Posted in Album Reviews, music

Album Review: Ty Dolla $ign – ‘Featuring Ty Dolla $ign’

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

US artist Ty Dolla $ign is probably best known for enhancing many of the songs he features on. Personally, I’ve always preferred Ty Dolla features more that his personal projects and it’s clear this must be a common feeling for people which explains the name of this new album from him. You could even argue that it is almost a cheat code to have him on your track because with his smooth sound, you almost always know the song is going to be a smash hit! Despite all this, after seeing the tracklist for this album, I was still intrigued to hear how some of the songs would sound!

Do you agree with this meme!?
Image from: https://i.redd.it/11osts7qvrh21.jpg

After playing the album back a few times in these past few days, I can honestly say I really enjoyed it! A lot of the songs on the album have replay value which in this day and age is quite rare. I feel Ty Dolla has the ability to put you at ease with his music regardless of the song context. Below are some of the songs that stood out to me:

Temptations Ft. Kid Cudi

OMG! I haven’t heard music from Kid Cudi in a very very long time!!! It feels good to hear him on a song! Kid Cudi and Ty Dolla have very similar sounds so they work well together on this one. From the lyrics in this song I get the impression that they are both singing about their women breaking up with them and leaving them. It seems that despite all the options they both now have access to, they are still missing their exes Hearing Kid Cudi made me reminisce to the old days when he was running the charts! I hope this is the beginning of more music from him!

Burna Boy Interlude

This interlude shocked me!!! I thought my shuffle had gone off into my Burna Boy playlist when I first heard this! I still don’t know the link between Burna Boy and Ty Dolla and have only heard them on a Kranium track together (Hotel). I guess it’s a nice surprise having him feature on the album somehow.

Tyrone 2021 Ft. Big Sean

Another smooth song on the album! This is the kind of the song that you will be bopping your head to! The slow pace suits Big Sean too! The song title is a reference to Erykah Badu’s 1997 song “Tyrone” where she talks about a good for nothing man. You can even hear Erykah’s voice throughout the song. Ty Dolla’s version is a flipped version of the original where he talks about a good for nothing woman. ‘Tyrone’ in this case is the one telling his friend to forget the woman who is doing nothing good for him. Big Sean. from his verse sounds like the poor man who is suffering.

Real Life Ft. Roddy Rich & Mustard

Ty Dolla, Roddy Rich and DJ Mustard on a song?? You just KNOW it’s going to be a hit! I love the consistency throughout this album, each song has its own vibe going on and despite the star studded features, the Ty Dolla’s sound is not compromised. The quote; “cops still killing n****s in real life” sounds smooth on the track until you actually realise the severity of that statement. Unfortunately I guess it is “real life” and will never be able to sound right on a song no matter how it’s dropped. Some light on this song was that Roddy and Ty both were able to recount some of their wins and joys which is beautiful to hear. I really enjoyed Ty Dolla’s harmonies on this song too, many times it felt like he was battling himself!

Nothing Like your Exes

This is one of the songs I’ve had on repeat since hearing the album! I genuinely don’t know any other artist with a sound like Ty Dolla. He will have you believing he is nothing like your exes with conviction after this song! I also really enjoyed how this song merged perfectly into the song below. In terms of the order of this album I really believe Ty got it spot on. I could listen to this album in the order he’s arranged it again.

By Yourself Ft. Jhené Aiko & Mustard

I love this song!!!! Firstly we have to talk about the sample!!! This song samples Billie Piper’s 1998 song “G.h.e.t.t.o.u.t” which you can hear more in the beginning of the track and towards the end. Mustard does an excellent job of remixing the sample into a more modern Ty Dolla kind of sound! Now onto Jhené! Both her and Ty Dolla are kings and queens of blessing any track they feature on. We’ve heard them most recently on Big Sean’s song “Body Language” released from his most recent album (another hit!). The two are clearly experts in bringing out the best out of one another. One thing I’ve noticed recently about Jhené is that she has that independent woman vibe going on! Her verse on this song does a great job of conveying that too! My favourite verse on the song for sure!

Universe Ft. Kehlani

The content of this song is beautiful, such positive vibes. Ty Dolla touches on the good things happening in his life at the moment. He starts the song “The universe must want me to win. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, ever been, yeah…feeling this good should be a sin“. The tone seems to be motivated by love and a woman in his life. Kehlani’s verse emphasises his point by agreeing that the universe has sent an angel from above.

Lift Me Up Ft. Future & Young Thug

I can’t say I like the lyrics of this song too much as it’s basically bragging rights between all these men. I do however like the fusion of Young Thug, Future and Ty Dolla’s voice.

Slow It Down

This is one of those songs you can really feel the purpose of the track. I can see why Ty put this song towards the end of the album as it’s a more slowed down and raw feel. His lyrics leave little to the imagination but the stripped back feel of the song exposes it even more. The harmonies and backing vocals in the song are wonderful. A definite contender for my slow jams mix!

Your Turn Ft. Musiq Soulchild, Tish Hyman & 6LACK

Any song with 6lack or Musiq Soulchild featuring, just know you’ve won me over! Ty Dolla actually stated that his favourite lyric from this album is from this song; “Nobody is truly yours, it’s just your turn”. This partnered up with Musiq Soulchild’s verse where he claims he’s holding on because he’s fallen in love 3 times in his life and doesn’t know why. I somewhat agree with the statements in this song. Sometimes people like to believe that things are more complicated than they are when really it could just be fate or right place, right time.

