Posted in music

My Thoughts on #ENDSARS.

It’s been a terrible time in Nigeria the past few weeks and as a Nigerian myself, living in London, I feel it’s hard for me to feel useful all the way from here. For those that do not know or are unaware of what is happening, there is currently a movement started by youths in Nigeria to ‘END SARS‘.

SARS stands for ‘Special Anti Robbery Squad‘. The squad, a branch of the Nigerian police force, was initially set up to combat armed robbers and thieves in Nigeria. However, many of the SARS team were found to be abusing their power by illegal searching, illegal arrests, sexual harassment of women and even physical abuse of some young men. At the beginning of the month, videos of SARS killing young men and stealing their items of them became more and more prominent highlighting the abuse happening. The ‘END SARS’ movement has been going on for many years but this month gained further momentum, with protests taking place all around the world including places outside of Nigeria such as the UK and America.

Image from: https://globalvoices.org/2020/10/20/nigerian-military-opens-fire-on-peaceful-protesters-in-lagos/

Unfortunately, the protests in Nigeria took a turn for the worse on November the 20th 2020. During a peaceful protest on Lekki Toll Bridge in Lagos, members of the Nigerian army opened fire at peaceful protestors killing many and injuring many too. After the massacre, The Nigerian government were not able to confirm the exact numbers of those that were killed as they claimed nobody was killed or injured. If it wasn’t for social media and people sharing videos of what was happening, we would be led to believe that nobody died. Over the weekend the Nigerian government finally confirmed that around “69” people have been killed overall during the protests. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-54666368). To add insult to injury, the Nigerian government have claimed they are not sure who gave the orders for the shootings on Lekki Toll Bridge to take place. This lack of accountability from the Nigerian government and those who are SUPPOSED to be in charge is part of the reason Nigerian people are protesting and fighting for their human rights. The Nigerian government have constantly shown that they are only in this for themselves and do not have the best interests of the nation at heart.

There is a bible passage that I believe sums up Nigeria at this current state;

“When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability”.

Proverbs 28:2-26 NLT

Unfortunately the majority of leaders in Nigeria are rotten. Nigeria has the potential to be one of the most thriving countries in the world but the greed of some of its leaders and those in government is what is holding it back.

Image From: https://ecowarriorprincess.net/2020/10/endsars-nigerian-youths-protesting-what-you-can-do-to-help/

In 2014 I wrote a blog post about the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. At the time, it felt like Nigeria was in a bad place and I didn’t know how it could get better. In the article, I mentioned that the only way Nigeria could move forward and start to heal as if the government started focusing on the needs of the people and focussed less on their money. It seems this did not happen and alas we are an even worse situation now. (Please read my previous post from 2014 below.)

2020 has really been a year to remember for all the wrong reasons. I am devastated that young people in Nigeria are being killed in vain for a country that does not value their worth. The great late Fela Kuti was one of many people who always spoke out about the injustice in Nigeria. The current Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was actually one of the people that put Fela put in prison! It was also exposed that the judge was bribed to convict Fela and give him a jail sentence despite the fact the charges did not apply to him.

After his release from prison, Fela Kuti released a song called “Beasts of No Nation” in 1989which touches on the injustice of the world as a whole. One of the things that stood out to me was that he referred to prison as the “Inside World” and the outside was actually the “Craze World”. For him, all the murders, rape and injustice happening in the world was more dangerous that him being in a prison. The fact that this statement is still relevant to some places in Nigeria today is heartbreaking. For me, the lines that stood out for me on the song were:

Human rights na my property, so therefore, you can’t dash me my property

Human rights na my property dey wan dash us human rights

Fela Kuti – Beasts of No Nation

If you have time, please do check out some of Fela’s music, he speaks so much truth and so much of what he talked about is relevant today.

Being BLACK this year has been extremely traumatising. From the beginning of the year seeing videos of black people being killed in America by racist police. In addition, the news that Covid-19 research showing that Black and ethnic minorities were most at risk of complications. Now END SARS and being bombarded with horrific images and videos of young people, many of them younger than me being murdered in broad daylight in the country that is supposed to love and cherish them. All of this uproar for simply fighting for their rights. I’ve personally had to take some time out from social media many times this year because the constant negative and depressing news is not good for anyones mental health. I encourage anyone else that is feeling overwhelmed or traumatised from the news to sign out and take time out for yourself.

Remember music is a great way to tune out too!

I don’t have the answers on how any of this trauma can be fixed but one thing I do know is that the new generation have to continue the fight. No matter how tiring it is, we have to keep going to keep fighting for a better world. The deaths of those that have fought with us will not be in vain.

Image From: https://globalvoices.org/2020/10/20/nigerian-military-opens-fire-on-peaceful-protesters-in-lagos/

#ENDSARS #PrayforNigeria #TheMarathonContinues

Here are some great links to explain the ENDSARS movement in more detail:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/25/africa/nigeria-end-sars-protests-analysis-intl/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_SARS

See you all soon!

Posted in music

#MusicMondays – Tems: For Broken Ears EP

Happy Monday Everyone! Another new week and the last few days of September already! Today’s Music Monday entry is from new Nigerian sensation Tems!. Tems, a Nigerian singer, who may be known already for her song “Try Me” or her recent hit single ‘Damages’ follows up with a debut EP entitled “For Broken Ears“.

As a description and explanation of the projects Tems wrote;

My favourite tracks from this EP will have to be ‘Damages’ and ‘Free Mind’. For me, Tems has a very unique voice that I feel touches on so many kind of genres; Afrobeats, Alternative R&B, Soul… it would be hard to box her into only 1. She reminds me of an African version of Koffee. Hopefully this is the beginning of more to come and it will be such a pleasure seeing her grow and shine.

