Posted in music

Revisiting Time: Bow Wow – A Living Legend.

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)

Beware of The Dog

This was Lil Bow Wow’s debut studio Album and was executively produced with his mentor at the time Jermaine Dupri.

  • Bounce With Me Ft. Xscape – The leading song is one of Bow Wow’s most notable songs and features vocals from the girl group Xscape. The song was also featured in the movie ‘Big Momma’s House’. For me the song is incredible to think that the person rapping is a 13 year old boy! Lil Bow Wow demonstrated his talented flow on this song and it was clear from the jump that he was not to be ignored.
  • Puppy Love Ft. Jagged Edge – The fact that a 13 year old could even feature with a prestigious group like Jagged Edge on his debut album is evidence that he was the boy once upon a time. This is personally in my top 10 of Bow Wow songs. Lil Bow Wow at the time was rapping about his fame and the women that were falling for him. Jagged Edge provide such beautiful vocals on the chorus of this song. The video is just as great.
  • Bow Wow (That’s My Name) Ft. Snoop Dogg – How many rappers can say they have an anthem?!! No matter how old Bow Wow is, this song will follow him forever. When this song came out, it was played everywhere!!! The video was also the first of many of his videos to be retired on BET’s 106 & Park countdown.

Album: Doggy Bag (2001)

Doggy Bag

The second studio album from Lil Bow Wow

  • Thank You Ft. Jagged Edge & Fundisha – This was the first single from this second album. For me this song has such a beautiful sentiment. For someone so early on his career, the fact he made a song just to thank his fans at such a young age was beautiful. The whole song is an ode to all the fans that have supported him from the beginning and made his dreams come true. Not many young artists are that self aware at a young age and be able to show gratitude like he did. One of my favourite lines from the song:

I wanna thank you for the groups that came befo’ me (uhh). All of y’all in the office that promote me in the streets. All the mom and pop stores that don’t get a lot of credit”

  • Take Ya Home – If you aren’t singing back “Lil’ Bow Wow, you just don’t know, the way you move so fast across the floor” after this song then I really don’t know! Another one of his infamous songs. This song is extra special as it features as the theme song to his smash hit 2002 movie ‘Like Mike’.
  • All I Know – Another one of my favourites. The song samples Another Edition’s “Candy Girl”.
  • Basketball Ft. Jermaine Dupri, Fabolous & Fundisha – The song wasn’t featured on the album but was also released for the Like Mike Soundtrack. This is probably one of the most notable songs from the movie!

Album: Unleashed (2003)

Unleashed

After his film debut, Lil Bow Wow became Bow Wow by dropping the Lil. This was the first album where Bow Wow was known under a different name. It is also the album you can hear his growth with a change in his style and flow. His voice is notably deeper too which is proof thatthis album was reaally the birth of a new chapter of Bow.

  • Let’s Get Down Ft. Baby – Another classic song from Bow featuring the one and only Birdman. The song happened to be one of his highest charting singles.
  • Eighteen – This was definitely a growing of age single. For me, this was the single on the album that reminded us all that Bow Wow was now growing into a man. Gone were the songs where he was rapping about puppy love and his Mickey mouse chain, now he wanted to be respected and seen as a man. Every young rapper has a coming of age single when he starts the new adulthood process in his music and for me, this was the song.
  • My Baby Ft. Jagged Edge – Bow Wow is so good with the slow songs and this song is by far one of the best of them. The song is quite deep as he raps about a woman he meets who was in an abusive relationship. Throughout the song he tries to profess his love for her and convince her to leave the toxic situation she is in. Jagged Edge’s harmonies on this song are perfect. They always make such a good partnership with Bow.
  • To My Mama Ft. Amerie – Another deep song of gratitude from Bow Wow. Despite at this point wanting to be seen as a grown man on this coming of age album, Bow did not forget to show appreciation to his mother. Bow Wow grew up with his mother who was a single parent and she was his biggest supporter. She got him connected to Jermaine Dupri, she assisted and followed him on his tours and even took part in his album productions. It was such a nice touch that at this point even though he was now old enough to do more things for himself, he was still able to show thanks and appreciation for all his mum had done. The song is really beautiful.

Album: Wanted (2005)

Wanted

This was one of the most memorable albums for me as I can remember physically buying a copy. Living in England, it was harder to hear Bow Wow music without searching for it. We had to wait even longer for release dates in that time but I was so happy to have this album in my hand. This is probably the album where I know pretty much every song on it off by heart.

  • Big Dreams – I feel this song is one for everyone to hear Bow Wow’s storytelling ability. He is able to portray a whole storyline on this song which is quite deep, all with the same message. I will never forget the chorus of this song:

When you got big dreams, don’t listen to what nobody say & don’t let nobody turn you away. When you got big dreams, keep your eyes on the prize, don’t fall to the wayside…”

  • Let Me Hold You Ft. Omarion – Another absolute classic from Bow Wow and is probably one of the most favoured. This was the first collaboration of many between Bow Wow and Omarion. The song has been certified platinum and is still regarded as one of their best collaborations. The song uses Luther Vandross’ “If I only had One Night” as a sample. The song, the dance moves, the video, the hair beads, this song is ICONIC. By far, this is in my top 3 Bow Wow songs. I could recite it in my sleep!
  • Fresh Az Im Iz Ft. J-Kwon & Jermaine Dupri– This was gangster Bow Wow! It was nice to have a change in pace for Bow Wow after his two big hits from this album that were more slowed down. If you’ve ever seen clips of Bow Wow performing this song you can tell this is one of his favourites.
  • Like You Ft. Ciara– Wow. This song will go down as one of the best couple collaborations. Unfortunately Bow Wow and Ciara are no longer together but at the time, they were the hottest couple out. This song was huge and still is! If you can sing the whole chorus without falling out of breath then you are a real one! (I can of course)
  • Honorouble Mentions on this Album: Caviar & B.O.W.