Image from: https://www.thefader.com/2020/10/14/ty-dolla-sign-is-releasing-a-solo-album-called-featuring-ty-dolla-sign

It was actually genuinely quite hard to pinpoint only a few songs from the album that I enjoyed the most! The features on this album have really shown me that Ty Dolla is just as a good as a main artist as he is a featured artist. He really held his own on this album. The whole album was a vibe and it’s rare that an album this long in length maintains the high quality! Thoroughly enjoyed this piece of work! Check it out below!

Posted in music

My Thoughts on #ENDSARS.

It’s been a terrible time in Nigeria the past few weeks and as a Nigerian myself, living in London, I feel it’s hard for me to feel useful all the way from here. For those that do not know or are unaware of what is happening, there is currently a movement started by youths in Nigeria to ‘END SARS‘.

SARS stands for ‘Special Anti Robbery Squad‘. The squad, a branch of the Nigerian police force, was initially set up to combat armed robbers and thieves in Nigeria. However, many of the SARS team were found to be abusing their power by illegal searching, illegal arrests, sexual harassment of women and even physical abuse of some young men. At the beginning of the month, videos of SARS killing young men and stealing their items of them became more and more prominent highlighting the abuse happening. The ‘END SARS’ movement has been going on for many years but this month gained further momentum, with protests taking place all around the world including places outside of Nigeria such as the UK and America.

Image from: https://globalvoices.org/2020/10/20/nigerian-military-opens-fire-on-peaceful-protesters-in-lagos/

Unfortunately, the protests in Nigeria took a turn for the worse on November the 20th 2020. During a peaceful protest on Lekki Toll Bridge in Lagos, members of the Nigerian army opened fire at peaceful protestors killing many and injuring many too. After the massacre, The Nigerian government were not able to confirm the exact numbers of those that were killed as they claimed nobody was killed or injured. If it wasn’t for social media and people sharing videos of what was happening, we would be led to believe that nobody died. Over the weekend the Nigerian government finally confirmed that around “69” people have been killed overall during the protests. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-54666368). To add insult to injury, the Nigerian government have claimed they are not sure who gave the orders for the shootings on Lekki Toll Bridge to take place. This lack of accountability from the Nigerian government and those who are SUPPOSED to be in charge is part of the reason Nigerian people are protesting and fighting for their human rights. The Nigerian government have constantly shown that they are only in this for themselves and do not have the best interests of the nation at heart.

There is a bible passage that I believe sums up Nigeria at this current state;

“When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability”.

Proverbs 28:2-26 NLT

Unfortunately the majority of leaders in Nigeria are rotten. Nigeria has the potential to be one of the most thriving countries in the world but the greed of some of its leaders and those in government is what is holding it back.

Image From: https://ecowarriorprincess.net/2020/10/endsars-nigerian-youths-protesting-what-you-can-do-to-help/

In 2014 I wrote a blog post about the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. At the time, it felt like Nigeria was in a bad place and I didn’t know how it could get better. In the article, I mentioned that the only way Nigeria could move forward and start to heal as if the government started focusing on the needs of the people and focussed less on their money. It seems this did not happen and alas we are an even worse situation now. (Please read my previous post from 2014 below.)

2020 has really been a year to remember for all the wrong reasons. I am devastated that young people in Nigeria are being killed in vain for a country that does not value their worth. The great late Fela Kuti was one of many people who always spoke out about the injustice in Nigeria. The current Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was actually one of the people that put Fela put in prison! It was also exposed that the judge was bribed to convict Fela and give him a jail sentence despite the fact the charges did not apply to him.

After his release from prison, Fela Kuti released a song called “Beasts of No Nation” in 1989which touches on the injustice of the world as a whole. One of the things that stood out to me was that he referred to prison as the “Inside World” and the outside was actually the “Craze World”. For him, all the murders, rape and injustice happening in the world was more dangerous that him being in a prison. The fact that this statement is still relevant to some places in Nigeria today is heartbreaking. For me, the lines that stood out for me on the song were:

Human rights na my property, so therefore, you can’t dash me my property

Human rights na my property dey wan dash us human rights

Fela Kuti – Beasts of No Nation

If you have time, please do check out some of Fela’s music, he speaks so much truth and so much of what he talked about is relevant today.

Being BLACK this year has been extremely traumatising. From the beginning of the year seeing videos of black people being killed in America by racist police. In addition, the news that Covid-19 research showing that Black and ethnic minorities were most at risk of complications. Now END SARS and being bombarded with horrific images and videos of young people, many of them younger than me being murdered in broad daylight in the country that is supposed to love and cherish them. All of this uproar for simply fighting for their rights. I’ve personally had to take some time out from social media many times this year because the constant negative and depressing news is not good for anyones mental health. I encourage anyone else that is feeling overwhelmed or traumatised from the news to sign out and take time out for yourself.

Remember music is a great way to tune out too!

I don’t have the answers on how any of this trauma can be fixed but one thing I do know is that the new generation have to continue the fight. No matter how tiring it is, we have to keep going to keep fighting for a better world. The deaths of those that have fought with us will not be in vain.

Image From: https://globalvoices.org/2020/10/20/nigerian-military-opens-fire-on-peaceful-protesters-in-lagos/

#ENDSARS #PrayforNigeria #TheMarathonContinues

Here are some great links to explain the ENDSARS movement in more detail:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/25/africa/nigeria-end-sars-protests-analysis-intl/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_SARS

See you all soon!

Posted in music

#MusicMondays: Yung Bleu – You’re Mines Still Ft. Drake

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”…

–Drake

Have a listen below:

Posted in music

#MusicMondays – Headie One Ft. Young T & Bugsey – Princess Cuts.

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:

Posted in music

Happy 60th Independence Day Nigeria!!!

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’.

OMO NAIJA!!!!