Friday, February 25, 2011

2010 Music Review (C): Top 10 Albums

This was by far the hardest list to compile. There was so many good albums that dropped in 2010. It was an excellent year and it was tough to narrow down the list but I did the best I could. Unfortunately some very good albums (Solider of Love, Distant Relatives, Sir Lucious Left Foot, New Amerykah Pt 2) didn't make it and some that I didn't have a chance to listen to (All I Want Is You) missed my list as well.

Honorable Mention:

Recovery - Eminem
This was a very honest album for Em. He spoke about his struggles and not just the typical bad mom and baby momma stuff he usually talks about. He mixed up the album with some traditional funny clowning tracks but some serious ones showing his range. He put forth a lot of effort lyrically, which he doesn't always do. No question that when he does, its heat. This was a very good album. #respect

Still Standing - Monica
I've always liked Monica and her music. Her albums are always pretty good and this one was too. It was very emotion filled as a reflection on her life to that moment: surviving struggles, becoming stronger and being fully in love. Absolutely love "Love All Over Me" and the other songs on the album because you can feel the love through her voice.

Kaleidoscope Heart - Sara Bareilles 
Instantly became a fan when I saw her in Rhapsody commercial. She flies under the radar because of some of the higher profile piano playing songstresses but I think she is of equal or even greater talent then some of them. This a very good album, a nice follow up to her debut. Its not as strong though, probably because Sara's piano playing is not the focal point. Nonetheless I like this album, a smooth listen all the way through.

The List:

10. Love Me Back - Jazmine Sullivan
I really love Jazmine, one of the ladies of the New Guard of female R&B. Loved her debut and was looking forward to this album. Love it. Her voice is so dope and despite her age she sings about some real serious topics. Even her relationship songs aren't just the typical youthful love and heartbreak types but about struggles of relationships. I like how she's not afraid to express her flaws and fears on certain tracks, she's real honest.
My Tracks: "Excuse Me" "10 Seconds" "Famous"

9. Thank Me Later - Drake

"All of this is new to me, I'm still learning to behave and spending every dollar they encourage me to save."

Well you already know how I feel about this album, wrote a whole post on it. It's a real dope debut and easy to relate to for us youngsters reaching our new levels of "stardom." Jimmy Brooks did his thing, especially considering the hype he had going in. He handled the expectations very well, something we worry about with other members of the New Guard of Rap.
My Tracks: "The Resistance" "Unforgettable" "Light Up"

8. Passion, Pain & Pleasure - Trey Songz
Makes the list of the strength that this was my girl's favorite album from last year. Seriously though this joint was under the radar especially in light of how great Ready was, but it was hittin. Trey did his thing on this joint. The concept was dope with the 3 splits and he was a lot more smooth less raunchy on this album.
My Tracks: "You Just Need Me" "Made To Be Together" "Passion"

7. How I Got Over - The Roots

"All cried out because I grew up crying."

This joint was excellent. The Roots don't get the respect they deserve. Black Thought is so ill lyrically. I love this album and how it deals with life, struggle and motivation. Its a very reflective album, for them and for me. It made me think about tough times, appreciate making it through them and motivates me to keep going. Real powerful album.

6. The Sea - Corinne Bailey Rae

"Yea it leaves a scar, so show me how to find it again, if I'm lost show me where you are"

After the self-titled debut we waited a long time for this album but only because the woman experience the death of her husband. For that reason this album differs vastly from its upbeat, happy predecessor but it reflects her emotions at the time. Its a bit gloomy and ominous but its real deep. Love is the main theme: dealing with the difficulty of losing someone you loved, but also the hope love brings. Took a while to get into because of the contrast from the 1st but certainly was worth the effort as I appreciate it it so much now.
My Tracks: "Diving for Hearts" "Are You Here" "I'd Do It All Again"

5. The Lady Killer - Cee Lo Green

"Can nonchalance be ambiance? Of course"

In December my company (#allbeige) had the holiday party and guess what was bumping? This joint. I was surprised to say the least but I thought about it and thats the best way to describe this album: Surprisingly Awesome. This album came out of nowhere and was rocking, hard. Its a great mix of songs, some real smooth ones and some to get a party poppin. Great listen all the way through. Thanks for the surprise. 
My Tracks: "Bodies" "I Want You" "Wildflower"

4. Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager - Kid Cudi

"Rage...cuz I'm paid"

This album took me a while to get into. At first it seemed a little darker than the first one but as I kept listening I realized it really wasn't. Of course Cudi still does his typical emo complaining on this one but not as dramatic as he did on the first. The emotion is why I like Cudi though, he feels safe expressing his. I respect that. I also respect the fact that he has the perfect remedy for dealing with those emotions: Raging.
My Tracks: "Mr. Rager" "Ashin Kusher" "Don't Play This Song"

3. Come Round Sundown - Kings Of Leon

This joint rocks #literally. These are some dope beige dudes. I loved there last album so I was looking forward to this joint. Its really good. I listened to this for a while, even after Kanye dropped MBDTF. Thats how much I liked it. The music is excellent with all the guitars, drums and what not (rock band stuff). I find myself playing an air guitar, air drums or being the lead singer whenever I listen to this album.
My Tracks: "Pickup Truck" "The End" "The Immortals"

2. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West

"I found bravery in my bravado"

This joint is crazy. 'Ye not only lived up to the expectations he exceeded them. No one could have imagined an album this awesome. 'Ye did some ridiculous things on this albums, mixing so many different sounds and types of music and having some great features. 3 or 4 songs could be argued as the song of the year. Many peoples pick as album of the year and certainly worthy.
My Tracks: "All Of The Lights" "Devil In A New Dress" "Gorgeous"

1. Teflon Don - Rick Ross

"F*** maintaining I gotta keep ballin"

My favorite album from 2010. I was waiting patiently for it to drop and when it did I was a lil disappointed because I had heard already heard half the album. The disappointment didn't stop me from bumping it for months though. I really like every song on it, except the last track. I like Ross's mix of foolishness and skillfulness. It was a great album. Oh yea, I saw him in concert too.
My Tracks: "Free Mason" "Ashton Martin Music" "BMF"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2010 Music Review (B): Top 10 Mixtapes

This was by far the easiest list to compile simply a by product of my weak mixtape game: only had 21 to choose from.

Honorable Mentions:

G.O.O.D Ass Mixtape - Kanye West and the G.O.O.D team

Its a collaboration tape and I like it because of that. I know this idea isn't original but G.O.O.D could make a claim as the best team of artists in the game. There is so much talent on the label and this was their showcase. There are of course some bums on the label too so the tape isn't great but its real solid with some dope songs from the dope artists. 

Slime Flu - Vado
I think Vado is a poor man's Juelz Santana. He looks like him a little bit and has a signature adlib: #Slimeeee. He's a pretty good lyricist. He's certainly got skills and the potential to maybe, I say this cautiously, maybe be better than Juelz. Slime Flu is consistently good all the way through but nothing jumped out at me and made me feel like it was great. He's going to have to step it up in the future.

The List:

10. Boss of All Bosses 2 - Cam'Ron and Vado.

"You not from Brooklyn, don't play Big"

This was the beginning of the #Slime movement for me as my introduction to Vado. Cam was a clown on this joint but was his typical silly yet lyrical self. In typical Cam fashion there are some really bad songs but also some great ones which is why this tape made the list and Vado went HM. Doesn't hurt that he had the "U right skits" on it too.

9. The Timeless Audemars Piguet Collection - Rick Ross.

I'll admit that I'm a Ross stan and that he makes the list by that virtue. However, I really like this tape. Its a good mix of laughs and raps. Ross drops some good verses and a whole lot of lines to make you laugh. There are some radio/club joints that were on this tape that Ross can't take credit for but hey there on there and count towards my listening pleasure. All jokes aside its a good tape.

8. Drugs + Candy - Jay West

"Use to live in moderation now I over indulge"

Got put on to this by my boy Samp via his blog. Smooth tape, the dude's flow is dope and his lyrics are tight, some were even comical. West coast dude living in Atlanta, refreshing.
My Tracks: The Language+/-Monster's Ink.

