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#Quarantine&Chill Week 1: Songs and suggestions to get you through the next week…

What a week it’s been, here in the UK!! On the 23rd of March 2020, the UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced a lockdown for the whole of the UK as a result of the ongoing outbreak of the Coronavirus Covid-19. This lockdown meant that unless you were a key worker, you had to remain indoors and only leave for exercise once a day or to buy essentials. All of this of course is to help the nation fight against the worldwide pandemic happening.

If like me, you suffer from anxiety, a big change like this could be detrimental to your mental health. I’ve always expressed how music for me is my way of sometimes being able to disconnect from the madness of the world but also to comfort me in times of need. I’m going to try and provide weekly lists of songs I’ve been listening to throughout the week and also provide you with some tips that may help us all through this challenging time. The most important thing I’ve learnt and had to accept from this situation is that it is out of anyones control however there is some light at the end of this. As long as everyone continues doing the part (staying at home and social distancing), we will get through this. Here are some songs I’ve listened to this past week, old and new! I’ve also created a playlist for those working from home to listen to, music that you an have on in the background without getting distracted! I’ll put the link below! Have a nice week everybody and remember we are one week closer to this being over…

Lotto Boyzz Ft. Dappy – +44

I’m a big big fan of Lotto Boyzz and am so glad they are back with some new music. if you aren’t familiar with their music, listen to their previous EP “Afrobbean”. With this first comeback single, they recruit rapper Dappy who fits the tone of the song perfectly. Lotto Ash’s voice is sensational on this track and it’s nice to hear Lotto Lucas back to his best. Dappy showcased his talent to spit some very catchy metaphors. This is a nice song to chill and vibe to especially during the downtime we are all having now. It will have you singing that you could “Never be a plus four, four”!

John Legend Actions

John Legend hosted a small concert from his home and broadcasted live on his instagram last weekend. During this live, he debuted his new single ‘Actions’. Fast forward and the song is officially out!! You will most likely recognise the sample John has used from Dr Dre’s 2000 classic song “The Next Episode” which of course is still a sample from “The Edge”, a song by David McCallum. This version is a nice flip from the song we are used to and it surprisingly works really well with it. This song is one of the first to be released from John Legend’s upcoming album. Have a listen below:

Jadakiss Ft Ty Dolla Sign – (NYB) Need Your Best

This is one of the songs on Jadakiss’ recent album ‘Ignatius’ that he released March 6th. I’m an old school Jadakiss fan and although I haven’t taken in the album properly, this song was one of the ones that stood out for me. Ty Dolla provides the vocals as beautifully as he usually does. Have a listen below:

Skepta Ft. Chip & Young Adz – Waze

This trio have just released their new album ‘Insomnia‘. If I am honest, from the first few listens, this is the only song that caught my attention. I am not really a fan of Young Adz’ sound but Chip was the star on this song! We haven’t heard from Chip in a while so it’s nice to hear him going in on a song again. I also like Skepta on this track but I think he was stronger on the song “Golden Brown“. Have a listen to “Waze” to hear Chip in his glory. Have a listen below:

PARTYNEXTDOOR Ft. Rihanna – BELIEVE IT

PND has just released a new album and although I haven’t taken it in properly, I am so glad to finally hear Rihanna on a track! Would have been nice to have heard her sing more solo on this song but nevertheless her harmonies with PND and her vocals on the chorus were nice to hear. I also would have loved for it to have been a bit longer but it’s a catchy song and nice song to vibe to. Have a listen below:

Manny Norte Ft. 6LACK, Rema, Tion Wayne & Love Renaissance – 4AM

This was not a collaboration I would ever have expected haha! I always like when UK artists bring American artists to feature with them. I feel when it is this way round UK artists very rarely compromise their sound. The UK stands out more and it’s more the US artists keeping up with us. I love Tion Wayne on this song and I think he was very fitting. 6Lack provides the perfect vocals too. Have a listen below;

Young T & Bugsey – Madonna

Young Y & Bugsey are back with an EP called “Plead the Fifth” and this was one of my favourite songs on there. The JAE5 produced song is a nice insight into how the duo can switch their flow. I like this side from them and of course the production is great on this song. I also like the subtle homage to Ma$e’s song ‘What You Want’ with the final verse. Check it out:

Here is my Quarantine Playlist:

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Album Review: Russ – ‘SHAKE THE SNOW GLOBE’

Another album review it seems! This time it’s from US rapper Russ. I’m a big fan of Russ, if you read my blog regularly, you probably would know. I was excited for an album release from him finally! Russ makes music that you can have playing for any occasion and this album is a great example of that.

The thing I love the most about Russ is I feel he is effortlessly talented. His singing and rapping ability are on par with each-other, both so good to listen to. It doesn’t feel like he’s doing too much or any gimmicks, it feels like he is all about the talent. Some of his songs are also very deep and the content of the songs always draw me in. He is a quadruple threat in music, he can sing, rap, produce and song write. He is also really great at picking the right collaborations for his song and we had already been treated to his earlier singles from the album; “CIVIL WAR” and “BEST ON EARTH” featuring BIA. There has never been a song that has featured someone else that has not been the best for the song. I really enjoy every project he puts out and this album is no other.

Below are a list of some of my favourite songs; (Most of them to be honest are!)

NEED A MINUTE – This is the first song off the album and is Russ reminiscing on all his success and new wealth and being thankful. You could argue that this is more of an ending song for an album but at the same time, I think it’s nice to start to an album. You later realise that this song is actually setting the tone of the theme of appreciation that Russ manifests throughout the rest of the album. The title “Need a Minute” could refer to the fact he sometimes needs a second to process how far he’s come as he sings in the chorus; “I can’t believe what I’ve achieved, I can, but damn, I need a minute”. Anyone who is a long time fan of Russ will appreciate how far he has come. The whole song is Russ showing gratitude which is nice to hear.

