Young M.A’s breakout single “OOOUUU” released in 2016 and introduced the world to her sound and international appeal. Now, three years later she releases her debut full-length project Herstory in the Making laced in 21 tracks amid production from Zaytoven, Mike Zombie, Antwan “Amadeus” Thompson and NY Bangers. Calculated, never rushed, intentional, never rash – the Brooklyn spitter has clearly taken her time to mold this project, independently so, but was it time well spent? – Of the project’s content she states, “You're gonna get the cocky joints, the slick talk joints where I talk my talk, but then I'm gonna get personal. Real personal. That's why this album is called Herstory In The Making, because it's about all sides of me. People will hear this album and say, 'I had no idea she was going through all that.' I don't put myself out there on social media. I save it for the music, and I write it all. This is all me."
At this point Lana del Rey has little to prove. Almost a decade ago she decided to pose as an elegant bird on our world and expand her wings with sensual and intimate songs. Moving with extreme naturalness between the disparity of romanticism and tragedy, she began to captivate the world with the ease with which a sweet aroma would. Soon she positioned herself in the music industry, creating a niche of her own nothing exploited to date. Crown of flowers in hand, it cost her little to be adored by millions of fans, becoming a melodic goddess thanks to her voice and music reminiscent of a glamor of yesteryear. With a cold and distant attitude, the union between the most tender fragility and fierce sexuality were present in his personal songs. After five studio albums (yes, I count Paradise), Lana enjoys an omnipresent position. Lizzy Grant is an artist who has managed to get away from the trivial and commercial, and can fly free around the world without a master to obey, bypassing musical rules. The New Yorker is allowed not to follow any trend and everything falls on a fine and feminine instinct. By modulating her voice, whispering or simply sighing she is able to get our attention, to evoke our own teenage dreams. It seems that Lana has lived for a long time in a constant American film, those of towns full of houses with porch, overwhelming heat, passionate love, excesses and small follies. If we look back, doesn't this remind us of any of her first video clips? The rebellion that takes hold of the naive and innocent girl. But now we discovered that this disobedience lived asleep in Lana and only needed something or someone to wake her up. Now, with Norman Fucking Rockwell!, her sixth album, the artist decides to return to that American dream town in an improved way. Baptized with the name of an American artist famous for his customary images, Lana will follow her trail of creating everyday female characters with every bit of her personality. On the cover of this project, in the purest Rockwell style, Del Rey reaches out to us, hoping we will take it and thus have the pleasure of accompanying her on her deepest journey.
I have been a Madonna fan since I was 12 years old when her song Borderline reached the Philippines and promptly became a favorite dance song during our school soirees. Throughout her illustrious career though, it is only with her latest album Madame X that she has gone all out to sing about issues that affect our world today – and it does befuddle a long time fan like me, who is used to hearing her sing about sex, partying, having fun, and doing all the other crazy things young people are wont to be doing. So, I admit it was a bit uncomfortable to hear her become serious and sing about songs on gun control, about espousing LGBT rights, which got me thinking, was she trying to save the world, now that she has reached the ripe old age of 61? She did say in one of her interviews to promote the album, that she did what she did in this album because she felt no one was saying anything about these issues – that because of her celebrity status, she felt she had to say something – even if it meant it would be uncomfortable for her fans to hear. I did feel that way. I wouldn’t mind saving the environment or standing up to LGBT rights but to hear it as music is different because I prefer my music to be stress-free and relaxed. It was my sanctuary from the craziness of this world. However, Madonna does have a point. If she doesn’t use her stature to at least make people take notice of these world issues, then all her popularity would just be a waste.
There’re certain moments you remember in music you remember clear as day, like that time Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day smashed his guitar at the iHeart Radio fest, or when Taylor Swift was interrupted by Kanye West on the VMA’s; Stuff like that. One of those memorable moments is the day Panic! At The Disco revived their exclamation point. Okay, maybe not as iconic but close… Right? As someone who has followed this band since quite honestly the beginning there’s certain moments in time that are embedded in the darkest crevasses of the mind, loggin’ on to a giant MacBook computer and loading the black screen to reveal the new era of Panic! At The Disco.
“Kristal Clear” Mixtape Is A Fine Show Off Of Some Rap Skills That Bares Up All Our Imperfections And Spares No One
Have you ever come across a work of art and thought to yourself, "If only the whole world will see and experience it the way I have?". That was how I felt when I listened to upcoming Nigerian rapper, Kristal's debut body of work Kristal Clear mixtape. The Kristal Clear mixtape is a collection of all the songs Kristal has ever released. You know that moment when an artist begins to actually work on his own songs after convincing himself that he wants to do music full time? That is actually the type of songs Kristal included in this body of work. Songs in that category are usually not up to taste, are flawed, or are almost always half baked. But these songs are also usually the most precious to these upcoming artists, and hold the most endearing stories of them. The songs in the Kristal Clear mixtape are like that in a way, but are different in an interesting way. While they are his very first works in music, they show so much maturity and experience on his part. The Kristal Clear mixtape is not your regular music project. It is a carefully created body of work that seeks to entertain and educate it’s consumers. It is a crystal clear message for everyone to sit up and adjust to the new ways of doing things that actually work, and it spares no one, not even Kristal himself. It contains 10 tracks made up of two skits, two refixes, and six originals. The project features his boss who also doubles as the project’s executive producer, Yung Roc, and another Nigeria born rapper, Pohzitive of Imo State origin. Production credits goes to producer Dcube Tha Beatkilla, and it was mixed and mastered by Yung Roc at the beats by Roc studios in Imo State, Nigeria.
Bebe Rexha's new single “Not 20 Anymore” is a desperate cry to shake off labels, preconceived ideas and prejudices of society. Stronger, more experienced, more determined and, above all, more aware of how to live your life. That is what the singer tries and manages to convey in her song. Aided by the testimonies of the boys who participate in the video, the theme makes much more sense and makes us all think, so that once and for all we get away from the stupid ideas about beauty at a certain age and the absence of it in other stages of your life. Undoubtedly interesting, the way in which Bebe Rexha says that there are many things in which being over twenty years old is even more valuable. It is great to finally see a clear and simple statement and a clear claim against society's ideas about age. Hopefully it will be a theme that everyone of all ages gathers, so that those who still have these false conceptions of beauty, understand that it is not so. Speaking of this artist, it is a pleasure to have something else to offer, something that makes us reflect and open the debate about this and many other things that harm us as a society.
Despite the playful persona that Shawn Mendes displays on his songs he has actually been working very hard. Ever since Shawn became a celebrated pop star, he had been making extreme effort to grow in the music industry. While there a number of tested ways to grow in the music industry the Canadian star chose to forge his path. He experimented on a number of styles both good and bad in combination with his unique sound and that effort is what resulted in the fabulous track showcased on his self-named album. A lot of years have passed since the star released his debut album and with those years he has acquired a lot of experience in respect to romance and women. Consequently, his sound on the songs is more mature and believable. There is something in the way he sang on this album that will convince you that he knew exactly what he was talking about. From day one, Shawn always had a different perspective from youths his age. He always went for the best. Not surprisingly, his albums sound better with each release. He put an unusual amount of effort in this album though. Firstly, he collaborated with a handful of artists when he was recording this album. Secondly, he did not just play the role of song creator but he was also the executive producer of the album. In a way, young Shawn has become his own boss. The album was an extreme success though. The album topped the charts in both his home country, the United States, Australia, Belgium and three other countries. It debuted in the top three in the United Kingdom. If that is not an example of commercial success to you then your opinions are henceforth irrelevant.
