Audio Push-Come As You Are (Free Album)

audio push
They’re one of very few duos coming up in hip-hop, and whilst that makes them a rare commodity, beyond that novelty they’re an excellent act with plenty of potential. Their Inland Empire mixtape had some great tracks on it, and even if it lacked a little consistency it was a good showing.

This project comes with a ton of backing from their label boss Hit-Boy, who also serves as the project’s executive producer- whilst that’s clearly to be expected of their employer, his claim that the tape featured some of the best music he’s ever made (or something to that effect) is not one he’d likely be throwing around too easily. Features include Joey Bada$$, Wale, T.I., and labelmate K. Roosevelt amongst others, whilst Hit-Boy’s frequent co-production credits suggests the beat work will also be up to scratch. It’s a project that could very well see Audio Push move into a more prominent position in hip-hop, and in any case should prove a good listen for mainstream hip-hop heads. Free stream and download below.

Audio Push-Come As You Are

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Lil' Wayne-Dedication 5 (Mixtape)

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.

Lil’ Wayne-Dedication 5

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Hustle Gang-G.D.O.D. (Mixtape)

hustle gang
Get Dough or Die is the mantra coming out of T.I.’s Hustle Gang camp, with this 20-track effort being the first collective release he’s put together from his rather well-known stable of artists.

Iggy Azalea, B.o.B, Chip(munk), Travis $cott, Trae the Truth, Young Dro, and T.I. are the bedrock of the tape, with a couple of lesser known artists from the team also involved, in addition to features from French Montana, Meek Mill, Problem and several others. Essentially, it’s full to the brim with massive names in hip-hop, and that extends to a producer list that includes David Banner, Young Chop, Nard & B, whilst there are also several self-produced efforts from within the Hustle Gang camp. If Tip’s recent form is anything to go by, this should have at least a few gems on it, and you can grab the whole thing for nothing below.

Hustle Gang-G.D.O.D. (Get Dough or Die)

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T.I.-Memories Back Then ft. Kris Stephens, B.o.B and Kendrick Lamar (Video)

Some may remember this track from the tailend of last year, released as a cut from Tip’s Trouble Man album due to sample clearance issues. It’s now found a more permanent home on the upcoming Hustle Gang: G.D.O.D. (Get Dough or Die), a forthcoming release set to showcase T.I.’s Grand Hustle signees.

It was a fairly impressive listen on its initial release, and this retooled version of the audio only serves to enhance that. The essentials of the audio are in place, with Kris’ soft vocals and the relatively gentle production tempering the storytelling style of each MC’s work, whilst their verses are still lyrically commendable.

The video isn’t particularly complicated, and as far as mainstream acceptance goes, it should do well. Each rapper is set amongst open landscapes, enhancing the retrospective and thoughtful nature of their raps, whilst the flashback scenes play on the context of their lyricism well enough without being too obvious or attempting to add any additional layers. There isn’t much more going on, but it’s a solid accompaniment to an admirably introspective mainstream hip-hop effort, which is available on iTunes now (US only, expect the UK release in the coming days).

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Robin Thicke-Blurred Lines ft. Pharrell and T.I. (Video)

Initially, I didn’t like this. The beat sounded a little thin on the ground, the vocals didn’t necessarily command the track, and it just seemed to be missing something. However, the longer I let this play, the more I wanted it to keep going, and I expect many will have similar reactions with this.

There’s something oddly addictive about the understated funk, and with the beat being helmed by Pharrell (I assume, from the percussion style), I almost feel foolish for questioning its merits. That simple, effective percussion provides a subtle accompaniment to the fun vocal samples, dashes of bass and of course, Robin’s whispery vocals. It’s a good combination of cool, downplayed pop with a bouncy positivity, facets which are visualised well, as all three artists are seen mostly having a bit of fun in plain white studio surroundings; it’s actually quite refreshing to see the likes of Pharrell and T.I. let their (figurative) hair down and be less concerned with projecting a ‘smooth’ image, opting rather to fool around a little whilst dressed impeccably. The video really helps drive the feel of the audio home, and admittedly had the audio been released first, it would have probably struggled for praise. As it is, they came together and it was the right move; look out for Robin’s album later this year.

