Posted in music

Revisiting Time: Bow Wow – A Living Legend.

Shad Gregory Moss born 9th March 1987 also known as Bow Wow and formerly Lil Bow Wow has been in the music scene for over 2 decades! He burst into the scene as a small and cute but feisty rapper with his signature hairstyles and confident personality. He then gradually moved into movies and made a name for himself in the acting world. As he grew up, he moved into producing movies and tv shows and even hosting TV shows. Along the way he has gained numerous awards for his music and acting abilities. He was once even featured in the Guinness Book of Records for being the youngest rapper to have a no1 hit. In addition, he holds the record for having the most retired videos on the popular BET Network show 106 & Park where he also eventually hosted. It has always been clear that Bow Wow was destined for success with all his talents.

However, the issue sometimes with child stars is that sometimes their domination is often forgotten about and overlooked. Hopefully this post can remind everyone of some of his accolades and prove the immense talent Bow Wow has. Revisiting these albums have been an absolute joy for me as a huge Bow Wow fan. I hope you can all feel the love throughout this post.

I’ve picked the top songs from seven of his albums as well as some features that he has been infamous for:

Album: Beware Of The Dog (2000)

Beware of The Dog

This was Lil Bow Wow’s debut studio Album and was executively produced with his mentor at the time Jermaine Dupri.

  • Bounce With Me Ft. Xscape – The leading song is one of Bow Wow’s most notable songs and features vocals from the girl group Xscape. The song was also featured in the movie ‘Big Momma’s House’. For me the song is incredible to think that the person rapping is a 13 year old boy! Lil Bow Wow demonstrated his talented flow on this song and it was clear from the jump that he was not to be ignored.
  • Puppy Love Ft. Jagged Edge – The fact that a 13 year old could even feature with a prestigious group like Jagged Edge on his debut album is evidence that he was the boy once upon a time. This is personally in my top 10 of Bow Wow songs. Lil Bow Wow at the time was rapping about his fame and the women that were falling for him. Jagged Edge provide such beautiful vocals on the chorus of this song. The video is just as great.
  • Bow Wow (That’s My Name) Ft. Snoop Dogg – How many rappers can say they have an anthem?!! No matter how old Bow Wow is, this song will follow him forever. When this song came out, it was played everywhere!!! The video was also the first of many of his videos to be retired on BET’s 106 & Park countdown.

Album: Doggy Bag (2001)

Doggy Bag

The second studio album from Lil Bow Wow

  • Thank You Ft. Jagged Edge & Fundisha – This was the first single from this second album. For me this song has such a beautiful sentiment. For someone so early on his career, the fact he made a song just to thank his fans at such a young age was beautiful. The whole song is an ode to all the fans that have supported him from the beginning and made his dreams come true. Not many young artists are that self aware at a young age and be able to show gratitude like he did. One of my favourite lines from the song:

I wanna thank you for the groups that came befo’ me (uhh). All of y’all in the office that promote me in the streets. All the mom and pop stores that don’t get a lot of credit”

  • Take Ya Home – If you aren’t singing back “Lil’ Bow Wow, you just don’t know, the way you move so fast across the floor” after this song then I really don’t know! Another one of his infamous songs. This song is extra special as it features as the theme song to his smash hit 2002 movie ‘Like Mike’.
  • All I Know – Another one of my favourites. The song samples Another Edition’s “Candy Girl”.
  • Basketball Ft. Jermaine Dupri, Fabolous & Fundisha – The song wasn’t featured on the album but was also released for the Like Mike Soundtrack. This is probably one of the most notable songs from the movie!

Album: Unleashed (2003)

Unleashed

After his film debut, Lil Bow Wow became Bow Wow by dropping the Lil. This was the first album where Bow Wow was known under a different name. It is also the album you can hear his growth with a change in his style and flow. His voice is notably deeper too which is proof thatthis album was reaally the birth of a new chapter of Bow.

