Wednesday, February 26, 2014

#OXYMORON

GUESS WHO? o_0

After much absence... Hiphop-made reviews is back in FULL EFFECT! Tell your mother and her friends!
Look out for Classics Weeks in 2 weeks and more reviews on a regular basis.
Formalities out of the way, let’s dissect this Schoolboy Q  #OXYMORON. Preferred not to do a track by track for this one, you’ll understand why at the end.

The album starts off with a classic intro for the hiphop books as Schoolboy’s daughter goes, “Fuck rap, my daddy a gangster!” I mean, come on... we need not discuss how hard that first track “Gangster” is. The beat on this track starts of on a hype that lasts for the first four tracks and sets the mood for Q’s story. Los Awesome, featuring Jay Rock has a really infectious beat produced Pharell Williams, the imperial Skateboard P! Aka King of Music(right now). This track just goes into some of the general day to day activities of Schoolboy and his friends, and is very different from what we’re accustomed to from him. “What They Want” was another BANGER. The track features 2Chainz and has a stellar trap beat to accompany the braggadocious lyrics from Q and 2. “Hoover Street” is one of those tracks that really details Q’s past and what was happening during his pre-rap days. Along with “Groveline Street Pt. 2”, “Break The Bank” and “His and Her Friend”, this backdrop to Q’s mentality and why he is who is today is well painted. The singles from the album are all well crafted songs and have such a unique “schoolboy” feel to them. “Hell of a Night”, “Collard Greens”, “Break The Bank” and “Man Of the Year” serve to highlight the new schoolboy Q, the one who utilized this “Oxymoron” to make it and provide for his daughter. The oxymoron basically is Q’s doing bad to do good, in a nutshell. From selling drugs before rapping, to doing drugs while rapping all culminating in making money to support his daughter. His most introspective moment on this album come at track seven (7), though not one of my favourites “Prescription/Oxymoron” is the pandora’s box(if you will) of what this album stands for. The voals from his daughter on the track serve to invoke an emotion that really makes you understand schoolboy’s story. Following that track with “the Purge” ft. Tyler The Creator and Kurupt was damn near perfect. It also introduced you to the portion of the album that transitions from old schoolboy to new schoolboy. Though some key tracks didn’t make the record, analyzing it really makes you grasp what schoolboy wanted listeners to feel and understand. The track “Blind Threats” was in my opinion the best track on the album. Aside from the fact that rap legend Raekwon is featured on it, the lyrics are so real it’s almost scary. The track battles with religion and that fact that though schoolboy believes in God, sometimes he doesn’t get the answers that he wants from God and in turn, turns to his “gun” which is like a symbol for the gangster life to help him in life. He puts his faith in his tech and the drugs etc.. He highlights the “blind threats” that religion gives us to keep us from sinning but acknowledges that he has to commits these sins in order to make it in life. The closer to the album was perfect. Much like Kendrick’s  “Compton” track on GKMC, Fuck La is schoolboy’s ode to his city, but more in a braggadious way stating that all that he is, is what LA is, basically that the streets made him, and he is the streets.

#OXYMORON was the perfect title for this album. Schoolboy Q put his life on wax and painted a picture for us, though majority of us won’t be able to directly relate to it, especially not as much as Habits and Contradictions. We probably didn’t live the same life as Q, but his story and struggles are so real that what we can take from it are invaluable life lessons. The songwriting skills and productions on this record was top notch. Q was never known for lyrics, but he indeed turned it up a notch on this record. Fantastic debut album indeed!


My rating 8.75-9/10

#OXYMORON

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Peace bruv!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

WINNERS OF 2013 IN MUSIC

YOOOOO....
Hey wassup followers of my blog. I been away for a while but truthfully those who know me just know i been too busy to really put time behind some of these reviews, but I still always been listenin to the music tho... so my tweets like mini reviews themselves. But again I apologise, hopefully 2014 is way more productive HipHopmade wise. Much love still though, the blog lives one.

THAT BEING SAID, I couldn’t close 2014 without givin yall my end of year lists. Yea PLURAL, “LISTS”

CRITERIA FOR SINGLES LISTS:
  • Impact
  • Potential Longevity
  • Song Writing Skills
  • Overall Song Quality


CRITERIA FOR ALBUM LISTS
  • Impact
  • Concept
  • Potential Longevity
  • Production
  • Skippable Tracks (skipability)
  • Overall Album Quality


So, without further adieu...

