February, 2015

Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

By admin on Feb 13, 2015 in Album Review , Mixtape - 0 Comments

So, what a surprise, right? Drake dropping a surprise album on us. I’m a little surprised no one saw this coming though. Especially in this day in age where if an album is leaked before it comes out, it can kill the hype. I’ve been going back and forth with Drake. While I do understand his appeal somewhat, he has yet to completely impress me. His appeal has gone down a little for me since he’s started getting way cocky. It shows in his rap and only seems to be getting worse. This is what happens to most emcee’s that make it as big as Drake has. With that said, let’s get into this album.

1) Legend – Okay, you going to flip a pretty recognizable sample. The question is, why flip So Anxious by Ginuwine at the hook? Especially when there’s plenty of instrumental parts of the track? My bet: because you can and you have the money. The thing is though, you really don’t need to. And all that is different is you put a really loose trap beat on top of the sample (that filters in and out through the whole track). PartyNextDoor made the beat and I’m really not impressed. On top that, Drake is just putting his cockiness out there and telling people “If I was to die today, I’d be a legend”. You’re popular right now Drake, but I think it’s a little premature to call yourself a legend already.

2) Energy – This has more of a boom-bap feel. Boi-1da made the beat and it’s not too bad. I like the piano in the background and the synths are okay too. Drake’s theme is enemies on this track. Not anything too exciting and actually really redundant, especially right now in Hip-Hop.

3) 10 Bands – Question, is Drake a drug dealer? Was he ever? Because right now, he’s acting like he is on this track. Another Boi-1da beat. This one is nice with it. The 808’s are on point and that synths are crazy in the background. The problem though is that I don’t know really what Drake is trying to do on the track. Mostly talking about money, which you’ll notice is basically what he’ll talk about when he’s not talking about women.

4) Know Yourself – Another Boi-1da beat with a little bit of help from Vinylz and Syk Sense. The way they filter the synth keys in this are nice. Drake is biting deliveries though. He’s trying to sound like 2 Chainz and maybe even like O.T. Genasis. I’m getting so tired of this type of delivery. I really was hoping to hear something different.

5) No Tellin’ – Another Boi-1da beat. I’ve got to hand it to Boi-1da, he know’s how to make a good synth beat that doesn’t sound like all the other trap beats. But, I’m getting a little tired of the filters synths. This track sounds exactly like 0 to 100. In fact, so much so that if it wasn’t for the different key signature, you would think it was the exact same track. As for Drake, he actually is telling everyone that he had to “switch the flow up because it was sounding to predictable”. If that’s the case, I would expect you to not sound like 2 Chainz. Again, why say your switching up your flow if you actually sounding like someone else?

6) Madonna – Man, Noah “40” Shebib is dope! This track is nice! Drake has been messing with this producer since his beginning. I wish this track was just a little longer just to hear this beat more! I don’t know what Drake is doing though. Drake is sing/rapping, something that has been his signature. His rap actually works well over this track. But, it’s the production that makes this track worth it! Definitely dope!

7) 6 God – Trap beat by Boi-1da. Not really that impressive to me. Again, Drake is biting others deliveries. It’s not the lyrics, it’s how he’s delivering them. If I wanted to hear a 2Chainz album, I would go out and buy it. I wish Drake would talk about something else too. It’s getting old!

8) Star67 – This is a refreshing beat, especially after hearing all those trap beats. Vinylz, Most High, and Amir Obe got together to make something pretty original. I like how the beat keeps on going in and out. Drake is talking about coming up in the industry on this track. At least it’s a different subject. The switch midway in the beat forces Drake to switch up to another style. This part of the track isn’t bad at all. At least Drake is rapping about things he knows something about. This is probably the most real I’ve heard him sound on this album so far.

9) Preach – I want to like this track. PARTYNEXTDOOR made the beat and is featured on the track singing. I get so tired of this type of autotune. Sounding like a cross between Young Thug and B.O.B doesn’t work for this track. Drake isn’t biting anyone’s delivery on this track (which is a welcome improvement). Drake only has one verse on this whole track, the rest is, you guessed it, PARTYNEXTDOOR singing. This song didn’t need to be on the album!

10) Wednesday Night Interlude – I actually don’t mind this track. It’s a nice R&B sounding beat. I can’t understand Drake all the time because there’s so much filtering and reverb going on. I get the fact that he’s saying he’s lonely though. PARTYNEXTDOOR is singing again, but I think Drake just needs to be singing honestly.

