On the back of the first two tapes in the Dreamchasers series, Meek’s carved out a very strong position in the mainstream hip-hop scene, and certainly ranks as one of MMG’s more recognisable names. Credit to Meek then for sticking with the mixtape scene, despite the fact he could have probably put half of these tracks onto an EP and made a lot of money; clearly, he just wants to get a lot of product out there, and that’s to be appreciated.
Features on this are big-name heavy, as you’d expect, with Diddy, Nicki Minaj, Fabolous, Future, Jadakiss and Ma$e appearing alongside MMG leader Rick Ross, whilst the producer lineup boasts Cardo, Boi-1da, Key Wane and even the massively-forgotten Scott Storch. Meek’s proven himself a very versatile rapper, so expect a couple of club hits, speaker rattlers and maybe a more introspective track or two. Either way, mainstream heads will be grabbing this one- do so for free below.
Fair play to Funk Flex for this though, as the lineup is unbelievable and essentially a snapshot of mainstream hip-hop at this moment in time. Appearances include A$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.
It’s been a very, very long time in the making but Cassie finally comes through with a full-length project, her first since her 2006 debut album. Hard to believe given the steady stream of loose material that’s emerged from her camp in the interim period, but it’s good that in that time she’s evolved and refined her sound into the laidback electro R&B stylings that this mixtape is expected to be filled with.
Features are plentiful here, with appearances from Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Jeremih, Pusha T, Fabolous and more, whilst I’m sure the production credits (which aren’t listed) won’t be lacking either. Datpiff seem to be having problems, but expect the download to be available at the below link shortly.
I referred to this single as ‘solid’ in a previous post, and truthfully that stance hasn’t changed. The-Dream’s a great artist, there’s no doubt about that, but thus far his releases from the upcoming IV Play album haven’t inspired confidence. Apparently, I’m not alone either, with the LP’s release being pushed back to 28th May.
In a currently desolate R&B scene, there’s admittedly room for average songs to be heralded as far greater than they are, but even then this track just doesn’t move out of mediocrity. With that said, Dream’s lead singles have rarely been highlights of his albums, so I’ll let this slide (and buy the album anyway), and at least the video is a good watch. Brighter and both more colourful and positive than previous releases, some might find it doesn’t quite suit the slow jam style of the audio, but it’s a fresh and modern take on that track type which helps bring out the more upbeat elements in both the vocals and production. It’s an easy watch and certainly a contender for mainstream favouritism though, and it’s difficult to want much more than that from a lead single.
Plus, the album is rumoured to feature Jay-Z, Beyonce, Big Sean and more, so there’s clearly better to come…
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.
A double whammy for you from Fabolous, with the official visuals being released mere hours after R-Les came through with his contribution to the track from Fab’s Soul Tape 2, which you can grab for free over here.
Big fan of the production, with the soul vocal sample complementing the thudding percussion and uplifting synth work well, the combination giving the beat a roundedness that makes this a great contender for a single. The style of production is a great fit for both artists, with Loso’s laidback delivery riding along smoothly on this, before Pusha’s more aggressive style offers a nice contrast to the former’s flows. The lyricism of both is focused around both their lavish lives and inherent ‘street ways’, facets which are both represented in the audio: luxurious vehicles, art collections and such sit alongside the less glamorous graffitied walls, though there’s clearly more emphasis on the richer elements of their lives throughout. It’s not a clip breaking any new ground, but it fits the audio well enough and that’s about all you can ask for from this sort of track.
Ryan Leslie’s focus on his rap work continues here with a verse tacked onto the front of this. A solid remix with a couple of OK lines, and whilst not hugely notable it’s a listenable nonetheless: Check that one out here.
Across Fabolous’ work over the last couple of years, my favourite picks have been the occasions he picks a strong soul production or when he’s throwing out witty punchlines with ease. How enjoyable then that he’s combined the two together here, into another very replayable release from that recent The Soul Tape 2.
Much smoother and more refined than the lively So NY, the soft vocal sample anchors this song excellently and provides a mellow wrapping around the easygoing percussion and slick raps from Loso. Those rhymes are on point from start to finish, with a variety of watertight flows that contain a barrage of punchlines, and whether they’re clever, funny, of-the-moment or a mixture of the three, there’s no denying he’s one of the better rappers at this style.
The video’s a simple one, featuring Fab performing behind a monochrome filter whilst he spends time with his significant other and smokes up. Not a great deal going on, but it’s a decent accompaniment to a very enjoyable audio.
Fab genuinely churns out some very likeable material, and this track released a little while back (and now featuring on his recent mixtape The Soul Tape 2) was a favourite of mine for a couple of weeks. The upbeat, jazz and rock-influenced production made for a departure in beat style for Fab, and it’s one that suits him down to the ground as it allows him to inject more energy into his ever-casual rapping style.
