woensdag 9 maart 2011

Artist Recommendation: Digable Planets

Do you like hip-hop, just not the rawest version? Do you think jazzy melodies give a song that little bit extra? Then you should check out the Digable Planets. It's an oldschool hip-hop group consisting of three members: Ladybug Mecca (who has left the group and has since released a solo album named Trip The Light Fantastic), Butterfly and Doodlebug. They use a lot of samples from jazz songs, which gives their songs a great warm sound that goes very well with their calm and creative raps.

I will only review their oldschool material here, because I haven't listened to much of their new music out of self-protection (it's usually disappointing). Their first album is called Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) and it contains Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat), one of my favorite Digable Planets songs. I think the album has a nice sound, but I like their second album (Blowout Comb) a lot more. From Black Ego to Jettin', from Blowing Down to 9th Wonder (Blackitolism), these are songs you won't get tired of any time soon.

I realize this is a very short artist recommendation, but that's because I don't know a lot of facts about this group and I don't know their lyrics by heart. Still, I advise you all to check out the CD Blowout Comb. It's so relaxing!

dinsdag 22 februari 2011

Album Review: Nikki D - Daddy's Little Girl

As I was hoping, I've become infatuated with oldschool female rap (again). I will drop a few names for those interested: Oaktown's 3.5.7, The Real Roxanne, Nikki D, Monie Love, L.A. Star... They're all awesome. I was surprised to see how many oldschool female rap CD's I have, I think I'm approaching 40 (and I have like 20 singles as well). If that doesn't sound like a lot of CD's, than imagine I have about three times as many non-oldschool female rap CD's. I've invested a lot in my collection, oh yes, and I've decided to buy at least one female rap CD a month - from now on, so that my collection will grow and grow :)

Now, as for my album review.. I'm reviewing an album from the year I turned three (1991), by Nikki D. The album is called Daddy's Little Girl, and that's also the name of the biggest hit on the album. As a matter of fact, that's another song my father used to play when I was little. I can't even believe it myself, because I didn't know this until I found the song myself, played it, and instantly started having flashbacks! I guess musical preference is genetic for a part..

Well, let me start off this review by saying: Nikki D is awesome. And although Foxy Brown has claimed this title for years, Nikki D was, and will always be, the FIRST female rapper signed to Def Jam! This is no diss, because Foxy is actually my biggest "idol" of all times, mostly for sentimental reasons, lol.

So, Daddy's Little Girl. You will probably recognize the sample from Suzanne Vega's song Tom's Diner, or maybe - if you're a female rap fan - from Lil' Kim's Right Now. Anyway, the song has great beats, interesting lyrics (about a young girl going wild, getting pregnant and being afraid to tell her father she's grown up). No wonder it was so successful... and no wonder my father played it so often shortly after I was born! LOL! I was (and still am) Daddy's Little Girl as well!

I absolutely love the songs Wasted P!@#Y and 18 And Loves To Go. They're both about pretty much the same subject: girls who don't seem to realize what they're worth and have sex with anyone. They have catchy hooks, and they will probably painfully remind you of some girl you know. In the first song, I especially like it when the songs slows down all of a sudden and Nikki D starts talking: "You bitches just don't get it, do you? All you wanna do is fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Shit, I wish I could find me some dick, make me just wanna give up the pussy for nothin'... But yo, live how you wanna, but you waste it." I love Nikki's honesty. I think she was one of the first female rappers to rap explicitly about sex in an educative way. There were certainly other explicit artists around the time (remember Choice and H.W.A. who rapped about getting gang-banged, sucking you-know-what and getting paid for sex like those are things to brag about?), but well, I guess I don't have to explain the difference. Choice in my opinion is DISGUSTING.

