Monday, January 31, 2011

CunninLynguists - "Oneirology" Tracklist and Cover Art

March 22nd is the release date for CunninLynguists' latest opus.

01. Predormitum (Prologue)
02. Darkness (Dream On)
03. Phantasmata
04. Hard As They Come (Act I)
05. Murder (Act II)
06. My Habit (I Haven’t Changed)
07. Get Ignorant
08. Shattered Dreams
09. Stars Shine Brightest (In The Darkest Of Night)
10. So As Not To Wake You
11. Enemies With Benefits
12. Looking Back
13. Dreams
14. Hypnopomp (Epilogue)
15. Embers'

This has been out there for a while, but I've been pretty busy and lazy as of late. This is one of the most anticipated releases for me this year; the first CL album since 2007.

Rhymes: Machine Gun Kelly - "Lace Up" Album Review (extended version)

Originally Published Version Can Be Read Here

So this week I ran a little long on my album review and my editor had to trim it down some, but I thought it was funny and interesting to be read in its full form:

My first introduction to up-and-coming Cleveland rapper, Machine Gun Kelly happened two Saturdays ago when I had a conversation with a friend at a party:

“Hey are you going to see MGK?” he said.

“What?” I replied, confused.

“MGK – Machine Gun Kelly. He’s from Cleveland; he’s performing at the Cla-Zel tonight.”

“Nah,” I said trying my hardest not to say anything insulting about the rapper’s name, “never heard of him.”

“You should check him out,” he said knowingly of my interests in hip hop, “he’s pretty good.”

“Maybe I will,” I said insincerely and dismissively – if I’ve never seen his prohibition era gangster-pseudonym on any of the countless Twitter posts, message board discussions, or blogs that I spend much of my nerdy free time, then he’s probably not that good, I smugly suggest to myself.

As the next week passed, I kept hearing more of his name, and not from die-hard Clevelanders who think KiD CuDi is the next Rakim (who have also probably never heard of Rakim). He sold out the Cla-Zel, and apparently was really good, I heard from a couple of reliable sources. And he stayed the night at my neighbor’s house, and my roommates met him without making the connection that he was the guy performing at the Cla-Zel until I just asked them about it.

I also heard that he was coming back to Bowling Green, eight days after his Cla-Zel show, to open for Wiz Khalifa at Anderson Arena.

Not a big Wiz fan (he’s got a couple of cool songs, but could never get into any of his many mixtapes), so I didn’t want to call off work to catch the show.

On the night of the Wiz Khalifa show, while I was at work cleaning the bathrooms and classes at East Hall, the fire alarms rang and my co-workers and I were forced to leave the building.

After my boss told us that we weren’t allowed back in the building, he took us over the Anderson Arena to help clean up after the show.

Cleaning up after concertgoers for the last hour of my shit (from 1 a.m. until 2 a.m.) was definitely not my idea of a good time.

“It smells like cigarettes in here,” I said walking into the lobby.

“Try again,” my boss replied.

But before I walked onto the court I saw a stack of CDs, and me being the one to never turn down free music, I immediately pick it up.

On the walk home from work, I check out the CD closer to see what it was, and it turns out it was Machine Gun Kelly’s latest independent album, “Lace Up.”

Right off the bat you can tell he hails from Cleveland, and is heavily influenced by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. His voice sounds like Swizz Beatz’s (he’s much better than Swizzy’s attempts at rapping though), but he has a rapid-fire flow reminiscent of Layzie, Krayzie and the rest of the first and biggest major hip hop act to call Cleveland home.

The opening tracks, “Salute” and “Chip off the Block” are the only two tracks to heavily feature his effortless double-time flow, but he is a lot more interesting when he slows things down and speaks from his heart.

“End of the Road” is one of MGK’s best offerings on the record. The piano-driven beat is easily the best production on the disc, and the song boasts an excellent hook from Mat Musto, whose raspy vocals have a subtle reggae influence.

“End of the Road” is an inspirational track about overcoming struggles, which is a reoccurring motif on “Lace Up.” “Make It,” “All Alone,” “Victory Music” and “Been Through it All” also feature this theme.

“Been Through it All” being the most sincere and personal track on the album including a verse talking about his daughter: “at 19 with the world in my hands, I stepped up and handle that s*** like a man.”

“Lead You On” is the best example of MGK’s abilities as a songwriter. On the track he talks about an abusive relationship, but if you listen closer, you can hear that he is talking about drugs rather than a women. It’s a concept that has been done before (see: 50 Cent’s “A Baltimore Love Thing” and Jay-Z’s “I Know”), but it’s still a very effective song, and one of the highlights of the record.

One of the weaker tracks on the album is “All Alone,” which has heavy influence from Eminem’s 2010 hit, “Not Afraid.” The beat is made up of spaced-out synths and frantic drum programming (replace Boi-1da’s annoying tin-sounding snare with a weird 808-tom tom), much like the popular Eminem single. The track also features a chanting chorus, and cringe-worthy singing on the song’s bridge.

The production on “Lace Up” is probably the album’s low-point. Most of the beats are pretty generic and unoriginal, crafted from lazy synths and heavy 808 drums. But MGK is interesting enough, and good enough at crafting songs and good hooks to make the listener overlook the boring beats.

All-in-all MGK’s raps are pretty good – solid delivery and flow, good rhyme schemes, and can be pretty enlightening. He does however have an occasional failed punch line, but he’s definitely more hit than miss.

BRL Rating: 6.5 beets out of 10

Bonus Material:
here's the music video to his song "Cleveland."

