Music Recommendation – Single – Lloyd ft. Trey Songz and Young Jeezy, “Be The One”

LloydLloyd’s “Be The One” is everything you can expect from his most recent album to date, King of Hearts: Great rhythm, sensual vibes and quality singing draped over sub-par lyricism. However, back when I first heard this later in 2011, this song was my jam. Of course, the biggest reason I discovered it was from the massive success that Lloyd found with (the clean version of) “Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)”.

Lloyd has always been an underrated part of RnB, and for me his general absence from music has been disappointing. His music on King of Hearts was intriguing, but “Be The One” is probably the best song on the album. Having Trey Songz helps the cause quite a bit, and Jeezy’s verse is some of his best to me. Then again, a rap stanza is needed to make an RnB song actually popular. Meanwhile, production is complex and, though not incredibly original, gives the song an easy rhythm to it.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.75/10

“Be The One” is a killer RnB hit, save for the songwriting, which feels sloppy and a bit cringeworthy. The pieces are there to make this song great, and that is the biggest failure. I still highly recommend this song, which has been a favorite of mine for a good while, making it an all-timer on my list. You can hear it below:

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Favorites Friday – Chris Brown ft. Tyga and Kevin McCall, “Deuces”

Remember the days when Chris Brown acted like a deucebag? Well, more than he does now. As horrible as he was for a while, I always have to be the guy who points out at how amazing Brown’s music was around this time. His F.A.M.E. album stole the show, and much of the props have to go to this song’s success.

Can I say that this may be the only song I actually enjoy listening to Tyga rap? Of course, Kevin McCall steals the show, but the whole track is a masterpiece. Chris Brown sets the mood, Tyga opens up a bit, and Kevin McCall finishes it by not giving a single f*ck. The instrumental is spectacular and some of the best production I have ever heard to date, and this song ranks as one of the overall best songs I have ever heard for its genre.

Despite it not making my Top 50 this year, the song ranks in my all-time favorites and could easily break the cusp any year. The lyrics, the tone, everything about “Deuces” makes it a great break-up song. Overall, I would rate it at:

10/10

While this may be one of my most opinionated 10/10’s, this song is timeless and has been regarded by many as one of the best. Any RnB and Hip-Hop fan can see why “Deuces” is so critically acclaimed. And now for the quotable part: Anytime one of the artists says the word “Deuces”, I find the reflex to put two fingers in the air immediately.

Now you can check out one of my favorite songs below and enjoy with me:

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Hear It First – Beyonce, “Crazy In Love” (50 Shades Of Grey Remix)

beyonce-2While I opposed the movie 50 Shades Of Grey’s release before, it had never personally insulted me until today. This movie is responsible for doing this. It managed to take an actually enjoyable #1 hit song, and force it to be slowed down by production who could not find a microphone, so used a seven-year old cell phone to record the track on. The entire change is way over-sexualized and just feels like something that should have been thrown out after hearing the end result.

The song is not necessarily horrible, it just manages to start a new legacy for a song that had already solidified its foundation as one of 2000’s best #1 songs. Go ahead and see what you think by following the link over to Perez Hilton’s site (I profoundly apologize that you have to go there for this):

http://perezhilton.com/2015-02-05-beyonce-50-shades-of-grey-crazy-in-love-full-audio-listen-here#.VNQniNX3-iw
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Hear It First – Madonna ft. Nas, “Veni Vidi Vici”

Madonna-Rebel-HeartI originally planned to use up this article with a few “Madonna is so old” jokes, but she probably wouldn’t be amused by that, seeing as how she likely witnessed the invention of the joke. A notable thing about “Veni Vidi Vici” is that Nas is normally the veteran feature on a song, yet when Madonna first met fame, the future-rapper was entering the early stages of puberty.

I could go on and on with the jokes, but I actually consider Madonna looking young considering she’s 80 years old. So new song by her, with Nas performing a verse, and it has a rebellious Pop/Hip-Hop vibe. Surprise, surprise.

Check out the new song and hear it first by following the link below:

http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/singles/id.29739/title.madonna-f-nas-veni-vidi-vici

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Music Recommendation – Single – DJ Carisma ft. Tory Lanez, Sage The Gemini, Eric Bellinger, and Mishon, “Anyway”

anywayThe biggest reason I listened to this song, besides the success of DJ Carisma’s last collaboration (which you can check out here), was how this song managed to take three of my favorite underrated RnB singers and put them together on a track. While Tory Lanez sounds a bit too much like Jeremih for my taste, this song is gold for any modern RnB fan.

DJ Carisma does a great job of combining a unique sound with the signature DJ Mustard beat (you know what I’m talking about). It may stick out at first, but it adapts to the vocals very well. All three sung portions sound solid, if not slightly over-autotuned and the hook is almost too catchy (at least for a white boy like myself). Sage The Gemini’s verse is timed right, as I don’t think I would enjoy the song as much if it were any longer. It’s a nasty stanza, but in comparison to the other artists on the “Anyway” Team, I needed it to be quick.

Overall, I would rate this song at:

8.25/10

If you don’t like autotuned vocals, I would keep scrolling. DJ Carisma has proven now, however, that she is an expert at putting together a perfect group for a song. I love RnB, so this may be biased, but her contributions so far has been impressive.

You can check out the song below:

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Artist Recommendation – Brandyn Kaine

Brandyn-KaineWhen hearing Brandyn Kaine’s music for the first time, I found myself almost immediately comparing his sound to twenty one pilots. The singer/songwriter/rapper/producer/entrepreneur/super-artist is able to create a variety of different designs to music and write relevant and complex verses without needing to be a duo. His singing skills are even almost caught up with his Hip-Hop expertise.

