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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Favorites Friday – Future, “Turn On The Lights”

HaFutureve you ever had a song that you liked, but knew it was terrible and hid any acknowledgement of existence from others while you failed to pinpoint why it appealed to you as much as it did? Meet my candidate for that ever-so-specific category, Future’s “Turn On The Lights”. Any Future song, really, makes me question the quality of my choices in music recommendations. However, “Turn On The Lights” ended up being one of my favorite songs for two months and almost made the cut for the Top 50.

I do not expect you to like this song, or even tolerate it for more than 30 seconds, but somehow I found it to be incredibly easy to pick up and repeat. The rap verses are so vague lyrically just mumbling felt like knowing the lyrics. The hook and chorus always had the most style and was crafted well. Mike Will Made It was big in 2013, and his beat definitely tunes out the vocals a bit to make the song a bit more tolerable.

I will not waste time writing too much about “Turn On The Lights” as about 90% of the readers of this article will hate it. However, I found it catchy and it made me believe in my own singing skills when singing along to it. Overall, I would rate it at:

5.75/10

Go ahead and check it out below (or not) and hear one of my all-time favorite songs (somehow, I don’t know how or why but the song just makes me happy to hear):

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Music Recommendation – Single – Ciara, “I Bet”

"VH1 Divas" 2012 - ArrivalsAs a faithful dude-bro in a long-term relationship, I tend to give the argument that not all men are cheaters or awful. Then I remember that Future cheated on Ciara, and I begin to doubt my own confidence in the male gender. The “Ride” music video awakened things in 14-year-old me that I dare not go into details about.

One thing I love about all of Ciara’s music is that it never conforms into what the media wants it to be; Ciara makes music as if she were performing when she started that develops based upon her life’s current stage. I think a great new song release is the best revenge against a failing and, to put it bluntly, wack Future.

“I Bet” is the perfect example of when you would confuse the song for a track on an older album. The song is empowering, though the backup singer (Rock City’s Theron Thomas) annoys me like crazy and takes away from the effect. If the song had been released without it, I might have given it a much higher rating. The RnB feel to the song is honest and by the bridge, turns into a passionate break-up song and fades out smoothly. The chorus is complex has a flow to it worth tuning in for the next go around.

So overall, I would rate the song at:

8.25/10

Again, the rating would have been higher as a solo work. Ciara does a great job on vocals and the beat is perfectly simple for the song’s mood and tone. The song just released today, so check it out and hear it first below:

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Music Recommendation – Single – DJ Carisma ft. Lyrica Anderson, Kay Cola, Siya, Kehlani and Netta B, “Hold You Down” (Remix)

DJ-Carisma-Hold-You-DownPower 106’s very own DJ Carisma brings on some serious girl power to remix DJ Khaled’s RnB-singerfest that is Hold You Down. Now that my clickbait headline sentence is over, let’s be objective. I am not one to usually like remixes or covers better than the original song, but the artists on this track did a great job of reverting that. I had never heard a single one of these artists, but they find their place on the song to substitute each artist’s sound without appearing unoriginal. DJ Carisma is the cheesecake of remixes for me.

Don’t you go thinking this remix is just a cover with the words “girl” and “shawty” interchanged with “boy” and whatever the girl version of “shawty” is; the song is original and even features a rap verse at the end. I may be a bit partial on the Hip-Hop aspect of this track, but the message of the song is basically the same as the original in that these hoes are, in fact, loyal, contrary to popular belief. This is however aimed at the reverse gender (or maybe not, hey, I don’t judge). DJ Carisma brought together an amazing team to add to this song and the lyricism is better than the original to me.

Overall, I would rate the remix at:

9.5/10

Keep in mind, I am rating this song as a remix. The original gets around a 7.75/10, but this re-do is much better and capitalizes on mistakes from its predecessor. DJ Carisma takes the original beat and applies it to an even better set of artists (AKA not Future) and lyrics. This remix put a lot of good artists on the map for me I had yet to hear, and cannot wait to listen to more by each of them.

So go ahead and check out the remix for yourself below:

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Music Recommendation – Single – PARTYNEXTDOOR ft. Drake, Recognize

partynextdoorTo be honest, I am not sure how I feel about PARTYNEXTDOOR yet. I see he has a rather loyal following, and some of his music is enjoyable (see this song), but he almost sounds like a copy of Future. That seems to be the trend anymore, though, so I will just pull up my big boy pants, quit pouting and get over it.

I saw someone make a comment about Drake stating that he has helped establish modern RnB/Soul. I laughed at first, but I can now see the reasoning behind it. You can call me white, gay, whipped, or any other true adjective describing me, but I prefer hearing Drake’s singing voice over his rapping. This song only gives a preview of his singing voice, but it is a highlight of the track.

The song is appealing in the way Turn On The Lights was, in that you want to disregard it at first but have to finish the song for whatever reason, then you end up listening to it again. Then this process repeats for a few weeks. In essence, this song has a superficial appeal to it where it reminds me of a previous song that I liked and has a catchy Hip-Hop/RnB effect to it. I wanted to share this song though to introduce everyone to PARTYNEXTDOOR in case you had been in the dark before.

Overall, I would rate the song at 8.25/10. I find myself coming back to it often, so despite my lack of commitment to the song’s quality, I still do recommend giving it a listen. I find myself drawn to it and the sound of PARTYNEXTDOOR. You can hear the song below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Que ft. August Alsina, Diamonds

diamondsNormally I don’t listen to a whole lot of August Alsina’s music (though I have liked a couple before, especially Numb) but Diamonds would not be the same song without him. Que’s sound is interesting and enjoyable at least for me, but August Alsina brings this song together and makes it worth listening in full.