Check out the video for Damages below and check out her EP which is out now.

Posted in music

Album Review: Burna Boy – Twice as Tall…

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The “African Giant” also known as Burna Boy, released his fifth studio album on Friday the 14th of August! The build-up to the album was quite small as we were only really given details towards the final week of promo. Burna Boy’s previous 2019 album “African Giant” was critically acclaimed and considered by most people (including me – https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/08/19/album-review-why-i-think-burna-boy-african-giant-2019-is-a-work-of-art/ ) as his best album to date. With such high praise from an album, it was always going to be an almost impossible uphill task to live up to the same expectations. Due to this, I decided to try my best to listen to this new album with fresh ears, trying not to compare his previous genius album to it. Albums are always a reflection of where the artist is at that moment, no album is gonna be from the same frame of mind.

With the first few minutes of me digesting the album, I won’t lie, I had quite a few questions. Admittedly, from the first few listens I was a bit confused at the direction of the project. I gave it time and with further listens I began to genuinely enjoy a lot of the songs. I feel this album is an introduction of Burna Boy to the global audience. It feels that the title “Twice as Tall” is in reference to the magnitude of Burna’s rising success worldwide. A major and important fact people need to remember when listening to Burna Boy is that Burna’s music goes way beyond just beats and rhymes. His music clearly takes inspiration from politics, his spirituality, culture and activism. On this album, in particular, he takes inspiration from many other African countries. I think this is why Burna Boy never really loses his flavour in his songs regardless of what the tone of the song may be. This album is a continuation and sequel of his previous work. He never forgets his roots despite the unnecessary Diddy noises and clear American influence through features.

I would have preferred for him to be singing more in the Yoruba dialect or Igbo that he does so well (Similar to how he uses it in the song ‘Bebo‘) but I can see that in regards to a global stage, the more English the easier for others to digest.

I believe it is only fair to listen and take in this album as a solo project and not a comparison to his previous album.

It will be interesting to see how Burna Boy follows this project up and what direction he will now head into but I know that wherever he goes, Burna’s unique sound will never be far away.

Below are some of the key songs I took from the album:

Level Up (Twice As Tall) Ft. Youssou N’Dour

I really liked this intro track featuring the Senegalese singer. Straight in, Burna goes personal with his journey starting from the beginning of his career; “I remember when I couldn’t level up. I was trying, but I couldn’t level up. It was rough, you see“. The whole song focuses on the theme of never giving up and keeping the faith. It’s interesting that this is the intro track as usually people would end an album with this inspirational message proving that they are a product of keeping the faith. I really liked the vibe of this song, very laid back but motivational. It’s not surprising Diddy had a little speech on this song as after finding out he was part of the album process, this message is very on-brand with his motto, to also keep going. I personally didn’t think his input was necessary at all and is part of the new direction I was not a fan of on this album.

Way Too Big

I really liked this song and I think this was one of the songs from the album that I can see getting really good reception if played with a crowd. The song also works well with the title of the album, emphasising Burna’s journey to success. I always think when an artist is as big as Burna, they have the right to have a song with bragging rights at least. i can see crowds singing this song back to Burna at concerts or events. It also is a small reminder of Nigerian confidence and pride, to acknowledge that you are worth too much to lower your standards for anyone. This is definitely one of my favourites from the album.

Wonderful:

I’ve previously spoken about my love for this song. This is without a doubt my favourite song on the album. We were treated to this song earlier on before the album release and I thought that this was a taster of the kind of direction Burna was going for on this album. Having heard all the songs, I now believe this song is a bit out of place with the rest of the songs. This song is pure Nigerian music. It has the inspired instruments, the tone, the beat, the feel and the language. It is impossible to listen to this song without finding yourself moving some part of your body somehow!

Onyeka (Baby)

This is the love song for this album. The name of the song was originally in reference to the Nigerian singer Onyeka Onwenu. However, Burna Boy has said that the song is now more of a general song and can be in reference to all women. The song also references an Igbo highlife classic from Chief Stephen Osadebe titled “Osondi Owendi“. You can actually hear the similarities with the backing production of this track and the backing production of ‘Onyeka’. This is one of the many examples of how educated Burna Boy is with previous Nigerian music and how he uses it to inspire his music of today.

Have a listen to his inspiration.

Naughty By Nature Ft. Naughty By Nature

Hmmmmmmmm. I don’t know where to begin with this song. To be honest when I first heard this song, I was shocked and almost offended. I think it was the complete change in pace and of how different this song was from Burna’s usual music. However, as I listened to the song more, I started to warm to it a lot more. The song reminds me of a previous song called ‘Ice Cream Man’ that Burna featured on one of his previous tapes. The song has an almost nursery rhyme theme to it. The part for me where I find is wrong is the feature from Naughty by Nature. I understand their talents separately as an established hip hop group but I really do not believe their sound goes well with the Burna sound on this song. It sounds like a very random match. If I could hear a version of this song without NbN I would definitely rate it higher. Have a listen to ‘Ice Cream Man‘ to see if you can hear the similarities.

No Fit Vex:

I really enjoyed the slowed-down pace on this track especially as it followed the very hype song “Comma”. The title of the song is pidgin for saying “No Hard Feelings”. The song is very positive and focuses on the fact that Burna Boy is just living his life and has no hard feelings for anyone.

23

Another emotional song from Burna Boy. With this song, he reflects on his success again but this time using Michael Jordan’s signature ’23’ number. He mentions in the introduction; “The music make me feel I be Jordan, now I understand why them say aiye gbon gan”, meaning that he understands why they say there’s enough space. Even though he is not a basketball player like Michael Jordan, he is experiencing what it’s like to also be at the top of his respective field, in this case music. The song almost sounds like we are hearing his personal thoughts of reflection as well as gratitude. This song will be so beautiful to hear with a live band stripped back.