Ooooh I almost forgot another sexually explicit song.. Another Man Is Beatin' My Time, which is about men who have relationships with women but take it up the butt in secret. In the "ghetto's", these men are called DL Thugs. I actually know a few of them via internet fora, LOL. I don't think she's dissing gay men, I wouldn't see why someone who's so free about her sexuality would do that, but I could certainly understand why she'd feel betrayed if she had a relationship with a man who was cheating on her. With another man, but if he would have cheated on her with another woman, she would have probably also made a song about it.
BTW, the song sounds absolutely awesome and I love it! So don't let the content discourage you to check it out.

Sunny Daze is another funky song that you'll love. Then there are some more dancable songs (I guess... I wouldn't know how to dance to them), namely: Lettin' Off Steam (Club Mix) and Gotta Up The Ante For The Panties. The song All About You is also nice.
The remaining songs (Hang On Kid, Monday We'll Be Together and Your Man Is My Man) are okay but not my cup of tea. A bit boring, I guess.

I would die for another Nikki D album in this style. Well, after hearing the album of course. Oh, and if you like her raps (apart from the style of the songs), you should also check out her song Recondita Armonica on the classical music/ hip-hop blend album The Rapsody Overture, which has the same subject as 18 And Loves To Go and Wasted P!@#Y. As a matter of fact, check the entire album because it works extremely well. And Alyson Williams' song My Love Is Raw also features Nikki D, on the opening verse. It's a very addictive song, I warned you!

vrijdag 18 februari 2011

Artist Recommendation: Monie Love

Hi all!

I realise it's -once again- been quite a while since I last wrote here. I'm damn busy with my internship, that should explain it... But lately I've been listening to music so amazing, music that takes me back to when I was a young girl first developing a passion for female rap. I started collecting all female rap CD's I could find, including oldschool CD's. Real oldschool, as in music from the year I was born and even before that.

One of the artists I listened to back then, was Monie Love. And as I listened to her music again this week, I thought to myself: this music is better than most hip-hop music released nowadays, I need to share this with the world! So I'm making an artist recommendation for Monie.

Monie has released two albums (Down To Earth and In A Word Or 2), one EP (Slice Of Da Pie, this was released more recently) and several singles. Both albums are pretty dope, they include several hit songs and songs that should have been hits. I think her most famous song is It's A Shame (My Sister). This one is probably my favorite as well. In fact, I grew up with this song, because my father used to play it when I was a little kid. If you've ever met my father, you won't believe this. But my father played hip-hop in my youth, from 2Pac to Nikki D to Coolio. Anyway, that's why It's A Shame (My Sister) has sentimental value to me.
Other songs I think are pretty well known (and very nice!) are Monie In The Middle and Born To B.R.E.E.D. (of which I think the Hip Hop Mix version is the best).
Now, as for my favorite songs (excluding the ones I've already mentioned), I'm just going to make a list and you should download them to find out for yourself what's so nice about these songs.

From the album Down To Earth:
  • Ring My Bell
  • R U Single
  • Grandpa's Party (Love II Love Remix)

From the album In A Word Or 2:

  • Wheel Of Fortune
  • Sex U All
  • Mo' Monie
  • Full Term Love
  • In A Word Or 2
  • There's A Better Way
  • 4 Da Children

And finally, from the single of I Can Do This:

  • I Can Do This (Downtown Mix) - this song uses the same sample as Will Smith's Miami, and it sounds pretty cool.

Well folks, that's all for now. But I think I might return soon, hopefully with another oldschool female rap recommendation (I like this music so much right now, I hope I'll stay in the mood for it for a while). Y'all take care now!

donderdag 27 januari 2011

Double artist recommendation: Trish Thuy Trang & Kristine Sa

Oh would you please record a song together? Pretties please? Two gorgeous Vietnamese-American singers, two of my favorite singers. Check all their stuff out, it's all good.

vrijdag 31 december 2010

Album Review: Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday

I was very curious as to how this album, titled Pink Friday, would turn out. I've been listening to Nicki Minaj for a few years now, and she's definitely been hyped up by the entire hip-hop world, for -what seemed to be- ages, without an album out. So this was her actual debut! And it did not disappoint. However, it may be a little too pop for your taste if you like the earlier Nicki Minaj mixtape material. I will review this album track by track, including bonus tracks. Here we go...

