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Black Milk – Gold Piece (Feat. Bun B)

Posted on September 16, 2014

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Pre-Order Here

 

Just a year after dropping one of the best albums of 2013 in No Poison No Paradise, Black Milk is back again to drop what seems to be a follow-up to it, with If There’s A Hell Below, which is now available for pre-order. As an artist overall, he doesn’t get his fair shake when it comes to being appreciated and mentioned with others who are in his position as producers & rappers. He’s talented as hell, but that’s not a new statement if you’ve been around his music for a while. This is just routine, but I’m hoping that he brings some fire to this new album. The first track from it certainly does it justice. Enjoy.

 

Logic – Under Pressure

Posted on September 16, 2014

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Logic is one of those artists that I don’t regularly listen to, but I did have a binge or two a while back. He hasn’t dropped anything since Welcome To Forever, which was a different sound on his end, having some bangers that we hadn’t heard before, but it was measured as a transitional project as he prepped for his debut album, which he just recently announced. Under Pressure is its name, and the title track surely does set the stage for what’s going to be a monstrous debut. People underestimate Logic’s fan base, but don’t get it twisted, he could very well be 2014’s version of Macklemore, although he is the better rapper, and is actually half-black, despite him looking primarily black. That’s neither here nor there nor relevant when it comes to music, but his allegiance of RattPack and Bobby-Soxers will be out in full force to support the album. This is something serious, so I’m definitely intrigued by what’s to come in October (21st). Enjoy.

Big K.R.I.T – See Me On Top 4

Posted on September 16, 2014

First of all, I didn’t know that this mixtape series existed. I didn’t dig that deep into K.R.I.T’s catalog. I only got to The Last King series, but there’s no such thing as a late pass in music (depending on who you talk to), so it’s good to put yourself on to more music while it’s available, and this is also a good drop before he delivers his Sophomore album, Cadillactica. With the small EP from Week of K.R.I.T, and also tracks like Mt. Olympus & Pay Attention getting regular play, he’s primed to take the position of being ‘on top’ when his time comes. Clearly, he took Kendrick’s Control challenge seriously, when his name was aired out. His response so far has been pretty convincing. Let’s hope that it produces great music. Enjoy. (Click photo for link)

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Wherefore Art Thou, R&B?

Posted on September 13, 2014

“Black singers…gotta make you cry; they gotta make you hurt; they gotta make you feel pain, singing ol’ fucked up songs to try to make you weep”

Bernie Mac (R.I.P) – Original Kings of Comedy

You know, there’s a reason why Bernie Mac was so great, because in his own style and use of Chicagoan vernacular, he entertained and educated all at once, and he wasn’t just a large man who came off as abrasive, loud, or threatening. In this one particular excerpt, he was talking about the differences between Black & White funerals, particularly the gospel singers. It’s true, there’s no stranger to emotion when it comes to hearing the soul of a gospel choir belting out the hymns of the Lord at all levels of decibels, followed by either the simplicity of a piano, or the orchestration of organs, percussions, and tambourines alike. It’s quite the scene, and has been the guiding light in creating the best singers – straight out of church. Now, when you turn on the radio today, or even open up a website or two to see what’s happening in R&B, you don’t find that soul. Anywhere. At all. It’s non-existent and quite frankly it’s a damn shame. The talk of the town has been and still is that “hip hop is dead”, when in actuality, look at R&B and tell me that hasn’t been a walking corpse since Usher dropped Confessions, or (for argument’s sake) since Justin Timberlake dropped FutureSex/LoveSounds, although you can throw him into Pop music. The point is that the soul is gone. You’re not crying because of lyricism, you’re crying because of the pain in your ears that has to endure hearing the nails-to-chalkboard-atrociousness that is “mainstream radio” and I blame record labels for that, but also with the changing tide in music’s audience, there’s them to blame as well.

 

 

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Two of the first CDs I ever had were Monica’s The Boy is Mine and Brandy’s Never Say Never. My mother played everything from Sade, Madonna, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald (amongst many others), so before you cast judgement…level with me. When I first heard Have You Ever, I had feelings like no other for no reason. Why were the wells of my eyes liquidizing? Why was there moisture? Who was I missing so badly? Nothing made sense. Monica’s For You I Will, listen – if that didn’t make you want to experience at least a little of what love was like, then I can’t say much for what part of a soul you may or may not have in your system, because that was some serious thing going on. You couldn’t go through the 90s (as I’m a product of that era) without appreciating the talent that just kept churning out album after album and R&B was the real wave that would just carry out making timeless music – and then it stopped. The problem is that R&B stopped selling, and people weren’t caring for the fundamentals of what made R&B so great. All of our legends vanished into acting, Pop music and/or reality TV. I thought it was just something that was a phase, but it turned out to be more permanent. Why? I don’t know. Does anybody know? Are people aware of where R&B packed up its things and vanished into the night? If so, can we have it back? It’s been a minute. It can come home now.

 

I can’t be the only one who has felt the frustrations of the decline of R&B. In fact, I know I’m not the only one. So I asked my friend Liz to air her grievances as well. Proceed.

 

As I sit here listening to Chris Brown’s new album X, I think to myself, “where is the love?” It may not be the best example, but these new/young artists are what R&B’s future rests on. Some of them are talented singers, but what are they doing with those voices? They rap, sing, make up a new dance, and tell us how well they eat pussy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like the upbeat catchy songs with good hooks. I enjoy the “dance like my parents aren’t watching” kind of songs as much as the next girl but there’s a limit. If all I wanted to hear were lyrics about strippers, one-night stands and the different synonyms for eating pussy, I’d be listening to another type of artist, not to “R&B.”

