“Higher” by DJ Khaled, John Legend & the late great Nipsey Hussle – Thoughts.

DJ Khaled has just dropped his new album and his most recent single is called “Higher”. On “Higher,” DJ Khaled enlists John Legend and the late great Nipsey Hussle for his first posthumous verse ☹ .

It’s crazy because when a well-known or well-loved artist dies, people always seem to find lyrics in their songs that hint that they were somehow aware of their future untimely deaths. With this being the last song Nipsey recorded a video for before he died, the lyrics were always going to be under the microscope. If you are just listening to Nipsey Hussle for the first time and heard this song, its understandable how you could come to that conclusion.

With this being the last song Nipsey recorded and filmed a video for before he died, the lyrics were always going to be under the microscope. The song feels very spiritual and I believe DJ Khaled was going for that exact vibe. John Legend fits perfectly in this song as his voice has a calming effect while he sings; “Oh, you keep taking me higher and higher (Yeah) But don’t you know that the devil is a liar?”. Nipsey starts off his verse by saying “My granny 88, she had my uncle and then a miscarriage back-to-back every year for like ten”. The reference to his Gran is similar to his previous release “Racks in The Middle” where he says; “See my granny on a jet, some shit I’ll never forget”. In his first verse apart from the mention of his Grandma, Nipsey references his girlfriend Lauren London, his parents, kids, his heritage and his area.  Nipsey has always rapped about those topics and it proves how much he believed and was fueled by all those factors that made him who he was. Regardless of the meaning behind the song we all knew exactly what he meant by those references whenever he mentioned them.

The second verse of the song people may feel more chills for. Nipsey talks about God and how “I was thinkin’ chess moves but it was God’s grace”, every time he thought he was lucky he has now realised was due to his faith and to God. Nip also states “South Central state of mind, high crime rate” demonstrating the lack of peace in the community he lived and loved. In his final lines of his verse he states “Homicide, hate, gang banging’ll get you all day (Yeah, yeah)…And look at my fate”. This is more chilling due to the fact he was also unfortunately killed in this area due to hate and jealousy.

There are so many personal interpretations for this record and I don’t believe anyone has a “wrong” view. For me, this song just demonstrated and reiterated the views and wisdom Nipsey had. He was also very realistic, he knew he lived in a society that could be dangerous at times and all he did was try to encourage us to do better. He didn’t specifically predict his death but he was describing the reality of his surroundings. Somehow the video to this song feels like a video done for someone in memory. Nipsey is in his usual Blue coloured clothes with his people wearing his clothing label which is great and most importantly, he is the main attraction of the whole song.

I found myself tearing up listening to this song and watching the video. However, I felt a sense of calmness and that is due to the fact Nipsey has left behind a legacy. People will learn about him for years to come and with DJ Khaled saying he is donating all proceeds from this song to Nipsey’s children, I couldn’t think of a more fitting song to leave them with.

We will forever miss you Nipsey Hussle but we will never forget you and what you have taught us. Long live Nipsey Hussle!!

THE. MARATHON. WILL. CONTINUE.

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Throwback Thursday: Bad Boy Hits!

In honor of Throwback Thursday, today’s theme is dedicated to hits from the Bad Boy franchise! The Label was founded by Diddy in 1993 and is one of the most known African American labels. The label is the home for so many greats including Biggie, Mase, Lil Kim, 112 and many more. During the 90s, it’s safe to say this label dominated many of the charts and even in 2019 are still consistent!! When you think about some of the hits released from Bad Boy, they were pioneers in the rap and hip hop scene. Even till today, their songs are being used as samples . I have left out songs originally by Biggie as I have previously written a post just for him and wanted to focus on some of the other Bad Boy artists.

Here are just a few classic hits from the Baaaaaaaaad Boooooooooyyyyy franchise!

