On Saturday Beyoncé once again surprised us with the release of the “Flawless (Remix)” featuring Nicki Minaj via SoundCloud and Beyonce.com. The new track is hot, with a new verse from Beyonceé referencing the elevator incident. Bey was keen to point out that families have issues even if the family is worth a billion dollars. Nicki Minaj’s verse just put the hammer in the coffin, making this remix one of the best I have heard so far this year.
check out the tune at flawless.beyonce.com or find it on SoundCloud.
In this interview, we get to see a somewhat different side of Tyler the Creator. Yes, he is still his usual self with a complete disregard for societal boundaries and standards, but we get an insight into his brain that we have never seen before. He talks about his desires to not just be a rapper, but a man of many different talents in many different avenues. He talks about his views on the N-word, racism, and anti-gay slurs.
Check out the interview here.
You may or may not recognize the name Meshell Ndegeocello, but she is most notable for her record “Fool of Me” from her 1999 album Bitter, which gained popularity from the movie Love & Basketball as part of the soundtrack. Meshell has released several moderately successful albums over the years, both as a solo artist and a member of the group Rare Essence. She is an artist that the mainstream music listerner has never been completely aware of, but she does maintain a consistent and loyal following.
Ndegeocello (pronounced N-deh-gay-o-chel-o) new release Comet, Come to Me, is a hodgepodge of sounds with her voice as the only aligning driving force. As a listener, this album will provide you with rock, reggae, soul and jazz. Tracks worth focusing on as introduction to the album are “Forget My Name”, “Conviction” and the title track “Comet, Come to Me”.
The variety of sounds demonstrated throughout Comet, Come to Me is great, there just seems to be something missing.
Thanks a bunch to Popmatters.com
So a few months ago Nicki Minaj released the track “Lookin’ Ass”. The track has gotten some major backlash over the music video. Many saying it was demeaning of Malcolm X‘s message and the struggle of civil rights within America. Others are saying it has powerful message within itself because the lyrics of the song are representative of another struggle. The struggle for Women’s Rights and the need for feminism. The difficulty with this song, that a lot of other raps songs with a powerful message have, is that people get overburden with the so called graphic language. Graphic language is used often in rap music and due to this people don’t pay attention to the context or the conversation taking place.
Yeah, there’s a lot of N-word usage, but the first stanza asks men to stop objectifying women. The second stanza I quoted asks for the same exact thing.
Similarly with “Bound” by Kanye West, there consistantly seems to be a disregard for the intellect behind music videos of rap songs. Sometimes there are no themes, no messages to be shared, but that is not always the case. These people are artists and artists rarely do anything without some meaning. Rap is an art form. It is their way of expression. And just like how we over analyze literature in the classroom that same kind of attentiveness needs to be shown toward music and music videos. For example, when I go out to the bars one song consistently played is “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen. Drunks scream that chorus at the top of their lungs but how many people actually know that the song is about Springsteen’s dissatisfaction with the U.S. government during the Vietnam War.
I don’t think all that many know and I think that kind of lack of knowledge in Mainstream America will always blur an artist’s message.
Check out our overview of Nicki Minaj’s most recent track “Pills N Potions“
Our favorite release of the week is Sam Smith‘s In the Lonely Hour. Sam Smith has gained attention from his work with Disclosure‘s “Latch” and Naughty Boy‘s “La La La”. In fact Sam Smith was not signed until after his work with Disclosure blew up like it did.
Sam Smith’s album is an album full of poppy ballads, with love and unrequited love as the main themes. The sincerity of the love themes is sometimes a little questionable, but that subjective.
Songs that particularly stand out are “Money on My Mind” and “Stay With Me”. “Money on My Mind” is a very pop oriented track that promotes the message that money is not everything and that the art of music should take precedent. For “Stay With Me” we are introduced to gospel chorus and R&B vibe.
Shout out musicomh.com
The United States music scene is very internalized. Rarely do we immediately appreciate an artist or music group when they are originally from a country that is seemingly foreign to the majority of Americans. Nico & Vinz are one of these groups.
Nico & Vinz (formerly known as Envy) are Norwegian hip-hop/pop artist. One of their biggest hits to date is “Am I Wrong”, which was released last summer. Though the song has just became available on the US iTunes, its very disturbing to find out this song is not new after hearing it on the radio for the first time this past week. The song has even been performed for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize Contest.
“Am I Wrong” is an anthem for promoting individual thought (which is why it was probably selected to perform for the Nobel Peace Prize Contest).
Am I wrong for thinking out the box from where I stay?
Am I wrong for saying that I choose another way?
Walk your walk and don’t look back, always do what you decide
Don’t let them control your life, that’s just how I feel
Vinz sings the first verse as well as the chorus on this track while Nico sings the second verse and bridge. There are obvious signs of their musical influences within the song such as African drums, Norwegian pop and American hip-hop.
Many other foreign-to-the-US artists had slow break outs, like Disclosure whose popular hit “Latch” which was released in 2012, did not gain any traction in the US market until late 2013 and now.
Music and art should flow more freely through all avenues we have. Copyright laws are important, but the United States needs to be more collaborative with other countries, otherwise Americans will continually be behind the curve when it comes to discovering new music.