Earlier this year, rapper Travis Scott released his 2nd studio album “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight”, which was his follow up for the 2015 release, “Rodeo”. However, shortly after releasing “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight”, a mixtape called, “Days Before Birds”, emerged on My Mixtapez, a mobile app designed to specifically release various mixtapes from notable and lesser known rap artists. The mixtape, “Days Before Birds”, is supposed to resemble “Days Before Rodeo”, which was a collection of extra tracks that did not make it onto “Rodeo”. A few days ago this mixtape began to appear on other music streaming platforms, however it was quickly taken down due to the fact that Scott was not happy with the project himself. The mixtape is still available on My Mixtapez for those who still would like to listen to it.
After listening to this mixtape a few times I can conclude that the project isn’t that great and I can see why Travis would want to remove it from the various sites where it was released. However, the greatest song Travis Scott has released this year, in my opinion, is actually off this mixtape. That song is the track of the day and it is “Oh Me Oh My” which features Migos and G4SHI. The only reason I can think of as to why this single wasn’t included on “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” is because the single would give an incentive for listeners to check out the entire tape rather than just the individual track, but since Travis has recently removed the project claiming he did not approve of it, I have no idea why this song is not on his latest studio album. If it were included it would make the release significantly better, especially since “Oh Me Oh My” could rival “Antidote” as one of the best songs he’s ever written.
Even if you haven’t given “Days Before Birds” or even “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” a listen yet, you need to check out “Oh Me Oh My”, which is posted below. DJ Snake’s production on this song is stellar to say the least and Travis Scott, Migos, and G4SHI showcase some of their best work to date. If you can find a way to check out “Days Before Birds” definitely give it a listen and let us know what you think! I will also be doing a 500 Word Review for “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight”, which will hopefully be completed soon. But for now, enjoy this track and check back in for more hip-hop and rap related news, content, and reviews.
Detroit rap legend, Danny Brown, has recently released his fourth studio album, “Atrocity Exhibition”. To go alongside this record, Danny has released two music videos for singles off his latest project. The first video was for the first single “When It Rain” and late last week the second video was released for the second single, “Pneumonia”. With the exemption of “Really Doe”, these two tracks are probably my favorites so far off this new album. They are both extremely experimental that feature hard hitting, in your face beats with deep and very personal lyrics. I might slightly prefer “Pneumonia” over “When It Rain”, but regardless both of these tracks are outstanding and were great singles that represent the album in a positive way.
The video for “Pneumonia” is by far the better music video out of the two that were released for “Atrocity Exhibition”. In fact, this is without a doubt one of the greatest rap music videos I’ve ever watched before. The video features two main shots throughout the song. One shot is of Danny Brown dressed up in a suit apparently doing a press conference of some sort where he raps the lyrics to this track behind a podium with a sole microphone attached. The other shot, which is the majority of the video and the most memorable shot in the video is of Danny attached to multiple, long hanging chain links, which appear to be coming out of the sky. These chains often have him swaying above the ground in a position similar to that of a puppet on a string. While he raps through the song the chains manipulate, drag, and throw Danny around like a rag doll and possibly serve as a metaphor for Danny being absolutely helpless and controlled by aspects of his life that he is dependent on or “chained” to.
The song itself is equally as notable as the video. “Pneumonia” features a bizarre beat with multiple eerie bells and bass lines. The song is as dark and ominous as the video itself, but at the same time it is also one of the most addictive songs on the project and simply cannot be played once without instantly replaying it. The lyrics appear to be telling the story of Danny’s past experience in drug dealing throughout Detroit, however in an interview he did recently, Danny goes on to say that “Pneumonia” is actually a party song and doesn’t fit in with any themes or concepts that might be heard on “Atrocity Exhibition”. Despite this, the lyrics themselves help emphasis the dark and serious tone heard on this song and without knowing about Danny’s statement, it’s hard to classify this song as a party song after hearing its unique sound. I still need to listen to the entire record a few more times before I can make a well-thought out opinion about the album, but I can say for sure that this is one of the greatest tracks on the latest Danny Brown release and is also one of the greatest rap songs you will hear in all of 2016.
I have been working on a review of this project for the last few days and I should have it posted on here very soon! Watch the stellar video for “Pneumonia” below and while you’re at it listen to the rest of “Atrocity Exhibition”. If your opinion about this video is different then what I have said, or if we agree with the significance of this track, then let us know in the comments!
Earlier last week, The Weeknd released a new music video for the single “False Alarm”, one of the first two tracks to be released off his upcoming album “Starboy”. The hip-hop/ R&B icon previously released his first single, also called “Starboy”, which was accompanied with a video as well. “Starboy” is a more traditional style hip-hop track that resembled a sound very similar to Abel’s older material. The video was also fairly violent but focused more on the musical content rather than the visual representation. “False Alarm” on the other hand, sounds completely different and also features a music video that is both extremely violent and intense. In fact, I would actually consider this video to be more like a short film rather than a music video.
