Can you give me a minute? I mean, I'm trying to pivot from the song I just heard on the radio (Flo Rida's "Welcome to My House") to your new album, "Don't Look Down". Can you maybe ease into the album a bit? You know, start off with something laid back. Perhaps you could do a nice little instrumental intro. That would help transition me back into weightier content.
Well, after listening to the first song, "Pounds of Pressure," I see that Mr. Lif did not get my letter. Geesh! This dude gets right into it. First song out the gate is reminiscent of a grimy, gritty Ghostface Killah street tale. Perhaps the album will calm down a bit on the second track, "The Abyss." Nope! This song is a continuation of "Pounds of Pressure" and the beat is arguably the most exciting one on the project.
We are only two songs in and already we have something special on our hands. Mr. Lif is a gem. He has a unique voice: both in how his voice actually sounds and in how he delivers his point of view. He doesn't just put words in motion. He carefully hand selects words, rearranges them in interesting ways, and effortlessly blows them over beats.
I like the beats on this album. I like them, but I think they flirt as the only flaw in the album. They are good and that's the problem. Mr. Lif is light years beyond good. There are moments where the beats really capture me (i.e. 'iLL' & 'Whizdom'), but overall they only provide the background to Lif's performance. The nice thing about the production is that it does not get in the way; it is not cluttered. It does not take away from Lif's skills. I just wish it supported them a bit more.
The features on the other hand definitely support Lif. Early on we hear singing by-way-of hook from Taylormade, Selina Carrera, & Erica Dee. And they all work well. Taylormade offers this beautifully eerie sound, Carrera brings a more demanding jazzy voice, and Dee is gentle and welcoming. Each is unique and adds to the vibe of each song.
Now that we've heard the singing features the guest emcees are up to bat and they come out swinging. Blacastan rips a fiery verse at the end of the Edan-produced 'Whizdom.' We'll call it a single. The very next track, "Mission Accomplished" features The Perceptionists with Fakts One on the beat and Akrobatik trading syllables with Lif. Yes, Syllables. Most features these days are not even features. It's some dude in California recording a verse and e-mailing it to some cat in Chicago. Slap it on a beat and call it collaboration. That's not the case here. Lif and Akrobatik literally go back and forth sometimes finishing each others' words. Dope. We have Blacastan, Lif, and Akrobatik, on base: time to bring in the heavy hitter, Del the Funky Homosapien. And the ball is out the park; grand slam. The features on this album from the singers to the emcees are top notch.
Then there is Mr. Lif himself. He is no doubt the best part of this album. His lyrical content is on point like always. Lif has consistently rapped truth to power, challenged the status quo, and told engaging stories throughout his career. "Don't Look Down" does not deviate. Instead, it adds.
Lif also brings a fresh touch of vulnerability to this album. There seems to be a softening of heart here. Don't get me wrong; Lif still brings the raw. But, it feels seasoned with tenderness. During the final song "Don't Look Down" Lif raps, "I'm just trying to make a little sense of it all. Before I fall from walk to crawl to maybe even nothing at all." When I hear this I can't help but think that perhaps this entire album is a journey: a journey for deeper meaning in the midst of chaos. Perhaps that is why we are not to look down. Perhaps down can also be the past. It is the known, but not the ideal. It is what feels safe, but entirely too dangerous for us to remain.
Maybe Mr. Lif did receive my letter. He certainly did not begin his new album on a chill note, but by the time I got to the final song, "Don't Look Down," I was reclining back peering up into the annals of my life. Then I quickly began thinking about my present and future possibilities. I smiled. Huh. Perhaps I won't look down again.
In the final scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans at long last learned the answer to the question that bugged them the most during the buildup: “Where’s Luke Skywalker?” Arriving on a mysterious island in an uncharted part of the galaxy, young Rey finds the grizzled hero at the top of the “Jedi Steps,” holding out Luke’s old lightsaber as a way of asking him to rejoin the fray. The movie’s screenplay revealed that this planet is named Ahch-To. To shoot the now famous climactic sequence, J.J. Abrams and crew went to Skellig Michael in Ireland.