Rhymes: Macklemore - "Wings" / Donation for Music Video

So I posted the live version of this song about a year ago (it was called "Nikes" back then), and have since been eagerly awaiting the studio version of the song. It wasnt an easy wait. Reading twitter posts and facebook updates about the track made me extremely eager to hear the final product of the song. Finally it came out last week, and to my surprise vastly exceeded my expectations (usually when I fall in love with a live version of a song before I hear a studio version, I end up preferring the original live version of the song, ie: Nas & Damian Marley's "Africa Must Wake Up").

The children's choir straight gives me chills, and Macklemore delivers his rhymes in that same passionate-conversational tone that has made him one of my favorite up and coming emcees as the live performance. And Ryan Lewis does a brilliant job of not overpowering Macklemore's verses with a lush instrumental, rather a sparse backdrop to compliment the originally a capella piece, that beautifully builds to the aforementioned chorus sung by a children's choir.

But anyway the reason I'm ranting on about this brilliant track is that Mack and Ryan are trying to film a video and they are asking for our support. I only have $27 in my bank account (it's hard out here for a pimp), but i still managed to send $5 of it to support great music, and I encourage all of my BRL Loyalists to do the same.

Watch the video below for more details, or just to see them speak and give some interesting commentary on the track itself.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Juice's Thoughts: Super Hero Movies, and updates about The Dark Knight Rises

Captain America
Green Lantern
The Avengers

I am going to talk about all of them, just not all at once. I'm going to talk about the one I want to see the most and that is "The Dark Knight Rises" The movie comes out in 2012.

Tom Hardy is going to be playing one of the bad guys in this film and he is playing "Bane." Now when you think of "Bane" DON'T THINK OF THE 1997s Batman and Robin Movie! The Bane in that movie was a mistake! If you think he is just a strong guy that just says his name over and over then you don't know Bane at all!

Bane is strong, but he is also very smart. The story of Bane was that he was a criminal and was in a prison. (I don't recall the whole story of his background) and when ever Bane was being trouble he was placed in a dark tower for punishment. He hated the tower because he was scared of the bats that lived there. Over time Bane became a test subject. He was given a chemical to make him strong, most of the test subjects have died from the chemical. But Bane was not one of them, and that is how he got his strafe. Bane went to Gotham,he learned that the man scaring the criminals of the city was a man dressed as a bat. Bane did not like this so the story of Bane was that he wanted to defeat Batman.

(Spoiler alert- Bane did defeat Batman. Bane broke Batman's back and that made him think he killed Batman. Batman was not dead but he needed time to heal. so during that time he got someone to put on the batman suit and become batman until he was ready to get back on his feet.)

Now i want to talk about Anne Hathaway playing Selina Kyle. If you don't know who Selina Kyle is, she is Catwoman. Now there is always a love story with Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne. and a love story of Batman and Catwom. It happened in the 60s batman movie, the 1993 batman movie. the 90s cartoon batman show. and it happen in the books. If you remember in the last movie, Batman's want-to-be girl friend "Rachel" died. I know the director Christopher Nolan is great on giving the people surprises and unpredictable movies. But there is no way of hiding it, the love story of this movie look obvious.

Speaking of Christopher Nolan; I remember reading somewhere that he wants this to finish the Batman movies. Don't worry there will always be a batman movie. Batman has too many fans and makes too much money to never to be used again. But there would be a different director, actors and a new story line. But if this is Nolan's last Batman movie: my first thought was maybe he makes it that Bane does kill batman? But that does not fit he title of "The Dark Knight Rises." unless after Batman dies, another man takes his place. But like i said Nolan is good at making things unpredictable. My only prediction for now (with out seeing any trailers) is that Bane kills Catwan. I think this because Batman's girl friends always die in the books.
some people complained about Anne Hathaway playing Selina Kyle. They don't see her as Catwoman. but a lot of people complained about Heath Ledger playing Joker.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Juice's Thoughts: The Hangover Part II

From the looks of this photo it looks like this movie is just re-using the same jokes from the first movie. In the photo you only see three of the guys, did they lose the 4th guy again? Another thing in the photo is a monkey. That is a big step down from the tiger that they had in the first one. Looking at two of the men you can see one cut their hair, and the other got a tattoo, so i guess that better then losing a tooth.

I really wonder how the story is going to go. Are they going to get drugged up? Do some crazy things and not remember any thing the next day like they did in the first movie? You would think after the first time they would be more careful. If the movie makers can show us that happen again that is believable then this movie might have a good story to it. Or the story is going to just show the three guys getting into more trouble as they try to remember what happen the night before. I'm guessing the words "I can't believe this happened again" will come up and like i said before they will most likely re-use the same jokes but change them up a bit so you don't think your just watching the first one again.

But I hope i'm wrong and there is a good/okay story to it. The makers are keeping the movie in the dark for now, which is why you don't see any trailers. This could be a good thing because they don't want to spoil the story; I know Bill Clinton is going to be in it so that might be funny.
The movie comes out in five months and we will see if it's a new story, or just re-using the same jokes.

Rhymes: Macklemore - "My Oh My" & "Irish Celebration" (Music Videos)

Here's Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's tribute to Dave Niehaus, the famous Seattle Mariners broadcaster. Hopefully this song isn't just a random track, hopefully it will appear on the two's yet-to-be-titled album that should be released this year.

And here's the long-awaited, "Irish Celebration" music video. I really don't know how they keep making these awesome videos on such a low budget. These music videos>>>>>> your favorite mainstream rapper's videos. It just goes to show, you really don't need a big label to make good music, or even a good video.