Album Review: Pusha-T – DAYTONA

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Artist: Pusha-T

Album: DAYTONA 

Genre: Hip Hop

Rating: 8/10

 Following a string of controversies involving Kanye West’s batshit antics, anyone associated with the guy unfortunately has to address where they stand on the whole Trump thing. You’d think people would realize that you can be friends or work with someone who doesn’t have the same political views as you, but hey, here we are. Pusha-T is the latest rapper to work with Kanye West, and by no means does he share the same views as Kanye. He just utilized Kanye’s immaculate production skills for his new album DAYTONA, and if My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was an indication that the two work very well together, then DAYTONA is a powerful reminder of that fact. This album has that gritty tough as nails Push we love. Yes the lyrical content mostly features his same ol’ drug dealer subject matter, but his delivery is so infectious that it makes us completely okay with the fact that he’s been talking about this subject for over a decade. Pusha’s straight to the point no bullshit style doesn’t require grandiose production, and it’s as if Kanye knew this while creating these beats. The production is minimal, but still features Kanye’s staple of sporadic soul samples and beat switches. Tracks like “The Games We Play” and “Hard Piano” feel like updated throwbacks to the glory days of “Boom Bap,” and Rick Ross is the cherry on top on “Hard Piano” where both him and Push speak on their experiences with drug dealing and where they are now. Mr. Poopity Scoop even has a verse on the track “What Would Meek Do?” and the chemistry between the two goes over quite well. The track that follows, “Infrared” is the closing track, and this one definitely has people talking. It’s no secret that he’s taking obvious shots at Drake and probably other modern rappers who don’t write their own lyrics, and yes Drake has responded, leading to this year’s most interesting beef so far. I’ve already forgotten about Joyner Lucas and Logic’s beef. Sure Pusha’s lyrical content isn’t exactly something that requires immense dissection to decipher any meaning, but that’s okay. Not all lyrics have to be dense. Pusha excels in lyrical simplicity, his blunt and cold delivery is what gives him his signature style, and with Kanye backing him up with perfectly crafted production, the two are a force to be reckoned with.

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 05/27/18

Album Review: A$AP Rocky – Testing

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Artist: A$AP Rocky 

Album: Testing 

Genre: Hip Hop/Experimental Hip Hop

Rating: 4/10

 Being the most standout member of the “A$AP Mob,” A$AP Rocky has quite the fanbase. A fanbase of people who hold him to the highest of standards, but the New York rapper’s new album Testing proves that he fearlessly creates music on his own terms, and that he has a strong urge to experiment. His last album At. Long. Last. A$AP found the MC stretching his talent and satisfying both bar lovers and lovers of trunk knocking beats, but tracks like “Fine Whine” and “L$D” showcased a side of Rocky that wanted to experiment with sounds that transcend the boundaries of “Hip Hop,” and these tracks were definitely precursors to Testing. The album title is fitting, seeing as how Rocky is testing the waters with odd production that you really won’t hear anywhere else in the mainstream, but honestly the result of his experimentation is a lackluster album that relies too heavily on sporadic beat switches and sounds, and odd noise whether it be abrasive distorted bass or chopped and screwed vocals, and the samples on these tracks are poorly mixed. Everything from the Moby sampling “A$AP Forever,” to the messy “Gunz N Butter,” this whole album is a cringeworthy disaster that lacks cohesion. Features like FKA Twigs or Frank Ocean provide underwhelming vocals, and the guest rappers on these tracks add nothing worth noting, and Rocky himself sounds barely there, delivering lazy verses. Putting more emphasis on the Experimental nature of the production and less on his rapping skills just eliminates any humanity on this record. You have to admire his aspirations to innovate, but he needs to realize that not all Experimental music is genius.

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 05/26/18

Death Grips Release New Track “Flies”

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Every week since May 5th “Death Grips” have been releasing new tracks from their upcoming album Year of the Snitch, and now the band have released yet another new track titled “Flies,” and this time there’s a music video to accompany the new single. There still is no release date for the new album, but it looks like it’s going to drop very soon. Watch the video below:

Jay Rock Unveils Release Date and Album Cover for Upcoming Album “Redemption”

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The wait is finally over. We now have a release date for Jay Rock’s highly anticipated follow-up to 90059, as well as the the album title and cover art. Jay Rock and “TDE” shared all the details yesterday. The album is titled Redemption, and it will be released on June 15th. This follows the release of his triumphant track “Win.” You can listen to the track below:

Album Review: Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!

