Posted in Album Reviews, music

Album Review: Ty Dolla $ign – ‘Featuring Ty Dolla $ign’

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

US artist Ty Dolla $ign is probably best known for enhancing many of the songs he features on. Personally, I’ve always preferred Ty Dolla features more that his personal projects and it’s clear this must be a common feeling for people which explains the name of this new album from him. You could even argue that it is almost a cheat code to have him on your track because with his smooth sound, you almost always know the song is going to be a smash hit! Despite all this, after seeing the tracklist for this album, I was still intrigued to hear how some of the songs would sound!

Do you agree with this meme!?
Image from: https://i.redd.it/11osts7qvrh21.jpg

After playing the album back a few times in these past few days, I can honestly say I really enjoyed it! A lot of the songs on the album have replay value which in this day and age is quite rare. I feel Ty Dolla has the ability to put you at ease with his music regardless of the song context. Below are some of the songs that stood out to me:

Temptations Ft. Kid Cudi

OMG! I haven’t heard music from Kid Cudi in a very very long time!!! It feels good to hear him on a song! Kid Cudi and Ty Dolla have very similar sounds so they work well together on this one. From the lyrics in this song I get the impression that they are both singing about their women breaking up with them and leaving them. It seems that despite all the options they both now have access to, they are still missing their exes Hearing Kid Cudi made me reminisce to the old days when he was running the charts! I hope this is the beginning of more music from him!

Burna Boy Interlude

This interlude shocked me!!! I thought my shuffle had gone off into my Burna Boy playlist when I first heard this! I still don’t know the link between Burna Boy and Ty Dolla and have only heard them on a Kranium track together (Hotel). I guess it’s a nice surprise having him feature on the album somehow.

Tyrone 2021 Ft. Big Sean

Another smooth song on the album! This is the kind of the song that you will be bopping your head to! The slow pace suits Big Sean too! The song title is a reference to Erykah Badu’s 1997 song “Tyrone” where she talks about a good for nothing man. You can even hear Erykah’s voice throughout the song. Ty Dolla’s version is a flipped version of the original where he talks about a good for nothing woman. ‘Tyrone’ in this case is the one telling his friend to forget the woman who is doing nothing good for him. Big Sean. from his verse sounds like the poor man who is suffering.

Real Life Ft. Roddy Rich & Mustard

Ty Dolla, Roddy Rich and DJ Mustard on a song?? You just KNOW it’s going to be a hit! I love the consistency throughout this album, each song has its own vibe going on and despite the star studded features, the Ty Dolla’s sound is not compromised. The quote; “cops still killing n****s in real life” sounds smooth on the track until you actually realise the severity of that statement. Unfortunately I guess it is “real life” and will never be able to sound right on a song no matter how it’s dropped. Some light on this song was that Roddy and Ty both were able to recount some of their wins and joys which is beautiful to hear. I really enjoyed Ty Dolla’s harmonies on this song too, many times it felt like he was battling himself!

Nothing Like your Exes

This is one of the songs I’ve had on repeat since hearing the album! I genuinely don’t know any other artist with a sound like Ty Dolla. He will have you believing he is nothing like your exes with conviction after this song! I also really enjoyed how this song merged perfectly into the song below. In terms of the order of this album I really believe Ty got it spot on. I could listen to this album in the order he’s arranged it again.

By Yourself Ft. Jhené Aiko & Mustard

I love this song!!!! Firstly we have to talk about the sample!!! This song samples Billie Piper’s 1998 song “G.h.e.t.t.o.u.t” which you can hear more in the beginning of the track and towards the end. Mustard does an excellent job of remixing the sample into a more modern Ty Dolla kind of sound! Now onto Jhené! Both her and Ty Dolla are kings and queens of blessing any track they feature on. We’ve heard them most recently on Big Sean’s song “Body Language” released from his most recent album (another hit!). The two are clearly experts in bringing out the best out of one another. One thing I’ve noticed recently about Jhené is that she has that independent woman vibe going on! Her verse on this song does a great job of conveying that too! My favourite verse on the song for sure!

Universe Ft. Kehlani

The content of this song is beautiful, such positive vibes. Ty Dolla touches on the good things happening in his life at the moment. He starts the song “The universe must want me to win. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, ever been, yeah…feeling this good should be a sin“. The tone seems to be motivated by love and a woman in his life. Kehlani’s verse emphasises his point by agreeing that the universe has sent an angel from above.

Lift Me Up Ft. Future & Young Thug

I can’t say I like the lyrics of this song too much as it’s basically bragging rights between all these men. I do however like the fusion of Young Thug, Future and Ty Dolla’s voice.

Slow It Down

This is one of those songs you can really feel the purpose of the track. I can see why Ty put this song towards the end of the album as it’s a more slowed down and raw feel. His lyrics leave little to the imagination but the stripped back feel of the song exposes it even more. The harmonies and backing vocals in the song are wonderful. A definite contender for my slow jams mix!

