Drake – “Too Much (feat. Sampha)”

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What sets Drake apart from other mainstream rappers is that the man attempts poetry on topics other than the tired. This does not mean he doesn’t slip into the occasional safe rap topics, like money, cars, and butts, but on every album there is a serious amount of lyrical skill between the fluffier parts. The first time hearing Nothing Was The Same’s “Started from the Bottom” is misleading to what’s going on in Drake’s newest studio album but it’s simultaneously a summery of the entire album. Fame and money were part of the equation as far back as 2007’s album-strength mixtape Comeback Season, catching him on topics of coming up as a backpack rapper, giving everything he’s got to get rich and famous. But now that he’s got what he asked for the strongest songs are those that catch him alone, stepping back away from his buddies, and talking Real Talk about what all three of those things–money, cars, ass–mean to his life now, if anything.

“Too Much (feat. Sampha)” has Drake contemplating if his life is any better now with all his old dreams realized. The real terror seems to come when he can’t find what direction to move in anymore, and the possibility that getting rich will make him lazy (“Stuck in the house, need to get out more/ I’ve been stacking up like I’m fundraising/ Most people in my position get complacent”).

Sampha’s vocals are a nice change from Rhianna–who makes a small nation’s wage only singing rap choruses–and sets tone, alongside solo clapping and his looping trills, echoing a loneliness that’s not seen with rappers known by their cliques. Drake sounds rushed in in delivery, angst ridden almost, like he’s held in his mother’s isolation too long (“Hate the fact my mom cooped up in her apartment,telling herself/ That she’s too sick to get dressed up and go do shit, like that’s true shit”), sharing it finally in the only way he knows how: by rapping. It’s a rap game mobius strip he’s walking, one that might not have a solution; being rich doesn’t mean being happy.

Action Bronson – “Water Sports”

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Action Bronson is a rapper with so much character he might as well be an animated bear. The entire length of “Water Sports” (maybe his career) is not so much a huge joke than a collection of recordings that show a bunch of guys–Bronson, RiFF RaFF, Statik Selektah, et al–joking around. They look like they’re having fun because they are.

“Water Sports” is no exception. Right away, Bronson tail whips into the thick of it with “Shit yo, it’s like I’m always dunking on Dikembe Mutombo,” something so irreverent it could only come from his big body. Harry Fraud’s production flutters with vintage flutes and cymbals, which act as the Hummingbird engine that makes what Bronson does look effortless on this track.

What follows is a series of lines that vaguely run the track of summer activities, sometimes involving water. “420 SC, yes he/Doing fuckin’ endos on the Jetski” a line that makes the jump into connecting title and lyrical content, and explodes a load of asinine alliteration.

Okay, Okay. I know. This isn’t Sage Francis; there’s no poetic undertone of political despiar or a verse about the battered life of a beautiful hooker. One would be hard pressed to get anything of a meaning from a line like “Eleven thousand on the overcoat straight from Nova Scot/Hover on boats, wines with summer notes” but then again, this dude’s just having fun.

Djemba Djemba – Oh Ok Yeah That’s Cool

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It’s been a little bit since I posted and I’m going to blame it on the weather. If anyone has been to Milwaukee in the Winter then you know that things tend to slow down. Everybody hunkers down and goes into a  winter induced coma. So it’s geography’s fault not mine. But it’s a balmy 30 degrees out today and it seems like spring is beginning to break.

One artist that I found while sleeping away my Saturdays was LA producer Djemba Djemba. His new EP is coming off of Diplo’s MAD Decent label so it’s already got that going for it. The “Trap” genre seems to be blowing up right now. While Djemba Djemba is definitely a trap artist, but he’s got a very different take on it. It probably helps that he samples one of my favorite SNES video games in one of his mixes. Regardless, it would definitely be worthwhile to check out his EP, and a mix or two if you like what you hear.

Djemba Djemba – Oh Ok Yeah That’s Cool

Djemba Djemba – I Just Go

Djemba Djemba – Summer Fantasies Mixtape [Free Download] link

 

Klassik – In The Making

3491731617-1“Wisconsin sucks.”

“There is nothing in Milwaukee.”