Craig Mack – Flava In Ya Ear Ft. Biggie, LL Cool J, Rampage and Busta Rhymes. (1994)

The original of this song was actually the first song released from the Bad Boy label. The remix is my favourite version. The song contains a sample of “We’ve Only Just Begun” by O’Donel Levy. However, this song was also sampled in the Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule single, “Ain’t It Funny (Murder Remix),” as well as the song “Don’t Leave Me” from the Backstreet Boys. R.I.P Craig Mack!!

Mase – Lookin’ at Me Ft. Puff Daddy (Diddy)  (1998)

‘Lookin at Me’ was the 3rd and final single released from Mase’s debut album ‘Harlem World’. The song was produced and features Diddy (he was known as Puff Daddy at the time). The song is based on the idea that when these men go to the club with their ladies, their “ops” always stare not realising that the woman is just as fierce.  It’s funny because I always felt like Mase sounded a lot like Diddy so hearing this song it takes me a while to realise who is rapping in the verse. The infamous first verse contains “Now what the hell is you lookin’ for? Can’t a young man get money anymore?” which has been referenced in so many modern songs including Kanye West’s song ‘Theraflu’. Have a listen below;

Diddy – Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down Ft. Mase (1997)

Can you believe this the first single from Diddy?! The song is possibly one of the most important Bad Boys songs as it signalled the beginning of dominance for this record label. If you’ve heard Drake’s song ‘4PM in Calabasas’, you’ll recognise that Drake uses the Diddy sample in some of the song. He also sings “They look at me like the golden child…Can’t nobody hold me down” (in the same tune as Diddy did). This is further proof that Bad Boy records were the starting point for many of the songs released nowadays. Have a listen to both songs below;

112 – Peaches & Cream Ft. Diddy (2001)

Peaches and Cream!!!! What a classic song! This is one of those songs that can never get old in my opinion. As soon as you hear “From the car to the bar, from the bar to the telly, your neck to your bra, your bra to your belly”, you know what time it is!!!. I prefer the remix with Diddy but the original song is also great! Have a listen to both below;

Original Song
Remix with Diddy

112 -Only You Ft. Biggie & Mase (1996)

I feel like this is one of those songs that most people my have heard and not known who sang it. This was the debut song for group 112 and what a song to burst onto the scene with!! For me, growing up this song was played a lot and I loved the video which was filmed in Times Square. The infamous line “Bad Boy get more money than you can count” still gets me today.

Mase – Feel So Good Ft. Diddy & Kelly Price (1997)

“Bad, bad, bad, bad boy (Yeah), you make me feel so good (Bad boy)”…This song could be argued to be one of the most popular Bad Boy songs! This is Mase’s first single from his debut album Harlem World. Honestly Mase sounds exactly like Diddy, this is another song I had to double check who was rapping. Mase’s style of rapping was so chilled and laid back which is a big difference from some of the rappers today. He had one of the cleanest and smoothest flows I’ve heard from a rapper.

New Music: What I’ve been listening to…

Hey everyone! Time for me to review all the new music I’ve been listening to!

Mo Stack – Wild

UK rapper Mo Stack is back with the first single from his upcoming debut album. The song uses the sample from Cam’ron & Juelz Santana’s song ‘Hey Ma’. That song even takes the sample from the absolute original song ‘Easy’ released by The Commodores. Mo Stack has a fun visual to accompany the song and I’m pretty sure this is going to be a future summer hit. Mo Stack also successfully adds his own spin to the song which is great as when using a sample, it’s very easy to be lazy with originality. Have a watch of the video below as well as the Cam’ron favourite.

DJ Big N Ft Mr Eazi – Jowo

It’s nice to hear some new Afrobeats and this collaboration sounds fresh! Mavins Group DJ, DJ Big N enlists Afrobeats singer Mr Eazi and producer Dil. I’ve been singing “Oya baby oohh jowo” since I first heard the song. Have a listen below;

Logic Ft Eminem – Homicide

Ok so I am a big fan of Logic and of course Eminem.! It’s funny because I was just reading an interview where Logic was talking about his love for his idol Eminem. It’s great when an artists features with their idol. Logic absolutely delivered on this track and Eminem of course went hard. The song showcases both artists’ ability to rap extremely fast. The best part of the song comes at the end of the second verse, going into the third with Em’s verse. The “chika chika slim shady” reference is effortless and the transition into Eminem’s verse is perfect!! I can’t even pick out specific lyrics from this song because the speed and flow is so consistent and incredible throughout that it would almost be insulting to pick it out.

