Joey Bada$$- All Amerikkkan Review


The heavily touted single Land of the Free from Brooklyn’s own Joey Bada$$ made the anticipation of his All Amerikkan album sky rocket in expectations. Coming to towards this album I knew that Joey Bada$$ is on of the most lyricist rappers in the game today. My expectations for this album before listening to it, was that it was going to have a political standpoint of how Joey sees the world within his eyes. Once listening to it couple times that is something was accomplished. With features of TDE’s own ScHoolboyQ, Styles P, J. Cole, Flatbush Zombie’s own Meechy Darko, Nyck Caution, Kirk Night, and Chronixx. I had an idea of what type of sound that Joey Bada$$ kinda like old school melodic deep lyrical type music. The songs that i really enjoyed and recommend on this album.

Land of the Free: A song that has a Biggie sample that I felt he used very well in what he feels the status of being a black person with a voice in society.

Rockabye Baby: My favorite song on the album that has a great sound rhythms and lyrics. ScHoolboy Q came in hard and had a great feature on this album that makes this song come together to be one of the best songs on the album.

Y U Don’t Love Me?: Most interesting and very insightful track from Joey. He puts this song as a message of being in a relationship with the country he lives in. Very good insightful track.

Legendary: With having J. Cole on this song he fits very will with the sound and hook. Both J. Cole and Joey Bada$$ fit very well together and just feel good music that has a very good message in it.

Devastated: To me has the best rhythm sound that has a very good radio value. Joey made on of the best beat on this song that is instantly catchy and has a lot of replay value.

Temptations: A song with a heavy message that comes with a very good up tempo beat. Having insight of the media is hurting the cause and it was a plot to have all this outrage to push certain agendas.

Rating: 8/10 Very good album has a lot of replay value.

-DJLeodawnus

Weekly Staff Picks #1


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Welcome to KSSU’s inaugural weekly staff picks! This is where our DJs pick their current favorite song and artist from recently released music. We will feature 5-6 songs that are currently on our radar. Stay tuned every week to see what we pick, maybe your favorite track will be selected.

 

Staff Pick 1: Lucy Morales

Boss Selection – Wouldn’t it be wild, Volume 1

Boss Selection is the moniker for the seasoned world wide producer Sunny Levine. With Quincy Jones as his grandfather, he certainly is no stranger to living up to large expectations. Under Boss Selection, he has produced a mixtape inspired album with 12 different artists successfully using crowdfunding for all the costs. My personal favorite from the album is “wouldn’t it be wild” featuring Orelia. It’s an unboastful chillwave like track that becomes infectious without even being conscious about it. It’s the best kind of song to pop into your car to relax after a long day.

 

Staff Pick 2: Jerel Labson

Kanye West – Ultralight Beam, The Life of Pablo

Of course this has to be somewhere on the first KSSU’s Picks Of the Week! Hearing this first track play at the Yeezy Season 3 fashion show really set the bar and got me ready to hear the rest of TLOP. The instrumental is beautiful. The occasional drums also really get me going. Having The Dream, Kelly Price, and the choir literally taking us to church was amazing to hear. Chance the Rapper’s verse was possibly the BEST verse on the album as well. Donnie Trumpet backing the second half His flow and biblical references (“Got my ex looking back like a pillar of salt”), just DOPE. I could go on, but I have no more words. Just listen to it. One more note… Can I consider this as a Christian song??

 

Staff Pick 3: Cole Nelson

Stone Sour – Love Gun, Meanwhile in Burbank

My song of the week comes from the album Meanwhile in Burbank… by Stone Sour. Released in April of 2015, this album features hard rock covers of classic rock and metal artists. My favorite out of the album is their rendition of KISS’ classic song, “Love Gun.” Stone Sour’s version features heavy use of a grunge sounding guitar along with a strong drum line while still retaining that classic rock/disco vibe that KISS is known for. “Love Gun” is one of the better covers of a song I’ve heard recently and recommend it to those who like the original tune with a bit of a kick to it.

 

Staff Pick 4: Angelina Rios

Bomba Esteré – Soy Yo, Amacer

Bomba Esteréo is a Colombian band that formed in 2005. With the recent release of their new album Amacer, the track Soy Yo is nothing short of excellent. With a catchy beat, its traditional Colombian instruments have a contagious effect and it’s hard to resist dancing in your chair. This track represents respecting and accepting one another for who they are. While the band does not wish to conform to one genre of music, they can best be described as having an electro base with Cumbia and dance elements as well.