1. I'm The Best - This is a nice song, the hook is catchy, but I don't think it's outstanding, so the title doesn't really fit the song.
2. Roman's Revenge (featuring Eminem) - Absolutely awesome. Great concept, both Nicki and Eminem are rapping under their aliases (Roman Zolanski and Slim Shady). The track is humorous and it displays good old rhyming skills instead of just braggin' & boastin'. It's plain to see why Nicki and Eminem are such a good duo: they are both very absurd and sarcastic in their lyrical style and they are creative. It really works on this track.
3. Did It On'em - I don't see why people like this song so much. I think the beat is very boring and uncreative and the lyrics are not as good as they are made out to be. They are rather simplistic, I think, and she definitely doesn't shit on anyone in this song.
4. Right Thru Me - I love the emotions in the lyrics of this song and I like the hook. It is one of the extreme pop-songs on this album, which is not necessarily a bad thing because Nicki does show us that she can sing as well. She's not just a rapper.
5. Fly (featuring Rihanna) - I always fast-forward this track. I don't like Rihanna, that's the reason. First of all, Rihanna doesn't add anything to the track because her voice sounds a lot like Nicki's voice when she sings, so Nicki could have done the song all by herself, and second: Rihanna just annoys me. I've heard her on too many songs. Her voice is too fragile and shallow to be considered a good song. So yeah, I can't review the song any further because I don't like listening to it (and so I don't).
6. Save Me - Exact same comment as for Right Thru Me. I think those songs are much alike.
7. Moment 4 Life (featuring Drake) - On this song Nicki sounds just like Rihanna (the singing part). However, it doesn't bother me on this song because the song makes me feel invincible. I don't understand what the Drake-hype's about, his verse is lame and rappers like him come by the dozens.
8. Check It Out (featuring will.i.am) - YESSS, this is what I'm talking about! I give this track an A+, it's really awesome. The beat is hot and creative, the song is fun and Nicki's Lil' Kim diss is phenomenal: "Fuck my nemesis/ exclamation, just for emphasis/ and I don't sympathize/ cause you a simple bitch/ I just pop up on these hoes on some pimple shit/ and put the iron to your face you old wrinkled bitch".
9. Blazin' (featuring Kanye West) - I don't normally like Kanye West, but on this song he really does his thing. I love when he says "Hello all my bad girls, this just in/ Yeezy hurt the beat, like he fucked her best friend/ and she let him back in, and he just did it again/ he crazy, he blazin', he off the deep end". And Nicki raps with so much speed and precision, she definitely deserves an applause. Hot track!
10. Here I Am - Beautiful, touching, and I think the beat (by Swizz Beatz) is risky for a song with lyrics like these, yet it really works. The song exposes Nicki's deep, sad side. On her mixtapes, she never really showed her weaknesses (except for the track Autobiography on Sucka Free), but on this album she has several sensitive songs. I like it.
11. Dear Old Nicki - I don't think she's "big" enough for a song like this just yet. Most people only start listening to Nicki NOW, they don't know the old Nicki (and since most of them are little teenage girls, they won't like the old Nicki very much either), so they won't understand this song. Besides, the song reminds me too much of Trina's song U & Me, which is better in my opinion. I think this song fails to come across in the way it was intended.
12. Your Love - Very peaceful, positive and romantic song. I understand why people listen to it. Very pop, once again, and not my favorite, but it's nice.
13. Last Chance (featuring Natasha Bedingfield) - Natasha is one of Nicki's idols I think, so I think it's great so see a collaboration between them, yet it does make the song too sweet. I think a male voice on the chorus (like a man rapping along with the lyrics) would give it more edge. The song is not exciting enough for me.
14. Super Bass - "Don't you hear that boom-ba-doom-boom boom-ba-doom-boom bass?" So addictive. I love this song, it's cute.
15. Blow Ya Mind - Terrible. The song is too wild, too rough.. "What the fuck I look like" a billion times doesn't fit in with all the lollipop songs on the rest of the album. This is a flop.
16. Muny - Annoying, yet catchy. I hate it and love it at the same time. All the talk about rich girls does make Nicki seem very shallow and she seems to have lost her "swagger", but it's also sexy. I think she says "Bitches want my old shit, buy my old mixtapes", and that does make a point... You don't like it, then don't listen to it.
17. Girls Fall Like Dominoes - This is a bonus track, but it should have been the very first song on the album, because it's great and everybody will sing along with it. It is not originally Nicki's song, she 'stole' it, but umm who cares, right? It's hot, listen to this one first!
18. Wave Ya Hand - Okay, not original.
19. Catch Me - GREAT, I love the rap on this song and the fragile woman that Nicki turns into when she starts singing. Should have been on the album instead of Save Me.