The beat is ominous but forms into a solid Hip-Hop sound. Que sounds a lot like Future, who I can like on some songs. The hook is a smooth transition and does not ruin the pace. The whole message of the song is that women only want to be with them for their money and what they can buy them, or something like that. It’s the typical “we get women” concept, which knocks points off.

Overall, I would rate the song at 9.5/10. The track is definitely underrated after months of sitting through the summer with less than 200,000 listens. Go ahead and check out the song below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – DJ Holiday ft. Meek Mill, Future, T.I. and Stuey Rock, Flexin’ On Em

First off, how come there is an apostrophe after “Flexin” but not before “Em?” Is the whole song subliminally aimed at Eminem and I just missed it the first couple of listens?

Whenever I see the words “flex” or “flexin” I instantly compare the song to “No Flex Zone.” In other words, I assume that each of these will be way better. I actually find Flexin’ On Em a solid Hip-Hop track despite a couple of shakey names (notably Future and Meek Mill).

I cannot decide if I actually like Meek Mill’s verse. When I first heard the hook I was a bit put off, as it is annoyingly repetitive. The fact that Meek Mill kept me around meant he did something right, despite hearing many complaints about his verse. Future was also on point with his flow, though I have to admit his voice induces an immediate throat-clear for me. T.I. sounded back in shape after a few inconsistent and disappointing months (save for announcing the dual album with Jeezy, that was pretty rad news). And we all know how I feel about Stuey Rock on the hook, who has virtually been silent up until now.

DJ Holiday keeps the track relevant and provides an appropriate beat, and there are not really any bad verses on this track. Overall, I would rate it at 9/10. If you are a Hip-Hop/Rap fan, you should go over to HotNewHipHop.com and give the song a listen:

http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/dj-holiday-flexin-on-em-feat-meek-mill-future-ti-stuey-rock-new-song.1959113.html

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – BUNT., Harmonica

I do not want it to look like I messed up the title, BUNT. actually has the period at the end of its name. Just like fun. and why. No I mean like why would you do that, it only confuses me.

In all honesty I find Harmonica a decent Country song, though it is hard for me to judge a song of a genre I hardly pay attention to. This review is basically the same as Gordon Ramsey reviewing bicycle brands or the viewers of HotNewHipHop.com rating, well, any song. I never listen to the biased viewer votes (all the Young Thug lovers can screw off to another site please).

Again, I will not be very good at this, so even in a Country recommendation I am bound to mention Hip-Hop for some uncalled-for reason. But Harmonica is an upbeat track that almost sounds like Future on a country song. The beat is quite different from what I imagined Country music sounding like, and the originality of the track is definitely notable. Unfortunately the acoustic guitar alongside the beat can get a bit tedious and just feels like it is forcing the song to be Country. Basically what I am trying to say is the song is closer to EDM/Dance than Country.

Well this sucks, now I am hardly even reviewing a Country song like my goal was. So much for changing things up tonight, procrastination wins a deceitful victory over me. Regardless, the song deserves a solid 9.25/10. It is Country x EDM and is innovative in that it leans more towards Country than, say, Wake Me Up tries to. The Harmonica is evident, so the title does not lie.

Give the song a listen below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Kelly Rowland ft. Future and Bei Maejor, Need A Reason

Take a walk through the Museum of Music History (Thank you Google for interpreting my original “musaem”) and take a left in Movie Soundtracks. One of my favorite soundtracks is Think Like A Man, which had an all-star class of singers and some huge hit RnB hits. I actually have yet to watch the movie, which is on my large list of “unnecessary things to do.”

I loved the track Think Like A Man by Jennifer Hudson with Ne-Yo and (unfortunately) Rick Ross. That Rick Ross verse puts that song just shy of my Top 50 this year, but without him it is easily up there in my favorites. Of course you did not click on this article (or used the Home page like a normal person, seriously why does no one just do that?) to read about Jennifer Hudson’s song. So you want to know: Is Need A Reason good?

Well, obviously if I am writing about it, on my music RECOMMENDATION blog, so yes, it is good. But in fact it is better than good. It is borderline excellent, save for Kelly Rowland’s stanzas which, while carrying the song to its best part, are a bit slow compared to the other artists on the track. Meanwhile, Future introduces the track with one of my favorite all-time Future verses. It is quick and catches on quickly, unlike most Future songs.

However, Bei Maejor caps off the song so well (except for his completely uncalled for two-line rap verse), with smooth vocals and uptempo pace at the perfect times. This also leads into the best part of Kelly’s contribution, with an upbeat and passionate hook that should have been what the original chorus sounded like.

So overall, I would rate the song at 9.5/10. The song is an RnB favorite of mine and was in my Top 20 in 2012 for being such an incredible RnB song on an incredible RnB soundtrack for a not-so-incredible (from what I have heard, again have not watched yet) motion picture. Give the song a listen below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Ashanti ft. French Montana, Early In The Morning

Normally I would never come close to mentioning a song with French Montana, as I cannot stand him. Yet I was intrigued by this song. I like the idea of autotuning the rapper’s voice and putting him on the hook, making him sound almost identical to Future (and not a bad Future song either).

While this is a typical RnB love song, it is rather catchy until about 2:45. Then rapping ensues. While it is definitely not Montana’s worst verse, and it’s rather short, I would’ve preferred if he stayed on the hook. Sadly Ashanti disappointed me a little, which is rare.

This is, in my opinion, one of the better songs on the singer’s most recent album, Braveheart. The music video for it just released today, so clearly I’m not alone on that one. I will most likely review a couple of songs from the album over time, but not the whole LP.

As for the song, I would rate it at around 8.5/10. Good listen, I was impressed by the hook and hope French Montana does that more instead of rapping. You can listen below:

-Austin Heath