Chicago's veteran rapper Common has released his 12th studio album called Let Love on August 30th, 2019 under the labels Loma Vista Recordings and Concord Records. The former GOOD Music rapper has accomplished a lot in his hip-hop career such as opening up for N.W.A. and Big Daddy Kane to releasing his debut album Can I Borrow a Dollar in 1992. He survived and went bar for bar against west coast legend Ice Cube when he and Westside Connection (Mack 10, WC and Ice Cube) decided to go at Common for his song I Used to Love H.E.R. from his second album Ressurection, and for those who know Common, he is a smooth and calm dude but he did not back down from Cube with the retaliation song The Bitch in Yoo in 1996. Around 1999, he went and teamed up with soul and alternative hip-hop artists such as Q-Tip, J. Dilla, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Mos Def and more to create The Soulquerians, and after his last album with label MCA Records, Common joined Kanye West's GOOD Music label in 2004. He left GOOD Music in 2011 and went on to do his own personal work such as appearing in numerous movies, writing books and poems, being a strong activist and philanthropist, as well being a pescatarian. Common's resume not only as a rapper but as a whole person, is really enormous with an academy award, an African-American Film award, 4 BET Awards, 3 Grammy awards and so much more. His new album Let Love features guests such as Swizz Beatz, Daniel Caesar, BJ The Chicago Kid, Jill Scott and more. After I was done listening to the 11 songs album, it was like I saw a more loving Common than before, and he was always a loving brother, so let's go over this album track by track.----------------------------------------------
I am about to write the most personal narrative to date. I consider myself a music devourer: I need to find novelty and new trends every so often. The body asks me that, there is no more. I can spend most of the hours in which I am awake listening and listening, and that is why a large number of songs reach a time when, exhausted to sound, they begin to diminish the interest in pleasing me. That is, they start to bore me. It is the natural cycle of music. This is the reason why I am always looking for new talents, artists and songs, and so on. One day, fate decided that YouTube's suggestions would recommend me to a stranger: Amber Mark. The song was called “Monsoon”, in collaboration with Mia Mark (also unknown to me, later I would discover that she was not a rapper or singer, but the mother of the artist). What was special about this moment was the personal context in which I lived at that time: I had recently lost my grandmother, an essential part of me. The love of my life. The person who taught me the most in this world. And so, praising her, I could spend my days. I had a hard time overcoming this loss, and at that time the memories, rather than tearing a nostalgic smile on me, they would make me sadly cry. I was in the process of accepting this painful situation, which I was unable to convey in words. But I wasn't aware that pressing the play on the imagen “Monsoon” video clip would change everything a little. And so it was: The first chords of a song that sounded as fragile as intense and melancholic began to sound. I began to notice how my arms’ body hair stood on end and I began to shudder a little. At that time, I didn’t have a good command of English, but I felt a rare connection that made me understand in detail what this beautiful song was about. I could not help it; tears began to sprout from my eyes. “It feels like monsoon everyday”. The connection I felt with this song was the strongest I have ever experienced, and as strange as it sounds, I have always hidden it from the world. A beautiful metaphor related the rainy season in India with the fact of missing someone who is no longer here and mourning this loss, crying with tears as rain was falling from the sky. For me it was the most beautiful thing that has been written and sung. Amber, dedicated this song to her deceased mother, who unites love with pain, both as strong as the torrential precipitations of the Asian country. As the song progressed, the meanings of it seized my memories and sadness, enveloping me and somehow healing the pain I felt. Made a sea of tears, I became another monsoon. But at the end of the song, I felt relief. I think this was the double intention of this young artist: let off steam to heal. I don't know if it was a song or a simple coincidence, but from here I began to change my mentality: I understood that missing someone and crying for the person was nothing more than a nice tribute. A private garden watered by tears, blooming from a pain that translates into affection and nostalgia. I have lost count of how many times I have heard this song, and the admiration I feel for this artist is as great as the good memories I have with my grandmother. I have always believed that the maximum of artists is to connect with their fans through music, make them feel “something special” with their songs, and this moment was, for me, the most important in terms of music-experience relationship personal. So, having said that, I think Amber, whom I usually think of as a small salvation, deserves a nice tribute from me. Here is my narrative about this beautiful surprise.
Definitely, when you take the wheel of your car and drive aimlessly, you find beautiful and exciting places that you didn't know existed. It is highly recommended that you do it from time to time because the surprises that hide the road make you feel alive and allow you to break with the monotony of modern life. It also happens in music, you just let yourself be carried by your finger on the screen of your mobile or the mouse of your computer and you get to discover wonderful singers and musicians. This is more than advisable because the paths of music are not reduced to what we always hear and are used to; on the contrary, the musical universe is so huge and varied that the possibilities of finding something that makes you fall in love are endless. It's what happened to me right now, when I came by chance to hear this great voice. With an authentic R&B, acoustic and delicious sound, Kiana Ledé left me impressed. The beauty of her voice and the control she has over it is admirable. I am sure that her theme, “Shawty”, will captivate the most demanding and will be the favorite song in many playlists in the remainder of the summer. Do not lose sight of her and follow everything that this artist does that will soon be shining in the sky of the stars of popular music.
On the evening of August 7th in a ‘movie house’ in Asbury Park, Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti Scialfa witnessed the debut of a film Blinded by the Light, a true story, of a young man so enamored of the Jersey rocker and his E Street Band that his life was forever changed. Boy, can I relate. Having taught English for 32 years, I found that one way I could nudge my students into an appreciation of literature and its powerful themes was to use songs, “a three minute record, baby” (as Springsteen reminds us in “No Retreat, No Surrender”). One particular Springsteen song from the 1980’s connected viscerally with my high school students: “The River.” “The River” tells the story of young high school lovers whose passion leads to unexpected, let predictable consequences. Pregnancy, dropping out of school, a marriage of conscience, and the eventual regret these forlorn lovers feel would imprint on my high school students especially when the lovers eventually see their dreams fade away as deeply as the wrinkles that line their faces. It was a good lesson for seventeen- year olds…it is a lesson
Every teen popstar who stays in the business long enough eventually comes out with an album which is “The Album”. This album means I am no longer a teen idol, now I am a serious grownup musician . Confident was that album for Demi Lovato. An album which tackled the artist’s own demons with some strong vocals. Demi is an artist who has always shown potential when it came to singing but even then I always felt something was missing in her songs. After listening to Confident I realized what it was, that girl is made to sing anthems about real issues not some basic pop songs that just about everyone can sing.
Generally, pop music takes great care of language. Although lately there some artists and composers have taken many freedoms, because the truth, should not be so important if the things that are said are congruent with what is meant and already. But the industry keeps certain standards since it wants to reach a wider audience and thus increase its sales. Therefore, the curses are a little more on the side of the music of bad boys: rock, punk, rap, and hip-hop among others. Somehow, these rougher styles are aimed at audiences who already know what they are going to hear, while pop is always related to younger people and perhaps very guarded by their parents, so an error in what it is said, is made or shown, can be decisive with the future of the artist or the sales of the song – That's why Lauv's song caught my attention: “f*ck, I'm lonely (with Anne-Marie)”, which with a lot of naturalness and good rhythm, includes the most Satanized 'F' word in the English-speaking world. I don't know why it's something so serious; however, I lived the experience in a job (where English was spoken) in which the simple fact that they heard you say that word was a reason to be fired without the right to defend the point. Either way. I do not know if this is the case everywhere where English is spoken, but the truth is that in Mexico and perhaps throughout the Spanish-speaking world, things are a bit more relaxed with the use of language, which for me is a relief since sometimes I am very foul-mouthed – Anyway, for me, it is quite an enigma what will happen with the song of Lauv and Anne-Marie. The parents of the younger fans of these singers are probably not very happy and as is common around music, there is always a scandal where there isn't. Freedom of expression is a right and the meaning (strong or light) of the words that come from people's mouths, is given by those who hear it. It is the recipients who give it weight or naturally take the words of those who pronounce them – For now, let's watch for reactions to a song that is very good and harmless to me even though I include the ‘F’ word in the main chorus. Or it will be that they simply publish a version with the famous ‘beep’ and fix the matter, which would be pathetic.
