June/July Music Month Favorites

SZA – The Weekend (2017)

SZA, pronounced Sizza, dropped her very anticipated album Ctrl., very recently to positive receptions and reviews, and there is song that caught my eye via the iTunes sample, and it is “The Weekend”. There has been a long discussion about the topic of the album in its entirety about being a “side chick” confessional (which I dont think so tbh), and this song is a highlight of the topic. “My man is my man is your man, heard its her man too”, I was like wahh?, I hear you girl… I overall love this synthesizer, quiet snap, bass laden song that makes the listener really focus on the vocals and the lyrics, which she perfectly delivers.  She also performed this on her debut of performing on the BET awards, I thought it was a nice choice.

Update: She has spoken!

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Azealia Banks – Chi Chi (2017)

The infamous Azealia Banks, who I stan for btw, released her 2nd post-album single, since “The Big Big Beat” from SLAY-Z, last year, a heavy hip hop song that steers away from her typical “hip house” music, a perfect blend of rapping over euro-house/EDM/ type-ish music, coined “Witch Hop” specifically for her. “Chi Chi” displays why she is one of the greatest female rappers out today. Lately she has been focusing on her self care products, a therapeutic break from drama caused via Twitter and released a nice treat for her fans until the release of her highly anticipated mixtape, Fantasea 2: The Second Wave, set to be released later this year, the successor to Fantasea, released in 2012, her first mixtape that propelled her to be noticed by top hip hop artists and high fashion houses.

Kendrick Lamar – GOD (2017)

Kendrick’s album has been on heavy rotation since its release, and every month, I feel like I have a new favorite song. Currently I’m very into “XXX” and “GOD”, also “LUST” is beginning to be one of my new favorites. How do I feel about the track? Basically these very funny set of twins interpret it pretty well. (skip to 21:58 mark for GOD).

The production to this album is honestly next level, Kendrick challenging himself to be better on this album does not go unnoticed. I watched a recent interview of him with Big Boy and it really tied his process and his personal feelings about the album together nicely. Heres a Coachella performance of the song since it hasn’t officially been uploaded to YouTube. Also K-Dot if youre reading this come to Memphis….Ok. Bye.

Kari Faux – Law of Attraction (2016)

I ran into this song by Spotify and it instantly reminded me of Oakland based production, old school wise like Too Short and new school, like new XXL freshman, Kamaiyah. This influence makes sense since Kari Faux has recently spent a large amount of time residing in Los Angeles for the recording process of this album, hence the name, Lost in Los Angeles. This Arkansas native was one of the first artists I did an album review on, with her mixtape Laugh Now, Die Later, released back in 2014 and has since released her latest work last year and has collaborated and partnered with Childish Gambino being on his mixtape STN MTN, and with vocals on this song “Zombies” on his critically acclaimed album Awaken, My Love!.

Imma just throw her “Fantasy” video out there too just cause I love the direction, also does anyone else think she is Solange’s doppelgänger?

La Chat – Ghetto Ballin (2001)

Lately I been on a roll as being a personal advocate for the true respect and recognition that Three Six Mafia deserves lately, and have just been discovering songs from their earlier albums and mixtapes. So Im in the car and my cousin plays Project Pat’s “Ooh Nuthin” from his most known work, his Mista Don’t Play album, released back in 2001. So on the album they make a shout out about La Chat’s album Murder She Spoke, released that same year. Im like, Im on a roll of discovering some good music from my fellow Memphians, so I sample her music on iTunes. Im in love, BUT they only have the partial album, meaning you can only purchase songs individually, and I have yet to find a physical copy of her album, so far the cheapest has been about $35.00…..(la Chat if you are reading this, help a sista out), but when I can get to one I need to cop. Beside my personal woes, this was one of my favorite songs during my listen with a verse equally set with DJ Paul, Juicy J, and Queen La Chat, delivering hard hitting verses. I hope to do an in depth look at Three Six Mafia and their impact on trap music and being the firsts to create this very popular genre, and essentially being 20 years ahead of everyone.

Vince Staples – SAMO (2017)

The homie Vincent, who I don’t now personally at all, but Im sure if we knew each other I would only call him “The Homie Vincent”. But the homie Vincent just released his album Big Fish Theory that gave me heavy Azealia Banks teas, in terms of the fact that it is a merge of hip hop with EDM-ish/House type production, in which he (that made me very happy that #heknows) schooled The Breakfast Club about House music being created by black people in Chicago, so technically we are reclaiming it like we are reclaiming our beloved country music thanks to Queen Bey and Thugger. Vince is usually known for his intelligence and wittiness, as countless music interviews allow him to speak on off-the-music topic issues such as “the culture” being black culture (all true btw), to his personal life and experiences, to his love of Sprite™. He is known for being able to voice his opinions, whether agreed upon or not, in a very coherent, and very persuasive way. But besides his singles he released, SAMO caught my attention when listening to his album because of its heavy/synthesizer manipulated voice and production.

Other Notes

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New Edition – I just want to say that New Editions tribute performance by the cast and the actual group just completely re-sparked my obsession with not only their music, but the cast as well, of course. So I been heavy on “If It Isn’t Love”, Bobby Browns “Don’t Be Cruel” album, which featured a lot of those songs you hear as a kid and then you grow older to realize who actually sung those songs. I got my bop on to Ralph Tresvant’s “Sensitivity” and had an epiphany that Ricky Bell may have been one of the best singers in the group after listening to some BBD, especially “When Will I See You Smile Again? Whether you agree with me or agree with me, New Edition as a whole has been having a great year since the showing of The New Edition Story on BET, which was AMAZING y’all.

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JAY Z – Jay just released his critically acclaimed, very dissected, and already platinum in 32 languages, album 4:44. With commentary on Kanye, Future, his personal life (whether you believe it or not), kinda everything just on the table. Besides his album, in which you can probably find thousands of articles, written by people who are huge fans of his, that can go more in depth than I can, but this album made me realize how much of a shift the music industry is going through in terms of sales. The release of Beyonce’s self-titled album back in 2013 planted the buggy in my ear but this album, 4:44 made that little bug scream. We all know sales in albums decrease cause the vast and quick change in technology allows us to download music illegally, also streaming services will have the album on their site the moment it drops, so if you got your free 30 day trial at Spotify or wherever, you can listen to an artist’s album in its entirety without dropping a dime, so with that, sales decrease significantly, even to the point where RIAA had to count streams as a sale. Artists now rely heavily, from what I understand, on touring to get the real money in. But Jay Z, especially when he dropped MCHG back in 2013, instantly gave him a platinum status, cause technically, customers of that cell phone service bought it. Jay flipped the script, and created a new method of selling an album in collaboration with a phone company, something that is a necessity to a lot of people. I’ll save a deep convo for a podcast one day, but I am taking a note on this interesting shift we are witnessing.

Until next time…

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