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.
Call it stupidity, but any hip-hop fan who got caught up in the mid-2000′s Lil’ Wayne whirlwind will understand the glimmer of hope some retain when his mixtapes land. Most readers are acutely aware I’m not a fan of most of his work (evidenced by the fact I simply don’t cover it any more), but that’s “album Wayne”- mixtape Wayne has always seemed a seperate entity, and hence that sliver of expectation that surfaces when he does release new tapes, even if he’s not been in-form for a while.
Notable features include The Weeknd, Chance the Rapper and T.I., with the latter particularly interesting as he joins Wayne on a remix of Jay-Z and Rick Ross’ Fuckwithmeyouknowigotit. There are a couple of eye-catching beats of that nature on this tape too, including New Slaves and Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe amongst others, and it’s those in particular that I’m keen on giving a try over any original material. Whether Wayne will disappoint once again or deliver is yet to be seen, but you can stream and/or download the project below.
Hip-hop duos are increasingly rare these days, and it’s good that the upcoming talents of Audio Push appear to be getting plenty of traction within the industry. There’s a fun novelty about paired acts, and in the case of these two, it’s helped by the fact they’ve got a strong natural energy that makes for solid mainstream work.
It’s not quite on par with the speaker-crunching intensity of their most recent single, but it’s a radio-friendly effort that could prove a big hit for them this summer. The production’s repeated vocal sample makes for hypnotic listening, whilst also adding a liveliness to complement the buzzing percussion and triumphant synth work, with the overall combination being an energetic sound that suits the duo well. Of course, it’s no lyrical masterclass from any of the acts involved (including another lazy Wayne feature), but it’s mainstream fare that should knock nicely in your vehicle of choice. Free grab below.
My views on this were relatively neutral on the track’s release: I had time for Drake’s smooth hook, but the verses didn’t really stick around in the brain for long. Nothing’s changed, but I felt like reiterating that view.
It must be said, the video’s actually quite a fun watch though. Most of it is shot through an old-school video camera style, including the timestamp of May 15th 1996, and it adds a fun retro vibe to a mainstream track that threatened to come across as a little too serious. In that sense, it’s almost the inverse of I’m On One, a track that came across as fairly upbeat on the audio release, but got slightly moody once the video emerged; working this way around should help this effort’s cause when it comes to TV playtime, with the clip’s colourful and busy nature adding the ‘excitement’ the track’s slow pace fails to bring.
I’m still not hugely into the track, though it’s not the instant skip that many of Khaled’s efforts tend to be, and credit for making the video a relatively lighthearted watch. Expect this to dominate airwaves this summer.
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.
Whilst I’m surprised Khaled has any friends, I’m going to assume SFTB (Started From The Bottom) is the inspiration for the track title given the ‘no new n*****’ line in the original. The intermittent samples of the track also sort of give it away.
Much like the last time most of this lineup came together, the verses are pretty forgettable and it’s all about Drake back on hook duty. Around 2010-11, he was certainly viewed as one of the go-to hook guys, but has scaled back that reputation in favour of contributing either guest verses or nothing at all; rare exceptions include Rick Ross’ Diced Pineapples, which was a nice reminder of his ability in that field, and this will undoubtedly bring the memories of that period flooding back. It’s a gentle and R&B-esque chorus, but is immeasurably better than those offered by today’s hook-heavy acts (looking at you Future), and benefits from surrounding verses with poor production and average verses. What’s that sound you ask? It’s women below 21 once again stroking the Drake posters on their walls (an adult female once told me SFTB was too “gangster”), and for that reason this will end up being a club hit this spring.
Whilst I can’t find it in the OTU archives, I’m quite sure Limp Bizkit had a bit of a false start last year when releasing their first song under the Cash Money label. There’s every chance I imagined that though.
In any case, this is being heralded as their proper debut single under the label, the first release from Stampede of the Disco Elephants. That album, the follow-up to 2011′s Gold Cobra, is due this year, and whilst they’re certainly not the force they were 10 years ago it’s not bad at all. The guitars are punchy, the percussion powerful and progressive, whilst Fred’s angsty delivery is as recognisable as ever, and with the catchy, anthemic hook, it’s pretty much the old formula recreated to good effect. The problem they’ll have is that it’s probably not rock enough for the rock heads, and too rock for the hip-hop heads; a tough middle ground, but for those of diverse tastes, this honestly isn’t bad at all. Energy, intensity and even Wayne sounds good on this crunching backdrop, it’s a high-octane affair that many seem to have hastily dismissed, but I’m all for it.
Always a pleasure to have a full project from Lloyd, and with his recent releases from this tape being of a very good standard, there’s a good chance the rest of the tracks will follow suit.