Favourite Line- It’s hitting me way differently…this is a dream, I need a minute”

GUESS WHAT FT. RICK ROSS – This may be my favourite from the album. I’ve always said how much of a fan of Rick Ross and of Russ I am. The both of them on this second collaboration is great for me! Ross comes in so smooth on the beat reminding us of his never ending wealth of course and comparing the two of them; “Me and Russ coming like Dre and Snoop”. Most importantly for me, the beat of this song is so upbeat, everything just fits!

Favourite Line: I want roses when I’m livin’ not just roses when I die”

A LOT MORE- So the first two songs, Russ was speaking about his gratitude for his success and in this song he is telling us he is nowhere near finished! Russ lets us know he has always been working and hasn’t stopped and he still has alot more fun to have.

Favourite Lines: There’s two kinds of people; Those who can’t, those who can, those who say, “there you are”, those who say, “Here I am”. I’m the latter, fuck the chatter”

CAN’T GO ON– I like this song for the flow, his adlibs and the beat. A nice chilled back vibe in this song.

All TO YOU FT. KIANA LEDÉ- This song is a nice slower love song from Russ and Kiana’s vocals sound so beautiful on it too.

SHOTS – Hands down my second favourite from the album! The beat and his flow on this is crazy!

PATIENCE – This is another deep song from Russ. I get the feeling the song is about the aftermath of a breakup/broken heart but can also be applied to a stage where you feel your life is spinning out of control. The song is about how you recover slowly and pick yourself up again. The song is quite reflective and makes you stop and think.

MOMMA – Concluding the album and continuing on the theme of gratitude throughout the album, Russ here is singing about how his success has allowed him to treat his mother. This song serves a conclusion to his song “Purple,” where Russ made a promise to his mother that her dreams would come true. It’s a nice positive end to the thankfulness Russ had been showing throughout the album.

Favourite Lines: “And we don’t gotta chase our dream no more, mama We live it (Yeah)”

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Album Review: J Hus – Big Conspiracy

J Hus previously warned us “Don’t think I’m shy cos I’m quiet, I’m just plotting and plotting” from his song ‘Plottin’ released with his 2017 debut album ‘Common Sense’. Whilst we were given some featured verses from songs and an EP in between the first album and now, it’s pretty much been quiet from East London’s finest. It is no secret that in this break Hus has had his fair share of ups and downs, but one thing is for sure, this break has not affected his talent. This break has been a build up for his highly anticipated second album.

When it comes to second albums, personally I believe that for an artist, it’s usually one of the most important projects of their career. If they were lucky enough to have had a critically acclaimed debut album, it’s always hard releasing a second one without the pressure and people constantly comparing the two. If they didn’t do so well with the first, then they have even more to prove. It’s a catch 22. For Hus, it was the first dilemma; his first album “Common Sense” (2017) is a critically acclaimed album that has even been certified gold. The question from most people was “How was he going to top this?”. I think it is unfair to compare both albums, they are both very different, the first demonstrated the rawness and fire we know Hus embodies. It was a chance for the rest of the world to hear what he was about and for him to show how unique he was.

This second album demonstrates all the lessons learnt, all the pain felt, all the knowledge learnt, put into a body of work for us to soak up and digest. You get more of a sense of J Hus as a person in this album, we are shown his intelligence and what drives him more in this project. I would say one of the key words of this album would be ‘versatility’. It is extremely clear at this point that Hus has carved his own lane in the UK scene. It certainly feels like this young man we hear on his second album is a regenerated, reborn J Hus, ‘J Hus 2.0’ you could say. Hus reflects on his culture, surroundings, peers as well as his battles and challenges. He does all this in a mature way without compromising his unique sound or being afraid to experiment and flirt with different genres. It’s crazy to think that this music is coming from a 23 year old considering all he has experienced and the knowledge he shares. It feels as if this album is a documentation of the journey Hus has gone through to find himself.

Image result for j hus big conspiracy

It is worth giving honourable mentions to the producers on this album because the production on these songs is out of this world. We are used to J Hus merging with the genius that is JAE5 to produce regular hits, but it was very nice also hearing Hus with other talented producers TSB and IO. This album felt like a nice fusion of everyone’s best work.

J Hus is someone that constantly proves how talented he is and every single song on this album has a quotable line. Another unique thing about Hus is that sometimes it feels as if songs are ‘him featuring himself’ simply due to the fact he is that versatile. These are part of the reasons why I would say J Hus is my favourite UK artist. He is constantly pushing boundaries and expectations and it seems his talent has no expiry date. Regardless of what your taste is, there is no doubt that this album is a work of art. J Hus and his team seem to be deservedly hitting peaks some can only dream of. This is a prime example that talent and hard work always wins in the end.

Side Note: I can’t remember if the leak nonsense came out before the album title and album cover design but I love how “Piracy” in the title name was underlined. Intentional or not, I love the irony of the situation. A further point to add is that despite the few that tried to ruin it for the rest of us, it shows how loved J Hus is that his fans refused to listen to leaks and wanted to wait for the actual release date. It was certainly worth the wait.

Here are some key tracks for me;

  • Big Conspiracy Ft. iceè tgm- The first song and title track did a great job preparing us for the tone of the rest of the album. iceè tgm’s vocals on this are so soothing too.
  • Fight for Your Right – “How do you sleep at night when you don’t even fight for your life?”. This song is a food for thought.
  • Triumph – This is my second favourite song on the album. The percussion instruments and production (of course produced by the legend that is JAE5), the mixture of flow, the lyrics, everything works on this. This is the kind of song I would love to hear live.
  • Play Play Ft. Burna Boy – This is now the 3rd song these two have released together and yet again the pair prove they are unstoppable.
  • Cucumber – I’ve been singing “How you make being sexy look easy” since this dropped! I feel there should be a dance move for this song somehow. Such a banger!
  • Reckless – Finally the song has been released with the infamous lines; “Daily offender, crazy Eastender”. haha
  • No Denying – I love hearing Hus on a beat that isn’t his usual sound, this solidified the fact that he was versatile for me.
  • Must Be – 100% my favourite song on this album. This song is the definition of a work of art. For me this song reminds me of a modern version of highlife music. The combination of Hus and his witty wordplay, his changing flow and the instruments in the background proves to me that this is possibly one of his best songs as a whole to date. This song needs to be performed live with a live orchestra to give it the credit it deserves.
  • Love, Peace and Prosperity – I like how J Hus left his two big meaningful songs to the end of the album. He sings; “I live a street life and I sing a melody, they wan’ see me go mad and lose my sanity”. This kind of self awareness is further indication of his growth.
  • Deeper than Rap – This is a stripped-back song that bares all. The title of the song is fitting as Hus reflects on race, culture, colourism, religion, depression and the streets. For me this song proves the growth that J Hus has gone through and is a big food for thought for anyone listening. A beautiful way to end an incredible album.