TOP 15 HIPHOP SINGLES OF 2013

15. Tom Ford – Jay Z
14. Started From The Bottom – Drake
13. Fuckin Problems – A$AP Rocky ft. Drake and Kendrick Lamar
12. Rap God – Eminem
11. Numbers On The Board – Pusha T
10. Bad – Wale ft. Tiara Thomas
9.  Picasso Baby – Jay Z
8. New Slaves – Kanye West
7. Work(remix) – A$AP Ferg ft. French Montana, Schoolboy Q, Trinidad Jame$ and A$AP Rocky
6. Bound 2 – Kanye West ft Charlie Wilson
5. Bands A Make Her Dance – Juicy J
4. Shabba Ranks – A$AP Ferg ft. A$AP Rocky
3. U.O.E.N.O. – Rocko ft. Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa and Future
2. Nosetalgia – Pusha T ft. Kendrick Lamar
1. Power Trip – J. Cole ft. Miguel

TOP 15 HIPHOP ALBUMS OF 2013

15. Born Sinner – J. Cole
14. Nothing Was The Same – Drake
13. Wolf – Tyler The Creator
12. Innanetaape – Vic Mensa
11. Gifted – Wale
10. Peep: The a PROcalypse – Pro Era
9. Doris – Earl Sweatshirt
8. Long.Live.A$AP – A$AP Rocky
7. Magna Carta Holy Grail – Jay Z
6. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 – Eminem
5. Run The Jewels  EP – Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P)
4. Acid Rap – Chance The Rapper
3. My Name Is My Name – Pusha T
2. Because The Internet – Childish Gambino
1. Yeezus – Kanye West

TOP 10 NON HIPHOP SINGLES OF 2013
10. Beautiful – Mariah Carey ft. Miguel
9. Q.U.E.E.N. – Janelle Monae ft. Erykah Bahdu
8. Life Round Here – James Blake ft. Chance The Rapper
7. Bed Peace – Jhene Aiko ft. Childish Gambino
6. Lose Yourself To Dance – Pharell Williams ft. Daft Punk
5. Get Lucky – Pharell Willams ft. Daft Punk
4. Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke ft. Pharell Williams
3. Happy – Pharell Williams
2. Royal – Lorde
1. All Of Me – John Legend



 TOP 5 NON HIPHOP ALBUMS OF 2013

5. Beyonce – Beyonce
4. Overgrown – James Blake
3. Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
2.  Sail Out EP – Jhene Aiko
1. Love In The Future – John Legend


TOP 10 OVERALL ARTISTS OF THE YEAR

10. Jhene Aiko
9. Pusha T
8. Justin Timberlake
7. Robin Thicke
6. Kendrick Lamar
5. Eminem
4. Drake
3. Jay Z
2. Kanye West
1. Pharell Williams


IF YOU AINT LIKE MY LIST LET ME KNOW ON TWITTER, IF YOU LIKE IT GET AT ME ON TWITTER

NEW SHIT COMING 2014, ALL THA BEST FOR THE NEW YEAR.

#HIPHOPMADE

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Drake - Nothing Was The Same Track-by-Track ALBUM REVIEW

Living up to hype is second in difficulty only to surviving in the shadow of your hype. Aubrey "Drake" Graham is the master of creating a brilliant spotlight in the shadows of his hype. It is no question that Drake's best work came prior to his extremely over-the-top wave of fame, on efforts that a mixtape classic So Far Gone and Comeback Season. Drake lyrics were sharper, topics were on point delivery was less corny, his character was solid and captivated listeners with a taste of something different to come... he was like Le Bron in high school. Drake's first solo effort,  Thank Me Later showed that Drake could find the balance between creative identity and commercialism. The album was very "safe" boasting a catalog of radio hits, which did wonderss for his fame and success, but little for his status as a great emcee/rapper. Take Care saw drake bellow into his emotions, which is fine for any artist, but again it must be done properly, which in my  opinion it wasn't. Drake uses his fame to say things in a way that an average male would never, and get away with it. As a result though, his fans label his music as soft (rightfully so) but don't care, and still stand by Drake as being a phenomenal artist. On this, his third major label effort, Nothing Was The Same, Drake takes us on a journey. Was it a good memorable one? that remains to be explored in this track by track review. So Leggo!


1. Tuscan Leather
Typical, but good start to a Drake album. I respect Drake for being able to clearly vent emotions in the simplest was while still sounding fresh. The vybe of this intro though is no different from Over My Dead Body or Fireworks, so Drake didn't step out of the box, good track, my only beef was it was too long.

2. Furthest Thing
This track seems to be a fan favourite(not sure why). Drake really stepped up his hook game with this one though. Probably the best hook on the album apart from Started From The Bottom. The beat is nothing we haven't heard before, but it's still cool. Decent track, with some cool lyrics, again introspective for the most part.

3. Started From The Bottom
Even though it was the lead single for the album, it still is one of the strongest tracks on the album, in my opinion. I think there is nothing better than when music continuously sounds better the longer it is out, and this song benefits from that blessing A LOT. It really is a breath of fresh air in the grand scheme of this album. The beat has vybze, and the "semi" raw delivery from Drake is cool, as he didn't come across fake or corny. Solid trackkk.

