King Push’s Royal Entrance

One of the highlights from the Twilight Concert Series this summer is Pusha T, otherwise known as King Push. Born in The Bronx, New York City, NY and raised in the state of Virginia, the rapper initiated the label known as “Re-Up Records,” and later on in life, he signed to GOOD Music and Def Jam. He will be performing on Thursday August 18th, 2016 alongside the alternative hip-hop group Digable Planets.

This rap druglord released his studio album King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude on December 18th, 2015. The album features tracks like “Untouchable,” “M.F.T.R,” and “Crutches, Crosses, and Caskets”. He samples the legendary Notorious B.I.G. from his verse on the 1995 single “Think Big” on the song “Untouchable,” and in the music video, Push strolls through the dark night in a Rolls Royce Phantom, his dream car. While growing up, he and his homies used to recite Biggie songs in the car, and him rapping this track in that Phantom with his homies, in the back, is reminiscent of those times.

A couple of his more politically and socially conscience songs on the album are “M.P.A.,” where he analyzes the main themes of a typical rapper’s life in a sarcastic yet so honest manner, and “Sunshine,” where he highlights the unjust treatment of blacks in the United States by utilizing repetitive clever word play. Similar to Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T sheds light on the institutionalization of blacks and how the rest of American society perceives and treats blacks. He uses clear references and intricate word play to get his point across. For example, in the song “Sunshine,” he delivers the message, “In Fox eyes, we the dark eyes, so they tell you lies, through a TV, C-N-B-C.” This is a concise and intelligent way to put into perspective the false information given to us through the media. To a rap genius contributor like myself, this line could be interpreted as dark-skinned people being the evil-like enemies of Fox News, so when it comes to news about brown or black people, Fox News and other media outlets mislead the public with false information and lies. Furthermore, “C-N-B-C,” could be a creative acronym meaning “Could Never Be Correct,” which additionally emphasizes the continuous errors and faults of news and media here in America.

Pusha T’s conscience and truthful lyricism speaks to many across the country. His entrance to Salt Lake City is much anticipated by the hip hop community, and hopefully he performs all ten songs off of his Darkest Before Dawn album.

 

Link to Pusha T’s show at Twilight:

http://twilightconcerts.com/shows/august-18-2016/

Review: untitled unmastered by Kendrick Lamar

On March 4th, 2016, Kendrick Lamar astounded the hip hop industry and fans with his EP called untitled unmastered. Winning the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, To Pimp A Butterfly lived up to great standards, and as residuals from that album, the tracks on untitled unmastered are filled with jazz and soulful sounds.

On “untitled 03,” intellectuals from different minority groups counsel Kendrick on the essentials of life, but the person taking advantage of and in many ways monetizing Kendrick is the white man. For example, Kendrick says, “A piece of mine’s, that’s what the white man wanted when I rhyme, telling me that he selling me just for $10.99, if I go platinum from rapping, I do the company fine.” This is also alluding to the period of slavery when the white owner placed a certain value on the black slave based on his skill and/or work ethic. In “untitled 05,” which features singer Anna Wise, Punch, and fellow Black Hippy member Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar explains the detrimental, “screw society” type of behavior induced by blacks and other minorities due to them being trapped in this system of social incongruence and utter oppression. Here are several lines that validate Kendrick’s disappointment in American society: “I’m passin’ lives on a daily, maybe I’m losing faith, genocism and capitalism just made me hate, correctionals and these private prisons gave me a date, professional dream killers reason why I’m awake.” Lamar really shines light on corruption and exploitation in untitled unmastered; these themes constitute his substantive, meaningful lyrics.

Furthermore, “untitled 07” is an eight minute track highlighting high-level feelings, his Compton roots, his place in the game, and funny, sexual rap-talk. In the first part of the song, he chants, “levitate, levitate, levitate, levitate,” and then the song epically transitions to glorifying reverberations and a boy singing, “Compton is where I’m from, is where I’m from, where is I’m from.” You can tell how much the city of Compton means to Kendrick and that his viewpoint and purpose originates from his experiences there. This is evident in many of his songs and songs in which he is a featured artist, notably on the track “The City” by The Game ft. Kendrick Lamar. On the latter part of “untitled 07,” he sings in an R&B-like-fashion to a lascivious female, “Said you just make me wanna Drake you down, to the ground, to the ground, like bam, bam, bam, bam, bam.” He cleverly uses Drake as a verb, and you all know what he’s talking about. The more playful and humorous facet of Kendrick is exemplified on this kinky verse. The untitled unmastered EP is filled with stories of the past, valuable insight on the American political and social system, and soulfulness.

The EP can be streamed on the music service Spotify, and it is also available for purchase on iTunes.

Review: The Life of Pablo by Kanye West

The Life of Pablo

Originally titled So Help Me God, then switched to SWISH, then changed to Waves, and then finally confirmed as The Life of Pablo, Kanye West’s seventh studio album serves as a hallmark for all his emotions and experiences throughout his career. Listening closely, one could recognize elements adopted from each one of his previous albums- the gospel sounds and rebellious nature from Late Registration and College Dropout, the prosperity from Graduation, the romantic and sexual sentiments from 808s & Heartbreak and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and the arrogance and aggression from Cruel Summer and Yeezus. What was extremely amusing was the hype and controversy surrounding the release of the album, as people did not know what the hell to expect but much was anticipated.