Have a listen below! 🙂

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Thank You.

I know I’ve been a bit MIA with the posts in the past few months/weeks and for that I’m sorry. I never wanted this blog to feel like a chore and recently I’ve just been trying to work on so many things that have meant my writing has unfortunately had to take a back seat.

In terms of writing however, this past year has taught me so much and has matured me into a better writer. I started this blog as a personal outlet and an online diary for me to express my thoughts an opinions on music. This year I have opened it to everyone and worked a lot harder providing regular content for people to enjoy. As a result of this, my views have grown in ways I could never have predicted.

This leads me to thank you all for your support over the past 2019. Whether you have read 1 post or 4 or 20, I am so forever grateful. Thank you also to those that have always reposted my posts or recommended the blog to others. I am always in awe at how many people I speak to that enjoy my blog. The end of the decade is always promising because now we have a fresh book to help us write the next decade. I hope you all have wonderful new year and here’s to so much more success, happiness, good health and of course even more music!

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Mid Week Update: EP Review: CE – Saint, Vol 1

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a brief review of a project I’ve been recently listening to. The EP is from North West London Singer, rapper and producer CE and was released last week. I’ve previously talked about some his songs before on this blog but I highly recommend this new project from him. The only negative from this project is that I wish there were more than 3 songs on the tape. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on those 3!

Problems

As soon as I heard the first few seconds of the instrumental to this song I felt like I was in a Narcos film or some Spanish show. The introduction of this song really makes me want to salsa . What I loved most about this song is the surprise at how well CE’s rapping and flow compliments the salsa sounding beat. You would not usually associate a slower paced and calm flow on such an upbeat production but it works so well. I recommend taking in this song with a a very loud sound system and one that can handle base.  CE repeatedly sings “I don’t really wanna spend my time with anyone” and sings “If I made you mine, then you can say I met the one”. Both these lyrics give us the impression CE is quite reserved in his character.  I guarantee this is the song you won’t be able to get out of your head…”I heard you got a problem!!!!!!”.

California

The transition from ‘Problems’ into ‘California’ is perfect when you listen to songs one after another. This song is more upbeat and more base heavy (another one for your sound systems). Following on from him expressing his need for solitude in the previous song, in this song it seems to be that he is addressing someone that he has some complicated history with; “Got me feeling like you never tried to try again”. CE has a good habit of expressing his words clearly but also having their own melodies from them. This is one of those songs that will have you bopping your head to.

Juggin

This is my favourite track from the EP and the content has similar content. Reiterating his point from the first song, CE raps “I don’t really wanna spend my time with anyone”, just in case we forgot! He mentions the US artist Russ in this song and funnily enough they both have similar musical styles. They both have different sounds but both have mastered the ratio of singing and rapping within the melody in their songs. The best lines on this song have to be “& everybody wanna get out of the hood instead of just helping the hood”. Those lines are extremely factual to many people. It is quite common for people who have grown up or lived in unfortunate situations to aspire to leave that area but sometimes also want to forget about it their “hood” when they do. Maybe if more people thought about using their powers or success to help their surroundings they may not feel they need to “escape”.

Overall I would say this EP is really an excellent introduction into the artist CE is. From these 3 songs, you can already tell how versatile he is and how much substance is in his music. The production on all 3 songs is actually top tier. I think there is a song for everyone on this project, even with only 3 tracks. I hope this is the beginning of more music from him and hopefully he releases some visuals to some of these songs! Have a listen to his playlist below to;

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“New Music”…What I’ve been listening to…

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! There has been so much music released recently but I thought I’d give you a list of songs I’ve had on repeat, some old and many new Furthermore, I’ve compiled a “Winter Playlist” for everyone, so feel free to have a listen! The link is at the top of the blog.  

Darkoo Ft. One Acen – Gangsta

UK music has been on fire recently and this is one of the hottest records out right now! The song is by UK singer Darkoo featuring fellow UK artist One Acen who seems to do no wrong. This song is extremely catchy and the accompanying dance is very addictive! I have heard a song from Darkoo before (the song with Br3nya) and I really like the tone of her voice, so I hope this song is the start of something big for her. Have a listen below and make sure you check out the video!

Ari Lennox Ft. J Cole – Shea Butter

As I’ve already mentioned, I have recently compiled a playlist for this winter weather, songs that are representative of these cold, cold conditions! This song is one of the entries and a song I’ve been playing a lot recently. I like the tone of Ari’s voice in this title track of her debut album. J Cole has a great featured verse especially with the change of flow when he says “Coconut oil”. Have a listen below;

Tory Lanez Ft T-Pain – Jerry Sprunger

When I first heard the teaser to this song I thought it would 100% work. Of course the original 2005 classic “I’m Sprung” from T-Pain is already legendary but Tory has a habit of remixing songs and giving them his own twist. I even think that this could easily be a part 2 of the original rather than seeing it as a replacement. For me it feels like a teacher (Being T-Pain as he is one of the originators of autotune) and the student (Tory) at work together. This irony reminds me of the famous J Cole lyric whenhe says on “Let Nas Down”; “Long live the idols, may they never be your rival”. This song also serves as the first single from Tory’s latest project “Chixtape 5”. Having listened to the tape, this song is still the main song that stands out for me and has the most replay value. Have a listen below;

