Yeezus was a pretty hit-and-miss album by all accounts, but this seemed to be the sole track that garnered universal praise. It clearly evoked memories of Kanye’s older, more soul-driven work (I daresay it would have slotted in smoothly on Late Registration), and whilst I wasn’t massive on the track at the time, it’s one of the very few that I can endure listening to from the LP these days.
The wild roaming horses, motorcycle ride in front of expansive scenery, windy portrait shot and so on add up to a generally positive video, though one that is immeasurably corny. It exclusively features Kanye and Kim Kardashian essentially engaging in some heavy petting on a motorbike, whilst the screen behind them shows a range of classic rural American scenery (Monument Valley, if I’m not mistaken)- Kanye will pass this off as super creative and so forth, but it’s hardly the case. Instead, it’s just a bit boring in truth, and whilst Ye’s ability to hold back a little on the snarling, brooding expressions helps create a more feelgood vibe, it’s still not the most inspiring or engaging work he’ll ever release. Nonetheless, I’m sure many will be glad to be reminded of the track’s qualities, and I doubt many will complain about seeing Kim Kardashian writhing around, so at least it serves some purpose, whether intended or not.
It appears the previous clip masquerading as the official video for this track wasn’t quite final or official, and after expressing his disgust at its leak last week, ‘Ye drops off the official accompanying visuals.
The video is mostly the same, though there are a handful of adjustments- the graphics are smoother, and there’s much more done with the quickfire transitions between track segments. The latter effect is clearly part of the video has becoming interactive, and I use that term a little loosely: when you hit Kanye’s site, there’s a press release on how it’s an ‘online interactive experience’, but you can pretty much just adjust the speed/pitch, and take some screenshots. Aren’t these things people can do anyway?
Not to criticise someone trying something new, but it’s not actually new. The quick transitions and image flashes (surrounding the dog barks, for example) is geared toward that screenshotting idea, encouraging folk to try and capture all of the brief items put on show and share them around. It’s a fun thought, but with the video being so minimal and stripped-back, you wonder whether anything found would enhance the experience of both the song and the video. Credit for trying something different though. Watch the clip here.
Yeezus‘ novelty has worn off, but this track remains one of the album’s few enduring highlights. The production lands in a middle ground between crunching industrial rock and speaker-battering hip-hop, squeezed into an intense, frenetic overall package that has a certain infectious energy about it. Unlike vast portions of the album, the lyricism isn’t entirely focused around his wealth either, rather coming across as an arrogant and rebellious stream of consciousness that suits the powerful production down to the ground.
The video is about as minimal as the album attempted to be (for all the claims that it’s super minimal, it’s still quite lavish and maximal in places). Black and white is the theme, and the sole character is a CGI version of Kanye, complete with heavy gold chain and what I assume to be a rather ‘altered’ body type. Digital Kanye’s movements are intercut with occasional blasts off aggressive animal mouths, glitchy, armour-esque dress, and aside from that, there isn’t a huge amount going on. Its odd, dark nature works well with the audio without question, and makes for a strange (in a good way) accompaniment to a truly leftfield track. Yeezus available now.
It’s a G.O.O.D. Music affair with not only the rappers listed, but also with a production helmed by the ringleader himself, Kanye West. Pusha opts for another minimal artwork too, keeping the album branding nice and consistent with his previous single’s video and artwork; of course, it also works alongside Kanye’s own stripped-back approach to Yeezus, and it appears Pusha’s happy with the artistic direction.
That minimalism extends to the audio offering too. The production is built up of chunky bass, a light sprinkling of samples, and very little else; it’s the kind of gritty, uncomplicated production that suits Pusha’s rough style down to the ground, and he doesn’t disappoint. It’s funny to say, but his raps seem to perenially contain a threatening vibe- even when he’s not necessarily rapping in an aggressive manner, it’s hard to get his wide-eyed snarl out of your head, and credit to Push for being such an emotive performer. 2 Chainz’s upbeat, lively performance makes for a good change in momentum, and whilst Sean’s performance is typically witty, his laidback delivery doesn’t quite work with this beat. A good track nonetheless though, and another strong sign ahead of the My Name Is My Name LP.