11) Used To – Wondagurl made the beat. I’m glad to hear a woman producer pushing herself out there. You may know her from the beat Crown off of Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail album. She’s still in high school too! I think her future is pretty bright. Those trap beats though are getting old on this album. I know it’s what people want right now, but damn, ENOUGH already. Drake is again taking other people’s deliveries. It’s getting to the point where I’ve stopped listening to what he is saying because he reminds me too much of other rappers. Lil Wayne is featured on this track. Of course we’ve heard better from Wayne. But seriously, he sounds better on Drake on this track.

12) 6 Man – This sounds like a down south beat. It’s not too bad of a beat. Pretty simple though. I usually give Noah “40” Shebib mad props, but this doesn’t sound much like him at all. The question is, what is Drake really talking about. I tried to break down his lyrics and it’s pretty incoherent. It’s not that I can’t understand his words, it’s just the connection he makes. And why is Drake singing the hook from You Got Me by The Roots?

13) Now & Forever – This beat sounds a little too synthed out. I get that synths are in style, but because this whole album just seems like a big synth loop factory (some of it actually works though), my initial feeling is that I want to skip to the next song. The hook is killing it on this song! It’s catchy and poppy. Drake is singing on the track and it’s a nice change of pace.

14) Company – It’s all sounding the same! Where’s the uniqueness in this album? Travi$ Scott really isn’t adding anything to this track either. Drake is rapping mostly about women on this track, mostly the stripper variety. I wish there was more to this track, but there isn’t.

15) You and the 6 – Drake bounces around to different subjects way too much. He’s got some serious ADD. At one point he jumps from talking about his mom to the women of his life. But, at least it’s mostly about his mom. Unfortunately, it seems like he’s whining about his life. I guess this is supposed to be his emotional track. He talks about his dad at the end and about how he’s frustrated that people want him to be more “black” and talk about where he comes from. Well, there you go. You be the judge of this track. To me, he’s just jumping around too much.

16) Jungle – This is my favorite track off of the album! After that 6 Man track, Noah “40” Shebib redeems himself. This is Drake at his best. It’s a slow R&B track and the sparse singled out singing works well. The hook is nice and you can tell they took some time with it.

17) 6PM in New York – The bonus track! This is what I’m more accustomed to with Drake. He’s actually spitting pretty nice and is actually quotable for the first time! Too bad it had to happen at the end of the album.

Probably forever if I stay in my zone
I speak on this generation , but can’t change it alone
I heard a little, lil homey talking reckless and vile
That’s quite a platform you choose, you should of kept it inside

This seems like such a rushed album. There were some that say that this was the mixtape he was wanting to put out for awhile. If that’s the case, why not make it free for the public? It needs to be, because this album isn’t worth your money. I think gone are the days of So Far Gone. Which to me, he was spitting actual bars. That’s what gave him the hype. Now I know, artists change and music changes. But, Drake is sounding like everybody else. He’s not even on Par with J. Cole. To me, Drake has fallen off and it shows.

This album gets 2.8/5. Step your game up DRAKE!

J. Cole – Forest Hills Drive

By admin on Feb 04, 2015 in Album Review - 0 Comments

So, I know, I’m a little late on this review. I’ve been listening to this album nonstop though, so I’ve had some time to really  absorb the music. Before getting into the review though, let’s go through some things. First off, J. Cole has been steadily building his fan base. I’ve seen this dude go from mixtape, to getting signed, to selling a respectable amount of albums. He hasn’t really had another single like Who Dat. Sure, he’s had success with other tracks, but that track blew him up. And because of that, his first album Cole World: The Sideline Story was much anticipated. That album was certified Gold, which is great considering the Hip-Hop environment today. His follow up album, Born Sinner, wasn’t at all like the previous album. Which I’m sure got some of his fans disappointed. Personally though, I liked Cole’s more dark side on Born Sinner.

What I like about J. Cole is he represents the best of both worlds! He’s a rapper, a singer, and a producer all in one. You’ve got to give the dude respect for that alone. The crazy part is: he’s just getting better. Just to let everyone know, J. Cole’s album Forest Hills Drive has already gone Gold. Record sales aside, I think this album is definitely worth it! With that said, let’s dive into this new album.

1) Intro – This is the best Intro I’ve heard from J. Cole off of any of his albums! Why? Because it’s truly unique! Cole is getting better at singing. But what’s truly impressive is the music itself. You have that melodic roaming piano with brass and strings! Seriously, there’s something just special about what he’s doing with this track. If this is the way Cole is starting out his album, than it just gets me excited! Do you wanna be, HAPPY!

2) January 28th – And from that Intro, he meshes it perfectly with this first track. It’s so refreshing to hear organic sounding music meshed with electronic. The hook is killing it! I think the production on this song is better than the rapping in my personal opinion. Which is okay, because you know he’s holding back!