Russ – Best on Earth Ft. BIA

If you are a regular on my blog you’d probably know I’m a fan of US artist Russ. This song featuring BIA is his latest hit. I think Russ has a good formula going on, he has a nice singing voice but also has a talent for rapping too. Sometimes it feels as if there are two people on his verses. I am personally looking forward to his upcoming album has he has been going from strength to strength with his released singles. Another great thing about Russ is that he always seems to have the perfect person to feature with for that song. BIA’S flow compliments the beat of this song so perfectly its unreal! Russ is definitely someone I would love to see perform live. Have a listen to the song below;

Krept & Konan – Salaam

UK duo Krept and Konan are back with their second studio album “Revenge is Sweet”. This is the second song from the album and in comparison, to the energy in the first song, this is a more chilled back song. The song for me is quite deep and of course the duo do not disappoint with their wordplay. In one of Konan’s verse he says “All the times I made Abby cus cos she couldn’t count on me” which is of course a reference to the Abacus which is used to help people count. I also like how Krept and Konan use their religion and faith on this song with the chorus; “Assalamualaikum akhi, pray for a brudda cah they hating on me”. The “Assalamualaikum” is a greeting in Arabic that means “Peace be upon you”. Throughout the song they ask for prayer due to the fact people are not as genuine as we may think. They both also touch on the deaths of close ones in the song. I think this is one of my favourites from the album without a doubt.

Hitmaka Ft. Young Ma, Dreezy, Mualatto, DreamDoll & Chinese Kitty – Thot Box (Remix)

Wow! This all female remix is possibly one of the best remixes to a song to come out this year. I love the female unity in this song but the best thing is every single artist maintains the high level. I also liked the original with Meek Mill, 2 Chainz and Tyga. For this all female ensemble, my favourite verses were from Chinese Kitty and Dream Doll. Although the line from Dreezy; “Got ten-star credit, my pictures don’t need no editing” has been in my head ever since. Have a listen to the song below.

J Hus – Must Be

The instruments on this song are possibly the best arrangement I’ve heard on a UK rap song this year. UK rapper J Hus and the genius producer that is JAE5 team up for yet again another banger. I’ve said before that J Hus has the ability to provide a song that you will 100% be quoting for the next few weeks. This song will for sure be making you think about “opps”that you may not even have! I can’t get over the strings in this song too, I could easily listen to the instrumental version of this song on repeat.

Young T & Bugsey Ft. Headie One – Don’t Rush

I don’t think these two are capable of ever releasing a bad song! This is another hit from the UK duo, this time featuring UK rapper Headie One. I like the wordplay from the duo, their flow is also very unique and the two always play off each other so well. Whatever formula these two have, they should definitely keep at it because it sure is winning one.. Check out the song below;

Krept & Konan – Keep Talking Ft. Stormzy & Cadet

Another entry from Krept and Konan, this time with a song featuring two other UK rappers; South London’s finest Stormzy and the late great Cadet. When I saw the tracklist for this song I knew I would love it. I’m a fan of Stormzy but even I didn’t realise how crazy his verse would be. Stormzy sounded fed up which for me is the best version of Stormzy. Look at some of his freestyles where he has similar emotions or even when he’s on the rare occasion not as humble as usual. (Listen to “Scary” or even “One Take”). One of his lines in this song is “I’m from the dirty South, can’t clean the boy” and it is the way he delivers the bar that gets me. He also raps “Man can’t talk about whips or p’s, Got a S class sitting there covered in bird shit” just reminding us he is the guy! I wanted his verse to keep going! I read that the verse from Cadet was not originally recorded for this song but they managed to make it fit and I’m glad we get to hear a song with all of them on it as they were all family or friends. I feel each artist brought out the best in the other. The back to back between them was exciting to hear and I can only imagine what that would be like to listen to live. Once again R.I.P Cadet! Cadet!

Also; Check out:

Pattern Gang (including Octavian) – Pattern Chanel

Ari Lennox Ft. J.I.D – Broke –(Whew!! J.I.D smashed his verse!!!!!)

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Sorry for the Wait…

Hey everyone! Sorry for the break, it was needed! The annoying thing is that it feels like so much music has been released since! Please allow me to release some reviews for projects that have been out for a while as I play catch-up. I’ve been enjoying a lot of the music out at the moment from people like Summer Walker, Wretch 32, Tion Wayne, Wale and so many more. I attended the concert of UK rapper Tion Wayne a few weeks ago and wow what a show! I’ll be sure to talk about it in his EP review. Anyways! Stay tuned for more reviews coming and more content!

Thank you to those who have still been on the site in this break! Seeing so many hits when I’ve been inactive for a while is amazing!

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Mid Week Update…New Music: What I’ve been listening to…

Hello everyone! It’s that time of week where I bombard you all with a list of what I’ve been listening to the past week! It’s been a while since I have updated you, have a look below of all the music that’s been on rotation.!

Stormzy – Wiley Flow

There has been a lot of noise and controversy in the UK grime scene surrounding Wiley. If I’m going to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what started Wiley’s frustration. With this track Stormzy paves homage to one of the grime pioneers Wiley. The beginning of the song starts with a snippet of a clip where Wiley refers to the fact that everyone else in the scene are his “youngers”. Stormzy uses this to flip and relate to his song by referring to his own success. I feel that this is the Stormzy I prefer in comparison to his more commercial songs like “Vossi Bop”. Stormzy when he is raw for me is when he’s at his best, listen to his freestyles like “Standard” and “Scary” for examples.

Shaybo – Ya Dun Know

This song has blown up thanks to the power of the internet. I came across the song and video on twitter and have been playing the song ever since! I love the fact there are more female rappers coming up and even better them being British. There are a few really good British rappers in comparison to the men. Shaybo brings a uniqueness to her rapping as she spits in the Yoruba dialect too in this song. Yoruba is one of the many languages spoken in Nigeria and it is great she is able to incorporate both her British and Nigerian identity in the song. For those that aren’t aware, “Ya Dun Know” is a common slang used a lot in London and is a term usually used when someone is bigging something up. The accompanying video is good too, simple and fitting to the song. I also liked how she referenced her old video where she was much younger so we could see the growth in her music.