P!nk Ft Khalid – Hurts 2B Human

P!nk recently released this song featuring Khalid and I really like it. For some reason I feel this song brings out emotions and I could listen to P!nk sing all day. Her voice is so powerful. Have a listen below;

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

New Music: Songs I’ve had on repeat this week…

Russ Ft. Davido

US singer/rapper Russ is back with another song I love! This time he links up with Nigerian singer Davido, Mr ‘Thirty Billion’ himself! There are so many reasons why this song works. Firstly I love how Russ attempts to try Pidgin English (a common dialect spoken in Nigeria), even Yoruba! I also like how he incorporates Nigerian references in the song. His references seem to be like paying homage rather than a forced idea. Although, He does say “Abuja” in a funny way! I had to rewind it to make sure thats what he wanted to say! He tried though! Secondly! The video is filled with Black women of all shades! I love that! Of course Davido does no wrong with his feature as expected! I have been singing “All I want is you” since I heard the song as well as “Don’t divide us girl abeg ooohhh”. The video had over a million views in less than 48 hours!! Have a listen and watch the video below:

Stormzy – Vossi Bop

THE WICKED SKENGMAN IS BACKKKKK!!! LIVE IN THE FLESH!!!! After what has felt like a very long time…UK rapper Stormzy has come back and hit us with a hit. The song was actually started off over 3 years ago via a guy on Twitter called Vossi who was doing a dance to Young Thug’s song “Check” which he called the “Vossi Bop”. Stormzy loved the video at the time and it has been in the works since then. I’m glad he’s used this song to come back as it is quite lighthearted and is here just in time for summer. I’m beginning to realise a secret to a successful song nowadays is to have some kind of viral dance that can go with it. With summer coming up, this song will definitely be played at events. While this song may seem lighthearted and “fun”, Stormzy still uses it to spread his views as well as witty metaphors. The “facial” metaphor is an interesting one. I won’t say too much as it is quite ambiguous but I did hear the little laugh he has after that line!! Naughty!! ha! Most importantly, I know Stormzy has a lot more greatness in his locker and I cannot wait for some new music from him! He has been missed!! Oh and the video is incredible!!! Honestly I really look forward to Stormzy’s videos! When he started out his videos were always creative so imagine now he has the budget for so much more, Amazing!!

Beyoncé- Before I Let Go

Speaking of viral videos, this song has one too! Beyoncé released this bonus song as part of her Homecoming: The Live Album tracks. The song actually reminds me of one of her songs “Ring Off” in terms of the production and hopefulness that comes with the track. In this song she is singing about the fact she will not give up on love with her man. This resonates with the theme on her ‘Lemonade‘ album. My favourite part of the song is actually when her voice tone changes “Pull up to Coachella”, her voice goes deep! She also goes into dance instructions reminiscent of her “Move Your body” song. The challenges that I have seen and she has posted have been great to! Have a listen below and see if you can recreate it for yourself.

Mist Ft Lotto Ash – Different Strokes

M I S to the T is back with another song recruiting Lotto Boys member Ash. Ash has one of the most beautiful voices in the UK at the moment and this mix really goes well. For me though, I feel Ash stole the show on this song. I found myself listening to him more than Mist. Regardless, it’s a good song for the summer and hopefully this is a sign we are going to hear more music from both of them.

Darkoo Ft Br3nya – Juice

I am here for this female power! Br3nya for me is 100% a talent and I have been enjoying watching her rise into the music scene. The song is a good vibe with a hint of an afrobeat fusion. Have a listen below:

Don’t forget I have a summer playlist. Have a listen below!!

