Tag Archives: review

WHAT GETS YOU MOVIN: The Dig’s ‘Midnight Flowers’

22 Jun

After my good friends, The Dig (thedigmusic.com), showed me the cover of their then, upcoming new album, Midnight Flowers, I had an idea of them at night, in the forest, with a car light. That idea and 2 cold spring nights turned into the above promotional picture for my talented friends.  Continue reading


29 Jun

I listened to Marvin’s Room about 10 times on Sunday, a new single leaked by Drake.  I wasn’t going to give it a chance, after hearing his horrible song Trust Issues, which was leaked the week before.  Maybe I’m just not a fan of Drake singing because Trust Issues was just a whiny mess to me! But I’m all about vibe, and something about the vibe of Marvin’s Room I understood, and liked.

As a visual artist, I’ve always made up how I’d want a music video to be, and with all the gloss that usually makes up a ‘Hip-Hop’ video, I’m usually thoroughly unimpressed.  The new video for Marvin’s Room however, is how it should be; it’s a literally song, that displays a literal video. And although I would do things a bit differently, I really won’t complain about it. It’s refreshing, in particular when talking about a rapper, to see one act like a loser (ok sorry, a cornball having a desperately hard time dealing with girls and fame), instead of these puffed up, arrogant, egotist who we normally are bombarded with .

So thumbs up from me! ….for all those glossy videos, that have nothing to do with the song; ‘I’m just saying you can do better…”


7 Jun

Rihanna LOUD Tour Review

Before the LOUD Tour gets into full swing, I wanted to give my review of the opening show of Rihanna’s highly anticipated LOUD Tour. Sadly I only had my point and shoot camera, with a battery that was on its death-bed, but I’ve posted a few snap shots.

So Saturday night I went to 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, MD for the launch of Rihanna’s LOUD Tour with a bill that has J.Cole opening, Cee-lo, and then Rihanna. I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed with the show, except for one part, or should I say one person, and that would be Cee-lo, but we’ll get back to that.

I wasn’t expecting a lot from the show, I’m not a huge Rihanna fan, and although she has some fun songs that make me want to wind up my waist, I enjoy her style as far as fashion goes, more than her musical prowess. Also based on TV performances of Rihanna, she isn’t someone on my top 10 (or 20 for that matter) people I want to see in concert list, but my best friend loves her and wanted to go to the show for her birthday, so I decided to check it out, plus it didn’t hurt that DJ Dummy (my artist) spins for J.Cole, so why would I miss the chance to check out a show!

With an 1 1/2 hour set with 30 songs and a 2 song encore, 6 outfit changes, running around the inner circumference of the arena twice, a stint (she needs more practice) on the drums, and no lip syncing, Rihanna damn sure gave her audience their money’s worth! It’s the best I’ve heard her sound, the most energy I’ve ever seen exude, and she had personality; I was satisfactorily entertained, the show is not for kids though. She gave the show her all; second to last song after a lap around the arena you could see her slightly wince with exhaustion, but she was a show-woman.

Check out her 2 song encore here.  She showered or should i say rained down confetti over the crowd, while closing with Umbrella.

On the reverse end, Cee-lo was not quite the showman. He created a 45 minute lull of boredom with his performance. Supposedly he fired his all-girl band 3 days prior…and apparently the appropriate replacement were 2 strippers (or 2 professional dancers who dance like strippers).  Two strippers do not a band make; as a result the crowd had to sit through Cee-lo standing in place for the most part, with 2 stripper hype-women.  The most exciting part was his silver sequins jacket, which he took of two song in.  Needless to say, I used my bathroom break during the set. While I was in the bathroom I overheard a conversation between two people:

Person 1: Who’s Cee-lo?
Person 2:  You know Cee-lo Green, he has that Fuck You song, I can’t wait until he plays it!

