King Combs – Cyncerely, C3

My favourite tracks from King Combs’ new EP ‘Cyncerely’

A new EP by Christian ‘King’ Combs has just recently dropped and wow do I love it! It’s also the perfect time for the tape to drop as we get into the summer and nicer weather. I am actually a fan of his music as I feel his sound has a nostalgic 90’s feel, you can definitely hear his dad Diddy in his raps as well as influences from legends like Biggie. Rap in this modern day is constantly changing and takes on a form of what the popular sound is at the time, it is good and refreshing to hear a different sound of rap, which I believe we get with King Combs. In 2018, King Combs released his first official single ‘Love You Better’ which featured Chris Brown and that built up his fan base and name. This EP is a nice refreshing tape that has a lot of future hits. I hope he keeps this up as there is definitely a space in the market for his style of music. Here are 4 of my favourites from the tape;

Heaven Sent

The first track from the album has a freestyle vibe to it and it uses a sample from the classic song “I’ll Be” from Foxy Brown and Jay Z (released in 1996).  He mentions the recent passing of his mother Kim Porter, “My mom’s just passed, I aint know what to do” and in one of my favourite lines he says “cut the chatter, money matter like black lives”. The rest of the song has a great flow, clever puns and will certainly have your head boppin’ and the video is carefree and vibrant. This was a good intro track to prepare us for the rest of the tape.

Have a watch and listen below;

Naughty Ft. Jeremih

Hitmaka (aka Yung Berg) has been on fire recently with his production and this song is no different, I’ve also noticed that his beats always usually compliment Jeremih’s voice who is the feature on this track. This song is more of a sensual and seductive track. King Combs raps about all the things he wants to do to show his woman how much he likes her. He raps “You deserve a palace, somewhere on Star Island” while Jeremih sings “I can see you in my future”, both of them balance the serenading together in their respective fields. This is definitely one of my favourite tracks from the project.

On It! Ft. AZChike & TakeJay

This song reminds me of a YG type of song from the beginning. King Combs comes in and spits his verse like a pro. The thing i don’t like about this song is that King Combs feels more like hes featuring on the track which is fine but seeing as it’s his tape, it would have been nice to have heard more from him on this beat. I really love the beat on this song which is why I’ve put this in the list.

Good To Ya Ft. Ty Dolla $ign

King Combs definitely has a great range of features on this EP and this song is a prime example of one. Another song to vibe to. Have a listen below;

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‘They don’t make ’em like this anymore!’ Usher – Confessions Review. #ThrowbackThursday

A review and reflection on the classic album “Confessions” by the one and only Usher.

Hello everyone! Today we are going back to basics. I previously started a theme based on reviews from older albums. Today’s feature is the classic and legendary album from Usher titled ‘Confessions’. I will be referring to the original released version of the album. The album which was released in 2004 and was the fourth studio album by US singer Usher and is possibly one of his most celebrated pieces of work. Timeless music is when regardless of its release date, anytime you listen to it, feels like it’s the first time. This album ticks those boxes. For me this album is my favourite album of all time. It’s an album that I can recite lyrics from every song, an album with a story, an album with everything I love about music. Most importantly, this album provides nostalgic feelings for me that provide me with elements of joy.

As we are all aware I’m sure, the album takes the theme of a series of confessions as he explains to us in the intro. The album cover shows Usher in a Confessions booth and throughout the album we are given reasons why Usher is confessing. As I’ve previously stated, music is considered therapy for a lot of people and Usher used this album to reveal some of his darkest and painful secrets making this possibly one of his most personal albums. I remember reading somewhere that while the album is an R&B album, he wanted us to also experience a hip-hop vibe which could be argued to be in ‘Yeah!’.

Yeah!’ features Lil Jon and Ludacris (who has my favourite verse on the song). Ludacris’ line “We want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed” is probably one of the most memorable lines in the song aside from the chorus. The three of them also have a great collaborative effort on East Side Boyz “Lovers and Friends” which is a favourite of mine.

The third song on the album is “Throwback“. It’s funny because I had the album for a long time before this song stuck with me. “You never miss a good thing ’til it leaves ya & finally, I realised that I need ya, I want you back”. These lines set precedent for the rest of the song. Usher sings about wanting his woman back after she leaves him for admitting his cheating. The whole song is dedicated to his anguish at the fact she has left him and he misses her. On reflection, he regrets all the bad things he did and said. I love the uses of instruments in this song, it would have been great to have heard this song live back in the day.