Time Flies Ft. Sauti Sol

This song is the perfect follow up to ’23’ in terms of keeping a similar mood. It took me a few listens to pick up this song and I worry that this song could be overlooked. In terms of African music however, this song is a perfect example of the beauty of what the continent contains. The song features the Kenyan group Sauti Sol. It’s clear that Burna took a lot of joy dipping into so many African countries on this album, again exploring his global impact. The backing vocals and production of the song definitely explore the beauty of Kenyan music. In the chorus, “Siwezi wacha rhumba” is sung which is Swahili for “I’ll never stop partying” and I can see how that motto fits with the tone of the song. Burna Boy’s vocals on this song are so soothing, this is the kinf of song that makes you want to close your eyes and really take everything in.

Real Life Ft. Stormzy

Burna Boy and Stormzy have already collaborated on the smash hit song “Own It” also featuring Ed Sheeran. I already knew that they potentially would make another great song but I did not expect the direction this song went in. I’m a Stormzy fan but I’m not so fond of his singing on songs, HOWEVER, this song put all my doubt to rest. Stormzy’s singing was the perfect component to this song. I had this song on repeat when I first heard it. This is another beautiful song and I loved the fact Stormzy was able to do something different on this record. They are both superstars in the music world for different reasons and this song is an example of how beautiful they can sound merged together.

Bank On It (Produced by JAE5)

What a track! As soon as I heard the drop I knew it was a JAE5 produced track. Burna and Jae have collaborated on quite a few tracks now and it is clear they always make hits. The song almost reminds me of one of their songs “Calm Down” in the sense of a similar drop. It is a great way to end the album as the song reflects on the fact that life is precious and that we are all human and will make mistakes in life. Despite anything and everything that may happen in this life though, Burna Boy wants to make it clear that he will continue being successful.

Overall, this is an album you really need to take in to understand Burna Boy’s new perspective. There is alot of gratitude, praise and success mentioned on this album and it is clear this is the journey of a huge star.

Posted in music

Playlist Picks; New Music and What I’ve been listening to…

Hey Everyone! Day 100000000 of quarantine, I hope you’re all doing well and keeping safe while following your government’s guidelines! Today’s post is dedicated to all the music I’ve been listening to and loving in the past 2 weeks! Some are from established artists and some from upcoming. Please give them all a try, there should be a song here for you!

I’ve got a few ideas for the blog that should be coming into effect within the next couple months so pleas stay tuned! If you enjoy the site, please share and pass on to friends. I’m grateful for all of you!

My top playlists picks:

Promise – Gara (2020) – Produced by Randsombeatz

I stumbled upon this guy and since then I have been addicted to his music! If you are an afrobeat fan, this is the perfect song for you, Even if you’re not, have a listen. The song is from a British Nigerian artist that goes by the name of ‘Promise’ hailing from London. His music is usually a fusion of afrobeats, dancehall and UK rap. Usually when I hear a British artist that does afrobeats, I sometimes get disappointed because on occasion I feel the actual African essence is sometimes missing from their sound. This is definitely not the case for Promise. His music hits the spot in terms of that special authentic African sound. I was more disappointed that he only had 3 songs for me to listen to! Hopefully this is the beginning of a long career for him! I will be first in line waiting to hear more great music from him. (Check out his song ‘Promise‘ too, another one of my favourites)

Chris Brown x Young Thug – Go Crazy (2020) – Produced by KanielTheOne

Chris Brown and Young Thug recently released their joint album called ‘Slime & B’. I was pleasantly surprised with this tape, I feel their voices blended really well throughout and I think they both were able to showcase their individual talents too. This particular song stood out to me as a summer track and has now even been made into a dance challenge! The beat is a perfect pick me up and I can see this being a big song this summer.

Young Thug x Future – Help Me Breathe (2020)

This outro from Chris Brown and Young Thug’s joint album happens to be my second favourite on the tape. This time it features Young Thug collaborating with the toxic king himself, Future. We already know that Thug and Future make good music together based on their joint tape released in 2017. Personally one of my favourite joint songs from them was from Thug’s album ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls’, the song being “Relationship”. With this song “Help Me Breathe”, I feel it is actually quite a sweet one. Both of them talk about the importance of their partners in question indicating that they are giving them life. Check it out below;

Shana – Crush on You (2020) – Produced by Jiffthegeneral

Moving to an RnB theme, this is a new song from a new artist! This debut song is from London RnB singer Shana. With this being her first single I am hoping we hear much more from her in the future. I’m pretty sure this song will have you singing “I’ve got a crush on you” over and over and doing some kind of shuffle. I like the freshness that I get from this song, no gimmicks, just pure good vibes and excellent production. The female (even male) Rnb scene in London isn’t as big as it can be and it’s refreshing to hear more and more newcomers. Have a listen to the song below and enjoy:

Kehlani Ft Jhené Aiko – Change Your Life (2020)

Following on from the RnB theme, I had a listen to Kehlani’s new tape this week and this song for me was one of my stand outs. Jhené and Kehlani on the same song makes complete sense, both queens have the perfect sensual voices to blend with each other. I love Jhené’s verse in the second verse as she sings to the person in question hyping them up while also pointing out that they would be even better together. In verse 3, Kehlani lays it all on the table and when I first heard this verse I replayed it multiple times. “Used-to-be models, IG honeys all shaped like bottles but now you seein’ that it’s more than body, face, and smile. You see me, and you look beyond it, you feel inspired…”. So beautiful. Check it out below;