Album: The Price Of Fame (2005)

The Price Of Fame

Now this was a monumental and pivotal album in Bow Wow’s career. Being the fifth studio album from Bow Wow, it was clear he had gone through a lot in his career. The intro of this album he addresses: “It’s like Shad Moss’ diary i’ve been dealing with the price of fame from the the beginning of this year until now even til this even til this day”. This album was a way for him to express and eject all the struggles and stress he had been through and portray it within his music.

  • Outta My System Ft. T-Pain & Johnta Austin – This song will most likely be in most peoples top 5 Bow Wow hits. It is clear that Bow Wow has such big talent when it comes to the slow and emotional type of rap songs and this song is a prime example. The song was in reference to his break up with Ciara but it is evident he pours his heart and soul on this track. The vulnerability and honesty on this track is refreshing.
  • Shortie Like Mine Ft. Chris Brown – It’s soooooo crazy to think that Chris Brown was just at the start of his career with this song. This was Chris Brown’s FIRST featured single. This song was huge and loved by so many young women at the time. I remember having the lyrics printed and stuck on my wall! Bow Wow and Chris Brown’s musical chemistry is so evident in this song and I’m so glad they continued their friendship. Bow Wow’s flow in his last verse is UNMATCHED!!!!!!
  • Honourable Mentions on this Album: I’m a Flirt, How You Move It & Tell Me

Album: Face Off With Omarion (2007)

This was Bow Wow and Omarion’s first collaborative album! Omarion always brings out the best in Bow Wow so this project was greatly appreciated.

  • Girlfriend – Another fan favourite! This song was the first single from the album. The video was iconic and it was clear that Bow Wow, over 10 years in the game was still on top form!
  • Hey Baby (Jump Off) – If you watch the video to ‘Girlfriend”, you hear how it leads to this song. The song was also featured on the ht tv show ‘Ugly Betty’.
  • He Ain’t Gotta Know – This was one of the slow songs on the album but worked so well. Omarion’s harmonies and Bow Wow’s slowed down pace was a recipe for success. Definitely one of my favourites on the album!
  • Listen – The way Bow Wow and Omarion use this song to narrate a conversation is incredible. The back and back between them in this song is so good! I remember watching a studio video of this song with them acting it out and it added even more to the song. The song was never released as an official single but I wish it was.
  • Honorobale Mentions: ‘Bachelor Pad’, ‘Can’t Get Tired of Me’ & ‘Take off Your Clothes’.

Album: New Jack City II (2009)

New Jack City II

Bow Wow’s SEVENTH studio album!!!

  • What They Call Me Ft. Nelly & Ron Browz – I loved this song! Nelly killed his verse too!
  • You Can Get It All Ft. Johnta Austin – When I hear this song, I can instantly see Bow Wow on a beach with Johnta in the background singing! Loved the video! It’s also a clear indication that Bow Wow definitely appreciates quality when it comes to features. Johnta is a prominent feature in his albums and it is evidently a match made in heaven.
  • Like This Ft. Johnta Austin & Dondria – I absolutely loved this song when i first listened to the album. The chorus is beautiful and yet again Bow Wow takes a slowed down pace to compliment the theme of the song.
  • Honorobale Mentions: ‘She’s My’, ‘I Ain’t Playing’ Ft. Trey Songz & ‘Pole In my Basement’.

Singles & Notable Features:

  • Destiny’s Child – Jumpin, Jumpin’ (So So Def Remix) Ft. Lil Bow Wow, Da Brat & Jermaine Dupri (2000) – This remix was legendary and seeing a small boy like Bow Wow hold his own to so many grown women was wonderful!
  • JoJo Ft. Bow Wow – Baby It’s You (2004) – Another great feature from Bow Wow!
  • Dem Franchize Boyz – ft. Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat & Bow WowI Think They Like Me (2005) – Every rapper has a memorable featured song and I believe this is the one for Bow Wow. He completely owned the whole song and it is not surprising that he still performs this verse today.
  • Bone Thugs N Harmony Ft. Mariah Carey & Bow Wow – Lil’ L.O.V.E. (2007) – So many legends on one song! Mariah owned this song with her incredible vocals! Bow Wow’s fast pace on this song is great!
  • For My Hood Ft. Sean Kingston (2010) – This was the soundtrack song for Bow Wow’s movie “Lottery Ticket”. I love the message behind the song and even all these years later, it is still a hit!
  • Ain’t Thinkin’ Bout You Ft. Chris Brown (2010) – Now this song was originally on Chris Brown’s joint mixtape with Tyga without a Bow Wow verse. Bow Wow remixed the song and kept Chris on the chorus and it became a nationwide hit! It would have been nice to have heard a joint project with Bow and Chris because they really make good music together!
  • Better Ft. T-Pain (2012) – Another song showcasing Bow Wow’s talent at storytelling.

Greenlight Mixtape Series:

Bow Wow should also be known and remembered for his infamous Greenlight mixtapes. There are currently 6 mixtapes in the series but Greeenlight 4 was my favourite. Here are some of my favourites from all of them:

  • Regret (Greenlight 1) – A deep track where he addresses his failures, drug addiction and rumours.
  • You Know I’m Nasty (G1) – One of my favourite Bow Wow songs in general. Warning: the song is very raunchy.
  • All My Life Ft. Jermaine Dupri (G1)
  • Why They Hating (Greenlight 3)
  • What I Do (G3)
  • Cumming (G3)
  • I Got Em Let Em Know (Greenlight 4)
  • Why They Hate Ft. Gunplay (G4)
  • Everywhere I Go (G4)
  • Let’s Get Closer (G4)
  • Boy or Girl (G4) – This was the song that Bow released after finding out he was due to be a father.
  • We In Da Club (G5)
  • Suge Freestyle (G6)
  • Death Row Freestyle (G6)

Here is a playlist I have compiled with some of the hits mentioned in this post:

Posted in Album Reviews, music, UK Music

Mixtape Review: Unknown T – ‘Rise Above Hate’. – Collab with ‘Shahna Says’

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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:

Deh Deh

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!

