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 – Emile Haynie ft. Lana Del Rey, “Wait For Life”

emile-haynieEmile Haynie has made some serious contributions to music in the last decade, including producing much of Eminem’s Grammy-winning album Recovery. Lana Del Rey has also done a lot for music in the last couple of years, including making young teenage girls feel like hipsters. Now watch me give you an extra strength, 24-hour dose of hipsternex by giving you this mainstreamitis-curing song featuring Lana Del Rey on Emile’s new album We Fall, which is due out on February 24.

The song is distorted and has a faded tone to it. Basically, it is everything you would expect from Lana Del Rey, as these two have worked together on her debut LP before. Her name may be the most noteworthy in a tracklist including Bryan Wilson and Nate Ruess. You can check out the song by following the link to VEVO below:

http://vevo.ly/jiqRkQ

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Throwback Thursday – Eminem ft. Dr. Dre, “Guilty Conscience”

dre-eminemLast night I had Eminem and Dr. Dre on my shoulder duking it out as I contemplated writing my Throwback Thursday article or going to sleep. While Shady may have won that battle, the turmoil in my head led to me writing about this song. Each of the three stanzas is specific to a situation and Dr. Dre plays the good guy while Eminem acts like…well, Slim Shady.

This song was part of The Slim Shady LP and is at the height of Slim Shady fever. The track is humorous while also featuring classic bars. This release also came the same year Dre released 2001 and was at his prime. This music is some of the best from both artists.

Overall, if I would rate the song, I would give it a:

9.75/10

The song is funny and some of Eminem’s best, though Dre’s rhymes were written by Eminem and lack originality in that they sound like those Eminem would write. Regardless, the song is still an awesome piece of underrated Hip-Hop from years ago that makes you think while having an aura of easy listening to it.

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

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – J. Cole, Apparently

j-coleI have only heard a couple of songs off J. Cole’s new album 2014 Forest Hills Drive, but this is definitely my favorite so far. The song is complex and features both sung and rapped vocals by Coleworld. It is deep and emotional, but also has that aura of tough Hip-Hop that J. Cole is great at balancing.

J. Cole reminds me of Eminem in his lyricism and balance, but seems to have a better grip on his morals and finds success in speaking complete truth about his life. Everything he says feels so raw and straight from his mouth. As you get deeper into the song, it becomes tougher and more like the stereo-type Hip-Hop sound most people listen for.

This song’s appeal is how entertaining it is throughout and, while there is a chorus that catches on, the song’s pace and sound switches up in a convincing way that makes it stand out from other Rap music. In a year of such awful Hip-Hop music, J. Cole definitely provides some warmth while Rap fans freeze their balls off.

Overall, I would rate this track at:

9.5/10

I wish I could give it a perfect 10, I really do, but the voice cracks on the intro and slighly less meaningful lyricism as the song begins to cap knock it down a bit. Otherwise, this is a truly remarkable Hip-Hop/Rap song. I want to hear J. Cole’s new album in full, which does feature Apparently on it. In the meantime, you can hear the song and watch its music video below:

-Austin Heath

Favorites Friday – Eminem, Superman

eminem“I know you want this article, I think I want it too. I think I’m posting baby, I think it’s Saturday. I’m here to write this post, come view it on your browser now. It may not be Friday, let’s just move on from that.”

I think that’s how the song goes. I cannot remember if I actually put Superman in my Top 50 this year, but I know it ranks among my favorites. This was one of the first songs I learned how to rap in full, so it has a special place in my heart. The hook was a bit simple, so that was easy to pick up.

Fun Fact: I consider 2002’s The Eminem Show the bets Eminem album, despite contrary belief that MMLP is better (It is a close second though). I love a whole bunch of Eminem songs, but Superman is the easiest to listen to over and over again. The rhymes are addictive and its sound is iconic in Hip-Hop.

That being said, this song has its downers. The female presence in the beginning of the song always annoyed me. Again, the hook is super repetitive and a bit boring. The verses are so incredible and lyrically superb that the beat was simple and subtle.

Overall, I would rate this favorite of mine at:

9.5/10

While this is one of my favorite Eminem songs, I would never say it is the best. Songs like StanThe Real Slim Shady, and others trump it in lyrical value. However, the catchy tune of Superman has yet to be matched by any other Eminem song.

You can listen to it below:

-Austin Heath

EDIT: I said MMLP2 as the second best Eminem album. I meant to put down MMLP, thank you to Suzon for pointing that out. The error has been fixed.

