Royce Da 5'9" ft. Adonis-On The Boulevard (Prod. Nottz)


From something a little disappointing to something somewhat serendipitous. By this I mean I must admit I wasn’t really too sure which Royce we would get on his upcoming LP Success Is Certain. Earmarked as a loose follow up to the superb Death Is Certain I’m pleased to announce this track sounds as if it could have in fact been lifted from Royce’s darkest yet finest hour.

Nottz builds an introspective and powerful instrumental for Adonis and Royce to lay their respective verses and perhaps more importantly for Royce to remind his fans (and introduce to some of his newer ones) that there’s a bit more about him than his Bad Meets Evil treble-time flows. August 9th is the date and the lack of promotion on this speaks volumes about dropping on an independent label in stark comparison to the megabucks Interscope ploughed into Hell: The Sequel.

Royce Da 5’9″ ft. Adonis-On The Boulevard (Prod. Nottz)

Game ft. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg-Test


There was once upon a time where I would have been salivating from all holes at the prospect of this joint. Today is no longer such a time and quality of this track justifies that.

Apparently something from Game’s much-delayed R.E.D. Album sees the once-formidable threesome team up perhaps from those pictured recording sessions. Everything on this feels overwhelmingly tired; from the beat (incidentally not produced by Dre) and Game’s unnecessary auto-tune tinge to a typical post-2000 Snoop and a hook craving for a certain late Nate Dogg. Let’s hope this turns out just as the title suggests and remains on the cutting room floor.

Game ft. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg-Test 

Drake-Headlines


The first official single from Drake’s upcoming sophomore effort, Take Care, and one the Drake fans will be scrambling to get their clammy little hands on.

Unfortunately, it’s very disappointing. The production feels wholly unoriginal, with the primary melody sounding like a loose imitation of Young Money’s Bed Rock, and percussion that doesn’t inject the track with the intensity it so desperately craves. I’m not huge on Drake’s verses generally, but usually his hook work can paper over those cracks; here though, he doesn’t really bring anything spectacular in either department, and with no real obvious distinction between hook and verse, it ends up being a rather monotonous and uninspired 4 minutes. Props to Drake for releasing this for free, but you really do get what you pay for sometimes.

Drake-Headlines

R&B Fridays: Episode 111


Very exciting episode this week, with some of my favourite artists making appearances, as well as a couple of fresh new names. Pretty much strong material all the way through, making this one of the more essential episodes of recent weeks.

Just the two relevant posts to catch up on from the week gone by: Chris Brown teamed up with Game for the latter’s latest video, and Modestep dropped off a monster dubstep/alternative hybrid that’s sure to be a huge hit this summer.

Click below for 21 minutes and 24 seconds of R&B/pop therapy.
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Slaine-Trail Of Blood Video

For me, Slaine has always been one of the best around, and recently he has been putting in the work to solidify his spot at the top of the underground. His recent mixtape The Devil Never Dies is testament to that, with more stand out tracks on it than most MC’s albums have.

Now, he has come out with a video for my favourite track from said mixtape. The Trail of Blood video is much like Slaine himself- polished and slick, with a grimey yet realistic look at some of the darker elements of society. The video is pretty grim, taking a look at both drug addiction and murder in a brutal and honest way, which compliments the tone of the song and manages to capture the true horror of such situations.

A World With No Skies is out August 16th, pre-order here

Raphael Saadiq-Movin' Down The Line (Don't You Go Away) Video

Something to further brighten this lovely summer day, Raphael Saadiq comes through with visuals for the latest single from his superb Stone Rollin’ album.

Blending together live footage with more personal scenes, the video has a candid, almost ‘day in the life’ feel that makes for a realistic, relatable and ultimately enjoyable video from start to finish. The contrast (and blend) of tender moments with his significant other and crowd-pleasing stage performances captures the essence of the audio very well, with the upbeat and energetic nature of the production visualised in the lively, vivid performance scenes, whilst the more intimate lyricism is represented effectively in the homely moments.

Top all-round package, be sure to grab that album on iTunes now. It seems to be on offer for only £4.99 too, so unless you’re living quite far below the bread line, you’ve really got no excuse to not get it.

Remy Banks and Domo Genesis-More Clouds


Lots to catch up on from the last/in the next 24 hours, but my tired state means I’ll just be leaving you with this sleepy, laidback slice of hip-hop for now, featuring a member of OFWGKTA.

