Artist: Lil Wayne
Album: Tha Carter IV
Released on: August 29, 2011
Four time Grammy Award winning rap artist, Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter is back with long-awaited “Tha Carter IV”.
The album starts with “Blunt Blowin” and at first, I was thinking where is this going until the hook came in and then my memory was refreshed and I thought classic Wayne. The track really reminded me somewhat of “Go DJ” and I loved it. I loved the instrumental to “MegaMan”, Wayne’s verses were strong, yet reminiscent of “A Milli”, so it was another song that was kind of where he’s already been and what he’s already done. “Nightmare Of The Bottom” was another typical track, I honestly wanted more out of this song, but I did not get it. The track “How To Hate” features T-Pain and I felt that T-Pain’s intro was way too long, it seemed more than a feature with the amount of bars he had and I was thinking when is Wayne going to jump in. I felt the track was okay, the lyrics were somewhat bitter yet Wayne was rapping about how he’s moved on from prior relationships and ex-girlfriends.
“John” featured Rick Ross and the instrumental had a southern hip-hop feel to it. I enjoyed Ross’ contribution, but I really didn’t feel Wayne gave his best until his 3rd verse. Finally on “Abortion” Wayne came around and gave me what I was looking for, I loved the track lyrically and sonically, although the instrumental sounds like something Jay-Z already did, so I can’t exactly call it original, but I did fully enjoy it. I loved the unlikely collaboration with John Legend on “So Special”. The hook was crazy and I felt Wayne’s verses were hot also. Continue reading
Album: The R.E.D
Album Released on: August 23, 2011
Rapper Game has released his fourth album entitled “The R.E.D. Album”. Game reportedly stated that the album’s title was chosen by his fans and he ran with it because it was great conceptually in that, his new outlook on life was re-dedication and redemption and both words begin with “RED”. After a 3-year hiatus, numerous postponements, ongoing beef issues, Game is getting back to the music and with “The R.E.D. Album” he pulls out all stops with the productions and collaborations. The album’s producers include: Dr. Dre, Cool & Dre, StreetRunner, The Futuristics, DJ Premier, Maestro, Pharrell and more. “The R.E.D. Album” features an astounding 18 artists collaborating on the tracks.
The album starts with a hard-hitting track “The City”, with a Kendrick Lamar feature. The hook was actually taken from 16 bars that Kendrick came up with and divided into two catchy choruses. I loved the tonality Game presented, it had a ravenous quality to it and the track was a great opener for the album. With the following track “Drug Test”, Snoop, Dr. Dre and Sly featured and honestly I haven’t heard anything that personified the West Coast this tough in a while. However, I felt something was missing and I believe if Ice Cube would have added some bars, it would have taken it to the next level for the West Coast. On “Martians Vs. Goblins” Lil Wayne assists with the hook, Tyler the Creator features and Game stirs up controversy as usual and does a few name-droppings. On “Red Nation”, Lil Wayne and Game collaborate again and I was impressed, the track is one of Game’s best tracks lyrically. It has been noted that the song is banned due to media taking the lyrics literally instead of metaphorically speaking and stating that it seems gang-affiliated. “Good Girls Go Bad” is a personal track where Game paints a story of his childhood, expressing how his father was violent towards his mother, but one day his mother finally became fed up and fought back. It is basically a track depicting how some women go through bad experiences and become tarnished and/or scorned. Continue reading
Artist: Ace Hood
Album: Blood, Sweat, & Tears
Released on: August 9, 2011
First came “Gutta” then “Ruthless” and now “Blood, Sweat & Tears”. After releasing two crazy singles produced by Lex Luger “Hustle Hard” and “Go N Get It,” I knew I had to review this. I’ve been following Ace Hood ever since “Ride” with Trey Songz and I love what he’s been putting out and now the latest single “Body 2 Body” featuring Chris Brown is all I want to hear. Ace Hood was the first artist signed to DJ Khaled’s record label, We the Best Music Group, and although he has not gained a huge amount of recognition mainstream-wise, he has from the streets with his mixtapes.