While residing in Nashville, Tennessee, Kaine finds the chance to work on his upcoming debut album Nashville after a number of mixtapes while being CEO of his own music collective, Varce City. Despite only being a few months older than me, this dude makes my success look like a kindergarten drawing with crayon marks outside the lines compared to his Mona Lisa. I have not even written about how impressive his own solo music is yet.

Among Kaine’s discography are Carpe Diem, his first collection of music, which released on September 5, 2014. This was followed up with his EP Trade, capping off the year 2014 with an end-of-the-year release. Despite being a producer himself, Brandyn Kaine has worked with plenty of experienced producers to make hits such as “Terrible” with iNControl, “Struggle” with Malik On The Beat (No, not Zayn), “Gone” featuring a verse by RyM and produced by JAYSILL, and more hits. Of these, my favorite has to be “Gone” and I recommend that song the most.

Overall, I would rate Brandyn Kaine’s music at:

9.25/10

Brandyn is still only 18 years old, so his voice may still be developing. Another key factor is that this artist has only just begun within the last year and made major strides in the music industry. His voice is edited just right in each song and this gives him the ability to do anything with his voice, despite a higher tone from his pure vocals (Then again, that never stopped a younger Eminem, did it?). Production is always professional and his features are not overbearing but can make some of his songs even better. Brandyn Kaine’s new album Nashville will drop on March 23, so save the date.

You can get more from Brandyn Kaine through his official website here. I recommend at least checking out my favorite songs listed above in the link below, as well as giving his Trade and Carpe Diem tapes listens:

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Hear It First – Mike Will Made-It ft. The Weeknd, Swan Lee and Future, “Drinks On Us”

drinks-on-usDespite a less-than-relevant 2014, Mike Will Made It grabs an artist we love and two artists we cannot stand to make a song that is not necessarily terrible. Swan Lee’s verse is much better than anything I have heard by him, and Future sounded like more of the same. The beat is signature Hip-Hop but does feel a little repetitive.

The Weeknd is the best part of the song, which makes it good that he has the most singing time. You can check out the song below and hear it first:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Meek Mill ft. Big Sean and A$AP Ferg, “B Boy”

b-boy-rappersBehold, the rule-defying song that happens to be the second Big Sean-featuring track I have written about within a week. I will try to prevent that from happening again, but to be fair, this will probably be the best effort Big Sean will put into a song. While all three of these artists go in, Sean proves why he is finally famous with his jaw-dropping verse.

Meek Mill provides a good start to the song and keeps it interesting, but Big Sean starts out average (as per usual) and words pour out like sweet lyrical honey. Being honest though, I believe that line with the commas was a bit of a run-on sentence. A$AP Ferg ends the song with a verse that will make you go “Hey, I should actually hear more from this guy.”

There is no real chorus, but that does not mess up the song’s quality much. Ferg is a bit difficult to understand, and Meek Mill doesn’t exactly speak with the clarity of a Zedd/Foxes collaboration, but I digress. The song is a sick Hip-Hop track with artists who perform quite well for their reputations.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

9/10

You can check out the song and its newly-released music video below:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Big Sean ft. Drake and Kanye West, “Blessings”

BlessingsMost reactions to this song so far have been much unlike my own. Listeners have said this song has a great beat and weak verses. Meanwhile, I was impressed by each artist, mostly because of how surprised I am with Big Sean’s development up to this track. Most people call him things like “wack” and “not dope” (I’m not very up-to-date with the lingo of the young people), but I believe he has the ability to do what he does in “Blessings” on the rest of his album.

“IDFWU” has been a big hit, but Big Sean is still treated like three-day-old potato salad leftovers. He is dumped on like crazy, and while I may not be the biggest fan of his music and do agree his lyrics feel very empty, I have heard way worse. I was going into this song expecting it to be a “Hear It First” and I would briefly cover it, but all three rappers do a solid job of carrying a low-key and difficult beat to work with and make the best of what they are given.

Big Sean starts out slow but picks up quick and goes on about a typically-empty subject with easy rhymes. Both of his verses have good flow, but just don’t seem to be conveying anything. Drake, meanwhile, connects the song well with his chorus (though it is disappointing for Drake’s vocal skills) and his own more consistent middle verse. Kanye’s outro had my favorite verse on the song (that’s a first) and I just love the idea of a pre-school run by Kanye West. I would absolutely send my child there, no regrets.

It was hard for me to pick up any meaning from “Blessings”, but all three rappers make a good Hip-Hop radio hit and a song that will most likely achieve Billboard Hot 100 status. Before judging, I would hear it out; That was the only reason this made it to “recommendation” status. Overall, I would rate the song at:

7.5/10

This song is nothing new, but I like it and see the appeal. You can hear the new single first below:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Wale ft. Lloyd, “Sabotage”

waleWale was the next biggest rapper back when his debut album Ambition dropped. One of the highlights of the whole album was the smooth artists Wale chose to perform the chorus’. Lloyd’s role on “Sabotage” is a good example of how well RnB is executed and should be focused on many Hip-Hop tracks.

Not only was there a serious percentage of credit going Lloyd’s way, but Wale’s verses are focused and tell a story excellently. The various instruments showcased in the beat is a refreshing change in a Rap song. My biggest complaint is the number of times I feel the need to clear my throat when Wale’s voice cracks (Give him some m-fing cough drops). The talking over Lloyd’s final chorus is a bit annoying as well.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.5/10

This is definitely not a Wale track to sleep on, and if you have not already heard it then check it out below:

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