“This state is so boring”

Whether you agree with these statements or not, when someone brings it up you should roll your eyes. Beyond Da’ Packers or cheese or that big body of water on our east coast, the number of exciting things that have come from this state would surprise most. Frank Lloyd Wright spent much time in his early years in Madison; Chris Farley was born in Madtown, too; the Violent Femmes grew up in Milwaukee; and the newest reason Wisconsin has got something to be interested in is MKE’s own Klassik.

In the Making, Klassik’s first full length album, is a sonic boom of turtle waxed production value (done by Klassik himself), and hip-hop with lyrical complexity. The album starts off with “Grand Scheme of Things”, an intro bursting with plucked strings, pianos, and theremin syth-pitch bending, setting a spacy mood while sending across the message that Klassik is going to blend his own melange of old organic sounds and the new some cosmonaut-altitude hip hop. It’s so hard not to perk up at lyrics like “Getting rid of all negative dispositions/ that’s the attitude that got me here in this position” as it seemingly floats in front of all those past and present instrumentals. And the music runs from jazz lounge keys (“All day”), to cymbals that crash like lit TNT in front of a pixelated harp (“Enemy/Inner Me”), to the Morse code bumping trunk-thumper “MoonRock.”

Lyrics too, beside his skill of word play like “No time for all that jazz/ have you ever seen a girl with all that aspirin?”  on “Ur Next Move”, is quick and infectious while having a deeper level of consciousness and skill. Listeners will find themselves humming the chorus from “Escape”, or finding themselves walking to class singing  “Whatcha doing Klassik?/ Coolin’ out now” from “Oh Yeah…Ntro” ad nauseum.

So, looking for Wisconsin pride? No worries, it’s all here, and with talent and flow that will only grow better with time, In the Making is bound to be a Klassik.

Mark Foster, Kimbra, A-trak – Warrior (What So Not Remix) [Free Download]

Remixes don’t get much funkier than this. What So Not is a duo out of Sydney Australia (Down Undah! Shrimp on the Bahbie! Fostahs!) and they’ve been dropping some funky as fuck remixes. I first heard of them back when they released their remix of Major Lazer’s ‘Get Free.’ I may have posted about it before but I’m posting it again because seriously, it’s just that sick. Any ways, you can keep up with these guys via their soundcloud. I recommend you do because these guys are dropping some of my favorite remixes of late.

Mark Foster, Kimbra, A-trak – Warrior (What So Not Remix) [Free Download]

Major Lazer feat. Amber – Get Free  (What So Not Remix) [Free Download]

What So Not – Live DJ Sets / Mixtapes

Flying Lotus – Between Friends (feat Earl Sweatshirt & Captian Murphy)

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Now that Earl Sweatshirt is back from his rehab/exile in Samoa, and with a new head on his shoulder–he recently tweeted that “Everyone with 666 or KTA or some sort of stupid hashtag like ‘hey look im crazy’ in their bio might be pretty bummed [about the next record]”–it’s clear, on this genius collaboration with Flying Lotus and the Tyler the Creator-sounding Captain Murphy duo, that he’s not about rapping stories of rape or murder so much anymore. This is further shown on the Frank Ocean Channel Orange guest appearance, proving he’s still got that indefinable flow, executed with ease, and lyrical content anew isn’t stopping him. As always, though, the lyrics are fresh and full of wit, double entendres, and enough internal rhymes to make a man (or woman) melt, “Hardly not, gnarly tots, nollie pops/Use a bit, it got me; then she buzzin’ like a walkie talk” But what really makes this song work is the hazy atmosphere, record pops, and crystal ting of the vibraphone, so much so that Flying Lotus could have let this beat stand alone and we’d still be talking about it.

Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

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Frank Ocean, probably the least odd of the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA) clan, crashes R&B through a Goodwill on the weird part of town where clowns and yacht owners all dispose of their old fashion in one place, thus creating Channel Orange, the sprawling 17-track buffet. The subjects and sounds on this album pair like socks with the styles of space-jazz, soul, pop, and a few high quality guests–Earl Sweatshirt, John Mayer, Andre 3000.