Addicts

M&L: I like the switch up from this song. The song starts off melodic with the voice of M Huncho along a trap type beat. The breakup allows us to have a bit of a break from the known greaze of Unknown T. It takes a talented artist to have songs with different sounds and still make it work. Unknown T is the king of this. When his verse comes in, it works so well without having to change the tone of the song. There are a few real messages I picked up in this song such as “It’s kinda sad that kids are killing kids” as M Huncho and Unknown T both touch on how the environment some kids are brought up is a key factor on how they turn out.

Shahna Says: Addicts’ with M Huncho has got to be one of my favourites and not because I’m an M Huncho super fan but because of the vibe they have together. We see Unknown T slow down his flow and sound a bit to compliment Huncho allowing him to take the first verse and chorus before we hear Unknown T. ‘I’m trapped in the ends with skengs, drug addicts and drillers, ballies and dingers’ lyrics like this give a nod to the artwork of the block of flats he grew up in and the whole projects theme. Other songs such as ‘Prison’ and ‘Fresh Home’ deal with the same openness with listeners appreciating the fact that he is out and all that he has been through.

Main Squeeze Ft. Young T & Bugsey

M&L: This song features the UK duo who have owned this quarantine period after the success of their song ‘Don’t Rush’. They provide their signature sound on this song and provide us with a memorable chorus and hook. This is not to take away the way Unknown T did his thing on his verse. His delivery and entrance on the song was just a prime example of how effortlessly talented he is. This song is also a great indication of how the UK scene is on top right now with both artists showcasing their individual talents in one track. It will be extremely hard to convince me that there is a genre Unknown T cannot make his own. I can see this being a commercial single.

Shahna Says: Main Squeeze’ has already hit the radio playlists, easily becoming the UK’s fave alongside his promo single ‘Deh Deh’. Main Squeeze is a girl song you could say and we hear Unknown T singing to a potential love interest and the placement of the song allows the listener to move away from the drill lyrics to a vibe that can be played while driving or in the club. Balance. Young T and Bugsey always bring their own vibe giving the song that afro swing feel. I look forward to a video for this one.

My thoughts on some other tracks I loved:

  • SS Interlude – This was a pleasant surprise on the tape. It’s clear that Unknown T enjoys switching up within his music. This may be a short track, but I feel he uses this interlude as a diary and a way to be vulnerable. He sings “Sometimes I struggle mentally”, a juxtapose from all the rough and tumble he is used to rapping about. It also seems like he is directing this at a love interest. I liked the change in pace at this point on the tape.
  • LV Ft. Young Adz –  I really enjoyed this collaboration. Since the release, this is one of the songs I’ve had on repeat. I love the production on this song, it reminds me of the type of sound you would hear on a game.
  • Leave Dat Ft. AJ Tracey – I don’t know where I was when this song was originally released a year ago but wow! I’m not usually a fan of AJ Tracey’s style but I feel this is the sound for him. We are all used to hearing Grime AJ but maybe he should consider more drill. His rapping style compliments the fast pace of the drill beats so well. These two could easily make a joint tape! What a track! A year later or not!

Ambition

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/

Posted in music, Music videos

Video Pick: Ghetts – Mad About Bars Freestyle

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”

Posted in music

Playlist Picks: New Music & What I’ve been listening to…

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:

Pop Smoke:

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.

  • The Woo Ft. 50 Cent & Roddy Ricch – This was the first song on the album that instantly got me. I never really realised the similarities between Pop Smoke & 50 Cent before this album but it’s clear why 50 Cent decided to take control of this project. Roddy of course provides great vocals but for me 50 was the star of this song and it was nice to hear him rapping again.
  • Got it On Me– This was one of the most anticipated singles to come from this album. Pop Smoke’s version of 50 Cent’s classic “Many Men”. The song definitely did not disappoint! It’s unreal how similar they sound! it could easily be a part 2 version of the original.

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:

Posted in music, Music videos

Video Pick: Unknown T – Daily Duppy

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;

Posted in Album Reviews, feminism, music, Uncategorized

WHO RUN THE WORLD? New Releases from Black Women of the Hour:

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;

  • Enough/Better – This intro track features two different songs. My favourite is the second song ‘Better‘. While ‘Enough‘ is very fast paced and jumping straight into City Girls and what they do best, ‘Better‘ starts off a bit slower. On this track, JT & Miami summarise their life in the past few years referencing their growing success, their lows and the trials and tribulations they have faced. It ends on a positive note reminding us all that they have overcome every problem they’ve faced. A perfect way to start an album.
  • Jobs – After the release of this album, this was the promotional song that followed. In this song the duo express the fact that they no longer have to go to jobs as they are the work. A BIG FLEX!!! I loved JT’s verse on this song, she came in so sick too!
  • Broke N***as – This was one of my favourites from the first listen and still is! The song was produced by Traxamillion. The beat on this and the way Yo Gotti sounds on this is perfect! The song has a West Coast feel to it! Perfect beat to have playing in the sun!
  • P***y Talk – Produced by Yung Miami’s very own boyfriend Southside, this song is a great follow up to the above. The song features Doja Cat who unfortunately isn’t anyone’s favourite at the moment. Regardless, I liked the song and loved the fact Yung Miami took the lead on it. I’m usually more of a JT fan but I’m really enjoying hearing Yung Miami become more versatile recently.
  • City on Lock Ft. Lil Durk – The title track on the album which features Lil Durk. I liked him singing on the chorus.
  • Flewed Out Ft. Lil Baby – The title of this song of course coming from Yung Miami’s infamous phrase. City Girls’ and their labelmate Lil Baby always make good music together. This is another song I can see doing well for a while.
  • Rodeo – You can guess what this song was gonna be about from the name already! Regardless I loved the beat on this song too and the way JT’s voice sounded on this.