I had the pleasure of producing “The Morning” off of 2012’s “Kanye West Presents: G.O.O.D. Music Cruel Summer” LP. During its creation, and between the months of July 2012 – March 2013, I created a handful of tracks with Kanye West in mind. This is a collection of some of that music. It features collaborations and co-production from my long time friend Symbolyc One (Kanye West’s “Power”, “Murder 2 Excellence” on Watch The Throne & part of Kanye’s “Very G.O.O.D. Beats” entity), Dr. Know Jr., M31RK, Hippie Sabotage, Kailiin Yong & The Frontrunnerz. I had so much fun creating this stuff, and I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.
The perenially-underrated !llmind drops off a very interesting instrumental project here, and one that on a very quick skim through sounds like an excellent collection of productions. Between tracks with cut up vocal samples, thudding percussion and more, pretty much everything included sounds very well-suited to Kanye’s own diverse nature- truth be told, beyond its intended use as a pack of beats for ‘Ye, they’re a good set of productions that I’m sure many rappers would love to have for themselves. Example: it’s not a stretch to imagine Slaughterhouse on that Rolling Stone beat. A solid demonstration of the producer’s abilities, and you can download it here or stream it below.
In January 2010, as rapper and producer Kanye West is taking the garbage out one day, he suddenly travels through a wormhole. Emerging on the other side, Kanye finds himself in the year 3030. In a dystopian city filled with clones of hip-hop musicians and under the control of a god-like dictator, can Kanye get back home?
This looks like all kinds of fun. The good folks over at http://kanyequest3030.tumblr.com/ have built a hip-hop RPG, featuring the adventures of Kanye West in the future as he encounters clones of various rappers, from 2Pac to LL Cool J. It’s only an alpha release for now so it’s far from complete and is probably going to be rather bug-riddled, but it’s a cool first step towards what could be a very entertaining project on its full release. The beta release is apparently near completion, so there should be a much clearer view on how this game’s going to properly wind up.
Can’t wait for that beta release, and in the meantime you can enjoy the trailer here, and/or grab the alpha release at the above link.
He then used his slot on Saturday Night Live to perform both New Slaves and Black Skinhead, and those performances combine with the official video to reveal Kanye’s latest branding mechanism: minimalism and aggression. Gone is the flashy, hyperactive showman and in steps a frustrated rapper with economical movements; the focus is squarely on his expressions in both this video (thanks to Nikul for the find, given that it doesn’t seem to last on YouTube for more than 5 minutes!) and the projected clip, with the backgrounds mostly blacked out and the focus purely on his face. The raps land somewhere between defiant, arrogant and angry, and there’s no lack of belief or feeling throughout; at points, it’s clear he’s bursting with an energy that threatens to cut away from his static body language, and those progressively intense sit nicely above a bassy, simplistic percussion that rarely threatens to steal his spotlight. It’s seemingly only the first half of the song performed here, with the vocalised section cut out, but there’s enough here to solidify his no-frills creative direction, and time will tell if the rest of the output matches up. After the relatively disappointing mainstream fare of Watch the Throne, I’m sure most of us hold hope that it will.
Very excited to give Pusha’s latest project a listen, his first since 2011′s Fear of God I and II releases, and the final one before his debut album drops in March.
There’s plenty expected of Push on that upcoming LP, and there’s no doubt he’s carved out quite a place for himself in hip-hop as a solo artist over the last 2 years. Features on this tape include Wale, Rick Ross and the ubiquitous French Montana and Troy Ave, whilst the production lineup is rather tantalising, with names such as The Neptunes, Kanye West, B!nk, !llmind and more contributing their works. Lots to look forward to in the near future from Push, and it starts with that free grab below.