CE – Who Am I? (2020) – Produced by DCQBEATZ

Another one from CE! I’m a fan of this track for sure, it has a nice vibe to it, the beat is great too. CE raps less on this particular track and lets his singing do all the talking! This will have you singing “Everytime you find me, you try to remind me of who I am” like it’s been doing to me! The artwork is great too! Have a listen below:

Russ Ft Ty Dolla $ign – 3AM (2020)

If you haven’t checked it out already, I have a Russ album review out https://musicandlifeblog.com/2020/02/18/album-review-russ-shake-the-snow-globe/ . Russ has now brought out a deluxe version of the album including this new song featuring Ty Dolla $ign. He teased the song earlier this week and I had a feeling it was going to be a good one. Ty Dolla on any song is always a joy to listen to and you will not be disappointed with this track. Ty’s verse is such a pleasure to hear, the harmonies and rifts as perfect as always. I’m gonna have to dive into the extra tracks Russ has blessed us with but for now, have a listen to this song below;

Some other songs I’ve loved:

  • Joyner Lucas Ft Will Smith – Will Remix (2020) – Will killed his verse with that old school flow, his verse content was solid and he was speaking facts! Always great when idols jump on the tracks about them.
  • French Tha Kid – Dream (2020) – Produced by KP Beatz – I recently came across this guy and he’s pretty good. I like the flow switch up on this song. I think he’s got an exciting upcoming career in the works.
  • DaBaby Ft. Roddy Rich – ROCKSTAR (2020) – I’ve had this song on repeat, definitely my favourite from the album. Da Baby shows himself in a different light here for me, his rapping is solid. Beat is crazy too!
Posted in music

Album Review: Why I think Burna Boy – African Giant (2019) is a work of art…

I’ve been a fan of Burna Boy from his earlier days and the days when Afrobeats wasn’t as mainstream as it is today. As a Nigerian myself, I have grown up listening to Afrobeats and Burna Boy in particular. From early, Burna Boy has always had a unique sound and despite his now worldwide success, he has stuck true to it. His debut album L.I.F.E released in 2013 has some of my favourites from him; “Abeg, abeg (Remix)”, “Yawa Dey”, “Tonight”, “Like to Party” and “Smooth Smailing”. Most of these songs propelled Burna into the limelight but nothing has provided him with as much as his song “Yé” released from his 3rd studio album.

I was excited for the release of ‘African Giant’ because I have always enjoyed Burna’s musical projects as a whole. His talent is always displayed in big bodies of work. On first listen admittedly the album did not stick out to me as quickly as his other albums did. However, after taking it in for a few days after and now weeks, I can honestly say this is his best album. For me, for a fourth album from someone who was already great, to top his previous is a big big statement. In this album, you can hear his growth as an artist but also his improvement. His last album could be considered to be a mixture of all sounds but this is 100% an African album. From the beats, instruments and sounds, I felt like I was in Nigeria listening to this.

Another point to add is that this is more than just a music album. The album contains history and facts about Nigeria and Africa.

Whilst there are some American features, never did I forget I was listening to a Burna Boy project. Every song on this album has a different vibe and different feeling associated with it. Everytime you listen, a different song will stick out to you. To be able to do that with an album of 19 songs is somewhat incredible! I will talk about some of my absolute favourites from the album…

African Giant

A great intro to the album in my opinion. Burna Boy always has stand out lyrics in his songs and this song is no different. The song is an anthem for any African that has a dream for his people. It is the perfect taster for what is to come.

Stand out Line

“Because God no go give you more than you can handle”

Wetin Man Go Do

The title of this song is Pidgin English for “What will a man do”. In the song, Burna explores the idea of a man living in an African economy and the struggles he may face. The song has a very strong African feel to it. The last verse for me is sad as its obvious the man is helpless. Burna sings “Man go fight for money, man go fight for woman, man go fight for business, man go fight for nonsense (wetin man go do)…body don dey tire”. All of the struggling the man has to do is non stop. A sad reality for some people in African countries.

Stand out Line

“God I dey serve e…no go let my blessings to pass me”

Gum Body Ft. Jorja Smith

This is one of my favourite songs on the album. Similarly to his previous album, Burna Boy uses an English feature to help him on the song. Personally I’m not usually a fan of Jorja’s voice or music but the partnership with Burna in this song is perfect. The title of the song is a term used to describe wanting to be around someone. Jorja’s voice in her verse is sensational and plays on the theme of the song where they both sing “Why did I drink this Hennessy? as her voice sounds as it would, of someone who is a bit faded. I loved Jorja’s harmonies in Burna Boy’s verses, the blending of their voices without Burna Boy having to compromise his sound shows us how talented yet again he is. I have had this song on repeat since first hearing it.

Stand out Line

“Why did I drink this Hennessy?”

Killin Dem Ft. Zlatan

This is already one of the standout songs of the album and it’s not surprising. The song is performed so well by Burna Boy everytime he does a show. Zlatan’s verse in this is very underrated. His tongue twisting lyrics spoken in Yoruba with a fast flow are a joy to listen to. The dance moves associated with this song are great too.

Stand out Line

“We making money rush rush like indomie indomieee” and all of Zlatan’s verse!

Have a listen to the song and watch the video;

Omo

This song is definitely one of my ultimate favourites from the album. I love the flow and switch up Burna has in this song. His flow changes as he sings “Girl I’ve been scheming, plotting, planning…fuck a plan A, move to plan B” and switches up again after that verse. We hear singing Burna and rapping Burna in this song and it works well.