Not only is Ocean’s Voice an amazing wave of ivory, but it’s perfect for the medium of story telling he’s doing on most every track. “Super Rich Kids”, is a Less Than Zero-esque song about the boredom of having everything, self prescriptions, and self defenestration (throwing one’s self off a building)–“My silver spoon has fed me good/A million one, a million cash/Close my eyes and feel the crash.” And maybe even best of all is how the song is all but stolen by Earl Sweatshirt, as he kills his verse with his intense poly-syllabic prodigy style (“Close your eyes to what you can’t imagine/We are the xany-gnashing/Caddy-smashing, bratty ass/He mad, he snatched his daddy’s Jag.”)

“Pyramids” is heavily cited as the center piece of Orange Channel, a two part, ~10 minute tempo changer, about sex with the Excalibur casino’s waitress in Vegas (Big sun coming strong through the motel blinds/Wake up to your girl for now, let’s call her Cleopatra), that holds all the glam and glistening lights of the city itself.

While the album may look packed at a bit over an hour long, the short vignettes like “Fertilizer”, and the John Mayer crashing track “White”, are pallet cleansers that are so strong they could be stretched out by two minutes and be right at home with the rest of the songs. So go ahead, please, I implore you, [bad pun ahead] drown yourself in this ocean [ouch, that was almost dad humour].

Why? – Sod in the Seed

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Why? front man Yoni Wolf, in a Pitchfork interview about 2009’s Eskimo Snow, said that it was “the least hip-hop out of anything I’ve ever been involved with.” Sod in the Seed is playing with the best melodic work from Eskimo, while throwing in the indie-rap genius they’re so well known for from earlier albums.

The title track “Sod in the Seed” is a self-acknowledgement of the fashion and lifestyle choices we choose to define ourselves, from Whole Foods to boating shoes to our communications (“New corpus publicist, thanks ya bud/As hundred bucks worth of wordy blogger thugs”) and pretending to live a vagabond life sponsored by Apple products.Sod is filled with many relatable feelings, habits, and environments that it’s hard not to smile to yourself upon hearing lines, like this one from “Shag Carpet”, where Yoni confesses, “I’m so lonesome that I’d let you take me out/If you looked like my ex-girlfriend or Zooey Deschanel.”

Of the six-song EP, two are rap songs while the other four are shorter hotel-pillow-sized-mint melodies that will have you humming them at the post office or on your way to yoga class. On the 1:45 minute track “Twenty Seven” Yoni leaves the listener intoxicated with the perfect prose soaked hook that sums up the simple complexities of the band’s poetic and confessional success, “There is real peace in the regular order/Of my most intimate geometry.”

Prefuse 73 – The Only Hand to Hold [Free Download]

The posts have been a bit inconsistent lately, but it’s only because I’ve been totally swamped with catching up on my TV stories, sleeping in till noon and drinking myself into a stupor. Summer is starting to wane in Wisco so I figure I gotta get as much goof off time as possible before the weather starts shifting.

Anyways, The Only Hand to Hold comes from Prelude 73’s newest album The Only She Chapters released back in 2011. I like his new album but it’s distinctly different from his older ones; more experimental and less hip hop. In my humble opinion his new album isn’t as good as his old stuff. That’s not saying it’s bad music, because it’s not. It just doesn’t seem to be have the crispness/timelessness of his older songs. I guess I’m just partial to that hip hop/breakbeat sound.

A good example of his older work would be the song One Word Extinguisher which comes off of Prefuse 73’s 2003 album of the same name, or Choking You from the same album. I’m also including his remix of Balmorhea’s Clamor because I can’t help myself.

Prefuse 73 – The Only Hand to Hold [Free Download]

Prefuse 73 – One Word Extinguisher [Free Download]

Prefuse 73 – Choking You

Balmorhea – Clamor (Prefuse 73 Remix)

Reckless Wobbles – Mixtape [Free Download]

Here’s a pretty dope mixtape that I found over the weekend. It’s got some songs that should sound familiar, but its also got a lot of new songs that I had no idea about. The whole vibe of the mixtape is a hard-core hip-hop, dubstep mix. It’s got artists like Figure, Crizzly, Doctor P, Nero, and Terravita. There’s a shitload of content in it so this should last you awhile. Stream it online or download it for free here.

Here are a couple of my favorite excerpts from the mix

Waka Flocka Flame – Hard In Da Paint (Crizzly Remix)

XV ft. Wiz Khalifa – Gobstoper (Figure Remix)