Really smooth production holds this one together, as Hannibal King blends sharp percussion hits with light melodies on the keys, giving the beat an addictive chillout music vibe. Solid verses from both rappers, lacing the lazy day production with smoker raps, a subject matter Domo is certainly comfortable with. Easy listening, and good to see another Odd Future rapper working outside of the OFWGKTA confines.

Remy Banks-More Clouds ft. Domo Genesis

Lost-The Deleted Scene

Lost creators Lindelof and Cuse once and for all prove that they weren’t making Lost up as they went along by releasing this never seen before deleted scene from season one.

Ok, I lied, this is just a jape scene, but it is actually hilarious. Lost fans (and haters) will find this very funny and it does actually address how ridiculous the last season or two of Lost really was. Added to the fact that we see some great new screentime between Jacob and the evil man in black (who was never named), this makes this a much watch.

DEVolution Launch New ‘Bad Love’ Remix Competition Powered By SoundCloud


“DEVolution will preview the release of their hotly-tipped debut single ‘Good Love’ (out August 29th) with the launch of a major competition powered by SoundCloud. Aspiring remixers are invited to participate in the ‘Bad Love’ remix competition in order to win an enviable collection of prizes: the winner will see their mix released by One More Tune / Warner Bros. Records and will also receive £500 and a year’s SoundCloud Pro account worth over £200.

All you need to do to enter the competition is to download the a cappella track from http://badlove.wearedevolution.com, create your own winning remix and upload it to the site.”

You can vote for your favourite remixes on the site and the winner will be chosen by DEVolution themselves! Competition closes August the 29th, so get cracking.

Modestep-Sunlight Video

Fierce yet accessible, ‘Sunlight’ combines the rugged elements of dubstep with the energetic power of the hardcore rock acts that the band grew up on. A rather good description, as Modestep not only risk blending two very seperate genres, but in doing so add a structure and an organic quality to dubstep that has been missing from the genre’s largely repetitive and chaotic catalogue.

Thudding, winding bass and razor-sharp synths blend seamlessly with pounding live drums and licks of guitar for a busy production, whilst the vocals are simple and catchy, ensuring the audio satisfies the hardcore dubstep fans alongside those of us looking for something with more regularity in the genre. Top all that off with a video of old people going to a rave and generally having shenanigans, and you’ve got an all-round package that’s likely to be a widespread success. Available everywhere on 15th August.

Hoodie Allen-Leap Year (Mixtape)


Today is probably the most exciting and fulfilling moment of my musical career. I am proud to announce the release of my free mixtape Leap Year. I began writing Leap Year when I decided to leave my job at Google and follow my passion. The thirteen track album is a look into my world and what it means to step out of your comfort zone. I wanted Leap Year to mirror my life and experiences–it’s fun, crazy, sarcastic, and introspective– its me growing up on record.

As mentioned a few days ago, Hoodie’s certainly one to look out for this year and I fully expect this to be a breakout project for the upcoming rapper. There’s an accessibility to his sound that makes him very friendly to casual and mainstream listeners, and he has the intelligence and potential to be a good rapper in addition to that. Get on the bandwagon early and grab the mixtape (for free) at Hoodie’s place below.

Hoodie Allen-Leap Year

The ILLZ-In Between Us (Remix) Video

A few days late on this, but as it’s The ILLZ then it’s essential it gets some time up in here. This forms the first part of The ILLZ’ latest Let It Fall video project which you can follow over here. I’m not sure which version I prefer though; this or the original (which also has a video).

“Chapter 1 follows a couple as their relationship has reached it’s breaking point. Inundated by jealousy, anger, and resentment, what starts off as trip to the ocean to try and rekindle a spark instead leads to a violent fight. Reality is harsh, gritty and painful. This is all juxtaposed against the subconscious, which is represented by the tunnel. Here the couple is alone, on a journey. Things are good, things are bad, but they are together. This represents the internal struggle of the two.” 

Actual Proof-Still Hotter Than July (Mixtape)


Got my sweaty little mitts (it’s been incredibly humid in Barcelona) on Act Proof’s latest free offering in association with DJBooth.net and some other people. As I tweeted an hour ago, it’s well worth getting your hands on it too if you’re really into your hip-hop as it’s got solid lyricism and enjoyable production in abundance.