Secret Ft. Jeremih & Serani

This is the first song on the album featuring an American artist. Jeremih however adapts his voice to Serani and Burna meaning the whole sound isn’t compromised. I like this song because of that reason. The only issue I have with it is that sometimes the song can sound a bit whiny. Burna Boy’s voice does break up the high singing but sometimes I feel Serani and Jeremih were too much together on the song. Have a listen below;

Another Story Ft. M.anifest

Burna takes us on a history lesson on the colonialism of Nigeria in the first few seconds. In the song Burna Boy explains how the politicians in Nigeria are stealing from the country since Nigeria’s independence in 29160 and not doing anything to help like they should. Ghanian artist M.anifest’s verse is also similar as he talks about the fact he travels out of his country sometimes; “Sometimes I for dey move away, maybe a month, same shit, Ghana – Naija, man tire”. He is saying that even in his country he has the same issues. Similarly to “Wetin Man Go Do”, Burna is highlighting the worrying parts and unfortunate realties faced in Nigeria and many African countries.

Stand out Line

“Same shit, Ghana – Naija, man tire”

Pull Up

I like the softness of this song, Burna slows down the pace with this one and provides the album with a romantic side. He sings in the third verse “24/7 you been sitting on my mind, Baby you wey I think about like all day” emphasising the fact she is all he is thinking about”. The song gives the impression that Burna Boy wants to keep this relationship on the down low though. Further on in the verse he sings; “Loving the vibe that’s between me and you, baby don go telling no body”. He makes the affair sound as if it is sacred when really he just doesn’t want to get caught.

Destiny

This song reminds me of J Hus’ song “Spirit” with the idea that Burna is reminiscing on his childhood and the idea that his mental strength can never be taken away. Burna reminisces; “I remember when I used to hustle in the flats and the neighbors then had no love for me” probably exploring how he has risen from struggling conditions to the star he is now. The song is very positive as he basically implies that people can do many things to bring him down, but they can never take his “destiny”. This has a similar feel in J Hus’ spirit when he sings “Even when we never had a penny, yeah we always had spirit”. In the second verse of the song you can hear Burna Boy’s British accent a bit more reminding us of where he grew up but also making us realise how personal this track is. I feel Burna has done well on this album to show us where and what he has come from but also proving that this has shaped who he is today. They can take everything I have, they can take my life, they can’t touch my destiny

Stand Out Line

“They can take everything I have, they can take my life, they can’t touch my destiny”

Show & Tell Ft. Future

This was a song I really took in more with later listens. Future is usually really good on features and he did not disappoint on this track. For me it was enjoyable to hear the back and forth between both artists.

Posted in music

Beyoncé – The Lion King: The Gift Review…

Beyoncé recently blessed us with an album inspired by the newest remake of Lion King. It’s so good to hear new music from Beyoncé but even more exciting to hear she took a different approach to the music this time.

The album is mixed with interlude’s with clips from the film as well as new original songs with Beyoncé and some of the best African singers. I’m gonna talk about some of the songs that gripped me the most.

Beyoncé – BIGGER

This is a great intro track as it really does soothe us in. To me, this song feels personal to Beyoncé herself as well as relating to the Lion King and it’s surrounding themes. She mentions “Trying to be a good wife, still really hard, I can’t lie” matches some of the content in some of her other songs. The idea that not everything is as easy and nice as it looks, in life there are challenges and we have to go through them. I feel that for this song Beyoncé encourages us all to see we are “part of something way bigger” in the sense that there is so much more to life. This relates to a scene in the film where Mufasa tells Simba something similar. Have a listen to the song below:

Beyoncé – DON’T JEALOUS ME Ft. Tekno, Yemi Alade & Mr Eazi

This is the first feature of Africa on the album and the song features 3 Nigerian artists. As a Nigerian myself, this of course is one of my favourite songs. From the first second I feel the African drums and you know this is going to be a good song. Throughout the song Tekno says “Sheep don’t run with lion…Snake don’t swing with monkey” which makes me laugh as it is such a typical Nigerian/African saying to have. The song also features a bit of Igbo (A Nigerian language) and Pidgin language. Yemi Alade starts her verse saying “Oh Oh Odogwu (Odogwu), abeg make them talk” which is a reference to a man in a high position, she is asking him. The song does not actually feature Beyoncé vocals which is even more refreshing. I say refreshing because it is nice for Beyoncé on her own album to give the stage to others to showcase their talents too. I like how respectful and inviting she has been in regards to Africa for this album.

Burna Boy – JA ARA E

Yet again, Beyoncé passes on the stage to someone else and in this case it is Nigerian superstar Burna Boy. For anyone that is not familiar with him, please search him up and look into his own music, for me he is one of the best current Nigerian artists. In this song Burna Boy does his thing while referencing “watch out them for them hyenas” which could be very ambiguous. It could be literally in reference to the film as they are the ones that caused the most trouble. In addition to that it could be a reference to life, where people who are like the hyenas are those that look forward to your weakness in order to pounce and take advantage. Stay away from people like that. The title of the song is a Yoruba term meaning “wise up” which could mean stay alert at all times and be prepared.

Beyoncé Ft. Jay Z & Childish Gambino– MOOD 4 EVA

This is a celebratory anthem that I love! Personally I don’t think Jay Z was really needed on the project however it would be strange to have a Beyoncé project without her featuring her husband. The song features an intro from another African star, this time coming from Mali, singer Oumou Sangare. In the song Beyoncé sings “‘Cause every day above ground is a blessing” and Amen to that! In Hov’s verse, he name drops some of the legends; Nelson Mandela, Nigerian artist Fela Kuti as well as Biggie and Prince. The song is just a feel good anthem, perfect for the summer!

