorporating an African sound in her own voice with this song. It just shows her versatility just in case people ever doubted her. The way she pronounces and emphasises the word “Already” is such an African way. African’s will hear it but it may go over the head of others. The song features Ghanaian star Shatta Wale and American dance trio Major Lazer. Since listening to the album, this song has been on rotation! The song has references to Lion King where Beyonceé sings “Long live the king” which is what Rafiki says to Simba. Shatta Wale had a blast on this song and his addition really added an authentic vibe to the song. I will definitely be playing this song for a long while to come. Have a listen below:

Beyoncé – SPIRIT

I really REALLY like this song. I feel this is one of my favourite ballads from Beyoncé in general. The song exudes so much raw emotion from me and gives me a sense of spiritual energy. Listening to this song for the first time literally made me weepy and I have no idea why. Beyonce’s voice in this song is just out of this world, I can’t even express the power. The video is just as beautiful and having watched the video before I saw the film, when I saw the exact scene in the film, it had a different meaning for me. The song is extremely uplifting too; “Your destiny is comin’ close, stand up and fi-i-i-ight” meaning never give up! If there was ever a doubt that Beyoncé has one of the most incredible voices in our lifetime, this song will put that debate to bed. Beautiful, beautiful song.

I also recently read a beautiful review on this album via the newspaper ‘The Metro’. Have a read below:

New Music Saturday: What I’ve been listening to this week…

There’s been so much new music released recently, so here are a few songs that I’ve loved hearing so far…

Krept & Konan Ft. Headie One & K-Trap

After their recent song ‘Ban Drill’, Krept and Konan are back with another hit! This song features recently unmasked K Trap and UK rapper Headie One. As expected, the song is filled with so many punchlines…something you can always expect with a Krept and Konan song. The accompanying video is just as entertaining. My personal favourite is Krept dressed in Spanish attire while he raps “Chupa a tu mama“. Krept also came with the punchlines when he said “Bro done so much cheffing nearly gave him a job at Crepes and Cones”. Despite all the years Krept and Konan have been consistent with their flow and witty wordplay. I respect that a lot. Have a listen below;

dvsn – Miss Me?

Can you believe I’ve only just realised that dvsn are a group!!!?? All this time I thought it was one person! Anyway, this R&B duo are back with another seductive song. One of the things I love about dvsn music is that I know that I’m guaranteed to hear an incredible beat in the background. The production on this particular song is exactly what I mean. This is the kind of song that will have you singing to yourself randomly throughout the day. It will be added to my ‘Vibes’ playlist without a doubt.

Ed Sheeran Ft. Stormzy – Take me Back to London

Ed is back with his new album ‘No.6 Collaborations Project’. I will actually do an album review in due course as I think there will be so much to talk about. On first listen, this was the track that stood out to me. As a fan of Stormzy and having loved their previous collaboration, I had high hopes. Safe to say, I was not disappointed. I feel this song is perfect for the summer. Ed is not shy working with grime artists having previously had a collaborative album featuring many of the UK great grime artists. In this song both Ed and Stormzy reminisce on their success and achievements while both having a common love for their hometown London. Ed says; “I wanna try new things, they just want me to sing because nobody thinks I write rhymes” and throughout the song Ed graces us with his rapping ability. It seems from the song that Ed is some kind of mentor as he gives Stormzy advice on how to handle all his newfound success . I like their partnership on this song and most importantly , I love how the song is an actual collaboration. Both Stormzy and Ed own this song respectively and both have equal amounts of input. Have a listen below;

WSTRN – Maggie & Stardawg

WSTRN are the best male group to come out of the UK for a while. I have never seen a group have this many consistent hits! I have yet to hear a bad song associated with these guys. That is definitely an achievement. This song has a very Caribbean feel to it which i love. WSTRN are so good at bringing the island vibes to their songs. Perfect summer tune! Have a listen below;

Chris Brown Ft. Tank – Early 2K

Chris Brown recently released a new album and I must say…I am not disappointed. I will do an album review in due course but for now 1 song in particular stood out to me. This song features Tank and is one of the smartest songs Ive heard. The song focusses on a trip back down memory lane referencing well known R&B songs from the early 2000’s. I suggest people listen and see how many references to songs and artists they can hear!

Wale Ft Jeremih – On Chill

MMG artists Wale is back with another hit. This time, he recruits R&B hook master Jeremih. Ive had this song on replay since I heard it. The song provides you with such a chilled vibe. I like Wale because I feel his wordplay is somewhat poetic, he has a skill. Have a listen below;

Rick Ross Ft. Wale – Act a Fool

Port of Miami 2 couldn’t come fast enough in my opinion! What is a summer without music from Rick Ross? For this song, Ross and Wale team up as the MMG duo and provide us with a nice taster if what is to come. Rick Ross has the ability to make you also feel like you’re rich when you listen to his music! I was definitely rapping loudly to certain lyrics living vicariously through Ross for example;

“Thought it was Obama, way I came through (Haha)
I’m talkin’ different commas from them lame dudes”

Wale is a good addition to the song too as he provides the song with a more calm vibe. Either way I can’t wait for Ross to release the new album!

‘Songs to listen to’ when you’re in need of…Motivation. (Volume 1)

Hey everyone, just a reminder of how amazing music is. I’ve previously spoken about how music is considered therapy to many due to the fact that there is pretty much a song for every situation in life. I’ve decided to do a series of posts dedicated to specific feelings and provide you with a list of songs to help you or support you through that time.