4. Wu Tang Forever
EASILY THE BEST SONG ON THE ALBUM, in my opinion. Drake takes the same sample from the Wu Tang track, "it's yours" (which actually was a sampled track itself) and uses that reason I believe to name the song Wu Tang Forever.... not really sure why but you know.... word. I really love his flow and emotional delivery, reminded me of something from So far Gone. Super Solid track from Drake, a much needed reminder for me, of what i use to like about Aubrey. (pause)

5. Own It
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...... Drake went all the way left on this track. The lyrics on this song is all types of mushy/homo. Sounds like something Elton John would tell Tyler Perry at a picnic. SMH I'm sorry I cannot get behind this song in the least. Think about this, if i made a great "sounding" song rapping or singing about raping babies and worshiping demons, would you like it? FUCK NO! Same reason I don't fuck with this lame track in the least.

6. Worst Behavior
Again a breath of fresh air from the soft Aubrey we have grown to know. If Drake had not repeated the same line 200 times this song would be VERY good, for now it's just cool. The beat is really fresh, produced but some random guy names DJ Dahi. Quality stuff. It has potential to be a hit, but that repeated line... it really was a little too much. Good stuff though Aubs.

7. From Time (ft. Jhene Aiko)
One of the reasons why albums or music stand out to people is because while listening to it, a lot of the songs resonate with you, and invoke certain emotions that make you remember them. this song lacks that intangible aspect a lot. I honestly, in general conversation cannot remember what it was about or how it song entirely. It just drifts from my memory, it was one of the more boring tracks on the album. However, Drakes flow was really good and Jhene Aiko's vocals were fantastic as well. My other gripe is the fact that Drake is kind of repeating topics a bit. It's nothing new from Drake, not that the topic is bad, it is just yet another introspective track, but it could have been done from a different perspective unno. But Drake sounds good rapping like this, and that is what drives the song to not being a bad track. This is Drake's niche. Some okay story telling abilities shown here as well.

8. Hold On We're Going Home
ZZZZZZZZZZZZ... Here we go again. I do not think Drake can sing. i'm sorry. Neither do i think his song writing ability for RnB is all that great as well. The beat for this track is fresh though. An ode to that late 80's MJ era. This is like a slowed down Thriller throwaway beat. I could here Prince doing something on a beat like this. The sample or the person at the end was the best part for me. I like how that sounded a lot, i even just skip to that part sometimes LOL. Drake struggles to bring the song to life in my opinion. He however succeeded at this on Take Care(the song with Rihanna on his last album) so it is not like he is incapable of doing it, but it's just that it is not natural hearing him try to. That is strange considering how soft he is but... word, unno... Cool radio song i guess, but I didn't think it was good.

9. Connect
A boring RnB attempt in my opinion and again on a recycled topic. The rap at the end was mediocre. Not a good look for Drake right here... but hey, i wasn't suprised. The Beat sounded like a throwaway The Weekend beat.

10. The Language
The hook for this song was cool. The flow on the verses was terrible tho. Mirror image flow of Versace and that track was terrible so... not much of an upgrade. The beat had a good baseline but that was all, it feels empty and lackluster. Track was mediocre at best.

11. 305 To My City
Suprisingly, I fuck with this track a lot!!! It starts of soo hard woth the recurring sample going "drop down... drop drop down.." It was mad freshhh. The beat is a bangerrrr, when the baseline comes in better crank up that volume and feel it blow out your ear drums b. Fuckin phenomenal. The are nothing special but still a great song. Topic wise he basically is tlakin to/about a girl who is a stripper and in his eyes is winning. Nuthin new from "save them hoes" Drizzy. BUT, i dig it.

12. Too Much
Aubrey opens up with some emotional and personal verses about his family life, which apparently invoked negative responses from his mother and aunt n shit. That's some real shit, so i respect it. It reminds me a lott of the track Look What You've Done off Take Care. Drake flow is tight here and lyrics are on point, really good song, a standout track.

13. Pound Cake (ft. Jay Z)/Paris Morton Music 2
Pounds Cake was supposed to be on MCHG so basically that shit is a Hov track, hence the stellar beat and great flow/delivery. This is easily the best beat on the album. I cannot rate this in a Drake light as he only had one verse, which was average at best. Hov ran away with the spotlight on this one. Great song but not in the scheme of Drake's work, im sorry. Paris Morton Music 1 was awayyy better, Drake didn't seem to but the same effort into his lyrics as the first part, but it was kina aite still. Not a good way to end the album though, but say what. The double offerring on track 13 was cool. Thank You Hov.

BONUS CUTS
14. Come Thru
I didn't really dig this track, typical soft radio Drizzy. I honestly don't know why so many people love it. It was just average to me. I didn't like how it "sounded" so... that really didn't aid. It whatever to me... really forgettable.

