Tremaine Album Review


For this heavily anticipated new album Trey Songz comes back with a pretty solid album named Tremaine. Tremaine is an album Trey Songz wanted to show the listeners that he is still one of the best if not the best R&B artist in the game today. Trey Songz expressed in his interview with the Breakfast Club that he named his first track on his album named Playboy because of his current situation with women. He explained that being at the stature that he is in he feels that he can not trust a woman with his heart because, there is always more calling and does not fill the urge to be committed in one relationship.  The interview with the Breakfast Club he discussed his issues with Nicki Minaj and simply put he felt that it was weak on Nicki’s part to get at him for no reason over the allegations claimed in the Shether song. Once the interview was over the anticipation of this album has gone up. There are 15 total songs on this album. I will review the once that are highly recommended to check out and listen to on rotation.

#2 song- Come Over: This song is one of the best songs on this album that brings fans right in to show exactly why Trey Songz is one of the best in his group. A must download with great vibes, hooks, and chorus throughout the whole track.

#5 song- Playboy: A song with context and understanding where Trey Songz is coming from I feel that this song is a great song to listen to in certain moods. I enjoyed the sound the message of the song and Trey Songz delivered well on this track.

#6 song The Sheets…..Still: To me this best song on the album, with how great he switched up his flow and how smooth his voice changed talking about the experience with the woman in the song definitely makes this a favorite song on the album to me.

#10 song 1×1: This song instantly is a summer vibe song that could be a great radio song to play. Nice vibes and high upbeat rhythm to this track makes you want to vibe. Highly recommended song for those looking for a summer jam.

#12 song: What Are We Here For?: One of my favorite songs on the album that is an instant radio play. With the beat and rhythm this is a quality track that will be played a lot more in the summer.

Review Score: 7/10 Very solid album that will be played from time to time.

-DjLeodawnus

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

Top 10 Hip Hop Albums of 2016


2016…what a year for music, what a year for Hip Hop. Last year writing this blog, I had trouble finiding 10 albums that I really enjoyed. This year I found myself having trouble narrowing it down to just 13 albums (13 albums because they are three ties). If you are a Hip Hop junkie like myself, you were smiling from ear to ear with your headphones in most of the year. This year brought listeners so much variety in Hip Hop. We saw veteran artists eveolve and change up their styles to create music we have never previously heard from them. We saw up and coming artists drop albums that put them on the industry’s map. We saw music touch on the social issues, feministic views and even the presidential election. From Kendrick Lamar to YG to Mac Miller to Isaiah Rashard and more, here are my rankings for the 10 best hip hop albums of 2016, and some honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the list.

Honorable Mentions:

 

“Awaken, My Love!” by Childish Gambino

Image result for awaken my love childish gambino In a year that seemed like everyone was trying a new style, Gambino continued the trend and brought a Disco type style to his latest album. It’s worth checking out.

 

 

 

Kairi Chanel by Dave East

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Dave East really burst onto the underground scene this year. Coming out of Harlem, East has an east coast style similar to A$AP Rocky and Jim Jones but with his own twist. Keep an eye out for his name to blow up in the up and coming years.

 

 

 

Atrocity Exhibition by Danny Brown

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Danny Brown is sort of an acquired taste. It’s like a hybrid of trap music and early old school hip hop. I enjoyed the album nonetheless. Check out the song “Really Doe” that features Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, & Earl Sweatshirt.

 

 

 

Prima Donna by Vince Staples

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Vince Staples followed last year’s freshmen album with an EP this summer. I liked a handful of songs including “Smile” and “Loco” just to name a few. Solid project.

 

 

 

 

The Letter O by Dame D.O.L.L.A.

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Dame D.O.L.L.A., also known as Damian Lillard when he is working his other job, dropped an album this October before the NBA season began. For a professional athlete, it’s a good first album. Looks like Lillard is a man of many talents.

 

 

 

Cozy Tapes, Vol 1: Friends by A$AP Mob

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A solid album that features all the members of the A$AP Mob. A$AP Yams, who passed away during the creation of the album, was the one who had the idea for the album. There’s a couple songs on the album that really slap, so be sure to turn the bass down so you don’t blow out your stock speakers.

 

 

 

1992 by The Game

Image result for 1992 the gameThe Game has been a busy man dropping 4 projects and a documentary on A&E in the past year. The Game samples plenty of old school rap beats while telling his life story during the year 1992, hence the title.

 

 

 

 

Now onto the Albums that made the cut…

10. Life of Pablo by Kanye West

Image result for the life of pabloKanye West dropped one of the bigger albums of the beginning of the year on Valentine’s Day in February. For me, I will always be a bigger fan of early Kanye albums such as College Dropout and Late Registration but I was pretty pleased with this album. I liked it a lot better than his previous album, Yeezus. Kanye had plenty of great features on the album as well such as Chicago native Chance the Rapper, Kid Cudi, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Frank Ocean and more. The ‘Pablo’ Kanye is referring to in his album’s title is a combination of Pablo Picasso and Pablo Escobar, a mix of artistic masterpiece and the movement of product (his album) Kanye says. Recommended Tracks: “Real Friends”, “Famous”, “No More Parties in LA”, and “Ultralight Beam.”