“Since Take Care, I’ve been caretakin’.” – Drake “Redemption”Drake, similar to the likes of JAY-Z, Lil Wayne and Method Man, in regard to the consecutive quality of his albums, reeks with legendary status. His climb to fame, although over a decade in the making, began with one of his first and most notable releases Take Care. Everyone has a favorite Drake album and mine happens to be Take Care. Drizzy creates music in a generation that has a short attention span yet he can curate an album with over 15 records on it and everyone listens from beginning to end. Most musicians produce some of their best music during the infancy of their careers and although Drake has only improved overtime, there's something so classic and raw about this album. I enjoy listening to artists that were born to create music. There's nothing forced about Drake's delivery - ever. It's his effortless approach to music that gifts his records stuck-on-repeat trends. Take Care boasts with 19 records amid features from Lil Wayne, Andre 3000, Nicki Minaj and Kendrick Lamar to name a few. Each feature on this album comes from an artist that's already a legend or a legend in the making. Think about it, artists like The Weeknd, Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar truly began to flourish after this album's release. Now let's be clear, I'm not saying this album kicked off any of the aforementioned artists careers, but I will say that it was a healthy boost. Furthermore, each of the featured artists on this album were noteworthy additives not mere meaningless, poppycock verses or pitchy hooks. Drake's genius was apparent from the beginning and his relentlessness and slightly petty antics over the years have shaped him into the mogul and character we know him as today. From Degrassi to the Grammy’s, he’s a true chameleon in the best way. In my opinion Drake created a new genre of music.
DaBaby finally makes his Interscope Records debut. His top-charting album Baby on Baby solidifies his mark in the music industry. Unlike the thousands of fans who’ve known the name for quite some time, he’s a new voice to my ears, one I had chosen to lollygag about. My brother raved about the North Carolina native MC and insisted on my listening to his latest body of work. I brushed it off but one day while I was scrolling through Tidal, the Baby On Baby project popped up on my list of ‘Suggested New Albums.’ I was at the gym and I figured, “Why not take a listen,” and I freaking loved it. He truly has a sound all his own. It’s infused with hip-hop and trap but there’s something about his flow that’s undeniably unique. This generation tends to replicate sounds amid simultaneously trying to call it a sound they “created.” However, DaBaby truly does have his own sound. I listened to every song on this album because I fell in love with his energy from the opening hype anthem “Taking It Out” to bouncy closing acts like “Walker Texas Ranger.” He has a crazy flow and a high level of marketability that’s catapulted him to international acclaim – The album opens with his hit single “Suge” that’s amassed millions of streams and over 80 million views on YouTube. There’s something about that record, that’s just absolutely infectious. He found the pocket of the production and flowed over it perfectly thus giving this track stuck-on-repeat tendencies. The record listens and views like a Suge Knight parody riddled with truths about the slave-like nature of the music industry. “Suge” also boasts with his witty, playful and charismatic personality. DaBaby raps, “The first n** play, I'ma body a n** (Ha) I just checked my balance / I'll probably pull up to your hood and come buy me a n**** (No cap)”
Nicki Minaj’s Pink Print proved to be one truly stellar album, from the awards to the number of albums sold – she shifted the industry on its axis. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 with 244,000 album units sold in its first week, of which 198,000 were pure sales. More than just a female rapper, she’s a trendsetter and record breaker. In 2018, Onika became the first female rapper ever to sell at least five million copies of each of her albums, which includes Pink Friday, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up and of course, The Pink Print. The Pink Print solidified Nicki as an artist not just a rapper. She even created a mini-film to accompany the album – that’s epic. She’s an undeniable MC, no doubt, and this album boasted with hits like “The Crying Game,” featuring Jessie Ware, “Only” featuring Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown and “Feeling Myself” featuring the one and only Beyoncé. When an artist organically creates music, tells their narrative and incubates in their creative process, the music hearkens as such. Nicki, at the time of this album’s release in 2014, hit what I’ve deemed as the “Drake” faze of her career. The “Drake” faze is that untouchable moment in your music career where everything you touch literally turns to gold, hence the fact that we know that every song Drake features on turns into a top charting record – you get the point. Everyone knew her name and everyone adored her music but she didn’t have any real competition. Remy Ma was still incarcerated, Lil Kim wasn’t releasing music, Trina took a break etc. thus she was really only competing with herself. Her only task at hand was to out-do her previous works which she did with the Pink Print, however, if we roll into present day, four years later, she releases the Queen album. Queen laced in 19 tracks amid features from Lil Wayne, The Weeknd and Foxy Brown, to name a few is a valiant effort but falls shy of my expectations. Overall, sonically speaking it is a solid body of work but not an impressive one in my opinion. Rappers lose that “It” factor when they start “trying” to be rappers. The grit she possessed in The Pink Print with records like “Four Door Aventador” where she raps, “I'm in the V like a widow's peak / It's just me and my Rolls Royce pillow seats / Why they staring at me? I brung MacLaren with me /Yo, matter of fact, I think I'ma bring Donna Karan with me.” She loves a good name-drop. Her wordplay gets even crazier as she goes on to rap, “And you my son, I don't know, it's just the parent in me / I am the best, I am the queen, it's so apparent it me.” Her witty pen game thus transcended her into the revered artist she is today but her gifted bars set an expectation that we expected her to fulfill.
Avril Lavigne music has been the soundtrack for part of my life, since her debut album. From the time I was a 12-year-old "Sk8er Boy" who just wanted to revolt against the system, whose life was "Complicated" for a young man. Who was trying to find himself in the world, thinking to himself, where do I belong? Dedicating the song "I'm with you" to himself. Her music resonated all the way to her sophomore album when life seemed to be as dark as her album. When my sister handed me a note stating, "I want to kill myself." The lyrics of "No Body Home," hit home. It was the only song that could make me associate to what she was feeling. I always say, where words falter, music vocalises. When she sang: “She wants to go home, but nobody's home. That's where she lies. Broken inside with no place to go. No place to go to dry her eyes! Broken inside! Her feelings she hides, her dreams she can't find. She's losing her mind, she's falling behind she can't find her place, she's losing her faith, she’s falling from grace, she's all over the place, yeah." – Avril. The lyrics will forever be hunting, and it made me realise that suicide is no fool and must be taking earnestly. My skin still crawls, and I want to jump out of my skin every single time I listen to this song. Still makes me shake, and it scares me to death to even think how much pain one must be in. The feeling of despair in Avril voice would match the despair I was feeling. Wondering what I could do to make this situation better. Still, the song gives you a bit of hope. Being both angelic and cryptic, it's like a California sunset joining the blue ocean waves in the middle of an Eclipse. Drawing in on sorrows in a dark place but trying to find peace. A beautiful song but yet emotional and frightening all at the same time.
It was Aug 31, 1987, when Michael Jackson released an album that made history. Bad soon became the second best-selling album at the times (the first was and still is Thriller, always by… Michael Jackson!). After Off the wall and Thriller the King leveraged for the third and last time the collaboration of Quincy Jones. Hard to say whether it’s better Thriller or this new album; the albums are quite different, Michael himself was a different person after 5 years, grown and changed both from an artistical and personal perspective, in a pop world that he contributed to create with Thriller, and that now featured new stars like Madonna and Prince, in the US, and with all the Brit pop of Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, and others. Moreover, in 1982 Thriller just needed to fill the 40 minutes of a vinyl record, while this album had to fill also the 70 minutes of a cd. Anyway, it’s a fact that Bad entered in history as well, and it’s still one of the key albums (and videos) of the 80s
It's Iggy Iggs! Does it sound familiar to you? Surely, a very popular phrase during 2014-2015, when we were all fans of Iggy Azalea. Listening to this slogan typical of the Australian rapper in a song was synonymous with top of the charts. Today, five years later, for many it is synonymous with… meh. The reason? Let's review what is for me one of the greatest musical injustices of this decade: Iggy appeared in our lives with a spectacular mixtape, Ignorant Art, in 2011. This project, headed by the amazing “My world”, full of powerful and fresh sounds discovered a vivacious, ambitious, badly spoken and aggressive rapper. It was clear that she was very clear about what she wanted and that her goal was to succeed. And she got it. Launched incredible themes like “Work”, un “Bounce” and “Change your life”, Iggy was introduced to the world, achieving success in her native Australia and UK. Azalea offered unusual sounds in the world of female rap: originals, which exploded in the chorus and penetrated the brain. I already lived totally in love with this rapper, but it was impossible not to bend down to her with every single that she released. Her accent was catchy, a mixture of the American South and the Australian desert, and within her rudeness I found some brilliance and great authenticity. The popularity of this blonde began to rise like foam, becoming a reference in the rrss. And “Fancy” arrived. Along with Charli XCX, Iggy presented a hybrid between pop and hip-hop, resurrecting the formula ‘’sung chorus/rapped stanza’’, and the world surrendered at her. The success was resounding. In a scenario dominated by Nicki Minaj, Azalea ran as her successor. And the Australian took care of even the smallest detail: video clips played a crucial role in her career. They often told stories, were worked and were inspired by films of yesteryear: From Clueless in “Fancy” to Kill Bill in “Black Widow”, her second success. The Azalea universe was at the top and with her debut The New Classic, Iggy showed her true value. Offering a whirlwind of sounds that intermingled like the colors of her fabulous cover, this project mixed rap and hip-hop with reggae, pop and trap. So, so good. But in the competitive world of rap not many people were happy that a white blonde could hold the title of queen. Her appearance didn’t fit in this world, and this was reason enough to accuse her of cultural appropriation. After her debut, the controversies won the ground to music. Our rapper was the victim of a kind of unfair voodoo that made her career downhill. After the bullying received by other “partners” who only managed to get attention through problems, Iggy fell into a spiral of misfortunes that made her lose the favor of the general public. Far from throwing in the towel, the rapper returned to the studio and released “Team” as a preview of her second album, Digital Distorsion. But the damage caused by third parties was enough for Iggy to lose popularity and this single and those that came later (“Switch”, a great song that was leaked and therefore suspended from promotion and “Mo Bounce”) didn’t get much impact. Digital Distorsion was canceled, and Iggy vomited all her rage in the EP Surviving the summer, where she became dark and aggressive because of the injustices experienced. Nor did “Savior”, with its radio-friendly environment, get the luck of “Fancy”. But far from giving up, Iggy has always shown herself as a powerful warrior who has a hard time keeping her mouth shut and under her own independent label has finally released her second album: In My Defense. Iggy Azalea, after all, has only that left: defend herself.