Maintaining the sonic genius inside him, Mr. West takes us to the extremes with his provocative yet pious messages. In the song “Ultralight Beam,” Kanye emphasizes, “I’m tryna keep my faith, we on an ultralight beam, we on an ultralight beam, this is a God dream, this is a God dream, this is everything, this is everything.” Reminiscent to his track “Jesus Walks” from The College Dropout in 2004, Yeezy asks God for guidance through the temptations that bound him. We all know Ye loves God, almost as much as he loves himself. Moreover, in “Father Stretch My Hands, Parts 1 and 2,” Kanye simply wants to “feel liberated” from the media and obsessions of the world. In addition, he reflects on his accomplishments and fame in the most egotistical way possible. He even has a song titled “I Love Kanye,” which highlights his personality over the years and how fans love Kanye “like Kanye loves Kanye.” On the song FACTS, he critically disses Nike and boasts about Yeezy, his clothing line of shoes under Adidas. Let’s not forget about Kanye’s undisrupted lust for the ladies, for he spills a little bit of his fantasy love life from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on The Life of Pablo. In My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye basically foreshadows his marriage with Kim Kardashian on the song “Hell of a Night,” where he falls in love with and marries a pornstar. In The Life of Pablo, he tries to suppress his concupiscent enticements and remain loyal while being in such a relationship on the song “FML”. Kanye goes in hard with straight bars alongside Kendrick Lamar on the song “No More Parties in L.A.” There are several other awesome featured artists on this project such as Andre 3000, Frank Ocean, Chance The Rapper, Young Thug, Chris Brown, and Rihanna. The production is incredible as always, and he drowns listeners with deep emotional melodies on songs like “Wolves” and “Waves.” Depression, infatuations, narcissism, and strife are all real concerns articulated throughout this work of art.

Kanye compares himself to Pablo Escobar, the notorious Colombian drug lord, and Pablo Picasso, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Additionally, he is able to buy his way through the fashion industry and assert himself as an interesting, controversial figure in social media and the news. As I like to say, “Yeezy gon’ do what Yeezy wanna do.” A handful of people dislike Kanye for some of his behaviors, but one could appreciate Mr. West for staying true to who he is and straight up speaking his mind.

Mr. West says The Life of Pablo will never be on sale but can be streamed on the music service TIDAL.

Here are a few of the songs from Kanye West’s soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/kanyewest/facts-explicit

 

 

Skizzy Mars Entering the Game

Skizzy Mars (Myles Mills), one of Logic’s affiliations, has been gaining popularity in the last couple years. Myles was born and raised in the land of Harlem, New York. The young man attended school in upstate New York, and after ten weeks, he dropped out of school to focus on music. As a teenager, he released a song called “Douschebag,” which got some buzz in his local area. Eventually, after more rap exposure and clever marketing, he signed to a record label.Featuring G-Eazy, Skizzy Mars’ song “Pay For You” has reached over three-million views on YouTube. His discography consists of a few projects, including his albums Pace and Phases as well as his EP titled The Red Balloon Project, which appeared on the US Billboard 200 at the #35 spot.

Skizzy Mars frequently talks about typical female lusts, affairs and issues with other women, and/or means of turning up. If you like rappers who go on about alcohol, women, drugs, and boasting about the rapper life in different ways, then Skizzy Mars is your man. These themes seriously get overdone a lot of times in the hip hop industry, and it seems that Skizzy Mars is in low supply of relatable substance. However, he is a little creative in the delivery, and his words could hold more weight for some people. Moreover, Skizzy Mars will be performing at In The Venue in Salt Lake City, UT on Sunday, February 28, 2016.

 

Here are a few of his songs:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geKlJbCpEdw

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vucKEcKBjg

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0Bxuf24OWE

 

If you want to check Skizzy out but a ticket to his concert here.

Review: PRhyme by PRhyme

The hip hop duo PRhyme, consisting of DJ Premier and Royce Da 5’9”, released the deluxe version of their album PRhyme on December 11, 2015. The album included four bonus tracks: “Golden Era” (ft. Joey Bada$$), “Wishin’ II” (ft. Black Thought), “Highs and Lows” (ft. Phonte & MF DOOM), and “Mode II” (ft. Logic). All of these featured artists are fairly well-respected in the hip hop community. Joey Bada$$, a prodigy of rap, slayed his verse on “Golden Era,” and he really evoked 80s and 90s rap, paying homage to that period of hip hop music. You can truly sense the classical flow in his delivery; even listening through his discography, you can tell that the young man maintains traditional rap elements in his style. Furthermore, he implements a robust reggae vibe into his music, which is quite fascinating when it comes to the amalgamation of genres. Logic, another relatively young rapper, conveys his amazing flow in the song “Mode II” along with veteran Royce Da 5’9”, who is also known as Nickel Nine the God. The ability to rap in double-time is something Logic has pretty much mastered. In his verse, he stays true to himself and talks about the obstacles he is overcoming.

It was a great idea for PRhyme to choose two phenomenal, young artists from this modern generation, Joey Bada$$ and Logic. In addition, PRhyme picked two legends like Black Thought and MF DOOM, who have kept their material substantive and very creative for a long time. The song “Wishin II” depicted extremely clever, well-put together lyrics from both Royce Da 5’9” and Black Thought. It may also be described as hard, aggressive, and fundamental in terms of the art of rap. That song alone probably inspired many people. Having this combination of artists from the present and past in the deluxe edition of PRhyme brought about an intriguing overall perspective.

PRhyme performed at the twilight concert series in Salt Lake City in the summer of 2015. DJ Premier, the producer, has been in the game since the late 1980s, and he has produced for numerous hip hop artists. Just to give you an idea, here are some of the artists he put on for: Big L, Big Daddy Kane, AZ, Nas, Joey Bada$$, Mos Def, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and The Notorious B.I.G. On the other hand, Royce Da 5’9” has been active since 1995, and he has worked extensively in collaboration with Eminem. DJ Premier and Royce Da 5’9” have a solidified chemistry that is exemplified through their music, especially on the album PRhyme.