24 years ago on March 9th 1997 we lost one of the greatest rappers, The Notorious B.I.G. I have always mentioned that Biggie will always be one of my favourite rappers of all time! His flow, delivery and energy is still unforgettable. To have music still affect, inspire and entertain people so long after your death is a real privilege. If you were to ask someone what their favourite Biggie song was, I’m sure they will struggle to narrow it down to only 1!! It’s hard to imagine how much further he could have gone if he was given much more time on this earth!
I haven’t checked out the Biggie documentary that is currently out on Netflix but I will give it a try! This week’s #TuneTuesday is one of the many Biggie hits, “Sky’s the Limit” featuring 112. The song is a great song to describe Biggie. Each verse on the song describes and portrays different parts of Biggie’s life. The intro of the track also contains a clip of Biggie’s mother Voletta Wallace.
In other news, March 9th is also Bow Wow’s birthday! Bow Wow was my childhood crush and I am still a huge fan of his previous music! If you haven’t, check out my earlier appreciation post on him:
Hey everyone, just a reminder of how amazing music is. I’ve previously spoken about how music is considered therapy to many due to the fact that there is pretty much a song for every situation in life. I’ve decided to do a series of posts dedicated to specific feelings and provide you with a list of songs to help you or support you through that time.
There are times we all feel we are maybe not doing enough or feel like giving up in some situations. Today’s post is dedicated to songs to listen to when you are in need of motivation or a pick me up or just for something to keep you inspired. This is just part 1 as there are so many songs I could have mentioned so for now I’ve given you 10. Have a read below…
Yolanda Adams -I Believe (2001)
The first song that comes to my head when thinking of songs to provide me with confidence is this. The song is probably most known for being in the ‘Honey’ soundtrack. I used to listen to the song on the way to school whenever I had exams to give me the confidence and belief I needed. The lyrics are very motivating;
But never mind the nights you had to cry ‘Cause you have never let it go inside You worked real hard And you know exactly what you want and need
The song encourages you to believe that you can achieve your dreams and focus on the possibilities rather than the negatives tearing you down. My favourite lines have to be;
So just believe they will come true in time It will be fine Leave all of your cares and stress behind Just let it go Let the music flow inside Forget all your pain And just start to believe
This song should 100% make you feel some kind of motivation and self belief.
Bashy – Black Boys (2009)
UK rapper Bashy is possibly loved by so many men due to the impact of this song. In the intro Bashy says ; “This is out to all the black boys growing up, yeah. There’s bare positive black boys around you making movements…making movements toward success“. This song is an ode specifically to Black Boys all around. In a world where they are the minority and sometimes persecuted due to their colour, this song lets them know they are not alone. The song touches on the successful Black Men in media and in life that are doing and where doing well. All those men could be considered role models to young black boys listening. This song is still relevant today in a society where Black boys are killing each-other in every part of the world, some black boys may be feeling de motivated but they must remember “Ooh child, things are gonna get easier…Ooh child things will get brighter”
Beyoncé and Walter Williams, Sr. (of The O’Jays), Walter Williams – He Still Loves Me(2003)
Religious music is always considered inspirational as it puts things into perspective while putting you at ease. This particular song is also from a movie called ‘The Fighting Temptations’ but the message should not be missed.
I used to wake up some days And wish I’d stayed asleep Cause I went to bed on top of the world Today the worlds on top of me
There are times when you wake up stressed or de motivated, it happens to the best of us. It’s good to remember that regardless of what religion you are part of, there is a greater spirit out there that believes in you unconditionally. Beyonce sings “Stand for him or fall for anything”, so those who believe in God…I urge you to always pray to him not only for thanks but also when you are in doubt. You have to believe he will always have the answers because he does. The Lord still and will ALWAYS love you.
Biggie – Juicy (1994)
I don’t know anyone that knows Biggie that doesn’t know this song. This could be considered one of his most memorable songs of all time. Beyond the catchy chorus, the lyrics behind are quite inspirational. The intro of the song Biggie states
Yeah, this album is dedicated To all the teachers that told me I’d never amount to nothin’ To all the people that lived above the buildings that I was hustlin’ in front of Called the police on me when I was just tryin’ to make some money to feed my daughter (it’s all good)
Biggie explores the idea that many people did not believe in him but now he has shown them that he has made it. Throughout the song he raps about the difference between his previous life before he became succesful and now that he has. The song is a good reminder to anyone that you may not be the only person that feels like the world is against you. If anything, that should be used as motivation to prove everyone wrong. Throughout the song we can hear Total singing;
You know very well Who you are Don’t let ’em hold you down Reach for the stars You had a goal But not that many ‘Cause you’re the only one I’ll give you good and plenty
^^^^If anything that chorus should be resonating with you whenever you whenever you start to doubt yourself. The hook sounds like your conscience talking to you telling you you’ve got this!!
DJ Khaled – All I Do Is Win Ft. T-Pain, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross & Ludacris (2010)
This is a more modern motivational song. This song is more of a song that when you listen to, you feel on top of the world and that you can do anything. Possibly when you’ve overcome your depression or doubts, this is the song for you. It’s all about winning in life. I just want to add that a win is relative, it could be something small from motivating yourself to get up if you’ve been feeling depressed or it could be something big like the fact you’ve saved up for your dream car. Celebrate every achievement in your life whether big or small. A win is a win and remember ALL WE DO IS WIN!!!.