‘Confessions Interlude/ Part 1‘ and ‘Confessions Part II’ art possibly the most infamous songs on the album. The interlude is Usher preparing his woman and us, the listener for what is to come. Interludes on R&B albums were popular around this time and I like the added touch of them. After a while the interlude was turned into a full fledged song. Part II is Usher outright confessing about his infidelity and expressing his regret. Usher sings “Just when I thought I said all I could say, my chick on the side said she got one on the way” confirming that he has gotten the other woman pregnant.. The song is apparently not exactly true but is based on Usher’s friends similar experiences. The execution however is flawless and you really believe Usher is living this life. Throughout the song we can hear the stress in Usher’s voice as he sings “Man, I’m throwed and I don’t know what to do, I guess I gotta give part two of my confessions” implying that this is the conclusion to this first version and interlude. There’s a part in the song when Usher hits a high note; “I said one second, baby, please hear me“, at a part where he is trying his best to let his girlfriend hear him out. The high note feels like desperation from his part and Usher incorporates it into the story so well. This song told us a story with Usher being the narrator and main character. The song writing, production and vocal performance in this song will forever make it a classic.

Burn’ is another R&B hit from Usher. He sings the ballad with such passion. The video for this song is legendary and I can’t think of the song without seeing Usher with trees burning beside him. Verse 2 is my favourite part of the song. The song is based on the conflicting feelings of a breakup. He sings “Cause the feeling ain’t the same, find myself calling her your name“, One one side he is trying to move on but he keeps being reminded. The other feeling is feeling regretful as he sings ” What I gotta do now to get my shorty back? Oh oh oh oh”. The song is one of the best R&B vocal performances on the album and definitely a fan favourite.

‘Caught Up‘ is a more upbeat Usher song as he sings about catching feelings for a woman. The song is Usher singing his confusion as to how the woman “has a hold on him”. My favourite line is when he sings “Her body was so tight, I’m looking for her in the daytime with a flashlight“. What a funny analogy. While the song takes a more upbeat mood, the production does too, there are more uses of drums and brass instruments.

‘Superstar Interlude’ and ‘Superstar‘ are possibly my personal favourite songs on the album. He sings “I won’t stop until I see you sugar”, on the interlude to again prepare us for what is to come on the main song. On ‘Superstar‘ he sings about a woman who he idolises and puts on a pedastool. He has no shame expressing his love; “I’ll be your groupie baby
‘Cause you are my superstar, I’m your number one fan, give me your autograph, Sign it right here on my heart
“. The irony of this song is that Usher himself is the Superstar and is used to having fans and groupies who are usually in awe of him however he has found a woman he is in awe of. He uses the metaphors of being a fan he claims to “show you just how I adore you“. He hits the high notes in this song with ease I love how he flips the script throughout to show us his vulnerable side. “Girl you’re one of a kind cos they don’t make em like you anymore”….a beautiful ode.


‘Truth Hurts‘ is another underrated song on the album. The song can be considered karma based on the topic of the beginning of the album. In this song Usher sings about how the woman in the relationship has ruined the relationship due to her “infidelity; “Baby, everything we built on trust, you’re tearing it down“. The irony is that we find out that all of these “fears” are really a projection of how Usher really feels. He confesses he’s only been accusing his girl of cheating due to his guilty conscience. Usher sings “I’ve been blaming you when I’m the one that’s doing wrong” once again admitting he’s the one who’s been unfaithful.

‘Simple Things’ is another one of my personal favourites. I feel this is the song with the most important message from the whole album. It can relate to relationships, love, jobs, family and pretty much life in general. In the song Usher advises us that it’s really the simple things in life we always underestimate. Those are the things that are the most important. The song has incredible advice from the beginning; “Just copped your girl a brand new Rolex but you can never find the time to spend at home“. He proceeds to sing my favourite line; “But you don’t know you’re chasing a dime, losing a treasure” telling us to appreciate what we have already. He advises men to understand that splashing the cash on your woman is great but what is more important to her is you, not the materialistic things. “You hear her talking but don’t hear what she said“, sometimes we hear what we want to hear rather than what the person is trying to say. Usher ends the song by stating “Man, I tell you, cars, clothes, and fancy things don’t mean a damn thing” advising men to give them things money can’t buy, their time, love, appreciation and affection.

‘That’s What it’s Made For’, ‘Can U Handle It?’ and ‘Do it to Me’ are all songs that could be considered slow jams. These songs are classic Usher, stripped back, pure vocals. It can be argued that all songs have the same theme; sex. ‘That’s What it’s Made For’ is Usher singing about his manhood and the use of it, to pleasure women. The song explores how him and a woman are partaking in consensual sexual activity. ‘Can U Handle It?’ is Usher seducing and teasing a woman. ‘Do it to Me’ is another one of my favourites from the album. I don’t think it’s possible to hear this song without feeling the need to move. I like the production on this song. The big Base and what feels like a large bang(drums?) played throughout adds to the intensity. Usher hits the high notes effortlessly as usual and one of my favourite lines; “Squeezing, holding, biting, scratching, spanking, screaming, pulling my hair when you need me” with his high vocals is just 😍. Yeah this song is the one! Whew!‘Follow Me’ is Usher being real. In this song he sings about the fact he’s finally found a woman he can be himself with. “Sometimes I gotta smile (smile) when I don’t feel like smiling”, his lifestyle is tiring but he doesn’t need to pretend with the woman

What an album. I won’t lie, I don’t think since this release there has been an album that has provided me with so much joy and love. Hopefully real R&B can be born again because it will be a shame.

