Miguel-Art Dealer Chic Vol. 1

The first of 3 EP’s Miguel is set to release this year (alongside talk of his sophomore LP), he hits R&B fans with 3 excellent tracks to get the Art Dealer Chic series off to a flying start.

Adorn blends a slow jam sensibility with a soulful energy, as the laidback, relatively slow-paced production is blended with powerful and diverse vocal work from Miguel. It’s an effective mix that showcases Mig’s crossover abilities well. That I Do (FTRMX) is a livelier offering, relying more on the cacophony of sounds in the production to drive the track on rather than Miguel’s vocal work, though the performance from him is typically consistent throughout. Gravity has a strong hip-hop sensibility in the beat, with a real head-nodding combination of pounding percussion and deep melodies, and the vocals are adjusted appropriately as he dials it back a little on the emotion to ride the natural bounce of the track. A good triumverate of tracks, and I’d recommend them to any R&B head. Free download available below, stream available here.

Miguel-Art Dealer Chic Vol. 1

Slaughterhouse-Hammer Dance

Welcome To Our House is coming on May 15th, and the Slaughterhouse juggernaut precede that with this entertaining slice of hip-hop. They’ve been relatively active recently with a couple of freestyles (here and here), and now we’re treated to some original material to really set things off.

A thumping, heavy-hitter of a production sets things off from the get-go, with a powerful percussion accompanied by a screechy melody that adds the aggressiveness and intensity associated with the quartet. The raps are as enjoyable as ever, with a strong set of verses anchored around a simple yet catchy hook that gives this track the all-round feel some of their material is often accused of lacking. Definitely worth a grab, and I’m looking forward to more new works from the foursome.

XV and Sez Batters-The L7 Motto

Either I missed the audio when it came out or XV is a little late to the party, but either way Vizzy comes through with his remix of Drake’s oft-remixed The Motto.

Though it’s delayed, the remixes did dry up a few weeks back, so this does actually benefit from coming in a little later as the production now sounds somewhat less overused. XV’s generally sharp with the raps and that’s the case here, with upbeat, bouncy flows that ride this wavy beat nicely, whilst relative unknown Sez Batters also comes through with what’s a confident, smoothed-out verse that has similarities to those on the ‘West Coast’ remix.

The video is comprised of tour footage, and comes with a decent mixture of show footage for energy and backstage/personal stuff for a more in-depth vibe. Nothing spectacular visually, but a solid accompaniment to a decent audio.

Hodgy Beats-Untitled EP

An unexpected but welcome surprise, as Odd Future’s Hodgy Beats released a free EP a couple of days back. It’s nicely timed with the Odd Future Tape Vol. 2 being released soon, and as one of the better rappers from the clan, should make for a solid listen.

Much like their recent video, Hodgy also seems to be benefitting from higher budgets as he enlists a couple of strong producers to help him out on this EP, with The Alchemist being the most notable of the bunch. No features are included as far as I can see, and hence this is a great opportunity for Hodgy to really cement his reputation as a solo artist. Free grab of the 9-track EP is available below.

Hodgy Beats-Untitled EP

R&B Fridays: Episode 139

A very slow week for R&B/pop music this week (those new Chris Brown/Rihanna collaborations don’t count as music), and as a result it’s a pretty short, and stream-heavy, episode this week.

I’ve made this statement before, but R&B really is in a bad spot at the minute, with a serious lack of both quantity and quality as many of its stars are either inactive or pursuing pop careers. It’s a sad state of affairs, but I retain hope that the likes of The-Dream will be back soon to restore the natural order.

Click below for this week’s relatively diverse edition.
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Tyga ft. Wale, Fabolous, Young Jeezy, Meek Mill & T.I. - Rack City Remix [Video]

This all star cast ensemble to bring us visuals for their recent remix of Tyga’s Rack City. Nothing really special to see, fairly basic hip hop video, but for a song like this, that’s all it needs. It’s just good to see such names get together and do something like this; as you all know, I love my collabos.

Originally I said my favourite verse of mine on this strangely addictive track is T.I.’s, but I’ve really warmed to Wale’s opening verse.

Rick Ross - High Definition [Video]

Rick Ross follows up his rather good Rich Forever mixtape with some visuals from one of the bangers from said mixtape! High Definition is possesses a great beat, which he flows effortlessly to. The video opens up with some Tyson footage talking about how his boxing titles are ‘garbage’ and mean nothing to him anymore as his priorities in life changed as he grew up. Not quite sure how that applies this track as Ross raps about his money and material possessions, but we’ll roll with it nonetheless.

