REVIEW: Teyana Taylor – K.T.S.E

With so much hype for Kanye’s album, his joint project with Cudi, Pusha bodying Drake, and the new Nas, it seemed like social media forgot about Teyana Taylor.

So did the First Lady of G.O.O.D Music deliver, or can we skip this?

K.T.S.E. (Keep That Same Energy) is Teyana Taylor’s second studio album. “No Manners”, describes her heavy infatuation with an unnamed lover. Although she has a man, she doesn’t plan to sit still or let others control her. The track is likely dedicated to her husband Iman Shupert.

On “Gonna Love Me”, Teyana sings over a soulful Delfonics sample about getting through the troubles in a relationship, and finding love in the struggle.

“Hurry” features Kanye West vocally. The track is very sexual as Teyana asks to “take your hands and grab” her “fatty.” She even moans to end a verse displaying her sexual emotion.

Teyana sings about being willing to have a three way with her husband, Iman Shumpert, and another woman in “3Way.” She says she is willing to let another woman into her bed because she knows it turns her husband on, and that they don’t have feelings for these girls, they simply use them to explore their sexuality. The track also features Ty Dolla $ign.

WTP is the final track on Taylor’s sophomore album, K.T.S.E. The track is in the style of the music of the Harlem Ballroom scene. The music is accompanied by a forms of dancing and runway walks, the most popular being ‘voguing’ which is an interpretive dance based on runway walks and model photo shoot poses.

Overall, it’s better than what I thought it would be. Kanye really comes through with the production on this album, and shows why he is one of the best. Teyana showed why she is signed to G.O.O.D Music.

 

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REVIEW: The Carters – Everything Is Love

Jay-Z and Beyonce are keeping up a family tradition, dropping a surprise album before anyone knew it was coming.

Rumours have long swirled about the creation of a collaborative Bey and Jay album. Last November, Jay told The New York Times that a project with Bey started coming together as they worked on 4:44 and Lemonade. “We were using our art almost like a therapy session,” he said at the time. “And we started making music together.” He explained that, because Bey’s music was progressing more quickly, Lemonade ended up coming out as opposed to the joint album that [they] were working on.

Jay disses the Grammys on “APESHIT,” rapping, “Tell the Grammys fuck that 0 for 8 shit.” (Jay was the most nominated artist at the 2018 ceremony, but was completely shut out.) He also confirms the rumour that he turned down a Super Bowl Halftime Show offer: “I said no to the Super Bowl/You need me, I don’t need you/Every night we in the end zone/Tell the NFL we in stadiums too.

Queen Bey calls out Spotify on the track “NICE.” She raps, “If I gave…two fucks about streaming numbers woulda put Lemonade up on Spotify. Fuck you,” referencing the fact that her 2016 album has never been available on the streaming platform. Jay refers to Meek Mill’s recent release from prison on “FRIENDS,” and on “HEARD ABOUT US,” Beyoncé sings the iconic line from Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy”: “If you don’t know, now you know, n*gga.”

The album seems to function as the last instalment in a sort of marriage trilogy that began with Beyonce’s, “Lemonade” and her widely discussed stories of infidelity, continued with Jay’s tales of remorse on his “4:44” last year. Apparently, the story reaches a happy ending with “Everything Is Love.”

 

 

REVIEW: Nas – NASIR

When the legendary lyricism of Nas is combined with the legendary production of Kanye West, two things are bound to happen: the fans are going to go crazy for the hype, and everyone is going to be waiting for the release. This is why instead of a an ordinary release, Nasir, the latest album from Nas, got it’s debut in the form of a listening party in Queensbridge Park on June 14th, with Mass Appeal’s YouTube Channel handling the livstream of the album’s debut. The album cover art was also revealed online, with the cover displaying a black & white image of five black boys standing against a brick wall with their hands up.

After listening to the production on the album, it’s easy to tell that a lot of love for his craft came from Kanye on this album, with Kanye being in rare form with strong production that is reminiscent of his older style while still being some of the best instrumentals released by him recently. Whether it’s the Slick Rick sample used “Cops” or the laid back smoothness of “Adam & Eve” and “Bonjour”, each instrumental on the album showcases Kanye’s talent as a producer, while also complimenting the style of flow of Nas perfectly.

