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.

Team Supreme Volume #60 [Free Download]

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This last month or two I’ve been on a Team Supreme binge. There weekly mixes are timed perfectly so that once I start getting tired of last weeks mix they drop another one. Also there’s about 30 weeks of backlogged mixes I’ve been sifting through. I’ve also self proclaimed myself Midwest’s Official Unofficial Team Supreme  Spokesperson. That being said, if your not down with the Team Supreme than you’re fucking up. For real though, check out week 60 here.

Team Supreme Vol. 60 – Free Download

 

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.

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].