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:

  • Come Back To Me Ft. Junie & Rick Ross – As soon as I saw Rozay on the tracklist for this song, I knew this would be one of my favourites on the album. The song also features a cameo from Teyana’s adorable daughter Junie. This is a signature Teyana song, slow…sensual and soft.
  • Wake Up Love Ft. Iman – This is one of the songs Teyana released with the album and I’ve really warmed to it. This song features her husband Iman and I really feel his rapping style is appreciated in this song. The song feels even more romantic with the both of them on, you can tell this is definitely an ode to their love. The video is beautiful too!
  • Lowkey Ft. Erykah Badu – I read an article where Teyana claimed she was so scared to ask Erykah for a feature as she was her idol. Honestly Teyana hit the jackpot with features on this album. This could be my favourite one! Erykah rides the song so well and her tone of voice is so refreshing.
  • Morning Ft. Kehlani – Another one of the songs released before the album release. For me this is one of the most sexual songs on the album! Kehlani provides one of my favourite feature verses from her on this song. She has about three different flows on her verse! Both of these women’s voice gel so well and I really hope this is the beginning of more features from them.
  • Boomin Ft. Missy Elliott & Future – It’s so nice to hear Missy on new music!!! Her harmonies with Teyana on this song were so beautiful to the ear. Future of course does his thing too! This song samples ‘808’ by Blaque which was originally released in 1999.
  • Killa Ft. Davido – This song contains a feature from popular Nigerian artist Davido. It’s nice to hear an afrobeat blend on this track.
  • Lose Each Other – One of the few ballads on the album, the song is quite stripped back. I like the realness and rawness of this song. it focuses on the times when you may not be with a person you love or once loved. Teyana states that it shouldn’t have to be a bitter situation, “I meant it when I said “I loved you” and love just don’t go away”. True words. The song highlights the sometimes-grey area in relationships and breakups.
  • Try Again – The beat, the mood, the sound of this song IS such a vibe. I think this a song that you will hear in a few years and remember how much of a banger it was. There’s no way you won’t be doing a little dance/movement to the chorus of this song.

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:

  • Forgive Me – I love the motto of the song; “Don’t ever ask for permission, ask for forgiveness”. The song is focused on the art of unapologetically being yourself. A very positive and inspiring song.
  • Baby Girl – The intro beat of this song is enough to get you hooked straight away. This is another female anthem, a nice song to help uplift you when you’re feeling down.
  • Do It – This is one of the popular songs from the album and a recent release. For me this song demonstrates their talented vocal ranges.
  • Busy Boy- This song emphasises the grown sides of the sisters. A playful song referencing the situations some female friends go through.
  • Don’t Make It Harder on Me – Another one of my favourites from the album, the sisters harmonise so beautifully on this song. The song is all about temptation and has an old school feel to the production.

Some other singles from some other Melanin Queens to check out:

  • Shenseea Wasabi (Dancehall Queen treats us to another banger!)
  • Simi Dudke (Nigerian singer Simi has such a sensual and soothing voice, check out this song from her) I absolutely adore her voice, reminds me of Nigerian high life music.

If you haven’t already…check out my Summer playlist below and feel free to follow and enjoy!! Have a nice weekend everyone!

Posted in activism, music, Race, Uncategorized

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. #BlackLivesMatter

“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.

Rest in Peace to Ahmaud, Breonna and George.

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:

Posted in music

Playlist Picks; New Music and What I’ve been listening to…

Hey Everyone! Day 100000000 of quarantine, I hope you’re all doing well and keeping safe while following your government’s guidelines! Today’s post is dedicated to all the music I’ve been listening to and loving in the past 2 weeks! Some are from established artists and some from upcoming. Please give them all a try, there should be a song here for you!

I’ve got a few ideas for the blog that should be coming into effect within the next couple months so pleas stay tuned! If you enjoy the site, please share and pass on to friends. I’m grateful for all of you!

My top playlists picks:

Promise – Gara (2020) – Produced by Randsombeatz

I stumbled upon this guy and since then I have been addicted to his music! If you are an afrobeat fan, this is the perfect song for you, Even if you’re not, have a listen. The song is from a British Nigerian artist that goes by the name of ‘Promise’ hailing from London. His music is usually a fusion of afrobeats, dancehall and UK rap. Usually when I hear a British artist that does afrobeats, I sometimes get disappointed because on occasion I feel the actual African essence is sometimes missing from their sound. This is definitely not the case for Promise. His music hits the spot in terms of that special authentic African sound. I was more disappointed that he only had 3 songs for me to listen to! Hopefully this is the beginning of a long career for him! I will be first in line waiting to hear more great music from him. (Check out his song ‘Promise‘ too, another one of my favourites)

Chris Brown x Young Thug – Go Crazy (2020) – Produced by KanielTheOne

Chris Brown and Young Thug recently released their joint album called ‘Slime & B’. I was pleasantly surprised with this tape, I feel their voices blended really well throughout and I think they both were able to showcase their individual talents too. This particular song stood out to me as a summer track and has now even been made into a dance challenge! The beat is a perfect pick me up and I can see this being a big song this summer.

Young Thug x Future – Help Me Breathe (2020)

This outro from Chris Brown and Young Thug’s joint album happens to be my second favourite on the tape. This time it features Young Thug collaborating with the toxic king himself, Future. We already know that Thug and Future make good music together based on their joint tape released in 2017. Personally one of my favourite joint songs from them was from Thug’s album ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls’, the song being “Relationship”. With this song “Help Me Breathe”, I feel it is actually quite a sweet one. Both of them talk about the importance of their partners in question indicating that they are giving them life. Check it out below;

Shana – Crush on You (2020) – Produced by Jiffthegeneral

Moving to an RnB theme, this is a new song from a new artist! This debut song is from London RnB singer Shana. With this being her first single I am hoping we hear much more from her in the future. I’m pretty sure this song will have you singing “I’ve got a crush on you” over and over and doing some kind of shuffle. I like the freshness that I get from this song, no gimmicks, just pure good vibes and excellent production. The female (even male) Rnb scene in London isn’t as big as it can be and it’s refreshing to hear more and more newcomers. Have a listen to the song below and enjoy:

Kehlani Ft Jhené Aiko – Change Your Life (2020)

Following on from the RnB theme, I had a listen to Kehlani’s new tape this week and this song for me was one of my stand outs. Jhené and Kehlani on the same song makes complete sense, both queens have the perfect sensual voices to blend with each other. I love Jhené’s verse in the second verse as she sings to the person in question hyping them up while also pointing out that they would be even better together. In verse 3, Kehlani lays it all on the table and when I first heard this verse I replayed it multiple times. “Used-to-be models, IG honeys all shaped like bottles but now you seein’ that it’s more than body, face, and smile. You see me, and you look beyond it, you feel inspired…”. So beautiful. Check it out below;