Your Turn Ft. Musiq Soulchild, Tish Hyman & 6LACK

Any song with 6lack or Musiq Soulchild featuring, just know you’ve won me over! Ty Dolla actually stated that his favourite lyric from this album is from this song; “Nobody is truly yours, it’s just your turn”. This partnered up with Musiq Soulchild’s verse where he claims he’s holding on because he’s fallen in love 3 times in his life and doesn’t know why. I somewhat agree with the statements in this song. Sometimes people like to believe that things are more complicated than they are when really it could just be fate or right place, right time.

Image from: https://www.thefader.com/2020/10/14/ty-dolla-sign-is-releasing-a-solo-album-called-featuring-ty-dolla-sign

It was actually genuinely quite hard to pinpoint only a few songs from the album that I enjoyed the most! The features on this album have really shown me that Ty Dolla is just as a good as a main artist as he is a featured artist. He really held his own on this album. The whole album was a vibe and it’s rare that an album this long in length maintains the high quality! Thoroughly enjoyed this piece of work! Check it out below!

Posted in music

#MusicMondays: Yung Bleu – You’re Mines Still Ft. Drake

This weeks #MusicMonday is from my current favourite US artist Yung Bleu!!! Yung Bleu recently released his EP ‘Love Scars: The 5 Stages of Emotions Deluxe’ which features the new Drake remix. I’ve been a fan of Yung Bleu since hearing his song ‘Unappreciated’ back in 2018! I find his voice and tone so soothing!

The original ‘You’re Mines Still’ was one of my favourite tracks from his EP. Hearing that Drake was going to add a verse to it, I was very sceptical. I felt like the song didn’t really need any other addition. My first few listens to the remix, I was not that impressed with Drake’s added verse however having listened to the track a lot more times, I’m converted!! I actually believe this may be Drake’s best feature verses in a while. It features classic Drake quotables which he does so well. This is why I always say it is so crucial to give music time to marinate before you make a solid decision.

Part of Drake’s verse:

“But pretty taught me ugly lessons. Pretty had me givin’ more than I was gettin’, so if pretty don’t come with somethin’, well, then I dead it.
Ashamed to tell my friends how much I’d do for you… ‘Cause they know that you would never do the same for me”…

–Drake

Have a listen below:

Posted in music, Music videos

Video Pick: Unknown T – Daily Duppy

As a BIG rap fan, UK music outlet GRM Daily’s ‘Daily Duppy’s’ are something I always look forward to. It’s even more exciting when I hear a rapper I genuinely like is going to be featured. This was the case for UK drill rapper Unknown T. He definitely did not disappoint either!

Fresh home and on a roll with his releases, this Daily Duppy was long overdue. Filled with the usual wordplay format, his signature adlibs and signature dance moves, this is easily one of my top Daily Duppy’s.

Unknown T has also announced his new mixtape will be dropping on the 17th of July 2020 and I for one, cannot wait!

Check out his Daily Duppy below:

I loved his previous BBC Live Lounge performance last year which for me demonstrated his versatility. As a drill artist you expect them to stay in one lane especially with a distinctive voice like Unknown T has. However, this live lounge really solidified him as an all round artist in general. It’s a wonderful rare talent for an artist to be given any genre of song and any sound and still be able to make it their own. For me, Unknown T is one of the best in the UK right now.

Check out his previous live lounge below;

Posted in music

#Quarantine&Chill Week 2: Songs that I’ve been playing this past week…

So! It’s been 2 weeks since the UK have gone into official “lockdown”. The good news is that we are in another month meaning we are one month closer to the end of this madness hopefully! I hope you have all been keeping safe and sane during this lockdown. Personally, I’ve found this lockdown quite hard in some occasions but I find that keeping myself busy helps time pass and causes me to worry less. Listening to music is a great escape for most people so of course I’ve put below some of the songs I’ve been playing in the past week. Hopefully some of these songs can provide you comfort during these uncertain times. Stay safe everyone!

Popcaan – Only Jah Know (2014)

Throwing it back with this first song here. I’ve been listening to a lot more Bashment and dancehall songs recently. I am hoping to create a playlist for one soon once I improve my knowledge. In the meantime, I’ve been revisiting this song by Jamaican Dancehall legend Popcaan recently as it’s one of my favourite Popcaan songs. The song is quite sad but it is very relevant to the situation now. There’s so much bad news at the moment and so many people are losing their lives that has probably made people feel helpless, sad, scared and confused. In this song Popcaan refers to the fact that despite all the negativity and sadness, “Only Jah Knows”, ‘Jah’, which is the Rastafarian name for God. In relation to the pandemic now, it may be comforting to keep your faith and understand that God has a plan, regardless of whether we understand it, it will all be okay in the end. Have a listen to the song below;

