Posts in Category: Music News

De La Soul’s Latest Video Breaks Barriers

Hip-hop legends De La Soul recently recorded a track called “Drawn.” This song features Little Dragon, a critically acclaimed alternative R&B band. This song is highlighted by a wonderful performance from Yukimi Nagano, Little Dragon’s lead singer. Despite Nagano’s lush and beautiful vocal performance, this is a a fairly dark and experimental video. The video was directed by J. Anders Urmacher, an up-and-coming director who may achieve much over the course of his career. “Drawn” is the latest single from De La Soul’s most recent album, “And The Anonymous Nobody.” This classic hip-hop band is undertaking a fairly extensive tour over the summer and fall of 2017.

 

It is gratifying to see that De La Soul has continued to produce high-quality material. Fortunately, the activities of this group have been covered by a variety of mainstream music journalists. Without doubt, it seems that De La Soul is poised to continue achieving critical and commercial acclaim for many years to come. I believe this group has certainly earned its status as a deeply influential and well-respected musical act. This group first achieved massive success in the late 1980s when they released “3 Feet High And Rising,” a seminal 80s hip-hop record.

 

I must admit that De La Soul initially achieved recognition for their unusual fashion sense. Unlike most of their peers in rap, this group gravitated towards tie-dye, vibrant colors and imposing hats. Many people compared this group’s image to the colorful fashions of the 1960s and the aesthetic commonly called “flower power.” Fortunately, De La Soul went on to achieve enormous critical and commercial success. Indeed, this group is one of the most lyrically advanced groups in the history of this dynamic music genre. Besides simply representing a fine example for American rap artists, De La Soul is arguably a huge influence for hip-hop artists throughout the world.

 

BET Announces Two New Urban-Themed Documentaries

Recently, BET announced it would release two documentary shows related to rap and R&B music. “The Bobby Brown Story” will chronicle the life and career of the infamous Bobby Brown, the R&B artist who famously struggled through personal problems and a tumultuous marriage to Whitney Houston. This exciting new show will feature the talents of writer Abdul Williams and executive producer Jesse Collins. Because Bobby Brown’s life featured so many ups and down, I’m confident that BET has plenty of material to work with in its quest for true drama. Judging from BET’s previous documentary offerings, it is likely that “The Bobby Brown Story” will stay fairly close to the facts. I certainly hope that Williams and Collins do not exercise too much artistic license as they cover this sensitive and fascinating story about celebrity run amok.

The other documentary series announced by BET is entitled “Death Row Chronicles. As reported by a number of music journalists, this docu-series will follow the story of Death Row Records, a controversial hip-hop music label. Although Death Row was responsible for breaking a number of outstanding artists such as Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, this record label was dogged by scandal from its earliest days. Tupac Shakur was signed to Death Row when his life tragically ended. Reportedly, this documentary will mix music history with true-crime drama. Although you never quite know how any series will pan out, I think it is safe to say that “Death Row Chronicles” bears all of the hallmarks of a successful program. I am glad that BET is stretching its muscles and exploring new territory. Although music documentaries aren’t necessarily the most glamorous types of programs, this variety of informative programming should have a prominent place in any network’s lineup. It remains to be seen if BET will continue producing high-quality documentary shows in the future.

T-Pain is Coming

T-Pain’s newest hit, ‘See Me Comin’, is an aggressive song that reminds listeners of the ups and downs of his career. His lyrics reminisce about his youthful times and how he has transitioned to the top of the hip hop game. Accompanied by a melodic beat and hard hitting drums, T-Pain cements his legacy as an auto tune genius with this piece. ‘See Me Comin’ has been commended by critics for a steady beat and promising longevity. When it comes to the hottest hits, T-Pain has shown again and again that he has mastered this genre of music. This song is part of his latest album, Stoicville: The Phoenix, that was teased in early 2015. In recent interviews, the artist has said that the delay was due to tour dates and VIP events. Now that he has resumed his regular schedule, the album should showcase a wide variety of styles and featured artists. On Billboard, ‘See Me Comin’ has surged to the top 100 and will likely remain there for a while. Similar singles have thrived during the spring months of music where fast paced songs are the most popular. Although T-Pain has shifted his sound over the years, the fundamental tones are still there. Listeners will be pleased to hear a raspy voice during intermissions and a smooth call during the chorus. Overall, ‘See Me Comin’ has been a tremendous success that is supported by a music video. We can visualize the difficulties of T-Pain’s life and how he works to provide a life for the future.

Big TLC Fan? New Music Is Headed Your Way

If you’re a fan of nineties R&B girl groups, T.L.C. is likely at the top of your list. They had a string of major hits and enjoyed a great deal of success for several years. However, since that time, they have largely stayed out of the limelight. This has left behind a huge void that the most devoted T.L.C. fans have surely felt.

 

That’s why when news broke that T.L.C. was hitting the studio again to record an album, so many people were chomping at the bit to get a listen to it. Although there have been delays and the record seems to have taken much longer than expected to complete, a Rolling Stone magazine article wrote that the group announced that the album will drop on June 30,2017.