Favorite songs: 2, 8, 9, 10, 14, 17 & 19.
Least favorite songs: 5, 6, 11, 13 & 15.

So, overall, the album has a few very nice guest appearances (Eminem and Kanye West), a bit too much pop, a good balance between deep and shallow songs, nice production.. It's just addictive, man! I've listened to this album 30 times already. So you should see this as an album RECOMMENDATION instead of review!

donderdag 30 december 2010

Album Review: Diddy - Dirty Money - Last Train To Paris

Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy.. Why not change it again, to Diddy - Dirty Money? This is rap's most known artist-name changing fashion icon-like millionaire. Makes sense? Well, anyway, I've never been a big fan of Diddy. But I must admit, the man knows how to create success. He has so many connections, an album featuring his befriended artists can not fail. And this one doesn't either. Diddy - Dirty Money is a group consisting of (of course) Diddy, ex-Danity Kane singer Dawn Richard and singer Kalenna. When you look at their group-pictures, the girls look almost indistinguishable, which really creates an "I'm Diddy and these are my toy-girls"-vibe.

Now, on to the album, titled Last Train To Paris. I can say it quite simple: I love it. The songs are very danceable, with nice concepts and great guest-appearances. The girls have great, warm voices. Diddy's raps can be annoying, but they fit in just fine. This, after all, is not as much quality music as it is fun-music. Music around a theme: love. The ups and downs. This album takes you on the roller coaster ride that goes along with most relationships. So, that's my general review. But of course there are better and worse songs. First, I'll list my favorite songs (in no particular order):
  • Ass On The Floor (featuring Swizz Beatz). Don't you just love to hear a woman sing "Shit, you know deep down I'll always love ya, trying to find my way back to your heart, you motherfucker". The song is about going to the club and getting real drunk to forget about the man that keeps hurting you, only to run right back to him when you're drunk enough... Sounds familiar (to me).
  • Yeah Yeah You Would (featuring Grace Jones), produced by Danja, who usually brings the heat. The song is very addictive, especially the hook. Enough said, you wanna know more, YouTube it.
  • Looking For Love (featuring Usher): OH-MY-GAWD! This is the best beat I've heard in ages (by J. Lack and Polow da Don) and the chorus fits it so well. Diddy kicks it off with a real wack rap, in which he mentions the word 'motherfucker' too often, but when Usher takes over.. No words. This song should be played only with the highest volume, and everyone should scream along with the bridge: "Hello, welcome to my table, bring your girlfriends, everything payed for, we gon' get it in, ain't that what you came for, heard you was looking for me.." It's a great song, buy the album!
  • Strobe Lights (featuring Lil' Wayne). And I don't even like Lil' Wayne. But his rhymes on this song please me and the Dirty Money-part of the group takes you to another world on the chorus. Great song.
  • I Know (featuring Chris Brown, Wiz Khalifa & Seven). Beautiful, emotional, with an easy but straightforward rap by Wiz. And I'm not gonna promote it any further because Rihanna-beater Chris Brown is on it.

