Patrick Stump-Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia) Video

We were treated to two versions of this track back in November, and it appears Stump has wisely chosen this version as his newest (and possibly first?) single. This was my favourite of the two, with the uplifting feel of the track being very infectious.

That motivational vibe is encapsulated superbly in this video, as regular people are given the ‘spotlight’ to showcase their own unique and often impressive skills. It’s a wonderfully positive video that doesn’t try and dazzle you with elaborate cinematography, and instead captures your attention by showcasing these individual talents. When set to the backdrop of Stump’s mighty talent of his own, you’ve got a very engaging audio-visual combination that will surely appeal to younger and older heads.

You can pick up the final version of this track (along with a few others!) on his Truant Wave EP, which is actually surprisingly good value: 6 tracks for £1.79!

DaVinci-Blame Game

The track, produced by Al Jieh of Drums & Ammo, flips the same Aphex Twin sample that Kanye employed on his recent album, while filtering the sample, making it feel as though the music is floating over the heavy drums – perfect when juxtaposed against DaVinci’s gruff flow and weighty subject matter. “Society blames the government for their problems – poverty, homelessness, gentrification, unemployment, drug abuse – yet, the government blames society for these same issues,” explains DaVinci when discussing the song’s inspiration.

We’re all familiar with the Kanye West original, and upcoming rapper DaVinci comes through with a quite brilliant take on the track. The description above is very fitting, as the sample is utilised in a darker, more atmospheric manner that adds real weight to DaVinci’s powerful lyricism, which in itself is hugely commendable as he blends together a social commentary with a biographical style to create a very captivating track.

Definitely one worth a listen, especially if you’re not familiar with DaVinci’s rhymes. The video is pretty simple and compliments the audio nicely, with gritty street imagery and a rough shooting style that works well with the feel of the track. Audio can be grabbed here.

Willow Smith-21st Century Girl

Willow’s back, and she’s got another huge hit on her hands. Adopting a different style to her huge debut track, she’s gone fully pop with this one and taken a leaf out of Ke$ha’s book with a dance-driven, anthemic style that doesn’t have the trace R&B influences Whip My Hair did.

It’s probably just as catchy as the aforementioned track though, and the maturity of her voice is evident once more with a performance that matches anyone in the pop game right now. It’s one of those that’ll get ridiculously overplayed by virtue of having a massive appeal to the younger audience, but as of right now it’s bearable enough for the rest of us. Stream available below, official release on iTunes tomorrow.

Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg-Young, Wild and Free

I know I’ve used this picture before, but it’s so good it warrants a second use: Snoop’s serious face/headgear combination will live in my memory for a long time.

Not sure whether this is from their upcoming High School film or Wiz’s upcoming Rolling Papers album (I suspect it’ll be the former), but either way these two have great chemistry on their tracks and that trend is continued here with another head-nodder. A playful piano makes for a jovial melody, and is complimented nicely by midtempo drum work, an uplifting hook and typically laidback verses from Wiz and Snoop. One of those that’s pretty perfect for a warm Spring day (not long left!), and a very easy, uncomplicated listen.

Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg-Young, Wild and Free

Dr. Dre and Eminem Break Down I Need A Doctor

Just a short video, but it’s always nice to see your interpretation of a video vindicated by the stated intentions of the artists involved: Em and Dre acknowledge the ‘reawakening’ or ‘rehabilitation’ of Dr. Dre.

Not a great deal more to say sadly as it is a very short video, but it’s still worth a watch to hear it from Dre and Em, and of course to learn a little more about their motivations and reactions to the video. The actual music video can be enjoyed over here.

Lowkey-Top 1 Selected

Following on from the furore of MTV’s top UK emcees list, Lowkey strikes back at those who thought he had no right to be in that list.

He certainly showcases his talent here, where he not only flows to the beat with perfection but lyrically comes through with some very impressive lines. He comes across as very knowledgeable too, declaring that MTV only put him on the list for one reason, and that was to cause friction. Amidst this, he also declares he doesn’t want or need MTV’s support and also states that Ghetts was right in thinking he’s one of the best.

I’ve been following Lowkey on Twitter, so just to give you an idea of what sort of emcee he is I can tell you he’s in New York currently rubbing shoulders with the likes of Immortal Technique and also met one of Malcom X’s daughters. Put it this way, do not expect to hear any ignorant babble from his songs.

