My internet has been out for days, so I apologise for the delay. That being said, hip-hop’s current malaise means even obvious releases like this are completely slipping under my radar. I generally enjoy Game’s material, but even he hasn’t escaped the effects of my boredom with rap as of late.
Nonetheless, it’ll be a project I’m certainly going to give a go, if only for the inevitable handful of car-ready highlights that will emerge. Game’s usual running buddies turn up, alongside some of the newer breed, with features from Chris Brown, Lil’ Wayne, Nipsey Hu$$le, ScHoolboy Q, Diddy, Elijah Blake and K. Roosevelt amongst many more, whilst the production lineup boasts appearances from Cool & Dre, DJ Mustard and League of Starz. It’s pretty much everything a mainstream hip-hop head needs, and is available to stream and download below.
The backlash when Luda ‘turned pop’ last year was pretty strong, and he’s back with this offering, compiling tracks he’s been releasing every Friday for the past few weeks with some new, unheard efforts.
He’s definitely cashed that Fast and Furious 6 money early here, as a raft of big names are out with assists. Features include Young Jeezy, Chris Brown, Meek Mill, Swizz Beatz, Pusha T, Mac Miller and French Montana; essentially, a who’s who of guest artists in hip-hop over the last 18 months. There are some strong names behind the board too, with recent Roc Nation signee DJ Mustard, Mike Will Made It and Bangladesh amongst the contributors, and the signs point towards a solid mainstream hip-hop release, and hopefully it’s one that comes without the dance-pop work he’d previously released.
Fair play to Funk Flex for this though, as the lineup is unbelievable and essentially a snapshot of mainstream hip-hop at this moment in time. Appearances include A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Childish Gambino, Fabolous, Action Bronson, Slaughterhouse, Young Jeezy and many, many more; for a full list, check out the back artwork over at Funk’s place. Many of the tracks from this tape have leaked out individually in the last 24 hours too, and thankfully they’re tagless versions, with one notable example being the Joey Bada$$ effort on the mixtape. If you’re after any of the other individual tracks, I’m sure a quick Google search can help you there, otherwise grab the bumper project for free below.
DJ Mustard has done it again. Most of his beats have rather similar features (Rack City, T.O., Red Cafe’s Game Over and so on), namely bassy, booming melodies, but quite simply it works. Here, that formula is sped up a little and accompanied by a more minimal percussion than usual, with the claps only really showing up sporadically, but once again the beat is completely held together by those bassy, low-down notes.
The raps are everything you’d expect for a mainstream track of this ilk, with Jeezy’s gristly, double-layered voice being a good contrast to the chunky production, whilst his intensity sets him apart from his company on the track too. In terms of technical skill and wit, Kendrick unsurprisingly takes the win, whilst the other two verses are pretty redunant in truth. A fun effort that’s worth a go, though primarily for Jeezy and Kendrick.
He’s considered a mainstream rapper, but I can’t help but feel that Loso does get rather slept on in that category. He churns out far better material than many of his peers, most of which has a much wider appeal than the mainstream box he’s placed in.
Whilst this clearly appeals to the pop audience via the feature, it’s not one to be discounted by the rest of us, particularly as Chris Brown is quite good here: his hook is fairly gentle and unlike his usual chart-targeted work, rather being slightly closer to his ’09-’10 feature work, and hence it’s a good contribution from him. Loso’s easygoing voice is a great fit for the slow, sultry R&B-style production, and though a track of this nature isn’t going to win anyone over with lyrical or structural brilliance, Loso’s still packed in a couple of those trademark witty lines and adds some liveliness to proceedings with his consistent flow. Shame that he’s Autotuned himself a little in places, but outside of that it’s a mainstream jam that’s better than most in its category.
After dropping a behind-the-scenes video, a trailer video, a behind-the-scenes of the trailer video, another behind-the-scenes video and probably a video of his cat watching the behind-the-scenes video, Game drops off the actual video for his lead single from Jesus Piece, set to drop in December.
Truthfully, I’m not really into this. It’s good that Game’s trying something a little brighter and more positive, but it just comes off as a poorly-done pop track with little to distinguish it from any other pop rap effort. The Chris Brown hook isn’t massively engrossing, Game’s laidback raps feel a little awkward, and the other three barely make an imprint on the track with their verses. It’s surprising, but Wiz’s minor melodic contribution to this is probably the only memorable part of any of the guest spots.
The video has a nice summer vibe to it, and the sheer positivity of it all is quite infectious, but it’d be far better suited to some audio with a little more meat and less pointlessness.
One of the most anticipated releases in recent weeks, Big Sean drops off his first project since his mainstream breakout debut LP, Finally Famous.
We’ve caught three tracks from this so far, each with their own very different charms, displaying that Sean’s newly-gained popularity hasn’t affected his versatility or desire for hip-hop. The tracklist honestly reads like an album, with huge features in the shape of Kendrick Lamar, close friend Mike Posner, Chris Brown and fellow Detroit native Royce Da 5’9″ amongst several others, whilst Snoop Lion (Dogg), Common and Young Jeezy feature on their own interlude sections, each titled Story. That sort of detail is always appreciated on an album, let alone a mixtape, and I’m sure it’ll all contribute to what’s set up to be an excellent all-round project. Free grab available below.
