Many of you might recall peepin a snippet of "I Am" in the beginning of Bekay's video for "Brooklyn Bridge" (click here), but here's the full length version (CDQ) . "I Am" which is produced by The Alchemist and features DJ Revolution is Bekay's lead single to "Hunger Pains" which drops Nov. 10th through Coalmine Records. Click here to download the singles off iTunes & stay tuned as the road to Hunger Pains continues.
DOWNLOAD: Bekay feat. DJ Revolution - "I Am" (prod. by The Alchemist)
This collection of songs recorded between 2001 & 2004 encompasses most of my pre-Panacea productions. It features an assortment of artist i used to, and in some cases, still do collaborate with. Also, just to clarify for those who are curious as to who or what "M.A.W.S.L.O.T." is, the acronym refers to the alias i used to go by b4 i started using my real name, K(yle)-Murdock, as my official artist moniker. I actually released this over a year ago through Payloadz.com, but have decided to sell it again exclusively through my Bandcamp Store. Check it out...
You know RapReviews.com got'cha back! We're the cure for your Wednesday, hump day, middle of the work week blues with brand new hip-hop videos to enjoy. This week's selection of videos starts off with something a little more experimental from our friend Trends.
Here Pacewon & Mr. Green are rocking "Four Quarters" in a brand new video.
Long time underground favorite PackFM reveals what the FM stands for in a CultureVI interview!
Mobb Deep's Havoc would like to send a "Letter to P" with this new song.
Day 24 of the Brown Bag Season is represented via this painting by Critical.
Last but not last Kam Moye (Supastition) and friends show us the art of being STUDIO CRASHERS. Thanks for checking out the new videos!
1. Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3 - 476,000 copies sold 2. Miley Cyrus - The Time of Our Lives - 120,000 copies sold 3. Whitney Houston - I Look To You - 88,000 copies sold 4. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2 - 68,000 copies sold 5. Brooks and Dunn - #1s... And Then Some - 55,000 copies sold 6. Trey Songz - Ready - 45,000 copies sold 7. The Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D. - 44,000 copies sold 8. Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk - 41,000 copies sold 9. Kings of Leon - Only By The Night - 40,000 copies sold 10. Taylor Swift - Fearless - 33,000 copies sold
Do you agree with the President? Go to TMZ and check out the audio for yourself. Personally I don't know if he is or not, but I do think Kanye needs to leave the cognac alone when he goes to these awards shows from now on.
Realizing that this decade is nearly up, Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania decided to start a series of special features. The aim is simple: to find out precisely who the "RapReviews.com Artist of the Decade" is - and reward them of course. Expect everyone else to follow his lead! You can read the previous entry for Nas HERE.
If this decade had to belong to just one person, it would probably be Jay-Z. In terms of accomplishments, record sales and a general aura of artistic ability/business nous, Mr Carter (Senior) has done an awful lot in the Noughties. However, he has done a lot of awful stuff too: for every Blueprint, there has been a Blueprint 2; for every Black Album, a Kingdom Come has lurked in the shadows. Even his work as Def Jam President brought Ne-Yo and Rihanna, yes; however, the scrapheap of rappers neglected by Jigga (himself a rapper, oh the shame of it!) piled ever higher over his reign. But without all-round artists of his calibre acting as life jackets, hip hop may well have drowned young in a sea of beef, breakbeats and bullshit. Yet, his relentless pursuit of the Beatles will ultimately prove futile. As I said in my controversial "Blueprint 3" review, it feels as though "Jay-Z is so fixated on achievement that he is losing track of why he wanted to MAKE records in the first place, not just BREAK them." The majority of their number 1 records came in just over SIX years, and, as time wore on, it was in the name of artistic exploration - on the other hand, Jigga will realistically have to keep going until this time next decade to break it. Will he improve year on year? Doubtful.
"Hov's a living legend, and I'll tell you why Everybody wanna be Hov, and Hov's still alive..."
