maandag 26 juli 2010

Discussion: Rihanna

Hi! I wanted to write a blog about Rihanna, but I honestly don't know her music as well as some of the other music I've written about. However, I do have an opinion about her. She's R&B's "it-girl" right now, everyone knows her, and the thing I keep wondering, is: WHY? How the hell did she get this big? I think I understand, 'cuz her songs are all catchy with great production, but I don't see why Jay-Z signed her and let her sing this music. He chose her over Teairra Mari, that's where it went upwards for Rihanna and downhill for Teairra Mari. Pon De Replay sounded very addictive, but it wasn't good enough to reach eternal stardom. Same for If It's Lovin' That You Want. Then there were songs like S.O.S. (which was dope, I'll admit that) and Unfaithful (which should have been a Beyonce song, she would blow Rihanna away) and later on Umbrella, Don't Stop The Music and Disturbia. I love all of these songs, I understand why they were hits. But there are also a lot of songs I never understood, such as Live Your Life (the song with T.I.), Rehab, Shut Up And Drive (main problem with this is that it sounds like a pop-song only teenage girls should listen to), Take A Bow, Hate That I Love You, We Ride.. And many more.. I don't understand why they became hits.. Now she has Te Amo, my boyfriend introduced me to the song (he likes Rihanna a lot) and this is another song I love by Rihanna.

Fuck. As I'm writing this blog, I'm starting to finally understand why Rihanna is so popular. She has some real catchy songs that even I listen to, my hate for top-40 music can't even keep me from doing that. My opinion is that Rihanna is dope as long as she sings fun songs and an occasional slow song can also work but only if she doesn't try to get too vocal.. Because her voice really isn't very good... Please give songs like Unfaithful to Beyonce from now on, and I'm serious about that because Beyonce does these songs very well (if you don't know, check the slow songs on I Am... Sasha Fierce).

My question for you guys: what do you think about Rihanna, what is your favorite Rihanna song and what Rihanna song do you dislike the most?

woensdag 21 juli 2010

Artist Recommendation: Gillette (+20 Fingers)

Some of you probably already know Gillette, although you probably don't know you know her.. Google the song Short Dick Man (or censored version Short Short Man) by 20 Fingers featuring Gillette. It's a fun song, but very explicit. Gillette is the singer, 20 Fingers are the producers. I would like to recommend you listen to 20 Fingers if you like pop/dance music, but this blog is dedicated to Gillette.

Gillette has released two albums: On The Attack And More (actually I tagged it as a 20 Fingers album because there is also a song with another singer: Lick It with vocals by Roula) and Shake Your Money Maker. And she has a very catchy song named Sex Tonight. She definitely doesn't leave anything to the imagination, that's for sure...

On Shake Your Money Maker she raps and sings on electronic music that was probably also produced by 20 Fingers (it sounds a lot like other 20 Fingers music). Some great songs are 2 Minute Brother, Do Fries Go With That Shake, Weekend and Shake Your Money Maker. And I really love the singing part (the hook) on Georgie Porgie.
Most songs are about... SEX! Big surprise. But I like fun sex songs that are mostly straightforward about the singer's sexual needs instead of pornographic descriptions of every action.. Gillette gives me that to a tee.

On The Attack And More contains my favorite "i-hate-people" song, Mr. Personality. It has lines such as: "They call you Mr. Personality because you're so ugly!" and "You're so ugly, I heard that when you were born the doctor slapped yo momma... Oohhooh man that's ugly!". This song is hilarious, I swear everyone should listen to it and be able to play it out loud without thinking it's about them.. If you can't enjoy this song you have major self-esteem problems. lol. (If you like it, also check out the remix (named Mr. Personality (Ugly Mr. Personality Remix), appears on L'Album by 20 Fingers).
Ok, now that I've already written down some Gillette lyrics, I will add a few more.. From the song Short Dick Man.. "That has got to be the smallest dick I have ever seen in my whole life.. Get the fuck out of here!" and "Isn't that cute, an extra belly button! You need to put your pants back on honey."
This album is more humorous than Shake Your Money Maker. On The Attack sounds like an angry song, Pay Back has a funny story to it and Move Too Fast sounds great but it's once again about bad sex ("It's your first time, isn't it?"). Well, I fell in love with Gillette when I heard this album, so I guess it's still pretty dope.

