#ThrowbackThursday Donell Jones…A Pioneer?

Donell Jones…R&B Pioneer?

It’s nearly the end of what has felt like a very long week! Hope everyone has a nice peaceful end to it. One of the features of Spotify I enjoy is the “Daily Mix” playlist. Today’s one for me brought back some memories of some classic throwbacks I thought I’d share with you all based on one of the best Donell Jones. I’m talking about some songs from his second studio album ‘Where I Wanna Be‘ as well as some other songs. I’ve been thinking and I genuinely believe Donell Jones could be considered to be one of the pioneers of R&B. When you read about how he has written music for acts like Usher, it makes so much sense.

Donell Jones – U Know What’s Up (1999)

Possibly one of Donell’s most well known tracks and literally his biggest hit to date. This song has been cemented in slow jam and romantic music history. “Ooh say what, say what, say what…Ooh girl, you know what’s up” are lines I’m sure most music lovers know very well. I can’t even talk too much about this record because the song literally does all the talking. If you somehow weren’t aware of this song, please have a listen. Also check out the remix featuring the late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez.

Donell Jones – Where I Wanna Be (2000)

“But when you love someone, you just don’t treat them bad” another classic line from Donell that is reused in many of our songs today. The song itself is quite sad as it can be argued to be a breakup song as he sings “I’m not saying I’m gone, but I have to find what life is like without you”. Throughout the song he explains how much he cares for her and how sad he is that he has to eventually hurt her. The main message is that he is putting himself first and he is being honest about it.

Donell Jones – If U Want Ft. Bun B. (2006)

I’ve previously talked about my love for this song. I feel this is most likely my favourite song from him. The intro rap from Bun B; “Now if your man ain’t lovin’ you right, you need to roll with a ‘G’, get a thug in your life” grabs your attention straight away. The contrast of Bun B’s playful rapping style and Donell’s sweet voice work well. The song gives us the impression Donell is singing to a woman who is currently in an unhappy relationship with another guy. Donell encourages the woman to leave him so he can take car of her. The idea of him repeating the phrase “If u want” indicates that he is making sure she does not feel pressured to do anything. I enjoyed mostly the flow of this song, it’s very upbeat and vibrant.

Donell Jones – This Luv (1999)

This is another song embedded in my personal ‘Slow Jams Mix’. “Do you mind if I take this seat right here cos you’re sitting alone”….fist part of the song is my favourite. Donell has the ability to story tell in a song that just flows with his tone of voice which is so soothing. Something Usher also does so well. I think this is my most preferred love song from this album if I’m honest.

Donell Jones – I Wanna Luv U (1999)

Wow! Another contender in the battle for best Donell Jones love songs This song is so sensual and soft on the ear as Donell pleads how much he wants to love the woman. The lyrics are definitely very love fueled; ” You are the reason why I live, a newfound joy I can’t contain, yeah”. Whew! Love is sweet!!

Here is the album link below;

I could go on all day talking about Donell Jones songs! I will do another post soon with more recent songs of his.

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New Music: What I’ve been listening to…

Hey everyone! Hope everyone has had a great productive week! I’m gonna give you all a list of a few songs I’ve been listening to recently. Have a read and a listen!

Young Thug Ft. J Cole & Travis Scott– The London

The London” is the lead single from Young Thug’s forthcoming project, GØŁDMØÜFDÖG. The song features J. Cole and frequent collaborator Travis Scott. J Cole is rumored to be producing Young Thug’s new album so I wonder if this is a snippet of their collaborative efforts. The best part of the song for me is J Cole’s verse! I haven’t felt this excited for a J Cole featured verse since his verse on Jeremih’s song ‘Planez‘. Cole raps about his success, popularity and his demand in the form of witty metaphors. My favourite from him on the song is “I left a flock of rappers dead and buried, a verse from me is like eleven birds, I did the math, it’s like 2000 dollars every word“. Cole has the ability to make his words sound so simple until you digest and pull apart the lyrics and realise all the numerous meanings. For me, Young Thug’s verse started off well until he started making his usual noises and mixed his words.

London on Da Track Ft. G-Eazy & City Girls & Juvenile

Producer London on Da Track recruits the bay area’s finest G-Eazy and Yung Miami (Caresha) from the group of the moment City Girls and Juvenile. This song is another club hit and is probably destined to be a hit during the summer. G-Eazy went in on his verse on this song proving why he’s one of m favourite rappers. This kind of beat suits his rapping style. Juvenile does his thing on his verse too, complimenting the fast pace of the song. He reminds me of the rapping style of E-40 on this song. The song is mostly based on the rappers flaunting their wealth and materialistic possessions. Have a listen below;

Ty Dolla $ign Ft. J Cole – Purple Emoji

‘Purple Emoji’ is the lead single to Ty Dolla’s 3rd studio album. I could listen to Ty all day with that sensual voice of his . This is another A1 feature from J Cole too. Another point to add is they have only released the clean version of this song for the moment. The song is a beautiful ode to their loves singing and rapping about the importance of the women in their lives. Cole even raps; “If you was to leave me, I know I’m gon’ plummet, I know I’m gon’ plummet” playing on the idea that she makes him a better person. I like the collaboration between the two and hope they do more in the future. Have a listen below;

YG Ft G-Eazy & Kamaiyah – Do Not Disturb

YG just released his latest album ‘4Real 4Real’ and while I haven’t digested the album in full, this song stood out to me. Again, another feature from G Eazy that I love. YG always has the best beats and this song will have you dancing. Only thing I didn’t like was the Cocaine reference from G Eazy’s verse. Another good collaboration.