13 tracks make this one up, with 4 of them being released at various intervals prior to today, whilst the rest keep the features to a minimum in order to give Lloyd a little more shine. The assists on the new tracks come from prominent rappers Lil’ Wayne, Trae Tha Truth and CyHi the Prynce, and I’m sure the unannounced production credentials make for a solid list too. Free stream and grab below.
Lloyd-The Playboy Diaries
Joe Budden releases the first drop from his upcoming A Loose Quarter mixtape. Now, if you follow him on Twitter, you’ll know there’s not much drama going on in his life for once, he’s just loved up. Given the nature of his music, this will reflect itself in the music he puts out and this is a prime example. This is a commercial sounding hip-hop/R&B hybrid that’d sound great in the club, and getting Lil’ Wayne as feature (who actually sounds like his old self on this!) is a pretty good measure of Joey’s buzz in the industry. Those worried Budden’s quality of music would deteriorate given his happy mindset need not fear, the beat on this is great – I’ve always wondered why he didn’t venture into this territory more often, he showed several years ago with his classic Marques Houston feature that he’s more than capable. Download below.
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.
With zero knowledge that this was due today, I’ve coincidentally been listening to some old school Wayne recently, reliving the glory days when he was unquestionably the hottest (whatever that means) in the game. Da Drought 3, for those of you interested.
Fail after fail means I’m far removed from this guy’s career nowadays though. His releases have been generally disappointing (everyone played Tha Carter 4 for about a week before pretty much never touching it again), but if there’s one medium that will always provide a glimmer of hope for Wayne fans, it’s the mixtape scene. If he can rediscover the hunger and fury he once had, I’ve got no doubts this will be a great project, however his recently-professed love and preference for skateboarding doesn’t bode well. A handful of big features on this as you’d expect, and you can grab the 15-track for free below.
Did you think I forgot about the original R&B Fridays fans? This one is nothing more than a slice of club music that’ll keep those R&B/pop heads going until Trey drops off the Chapter V album on 21st August.
The production is bass-heavy, anchoring around punchy booms that’ll rattle your speakers and supported by light synths and samples that add some finer detail. There’s nothing particularly revolutionary in the beat, and it’s clearly just one intended to get your head-nodding and not a whole lot else, which is no crime. It’s one very suited to being rapped on, and hence Jeezy ends up being the real standout here with a memorable verse courtesy of his gravelly tones and ever-catchy adlibs complementing the beat well. Trey’s hook is a touch weaker than it should be, but nonetheless I’m sure plenty of folks will be reciting it on dancefloors across the country soon enough, whilst his and Wayne’s verses are little more than average. Worth a go for that Jeezy verse.
Pusha T dropped a terrific track earlier this week (sadly, I didn’t have to time to post it. It’s tough working solo!) that Wayne took exception to, marking the latest milestone in a G.O.O.D./YMCMB feud that’s been simmering (via subtle digs) for a while. Given that Pusha and Wayne had their own issues a few years back, this response suggests things are back on between them.
A radio rip for now, but the message is clear. Credit to Wayne as he doesn’t hold back too much, opening with the Tweet linked above and continuing with some relatively aggressive raps, and whilst it’s not going down in history as a great diss track, it’s nice to hear fire in Wayne’s voice again. Cudi tweeted a response recently, so the question is who steps up to the plate next? Admittedly, it’s probably a manufactured ‘beef’ to sell some CDs, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.
The first of two new video releases from Drake this Easter weekend, this one for his collaboration with Lil’ Wayne.
Interestingly and quite bizarrely, this video takes place at a Bar Mitzvah!? Drake keeps in touch with his heritage, as he shows us how they do things, with friends: DJ Khaled and Trey Songz in attendance.
It’s quite weird to watch, but nice to see something different from a hip hop video.
I’ve not yet listened to The R.E.D. Album in full, but there’s no doubt this was the best single released prior to the full album’s release. The reasoning is three-fold: the production is hypnotising, the blend of artists works (including Wayne, who doesn’t appear in the video), and Tyler (as his Wolf Haley persona) surprises listeners by coming through with what is the show-stealing verse.
The video is as odd as you’d expect, taking place in a mental asylum of Arkham proportions, and allowing Game to have a little fun with the visual output. Lots of aggressive, psychotic mannerisms and expressions from Game, blending with the general lunacy well, whilst Tyler’s appearance is relatively tame by comparison as he mostly plays around with a cat. An entertaining enough video nonetheless, largely thanks to being heavily supported by a good track. Grab the audio on Game’s latest LP now.
The second OVOXO release for today, and for what is probably my favourite song from Drake’s Take Care album. The bounce, energy and verve of the track is incredibly infectious, and certainly has a nice knock when turned up in the car.