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Trinidad James-All Gold Everything (Official Remix) ft. T.I., Young Jeezy and 2 Chainz

The official remix was originally rumoured to be a 17-track posse cut, but it looks like Trini has just called on his fellow Atlanta to help out instead, with three of the city’s heaviest hitters lending verses to his breakout single.

T.I. opens up with the highlight verse, his stuttered flow being a nice change in style for him, and standing out alongside those on this. Jeezy opens with plenty of potential with his rough voice being a great fit for the beat, before reverting to Trinidad’s flow which arguably pulls his verse down slightly, though he recovers as it goes on. 2 Chainz is sweeping up and whilst you’d think this is a beat perfectly suited to him, he instead proves he’s not got much to him, and instead helps to answer the Trinidad James dilemma: why is he so replayable? He’s committed to his ‘character’, whereas 2 Chainz hovers between a Trini type and trying to prove he can rap, leaving him in a bad grey area. Nice to get new verses on this beat though, the original’s fans will enjoy this.

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T.I.-Memories Back Then ft. Kendrick Lamar, B.O.B. and Kris Stephens

Unfortunately, this star-laden track isn’t going to find a home on T.I.’s Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head album, set for release tomorrow, but arguably it’s one that will increase the album’s buzz more than any track that’s preceded it. Apologies for the radio rip, but that’s all that’s doing the rounds at the moment.

The wistful, melodic hook work by Kris Stephens gives this a mainstream-friendly anchor point, whilst also enhancing the introspection of the individual rappers’ lyricism. Tip opens up with some reminiscing bars about a love interest in his past, packaged into a typically-slick flow that sets the track off well before B.o.B follows suit with his own sharp delivery. His verse focuses on a seemingly possessive old flame, and there’s a much more personal vibe about this one, particularly the pregnancy revelation. As is becoming customary with a K Dot feature, hip-hop’s golden boy is on last, and does a nice job with a slightly more bitter recollection of an ex-lady of interest, whilst also throwing a quick shot at Mitt Romney. It’s a nice bit of introspective hip-hop that’s softened by the hook, and hence makes for replayable listening.

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T.I.-Sorry ft. Andre 3000

Not only does the track have Andre 3000, but T.I. makes a reference to Pinot Grigio within seconds of this starting. Which one’s more unexpected? You decide.

Unfortunately, there’s not much to write home about beyond that surprising wine remark. The beat sounds like a Rick Ross castoff, with regality and laidback vibes abound, but nothing to really latch on to as a listener, via wafer thin synths and unremarkable percussion work. Tip’s raps seem tired and uninspired, and though there are a couple of small highlights, it’s generally dull. Andre’s verse is unquestionably the highlight, thanks to his watertight delivery that moves through a couple of different flows, whilst his wordplay is excellent-the stars and comets/comments line is particularly memorable. An average track saved from being poor by the feature.

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B.o.B-F*ck Em, We Ball (Mixtape)

There was a time when a B.o.B mixtape would have me climbing over my own mother (I expect a furious text shortly) to both listen to and post it. Now? I couldn’t care less. I saw this released a couple of days ago and genuinely had no sense of urgency about it, and I’m aware many others feel the exact same way.

So what happened? To put it simply, his album’s have been massive disappointments with few highlights. He’s a mainstream favourite and I’m sure he’ll continue to be one, but amongst the hip-hop community he’s very much becoming an afterthought due to some of his more pop-oriented content. With that said, the odd release here and there (I still listen to No Future now and again) has piqued interest, with the recurring theme in his better material has been his inclination to cut loose and let those fiery emotions go: the title and cover of this tape suggest he may just be ready to do that at length, and if he does I expect this to be a project of redemption.

