Music Recommendation – Single – T.I., B.o.B and Kendrick Lamar ft. Kris Stephens, “Memories Back Then”

memories-back-thenWhile the song did have a brief run on the Billboard Hot 100, “Memories Back Then” is one of those mainstream Hip-Hop songs that you can toss in the category of “Good Rap Music” Or “Rap Music That Isn’t Rae Sremmurd Or Bobby Smurda”. I hate playing the “Popular music is awful” card, but when it comes to Rap, that has become the case with acts such as Sremmurd, Smurda, and Young Thug. But I’m sure I have gone on that tangent before.

The song features three expert lyricists, who set the bar for real verses and use their flow to their advantage. While I had yet to hear a great story by any of the three, this one did not disappoint from any of the camps. One by one, they go into a story from their younger lives, and open up the vault of memories based on other women and their last encounters with them. Each verse is superb as it is fascinating and focused; In fact, the chorus takes away from the song’s credibility more than anything else.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

9.25/10

This is definitely a song with excellent lyricism and some of the best work by each of the three rappers. You can check out the song below:

Continue reading

Advertisements

Music Recommendation – Single – Pusha T ft. Kendrick Lamar, “Nostelgia”

pusha-t-kendrick-lamar-nosetalgiaIt seems like every third post on here is a song somehow featuring Kendrick Lamar. I have to hand it to Pusha T for keeping me interested until Kendrick’s verse, as it might be the best by Pusha T and draws up comparisons to a classic and elegant Kanye West.

Of course the song is about cocaine, because what else would Pusha T want to talk about? Kendrick Lamar gets a bit more open and personal with the song and delivers a massive verse that ranks among his best. Production does a huge part in making this song fascinating because of how difficult it had to be to make a verse for the beat. The flow of both rappers is superb and I could see no way in which their roles could be filled by any other rapper.

The song screams classic Hip-Hop, and steers away from a hook, which I generally look down upon. However, it fits with this song, despite it lowering the appeal rate and ultimately the biggest reason it did not go big. It takes dedication to go back to the song and appreciate the lyricism when you find it hard to keep up with (hence why Twista will never find true fame, only awe).

Overall, I would rate the song at:

9.5/10

You can check out the song below:

Continue reading

Hear It First – Kendrick Lamar, “The Blacker The Berry”

kendrick-lamar-2Yesterday, Kendrick Lamar celebrated his two Grammy awards for “i” with a new song. Kendrick has yet to reveal much about his new album, but “The Blacker The Berry” is an interesting change from “i” and feels more like the Kendrick Lamar audiences know and love.

The song has a slight Reggae and Soul influence to it, but definitely feels like real Hip-Hop. You can check out the new song and see what you think of it below:

Continue reading

Music Recommendation – Single – Punch ft. Kendrick Lamar, 25

25-punchFresh off the Hip-Hop grill is the sobering 25 by Punch, featuring Kendrick Lamar on the hook. While at first I felt the urge to click away from the song, I was glad I stuck around to listen to the track in full. This song will have to grow on you, but I feel most Hip-Hop/Rap fans will appreciate the meaning and subject behind the lyrics.

Punch raps on about how most did not expect him or his friends to survive past 25 years old, or that they would be deadbeats. He looks back and recognizes those who tried to pull him down. The introduction in the first 30 seconds sets the tone and the beat samples classic 90’s and early 2000’s Hip-Hop.

As the first verse continues, Punch’s sound begins to remind me of Mobb Deep. I aim that as a serious compliment. Kendrick Lamar enters and his role reminds me of his sound on Flying Lotus’ Never Catch Me. The lyrics stay relevant and deep, though I have read that these verses may recycle a couple of already-used lines. Rumors are rumors, but noone wants to come close to ripping off other artists unless you want instant hate.

There is something about this track that combines the throwback sound of Rap with modern Hip-Hop and its signature beats, making this an enjoyable song. Overall, I would rate it at:

9.5/10

The song’s flow in the first verse starts out a bit rough, but comes together and becomes a solid track. The beat is unique yet classic. I think this is a Rap song definitely not worth sleeping on. You can check it out below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Jay Rock ft. Kendrick Lamar and Chantal, Pay For It

Fresh off the grill today is Jay Rock’s Pay For It. I have gotten a bit behind in new music the past couple of days but I am sure you can guess the biggest reason I felt the need to listen to this track. If you guessed Kendrick, you had a 1/3 chance and knew my Lamar man-crush anyways, so no cookies for you.

Jay Rock channels The Game with his new sound in Pay For It, while Kendrick Lamar resembles Eminem at times to my ears. We are all opinionated and though their voices do not sound very similar, their rap style comes close to these two. The song is tough and gritty, making it an empowering and motivational Hip-Hop/Rap track and rises on each repeat of the chorus by Chantal.

