So I recently had this debate with a friend on the validity of Nicki as a rapper in the hip hop industry. I couldn’t help but sit back and listen to his arguments on why she could never be historical, so I told him I’d get back to him on it…in the form of a post. Without further adieu, lets get to it. 1. Shock … Continue reading Top 5 Reasons Nicki Minaj Will Go Down in History
Words can’t express how saddened I am by the death of this legendary woman. I tried to write a letter to her this morning, but I couldn’t stomach the fact that she left us so soon. Respect is owed to this woman from artist all over the world, and I am excited to see what the Grammy’s will do for the show tonight. She will … Continue reading R.I.P Whitney Houston
No other picture will do.
As the year comes to a close, I bring you the Best Hip Hop Projects of 2011. The Hip Hop community has had a very interesting boom this year with a lot of NEW artists making a name for themselves. You may have noticed a couple from XXL’s Freshman 10 list. Also expect to see a few other artists who are vets in this league. Overall, 2011 was a good year, especially with the hipster explosion in the 2010-2011 time frame. Artists have evolved in creativity, literary usage, and overall skill to compile their lives and experiences over dope musicianship. The list compiled below includes both mixtape and album alike, requiring much contemplation and effort pondering which project is better than the other. The rating scale considered skill, the ratio of good tracks to the total amount per project, the content, delivery, and originality that each artist exemplified. So without further hesitation, here it is.
10.) Pac Div – The Div
Talk about slept on artists, these three guys are one of the most slept on groups out. Pac Div (Pacific Division) is a southern Cali trio of two brothers (Like & Mibbs) and a long time friend (Be Young). Since their first release in ’06, Sealed for Freshness: The Blendtape, these guys have crafted a unique sound aiming at the young adult “hipsters” around the globe. With a theme they like to call “grown kid syndrome” these guys are like your average mid-twenty black males who still live with their parents who happen to rap pretty well and refuse the 9-5 lifestyle. So any experiences around that time in your life, whether it be women problems (Chaos: The Recipe), to coolin’ with the homies feeling yourself and your team (Posted), to the dream of being the greatest at whatever you do (The Greatness), the group covers it. Nevertheless, Pac Div also is known for their hyped and unique ad-libs, and their producer Swiff D keeps them laced with incredible production. Take a hint of some ever before heard Cali sounds from Pac Div.
9.) Mac Miller –Blue Slide Park
Now I won’t say he’s the next Em but, this white boy has amazing talent! Mac Miller is a young artist fresh out of high school making a name for himself in this industry. Miller made history as being the second artist to be number one on Billboard charts from their album from an indie label. This hasn’t happened since The Dogg Pound’s Dogg Food in ’95. Get familiar with Wiz Khalifa’s label mate’s feel good and party music. When life’s feeling great, turn on a track of his and I dare you to act as if your experience doesn’t elevate to new heights. You can put his songs in rotation at the frat-parties like Party on 5th Ave, or you can either chill, or mellow out to songs like, Of the Soul. nevertheless, Miller’s rhyme patterns are to die for as shown with the latter of the two songs aforesaid. This 19 year-old MC is destined to be one of the greats, you can quote me on that.
8.) Young Jeezy – TM 103 (Thug Motivation 103): Hustlaz Ambition
Jeezy is finally back! The much anticipated album is here along with a DVD (The Real is Back) and gives us the same hard-hitting beats and hood classic sound he trademarked way back when TM 101 first dropped. Jeezy’s fifth album comes to us in similar form with a couple of nice yet unusual features such as Jill Scott; you’ll be much appreciative of what she has to offer on Trapped just like I. Some features consist of vets like Jay-Z, his new signee Freddie Gibbs, and the legendary 3 Stacks (Andre 3000) on the hit single, I Do. The story of Jizzle’s rize to fame and fortune continues with completion of the Thug Motivation trilogy. So just as you did before, turn the speakers all the way up, and ride to this!
These are a select group of artist that get rare radio spin, underground respect, and if you ask the average sucka joe, they won’t know who these kids are. If you visit my site, then you probably rock with these cats… 10. QuESt ScHoolboy Q 9. Stalley 8. Dom Kennedy 7. Curren$y 6. Rockie Fresh 5. Pac Div 4. Freddie Gibbs 3. Big K.R.I.T 2. … Continue reading Top 10 Slept On Artist: 2011 Edition
The 10 Best R&B Singles of 2011
By: Michael Hamilton (@MikeHamiltonJr)
Thursday, December 29, 2011
2011 was certainly an odd year (both literally and figuratively) R&B/soul music. This is solely due to the fact that, unlike previous years, nearly all major releases within the genre (both albums and singles) did not cross over heavily. In fact, none of the singles on this list reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100—including the most popular and most successful R&B song of 2011 (which did make the list, see below). But, as noted in the top 10 R&B albums article, R&B as of late has taken a more secluded direction, where most of the music and artists do not cross over as heavily as they once did maybe 5-6 years ago. Instead, the R&B community has become more closely-knit, which in turn, keeps much of the music within the direct listening confines of the genre’s devout fans.