Mahalia Ft. Ella Mai – What You Did

I’m a big fan of this collaboration, women are really taking centre stage in all genres nowadays, rap and r&b are just examples. In this song we hear samples from Cam’ron and Juelz Santana’s hit song “Oh Boy” as well as Norman Whitfield’s “I’m Going Down”. The song exudes female solidarity in the face of a lover ho has wronged them. One of the lyrics that stand out for me are from Ella Mai’s verse where she sings “Oh, it’s funny how right when I let my guard down you play around”, I’m sure many women can relate to this line. I like in the chorus that they flip the scenario; ‘Cause I would not expect someone to stay around If I let them down, oh” insinuating that if they had wronged their lover they would expect them to be reacting in the exact same way. I hope this is the first of more collaborations between this two, their singing styles compliment each other very well.

Myers – Common Kid

I’m sure everyone is now aware of the Netflix series “Top Boy” that was released on the 13th of September. The original soundtrack has been released and while the album is great and filled with the finest UK talent, there was 1 song I feel should have been on there. While watching the series, this song in particular stood out to me. I had to shazam the song as I had no idea who was rapping. Since discovering, I have had this song on repeat. The song touches on the gritty street life which evidently was very relevant for the episode. Have a listen below; ( Also check out Bugzy Malone – Die By The Gun)

Normani – Motivation

“I’ma break you off, let me be your motivation” is what I’ve been singing since I heard this song. Normani who is famous for being a apart of the group ‘Fifth Harmony’ finally spreads her solo wings with this debut single. I have a feeling she is one to watch. The song is great and the video is absolutely mind blowing. Her talent spreads from vocals to dancing and it is clear she is finally showing the world her talents. I am here for any success she has in the future!!!

Dave – Professor X

This is one of the standout tracks on the Top Boy soundtrack for me. Dave outdoes himself with his witty wordplay in this song. I loved the Terminator “Not around no more” reference as that fir perfectly with the line he was spitting. I could be here all day picking out the talent behind some of the bars in this song. Have a listen below;

Gambimi – Picture

UK artist Gambimi caused a storm last week with a video on his Instagram that went viral showing him pleading a lover to forgive him for his wrongdoing. All of this was the lead up to the release of this single. The famous words “Can we fix, can we blend, can we contour” are possibly what stand out in the whole song. Personally I have been listening to Gambimi’s music for a while. He used to release songs regularly on SoundCloud. I feel his voice is a mixture of Trey Songz and UK singer Angel. A soothing R&B sound with the right kind of rifts and harmonies. Have a listen below;

Quality Control Ft. City Girls, Stefflon Don, Renni Rucci & Mustard – Like That

Quality Control have released a new album entitled; Quality Control: Control the Streets Volume 2. One of the things I like about QC as a label is their appreciation and support of female rappers. This song features their female Queens City Girls as well as new signee UK rapper Stefflon Don. We also are treated with an addition from Renni Rucci and Mustard.

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Album Review: Kano – Hoodies All Summer

Kano is back with another album! In terms of UK greats when it comes to grime, Kano is considered one of the best we have. Personally, Kano is one of my favourite MC’s, he has a unique personality he lets out with his raps that make some of his lyrics unforgettable. Kano has been consistent with his hits and for someone who has literally been around for most of my childhood, to continuously release high quality music is a talent in itself. His delivery is so clear cut and for me, his clarity is one of the best things about him. I’ve picked some songs from the album that really stood out to me. Overall, the album for me is one of the best to come out of the UK this year. The replay value on this album is definitely high and I’m so happy Kano is back showing us how great he is. Have a read below.

Free Years Later:

The first track on the album is called “Free Years Later” and what an intro it is. The song gives us an insight on how Kano has felt in his life and how he has dealt with his success. He uses a lot of juxta positioning; “Waking from dreams, chasing my fears” and hints to the struggle he may have faced being successful; “Success brings more stress”. Another topic Kano talks about in this song is the effects of racism among black people. Kano even makes a mention to British rapper Stormzy in the second verse; “Babylon boy, look how they raided Stormzy”, referring to the time the British Police raided Stormzy’s house. Kano makes it known that even though some black artists have escaped their hardships and tough upbringings, they are still the topic of discrimination and racism. For me one of the standout lines in this song is when Kano says, “Lethal laughing to the Coutts account, now you approve of Pow”. It’s only now that Lethal B is making enough money to open a prestigious account that some people are starting to take him seriously. This is the idea that Black people must work twice as hard just to be treated like anyone else. Kano ends the verse with; “What D Double did for me, I just do for the youts” demonstrating the passing of the baton that is very evident in music. Kano is paying respect and homage to those before him and is aware that he has to carry on the torch for those after him.

Good Youtes Walk Amongst Evil

From the first few second of this song I could hear the grime straight away. The grime beat is crazy on this song and the pace matched Kano perfectly!!! On the chorus he says “Work so hard, we’re dying for a living for clothes and the cars” and that couldn’t be a realer statement. I feel this song relates to life. Everyone is just going along with the flow. For me the beat is what sells this record.

Trouble

This was one of the songs Kano had previously released as a single. The video is so creative too. Kano also takes on a softer approach as he sings a bit of the verses in this song. In this song, he explains to people the consequences of living in the “hood”. The interlude of the 999 call breaks up the song and makes it more real. For me I fee it is a direct example of life. When you think everything is going smoothly, something can just throw you off. In the hood, Kano is trying to show that life is not straight forward and nothing is safe. After this break, Kano begins to rap about the success from making it out of the hood, he mentions his friends and some well known fellow rappers; “Ghetts ain’t looked back since we blessed them stages”. I like the rawness of this track and it’s one of those songs you can vibe to as it’s slower paced. Kano gets out his message very clearly and you are almost reminded of the hardships he has had to face earlier on in his life.

