Category Archives: Reviews

Album Review: Ro Ransom Is The Future, or is he?

large-4

Download RRITF in it’s entirety HERE.

Two years since his last mixtape, Ransomnia, and following a slew of high quality, hype building singles, Ro Ransom Is The Future is finally here.

When I first heard that Ro was coming close to finishing RRITF I immediately went to my iTunes library and put on Ransomnia. The 2012 mixtape boasted killer features from Trae The Truth, Rich Hil and Casey Veggies. With equally as impressive production from Chuck Inglish, Xaphoon Jones and Cardo. From start to finish Ransomnia was everything Ro needed to do to get some serious attention. So, naturally, when I heard that RRITF was close to completion I was very excited.

I seriously thought Ro Ransom was the future. But, after multiple listens through RRITF I’m not so sure. The project is definitely cohesive, in terms of theme and listening from one track to the next. However, there’s something missing. The overall quality of the tape is not up to par with something that’s considered “futuristic.” It sounds more like a mixtape from someone recording onto their macbook than someone in the studio trying to become a force to be reckoned with. The skits throughout the tape are pretty disruptive too. I’m not a big skit fan at all, but these ones are just flat-out uninteresting.

That being said, I’m still a huge Ro Ransom fan. He’s one of my favorite artists currently on the come up. There are a few things that saved this project. The production was spectacular, thanks to RobGotBeats and Jayex. Also, I think there was a really nice mixture of Ro hitting those higher, moodier notes and his rapping.

This tape was mediocre. Maybe I was just expecting too much. Either way, I’ll still listen to this when it comes up on shuffle in the future and I’m excited to see where Ro goes from here.

 

Some standout tracks are: “Party In The Dark, “Hallucinate,” and “See You There.”

Written by JW

Review: Logic’s major label debut ‘Under Pressure’ is on par with Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Good Kid Maad City’

KRwGmJX

Logic has actually been around for a while. For all of you who think this is his first album or project of any sort, it’s not. Since 2011, Logic has released four mixtapes. All of the tapes received praise from blogs, labels and his fans. This led to Logic signing a major record deal with Def Jam Records, due in part to the support of the legendary producer No I.D. Instead of following the trend of staying independent like many up and coming Hip-Hop artists today, most notably Macklemore. Logic wanted to pursue the debut studio album route. This route has been taken by fewer and fewer artists lately. It seems that rappers with a few good mixtapes under their belts that go on to release a debut album through a label have fallen off very quickly. This is not the case for Logic and Def Jam. Logic had stated previously that he did this album his own way on his own time and he was not lying.

Under Pressure is an album in the purest sense of the word. It is a story that should be listened to from start to finish, the way an album is supposed to be listened to. Each song flows seamlessly into the next. The album is tied together by a Siri like narrater named Thalia, who is reminiscent of the narrator in A Tribe Called Quest’s album Midnight Marauders. It is an interesting way to help guide the listener through Logic’s tale, without being disruptive. Thalia also gives a good bit of insight into the making of Under Pressure.

Logic doesn’t waste time bragging or being misogynistic throughout the album. He discusses real problems, real feelings and raw emotions. He covers intimate problems with his father, substance abuse and past relationships gone wrong. If you’re looking for something similar to 2 Chainz or Juicy J you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Right off the bat on the “Intro,” Logic touches on the fears he had making the album and the high expectations and overwhelming pressure he felt. He effortlessly weaves through the slow ballad type piano backdrop and once the drums kick in, there is no turning back.

Each song on the album has an individual theme that Logic delves into. There are no fillers on Under Pressure. Logic strays as far as possible from the stereotypical rap album script of 2014 with Under Pressure.

“Soul Food D,” is about Logic’s come up in the industry and his motivation to be better than some of his idols. “I’m Gone,” has Logic speaking on his old weed habits and past relationships. “Gang Related,” is self-explanatory and boasts a crazy chanting sample throughout.