Nice cameos from Timbaland and Pharrell Williams too! Both having taken a step out the limelight in recent times, so it’s good to see them alive and well. Cop the mixtape here if you haven’t already.

Gorillaz, Andre 3000 and James Murphy-Do Ya Thing

Converse have once again brought together luminaries of the music world (see here for a previous collaboration), and as expected due to the track being promotion for the Gorillaz/Converse footwear, it’s dominated by that unique Gorillaz flavour. Not a bad thing at all though, as there’s a lively and upbeat feel to the track, with the production boasting a frenetic electronic sample alongside sharp percussion work for a nice blast of energy. Vocally, you’ll probably find yourself waiting on the Andre 3000 section, and he doesn’t disappoint with a mixture of singing and rapping that synergises brilliantly with the speedy production. Free grab courtesy of Converse below.

Gorillaz, Andre 3000 and James Murphy-Do Ya Thing

Slaughterhouse-She Will Freestyle

After coming together for an effort from Crooked I’s upcoming mixtape, the Slaughterhouse machine come together once again for a somewhat late remix of Lil’ Wayne and Drake once-ubiquitous She Will.

Late or not however, the moody, intense production is an excellent fit for every member of the collective (it’s a shame Royce isn’t on this), and as per they deliver their side of the bargain with a great output throughout; Budden and Ortiz even take on the hook with ease! Crooked I probably grabs the win with a variety of good flows on his verse, but credit goes to all three as they’ve injected that Slaughterhouse power into the track without losing the essence of the original.

J. Cole-Grew Up Fast

Armed with a sample fresh out of the 60′s (David Ruffin’s The Double Cross, for those interested), J. Cole celebrates reaching 2 million Twitter followers by dropping off his first solo effort since the release of his debut album.

It’s an enjoyable one too, as the soulful nature of the sample adds the depth and personal touch that was either missing or poorly executed on the aforementioned album, whilst Cole’s raps span a range of topics that include some interesting tidbits. It’s clear Cole’s having fun here, and his relaxed, easygoing demeanour is allowed to shine throughout the track, making it a very comfortable listen.

Odd Future-Rella

Violence, cross-dressing, drugs and much more: Odd Future are back. It’s fair to say many of us ‘got over the hype’ surrounding this collective relatively quickly last year, but credit where it’s due, as this video has captured my interest once more.

What’s instantly noticeable is that they’re clearly enjoying the access to higher production quality, as the video immediately strikes you with an air of professionalism that continues throughout the video, containing the natural Odd Future anarchy very well. The clip is typically wacky, with all sorts of insane activities and outfits, alongside plenty of laugh out loud moments-Tyler’s on great form in his section with some fantastic mannerisms.

The track itself also boasts from a more polished feel, with a thudding, energetic production served up by the ever-improving Left Brain, whilst Hodgy, Domo and Tyler genuinely bring some enjoyable flows to the track, with Tyler’s tongue-twisting delivery being a highlight. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable effort from the OFWGKTA clan, and much credit to them for adding a little gloss to their edgy, out-there style.

Chamillionaire - Won't Change

Off his upcoming EP, Ammunition, Chamillionaire delivers us a great little track, which is a good sign as to what the EP will be like.

Always found Chamillionaire to be vastly underrated, and I also believe he’s one of the best rapper/singer hybrids about in the industry; he’s someone who has never conformed to what was expected from him by his record labels, and does music he enjoys making. This track is a decent endorsement as to why I believe that, but you can make your own mind about that with a listen below!

Prodigy - H.N.I.C. 3 [Mixtape]

27 new tracks from the now-free from prison Prodigy! Good to see him get back on his grind to deliver us Mobb Deep fans some music.

Haven’t had a chance to check this one out yet (just been made available today, so give me a chance!) but I’m sure quality wise it does the job. Production credits goes towards the likes of J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League and Havoc, with features from French Montana, Cory Gunz and more. Download below.

Prodigy – H.N.I.C. 3 (Mixtape)

Slaughterhouse - Monsters in My Head

Slaughterhouse return with some raps over a throwaway track from The Game. Would have preferred for them to hit us with some fresh production, but given their relative inactivity I won’t complain!

Something I think the group should be attempting to do more of is introspective type tracks, it’s something that individually they’re all so brilliant at, and it comes as a bit of a surprise that they haven’t done more of it as a group. This song is one that is more of that fashion, though they don’t really pull it off as well as I’d expect.

