#NewMusicFriday Kintsugi EP by Lexi Tréble!

#NewMusicFriday is here and todays post is dedicated to the debut EP from Lexi Tréble!!

I had the privilege of hearing the EP a few days ago and honestly, hand on heart I have been playing it ever since. Having spoken to Lexi, it is clear her musical influences definitely come from artists such as Solange Knowles, IAMDDB, Lauryn Hill and many more soul/jazz/r&b artists. The EP title “Kintsugi” is Japanese and is the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. According to Lexi this is relevant as for her she believes it relates to life and the idea of growing and healing with situations in life. The Japanese theme is also reflected within the artwork and visuals she has released. From this I knew this EP was going to be a meaningful piece of art.

The first track “Crash and Burn” is a brilliant opening track. I always talk about the importance of intro tracks on projects as it’s the first chance for the artist to show us who they are. As soon as the track starts and Lexi sings, I can tell this is going to be an interesting track. The juxtapositioning of the anticipation provided by the background music and the title of the track for me is perfect. She is singing about crashing and burning which indicates it is the end of something, but the music makes it feel like more is to come. I feel this song will be perfect in a movie or tv show where there is something about to happen, maybe a chase scene. A great intro track as it leaves you wanting more and wondering what other sound can be produced!

The next track “Go” starts off with a slower pace but picks up throughout. It’s funny because I feel Lexi’s voice is quite unique which is rare nowadays. This song is the kind that would sound even more amazing with a live band! The vocal ranges she exhibits in this song is the standout moment for me. I get the impression that she is telling the romantic interest that he should leave because of his actions and she is realising all she has is herself. The content reminds me of Beyoncé’s “Me, Myself and I” with the idea that you can only really rely on yourself. The uncertainty continues into the track “Distant Memories” as she sings “I find myself questioning love…you called me your muse but now I’m just your fool”. This is one of my favourite tracks from the EP as I feel the combination of the beats and Lexi’s voice have the best combination. The uncertainty continues into the track “Distant Memories” as she sings “I find myself questioning love…you called me your muse but now I’m just your fool”. This is one of my favourite tracks from the EP as I feel the combination of the beats and Lexi’s voice have the best combination.

The 4th track from the EP “Superficial” is my absolute favourite. The content/message, sound, compositing is just perfect. Again, this is another song that would be perfect live with an audience singing back. This song is the kind of song I would play for my little cousins in order for them to take the messages being put across. This is an important song in a society where most people are superficial and distracted by unmeaningful things. Lexi sings “Don’t be so superficial, there’s more to life…when you go outside live life to your fullest, don’t need no designer to feel alright”. Lexi reminds us that life is about the simple things and not the artificial moments. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of maintaining an image or impressing others but we have to remember life is for living. There is more to life than designer labels, Instagram likes or chasing boys or girls. This will be the first single released from the tape too so I look forward to seeing the video for this!

Love Me Right” is a powerful self-loving anthem. Lexi sings “I’ve got to love me right” meaning that love starts from within before anything else. Going with the theme of the EP, the end of EP focusses on the regeneration of Lexi. In the song she sings “I know that real love has got to start with me”;

We have seen how she was broken in the beginning and how through the journey of healing she is realising what is important and is putting herself back together. The final track “Look At Me Now” is the perfect ending to the EP as Lexi reflects at how far she has come “Look at me now, I’m not the same little child…oh how I’ve changed”. A self-reflecting therapeutic song where we see how much Lexi has grown and how she now sees the bad moments as lessons.

As the first realised EP from Lexi, this is pretty impressive. The EP stuck to theme and took us listeners on a journey through every song. Every song had its own meaning and back story while still keeping a unique sound to each. I have personally added every song to my ‘Vibes’ Spotify playlist and I hope this is the beginning of more music from Lexi.

Check out her music below as well as her socials;

https://www.instagram.com/lexitreble/

hyperurl.co/d9frh5

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New Music: What I’ve been listening to…

Hey everyone, just an update on some of the latest music I’ve been listening to at the moment. Last week was a big week for music releases so stay tuned for some album reviews soon!