“The project features 18 original joints from emcees Sundown and Enigma, including reader-approved leak “Get It Done.”

Joining Actual Proof on the guest tip throughout Still Hotter Than July are Thee Tom Hardy, Sean Boog,Rapsody, Chuuwee, GQ, Drique London, Median and Bluu Suede. In addition to instrumentals by 9th Wonder and Enigma the set features beats by fellow Soul Council members E. Jones, Ka$h, Khrysis and Amp.”

Get it here. 

 

Context MC-Listening to Burial [Cinematic Remix]

“Cinematic keep up the quality control with this remix, retaining the soulful vibe of the original while adding tight percussion and a deep sliding bass line. This collaboration between Context MC and Cinematic looks set to be an anthemic addition to the summer. It was uploaded to Drum and Bass powerhouse UKF last week, and earned over 35,000 hits in its first day! The remix has also been supported by MTV!”

Loved the original to this, which has been supported heavily by BBC Radio1 and BBC Radio 1xtra. A tale of walking home after a night out, the original which was produced by Slof Man and is a slow and very reflective track, so it’s interesting to hear this Drum & Bass twist to it. Rather skilfully, it still manages to capture the reflective vibe as well as being something you could listen to in a club, offering the best of both worlds. Top stuff.

Game and Chris Brown-Pot of Gold Video

For all the recent criticism of Game’s poorly-judged swipe at many of today’s ‘buzzing’ artists, there’s no denying that this is a very enjoyable song that offers him the chance to penetrate the mainstream once more.

The video blends together a personal aspect with the usual Westcoast scenes, as we’re shown childhood images of Game and clips involving his own children, alongside cars with excessive suspensions and a relatively imposing posse of Game’s friends hanging around on his lawn. Throw in a short clip of Chris Brown’s gravity-defying stunts/dancing, and you’ve got a little bit of everything. A fairly simple all-round premise, and rightfully so as it focuses on the natural power and energy of the audio and enhances it suitably.

Enjoyable all-rounder, and is available on iTunes now. Click here to read the previous audio review.

DoomStarks (MF Doom and Ghostface Killah)-Victory Laps


I don’t normally do this as it’s lazy journalism, and if there’s such a thing I’m sure it’s internet plagiarism too, but this is a brilliantly accurate review which perfectly mirrors my views. Props to The Fader for this.

“Under the clunkily mash-upped moniker DoomStarks, “Victory Laps” originally dropped a few weeks ago on a dead format in a tiny coffin. A lo-fi rip of Madvillain’s “Victory Laps” remix followed shortly thereafter. Today the original hits the internet. It sounds like one would expect it to and exactly what it probably was—two great rappers rapping into protools hundreds of miles away from each other with just enough effort enough to satiate their very loyal fans. The CDQ version hits iTunes tonight. Pre-order now and sell it on eBay to an overenthusiastic European fan who wears a metal mask to his telemarketing job later.”
DoomStarks-Victory Laps 

Shady Blaze-No Fear


Every so often, I stumble upon a gem from an upcoming artist that’s just been sitting around in my inbox (click here for the last one), and this would firmly fall under that category.

Produced by Ryan Hemsworth (who helms the entire Distorted project this is taken from), he serves up an atmospheric, intense production that blends guitars, thudding percussion and choir-style vocals into a pulsating end product. Shady laces the engaging production with some equally enjoyable raps, showcasing some real skill on the mic with tongue-twisting deliveries, solid lyricism and a confidence belying his relatively underground status. Very well-rounded effort, and certainly one all hip-hop fans can appreciate. Grab this track below, and the entire project at the above link.

Shady Blaze-No Fear

Hoodie Allen-The Chase Is On Video

The premise behind “The Chase Is On” is something everybody can relate to. If you’ve ever spotted someone and been instantly attracted to them then you know what I’m talking about. Playing opposite of me in the video is the very talented Sofia Black D’Elia (MTV’s Skins). She alone makes the video worth watching…but like the song is also really good so that’s cool too.

Someone that’ll likely be new to many of you, Hoodie Allen seems to be garnering quite a solid fanbase and certainly looks to have the potential to be a breakout star this year.