Burna Boy sealed his position at the Zenith of the Afrobeat and Afropop genres with this album, African Giant. This release follows major achievements this year alone; winning the Listener’s Choice, Song of The Year, Best Male MVP, and African Artiste of the Year categories at the 2019 SoundCity MVP Awards Festival. Then going on to win the Best International Act category at the 2019 BET Awards, and finally having a solo track on Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack album for the Disney classic animation remake, The Lion King. The features on the album were also rich as he excluded A-List artiste in the Nigerian industry, for reasons best known to him. For an album titled African Giant, he didn’t bother adding African and internationally known artiste, but went ahead to add the likes of Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, multiple Grammy nominated and winner Angélique Kidjo, Future, YG and so on. The 19-track album was full of hits and genre mixtures that made a perfect blend, with him trying different flows, ranges, and topics on the tracks. The basic thing lacking majorly in the Nigerian Music Industry is Content. Artistes with content in Nigeria suffer proper recognition. The most popular and successful artistes are the Afropop artistes, these artistes former 99% of the A-List group, the remaining 1% are mostly from the Rap, Alternative music, Afrobeat, R&B and Soul genres. These 99% percent of these 99% lack contents or have slowly dropped the ball somewhere along the line during their career and just churn out beats and vibes that has zero contents and meaning. Between 2013 and 2019, the amount of songs without concepts and meaning content have the most rotations on the Radio, and TV, and the artistes get the endorsement deals. This fluke has made great songwriters dumb down their lyrics for the sake of popularity and recognition. They forget that gifted can’t do a great job being mediocre, like a mediocre would originally do. Long story short, Burna Boy is our very own Content Rich Afropop and Afrobeat artiste to get international recognition without being overrated.
After breaking up for a while, the Jonas Brothers got back together to put out a new album, Happiness Begins. While the band decidedly falls into top 40-pop for the most part, this album does have some fun lyrics and melodies, and interesting harmonies in a few places. The lyrics are fairly simplistic, but they suit the genre perfectly. Perhaps the best thing about this album is that it has a lot of positive, sweet love songs that defy the focus on break-ups, lost love, and internal struggles that seems common in current pop music.
So I’ve apparently decided that this is the sword I’m gonna die on. For the past five or so months, I’ve been preaching to anyone who will listen about the phenomenon that is Youngblood. Cumulatively, I’ve probably spent a week of my life talking about the record. It’s that fucking epic – As per friggin usual, I’m late to the party once more in that I’m just now discovering that there’s a fucking acoustic version of the titular track. And now I’m fucking dying all over again. In all seriousness—who the fuck gave these guys permission to fuck my life up this poetically? – Let’s just dive in why don’t we… First off, it’s taken me way too fucking long to figure out how to adequately describe this rendition of what I believed to be an already perfect track, and it’s really starting to bother me. Also full disclosure: I can’t tell who the fuck is singing what part. I can confidently declare that Hemmings takes the lead throughout the song (as is to be expected for a mf lead singer), but other than that I have no fucking idea. So bear with me..
I want to get us started off by nothing that this is officially my favorite newly-released album at this particular moment. Now this comes after my glorious experience at 5 Seconds Of Summer’s live set at the Toyota Pavillion in Irving a few weeks back, so the way I feel about this record now is absolutely not what my first impressions were. This took some time, thought, and a few dozen (hundred) listens to really get a sense of the personality of this album. So without any further ado, let’s unpack the wonder that is Youngblood.
I have so many thoughts, I don’t even know where to begin, y’all. I swear if 5 Seconds Of Summer releases one more track that’s this caliber of genuine perfection, I’m committing myself to an insane asylum. Diagnosis: clinically obsessed.
Simi does not need an introduction in the Nigerian music space, because she has built an empire for herself in the industry. In an industry that had hitherto been led by the male folk, it was a major feat for Simi to break into it and still hold sway many years after – The release of the “Simisola” album is a major factor that brought to the fore once more, the amazing personality called Simi. It is important to note that the album shouldn’t be passed off as a mere work of art because it was a “no bare” musical output that further let us into the world of one of the greatest songstress of our time, Simi. Interestingly, she chose to use her name “Simisola” as the title, which further buttresses the fact that she was intentional about the album – Simisola is the second studio album from Simi and comes nearly a decade after her first album. Simi had released her debut album “Ogaju” and made a major comeback into the Nigerian music space nine years later when she released her second album, “Simisola” on September 8, 2017. Oscar, Sess, Vtek, and SeyiKeyz produced the album. It was nominated for Album of the Year in the 2018 edition of the Nigerian Entertainment Awards and went on to win the Album of the Year in the 2018 edition of The Headies.
Huge cities, dirty and polluted, full of faceless people, people who do not talk to you and do not see you, people who would not do anything for you if you were lying in the middle of the street suffering a heart attack. Noise, noise, noise everywhere and at all hours. Background noise that accompanies us even in our dreams. The city never stops, never keeps silent, people have stopped appreciating the calm, we are altered, we want to get first to anywhere, although that place is nowhere. We do not mind pushing, crushing. We believe that we do not need peace, we believe that the states of anguish and anxiety are normal and inherent to the human being and we are very wrong. We rush to the office in the morning and we only went through a café (of the fashion brand, because otherwise, we would be as weird) the women put on makeup behind the wheel, the men drive as if they were playing a football game, and time to eat? No way! If there is no time, we do not go out to eat because the work requires commitment to one hundred percent and we want the promotion at all costs, no matter hours, friends, family, health, nothing, what matters is success in business. Then, at the end of our life, we will realize that little or nothing was worth all that time invested in a company in which you were only a number, that there was never any appreciation for what you did and gave, not for the way in which you sacrificed time for your family. In the afternoon, already very late, you leave the office exhausted and in a bad mood. Maybe it's a good idea to go to the bar for a couple of beers or something a little stronger. But you're tired and you know you might find yourself with more noise and maybe with unpleasant people, besides, tomorrow you have to start the routine again; and life? life is postponed for a better time, a moment that will hardly come if we do not look for it ourselves. Peace, has anyone said peace? Well, no. Most of us who are in the middle of this chaos that is modern life have forgotten the moments of peace, those that give us the tranquility of enjoying the countryside, of pleasant music, far from the noise and the absurd objectives of the job. The moments of being with whom you love the most and most love you. To enjoy your pet, that will always be for you, unconditionally. To be in the place where you know you are safe, away from those who hurt you or just want to take advantage of you. Being on an island, the island that forms in your mind and the most endearing places for you, to find peace amid all this chaos. The chaos that represents this road that tires, that sometimes throws you to the ground and where nobody raises you.