Chris Brown Ft Drake – No Guidance

FINALLY!!!! This collaboration has been LONG overdue!!! When I first heard the song I thought it was an old collab that had just been leaked but Chris confirmed it was new and released it. It’s nice to see that the two have sorted out their differences because I would argue that they are possibly two of the most talented artists we have at the moment. The song feels like a joint song rather than one featuring another. The end of the song when the tone changes and Drake has his verse sounds like an old school Drake vibe. Chris kept consistent energy too. I hope this is the beginning of a lot more collabs between the two.

Skepta – Gangsta Ft BBK

Skepta has finally released his new album ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ and it contains a few features. The premise of the song is focusing on people that act like they’re not. This song features some of the members of BBK. For me though, the stand out verse is from none other than Skepta’s blood brother JME. My favourite lines from him would have to be when he says “Waste of money and time, please stop (trust). You cannot buy gangster from shop, bare logos, bare designers you lot are looking like F1 drivers”. This is the idea that people equate status to the amount of labels they wear when really they look more ridiculous. Have a listen below;

CE Ft. Wavey – Drown

CE is back with another one. This time he recruits Wavey and the song is one of those songs that you would want to zone out to. It will have you singing “baby don’t tell me you’re leaving” after hearing it, trust me!

Skepta – What Do You Mean Ft. J Hus

I’ve repeated so many times that J Hus is the king of hooks! Have him on a song and it is an instant hit. Hus has the ability to give special meanings to normal words. The beat of this song was produced by IO, who has previously produced a lot of Dave songs. Someone mentioned that this song sounds very similar to 50 Cent’s song “If I Can’t” and I have noticed it ever since! Hus and Skepta bounce off eachother . As usual there are many quotables from Hus such as “You’re on the other side if you aint on my team“. A great paring.

Rotimi – Love Riddim

Rotimi is back with another slow jam for us. I love how his voice makes me feel. As a Nigerian, I hear the African influence in his music but as a r&b lover I also hear his influence from that genre. Have a listen below;

Mo Stack – Respect & Love

UK rapper Mo Stack has finally dropped his anticipated debut album. I will do a personal review on the project as a whole but this particular song has been on repeat since I first heard the album. It has such a fun vibe, I hope there is a video going to be released for it.

Tyga Ft. Chris Brown & J Balvin – Haute

Anytime Tyga and Chris Brown have a song together you already know it’s going to be a hit! This song is no different. I like the addition of who seems to be the star of features at the moment, J Balvin. I’ve always said how much I love the Spanish language in general and in songs so his addition was definitely a pleasure for the ears.

#ThrowbackThursday Donell Jones…A Pioneer?

Donell Jones…R&B Pioneer?

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

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

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

Donell Jones – Where I Wanna Be (2000)

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

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

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

Donell Jones – This Luv (1999)

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

Donell Jones – I Wanna Luv U (1999)

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

Here is the album link below;

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

DJ Khaled – Father of Asahd Review

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

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

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

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

Wish Wish’ (featuring Cardi B and 21 Savage)

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

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

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

‘Just Us’ (featuring SZA)

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

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

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

‘Higher’ (featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend)

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

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

The Marathon is continuing.

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

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

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

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

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

My overall rating is: 7/0

Revisiting Time: Beyoncé – Lemonade

In honor of not only Throwback Thursday but also the joy that Lemonade is FINALLY on Spotify, I wanted to revisit my views on Beyoncé’s most recent solo album. When I first heard this album my compliments were reserved as I was expecting a more upbeat album. However, having had time to digest I feel this album is possibly one of her most powerful, honest and mature albums. I love when songs on an album tell a story via the track listing. Most of the songs on this album follow on and finish off from each other. The album for me screams pain, struggle, loneliness and hopelessness. I’ve named some songs below that I feel are really poignant;

Pray you Catch Me:

The first track from the album as with most intro tracks paints a picture of what the future songs may be about. The title of the song implies vulnerability and is obvious at this point the album will mostly be about her relationship with her husband. The idea she repeatedly sings “Pray to catch you whispering, I pray you catch me listening” implies that she wants her lover to know she is seeing what is happening and is hurting. The song is quite mellow, but you can’t miss the pain that is evident in it. The last lines “What are you doing my love?” show the hopelessness and confusion she has been made to feel from this pain the man who she considers her love.

