I was first introduced to Jhené Aiko on Kendrick Lamar's "Growing Apart." Her voice is gentle and somewhat tinged with a sultriness that often encroaches on cutting aggression. Aiko understands where to emphasize her voice, wrapping it around the lyrics to achieve a hypnotic mix of hip hop and R&B. Souled Out, the debut from the singer is made up of mid-temp melodies that emerge as freestyles, rather than songs. This is not a bad thing because Aiko has stated that her process of recording music is one of letting it unfold rather than rushing.

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Originality is such a hard thing to come by these days that it’s no wonder you’ll see so many movies, TV shows and music that look and sound the same.
 When is the last time you heard a song or movie that you couldn’t compare to something else prior? Probably never. That doesn’t mean that originality or creativity has died, but just means that people have a brand new way of seeing things. One of the greatest movies of all times, Star Wars is often compared to Star Trek. They have forums of geeks and nerds sighting the familiarities between these two, I’ll save you the time and say that I’ve seen all the Star Wars series and none of the Star Trek franchise despite their many TV shows and spin-off movies but I'm aware of how they tend to overlap each other in some aspects.


Blacc Hollywood is the fifth studio album from Wiz Khalifa - the rapper known for creating chill songs about getting high and living the high life. Being more of a fan of his mixtapes because he seems to offer more impactful, heavy-hitting rhymes on those, listening to Blacc Hollywood solidified my opinion even further.


Being born in the 90’s certainly touched the new up and coming triple-threat artist Jo’zzy aka @dopebyaccident in a special way. She’s the protégé’ of super producer Timbaland and a talented singer/songwriter/rapper. Not only is the 90’s an inspiration and influence, but a way of life for this 24 year old; whose real name is Jocelyn Donald. She says of new single “Tryna Wife”, “It’s just nostalgic music and only the beginning. Some of today’s R&B and Hip-Hop can be so watered down and cookie-cutter, but my style of music makes you think of the 90’s.”


"They only get to see a certain part of your life and it’s not even fifty percent. It may be about fifteen percent of your life that these people are getting to watch so that’s never a good thing because you become this fifteen percent of what people get to see and there’s way more to most of us that are on that show..."  ~Bambi


“One thing I feel that happens a lot on the urban side of music, not as much on the mainstream pop side of music is that if artists don't come out for a few years, we forget that we loved them. This was not just some song I liked, but this was my favorite group in the world. I feel like the urban audience, we don't hold our stars up like the pop audience do. Their stars will put out an album tomorrow and it will still be double, triple, quadruple platinum…”  
~Brandon Casey of Jagged Edge 


 
 

 

 

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Every week there is a new bunch of freestyles.  But seems there is no one reviewing them.  So introducing... 

Freestyle of the Week reviews

The best Riff Raff cuts juxtapose his absurd lyricism with a sense of sybaritic danger; think the slow-burn smolder of "Bird on a Wire." To that end, Kirko Bangz's "Shirts By Versace" seemed destined for Jody Highroller appropriation, with a dreggy sound that snakes and sparkles like a Caraquenian disco ball.

Read more: Freestyle of the Week Review: Riff Raff, "Shirts By Versace Freestyle"

Left recently on the killing floor of a mid-size Southern newspaper's editorial abattoir was a particular description of Chicago native Chance the Rapper's vocal stylings which I felt to be particularly apt: that he takes to the beats like a coursed hare.

Read more: Freestyle of the Week Review: Chance The Rapper, Sway in the Morning Freestyle

Despite abutting, as it does, a review/essay--predominantly essay--on Rick Ross' freestyle treatment of the very same song, one would not expect to find much in the Game's rendition, by way of comparative analysis. This is because, for most of his career, Game has occupied roughly the same end of the Voice-Skill spectrum as Rozay, hovering comfortably closer to the former rather than the latter.

Read more: Freestyle of the Week Review: The Game, "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe Freestyle"

To fulfill the titular obligations of this column, let us address Rick Ross' freestyle upon Kendrick Lamar's "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe":

Read more: Freestyle of the Week Review: Rick Ross, "Don't Kill My Vibe"

The most striking imagery from Drake's "Started From The Bottom" visuals--edging out a bevy of comely, Isis eyelinered women and a preponderance of ridiculous dances, including a spiraling, hand spinning, maple-leaf-in-an-updraft maneuver and a high stepping, elbow locked march suspended above Toronto in front of a black and gold, owl emblazoned billboard--comes early; Drake and a topless Bentley, white as a blank page, white fur, white pants, white shoes, white shirt, gleaming silver jewelry, creeping along the road in a manmade cacophony of too perfect snow, moving fast while the skeletal branches in the background remain still.

Read more: Freestyle of the Week Review: Spenzo, "Started From The Bottom Freestyle"

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