 

Staff Pick 5: Anne Thorp

Daughter – New Ways, Not To Disappear

Daughter is the name of a three-person, London-based indie rock group, together since 2010. Their EP ‘Not To Disappear’ came out in 2014, and this March they start an already mostly sold-out North American tour in major cities across the U.S. and Canada. New Ways is the first track of the EP, and soundly embodies all that is good about the entire album. It’s moody, the vocals ethereal, with an edge of grit in the guitars and drums that speaks of the kind of disjointed, worn cynicism modern life frequently brings. It reminds us, as singer Elena recites, that sometimes we all feel we need new ways.  

 

Staff Pick 6: Claudia Rivas

Charlie Hilton – 100 Million, Palana

Charlie Hilton, lead singer for Blouse,  released her debut solo album Palana on January 22 via Captured Tracks. The album was produced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jacob Portrait. The album includes “100 Million”, which I’ve been playing on repeat for much of this week. The track was produced by, the band Woods’, Jarvis Taveniere. The song features vocals and music by Mac DeMarco. The track sounds folk-like, similar songs by Beach House and She & Him. Hilton’s vocals are much like Zooey Deschanel in this song, light and dreamy. Lots of simple guitar chords and settle drum background occur as well. Reminds me of a tune that would play at a modern Woodstock, hippie festival. It’s a song that will keep most fans of this type of music in a good mood.

Best Hip Hop Album of 2015?


HipHop

As the end of the 2015 approaches, it is a good time to look back at all the great music that was produced in 2015. Just recently, the nominations for the Grammy awards were released previewing to the upcoming award show that will take place Monday, February 15  in 2016. Being the Hip-Hop enthusiast I am, every year I feel like that category is underrepresented in the Grammy award show. Who can forget the time Macklemore’s album The Heist won the Best Album of the Year award over Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d City? Not to take anything away from Macklemore, but even he himself publicly announced that he thought Kendrick Lamar’s album should have won the award that year. Anyways, that it’s in the past now time to look at the present. 2015 was a pretty great year for Hip-Hop fans as there were more than 20 albums released this year. I could not possibly review and list every single one of them, so I am going to just list my top 10 Hip-Hop albums that were released this year.

10. Ludaversal -Ludacris

Who said rapping was a young man’s game? This march, Ludacris dropped his first album since his Battle of the Sexes album that was released in 2010. Luda has been keeping busy working as an actor in the Fast and Furious movies but many people, including myself, forgot that he is still a Hip-Hop artist. Ludaversal displayed many comical trash talk in his lyrics but also got pretty deep when talking about the rap industry and the adversity it comes with it in songs “Charge it to the Rap Game” and “This Has Been my World.” Myfavorite track off this album was “Beast Mode.” Overall, this was a solid album by Ludacris that has been long awaited.

9. Comtpon: A Soundtrack – Dr. Dre

Stream Dr. Dre – Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre | Atlnightspots

This summer brought us the movie, Straight Outta Compton, which documentated the famous rap group N.W.A.  and quickly became one of the best movies of the year. Rightfully so, Dr. Dre produced a soundtrack to go along with the movie that also retells his story as a young DJ in the group N.W.A. Dr. Dre brings 18 different artist on the album highlighted by artists like Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and many more. My personal favorite off the album is the track “Issues” that features another former N.W.A. member, Ice Cube. Just like the movie, this album was definitely one of the best in 2015.

8. Tetsuo & Youth – Lupe Fiasco

The old Lupe came back during this album. Being a big Lupe Fiasco fan, I was excited when this album dropped in January and it did not dissapoint. Lupe continues to use his unique style of narrative rap with clever lyrics to describe his childhood and what it is like growing up in the ghetto of Chicago. Songs like “Deliver” and “Madonna” Lupe uses double meanings in his lyrics that the average Hip-Hop fan might not fully understand. As Lupe says in one of his singles a couple years ago, “Go to Harvard to become a Lupe fan”, saying that his lyrics may take some intellectual thinking to comprehend. My two favorite tracks off the album are “Deliver” and “They.Resurrect.Over.New (TRON)”, the latter featuring a good friend of Lupe’s, Ab-Soul. I definitely think this album went under the radar to most Hip-Hop fans, but trust me, listen to it once and you are not going to want to stop listening.