Other songs worth mentioning that I really like, are Loving You No More (featuring Drake), Hello Good Morning (featuring T.I.), Yesterday (featuring Chris Brown) and Coming Home (featuring Skylar Grey).

Songs I don't like, are:
  • Your Love (featuring Trey Songz) because it bores me and because I hate it when women sing about getting their pussies licked.
  • Shades (featuring a whole lotta dudes) because I don't like Justin Timberlake and Lil' Wayne, and they ruin this song for me. Plus, I think making love in marmalade is too sticky and nasty to seriously consider, and the song doesn't make much sense because "I'll even try different things" does not sound like an enormous sacrifice you would make in order to win someone back. Sigh. Even Diddy can get TOO lame.
  • Change because it's too repetitive and Diddy can't sing.
  • Angels (featuring Notorious B.I.G. and Rick Ross). I think the beat is annoying (I didn't like the original by Jay-Z (Where I'm From) either and I think Diddy should stop trying to drag Biggie into every project he does. Big is dead. Get over it.

So yeah, in summary: the album has so many songs that the majority is still great, but there are some bad songs and some AWESOME songs. I advise you to listen to this album!

maandag 13 december 2010

Mellowdies of the Summer

Dear followers,

I'm so sorry I haven't written a blog for such a long time. I've been terribly busy, being that I'm in the last (master) year of my study. But that's no excuse, since I HAVE been listening to music, and my musical moods have been heavier than ever. I will soon start writing more blogs and recommendations, but right now I have a fun blog about some songs I want to share with you all. See, every winter for the past 3 years has for some reason elicited a huge need for summer music in me. And not 'just' summer music. No, it's a very special kind. Some of these songs are simply very mellow and relaxed, others have addictive melodies that everyone probably recognizes. The combination of these types of songs inspired the name "Mellowdies of the Summer", which is the name of a playlist I just created on iTunes. I don't want to appear as an Apple groupie, I am not, but in my opinion iTunes and iPod are two superior concepts. I'm just going to post a screenshot of my Mellowdies-playlist and I hope you all will download the songs that are in it, because you have to spread awesomeness. Fun fact: the day I put most of these songs on my computer is today exactly 2 years ago, when I was (just like today) looking for excuses to not study for my tests. Which proves that this really is the time of the year I get into summer music! It's a pattern, let's release psychology on it! (Oops.. Maybe I should get back to my homework...)

Okay, have fun with this playlist!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

PS 1: If there are any songs I forgot, please let me know. But know that I have strict criteria for inclusion on the list, because this is my personal ultimate feel-good playlist.
PS 2: Note that I, in no way, claim that these are the ultimate summer songs. Obviously, I would have included a lot more eurodance if this were the case! These are songs that are part of an entity in music.
PS 3: For a more hip-hop taste, add LL Cool J - Loungin' and Snoop Dogg - Who Am I (What's My Name?) to the playlist. They fit, but I think for me they belong more in a 'summer nostalgia' type of playlist.
PS 4: I might throw the Five song, the Delinquent Habits song and the Typhoon song out of this playlist after a while, I'm not sure if they belong in it. So you could exclude them and the playlist will still be hot :)

woensdag 27 oktober 2010

Artist Recommendation: Santigold

I was gonna write an album review, but I really don't know how to.. Not for this artist anyway. Her name is Santigold (formerly known as Santogold), she's a singer-songwriter and she makes.. yeah, what kinda music does she make? Alternative? Reggae? Hip-hop? R&B? Trip-hop? A bit of everything, and then more. Since her album, named Santogold (you might also find it under 'Santigold' now because of the name change), is great from beginning to end, I pretty much expect her material in the future to be just as great. Every song on the album is good. Correction: great. And the best thing about this album is that once you play ONE track, you're gonna wanna hear all tracks. The album is an entity. From my two favorites, Say Aha and Lights Out, to the reggae/hip-hop song Shove It (which inspired and is sampled in Jay-Z's Brooklyn (Go Hard) and L.E.S. Artistes, which is probably her best known song. You will love them all. You will.