From the razor-sharp percussion to the piercing guitar work, it’s a production driven heavily by some excellent live instrumentation, and that gives the track the raw, unfiltered style it needs to properly capitalise on Loso’s hometown lyricism. A mixture of home truths about his city and plenty of biographical lines, the verses are packed with an intensity that gives the lyricism a much more personal feel than we’ve got from Loso in some time, and again that instrumentation enhances that excellently.
The video works well with the audio, interspersing some live performance shots with short clips of New York and its inhabitants. It’s nothing spectacular and rightfully so-as an ode (of sorts) to his hometown, it keeps things as simple as they should be in the context of the lyrics. Very replayable, and you can find this on the aforementioned mixtape.
A year and a half after the first, Fabolous returns with the sequel: The Soul Tape 2. This one happens to have features from J.Cole, Pusha T, Trey Songz, Joe Budden, Wale plus more, so expect it to be a good one.
It’s been a very long time since we’ve heard from R-Les, and he’s back on the scene with his frequent collaborator Fabolous for a remix (of a song I don’t recall in the slightest).
Those classic Ryan Leslie trademarks are all over this beat, from the slick percussion to the addictive work on the keys, and whilst it’s not quite one of his best beats it’s refreshing to here this style return to us. More expected elements are in place, with a clever opening verse from Loso and a catchy hook from R-Les, though the latter’s decision to rap his verse is admittedly a little disappointing: he’s a man of many, many talents but he doesn’t need to head down the rapping route as most singers seem to be. Still, Leslie’s back and that’s enough for most.
Fabolous is legendary for his destruction of R&B productions, whether its on features or on the radio singles he’s put out previously, and he’s back doing what he knows best here with a remix of The-Dream’s excellent new single.
Fab strips out almost all of the vocal content for this rework, leaving in Dream’s hook and outro to support his verses. Loso delivers with the replacement work though, bringing his ever-confident, ever-clever raps to the table and throwing out plenty of witty punchlines thrown into a steady, solid flow that rides on the production well. A decent remix that makes for a nice complement and alternative to the original.
Presented by LeBron’s official website, and though I’m not sure what association he has with this mixtape otherwise, it’s apparently “the official playoff mixtape”.
Usually, I’d brush this off as a pointless gimmick but the tape features brand new material from some real hip-hop and R&B luminaries, including Ryan Leslie, Fabolous and Maino, as well as a few talented upcomers such as Nitty Scott, MC and Freddie Gibbs. Coming in at 14 tracks it should be a nice, concise listen and you can grab it for free over at LeBron’s place below.
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.
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.
The remix to the massive hit that was Rack City sees Tyga, Wale, Fabolous, Meek Mill, Young Jeezy and T.I. all team up; what a lineup. Along with this official remix a video has been shot too. Best verse? For me it goes to T.I. who is really starting to come back into form after his latest jail stint. Download below.
A quiet week on the R&B/pop scene (or rather, the ‘worth checking out’ section), with no posts of note to catch up on aside from the album review of Drake’s Take Care.
Pretty much exclusively fresh, upcoming artists this week though regular readers will be familiar with almost all those involved. Click below for this week’s handcrafted, lovingly-selected musical provisions.
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.
Is R&B currently suffering from one of its worst recessions? Outside of a few upcoming stars (Frank Ocean, The Weeknd and others) there hasn’t been much in terms of consistent quality, and outside of the aforementioned two artists, it’s increasingly difficult to see where the recovery will come from.
New video drop from Fabolous for a collaboration with the unmistakable Red Cafe. These two generally display great chemistry together and this track doesn’t disappoint.
Though the visuals itself aren’t anything special, the switches between colour and monochrome do show us the type of mood his latest mixtape offering gives us, as it’s certainly more chilled than his usual mainstream goodness.
This is originally taken from Fabolous’ recent project The Soul Tape mixtape, which is pretty darn good, and available over here.
This picture represents Banks turning his back on what he’s good at: the mixtape scene. I’m talking specifically about cancelling his Cold Corner 2 project in favour of another subpar album. I know I’m a little late on this, but it’s hard scrutinizing every tweet of each emcee you follow. Trust me, I feel just as cheated as you. I had been ignoring the following four tracks as they dropped earlier (around April/May) this year as I often do with projects I want to keep fresh from start to finish. Anyway, Banks comes heavy on each joint as he always does with his mixtape material and recaptures that gritty sound which went a little missing on HFM2. Getting To It Mandatory is gutter.
As far as mainstream hip-hop goes, this is one of the better tracks to have been released in recent months. It’s got an enormously addictive quality that I just can’t put my finger on, though I’d hazard a guess that its probably down to Roscoe’s ridiculously infectious hook.
Pretty standard mainstream hip-hop video in terms of theme, with lots of naked girls and plenty of disposable income being casually utilised. It a generally busy and active video, which plays off the natural energy and intensity of the song, and adds that little bit of #swag to each verse. Nothing special otherwise, but nice to have some visuals to the song regardless.
As Indi put it recently, Loso’s been on a decade-long run of good form and every project of his tends to be met with high expectations, with Fab generally delivering the goods. This is no exception, and having heard a few tracks from the tape (including this), I’m hopeful that this one will live up to its inevitable hype.