Kid Cudi-Dose of Dopeness

We’ve heard snippets, previews and so forth of this track for years now, and with the WZRD album on the horizon (28th February), Dot Da Genius lets one of his comrade’s most sought-after tracks go.

This is pretty much the old school Kid Cudi sound that charmed everyone back in 2008, and that’s never a bad thing. The production is soft, somewhat ethereal and generally boasting a laidback quality that gives it a real affable quality, whilst its blend with Cudi’s freeform hybrid of singing and rapping strongly harks back to the A Kid Named Cudi mixtape. A very easy listen, and one Cudi’s fans will be clamouring for.

R&B Fridays: Episode 138

Fridays were always overrated anyway.

Four posts to catch up on from the last week: Usher hooked up with Diplo for an enjoyable return to the spotlight, Ed Sheeran and Yelawolf came together for a free 4-track EP, Raheem DeVaughn made many folks’ Valentine’s Day with a new mixtape, and finally we were treated to an excellent slowed-down remix of Drake and The Weeknd’s Crew Love.

Below. Click.
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Mickey Factz-The Arts (Avant Garde)

To celebrate the life of Keith Haring I decided to have a free flowing moment in art. With the assistance of Jake Bouvy, we create a piece of art that tells a detailed story of the time period Mause (Mickey Factz) lived in.

Following on from his excellent trailer for the Mickey Mau5 project, Factz releases his first audio offering from the project. Sampling Nas’ iconic NY State of Mind, the production blends the inherent grit of the aforementioned sample with a light, positive piano melody for a contrast that works well with the broken, conflicted mindframe he exudes in the trailer. Equally, the raps boast a mixture of realism, reflection and storytelling, which also accurately portrays the freeform thoughts of the artist.

The video’s made up of historic clips, images that represent lyrical snippets, and a few shots of Mickey from the trailer. The constant change works with the dynamic of the raps, whilst the diversity of clips makes for an easy watch. Worth a look, and I hope to hear more soon.

Mikill Pane - Kings ft. Yoshee

Mikill Pane recently released his fantastic new EP, The Morris Dancer, and has climbed as high up as #2 in the iTunes hip hop chart thus far – a great achievement from an artist I expect to see big things from this year.

Here’s his new video for Kings, which features on The Morris Dancer, and is a great advertisement for why you should be copping the EP. Mikill successfully fuses good lyrics to a track that will make you move and resonate in your head; assisted by the vocal talents of Yoshee, you’ll find yourself hitting repeat!

Go grab the EP from iTunes now.

Joe Budden - Stay Schemin' (Freestyle)

Joey follows through on his promise to take on this much liked track by Ross, Drake and Montana. Listen on and download below if you want to hear some proper lyricism on this sweet, sweet, production.

Marger - Outside Ting [Video]

Something a bit more grimey for your ears, Marger brings you visuals for his latest single, Outside Ting. Produced by Sibling, we get treated to some pulsating production! It really accentuates Marger’s strong flow.

His Cheeky EP is out now! Available from:

Amazon Mp3
HMV digital
7 digital

JAMIESON - Ways To Get Ahead [Video]

It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from JAMIESON, here he returns in 2012 with a great song, detailing his journey thus far – the good, the bad and the ugly. The hook on this is pretty addictive!

To see what else JAMIESON’s been up to click here to check out his ode to his hometown London, and click here to see part I of the trailer for his upcoming I Came, I Saw Vol. 3, which features co-signs from Yelawolf, RZA and Steve Rifkind!

Scrufizzer - December [Video]

West London’s Scrufizzer releases an exclusive video for Valentines Day, showing a different side to his artistry on this R&B influenced track.

Look out for the video to BBC Radio 1xtra playlisted single ‘Steam’ coming out soon.

Twitter: @Scrufizzer @NothinButTalent

Scrufizzer gets on his lyrical tip to give us a more mellowed track than I’ve heard from him before! Nice change of pace and displays his versatility.

Lethal Bizzle ft. Donae'o - Not a Saint [Video]

Lethal Bizzle returns with his new single Not a Saint, which features an underrated legend in Donae’o! Not a Saint sees Lethal Bizzle continue on with his recent dubstep/dance type grime fusion and it continues to sound rather good.

The video portrays a group of lads out doing what lads do best, get up to mischief in the pursuit of good bants; really fits the mood of the track well. The constant Denchwear promotion is a tad tiresome though.

Not a Saint available through iTunes and other such sources on March the 19th!