Flavour Ft. PC Lapez- Kanayo (2020)

Following on from a cultural theme, this is another song I’ve had on repeat these past few days. The song is by Nigerian singer Flavour who sings in his native tongue Igbo. The song meaning translates to “Let’s continue to seek or beg God for mercy”. Similarly to the Popcaan song, this is another great song to listen to at a time like this, the song provides some comfort and is a prayer for everyone during these unprecedented times. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Flavour and I love that he regularly sings in my native tongue but regardless of whether you understand what he is saying, the instruments and feel of the song should put you at ease. Flavour is great at providing the highlife feel/mood with his music, the instruments he uses always make you feel like you are in the room with them all. Have a listen below;

DaBaby – Find My Way (2020)

DaBaby is on of the most popular artists in the US at the moment, with great reason! He makes so many great songs and he the personality to match. However, he has encountered a lot of controversy recently which can be argued is the downside to being a star. He is back with a new song providing us with a more vulnerable side to him and a different style that what we are used to with him. It’s obvious that the controversy surrounding DaBaby as of recent is getting to him as in the song he states “& every single person in my life tell me I’m their hero but when it’s up and then go down, they treat me like the villain”. I like the honesty in this song and it’s clear DaBaby has a creative side as the song is accompanied by a 10-minute movie which has Bonnie & Clyde feels. Have a watch below;

Nipsey Hussle – Bigger Than Life (2012)

Earlier this week (31st of March) was the first anniversary of the death of the late great Nipsey Hussle. If you haven’t read it, feel free to read my dedication to him from last year; https://wordpress.com/posts/musicandlifeblog.com?s=nipsey

There’s something special about this song for me. In the beginning Nipsey states that the song is dedicated to everyone with a dream and says “I don’t want the fame, I just want y’all to feel me“. Nipsey always spoke his truth with any chance he got. This song should provide everyone with the confidence and belief that anything in this life is possible but should also be served as a reminder that life is short. Towards the end of the song he says “I ain’t worried about it cos I know God got me” and thats a motto to live by. The Marathon will forever continue.

Big Tobz Ft. Dizzee Rascal – Smoke (2020)

Big Tobz continues to surprise me if I’m honest. He recently released a new project called “Issa Vibe” and this is one of my favourite songs from there. He links up with legend Dizzee and the back to back between them is class. It’s clear to me that Big Tobz thrives the most when he is able to go back to back with someone, whether it’s Blittz, Cadet (R.I.P.) or now Dizzee. Dizzee demonstrates in this song why he is one of the GOATS and it’s nice to hear him on a song with a newer star being Tobz. Check it out below;

Kiana Ledé – Wicked Games (2018)

Kiana has actually just released a new album this weekend but this song from her previous project has been on repeat for me recently. I’m even sure I’ve spoken about this song before but it’s still a favourite. The song is based on a relationship where the guy is taking advantage and is playing games. Have a listen below;

Geko Ft. Lotto Boyzz – Repeat Remix (2020)

Geko and Lotto Boyzz are both back with a collaborative banger. It’s no surprise that these 3 make such a good song as individually they are great at that. There’s no way this song will not have you singing back after hearing it. Geko maintains his usual waviness and Lotto Boyzz provide a unique addition. Lotto Lucas cool and collected with his rap verses and Lotto Ash of course bringing the harmonies and sensational voice. Last but certaintly not least, the song is produced by JAE5 so of course there’s no way this song wouldn’t have worked! Have a listen below:

Money Heist Song – Bella Ciao

If you’re a fan of the Netflix Spanish hit show ‘Money Heist’, you would know this song from a mile off! Since season 4 has been released this song is back in my head! The song actually originates from an old Italian folk song. Have a listen below

Posted in music

#Quarantine&Chill Week 1: Songs and suggestions to get you through the next week…

What a week it’s been, here in the UK!! On the 23rd of March 2020, the UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced a lockdown for the whole of the UK as a result of the ongoing outbreak of the Coronavirus Covid-19. This lockdown meant that unless you were a key worker, you had to remain indoors and only leave for exercise once a day or to buy essentials. All of this of course is to help the nation fight against the worldwide pandemic happening.

