To whom much is given, much is required and Hip-Hop’s reigning king, Drake seems to always fulfill his musical obligations. In 2016, Views broke numerous records (Most weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, Most streamed arts on Spotify, etc.) and now we find ourselves in the midst of Drake season again with his sixth album, “More Life.” This album also is his last under his contract with Cash Money Records.
The world practically goes into panic mode every time Drake releases a new project and judging by Twitter, this time is no different. Since Drizzy’s first album, “Thank Me Later”, he’s been experimenting with a plethora of sounds ranging from hip-hop to reggae. Noah “40” Shebib has played the role of Quincy Jones on every single project Drake has dropped and he has yet to disappoint in the production lane especially with the heavy soca and calypso influences on More Life. Drake manages to also squeeze some bars in here and there on certain tracks.
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Nothings Into Somethings Can’t Have Everything Glow
More Life is not an album, but a playlist, as indicated by Drake himself. He delivered a playlist for all occasions so be expecting to hear More Life for the next six months from every phone, car, and Instagram post from social media celebrities.
I’m like a broken record when it comes to talking about great music. Beautiful music is the closest thing to heaven which is why many artists have such God given talent. I hope that wasn’t too much of a spiritual stretch.
One day while browsing for music, an artist by the name of Oddisee came up on my feed on Youtube which prompted me to click on the funky single, Want to Be. Oddisee’s rhyme schemes flirt in and out of distressed piano chords, guitar licks, and faint horn sounds. This song comes straight from the vault of the legendary jazz band, Jamiroquai. It also evolves around the concept of being happy, which is easier demonstrated than orchestrated. If you haven’t already, please check out this track for your own listening pleasure. Thank me later.
R&B singer Re Lxuise name has been buzzing around the music scene in Atlanta over the past few years. She’s been able to work with the likes of Bryan Michael Cox and Avery Wilson all while holding her own in the realm of music. She started in front of the church which is where all the great vocalists started. Hearing etho-complements such as “You betta sang,” and “Gone girl,” are not of the unfamiliar cloth with this upcoming superstar. She was born ready for the spotlight.
DM Me is a concept EP. Smooth production, Soulful interludes, and Re Lxuise’s beautiful alto arrangements make this EP impactful, being that it’s five tracks long. Each song carries its own message leaving you wanting more. It’s full of swagger and robust with energy. Don’t sleep.
One of the most memorizing things about Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 masterpiece, “To Pimp A Butterfly,” is the intricate bass-lines that each song contained. It felt like Dilla, sprinkled with Madlib, and other great musicians. If you ever wanted to give credit where it’s due, thank no other than bassist- vocalist, Thundercat.
Thundercat’s new album, “Drunk” is the perfect mesh of Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Trance Music. Tracks such as “Bus In These Streets,” “Lava Lamp,” and “Show You The Way,” showcase Thundercat’s ability to transcend multiple sounds and vocal extensions. Thundercat spoke to Howl & Echoes about the album’s humor and witty nature.
“I’ve always been into the details of things, and I felt like it was very important to connect art in the manner that I did. Everything down to the album art, I feel like it was very important for people to see what it was all about.”
Although this was a task in itself, “Friend Zone,” is probably the funkiest song on the album. The fleeting bass-line, polygraph sounds, and context make this an instant repeat track.
Bygone times within music tells us that while the superstar may be in the limelight, the supporting cast is just as important. The people considered to be in the “background” are masterminds in their craft. This is why the music that we hear from our favorite artists is so transparent and memorable. There would be no early Janet Jackson records without the production of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Nas was already ahead of his time, but the production of DJ Premier and Pete Rock pushed him into God MC status before he could legally purchase Hennessy. An artist is nothing without a solid music collective behind them.
This leads into the journey of British singer-songwriter, “Sampha.” While you may not recognize his name, you definitely recognize his voice. He was the person that you heard on “Too Much,” by Drake back in 2013, and “The Motion.” Also, if you listen closely, you hear him perfectly complement Solange on “Don’t Touch My Hair.”
“Process” is the name of Sampha’s debut album. It features 10 tracks that explain some of the diverse aspects of his journey over the past few years. I’ve dived into a few tracks myself and I am thoroughly impressed. Check it out for yourself.