  • Let’s Get Down Ft. Baby – Another classic song from Bow featuring the one and only Birdman. The song happened to be one of his highest charting singles.
  • Eighteen – This was definitely a growing of age single. For me, this was the single on the album that reminded us all that Bow Wow was now growing into a man. Gone were the songs where he was rapping about puppy love and his Mickey mouse chain, now he wanted to be respected and seen as a man. Every young rapper has a coming of age single when he starts the new adulthood process in his music and for me, this was the song.
  • My Baby Ft. Jagged Edge – Bow Wow is so good with the slow songs and this song is by far one of the best of them. The song is quite deep as he raps about a woman he meets who was in an abusive relationship. Throughout the song he tries to profess his love for her and convince her to leave the toxic situation she is in. Jagged Edge’s harmonies on this song are perfect. They always make such a good partnership with Bow.
  • To My Mama Ft. Amerie – Another deep song of gratitude from Bow Wow. Despite at this point wanting to be seen as a grown man on this coming of age album, Bow did not forget to show appreciation to his mother. Bow Wow grew up with his mother who was a single parent and she was his biggest supporter. She got him connected to Jermaine Dupri, she assisted and followed him on his tours and even took part in his album productions. It was such a nice touch that at this point even though he was now old enough to do more things for himself, he was still able to show thanks and appreciation for all his mum had done. The song is really beautiful.

Album: Wanted (2005)

Wanted

This was one of the most memorable albums for me as I can remember physically buying a copy. Living in England, it was harder to hear Bow Wow music without searching for it. We had to wait even longer for release dates in that time but I was so happy to have this album in my hand. This is probably the album where I know pretty much every song on it off by heart.

  • Big Dreams – I feel this song is one for everyone to hear Bow Wow’s storytelling ability. He is able to portray a whole storyline on this song which is quite deep, all with the same message. I will never forget the chorus of this song:

When you got big dreams, don’t listen to what nobody say & don’t let nobody turn you away. When you got big dreams, keep your eyes on the prize, don’t fall to the wayside…”

  • Let Me Hold You Ft. Omarion – Another absolute classic from Bow Wow and is probably one of the most favoured. This was the first collaboration of many between Bow Wow and Omarion. The song has been certified platinum and is still regarded as one of their best collaborations. The song uses Luther Vandross’ “If I only had One Night” as a sample. The song, the dance moves, the video, the hair beads, this song is ICONIC. By far, this is in my top 3 Bow Wow songs. I could recite it in my sleep!
  • Fresh Az Im Iz Ft. J-Kwon & Jermaine Dupri– This was gangster Bow Wow! It was nice to have a change in pace for Bow Wow after his two big hits from this album that were more slowed down. If you’ve ever seen clips of Bow Wow performing this song you can tell this is one of his favourites.
  • Like You Ft. Ciara– Wow. This song will go down as one of the best couple collaborations. Unfortunately Bow Wow and Ciara are no longer together but at the time, they were the hottest couple out. This song was huge and still is! If you can sing the whole chorus without falling out of breath then you are a real one! (I can of course)
  • Honorouble Mentions on this Album: Caviar & B.O.W.

Album: The Price Of Fame (2005)

The Price Of Fame

Now this was a monumental and pivotal album in Bow Wow’s career. Being the fifth studio album from Bow Wow, it was clear he had gone through a lot in his career. The intro of this album he addresses: “It’s like Shad Moss’ diary i’ve been dealing with the price of fame from the the beginning of this year until now even til this even til this day”. This album was a way for him to express and eject all the struggles and stress he had been through and portray it within his music.

  • Outta My System Ft. T-Pain & Johnta Austin – This song will most likely be in most peoples top 5 Bow Wow hits. It is clear that Bow Wow has such big talent when it comes to the slow and emotional type of rap songs and this song is a prime example. The song was in reference to his break up with Ciara but it is evident he pours his heart and soul on this track. The vulnerability and honesty on this track is refreshing.
  • Shortie Like Mine Ft. Chris Brown – It’s soooooo crazy to think that Chris Brown was just at the start of his career with this song. This was Chris Brown’s FIRST featured single. This song was huge and loved by so many young women at the time. I remember having the lyrics printed and stuck on my wall! Bow Wow and Chris Brown’s musical chemistry is so evident in this song and I’m so glad they continued their friendship. Bow Wow’s flow in his last verse is UNMATCHED!!!!!!
  • Honourable Mentions on this Album: I’m a Flirt, How You Move It & Tell Me

Album: Face Off With Omarion (2007)

This was Bow Wow and Omarion’s first collaborative album! Omarion always brings out the best in Bow Wow so this project was greatly appreciated.

