Track(s) of the Day Tuesday: KYLE iSpy (feat. Lil Yachty), LIL UZI VERT “XO TOUR Llif3”, and KHALID Location

Last week we were unable to add another installment to the Track of the Day Tuesday segment, so this week we have three songs that you need to check out!  Also, for the first time in months, a Track of the Day Tuesday post will feature exclusively hip hop artists, so this is an extremely significant week for the segment! Of course, all of the tracks mentioned will be attached below so don’t forget to give them a listen!

The first song you need to listen to today is Kyle’s “iSpy”, which is a collaboration between Kyle himself and Lil Yachty.  Kyle is a rapper who I’ve followed on and off for the last few years and it’s nice to finally see him receive mainstream attention.  With the single “iSpy” recently going Platinum (Music Canada) and being a top 5 selling track on US charts, it’s clear that Yachty and Kyle were meant to work together in a very similar way to how D.R.A.M. and Yachty were also destined to make a hit song together as well.  The track starts out with a feel good dialogue between Kyle and Lil Yachty, as the entire music video features the two rappers as cartoon characters moving through different scenarios on a fictitious beach.  It only takes a few seconds of Lil Yachty acting for any viewer to realize that the Atlanta based rapper needs to have his own cartoon show.  His dialogue, interaction with Kyle, and humorous and light hearted acting skills clearly shows that Lil Yachty has a natural talent as a cartoon voice actor, and I personally think a show about the rapper himself would be an instant classic (especially after seeing the great reaction Adult Swim’s “Mike Tyson Mysteries” has had since it’s launch).  The two rappers work together really well in this opening dialogue, as it becomes a perfect transition into Kyle’s first verse when the song opens.  Overall, this isn’t the most sophisticated or meaningful song you’ll ever hear, but it is without a doubt an extremely fun song to listen to regularly.  Yachty and Kyle’s ability to make a happy, fun song that is addictive to say the least clearly showcases what these two artists are best at.  In fact, the two of them did so well with “iSpy” that I’ve come to the conclusion that D.R.A.M, Lil Yachty, and Kyle all have to write an album together.  Not only were the three of them destined to work together, but a full length album, or even a mixtape, from these prominent artists could possibly result in one of the best hip hop albums of the year.  Needless to say, this collaboration absolutely needs to happen.

Next up is Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO TOUR Llif3”.  Lil Uzi Vert is an artist that, up until the release of this single, I had mixed opinions on.  Some of his tracks are very catchy and feature a solid song structure, but his recently released commercially successful mixtapes, like “The Perfect LUV Tape” and “Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World”, are projects that I can only listen to for 15-20 min before I start to get annoyed with Lil Uzi Vert’s signature sound.  Not to mention that there are even some tracks that I find to be just terrible overall.  However, “XO TOUR Llif3” is nothing like anything we’ve heard from Lil Uzi Vert so far.  For starters, he’s abandoned overusing the word “Yeah”, which is a promising sign.  Also, the beat, produced by TM88, is actually one that is somber and breaks away from his traditional upbeat, EDM inspired beats.  Lastly, and what I think is the most significant aspect of this new release from Lil Uzi Vert, the lyricism heard is actually very deep, personal, and above all well written.  The song basically depicts a past relationship Lil Uzi Vert was in, how it ended poorly, and how his dependency on narcotics greatly affected his life at the time.  The lyricism is specific enough that the listener can understand what the song is generally about, yet it is still vague, allowing interpretation of the lyrics to change per person and also exemplifying Lil Uzi Vert’s progress as a lyricist himself.  His use of primarily sung vocals allows the listener to actually hear the pain in Lil Uzi Vert’s voice through verses and choruses as he discusses this troubling time in his life, which is something fans of Lil Uzi Vert haven’t heard until now.  Personally, I really enjoy how Lil Uzi Vert wrote the chorus to “XO TOUR Llif3”.  Keeping the lyricism and perspective very vague has caused different interpretations of the meaning of the chorus to surface and it has personally left me anxious to hear the true meaning to the lines heard in the track.  This is without a doubt Lil Uzi Vert’s greatest song he has ever released and I hope he has more tracks similar to “XO TOUR Llif3” coming out soon.

Lastly, I want to talk about another hip hop artist who I have found through Youtube.  Khalid is an El Paso based R&B/Hip Hop artist who recently made significant waves with his successful debut album “American Teen”.  The album is full of successful singles like “Saved” and “Coaster”, but the track you’ve probably heard by now is “Location”.  “Location” features a chill, full sounding beat that perfectly compliments Khalid’s phenomenal tone and singing.  I’m actually not too found of the lyricism heard on “Location”.  It’s not bad, but the verses could have definitely been rewritten to better explain the situation with the girl Khalid mentions throughout the song without being too straight forward.  However, this is definitely a minor suggestion as the lyrics are fine as the way they are now.  Khalid has a ton of potential and I would consider him and 6lack to be the future of modern R&B.  If you haven’t had a chance to listen to his tracks before, or if you’ve put off watching the “Location” music video after seeing it recommended on Youtube for awhile now, then you without a doubt need to give it a listen today.