Santigold also released the mixtape Top Ranking with Diplo. It is hot hot hot, with a lot of remixes from the Santogold album and songs by other artists which are blended with beats from Santogold. The best example of that is the remix of Three 6 Mafia's Late Night Tip (named Late Night (Unstoppable Mix)). It's awesome, completely different from the original although it has the same vocals.

So yeah.. I didn't want to limit myself to an album review when I expect this artist to release GOOD SHIT only. That's why I made it an artist recommendation. Check my girl out!!

donderdag 30 september 2010

Artist Recommendation: Paradisio

And now for something completely different... A genre named dance-music. Music from the 90's. Belgian group Paradisio produces exclusively Spanish songs that sound like summer. Happy, warm, relaxed... You may know this group for their song Bailando which was a big hit all over the world and which has been covered by several artists. For most people, that's where their knowledge of Paradisio stops. But their first album (also named Paradisio) was HOT from beginning to end. So I advise you all to check that out. Especially the songs Bandolero, Sentimental and Vamos A La Discoteca (which sounds a lot like their previously released song Un Clima Ideal, which has a different background melody but the same lyrics) are very nice.

After their self-titled album, they only released one more (remix) album. But they never stopped making music. They released, for example, the (all three awesome) songs Samba Del Diablo, Luz De La Luna and a new version of Bailando (sung by the group's new frontwoman), named Bailando (Me Dices Adios). It may still be Bailando, but it sounds very different and addictive. Another song they released is La Propaganda, which is not my favorite because it sounds different from their other music, but it's still nice.

I can't really describe their music as deep, genius and original, but I don't have to because it's addictive and happy music, you need that music as well because it gets you in a good mood :) Sooo, check it out! :-)

zondag 19 september 2010

Album Review: Craig David - Born To Do It

Completely in contrast with my usual blogs, this is another one about a male artist. Specifically, it's an album review for British singer Craig David's first album Born To Do It, released in 2000. Why? Because Craig is one of the UK's most talented and successful R&B singers and his first album was pretty much awesome.

First of all, I'm going to mention a few songs on it that will hopefully make you download the album right away, because they were all hits all over Europe: Fill Me In, 7 Days, Rendezvous, Walking Away and Rewind (which is also known as Re-Rewind and is actually a song by 2-step group The Artful Dodger, featuring Craig David). I've loved all of these songs for years and I'm sure many of you feel the same way.
Furthermore, there are some non-single songs on the album that you should check out: Last Night, which you might recognize because it's the song that inspired Re-Rewind, Follow Me and Can't Be Messing 'Round. The latter one is about feeling seduced but not giving in because you don't want to cheat on your lover. A very nice up-tempo song.

There are two songs that only appear on the US-release of the album: Fill Me In Part 2 and Key To My Heart. They are both nice, but nothing extraordinary. Unfortunately, the R&B-genre uses certain concepts for songs a million times, which bores me, personally. Fill Me In Part 2 is disappointing if you expect something like part 1.

Songs that I don't really like are Booty Man and Once In A Lifetime. You Know What and Party Time are okay songs, not bad.

Overall, I think the album is particularly strong because it contains so many hit songs and party anthems, but it also contains some mediocre, typical R&B music. I think you should definitely check it out, and if you like it also listen to other Craig David songs such as Eenie Meenie and Fast Cars (both from his second album, Slicker Than Your Average), Woman Trouble (which is another song by The Artful Dodger, featuring Robbie Craig and Craig David) and 6 of 1 Thing (Remix) featuring Ryan Leslie. Craig is dope!

UPDATE: it's now half an hour later than when I wrote this blog, and I already changed my mind about one of the songs... I do like Booty Man! It has a great melody and it's just as addictive as most other songs on the album :)