Revisiting Time: Beyoncé – Lemonade

In honor of not only Throwback Thursday but also the joy that Lemonade is FINALLY on Spotify, I wanted to revisit my views on Beyoncé’s most recent solo album. When I first heard this album my compliments were reserved as I was expecting a more upbeat album. However, having had time to digest I feel this album is possibly one of her most powerful, honest and mature albums. I love when songs on an album tell a story via the track listing. Most of the songs on this album follow on and finish off from each other. The album for me screams pain, struggle, loneliness and hopelessness. I’ve named some songs below that I feel are really poignant;

Pray you Catch Me:

The first track from the album as with most intro tracks paints a picture of what the future songs may be about. The title of the song implies vulnerability and is obvious at this point the album will mostly be about her relationship with her husband. The idea she repeatedly sings “Pray to catch you whispering, I pray you catch me listening” implies that she wants her lover to know she is seeing what is happening and is hurting. The song is quite mellow, but you can’t miss the pain that is evident in it. The last lines “What are you doing my love?” show the hopelessness and confusion she has been made to feel from this pain the man who she considers her love.

Hold Up:

This is personally my favourite song from the album. Many people loved the song due to the dramatic video but for me this song shows the depths of Beyoncé vocal ability. Aside from her vocals, we see another side to Beyoncé. Following on from her pleading in the first song she sings “Can’t you see there’s no other man above you? What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you” letting him understand how crazy it is that he would risk ruining the support she gives him. In this song she also ignores her usual politeness and reminds us she’s got a sassy side to her! “I don’t wanna lose my pride, but I’ma fuck me up a bitch”. As of recent Beyoncé has been more free with her language in her songs and this is a prime example. She questions herself as many women would in this situation; “Know that I kept it sexy, you know I kept it fun” meaning that she did everything she thought would be enough and yet he still strayed. Another point to add from this song is that not only is she expressing her love for him, she is also reminding him who was there from the beginning (her). The repeated lines “They don’t love you like I love you” and when she sings “Let’s imagine for a moment that you never made a name for yourself or mastered wealth….Never made it out the cage, never had the baddest woman in the game up in your sheets”. With those lyrics she reminds him that she is a ride or die and has been there despite his wealth unlike the women he has been cheating with. I love the instruments used in this song and the way they compliment the mood of the lyrics.

Don’t Hurt Yourself:

Following on from “Hold Up”, this song is a pure anger that it feels like a venting session. It feels like at this moment of the album, Beyoncé is at breaking point and is just filled with rage. Again, this shows a more explicit version of Beyoncé with the frequent use of swear words. The song reminds me of the tone of her older song “Ring the Alarm”. In the song she sings about the frustration she feels from his lack of trying; “You ain’t trying hard enough, you ain’t loving hard enough” again reiterating the point that the man in question seems to be giving up. The most important words for me in the song come right at the end as she calmly says “If you try this shit again, you gon’ lose your wife”. In all the songs leading up onto these words, she never dropped an ultimatum like that, she usually expressed her anger or hurt or frustration, so those words are quite final and chilling.

Sorry:

This unapologetic anthem is possibly my second favourite song on the album and is another female anthem. This song reminds me of the impact of her song “Irreplaceable” and even many of her Destiny Child’s songs. The song focuses on the aftermaths of a breakup as Beyoncé famously sings “I ain’t sorry”. In the song she encourages women to sing “boy bye” as an act of strength. Towards the end she sings “Me & my baby, we gon’ be alright” implying that she will survive despite the heartbreak she has endured. The song is accompanied by a strong video featuring Serena Williams. For me, the cameo from Serena is quite poignant as during this time and throughout her successful career, Serena has endured so much criticism. The idea of her in this video feels like she is showing how unapologetic she is being who she is.

6 Inch Ft. The Weeknd

While this isn’t one of my favourites, I like the message that is embedded in it. The song is a great motivational song that empowers women. The song uses the setting of a strip club where the woman in question is one of the dancers. In the song she sings “She works for the money, she work for the money” showing that she is there to earn money for the work she is doing. A professional approach to a job, just as everyone else would be in their job. 