 

The other issue is I have no clue what to call R&B anymore. I might be giving up on searching for it because these pop singers like Adèle, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding & Sia have more Soul in them than these acclaimed Rhythm & Blues artists. The emotional, passionate, and heartbreaking songs we are all looking for, have moved to other genres. I like listening to music knowing it’ll make me feel something, knowing I’ll be able to relate to it, knowing that I just got broken up with and I’ll find the exact song that’ll make me cry myself to sleep for a week straight. After that, I like knowing that I’ll find the song to make me believe in love all over again, the perfect song that’ll make me want to get married even though I don’t believe in marriage, the perfect song that makes you think of your new boo. Rinse, repeat. Get my point? Why would I want to get interrupted in the middle of a potentially great album to hear “804-335-0051, LOL smiley face.WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. THAT? It’s clearly a joke when you’re trying to make love through an entire album.

 

 

Listen, R&B, if you’re not planning on coming home, at least let us know when you’ll be back.

The Drop – The STiXXclusive Review

Posted on September 13, 2014

There’s a lot that goes on while the rest of the world sleeps that every day people don’t realize, and that’s why we have these things called movies & television series to help tell the tale of the underbelly of America – that not so hopeful land of the free. Everything comes with a cost, and when times get rough, pride takes over with ownership. What’s the common denominator? Money. Money is power, and power is control. In this movie, the themes of ownership, power, and control are at play in an unlikely way where we see Tom Hardy and the last of James Gandolfini in a familiar atmosphere he made a career in.

 

 

 

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Every action has a reaction, and when you act upon the wrong people, the strength of the reaction varies from that. Tom Hardy comes off as the goofy, yes-man of a bartender that’s run (or was run) by his cousin Marv. It’s always the quiet ones that seem to have everyone fooled until you test them. This has been the case since the beginning of time – elementary school – and it holds true yet again. If anything in life has taught me anything, it’s that nothing comes in-between a man and his dog. Never mind family; the dog is very important. Don’t come in the way. The story of the dog was odd, but the story moved well with it that it made sense. You can only poke a dog with a stick for so long before it eventually bites back. Religion also played a part in the undertone of the film, but not too in-your-face about it, which is appreciated. There was only one particular aspect of the movie that was left incomplete, and that was with the involvement of the police, because there wasn’t really any closure, there was a hint of suspicion that was secretive, much like Bob’s (Hardy) role was played. It was cunning to say the least. Gandolfini for the majority of his acting life has been portrayed in a mob role – someone who has possession of a lot of power and authority, but there’s also a vulnerable side that shows weakness, which leads to desperate measures to be taken. It was interesting to see him timid and a sense of the unknown & angst of worry wash around his face for the majority of the movie, but the instincts of a boss man still rang true in some instances. It’s really sad that he’s no longer around. This was a great way to go out as his last movie.

 

I liked this movie because it kept me on edge for the majority of it. Looking at the stories and how they progressed, there was some feel-good aspect of it, but then you had the secrecy as well as the suspense that made question marks keep popping up in my head until all of a sudden something big happens and it comes out of nowhere. It was well directed, well written, and I’m sure it’ll be well received by critics and the general public. I’d definitely check it out. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review

 

That’s My Word & It STiXX

BJ The Chicago Kid – Real Love Never Dies

Posted on September 9, 2014

During this tumultuous time in the world, it’s music that is the escape that seem to make things right in the world. A singer’s voice can often be the difference when it comes to creating a mood that will ease people’s minds and relax the situation at hand, so it’s great that BJ decided to drop a track for the people on this day (especially if you’ve been following along with this Ray Rice stuff – messy business). I still listen to Pineapple Now Laters almost religiously, and I can’t wait until he delivers another album. R&B music has become more so underground that what’s being expose at the forefront seems like a joke. It’s not pretty, but it’s being tolerated. The talent pool is shallow with people diving in 9 feet off the platform. You can catch my drift here. Steve Harvey & Cedric the Entertainer were poignant in The Original Kings of Comedy about R&B singers not talking about love anymore, which is the essence of R&B to begin with. That was over a decade ago, and it’s still relevant. I have faith in Rocki Evans, BJ, Gary Clark Jr, Nick Hakim, Allen Stone (to name some off the top) that can at least restore the glory that was male R&B. Who knows? It could get back, or the pool of talent can continue to be shallow enough for it to be considered wading. Indulge in the soul, and most importantly – enjoy.

Flying Lotus – Never Catch Me (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Posted on September 3, 2014

Much to the dismay of being in Canada and having been regulated by the CRTC that limits us from experiencing greatness that is the likes of Adult Swim, I really should have been exposed to Flying Lotus years ago, but a couple of years of listening to him is good enough. His jazzy electronic and soulful approach with his production has garnered high praise throughout, and that also includes myself. He’s definitely more than just a producer, as he goes by the rapping alter-ego of Captain Murphy, so I look at him as an overall musician in that regard. You know when people say that someone comes around ‘once-in-a-generation?’ Well, in terms of the rap world, there’s no denying that Kendrick Lamar has made his case in doing so, and for two creatively distinct artists to come together for a first of what may be many collaborations, it feels right as rain on a summer day (just, not in Toronto – we’ve had enough rain). You’re Dead is one of the albums I’m looking the most forward to, because this year for music has been moving like a tortoise full of rigor mortis. The 4th quarter looks to pick up in both R&B and Hip Hop, so expect more posts to come about, as I too get back into my groove and out of my slump. Never Catch Me is fine poetry to put it in simple words, but don’t let me tell you, check it out for yourself. By the way, this has none of the annoying LA Leakers tags that they so obnoxiously threw on when they premiered. Enjoy.

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