Nas’ lyrical content, ability to tell a vivid story with his lyrics, and classic flow are in rare form as well. As one of hip hop’s most prolific storytellers, each track is filled Nas’ signature style hard hitting bars that come together to paint a picture while delivering his message. While there are not many guest features on the album, appearances from 070 Shake, Kanye West, and The- Dream are welcome and excellent additions to the album.

Fans who have been hyped for this album will be happy to know that this album is everything we have expected plus more.

 

REVIEW: Jay Rock – Redemption

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After 3 years since 90059, Jay Rock has finally released his new album Redemption. The wait has been long, but understandable due to Jay Rock being in a terrible motorcycle accident in 2016. Since then, there has been a lot of winning being done on his TDE team. The success in the air rubbed off on him, which sparked this phenomenal effort from him on this album.

On Redemption, he features selected hit makers like Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and J. Cole and Future.

He begins the album with “The Bloodiest”  which has a heavy, bass-hitting production. In the second verse of “For What It’s Worth,” he compares the “power of pussy” to money as he describes a woman who tried to trap him in a relationship to get his money and tap into some fame.

On “OSOM” (Out of sight out of mind), Jay Rock describes the kind of people who switch up when things get bad—the type of people who show fake love. With fame and money, life could be like a fairytale but “fairytales don’t end well when the fame and fortune not here.” Cole’s discography is filled with stories about fakes and snakes which makes it easy for J. Cole to contribute to the theme of this song. Jay Rock wraps up this song with a powerful metaphor-packed verse.

Kendrick Lamar’s ad-libs on “King’s Dead” continues to echo even after the song comes to an end. Future’s vocalisation of “La di da di da, slob on me knob” will always be an exciting moment whenever this song comes up. With the production of this hit song handled by Teddy Walton and Mike Will Made-it, “King’s dead” remains one of the outstanding tracks on this album.

There are so many attention grabbing beats on this album. From the adrenaline rush that comes with songs like “King’s Dead,” and “WIN” to more down tempo tracks like “Knock It Off” and “For What It’s Worth,” the high quality production remains a consistent element. Being in sync with other artists isn’t always easy, but with the guest artists on this album, it seems Jay Rock knew the perfect team to work with. Kendrick’s ad-libs on “WIN” and the lyrical flames that he spit on “Wow Freestyle” is an example of the the chemistry between Jay Rock and the featured artists on this project.

 

REVIEW: Jorja Smith – Lost & Found

Jorja Smith is the whole package. Following the success of her single “Blue Lights,” Smith’s fame quickly swelled. Hip-hop already loves her. Last year Drake snagged her talents for his More Life playlist. Additionally, she appeared on Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther soundtrack.

Just in time for her 21st birthday, Smith has released her debut album “Lost & Found.”

The entire album touches on subjects such as a desire for a fairytale relationship, vulnerability, and society issues. “Lifeboats (Freestyle)” follows the same message as Kali Uchis’ “Your Teeth In My Neck,” with the topic of capitalism and selfishness. The entire song is surrounded by the imagery of individuals being in their own boats and watching others drown. Rather than picking others up, we watch them drown and continue swimming by.

Jorja Smith did not sell herself short in the debut album whatsoever. Her delivery, her lyrics, the production and the comprehensive themes surrounding love and vulnerability makes this album.

 

REVIEW: Kanye West & Kid Cudi – Kids See Ghosts

After dropping ye and acting as the executive producer on Pusha T’s Daytona, Kanye West has teamed up with Kid Cudi for their joint album Kids See Ghosts.

Kid Cudi and Kanye West have had a rocky relationship over the years. First, Cudi was Ye’s apprentice: Ye signed Cudi to G.O.O.D Music in 2008. But later after Kid Cudi left the label, their friendship ended.

 In late 2016, Kid Cudi declared both Drake and Kanye for having “30 people write songs for them”, and continuing to insist that they’re “top 5”. It was a jab that Ye didn’t take lightly at first, but eventually reconciled with.

 Now with the past behind them, their latest album, Kids See Ghosts, showcases how bizarre and mesmerising they can be together.

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It’s an eerie and otherworldly listening experience. Ye and Cudi push their chemistry and artistry to the next level. Ye’s instrumentals are experimental and really set the mood and soundscape for this album. Cudi’s voice is a true instrument, as he delivers however he sees fit- rapping, singing, humming, chanting, you name it.