The good, however, just about outweighed the bad - and if "Volume 3: The Life & Times..." had been released less than a week later, he would have released EIGHT albums this decade, even though he effectively took 3 years off in the middle. The guy is a pioneering genius in more ways than one, with a damn strong work ethic to boot, and as hip hop has descended into the bizarre organised anarchy that we are now witnessing in 2009, the continuance of Jay-Z (minus his temporary break circa '04) has been ever welcome. Be it holding us down most summers, feuding/making up with Nas, releasing shoes, his clothing line, the royal celebrity marriage to Queen Beyonce, being Def Jam President, signing a $150m deal with Live Nation, headlining Glastonbury... The list goes on and on. That is why, at this stage in the rap life cycle, a 40-year-old multi-millionaire is so important to an industry so allegedly young, raw and rebellious. His is the face of hip hop. Still.
"The Dynasty: Roc La Familia" (2000) This is one of those strange albums that wasn't really supposed to be a solo effort - intended to highlight his burgeoning ranks of hungry young MC's (enter Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek and Freeway, Jay-Z probably made the right decision in bringing it under his umbrella-ella-eh-eh. It sold shitloads, mainly thanks to an all-time classic club banger called "I Just Wanna Love U". It also ushered in some low-key producers you've probably never heard of: the Neptunes, Just Blaze, Kayne West (I mean, Kanye). This was, along with "Vol. 3... The Life & Times of S.Carter" - which was released a couple of days before the millennium - him at his leanest and meanest fighting weight, as he prepared to step up his game to a higher all-round level. (7.0/10)
Cool Songs: I Just Wanna Love U, This Can't Be Life, Streets Is Watching, Parking Lot Pimpin', The R.O.C.
"Blueprint" (2001) The Blueprint is probably the most important LP that Jay will ever craft. And that is a deliberate choice of word - he crafted Reasonable Doubt, American Gangster and this. The rest are just good/bad albums that he made. But the Blueprint was put together, carefully piecing classic soul-sampling beats from then-rookies Just Blaze and Kayne West (I mean, Kanye), and his rhymes, whilst initially lambasted as over-simplified, were actually the perfect statement of intent that he was going to rule this decade come hell or high water. Sure, technically you could dock half a mark for "Jigga That Nigga" but that would be churlish, since the album, 8 years on, is as fresh and vital as it was that tragic day it dropped. It is actually pretty easy to dislike Jay prior to this LP, but once BP landed it was impossible to see anyone else running this rap shit. (10/10)
Cool Songs: The whole album
"Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse" (2002) This could be labelled as Jay-Z's version of "All Eyez On Me." A double-disc LP where he is buoyed by the confidence of having released "Blueprint" to such acclaim that he decides to bask in the glory of it all. I prefer to think of it as his overblown version of a mixtape - lots of remixes, trying out different genres and (generally) more technically lyrical than the previous LP. Obviously, as a hip hop double LP, it wasn't a classic, but hey, he tried - and there is something to be said for the consistency level. It contains a healthy mix of some fun tracks, narratives and autobiographical experiments. It is almost like he knew that "The Black Album"/Beyonce would be his last LP/woman so he fucks with/fucks as many songs/hoes as possible - kind of like some bizarre career bachelor party. (7.0/10)
Cool songs: A Dream, The Watcher 2, '03 Bonnie & Clyde, Excuse Me Miss, Guns & Roses, Meet the Parents, Blueprint 2, Bitches & Sisters, Excuse Me Miss (Again)
"The Black Album" (2003) Originally a concept that the Notorious B.I.G. wanted to carry out (no promotion, all-black album cover) and refined - clearly as Jigga's "last album," there was no conceivable way that he wouldn't promote it properly. But it certainly was one "last" glorious hurrah, and contains some of the finest and most memorable rap tracks in history, not to mention, in my humble opinion, pretty much the best/purest flow that ANYONE has ever kicked. Don't forget the acapella disc that got remade a gazillion times (including the excellent "Grey Album" by Danger Mouse). Or the "Fade to Black" documentary (I still love that part when Pharrell is hyped up, going on about "Dead Presidents II" and "The World Is Yours" and how he gets Jay out of bed to the studio and plays him "Allure(??!!)" hahaha). So yes, there were a few clangers, including the weak Neptunes opening single "Change Clothes" and some strange sequencing that made "Encore" the fourth track. But the good was SO good on here, it overcame anything and anyone. He definitely "left" on a wonderful high note. (9.0/10)
