J. Cole – Born Sinner album review

For most rappers, it would be audacious to sample Biggie, compare themselves to Jay-Z, or to dedicate a track to Nas and yet on his sophomore album J. Cole does all three to great success. Born Sinner, out June 18th on Dreamville Records, is an opus filled completely with familiar J.Cole themes of inner conflict coupled with religious imagery and it is also head and shoulders above any hip hop release so far this year. Unlike his first album, Born Sinner carries a thematic darkness throughout and it results in some of the rapper’s best lines so far. On the opening track “Villuminati”, a hectic beat propelled by clattering drums, baleful strings and a Notorious B.I.G. sample, we hear Cole address homophobia, Trinidad James’ “All Gold Everything”, and even drop a “Boy Meets World” reference. In the first verse alone.

The whole album carries a darker tone than any of his previous releases from the cover art to the numerous gospel samples and church themed skits, going so far as to ask “Where’s Jermaine?”, a questioning skit about Cole’s alienation from his upbringing in Fayetteville, North Carolina. This is not to say that the album is inaccessible or anything short of an artistic triumph. Each song on the album would be a strong track on almost anyone else’s sophomore album so the stand outs on Born Sinner are especially potent with “Crooked Smile”, guest featuring TLC, being a pop ready hymn to imperfection and “Chaining Day” acting as an indictment of the materialism in the rap game today. Both of these however are secondary to what is indisputably the heaviest song on the album “Let Nas Down”. Biting the hook from Yeezy’s “Big Brother”, Cole vents about his freshman album and the experience of trying to make a radio friendly single. As he raps the intro, a play on “Nas Is Like” from Nas’ album “I Am…”, Cole lays out the story of his single “Work Out” and realizing after a phone call that he had let down one of his idols by selling out on his art just for a hit.

The only thing that remains to be seen is whether the album sees as much commercial success as it deserves. J. Cole has made one of the best hip hop albums in recent memories and despite guest appearances from names like TLC, James Fauntleroy and Kendrick Lamar, it is still very much a show about J. Cole. As much as he recalls his past in songs like “Land of the Snakes” or “Rich Niggaz”, it is clear that J. Cole has grown leaps and bounds as an artist since The Sideline Story. Be sure to cop Born Sinner; you won’t be disappointed.

Bonnaroo 2013 Festival Scheduled Line-up

Definitely favouring a more urban feel than previous years, Bonnaroo 2013 is definitely seeming to be one of the year’s most appealing festivals. Manchester, Tennessee is now used to putting on the prestigious festival event, with the White Castle in Murfreesboro being amongst the best staff to advice you about the various precautions to take in planning your trip. Buy your tickets today when they’re first released to the public, as I’d be extremely surprised if they didn’t sell out.

Click here to purchase Bonnaroo 2013 tickets.

Some of the Hip Hop/Electronica highlights at the 2013 Bonnaroo include:

Wu-Tang Clan, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, R. Kelly, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, A$AP Rocky, Porter Robinson, A-Trak, Earl Sweatshirt, Big K.R.I.T., AraabMUZIK, Action Bronson

And lets not ignore the other performers of other genres, hardly to be sneezed at:

Paul McCartney,
Mumford & Sons,
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers,
Björk,
Wilco,
Pretty Lights,
Daniel Tosh,
The National,
The Lumineers,
David Byrne & St. Vincent,
Passion Pit,
The xx,
Grizzly Bear,
Animal Collective,
Of Monsters and Men,
ZZ Top,
Beach House,
Cat Power,
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes,
Jim James,
“Weird Al” Yankovic,
Tame Impala,
SUPERJAMS:
Soul SuperJam ft. Jim James with John Oates, Zigaboo Modeliste (of the Meters), Preservation Hall Jazz Band and more TBA!,
Ed Helms Bluegrass Situation Superjam with special guests
Boys Noize,
Glen Hansard,
Gov’t Mule,
Gaslight Anthem,
Portugal. The Man,
Wolfgang Gartner,
Billy Idol,
Sam Bush & Del McCoury,
Dwight Yoakam,
Foals,
Local Natives,
Matt & Kim,
Dirty Projectors,
Trombone Shorty,
John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension,
Noam Pikelny & Friends,
Amadou & Mariam,
Alt-J,
Father John Misty,
Baroness,
The Tallest Man On Earth,
Walk The Moon,
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
The Vaccines,
Paper Diamond,
Holy Ghost!,
Divine Fits,
Mike Birbiglia,
Purity Ring,
Swans,
Frank Turner,
Allen Stone,
Cults,
Lee Fields & The Expressions,
Fatoumata Diawara,
Two Gallants,
The Sheepdogs,
Four Tet,
Calexico,
Japandroids,
Death Grips,
Conspirator,
Wild Nothing,
John Fullbright,
Django Django,
HAIM,
Killer Mike,
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti,
Clockwork,
twenty | one | pilots,
Reptar,
DIIV,
Milo Greene,
Lord Huron,
Futurebirds,
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit,
Charli XCX,
JEFF The Brotherhood,
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors,
Sea Wolf,
JD McPherson,
Trixie Whitley,
Deap Vally,
Patrick Watson,
Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers,
The Stepkids,
Aoife O’Donovan,
Bombino,
Bernhoft,
Matthew E. White

Nas – Life is Good album review

Nas is no stranger to controversy. The politically conscious rapper got noticed with his amazing ability on his debut “Illmatic.” Nas continued to make headlines as he went on to make ten studio albums, including one that was called Untitled, because the original title was rejected due to the sensitive racial epithet he was going to use.

Fast forward four years to Life is Good, and Nas stirred up attention when he revealed that he was going to get personal with this album, by releasing the album artwork which featured him holding ex wife’s Kelis’ green wedding dress. When the cover was first released, there was speculation on whether or not this was a diss to the songstress, but once you give a listen to the album, it is evident that this entire project is a journey to Nas’ acceptance.

“No Introduction” hypnotizes with its smooth piano chords, leading up to a breakdown of vibrating guitar riffs, inspiring organs and an earnest Nas, delivering lyrics that let us begin his emotional journey with him. “The tales you hear is the truth, on me/ Who wasn’t the most faithful husband/ Reveal my life, you will forgive me/ You will love me, hate me, judge me, relate to me.”

The collaborations are a plenty in Life is Good, with an appearance by Rick Ross on “Accident Murders” as well as other notable features by R&B legends Mary J Blige and Anthony Hamilton. Nas displays radio play ability with his upbeat Summer anthem, “Summer on Smash” featuring Swizz Beats and R&B crooner, Miguel.

If it isn’t for Nas’ amazing skills, then another reason to put this album down in musical history is the collaboration between him and Amy Winehouse. As “Cherry Wine” begins and Amy Winehouse’s gorgeous voice spreads throughout the tune, you can’t help but get chills. I admit that I felt my eyes get wet as the late Winehouse displayed why we all fell in love with her in the first place. Nas raps over the downtempo jazz beat repeating “Life is good”, while Winehouse belts her soul out. This moment is unreal and truly magical.

Nas’ Life is Good is his personal therapy session. He lays it all out on the table, and after expressing all of his feelings through fourteen tracks of advanced beats and lyricism supremacy. It just so happened that this musical therapy session is a piece of classic hip hop that we all are lucky enough to listen to.

Def Jam denies Nas’ new album title?

Original Source

by Catherine Donaldson-Evans

NEW YORK — A popular rap star’s shocking claim before a Big Apple audience that his next album will be titled “Nigga” was emphatically denied Tuesday by his record label.

Not only does the rapper known as Nas not have an album called “Nigga” coming out in December, as he told a concert crowd on Friday, but he apparently has no album coming out in December at all.

“There is no album release by Nas on the release schedule at this point,” a source close to Island Def Jam Music Group chairman Antonio “L.A.” Reid told FOXNews.com.

“And they would be unlikely to release an album with that title. How would that look at Wal-Mart?”

But there’s no doubt that Nas made the claim — which set the hip-hop community abuzz this week — during a Friday night performance at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. The rapper’s “Greatest Hits” album is set to hit music store shelves in early November.