Wstrn Ft Unknown T – Medusa

I’m a big fan of Wstrn. I feel like they are the most consistent UK group at the moment. This song does not disappoint. Drill rapper ‘Unknown T’ adds his own style to the song and it’s a nice change to hear him on a softer song. I don’t feel Wstrn get enough credit because how many artists can you say have released nothing but hits! Have a listen below;

DJ Khaled – Father of Asahd Review

On May 17th, DJ Khaled released his highly anticipated 11th studio album ‘Father of Asahd‘.  As expected, the album features some of the best rappers and singers out at the moment. I also want to add that DJ Khaled incorporates some of the best musical samples in this album and manages to add his own spin to some of them.

Here are my views on some of the songs on the album that have resonated with me;

‘Holy Mountain’ (featuring Buju Banton, Sizzla, Mavado & 070 Shake)

This is the intro track from the song featuring the recently released Buju Banton. I like the reggae vibe that Khaled has created with this song. My favourite verses of the song are from 070 Shake. Admittedly, I had never heard her before this song but her voice suited the song perfectly especially the tone change of her last “blessing” on her verses. I will be checking out more of her music. DJ Khaled has always incorporated Caribbean influence into his music and I love that he appreciates different cultures. Some of the greats always pay homage to different genres.

Wish Wish’ (featuring Cardi B and 21 Savage)

I was looking forward to this song due to the fact I feel recently Cardi has been on excellent form on her features. In this song Cardi oozes confidence as she argues she is here to stay from the beginning; “They say my time is almost up, tell them bitches, “Wish, wish”. She uses a lot of metaphors in this song and she reminds me of the old Cardi. The old Cardi that used to release freestyles. “Whatever you do sis, keep it cute sis” is a line that I’ve definitely been singing over.

Jealous’ (featuring Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Big Sean)

This is one of my favourite songs on the album! The song reminds me of the impact Chris Brown’s song “Loyal” had. It’s glad to hear Lil Wayne back on a record as he has been missed. He has a line where he says “The brighter the rainbow, the badder the weather” that had be thinking how real that statement was. Lil Wayne is the best at those kind of metaphors. Chris Brown’s voice makes the song easy on the ear and I am convinced this will be one of the songs of the summer. The video features one of the funniest moments where Khaled catches a piece of meat with his mouth. Music aside, I love how much fun Khaled shows himself to have when it comes to music. The summer vibes in the video are also very contagious! Another great video from Khaled, even the extended version haha!

‘Just Us’ (featuring SZA)

Not much to say on this song apart from the fact the Outkast “Ms Jackson” sample on this song is perfect!!! This is a more slowed down version and Sza does the beat justice.

‘You Stay’ (featuring Meek Mill, J Balvin, Lil Baby and Jeremih)

Hands down my favourite song on the album and at the moment in general! On the track, all artists complement each other. The usual sensual voice from Jeremih as he wonders why the woman is staying with someone that doesn’t deserve her. My favourite lines from him; “I just want to see you happy, I just want to see you laughing, I just want to see you smiling “. The usual rugged flashy rapping style from Meek; “Because I caught you slipping, left you no choice, you ever cry again, it’s gon’ be in a Rolls Royce“. To make this song even better, J Balvin inserts his beautiful Spanish language to it. I wish I could understand Spanish because his part is my favourite part of the song.  DJ Khaled did so well with the production of this song too. The song could have done without Lil Baby’s addition but otherwise, such a tune, definitely a song ladies will love

‘Higher’ (featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend)

I’ve previously talked about this song and the accompanying video; https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/05/17/higher-by-dj-khaled-john-legend-the-late-great-nipsey-hussle-thoughts/

However, I just want to add that is the first song in a while that anytime I hear, I get chills from. Also, to add, John Legend really did his thing on this song because his voice is incredible. Rest in Peace Nipsey Hussle.

The Marathon is continuing.

‘Big Boy Talk’ (featuring Jeezy and Rick Ross)

I knew this could potentially be a big record. As a huge fan of Rick Ross, I know when it comes to features he always delivers. His memorable lyrics being “Much richer then I last was (Woo), you could tell by the laugh, cuz (Hahaha) .

‘Freak n You’ (featuring Lil Wayne and Gunna)

I know I complimented DJ Khaled’s use of samples originally but the more I listen to some of these songs, this one in particular I realise it could be considered an easy way out. This song was not redone enough to make it something other than a Jodeci remix. I like Lil Wayne on the  song but if I’m honest, I don’t’ think there was any need to re do the original.

Overall, those are the songs that had the most impact for me. Like I mentioned earlier, the use of samples for me had positive and negative connotations. I feel that some of the songs could have done better with an original production and I feel that the use of samples was an easier way out. I’m all for people paying homage to the greats but I feel it should be a hint of homage and not a whole dose. I’m positive this album will do well numbers wise and pretty much all the hits are summer singles so it’s nice to have some positivity within music. However, whether I will be still listening to this album as a whole in a few months time? Time will tell…

My overall rating is: 7/0

“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.

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!!