7. Trap or Die 2 - Young Jeezy

"Thats why I slam dunk in the P****, I can't layup"

I have been known to clown Jeezy for his lack of lyricism but I've come to realize thats not everyones strength. So I was able to listen to this tape without great lyrical expectations and it was pretty good, in fact he even had a few great lines. Yea it was typical Jeezy talk: selling drugs, growing up in the hood, being hood rich, and selling more drugs, but it was a good. 
6. KRIT Was Here - Big KRIT.

"I'm pretty sure my first word was survival"

Got on this a lil late but thankful I did. KRIT's all around game is dope: produces, lyrics tight, storytelling on point and flow is smooth. I like how he has respect for those who came before him and managed to take a little something from everyone to add to his style. He's humble but also confident letting everyone know Mississippi got next. Because his skills match his hunger he might be right.
My Tracks: Viktorious, They Got US, Something.

5. Finally Famous Vol. 3 - Big Sean.

"Paranoid because every rapper named Big got bodied"

Really enjoyed this tape. Big Sean certainly provides laughs (#Demtitties) but on this tape he drops some dope lyrics too. I kinda like how he raps with an unbelievable confidence, throwing himself up there with the best of the New Guard of rap and some of the best of all time. Its dangerous to throw yourself up there like that but I think its more dangerous not to have the confidence so I can respect it. It helps that he's shown glimpses of how excellent he can be. The question is can he harness those glimpses and stretch it out? We'll see but this was a good start.
My Tracks: Supa Dupa Lemonade, Love Song, High Rise

4. More About Nothing - Wale.

"So a n**** stay hungry as a plastic hippopotamus

Wale, and the cast of Seinfeld return for the follow up to Mixtape About Nothing. Wale did a lil bit of addressing his haters, speaking on his growth and flexing his lyrical muscle throughout the tape. You can feel the chip his has on his shoulder. He has a whole lot of relationship talk on it too, must be why the ladies love it too. It kind of tails off towards the end but for the most part its a solid tape.
My Tracks: The Problem, The WarThe Friends N Strangers.

3. Kush and OJ - Wiz Khalifa.

"The difference between you guys is you lie and we live it" 

This could have easily been number 1 simply because of the buzz it created. It was the number one searched item on google for 2 days. Wiz jumped into the spotlight after it dropped. Of course none of that would be possible if it wasn't a great tape. The joint rocks top to bottom. The production is dope, makes me wanna dance, drive, smoke (and I don't even smoke) all at once. While the lyrical content isn't anything of great substance (Partying, drinking, smoking, getting girls, getting other people's girls) the tape goes so hard. I put it on and let it play all the way through. #Taylorgangordie. Wiz did his thing on this one.
My Tracks: The Kid Frankie, Pedal to the Medal, We're Done.

2. There is No Competition 2, The Funeral Service - Faboulous

"Known for being nice, that don't mean courteous."

What can I say "I'm from Brooklyn, what it look like?" Bias aside, Fab's got skills. Few rappers can see him lyrically and perhaps fewer people can see his skill. There were so many moments on the tape when I was like "damn Fab." When it dropped everyone in my timeline was quoting lines from it, for weeks. I listened to this tape for a smooth 2 months and whenever a track come on via shuffle I was tempted to just play the whole tape. Drama was a fool on this joint, Fab slayed every track and the features were dope too. Love this joint.
My Tracks: The Wake, Body Ya, Tonight

1. Friday Night Lights - J. Cole

"Ironic you been sleeping on the one that you been dreaming bout"

When Cole announced he'd was dropping "Friday Night Lights" on a Friday I turned into a crackhead. On that Friday, I was hitting refresh on twitter every 2 seconds. When the link finally dropped it made twitter crash, and several download sites crash because so many people were trying to get on it. The heat Cole delivered on "The Come Up" and "The Warm Up" helped build the anticipation for this joint and he did not disappoint. Cole delivered his traditionally ill lyrics and storytelling on this tape. He's so diverse with his content, rapping about everything from getting girls all the way up to the mistreatment of girls. I really love how he stepped up on this tape, spiting with this "I know I'm the best" swag and its hard to argue against him.
My Tracks: "Villematic" "Looking For Trouble" "Before I'm Gone"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2010 Music Review (A) Miscellaneous

For the past month and a half I've had only one playlist on my iPod entitled 2010. I've been listening to all the music I compiled from 2010: 5.8 GB, 2 days 10 hours 9 minutes, 39 albums, 21 mixtapes (mixtape game still a lil weak), 946 songs. This can only mean 2 things: 1) I'm a month and a half behind in 2011 music. 2) I've been reviewing 2010 music for my 2010 Music Review.