Thanks again to everyone who has kept up to date with the Track of the Day Tuesday segment!  This segment is absolutely my favorite segment to write about for Erik’s Album Reviews and it’s great to see such a positive, continued response from viewers across the globe.  If you haven’t yet, check out some of our older Track of the Day Tuesday installments and let us know who you think should be featured on next week’s Track of the Day Tuesday post!

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Breaking News: Young Thug Releases 2 New Music Videos and Releases “JEFFERY” On Vinyl

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One of my favorite rappers, Young Thug, has made some headlines in his most recent releases.  The Atlanta based rapper has released 2 new music videos in 2017 and his latest commercial mixtape, “JEFFERY”, is finally on vinyl!  The two music videos for the tracks “Wyclef Jean” and his latest single “Safe” have both become extremely successful video representations of these great Young Thug tracks, but both have made headlines for completely different reasons.

Back in January, the release of the “Wyclef Jean” music video instantly became a trending topic.  The song itself is fantastic, and “JEFFERY” is without a doubt my favorite mixtape in Thug’s discography, but how the video was filmed and the story behind it made this music video release so significant.  Throughout the entire video, the director, or as he describes it “co-director”, Ryan Staake, includes notes about how the video was filmed.  Apparently Young Thug had a ton of abstract and odd ideas for the music video, and some of these ideas did make it into the music video, but the major problem of the short film was that Young Thug never appeared in the music video.  Despite stating that he wanted to be in multiple shots and co-direct the entire video with Ryan, he arrived to the shoot hours late, even though he had been contacted by the film staff and his label, and he never once got out of his car.  However, even though Thug was extremely hard to work with, and essentially completely omitted from his own music video, the shots Ryan did get and his editing and commentary are extremely entertaining.  In fact, I guarantee that even if the music video was filmed as originally planned, I would still enjoy this version more.  It’s unfortunate that Young Thug was disrespectful to the people working on his own music video, but the final product from this unexpected turn of events has become truly iconic.

Young Thug’s latest music video, “Safe”, was released last Thursday, and unfortunately, it does not include a crazy back story like the one for “Wyclef Jean”.  The shots throughout the film are very simple and aren’t really anything too memorable, but what is prominent is the song itself.  “Safe” has yet to be released on any platform besides this music video on Youtube and serves as the first release of new music from Young Thug in 2017.  The song itself has easily become my favorite track from Young Thug.  The more material Thug releases, the more he truly discovers what his sound is.  His voice and delivery in his tracks continues to keep getting better and extremely unique and distinct.  Also, the quality of his beats continues to progress in a positive way, with each new release surpassing the other in quality of vocal performance and instrumental composition.  “Safe” features more of a laid back, near ambient, electronic beat that perfectly fits Young Thug style.  The captivating beat intertwines with Thug’s personal lyricism and delivery in a phenomenal way that I hope is present in the rest of Young Thug’s releases this year.

Finally, the extremely successful commercial mixtape, “JEFFERY”, is now available on vinyl for this first time ever!  Before this release, only “Barter 6”, Thug’s 2015 mixtape, was the only release of his available on vinyl.  “JEFFERY” has been pressed on standard vinyl, which can be purchased below, and on a Blue/White Marbled variant that appears to be completely sold out at the moment.  If you collect vinyl as avidly as I do, “JEFFERY” is a record you absolutely have to pick up.  Being one of the best Rap releases of 2016, “JEFFERY” is a must have for any fan of modern trap music.  Copies are already selling fast so pick up a copy now!

http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=42090118&category=A-VINYL-ALL

When “Safe” is released on other platforms we’ll be sure to be the first ones to let you know!  Also, stay tuned for any other release Young Thug has in store for 2017.  We also have more reviews of recently released hip hop projects that are due out this week and next so don’t forget to check back in to see what albums and mixtapes we review next!