  • Girlfriend – Another fan favourite! This song was the first single from the album. The video was iconic and it was clear that Bow Wow, over 10 years in the game was still on top form!
  • Hey Baby (Jump Off) – If you watch the video to ‘Girlfriend”, you hear how it leads to this song. The song was also featured on the ht tv show ‘Ugly Betty’.
  • He Ain’t Gotta Know – This was one of the slow songs on the album but worked so well. Omarion’s harmonies and Bow Wow’s slowed down pace was a recipe for success. Definitely one of my favourites on the album!
  • Listen – The way Bow Wow and Omarion use this song to narrate a conversation is incredible. The back and back between them in this song is so good! I remember watching a studio video of this song with them acting it out and it added even more to the song. The song was never released as an official single but I wish it was.
  • Honorobale Mentions: ‘Bachelor Pad’, ‘Can’t Get Tired of Me’ & ‘Take off Your Clothes’.

Album: New Jack City II (2009)

New Jack City II

Bow Wow’s SEVENTH studio album!!!

  • What They Call Me Ft. Nelly & Ron Browz – I loved this song! Nelly killed his verse too!
  • You Can Get It All Ft. Johnta Austin – When I hear this song, I can instantly see Bow Wow on a beach with Johnta in the background singing! Loved the video! It’s also a clear indication that Bow Wow definitely appreciates quality when it comes to features. Johnta is a prominent feature in his albums and it is evidently a match made in heaven.
  • Like This Ft. Johnta Austin & Dondria – I absolutely loved this song when i first listened to the album. The chorus is beautiful and yet again Bow Wow takes a slowed down pace to compliment the theme of the song.
  • Honorobale Mentions: ‘She’s My’, ‘I Ain’t Playing’ Ft. Trey Songz & ‘Pole In my Basement’.

Singles & Notable Features:

  • Destiny’s Child – Jumpin, Jumpin’ (So So Def Remix) Ft. Lil Bow Wow, Da Brat & Jermaine Dupri (2000) – This remix was legendary and seeing a small boy like Bow Wow hold his own to so many grown women was wonderful!
  • JoJo Ft. Bow Wow – Baby It’s You (2004) – Another great feature from Bow Wow!
  • Dem Franchize Boyz – ft. Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat & Bow WowI Think They Like Me (2005) – Every rapper has a memorable featured song and I believe this is the one for Bow Wow. He completely owned the whole song and it is not surprising that he still performs this verse today.
  • Bone Thugs N Harmony Ft. Mariah Carey & Bow Wow – Lil’ L.O.V.E. (2007) – So many legends on one song! Mariah owned this song with her incredible vocals! Bow Wow’s fast pace on this song is great!
  • For My Hood Ft. Sean Kingston (2010) – This was the soundtrack song for Bow Wow’s movie “Lottery Ticket”. I love the message behind the song and even all these years later, it is still a hit!
  • Ain’t Thinkin’ Bout You Ft. Chris Brown (2010) – Now this song was originally on Chris Brown’s joint mixtape with Tyga without a Bow Wow verse. Bow Wow remixed the song and kept Chris on the chorus and it became a nationwide hit! It would have been nice to have heard a joint project with Bow and Chris because they really make good music together!
  • Better Ft. T-Pain (2012) – Another song showcasing Bow Wow’s talent at storytelling.