One of two more bits Game dropped off yesterday, in addition to Black Jesus, and this one’s the title track from his upcoming album with a couple of big name guests.
Not fair to fully judge based on this short clip, but there’s enough to get a grasp on the song generally. Game once again decides to rap in the style of his feature guest (there are many, many examples), this time utilising Kanye’s preferred type of delivery, and it just sounds a bit stupid as it always does. The production’s got a nice positive vibe to it though, and hopefully that will combine with the features to make the full version listenable.
Surprisingly, I quite like the original version of this, and it’s certainly one of her better singles in recent times. Add Kanye to the mix and this looks to be hanging around my playlists for a little while longer.
Unlike most guest features, Kanye doesn’t just lazily lay down a couple of bars and walk away, but actually hangs around with a fairly lengthy verse that runs for the entire first third of the song. It’s good to have a more meaty remix in that sense, and he adds a good amount to the track with his frustrated delivery that packs in plenty of bragger raps, along with a couple of nice intensity switch-ups in line with the production. And, he references Tay Zonday, which is just lovely.
Recently, I refrained from posting a link to Black American Psycho, which was rumoured to be a Kanye West viral campaign but Def Jam debunked that, and it instead ended up being a schoolkid’s project.
It appears another viral has reared its head, but this time focused on the heavily-rumoured Cruel Winter album, and again this one has a ‘Kanye West presents’ opening credit. Once again, Def Jam have said this isn’t an official release, but it wouldn’t exactly be surprising if that was a clever misdirect on their part, especially given the slightly ‘through the looking glass’ and unusual nature of the clip. In particular, the George Bush Sr. speech used fits into the Illuminati ideology that many are fascinated with, and hence retaining the hidden, behind-the-scenes feel purported to be an Illuminati trademark may be the reasoning for a public denial by the label.
Truthfully, that’s probably not going to be the case, but it’d be an excellent ploy if it was. Either way, let’s hope Cruel Winter is better than Cruel Summer.
One of the most buzzed-about film soundtracks in quite some time, RZA’s massive all-star lineup has really upped the hype for what actually looks to be a decent film regardless. We’ve caught various individual releases from this, including the throwback stylings of Kanye West’s White Dress and a punchy collaboration between Joell Ortiz, Pusha T and Raekwon, whilst many others have dripped out too.
Wait no longer for the rest, as you can stream and buy it right now. With the rest of the OST including the likes of The Black Keys, Wiz Khalifa, Idle Warship, Corinne Bailey Rae and of course the rest of the Wu-Tang Clan, there’s undoubtedly a great mix of genres here to suit all. Stream and purchase the entire thing right here, right now.
For the hip-hop heads who’ve lost interest in Kanye since his College Dropout days, this will certainly be of interest. RZA’s worked up an easygoing, soulful production that feels like the J Dilla-style which heavily influenced Kanye’s work back around the time of his debut, combining a simple and short vocal sample with light percussion and soft synths to great effect. Undboutedly, ‘Ye’s raps have developed greatly since those days and hence hearing his stronger lyrical abilities on a throwback beat is pretty difficult to dislike, and is frankly what most hip-hop fans have wanted from him for the last year or so. Pre-order the OST below.
Over the last couple of years, Kanye’s been much more reclusive than over the bulk of his career, and like Jay-Z he’s rarely seen doing any press or ‘regular’ promo work. Hence, this short breakdown of the recently-released G.O.O.D. Music compliation album is very much welcomed, and certainly adds a layer of detail to the LP.
My early views on the album are that it’s not quite as great as many would have hoped, but does have a couple of great features and highlights. Kanye’s comments add a good personal touch to an album that loses that emotional connection due to its compilative nature, with comments such as Pusha always wanting to work with Ghostface making for good insight. I’d quite like to hear from some others in the G.O.O.D. clan in this format, and let’s see if that’s in the pipeline. Cruel Summer available everywhere now.