Rian Johnson was able to use the location to film some scenes for the upcoming Star Wars: ...
NOTE: This post contains SPOILERS for Batman V Superman.
Over one month after release, there’s still no shortage of criticism for Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – and with Captain America: Civil War set to open in UK theaters this week, conversation between DC and Marvel die-hards is only going to get more contentious. We’ve said it before, regardless of which comic publisher-turned-movie studio a given viewer prefers, it’s a great time to be a superhero fan – making it all the more unfortunate when passionate feelings turn to rancorous arguments.
It is only a few more weeks before Deadpool is released on Blu-ray and DVD — though the film has already made its digital debut. Given how big of a push the movie’s marketing campaign made up to and even after its theatrical debut, some would assume that fans have seen most of what we’re going to see from the Merc With a Mouth.
As it turns out, there’s still a little more for the film to show, particularly about how Deadpool actually came together. A new video showcases the technical wizardry and craftsmanship that went into the mask that was such a big part in bringing the character to life. The video even includes details on some unexpected customizations that made working in the mask easier for Ryan Reynolds.
(AllHipHop News) On April 26, Black Thought will host a special film screening of The Last Dragon. The screening is the first in a series of events highlighting classic throwback movies with memorable soundtracks. Each event will benefit Black Thought’s charity, GrassROOTS Community Foundation, which provides health and wellness programs for impoverished women and girls.
Fans unable to be in New York City that night can still take part in a digitally. The event will live stream exclusively on blackthought.com. The website will officially launch in Summer 2016 featuring original content, new music from Black Thought, and more.
Online viewers will be able to join in by watching the film at home and live tweeting along with the theater audience. All participants will also have a chance to win autographed merchandise from Black Thought, Taimak and El DeBarge.
The Last Dragon film screening event is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26 at Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn. To purchase tickets visit eventbright.com.
P.A.T Junior has been giving us snippets and previews of everything he's been working on this year in prep for his LP slated to drop later this year. However with a slight change of plans the North Carolina artist will be dropping an EP to get you ready for the full-length. The second single from said EP is "There's A Cooler Way!". This track features Pat's BLCKCNVS member TheDeeepEnd and the song is just about that keeping your cool regardless of circumstances. Peep the track and tell me what you think of the track in the comments section below.
If you're riding around this Saturday and you happen to see a bunch of people standing in line outside of that record store that you rarely go in, do not be alarmed, it's not a "Going Out Of Business" sale, it is the eighth annual celebration of Record Store Day.
Record Store Day was started in 2008 by a group of independent record store owners to help spread the word that they still existed and still sold dope music. The celebration that takes place across the country at approximately 1400 stores nationwide often includes cook-outs, body painting, artist meet & greets and whatever else participating stores and shoppers want to do. Each year, limited edition Record Store Day exclusive records are released with features ranging from gold-plated vinyl to never before seen photos in the liner notes. This year's Hip-Hop selection is pretty impressive. So if you are a DJ, collector or someone who just wants to show off here is a list of some of the Hip-Hop albums and singles that will be on sale. Click here to find a map of stores near you that will be participating in Record Store Day on Saturday, April 16.
The Slaughters are an interesting group, aren't they? At this point, the only one who hasn't done an MC/Producer collab is Joe Budden. At the end of 2014 we received "PRhyme", an incredible, yet underrated album. Midway through 2015, Joell Ortiz teamed up with !llmind to produce "Human", an album with more of a narrative than "PRhyme", but with fewer interesting songs. Now, to kick start 2016, we have "Statik KXNG".