With not much more than a few dollars and his demos on him, Frank Ocean took the trip to Los Angeles that many dream of from his home of Louisiana to pursue a career in music. It was partly because LA is where things happen, but also partly because Hurricane Katrina had destroyed his recording space in New Orleans. The trip was intended to be six weeks long, but lasted for years. When in LA, he started writing music for the likes of Justin Bieber and Beyoncé, what many would call living the dream. But he wasn’t satisfied. “It might have been comfy to continue to do that and enjoy that income stream and the anonymity but that’s not why I moved away from school and away from family.” After getting close with Odd Future, he met Tricky Stewart, producer and A&R for Island/Def Jam, in late 2009. Tricky was amazed by Frank’s singing and songwriting and signed him. But soon after the signing, Stewart ended up leaving and Frank was left with a label who, as the producer and A&R put it, “didn’t give him the respect that I thought he deserved.” He was shelved. This was a time where Frank’s affiliation with Odd Future, who was steadily growing a dedicated fanbase, did him favours. Using the initiative that he saw took them so far, he put together a project called nostalgia, ULTRA and put it out for free with no assistance from Def Jam. In fact, it was put out despite Def Jam. “i. did. this. not ISLAND DEF JAM” he tweeted. “fuck DEF JAM & any company that goes the length of signing a kid with dreams & talent w/ no intention of following through.” The tape garnered very respectable buzz and Def Jam took note immediately. They pushed some songs from it as singles and though this might’ve benefitted Frank, it was understood that this was mainly self-serving and so that they could make money off of it where possible. They wanted to help bring his debut album to the shelves and the relationship was temporarily mended, like putting a mirror back together with cheap glue. Fast forward to the release of channel ORANGE in 2012 and that went as well as the label could have hoped, spawning a Billboard Top 100 charter in “Thinkin Bout You” and turning Frank into a star. But the damage was done, and the battle was on.
After never hearing about Joyner Lucas before, I decided to give his album, 508-507-2209, a listen. I am not sure what I expected, I didn’t expect anything but a rap album, but I was given an album that seems to follow him becoming famous and losing his friends. The album is weaved together with a voicemail at the end of nearly every track and while listening to the album I was confused by this; however, it seems to me that the voicemails use the album to portray how easy it is to get caught up in a new fast lifestyle and lose not only yourself but your friends and family. Despite not being a fan of his voice, I am a fan of the voicemail concept- that is if I am anywhere close to right...
Maggie Rogers released her first full length album back in January of this year. Heard it in a Past Life is an album that takes us on a full exploration of her sound journey as we begin with folk inspired tunes to full out electronic/ pop bops, and she writes music about her personal experiences, in some cases with the help of her friends. It is an album that I did not like at first because I did not listen to its entirety, but once I did, I saw how good it is.
Ayo (English: Joy) is the self-titled second studio album by Nigerian singer Wizkid.
Wizkid Ayo Balogun, Nigeria’s biggest music star and probably one of the most talented artiste in the music industry released his second album AYO three years after his first album “Superstar” which I believe revolutionized pop music in the Nigerian music scene.
This album record simply shows how Wizkid is grateful for where he has gotten to in his music career remembering where he started as an upcoming act in Surulere. After going down memory lane, he calls out the people in his old hood to come and enjoy his musical success. It also expressed his unending love for the street (his supporters and die-hard fans that are always there for him). If you listen’s to this album closely you will know that Wizkid is a mama's boy because you will hear several lines dedicated to his mother Mrs. Balogun all over the album. The album AYO received so many critic review but believe me it created that momentum which he needed for his music career, if you can check the album you would be able to count 10 hits out of 18 song released on the album which is actually hard for one to call such an album a failure even though the album might have somehow lacked direction. For me the album started on a bright note but fizzled out towards the end, with the exception of a few well-written songs and the hits we’ve heard from him in the past. Between all these Wizkid was able to establish the fact that he is a good vocalist with perfect vibes and mind-blowing melody. No wonder he has continuously remained relevant over the past Decade. He has remained so much relevant in the music industry being the first African to bag seven Billboard Nominations, the Youngest African Artiste to get a Grammy nomination, he is the first African Pop Star To Perform/sell out Royal Albert Hall in London and he is the only Nigerian musician who not only made the number one spot on the iTunes Wo
Where the Joy Residesrld Chart but maintained that spot for over a week. He is the only Nigerian Artiste with the most award nominations. . Well with the release of this album, I already knew Wizkid would become a force to reckon with in the music industry which he has already accomplished.
He started recording the album after the release of the compilation album, Empire Mates State of Mind (2012). The long-awaited album was released on September 17, 2014, by Starboy Entertainment and Empire Mates Entertainment after it was postponed twice due to difficulty in track selection. I must reveal that this was one album I definitely was curious how it would play out after a long time of waiting because it was his last bodywork under Empire Mates Entertainment before he started his own record label Starboy Entertainment. The 71 minutes Album was produced by Segun Demuren, Banky Wellington, Sarz, Shizzi, Uhuru, Maleek Berry, Legendary Beatz and Spellz.
It’s quite common for us to dispute about who was the first worldwide star in a specific period. For example, the first top artist in the third millennium, or, in the next period, who will be the shining star of the 20s. But if I should say who was the last pop queen of the second millennium, the girl who, with her songs and videos, introduced us to the 2000s, well, there is no doubt. Britney Spears broke down full speed into the world of pop in late 1998 with her first song and video. Her success was so huge that her debut album, released at the end of 1999, topped the charts in many many countries, and her fantastic career definitely skyrocketed. Britney Spears was only 16, and she played the role of the attractive teenage girl, always balancing between being innocent and being attractive, a continuous teasing game of moves and gazes. She was not the first, of course; Lio and Elli Medeiros in France during the early 80, Madonna and her “Like a Virgin” look in the States, Sabrina Salerno with her “Boys” in Italy, Patsy Kensit of Eighth Wonder and Kylie Minogue were teenage icons of beauty and joy of life in the UK during the late 80’s. Many of them are still active, and few of them have been able to remain faithful to their character, and also to evolve during the years. Britney Spears did all of this. I can’t think of any Britney’s hit during all the years, that would not perfectly fit also in the early Britney character ad attitude. It’s a sort of, how to say, everlasting Britneyism!
Kim Petras has 26 years behind her back, that is, she was born in 1992. So when she was about 6 years old, she would listen for the first time to ''…Baby one more time'' by Britney Spears, and then her world would change forever. This is just a guess, whether it was Christina Aguilera and ''Genie in a bottle'', ''Wannabe'' of the Spice Girls, or simply paying attention to the latest public scandal of Paris Hilton. The point is that our protagonist developed a romantic and passionate relationship with the pop culture of the 2000’s. From her distant native Cologne (Germany), the young lady watched the American teen scene and began to collect pop idols like Gwen Stefani or Mariah Carey, while facing a difficult reality. Since she was very young, she felt like a girl, and thanks to the support of her parents she was one of the youngest people to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Petras anchored to this golden age of gum pink color, and decorated her folders with cuts of her favorite stars, to which she added powerful figures of the 80s like Madonna and Cindy Lauper; as well as maximum representatives of LGTBI music such as Boy George or Freddie Mercury. This overflowing river of influences made this young woman a nerd of the aesthetic and bubblegum pop sound, something that in itself seems the coolest. But far from having lived through that time, where Kim had undoubtedly stood out and turned into a mass idol, she had the great idea of combining all this with modern life dominated by social networks. Turned into a cybernetic LGTBI queen, Kim Petras began to gain popularity on the internet thanks to her music, her graceful aesthetics and way of being. Determined to become a fav among the gay public, Kim combines all the characteristics that this audience adores: starting with her pop sound from the diva of 2000 era, going through the attitude of a coquettish and spoiled blonde, to which she is joined by an urban-sweet-boyish (and slightly anime) style in pastel colors and board skirts. In short, salvation (or reincarnation, depending on how you look at it, has always remained alive in the memory and admiration of many) of this subgenre of pop. Kim personifies the meme 'I'm gonna give the gays everything they want' (you know what I mean, right?). Being more than intelligent, Kim introduces herself to the world by releasing single after single since 2017 dedicating herself to a genre that is loved by many, but nothing exploited. With ''I Don’t want it at all'', she presented herself with force to the world: a young aspiring co-star The Simple Life, eager to hunt the coveted sugar daddy, sang a kind of ode to ''whimsy'', luxury consumerism and signatures and brands. With an ending that culminated with the appearance of Paris Hilton, Kim rose in a short time as a Scream Queen more, and was followed by thousands of fans who admired her nerve and flirt. It was with ''Heart to break'' when the German showed that not only had celebrity wood, but also as a singer and songwriter, offering one of the best songs of 2018, and the best of her career so far. From these, a string of singles were laced every so often. With these songs, Kim showed pop mastery, a sweet voice at the same time flexible and themes that mixed anxiety, problems, joy and desire (is not the world teen a drama? Well that), establishing herself as a quality artist. After a brilliant and cartoony EP, Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1, dedicated to the American Halloween, Kim presents her first album: Clarity.