7. B4.Da.$$ – Joey Bada$$

First off, really clever album name as the title reads “Before Da Money” but at second glance, also looks like his stage name “Bada$$.” This was Joey’s debut album that released earlier this year in January. Joey Bada$$ comes from Brooklyn and raps with an east coast flow like many of the greats to come out of Brooklyn before him. Unlike many rap artists, Joey continued with his underground rap style in this album rather than “going mainstream” to get radio play. B4.Da.$$ contains 15 tracks, highlighted by my personal favorites, “Christ Conscious” and “No. 99.” This album along with Tetsuo & Youth were constantly on replay for me all through January & February.

6. At Long Last A$AP – A$AP Rocky

It felt like a long time since A$AP Rocky made any new music until the release of the album. But, the best things come to those that wait right? This album presented a little different version of A$AP Rocky. There were no songs with a Harlem-style beat that slapped, but instead smoother and jazzier instrumentals which is something we are not used to seeing from A$AP Rocky. The album features 16 other artists icnluding Schoolboy Q, Juicy J, Kanye West, Rod Stewart, and more. It’s pretty hard to find a better Hip-Hop album that was released this summer. Choosing a favorite track off this album was hard for me as it’s pretty much a tie between “Electric Body” featuring Schoolboy Q or “Everyday” that features Rod Stewart and Miguel.

5. The Incredible True Story – Logic

Let me start by saying it was really hard for me to choose the order of the remaining albums. The reason I put Logic’s album at the 5 spot was because of the amount of skits/scenes he had on his album. Granted, I loved a good storyline to albums but no one wants to hear 4-5 skits mixed in among the tracks. Besides that, this was a GREAT album by Logic. Logic proved that he can be recognized as one of the great lyricists of the rap game with his first album Under Pressure and displayed his skills again in this album. Logic gets creative and ties a Sci-Fi/Interstellar movie theme to the album that contains narators, Thomas and Kai, who are flying around space some time in the future. The skits are a little long for my liking but it gives the album a nice theme to play with. My favorite joints off the album are “Lord Willin” and “Stainless.” This album is definitely a must-listen.

4. Live & Grow – Casey Veggies

Out of all the albums this year, this was my most anticipated. I have been following Casey Veggies since my Junior year of high school and had the pleasure of meeting him twice in L.A. at his store. Very humble artist and a great person. His album, Live & Grow, lived up to my expectations. This was considered Casey Veggies’ freshmen album although he has released many projects before this. Songs like “Tied Up” featuring Dej Loaf and “Backflip” featuring Iamsu got plenty of radio play and exposed Casey Veggies to a larger audience of fans. Casey does a good job of narrating his life, making it out of Inglewood, and finally getting recognized as a talented young rapper in the industry. My favorite song off the album is “New Faces.” Overall, can’t express how proud I am of Casey and I am glad I got to see him progress to the rapper he is today.

3. The Documentary 2 & 2.5 -The Game

Anybody remember when the first Documentary The Game dropped back in ’05? Well this album is just as good…maybe EVEN BETTER. The Game hasn’t produced a great album since the R.E.D. Album back in 2011 but this album might be his best. With the release of the movie, Straight Outta Compton, and the rise of Kendrick Lamar, The Game was inspired to make another great album to put his name among CPT’s greatest. Both discs contain great features such as Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Dr. Dre, Nas, E-40 and many more greats. A little warning to future listeners, this album tells stories of gang violence in his life and can be pretty violent and explicitive in some parts. My two favorite songs of this album are “The Ghetto” featuring Nas and will.i.am and “On Me” featuring Kendrick Lamar.

2. 90059 – Jay Rock

Thought you wouldn’t get another album that bumped as hard as Schoolboy Q’s Oxymoron, well think again! Jay Rock dropped his album, 90059, this September and gave us TDE fans something to bump loud with the windows down. The album is titled after the zip code of Watts, California, the city that Jay Rock is from. After dropping the album, Follow Me Home, back in 2011, Jay Rock has remained relatively quiet as a rap artist. This album goes on to tell the story of what it was like for Jay Rock to grow up in one of the most dangerous parts of L.A. The album also brought us the 8th song that features all four Black Hippy members in “Vice City.” My personal favorites off the album are “Easy Bake” and “Money Trees Deuce.”

