Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sweatshirt & Santigold

A compelling conversation has played out through the Twitter accounts of Santigold & Earl Sweatshirt in the past-few days. The electronic-afflicted Santigold is currently working on new album Master of My Make Believe which is slated to drop May 1. Earl has promised that "the track is ridiculous," and Santi lovingly-called it "sick." Earl has been dropping a slew of possible collaborative efforts in the past few days including: Madlib, Kanye West, Flying Lotus, and perhaps the rapper he is most-indebted to, DOOM. Earl has also referenced King Krule, which could make for a dark and hazy team-up. All of this is up in the air for now, so as we wait for it to fall into place, enjoy this track from Santigold's forthcoming LP. You won't be disappointed.

"Big Mouth"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Azealia Banks and M.I.A. Hook Up

According to Pitchfork, rapidly-rising Harlem rapper Azealia Banks is working with indie-firebrand M.I.A. Presumably the two are collaborating on tracks for Banks' forthcoming Broke With Expensive Tastes LP which is slated to drop in September. While you wait for the record to be released, enjoy this still great track from Banks that shows what Universal saw in her.

"212" ft. Lazy Jay

Saturday, February 25, 2012

No OutKast For Now

In an interview with GQ the willfully weird Andre 3000, one half of the OutKast, has said "there are no plans for another OutKast album." Three Stacks cites his dedication to collabos and a forthcoming solo-effort as the reason for no new releases from the ATL-duo. This is a reversal from Big Boi, who went on record in '08 to give us the heads-up on the new 'Kast album. For now, OutKast fans can look for that Andre release, as well as Daddy Fat Sax, the follow-up to Big Boi's monstrous Sir Lucious Left Foot.

"B.O.B."- Stankonia

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Rella"- Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis, & Tyler, the Creator

That's the artwork for Odd Future's first single from their forthcoming O.F. Tape 2. They'd been promising the "Rella" video to drop for a minute now and we have it. It's a far cry from the dark-lunacy that informed "Yonkers" and "64". Here we have Hodgy, Domo, and Tyler sticking to the madcap laughs that encircled "B**ch S**k D**k". In the visuals we see Hodgy in astro-gear, Domo looking like Boyz N' The Hood meets Scooby Doo, and Tyler doing Montana mounds of coke and playing cross-dressing centaur. The beat is Left Brain at his best, with a bubbly synth starting off and slowly descending into plodding darkness. Karate drum kicks spar with the synth and wind up subsumed by the darkness. It's a disturbingly-catchy affair, where you can't help but nod along, even if you know its wrong.

Friday, February 17, 2012

"Banished"- JJ Doom

 What can you say about MF Doom that hasn't already been said? Mad genius? Wizard of whacked-out wordplay? Rap's ultimate supervillain? On this track from JJ DOOM,  the zillionth MF Doom collaboration project, we hear DOOM going all-out over an eerily dense track. The plodding thud of the drums is the only thing that snaps us out of the dark world DOOM inhabits here. It's three minutes of DOOM in his natural environment, gleefully laughing at the mayhem all-around him. If this track is any indication of the rest of Key to the Kuffs, the album slated for a May release, it's only a matter of time before DOOM takes over the rap world again. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"I Believe in a Thing Called L-O-V-E" Playlist

 Well for some of you reading this Happy Valentine's Day. For others of you, Happy Single's Awareness Day. Whatever your current life-station in love, I made a playlist for you. Wanna lay down next to your lover and let the soulful croon of Al Green do the rest? Be my guest. Need a playlist to give to crush that says more than you ever could? Then how about having the Ronettes take the leap and ask "won't you be my baby?" Or you can sit and stew today, wondering "why does love got to be so sad?" You have a million different ways to fall in and out of love, so choose. Today I say live, love, laugh, and listen to just a little bit of music. You'll be glad you did.