9. Untitled Unmastered by Kendrick Lamar/ Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight by Travis Scott

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Our first tie. It was hard to choose between the two but I wanted both of these on the final list. Kendrick Lamar surprised fans by dropping Untitled Unmastered roughly a year after the release of To Pimp a Butterfly. Just like TPAB, Kendrick continues his jazzy, funk influenced hip hop style as he stated most of the songs on this album were unfinished demos that did not make the cut for TPAB. Recommended Tracks: “Untitled 08”, “Untitled 03”, and “Untitled 06.” I have never been a huge fan of Travis Scott and his previous projects but his most recent album changed my opinon on him. I could not even finish listening to his previous album, Rodeo, all the way through. But Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight was a really good album. This album was on constant repeat in my headphones during the month of September. Travis had a lot of good features on the album too like Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, The Weekend, Kid Cudi and more. I highly recommend you take a listen. Recommended Tracks: “goosebumps”, “wonderful”, “sweet sweet”, and “through the late night.”

8. Thirst 48, Pt. II by Boogie/ The Divine Feminine by Mac Miller

Image result for thirst 48 pt 2Image result for the divine feminine mac miller                                      Another tie as you must tell by now im not the most decisive blogger. But if you have not heard of Boogie yet, your are missing out. Another Compton rapper, whose young and has the potential to blow up in his own way, similar to YG, The Game, Problem and others from the city. In his mixtape, Boogie touches on plenty of current social issues that are prevelant in conversations around the country today. Keep an eye out for the up an coming rapper to blow up in the next couple of years. Recommended Tracks: “N**a Needs”, “Won’t be the Same”, “Two Days”, and “Slide on U.” Just like Travis Scott, I have never been the biggest fan of Mac Miller and his previous albums, but Mac incorporated a whole new style with this album. Slow jazzy beats with a gospel-rap type style similar to Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book but with more romantic lyrics, hence the title. I have to give credit to KSSU for bringing this album to me as I was the DJ at the station in charge of writing a review for the album. I probably would not have thought to listen to this album on my own because of my previous disinterest with Mac Miller’s earlier music. Good production, clever style, and strong features such as Kendrick Lamar, Arianna Grande , Anderson Paak and CeeLo Green. Definitely an album worth buying. Recommended Tracks: “God is Fair, Sexy Nasty”, “My Favorite Part”, “Dang” and “Stay.”

7. Bobby Tarantino by Logic

Image result for bobby tarantino album cover After dropping The Incredible True Story last fall, Logic dropped a mixtape during the summer of 2016, a surprise meant for his true fans he said on social media. With his freshmen and sophmore albums, Logic has climbed up the ranks as one of the best lyricists in the hip hop industry. Logic has announced he is already working on his next album and this mixtape was just a “filler” for his fans to pass the time while the wait. Despite this being only a mixtape, it was still one of the better projects of 2016. I enjoyed the “A Word from our Sponsor” skit, a continuation of the ongoing skits with Marty Randolph. This mixtape was a solid listen for Logic fans like myself as we await Logic’s junior album. Recommended Tracks: “Deeper Than Money”, “Super Mario World”, and “Flexicution.”

6. Still Brazy by YG

Image result for still brazyThe third Compton rapper to make this year’s list is YG with his album Still Brazy. This was one of the bigger albums of the year as far as the media coverage it got in part to the subject of YG’s songs on the album and the relevance it had in society, the presidential election and more. “FDT”, a song bashing candidate Donald Trump, seemed to be the anthem of the summer for most Hip Hop fans. The rest of YG’s album is beautifully constructed with a combination of beats that range from  modern to old school gangsta rap. For an artist who is typically considered underground and does not receive much radio play, this album was a breakthrough for YG to the mainstream airwaves. If you are fan of gangsta rap, I highly recommend this album. Recommended Tracks: “FDT”, “She Wish She Was”, “Don’t Come to LA”, and “Still Brazy.”

5. The Sun’s Tirade by Isaiah Rashad

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As I mentioned earlier in the blog, there was a couple artists this year that really burst on to the scene. Isaiah Rashad was one of them. As a member of TDE, Isaiah sort of gets overshadowed by the other artists who are signed the the label. But with this album, Isaiah makes a strong case that his name belongs amongst the other TDE heavyweights. Coming from Tennessee, Isaiah Rashad bring his own southern, jazzy rap style in this album. He has a few members of TDE featured on the album such as SZA, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock and non TDE artists like SiR and Zacari. A strong freshmen album by Isaiah and I expect nothing less from him in the upcoming future. I luckliy have the chance to see him perform live when he comes to Sacramento on his tour in March, so I will be counting down the days to that. Recommended Track: “T**y and Dolla”, “Wat’s Wrong”, “Free Lunch”, and “Stuck in the Mud.”