Beyoncé Ft Wizkid, SAINt JHN & Blue Ivy Carter- BROWN SKIN GIRL

Where do I even start with this song?! Before I even get into the lyrics, I just want to point out that for me, this song has one of my favourite productions. The beat is so simple but so effective. I’ve seen so many challenges where young girls have been dancing to this song and I can see exactly why they love it. It is such a feel good song to heat. I know this is one of the most popular songs from the project and with good reason. This album as a whole I feel, was a way for Beyoncé to pay homage to the African culture which inspired Lion King. This song pays homage to black women and brown skin, dark skin women in particular. Beyoncé wants these women to embrace and be proud of their skin and celebrate it. I love how she puts her daughter Blue Ivy in the song as she sings; “Brown skin girl, your skin just like pearls” to give it a more personal touch. Beyoncé also name drops some dark skin celebrities; “Pose like a trophy when Naomi‘s walk in, she need an Oscar for that pretty dark skin. Pretty like Lupita when the cameras close in…Drip broke the levee when my Kellys’ roll in”. Those that are young listening to this song can know there are so many role models that look exactly like them which could comfort them.  

There are so many beautiful words Beyoncé sings in this song. One of my favourite lines is when she says “Melanin too dark to throw her shade” and “Same skin that was broken be the same skin takin’ over“. That last quote is so powerful, it shows the contrast between the way black skin was discriminated against leading all the way back to slavery and now when you look at countries such as America (even with those she name dropped as examples) we are now “taking over”.

Personally when I first heard the song I felt very emotional because I know the criticism and isolation many brown/dark skin women have faced growing up. This song is a perfect love song to them with the lesson to be proud of who they are. This is such a powerful and uplifting song that I hope is played for many generations to give hope and confidence to future ‘Brown Skin Girls’. Have a listen below:

Tiwa Savage Ft. Mr Eazi – KEYS TO THE KINGDOM

Nigerian matriarch Tiwa Savage takes control of this song. It took me a few listens to get into it but now I feel it’s a song that you can have playing in the background and just vibe along to it. I like Mr Eazi’s addition to the song too.

Beyoncé Ft. Shatta Wale & Major Lazer – ALREADY

YES!!!!! This song is such an anthem!!!! I LOVE how dedicated Beyoncé was to incorporating an African sound in her own voice with this song. It just shows her versatility just in case people ever doubted her. The way she pronounces and emphasises the word “Already” is such an African way. African’s will hear it but it may go over the head of others. The song features Ghanaian star Shatta Wale and American dance trio Major Lazer. Since listening to the album, this song has been on rotation! The song has references to Lion King where Beyonceé sings “Long live the king” which is what Rafiki says to Simba. Shatta Wale had a blast on this song and his addition really added an authentic vibe to the song. I will definitely be playing this song for a long while to come. Have a listen below:

Beyoncé – SPIRIT

I really REALLY like this song. I feel this is one of my favourite ballads from Beyoncé in general. The song exudes so much raw emotion from me and gives me a sense of spiritual energy. Listening to this song for the first time literally made me weepy and I have no idea why. Beyonce’s voice in this song is just out of this world, I can’t even express the power. The video is just as beautiful and having watched the video before I saw the film, when I saw the exact scene in the film, it had a different meaning for me. The song is extremely uplifting too; “Your destiny is comin’ close, stand up and fi-i-i-ight” meaning never give up! If there was ever a doubt that Beyoncé has one of the most incredible voices in our lifetime, this song will put that debate to bed. Beautiful, beautiful song.

I also recently read a beautiful review on this album via the newspaper ‘The Metro’. Have a read below:

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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;

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New Music: What I’ve been listening to 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!!

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Mid-Week Vibes!!!

Hello everyone! We’re halfway through the week and nearly at the end of March. I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone tuning into the site and reading my posts this month. I appreciate you all.
Today’s post is based a few songs I’ve been playing this week that you should check out!

Kiana Lede;

So I’ve recently stumbled on Kiana Lede and wow her voice is beautiful! Her style is very R&B and she has an EP that was released last year called ‘Selfless (2018)’ which is great! There’s a few songs from it that I’ve had on repeat;

Show Love; In this song, Kiana tells the man in question to show how much he wants to be with her rather than just by words. She sings; “Fight for me baby…if you want time with me baby, got to do more than enough”. This is another way of saying “Actions speak louder than words”.

EX; I think this is one of her more popular songs. The song is based on the idea that she wants to remain friends with her ex despite the break up. She sings in the chorus; “I don’t wanna be your ex, we way too good at being friends” emphasising the fact she didn’t wanna lose her friendship with him after the breakup. Have a listen;

Wicked Games; This is one of my favourite songs on the EP. The song plays on the idea that Kiana is in a relationship with someone who takes advantage of her and her nature; “It’s always later, later, later, later & I let you come back ’cause sticking ’round is in my nature”. She sings throughout the song how the man in question knows that he is her weakness and acts on that. I like the simple production on this song too. Have a listen;

Take It All; This song gives me acoustic vibes. In this song Kiana is singing about a lover that accepts every part of her. She sings; “You be so good to me, even when I don’t say sorry”. Check it out below;

Burna Boy & DJDS- Darko (2019)

Nigerian Prince Burna Boy has returned with a newly released EP with DJDS entitled ‘Steel & Copper’ with 4 songs. ‘Darko’ is my favourite on the project. The song is a chilled, relaxed Burna track and if you a fan of his previous song ‘ Don Gorgon’, you may hear a few references to it! Check out the song below;

Rich The Kid Ft Big Sean & Offset – Two Cups (2019)

Rich The Kid has just released his new album called ‘The World is Yours 2″ and this is one of the songs I like from the album. I’m glad for the return of Big Sean as he’s one of my favourite rappers. I liked his part of his verse where he raps “I go off, go in, go up, but never go back, I know we in a league of our own, bitch, I’m pro-black”. Hopefully we will hear more new music from Big Sean soon. Have a listen to the song below

The Rara – Elegance (2018)

A little bit of bashment for your ears. This song has actually been out a while but recently I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Have a listen below;

Oritse Femi Ft. Burna Boy & Konshens – Play Am (2019

This is what happens when Afrobeats fuses with Bashment! A match made in heaven. All genres compliment eachother so well. Have a listen below;

DC – No Manners (2018)

I mentioned this song on the Instagram account, but I’ve had it on repeat this week. I like the use of wordplays in this song, DC is releasing a new EP this week, so I’ll be sure to check that out. This freestyle sounds like it is played over the Fat Joe “What’s Luv” song so provides a sense of nostalgia for me. Check out the video below.