Greenlight Mixtape Series:

Bow Wow should also be known and remembered for his infamous Greenlight mixtapes. There are currently 6 mixtapes in the series but Greeenlight 4 was my favourite. Here are some of my favourites from all of them:

  • Regret (Greenlight 1) – A deep track where he addresses his failures, drug addiction and rumours.
  • You Know I’m Nasty (G1) – One of my favourite Bow Wow songs in general. Warning: the song is very raunchy.
  • All My Life Ft. Jermaine Dupri (G1)
  • Why They Hating (Greenlight 3)
  • What I Do (G3)
  • Cumming (G3)
  • I Got Em Let Em Know (Greenlight 4)
  • Why They Hate Ft. Gunplay (G4)
  • Everywhere I Go (G4)
  • Let’s Get Closer (G4)
  • Boy or Girl (G4) – This was the song that Bow released after finding out he was due to be a father.
  • We In Da Club (G5)
  • Suge Freestyle (G6)
  • Death Row Freestyle (G6)

Here is a playlist I have compiled with some of the hits mentioned in this post:

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Revisiting Time: Why Beyoncé’s – ‘Dangerously in Love’ Album is my favourite album of hers…

It’s that time again when I discuss a throwback project and this time I wanted to focus on everybody’s favourite singer Beyoncé and her debut solo album ‘Dangerously In Love‘. This album, released on June the 20th 2003 was monumental for so many reasons; one of them being that this album propelled Beyoncé into even more superstardom and established her as a credible solo artist.

The album was released during a Destiny’s Child hiatus and brought into question whether this was going to be the album that made Beyoncé want to take solo music more seriously. It is absolutely crazy to me that this album was released when I was 10 years old, at an age where I couldn’t even understand and digest the lyrics to their true meaning properly and yet I still had it on repeat. For me, this was the album that solidified my love for Queen B.

Dangerously in Love’ takes on a very R&B vibe containing many ballads while also staying true to her signature sounds adding elements of hip hop too. The album has a star studded lineup of producers and featured artists. All of these ingredients mixed with the fresh desire and energy she demonstrates on this album makes it my all time favourite Beyoncé album.

The main note to take from this album is that it was the birth of a woman who was not afraid to demonstrate her independence, feminism, her confidence, vulnerability and drive. Beyoncé.

Below are some of my favourite songs from the album that I will never forget;

Crazy In Love Ft Jay-Z

Every artist has that single that catapults them into another realm and will always be the song associated with them. For Beyoncé, this is the song. It’s ironic because in the song itself, Jay Z actually raps “History in the making“, little did they know this song was going to be talked about for years to come. This number 1 song was released as the lead single for the album and the accompanying video became a worldwide phenomenon. The song is understandably about the feeling you get when you are truly madly crazily in love with somebody. It’s possible and likely that the song was in reference to her love for Jay Z. We were used to hearing Beyoncé belting out her love usually in a more softer way but her sound in this song is more of an out of control vibe. This is obviously a reflection of her love that she is trying to explain about. Throughout the song she sings “Your love’s got me looking so crazy right now” indicating that she is enraged with her love for him. One of my favourite lines in the song is when she sings : “If you ain’t there, ain’t nobody else to impress” referring to the fact that he is the only guy she is checking for…to the point she does not even want to get attention from any other guy. A classic song.

Naughty Girl

Beyoncé definitely explores her sexy side on this album and with this song in particular. This song has a very minimal sound however it allows us to appreciate Beyoncé’s impeccable vocals. The song uses Donna Summer’s “Love to Love you Baby” as a sample. The song also has an Arabian feel in terms of the production. I would say this is one of the must hear songs on the album as yet again it compliments Beyoncé’s amazing vocal range.

Baby Boy Ft. Sean Paul

When this song/album was released, Sean Paul was already well known and established in the game. Having released his critically acclaimed ‘Dutty Rock’ album the previous year. I love the fusion of R&B, Reggae and dancehall in the song coming from Sean. When she performs this song live she adds a sort of remix to the end of the song focussing on the dancehall element of the song which makes it even better. There is no surprise that this was another number 1 single from her and is still a hit in clubs today. I dare you not to dance listening to this song!

