Frank Ocean fans are used to long waits in between projects but it seems with the success of 2016’s Endless and Blonde, Frank has grasped the impact that his music has on various audiences. So much so, that linking up with artists such as Calvin Harris and the Migos via feature over the past few months has kept fans on their toes for more. The track “Provider” was released as the VMA’s were being aired, succeeding in fans abandoning their TV sets in between commercials just to take head to this.
“Provider” begins with Frank’s vocals moving in and out with different lines seeming wordless. Throughout you can hear Frank’s ability to deliver vocals as if he is rapping with lines such as “Stiff smile just like I’m Aphex twin/Pat the Patagonia pockets, tryna find my zip”. The subject of talk seems to circle around tolerance and restraint. He touches on putting friends as well as significant others on hold, while compelling them to bide their time until he’s ready to build an act based on his intentions. Take four minutes and four seconds out of your day to receive this provision. As usual with Frank, disappointment isn’t a thing. I highly recommend that this song be apart of anyone’s library.
According to Joey Bada$$, April 7th is “Global Hip Hop Appreciation day” and what better day to release your album than on the day of said holiday. Not only that, it was believed to be the day of Kendrick Lamar’s new album release (or whatever it may have been) alongside projects by Tech9 and Allan Kingdom. Also, April 7th marked the late Tupac Shukur’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by his lablemate and longtime friend Snoop Dogg.
As we know K. Dot ultimately made a decision to push back his album until April the 14th (hopefully), leaving Joey Bada$$ to take pleasure in a moment all his own. Through the past four years there has been a lot of turmoil within Joey’s life one particular example being the loss of Pro Era member and longtime friend Capital Steez. Throughout the hardships Joey has maintained a positive outlook as he has designed his career as New York’s conductor for 90’s nostalgia and lyrical content. On January 20th 2015, Joey released his debut project B4.Da.$$ (pronounced Before da Money) which would go on to score a top 5 Billboard debut. With the release of All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$, Joey has appeared to have matured and gotten wiser. Coming behind a list of Hip Hop artists who have called out Americas’s hypocrisy and dishonesty (I.e. Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted), Joey uses his platform and voice to express his anti-Trump views, as well as educate people about the unfair treatment of Blacks in this country.
All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$ has the feel of an album that is detrimental at this time. As of late there are plenty of artists in the Hip Hop community that have decided to use their influence on the culture and speak out on injustices and create uplifting music for the community. On the song “Land of the Free” Joey delivers lines that’ll broaden your vision Trumps presidency as well as systematic racism. “Obama just wasn’t enough, I just need some more closure, and Donald Trump is not equip to take this country over.” In the hook he sings, “In the land of the free, it’s full of freeloaders, leave us dead in the street to be their organ donors” The track “Y U Don’t Lov Me? (Miss AmeriKKKa) comes off as a letter towards a lost love. Joey is inquisitive as to why this woman (Miss AmeriKKKa) doesn’t love him nor what comes with him (I.e. his skin color). “Why you can’t recognize my stride? Always gotta minimize my pride.” Over a smooth euphoric like beat you can hear the passion in Joey’s voice as he sings the chorus “Tell me why you don’t love me, why you always misjudge me? Why you always put so many things above me?”
Joey has a familiar lineup for his sophomore project as you’ll hear smooth, ecstatic production from Pro Era’s Chuck Strangers, Kirk Knight and Powers Pleasant. Status Selektah, DJ Khalil and 1-900 (Adam Pallin) also played big rolls in production. Bada$$ unsurprisingly comes at us with a badass lineup of features whether it be displaying elements of his Jamaican heritage in his working with Reggae artist Chronixx or his ability to wordplay with Hip Hop vets Styles P, ScHoolboy Q, and J. Cole. “Super Predator” featuring Styles P definitely comes out on top as the winner in the collaborative category as Status Selektah delivers the perfect instrumental to bring out Joey’s and Styles’ views on the term “super-predator” originated by John Dilulio. “Super-Predator” is a term used to demonize black youth as having “no respect for human life or future.” Not only does the element of conscious Hip Hop lie in this track but Joey’s Jamaican roots as well; as he sings “Badmon we a run tings, never let the tings run we.” in the chorus. Styles P delivers powerful lyrics in his verse “no I’m not a chicken, I never listen to FOX news. Niggas built the country but never givin’ they props due. Playin’ for my people, I’m still payin’ for my pops dues!”