Listen to Cher’s answer to the question "where do you go when the world does not appreciate your art?" in Not.Com.mercial
There is a popular saying that life is in phases and men are in sizes. Cher must have definitely seen all the phases that were in existence before she released the album. The pop diva has always had a love for trying new things no matter how bad they sounded. "Not.com.mercial" was one of the musical experiments by the artist. Although it was written, recorded and rejected by her record label in 1994, the songstress still kept the album for six years and in the year 2000 she finally released the album on the Internet only. The album portrayed a very different and probably unheard version of Cher, little wonder it meant a lot to her as she was bent on releasing it even after its rejection six years earlier, although she ended up releasing it only on the Internet. She didn’t want it to seem as though she was forcing anyone to listen to her track. The album was filled with really personal stories of the musician’s life plus she probably felt insulted by the fact that the label rejected the album when she recorded it initially. She claimed that she had no expectations but in truth she expected the album to fail hence, the name and she also hoped that the album succeeded. On her twenty-second album "Believe", the artist used auto tunes on her tracks and to be honest the adjustment was a bit much. It completely changed the voice of the pop diva. Although the label wanted to take out the auto tunes, she insisted that it was released without any alteration. The label eventually agreed with her and after its release, the sound the label criticized was celebrated worldwide. My point is it was the success that followed after her rebellion that persuaded her to rebel a second time. Sadly, her second rebelled album did not have as much success as her first. According to stats, the album was not a success but I really admire the guts of the star and the fact that this album meant so much to her was the reason I searched it out in the first place.
J. Cole returns after a 2-year break since his 2014 Forest Hill Drive album with another and his second Solo, feature-less album. This time, he kept the track list to just 10 songs and touched topics ranging from racial discrimination, mass incarceration, love, fatherhood, depression, and Gang Violence that is common in the African American Community. A Dreamville source, according to genius confirmed that the storyline in the entire album was a true story and that James (not his real name), the name of the character in the album was a real person and that he changed in the name for the sake of privacy. J. Cole’s storytelling was also evident in this album and it was at its best in this album, as he told a story all the way from the situations surrounding the community and circumstances James was raised in, to selling crack, all the way to him falling in love to him becoming a father, then passing away. It turns out that the entire 4 Your Eyez Only was a memoir for his young daughter to remember him by. The drama before the release of the album was something else; J. Cole had earlier hinted at retirements on two occasions. The first being on DJ Khalid’s Major Key, released in July of 2016, he featured on a track titled “Jermaine’s Interlude”, he hinted at retirement with the lines “Niggas murkin' each other in murky water, Ias try and swim. How the fuck do I look when I brag to you 'bout some diamond? Said all that I could say now I play with thoughts of retirement”. The second time was at an October concert in 2016 where he announced that that particular performance would be his last for a while. That was discombobulating for a lot of fans as regards the status of his career, only for him release a pre-order on iTunes on December 9th, 2016. Like the 2014 Forest Hill Drive, the album didn’t enjoy any marketing; listening party, social media hype, interviews and the whole nine yards. The album had its first single, “Déjà vu”, released Thirty-one days after the release the album; yet, the album sold three hundred and sixty three thousand (363,000) copies on the first week, making it his fourth consecutive number-one album in the United States. As usual, J. Cole didn’t get a Grammy nomination, but got nominations from Billboard and BET. By January 2017, the album was certified Gold, and was certified Platinum by April. 4 Your Eyez Only remains the most controversial album of J. Cole so far and he didn’t bother to address any of the controversy and let people contemplate until it died out.
Maren Morris is redesigning the future of Country music by releasing an album that follows her own rules and no one else’s. Maren’s sophomore album GIRL was a highly anticipated release in Country Music. After Maren’s previous debut album HERO which sky rocketed her career, fans were eager to see where the star would take her career next. HERO earned Maren a Grammy, CMA, and many other notable career milestones. Since HERO, Maren ventured out of Country Music with her career blazing collaboration with ZEDD “The Middle”. Following recognition for that Billboard Hit she toured and collaborated with former One Direction member Niall Horan. All eyes were on Maren to see what direction she would take this album. Maren did not disappoint. Known for always being true to herself she delivered an album that was full of her own mix of Country and Pop. Every song brings along new meaning to the listener and is one everyone can easily relate to. Taking her recent life experiences such as being a newly wed, rising in stardom etc. Maren brings us along for all of it in this new album. This album has the potential to not only earn Maren more recognition in the Country Music scene but also in the Pop scene. Whatever Maren’s next move is in the music industry she has definitely proved herself with GIRL once again showing the world she is a force to be reckoned with.
There's a saying that goes "To whom much is given, much is expected". That saying is golden and true in most cases. But it becomes scary and terrifying when there's a lot of pressure to deliver, a lot of pressure to do better than you did the last time. At that point, you may be left with no choice than to think outside the box, to do the extraordinary. And when you succeed in doing that, then it will have been worth the whole effort. When Ngerian Banku Music singer, Mr Eazi, first came into limelight, he came with a kind of music with a different kind of vibe. While the majority of Africa was vibing to music made majorly with fast-paced or up-tempo beats, Mr Eazi was busy perfecting the Banku music style which is mostly characterized by mid-tempo beats and some form of Ghanaian synths. Before long, that pattern of music began to gain momentum among African millenials, and right now it has become a well established sound in Africa. Mr Eazi used that sound to create his first album "Life is Eazi, Vol. 1 - Accra To Lagos" mixtape, but after that it was as if that sound was waning. That sound which everyone has now accepted and are now vibing to, and which Mr Eazi is championing was finally beginning to wane and lose momentum. What would Mr Eazi do now? Heck! He was just starting his music career and couldn't afford to go down with his signature sound. He had to think outside the box and do the extraordinary. What would that be? Damn! It would be to take that sound to a new clime and repeat the process. And so Mr Eazi took his sound to London and named that body of work "Life is Eazi, Vol. 2 - Lagos To London" mixtape. How brilliant! So on Friday, 9th November, 2018, he gave all music lovers a gift by way of a new body of work. It was the release of his sophomore album. That mixtape boasts of features from Simi, Burna Boy, 2Baba, Diplo, Lady Donli, Distruction Boyz, Maleek Berry, Giggs, among others and it comes after his "Life is Eazi, Vol. 1 - Accra To Lagos" mixtape, released in February, 2017.
The Musical Success Of The Cher (1987) Album Proved That Stats Do Not Really Mean Much As Long As You Have Loyal Fans And Friendly Radio Stations.