CE – Who Am I? (2020) – Produced by DCQBEATZ

Another one from CE! I’m a fan of this track for sure, it has a nice vibe to it, the beat is great too. CE raps less on this particular track and lets his singing do all the talking! This will have you singing “Everytime you find me, you try to remind me of who I am” like it’s been doing to me! The artwork is great too! Have a listen below:

Russ Ft Ty Dolla $ign – 3AM (2020)

If you haven’t checked it out already, I have a Russ album review out https://musicandlifeblog.com/2020/02/18/album-review-russ-shake-the-snow-globe/ . Russ has now brought out a deluxe version of the album including this new song featuring Ty Dolla $ign. He teased the song earlier this week and I had a feeling it was going to be a good one. Ty Dolla on any song is always a joy to listen to and you will not be disappointed with this track. Ty’s verse is such a pleasure to hear, the harmonies and rifts as perfect as always. I’m gonna have to dive into the extra tracks Russ has blessed us with but for now, have a listen to this song below;

Some other songs I’ve loved:

  • Joyner Lucas Ft Will Smith – Will Remix (2020) – Will killed his verse with that old school flow, his verse content was solid and he was speaking facts! Always great when idols jump on the tracks about them.
  • French Tha Kid – Dream (2020) – Produced by KP Beatz – I recently came across this guy and he’s pretty good. I like the flow switch up on this song. I think he’s got an exciting upcoming career in the works.
  • DaBaby Ft. Roddy Rich – ROCKSTAR (2020) – I’ve had this song on repeat, definitely my favourite from the album. Da Baby shows himself in a different light here for me, his rapping is solid. Beat is crazy too!
Posted in music

Revisiting Time: Why Beyoncé’s – ‘Dangerously in Love’ Album is my favourite album of hers…

It’s that time again when I discuss a throwback project and this time I wanted to focus on everybody’s favourite singer Beyoncé and her debut solo album ‘Dangerously In Love‘. This album, released on June the 20th 2003 was monumental for so many reasons; one of them being that this album propelled Beyoncé into even more superstardom and established her as a credible solo artist.

The album was released during a Destiny’s Child hiatus and brought into question whether this was going to be the album that made Beyoncé want to take solo music more seriously. It is absolutely crazy to me that this album was released when I was 10 years old, at an age where I couldn’t even understand and digest the lyrics to their true meaning properly and yet I still had it on repeat. For me, this was the album that solidified my love for Queen B.

Dangerously in Love’ takes on a very R&B vibe containing many ballads while also staying true to her signature sounds adding elements of hip hop too. The album has a star studded lineup of producers and featured artists. All of these ingredients mixed with the fresh desire and energy she demonstrates on this album makes it my all time favourite Beyoncé album.

The main note to take from this album is that it was the birth of a woman who was not afraid to demonstrate her independence, feminism, her confidence, vulnerability and drive. Beyoncé.

Below are some of my favourite songs from the album that I will never forget;

Crazy In Love Ft Jay-Z

Every artist has that single that catapults them into another realm and will always be the song associated with them. For Beyoncé, this is the song. It’s ironic because in the song itself, Jay Z actually raps “History in the making“, little did they know this song was going to be talked about for years to come. This number 1 song was released as the lead single for the album and the accompanying video became a worldwide phenomenon. The song is understandably about the feeling you get when you are truly madly crazily in love with somebody. It’s possible and likely that the song was in reference to her love for Jay Z. We were used to hearing Beyoncé belting out her love usually in a more softer way but her sound in this song is more of an out of control vibe. This is obviously a reflection of her love that she is trying to explain about. Throughout the song she sings “Your love’s got me looking so crazy right now” indicating that she is enraged with her love for him. One of my favourite lines in the song is when she sings : “If you ain’t there, ain’t nobody else to impress” referring to the fact that he is the only guy she is checking for…to the point she does not even want to get attention from any other guy. A classic song.

Naughty Girl

Beyoncé definitely explores her sexy side on this album and with this song in particular. This song has a very minimal sound however it allows us to appreciate Beyoncé’s impeccable vocals. The song uses Donna Summer’s “Love to Love you Baby” as a sample. The song also has an Arabian feel in terms of the production. I would say this is one of the must hear songs on the album as yet again it compliments Beyoncé’s amazing vocal range.

Baby Boy Ft. Sean Paul

When this song/album was released, Sean Paul was already well known and established in the game. Having released his critically acclaimed ‘Dutty Rock’ album the previous year. I love the fusion of R&B, Reggae and dancehall in the song coming from Sean. When she performs this song live she adds a sort of remix to the end of the song focussing on the dancehall element of the song which makes it even better. There is no surprise that this was another number 1 single from her and is still a hit in clubs today. I dare you not to dance listening to this song!

Me, Myself & I

Okay!!!!!!! Now this is the ultimate anthem most woman probably sing whenever they are going through a break up or having issues with their man. Beyoncé more than any other artists has the ability to create songs that somehow women as a whole always take in. This song is one of them. Aside from the fact the song is about heartbreak, I believe it is actually a very useful song and is more a lesson about self love and self worth. It teaches women to realise that they have to love themselves first and foremost. Despite the heartbreak she learns the valuable lesson that “I took a vow that from now on, I’m gonna be my own best friend, I know that I will never disappoint myself”. It’s the realisation that in life the only person anyone can really 100% trust and rely on is themselves. I would say this song is timeless because everyone could use this reminder.