B.o.B-Fuck Em We Ball

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Trae Tha Truth-Tha Blackprint (Mixtape)

Talk about label craziness. ABN representative and Grand Hustle-affiliated Trae Tha Truth drops a brand new tape for the hip-hop heads, hosted by Maybach Music Group’s DJ Scream. Any other labels want in here?

Clearly, everyone wants to be associated with Trae. It’s easy to spot why as his very unique delivery makes him instantly stand out from the crowd, and clearly Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, T.I., Young Jeezy, R. Kelly and many more agree given that they all makes appearances on the tape. Almost every track has a big name attached to it, and here’s to hoping Trae can hold his own and prove he belongs up with those names. Grab the enormous 20-track mixtape for free below.

Trae Tha Truth-Tha Blackprint

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Tyga ft. Wale, Fabolous, Young Jeezy, Meek Mill & T.I. - Rack City Remix [Video]

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.

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B.o.B ft. T.I. & Young Jeezy - Strange Clouds Remix [Video]

I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the original version of this track when it first dropped, but the addition of Young Jeezy has certainly made me pay attention. Production wise it’s almost tailor-made for Jeezy, who has been in a rich vein of form as of late, whilst the visuals themselves make this video a decent watch.

I can’t say I’m that excited about B.o.B’s next album (given the pop-styled nature of his last effort), but if he returns to his more innovative style of his early career then it should get some positive shine.

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Tyga ft. Wale, Fabolous, Meek Mill, Young Jeezy & T.I. - Rack City Remix

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.

Tyga ft. Wale, Fabolous, Meek Mill, Young Jeezy & T.I. – Rack City (remix)

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T.I.-F*ck Da City Up Mixtape

Lots of music from the last 24 hours, and we’ll start things off with the official release of this highly-anticipated release from T.I.

Accompanied by a relatively apocalyptic artwork that sets a tone of intensity, the tape boasts a hefty 19 tracks with a featured artist on almost every one, including an appearance from the reclusive legend Dr. Dre, alongside today’s favourites 2 Chainz, Young Jeezy, Pusha T and many more. I’ve recently had the impression from hip-hop fans that T.I.’s repeated incarcerations are leading to him becoming an afterthought when discussing the genre, and I’m sure he’ll be keen to rectify that with this project. Free stream and download below.

T.I.-F*ck Da City Up

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R&B Fridays: Episode 131

This is the first line that sets up the post.

This is the second line that recaps on any relevant posts.

This is the third line that is often filler.

This is the final line that leads you into the click below.
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B.o.B-E.P.I.C. (Every Play Is Crucial) Mixtape

Brand new 15-track mixtape from B.o.B, with the build to his upcoming sophomore album, Strange Clouds, now gathering pace. Undoubtedly, his reputation and popularity have soared over the last 12-18 months since his debut album, and I’m sure this will be warmly recieved by many as a result.

That upturn in fortunes for B.o.B manifests itself with a fantastic roster of producers and featured guests, with Eminem, T.I., Mos Def and Jim Jonsin all making appearances on the mixtape. His previous mixtape was released almost exactly a year ago and certainly had its moments, and hence I’m sure there will be some good highlights on this one too. Free grab below.

B.o.B-E.P.I.C. (Every Play Is Crucial)

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Young Jeezy ft. T.I. - F.A.M.E. [Video]

This song was like an announcement that both Jeezy and T.I. are back to infectiously infest our airwaves, and the video is a good job of delivering that message too. Nice materialistic video, which does well in conveying the message that the problems these stars have to go through, whilst bad in itself, ultimately is nothing compared to certain hardships, encapsulated perfectly by the following Jeezy lines from this song:

“Sometimes you wanna scream to God, but he can’t hear you
And even if you did, this’ll probably be his answer
F*** you complainin’ ’bout? It ain’t like you got cancer”

Even so, these fellas have no time for haters it seems.