T.I. – Big Shit Poppin‘ (2001)
From the beginning of the song; “Hey, hey, what you waitin’ for? Do it, do it, do it—what you waitin’ for?“, you already know what T.I is going to say. This song may make you realise to just go for whatever you are stalling on! He even raps; “Don’t listen to them suckers when they say you too irrational” meaning ignore the haters and doubters. So whateve you’re delaying doing due to fear or doubt or overthinking? DO IT!
Dj Khaled Ft. Nipsey Hussle and John Legend – Higher (2019)
This could be considered to be one of the most popular intros to an album of this generation. The song starts off slow when Meek says “I used to pray for times like this” as he talks about his past. The song then eventually builds up to Meek describing his success. The energy you get from this song is enough to get you out of your feet and ready to face the world!
Nipsey Hussle Ft YG – Last Time I Checc’d Ft YG (2018)
After Nipsey’s death I feel this song was one of the most common songs played around memorials for Nip. In this song, like his others, Nipsey spreads wisdom about the importance of self ownership. YG raps about the advice Nipsey gave him in the song “Fuck the middle man” meaning cut out all the extras and do thing yourself. The beat of the song is also very upbeat and I genuinely believe this is a song that will be played for many more years to come. Rest in peace Nipsey. All Money In!
Beyonce – Run The World (Girls) (2011)
This song is probably motivational for many women. I would say this is the perfect song to play when you are at work and feel possibly conscious of the fact that maybe you are being treated badly due to the fact there are few women. I would also say this song is perfect for mothers that need motivation to know how amazing they are. Women are amazing and conquer so much on a daily basis. Sometimes songs like this are great for reminding us our worth.
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.
Today’s song of the day is called Back to Life” by American rapper Russ.
The track contains the the theme of Russ resisting his haters and persevering through all obstacles and criticism. The song is very motivational and can be seen as an uplifting song to anyone feeling like they have a lot of people against them. It is filled with useful , positive phrases such as “To get through it I go through it. No losing, just learning”. Those are definitely words to live by.
Having recently discovered Russ , I feel he is quite unique in the sense his music has a habit of captivating you with a certain message. In the second verse he says “My rival is my reflection
When I pursue perfection…I’m using your negativity, Channeling my aggression”. The song is evidently filled with great quotes and the positivity really does resonate throughout the whole song.
The highly anticipated debut album from woman of the moment Cardi B is finally out!!! Her debut song ‘Bodak Yellow’ was arguably one of the hits of 2017. The song allowed the world to see Cardi B in a different light, a legitimate artist, rather than just a character on the TV show “Love and Hip Hop’. This album is one of the best debut rap albums I have heard in a while. The production on each song is incredible and you can tell some real thought and effort when into the making of this album. I will focus on specific songs in due course and I always believe albums should take time to marinate in your ears for at least a week before you can choose the real hits. However, on first listen these are my quick opinions.
Get up 10 (Intro) . This is such a great introduction to the album and reminds me of the infamous introduction on Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nighmares’ album. Favourite line: “I was covered in dollars, now I’m drippin’ in jewels”, pretty much sums up Cardi as a whole.
Drip Ft. Migos. Typical Migos song meaning very hyped and very catchy, Cardi’s verse was good. Only issue is that Cardi was drowned out on her own song. Migos definitely overtook it. Favourite line would have to be every adlib when “Ice” is mentioned.
Bickenhead. Pure rap. This song really demonstrates Cardi’s rap ability. The song will definitely have you bopping your head. Favourite line: “I’ma flex like a ‘roid, I’m a ten, she a ‘droid”
Bodak Yellow. Classic. The song that started it all and it is yet to get old. Favourite line: “These expensive, these is red bottoms, these is bloody shoes”….classic!
Be Careful. This song was released a few days earlier and while many were not expected this direction from Cardi, I welcome the refreshment. Only wish is that a singer such as Dej Loaf was the one singing the chorus. It is nice to see Cardi in a more vulnerable light though and it reminds us that she is human and can be be versatile. Favourite lines: “Thinkin’ I’m flawed because you inconsistent… It’s gon’ hurt me to hate you, but lovin’ you’s worse”.
Best Life Ft. Chance the Rapper. One of my favourites on the album. I love the sentiment behind it. Chance as usual adds his own unique signature to it. Favourite line: “I made a couple M’s with my best friends, turned all my L’s into lessons”
I like it Ft. Bad Bunny & J Balvin . If you are a fan of Reggaeton or latina music, this song will definitely win your hearts. You cannot listen to this song without feeling like you want to salsa or cha-cha! Favourite line: Oh he’s so handsome, what’s his name”. Full review coming soon.
Ring Ft. Kehlani. This song is enough to get anyone in their feels. Kehlani’s beautiful voice provides the song with a R&B feel. Favourite line: “You gon’ be sick to your, stomach” (more the tone change at that part but will provide a more detailed review in due course)
Money Bag. Possibly my least favourite on the album because the song sounds extremely similar to ‘Bodak Yellow’ in terms of the flow. This song does have one of my favourite lines though; “I said “Bae, it’s a snack,” he said it’s a entrée”. Haha
Bartier Cardi Ft. 21 Savage. This song was released as the second single on this album (after Bodak Yellow). The flow on this demonstrates her ability and I believe 21 Savage compliments the vibe of this song so well. Favourite line: “I like hot sauce on my chicken”
She Bad Ft. YG. I almost didn’t even recognise YG on this song! He sounds very different but I do like this song. Favourite line: “I could buy designer but this Fashion Nova fit”
I Do Ft. SZA. A very fitting end to the album andI can’t think of anyone else who would do this song justice other than SZA. Favourite line: “My little 15 minutes lasted long as hell, huh”