Can’t Hold We Down Ft. Popcaan

This song brings out Kano’s Caribbean side out and I like that. I personally liked this song as it was a little different feel to the usual Kano song while still keeping his uniqueness. For me the line “All black Range Rover, all black women, I bet the Daily Mail wan’ photoshop a spliff in” made me laugh. This is a reference to the fact stereotypically Black stars are usually portrayed negatively in the UK newspaper publication especially in the Daily Mail online. Popcaan offers a nice relief and a dancehall sound to this song which is refreshing. Kano references his rapper friends again showing the genuine friendship they all have which goes deeper than music. I particularly like the outro as Popcaan and Kano vibes off eachother. Kano is so good at going back and forth with other artists as we see him regularly do with Ghetts and Giggs. Kano raps; “Fly guys summer (Hey) sent the kids out the ends (Hey, hey), but you can’t take the ends out the kid” reminding us that he remembers where he comes from and will always rep. I will definitely be replaying this song.

Got My Brandy, Got My Beats Ft. Lil Silva

This is the most emotional song on the album and I like the fact it’s towards the end. This song is definitely a love/heartbreak song. I get the impression it’s the facing of reality when you’re no longer with someone and trying to adjust with them not being in you’re life anymore. The beat on this song is minimalistic but somehow you can feel the exact pain and passion exuding from the lyrics. One of the lyrics that stand out for me; “So many lessons in love can’t be taught without the breaking of hearts“. For me this means that sometimes you have to suffer or go through pain in order to learn the most important lessons. Kano does sing “Don’t be sad for me, still got my brandy and my beats“, I like vulnerability of these lines. Kano is able to fine solace in the simplest pleasures despite all his wealth and freedom.

Class of Deja Ft. D Double E & Ghetts

Another song from the album that bad been previously been released as a single. This song is literally a combination of some of the UK’s BEST grime MC’S. This is one of those songs that would be amazing to watch live. The song reminds me of the old battle raps/cyphers people used to do. The wordplay in this song from the MC’S is incredible, there are too many bars to even pin point.

SYM

Another one of my favourite songs on the album and the perfect outro to a wonderful and memorable album. The song for me is aimed at everyone. It’s aimed at the ignorant people that believe that some Black men enjoy crime; “If you think niggas just love these drugs and crime“. It is also aimed at those black men that are getting money to never forget to give back; “Get your paper but you don’t get complacent, If we don’t hold each other down, we won’t make it”. This serves as a reminder that we are all in this together.

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#NewMusicFriday/What I’ve been listening to…

Apologies for the wait for a new post from me! There has been so much new music out in the past few weeks! I love this time of year as the “summer hits” die down and we start getting album releases and EP’s as the concert season starts again. I will be doing a few album reviews soon but for now here are some songs I’ve been playing on repeat…

Casanova Ft. Chris Brown – Coming Home

I don’t even know where to begin with this track. Firstly can we talk about the fact the sample is from one of the best songs from Case and Joe released almost 11 years ago! The original song was called ‘Faded Pictures. As soon as I heard Casonova’s song I knew where the inspiration was from instantly. A slow jam classic. Casanova and Chris did the sample justice and this new version is great! As usual Chris Brown kills every single feature he hops on and amazes us every song with his vocal ability. This song has been on repeat since I heard it. Have a listen below and have a listen to the original;

Yo Trane – Waves

I am SOOOOOO excited about this new release!!!!! I am a BIG fan of Yo Trane. His ‘Late Night Drive’ EP is one of my favourite R&B projects in the past 3 years. His music makes me feel every emotion possible and his production is always so complimentary to the song. I think he is one of the few artists that could release a project of all his instrumentals and I would still have it on repeat. I really hope this is the first of more new music this year released from Yo Trane. I’m really hoping he drops another project soon too. R&B can be played all year but in summer it is appreciated even more. Have a listen below;

Pusha T Ft. Lauryn Hill – Coming Home

Hearing Lauryn Hill on a song will always make me feel some kind of nostalgia. I really enjoy Pusha T and Lauryn on this track and after hearing the song was recorded in late 2015 I can hear why. I like the sentiment behind the song with the idea that love is the answer to so many questions. Lauryn sings; “When love is gone, you hold onto anything, some do wrong, just to feel anything but when the void is filled, you stand up to anything“. The words remind of the song by the Black Eyed Peas called “Where is the Love?”. Pusha also addresses the idea that Black people have had good activists that have stood up for them in the past. He also addresses the idea that Crack Cocaine was initially sold to Black gangs to benefit and profit the US government however it started an internal rivalry between Black gangs. Have a listen below;

KYLE Ft. Teyana Taylor – F You I Love You.

I heard this song at an event last week and added it straight to my playlist. It’s one of those songs perfect to play in the background when you want to chill. I actually had to shazam the song as I did not recognise Kyle’s voice. I will be checking out his other music as I like the tone of his voice. In this song he is able to sing along and find a way to sing with the deepest tone in the same sentence. Of course Teyana sounds perfect in this song as she is able to demonstrate her talent through her wonderful and unique voice. Have a listen below;

Aitch Ft MoStack & Steel Banglez – Weekday

Man of the hour Aitch has released his anticipated second EP today, Friday 6th of September. I have not listened to the whole tape properly and digested it all however this is one of those songs that grab you from the first listen. I knew from the lineup that I would be a fan as Mo Stack an Steel Banglez rarely make a bad song. As usual Mo Stack uses his cheekiness to provide us with a memorable phrase. He says;

She said “Men are trash”, I said “Yeah, that’s true”
But you’re the company you keep and I’m chillin’ here wid you
So what does that make you?

Classic Mo cheekiness!!! ha!

The song is quite slowed down which if you’ve heard many of Aitch’s recent music, is a nice change. I think this will be a fan favourite. Have a listen below;

Blade Brown Ft. K TrapJoints

This is my favourite song from the Blade Brown project. Such a hyped up song! Have a listen below;

Stay tuned for my next album review post…

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Album Review: Rick Ross; Port of Miami 2

I’m sure I’ve expressed before how much I love Rick Ross. He is without a doubt one of my favourite rappers currently. For me, Ross has the unique ability to provide us with a song that will have you thinking about so much. His flow and ability to get across his meanings remind me of Biggie, who is my ultimate favourite rapper. I always look forward to his albums because they always display the versatility of Rick Ross via his ability to spit bars on so many different kinds of beats. This album did not disappoint. Here are my opinions on some of the songs from the album.