So Jeezy’s album, TM103, is supposedly out soon? Looks like the Snowman is back in time for Christmas!

See what I did there? I’ll get my coat.

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Yelawolf, T.I. and Slaughterhouse-Hard White Remix

Reuniting 5/6 of the rappers who obliterated the recent BET Cyphers, Yela grabs his Slaughterhouse labelmates and grabs a pretty solid substitute for Eminem in T.I. for a remix of his single from the Radioactive album.

The hard-hitting beat keeps things simple yet engaging, with a crashing percussion and hypnotising vocal sample set to a tempo perfect for the high-octane, densely-packed verses each of these rappers can provide. None of them disappoint either: T.I. opens with a laidback verse that switches speeds throughout and bounces off the percussion nicely, Yela follows up with a hushed verse that throws a few different flows into the mix effectively, whilst the Slaughterhouse quartet close the track out with four absolutely blistering, dizzying verses. An excellent effort that hip-hop heads will be replaying for quite some time.

Yelawolf-Hard White Remix ft. T.I. and Slaughterhouse

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T.I.-N***as In Paris Remix

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.

Jay-Z and Kanye West-N***as in Paris Remix ft. T.I.

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Young Jeezy - F.A.M.E. ft. T.I.

T.I. returns to our ears with this rather good collaboration with Young Jeezy, both lamenting the envious people in their lives that have bittered their lifestyle.

A strong track, produced well by the infamous J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, that should get a fair few plays for those of you who like these artists. Question on everyone’s lips is when the hell is Jeezy bringing out the new album!?

Young Jeezy – F.A.M.E. ft. T.I.

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R&B Fridays: The Top 30 Tracks From Episodes 1-100

After delivering well over 1000 songs in the first 100 episodes, in honour of the 100th episode I’ll finally acquiesce to the oft-repeated demand for a recap by you R&B Friday fans. We’ve seen artists have great periods of consistency, others drop off a phenomenal effort and fade away, and everything in between: here we’ll seperate the great from the truly elite, and controversially select the definitive top 30 tracks to have graced the (often) selective walls of R&B Fridays.

The rules: Tracks MUST have been part of an episode, meaning tracks in the pre-post recap and in seperate posts do not count (unless a version of them was originally posted in an episode). This may explain tracks that you’re outraged about being omitted, so remember this. Every track included in the episodes is up for consideration, except for throwbacks. Finally, this list IS in ranking order, starting with #30 and down to the #1 track of R&B Fridays. Having changed my mind many times over the last week on the entire 30, I’ve forced myself to pick the final list and despite disagreeing with it myself every time I look at it, I’m putting it out there (at some point, every song has probably been at #1!). Click on to disagree and get angry.

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T.I.-So Close

Apparently a leftover track from the album No Mercy by (currently incarcerated) rapper T.I., if that’s the case I’m a little bewildered. This is a nice and honest deep track by T.I. which is something I feel he does very well, it’s just something he doesn’t do as often as I’d like. Some nice production, which although doesn’t sound like it’s mastered, it really does help portray the subject matter T.I. puts across.

“how could our hearts be so close when our minds so far apart”

T.I. – So Close

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T.I. and Rico Love-Lay Me Down Video

Surprising track from T.I., as we’re given a very mainstream/club-oriented effort with hints of 2003 Tip thrown in. It’s very solid though, and works very well as a catchy, uncomplicated head-nodder.

The highlight of the track is undoubtedly the production, with a stepped, chimey melody bringing a playful vibe to the track, whilst thick bass and percussion work keeps the tempo from being carried away by those melodies. Rico’s hook is actually surprisingly enjoyable too, with the distorted and chopped effect working well with the ‘sleazy’ feel of the video. Fairly regular raps from Tip, with his flow diversity being a notable feature of the rhymes on this occasion.