3) Wet Dreamz – As much as I like this beat, the song is a little gimmicky. I get that he had to have a track for the ladies, but I’m a little confused about why Cole is spitting about his first time having sex. If Cole is trying to show his soft side mixed with his emotional side, that’s cool. But, he’s not really spitting about anything other than the anxiety of having sex. Not my favorite track on the album, but that beat is killing it!

4) 03′ Adolescence – And now we’re back to that smooth sounding organic beat! I almost wish that this was the next track after January 28th, just because it fits the feel better for transitioning purposes. But, I digress. Cole is sounding nice on this track and you can tell he’s been putting in work.

Do you think that you would know what to do if you was me?
I got, four brothers, one mother that don’t love us
If they ain’t never want us why the fuck they never wore rubbers?

5) A Tale of 2 Cities – Okay, finally, a Trap sounding beat that sounds different! Seriously, this is so refreshing because it’s just enough of the Trap feel. And that sample is CRAZY! It’s creepy and grimy at the same time. It’s also nice to hear Cole delivering his flow differently. Actually, that’s ultimately what makes this track so energetic. One of my favorite off of the album! Definitely turn this one up!

6) Fire Squad – Nothing to amazing about this beat. Nothing really new about the topic either. I find it a little confusing that J. Cole is talking about the fact that white people have been stealing black music for a long time when in fact, J. Cole himself is half white. Not only this, but J. Cole (along with many Hip-Hop artists) sample white artists music all the time. I get it if Cole wants to identify with his black heritage, but seriously, it just comes off as being a little hypocritical. I think it’s pretty clear that Cole is frustrated with people who are phony and not “keeping it real”. It’s pretty clear to me on this track however that he himself is the one acting a little phony.

7) St. Tropez – I like this beat! The hook is CRAZY! Sonically, this is one of my favorite tracks off of the album. The dynamics are great! I’m digging Cole’s singing! I go back and forth with him singing on his past albums, but this time I think he’s finally figured out how to sound good and unique when he sings. The other good thing about Cole is that he doesn’t seem to need auto-tune. So, it makes his voice sound truly unique! The brass, background vocals, and beat though by far are better than his singing. It’s just the combination that sounds so good. Definitely dope!

8) G.O.M.D – Yeah, I’m not sure about this track. I don’t know if it needs to be on the album. But, I get what he’s trying to do with this track. It’s kind of a down south beat. It’s strange to hear the synthesizers mixed with the sample though. It’s a little sporadic with dropping the track in and out too. I’m not even really sure what Cole’s theme is over this track.

9) No Role Modelz – This is such a good track! That sample is killing it and the hook is my favorite part! It’s definitely a track you haven’t heard before. The thing is though, we get he’s single. We get that “these hoes aint loyal”. It’s kind of a tired theme in Hip-Hop. Personally for me, it would’ve been more potent if he was identifying the whole music industry (both artists and roadies alike).

10) Hello – Pretty unusual song for this album. It’s pretty personal for Cole and you can tell. I like the idea of this track, but really Cole isn’t saying too much. Especially when he’s repeating the same lyrics over and over again. This is a filler track for sure. Doesn’t need to be on the album.

11) Apparently – Like I said, you can tell Cole has been doing a better job of singing. It’s good the way he’s mixing rapping with singing on this track. He does a good job of sounding sincere over this track. This is that track that reflects the title of the album somewhat. But, Cole is inconsistent with his message. He keeps on jumping around quite a bit in the story. At one point it doesn’t even seem like he’s talking about his appreciation as much as he’s talking about women.

12) Love Yours – Again, this is kind of the same type of track as Apparently. I like the message and it seems like he keeps pretty true to the theme in this. Good message! Not really memorable in the hook, but I like this line:

Always gon’ be a whip that’s better than the the one you got
Always gon’ be some clothes that’s fresher than the ones you rock
Always gon’ be a bitch that’s badder out there on the tours
But you ain’t never gon’ be happy till you love yours

13) Note To Self – Okay, I like loose structures of songs like this. There’s not really a hook. J. Cole is singing again and by this time, even though I like most of his singing, PLEASE STOP! You don’t have to sing everything. I’m a little lost on what he’s referring to in this song. It just seems like a bunch of lyrics, but again the loose structure is kind of nice. I don’t know why he needed to make this song the credits. It’s a little strange because it literally takes like 10 minutes for him to go through all of it. He could have added 2 songs (if not even more) for the length of these credits. This is why you should just be patient and put the credits in on the album booklet/art. At the end, I don’t even know why Cole says he “took the crown” on this album.

Overall, I was impressed by the production and Cole did okay with rapping. There are definitely some tracks worth listening to, but it sounds inconsistent and a little rushed.

I give this 3.5/5.