If like me, you suffer from anxiety, a big change like this could be detrimental to your mental health. I’ve always expressed how music for me is my way of sometimes being able to disconnect from the madness of the world but also to comfort me in times of need. I’m going to try and provide weekly lists of songs I’ve been listening to throughout the week and also provide you with some tips that may help us all through this challenging time. The most important thing I’ve learnt and had to accept from this situation is that it is out of anyones control however there is some light at the end of this. As long as everyone continues doing the part (staying at home and social distancing), we will get through this. Here are some songs I’ve listened to this past week, old and new! I’ve also created a playlist for those working from home to listen to, music that you an have on in the background without getting distracted! I’ll put the link below! Have a nice week everybody and remember we are one week closer to this being over…

Lotto Boyzz Ft. Dappy – +44

I’m a big big fan of Lotto Boyzz and am so glad they are back with some new music. if you aren’t familiar with their music, listen to their previous EP “Afrobbean”. With this first comeback single, they recruit rapper Dappy who fits the tone of the song perfectly. Lotto Ash’s voice is sensational on this track and it’s nice to hear Lotto Lucas back to his best. Dappy showcased his talent to spit some very catchy metaphors. This is a nice song to chill and vibe to especially during the downtime we are all having now. It will have you singing that you could “Never be a plus four, four”!

John Legend Actions

John Legend hosted a small concert from his home and broadcasted live on his instagram last weekend. During this live, he debuted his new single ‘Actions’. Fast forward and the song is officially out!! You will most likely recognise the sample John has used from Dr Dre’s 2000 classic song “The Next Episode” which of course is still a sample from “The Edge”, a song by David McCallum. This version is a nice flip from the song we are used to and it surprisingly works really well with it. This song is one of the first to be released from John Legend’s upcoming album. Have a listen below:

Jadakiss Ft Ty Dolla Sign – (NYB) Need Your Best

This is one of the songs on Jadakiss’ recent album ‘Ignatius’ that he released March 6th. I’m an old school Jadakiss fan and although I haven’t taken in the album properly, this song was one of the ones that stood out for me. Ty Dolla provides the vocals as beautifully as he usually does. Have a listen below:

Skepta Ft. Chip & Young Adz – Waze

This trio have just released their new album ‘Insomnia‘. If I am honest, from the first few listens, this is the only song that caught my attention. I am not really a fan of Young Adz’ sound but Chip was the star on this song! We haven’t heard from Chip in a while so it’s nice to hear him going in on a song again. I also like Skepta on this track but I think he was stronger on the song “Golden Brown“. Have a listen to “Waze” to hear Chip in his glory. Have a listen below:

PARTYNEXTDOOR Ft. Rihanna – BELIEVE IT

PND has just released a new album and although I haven’t taken it in properly, I am so glad to finally hear Rihanna on a track! Would have been nice to have heard her sing more solo on this song but nevertheless her harmonies with PND and her vocals on the chorus were nice to hear. I also would have loved for it to have been a bit longer but it’s a catchy song and nice song to vibe to. Have a listen below:

Manny Norte Ft. 6LACK, Rema, Tion Wayne & Love Renaissance – 4AM

This was not a collaboration I would ever have expected haha! I always like when UK artists bring American artists to feature with them. I feel when it is this way round UK artists very rarely compromise their sound. The UK stands out more and it’s more the US artists keeping up with us. I love Tion Wayne on this song and I think he was very fitting. 6Lack provides the perfect vocals too. Have a listen below;

Young T & Bugsey – Madonna

Young Y & Bugsey are back with an EP called “Plead the Fifth” and this was one of my favourite songs on there. The JAE5 produced song is a nice insight into how the duo can switch their flow. I like this side from them and of course the production is great on this song. I also like the subtle homage to Ma$e’s song ‘What You Want’ with the final verse. Check it out:

Here is my Quarantine Playlist:

Posted in music

Mid Week Update: EP Review: CE – Saint, Vol 1

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a brief review of a project I’ve been recently listening to. The EP is from North West London Singer, rapper and producer CE and was released last week. I’ve previously talked about some his songs before on this blog but I highly recommend this new project from him. The only negative from this project is that I wish there were more than 3 songs on the tape. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on those 3!

Problems

As soon as I heard the first few seconds of the instrumental to this song I felt like I was in a Narcos film or some Spanish show. The introduction of this song really makes me want to salsa . What I loved most about this song is the surprise at how well CE’s rapping and flow compliments the salsa sounding beat. You would not usually associate a slower paced and calm flow on such an upbeat production but it works so well. I recommend taking in this song with a a very loud sound system and one that can handle base.  CE repeatedly sings “I don’t really wanna spend my time with anyone” and sings “If I made you mine, then you can say I met the one”. Both these lyrics give us the impression CE is quite reserved in his character.  I guarantee this is the song you won’t be able to get out of your head…”I heard you got a problem!!!!!!”.

California

The transition from ‘Problems’ into ‘California’ is perfect when you listen to songs one after another. This song is more upbeat and more base heavy (another one for your sound systems). Following on from him expressing his need for solitude in the previous song, in this song it seems to be that he is addressing someone that he has some complicated history with; “Got me feeling like you never tried to try again”. CE has a good habit of expressing his words clearly but also having their own melodies from them. This is one of those songs that will have you bopping your head to.