The track “False Alarm” itself is something unlike the average The Weeknd song. It is a rock based pop song that is both aggressive and, at some points, even has a goth rock inspired sound. While the instrumental part of the song is more aggressive, the soft, high pitched vocal performance by Abel is still present. Personally, I feel like this rock inspired song actually holds him back vocally and that his phenomenal singing is better exemplified on the more R&B sounding track “Starboy”. I wasn’t too into “False Alarm”, but it is nice to see The Weeknd branch out from his comfort zone and experiment with a different approach to writing new tracks. I will say, however, that this music video/short film is very entertaining and keeps you glued to the screen from the beginning of the fictitious robbery until the gory end. I still look forward to hearing the rest of Abel’s upcoming release and hope there are more music videos like the last two to accompany it!
The video for “False Alarm is attached below along with my recent blog post reviewing the first single off “Starboy”. Leave a comment about the upcoming The Weeknd release and be sure to check back in for more reviews, breaking news, and other music content!
This week a new segment is getting introduced on Erik’s Album Reviews called “The Thursday Ten”. Every week on Thursday ten albums will be given a quick rating of a whole number out of 10. These albums are listened to 1-2 times through max and will not have any other description besides their numerical rating. However, it is common that an album mentioned on “The Thursday Ten” will later get a 500 word album review or a full album review. Also if you would like a more in depth review for an album or have a different opinion on the ratings let us know in the comments or shoot us an email! But regardless, here is the first ever post for “The Thursday Ten”:
- Arbes – Swimmer: 10/10
- Void Omnia – Dying Light: 8/10
- Taking Back Sunday – Tidal Wave: 8/10
- Danny Brown – Really Doe (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, and Earl Sweatshirt) *single/not an album*: 9/10
- Frank Ocean – Blonde: 7/10
- Young Thug – Jeffery: 8/10
- West Berlin – The Northern Misery: 8/10
- Trophy Eyes – Chlorine: 9/10 – Heaven Sent: 8/10 *singles/not an album*
- Deafheaven – New Bermuda: 6/10
- Aborted – Retrogore: 8/10
There are too many releases listed to post videos and links for every single one, however, every single album rated can be heard on Spotify, Youtube, or Bandcamp. Make sure to give these records a listen and let us know what albums should make it onto the list for next week’s “The Thursday Ten”!
On September 22nd, Canadian singer and songwriter, The Weeknd, released his latest single, “Starboy (feat. Daft Punk)”. This single is off his upcoming third studio album (also called “Starboy”), and features the iconic songwriting and sound of Electronic music titans, Daft Punk. This collaboration shows an interesting, slightly different sound from previous notable singles from the Weeknd, without making a drastic change to the sound he is known for.
Personally, The Weeknd has always been an artist that I enjoy, but have never truly checked out as far as listening to his entire discography. Essentially, I’ve only really heard his well-known radio singles, however what I have heard so far I’ve really enjoyed. The Weeknd showcases a unique alternative R&B sound that is accompanied by simple yet clever lyricism and an absolutely stunning singing voice. If Abel (The Weeknd) can continue this succession of monumental R&B/Hip-Hop releases, then I honestly believe he will become one of the most prominent and influential pop artists of this generation.
“Starboy” is a perfect example of the genre dominance seen by The Weeknd. The track starts off with a deep electronic (almost hardstyle) sounding drum and bass intro, which accurately fits Daft Punk’s songwriting style. From there the track constantly adds different synths, pianos, and harmonious background vocals to compliment that vocal ability of Abel. The song as a whole sounds like a more EDM based version of “Beauty Behind The Madness”, which should not be taken as an insult at all. I have personally seen electronic music slowly but surely become more intertwined in many genres like pop, Hip-Hop, Rap, R&B and many others and I think this progression has lead to some amazing results and is ultimately the future of these genres of music. Things like Danny Brown’s collaboration with EDM artist, Rustie, on his track “Attak”, or pop artist Tove Lo’s constant working with EDM artists like Flume and Seven Lions, exemplify this increase in integration between electronic music and other significant genres. “Starboy” adds to this list and does a fantastic job in representing this evolution into EDM influenced R&B.
In conclusion I give “Starboy (feat. Daft Punk)” an 8.8/10 and look forward to hearing the rest of this upcoming release. However, I will say this track is not Abel’s best work. I still believe that “The Hills” is his greatest work and it will take a little more experimentation with both The Weeknd’s songwriting and vocal ability in order to top this stellar track. Check out the music video for “Starboy” below and pre-order the album set to be released on November 25th!