Supposedly, true to its title this is largely comprised of soul-influenced productions, which will certainly make for something a little different in Loso’s back catalogue, as well as potentially being an enjoyable listen irrespective of that: soul and hip-hop blends are always nice, you can never have too many! Click below to grab the project.
Fabolous-The Soul Tape
From Fabolous’ upcoming mixtape The Soul Tape, Loso lets loose of the lead single. You Be Killin’ Em was quite the smash for Fab, and despite being ‘part 2′, this has a markedly different style and vibe to its predecessor. The beat is far less bouncy, but has a thicker, more punchy hip-hop style that probably makes it more versatile in so far as being able to enjoy it outside of a club environment.
Ne-Yo comes through with a very empassioned delivery on the hook, though that emotion bleeds into the structure a little bit and makes the hook a little difficult to actually distinguish at times. Solid work from Loso as usual, and a decent if unspectacular contribution from R-Les. Not as good as the original for me, but maybe one that’ll be easier to listen to at home/on the headphones.
Didn’t mind this track at all when it first came out, and whilst the video is extremely delayed, it’s certainly a single worth pushing for these relative newcomers.
Video fits the song fairly well, and seems to play off the emotional nature of Nikki’s vocals more than the night-time vibe of the production and lyrics. I’d have probably preferred a video that did the latter, as the dramatic images of cityscapes and dark skies always makes for quite compelling and generally digestable videos.
Not to say the video is totally disappointing, as it does the job for sure, but could have been a whole lot better. Can’t disagree with the audio though, which still stands up as a solid R&B/pop piece. Grab the track here.
Another cracking track for the car: new single from DJ Drama, off his forthcoming Gangstz Grillz 3. Production is as you’d expect from a Drama track – full of bass!
Has Fabolous ever dropped a lame verse on a feature? He continues his decade-long good form with his opening verse. Roscoe Dash brings a catchy auto-tuned chorus, which is something he’s becoming famed for doing now (I hope he doesn’t over-use this), and man of the moment Wiz Khalifa also adds a verse. Definitely worth getting a hold of below for those who like a slice of mainstream hip hop.
Much anticipated mixtape from Game, one that’s been talked about all day today. Really looking forward to this, especially as a few tracks leaked earlier that were of a very good standard. Check out the tracklist below, which contains some huge features and producers. You can preview and download (click the artwork) the mixtape in the widget here.
1. L.A. Times (Prod. By Ervin “EP” Pope)
2. In My ’64 Feat. Pharrell & Snoop Dogg (Prod. By The Neptunes)
3. Soo Woo Feat. Lil Wayne (Prod. By Bink)
4. Living Better Now Feat. Detail & Tools (Prod. By DJ shake)
5. R.I.P. Story (Prod. By Nottz)
6. Purp & Patron (Prod. By DJ Shake)
7. I’m The King (Remix) Feat. Mistah FAB & The Jacka (Prod. By 1500 Or Nothin)
8. Taylor Made Feat. Wiz Khalifa (Prod. By Che Vicious)
9. Childrens Story (Prod. By Ervin “EP” Pope)
10. Dead (Prod. By 1500 Or Nothin)
11. Ferrari Lifestyle Feat. Fabolous (Prod. By D.A.Dorman)
12. The Kill (Prod. By Cool N Dre)
13. Heart Breaker Feat. Rev Burke (Prod. By The RZA)
14. Purp & Yellow (Skeetox Remix) Feat. Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa
15. Burn NY Feat. Mysonne (Prod. By Mike City)
16. Bad Intentions (Prod. By DJ Shake)
17. Khaki Suit Feat. T-Pain (Prod. By T-Pain)
18 Wonderful World (Prod. By DJ Shake)
19. Ashes To Ashes Feat. Rick Ross
20. Dedicated Feat. Pharrell (Prod. By The Neptunes)
21. Soft Rhodes Feat. Ashanti (Prod. By Dr. Dre)
22. I Just Want To Fuck (Prod. By Denaun Porter)
23. 187 Feat. Lil Boosie
24. Whip It Feat. Fabolous (Prod. By DJ Haze)
25. Favorite DJ Remix Feat. Clinton Sparks & Jim Jones (Prod. By Green Lantern)
26. Supastar Feat. Ashley Cole & Mike Epps (Prod. By Ervin “EP” Pope)
27. Can A Drummer Get Some Feat. Travis Barker, Swizz Beatz, Lil Wayne & Rick Ross
28. History Feat. Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane & KRS One (Prod. By Ervin “EP” Pope)
29. The Ocean Feat. Dr. Dre (Prod. By Dr. Dre & Che Vicious)
Again, I’m aware it’s a Sunday…it is (or was) Christmas though, so finding a few hours to throw this together wasn’t really going to happen. I’m surprised there is enough material, given that the industry usually shuts down a little around this time of year, but it seems most artists are intent on continuing success they’ve found this year.