Me, Myself & I

Okay!!!!!!! Now this is the ultimate anthem most woman probably sing whenever they are going through a break up or having issues with their man. Beyoncé more than any other artists has the ability to create songs that somehow women as a whole always take in. This song is one of them. Aside from the fact the song is about heartbreak, I believe it is actually a very useful song and is more a lesson about self love and self worth. It teaches women to realise that they have to love themselves first and foremost. Despite the heartbreak she learns the valuable lesson that “I took a vow that from now on, I’m gonna be my own best friend, I know that I will never disappoint myself”. It’s the realisation that in life the only person anyone can really 100% trust and rely on is themselves. I would say this song is timeless because everyone could use this reminder.

Yes

This is another one my favourite songs from the album. CONSENT. The more I think about it, in the age of consent that we are in now, this song is extremely relevant. On the song Beyoncé sings about her hurt and frustration from a very disrespectful and impatient lover who wants to go somewhere way too fast. It’s only now I am older and wiser that I can really take in the lyrics of this song. I initially loved the song because it feels like Beyoncé still shocks you with the notes she was hitting in this song. I also love the storytelling element of this song especially in the beginning; “Slowly you walked over, I maintained my cool, you said hello to me”, when she paints a picture of how they met each-other. Now for me the key part of this song is when she sings;

You said I move too slow, I showed you to the door, you said you’d call me later…I said don’t call no more. It’s cool if you can’t wait for me…I’m glad you let me know, ’cause you show me your true face, baby…the first time I said no”

She details how he tried to pressure her showing his true colours. I also want to point out the strength she shows by standing up to this man. It’s crazy to think how ahead of time Beyoncé was with this song but also scary to think she was only 21/22 when this song was released.

That’s How You Like It Ft Jay-Z

This is the second featured track with Hov on the album. This is also one of my favourites on the album due to the easy going, playful theme I feel with this song. I like the interaction between the both of them on the song and the way she explains her love for him (again). Jay Z has a chance to stand up for himself on this song in response to the doubters they obviously faced as he raps; “I know you’ve heard I’m a gangsta, they say “Stay away from them gangstas”. During the time of this being released they were merely a rumour but its safe to say Hov pretty much confirms B is his women in all of the 3 features on this album!

Dangerously in Love

Possibly one of the most beautiful ballads on this album. This song is the definition of love, adoration and happiness. She stars the song with “Baby, I love you
You are my life
“, if that isn’t a strong statement…I don’t know what is. I feel this song is the softer version of ‘Crazy in Love’. When all the lust and honeymoon period of a relationship has died down, this song is the prime example of what true love is. It is calm, patient, soft, sexy, slow and understanding. One of her best songs in my opinion.

’03 Bonnie & Clyde Ft. Jay Z

This is the ultimate B & Hov record! This is the 3rd collaboration between the two of them on the album but was actually the first they released together. The song uses 2Pac’s original “Me and my Girlfriend” (even though he was actually referring to his gun) song and Hov & B provide their own spin. It’s ironic that it was 2Pac’s original song considering the affiliation Jay-Z had with Biggie, however luckily the beef was squashed after the passing of both Pac & Big. Another fun fact is that Kanye West produced the beat for the song. This was also the first song many of Jay-z’s peers realised he was in love with Beyoncé. The song is definitely the song that publicly confirmed both of each-others love for one another.

These are just my personal favourites from this classic and unforgettable album but feel free to listen back to the album below;

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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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Revisiting Time: Chance The Rapper: Coloring Book (Mixtape) – #throwbackthursday

Okay! It’s been over 3 whole years (13 May 2016) since Chance The Rapper dropped his mixtape ‘Coloring Book’ and I figured I would do a post talking about that EP in honor of #ThrowbackThursday. Here are some songs from the tape that I still love and play today.

Chance the Rapper – All We Got Ft. Chicago Children’s Choir & Kanye West

Intro tracks are so important because it is the artist’s chance to showcase a preview of what is to come. Chance even states “Hey, this ain’t no intro, this the entree“. This intro did exactly that. The fact Chance features with one of his musical heroes and use of the choir and the instruments that were used in this song are a reflection of how much work Chance puts into his music and production. The theme “Music is all we got” sits well with me as I believe it is a strong and quite realistic truth.