Yes

This is another one my favourite songs from the album. CONSENT. The more I think about it, in the age of consent that we are in now, this song is extremely relevant. On the song Beyoncé sings about her hurt and frustration from a very disrespectful and impatient lover who wants to go somewhere way too fast. It’s only now I am older and wiser that I can really take in the lyrics of this song. I initially loved the song because it feels like Beyoncé still shocks you with the notes she was hitting in this song. I also love the storytelling element of this song especially in the beginning; “Slowly you walked over, I maintained my cool, you said hello to me”, when she paints a picture of how they met each-other. Now for me the key part of this song is when she sings;

You said I move too slow, I showed you to the door, you said you’d call me later…I said don’t call no more. It’s cool if you can’t wait for me…I’m glad you let me know, ’cause you show me your true face, baby…the first time I said no”

She details how he tried to pressure her showing his true colours. I also want to point out the strength she shows by standing up to this man. It’s crazy to think how ahead of time Beyoncé was with this song but also scary to think she was only 21/22 when this song was released.

That’s How You Like It Ft Jay-Z

This is the second featured track with Hov on the album. This is also one of my favourites on the album due to the easy going, playful theme I feel with this song. I like the interaction between the both of them on the song and the way she explains her love for him (again). Jay Z has a chance to stand up for himself on this song in response to the doubters they obviously faced as he raps; “I know you’ve heard I’m a gangsta, they say “Stay away from them gangstas”. During the time of this being released they were merely a rumour but its safe to say Hov pretty much confirms B is his women in all of the 3 features on this album!

Dangerously in Love

Possibly one of the most beautiful ballads on this album. This song is the definition of love, adoration and happiness. She stars the song with “Baby, I love you
You are my life
“, if that isn’t a strong statement…I don’t know what is. I feel this song is the softer version of ‘Crazy in Love’. When all the lust and honeymoon period of a relationship has died down, this song is the prime example of what true love is. It is calm, patient, soft, sexy, slow and understanding. One of her best songs in my opinion.

’03 Bonnie & Clyde Ft. Jay Z

This is the ultimate B & Hov record! This is the 3rd collaboration between the two of them on the album but was actually the first they released together. The song uses 2Pac’s original “Me and my Girlfriend” (even though he was actually referring to his gun) song and Hov & B provide their own spin. It’s ironic that it was 2Pac’s original song considering the affiliation Jay-Z had with Biggie, however luckily the beef was squashed after the passing of both Pac & Big. Another fun fact is that Kanye West produced the beat for the song. This was also the first song many of Jay-z’s peers realised he was in love with Beyoncé. The song is definitely the song that publicly confirmed both of each-others love for one another.

These are just my personal favourites from this classic and unforgettable album but feel free to listen back to the album below;

Posted in music

Album Review: dvsn – ‘A Muse in Her Feelings’. Why I believe they have the winning formula and why producers deserve their flowers just as much as singers….

There are few artists that when they release an album you know that you are going to like 90%-100% of the tracks. For me, dvsn are artists that fit into that category. This being their third studio album released on the 17th of April 2020 called ‘A Muse in Her Feelings’. I was excited to listen knowing I would love majority of the songs and I have not been disappointed. The Canadian R&B duo comprises of a singer called Daniel Daley and an incredible producer that goes by the name of Nineteen85. dvsn are signed to Drake’s OVO label and specialise in slow paced r&b/alternative r&b music.

I have been a fan of dvsn after stumbling on their song “Hallucinations” taken from their first studio album ‘September 5th’. The feeling I got from listening to that song for the first time has not been able to be matched. Every single beat on that song hit me. Since then, I’ve been a proud and loud supporter. Nineteen85 for me is one of the best modern producers we have and his production on their songs for me is ALWAYS consistently exceptional. All of this compiled with Daniel’s sensual voice and high notes compliment the production. They are the perfect duo.

For me, it’s only been recently that producers have been appreciated like they should have been. When I listen to music, the first thing that personally grabs me is the production of the song, so why producers are sometimes forgotten baffles me. When it comes to R&B in particular, the best songs are the ones that enable you to feel the emotion being exuded through the singer, sometimes this is impossible without great production. Nineteen85 for me has the cheat code because there is not one badly produced dvsn song. It is very very clear that every song he produces is specifically crafted to fit the theme and it is clear that as a duo, dvsn compliment each-other. A duo with an exceptional producer and an amazing singer sounds like the recipe for success to me. I regularly talk about my love for producers on this blog and I really hope in the future more producers are able to be given their flowers.

In regard to the layout and order of ‘A Muse in her Feelings’, dvsn themselves have explained that the album is separated into 4 sections. The first section being; “In Your Feelings” for the songs 1-5. The second section being “Get Over It” for the songs 6-9. The third section being “3AM: After Ours” for the songs 10 to 14. Finally, the fourth and final section being “Falling in Love…Again” for the final two songs, 15 to 16. The songs under each category reflect the theme. I’ve talked about some key tracks below, have a read and enjoy!

Key Tracks for Me:

‘In Your Feelings’:

  • No Good – This is a great first track for this album. The song starts slow and minimal before the production comes into affect. In this song, it seems he is confused with his feelings and what he wants and is baring it all in the song. This fits in with the “In your Feelings” section as he is definitely feeling some kind of way.
  • Still Pray For You – This is by far one of my favourite songs on this album! I only wish it was a bit longer. The song almost feels like an interlude and feels like a direct message to someone in particular. He just wants her to know that he still prays for the special someone and he has not changed. I like the switch up in sound in the second part of the song too.
  • Miss Me? – This song was previously released before the album came out and if you haven’t rinsed it already, this would be in your top songs for sure. This song is for that person you miss and have trouble asking if they feel the same! haha! very appropriate for this quarantine period. I like Daniel’s lyrics “Soon as I get you out my system, girl, I relapse“, we have all probably been there at some point in our life. I can’t express any more how much Nineteen85’s production always compliments Daniel’s sound so well. In this song, Daniel’s melancholy’s sound is heightened towards the end with the outro.