Despite this interesting turn, there are still strong records being released in the genre. The top ten best of those singles that were released this year are listed below:
10. “So in Love,” Jill Scott [feat. Anthony Hamilton]
Released during the height of springtime, Jill Scott’s “So in Love,” featuring fellow soul singer Anthony Hamilton, was the perfect lead single for Scott’s fourth studio album, The Light of the Sun. The great thing about the record is its mellow, mid-tempo beat, combined with unusually restrained vocals from both Scott and Hamilton. Give it some time and it just may join Cameo’s “Candy” and Maze/Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let Go” as standards at Black get-togethers.
09. “4 AM,” Melanie Fiona
The second single from her forthcoming sophomore album, The MF Life, Melanie Fiona’s “4 AM” has gained the budding superstar a groundswell of new fans. The main highlight of the record is its dramatic production that builds gradually over the course of nearly five minutes. Fiona’s airy delivery adds the ideal touch, complementing the production perfectly.
08. “Sure Thing,” Miguel
Released as the second single from his debut album, All I Want Is You, Miguel’s “Sure Thing” effectively solidified him as a powerful new force in contemporary R&B. The singer’s laidback performance and the song’s catchy metaphors made it an undeniable hit on urban radio, hitting #1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for one week back in May.
The 10 Best R&B Albums of 2011
By: Michael Hamilton (@MikeHamiltonJr)
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Some make the argument that R&B isn’t what it once was, or that it isn’t as “good” as it was throughout the ‘90s and during the early ‘00s. However, as evidenced by this list, it has become more apparent that the landscape of R&B has simply changed. To discover great R&B and soul today, one can no longer rely on Top 40 or mainstream urban radio anymore. Currently, the state of R&B is more secluded—meaning that there are fewer mainstream, crossover R&B releases, which subsequently requires real soul fans to discover the great music that is still being made in the R&B genre.
While not a big mainstream or commercial year for R&B, 2011 still provided many great artistic moments from some of the industry’s more established names, all the way to a few breakout newcomers.
10. Love After War, Robin Thicke
On his fifth studio album, singer Robin Thicke continues to impress listeners by diversifying and varying his growing body of work. Love After War takes a much different creative approach than its predecessor, 2009’s Sex Therapy: The Experience. While the love-making songs are still a trademark on his latest set, Thicke talks more about world and social issues here, a displayed on tracks like “The New Generation” and “Never Give Up,” and he does so with impressive, old school soul sensibility.
09. Where It All Begins, Lalah Hathaway
Her fifth release in 21 years, Lalah Hathaway continues her family’s legacy of brilliance on Where It All Begins, her second album under Stax Records. Fans of Hathaway should be thoroughly pleased with the album, as she remains true to herself by continuing to perform the refined brand of soul that made Anita Baker, Sade and Toni Braxton so successful. Though not as great as her last album, 2008’s Self Portrait, Where It All Begins is still a welcomed listen from beginning to end.
08. Stone Rollin’, Raphael Saadiq
Raphael Saadiq has had an impressive career and made valuable contributions to R&B for nearly 25 years now. And he’s shown no signs of slowing down. Stone Rollin’, the singer/songwriter/producer’s fourth solo studio album (ninth overall—including Lucy Pearl and Tony! Toni! Tone!), shows Saadiq sticking to old school, ‘70s-themed soul. He has adapted an excellent knack for the sound and continues to thrill both fans and critics alike. (The album’s lead single, “Good Man,” is currently nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance.)
It’s been nine years today since Grammy-nominated R&B star Aaliyah died in a plane crash returning from her “Rock The Boat” video shoot in the Bahamas. She’s stellar proof of someone whose music truly made an impact on fans and still resonates today. Among her many hits are “Rock The Boat,” “Are You That Somebody?”, “Back & Forth,” “If Your Girl Only Knew” and the … Continue reading In Retrospect: January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001 R.I.P. Aaliyah Dana Haughton