Most people seemed lost and bored during his set, and then rumbled into utter excitement when they deciphered Fuck You was coming on through Cee-lo’s drum and bassish remix version.  Cee-lo’s posture seemed to deflate a little when he heard them roaring to the song, like he was some one hit wonder, he seemed to suddenly recognize what kind of crowd he was in for, for this tour.  I have a funny feeling by mid-July he going to start yelling f*** you at the crowd with disgust and hate.  I’ve listened to Cee-lo since the Goodie M.O.B. days…it would be nice to see him start the show with Free from the Soul Food album or something; instead of the whole show being this glossy, trying to be Motown BS.  He’s been in the game for over 15 years, he better demand that respect and get his show together!

J.Cole’s show was good, but too short, he needs more than 25 minutes!  But for a crowd who predominantly doesn’t know who he is, I think it was a cohesive show.  Starting with Start is Born with Jay-Z and All I Want is You with Miguel was a great choice.  Although I like more of J.Cole’s grittier music, the song selection was perfect for the diverse crowd the bill drew, for positioning him for someone they need to keep in their radar, and making him seem commercially viable; good job Music Director.  I will say though, with Cee-lo’s use of lighting and Rihanna’s massive stage setup, J.Cole needs to incorporate a stage aesthetic, because his good performance may get lost visually from the rest of the show.

All and all it was an impressive show, and I look forward to seeing the show again after they get more cities under their belt!

Yesterday my friend sent me this J.Cole’s interview with Nardwar (love him!) from late last year.  So since J.Cole came up in this post, here is some extra entertainment, I had a good laugh with this one!







2 May

My major neglect of 2011 for the blog thus far has been my Album of the Week/Push Play section, particularly actually writing a write-up. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks! What can I say!

One of the albums that has been on rotation during this crazy time is Marsha Ambrosius’ Late Nights & Early Mornings. When the 1st single Hope She Cheats On You (With A Basketball Player) came out, i thought it was cool and catchy, but wasn’t my style, maybe the writing was too modern for me; i don’t want to ever be singing Kim Kardashian’s name. When the video for the 2nd single Far Away came out, they lost me. I think they visually expressed the song in a confusing manner, that just left everyone scratching their heads instead of feeling sadness or some other somber emotion. After that it took me a minute to give the album a chance.

I’m glad I did; i kept hearing great things about the project, so I had to give it a listen; my conclusion…they were picking the wrong songs! For me i find it difficult for a woman to make a song sexy, you know, those get you in the mood songs, but Marsha Ambrosius is able to do that in Your Hands, With You, and the album titled track Late Nights & Early Mornings. It’s not like I should be surprised though, Ambrosius did it for me when she was in Floetry with Say Yes.

And although her unique voice gets on my nerves at times, like in Lose Yourself, i like this 1st solo effort from Marsha. Not only is the songwriting introspective and in ways quite intimate, but HELLO, she attempted to redo Portishead’s Sour Times; amazing for that, good effort, Portishead’s vibe will always win though. Late Nights & Early Morning isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a good nighttime, chill, maybe clean your room album that will make you reflect on relationships in various ways.

WHAT GETS YOU MOVIN?: good music

9 Jan


If you think that Waka Flocka Flame or Soulja Boy are ‘the truth,’ then the words that J.Cole spits may go over your head. If though, the watered down content, or ‘ignorant music,’ as a friend of mine likes to call it, is becoming too much to bare, then Friday Night Lights may be the most refreshing piece of music you’ve listened to in years.  The 3rd mixtape effort by J.Cole, is Hip-Hop in its most classic sense, his cadence is impeccable, whether he’s going hard on a grimey street beat, a smooth r&b track, or a radio-friendly pop number.  That’s enough dick riding though, Friday Night Lights isn’t a classic, but it might work out to be my favorite mixtape of all time; I’ve listened to it consistently, practically daily, since its November release, that’s saying a lot, and I still haven’t tired of it.