Nas — whose hits include “One Love” and “Hate Me Now” — told the crowd that he actually wanted to call his last record “Nigga,” but Def Jam wouldn’t hear of it, and made him change the name to “Hip Hop Is Dead.”

The rapper laced his between-song shout-outs with the N-word, which he frequently used to address his fans at the New York show, the last stop on the Sneaker Pimps tour (a promotional tour for the sneaker industry, as the name implies).

“Power to the people. Power to the real people!” Nas yelled to the cheering crowd, raising one arm triumphantly in the air. “This is our m—f— world. We’re going to do it our m—f— way. … Put your fist like this: real niggas only!”

The inflammatory word pops up throughout Nas’ rap lyrics, sometimes written in the plural with a “z” on the end.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson denounced the rapper’s remarks about his desired album title.

“The title using the ‘N’ word is morally offensive and socially distasteful,” Jackson said in a statement. “Nas has the right to degrade and denigrate in the name of free speech, but there is no honor in it.

“Radio and television stations have no obligation to play it and self-respecting people have no obligation to buy it. I wish he would use his talents to lift up and inspire, not degrade, making mockery of racism.”

The NAACP this week also threw up its hands at the news of Nas’ claim, saying the idea showed a lack of creativity and was only perpetuating toxic terminology.

“We will not support and we will not continually be assailed by other individuals who want to use that type of term in our presence,” said national NAACP spokesman Richard McIntire. “This has gone on long enough.”

McIntire said the absence of such racial slurs characterizes the “real history of rap,” a genre of music in which rhyming words are spoken, not sung.

“The NAACP believes in free speech. We are not a censorship organization,” said Vic Bulluck, executive director of the organization’s Hollywood bureau. “But we think [the N-word] is pejorative, no matter who uses it — even if it’s to sell records. It shows a real lack of creative imagination.”

Even Don Imus’ camp weighed in, amid the controversy surrounding the shock jock’s anticipated return to the airwaves in December, six months after he was fired for calling members of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos” on the air.

In a rather surprising meeting of the minds, Imus’ lawyer gave the thumbs-up to Nas’ proposed record title.

“It’s a good thing,” Martin Garbus wrote in an e-mail to FOXNews.com. “Words like that should be deprived of their meanings, and then they can’t hurt.”

Several prominent members of the African-American community who have been vocal throughout the Imus scandal, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and Oprah Winfrey, were unavailable for comment on Nas’ remarks.

Nas new album entitled Nigga – reveals controversial title of new LP

Source

By Shaheem Reid

NEW YORK — The n-word it is.

On Friday night at New York’s Roseland Ballroom, Nas announced the title of his next album: He said it will be called Nigga and released in December. A source close to the project confirmed the name on Saturday.

Nas has said he’d planned to use that title for his last LP before he changed it to Hip-Hop Is Dead. If the December date holds firm, Nas will have a very busy winter. On November 6 he’s releasing his Greatest Hits LP. A video for one of the two new songs on the project, “Surviving the Times,” will be shot soon. Last week, super producer Jermaine Dupri — who has already completed tracks for Jay-Z’s American Gangster — told MTV News he would love to be involved in Nas’ upcoming new LP.

Nas headlined the last stop of the Sneaker Pimps Tour on Friday, where newcomers such as Mista Mal as well as legends EPMD and Slick Rick had sets. Even Jeru Da Damaja showed up and rocked the mic.

Nas kept fans antsy by not going on until well after 1 a.m., but they left visibly — and audibly — pleased.

He opened with “Hip-Hop Is Dead,” then went into his catalog for records such as “One Love” and “Hate Me Now.” God’s Son ended with “Made You Look,” during which he surprised the fans by jumping into the crowd. Once among the people, he began jumping up and down and inciting the people to jump with him. One of Nas’ security guards dove into the audience after him, pulling him back to the stage, where he stood none the worse for wear.

“He touched my hand and gave me positive energy,” one woman said as the house lights came on.

Besides phat rhymes, spectators saw some of the most exclusive kicks you can hope to get, as sneakers from all over the world were displayed. There was also a pit for professional skaters who sailed up and down ramps. Still, most of the skaters had to put their boards down when the acts came on, especially Nas