No matter how many changes and experiments the artist does on her music, she always returned to her first love “rock” and this album is one of such albums. "Cher" was the second self-titled album by the artist. The name of the first album was changed to Gypsies, tramps and thieves as a means of ensuring that it was successful commercially. After experimenting with a long series of disco and pop tracks, she finally produced a rock themed album and It was as though her fans and quite a number of radio stations had been anticipating her return. The album caused the artist to top the charts once more. As usual, the tracks on the album’s playlist were written by multiple artists. Whenever I think about the fact that the songs were not actually written by the songstress but yet she always made a perfect delivery it always blows my mind away. The playlist included a brand-new version of her song “Bang bang (My baby shot me down)” which made it clear that the artist was obviously not content with the makeup of the earlier version. It is a good thing the artist had producers work with her all through her career because of the things she accepted musically ended not performing well in the musical world. Despite the friendly reception the song enjoyed from her fans and radio stations, the song ended up not doing too well commercially. According to statistics, the album did not get to the top three of any chart but its tracks were just hanging in the balance between #11 and #47.
I love Michael Jackson because he is a legend. A freakin’ legend! But even legends should not get automatic passes for everything that they put out. All legends are susceptible to creative misses, or sometimes even being out of touch with the ‘times.’ To the best of my knowledge, Michael Jackson’s 2001 album Invincible was his last album that had all-original music. Of course, a more recent album like 2014’s XSCAPE does have re-done recordings (that were basically old unproduced songs that were remixed for the production), but he wasn’t alive when this was released, so it is a little bit of a different situation. With Invincible, the album is not unlistenable, yet suffers from not offering much more than it’s few singles, such as “You Rock My World”, “Cry”, and “Butterflies.” Yes, these singles, especially “You Rock My World” and “Butterflies”, are actually classics today. Whenever these songs come on, I can’t help but start rocking my shoulders, or when I am really feeling it, doing my best Michael Jackson impersonation. But many of the other songs I feel just either sound too similar to one another, or severely lack that ‘hit’ factor. Such a shame, because look at the timing: this album came out in 2001. Meaning, in the 10 years between this album and MJ’s death, he didn’t add anything that I know of to his catalogue. Yes – it is sort of frustrating. But thank god for his ‘eternal’ catalogue – always there for fans like me.
Already as a little girl I admired the series, in which she appeared on a well-known television program, popular mainly among children and teenagers - Nickelodeon. Even then, I had the opportunity to admire Ariana Grande (initially) acting, for example in the well-known series "Victorious". As her huge fan I started following her also as I grew up and it lasts until now. I was in love with her every album. I love the music she creates and the message that often moves me. Following her journey for such a long time, I can express my opinion about what she creates. She has gone a huge way to become who she is now. I must admit that I look at her with admiration every day because of how much she has achieved over the years. Her latest album thank u, next, I consider to be one of the best, if not the best. The album contains great pop songs that are catchy. This is typical contemporary music that most people like listening to. Surely, the greatest hits were "thank u, next" (like the name of the album), "7 rings", "breathin" and "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored.” They definitely made the biggest sensation. To this list I could also easily add the song "bloodline", which is also incredibly catchy and fantastic “fake smile" or "ghostin" are (in my point of view) songs with a larger message. There is, of course, also a list of songs that are of great importance to the artist, such as the already previously mentioned song "ghostin.” I must say that I am very happy that I have had such a great journey with her that I continue to lead. I am also very excited because for the first time in many years I have the pleasure to go on tour (“Sweetener World Tour"), which I am waiting for impatiently. I know that I will experience amazing moments there and I will be able to feel all those amazing emotions flowing straight from my heart for a moment. It must be an amazing feeling to have an opportunity to see your idol, who until now could only be seen on television or in social media.
Sia Kate Isobelle Furler was born on 18 December 1975 in Adelaide, South Australia. Her father, Phil Colson, is a musician, and her mother, Loene Furler, is an art lecturer. Sia is the niece of actor-singer Kevin Colson. She said that as a child she imitated the performing style of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Sting, whom she cites as early influences. She attended Adelaide High School. In the mid-1990s, Sia started a career as a singer in the local acid jazz band Crisp. She collaborated with the band and contributed vocals to their album Word and the Deal (1995) and EP Delirium (1997). In 1997 Crisp disbanded, and Sia released her debut studio album, OnlySee, on Flavoured Records, in Australia, on 23 December. The album sold about 1,200 copies. Unlike her later albums, OnlySee was marketed under her full name, Sia Furler. It was produced by Jesse Flavell. She moved to London, England, and provided lead vocals for the British duo Zero 7. In 2000, Sia released her second studio album, Healing Is Difficult, on the Columbia label the following year, and her third studio album, Colour the Small One, in 2004, but all of these struggled to connect with a mainstream audience. Sia relocated to New York City in 2005 and toured in the United States. Her fourth and fifth studio albums, Some People Have Real Problems and We Are Born, were released in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Each was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association and attracted wider notice than her earlier albums. Uncomfortable with her growing fame, Sia took a hiatus from performing, during which she focused on songwriting for other artists, producing successful collaborations "Titanium" (with David Guetta), "Diamonds" (with Rihanna) and "Wild Ones" (with Flo Rida). In 2014, Sia finally broke through as a solo recording artist when her sixth studio album, 1000 Forms of Fear, debuted at No 1 in the U.S. Billboard 200 and generated the top-ten single "Chandelier" and a trilogy of music videos starring child dancer Maddie Ziegler. In an interview published by NME in February 2015, Furler revealed that the album as a contractual obligation: “Basically, I put this out to get out of my publishing deal. I was planning to be a pop song writer for other artists. But my publishing deal was as an artist, so I had to put one more album out. I didn’t want to get famous, so I kept all the songs I wanted and had fun making it.”
I don’t judge people on what they say or their opinions. I judge people based on the effect they have on others. When Eminem says anything, the world stops. He grew a beard and it made actual news – A lot of people say Eminem is the best rapper of alive. I don’t agree with those people, but they have a legitimate argument. Saying Eminem is the best rapper alive is understandable, but lazy. Rappers are weird because they don’t age like Athletes as much as they age like wrestlers. As long as the charisma is still there their character can still be believable. So with that said Eminem is like the Stone Cold Steve Austin of Rap, he was amazing at his peak but to call him the best wrestler today wouldn’t be fair to AJ Styles or Seth Rollins. If that analogy is too nerdy, Eminem is like The Simpsons of Rap, great at their peak, but calling it the best show on TV in 2019 is insane. This is why it’s so frustrating to have real conversations about Eminem because his legacy outshines his current state. Plus, I’m almost 80 percent sure Eminem fans aren’t rap fans because the things they love about him today aren’t what make rap good. “Oh he rhymes words really fast” “ok but what was the song about” “DID YOU SEE HOW MANY WORDS HE RHYMED” “but I don’t know what he’s talking abo-“ “HE CAN RHYME ANYTHING, HE RHYMED THE WORD ORANGE, HE’S KEEPING HIPHOP AL-” you get the picture. It’s tiring. So with that said let’s get into the surprise album Kamikaze
‘Rap’ a genre so powerful yet so underutilized. A good rap can give you goosebumps, it has that quality of being revolutionary and a bad rap can take your faith away from this whole style. We have always admired rapper from the other side of the globe be it Eminem, NAS, Tupac or countless others who spoke their reality through their rhymes. Of course it was before rap became all about big booties, hot chicks, drugs and sex. Gully boy revived my faith in rap scene in South Asia. It basically showed me why people rap, from where it comes to how it explodes when performed in the right way. Gully Boy is inspired from the life of youngsters living in Mumbai slums and how their difficulties and hardships makes for great rap verses.
The Weeknd is like the Harriet Tubman of OVO. After helping create a new sound and my favorite Drake album “Take Care”, he realized that he was worth more than a potential owl tattoo and a pat on the back from Drake. Through his own cunning and sheer determination, he escaped the OVO sweatshop with the overseer known as Drake and lived to tell the tale. He tried to take PartyNextDoor and DVSN with him, but they didn’t know they were slaves to OVO. He ran off on Drake and built a career all his own with nothing besides cocaine and heartbreak. You can tell that I Love Makonnen thought he would make the same moves but unfortunately, he watched his biggest single become another one of Drake’s. The Weeknd climbed out of the prison like Bruce Wayne in Rises and immediately got to work. Abel is one of the few artists who can announce music and completely shift everyone's mood. He’s like a summer thunderstorm when you’re at Six Flags, all you can do is stop and wait for him to pass before you walk through a much damper world. The Weeknd really is just like a storm except instead of Thunder strikes you hear strange yodeling. The minute you start press play on a Weeknd song things just get Dark and stay there; he's like the Winter Solstice. He’s comparable to the Night King from Game Of Thrones if instead of killing the living to create skeleton monsters, he just made you want to do drugs and have unprotected sex with strangers who take their Instagram photos exclusively with the X-Pro II filter. It goes without saying that people LOVE The Weeknd the way they love their antidepressants. I never got into him because I was well adjusted and was going through a legendary dry spell, so I had no chance to have depressing sex. However, I’ve since caught up and lived a semi sad couple of years, so when I saw that he had a tape literally called “My Dear Melancholy” coming out, I was ready to prepare myself for the pain. I put on a faded black hoodie on over a slightly less faded black tee and a new dad hat (the saddest outfit) and pressed play.