The next single from Cruel Summer finally drops in full ahead of that album release date in just 11 days.
It’s a great lineup that sets the expectation of getting something worthwhile, and that’s exactly what you get.
The beat straddles the line between mainstream appeal and hip-hop head-nodder beautifully, throwing a bassy electronic melody in with insanely addictive percussion. There’s plenty more going on, from grand vocal samples to additional intense blasts of percussion, making for a production that’s part funky, part nasty. Sean opens with the hook which is simple and undoubtedly has the potential to become rather anthemic, before stepping into a verse that adds more urgency to his usual laidback style and squares up nicely to the beat. Jay’s up next with an excellent contribution, his confidence oozing all over the track with a handful of diverse deliveries that demonstrate his sheer dominance of a microphone, and ‘Ye closes the game out with an extended performance that loses none of his energy and vibrancy, but does hang around a little too long. Probably my favourite track from the album so far, and the timing couldn’t be better. 18th September, mark the date.
One of the most popular tracks from 2 Chainz’s Based on a T.R.U. Story album, but in truth I’m not planning on giving it much time in my rotation.
There’s nothing particularly remarkable about the track. The production sounds like a bit of a Lex Luger cast off in the verses, and although it does have a few moments of redemption in the hook, it’s not really enough to hold the track together. 2 Chainz isn’t exactly lyricist of the year and hence his fairly standard raps get a little exposed by the average production, whilst Kanye isn’t exactly on blistering form on this one either, though the back and forth between the two towards the end is a rare highlight.
The video is funny in what I assume is an ironic way, with plenty of unecessary shots of anatomically-gifted ladies, but all-round, it’s a bit of a dull track that’s only stopped from being totally poor by the production work on the catchy hook and a mildly entertaining video.
Quentin Tarantino presents The Man With The Iron Fists, an action-adventure inspired by kung-fu classics as interpreted by his longtime collaborators RZA and Eli Roth. Making his debut as a big-screen director, co-writer and leading man, RZA—alongside an exciting international cast led by Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu—tells the epic story of warriors, assassins and a lone outsider hero who all descend on one fabled village in China for a winner-takes-all battle for a fortune in gold. The film arrives on November 2, 2012.
I saw the trailer for this a little while back and frankly, it looks epic. Normally projects like this can be pretty shoddy, but RZA’s clearly surrounded himself with the right people and properly committed to this, and the sheer scale of the names involved in both the film and the soundtrack suggests he’ll pull this off with considerable success. The tracklist features a fantastic roster, including Kanye West, Pusha T and of course the Wu-Tang Clan; click below for the full list, where you can also grab a free download from the OST. → Continue Reading
I thought there was something wrong with my laptop the way the video was shaking all over the place! Turns out it’s just another extravagant Hype Williams production; not sure I like this effect though, it hurt my head a little.
Kanye then goes into his solo track Cold, a track where he went into some details of Amber Rose’s cheating ways, whilst also (pretty much) announcing his new relationship with Kim Kardashian, who incidentally makes a cameo in this vid. These two never leave each other’s side now, eh.
A look at the making of Kanye West and Jay Z’s collaborative album, “Watch The Throne”. Directed, Edited, and Photographed by Robert Lopuski.
Somehow, I doubt there will be a shortage of people to watch this. It’s quite a unique video in that it doesn’t entirely focus on the Watch the Throne ‘process’, instead having a very flashback-style that intersperses WTT-related events with throwbacks to (assumedly rare) footage of Kanye’s formative days, very personal moments between the duo, and plenty more in between. Not only do those clips humanise both rappers, but they go some distance to adding a grand scale to both the video and the collaboration as a while, a factor that makes for very engaging viewing from start to finish.
A very well-made video that’s insightful, entertaining and undoubtedly worth a watch.
G.O.O.D.’s captain Kanye West has just tweeted a few pictures of what’s assumed to be the artwork for the upcoming Cruel Summer album, set for a 4th September release.