Chance the Rapper – No Problem Ft. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz

You don’t want zero problems, big fella“! Love the intro to this song. This song is dedicated to the record labels that all rejected Chance. One of my favourite lines from the song is when Chance says “Milly rockin’, scoopin’ all the blessings out my lap” as he is now the one that is winning and has the last laugh. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne fit the song so well too and yet again the production on this song is unique. The background vocals sound like a choir .

Chance the Rapper – Blessings Ft. Jamila Woods

I absolutely love this song. There’s something about Chance singing and singing with a stripped back vibe that is beautiful. Not to mention, the song is very religious as Chance sings about the glory of God. The song seems personal as Chance raves about how since giving his life to the Lord, he has received nothing but blessings and success. Jamila sings “I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him till I’m gone, when the praises go up, (Good God) the blessings come down“.

Chance the Rapper – Same Drugs

This song is quite relatable for many people. Despite the title, the song has no affiliation or relation to drugs. The song is based on the concept that Chance and the woman in question no longer have the same interests anymore. Chance uses the analogy of Peter Pan in this song to describe the situation; “When did you change? Wendy, you’ve aged…I thought you’d never grow up“. The idea that like in Peter Pan, Wendy got on with life and changed/grew up. The song basically focuses on the reality that that with some people, you both move on and take different paths and it is just a part of life. I like that Chance mostly sings in this song as I genuinely believe his singing voice is so unique.

Chance the Rapper – Juke Jam Ft. Justin Bieber & Towkio

This is one of my favourite songs ever from Chance. The flow, the feeling I get listening to this song is unmatched. The song is basically Chance reminiscing about the past and a relationship. Apparently “Juking” is a Chicago term for a form a dance similar to grinding. Justin Bieber’s feature on this song was sensual too, his voice when he sings “We got so much history baby” was perfect for the theme of the song. The song is the type of song you could have on in the background and vibe to as it feels very chilled and laid back.

Chance the Rapper – How Great Ft. Jay Electronica & Nicole Steen

Not much to say on this song but Chance follows the religious theme and delivers this beautiful worship song featuring his very own cousin Nicole. The song gave me chills when I first heard it and the feeling has not gone away. Please have a listen and prepare to be inspired.

Chance the Rapper – Smoke Break Ft. Future

Another one of my favourites from the tape. I like the sound from Future on this song and the way they both compliment eachother. The song is Chance saying how much more free time him and his girlfriend need to make for eachother since the arrival of their baby. One of the most memorable lines is when he sings “We way too young to get old“, words to live by! Future’s verse sounds very shady but one of my favourite lines has to be “Please don’t get lost in the sauce, please don’t get lost in the sauce“. Typical Future lyrics!!!! The production on this song is amazing too!

Chance the Rapper – Finish Line/ Drown Ft. Noname, Eryn Allen Kane, T-Pain & Kirk Franklin

This is the longest song on the tape but is split into two. Part 1; Finish Line is based on the success and blessings Chance has received as he sings; “But who would think the raps would turn into racks? don’t matter, matter fact, it could happen to you”. Chance tries to show that his blessings can happen to anyone with faith. The flow switches up in the second verse where he speeds up while still maintaining his joy at his blessings. all demonstrating his versatility. Part 2; Drown is where Noname talks about how God has been there for her despite the fact she is going through a tough and horrible time. The common phrase repeated in this part of the song is “The water may be deeper than it’s ever been. Never drown“. This is the idea that no matter how hard life gets, never give up and always have faith because God is real and he is all powerful. He will always find a way to get you out the water.

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#ThrowbackThursday Donell Jones…A 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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#ThrowbackThursday 31/01/19

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

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

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


2. NSG – Referee (UK – 2016)

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

3. Kendrick Lamar – LOVE – (US -2017)

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

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Songs I’ve been playing this week.

Here are some songs I’ve been listening to over the past weekend, some new and some old. Have a listen below;

1. Normani & Calvin Harris Ft. WizKid – Checklist:

I’m beginning to enjoy a lot of the music Normani has been featuring in recently. I like her R&B tone of voice and this particular song is another catchy banger. Have a listen below.