1. To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

Hard to put any other album in front of Kendrick’s and that’s why To Pimp a Butterfly is on the top of my list. Arguably one of the greatest albums of all time and Kendrick continues to prove himself as one of the greatest rappers of all time as well. 11 Grammy nominations, 5 songs in radio rotation…not much else needs to be really said about this album. Kendrick got creative in the skits that ended each song, which lead to a poem that he read to Tupac at the end of “Mortal Men.” He then goes on to interview the deceased legend, Tupac, and the two discuss politics, black culture, racsism and many more. My favorite tracks on the album are “King Kunta” and “u.” HANDS DOWN album of 2015.

Honorable Mentions: Some albums this year that were good but did not make my top 10 list…

Big Sean’s Dark Sky Paradise, Kid Ink’s Full Speed, Fetty Wap’s Fetty Wap, Drake’s If You’re Reading this it’s too Late, Travis Scott’s Rodeo, & Wale’s The Album About Nothing.

KSSU

Strange New Past by Seth Sentry Album Review


SethSentryIt was one of the old managers of KSSU that turned me onto Seth Sentry and it was his unique sound that really got me interested in him. I’ve probably listened to his album This Was Tomorrow 10 times through already.

Specifically his song Dear Science is what had me excited to hear more by him, it’s a catchy tune that asks science why we don’t have hoverboards yet. Being a computer science major I tend to get a little excited when talk of computers and or science in general is brought up. While being a fan of old and new movies references to Back to the future gets me too. After taking the time to listen to his other work I was instantly a fan, it’s not just the subject matter but his style of music that I really enjoy. Something feels a bit upbeat about his music even when he’s singing about something that seems like it should be sad. There is a sense of optimism I get from listening to his music, and I’m not sure exactly where I get it from, just nothing feels too serious. Now i’m not sure if this is intentional or not, maybe i’m just reading too far into things.

His new album Strange New Past feels darker it feels like i’m listening to somebody else, and after listening to it I feel like i’m walking away with more of a pessimistic view. The music feels angrier as if Seth was working out some frustrations in his music. Now being a bit of a metalhead I like angry music and on occasion I do enjoy the occasional angry hip hop, but it’s just not something I expected from a Seth Sentry album. The album does feel refined though It shows that he put a lot of work into developing the album. It’s also nice to see an artists music evolve instead of having every album sound like the same old same old.

My name is Chris Diel and when i’m not listening to Seth Sentry i’m a DJ at KSSU

Flying Lotus Album Review: But Mostly a Rant Round 2!


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A couple of weeks ago you may recall my review of Spoon’s new record, but also my scathing opinion of the use of electronic techniques in popular music. You may have thought, “Man, why did they let this old guy write for KSSU?” But I have returned, and unlike any college student I know, I’ve done my homework. This includes the brand-new record from Flying Lotus entitled, You’re Dead. I’ve always liked FlyLo, but have thought his music is a little hard to access; and his latest is no exception. A lot of the tracks resemble a free-jazz-like sound scape meant for the more seasoned listener. In fact, a lot of the samples are of jazz solos. Very cool for a jazz snob like me. However, there are several tracks that will groove your socks off like Never Catch Me featuring the ever-effervescent Kendrick Lamar. Not only does this track evoke head bobbing, but it catches the ear with a dazzling harmony. The other groovy tune that caught my ear was Coronus, The Terminator for its cool gospel-like feel.

My point of reviewing this album (albeit not a complete review) is that I found electronic music with actual musical integrity. And what I mean by that is the musician or musicians have a respect for the craft of the actual music rather than based on an algorithm derived from song downloads. Also music that has feeling and emotion in it. You can tell by the way the groove is set and where the notes are placed. In that, music is mathematical at heart, but humans can defy that and move beyond it, creating something new. This is what we call swing or groove. It is why our ear is drawn to hip-hop when the snare hits just a little late. And a program cannot reliably produce sound like this. But there are artists who use electronic music for good.