Usher and Diplo-Climax

Diplo tweeted a track earlier, amusingly claiming it was with a ‘promising young artist’, for it to be revealed as a new effort from none other than Usher. You probably figured that last part out from the title of this post.

The collaboration is a successful one too. Diplo’s served up a progressive production that has a quiet intensity in the verses, building slowly to what actually ends up being a gentle climax in the hook (calm down). It’s an effective twist that throws you off, and increasing awareness of the second layer of progression in the track, as it builds towards the final third, and once again, it switches to the slower style. Clever. Just as much credit goes to the evergreen Usher, whose vocal versatility draws you in time and time again on this one, with his work on the hook being a particularly good performance. One that threatens to be a club banger at times, but in each instance surpasses that ‘easy’ option for increased listenability.

Kendrick Lamar-Cartoons and Cereal

Since releasing Section.80, Kendrick musical output has represented that of someone who is operating with considerably more freedom. You really sense the shackles have been thrown off, and his recent spate of features on very unique, often offbeat productions (Blessed with Schoolboy Q being an obvious example) has suggested that freedom results in a little more eccentricity and originality on his part.

This track continues that trend with a dark production that bursts between minimalism and thudding bass-heavy work, with that contrast mirroring that of the raps and samples, as the cartoon clips and Kendrick’s softer verses and hook are much opposed to the gristly, aggressive work following the hook. The verses are excellent once again, boasting a few thought-provoking lines packaged in the slick flows now expected of him. It’s a very unique listen that almost defies structure at times, and hence is a very refreshing slice of hip-hop that clearly demonstrates what someone operating with a much more boundary-free mindset is capable of.

Raheem DeVaughn-Destination Loveland Mixtape

14 brand new tracks from one of R&B’s smoother artists? Your girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/other can thank him later, as Raheem DeVaughn drops off a perfectly-timed mixtape.

Many of those looking to grab this will also likely be familiar with one of his releases from this tape, the likeable Be The One, found in the most recent episode of R&B Fridays (I use ‘Friday’ loosely). I’m sure there’s plenty more of that ilk to be found on this 14-track freebie, and you can find out for yourself with the £0 grab below.

Raheem DeVaughn-Destination Loveland

Mickey Factz-Mickey Mau5 Trailer

After a long hiatus, Mickey Factz emerges with his short film/documentary trailer entitled Mickey Mau5. One watch of this trailer, and you feel as though Mickey’s having his ‘moment’. What do I mean by that?

Consider Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak. It was a step away from the norm, and into something that delved deeper into his psyche. That’s exactly the emanation given here, as this raw, rough documentary footage both figuratively and vocally strips away Mickey the rapper, and digs into Mickey the creator. Valid and poignant points are made (in particular, discussing how music has become an outlet for the rich versus an expression for the common person is something that crosses my mind daily), alongside a combination of historic scenes and shots of Mickey in relative isolation-even on a busy bridge he just feels out of place, and that really pushes through beyond the camera.

The question mark symbolism suggests his isolation is borne out of a need for answers (possibly creatively or otherwise), and I’m looking forward to this documentary (and of course, the accompanying soundtrack). Hopefully there’s more info coming soon, though if the frequency of question marks in the video are anything to go by, it’s probably deliberate that you leave with more questions than answers.

Ed Sheeran and Yelawolf – The Slumdon Bridge EP

Plenty of new music being pushed out today it seems, and we’ll kick off with the real headliner that is Ed Sheeran and Yelawolf’s anticipated free EP, Slumdon Bridge.

The 4-track EP contains no other features, which is a plus as hopefully we’ll get plenty of sharp verses from Yela accompanied by excellently-melodic hooks from Ed. Truthfully, Ed’s able to work with pretty much any artists (as his Collaborations EP proved), and even without any camaradarie or particular friendship, this would be an enjoyable listen; it just helps that the two seem to actually get along! Free grab of the EP available below, courtesy of Ed himself.

Ed Sheeran and Yelawolf-The Slumdon Bridge EP

The Weeknd and Drake-Crew Love (Shlohmo Remix)

There’s a considerable chunk of buzz around this remix, as The Weeknd apparently personally asked for this remix after seeing a video of it being performed, and he made a good move as I much prefer this to the ricketty, loose original which had little replayability for me. The dark, ominous nature that the slowed-down remix creates adds a depth and intrigue that was wholly missing from the original, and one that works with The Weeknd’s vocals much more fluently. The sharp, irritating percussion is dulled somewhat here which is another excellent stroke, and props go to Shlomo for making this track infinitely more listenable. Click below to stream the track, or here to download it.