I am aware there are more songs after from the special edition version of the album. Songs like “My Boo” which I have reviewed before among a few more. Check out the special edition version below;

Songs I’ve been playing into 2019;

Week 1 Reviews

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you’ve all had a great break!

Thank you all again for your continued support last year and I promise to try and be more regular with my posts. 

Here are a list of songs I’ve had on replay this week.

1. Kaytranada Ft. Ty Dolla $ign -Nothin Like You;

You may have seen or heard this song in my Instagram stories (if you don’t, follow http://www.instagram.com/musiclifeblog18). Ty Dolla is infamous for his memorable features and this song does not disappoint. Kaytranada is Haitian-Canadian DJ and record producer meaning he produced the beat while Ty offers his vocals. The track provides me with a 80s/90s r&b nostalgic feel. In the song Ty sings about a woman who is unique; “They don’t make ’em like you”, he repeats throughout the song.

2. Memphis Depay – No Love;

Dutch International and Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) footballer Memphis Depay has released his first official single. Rapping over a strong beat and melody, Memphis spits in Dutch and English. I think he is a talent on and off the pitch to be honest and I’m sure we will hear more great music from him. Have a listen below!

3. Cadet X Tion Wayne X Ay Em;

UK artists collaborate here to create a catchy song that will have you singing that you are “Trendy” without a doubt. Clever wordplay from Cadet (as usual) with the addition of Ay Em singing the hook and Tion Wayne adding his distinctive feature verse. Have a listen below ;

4. Russ Splash – Gun Lean

Another fellow UK artist comes in the form of Drill Rapper Russ. This song and dance has been taking the UK by storm. The song will have you wanted to do the “Gun Lean” dance wherever you hear it. The song reminds me of the huge impact from US songs such as “Crank That” (Soulja Boy, 2007)  and “Teach me how to Dougie” (Cali Swag District, 2010) had on the comparison between dance moves and rap. Have a watch below. 

 

Throwback Thursday!

Hey everyone! So today is Thursday which means it’s the perfect day to reminisce on some older songs. Today’s feature contains three songs that are oldies but still goodies and all seem to have one thing in common…New York!

1. Jay- Z – Anything (2000)

I mentioned this song earlier in the week on my instagram story and I have been playing it repeatedly since. I love this song because it is living proof that music can be made from any sample. It also shows how and why Hov is considered one of the greatests with the ability to make a great rap song with a sample from the musical ‘Oliver‘. This was the second time Hov sampled a song featured in a musical after using “Hard Knock Life” from the musical Annie in his 1998 hit “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”. The song could be considered quite motivational as Hov regularly spits words of wisdom throughout the song. It seems as if Hov is reminiscing on the lessons he has learnt from people in his life; “Strive for what you believe in, set goals and you can achieve them”, this one from his mother. The standout lines for me in this song and the words that resonate are; “Don’t listen to your crew, do what works for you”…Standing back from situations gives you the perfect view”. The song feels like Hov is writing an open letter to young people teaching them all the things he has ekarnt from growing up. Have a listen below!

2. Lil Kim – No Matter What They Say (2000)

Following on the theme of life lessons, the second throwback song is by the Queen Lil Kim. The song is song expressing that in life you have to ignore what others may say “Who cares about what they think” and live your own life. The song alone has three different switches in the song. The beginning, the verses Kim provides us with her hard hitting taps while the chorus sounds more playful. The third switch up (my favourite bit) is after the second verse when the song changes tone and Diddy has a small interlude. Kim has a little freestyle where she states that she is “highest, your highest title, numero uno”. There is even a reference in the third verse to “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang. Another rap song using references in such an amazing way. Have a listen to the classic Kim below.

3. The Notorious B.I.G. – Would You Die For Me Ft. Lil Kim & Diddy (1999)

Following on the theme of Kim & Diddy features, this song by one of my favourite rappers is an old school vibe. The beat of this song, Biggies unique flow and wordplay, Kim’s signature voice, & Diddy’s calm but catchy hook all make a match in heaven. I don’t know many other pairings other than Biggie and Kim that can consistently make hits. Check out the song below and get that nostalgic feel!