1. "Wouldn't It Be Nice"- The Beach Boys
2. "I Want You Back"- Jackson 5
3. "Be My Baby"- The Ronettes
4. "L-O-V-E"- Nat King Cole
5. "God Blessed Our Love"- Al Green
6. "Can't Help Falling in Love"- Elvis Presley
7. "What is This Thing Called Love"- Frank Sinatra
8. "Love Hurts"- Roy Orbison
9. "Cupid"- Sam Cooke
10. "When A Woman Loves"- R. Kelly
11. "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me"- Jackie Wilson
12. "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?"- Derek & The Dominos
13. "I Believe in a Thing Called Love"- The Darkness
14. "Something"- The Beatles
15. "Love Minus Zero/No Limit"- Bob Dylan
16. "This Love"- Maroon 5
17. "Letter Home"- Childish Gambino
18. "One in a Million"- Aaliyah
19. "Knock Me Down" ft. Ne-Yo & Kanye West- Keri Hilson
20. "Unrequited Love"- Lykke Li
21. "Love Song"- The Cure
22. "Is This Love?"- Bob Marley
23. "I Will Follow You Into the Dark"- Death Cab for Cutie
24. "You and Your Sister" (Acoustic Version)- Chris Bell

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"I Do" ft. Jay-Z, Andre 3000, & Drake

Upping the ante on the original, we now have a remix on the "International Player's Anthem,"-aping "I Do." If Jeezy, Hova, and Andre weren't enough, we now have Drizzy along for the ride. Hearing Drake rap over a track this soulful isn't something we hear everyday, but it's as blissful as the sample that buoys the track. It's four disparate voices getting together to talk commitment, warmly embracing their hip-hop brides.

"Ground Up" ft. Wiz Khalifa- Domo Genesis

File this one under the match made in heaven category. I feel like the meeting for this one was simple, Domo's pitch to Wiz something like this, "Wiz you smoke and I smoke, so let's rap about smoking together." The track has a lushness only hinted at in these twos earlier work and sees the continual development of Domo as one of the most potent rappers in Odd Future. Wiz's hook is stickier than the weed they rap about and he's in autopilot for most of his verse. The whole thing comes across as an effortless exercise in chillin'. It's a brilliant puff of smoke on a warm spring night, feet up and not a care in the world.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"I'm Definitely in My Zone"

If you have a problem with ballin' too hard, you might want to avoid the video for The Throne's "Ni**as in Paris" at all costs. The impossibly-infectious stuttering synth track finally has an accompanying video and it's pretty much amazing. It's Jay & Ye' spitting live at their most raucous, armed with plenty of split screening. WARNING, if you are adverse to flashing lights this video is definitely not for you. Enjoy and remember, this s**t "cray."

"Ni**as in Paris"- Watch the Throne


Free Earl?

Before we all chant Odd Future is back and celebrate the long-awaited return of OF "general" Earl Sweatshirt, I want you to think back to the last time we heard that Earl was "free." It was November and word blew-up that the virulent rapper had returned from American Samoa and was ready to start rapping again. That proved to be a hoax and Tyler, the Creator pulled another comical prank on fans that obsess over the L.A. crew. Granted, this comeback seems more legit with the issuing of the dazzling "Home,"  and the emergence of a new Earl Twitter account, but don't get your hopes up. The track itself is classic Earl, blowing viciously by with little room for respite from the malevolent lines. He ends the track with an oddly-hesitant "and I'm back," and disappears into the ether. If he is back, it's been way too long and if not continue to chant "Free Earl" as much as possible. You won't be the only one.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"February's Confessions"- Lil B

Hyper-prolific rapper Lil B seems to drop a new track everyday. Last Tuesday, January 31 saw the latest release in his Flame Series with White Flame. He's refused to slow down since and "February's Confessions" is the strongest to appear in White Flame's wake. The track begins with the simplistic twinkling of piano and a chipmunk-soul sample reminiscent of Kanye West. Here Lil B is in full-on confession mode, looking back on the past year and urging listeners to "live your own life." In the most affecting portion of the track, he wonders "why this happen to me?" It's a sterling moment on a shimmering song. Every track from the Based God can't be gold, but this one's a diamond in the ever-expanding rough.