JonnyGo Figure-ÈSÇARGÔT [Video]

Around a month ago I posted new visuals from JonnyGo’s fantastic debut EP Awkward Spelling, as well as a download link for said EP. Fast-forward a month, and I’m now giving you the video for JonnyGo’s latest track from his upcoming mixtape, which is set to drop in April.

His music is unlike anything I’ve heard before, touching across numerous genres, and its artists like this who don’t really tend to get the exposure they deserve. Take a little time out and see what you think. The video itself is essentially hot girls in lingerie sucking lollipops whilst bouncing around and playfighting. What’s not to like?

Incisive–Him & Her EP

UK underground emcee Incisive dropped this 6 track EP last week. It’s set around telling the story of a relationship from the very first meeting, and Incisive enlists assistance from a strong selection of UK soul talent including Meleka, Terri Walker, Nadine Charles, and Shakka.

I’ve only managed to give this an extremely quick listen, but it’s caught my attention enough to note it down as something that I really need to give a decent listen to, as it sounds extremely promising. I wholeheartedly suggest you check this out for yourselves.

Incisive–Him & Her EP

Lupe Fiasco & Sway-Monster Freestyle

Lupe was really on his grind when he took the trip across the pond to visit our glorious shores last week. We had his H.A.M. Freestyle then there was his Moment 4 Life & Girls freestyles, and whilst on DJ Semtex’s 1Xtra show, he joined up with the UK emcee Sway to go in over Kanye West’s Monster.

Lupe absolutely bodies this beat, more than likely leaving Sway wondering why he let Lupe jump in first. On it’s own, Sway’s freestyle would’ve been more than commendable, but following Fiasco’s bars he really needed to step up. Unfortunately I’m not too sure he managed it, but independently it would have been viewed far more favourably.

R&B Fridays: Episode 89

Genuine reason on the delay this week: I wasn’t happy with the amount of good quality material as of yesterday afternoon, but the R&B/pop world has delivered in the last 24 hours or so to make sure that situation has improved.

Not too much to recap on from the past week, with only the three related items: UK starlet Jodie Connor released her newest single, fellow homegrown upcomer Jaya released a new video featuring two prominent MCs, and Mike Posner let loose of official visuals for his collaboration with Lil’ Wayne.

Click below for this week’s R&B fix.
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Travis Barker-Give The Drummer Some [Album Cover + Track List]

The new LP by Travis Barker is nearing release, it’ll be available in just over two weeks! If you haven’t already go cop his mixtape (by clicking here) he did with DJ Whoo Kid, I’m told it’s rather good.

The artwork on the left here for this is pretty crazy and quite frankly freaks me out a little, I honestly can’t look at it for more than 3 seconds without having to look away *shudders*

Features on this new album include the likes of Game, Ludacris, Lupe Fiasco, RZA, Raekwon, Kid Cudi, Lil’ Wayne, Bun B, as well as my favourite hip hop group about: SLAAAAUGHTERHOUUUSE! You can check the tracklist out yourself by clicking below.

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J. Cole-Nothing Like It

J. Cole goes in on an old Beanie Sigel track, which was a classic Kanye West soul-sampled production. No chorus, just J. Cole rapping along for the whole song to the high standard we’ve come to expect from him.

One for the insatiable J. Cole fans out there; download below.

J. Cole – Nothing Like It

Linkin Park-Burning In The Skies Video

One of the very few shining lights on Linkin Park‘s recent A Thousand Suns album, this track is one I’m still replaying today and is set to be released as their next international single.

The video is a little cluttered to begin with, but all comes together quite nicely towards the end as it acts as a look into the various and diverse lives led by the residents of a city (or probably Earth, given the celestial nature of the album title), and how futile those differences become in the face of a cataclysmic event. It’s in this latter section that the cinematography blossoms too, with the illuminous, supernova-like effects contrasted perfectly with the dark, tinted style of the rest of the video.

This explosion and inclusion of bright lighting syncs nicely with the explosive nature of its particular audio section, adding a good visual context to that upscaling in the song. Worth a watch, especially if you were unsure of their recent work.