A popular artist on the scene, Flume, much of the caliber of Flying Lotus, crafts crunchy, danceable beats paired with excellent harmonic choices that make music snobs like me happy. However, much of Flume’s music sounds the same. On his self-titled album in 2012, the songs were good but the whole thing seemed to blend together. His strong suit is remixes. I recommend his remix of Disclosure’s “You & Me.” Max crunch.

Another couple artists I found were off of Sound Cloud, an excellent resource for music streaming and discovery. What I especially like about the site is that it’s a public forum for sharing original music. So people can comment, follow, share, and post, in a way that can snowball into significant popularity for many artists. The first of my discoveries is a Canadian DJ by the name KAYTRANADA. His most popular mix “Leave Me Alone” features smooth vocals and a drop that I can only describe as subtle. The only texture that changes is a bass synth that is so bouncy you can help but move along with it. The track has over a million plays. My second and final discovery that I will discuss is the DJ KOAN Sound and their new release, Dynasty EP. It features four tracks of brilliantly crafted, fully electronic music. My favorite two tracks “7th Dimension” and “Infinite Funk” are full of musical integrity. “7th Dimension” has a feel that pulses and “Infinite Funk” has a drop that is disjointed but still perfectly defines the time.

So I have had a change of heart, but I still hold my ground that a majority of electronic techniques are used for the evil American pop machine, but everything’s a bell curve and not everything fits into my opinion. How I can admit that and simultaneously hold my opinion is beyond me. But for now,

Love,

Your ever grumpy jazz guy,

Devan

Music Review: “Clppng” by Clipping.


clipping-clppng-2500pxLike many other genres, hip hop in its truest sense has been under a transformation over the last few years.  All genres are experiencing change.  Country has changed big time over the last five to ten years.  Indie music and culture has also changed.  It would also make sense that hip hop has changed.  But don’t get me wrong, you still have your good ole fashion hip hop out there to be had.  And much of it is still being produced, thankfully.

However, hip hop has seen a large infusion of EDM.  EDM being the flavor of the decade, it has seeped into pop music, a little bit of country, and now hip hop too. This isn’t to say that electronica just now got into hip hop, as we have always seen electronica of the old sense in hip hop.  However, if you were to listen to “Dip” by Danny Brown, or just anything referred to as trap music, you hear the new age electronica with its various elements of dubstep, house, and techno, with modern day samplings and synths all wrapped together. [Read more…]

Music Review: Buddakao – “Hand Over Hand”


buddakao_album_front_cleanEvery summer, I get be the beneficiary of being one of the primary reviewers of the music that might make its way into rotation.  In my most recent batch of music, I heard the unique sound of Buddakao, an alternative/hip hop four-piece band from Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The band is fronted by Mike Athorn, a.k.a. Buddakao.  Joining him is Tom Woodling, Alex Kim, and Matthew Keseley.

The latest album from Buddakao is “Hand Over Hand”.  They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I always set up expectations of how good or bad an album may be based off the cover.  However, the album cover for “Hand Over Hand” really gave me no indicator on what to expect. [Read more…]

Grieves, ‘Winter & The Wolves’ Album Review


grieves-tickets_06-08-14_23_5305017bd0415Seattle based Rhymesayer Grieves has blended humor and melancholy, piano and synthesizer and an Eminem-like intensity for his fourth studio album Winter & The Wolves. Fourteen new tracks produced by B. Lewis come together in an album reflective of love, loss, and exploration of self.

Some of this is pop rap. Some of it is comedy rap. Some of it is sad rap. Some of it is hyped rap, like the stuff you’d listen to before playing in an intramural volleyball game you’re not supposed to win but you end up taking in just two sets (in your face Sierra!). Grieves is quite the prolific MC. [Read more…]

Album Review – MaLLy’s “The Colors of Black”


mally

Midwest rapper Mally meets and exceeds the qualifications for conscious rap with his newest release The Colors of Black. Each and every track’s subject matter serves as a stark contrast to today’s materialist and chauvinist style. Malik Watkins has reassured me that rap is still a relevant outlet for legitimate self-expression and lyrical self-disclosure.

[Read more…]

The Dr. J Show


kssu studio

The Dr. J Show on kssu.com is a versatile show that truly dives into the depths of music that you rarely hear. It is every Monday Morning at 11am and it is a great way to start the week.

[Read more…]