If you ever wonder where the term bro-country came from, all you have to do is check out Florida Georgia Line (FGL). Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard introduced us to this style of mainstream modern country that is filled with elements of rock, hip hop and country all smashed together to create catchy tunes that climb the charts. They’ve collaborated with Luke Bryan, Ziggy Marley, Bebe Rexha, and Nelly just to name a few. Bro-country is fun music. It’s ideal for driving down back roads, hanging at the lake and bonfires with your buddies. Dig Your Roots is the third FGL studio album and in my opinion, it’s one of the best. I am a fan and have loved listening to the guys for several years, but this album just blew me away.
Gucci Mane is like the Brock Lesnar of rap. Brock Lesnar used to legitimately beat the shit out of people in the UFC, however now he's settled into fak-I mean "predetermined" fights in the WWE. No matter how “predetermined” these fights are, Brock still looks intimidating and is very terrifying. There was a point where Gucci Mane was legitimately trapping and rapping at the same time. He was rapping about selling drugs and getting away with murder as he was legitimately selling drugs and murdering people. His career was PROLIFIC as everyone knew he was really about that life. However, as he got older he decided to leave the gangsta shit behind. Actually, it was less of a decision and more of a mandated Prison sentence, but I digress. Gucci Mane, like Brock Lesnar, isn't living the life he's portraying, but he is still scary because it is clear that he could go back to that life at any given time. I can go on and on about Post Prison Gucci, but this is about the music and not about the man. So let’s talk” El Gato The Human Glacier”.
For anyone who’s main interest in life is music (everyone hanging out here at Vibbidi, I suppose) I recommend giving ex-Black Flag singer Henry Rollins’ three books “Before the chop” a read. The books compile his chronicles in L.A. Weekly and many of them are centered around his constant search for new music and new artists in every genre possible. The man is an absolute maniac as far as that goes. You can expect him to recommend just about anything, from classic albums (the first Suicide album is an absolute must-have in every record collection) to unknown bands from every corner of the world (Chicos De Nazca from Chile has become a favorite band of mine – thanks, Henry!). One quote from the first book that has been stuck in my mind ever since I first read it was “Music is humanity’s finest hour”. I’m sure you can all agree. And I’m also sure that Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and Nate Mendel – Foo Fighters – agree. Otherwise, “Sonic highways” would probably not exist. Because it is nothing short of an amazing love letter to the wonder that is music.
Continuing on in this saga of Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv is Rage series is the sequel to his 2016 mixtape Luv is Rage, Luv is Rage 2. Fans and critics alike anticipated this moment, in what felt like a century but really only a year of idling, and they were gifted with his debut studio album. During this sizzling period of Lil Uzi gaining followers like a social media savant, a hive of sorts formed for the Philly rapper. He made his rounds onto festival stages, every radio station, graced TV screens, and developed a lovable internet persona that ultimately paid off for his music’s likeability. The charismatic, spit-fire of a rapper played upon fans’ patience, having the album be delayed for months on end, when eventually he released an unofficial EP Luv is Rage 1.5 before the album was set to release later that year in 2017, including 4 tracks that teased fans more so than anything. Fast forward to summer’s end, Luv is Rage 2 was finally out. And we loved it.
If at this point in time you haven’t heard of Young Thug, then I don’t know what to tell you. If by chance you have the time and patience to get caught up on the whole package, this is a great start. Back in 2016, Young Thug caught fans by surprise announcing that he shall from now on be referred to as Jeffrey, his government name, and teased the world with his forthcoming mixtape JEFFREY. It was originally slated to be billed as No, My Name is Jeffrey, but the alien himself decided on being concise. Getting to the point has always been Thug’s m.o. On the cover, he’s positioned in a modeling pose, brandishing a feminine dress by designer Alessandro Trincone. Wait, what? Yeah, you read that right. A dress. Thug has carved out his own lane in the oversaturated Hip-Hop market, by simply being himself. The term ‘alien’ has been used numerous times when discussing Young Thug’s music, because it sounds like nothing else. He even goes as far as naming nearly all the tracks on the mixtape after an artist or celebrity. In this piece, I imagine what a hangout sesh would look like between the alien and some of the artists that uses as track titles.
One of the most favorite singers especially of the youth, Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy being the real name of the musical sensation XXXtentacion, was born in Florida. The artist had started his journey in the music industry through Soundcloud which is a platform for all the people interested in spreading their love for music. Having a great and huge number of fanbase, the artist was able to rise above all the bounds in his past life and touched the hearts of millions of youth. One of the most unfortunate and sad part about the artist was his death when he was shot by a group of four people in a robbery which left his fans disheartened and in shock. The twenty years old artist had left the world, but his songs always lingered all around making his musical journey successful even after his death. Making his debut in the huge English musical industry was the song “LOOK AT ME” which was at first regarded popular in an average rate but secured a great appreciation later when this song was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. SKINS, the album released in the year 2018, was the third studio album by the artist. The rapper and the songwriter’s last album before death, SKINS has received a large popularity and love. The most popular track of the album was “BAD” which was his fifth posthumous single and his third posthumous single to go to platinum. The album’s first release was in the artist’s Instagram profile where he sang first line of the song. The music video became extremely popular with time when it reached over more than 30 million views. The late artist had taken out many anime- styled video clips along with the song and it got many votes and much love from the fans all over the world. The album was made in collaboration with American rapper Kanye West who later also released some snippets from X’s album that had also made many more fans. Taking from the song videos to just the tunes and the lyrics, the album was at the top of the US Billboard 200. It was unfortunate and ill-fated that after 3 months from the release of the album, the artist was shot dead.
I took Take The Crown as an example only because it seems to me that it is what most eloquently describes the career of an artist that baffles me. A record that is not from here, nor from there, that pretends to be everywhere and in none at the same time. In the beginning, as many in the UK and much of Europe know, Robbie Williams belonged to the most famous Boy Band of the time in the British Isles, Take That, and because of the outstanding attention that fans of the band put about Robbie, the idea inside his mind about leaving the band and starting a solo career began to germinate. You know, the artists' ego is huge as the Universe itself and the temptation to shine with their own light and not share credits or reflectors with the rest of the band members is very big. It is not the first, nor will it be the last. Throughout the history of the twentieth century and so far in the twenty-first we can make a long list of artists who have abandoned the original band members or, even, have caused enough problems within their groups to cause the break and thus get the goal of starting a solo career. The way in which Robbie behaved when recording his videos and in the live presentations attracted a lot of attention. Perhaps his unusual facial features and the energy he put into everything he did with the rest of the band, made him stand out from the others and that should also have captivated the executives of the record labels. The conditions to start a solo adventure were given after several very successful albums with Take That and, what had to happen, happened. Robbie Williams announced his departure from the band and one of his main goals was to go to the conquest of the great music consumer market: The United States. The artist moved to Los Angeles to be concentrated one hundred percent and have all possible contact with the industry and the public. At the time of announcing his retirement and releasing his first solo album, he had a great response in Europe (where he was already an idol) however, I believe that the American continent did not have so much enthusiasm. The signs, from the point of view of the business, were clear: we should be very careful in the next attempt and, if things in the United States were not given as intended, we should return to take care of the market that was already held captive and not cause a cooling of it, because the risk of going into oblivion very soon in a market that was not receiving attention, was very large. I think the obsession with the American market was what led to Robbie Williams' ship drifting, however many attempts he made, things never got better on this side of the Pacific Ocean.