In the past, I have gotten thoroughly frustrated with the fact that KiD CuDi refuses to rap anymore. Because, truth be told, Scott Mescudi is probably the best rapper who doesn’t even rap (Who remembers ‘Cudi Spazzin’?). Well, on his debut album Man On The Moon: The End Of Day, Cudi showed us that he is capable of much more than just rap. Although the album was sloppily put together and slightly disjointed, tracks such as ‘Alive’ proved that ‘Day N Night’ was more than just an anomaly. Cudi doesn’t have the greatest singing voice of all time, but he does nave his very own distinctive style, and his harmonizing, catchy melodies, and rhythmic chanting make for some extremely interesting and original music. This album does have a darker tone than the last, at several points addressing his drug use and suicidal thoughts, but his humor keeps it from being too depressing (Hint: listen all the way through ‘Marijuana’ for a funny little surprise). While sticking with the same eerie production from his buddy Emile, this one is much more coherent, and plays very smoothly from front to back. Even without any real rapping, I expect this to be among the top albums of the year. I only have one question: Where is the Wale fear?
Skip To: Marijuana, MANIAC, Ashin’ Kusher, Mr. Rager, All Along, These Worries, REVOFEV, Mojo So Dope, Wild’n Cauz I’m Young, GHOST!, Trapped In My Mind
Skip Through: Erase Me
As Odd Future Wolf Gang has been gaining momentum around the world, Tyler, The Creator & Earl Sweatshirt have received most of the attention. However, two of their equally talented crew members, Left Brain & Hodgy Beats, have been working under the radar on their new album, BLACKENEDWHITE. The two, who work together under the group name MellowHype, are a near perfect combination of lyrical prowess and haunting production. It is definitely less gruesome than some of their past work, but a multitude of features including Tyler, Earl, and Mike G keep everything in balance. Up to this point, I have avoided comparing Odd Future to anyone else, because they are unlike anyone else, but their track ‘Fuck The Police,’ reminded me of the Niggaz With Attitude track of the same title. This is despite the fact that, although they share the same name, the two respective tracks sound nothing alike. It is the lyrical content, and the tone of the message that are very reminiscent of N.W.A., in that they share the same disregard for authority. However, OF evokes an entirely new level of hatred and total Don’t-Give-A-Fuckness in their music, and it is this Attitude that has made them so popular. If you are already an Odd Future fan, you’ve probably heard plenty about this album from the Wolves themselves, but if not, it is definitely worth checking out.
Skip To: Loaded, Fuck The Police, Chordaroy [sic], Brain
Skip Through: Based
Speak Now, Taylor Swift’s latest album, has sold over one-million copies in its’ first week. This is one of the albums I’ve been looking forward to the most this year. Her previous album, Fearless, was one of my favorite albums of last year, and led me to have very high (maybe unreasonable) expectations for this time around. There are some good songs on here, but it doesn’t quite have the same sparkle as her previous performance. Taylor Swift has nothing short of a beautiful voice, but she often comes across as condescending and arrogant. Also, her blatant shots at her ex-lover John Mayer, and apparent subliminal towards Kanye, take away from the long-term value of the album. Not her best work, but you can’t knock a twenty-year-old who is already a multi-millionaire.
Skip To: Mine, Speak Now, Sparks Fly
Skip Through: Dear John
Between their work as The Neptunes and N*E*R*D*, we have long known about Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shay Haley’s musical versatility. However, not until this album have we seen this versatility showcased so brilliantly. From Pharrell’s super-high falsetto to his creepy whispering on ‘Hypnotize You’, the music makes dancing unavoidable, and yet it still addresses intellectual themes such as creationism and the news media. The variety is also very apparent in the production, from the funkiness of ‘Perfect Defect’, to the guitar heavy ‘Help Me’, and go-go rhythms in ‘God Bless Us All’. There are only two guest appearances on this album, one from both Nelly Furtado and T.I., but they are both are very well placed. Even with all the variety throughout the album, it is still very harmonious from track to track. Go buy this album!
Skip To: Life As A Fish, Hypnotize U, Victory, It’s In The Air, Party People
Skip Through: None!
Even before hearing Flockavelli, many people will want to hate it. Hate the music for it’s apparent ignorance, hate the album for its title, or hate Flocka for his lack of lyrical content. But from behind his veil of ignorance, Flocka demonstrates a stunning ability for creating head-banging music. Despite his status as the brunt of nearly every major lyricist’s jokes, he has continued to release a torrent of music, including seven mixtapes in the past two years, four appearances on the Billboard Top 200, and countless guest features. While many artists abandon their “street appeal” for a more commercial musical style, Flocka remains true to his roots on this, his debut album. Notably, he retains the services of 19-year-old Lex Luger, who has been responsible for the majority of Flocka’s production up to this point. Luger does not disappoint, providing his signature speaker-breaking, gun-sound-effect-infused, trunk-rattling beats. Also, as an audiophile, it is a major victory to hear Flocka with improved recording quality, better (but still not the best) mixing, and without the annoying DJ-drops. So, despite the preconceived notions that people may have, this is actually a quality album. It has the rare combination of street appeal, club bangers, and radio playability. I wonder what Method Man is thinking right now…
Skip To: Fuck This Industry, For My Dawgs, Bang, Homies, Karma, G Check, Bricksquad
Skip Through: Snake In The Grass