Dr. Dre, Eminem and Skylar Grey-I Need A Doctor Video

My life flashed before my eyes‘ would be the best way to describe the opening of this video. Opening up with a look back at the history of Dre’s career and life, we’re treated to a montage of both his finest moments on screen, and short clips of his highly-guarded personal life. Those short clips add a huge dose of credibility right from the off, and certainly add credence to the personal lyricism of the track.

The bulk of the video is centred around Eminem’s incredibly honest verses, with his words seemingly acting as a desperate eulogy of ‘words he never said’ to Dre. This video really highlights the passion and intensity behind both Em’s lyrics and his delivery, with the brutal honesty in both verses makes for riveting listening. This emotional outpouring results in the ‘reawakening’ of Dre, and whilst Dre’s verse probably isn’t quite as gripping as either of Em’s, it’s enjoyable nonetheless and arguably suffers from being placed after two of Em’s better verses in recent years.

The highest compliment you can pay a video is when it completely reshapes your view on the audio: it’s safe to say that’s been the case here. Previously, I was guilty of overlooking the powerful lyricism of the track in favour of listening purely for that ‘perfect’ Dr. Dre beat, but the production serves its purpose ably here in amplifying the absorbing lyrical work. Audio is available on iTunes now.

Danso and Bramble-London Son

Huge thanks to Indi (some guy who hangs around these parts begging for spare change) for putting me onto this rather brilliant piece of homegrown hip-hop. Prior to this track, I had no familiarity with either Danso or Bramble, but I’ll be keeping an eye out on the basis of this excellent, emotionally-engaging effort.

With a gritty, realistic subject matter, Danso’s lyricism is a refreshingly open and honest view of an uneasy life that makes for incredibly captivating verses. When mixed in with the occasional with hints of forward-thinking hope, it makes this a superbly constructed track that accurately portrays an unfiltered view into Danso’s story.

The production is comprised of eerie, haunting keys alongside intense, ominous synth work that remove the need for elaborate percussion work by virtue of being such an engaging combination. The minimal percussion work that is included arrives right on time with an uprising of emotion in Danso’s verse, giving his passionate flows more depth. Throw in a wistful, brooding and hypnotising hook from Bramble and you’ve got a rather good all-rounder. The video is a nice fit for the audio, with industrial, real-life backdrops supplemented by monochromatics to enhance that dark, intense feel of the lyrics. Great work, and certainly worth a watch for the hip-hop heads.

The Hangover: Part II [Trailer]

The sequel to the awesometastic and ultimate lads + bants movie is nearing release and we’re treated to a teaser trailer for it.

My initial impression: “Oh lord, I hope they don’t F this up.”

Oh yeah, I know this isn’t a music related post…I only have this to say about that: deal with it.

Set for release May 26th (not sure if that’s just a US date or a global one).

Wretch 32-Anniversary ft. Alex Mills [Video]

New video by Wretch 32 for a track that’s been getting a lot of love by the internets. For good reason too; displaying Wretch’s full talents storytelling ability whilst still coming through with many an excellent metaphor, this is a great song to vibe too.

As you can guess from the title of the track; this is one about a relationship. The video really does help capture the notion of ‘wondering what your other half is doing’ by having the split screen affect (and thus showing you what both halves of the relationship are doing, before meeting up).

I won’t ruin the video for you, but I will say that it is worth watching all the way to the end, where it not only cleverly changes how you perceive the whole song but also the emotion the track emits. Brilliant stuff, really looking forward to Wretch’s next album.

Gorillaz and Daley-Doncamatic (Lonsdale Boys Club Remix)

A lively, upbeat take on the popular single Doncamatic, the Lonsdale Boys Club add a thicker alternative funk vibe to the track through well-placed guitar licks, backing vocals and perky synth work. A far cry from the darker, dub-heavy remix by Joker, LBC do a great job in adding a bubbly positivity to Daley’s passionate vocal stems. Worth a listen if you liked the original, maybe less so if you preferred the Joker remix.

Waka Flocka Flame-No Hands ft. Wale & Roscoe Dash [Video]

I don’t often check out Waka’s music in all honesty, but you know exactly what to expect from him. High in energy, and fundamentally mainstream music.