It's O.F. Buttercup

You're looking at the cover-art for O.F. Tape Vol. 2, the newest compilation from everyone's favorite rap hooligans, Odd Future. The picture is of O.F. extended-family member Lucas, who notably appears in the video for "She." On his Twitter account, Tyler revealed the album artwork and resolutely declared the album will not feature the long-deposed Earl Sweatshirt. However, Hodgy Beats, Left Brain, Mike G, Domo Genesis, Syd the Kyd, The Internet, and Frank Ocean will be featured on the compilation which drops March 20 through Odd Future Records.

"She" ft. Frank Ocean- Tyler, the Creator

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Take Me Away"- Willis Earl Beal

Chicago "blues-singer" Willis Earl Beal is a rapidly rising star in the indie world. After signing a deal with XL, Beal is scheduled to drop his debut LP Acousmatic Sorcery on April 2 for their Hot Charity imprint. In the run-up to that, Beal has dropped the Tom Waits indebted "Take Me Away." Beginning with an impassioned bellow shades of Son House, Beal fractures his voice over in-the-red Neanderthal drumming. The whole track is astonishingly lo-fi and serves as a springboard into Beal's warped state of ugly blues. Where sin and soul run side-by-side down a dark and dirty street.

 "Take Me Away"

Thursday, February 2, 2012

In Revue- "Born to Die"

Face it you’re here because of one song, "Video Games." From the moment you heard those somber strings and mournfully plodding piano you were hooked, I know I was. It was an unmistakable melancholy, delivered by a voice that sounded strangely familiar. The harp bursts suggested a magical land of enchantment, free from burden, but we know better from singer Lana Del Rey’s words. “He holds me in his big arms, drunk and I am seeing stars,” she sings. Into that hypnotic world of love and hate, sex and rejection Del Rey brought us and we were powerless to leave.

Muted drum kicks buoy opener “Born to Die” and clatter into a shimmering static during the chorus. It’s a lucid opener, one that misses the mark, but still has us following Del Rey down the rabbit hole. As we continue on the journey, we see Del Rey fitting perfectly into Nancy Sinatra-sized boots on “Off to the Races” playing the ultimate femme-fatale. She revels in this on the magnetic hook, as her “old man” luridly watches her in a glass room.

That empowerment fades away on “Diet Mountain Dew,” where Del Rey breaks into faux-show tune singing over a propulsive drum beat. Wearily she sings, “You’re no good for me, but baby I want you.” Fully aware of her problems, but powerless to resist.

"Born to Die"

It’s been said that the string sections supporting Del Rey on the album sound the same. “National Anthem” dispels that notion, bearing a welcome resemblance to the string section of “Bittersweet Symphony.” It’s a song tailor-made for a summer day, gazing at the crackle of fireworks in the night sky, longingly staring into the heaven of a lover’s eyes. The celebratory ecstasy of the track lifts Lana into “Radio” where she gleefully mocks ghosts of lovers’ long-since-past. “How do you like me now,” she snidely asks, her “cinnamon sweet,” life a bitter pill to swallow for all those former friends.

“Carmen” is “Hot Child in the City” for the Y-Generation. An elegiac violin sets the stage for Del Rey’s haunting narration. “Darling, darling, doesn’t have a problem. Lyin’ to herself cause her liquors top shelf.” Carmen’s mean streetwalkin’ takes her to a host of beds, but none that she can call her own. At the song’s end, nothing has changed and she’s still “all dressed up with nowhere to go.”

Since the album dropped, a litany of critics has lined up to declare the record “dull” and Del Rey’s image manufactured. To which I can’t help but ask, when has great pop not been manufactured? The Ronettes were entirely a product of Phil Spector and are still attributed the pop splendor that is “Be My Baby.” They bemoaned that the brilliant “Video Games,” was a ploy. They piled on with the SNL performance, labeling it the “worst ever.” And what did Del Rey do? She took it all in stride, delivering an austere album of pop brilliance, rarely letting up. “The road is long, we carry on, try to have fun in the meantime,” she reminds us on “Born to Die.” Though that road is littered for Del Rey, she throws caution to the wind, cruising down a dark highway. Her golden hair blowing in a warm summer breeze.

"Video Games"