I will say from beginning to end, he takes you on a journey where you can literally feel someone reaching their dreams.  So if you need a motivational album to keep you grinding and on the move, then you need to play Friday Night Lights.  It’s my current go to album, when I need to pull an all nighter; The Autograph is sort of my current anthem song and holds some my favorite lines and play on words on the whole 20 track mixtape, like this one:

This my New Years resolution, dawg/no more Pork in me/I aint no Muslim though/Caron Butler, I’m a Wizard if he doesn’t know

What?!! If you know what Muslims read and are a basketball fan, that play on words is f’n ridiculous! As he says later in the song:

you know I feel ya pain, that’s why I slang this hope shit/and give you lines that you rewind and think, ‘oh shit’

My favorite songs on the mixtape are Villematic, Back to the Topic, and You Got It. Villematic is done over Kanye’s Devil in a New Dress beat.  That’s an amazing beat regardless, but I love Villematic because J.Cole just comes off like a relevant dude of today.  Not putting up some created image, he’s talking about real things, as well as dealing with fame.  In our generation’s blog, facebook and tweeting obsessed state, lines like [see below] stick out to me.

old bitter-ass, sit around in middle class homes with computers on, hating on the newest song

You Got It uses a sample from one if my favorite Janelle Monae songs, Neon Valley Street. It’s the first song that he changes gears and moves to an R&B influenced Hip-Hop party track.  He comes of charming, yet cocky, and solidifies the fact that he doesn’t just make music for the dudes.

Back to the Topic is a crazy freestyle; J.Cole’s flow on it is insane, and when he said he was going to murder it, he wasn’t lying.  The song holds my favorite terminology right now, ‘plagiarized swag,’ and when you’re seeing kids getting ass-whoopins for made up street cred (see here), I can’t help but laugh. J.Cole says he’s ‘like the leader of new niggas,’ and I can kind of see that, with cats like Drake on the scene, there is a shift in what we stereotypically known as the rapper; Drake isn’t touching J.Cole on his flow though.

Speaking of Drake, J.Cole and Drake collaborate on In the Morning. It’s sexy, and feels and sounds like every one of Drake songs.  So it’s cool and it is definitely a club banger, but for me it’s kind of lack luster comparatively to the lyrical content of the mixtape; I still get my pelvic wind on every time it comes on though!

J.Cole and Drake will probably have a similar or shared target market (i.e. why they’re currently on tour together), yet the collaboration, was probably also made to make J.Cole more commercially viable.  His radio-friendly, mainstream tracks like Higher and Home For the Holidays are a bit weak, because he can’t do bubble gum or corny well. Songs like Blow Up or the previously mentioned You Got It, are stronger mainstream songs.  He may end up developing his own style of radio singles, but radio is changing because of the web, so maybe this won’t even be a problem.

All and all, Friday Night Lights is strong and amazing effort, from some one who doesn’t have an album out. Somehow over 20 tracks, J.Cole holds your interest, and proves that he can cover all corners of Hip-Hop.  Maybe that’s because he’s from the South, liked West coast music growing up, but got refined in NYC; or maybe it’s because he’s just so damn smart; I don’t know, but whatever it is, it works.  In his Too Deep For the Intro, which is on a sped up version of Erykah Badu’s Didn’t Cha Know, he manages to introduce himself, bare his soul, and also talk about social issues. He does this all while asking if this is too much to discuss in an into; I thought it was perfect, and it sets the tone for the mixtape, vibe, and word play that is about to ensue.

J.Cole has been talking about a ‘dollar and dream’ since his first mixtape, The Come Up; I’m sure he has a couple of dollars now and that Dream is going to come into fruition in 2011.  I’m looking forward to the official album, tentatively called Cole World this year. Ok, that’s enough already, give it a listen! It’s been out for 2 months, so hurry up and catch up.

****Check out pictures I took from the J.Cole show at Highline Ballroom in NYC back in December.  Can I also say great performer! Look out for him; don’t say I didn’t tell you! Click here to see pics!