Get Over It‘:

  • No Cryin Ft. Future – No surprise that the first song from this category features the King of toxic masculinity Future. This song was also released prior to the album release. This song definitely takes on a different mood as Future sings early on; “Ain’t no cryin’ in my Phantom, don’t get no tears on my seats“, showing that he is not showing any sympathy at all. My favourite part of the song however is after his verse when Daniel sings “Yeah, this year you gon’ be selfish” hitting an amazing high note reminding us how talented he really is!
  • Dangerous City Ft. Ty Dolla $ign & Buju Banton– On my first listen for this album, this was the song that grabbed me straight away. This is my favourite featured track on the album and the vibe coming this song is wonderful! Ty Dolla of course always brings heat when he appears on songs and Buju Banton provides us with a reggae/dancehall vibe that I didn’t even realise was missing! The way the beat changes to match Buju on this track is also genius. dvsn are the definition of TALENTED. In terms of musical production, this song is a clear example of how good these two are.
  • Outlandish – This songs sets us up for the song below but still is one of my faves, I like Daniel’s vocals on this one and the outro of the song.

‘3AM: After Ours”:

  • Keep It Going – This song starts with the ending of ‘Outlandish’ and takes a completely different sound from the previous songs. The song is a more upbeat vibe and my favourite lyrics in this would have to be “I can’t lose my mind tryna read somebody else’s“. It feels in this song it’s back to the frustration and confusion of feelings. The backing beat is repetitive but extremely catchy. This is probably the song you’d be dancing to.
  • Between Us Ft. Snoh Aalegra – Honourable mention for this song because it uses a sample of Usher’s 1997 classic song “Nice & Slow.”. As well as the sample, it also flips the chorus from dvsn’s precious 2019 song “In Between.”.

“Falling in Love…Again”

  • For Us – This is a beautiful ode. It feels like a climax to all the back and forth and numerous emotions throughout the beginning of the album. Daniel sings; “I don’t wanna waste a minute of my life without you in it”. It feels this song is the cement in realising how strong his love is for this woman. This song reminds me of an old school R&B song when they used to sing and profess their love and need for their women. Beautiful words in this song. Personally I feel this should have been the last song.
  • …Again Ft. Shantel May – This song should be appreciated for the production. You get an 80’s vibe with this one again showing the versatility that dvsn have. It’s nice to finalise the back and forth with a woman’s perspective too with Shantel’s vocals.

September 5th‘ may still be my favourite album from them (If you have never listened, please have a listen to that album) but make no mistake, this album is also a work of art. I cannot wait to see them appreciated more in the future for the talent they both are.

Have a listen to the album below, I hope you are all able to enjoy it as much as I did:

Posted in music

New Music: What I’ve been listening to…

Hello everyone, I know I’ve been slacking with my weekly quarantine posts…I’ve lost track which week this is now but here are some of the songs and albums I’ve been listening to in the past two weeks. Have a nice weekend everyone and stay safe. I will try and put out another album review soon.

Album- Cadet – The Rated Legend (2020)

First up! The late great UK rapper recently released his Posthumous album ‘The Rated Legend‘. I was a big fan of Cadet and I’ve always talked about his incredible talent for wordplay. Having watched the recent documentary on Cadet, it’s clear how important music was to him. The thing I loved the most about this album was the way every feature artists somehow matched every part of that song. In addition, I liked Tion and Chip’s subtle references to Cadet and Wretch’s after message. It was nice of Cadet’s family to let us hear some of the songs he had been working on. Here are some of my favourites from the album;

  • Take the Wheel – This is the intro track on the album and its a nice change of pace from what we know of Cadet. I like this track because it’s a stripped back Cadet and you hear more of his emotional side. Cadet raps things like “You ain’t never had no one take the wheel, it’s time that you let someone take the wheel”. In the song he is telling the woman in question that he has her and will take care of her.
  • Support Me – This was a track already released before this album and is definitely one of my favourites from the album. Yet again Cadet is pouring his heart on a track and allowing us to understand the downsides of the success he had.
  • Still Ft. Wretch 32 – Any song with Wretch is bound to be a hit but I never expected the bounce between them both to be this strong. This is the kind of song you will find yourself bopping your head to hearing Wretch’s flow on this. I really like the fast pace theme on this song, I feel that suits Cadet the most as it showcases his rapping ability.
  • Gimme Space Ft. Chip– Speaking of fast pace, this song was MADE for Cadet AND Chip!!!! Chip’s verse on this song was one of my favourites. This song is perfect for the summer, its a shame Cadet isn’t here because I would love to see him perform this live.
  • Do What I Like Ft. Tion Wayne – It may be hearing Cadet say ‘Wahala” but I like the song, it’s a nice vibe. I also like the end of Tion’s verse when he says R.I.P and Cadet’s signature name phrase is said.
  • Damages – This by far my favourite on the album. After hearing the song, there’s no way you won’t be singing the chorus. This song also proves that Cadet was good for melodies as well as his legendary bars and wordplay. He really was a talented guy and it’s a tragedy that we lost him when we did. However, music never dies and it’s a blessing we have so much more music from him to hang on to. Like his album states, he is definitely a RATED LEGEND. R.I.P CADET!!!! CADET!!!!!

Have a listen below:

Kelly Rowland – Coffee

I love this song from Kelly!! A perfect song for the nice weather that we’ve been experiencing recently. I saw a comment recently that said Kelly is being very sexual in this song but I will say, Kelly has never been afraid to explore sex in her songs. I can think of songs like “Motivation”, “Put it on Me” and “Ice” from the top of my head that also carry that theme. Regardless this song is great and the video even better! I love the appreciated of different shades of black through the model in her video. The song also has an afrobeat vibe which is possibly what makes it even more perfect for the weather. Have a listen below;

Wiz Khalifa Ft. Megan Thee Stallion, Ty Dolla & Mustard – Y U Mad

This song is from Wiz’s new album “The Saga of Wiz Khalifa” . No surprise that this song is a hit with Mustard producing it. Megan had a great feature verse on this song and again this is another song for the good weather!. Have a listen below:

169 Ft. Wretch 32 – No Fears

UK producer/artist 169 recently released his EP titled “SYNC” and this is one of the songs on the tape that stood out to me. The song features the legend that is Wretch 32. I like the Caribbean feel on this song. I think a producer who is also able to sing or rap is a huge talent and cheat code. You know for a fact that the beats on their songs will always be top notch and this song proves it. It’s a nice calming feel, have a listen below;

S1mba Ft. DTG – Rover

Tik Tok has been instrumental in the success of so many songs during this quarantine period. Before seeing a Tik Tok video, I did not have any knowledge of this song. However, since the challenges regarding it, I’ve had this song in my head! I challenge you all to listen to it and do the challenge too! Have a listen below;

M1llionz – Y Pree

Drill is pretty big in the UK at the moment and this guy is one of the ones running the scene after this song. I like the tone of his voice in this song as it’s quite lighthearted despite the greaze from the beat, bit of a juxtaposition. I had never heard of him before but I will certainly be looking out for him in the future.

