Let me pick up the torch

For the last few years Hip Hop has gone through a transition where the elitist is busy counting their money from all their royalties, where Rappers became business men who is too busy increasing their respective brands instead of making the music that we have loved for so many years.

20 years ago, the Rap Game saw two of the most iconic rappers battle it out.  Christoper Wallace and Tupac Shakur had the world divided.  West Coast vs East Coast, Death Row vs Bad Boy Records, Outlawz vs Junior Mafia.  There was so many subplots and even though it made for entertaining of the highest quality, it also meant the demise and death of two of the most gifted artists in the genre’s very dark but also lucrative history.

For year thereafter, the likes of Nas, Jay Z, DMX, Lil Wayne and recently Drake and Kendrick Lamar have been putting out hits and claiming to be the self proclaimed King of Hip Hop.

A heavy crown to carry considering that it carries a lot of pressure, and have rappers lyrics gone through with a fine tooth comb.  And this made me think of a few things.

I have always been a huge fan and critic of Nas.  The self proclaimed God Son, has changed and adapted to the times, his last critically acclaimed outing “Life’s Good” was a commercial success after his divorce from R&B singer Kelis.  The artist, showing off his new style swagger in his videos showed us glimpses of his “Illmatic” side in a few of the tracks.  With the artist due to drop a new album, I am sorry but the Hip Hop community is in need of a “Illmatic”.

Enters Kendrick Lamar.  The Compton native recently released his much anticipated LP “Damn”.  I have not seen the ratings of this, neither do I intend on doing a full write up of the album, but all I can say is that if you are a fan of Hip Hop, get your hands on this one.

Not since Stillmatic and Life’s good, have i ever managed to not skip a track.

Seems like Kendrick just picked up the torched.

kendrick

Advertisements

Pick me up Monday

Happy Easter to one and all celebrating!

For those of us that have to work, just a question as we head into this Easter Monday.

“What is your favorite performance by a artist or band and why?”

For the average music lover, they will think about their favorite artist/band and just choose that as their most watched.  But what people sometimes forget is the impact, reason and message these performances signify.  It can either be very a very technical reason, or just pure passion, which in my opinion is scarce in the world we currently occupy.

As young as I am, I have fond memories of VHS tapes and stories that my parents shared with me.  This lead me to just love music more.  So strangely, my favorite would happen 1 month after my birth, but I first saw the tape about 5 years later and instantly fell in love with it.  As I became older, the message and reason became even more clear and this lead me to just believe more in the power of music, as well as the message it can potentially carry.

Over the years there has been tons of performances.  Listed below is 5 that springs to mind and can be notable mentions:

  1.  Michael Jackson Motown 25- As always, a very good rendition of Billy Jean, but more notably the debut of the Moonwalk.  Even though Jackson did not invent the move, he certainly became synonymous with it.
  2.  Prince Superbowl XLI-In my opinion one of the best performances seen at any Superbowl, Prince has always been a very interesting artist, and his renditions of Purple Rain, Best of You, Let’s go crazy, Proud Mary and All along the watchtower is one of the best performances in Superbowl history.
  3. Beats by Dre Live-Not in the traditional sense, but this is iconic in the fact that when Dre launched his live Apple Beats channel, he chose to promote his 90’s playlist by having the actual artists perform.  The likes of Nas, Dre, Bone Thugs, Pharcyde, A Tribe called Quest, Method Man & Redman and many others dawned the mic for a icon of the Hip Hop scene.
  4. AC/DC Live in Riverplate-If you want to see a massive amount of people in the same stadium, rocking to the tunes of the classic band, look no further.  They absolutely rocked the stadium and proved once more the caliber that they posses.
  5. Nirvana Unplugged-Probably the best MTV Unplugged next to notable mentions of Lauren Hill and Eric Clapton, Nirvana was just full of raw emotion.  You could also see the psychological state of Kurt Cobain, the show being one of his last public performances before his sad passing three years later.

Which brings me to my favorite live performance;

Queen-Live Aid-Wembley

Let’s be honest.  The world has never and will not ever see a more majestic performer like the late Freddie Mercury.  The man was an absolute genius and he put all his love in his music.  Bohemian Rhapsody, We will Rock you, We are the champions, Crazy little thing called love, Hammer fall and Radio Gaga, all packed into 24 minutes.

What amazed me more was the crowd anticipation.  The man knew how to attract their attention and this made it even more worthwhile.

What is yours?

 

Music is the Soul of the Man

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
-Bob Marley

bob.PNG

At times, it speaks to a situation, to a part of your soul that no one can comprehend
to your heart that no one can understand and to your sanity because without it, you
may just grow to dislike everything that you once stood for.

Everyone has their own Genre, everyone has that one particular sound that makes you
forget what life is throwing at you, and just being able to breathe again.  Whether
it be the reassurance of Freddie Mercury and Queen, the passion of life Bob Marley
portrayed or even the inventiveness of Michael Jackson when he was in his peak.