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Artist: Parquet Courts

Album: Wide Awake!

Genre: Indie Rock/Post-Punk/Art Rock/Dub

Rating: 8/10

 Finding a catharsis is a common goal with musicians. While many pander to the lowest common denominator of public musical taste to make a quick buck, there are countless artists using music to unpack and express any repressed emotions or overwhelming ideologies they deem important for the listener’s ear. New York based band “Parquet Courts” definitely had a lot to unpack and express on their new album Wide Awake! Following their incredible 2016 album Human Performance, an album that was melody driven and featured a diverse collection of the most impactful styles of “Rock” music, the band incorporates new styles from territories the band have not explored before on this stellar follow-up, and there’s a reason why this album is titled Wide Awake! Lyrically this features relevant topics. Topics like normalization and the desensitization of this country when reacting to the tragic and violent events that have become commonplace, but instead of diving into nihilism like most of their contemporaries are doing, the band offers a refreshing optimistic outlook. The album opens with the track “Total Football,” which may sound like an odd song title considering that the band isn’t exactly known for making songs that can get you amped at a sporting event, but the term actually comes from a tactical theory in soccer in which all players on a team can rotate positions, which can be the most successful display of collectivity if done right. The raucous delivery from the band on this track offers an upbeat and uproarious opening to the band’s most interesting album to date, and lead singer Andrew Savage tops this all off with the idea that collectivity is more effective than individualism, even though many of our infatuations lean towards the lone wolf aspect. More often than not in sports or really any form of entertainment individualistic qualities are coveted, that’s why many of us idolize celebrities, but things can be changed for the greater good if we unify and rid of selfishness. A. Savage realizes this, and he even shouts a big “Fuck you!” to Tom Brady. Musically the band continues to explore different territories throughout the album, but they never abandon what makes them “Parquet Courts.” The band flirts with various “Dub” aspects like on the tracks “Before the Water Gets Too High,” and “Back to Earth,” which feature infectious bass grooves and even some melodica. “Afrobeat,” “Funk” and “Disco” are cleverly combined on the album’s title track, and “Violence” even features some “G-Funk” synth lines, and what would a “Parquet Courts” album be without their signature explorations in “Post-Punk?” Oh yeah there’s plenty of that on tracks like “Almost Had to Start a Fight / In and Out of Patience,” and “Normalization,” and the fact that the highly regarded Danger Mouse produced this album is often forgotten while he allows the band to do their thing. The eclecticism of this album is often delivered in an upbeat manner, which makes it easy to move and dance to, but the lyrical content is a lot more serious in tone. It deals with the unfortunate reality that things like mass shootings and violence have become commonplace, and that at this point it’s difficult to know how to react to these situations since we’ve become numb to them. Instead of having a defeatist attitude, Savage’s vocal delivery and lyrics offer an optimistic attitude. “Well I can’t count how many times I’ve been outdone by nihilism,” Savage sings on the closing track “Tenderness,” and after the roller coaster ride of emotions and styles that take place on this record, including a touching expression of member Austin Brown’s view on death and how the passing of a close family member at a very young age changed his view on life forever on the track “Death Will Bring Change,” It’s nice to hear the band close on an upbeat and positive note. This is without a doubt the most insightful album “Parquet Courts” have released, and in these dire times we’re facing in this country, it’s nice to hear music of encouragement.

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 05/20/18

Nine Inch Nails Release New Track “God Break Down the Door”

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Nine Inch Nails are set to release their new album Bad Witch on June 22nd, and they have released a new track from the upcoming album titled “God Break Down the Door.” This track is the closest thing to Bowie they have released. With it’s saxy goodness and vocals unlike anything Reznor has done before, the Blackstar influence is very clear. You can listen to the track below:

https://nin.lnk.to/GBDTD