Freedom Ft. Kendrick Lamar & Formation 

Similarly to 6 Inch, both songs are another examples of empowering anthems however with also the added focusses on race and black women. For me the visuals that come with Freedom song are powerful as the video features the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner. The feature from Kendrick is perfect as I couldn’t think of any other rapper that would have done it justice like he did. Formation, another black power anthem references police brutality, race in America while also encouraging women to be strong and “slay”. 

All Night 

This powerful ballad is such a beautiful love song. Another one of my favourites from the album, Beyoncé vocals really shine. With this being the last song on the album alluding to love or even relationships, it can be argued to be a climax. I feel like Beyoncé is comforting her husband in this song and reassuring him “Our love was stronger than your pride. Beyond your darkness, I’m your light”. She expresses how she knows that together they are the best they can be and they are a pair. She further sings “But every diamond has imperfections” which could be a reference to her relationship and how every relationship has flaws. The last line of the song is Beyoncé saying “How I missed you, my love” which is in parallel to her closing line of her first song on the album when she said “What are you doing my love?”. The song can be argued to be the climax to the anguish, pain and suffering she had endured throughout the album.

The album as a whole contains so much emotion and rawness that it’s easy to see how and why it took so long to be released. Hopefully Beyoncé releases a new piece of work soon that can start where this ended, with her in a happier place. 

Appreciation Post and #NewMusicFriday UK style

Hey everybody! I hope everyone has had a productive week and is ready to relax a little this coming weekend.

First off, I just want to thank you all for supporting me on this journey. This blog has officially surpassed the whole of last year’s views and it’s only mid-April!!! I can’t even express my joy knowing that so many of you enjoy my posts. I will do my best to continue with the same energy and hopefully I can continue to entertain.

Another point I wanted to add was that this week has been very reflective for me. The death of Nipsey Hussle and even recently the UK rapper Cadet, who I was also a fan of, has really made me think. Music has been my therapy for as long (how my blog started) as I can remember and I get some comfort from listening to their music. In all honesty, even if you have never heard a Nipsey Hussle song before or do not know what he was about, I beg you to listen to some of his work and digest his lyrics. One of the things about meaningful music is that it is timeless. It is never too late to catch on to what the artist is trying to teach you!

Anyways! Time for some new music!!! The UK scene has on fire for a while now! Here are some new songs that I think you should check out!

Young T & Bugsey – Again

The UK duo are back again with another catchy song. I don’t think these two are capable of making a song that you will NOT be singing non stop once you hear.One thing I like about these two is their pronunciation. I feel they annunciate their words so fluidly in all their songs. “Took a small loss now I’m back up again”is what I’ve been singing all day! This song will have you dancing or somehow bopping your head. I hope these two have a lot more of songs like this in time for summer!! Have a listen below and watch the video.

3Robi x Fredo x Lacrim – Not My Dons

It seems in this song it is Netherlands mixing with the UK & Algeria! What seems like a very random combination actually works! It’s clear to say now that Fredo can rap on any beat.For those that think he has the same flow, have a listen to him on this song. Lacrim’s verse was great on it even though I didn’t understand a thing! Have a listen below;

LD (67) Ft. Young Adz – So Fly

The song actually came out a while ago but the video has just been released. Have a watch below:

Geko Ft. French Montana & Ay Em – New Money

I’m a fan of this song . Geko recruits Ay Em, who has been on a roll lately, and US rapper French Montana! Have a listen below:

Big Narstie Ft. Donae’o- It’s Yours

I won’t lie, I’m not usually a fan of Big Narstie when it comes to his music however this song surprised me! It feels like a new direction from him and of course Donae’o is one of the best UK artists when it comes to hooks! Big Narstie even switches it up and raps in Spanish many times in this song! Who knew! A man of many talents!! This song has definitely been added to my “Vibes” playlist. Have a listen to it below, definitely a song you can sway to.