One that hasn’t even been in danger of leaving my rotation since entering it way back in May, this is easily my favourite club/mainstream hip-hop track in recent months. That bassy, indescribably thick production is head-meltingly addictive and screams out ‘hit!’, whilst Problem lays down another stick-around hook that holds everything together strongly. On top of all that, you’ve got a lineup with some of hip-hop’s biggest names contributing verses. It’s tough to top that for a club banger.
40 Water opens with a good verse, with his distinctive tones meshing well with the beat, before Jeezy jumps in to really take the track to another level, with his rough voice making this the highlight verse. Chris Brown steps up next with a surprisingly listenable verse, and he’s followed by French Montana, who’s little disappointing on this one, before Red Cafe closes it out with a solid contribution.
The video packs in a ton of cameos, from Big Sean to Freddie Gibbs, and it’s always fun to see the hip-hop community turn out to lift a track to a better status. Definitely worth a watch and listen, and you can grab the audio right here.
With the recent G.O.O.D. Music rejuvenation ahead of their upcoming Cruel Summer album, CyHi’s been suspiciously quiet. I assume he’s still a part of the collective, but has certainly taken a backseat to big-hitters such as Pusha T and Big Sean, so this is a great opportunity for him to return to the limelight.
Firstly, click here to view the back cover of the tape. It’s a very clever way of showing the tracklist, and deserves a mention. That shot also shows the heavy feature list, which has a raft of big names including Chris Brown, Lloyd, the aforementioned Big Sean, ScHoolboy Q and B.o.B and many more, in addition to some high-ranking producers. Funnily enough, the one track I’ve heard from this is a solo CyHi effort, Slick, and is a strong hip-hop effort that bodes well for the rest of the tape. Free grab below.
When he’s not getting into fights with Drake and/or Meek Mill (my views on that here), Chris Brown is releasing music that may well find a home on his upcoming Fortune album. I’ve not checked out too many of the releases from this project, but gave this one a go and its a solid pop/R&B jam that’s worth a listen.
Breezy drops off a very catchy hook on this one and refrains from making it too light or poppy, instead sticking with a strong harmony and keeping it smooth to bring some R&B style back into his craft, whilst the production is a slow, bassy affair that will get some heads nodding. A little disappointed that he overloaded on the Autotune for his verse but his delivery is solid and each of the guests bring strong contributions, with man-of-the-moment 2 Chainz dropping off a short verse halfway before Snoop brings a fun verse that bleeds his unmistakeable adlibs into the final hook for a nice closer. Good all-rounder that raises expectations for the upcoming album.
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.
Fresh from announcing his official signing to Cash Money (along with Mystikal, who is still rapping apparently), Busta drops off his latest single with Chris Brown coming in for the assist.
A bass-heavy, relatively minimal production, fans of Chris’ Look At Me Now will enjoy the beat here, though the highlight is undoubtedly Busta’s lightning-quick rapping, as he comes through with some incredible speed on his verses (the first in particular) to anchor this track admirably. Breezy’s hook is a little uninspired in truth, and whilst I’m glad he’s not been forced into the powerful-style hooks he’s normally associated with on mainstream features, it still comes up a little short for me. Worth grabbing for those Busta verses though.
A shorter episode than usual, but still packed full of big names in the current R&B/pop/hip-hop scene, including a couple of unexpected collaborations. Similarly, only a small recap is required from this week’s posts, with the official relese of Skylar Grey’s second set of solo visuals, and a very promising new mixtape from Jay Sean.
Click below for this week’s injection of harmonic, overly-emotional goodness.
Running a little late than usual this week, but it’s here and that’s what counts. An interesting lineup once again this week, with the old-school, the current game, and newcomers all represented in this diverse edition.
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.
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.
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.
Pretty much a two-artist episode this week, with 50% of the episode made up of new Chris Brown material, and the other half being remixes of/involving The Weeknd. Two different ends of the R&B spectrum for sure, and hopefully that should keep you all rather satisfied.
The already-leaked Pot of Gold gets an official release on the 28/6 and is being billed as the second single from Game’s much fabled The R.E.D. Album.
Lending his vocals to the track is Chris Brown, whose vocal delivery on the hook, chorus and bridge is superb and in my opinion steals the show. The production is another strong point, with The Futuristiks lacing Game with laidback, acoustic guitar and drum-driven work, giving Game the ideal platform to spit his reflective thoughts and feelings. A pleasant little number from Game and Chris Brown that I imagine should appeal to the mainstream crowd and get quite a bit of airplay. Stream below or grab on iTunes.
On we roll with the institution of institutions, and it’s probably fair to say that the highlight of this week’s R&B has already been posted: having finally got around to listening to The Weeknd’s debut project I was incredibly impressed by it, and would wholeheartedly recommend you R&B Friday fans checked it out.