It seems as though Tisci’s involved again with this one, with the borders bearing a heavy similarity to the Watch the Throne cover art, though the addition of a clearer centre point in the almost angelic figure marks an improvement over the WTT artwork.The aforementioned figure evokes a strange mix of emotions, with it suggesting innocence and purity when combined with the white/silver colouring, though there’s still something a little odd and almost ominous about it. I assume the latter would have come into Tisci’s thinking when designing this, due to both the name of the album and the slightly harder, more aggressive nature of the audio releases from the LP thus far. With little over a month to go, expect this to be the start of a ramp up in promotion, and hopefully that includes some new audio or video heading our way soon.
Cruel Summer is coming, and ‘Ye takes to his official site to let loose of the hugely-anticipated second single from the album, performed a few days ago at the BET Awards.
Whilst Mercy was a track that had its likeability boosted by a good video, I don’t think this one will need that assist. There’s a powerful, triumphant vibe to this one, with a production that combines a positive, almost gospel-style melody on the keys with Kanye’s famed touch on percussion for a feelgood, hypnotising and head-nodding beat. Pusha and Kanye bring forth raps full of self-deification, a little aggression and a singalong hook that’ll rattle around your ears for hours, in a performance dripping in arrogance that makes for a decent listen. Pusha probably shades it for me, and not just for yet another Ric Flair reference (Woo! btw), though both artists handle the beat very well and its a strong hip-hop jam that will ramp up the buzz for that album. Could do without the chanting section at the end though.
The BET Awards always provides some great performances, and this year the collective of Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean and 2 Chainz opened the show with their recent hit Mercy, Kanye’s oft-renamed Cold, and upcoming single New God Flow.
Lots of energy, minimal gloss and heaps of stage presence makes this a performance that’s worthy of closing any show, let alone opening one. Each rapper has a ton of on-stage charisma, and that shows in what are relatively simple settings: for a Kanye performance, all-white outfits, a little strobe lighting and a huge mock Lamborghini make for quite modest surroundings, and it’s the artists who really fill the gaps there. The performance ends with Kanye going acapella with a verse from New God Flow (set to be released this week), displaying a ton of passion and aggression in a verse that promises much for the song.
YMCMB’s resident town crier always reels in the big names for assists, and this cut is no different as two of hip-hop’s luminaries (and frequent Khaled collaborators) join him for his latest single.
Rapper-turned-producer-turned-rapper/producer Hit-Boy helms this one, serving up a Lex Luger-esque beat that’s full of ominous synth and punchy bass, coming at a menacing pace for the verses before switching up with a little more intensity for the hook. Kanye opens up with a verse that probably won’t go down in history as a game-changer but a solid one nonetheless, though his hook is much more notable thanks to an influx of emotion. Ross switches things back to a more chilled level for his verse, before ‘Ye steps back in once more. It’s nothing more than OK for me, but I’m sure plenty will enjoy this.
If it isn’t front row, it isn’t worth watching. We’ve seen plenty of Watch the Throne footage filmed from what appears to be 2 buildings away but here at OTU we strive to be better, so enjoy some up-close, exclusive footage from last night’s Watch the Throne show.
We’ve got several clips for you, but this is certainly the best (and longest) of the bunch. Many thoroughly enjoyed this track from the album, and its accompanying music video, and there’s no doubt the track was done absolute justice in one of a series of excellent live performances from the duo. Start to finish, the show was full of energy, skill and heaps of chemistry between the two hip-hop superstars, with Kanye’s natural showmanship and entertainer’s streak complimenting Jay-Z’s flawless rhyming and effortless charisma.
Enjoy the video, and keep an eye on our Youtube channel throughout this evening for the rest. They’re only short, but will surely give you a sample of what was a phenomenal show.
The lead single from G.O.O.D. Music’s first collective album Cruel Summer, and before watching this, re-acquaint yourself with YMCMB’s lead single from their group album. Managed to not gouge your eyes and ears out? You’re about to see what a proper collaborative video should be.