The Thursday Ten: 11/3/16

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Last week saw an extreme lack of content, and as a result, the week of 10/23-10/29 was the first week without a “The Thursday Ten” post since the segment was first announced.  However, we are back this week with the latest “The Thursday Ten”.  For those of you who read the last installment to the segment, you will remember that the ratings for the 10 records mentioned all received scores within the range of 7/10-9/10.  Even though these ratings are a representation of my honest opinion of the albums, I understand that the ratings from the previous post might seem inflated, and that an average reader might think that almost every album receives around an 8/10.  In order to disprove this assumption, I decided to rate some albums that were released this year that I was not very fond of, in order to show a more broad spectrum of where certain records may fall on the rating system for “The Thursday Ten”.  The rules for giving these ratings have not changed and each album mentioned can be listened to on any major streaming service, and I highly encourage you to give them a listen!  Also, the previous “The Thursday Ten” is posted below and of course, if you disagree with any rating or want to submit a record to be rated, let us know in the comments or shot us an email!  Here is this week’s “The Thursday Ten”:

  1. Periphery – Periphery III: Select Difficulty: 8/10
  2. D.R.A.M. – Big Baby D.R.A.M.: 5/10
  3. The Word Alive – Dark Matter: 5/10
  4. Chelsea Grin – Self Inflicted: 5/10
  5. River Oaks – River Oaks – EP: 6/10
  6. Desiigner – New English: 7/10
  7. I Prevail – Lifelines: 7/10
  8. AlunaGeorge – I Remember: 4/10
  9. Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues: 6/10
  10. Drake (singles) – Fake Love: 6/10 – Sneakin’ (feat. 21 Savage): 7/10

The previous “The Thursday Ten”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/the-thursday-ten-102016/

Track of the Day Tuesday: LIL YACHTY Minnesota Remix

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Recently I have been starting to consider what albums will make it onto my Albums of the Year, EPs of the Year, and best Rap Albums and Mixtapes of the Year and while evaluating 2016 releases I decided to revisit multiple albums.  Lil Yachty’s 2016 mixtape,”Lil Boat”, was one of the releases that I have revisited recently.  Being one of the first two projects released by the young rapper himself,”Lil Boat” has had a significant impact on the modern trap scene with its use of unique, reverb filled beats and a mix between rap and auto-tune singing vocals.

So far, my favorite track is the remix of the song “Minnesota”, which you can hear below.  This is the best place to start for trap or rap music fans who have yet to check out Lil Yachty.  Even though I still have a lot of rap releases to re-listen to before making a final list of the best Rap Albums and Mixtapes of the Year, I can guarantee that “Lil Boat” will absolutely be a contender for this exclusive list.

Listen the “Minnesota” by Lil Yachty below and let us know what you think and what of the track and what rap albums and mixtapes should be nominated as the best of 2016!

Breaking News: A$AP Ferg Releases Remix To “New Level”

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Late last week, one of my favorite rap artists of all time, A$AP Ferg, released a remix to his track “New Level”, which was originally off his sophomore release, “Always Strive and Prosper”.  The original version of “New Level” featured rap artist Future, and soon after its release, it became one of the most successful and highly praised songs off the project.  Now, 10 months after the single was first released, the remix to this fan favorite is available on all prominent music streaming services and features verses from A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert, along with another verse from Future himself.

Personally I like this remix even better than the original version.  Not to say that the album version of “New Level” is bad, but the added verses from A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert, along with the new, rewritten verses from both A$AP Ferg and Future collectively make this the greater of the two tracks.  Honestly, I would be glad to see yet another remix to this track, especially since artists like Schoolboy Q, Earl Sweatshirt, Denzel Curry, and even Danny Brown could fit well on this more aggressive, powerful sounding beat.  Regardless, this new single and “Always Strive and Prosper” are some of the best rap releases of 2016 and “Always Strive and Prosper” could possibly be one of the greatest albums to be released this year as well.

Give this new remix a listen and if you haven’t heard anything by A$AP Ferg before, then listen to anything off his two phenomenal studio albums: “Trap Lord” and “Always Strive and Prosper”!  Be sure to check in to Erik’s Album Reviews often as we get closer to deciding what are the best rap albums and mixtapes of 2016!

The Thursday Ten: 10/20/16

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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!

  1. Show Me A Dinosaur – Show Me A Dinosaur: 9/10
  2. Chance The Rappers – Coloring Book: 8/10
  3. Hotel Books – Run Wild, Stay Alive: 7/10
  4. In Hearts Wake and Northlane – Equinox: 8/10
  5. Little Brother – Cleveland, OH: 8/10
  6. Michael Barr – Back Home EP: 9/10
  7. Darkthrone – Artic Thunder: 8/10
  8. WHENINROME – Half – Hearted: 7/10
  9. Wormed – Krighsu: 8/10
  10. Pity Sex – White Hot Moon: 8/10

Last week’s “The Thursday Ten”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/the-thursday-ten-101316/

Track of the Day Tuesday: TRAVIS SCOTT Oh Me Oh My (feat. Migos and G4SHI)

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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.