15. All Me (ft. 2 Chainz and Big Sean)
BIG SEAN KILLLEDDDD ITTTT!!! Easily my favourite song on the album. Chainz it killin tracks these days too, so don't sleep on his verse. This track is maddd vybze. Beat is great, great hook from verse and a decent verse too. Nuthin bad i can say about this. Props Aubrey!!!


IN A NUTSHELL.... I think this album lacks staying power. This is Drake's least memorable album of the three. For the most part is feels kina empty/boring. To many of the tracks have the same vibe. It reminds me a lot of a Weekend album. Some bright spots here and there i must admit. I revisit particular songs ever so often. I think Drake is capable of delivering a GREAT album. He is yet to do that, in my opinion. But according to him he makes all his music exactly how he wants it to sound, so this is just what we are going to get from Drake. When Drake is ready he can SPITTT, but he sacrifices that a lot on his recent work for some other work, sooo... i ain't really feeling new Drizzy. My twitter followers know how i feel bout that moist, light-skinned, hoe saving, wanna be singer. But it's all love still.

My Rating
7-7.5/10



follow me on twitter @jellzman

1


Monday, September 23, 2013

John Legend - Love In The Future ALBUM REVIEW

Very rarely does an RnB artist release an album that is able to resonate with general popular culture, no matter what your genre preference might be. The very nature of RnB make this very difficult, living in a society where “vybze” and “hype” really is the order of the day. John Legend transcends these boundaries on his latest effort, Love In The Future. It is said that an artist expresses his greatest work when in pain, I think more so when he/she has just gone through or is going through a great deal of emotion, whether good or bad. That left room for someone like Mr. Legend to produce a stellar 20 track ballad detailing his current love life and the emotions it invokes.

The album starts off beautifully with the title track Love In The Future, with John’s voice blaring out the lyrics “it’s a new year, for love... love in the future,” but in the most beautiful, and soulful way you can imagine someone blaring at you. John Legend is very much known for his mainly piano instrumentals to accompany his music, however this album diversifies his sound, but it is done exceptionally well, executively produced of course by Kanye West. The fourth track, Made To Love, sees John step out of his comfort zone and sing over heavy drums and hi hats, much like Kanye did on 808’s & Heartbreaks lead single Love Lockdown. The lead single off of this album was released in March of 2013 long before the release date of the actual album, August 20th, which brings me to my next point and probably the driving intangible behind this entire album. The soul felt in the single “Who do we think we are” kept that track relevant for seven months, and did enough for John to sell 68,000 copies first week, with little radio play.  This track is followed by the second single off the album, All of Me, a clear ode to his newly wedded wife. John, in this track, professes that she deserves and will get nothing less than all of him, and all that she wants him to be, a true mark of a man in love. The album theme of professing love, changes slightly on tracks like “Tomorrow” and the fantastic interlude “What if i told you.”  The use of interludes(not skits) are new to a John Legend album but it really teases us with how great John can make a track sound. The second interlude, “Angel” featuring vocals from Stacy Barthe, was another standout track, adding a very happy tone to the album. The track where John Legend really blew me away in terms of taking a very unusual beat and filling it with soul, is the track “Asylum.” The lyrics of this song can only be match by those of “who do we think we are” in terms of song writing ability to take a message or idea and deliver what is potentially a hit record. Here he compares love to an Asylum where the actual love is driving him crazy, but it is the Asylum that he goes to after being driven crazy, absolutely perfect, in my opinion. The track “Aim High” which is track number nineteen (the last four tracks are bonus cuts) is a phenomenal mood setter for something like a graduation or an awards function. The lyrics are so deep that the mellow mood of the music distracts you from its’ brilliance. John Legend's vocals on this track are amazing to say the least. The closing track is John basically setting up the reason why this album was written and executed the way it was in the first place. On “Love For The First Time” I guarantee you, you will understand fully what this album was about and for, and I can even for a moment, make you remember what love feels like. It is easily the most emotion-filled track on the album, perfect way to end off the album.

With twenty tracks (16 on the regular version) it is a bit tedious to touch on all, but in summation, the album is easily the best RnB effort to come out not just this year but for a while. I can only think of a few in recent times that can compare or are better. Music is meant to move your soul, and invoke some emotion or feeling, whether something solemn, happy, sad, serious, painful or hype. When it is executed with excellence, no matter what your preference in genre, you will feel that intangible element. That intangible element that comes from the moments that inspired the lyrics, the emotions that inspired that choice of instrumentals, the mistakes in the pen when writing the sound, the mood in the studio and that pain or joy in the voice of the artist. John Legend executed the intangible in this piece of work perfectly to say the least. I strongly recommend this album to anyone, anywhere. Brilliant work, that will only grow in popularity, and get better with each listen. Timeless...


My Rating 9.5/10



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