4. 4 Your Eyez Only by J Cole

Image result for 4 your eyez only album coverVery late into the year, J Cole decides to bless us with another album, the first since 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Cole was clever too and dropped it on the same date, December 9th, as the day he dropped 2014 FHD. This album and another actually delayed my process in finishing this blog as I had to listen to this a couple times through before I could properly critique it. A lot of fans on social media are quick to say they did not like the album and some even go as far to say that they hated it. I completely disagree. Sure, it might not be as strong of an album as 2014 FHD, but this is still a top 5 album of the year nonetheless. The storytelling J Cole displays in this album is truly amazing. Listen to the lyrics, especially the final track on the song “4 Your Eyez Only” and you will be blown away. I’m a little dissapointed that his single “False Prophets” did not make the final tracklist but it still is a great album that did not quite crack the top 3 on my list. Recommended Tracks: “4 Your Eyez Only”, “Deja Vu”, “Ville Mentality”,  and “Neighbors.”

3. Blank Face LP by ScHoolboy Q/ We Got it from here…Thank You for your Service by A Tribe Called Quest

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Image result for we got it from here thank you for your service album cover

 

Another tie but its the last one I promise. Lets first start with ScHoolboy’s album, Blank Face LP. Want to know what its like growing up in South Central LA 21st century? Look no further than this album. His first studio album since Oxymoron, which dropped in the spring of 2014, ScHoolboy had fans waiting a long time for this one. Q wanted to show he’s capable of doing it on his own amongst the TDE heavyweights and did so successfully as he did not have a single Black Hippy member featured on the album. He still had a handful of big features including E-40, Vince Staples, Kanye West, Tha Dogg Pound, and Jadakiss to name a few. ScHoolboy Q also had a three part short film he released weeks before his album that were beautifully produced and acted as teasers to some of his album’s songs. Overall, one of my favorite albums of all time. Recommended Tracks: “Dope Dealer”, “Big Body”, “By Any Means”, and “John Muir.” Next album, I have to start off by saying RIP Phife Dawg who passed away earlier this year in March during the production of ATCQ’s album. You can’t find a better farewell album this year, and arguably one of the best of all time from a music group. Listening to this album will take you back to the 90’s and to one of the prime eras for Hip Hop music. They even had features like Busta Rhymes, Andre 3000, and Talib Kweli, guys who started their careers during that era. But they also included young rappers of the new school era with guys like Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and Anderson Paak to give the album a solid mix of both. The albm was too good to not put in my top 3, thus the explanation for the tie. Recommended Tracks: “Conrad Tokyo”, “The Space Program”, “The Donald”, and “Black Spasmodic.”

2. Do What Thou Wilt by Ab-Soul

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In my opinion and the opinion’s of a couple others in my circle of friends, Ab-Soul won December 9th over J Cole. Still have not heard word if Ab-Soul released his album on the same day to make a statement, but in the heavyweight battle Soul being the underdog, I have to give Soul the belt. Ab-Soul is one of the most clever when it comes to play on words in his rhymes but this album took a little different twist that Ab-Soul’s past albums. Feminism was the main topic of a lot of his songs, which isn’t necesarily the case when it comes to the current Hip Hop industry. Ab-Soul said in an interview the weekend after his album dropped that “we have to respect the ladies more” which is something I can definitely stand behind. Dark but enlightening, is the best way to describe Soul’s style and he continues that with this album. Recommended Tracks: “Threatening Nature, “Beat the Case”, “The Law”, & “Huey Knew THEN”.

1. Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper

Image result for coloring book chance the rapperDrum roll please….and the best Hip Hop album of 2016 goes to Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper. I could go on and on about how great this album was but I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. As I mentioned earlier, in  year where artists came with different styles, no style changed up more than Chance the Rapper’s. Chance has grown and evolved into one of the top tier rappers in the industry and this album solidified his spot even higher on the list. The album can be similar to gospel rap as Chance talks about how he found god in his life and evolved as a person from it. Listen to Acid Rap, one of his early mixtapes, and then listen to this album. You will be surprised to know that is the same Chance the Rapper on both albums. The proudction, that artwork, the lyrics, the meanings of his song, everything about this album was great. I was fortunate enough to see Chance in concert on his tour this fall when he performed at UC Davis. My favorite album of the year and will be one of my favorite of all time. Recommended Tracks: “No Problem”, “Angels”, “All We Got” and “Smoke Break.”

Weekly Staff Picks #1


kssu staff pick

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

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…]