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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….

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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)”

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Album Review: J Hus – Big Conspiracy

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

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

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

Image result for j hus big conspiracy

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

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

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

Here are some key tracks for me;

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

Have a listen below! 🙂

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Thank You.

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

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

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

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

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

Problems

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

California

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

Juggin

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

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

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

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

Darkoo Ft. One Acen – Gangsta

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

Ari Lennox Ft. J Cole – Shea Butter

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

Tory Lanez Ft T-Pain – Jerry Sprunger

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

Russ – Best on Earth Ft. BIA

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

Krept & Konan – Salaam

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

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

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

J Hus – Must Be

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

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

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

Krept & Konan – Keep Talking Ft. Stormzy & Cadet

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

Also; Check out:

Pattern Gang (including Octavian) – Pattern Chanel

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

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Sorry for the Wait…

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

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

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

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

Stormzy – Wiley Flow

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

Shaybo – Ya Dun Know

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

Mahalia Ft. Ella Mai – What You Did

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

Myers – Common Kid

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

Normani – Motivation

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

Dave – Professor X

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

Gambimi – Picture

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

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

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

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Album Review: Kano – Hoodies All Summer

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

Free Years Later:

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

Good Youtes Walk Amongst Evil

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

Trouble

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

Can’t Hold We Down Ft. Popcaan

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

Got My Brandy, Got My Beats Ft. Lil Silva

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

Class of Deja Ft. D Double E & Ghetts

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

SYM

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