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OTU's Top 15 MCs of 2010: The Top Three

Hopefully by now, you’ve managed to have a look at who the OTU team rated as the rest of the top 15 Mcs, with numbers 15 to 4 being revealed last week. If not, catch up here.

Whilst I’m sure many can guess 1, 2 or maybe even all 3 of our remaining picks based on the omissions from the aforementioned list, the order in which they’re placed may be more difficult to pre-empt. Click on to see who the OTU team have voted as the top three MCs of 2010.

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Rick Ross-9 Piece ft. T.I.

This joint is exactly as you would imagine it. Monotonous braggadocio raps over a driving, pulsating baseline. For those of you who have seen Get Him To The Greek it always makes me laugh when Diddy parodies himself in the brainstorming session where he plays a tape of an artist with dumbed down, explicit lyrics, persuading his team that “this is the type of artist we should be signing”. Well Puff, funny how real life often mirrors fiction huh? Oh, and on the back of that Premo interview, I’ve been bumping alot of Biggie recently; F*ck those comparisons man.

From Ricky’s Ashes to Ashes, December 24th.

Rick Ross-9 Piece ft. T.I.

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T.I. and Rocko-I Can’t Help It Video

Pretty much everything you’ve come to expect from a Tip video: lots of ‘street’ scenery, plenty of confidence from Tip, and the general feel of a southern hip-hop video.

First time I’ve actually come across this track, and it’s not bad at all. It’s by no means his strongest material ever, but I can see this quietly becoming quite the popular anthem for mainstream hip-hop fans. Enjoying Rocko’s flow in his verse too, as he brings his own high-tempo style alongside T.I.’s own tongue-twisting delivery.

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R&B Fridays: Episode 76

Whilst the rest of the music world seems to have taken a much-needed breather this week (album releases aside), there’s been no shortage of new and/or unreleased R&B and pop material in the 76th instalment of R&B Fridays.

The week has already seen a great new video from Tank, two new remixes from T-Pain, a captivating video for Bruno Mars’ Grenade, the UK’s own Chipmunk working with Chris Brown, another release from Trey Songz’s upcoming mixtape, Keri Hilson and Kanye West getting together for a new remix, Keyshia Cole and Nicki Minaj’s collabo video, and the unexpected release of a John Legend and Estelle EP.

Lots up there, and lots down below. Click on.
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T.I.-Welcome to the World ft. Kanye West & KiD CuDi

I can’t say I was too excited about T.I.’s upcoming No Mercy album, but the fantastic Eminem collabo and now this new leak which features two of my favourite artists in Kanye and Cudi…well let’s just say my enthusiasm for this album has increased ten-fold.

Cudi delivers what seems to now be a trademark chorus and T.I. comes through with some brash lyrics as you’d expect. It’s Kanye’s verse that really makes this track though, particularly the pure passion and anger you hear in his voice as he raps about how rappers like T.I. and Lil’ Wayne have been targeted & locked up. You can tell it’s a subject that troubles him, as he’s no stranger to being targeted himself (from the media, rather than the authorities!). The beat on this is just perfect, as it completely sets the dark atmosphere that the Cudi hook and Kanye’s verse are trying to portray. One line that really stands out from Kanye’s verse:
“People ask me sh*t about illuminati, first off – f*** that mean!?”

T.I. – Welcome to the World ft. Kanye West & KiD CuDi

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T.I-All She Wrote ft. Eminem

Now if anyone remembers the first time Eminem and T.I. collaborated (on the T.I. Vs. T.I.P. album) you’ll be pleased to know that this track, which is set to be on Tip’s No Mercy album, is infinitely better than that one. Not a difficult feat though as that track was god-awful.

This is a really good song though, one that Eminem fans as well as T.I. fans will really enjoy, as both artists feature heavily on the track together. Unlike the often generic collaborations you see, with the guest star delivering a simple 16 bars and that’s all.

T.I – All She Wrote ft. Eminem

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