The production blends together positive, upbeat synths with a thick head-nodding percussion, bringing a bright, summery feel alongside a solid hip-hop sensibility. The raps are certainly accessible to a mainstream audience, with odd flashes of skill that suggest there could be a little more depth to his ability waiting to cut loose, whilst the catchy hook rounds the song off well. A feelgood anthem that will be enjoyed by the casual hip-hop fans. The audio is available here, and on US iTunes for the American readers.

Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa & Big Sean-Proceed and dotdotdot


Two more from that upcoming mixtape, and I’m enjoying both. dotdotdot brings another mellow production, with heavy horns that ooze a vintage charm, and alongside live drums anchor the track superbly. The vocal filter on the raps of each artist further enhances the retro vibe, giving it that ‘old time radio’ vibe, and both the verses and hook generally blend very nicely with the easygoing production.

Proceed comes through very differently, but will likely be the majority’s favourite track from the trio thus far. A more modern, upbeat production, the synths burst into life from the off and are met by a smooth drum loop to combine into a beat that would have slid in nicely on either Wiz or Sean’s recent albums. The raps certainly suggest comfortability too, with a vigour evident in each verse that makes for refreshing listening after the raft of laidback tracks we’ve had from the triumverate. Enjoying Sean’s verse in particular (again), with a more personal touch giving it a more distinguishable quality. Both very likeable efforts, and certainly worth a listen.
Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa & Big Sean-Proceed
Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa & Big Sean-dotdotdot

R&B Fridays: Episode 110


A nice mixture of soul tracks and R&B stuff in this week’s episode, all from acts everyone should be familiar with.

No posts of note to recap on from the week gone by, though there are a few news bites, particularly Chris Brown’s announcement of a hip-hop mixtape to be released soon, and Drake confirming the first official single from Take Care is set to drop any day now.

In the meantime, click below for this week’s scheduled programming.

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Alpines-Cocoon Video

Really enjoyed the last track we heard from Alpines, and the very enjoyable Cocoon certainly maintains the momentum created by Ice and Arrows (and the various remixes!).

A rousing effort from start to finish, the captivating vocals anchor the track superbly, with busy synths and light percussion weaving their way around that hypnotising voice to create an organic, engulfing atmosphere. The bright yet plain colour scheme in the video bravely removes focus away from the background, costumes and so forth, instead placing it firmly on the duality and progressive unravelling of the Alpines vocalist as she evolves from plain, still and emotionless into a dressed-up, busy and active character. It matches the progression of the audio very well, and is a simple yet artistic representation of what is fundamentally an excellent, well-rounded piece of alternative music.

Game-Uncle Otis


There’s a new Game album on the horizon, and that can only mean one thing: he’s releasing pointless diss tracks to try and get his profile back up to a reasonable level. It used to work, but will it this time?

The answer is no. As opposed to focusing his rage on one target, Game seems to share the venom across pretty much anyone with any sort of buzz right now, from Frank Ocean to Kreayshawn, and the now-customary Game shots at Jay-Z. If the raps were anything new or remarkable, it would be perfectly acceptable as a hip-hop track, but it’s another case of relying on name drops to carry the song along with some poor parodies and impressions (though his Rick Ross one isn’t too bad!). Worth a listen for a laugh more than anything. Click below for the track, and click here to read Game’s ‘explanation’ in an XXL interview.

Game-Uncle Otis

Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa & Big Sean-Weed Brownies


They say good things come in threes, and over the last three days we’ve now had three tracks (click here for one, here for the other) from three talented rappers. There are always question marks when collaborative projects or ‘supergroups’ are formed (see Child Rebel Soldier), but the rate at which these guys are churning out material suggests this one may just stick and deliver the project they recently promised.

Another relaxed, lazy day sort of track from the trio, with an easygoing percussion accompanied by soft melodies that work well as part of this ‘stoner anthem’. Lyrically, the title rightfully suggests its nothing surprising or particularly unique, though it makes for easy listening and compliments should be reserved once again for Big Sean who attacks the beat with a slightly better flow than the others.

Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa & Big Sean-Weed Brownies

Pusha T and Tyler, The Creator-Trouble On My Mind Video

Still very much enjoying the audio for this collaboration, and the duo come together for a very entertaining video to supplement the track. It’s largely focused on generally creating havoc and a bit of chaos, as Pusha and Tyler throw a few eggs, gather a somewhat eclectic gang of folk to trash the streets/miscellaneous rooms and a little more on top of that.