Juggin

This is my favourite track from the EP and the content has similar content. Reiterating his point from the first song, CE raps “I don’t really wanna spend my time with anyone”, just in case we forgot! He mentions the US artist Russ in this song and funnily enough they both have similar musical styles. They both have different sounds but both have mastered the ratio of singing and rapping within the melody in their songs. The best lines on this song have to be “& everybody wanna get out of the hood instead of just helping the hood”. Those lines are extremely factual to many people. It is quite common for people who have grown up or lived in unfortunate situations to aspire to leave that area but sometimes also want to forget about it their “hood” when they do. Maybe if more people thought about using their powers or success to help their surroundings they may not feel they need to “escape”.

Overall I would say this EP is really an excellent introduction into the artist CE is. From these 3 songs, you can already tell how versatile he is and how much substance is in his music. The production on all 3 songs is actually top tier. I think there is a song for everyone on this project, even with only 3 tracks. I hope this is the beginning of more music from him and hopefully he releases some visuals to some of these songs! Have a listen to his playlist below to;

Posted in music

“New Music”…What I’ve been listening to…

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! There has been so much music released recently but I thought I’d give you a list of songs I’ve had on repeat, some old and many new Furthermore, I’ve compiled a “Winter Playlist” for everyone, so feel free to have a listen! The link is at the top of the blog.  

Darkoo Ft. One Acen – Gangsta

UK music has been on fire recently and this is one of the hottest records out right now! The song is by UK singer Darkoo featuring fellow UK artist One Acen who seems to do no wrong. This song is extremely catchy and the accompanying dance is very addictive! I have heard a song from Darkoo before (the song with Br3nya) and I really like the tone of her voice, so I hope this song is the start of something big for her. Have a listen below and make sure you check out the video!

Ari Lennox Ft. J Cole – Shea Butter

As I’ve already mentioned, I have recently compiled a playlist for this winter weather, songs that are representative of these cold, cold conditions! This song is one of the entries and a song I’ve been playing a lot recently. I like the tone of Ari’s voice in this title track of her debut album. J Cole has a great featured verse especially with the change of flow when he says “Coconut oil”. Have a listen below;

Tory Lanez Ft T-Pain – Jerry Sprunger

When I first heard the teaser to this song I thought it would 100% work. Of course the original 2005 classic “I’m Sprung” from T-Pain is already legendary but Tory has a habit of remixing songs and giving them his own twist. I even think that this could easily be a part 2 of the original rather than seeing it as a replacement. For me it feels like a teacher (Being T-Pain as he is one of the originators of autotune) and the student (Tory) at work together. This irony reminds me of the famous J Cole lyric whenhe says on “Let Nas Down”; “Long live the idols, may they never be your rival”. This song also serves as the first single from Tory’s latest project “Chixtape 5”. Having listened to the tape, this song is still the main song that stands out for me and has the most replay value. Have a listen below;

Russ – Best on Earth Ft. BIA

If you are a regular on my blog you’d probably know I’m a fan of US artist Russ. This song featuring BIA is his latest hit. I think Russ has a good formula going on, he has a nice singing voice but also has a talent for rapping too. Sometimes it feels as if there are two people on his verses. I am personally looking forward to his upcoming album has he has been going from strength to strength with his released singles. Another great thing about Russ is that he always seems to have the perfect person to feature with for that song. BIA’S flow compliments the beat of this song so perfectly its unreal! Russ is definitely someone I would love to see perform live. Have a listen to the song below;

Krept & Konan – Salaam

UK duo Krept and Konan are back with their second studio album “Revenge is Sweet”. This is the second song from the album and in comparison, to the energy in the first song, this is a more chilled back song. The song for me is quite deep and of course the duo do not disappoint with their wordplay. In one of Konan’s verse he says “All the times I made Abby cus cos she couldn’t count on me” which is of course a reference to the Abacus which is used to help people count. I also like how Krept and Konan use their religion and faith on this song with the chorus; “Assalamualaikum akhi, pray for a brudda cah they hating on me”. The “Assalamualaikum” is a greeting in Arabic that means “Peace be upon you”. Throughout the song they ask for prayer due to the fact people are not as genuine as we may think. They both also touch on the deaths of close ones in the song. I think this is one of my favourites from the album without a doubt.

Hitmaka Ft. Young Ma, Dreezy, Mualatto, DreamDoll & Chinese Kitty – Thot Box (Remix)

Wow! This all female remix is possibly one of the best remixes to a song to come out this year. I love the female unity in this song but the best thing is every single artist maintains the high level. I also liked the original with Meek Mill, 2 Chainz and Tyga. For this all female ensemble, my favourite verses were from Chinese Kitty and Dream Doll. Although the line from Dreezy; “Got ten-star credit, my pictures don’t need no editing” has been in my head ever since. Have a listen to the song below.