2. Papoose Ft. Remy Ma & Angelica Villa – The Golden Child

Pap & Remy are soon due to have their first child together (they both have kids from different relationships). They have always been honest with the struggles they have faced trying to concieve so it is no surprise they are celebrating this pregnancy. I like the honesty in the song and you may notice the babys heartbeat in the song which is a very personal touch.

3. Big Tobz – Black Girls

UK rapper Big Tobz is back with another one of his songs. This time this song is about uplifting black women at a time that maybe being black can be challenging. It is refreshing to see a Black man uplifting his own and it is reminiscent of a song by Bashy called “Black Boys”. The beat is great and Tobz maintains a good flow throughout the song, even singing the chorus! Check it out below.

4. Young Greatness – Moolah

There was sad news that US rapper Young Greatness unfortunately was killed. ‘Moolah’ is probably considered one of his most popular songs and I just wanted to bring it to light again. Such a shame when such a talent is taken away like this, but may he rest in Peace. Have a listen below.

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Throwback Thursday!

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

1. Jay- Z – Anything (2000)

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

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

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

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

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

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Songs to Start your week;

It’s Monday again! & the weather in London is miserable so I’ve made a list of 5 songs, new and old to listen to and set you up for the week. Have a listen below;

1. Quavo – Swing Ft. Normani & Davido

It’s nice to hear Quavo on a different kind of beat & the features from Normani & Davido fit so well. The soothing voice from Normani provides the song with a feminine touch. The vocals and broken English from Nigerian artist Davido provide the song with an afrobeats vibe. Definitely a song you’ll be doing a little shimmy to.

2. WSTRN – Round Here Ft. Skrapz.

I will provide an album review of the new Wstrn album shortly but for now this song is a good pick to start your week! The mix of Louis Rei spitting his usual talented bars, the sensual voice of Haile & the ‘rough’ sound of UK rapper Skrapz is a great match. Definitely a song I’ll be playing all week.

3. Shakka – Long Ting (Produced by Jae5)

OK, I’ve mentioned before Shakka is one of my favourite UK artists & Jae5 is also one of my favourite producers. Together they have already made the 2018 hit “Man Down”. Shakka has a regular event called “Tribe Tuesdays” where he collaborates with someone or himself to create a song within the hour. A few weeks ago he did with Jae5 & this is the song they created. I wish it was longer but hopefully these two work again in the future.

4. Octavian – 54321 Ft. Swift.

British rapper Octavian brought out a really cool tape earlier this year called ‘Spaceman‘ & this is one of the stand out tracks. His unique singing style is a nice song to have in the background when chilling or relaxing. Have a listen below.

5. Ella Mai – Whatchamacallit Ft. Chris Brown

Ella Mai album review coming shortly but in the meantime, have a listen to this beauty. R&B royalty Chris Brown features in a song with R&B newbie Ella and the song is great! It will definitely have you singing “it’s a Whatchamacallit” all day. Both Ella and Chris suit this song and I hope this is the beginning of more joint music from them.

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Throwback Thursday (US Style)

Today’s throwback entry is from the legendary Destiny’s Child called ‘Emotion’. The song released in 2001 explores song of the emotions associated with a breakup; betrayal, loss and loneliness to name a few. The first line of the song “Its over and done but the heart ache lives on inside”, reminds us that even though the relationship is over, the pain is just getting started. Anyone who has gone through a breakup or had their heart broken will relate to this song unfortunately. The idea that when you break up with someone you love, you can never find better 8/ expressed; “Don’t you know there’s no (no body left in this world to hold me tight)”. One of my favourite lines is “Cry me a river that leads to your ocean” The symbolism in that line is overlooked. The idea that she wants him to be as sad as she is as long as it means they can be together again one day.

Overall although the song is not written by the girls or originally sang by them, I love the emotion (No pun intended, haha) they exude from the song. It also reminds us that sometimes our emotions are out of our control. The song is a beautifully presented song about the negative symptoms of the drug we call love.

https://open.spotify.com/track/0v1FiNbsrogBpgITmV9qTG?si=BcJgyqM3Sc2Lsx352H9u6w