“Buried Alive,” was released prior to the album drop.  But it fits in nicely with the overall theme of pressure. Logic and the listeners spirits are lifted briefly, once “Bounce” comes around on the album. Straying, for a moment, from the serious themes of previous tracks, he speaks on his crew and how much they have meant to him from the start. “Growing Pains III” is another tale of Logic’s coming of age. His father is a recurring topic and is touched on again in this song. 

“Never Enough” is a song about substance abuse. A topic not foreign to the genre of hip-hop/ rap. But, what sets Logic apart from the pack on this one is the way he sampled two classic songs. He mixes both Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit Of Happiness” and Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean,” and makes a totally original sounding song. For me, this is one of the standouts on the album.

“Metropolis” is a smooth jazzy record that has Logic bouncing lyrically through the beat. “Nikki” puts Logic’s battle with smoking Cigarettes on a track. I like both of these track a lot, but they are almost overshadowed by the nine minute title track, “Under Pressure”.

We’ve already heard the shortened version of the title track, but the full version is much different. Early on in the song the dial tone hits and everything slows down, except Logic’s flow. The spacey guitar really compliments his voice, making you want to really listen to what he’s saying. Logic produced this song himself, and what he does with the rest of the song and beat is impressive. He seamlessly blends both beats together and continues to spit. It makes it even more amazing to hear a talented rapper who can also produce his own music. Don’t skip this song.

The regular version of the album finishes with “Till The End.” A song with no hook, just Logic and a female vocalist. The track boasts one of the best verses we’ve heard from an artist in a long time. It was an extremely strong way for Logic to close the curtains on Under Pressure.

Two of the three bonus tracks on the deluxe edition, “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Alive” had been released before the album. The songs are the only two on the album with featured artists. Childish Gambino and Big Sean are good features to have on an album, but something about hearing their voices seems out of place, Logic didn’t need them. Regardless of how they fit into the album they are fun songs to bump when you’re in a good mood or in the car.

Logic’s debut album Under Pressure is something special. It is a major label debut that doesn’t disappoint, a rare feat these days. He proves to all other up and coming artists that signing to a major label doesn’t necessarily mean you lose creative control. This is Logic’s album, not Def Jam’s. He proved to everyone that he has talent not only on the mic but on the boards. Under Pressure is a statement. It is Logic’s way of saying he’s here to stay.

Written By Berg and JW

Album Review: Weezer Takes Us Back To The Future With “Everything Will Be Alright In The End”

20140709165029!Cover_of_Weezer's_album_Everything_Will_Be_Alright_in_the_EndThis one is sort of a guilty pleasure for me. I was in about 4th or 5th grade when I discovered Weezer’s Blue Album. It changed the way I listened to music at the time. I loved the simple guitar riffs combined with the heartfelt lyrics, that were way ahead of my time. Regardless of my age, I still enjoyed the Blue Album and all of their other work immensely.

Obviously, we all grow up, gain different tastes in music and venture into different directions with our lives. But, when I saw Weezer was teasing us through their youtube channel with videos of them in the studio earlier this year, I became extremely excited. Tons of memories of my childhood and growing up immediately flooded my mind. A new Weezer album meant a new stage in the life of a band I grew up loving, and another stage in my life as well. Not to get too involved with my own personal feelings towards the band, but the Blue Album fuses elements of both the old and new Weezer with great results.

Nine studio albums, two compilation albums, six EP’s, non-stop touring and even several solo demo albums from Rivers throughout the past 22 years. They’ve been through the highs, the lows, bad breaks ups, lost friendships, drugged out nights, non-stop partying, family problems and even problems within their own band. You name it, Weezer has been through it and written a song about it.

So my original thought process going into listening the album as a whole was a little open ended. What exactly does Rivers have left to say? He’s said so much already. I heard “Back To The Shack” when it was originally released, and I liked it. It sounds a lot like their older records, “Beverly Hills” and “Pork and Beans,”  I also enjoyed the guitar solo, video, and the message Rivers was trying to get across. It was a great lead single to show everyone that this new Weezer is still comprised of all the elements of the band that changed music for me in 4th grade.