J Hus – Must Be

The instruments on this song are possibly the best arrangement I’ve heard on a UK rap song this year. UK rapper J Hus and the genius producer that is JAE5 team up for yet again another banger. I’ve said before that J Hus has the ability to provide a song that you will 100% be quoting for the next few weeks. This song will for sure be making you think about “opps”that you may not even have! I can’t get over the strings in this song too, I could easily listen to the instrumental version of this song on repeat.

Young T & Bugsey Ft. Headie One – Don’t Rush

I don’t think these two are capable of ever releasing a bad song! This is another hit from the UK duo, this time featuring UK rapper Headie One. I like the wordplay from the duo, their flow is also very unique and the two always play off each other so well. Whatever formula these two have, they should definitely keep at it because it sure is winning one.. Check out the song below;

Krept & Konan – Keep Talking Ft. Stormzy & Cadet

Another entry from Krept and Konan, this time with a song featuring two other UK rappers; South London’s finest Stormzy and the late great Cadet. When I saw the tracklist for this song I knew I would love it. I’m a fan of Stormzy but even I didn’t realise how crazy his verse would be. Stormzy sounded fed up which for me is the best version of Stormzy. Look at some of his freestyles where he has similar emotions or even when he’s on the rare occasion not as humble as usual. (Listen to “Scary” or even “One Take”). One of his lines in this song is “I’m from the dirty South, can’t clean the boy” and it is the way he delivers the bar that gets me. He also raps “Man can’t talk about whips or p’s, Got a S class sitting there covered in bird shit” just reminding us he is the guy! I wanted his verse to keep going! I read that the verse from Cadet was not originally recorded for this song but they managed to make it fit and I’m glad we get to hear a song with all of them on it as they were all family or friends. I feel each artist brought out the best in the other. The back to back between them was exciting to hear and I can only imagine what that would be like to listen to live. Once again R.I.P Cadet! Cadet!

Also; Check out:

Pattern Gang (including Octavian) – Pattern Chanel

Ari Lennox Ft. J.I.D – Broke –(Whew!! J.I.D smashed his verse!!!!!)

Posted in music

Album Review: Rick Ross; Port of Miami 2

I’m sure I’ve expressed before how much I love Rick Ross. He is without a doubt one of my favourite rappers currently. For me, Ross has the unique ability to provide us with a song that will have you thinking about so much. His flow and ability to get across his meanings remind me of Biggie, who is my ultimate favourite rapper. I always look forward to his albums because they always display the versatility of Rick Ross via his ability to spit bars on so many different kinds of beats. This album did not disappoint. Here are my opinions on some of the songs from the album.

Act a Fool Ft. Wale

This song was previously released before the album dropped and I still really like it. As an intro to the album the first line doesn’t get better; “It’s a beautiful day to get some money“, think that line sums up Rick Ross as a whole being the boss he is. I’m a fan of Wale and his wordplay is always spot on. Wale and Ross always work well together. Have a read of my previous review on this song here; https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/07/13/new-music-saturday-what-ive-been-listening-to-this-week/

Nobody’s Favourite Ft. Gunplay

‘GREAZE’. That is the word I would use to describe this song. As soon as the beat drops you know what time it is. Gunplay adds another form of aggression which I like. I don’t think there would have been anyone else that could have done the song justice more than him. The title of the song is quite interesting as Rick Riss claims that despite his success and talent, he is not usually considered people’s favourite in terms of rappers. Ross explores a truth here in the fact he has always been consistent. While some rappers may disappear and re appear regularly or have good times and bad times, Rick Ross has been consistent with his success. I hope that people start to appreciate Rick Ross a lot more. A lot of the reasons Nipsey Hussle is loved is due to the fact he always teaches us about ownership, giving back to your people, multiplying your money with businesses. All of these things Rick Ross has been doing too.

Rick Ross Boss Lyric;

My new house is on the river so I had to buy a boat, better yet, it’s called a yacht”

Summer Reign Ft. Summer Walker

A very big contrast to the previous song. This is a slowed down song for Ross which we know he can do so well. Summer Walker’s line “All I ask is that you hold it down for me ’cause you told me you would be my everything” echoes throughout the song. This is the versatility of Rick Ross and one of the unique things about him. He can go from sounding like a boss and someone not to be messed with from one track to this softer side displayed in this track.

Bogus Charms Ft. Meek Mill

If I heard the instrumental to this song without knowing who was on the song, the first featured artist that would come into my head would have been Meek Mill! In the song they talk about the downsides to fame and success and nobody explains pain more than Meek Mill. A line that sticks out for me from Ross is; “Half my team illiterate, I know it sound pathetic
But we can each get a brick that’s on a line of credit
“. The sad reality that due to some of their environments, many are not even educated. Meek Mill comes in saying; “Uh, I only remember nights that was post-traumatic
So I’m never actin’ bougie like I was supposed to have it
” meaning he is always thankful for what he has now. He knows and has lived through the struggle to get to his position now. Meek and Rick Ross always have great songs together and knowing the great relationship they have aside from music is great to know. Rick Ross is the king of showing us his flashy lifestyle but he never hides the struggle that comes with it. He paints a very realistic picture through his rapping, another reason I really like his music.