57th Grammy Awards Predictions And Thoughts

grammyI will be going through every Grammy category and post my predictions for the winners. This will be a bit long, so I am adding a “Read More” tag below this paragraph. Keep in mind, just because I post the predictions, does not mean I agree with them. So without further ado, let’s get started:

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Hear It First – Eminem, Lose Yourself (Original Demo Version)

lose-yourselfEminem has released the original demo of one of his most popular hits, Lose Yourself from the movie 8 Mile. I liked the original a lot, but my attitude towards this one is not as content. Of course, it was the demo so I would hardly expect it to be much better. The lyricism is solid, but again not as good as the original.

Go ahead and head over to HotNewHipHop.com to hear the original Lose Yourself, and see what you think:

http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/eminem-lose-yourself-original-demo-version-new-song.1959806.html

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Eminem, Royce Da 5’9″, Big Sean, Danny Brown, Dej Loaf and Trick Trick, Detroit Vs. Everybody

I posted yesterday about the brand new SHADY CXYPHER, and with only a few more days remaining until the double-sided disc set releases, Eminem brings all his fellow Detroit natives on his Shady label to perform Detroit Vs. Everybody. I have to say that Eminem has proved he is one of the best the last couple of days (Especially yesterday), but I have also been impressed by Royce Da 5’9″. Makes me miss the Bad Meets Evil music, that would be a great reunion.

Big Sean sounds like Big Sean, in other words, more of the same (which may be decent, but the words feel empty), the hook is quick but the emphasis is on the Hip-Hop aspect of the song, and Danny Brown’s voice drives me crazy. I hate that I love his voice and I love that I hate it. It is hard to explain, but it is still an excellent verse. Each verse brings to the table its own appeal, but Eminem definitely dominates the rest.

Overall, I would rate the song at 9.25/10. This one has just released, so it could also be considered a “Hear It First.” Hip-Hop fans should like this a lot, so I recommend a listen below:

-Austin Heath

Hear It First – Eminem ft. Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf, SHADY CXVPHER

When Eminem announced his Shady XV album on its way (releasing November 24), but it was also told that a long Cypher would be dropped soon as well. It is 18 minutes and hardly a song, but there are some incredible verses on here. If you ask me, it is really worth a watch and listen just for the experience.

Who do you think did best? Who did worst? DJBooth.net explained it best when they said “Do you hate Hip-Hop? Then today is a terrible day for you.” You can check it out by clicking the link and see what you think:

http://vevo.ly/1E5QDn

-Austin Heath

Album Review – Logic, Under Pressure

Whoa, look at me going all mainstream and posting about one of the best-selling albums of the year. How about those who have not had the time to listen to a whole album though, is it worth the buy? On my last album review, I was pretty extensive; but this time, I do not think I will have to break down the album that hard.

“Wait, so you’re saying this will be a brief review?” Hell no, in fact, I have a lot to say about the Maryland-based rapper and his debut album (though not his first release, quite a few mixtapes before this). However I can say with confidence that this review will not have to be too extensive unless I want to get excessive. The album has a similar sound in every song, therefore making each song description short, as I cannot use the same synonyms for every track on Under Pressure.

I consider Logic the child of J. Cole’s rhymes and rap style and Kendrick’s flow after their first honeymoon. It is really hard to say anything bad about his rapping skills, and there is some evident talent. Calling this album of the year is a bit much though, but let’s save it for the track by track breakdown:

1. Intro – The highlight of this album, believe it or not. Samples the album’s sound and features some hard verses by Logic in his introduction. These subjects of the raps though will appear again soon. Reflective start though, really pulled me in. 9.75/10

2. Soul Food – I love the original beat of this song, and the soul-vibe. Of course we should expect that with a name like Soul Food. Right away Logic breaks out, and really drops some of the strongest lines on the album. Definitely one of the more stand-out products of the LP. 9.5/10

3. I’m Gone – A bit similar to Soul Food except this song tells more of a story. This is where Logic begins to really open up, and I like the life breakdown of I’m Gone. The hook is subtle, though repetitive, and it sticks with you. The raps are not as hard and impressive as the previous tracks, but they still show his skill in verse. I also really like the supporting vocals by whoever that woman is. 9.25/10

4. Gang Related – This song is, you guessed it, gang related. I do appreciate the honesty of Logic’s verses, and more of the story-telling I started to like in I’m Gone. This song does what I’m Gone could not and spits strong rhymes while still informing the listener of growing up in the hood. The beat is very original as well, though it almost stands out so much it takes away from taking in the lines of Logic. Regardless, this is one of the best tracks on the album. 9.75/10