Hold Up:

This is personally my favourite song from the album. Many people loved the song due to the dramatic video but for me this song shows the depths of Beyoncé vocal ability. Aside from her vocals, we see another side to Beyoncé. Following on from her pleading in the first song she sings “Can’t you see there’s no other man above you? What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you” letting him understand how crazy it is that he would risk ruining the support she gives him. In this song she also ignores her usual politeness and reminds us she’s got a sassy side to her! “I don’t wanna lose my pride, but I’ma fuck me up a bitch”. As of recent Beyoncé has been more free with her language in her songs and this is a prime example. She questions herself as many women would in this situation; “Know that I kept it sexy, you know I kept it fun” meaning that she did everything she thought would be enough and yet he still strayed. Another point to add from this song is that not only is she expressing her love for him, she is also reminding him who was there from the beginning (her). The repeated lines “They don’t love you like I love you” and when she sings “Let’s imagine for a moment that you never made a name for yourself or mastered wealth….Never made it out the cage, never had the baddest woman in the game up in your sheets”. With those lyrics she reminds him that she is a ride or die and has been there despite his wealth unlike the women he has been cheating with. I love the instruments used in this song and the way they compliment the mood of the lyrics.

Don’t Hurt Yourself:

Following on from “Hold Up”, this song is a pure anger that it feels like a venting session. It feels like at this moment of the album, Beyoncé is at breaking point and is just filled with rage. Again, this shows a more explicit version of Beyoncé with the frequent use of swear words. The song reminds me of the tone of her older song “Ring the Alarm”. In the song she sings about the frustration she feels from his lack of trying; “You ain’t trying hard enough, you ain’t loving hard enough” again reiterating the point that the man in question seems to be giving up. The most important words for me in the song come right at the end as she calmly says “If you try this shit again, you gon’ lose your wife”. In all the songs leading up onto these words, she never dropped an ultimatum like that, she usually expressed her anger or hurt or frustration, so those words are quite final and chilling.

Sorry:

This unapologetic anthem is possibly my second favourite song on the album and is another female anthem. This song reminds me of the impact of her song “Irreplaceable” and even many of her Destiny Child’s songs. The song focuses on the aftermaths of a breakup as Beyoncé famously sings “I ain’t sorry”. In the song she encourages women to sing “boy bye” as an act of strength. Towards the end she sings “Me & my baby, we gon’ be alright” implying that she will survive despite the heartbreak she has endured. The song is accompanied by a strong video featuring Serena Williams. For me, the cameo from Serena is quite poignant as during this time and throughout her successful career, Serena has endured so much criticism. The idea of her in this video feels like she is showing how unapologetic she is being who she is.

6 Inch Ft. The Weeknd

While this isn’t one of my favourites, I like the message that is embedded in it. The song is a great motivational song that empowers women. The song uses the setting of a strip club where the woman in question is one of the dancers. In the song she sings “She works for the money, she work for the money” showing that she is there to earn money for the work she is doing. A professional approach to a job, just as everyone else would be in their job. 

Freedom Ft. Kendrick Lamar & Formation 

Similarly to 6 Inch, both songs are another examples of empowering anthems however with also the added focusses on race and black women. For me the visuals that come with Freedom song are powerful as the video features the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner. The feature from Kendrick is perfect as I couldn’t think of any other rapper that would have done it justice like he did. Formation, another black power anthem references police brutality, race in America while also encouraging women to be strong and “slay”. 

All Night 

This powerful ballad is such a beautiful love song. Another one of my favourites from the album, Beyoncé vocals really shine. With this being the last song on the album alluding to love or even relationships, it can be argued to be a climax. I feel like Beyoncé is comforting her husband in this song and reassuring him “Our love was stronger than your pride. Beyond your darkness, I’m your light”. She expresses how she knows that together they are the best they can be and they are a pair. She further sings “But every diamond has imperfections” which could be a reference to her relationship and how every relationship has flaws. The last line of the song is Beyoncé saying “How I missed you, my love” which is in parallel to her closing line of her first song on the album when she said “What are you doing my love?”. The song can be argued to be the climax to the anguish, pain and suffering she had endured throughout the album.

The album as a whole contains so much emotion and rawness that it’s easy to see how and why it took so long to be released. Hopefully Beyoncé releases a new piece of work soon that can start where this ended, with her in a happier place. 

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;

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.