The idea to do a music review comes from my boy G who does an annual top 10 albums list and mixtape list. After arguing with him about his list he said to me "this is my list, if you don't like it make your own." So here I am lol. I decided to add a few more things that caught my ear from 2010. All in all I have my top 5 Disappointments, Top 5 interludes, Top 5 songs, Top 10 Mixtapes and Top 10 Albums. Its a lot so I'm gonna deliver it in 3 different installments, today Part A: Misc.

Top 5 disappointments:

5. Teflon Don.
The album is great but we heard half the album before it dropped courtesy of Albert Anastasia and various leaks. #cmonRoss

4. Last Train to Paris.
We waited how long for this album? Finally gets here and its not that good, its aight. It was more confusing than anything. Diddy do you want us to party or miss our Ex? And how you gonna cut Ross's verse out on "Hello, Good Morning" and not have his 2nd verse on "Angels"? #CmonSean

3. No Boys Allowed.
Keri Hilson is fine as hell. She makes good music too, at least her first album was dope. I was looking forward to her 2nd project especially after reading all her tweets about how she in the studio. So what does she do? Name the joint "No Boys Allowed." How am I supposed to listen to the joint with a title like that? Yes, I broke the rule and listened to it, not feeling it. Now when people make fun of em for listening I can't even defend myself by saying it was good. #cmonKeri

2. Love King.
Love/Hate = Classic. Love vs Money was a great follow up, not a classic but a damn good album. So Love King shoulda followed suit and been good right? #Wrong. The album had a few good songs (especially "Turnt out")  and starts off decent but it just tanks after while. Its just not goof, especially in light of his first 2. One of Dream's lines was "My love gets it poppin like the Taliban." Really Dream? The Taliban needs to bomb you for this album. #CmonDream or #cmonChristinaMilan?

1. Clifford "T.I." Harris. After spending the end of '09 and the beginning of '10 in jail we couldn't wait for him to get out, anticipating that he used his time behind bars to write some dope lines like Biggie, Pac and Shyne did. A fair expectation since he has a damn good track record. He gets released and drops "I'm Back" and announces his album will be called "King Uncaged" filling us with hope only to disappoint in a royal way. "F*** A Mixtape" was bad. "King Uncaged" had to be renamed "No Mercy" because the "king" got re-caged. The album should be called "Mercy Me." It had a few decent tracks but largely was not good. Maybe after this stint in jail we'll get "King Uncaged." #CmonTIP

Top 5 interludes:

5. Rick Ross Interlude from The Timeless Audermars Piguet Collection. Ross was a clown on this one. "Go buy yourself a pair of Bird Man Lugz"
4. Passion from Pain, Pleasure and Passion. Not as smooth as "Hollalude" but very dope.Trey did his thing on it.
3. U Right Part 1,2 & 3 from Boss of all Bosses 2. Cam'ron let's you know how to deal with an argument with a lady, anyone for that matter.
2. Lil Duval Interlude from F*** A Mixtape. Duval weak on twitter but he was funny as hell on this joint.
1. Diddy Intro from Albert Anastasia. So many quotables from this joint but my favorite by far is: "Take that, right there, pow, with a d*** in ya mouth."

Top 5 Songs:

So many great songs from 2010. I honestly thought this list would be easy to make, just look at my top 25 played on iTunes and see the top 5 from '10. Or I could have selected 5 songs by or featuring 'Ye or Ross since they were everywhere this year. It wasn't that simple. In a weird way my most played joints aren't my favorites. Yea "BMF," "Ashton Martin Music," "Power," "Monster," "Start it Up" woulda made a legit top 5 list but I wanted to think about it a little deeper.

5. Mr. Rager - Kid Cudi.
This is the description of my life and the lives of all my friends. We Rage. We are all Mr. or Ms. Rager and we have been on so many adventures, living life to the fullest. Gotta love it.