Forget about the lead single for a second. From the beginning of the album, the instrumentation, guitar filters, build up drum crescendo and just the overall sound of “Ain’t Got Nobody” reminds you of old Weezer. And that is not a bad thing at all. Even the lyrics reminds you of something Rivers was going through during the Blue Album and Pinkerton years. It is very nostalgic, just like “Back To The Shack”, and will make any fan of Weezer at home.

Going through the album, Rivers doesn’t switch up much of what has made his band still huge twenty two years late. “Lonely Girl” is a fast power chord and chorus driven tune that has Rivers pleading to this lonely girl that he his here to help. “I’ve Had It Up To Here” has Rivers singing at the top of his lungs during the chorus about how angry he is towards one of his relationships. “Go Away” brings in female vocalist Bethany Cosentino for a nice added touch in this record going back and forth with Rivers about a lost relationship. All are very similar territory for the band not only lyrically but also musically.

Other songs have more going on lyrically such as “The British Are Coming”, which will have you guessing exactly what the song is about. The song also leads you in with an interesting piano intro. “Foolish Father” has you guessing if he is talking about himself as a father or his own. “Eulogy For A Rock Band” can also be taken in several different view points. It either could be Rivers talking about his own rock band, or one he has grown up listening to and watching that he has seen fall from the music scene. This is what makes the album so interesting to listen to because the album switches back and forth quite a bit with the style the band is trying to portray.

The final three songs off of Everything Will Be Alright In The End, dubbed “The Future Scope Trilogy”, showcases Rivers’ brilliant  songwriting ability. Even though the majority of the trilogy is actually an instrumental (“I. The Waste Land” & “III. Return To Ithaka” are both instrumentals), the dueling guitar solos, Rivers’ echoing chants of “I don’t even know your name” will keep your attention throughout the eight and a half minute duration. It may not be as epic as The Red Album’s “Greatest Man To Ever Live” but it is pretty damn close. This song even showcases possibly what could have been of Weezer’s lost space-theme rock opera Songs From The Black Hole. “The Future Scope Trilogy” will be remembered as the highlight of the album in my eyes. Just for the scope and greatest of what Rivers’ ended the entire album with.

Everything Will Be Alright In The End is not necessarily Weezer’s best album. But it isn’t their worst either. It is actually one of their better ones in a long while as a whole and should not be looked over. The overarching theme of happiness, enlightenment and just the positive reinforcement the everything will be alright in the end (Sorry I had to) is great to hear from Rivers and the rest of Weezer, who have gone through their ups and downs throughout the years. For fans who have loved the band since they were young, or honestly any fan of good music in general will enjoy listening to this album. It will take you back to a nostalgic place, it will remind you of music you listened to when you were young and it will even remind you of music you listen to today. Weezer combined their entire twenty two years of existence into one fantastic album.

Written by DJ Sleezy E

Email: erik@smoothwavesmusic.com

Tumblr: mynameiserik92.tumblr.com

 

 

Album Review: Gearing Up For The Release Of His Debut Album, Travi$ Scott Delivers Some Of His Best Work With “Days Before Rodeo”

screen-shot-2014-08-18-at-7-25-48-pm

Two weeks ago, Travi$ Scott released a free mixtape/album titled Days Before Rodeo. It was unexpected, and surprising, and not just because it really came out of nowhere.

Not many rappers release a project of this magnitude before the release of their debut album. Days Before Rodeo contains 12 tracks with features from some pretty big names. On the tape you can hear Big Sean, The 1975, Migos, Peewee Longway, Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan and a secret feature by T.I.  on “Quintana Pt. 2.” All in all, this project is one of the best of the year and may be some of the best work we’ve heard from Travi$ so far.