Because these two have worked on successful songs together before, this formula had to be a big hit. Overall, I would rate the song at 9.75/10. This is a seriously solid rap song, with a unique beat and some amazing rap verse from Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar. You can give the song a listen below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Trae Tha Truth, I’m On 2.0

There is honestly no point of listing all of the rappers in this song. I just wrote about I’m On earlier, which is the original Trae song. The “remix” (even though it hardly sounds like the original, so I just call it a sequel) is actually quite good. Any rapper who you may call “crap” or “not good” could prove you wrong with this song, as the verses are rather good, if not unfocused.

I said my complaint in the last one and I will say it again, what is this song trying to convey? You are on what, exactly? The verses sound excellent and the music is good but it feels empty. Even though the second I’m On is the same length as the first, 2.0 features several more appearances.

So now I go through that thing where I rank the verses, though this one is a bit easier than the first I’m On because there are actually some not-so-great parts in this song here and there:

1. Kendrick Lamar (who else did you expect me to pick?)

2. B.o.B

3. Bun B

4. J. Cole

5. Jadakiss

6. Big K.R.I.T.

7. Gudda Gudda (actually not bad)

8. Tyga

When I say rapfest about these songs, it is not only because of the amount of popular rappers on two tracks, but also how many are in the music videos (a lot, by the way). So overall, I would rate the song at 9.5/10. Some very solid verses and a great song, but no chorus sadly and a couple of a disappointing Tyga verse (but then again, what did you expect?).

Give it a listen below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Jasmine V ft. Kendrick Lamar, That’s Me Right There

I could tell when I first heard That’s Me Right There that it would be a banger RnB track. Jasmine V did not fail that, and Kendrick Lamar only gives the song more hype. This gives listeners a preview of her upcoming album this November, featuring artists including Ne-Yo and Problem.

The song uses a mix of RnB and Hip-Hop to make a killer beat, though a bit lazy at times with the same sound throughout. Kendrick’s verse is solid but does not live up to his usual standard. Jasmine is definitely the star of this song and gives it some serious character.

Overall, I would rate the song at 8.75/10. Jasmine V shows that she’s all grown up and brings on a sick rap verse to support the track, but there are a few flaws that I hope to see trend less in the other album’s tracks. Give it a listen below and see what you think:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Chris Brown ft. Kendrick Lamar, Autumn Leaves

People who don’t like Chris Brown’s music even agree this is the best song on X, and of course Kendrick Lamar has a huge part in it. Surprisingly, it seems to have been skipped a few times. This, along with Songs On 12 Play is one of the best tracks on Chris Brown’s new album.

I had planned on doing a review on Chris Brown’s X, but I felt like highlighting the best songs on here would be smarter. I will probably do the same thing for other popular artists’ albums.

Now back to the song. Both artists do their part and it doesn’t seem to be carried by one of them. It’s a typical love song, but lyrically it doesn’t really stay with the message. Kendrick’s verse starts out a little odd but it all adds up in the end and becomes a very passionate part of the track, lasting longer than you’d originally think.

Overall, the song is pretty good for both RnB fans and those leaning more towards Hip-Hop/Rap. I would rate it at around 9.5/10. Really deserves a listen, lyrics are a bit hard to keep up with but still a solid song from a relatively great album:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Tech N9ne ft. Kendrick Lamar, ¡MAYDAY! & Kendall Morgan, Fragile

I am aware that this song has plenty of listens already, but I really want to put this song in the spotlight for a minute. I heard it for the first time a couple of days ago and really appreciated the message that this track presents.

The song’s goal is to explain how sensitive an artist can be about about their work, and how just a bit of criticism can affect a person’s outlook on their work. Tech N9ne raps about how critics are ruining artists, and asks how they are going to be successful if they are constantly put down.

Both Tech N9ne and Kendrick Lamar have huge verses in this song with passion and without swearing more than necessary. The words both rappers release sound real and authentic, with Kendrick in his best form here. The hook is slow but goes well with the song.

¡MAYDAY! introduces Fragile with his own sung verse. I like how it starts slow and picks up, but I can understand if the lengthy slowness would not at first appeal to Hip-Hop fans. That is why I seriously recommend listening to the song the whole 4:00 through. The music video also has a nice ending so at least watch it for that.

Overall, this song is hard to rate any lower than a 10 because of its excellent message and lyrics, but I would have to give it a 9.5/10 due to the rather slow start the song has, which is not as impressive as after about a minute in. I absolutely think it is worth a listen:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Kendrick Lamar, i

I was not going to write about this song, but when I saw the audio only had a little over a million views, I figured it could use a boost. As you already know, I like Kendrick Lamar. Not all of his music appeals to me but I consider him to be one of the best rappers out there. Every argument against him that I’ve heard has been bull and he definitely has made him mark on the music industry.

is a complex song about pride, but it is solid and features some incredibly passionate verses. Kendrick performs with such emotion that he even begins to yell as he raps. The other noises in the song are a bit much and the beat is slightly overpowering unfortunately.

Overall, I would give the song a 9/10. Solid track but as per my complaints above. Check it out though and see what you think of it:

-Austin Heath