4. Love All Over Me - Monica.
One of the best love songs I've heard in a longtime. It about that life changing, soul touching love. She's so happy to have found it, extremely thankful for it and willing to admit she doesn't want to lose it. Powerful, powerful song. I hope I can make a woman feel this way.

3. How I Got Over - The Roots ft Dice Raw. This is me. I often think about my life and how I've grown up and "made it" when I really wasn't supposed to. Real rough childhood, tough neighborhoods with no support systems. The struggle. This song depicts that so vividly, and I love it.

2. All of the Lights - Kanye ft Rihanna mostly, but mad other people. So there was no way 'Ye would be left off the list lol. I love this song but not for my traditional reasons: lyrics and message. "Ye's lyrics are actually kinda out of place but the instrumental and the chorus are so dope. The instrumental is my main ring tone on my phone (although my phone is always on vibrate), becuase its so majestic and regal. It definitely gets me amped. When you add in the chorus its almost like its telling you that you have to do something great with your life.

1. Free Mason - Ross ft Jay-Z & John Legend.
No way Ross wouldn't make it either lol. The song is so well crafted. Ross's verse is often overlooked but he did his thing, showing he knows a thing or two about history and that he can rise to the occasion. Jay spased out. I get chills everytime I hear his verse. Legend provided a great touch.I could literally listen to this song all day and not get tired of it (I've done it). Really love this track.

Tomorrow we'll get into my top 10 Mixtapes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

At Least We Have Football Movies....

Its been 2 weeks since Super Sunday, #congrats Packers. 2 weeks since the end of the Football season. It's been rough no doubt but I'm holding up. Luckily there are a few football movies on TV today: Gridiron Gang, The Replacements and The Longest Yard to help me get through my pain. The movies got me thinking about a convo I had earlier this week with my boy @TheUNjealous about football movies. He was trying to throw The Program in the top 5 football movies of all time. Its all got me thinking....

1) I think we all can agree that Friday Night Lights is the greatest football movie of alltime #kanyevoice. Don't think I have to explain why but I'll give 3 reasons: 1) One of the greatest speeches ever. 2) Put me up on Explosions in the Sky 3) Spawned a great show by the same name. I'll throw in a 4th: Hometown Hero.

2) Remember the Titans. One of my moms favorite movies, mine too. Denzel at work, great historical message, so inspirational so damn great.

3) Any Given Sunday. So many things stand out from this movie: Knocking eye balls out, TO, Sniffing coke off of girl's tittiesWillie Beamen and Inch by Inch.

4) Varsity Blues. Yea, Dawson was the star but he did his thing. The predecessor to FNL, this joint had everything you can ask for: excellent cast, drama, great football, and #snookups.

5). We Are Marshall. Talk about powerful, this movie was excellent and overlooked. It gave us a history lesson and showed how football can bring hope to even the most trying times. #respect

So there's my list. Sorry Stew The Program aint on it lol. Its good no doubt, and has young Halle but I can put it top 5. Might get top 10 though, along with with some of the other great ones out there: Rudy, Brian's Song, The Blind Side (which I have not seen).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day.

Or should I say Happy "waste your money on women because of a stupid made up prove your love" day.

How about Happy "You better buy your lady something or else you don't love her" day.

Man I can go on and on...

I Love You. So I went out and bought you flowers, chocolates in a heart shaped box, heart shaped balloons, heart shaped mints inscribed with little messages and don't forget the over sized teddy bear holding a heart. I love you so much that I went out and bought all these foolish things to let you know.

Valentines Day is so stupid and I hate it. It's not a real holiday, it's so superficial and it's all about consumerism. I don't understand why you need a day to profess your love for your woman when you do that daily? And why is a simple "I love you" not enough today? Do you really have to go out and buy  something? Yes you do, if you really love her.

Yea I might be a little sexist here, but only because its mostly true. Valentines Day is for Women. They get the majority of the gifts. Men across the world are out buying something while their women are sitting at home or work waiting for a gift, waiting to see if their men love them or not. #ridiculous

"But its about Love!" Nah it's about the money. If its was about love then the "I love you" would be fine. Instead something has to be bought which bothers me because love is being measured materially and not emotionally. I hate it.