So if you like fun music, explicit lyrics but in a humorous way, you like a bit of dance, pop or hip-hop, check out my girl Gillette. You'll be singing along to the crazy lyrics.

zondag 18 juli 2010

Concert Review: Hip Hop in Duketown 2010

This was the first time I attended Hip Hop in Duketown, a free Dutch hip-hop festival in the beautiful city of 's-Hertogenbosch (or Den Bosch). I heard of the festival when I was at Boogiedown Breda, a similar festival that took place a few months ago, and I immediately decided to go.

The gorgeous St. Janskathedraal in Den Bosch.

First off, I must admit I only arrived at the festival around 7 o'clock. That means I missed a few artists, but I honestly wasn't very interested in them because I didn't know them and Fresku disappointed me too much last time I saw him perform. So the first act I saw was Kleine Jay & Cartes. I think they have a few nice songs and the show was okay, but it didn't really convince me, so to say. But soon Hef, Önder & FS Green (you might know Önder as Turk, his old rapname) got on stage. I don't like Hef's music, I think it's very unintelligent and it confirms every stereotype people have about rappers, and indeed during the show it sometimes seemed like he was just trying to find out how often you can say the word 'nigga' in a minute. BUT, Önder saved the day, accompanied by his buddy Spacekees. Now, I don't wanna say something bad about everyone, but I don't like Spacekees anymore ever since I've seen him perform solo at Regelmaat XL 2009. He was very arrogant and acted like he didn't have to work like any other rapper to get the crowd going. Fortunately, he did a much better job at Duketown.


Somewhere in between the performances, I went to explore the festival grounds, and I came across some graffiti artists. I don't know much about graffiti, but I do like to watch it and take pictures of it. Here is a small preview:

Also, there was some basketball and some skating, but I was too late to actually witness that. Maybe next year :)

Anyway, after Hef, Önder & FS Green came the Nebulon Soundsystem. I had never heard of them, but when I took a closer look it turned out Zwart Licht and NoizBoiz are all members of this 'group'. Oh yeah, and D.Lipps & Skinto, but I had never heard of them before. And it turns out I didn't recognize the NoizBoiz because rapper Kariszma has left the group. But anyway, here's a picture:

I think the man on the right is Skinto, I don't know who the other one is. Honestly, my computer is too slow right now to go to all their websites and figure it out.

The Nebulon Soundsystem had a pretty good show. I especially liked the Noiz Boiz, which is good 'cause I was wearing my NoizBoiz t-shirt (which I bought in an impulse after I had first seen them live at Rokkesteen 2008). The only thing I didn't like was that they just didn't stop! Their show just went on and on and on, until I got bored and left the crowd to sit down somewhere. It was actually planned, they were on stage for an hour, but in my opinion that was a bit too much.

So, the next group that was going to perform, were The Opposites. But... They didn't show up. One of them had a toothache, so they decided not to come. It is very typical, only "big" artists stay home for reasons like these. Why? Because they don't need the money or the promotion they get from a show like this? Simply because they're arrogant? Anyway, I got over it pretty fast, but all the sweet little 14-year-old girls in the crowd were definitely disappointed. I'm sure The Opposites were the only reason these girls went to the festival in the first place.
Sooo, since The Opposites stayed home, the festival continued with the next planned thing: a DJ Battle (between DJ DAZE and DJ DNS). I've seen DJ DNS a few times, at several Dutch hip-hop festivals/concerts, so I was rooting for him.. And yes, he won. He used songs like The Champ Is Here (by Jadakiss, I think), so he really set the mood with that...


And then, finally, someone reminded me why I went to Den Bosch for this festival. His name is Typhoon and he is a hero. If you've read my previous weblog, you'll know Typhoon has released an EP with jazz group New Cool Collective, named Chocolade EP. Well, he brought New Cool Collective with him to this performance. And his brother O-Dog. And his sister Dinopha. And singer Giovanca. And then, biggest surprise of the evening, his other brother Blaxtar. Needless to say, Typhoon comes from a very musical family. The combination of jazz, rap and R&B really blew me away, and I wasn't the only one. People were jumping and screaming along to the songs, and even my boyfriend, who usually doesn't like hip-hop, went wild. I enjoyed it very, very much. It was one of the best performances I've ever seen, no lie. Every song was a small party. Especially the last three songs: Los Zand, Bumaye and Licht Uit. And Brand Los, of course.