Cool Songs: December 4th, What More Can I Say, Encore, Dirt Off Your Shoulder, 99 Problems, Public Service Announcement, Lucifer
"Kingdom Come" (2006) Don't call it a comeback... Between tracks like "Diamonds (Remix)" and "Dear Summer" he never truly left. Unfortunately, you could call it a major disappointment, as there was too much filler, average beats and over-capitalistic lyrics about brands normal people hadn't heard of. There were a few special moments, like the heartfelt "Lost One" and "Minority Report" but it says everything that the bonus track "44 Fours" was head and shoulders above all else, easily good enough for "Reasonable Doubt." It wasn't a horrible album by any means - it's just that after all the hype, we were expecting a lot more. (6.0/10)
Cool Songs: The Prelude, Kingdom Come, Lost One, Minority Report, Beach Chair, 44 Fours
"American Gangster" (2007) Perhaps after that letdown, our expectations were tempered somewhat - the anticipation around "American Gangster" wasn't feverish by any stretch. Yet I remember the precise moment I popped the CD in and press play - an hour later I was in shock at just how stunning an album AG was. Certainly not a sequel of any sorts, but it definitely channelled "Reasonable Doubt" and Jay went all out to paint a picture perfect mini-audio movie. Of course, as it was one for the "heads" it went over many a head, and it had no universal hit singles, which led many normal listeners to simply ignore it. Their loss. For if you like brilliant music and exhilarating lyrics, this is chocked full of genuine greatness. (10/10)
Cool Songs: The whole album
"Blueprint 3" (2009) Since the review was only posted last week, and the whole point of this is to use "the benefit of hindsight," we will revisit this circa December '09 and see whether time has been kinder than I was - so we will count this score in the average for now but the Overall Album Average could change a touch. (5.0/10)
Is it a bad thing if you are shown up by every single person on your remix? Perhaps not. Yo Gotit's "5 Star Remix" makes the star of the original practically invisible, but as writer Pedro Hernandez noted in a recent review, Gotti is "a staple of Southern D-boy rap" so he really doesn't need to worry about losing his spot in hip-hop. Hot Rod provides the kind of neo-Lil Jon beat that's infiltrating the Billboard charts and FM radio spots in 2009, and even though most of the biters owe the King of Crunk some royalties, the song works. Trina brags about having a pussy so famous that "all you gotta do is google Trina, see the poontang" (try that and see if it works) while Boosie shows love for a chick he swears is the "baddest bitch up in the zip code." Gucci Mane's performance, I could take it or leave it, but his obnoxious "Gucci this, Gucci that" style is at least distinctive and noticeable. Gotti is completely lost in the mix here but that's just fine - it's a fun if essentially vapid hip-hop song.
Artist: Salemme f/ Red Cafe Title: It's Movin' Label: Salemme Music
"Wait Cafe, shut down the whole city/Shine like Big, Bad Boy, P. Diddy/He's movin shifty in the E-350/Fo'-five rip through you see skin drippin/Not a mobster, more like a monster." Rhode Island rapper Salemme reached out personally to RapReviews.com for coverage, and from a glance around the internet I can see he's hit up boards from UGHH to Boston Hip-Hop. He's definitely hustling to get noticed, and I can respect that. Getting Red Cafe to bless your debut single definitely puts him a notch above the average unsigned East coast rapper. Salemme's flow is distinctive, a higher pitched gangsterish cross between AZ and Inspectah Deck, and the unnamed producer provides a nice albiet noisy backdrop. I'm not grousing about being unable to hear Salemme's rap though, because from what I can tell they're run of the mill kingpin of the streets lyrically. Salemme shows some potential though and definitely has the heart and desire to keep grinding, plus a few good connects that should help along the way.