Lifted from his upcoming EP to be released on Skrillex‘s label OWSLA, north London electro/Hip Hop MOBO nominated producer Yogi [@YogiOfficial] – the man behind Wretch 32’s Traktor - continues to generate his own heat with Christian Bale…
Unconventional rapper Danny Brown drops his third studio album Old, which sees Brown remix the traditional rap tale of rags to riches…
There’s always been something about 32 year old Danny Brown that I’ve liked – although I’ve never been able to put my finger on it. I’m not sure if it’s his unkempt hair, missing tooth or his general IDGAF approach to taking himself seriously. The album is perfectly sequenced, mimicking hip-hops traditional rags to riches narrative, allowing us our deepest insight thus far into Danny Brown. The 19-track album, released on October 8th, is separated into two parts flagged by the tracks Side A and Side B (Dope Song), marking his transition and tale of a life of hardship, poverty and drugs into a life of international fame – yet Brown still seems incapable of escaping his old demons.
This provides an interesting glance into the mind and the complexity of Danny Brown. Side A boasts of features from ScHoolBoy Q on Dope Fiend Rental, Canadian electro duo Purity Ring on 25 Bucks and Freddie Gibbs on The Return – a clear standout track, where Brown switches up his vocals and flow pushing aside his hipster image, warning us not to be fooled, reminding listeners: “F*** a hipster, squeezing triggers/ You got me f**** up, I’m a hood ass n***”. The track Lonely, produced by Paul White, is by far the best track on the album, Brown lets go of any anger he exuded in his previous tracks and becomes brutally truthful, open and honest, rapping about his emotional and financial isolation before his fame.
Side B sees Brown transform into the raspy, high-pitched vocal, partying persona he’s known for. With Side B tracks, it may be easy to think Brown offers no deep thinking, introspective, or personal insight — he still manages this and more, but it is just masked in the faster, up-tempo beats which reflect Brown’s more erratic subject matter, mainly due to his of his constant “turned up” lifestyle. Side B sees Brown collaborate with huge hip-hop forces such as A$AP and Ab-Soul, as well as talented UK acts such as grime/dubstep producer Rustie on Side B (Dope Song) and West London grime MCScrufizzer on Dupstep. Brown also creates a musical riot on the track DIP, reflecting on his MDMA infused state.
Essentially Brown reinforces himself as an enigma in hip-hop. The double-sidedness of the album reaffirms the difficulty in trying to pin down an identity in hip-hop for Danny Brown. He emphasises ability to create extreme, vivid imagery through his rap lyrics and chameleon-like tone. Ultimately Old showcases all of which Brown has accomplished through the story-like frame of the album sequencing, and Brown using his messed up past to create some amazing music. The album sets Brown as a creative and complex rapper. Old (for me anyways) proves to be one of the strongest hip-hop albums since Kendrick’s GKMC – now that is something.
G.O.O.D Music’s Pusha T finally drops his debut solo album, My Name Is My Name, but does he live up to his own hype…
Arguably, 2013 has been a huge year for rap. We’ve had a continuous spate of highly hyped debut albums from rappers like Kendrick Lemar and A$AP Rocky, who had previously gained their fans purely off the back of mix-tapes. Then we’ve had the Drake’s, J Cole’s of rap, go head to head and continue to topple the charts with their follow up albums… And we had Yeezus’ dark album which left listeners profoundly speechless.
But G.O.O.D Music’s Pusha T, falls out of both categories, residing in a sort of no-mans land. He’s certainly an established rapper, best known for his role in the rap-duo Clipse where Virginian brothers, Pusha T and Malice, stayed true to their gangster-rap style, releasing three studio albums together and creating memorable hooks over Neptune’s beats. After the brothers parted ways in 2010; Malice found Jesus and Pusha found Yeezus, where he joined the G.O.O.D Music crew – the rest is pretty much history.
After tantalising our taste buds with his mix-tapes Fear of God, Wrath of Cocaine and featuring across Cruel Summer, Pusha finally released his highly anticipated debut solo album My Name Is My Name on Tuesday.
The album satisfies commercial rap fans and die-hard Pusha T fans, it is both daring, yet commercially safe. The opening tracks, King Push and Numbers on the Board, produced by Kanye and Don Cannon, establishes Pusha as the coldest MC in the G.O.O.D Music familia: ‘Baller, I put numbers on the board/ It’s hard to get a handle on this double-edged sword’ – feeding in to Pusha’s conflicting persona, part-drug pusha, part rapper, part good, part bad.
But the middle of the album playlist ever so slightly vexed me. It simply wasn’t fearless enough. Pusha literally walks away from all his hype and big talk, and plays it too safe, too commercial. Although these tracks, Let Me Love You (featuring Kelly Rowland) and Sweet Serenade featuring Chris Breezy, are good radio-friendly tunes, we see Pusha stray far from his gangster image.
But then Pusha reins it back in with the help of young Kendrick Lamar, on the ironically titled track Nosetalgia, where again the double-edginess of Pusha T comes in. Kendrick talks about watching his father sniff coke, whilst Pusha talks about selling it.
Although the album, packed with first-class production and beats, may have fallen slightly shy off the ‘game-changer album of 2013’ title, it ultimately shows Pusha as a versatile MC, who has both life experience and lyrical wit to switch it up when need be and with a signature-style flow to match the best of beats.
Flourishing UK producer, Spacedtime, releases his production based EP S.P.A.C.E.D, illustrating an alternative method and approach towards creating hip hop through the predominant fusing of jazz, surmising to amazing effects. Undoubtedly, Spacedtime innovatively portrays a very creative mind-space heavily throughout, mainly through the diversity of drum sequences really shining through; along with the mentioned sampling of jazz, and great selection of various other samples in order to resonate admirably… (more…)