Not necessarily a bad thing, we all like to listen to music that doesn’t cause us to think too much sometimes. This is his new single with Roscoe Dash and Wale, the latter being someone whose music I do enjoy a fair bit, so I was more open to listening to this. This is a single that amassed over a million sales in the US and is a video that has been viewed more than 26 million times on Youtube: you simply cannot argue with those stats!

Roscoe provides an enjoyable (Soulja Boy-like) auto-tuned chorus that is rather catchy; I do enjoy Wale on productions like this too, with his verse being the best of the three. Nothing revolutionary about the video, but it re-enforces the essence of the track and the playability of it in your favourite night spots. The single will be released here in the UK on the 18th of April.

Eminem and B.o.B-Things Get Worse

Very interesting track here from the vaults. I couldn’t tell you why/how this emergd, but it’s not too difficult to guess when it was recorded, as Eminem seems to switch between the controversial accent used on Relapse and his ‘regular’ style, suggesting this was probably recorded in between Relapse and Recovery.

Regardless of questionable accents, the lyricism here is a throwback to a more old-school Eminem, bringing that edgy and controversial lyrical style that wasn’t too prevalent on Recovery. It makes for a nice throwback in that sense, though the lack of his angry, driven flows from those early 00′s to match the lyricism makes it feel a little diluted. B.o.B comes through with a decent verse of his own, and with a simple, uninterfering production holding things together, this makes for a fairly enjoyable listen. It’s not classic material by any means, but is a relatively enjoyable mini-throwback to Eminem’s earlier days. Maybe I’m just hankering a little too much for that 1998-2001 Eminem…

(Edit: Link re-upped) Eminem-Things Get Worse ft. B.o.B

Mike Posner and Lil' Wayne-Bow Chicka Wow Wow Remix Video

Nice to get some new visuals from Mike, and here he goes with a more humorous approach for his slow jam remix. I can’t say I expected the song to be visualised in this way, but the outcome is definitely funny and makes for a decent watch.

Various highlights throughout, including Posner’s disco wig and I’m sure many will relate to Posner’s hurried post-night out clearing up! There’s more than a hint of the ‘Lynx Effect’ in this video too, which adds a further light-hearted feel to the package.

Not the greatest video of all-time by any means, but it’s not too bad and is worth a watch for something a little less intense than most videos. Audio can be picked up from here.

Jodie Connor and Tinchy Stryder-Bring It

Switching to something a little more mainstream, the latest effort from rising pop starlet Jodie Connor surfaces with a Tinchy Stryder assist.

Whilst it doesn’t have too much setting it apart from the general mainstream sound (dance-driven beat, popular guest feature, catchy hook), it makes for a ready-made club anthem that capitalises on the dance-pop beat with uplifting vocals from Connor. R&B Fridays fans will really enjoy/replay this, though it’s probably not for me by way of being a little too generic.

Can’t complain too much with the visuals though, combining a night-time feel with sharp, bright lighting and giving Jodie lots of camera time. A little corny at times, specifically the ‘dancing in front of a fast-moving road’ thing, but ideal for mainstream audiences. On iTunes now if you want the audio.

Game Changers Part 3-Lupe Fiasco, Estelle, B.o.B & Janelle Monae

These Game Changer videos are seriously becoming music highlights of my week. The last two episodes were extremely captivating, and both offered insights into different aspects of each artist’s personalities.

This week’s delves into self-esteem, misconceptions of success/confidence, and even more. It ends on a very inspirational note too, and surely offers a lot of hope to artists who are coming up right now through many of the same struggles these shining lights have faced.

Sadly, this seems to be the last ‘episode’ of this particular series, but hopefully we’ll get another roundtable with some different artists soon, as this was a genuinely enlightening mini-series that probably got more good PR for Atlantic than anything else they’ve ever done!

The Glitch Mob and Swan-Between Two Points

This is that wonderful sort of music that’s difficult to dislike. Blending the chillout vibe of Zero 7 with a more jagged electronic sensibility, The Glitch Mob serve up a haunting, thoughtful track that retains a degree of intensity, thanks to a fruitful synergy between the detailed production and ethereal vocals.