Wale – Sue Me

This song isn’t a new release as it was released with Wale’s album last year however, he has just recently released the video for it and it’s wonderful. The theme of the song is the idea that he is rooting for his fellow Black people, in all aspects. The video provides us with a view of an alternative America if Black people were not the victims of racism as much as it is now. It’s a food for thought video especially at the end during the pandemic we are facing with black people being seen to be suffering the most. Check it out below;

Posted in music

#Quarantine&Chill Week 2: Songs that I’ve been playing this past week…

So! It’s been 2 weeks since the UK have gone into official “lockdown”. The good news is that we are in another month meaning we are one month closer to the end of this madness hopefully! I hope you have all been keeping safe and sane during this lockdown. Personally, I’ve found this lockdown quite hard in some occasions but I find that keeping myself busy helps time pass and causes me to worry less. Listening to music is a great escape for most people so of course I’ve put below some of the songs I’ve been playing in the past week. Hopefully some of these songs can provide you comfort during these uncertain times. Stay safe everyone!

Popcaan – Only Jah Know (2014)

Throwing it back with this first song here. I’ve been listening to a lot more Bashment and dancehall songs recently. I am hoping to create a playlist for one soon once I improve my knowledge. In the meantime, I’ve been revisiting this song by Jamaican Dancehall legend Popcaan recently as it’s one of my favourite Popcaan songs. The song is quite sad but it is very relevant to the situation now. There’s so much bad news at the moment and so many people are losing their lives that has probably made people feel helpless, sad, scared and confused. In this song Popcaan refers to the fact that despite all the negativity and sadness, “Only Jah Knows”, ‘Jah’, which is the Rastafarian name for God. In relation to the pandemic now, it may be comforting to keep your faith and understand that God has a plan, regardless of whether we understand it, it will all be okay in the end. Have a listen to the song below;

Flavour Ft. PC Lapez- Kanayo (2020)

Following on from a cultural theme, this is another song I’ve had on repeat these past few days. The song is by Nigerian singer Flavour who sings in his native tongue Igbo. The song meaning translates to “Let’s continue to seek or beg God for mercy”. Similarly to the Popcaan song, this is another great song to listen to at a time like this, the song provides some comfort and is a prayer for everyone during these unprecedented times. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Flavour and I love that he regularly sings in my native tongue but regardless of whether you understand what he is saying, the instruments and feel of the song should put you at ease. Flavour is great at providing the highlife feel/mood with his music, the instruments he uses always make you feel like you are in the room with them all. Have a listen below;

DaBaby – Find My Way (2020)

DaBaby is on of the most popular artists in the US at the moment, with great reason! He makes so many great songs and he the personality to match. However, he has encountered a lot of controversy recently which can be argued is the downside to being a star. He is back with a new song providing us with a more vulnerable side to him and a different style that what we are used to with him. It’s obvious that the controversy surrounding DaBaby as of recent is getting to him as in the song he states “& every single person in my life tell me I’m their hero but when it’s up and then go down, they treat me like the villain”. I like the honesty in this song and it’s clear DaBaby has a creative side as the song is accompanied by a 10-minute movie which has Bonnie & Clyde feels. Have a watch below;

Nipsey Hussle – Bigger Than Life (2012)

Earlier this week (31st of March) was the first anniversary of the death of the late great Nipsey Hussle. If you haven’t read it, feel free to read my dedication to him from last year; https://wordpress.com/posts/musicandlifeblog.com?s=nipsey

There’s something special about this song for me. In the beginning Nipsey states that the song is dedicated to everyone with a dream and says “I don’t want the fame, I just want y’all to feel me“. Nipsey always spoke his truth with any chance he got. This song should provide everyone with the confidence and belief that anything in this life is possible but should also be served as a reminder that life is short. Towards the end of the song he says “I ain’t worried about it cos I know God got me” and thats a motto to live by. The Marathon will forever continue.

Big Tobz Ft. Dizzee Rascal – Smoke (2020)

Big Tobz continues to surprise me if I’m honest. He recently released a new project called “Issa Vibe” and this is one of my favourite songs from there. He links up with legend Dizzee and the back to back between them is class. It’s clear to me that Big Tobz thrives the most when he is able to go back to back with someone, whether it’s Blittz, Cadet (R.I.P.) or now Dizzee. Dizzee demonstrates in this song why he is one of the GOATS and it’s nice to hear him on a song with a newer star being Tobz. Check it out below;

Kiana Ledé – Wicked Games (2018)

Kiana has actually just released a new album this weekend but this song from her previous project has been on repeat for me recently. I’m even sure I’ve spoken about this song before but it’s still a favourite. The song is based on a relationship where the guy is taking advantage and is playing games. Have a listen below;

Geko Ft. Lotto Boyzz – Repeat Remix (2020)

Geko and Lotto Boyzz are both back with a collaborative banger. It’s no surprise that these 3 make such a good song as individually they are great at that. There’s no way this song will not have you singing back after hearing it. Geko maintains his usual waviness and Lotto Boyzz provide a unique addition. Lotto Lucas cool and collected with his rap verses and Lotto Ash of course bringing the harmonies and sensational voice. Last but certaintly not least, the song is produced by JAE5 so of course there’s no way this song wouldn’t have worked! Have a listen below:

Money Heist Song – Bella Ciao

If you’re a fan of the Netflix Spanish hit show ‘Money Heist’, you would know this song from a mile off! Since season 4 has been released this song is back in my head! The song actually originates from an old Italian folk song. Have a listen below