Act a Fool Ft. Wale

This song was previously released before the album dropped and I still really like it. As an intro to the album the first line doesn’t get better; “It’s a beautiful day to get some money“, think that line sums up Rick Ross as a whole being the boss he is. I’m a fan of Wale and his wordplay is always spot on. Wale and Ross always work well together. Have a read of my previous review on this song here; https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/07/13/new-music-saturday-what-ive-been-listening-to-this-week/

Nobody’s Favourite Ft. Gunplay

‘GREAZE’. That is the word I would use to describe this song. As soon as the beat drops you know what time it is. Gunplay adds another form of aggression which I like. I don’t think there would have been anyone else that could have done the song justice more than him. The title of the song is quite interesting as Rick Riss claims that despite his success and talent, he is not usually considered people’s favourite in terms of rappers. Ross explores a truth here in the fact he has always been consistent. While some rappers may disappear and re appear regularly or have good times and bad times, Rick Ross has been consistent with his success. I hope that people start to appreciate Rick Ross a lot more. A lot of the reasons Nipsey Hussle is loved is due to the fact he always teaches us about ownership, giving back to your people, multiplying your money with businesses. All of these things Rick Ross has been doing too.

Rick Ross Boss Lyric;

My new house is on the river so I had to buy a boat, better yet, it’s called a yacht”

Summer Reign Ft. Summer Walker

A very big contrast to the previous song. This is a slowed down song for Ross which we know he can do so well. Summer Walker’s line “All I ask is that you hold it down for me ’cause you told me you would be my everything” echoes throughout the song. This is the versatility of Rick Ross and one of the unique things about him. He can go from sounding like a boss and someone not to be messed with from one track to this softer side displayed in this track.

Bogus Charms Ft. Meek Mill

If I heard the instrumental to this song without knowing who was on the song, the first featured artist that would come into my head would have been Meek Mill! In the song they talk about the downsides to fame and success and nobody explains pain more than Meek Mill. A line that sticks out for me from Ross is; “Half my team illiterate, I know it sound pathetic
But we can each get a brick that’s on a line of credit
“. The sad reality that due to some of their environments, many are not even educated. Meek Mill comes in saying; “Uh, I only remember nights that was post-traumatic
So I’m never actin’ bougie like I was supposed to have it
” meaning he is always thankful for what he has now. He knows and has lived through the struggle to get to his position now. Meek and Rick Ross always have great songs together and knowing the great relationship they have aside from music is great to know. Rick Ross is the king of showing us his flashy lifestyle but he never hides the struggle that comes with it. He paints a very realistic picture through his rapping, another reason I really like his music.

Rich Nigga Lifestyle Ft. Nipsey Hussle & Teyana Taylor

This is the last feature Rick Ross has with the late great Nipsey Hussle. Following on from the theme of the previous track Rick Ross says; “I’m just here to keep it real‚ not make you feel worse” reminding us what he is trying to do. In Nipsey’s verse he talks about the rise in Hip-Hop music and “How many niggas on your payroll?” meaning how many of your own people are you putting on. Nipsey was always consistent with the messages in his raps and it’s still a tragedy that we won’t get to hear from him again. Teyana Taylor provides a nice tone to the song too. Have a listen below;

Born to Kill Ft. Jeezy

The beat on this song is wonderful! Not much more to say on this one so have a listen below.

I Still Pray Ft. YFN Lucci & Ball Greezy

I really like the vibe I get from this track. This song is quite personal as it starts off with a reporter referring to the time Rick Ross was hospitalised. We see a more vulnerable side to Rick Ross as he starts off the track by saying; “Wake up out a coma, frozen in the moment you could have the biggest clique, but you gon’ die a loner“, the reality that everyone dies alone. Regardless of whether you are the most popular or if you have the most things, you die alone. The near death experience seems to have been a wake up call for Ross; “I’ll give you back the money just to get my health“. I think this song is just a reminder of how the most important thing to have in life has nothing to do with wealth or chains or cars or anything materialistic. The most important thing in life is to have good health.

Running the Streets Ft. Denzel Curry & A Boogie wit da Hoodie

I think this is my favourite song on the album at the moment. I recommend that when listening to this song, you have it connected to speakers with an excellent base to really appreciate the beat. The song refers to the idea that these men are in charge of their local hoods. In the song they are talking to their women in question letting them know that they have to understand their lifestyle. The idea that they won’t be coming home as they have work to do. Prior to the song I had not heard much from Denzel Curry but I am interested in hearing more from him. His verse in this song was my favourite. His flow and wordplay was so exciting to hear. Denzel even makes a random reference; “Like Stanley Yelnats, he caps, his head red” referring to the main character in the film ‘Holes’. What a random reference that fits so well. He was definitely the standout on this song!

Rick Ross Boss Line:

Went from sleepin’ on the floor to pissin’ Moët

Vegas Residency

This is pure Rick Ross. No features, just Ross slaying a beat as usual.

Maybach Music VI Ft. John Legend & Lil Wayne

This isn’t my favourite song in the numerous Maybach Music songs but I do however like the Lil Wayne feature. We don’t hear much from him so it was nice to hear a little verse.

Gold Roses Ft. Drake

Check out my previous review on this song here https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/07/30/new-music-what-ive-been-listening-to-4/

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Album Review: Why I think Burna Boy – African Giant (2019) is a work of art…

I’ve been a fan of Burna Boy from his earlier days and the days when Afrobeats wasn’t as mainstream as it is today. As a Nigerian myself, I have grown up listening to Afrobeats and Burna Boy in particular. From early, Burna Boy has always had a unique sound and despite his now worldwide success, he has stuck true to it. His debut album L.I.F.E released in 2013 has some of my favourites from him; “Abeg, abeg (Remix)”, “Yawa Dey”, “Tonight”, “Like to Party” and “Smooth Smailing”. Most of these songs propelled Burna into the limelight but nothing has provided him with as much as his song “Yé” released from his 3rd studio album.