There are times we all feel we are maybe not doing enough or feel like giving up in some situations. Today’s post is dedicated to songs to listen to when you are in need of motivation or a pick me up or just for something to keep you inspired. This is just part 1 as there are so many songs I could have mentioned so for now I’ve given you 10. Have a read below…

Yolanda Adams -I Believe (2001)

The first song that comes to my head when thinking of songs to provide me with confidence is this. The song is probably most known for being in the ‘Honey’ soundtrack. I used to listen to the song on the way to school whenever I had exams to give me the confidence and belief I needed. The lyrics are very motivating;

But never mind the nights you had to cry
‘Cause you have never let it go inside
You worked real hard
And you know exactly what you want and need

The song encourages you to believe that you can achieve your dreams and focus on the possibilities rather than the negatives tearing you down. My favourite lines have to be;

So just believe they will come true in time
It will be fine
Leave all of your cares and stress behind
Just let it go
Let the music flow inside
Forget all your pain
And just start to believe

This song should 100% make you feel some kind of motivation and self belief.

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 killing each-other in every part of the world, some black boys may be feeling de motivated but they must remember “Ooh child, things are gonna get easier…Ooh child things will get brighter”

Beyoncé and Walter Williams, Sr. (of The O’Jays), Walter Williams – He Still Loves Me (2003)

Religious music is always considered inspirational as it puts things into perspective while putting you at ease. This particular song is also from a movie called ‘The Fighting Temptations’ but the message should not be missed.

I used to wake up some days
And wish I’d stayed asleep
Cause I went to bed on top of the world
Today the worlds on top of me

There are times when you wake up stressed or de motivated, it happens to the best of us. It’s good to remember that regardless of what religion you are part of, there is a greater spirit out there that believes in you unconditionally. Beyonce sings “Stand for him or fall for anything”, so those who believe in God…I urge you to always pray to him not only for thanks but also when you are in doubt. You have to believe he will always have the answers because he does. The Lord still and will ALWAYS love you.

Biggie – Juicy (1994)

I don’t know anyone that knows Biggie that doesn’t know this song. This could be considered one of his most memorable songs of all time. Beyond the catchy chorus, the lyrics behind are quite inspirational. The intro of the song Biggie states

Yeah, this album is dedicated
To all the teachers that told me I’d never amount to nothin’
To all the people that lived above the buildings that I was hustlin’ in front of
Called the police on me when I was just tryin’ to make some money to feed my daughter (it’s all good)

Biggie explores the idea that many people did not believe in him but now he has shown them that he has made it. Throughout the song he raps about the difference between his previous life before he became succesful and now that he has. The song is a good reminder to anyone that you may not be the only person that feels like the world is against you. If anything, that should be used as motivation to prove everyone wrong. Throughout the song we can hear Total singing;

You know very well
Who you are
Don’t let ’em hold you down
Reach for the stars
You had a goal
But not that many
‘Cause you’re the only one
I’ll give you good and plenty

^^^^If anything that chorus should be resonating with you whenever you whenever you start to doubt yourself. The hook sounds like your conscience talking to you telling you you’ve got this!!

DJ Khaled – All I Do Is Win Ft. T-Pain, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross & Ludacris (2010)

This is a more modern motivational song. This song is more of a song that when you listen to, you feel on top of the world and that you can do anything. Possibly when you’ve overcome your depression or doubts, this is the song for you. It’s all about winning in life. I just want to add that a win is relative, it could be something small from motivating yourself to get up if you’ve been feeling depressed or it could be something big like the fact you’ve saved up for your dream car. Celebrate every achievement in your life whether big or small. A win is a win and remember ALL WE DO IS WIN!!!.

T.I. – Big Shit Poppin (2001)

From the beginning of the song; “Hey, hey, what you waitin’ for?
Do it, do it, do it—what you waitin’ for?
“, you already know what T.I is going to say. This song may make you realise to just go for whatever you are stalling on! He even raps; “Don’t listen to them suckers when they say you too irrational” meaning ignore the haters and doubters. So whateve you’re delaying doing due to fear or doubt or overthinking? DO IT!

Dj Khaled Ft. Nipsey Hussle and John Legend – Higher (2019)

Another spiritual song here. I’ve previously mentioned what this song does to me but I could argue it can be looked at as an inspirational and motivational song. The song reiterates the belief that we will always rise above any obstacles that may come in our way. Heres a link to my article on the song in more depth; https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/05/17/higher-by-dj-khaled-john-legend-the-late-great-nipsey-hussle-thoughts/

Meek Mill – Dreams & Nighmares Intro (2012)

This could be considered to be one of the most popular intros to an album of this generation. The song starts off slow when Meek says “I used to pray for times like this” as he talks about his past. The song then eventually builds up to Meek describing his success. The energy you get from this song is enough to get you out of your feet and ready to face the world!

Nipsey Hussle Ft YG – Last Time I Checc’d Ft YG (2018)

After Nipsey’s death I feel this song was one of the most common songs played around memorials for Nip. In this song, like his others, Nipsey spreads wisdom about the importance of self ownership. YG raps about the advice Nipsey gave him in the song “Fuck the middle man” meaning cut out all the extras and do thing yourself. The beat of the song is also very upbeat and I genuinely believe this is a song that will be played for many more years to come. Rest in peace Nipsey. All Money In!

Beyonce – Run The World (Girls) (2011)

This song is probably motivational for many women. I would say this is the perfect song to play when you are at work and feel possibly conscious of the fact that maybe you are being treated badly due to the fact there are few women. I would also say this song is perfect for mothers that need motivation to know how amazing they are. Women are amazing and conquer so much on a daily basis. Sometimes songs like this are great for reminding us our worth.