For those who don’t know, Damian Lillard, the starting point guard for the Portland Trailblazers and one of the best active players in the NBA, is also a rap artist. Pursuing this musical career during his free time off the court, Lillard has made a name for himself as Dame D.O.L.L.A. and has seen a growth in fan base through his debut single, that was released last July, and his use of social media promotion for his hip hop career. Now, on October 21st, Lillard released his debut album titled, “The Letter O”. This project, released through Front Page Music, is the beginning of Dame D.O.L.L.A.’s musical career, and it is actually a surprisingly solid start.
I personally wasn’t too thrilled on the first single, “Soldier in the Game”, which was released last July, but after one quick listen of “The Letter O”, Dame D.O.L.L.A. definitely has my attention and I’m eager to give this a few more listens and a 500 World album review as well! The 26 year old is continuing to show us that he’s not just one of the greatest basketball players alive, but also an up and coming rap artist that will change the game; trailblazing this professional athlete and artist career choice.
A 500 World album review for “The Letter O” will be released in the next few days, but in the meantime, listen to the full album stream below and get excited for the start of the 2016-17 NBA season, which starts tomorrow!
Earlier this morning, Killer Mike and El-P of the supergroup, Run the Jewels, released their latest single “Talk To Me”. The group, who has released two self-titled albums since their formation in 2013, will be releasing their third full length album, also self-titled called, “Run the Jewels 3”. “Talk To Me” is the first track to be heard off this album and it’s also the first song to be released by the duo in all of 2016. The single was released through the Adult Swim Singles platform and has already seen positive feedback despite only being released a few hours ago.
The track is very similar to past Run the Jewels projects where aggressive, fast tempo flow is accompanied by a hard hitting, yet odd beat. The lyrics have a ferocity that is unique to Run the Jewels and is nearly impossible to be mistaken for anyone else. Overall, this is a great track that leaves me dying to hear more off this late 2016 project. Despite not being a massive fan of the supergroup, I will be looking forward to the release of “RTJ 3” for sure!
The new track is streaming below on Soundcloud for those who want to give it a listen. Check it out and let us know what you think of this new song from New York City and Atlanta’s own, Run the Jewels!
It’s Thursday which means it’s time for one of my favorite segments to write on Erik’s Album Reveiws: The Thursday Ten. You guys should know the rules by now; every album is listened to 1-2 times and given a numerical, whole number score out of 10. This week I chose a bunch of 2016 (and one 2015) releases that I really enjoy, so the ratings might not fluctuate that much and might appear inflated to a new reader. However, if you read last week’s “The Thursday Ten”, which also happens to be posted below, then you will know that I don’t always give ratings this high. All albums mentioned can be streamed on any of the major music streaming and distribution sites. Give them a listen and let us know what you think of the ratings and what albums we should rate next below in the comments!
- Show Me A Dinosaur – Show Me A Dinosaur: 9/10
- Chance The Rappers – Coloring Book: 8/10
- Hotel Books – Run Wild, Stay Alive: 7/10
- In Hearts Wake and Northlane – Equinox: 8/10
- Little Brother – Cleveland, OH: 8/10
- Michael Barr – Back Home EP: 9/10
- Darkthrone – Artic Thunder: 8/10
- WHENINROME – Half – Hearted: 7/10
- Wormed – Krighsu: 8/10
- Pity Sex – White Hot Moon: 8/10
Last week’s “The Thursday Ten”:
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”!