A highlight is Tyler and Pusha ‘trading places’, in particular the unexpected sight of Pusha on crutches dressed identically to Tyler. It’s good to see the Clipse rapper add a little humour to his otherwise serious public image, and that certainly reflects on the video as a whole. A fun watch, and definitely has that Odd Future stamp all over it with a lighthearted yet anarchic vibe throughout the video. Audio available here.

Mick Boogie-Rarities and Remixes of A Tribe Called Quest


ATCQ are the ultimate hip-hop summer group. So much so that every summer I find myself creating a ‘Best of a ATCQ’ playlist which I bump over and over. Boogie came through a little late for me with this one, but hopefully not for the rest of you. This is absolutely perfect for casual, laid-back listening and for those of you unfamiliar it’s a superb introduction to those Jazzy signature sounds of A Tribe Called Quest.

“A Tribe Called Quest is one of my favorite groups of all time… in any genre of music. After seeing Michael Rapaport’s amazing documentary on the group, I felt inspired to put together a mix and this is the end result. This is NOT a greatest hits mix. This mix is for the true Tribe fans only… the die-hards who know every lyric and remember every interlude. I thought it would be cool to basically create the “lost” Tribe album… with all the rare songs, demos, limited-edition remixes, and collaborations you may have missed over the years. I hope when you enjoy this as much as I do, and hear some things you have never heard before.”

Listen and download for free here.

Jay-Z and Kanye West-Otis


Well here it is. Finally a joint worth listening to from ‘Ye & Jay’s upcoming Watch The Throne (August 1st).

It’s all about the sampling on this. Kanye flips Otis Redding’s Try A Little Harder with spectacular effect, creating a looping soulful instrumental with subtle licks of drum to boot. ‘Ye and Jay’s chemistry is strong as they trade bars back and forth but lyrically the track comes up somewhat short, both in terms of rhyme content and also timing (at a measly 3:01, the sample deserved more airplay). Although even with that said, this is still top stuff and for me personally one of the best tracks either have released in a long time. I don’t think this will be an official single as such but might give us clues (hopefully) as to how the rest of the LP will sound.

Jay-Z and Kanye West-Otis

Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean-Flowers


Two releases in two days from this young trio, with today’s effort coming with more information on the planned destination for the tracks: a collaborative mixtape from the trio. Very excited at that announcement, and with the quality of O.T.T.R. and now Flowers, hopes are certainly high.

Flowers boasts another laidback production, though with less of the vintage aspect of the previous track, instead offering a more traditional hip-hop flavour with hard-hitting percussion and softer samples. The result is a stronger focus on the vocal work, and whilst each rapper coming through with solid verses, Big Sean stands out here with a good verse that foregoes his more relaxed delivery for a more exaggerated vocal style. The smoothed-out hook closes this one off nicely, and this is again very solid material that will undoubtedly build expectations for the trio’s mixtape.

Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean-Flowers

Mz Bratt-Speeding By ft. Dot Rotten [Video]

Fresh from the release of her mixtape (get that here), Mz Bratt releases some visuals from one of my favourite tracks from it. The video is set somewhere that has great scenery and sunshine (safe to say not in the UK!), and it supplements the whole vibe of the sound that the song conveys.

You may have gathered from previous posts on this website about Mz Bratt and Dot Rotten, these are two artists in the UK scene who are well worth listening to, and this video certainly solidifies that belief.

Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean and Curren$y-O.T.T.R.


Three of hip-hop’s fastest rising stars come together for an interesting collaboration that doesn’t quite have a formal home yet, but is certainly worth a listen.

The track kicks off with some laidback percussion hits with a lounge music feel, and builds into a hypnotising, jazz-sampling production: there’s a heavy retro vibe coarsing through this, with real charm to be found in its evocation of a film noir vibe. The verses slide in with the production nicely, with each rapper’s relaxed, easygoing deliveries being a suitable fit for this production. In truth, I’ve partly ignored the verses on my first few listens as I’ve been thoroughly mesmerised by this production, so forgive me if I’ve been somewhat disrespectful of the raps here!

Wiz Khalifa-O.T.T.R. ft. Big Sean and Curren$y