Rich Nigga Lifestyle Ft. Nipsey Hussle & Teyana Taylor

This is the last feature Rick Ross has with the late great Nipsey Hussle. Following on from the theme of the previous track Rick Ross says; “I’m just here to keep it real‚ not make you feel worse” reminding us what he is trying to do. In Nipsey’s verse he talks about the rise in Hip-Hop music and “How many niggas on your payroll?” meaning how many of your own people are you putting on. Nipsey was always consistent with the messages in his raps and it’s still a tragedy that we won’t get to hear from him again. Teyana Taylor provides a nice tone to the song too. Have a listen below;

Born to Kill Ft. Jeezy

The beat on this song is wonderful! Not much more to say on this one so have a listen below.

I Still Pray Ft. YFN Lucci & Ball Greezy

I really like the vibe I get from this track. This song is quite personal as it starts off with a reporter referring to the time Rick Ross was hospitalised. We see a more vulnerable side to Rick Ross as he starts off the track by saying; “Wake up out a coma, frozen in the moment you could have the biggest clique, but you gon’ die a loner“, the reality that everyone dies alone. Regardless of whether you are the most popular or if you have the most things, you die alone. The near death experience seems to have been a wake up call for Ross; “I’ll give you back the money just to get my health“. I think this song is just a reminder of how the most important thing to have in life has nothing to do with wealth or chains or cars or anything materialistic. The most important thing in life is to have good health.

Running the Streets Ft. Denzel Curry & A Boogie wit da Hoodie

I think this is my favourite song on the album at the moment. I recommend that when listening to this song, you have it connected to speakers with an excellent base to really appreciate the beat. The song refers to the idea that these men are in charge of their local hoods. In the song they are talking to their women in question letting them know that they have to understand their lifestyle. The idea that they won’t be coming home as they have work to do. Prior to the song I had not heard much from Denzel Curry but I am interested in hearing more from him. His verse in this song was my favourite. His flow and wordplay was so exciting to hear. Denzel even makes a random reference; “Like Stanley Yelnats, he caps, his head red” referring to the main character in the film ‘Holes’. What a random reference that fits so well. He was definitely the standout on this song!

Rick Ross Boss Line:

Went from sleepin’ on the floor to pissin’ Moët

Vegas Residency

This is pure Rick Ross. No features, just Ross slaying a beat as usual.

Maybach Music VI Ft. John Legend & Lil Wayne

This isn’t my favourite song in the numerous Maybach Music songs but I do however like the Lil Wayne feature. We don’t hear much from him so it was nice to hear a little verse.

Gold Roses Ft. Drake

Check out my previous review on this song here https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/07/30/new-music-what-ive-been-listening-to-4/

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‘Songs to listen to’ when you’re in need of…Motivation. (Volume 1)

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)

Another spiritual song here. I’ve previously mentioned what this song does to me but I could argue it can be looked at as an inspirational and motivational song. The song reiterates the belief that we will always rise above any obstacles that may come in our way. Heres a link to my article on the song in more depth; https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/05/17/higher-by-dj-khaled-john-legend-the-late-great-nipsey-hussle-thoughts/

Meek Mill – Dreams & Nighmares Intro (2012)

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.

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#ThrowbackThursday Old vibes….

Another week nearly done! Stay tuned for more posts in the next few days but for now it’s time for #ThrowbackThursday. Here are 3 songs that will have you reminiscing about the past.

Mario – How Do I Breathe (2007)

I’m a big fan of Mario and his older music. I’ve previously talked about his hit album “Turning Point”. This particular song is the first single released from his third studio album “Go” (2007) Mario’s voice is sensational in this song as he hits the high notes throughout. The song gives us the impression he has just gone through a breakup and is struggling to adjust to his life without his woman in it. I liked the pre chorus where he sounds like he is playing two people. He also plays the role of main singer and backup singer in the same verse. Overall this song is reminiscent of old school R&B and honestly the high notes are so beautiful to hear. Have a listen below!

