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;

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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:

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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;

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#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

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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)”

Posted in music

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! 🙂

Posted in music

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!