Had Kendrick released his album on the same day as Bada$$, we’d be having a completely different discussion about two pivotal lyricists that are in their prime, comparing the impacts that they would’ve both made on people’s everyday living. All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$ has definitely shown growth in Joey’s already outstanding ability, lets see if this is enough for him to snatch the crown.
Every artist has a certain sound and that’s what can draw people into becoming avid fans. Sound includes flow, overall voice control/pitch, and obviously enough; production. There are some artists that are able to switch up their sound, all the while using a group of producers/musicians that can sometimes be grouped into the same categories. Anyone who’s familiar with Kendrick Lamar’s work knows that he is an artist that can definitely bring forth multiple styles on multiple platforms. With various projects to chose from, Kendrick Lamar’s sound is soulful, poetic like and easily showcases his emotions. I chose a few artists that I feel as though have brought the best out of Kendrick and compiled them into a poll. Who is your favorite artist to hear Kendrick Lamar work with?
Music. The word is beautiful in itself, with its many shapes and forms there’s enough to go around. With that comes a variety of people that deliver the music, making the love connection that much deeper. Favorite sounds, turn into favorite songs, which usually translate into favorite artists. Now as cliche as this may sound, just like there’s enough music to go around, there’s definitely enough of the artist for multiple people to love and appreciate. Now before today’s internet wave there were probably a great deal of people that only knew of certain types of music therefore only knowing of a handful of artists, more than likely the more popular ones. In today’s “world of music” it’s a bit harder to become content with just the popular artists, seeing as how those that don’t get major attention are just as, if not much more talented than the artists in the spotlight or on the pop charts.
With many genres of music (practically all) people of color have created as well as molded the sounds that were, are and will be popular. With music being in the hearts of many there is bound to be an abundance of artists and not everyone will get radio play or big fancy tours. Some artists don’t have the means or want even for a big record company behind them nitpicking with every little career move. Let’s use Hip Hop for example, it’s always seemed as though the artists that are considered “underground” or “independent” have the most fun with their music, creating cult like followings with fans and something about that makes me appreciate artists of similar situations a lot more.
Alwin (“Al”) Lopez Jarreau was a monarch to say the least in the world of Jazz. Very few musicians have been able to use their instruments as blissfully and as thoroughly as he. Born on March 12th 1940 in Milwaukee Wisconsin, Jarreau passed away this past weekend at the age of 76 leaving behind a legacy as great as the ones he partook in creating. With seven Grammy Award winnings and countless nominations under his belt; Jarreau not only defined a completely unadulterated sound but exceeded the constraints of ones vocal demeanor. He would go into duration’s of extended ad-libbing that were appropriately colorful and unexpected with cackling, grunting and melodic runs. By reason of this, other vocalists seemed almost insignificant using typical vibratos and phrases like “Oh baby.”
Amidst the authentic male vocalists of Jazz at that time, from Pop Standard and Broadway specialist Tony Bennett to the versatile, late-great Lou Rawls, Jarreau was definitely in a class of his own. While on stage Jarreau completely abandoned the typically designed seriousness that most Jazz musicians have, for a more unrestricted and amusing pattern that sprouted from an ambition to use his voice as an instrument of joyful healing. When interviewed by Midwestern writer Joey Grihalva, Jarreau was asked about his love for Jazz as a listener rather than a vocalist. His response; “…I love it because it was some of the first music that I ever heard and it’s in my heart and soul. But inside of that music I find a music that in itself has a real breadth of feelings that can be expressed.”
Here’s a few live performances that’ll recap on Al Jarreau’s gift to entertain as well as heal.
1. 1978’s “Thinking About it Too” shows off Al’s vocal skills effortlessly
2. Full orchestral arrangement’s of Jerreau classics from Al Jerreau and the Metropole Orkest
3. 1980’s “Alonzo” gives off a practically euphoric sound
4. 1981’s “Roof Garden” was a festive Jazz-Funk track
5. 1994’s “Summertime” with Alita Moses is enough to give one goosebumps