I was excited for the release of ‘African Giant’ because I have always enjoyed Burna’s musical projects as a whole. His talent is always displayed in big bodies of work. On first listen admittedly the album did not stick out to me as quickly as his other albums did. However, after taking it in for a few days after and now weeks, I can honestly say this is his best album. For me, for a fourth album from someone who was already great, to top his previous is a big big statement. In this album, you can hear his growth as an artist but also his improvement. His last album could be considered to be a mixture of all sounds but this is 100% an African album. From the beats, instruments and sounds, I felt like I was in Nigeria listening to this.

Another point to add is that this is more than just a music album. The album contains history and facts about Nigeria and Africa.

Whilst there are some American features, never did I forget I was listening to a Burna Boy project. Every song on this album has a different vibe and different feeling associated with it. Everytime you listen, a different song will stick out to you. To be able to do that with an album of 19 songs is somewhat incredible! I will talk about some of my absolute favourites from the album…

African Giant

A great intro to the album in my opinion. Burna Boy always has stand out lyrics in his songs and this song is no different. The song is an anthem for any African that has a dream for his people. It is the perfect taster for what is to come.

Stand out Line

“Because God no go give you more than you can handle”

Wetin Man Go Do

The title of this song is Pidgin English for “What will a man do”. In the song, Burna explores the idea of a man living in an African economy and the struggles he may face. The song has a very strong African feel to it. The last verse for me is sad as its obvious the man is helpless. Burna sings “Man go fight for money, man go fight for woman, man go fight for business, man go fight for nonsense (wetin man go do)…body don dey tire”. All of the struggling the man has to do is non stop. A sad reality for some people in African countries.

Stand out Line

“God I dey serve e…no go let my blessings to pass me”

Gum Body Ft. Jorja Smith

This is one of my favourite songs on the album. Similarly to his previous album, Burna Boy uses an English feature to help him on the song. Personally I’m not usually a fan of Jorja’s voice or music but the partnership with Burna in this song is perfect. The title of the song is a term used to describe wanting to be around someone. Jorja’s voice in her verse is sensational and plays on the theme of the song where they both sing “Why did I drink this Hennessy? as her voice sounds as it would, of someone who is a bit faded. I loved Jorja’s harmonies in Burna Boy’s verses, the blending of their voices without Burna Boy having to compromise his sound shows us how talented yet again he is. I have had this song on repeat since first hearing it.

Stand out Line

“Why did I drink this Hennessy?”

Killin Dem Ft. Zlatan

This is already one of the standout songs of the album and it’s not surprising. The song is performed so well by Burna Boy everytime he does a show. Zlatan’s verse in this is very underrated. His tongue twisting lyrics spoken in Yoruba with a fast flow are a joy to listen to. The dance moves associated with this song are great too.

Stand out Line

“We making money rush rush like indomie indomieee” and all of Zlatan’s verse!

Have a listen to the song and watch the video;

Omo

This song is definitely one of my ultimate favourites from the album. I love the flow and switch up Burna has in this song. His flow changes as he sings “Girl I’ve been scheming, plotting, planning…fuck a plan A, move to plan B” and switches up again after that verse. We hear singing Burna and rapping Burna in this song and it works well.

Secret Ft. Jeremih & Serani

This is the first song on the album featuring an American artist. Jeremih however adapts his voice to Serani and Burna meaning the whole sound isn’t compromised. I like this song because of that reason. The only issue I have with it is that sometimes the song can sound a bit whiny. Burna Boy’s voice does break up the high singing but sometimes I feel Serani and Jeremih were too much together on the song. Have a listen below;

Another Story Ft. M.anifest

Burna takes us on a history lesson on the colonialism of Nigeria in the first few seconds. In the song Burna Boy explains how the politicians in Nigeria are stealing from the country since Nigeria’s independence in 29160 and not doing anything to help like they should. Ghanian artist M.anifest’s verse is also similar as he talks about the fact he travels out of his country sometimes; “Sometimes I for dey move away, maybe a month, same shit, Ghana – Naija, man tire”. He is saying that even in his country he has the same issues. Similarly to “Wetin Man Go Do”, Burna is highlighting the worrying parts and unfortunate realties faced in Nigeria and many African countries.

Stand out Line

“Same shit, Ghana – Naija, man tire”

Pull Up

I like the softness of this song, Burna slows down the pace with this one and provides the album with a romantic side. He sings in the third verse “24/7 you been sitting on my mind, Baby you wey I think about like all day” emphasising the fact she is all he is thinking about”. The song gives the impression that Burna Boy wants to keep this relationship on the down low though. Further on in the verse he sings; “Loving the vibe that’s between me and you, baby don go telling no body”. He makes the affair sound as if it is sacred when really he just doesn’t want to get caught.

Destiny

This song reminds me of J Hus’ song “Spirit” with the idea that Burna is reminiscing on his childhood and the idea that his mental strength can never be taken away. Burna reminisces; “I remember when I used to hustle in the flats and the neighbors then had no love for me” probably exploring how he has risen from struggling conditions to the star he is now. The song is very positive as he basically implies that people can do many things to bring him down, but they can never take his “destiny”. This has a similar feel in J Hus’ spirit when he sings “Even when we never had a penny, yeah we always had spirit”. In the second verse of the song you can hear Burna Boy’s British accent a bit more reminding us of where he grew up but also making us realise how personal this track is. I feel Burna has done well on this album to show us where and what he has come from but also proving that this has shaped who he is today. They can take everything I have, they can take my life, they can’t touch my destiny

Stand Out Line

“They can take everything I have, they can take my life, they can’t touch my destiny”

Show & Tell Ft. Future

This was a song I really took in more with later listens. Future is usually really good on features and he did not disappoint on this track. For me it was enjoyable to hear the back and forth between both artists.