5. Buried Alive – This is the first time we actually get a glimpse of the singing voice of Logic. I wish we could get it more, as this is where he reminds me most of J. Cole (who sounded golden on Work Out and Can’t Get Enough). The editing over the verses to emphasize phrases also channels Kendrick Lamar, so this song really appeals to me. Another favorite on the album, though the rap verses is similar to the previous songs (especially Soul Food and Gang Related). Still feels perfect in my eyes, best song on the album to me. 10/10

6. Bounce – Right away I was terrified that this song would have a sexual tone that would throw the album into wack. However the song is true to the album’s focus, the story and upbringing of Logic. Definitely one of the most upbeat tracks on the album, which I definitely like. It does feel like the song gets lost in the chaos towards the end, but catches itself by the end with a smooth ride out. 9.25/10

7. Growing Pains III – More opening up of Logic, but wow I felt like it was forever until we could actually hear Logic start. I don’t mind snippets of conversation, but this just lasted a long time. When it starts, there are some incredible rapping going on. Almost reminds me of Eminem, and the sounds actually add to the song’s atmosphere. However I use my similar sound complaint, with some serious Gang Related material and subject matter applied. Also saddening when there is a lack of hook. 9/10

8. Never Enough – A huge shoutout to production on this track, golden work. The opening hook was not very appealing, however. These were some of my favorite Logic verses and the added-in sampling from the woman singer (I cannot place the song though) along with the nod to Kid Cudi’s Pursuit of Happiness (One of my favorite Cudi songs) were superb. The song really improves and end up becoming one of my favorites after a minute in. 9.5/10

9. Metropolis – More storytelling, which I do not mind. The song does sound like previous works though, and does not seem to attempt at creating a hook. Good story and an enjoyable listen but perhaps my least favorite song on the track, despite quick and hard raps by Logic. The dialogue feels uncalled for as well towards the end of the song. 8.25/10

10. Nikki – Named after his child’s mother is the track Nikki. I do hear a lot of emotion in the words of Logic and is refreshing to see the love from a rapper to who they are with. While the song’s lyricism is incredible, the song itself is not as enjoyable of a listen as some of the preceding tracks. 8.5/10

11. Under Pressure – The song named after the album is usually given the most attention, unless there is a strong collaboration (stay tuned). This track is over nine minutes, and if you’ve liked listening to Logic’s verses in the last few songs, you will enjoy this. More of the same sound and raps it feels, but I have to give him credit for rapping hard for so long. 8.75/10

12. Till The End – Interesting production, though I was not very amused. Logic stays on focus while telling his struggles of entering the music business, which is a heavy story. The hook is also really catchy. Decent song but the beat almost weighs it down. 9/10

13. Driving Ms. Daisy ft. Childish Gambino – Here is one of the most listened to songs on the album, Driving Ms. Daisy. Now that we are beginning the deluxe version songs, we have to keep in mind that these songs cost some extra, so they will have a lot more pressure on them. I liked Gambino’s verse, almost sounding like classic T.I. Logic sounds similar as before, but this is actually one of the best songs on the album for the low-key production and emphasis on rapping. 9.5/10

14. Now – Now featured some heavy production from big names, including 6ix and Arthur McArthur. The hook is hard, and most Hip-Hop fans will immediately like it. These are strong raps by Logic, and seem more original than the others. I found it hard to keep up with this song, and the track overall was very impressive. 9.75/10

15. Alright ft. Big Sean – This song includes some of my favorite lines on the album, especially with his mention of Danny Devito, which gave me a good laugh. Of course Big Sean will help make this the most-listened-to song on Under Pressure, but Big Sean was a bit disappointing. The verse was solid but unfocused, though the whole song feels like that. 9/10

So that averages out to exactly 9.25. It was hard to keep it brief, in fact I could not. However my point of lying in the beginning was the emphasize that the same sound is used often, and if you’ve heard one you’ve heard the next four or five. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Hopefully Logic has more up his sleeve for his next project, as he will run out of ideas if he uses the same technique over and over again. I would love to hear more singing and vocal-work from him.

In essence, this album is complete Hip-Hop. It channels some of the best rappers and gives Logic the potential for a right future. So go ahead and ignore my rant on the whole thing and give the album a listen below (At the very least, I recommend the songs rated 9.5 or more):

-Austin Heath