 

This is incredible news, especially in light of the fact that the group hasn’t released new music since 2003. Even with such a large absence, fans of the group showed their loyalty by donating a whopping $430,000 dollars to a Kicklighter funding campaign to come up with the money necessary to fund a new album. The duo’s manager says that they’ve been working extra hard to try to meet the stated drop date and that this will be their last and final album.

 

I don’t know about you, but I plan to do whatever it takes to get this album. Whether it means standing in line at the music store, camping out overnight outside of a big box retailer or even making multiple calls to radio stations in hopes of scoring an autographed copy. T.L.C. represents everything so many people love about the nineties and this album is sure to bring back a bit of nostalgia from that time. Much love and success to the group and hopefully this album will be one for the history books.

 

7 R&B Songs That Are Lighting Up the Charts

The year is approaching its halfway point, and the R&B sector is on fire. Here are seven of the hottest songs in the industry thus far.

 

  1. Chris Brown – “Privacy”

The celebrated recording artist has been in the industry for more than a decade and knows what people love. “Privacy” is a hit as it gives reference to “Tight Up Skirt” by Red Rat. The Dancehall classic was a hit back in the day, and Chris’ latest single is following in “Tight Up Skirt’s” footsteps.

 

  1. Nicki Minaj – “Regret in Your Tears”

Minaj released “Regret in Your Tears” in March, and it has taken off ever since. Many fans cannot get enough of Nicki’s vocals featured on top of a Caribbean tune.

 

  1. Frank Ocean – “Chanel”

Some believe that Frank Ocean’s latest single is a hint of the artist’s plans to release another album. Regardless of whether or not Ocean has another project on the horizon, “Chanel” is a track that can stand on its own.

 

  1. Kanye West – “Bed Yeezy Season 5”

Kanye West’s latest installment is a gift to the industry. The hit single features The-Dream on its track and is poised to make waves for years to come.

 

  1. Trey Songz – “Nobody Else But You”

Trey Songz’s long awaited album, Tremaine: The Album is in the works. In the meantime, fans can enjoy “Nobody Else But You.”

 

  1. Alicia Keys – “That’s What’s Up”

What better way to celebrate your 33rd birthday than with a hit song? Alicia Keys released “That’s What’s Up” just in time for her special day and remnants of Kanye West’s “So Alive” are present.

 

  1. Sampha – “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano”

Sampha’s emotional track brings out every feeling. The piano drives the song while the lyrics convey Sampha’s heartfelt message.

 

Calle 13’s Residente Explores DNA with New Album

Coming off of the breakup of hip hop group Calle 13, Residente takes his talent to a new project examining his genealogy through music, a documentary film and a book. After doing a DNA test to discover his ethnic origins, the rapper-producer decided to focus his first solo album on a personal story rather than simply make an attempt at further hit songs.

 

Residente’s DNA shows that his genetic history to a number of different locations around the world. Besides his native Puerto Rico, he can trace ancestry to Armenia, China, Ghana and more, making his exploration of his origins a veritable trip around the world. Each track on his new record is essentially a search for these divergent elements and crafted into a concrete piece of musicianship.

 

The self-titled album explores the conceptual details of his journey, while the documentary explores this investigation. Fusion Media Group, a subsidiary of Univision commissioned a book to further the interest in Residente’s story. He tapped a total of 10 different ethnic groups and nationalities to present the culture with his personal organic sounds rather than the digital production of most modern hip hop.

 

Many different artists lend their musical talents to the album. SoKo, a French indie-pop singer of Russian and Polish descent sings on one of the love songs, bringing a European aspect to the recording. Goran Bregovic delivers a brass band from the Balkans to explore a dystopian future. Bombino, a guitarist from Niger, adds African flavor and funk to a track. Most notably, however, is Residente’s addition of Lin-Manuel Miranda, performer and composer of the Broadway hit Hamilton, on the opening track. In his search, it was found that Miranda is his cousin.

 

Born Rene Perez Joglar, Residente was the frontman for Calle 13. The group, composed of sibling family members, is one of the most successful alternative hip hop acts in recent history. So much so, they set the record for most amount of Latin Grammy Awards ever won, with a total of 21. Their music also garnered them an additional three regular Grammy Awards.

 

Chance the Rapper Starts New Foundation for Illinois Schools

It was only a month ago that Chance the Rapper was starting to have a negative image with a governor. This rapper had promised that he would do something to help Chicago and hadn’t come through. However, I have to say that this rapper even offering is a cut above what most would do. Chance the Rapper did have a plan and recently he showed everyone what he planned to do.

 

The New Chance Arts and Literature Fund was created by this superstar to help to fund arts programs. This fund will go to the schools that are most in need of an arts department within their schools. In addition, Chance the Rapper has stated he plans on donating one million dollars of his own money to Chicago public schools.

 

The governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, had sent out a tweet congratulating the rapper on his recent Grammy win. Chance the Rapper was the recent winner of the Best New Artist award. The rapper responded with a request to setup a meeting to discuss the state of schools in Illinois. Rauner agreed to the meeting between the two men. However, the meeting did not go as well at all between Rauner and Chance the Rapper.