Tion Wayne Ft Afro B – Bae (2015)

“Throw away your man he’s dispersable” is how this song starts and what a line! UK rapper Tion Wayne uses his cheekiness and sauce to deliver a bar! At the time of this release Afro B was getting more recognition for songs as well as his mixes. Fast forward to now and he has one of the biggest songs and Tion Wayne is also flourishing and shining. For me the harmonies from Afro B mixed with Tion’s pronunciation of certain words make this song unforgettable. Have a listen below;

Plies Ft Ne-Yo – Bust it Baby Pt 2 (2008)

I used to love this song when it first came out. At the time, I remember at the time, the video debuted on the BET show 106 and Park and stayed on the countdown for over a month! As a fan of Ne-Yo, I think his contribution to the song made it a hit. His verse for me was the best part of the song as it slowed it down a bit in contrast to Plies’ active style of rapping. The song is definitely not for those under the age of 16, that is for sure! Have a listen below;

Jhene Aiko Ft Kurupt – Never Call Me (2017)

This is one of those songs that if you know, you know! The song is based on Jhene’s broken relationship with her ex-husband. I’m assuming due to the title, miscommunication was a major factor in the breakup. The song also contains a snippet from American rapper, actor and former Executive Vice President of Death Row Records, Kurupt, who is also a close friend of Jhene and gave her advice while she was going through the breakup. In the song she addresses the fact that they both knew they had nothing in common “We never shared anything but the drugs, we were both numb, never had anything real between us” which is quite a sad revelation. Another fact is that Jhene actually has two video versions for this song. One is the Slauson version which explores her African American roots and upbringing. Slauson is the area in America she grew up in and the video features the late Nipsey Hussle who of course is the King of Slauson. The second video focuses more on her Asian side as she dresses up. Have a listen below;

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Throwback Thursday: Bad Boy Hits!

In honor of Throwback Thursday, today’s theme is dedicated to hits from the Bad Boy franchise! The Label was founded by Diddy in 1993 and is one of the most known African American labels. The label is the home for so many greats including Biggie, Mase, Lil Kim, 112 and many more. During the 90s, it’s safe to say this label dominated many of the charts and even in 2019 are still consistent!! When you think about some of the hits released from Bad Boy, they were pioneers in the rap and hip hop scene. Even till today, their songs are being used as samples . I have left out songs originally by Biggie as I have previously written a post just for him and wanted to focus on some of the other Bad Boy artists.

Here are just a few classic hits from the Baaaaaaaaad Boooooooooyyyyy franchise!

Craig Mack – Flava In Ya Ear Ft. Biggie, LL Cool J, Rampage and Busta Rhymes. (1994)

The original of this song was actually the first song released from the Bad Boy label. The remix is my favourite version. The song contains a sample of “We’ve Only Just Begun” by O’Donel Levy. However, this song was also sampled in the Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule single, “Ain’t It Funny (Murder Remix),” as well as the song “Don’t Leave Me” from the Backstreet Boys. R.I.P Craig Mack!!

Mase – Lookin’ at Me Ft. Puff Daddy (Diddy)  (1998)

‘Lookin at Me’ was the 3rd and final single released from Mase’s debut album ‘Harlem World’. The song was produced and features Diddy (he was known as Puff Daddy at the time). The song is based on the idea that when these men go to the club with their ladies, their “ops” always stare not realising that the woman is just as fierce.  It’s funny because I always felt like Mase sounded a lot like Diddy so hearing this song it takes me a while to realise who is rapping in the verse. The infamous first verse contains “Now what the hell is you lookin’ for? Can’t a young man get money anymore?” which has been referenced in so many modern songs including Kanye West’s song ‘Theraflu’. Have a listen below;

Diddy – Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down Ft. Mase (1997)

Can you believe this the first single from Diddy?! The song is possibly one of the most important Bad Boys songs as it signalled the beginning of dominance for this record label. If you’ve heard Drake’s song ‘4PM in Calabasas’, you’ll recognise that Drake uses the Diddy sample in some of the song. He also sings “They look at me like the golden child…Can’t nobody hold me down” (in the same tune as Diddy did). This is further proof that Bad Boy records were the starting point for many of the songs released nowadays. Have a listen to both songs below;

112 – Peaches & Cream Ft. Diddy (2001)

Peaches and Cream!!!! What a classic song! This is one of those songs that can never get old in my opinion. As soon as you hear “From the car to the bar, from the bar to the telly, your neck to your bra, your bra to your belly”, you know what time it is!!!. I prefer the remix with Diddy but the original song is also great! Have a listen to both below;

Original Song
Remix with Diddy

112 -Only You Ft. Biggie & Mase (1996)

I feel like this is one of those songs that most people my have heard and not known who sang it. This was the debut song for group 112 and what a song to burst onto the scene with!! For me, growing up this song was played a lot and I loved the video which was filmed in Times Square. The infamous line “Bad Boy get more money than you can count” still gets me today.

Mase – Feel So Good Ft. Diddy & Kelly Price (1997)

“Bad, bad, bad, bad boy (Yeah), you make me feel so good (Bad boy)”…This song could be argued to be one of the most popular Bad Boy songs! This is Mase’s first single from his debut album Harlem World. Honestly Mase sounds exactly like Diddy, this is another song I had to double check who was rapping. Mase’s style of rapping was so chilled and laid back which is a big difference from some of the rappers today. He had one of the cleanest and smoothest flows I’ve heard from a rapper.

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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;