Crooked has to me always been the most technically proficient of the group. His nimble and speedy flow has earned him quest features with speed giants like Tech N9ne and Busta Rhymes, and on Slaughterhouse albums he sets the bars high. But of course, without the proper lyrics, fast rapping is like a blunt knife: pointless. Is Crooked as lyrical as he is agile? The short answer is yes. On Statik KXNG, Crook rhymes about some of his usual topics, ranging from his pre-fame broke days, his Shady Records deal, shouting out the greats that influenced him to be the rapper he is today, and of course his haters. These haters are actually referenced quite frequently on this album; "this is really a love story / cause on the low, most of my haters got love for me" comes from the opening track, but the love in this story seems to fade quickly, for on track 3, "Lost A Fan", he laments the fact that whenever he says real s**t, he loses fans. The masses don't listen for the lyrics; they just tune them out entirely. This is happening more and more in rap, and Crook is worried about it, because on this very same track he opens the song with the lines, "turn the TV on, the whole world is f***ed up / turn the radio on, all these party rappers turned up". Crook takes it upon himself, because to him, losing fans is better than selling your soul for views.
Speaking of selling your soul, this brings us to the chorus of track 4, "Everybody Knows", which is probably my least favorite moment on the album. We already know that Crook didn't have to sell his soul, and repeatedly stating that you got money and sex anyway kind of defeats the point. At least be a bit more poetic about it, like Kendrick's "These Walls" is. That's a rap song about sex, but unlike many rap songs about sex, you have to decipher the lyrics to figure that out - casual listeners don't notice. But that's probably one of the only bits of this album I have any kind of problem with - and this song has one of the funniest lines on the album to make up for it: "she want breakfast in bed? B***h better sleep in the kitchen". I thought that was great, and "even Pandora know you n***as suck, I could never listen to your station and expect to hear us" was a great reference too.
"Dead Or In Jail" was the first single released before the album, and it's one of the better tracks on here. Even though Crooked has an insane flow, I actually think he performs best on the more chilled-out songs of the album. 'DOIJ' has a quiet, steadily looping bass line with a slow drum kick that holds most of the instrumental up, dropping out for the vocal sample occasionally. Crooked kicks back here; he's relaxed, and raps about succeeding against all the odds he faced growing up. The chorus is beautiful too, with the female vocals backing him up perfectly. "Stop Playing" follows the same vein, with an uplifting, minimal beat with some delicate, ascending keyboards. It's one of the best instrumentals of the ten songs, and another ode to the fake rappers; "These n***as playin', they playin' man, n***as got ghostwriters and s**t man, ain't nobody real no more, this s**t is all made up, n***a stop playin'!" These two songs, along with opener 'I Hear Voices', are easily the top three songs on this album, at least for me.
The best part about MC/Producer collabs is that the sound is consistent from the start of the album to the end. There are never any beats that feel as if they don't belong, and that's no exception here. A few beats are harder and a few beats are softer, but overall they complement each other well, and Crooked matches the instrumentals every time. I also really like the vocal samples Statik used on a few of the songs, such as 'Lost A Fan', 'Dead Or In Jail', and 'Good Gone Bad'. It's a good rap album to start the year off, and my favorite Crooked project yet. Statik KXNG steers clear of party-filler, abhorrent songs, and just as I was after reviewing "Human", I'm excited for "Glass House".
Last November Sheisty Khrist and LoFidel came together to give us "Cold Winter" a unique record from a production standpoint and lyrical standpoint given the juggernaut that is Sheisty Khrist. Reeling off the success of that record Kno of Cunninlynguists and J-Live have remixed a couple joints from the album that will be released on vinyl. We get a sample of that today in Kno's remix of "Havana Nights" which features Natti from Cunninlynguists. I won't spoil any of it so peep the track below and be ready for the remix singles to drop tomorrow.
Video game publishing juggernaut Electronic Arts is skipping E3 this year, the biggest annual video game trade show event, and they’re doing so to host their own big event for fans and media. One of the games that will be there, a game EA already confirmed is one the ways this fiscal year, is Battlefield 5.
There’s an argument to be made that with this upcoming installment EA and developer DICE need to deliver big, more than they have on any prior installment. Battlefield 4 didn’t innovate much upon BF3, launched with major issues, and didn’t quite have the legs or notoriety of its predecessor, and Battelfield Hardline – developers by EA’s Visceral Games – was an epic disappointment. Add to that the release of DICE’s Star ...