Playlist are made to fit your mood.  The Shuffle button is there if you want to be
random.  The repeat function allows you to relive a moment in your life that you
don’t want to forget.  Music, is the universal language that we all speak.

AC/DC made us want to get on the “Rock and Roll train”, Nirvana reminded us to “Come
as you are”, Queen told us “We are the Champions” while Bon Jovi laid you on a “Bed
of Roses.”  I can go on for days and cannot stress the importance of Music enough.

To be honest, had it not been for this, I would have been declared insane.  This is
a fact that I have laughed about, but sitting here thinking of the severity of how
different my life could have been, makes me appreciate it more.  And while I am a
stickler for the older generation of music, I still occasionally put my feelers out
to see what the world of entertainment can offer.

There is no amount of playlists that you can create, that will ever be either perfect
or complete.  Something, someone will always be missing and it can be a good source
of banter between your mates.  While some will not like the fact that you prefer Green
Day over Limp Bizkit, or prefer the newer kids on the block, whether there is a
preference for Kendrick Lamar over Drake or if Whitney Houston had a better vocal
range then Adele…the debates is endless.

If you had to ask my now, what my favorite 30 songs would be, I would probably end up
giving you 120 and that would not be enough.  The same can be said for Artists because
while you have your preferences, you also get those that will have a track or two, that
you feel directly speaks to you.  And that is what Music is about, lyrics or beats that
speaks to your soul.  Music that when heard, you just nod in agreement and close your eyes.
It sets you free and can bring you back from the darkness.

“It’s better to be hated for what you are, than to be loved for what you’re not…”
-Kurt Cobain.

Here’s to the Greats

Kurt.PNG

The music world recently lost yet another talented artist.  The Artist formerly known as Prince passed away two weeks ago and this made me think of my love for Music, whether it be Internationally or Locally.

Like all the previous greats we have lost, Prince too had his contribution to my love for Music.  In no particular order, here is my top 45 songs from artist that passed away in the last 30 years.

  1.  Round bout Midnight-Miles Davis
  2. We are the Champions-Queen (Freddie Mercury)
  3. Lithium-Nirvana (Kurt Cobain)
  4. California Love- 2Pac ft Dr Dre
  5. Hypnotize-Notorious BIG
  6. My Way-Frank Sinatra
  7. Drive-The Cars (Benjamin Orr)
  8. California Dreamin – The Mama’s and Papas (John Phillips)
  9. Try Again -Aaliyah
  10. Hey Jude – The Beatles (George Harrison)
  11. Waterfalls – TLC (Lisa Lopes)
  12. It’s like that – Run DMC (Jam Master Jay)
  13. How Deep is your Love- The Bee Gees (Robin & Maurice Gibb)
  14. Come as you are -Nirvana (Kurt Cobain)
  15. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (Freddie Mercury)
  16. Somewhere in Heaven – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (Howie Epstein)
  17. Let the Music Play -Barry White
  18. Ring of Fire –  Johnny Cash
  19. Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers (Bobby Hatfield)
  20. Georgia on my Mind –  Ray Charles
  21. What a Fool Believes – Doobie Brothers (Keith Knudsen)
  22. Never too much – Luther Vandross
  23. You’ll never find –  Lou Rawls
  24. I Got You (I feel good)- James Brown
  25. Theme from Shaft – Isaac Hayes
  26. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
  27. Close the Door –  Teddy Pendergrass
  28. Caravan of Love – Isley Brothers (Marvin Isley)
  29. Night Nurse –  Gregory Isaacs
  30. Valerie – Amy Winehouse
  31. Now that we found love – Heavy D and the Boyz (Heavy D)
  32. Drift Away – Dobie Gray
  33. You Give Good Love – Whitney Houston
  34. You Gotta Fight for your right (to Party)-Beastie Boys (Adam Yauch)
  35. Hold the Line – Toto (Dennis Frederiksen)
  36. Street Life – The Crusaders ft. Randy Crawford (Joe Sample)
  37. I want to know what love is – Foreigner (Ed Gagliardi)
  38. Up where we belong – Joe Cocker
  39. When a Man loves a Woman – Percy Sledge
  40. The Thrill is gone – BB King
  41. This will be – Natalie Cole
  42. Hotel California – The Eagles (Glenn Frey)
  43. After the Love is Gone- Earth Wind and Fire (Maurice White)
  44. Purple Rain – Prince
  45. The Man who sold the world – David Bowie

Looking at the sheer list of artist, one can easily argue that they had a handful of favorites over the years.  I can easily think of Reasons (EWF), The Most Beautiful Girl in the World (Prince), Mr Magic (Amy Winehouse), Love TKO (Teddy Pendergrass) to name just a few.

The world just seems to be losing some of the most talented artist that our Era has ever seen.  This should then be wake up call to up and coming artist to solidify their positions.