The video generally keeps that upbeat vibe going, with plenty of action and scene switches in Drake’s verse enhancing the audio’s dynamism. That’s then counterbalanced by a more relaxed set of scenes for Wayne’s verse, matching his more laidback deliver in what remains the highlight of the track. I’ve criticised Wayne’s work in recent times, but his verse here has a real addictive quality that is visualised well with a charismatic appearance from the New Orleans native. Tyga’s managed to creep his way onto this version too, and though I’m not a big follower of his music, he does OK with his verse, largely because it seems his voice has finally broken.
Lots of new music from the last 24 hours, and we’ll kick off with new Drake. Taken from the upcoming Take Care album, released in exactly 2 weeks, The Motto makes for an interesting switch in direction from Drake. The minimal, bass-heavy production is reminiscent of the style favoured by The Cool Kids, though comes injected with a degree of Dirty South flavour that makes it a simple yet oddly addictive production.
Credit to Drake here too, as he actually switches his flow up for the first time in months, coming with some real bounce that rides the production excellently, whilst Wayne’s contribution isn’t bad either, with his flows sounding equally refreshed. It’s no lyrical or technical masterpiece, but I’m pleasantly surprised with the upbeat, funky nature this and it’ll be hard to stop your head nodding when this one pops up in the car.
A lineup, photo and track that will have both Murray and Chris ready to launch a laptop at the wall…just forget this post ever existed lads.
For the rest of you mainstream lovers though this is a track that you’ll enjoy for sure. Nicki kick-starts the track with the first verse of hers that I haven’t found annoying since Kanye’s Monster. With a hard-hitting beat, Lil’ Wayne has no issues with providing a verse that closes off a song that will sound good in your car. Just try and ignore the Birdman verse in the middle of the song for the good of your health.
“Talkin’ ’bout baby money, I got your baby money / Kidnap your bitch, Get that ‘how much you love your lady?’ money.” Fairly innocuous line right, what’s the fuss? Well, when you consider this line from Jay-Z on H.A.M….
“I’m like really half a billi ni**a, Really you got baby money / Keep it real with ni**as, Ni**as ain’t got my lady money.”
Things become a little more clear: the Cash Money camp have clearly taken offence to Jay-Z’s line and have shot back. Will Jay respond? Don’t hold your breath. Will he respond through a subliminal in about 12 months that will go over most people’s heads? Probably. As Ajay joked last night: “you can quite easily imagine these two laughing about it. Whilst sipping some sort of exorbitantly priced alcohol. On a boat. Surrounded by b*tches.”
Download this track and hear that line (and subsequently more antagonistic lines) by clicking right here.
In case you missed it over the weekend, here’s the new single from Wayne’s upcoming The Carter IV album. In all honesty I’ve been getting especially tired of all these false singles that have been coming out for projects like this and Game’s R.E.D. album…ones that come out and receive no buzz at all due to the poor quality of the track, leading to the album to be further delayed a few months in order to ‘get back to the drawing board’. Thankfully I don’t think that’s the case with this track.
An understated beat that allows you soak in the ridiculousness of Wayne’s lyrics supplemented by another quality Drake chorus for your ears makes this a single worth putting out.
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.
I guess this is an apology for the much delayed Carter IV album. Had assumed this mixtape would be just full of throwaway tracks (in which case, I would have told Wayne to stuff his apology) but looking at the tracklist, he’s rapping over some of the recent biggest hits in the hip hop circuit.
That makes this mixtape worth checking out in my book.
A fairly unremarkable video for one of the mainstream’s favourite songs right now. It certainly won’t blow anyone’s mind, but the arrogant, lavish essence of the audio is captured well enough with lots of extravagantly-priced items and standard carefree behaviour.
The cityscapes work very well with Drake’s hook in particular, adding an atmospheric visual to the slower first half, and injecting energy into the more lively second part. Drake also appears to have been taking items from Rick Ross’ wardrobe of fashion disasters with one of his outfits, baring his chest and adorning it with some unnecessarily large jewellery. Nothing to note aside from that, purely a video that will further etch the song onto mainstream minds. Audio is here.
Probably the first lesson we learn from our parents is: “Sometimes in life you have to do things you don’t want to do.” This is one of those times.
As I’m holding the ‘day shift’ down, after some considerable deliberation, I’ve decided that it would be mean to keep this from some of you for too much longer.
I genuinely struggle to know what to write about this. There’s a lot of the colour blue. Some girls pole dancing. Lots of strobe lighting effects. And The Mighty Boosh’s very own The Spirit Of Jazz makes an appearance. Oh, sorry, that’s Lil Wayne.