I quickly tired of this track, but the video has definitely put it back into my good graces. Boasting a monochrome pallet with a widescreen frame, the styling of the video certainly gets your attention from the off and creates a point of focus on the centre of the screen, which is fully capitalised on by charismatic work from all involved. The outfitting is both stylish and effective, as initially its difficult to distinguish each artist, before their individual verses and mannerisms kick in to set them all apart, with each artist really maximising their camera time with memorable performances. There’s a real sense of unity throughout, as Kanye regularly features alongside his proteges throughout their verses, whilst G.O.O.D. artists who aren’t on the track still appear, including Kid Cudi and Teyana Taylor.
It’s a cool yet aggressive-feeling clip that makes for an easy, interesting and likeable watch thanks to some good aesthetics and a superb roster of performers. Hip-hop fans will thoroughly enjoy this one for sure, and can grab it on iTunes right now.
An engaging and aggressive video for the opening track and one of the highlights from the otherwise-mixed Watch the Throne album. Director Romain Gavras takes strong inspiration from the riots that have taken place all over the world over the last 12 months, giving the video a real world feel whilst making it relatable to many on a national level-inevitably, over here we’ll draw comparisons with the London riots, whilst our Greek readers will do the same and so on (not to be ‘that guy’, but it’s disconcerting that riots are a closely-relatable theme globally).
It’s an intense video that would probably be better suited to a more aggressive track, but nonetheless links up with the audio to give these anarchical scenes a slightly different context, painting the streets as the new ‘wild’, and enhancing the menacing qualities of the production. The dark palette and apocalyptic environments create an ominous aura, adding a gravity and seriousness to the audio, whilst the contrasting addition of lasers and other effects add to the freneticism of the video.
It’s a great video but I’m not convinced it’s the absolutely ideal fit for the audio. That’s not to say it doesn’t work as it certainly does, but a rougher, edgier song would have fully utilised the powerful visuals. Worth a watch for sure though, and credit to Gavras for directing a very detailed video.
Filmmaker Ruth Hogben collaborates with award-winning musician Kanye West to create a film for his single Lost in the World. Hogben’s piece breaks the mould of popular rap aesthetics while still celebrating the extraordinary talent that has made West a modern icon.
Talk about setting high expectations with the introductory text. Does this really ‘break the mould’? It’s an enjoyable clip aesthetically, there’s no doubt about that, but aside from the monochromatics and top-down camera angle, there’s nothing thematically groundbreaking here whatsoever and instead I’d call it pretty disjointed.
I’m sure some would view that disjointed quality as the intention of a video titled Lost In The World, but surely the key idea behind a music video (and after all, that’s all this is) is to enhance the song rather than muddling it with a messy attempt at artistic triumph. I’m always interested in videos that push boundaries or do something totally different, but this just doesn’t do that in any real meaningful way. Visually impressive, but thematically loose.
This was originally expected to drop a couple of Fridays ago, but who am I to complain with that lineup?
I’m not familiar with the original but I don’t expect I’ll need to be having given this a go. Let’s get to the bad stuff first: Keef’s delivery is way too Soulja Boy for me to not skip his verse. The rest however is a pretty good listen from top to bottom, with a head-nodding, frighteningly hypnotising production that winds through the track excellently, and some very likeable verses from the big guest stars involved. Pusha opens with plenty of gusto and aggression (props for the Ric Flair reference), whilst Kanye follows with a verse that’s probably the best suited to the beat. Jada closes things off, but it’s the preceding verse that steals the show, as Sean utilises the production switch-up fantastically for the highlight verse, packing some clever lines into a delivery that’s much more passionate than his usual laidback fare. A decent track that’ll improve most car playlists for sure.
After a few weeks away, R&B Fridays is back and swollen with star quality for this week’s edition. Of course, in keeping with tradition, it’s also released on a Sunday. Nice to be back into routine eh?