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Dave – ‘Psychodrama’ Album Review.

Released: 8th March 2019

UK rapper Dave has finally blessed us with his debut album ‘Psychodrama‘. I was excited about the release of this album as it was a long time coming and I certainly haven’t been disappointed. With albums, I feel it’s only right you take a few days or even weeks, to sit on it and take it in. In the space of a few days, my favourites have already changed, and I was hearing things and understanding meanings to songs I never picked up on before. I feel Dave is very socially aware for his age, it’s hard to believe Dave is only 20 years old with some of the content he raps about. In his intro track “Psycho” he even states “I’m a hitmaker if you ever noticed, I could be the rapper with the message like you’re hoping”; he has the ability to relate to the youth with his experiences and possibly even language and make commercial and successful songs but also relate to a more mature audience with his subject matters and hidden messages. In his song “Purple Heart” he uses clever wordplay and metaphors to describe his love for a woman. Some of the metaphors are so clever, you probably have to listen to it more than once to catch what he is saying. Someone once told me that with lyrics, everybody’s interpretation is personal to them. I feel that with Dave’s album, regardless of who you are, your age, ethnicity, gender, you will find your own unique meaning behind Dave’s lyrics.

Psycho‘ is the first song from the album and it serves similarly to a monologue. There is no main chorus and Dave just spits his thoughts into one track. For me the most important part of this song is towards the end when we hear more answers. From 2 minutes, 20 seconds, the flow changes as does Dave’s mood. Dave raps “Brother I’m a careful, humble, reckless, arrogant, extravagant, nigga, probably battlin’ with manic depression”, he openly displays his weaknesses as well as admitting his battle with depression. I like the honesty Dave exudes with his music and I feel he does this with the sole purpose of helping other people to acknowledge and speak up too. Continuing with the theme of therapy, towards the end Dave raps; “And to my fans, the reason I could get to this, you’re my drug, the instrumental, my therapist”, Dave states that it’s through music and the support he gets from it that heal him. For most people, music is a form of therapy and for Dave it is his way of letting out all his worries and fears.

Dave has 3 songs with features on this album and it’s each featured artist offers something unique to the song . The first feature we hear is the JAE5 produced song “Location” featuring Nigerian superstar Burna Boy. When I first heard this song I was sceptical about the sound from Burna as I couldn’t work out what kind of sound he was trying to portray. After sitting on it and listening to it, I now really love this song. Of course JAE5 does no wrong with this track and especially around ‘2:11’ when the beat takes a turn before Burna Boy comes in with his verse. The song has a kind of seduction to it as Burna sings for the person in question to send him “the location”. Dave raps about his “come up” but keeps his cool throughout the track with quotable and memorable lines such as “Girl from India, sweet as naani, head so good, now I speak Gujarati”.

The second featured track features UK star J Hus as he assists him on the song “Disaster”. The two have previously collaborated on Dave’s 2017 song “Samantha”. This song for me is unique because it is not a Dave track featuring J Hus, it is a collaborative effort from both of them equally. The way Hus comes into this song and plays off Dave’s verses reminds me that J Hus is an undeniable talent in the UK scene. Hus shows his versatility by singing the chorus but by also battling Dave on the rap verses. This is by far my favourite song on the album.

Dave uses his song “Environment” to expose the truth behind some ideologies. He touches on the “culture” with lines like; ” Where I’m from, everybody wants to make it out but nobody wants to see somebody make it out”. He references the music industry with lyrics such as; ” The moment that you ain’t it, the labels are looking for replacements”. Dave mentions his upbringing and social issues in songs like “Streatham”, “Black” and “Screwface Capital”. He is very open about the struggles he faced growing up “Tell me what you know about a bag full of bills and your mom crying out, saying, son, I can’t take it” (Screwface Capital). In his single “Black”, Dave talks about the social and racial inequality he faces as well as other people his race or age group may face too. (Check out my review and video review for this single on a previous post) https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/02/24/videos-to-watch-mostack-dave-uks-finest/ .

Lesley’ is one of the sadder, emotional songs as Dave raps the story of a woman who is abused by her boyfriend Jason. The song touches on Dave’s first meeting with her to how she suffered and the dramatic conclusion to her story. Dave’s storytelling abilities have always been evident through many of his songs but this one seemed more fitting given the current “Me Too” movement. Hopefully the song helps women in that situation to walk away from toxic and abusive situations and gives them the confidence to understand their worth. ‘Drama‘ is also another emotional and personal song from Dave. The final song on the album follows the theme of the first track being a monologue without a chorus. Dave uses the song to speak to his older brother who is currently incarcerated. The track also features a snippet of his brother.

Overall, the album for me is possibly one of the best UK rap debut albums in a long time. A debut album in my opinion is supposed to let the world know who you exactly are and what you stand for. This album did all of that and more. From this album, Dave is a unique lyricist who cares about the world and wants to make a difference to the youth while also letting the older generation understand what it’s like to be him or someone like him . Dave is not scared to tell the truth and expose the falseness of ideologies. He uses his music to be real and honest. He touches on race, poverty, suicide, abuse, love, friendship, betrayal and so much more. Be prepared for intelligent wordplay, snazzy metaphors and incredible production. Hopefully this album can go to number 1 and if that is the case, it is thoroughly deserved.