Here are some pictures of this lovely show:

O-Dog introduces his brother Typhoon

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Typhoon rocking

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Giovanca sings her longs out while Typhoon watches in awe

Benjamin Herman, founder of New Cool Collective

Blaxtar, O-Dog, Dinopha & Typhoon (all brothers and sister!)

Overall I think this was a nice festival, but Typhoon & New Cool Collective really took it to the next level. I recommend everyone, whether you are a hip-hop fan or not, to go to one of their shows. It's amazing.

donderdag 15 juli 2010

Album Review: Typhoon & New Cool Collective - Chocolade EP

Typhoon is a successful Dutch rapper who is known to fight for freedom and rights for everyone. Last year, he was ambassador of freedom on the 5th of May (which is the day the Netherlands celebrate their freedom and liberation from the second world war). He had only released one album, Tussen Licht En Lucht, which did very well in the Dutch hip-hop scene. I'd recommend it to everyone, he might speak Dutch but the beats and hooks on some songs are addictive even if you don't understand the words. And if you listen to the song Bumaye (from the Made In Da Shade 'Kings' soundtrack), you'll love the strong summer vibe.

But now I want to review the 7-track Chocolade EP, on which Typhoon collaborated with jazz artists New Cool Collective. Most of the songs are 'old' Typhoon material, re-recorded on music that is much more jazz than hip-hop. On the title track, Chocolade, the members of Typhoon's group Fakkelbrigade make an appearance. As can be expected, the lyrics here are filled with worldplay.
My personal favorite is (of course) Bumaye, although I actually like Typhoon's solo version of this song more. The song is very positive, with lines like "Niets is te heet voor deze vorst, geen blaren op mijn hand, ik volg liever m'n hart dan m'n verstand. Allemaal koningen, diep van binnen, ik groet al mijn koningen en koninginnen" (which I'm not going to translate, I'm sorry). Other nice songs are Licht Uit and Brand Los. Brand Los, just like Naamval and 3Luik, was recorded live, you can hear the audience cheering in the background. The songs are in good quality, so it doesn't really bother me. Naamval would be great to see live, if you close your eyes you can just see those musicians working their instruments... A song I don't like is A De Na Noso in which Typhoon talks about his relationship with his mother. I personally feel that this EP is too short to add a song like that. But I'm not going to lie, the New Cool Collective part at the end of the song makes up for Typhoon's little monologue, because it sounds great.

This EP is experimental, I think this collaboration between a rapper and a jazz band is pretty unique for a Dutch artist, but overall I think they've done a good job. Honestly? I think if you want to enjoy this music to the fullest, you'll have to see them perform live. I'm going to do exactly that, this Saturday at the Hip Hop In Duketown festival in Den Bosch. I recommend all of you to join me :) Typhoon is a great artist, his live shows are even better than his recorded music in my opinion. If this is the first time you're going to listen to his music, I recommend you first listen to Tussen Licht En Lucht, and if you like that you should try this Chocolade EP.

donderdag 8 juli 2010

Album Review: Kate Bush - The Kick Inside

Everyone knows Kate Bush. Well, at least her song Wuthering Heights. She's the singer with the witch-voice, or at least that's how I thought of her when I was a child. The original version of Wuthering Heights appeared on Kate's debut album The Kick Inside, which was released in 1978, 10 years before I was even born. For some of you, this may be a reason not to listen to the album. After all, old music is boring and it has bad quality, right? Well, this album is everything BUT boring and you can easily find a high quality version of it (even if you download the cd). I've read somewhere that there are versions of this album being sold on eBay for over $400. This is because the album was released with different covers in several countries. But of course it also says something about the album, because no one would pay $400 for a lame album just because of its cover!