“King of the Streets” was a great start for the album. With T-Pain on the hook, I felt Ace delivered a banger. I loved the fluidity of his rhyming and how his voice naturally was befitting of the instrumental. Ace continues with another street anthem “Errrythang” featuring Yo Gotti, which is a catchy track that I could hear Young Jeezy featuring on, but was happy with the collaboration from Gotti. Continue reading
Artist: Jay-Z and Kanye
Album: Watch The Throne
Released on: August 8, 2011
Mogul Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and mastermind producer Kanye West have finally delivered the goods!!!! Approximately one year ago, the artists released information that they would create an entire collaboration album and it has been highly anticipated ever since. Jay-Z and Kanye agreed to only record while in the presence of one another, so they rented numerous rooms in a France hotel and made magic. Much like with any group or coupling, differences of opinion will arise and it has been noted that they got into debates about which direction the LP should be distributed, but ultimately figured a way to fulfill rather than settle.
The album’s first released single “H.A.M.” charted at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and had everyone trying to apply the phrase to their lifestyle. The second single “Otis” that has an interpolation of “Try A Little Tenderness” by soul singer Otis Redding is currently climbing the charts as well and everyone has been making their own renditions and remixes of it. The opening number “No Church In The Wild” was a refreshing start that featured Frank Ocean, I loved the choice of metaphors and I could not stop repeating this song, I honestly thought I would never make it to the next track.
“Lift Off” was a collaboration where international entertainer Beyoncé sang on the chorus and there were not many lyrics from Carter and West, but I loved the presentation and the last two minutes of the song were amazing, where Beyoncé’s voice pulsates over the track. With “Gotta Have It” I loved Jay and Ye rhyming on alternate bars rather than alternate verses, no one has executed this in awhile. I also loved the Middle-Eastern insert and really felt the song! “New Day” sampled the late great Nina Simone (whom I love dearly) and on the track, Carter and West are basically speaking to their unborn sons and saying what they will teach, share and promise to them and it was touching, another track I instantly loved. Continue reading
Artist: Chris Brown
Mixtape: Boy In Detention
Released on: August 4, 2011
Chris Brown has officially released his fourth mixtape “Boy In Detention” and I was excited to review it. Even after a ridiculous amount of scrutiny and speculation over the past couple of years, Brown is on top and he has skyrocketed to another level. Breezy is currently the go-to-man for all collaborations these days and everything he has been releasing is serious right now. On this mixtape, Brown exhibits versatility being that he is not just singing this time around, but rapping.
“Boy In Detention” begins with “First 48″, which is produced by Jukebox. I loved it and although it was an introduction track, I wanted it to be longer. The instrumental was thumping and loved when Chris would switch the tempo of his rhyming. On the David Banner track “Crazy”, Brown started off Soulja Boy-esque & I felt the verses were crazy, but once the hook came in, it fell off to me. “Freaky I’m Iz” was a hot Swizz Beatz track, I really liked this one and I could envision Brown dancing to the track and if it was officially released as a single, I could definitely see it charting high. With “Body On Mine” I really wanted to hear the track full length. I loved the hook and the entire production. This track was a great display of how versatile Chris actually is. Subsequently, “Private Dancer” was what I was looking for, out of all of the previous uptempos (that I did feel), I still wanted Brown to do what he is best known for. I loved everything about this track. The harmonies were great and the lyrics and song structure were on point.
I loved “Leave the Club”. I felt the feature by Joelle James was a nice addition and I had to learn the lyrics right away, so that I could sing it, of course, LOL. This track had me two-stepping and everything, definitely a big look from Brown. The 9th Wonder production “Real Hip Hop #4″ showed Brown really going in and I felt his flow was tough. In fact, the whole series of “Real Hip Hop” tracks are dope. I felt “Your Body” was a great track. The instrumental was knocking, Brown was tight lyrically and the track was overall well put together. On “Ladies Love Me”, Breezy is assisted by a rapping Justin Bieber and I have to say he can flow. Whether or not he wrote the lyrics on his own, I felt he killed his verses. I was a bit surprised because I’m used to Bieber’s “teeny bopper” pop style. Continue reading