I actually have tickets for the tour and I honestly cannot wait to hear and watch these songs performed live and feel the raw emotions.

Have a listen below:

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#NewMusicFriday

Hey everyone! Finally the end of the week which means new music has arrived! I’ve compiled a list of 5 songs recently released that I am loving! Have a listen below;

2 Chainz Ft. Lil Wayne & E-40 – 2 Dollar Bill

Lil Wayne has been on point with his features recently! This song, with West Coast vibes, is taken from 2 Chainz’ new album ‘Rap or Go to the League’ and is produced by DJ Mustard (so you know the beat is gonna be sick!). In the song the men compare themselves to a “2 Dollar Bill” which happens to be one of the rarest dollar bills in America. For me, Lil Wayne’s feature was the best on this song. There is a part in Wayne’s verse; ” I’m rare, like a commercial with Future and Cher, like a cop that’s fair, like a triple-double dare”, where the flow switches and you really see Lil Wayne’s talent. I like how all artists had great examples of things that were rare, some comical while some sensitive. Have a listen below:

Ms Banks Ft. Kida Kudz – Snack

UK rapper Ms Banks has been on a roll recently, having recently performed at the Brit Awards with Little Mix and now releasing a new banger. The song which uses a sample from Nigerian superstar Wizkid’s hit song “Don’t Dull” (2010) is a summer hit. The song which features Nigerian Afrobeat singer Kida Kudz is the first single released from her upcoming project ‘Coldest Winter Ever Pt.2’. I like the confidence Ms Banks exhibits in this song, I think this is a song that many women will be singing. The video is bright and bubbly too and gives me Nicki Minaj ‘Barbie Dreams’ vibes. I’m ready for this new and improved Ms Banks, it seems like she is ready to take over the female UK rap scene! Have a listen and watch below.


Mercston Ft Wretch 32 – No Banter

I previously uploaded the video to this on my Instagram page (www.instagram.com/musicandlifeblog). I love this song and the visuals! Wretch 32 was giving me Bob Marley vibes with his new look and sound and the two of them played off each-other so well with their playful lyrics. The chorus is possibly one of the most catchy hooks I’ve heard this year and I’m sure you will be singing “I feel a way” randomly throughout the day like I have been! The video reflects the fun vibe the song gives with the men having fun in the snow. I think this song will be played everywhere in the summer. Have a listen and watch the video below

2 Chainz Ft. Ariana Grande – Rule the World

Looking at this collaboration on paper, it’s hard to guess what this would sound like but you will be pleasantly surprised as their voices complimented each other throughout. The song also taken from 2 Chainz new album ‘Rap or Go to the League’ uses a sample from Amerie’s 2002 song “Why Don’t We Fall In Love”. Ariana sings the chorus “Top down on the Dawn like I’m used to it (Yeah), prayin’ you make it home like I’m used to it” with her unique soft but sensual voice. The song is produced by Hitmaka (or Yung Berg as I think of him as) and the beat compliments the fusion of both aritists. The song is one of those songs you can vibe to and feel good about. Check out below;

Here is the Amerie song that it was influenced by:

Giggs Ft. Wretch 32 Gwop Expenses

The Landlord Giggs arrives again with his new album ‘Big Bad’ which was released last week Friday. This is my favourite song from the track which features Wretch 32. Wretch has a memorable verse on this song and his witty wordplay does not go unnoticed. My favourite lines; ”
I got Jaden in my will, uncle, how you feel?, Call me Fresh Prince, I bring Bel-Air up to your grill”…who does metaphors as good as Wretch?! With all these features that Wretch has been killing recently, I really hope this is a sign for us to look forward to a new Wretch project hopefully coming soon. Check out the song below:

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#ThrowbackThursday 31/01/19

It’s that time of week where we reminisce on older but still classic songs. Here are a list of 3 throwback tracks. Have a read and listen below.

1. Usher Ft Alicia Keys – My Boo (US – 2004)

I was listening to this song on the way to work today and suddenly the song had a different meaning. The song taken from his HIT album Confessions I’ve always considered the song a love song and a song about two people singing about their love for one another; “You will always be my boo” especially sticks out. However, after listening to it today the penny dropped that the song demonstrates two people who still have feelings for each other despite no longer being together and both being in different relationships. The idea that “There’s always that one person that will always have your heart ” is common however the idea that that person may always be there even when you are with someone else is quite scary. How can you give your all to someone if someone is already occupying space? In my opinion there is a difference between a “first love” and someone “who always has your heart”. Despite the realisation of the meaning of the song, it is still one of my favourite Usher songs and the duet with Alicia is beautiful. They both hit harmonies angelically. Have a listen to the track below.


2. NSG – Referee (UK – 2016)

UK group NSG who are on fire at the moment with their smash hit ‘Options’ have been grinding for a while. This track which was featured in their EP “Grown Up” is still a banger today. The JAE5 produced track is also accompanied by cool visuals. NSG have been working hard for years but its great to see them shine and get the recognition they deserve. Have a listen and watch below.

3. Kendrick Lamar – LOVE – (US -2017)

The final entry for Throwback Thursday is from US rapper Kendrick Lamar. The song from his 2017 fourth studio album is one of my favourite songs from him. The song is quite soft in comparison to his usual work and focusses on the love and devotion he has with his fiancée. The vocals from Zacari blend very well with Kendrick’s rough but unique rapping style. Have a listen below;