British singer/song-writer Kate Bush is not afraid to speak her mind. This also became apparent in later songs such as Kashka from Baghdad (about homosexuality) and Breathing (about the consequences of using nuclear weapons). The Kick Inside is, in my opinion, not a controversial album, but it does tackle many different subjects.
You may know the song The Man With The Child In His Eyes, which was a big hit and is still played on the radio everyday. The song is about a young girl and her older, male friend. To her, this man is real, but others doubt if he actually exists. The song has outstanding lyrics, especially if you keep in mind that Kate was only 13 when she wrote it.
Another great song is L'Amour Looks Something Like You, which seems to be about a romantic one night stand. If you're in love, you will like this. Just like Oh To Be In Love, which is another nice love song (but in my opinion it's not as good as L'Amour...).
Feel It is about making love. You should look up the lyrics on the internet, because they are very beautiful. They are the reason I describe the subject as 'making love' and not 'having sex'. It actually reminds me of my first time, which is a good sign I guess...
Room For The Life is a song about the strength of women and their ability to carry a child inside of them. It's a bit feminist but at the same time not feminist at all because feminists actually fight against being seen as just baby-making machines!
Strange Phenomena is about premonitions, deja-vu's and other 'strange phenomena'. An interesting song.. Some people say it's about having your period, which I really don't understand (the only part that might refer to it is "Every girl knows about the punctual blues"). But it's possible.. That would be pretty funny. I don't get premonitions when I have my period.

One of my favorite songs on this album is The Saxophone Song. The sound of her wonderful voice singing to a saxophone melody is just perfect. The song seems to be a tribute to a saxophone, but there's also a love story in it. It describes the way she feels about the man who plays the saxophone. "You'll never know that you had all of me, you'll never know the poetry you've stirred in me."
The song The Kick Inside IS actually about a controversial, taboo subject. It's about a brother and sister who fall in love with each other. When the sister gets pregnant, she commits suicide. "This kicking here inside makes me leave you behind." The song reminds me of stories from the ancient Greek, it sounds almost mythical.
Moving is about expressing yourself by moving and dancing, and it's partly inspired by whales (which I'm not going to explain, but the song starts off with the whale song, which is how you call the sound whales make.
The first song I liked from this album is Kite. It sounds like a very happy song. It's about someone who becomes a kite (probably so that she can fly away and escape from the stress of everyday life). But after spending some time up in the sky, she realizes life as a kite isn't for her and she wants to get back on the ground.
James And The Cold Gun is obviously about guns. This is a nice song but it never got stuck in my head like the other songs on the album. Them Heavy People is about freeing yourself of stress and worry, about knowledge and spirituality. It's another happy song, but I don't like it very much.

Overall, this album is a masterpiece and everyone who likes female singer/song-writers like Tori Amos, Regina Spektor and Sarah McLachlan should listen to this. Kate Bush set the trend for many others to follow! Give this album a try.

Shisha and camels. And Nancy Ajram!

Howdy folks! I'm back from Tunisia, with a suitcase full of souvenirs and beautiful memories. It was so amazing, I would go back immediately if I could. I went there with my boyfriend. They always say you really get to know each other on vacation. Well, if that's so, then I'm now a hundred percent sure that we belong together.
So, what's typical for Tunisia you ask me? Palmtrees, camels, shisha (waterpipe), couscous and a lot of sand. And many other things, of course. We stayed in a huge all-inclusive hotel in Sousse, we even had a private beach there. The people were lovely, there was a waiter who liked us so much that he offered us to stay at his house so that we wouldn't have to go home.

Now, for the musical part of the vacation... I was in a souvenir shop at one point, and music was playing.. Guess whose music? Nancy Ajram's! I was so excited to hear my favorite Arabic artist! I heard a lot of other Arabic music that I didn't know, and in a media store I found CD's by Latifa, Elissa, Warda and Nancy Ajram, all Arabic artists I know. But most of all, there was a lot of American and European music. At the hotel they played artists like Pitbull, Fun Factory and Spice Girls. In a restaurant at the beach we heard Beyonce's song Why Don't You Love Me and at another hotel they were constantly playing Lady GaGa. At times it made me sad that people listened to so much American music when Arabic music is just as good (if not better). I mean, you can say it makes sense because they don't limit themselves to the Arabic culture, but that would be hypocrite because most people in America and Europe don't listen to music from the Arabic world or the Asian world for example either. So why would they listen to our music to be multi-cultural when we don't listen to theirs?

I don't know much more to write about music in Tunisia, because my vacation was much too active to make time for listening to music.
I do have a funny picture for you guys, of me smoking shisha.. Watch the smoke come out of my nose, lol.

Feel free to comment on this blog!