Opening up with rather blunted tones, the track masterfully swings between two or three styles via the targeted use of heavy synths and occasionally synthesised vocals, before progressing into a mighty all-round upscaling for the final third. Despite being a fairly short track, they pack a great deal in without making it seem cluttered, and the track genuinely feels longer as a result.

The video is very well produced, and matches the peaks and troughs of the song superbly. Whilst it’s occasionally difficult to keep up with the ‘story’, the commentary that it’s ‘a tale about the weight of dependency‘ helps fill those gaps and gives it the potential to be interpreted very subjectively. Worth a watch, and definitely worth a listen. From the upcoming album Drink The Sea, I’m looking forward to more of this nature from the Glitch Mob. (Also, if you enjoyed this, you’ll probably be a fan of this too)

XV and Machine Gun Kelly-Finally Home

Fresh from Vizzy’s Twitter, we’ve got another hugely enjoyable piece of solo material that further establishes XV as one of the better (and most overlooked…talking to you XXL!) young rappers in the game.

An uptempo production makes for a change in pace, as recent material has been a little more smoothed out and hence this provides a nice look at the adaptations Vizzy can make in his flow. The synth work is enjoyable, and adds a triumphant feel to the track, whilst hints of guitar in the hook add a slightly sharper and edgier quality. It’s a decent production, and though it’s probably not on the level of his last release, F.I.F.A., it’s probably a slightly unfair comparison due to both the massive difference in beat styles and the relative uniqueness of F.I.F.A. Worth a listen for sure though, especially if you’ve not yet had the chance to hear XV on a more high-tempo flow.

XV-Finally Home ft. Machine Gun Kelly

Travis Barker and Clipse-Come and Get It Video

Travis wastes no time in dropping some visuals from his recent mixtape release, kicking things off with the Clipse collaboration. The track is extremely solid, and the spiky production additions from Travis compliment the brash rhymes of Pusha and Malice very well.

The interesting thing about this video is that it’s actually shot entirely with the Xbox 360 Kinect camera, which is most definitely interesting. Don’t ask me how they’ve done it/used it, but it’s resulted in some fairly eye-catching effects, ranging from black and white pixellated filters to stop-motion animation, giving this otherwise simple video a pretty spectacular visual appearance.

Worth a watch, just to see how this gaming technology is being creatively (and successfully) utilised! It’s an interesting thought that this could become quite prevalent, and hopefully we’ll see more abuse of gaming accessories for use in music videos.

Chamillionaire-This My World ft. Big K.R.I.T. [Video]

Some welcome visuals for a track that’s been played on my laptop and my car many times over the past few weeks! The video itself has many clips of Chamillionaire’s travels across the globe, from the Middle East to South America. It’s great to see, as it not only fits the nature of the song but it’s also good to see Chamillionaire the person, and not just Chamillionaire the rapper.

You can grab the excellent audio for this by clicking here. Very much looking forward to hearing even more new material from Cham in the near future.

Jaya-Outta Control ft. Wretch 32 & Young Simmons [Video]

Nominated for both Best Newcomer & Best Female act at the upcoming UK Asian Music Awards, Jaya is a singer who has been gathering a bit of buzz for herself.

This is a track that has a delightful pop/R&B hybrid, and would certainly be very befitting of a feature in an R&B Friday. Featuring rising UK star Wretch 32 and US rapper Young Simmons (that’s Diggy Simmons older brother, a.k.a. Reverend Run’s son, Jojo), both provide good verses to aid this very fun track that’d sound good on the radio and in clubs.

The beautiful singer also gives us some visuals to hammer home the concept of the song, with a very dark undertone towards the end that makes for compelling viewing! Jaya’s certainly a name you should be (as we will be!) looking out for in the short, medium and long-term future.

Lykke Li-Wounded Rhymes (Full Album Stream)

Extremely hyped to listen to this album, and why wouldn’t I be? Lykke’s debut Youth Novels was a great album, and the material we’ve heard thus far from Wounded Rhymes has been of a superb standard. Throw  few very artistic videos into the mix, and you really get a sense that Lykke’s genuinely evolved as an artist to the point that this could become a career-defining album.

Click here to catch up with the aforementioned material from/surrounding the album, and use the widget included to preview every track from the album. I believe there are also buy links included, which you’ll hopefully be clicking after hearing the album.