First off, this plays like an album. It’s also one of those rare projects that you can play from start to finish and visa versa,  or put it on shuffle and still somehow maintain a coherent sound/story that isn’t jumbled at all. The flow from song to song is some of the best we’ve seen in awhile. Travi$ somehow pulls this off despite having a wide array of features from artists with very distinct sounds, which could easily have thrown off the work as a whole.

Rodeo better be damn good, because it’s going to be hard to top this, especially in the same year. Travi$ definitely won over some new fans with this one. And he did it in a way where he didn’t step too far outside of the box by trying to tailor his sound to a new audience in an inorganic way, like many artists attempt to do. He’s been perfecting his sound and style for awhile and Days Before Rodeo showed that, now Rodeo needs to reinforce it.

Check out a few of our favorite tracks below and stay tuned for more from Travi$ in the future. Also, feel free to let us know what you thought of Days Before Rodeo.

Standout tracks: Travi$ Scott Ft. Young Thug- “Skyfall.” Wow, from a production standpoint this song is beautiful and somehow Young Thug is incredibly tolerable throughout the whole song.

Another dope track is “Quintana Pt. 2” which is just Travi$ and will have you saying “I’m finessing” all day long in your head.

Also, Travi$ accompanied the project with an interesting video for the track “Don’t Play” Ft. Big Sean & The 1975. Watch it below.

Review: From Backpack Rap to Radio Hits, Wiz’s ‘Blacc Hollywood’ Ties Together 9 Years of Music

wiz-khalifa-blacc-hollywood-500x500It seems like only yesterday that I woke up early before class and checked Datpiff to see if anything new had come out the night before. I stumbled upon a cover of a Nintendo cartridge titled “Wiz Khalifa’s Star Power.” That was in 2007, I knew who Wiz was back then because of a few songs off of his previous Prince Of The City 2, but after listening to Star Power once and I was hooked. He had completely changed his style. He still had his hard raps but Wiz started singing and adding melody to a genre that was more about the rhythm and beat than tone. I’ve been a fan ever since.

The year is now 2014, and Wiz has released a fairly significant amount of music since Star Power and has become an icon in the music industry. He’s shut down the internet multiple times upon releasing project and has become a household name in a sense. With his latest studio album Blacc Hollywood, Wiz doesn’t necessarily stray from the script, or do anything differently at all, he just does everything BETTER.

If you thought Blacc Hollywood was going to be like his 28 Grams mixtape that was released earlier this year, then you were mistaken. Blacc Hollywood is a combination of his sing-song-hip-hop style as well as some other hard hitting street shit. Who’s going to change the song when “We Dem Boyz” comes on at a party??

It’s not just bangers like “We Dem Boyz” though, on “Promises”, Wiz slows everything down and tells his significant other that he will always hold them down. I can’t imagine this song not being about his wife, Amber Rose. Check out the video below.

There are a few throw back songs such as “Hope” and “The Sleaze” that will have you thinking it’s Wiz from Kush & OJ or Taylor Allderdice. 

Even the video for “KK” with Juicy J and Project Pat is wild and Frank Paladino did another great job directing Wiz’s video about his own strand of weed.

One song that is sure to catch your attention is “Ass Drop”. Wiz made another club banger for anyone out there who loves to twerk or loves to watch some twerking going on. This song is determined to get some air play and I’m really excited to see what Wiz does for the video if he does one.

My favorite song off of the album features an indie band called Ghost Loft. This is the one song on the album that I find myself listening to over and over again. “So High”, even if you are sober, makes you think you are floating with the high synth chords and droning kick drum that comes in during the chorus. This is a must listen and by far one of the best songs on Blacc Hollywood. 

Wiz has stuck pretty close to his script for the past few years and he hasn’t let anything outside his core group influence him. Yes, I get that he is a bit mainstream now compared to his back pack hip-hop days but that is okay. He still makes great music and Blacc Hollywood is no exception. He is clearly enjoying his life and you can tell through his music. So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride that is Blacc Hollywood.