 

After the meeting was over, Chance stated that he didn’t like the answers he received from the governor. One thing that could have drawn the ire of Chance the Rapper was Rauner vetoing a bill that would have allowed for more money for schools in Illinois. One of the most shocking parts of the meeting was when Chance the Rapper was heard by an NBC reporter telling Rauner to “do your job.”

 

It appears that Chance the Rapper took the negative tone of the meeting in stride with his new plan. It appears that the relationship between Chance the Rapper and Chicago couldn’t be stronger.

 

Rick Ross Album Debuts High

The music industry is one of the most competitive industries in the world. While most people are unable to gain the following and fandom necessary to make it big, there are a select few artists that always seem to be at the top of the charts. While it can be a very challenging career to pursue, Rick Ross is one musician that always seems to find himself at the top of the charts.

 

Per a recent news article (http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/7743583/rick-ross-top-rb-hip-hop-albums-chart), Rick Ross has a new album out that is already listed among the leaders in the Billboard 100. Rick Ross had a very highly anticipated album called Rather You Than Me, which has jumped out of the gates to make a lot of money in sales. Based on the chart results dated at the end of March, he is currently number two on the Top 100 list.

 

The results of his new album have been very positive overall. The album in the last week sold the equivalent of 106,000 album units, which is one of the highest results of the year so far. Rick Ross is by no means new to the Top 100 list. This is the 12th time that he has been on the top 100 list since he first debuted in 2006. It is also the 10th time that he has appeared in the top 10.

 

While Ross had a very good rating and ranking for his album, some of the individual singles on the album have done well as well. The newest single on the album is Trap Trap Trap, which has been available for more than a week ahead of the rest of the album. This record has individual cracked the Top 100 list and has seen over 7.3 million different streams domestically in the past week, which is a 230 percent increase compared to the prior week. The popularity has also been helped by the release of the music video, which is quickly becoming one of the most watched videos on YouTube today.

 

 

Cafe Dedicated to Tupac Coming to New York

Tupac Shakur was certainly a rapper with a lot of ambition. One of the projects that Tupac wanted to complete, before his tragic death, was opening an eatery. This pop-up cafe will be named Powamekka Cafe and is set to open in New York City. Powamekka cafe is inspired by Tupac’s own personal inspirations, collected from his old writings. This cafe is heading to New York City because of the upcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies. Tupac Shakur will be an inductee this year with Snoop Dogg speaking on his behalf. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony will be taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

 

The Powamekka cafe will be appearing within Sweet Chick, a restaurant owned by rapper Nas. Visitors to New York City can visit the Tupac-inspired eatery from April 7th-9th. There are many Tupac pictures and memorabilia to be found within the Powamekka Cafe. The New York City arrival of the Powamekka Cafe will be the second time this pop-up cafe has made an appearance. The Powamekka Cafe was originally seen in Los Angeles, California.

 

The original Los Angeles Powamekka Cafe had delicious sounding menu items. I would love to try a California Love Chicken Sandwich or Thug Passion Cake Pops. The previously mentioned items are real items from the Los Angeles Powamekka Cafe. Tupac’s notebooks are where the inspiration for the Powamekka cafe came from. Tupac, in a quote obtained from Rolling Stone, wanted to start an eatery that was “peaceful but lavish and comfortable.” I believe there will be many of Tupac’s fans that will visit the Powamekka Cafe. This cafe will only be open for two days which likely means there will be long lines.

 

It is great to see Tupac finally getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He can now take his place alongside other legends of the world of music. The inclusion of Powamekka Cafe in New York City will be a great stop for Tupac fans this weekend. Tupac is a rapper who continues to innovate his legacy, long after his tragic death.

 

Key to City of Detroit Presented to Rapper Big Sean

Big Sean is a rapper that certainly knows the importance of giving back. In the beginning of March, Sean started Mogul Prep, a company made to help children. Mogul Prep has been created to help low-income children learn more about the business side of the music world. Currently, more Mogul Prep events are planned to take place in Baltimore, Maryland and Atlanta, Georgia. The first Mogul Prep event happened in Detroit, Michigan.

 

The Flint water crises was another event that Big Sean wanted to help out with. The rapper donated $100,000 of his own money to help the families involved in the current situation in Flint. In addition, Big Sean also had a recording studio constructed within his old school, in Michigan, for everyone to be able to use. Big Sean continues to show the world the importance of giving back with all of his recent charitable actions.

 

The Mayor of Detroit knew how hard Big Sean had been working for his community. Recently, a ceremony was held to present Big Sean with his very own key to Detroit. The creation of Mogul Prep, in addition to his donations, are all reasons behind Big Sean receiving this enormous award. Big Sean was quick to post pictures and his very own statement about this honor on Instagram.

 

Big Sean is only one of three people to receive the key to this legendary city. The other two people who have received this honor in the past were Stevie Wonder and Berry Gordy, placing Big Sean alongside legendary peers. Sean’s continuing help for his city of Detroit have earned him the honor of being the youngest person to ever receive the key to Detroit. In addition to thanking Detroit and the mayor, Big Sean also thanked his mother for being a great teacher.