“4th Dimension” is the door to this sound they’ve created. With a recurring Louis Prima sample as part of the backdrop, Ye and Cudi are relentless on this opener.

Kids See Ghosts is haunting and dark. The instrumental plays like the soundtrack to a march through a ghost town. It’s brief, but Ye and Cudi are effective until the end. Cudi’s background humming hovers and floats, as he reflects on the “stars” he “left behind”.

Cudi raps through gritted teeth on this one; it’s one of many unique deliveries he flexes on here. “Feel the Love” is a standout moment too. Over piano chords and some strings, Cudi’s voice stirs us to “keep movin’ forward”. It’s this ability to take his personal struggles and make that makes Cudi appealing to listen to. He takes elements of his personal struggles and makes them feel like universal mantras.

This album’s conclusion is airy though. The old Kanye is seemingly “reborn”, reminding us how potent he can be as a voice for the unheard.

Together, Kanye West and Kid Cudi have managed to craft a close-knit sound for their joint-venture. It’s an experience that’s best enjoyed as a complete body of work from start to finish.

 

 

REVIEW: Kanye West – ye

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It’s been over two years since Kanye West released ‘The Life Of Pablo,’ and during that period Kanye has ranted on stage, been hospitalised, had an addiction to opioids, and tweeted his support for Donald Trump.

So, is ‘ye‘ a masterpiece or a  complete miss?

The album starts with Kanye speaking on his mental health in “I Thought About Killing You.” Kanye uses a pitch-shift effect on his voice, signifying the bipolar nature of the conversation he’s having with himself. “The most beautiful thoughts are always besides the darkest. Today I seriously thought about killing you. I contemplated, premeditated murder. And I think about killing myself, and I love myself way more than I love you, so…”  

On “Yikes,” Kanye takes listeners through his recent opioid addiction, which caused him to have suicidal thoughts and bipolar feelings. Kanye confesses that because of these menacing side effects, he was often scared of himself. “Shit could get menacin’, frightenin’, find help. Sometimes I scare myself, myself.”  

Kanye spits “Tweakin’, tweakin’ off that 2CB, huh?” sharing his addiction to psychedelic drugs, and the high he felt from using the prescription drug. Ye also references Prince and Michael Jackson who died of prescription drug overdoses, – “I think Prince and Mike was tryna warn me

At the end of “Yikes,” Kanye confirms he suffers from bipolar, but instead of seeing his disorder as a disability, Kanye chooses to see it as his superpower. – “That’s my bipolar shit, n*gga what? That’s my superpower, n*gga ain’t no disability, I’m a superhero! I’m a superhero!”

On “Wouldn’t Leave,” Kanye acknowledges that Kim has had to cope with the criticism that comes with being married to him and that even though she gave him advice, he still went ahead and put her in a difficult position.

“Ghost Town” places long-time collaborator Kid Cudi and newcomer 070 Shake centre stage with support from PARTYNEXTDOOR.  The lyrics at the start are sampled from the gospel blues track “Trouble Will Soon Be Over” by Blind Willie Johnson.

“Violent Crimes” is the closing track on Ye. It chronicles Kanye’s shift in thought towards women with the birth of his children, specifically his daughters North and Chicago. He also brings up his fears about their future, and the ways they will be treated.

The chorus expresses an anxiety about his daughters growing up and losing their innocence as they face the brutal reality of the world – “Don’t you grow up in a hurry, your mom’ll be worried.” 

Ye points out that until men have daughters, they act reckless toward women, himself included. The birth of North and Chicago West helped him change his perspective. – “N*ggas is pimps, n*ggas is players, ‘Til n*ggas have daughters, now they precautious, Father forgive me, I’m scared of the karma”

The track features a short spoken word outro from Nicki Minaj that closes the album. The lines that Nicki delivers are the same lines that Kanye spits earlier in the track. “I’m sayin’ it like…I want a daughter like Nicki, aww man, I promise. I’ma turn her to a monster, but no menagés, I don’t know how you saying it, but let ’em hear this”

Is this Kanye’s best work? That’s debatable, but “ye” is very good. Kanye is taking you on a journey of what he’s experienced since “TLOP.” I feel speaking on his addiction to opioids and the battle with his mental health will help the listener with their own issues. Like Kanye says, “That’s my bipolar shit, n*gga what? That’s my superpower, n*gga ain’t no disability. I’m a superhero!…

Stream ye below.