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 RZA’s The Man With The Iron Fists Soundtrack Tracklist
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?
G.O.O.D. Friday is back! The first single from the upcoming G.O.O.D. Music album, 3 of it’s heaviest hitters come together with 2 Chainz for an official teaser of what to expect from the hotly-anticipated project.
A more meaty, addictive production than Theraflu, this will undoubtedly get some heads nodding, with the heavy bass in particular ensuring speakers up and down the country will be rattled. Sean opens the rapping with a strong performance, his laidback style being an excellent fit for this slowed-down beat, whilst Pusha’s sharper, more aggressive verse contrasts with Sean’s well. The beat undergoes a makeover for Ye’s verse, with a strong electronic influence upping the tempo and raising the energy levels of the verse, before slowing back down for 2 Chainz’s contribution. The hook anchors the song well enough to add a solid structure to the track, and this is a decent all-rounder that sets up the album nicely. Stream the track here, or grab it on the US iTunes below.
What better way to get back into the OTU saddle than with the first of a triumverate of Kanye West blasts today! Theraflu came through on Wednesday night, and whilst there was initial confusion on whether it was Khaled featuring Kanye or the other way around, it’s since been confirmed it’s a Kanye track with a Khaled (and DJ Pharris) feature.
Produced by Hit-Boy, the beat combines deep bass with electronic melodies for a sharp urgency, providing a relatively simple and relatively ‘safe’ backdrop for a decent set of raps from Ye, who switches between confessional, arrogant and seething throughout. Lyrically, it’s similar to the work on Watch the Throne, with flashes of quality surrounded by a little too much simplicity, and when backed by an instrumental that’s little more than solid, it’s probably not the spectacular return many of us had hoped for.
Click here to stream this over at Kanye’s place.
We’ve seen many weekly series come and go here at OTU, but it’s been a while since we’ve launched a new one, which frankly isn’t in keeping with our ‘we do things differently’ mantra.
That would be the marketing spin on this. The truth is, the thought occurred to me that as modern-day music listeners, we consume so much music on a daily and weekly basis that there have become two clear pools of choice when picking something to listen to: either a classic, old-school track or something relatively new. “What’s wrong with that?”, I hear you cry. “The vast middle in between those two”, I reply.
There are countless songs that lie in that grey area of being a little old, but nowhere near aged enough to be considered ‘classic’, and often they get overlooked. Several tracks may have been ‘ahead of their time’, and you’ll find them an almost brand new listen in today’s climate, or it may simply be revisiting an excellent track to recrete that ‘first time’ feel once again. Welcome to your friendly reminder of tracks we may have once loved (or even completely ignored), and enjoy the fresh yet familiar feeling that accompanies each one.
It’s been a very long time in the making, but almost 6 months after its release (and positive reception), Jay and Kanye’s banger is given the video treatment.
The video is comprised primarily of live footage, accompanied by a mastered version of the matching live audio, which also boasts one or two new production additions, namely a new sample in the hook and an altered outro.
The key seller here is the vast number of effects used throughout the video to make it a little more lavish than the typical live video, including double and triple vision, plenty of sharp scene changes, big, bold lettering thrown in sparingly, amongst many more. It’s a fresh, unique twist on using live footage, and feeds off the natural energy of the song with a high-octane, perpetually-moving style.
Grab this, if for some reason you don’t already own it, on iTunes now.
Grab your scarf and gloves, stick on a pair of headphones and warm up with the second volume of our Winter EP. There’s been a rather large gap between this edition and the first instalment, but it’s arrived eventually and couldn’t be better timed with the weather getting much colder recently.
Once again, our resident designer (Indi) has lovingly put together a crispy new artwork, which adds a nice touch of visuals to accompany the listening pleasure of the 5 tracks included below. As per the previous edition, there’s no restriction on genre, artist or anything else: if it feels wintery, it’s got a chance of making the cut!
Click here for volume 1, and head below for volume 2.
One of the few rappers with a brand anywhere near Jay and Kanye’s, T.I. jumps on the next single from Watch The Throne with what deserves to be an official remix. T.I. slides onto the vibrant, energetic production with consumate ease, bringing his speedy flow to the pounding beat and lacing it with some very enjoyable raps. There’s nothing about his contribution that feels out of place, and hence it undoubtedly makes for the best remix of the track to date. Having not listened to the original in quite some time (I tired of the album quickly), it’s a great refresh of what is an excellent production, and hopefully there’s more to come from Tip.