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A Survivor’s Account of Made In America 2013

Posted by Justantha | Posted in Justantha | Posted on 04-09-2013

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Photo by Tandy Cheng

Photo by Tandy Cheng

We did it. We survived Made In America 2013. That may not sound like an accomplishment, but for two rookie festival-goers, it was a life or death weekend. Totally devoid of nourishment but inversely sweaty, Made In America (MIA) was a two-day standing room battle, but a worthwhile one for the music. Or really just for Beyoncé. Ignoring the separate stage with the EDM freak show acts, we shuffled back and forth between MIA’s “Rocky” and “Freedom” stages, taking in as many acts as possible without dying of a non-Molly induced heat-stroke. Here’s our notebook dump recap of Made In America 2013:

A$AP Rocky owes me a Supreme box logo tee, or something. Unless Public Enemy and/or 2 Chainz are your rap deities, Rocky was the biggest rapper on the Saturday bill. I saw him perform with A$AP Mob last year, and the pure chaos of the set made for an incredible show. This time, however, Rocky (performing on the “Rocky” stage), was 20 minutes late for his set, half-assed four songs (not completing any), and got yanked off so that the remaining 8 hours of the festival could stay on-time. He had a 45 minute set time and maybe performed for 15 minutes. What should’ve been a bright spot for hip-hop at MIA ended up being a massive disappointment. Sidebar: Where the fuck was A$AP Ferg? Trap Lord is indeed in stores, and he didn’t make it onto the biggest stage of the weekend. Smh.

 

Macklemore’s set was the best time to beat the lines and get chicken fingers. End of.

Chicken Fingers are the best. While everyone was getting their shit rocked by the heat, sweat, dirt, dehydration, and the general nastiness of an outdoor music festival, the food vendors were getting overrun like the Alamo out there. They literally couldn’t fry up enough chicken tenders and fries to meet the malnourished and intoxicated demand of every festival-goer. I threw elbows, got into an argument with a marine over whether or not it was “respectful” to wear a camo bucket hat, and waited a grand total of one hour for a $9 basket of oh-so delicious fried chicken tenders.

Kendrick Lamar’s set was dull. All of TDE had 45 minutes of total set time, but none of them performed together—a bizarre bit of organization. Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and Schoolboy Q preceded Kendrick, but each only did a few songs. Kendrick was backed with a live-band, which did nothing to improve the quality of the set. I don’t need an electric guitar to add anything to “Backseat Freestyle.” How all of Black Hippy could be at the same event, share the same set time, but not all do a group performance is beyond me. Fucking Macklemore had Schoolboy Q as his guest, and Kendrick didn’t. Fail.

Hit the jump to read on about Beyonce, Miguel, Calvin Harris, and more.

The Case For And Against J. Cole’s Born Sinner

Posted by Justantha | Posted in Justantha | Posted on 02-07-2013

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Now that Born Sinner has been officially out for two weeks, and we’ve all had time to sit and stew with it, we thought we’d present two radically different takes on the album. Everyone at BB has been a fervent supporter of J. Cole throughout his career, but when it came time to discuss the album, we were at odds with each other. Read on hear our cases for and against Born Sinner.

AGAINST:
I could start this off with what I actually think about the album, but for 95% of hip-hop fans, I’d be dismissed as a “hater,” because the truth is fucking scalding. So let me make this clear: I bought a deluxe copy of Born Sinner for $15. J. Cole is one of my favorite artists. This website is littered with J. Cole praise. I’ve met the guy on two separate occasions as a fan, and I look back on those memories with great pride. Noz made a good point last weekend about J. Cole’s mediocrity, but I still think the kid is a dope artist. It’s just that Born Sinner is a bad album.

Before I start tearing into it, I want to make some larger points about the album, because there is some good being done here. As far as his bars go, they’ve upgraded since Cole World. On paper, he’s a better writer of individual raps, and writer of whole songs. The overall front-to-back production is improved as well. “Villuminati” and “Power Trip” are great beats, and “Power Trip” might be one of Cole’s best songs—certainly the most carefully crafted and appealing. He still has a handful of corny bars, but “Just copped a Maroon 5, no Adam Levine” isn’t as painful to hear as “Cole heating up like that leftover lasagna.”

But enough powderpuffing this shit. The fact is, he titled an album “Born Sinner” when his lone vice only concerns the hoes. So much for being a sinner. He’s really just a bad boyfriend. Starting with “Land of the Snakes” and continuing throughout the album, J. Cole is repeatedly saying this: “I can’t stop fucking hoes, and I hate how the hoes try and manipulate me, but because I’m a young black man I can’t stop giving into them for the pussy, and I feel bad because I have a college sweetheart back at home who’s loyal and faithful to me—oh and by the way, I’ve got a hoe sucking me off right now, and I’m texting your girl.” *end album*

Hit the jump to read on.

A 20/20 Conversation: Reviewing Justin Timberlake’s Return

Posted by Justantha | Posted in Justantha, Justin's Archive, Samantha's Archive | Posted on 19-03-2013

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best-bets-albums-justin-timberlake-650-430
We’ll try to get through discussing JT’s new album without mentioning Beyoncé or Future Vandross AKA Future Hendrix AKA Futre McCartney. Justin=J and Samantha=S. Let’s go

J: I can’t believe that “SexyBack” was 2006. That was the height of Bar Mitzvah season for us. Usher’s Confessions STILL was on fire at the time too—it should’ve been so easy for me to get some grinding on at these $10,000 parties. (Note: I did no such grinding.) I remember listening to ESPN talk-show personality Michael Kay play “SexyBack” on the air and call it “disgusting, vile, and everything wrong with today’s children.” That just made me want to download it. I even renamed it “back” in my Limewire folder because I didn’t want my dad to find out I had downloaded it. Shit was crazy. Above all, it was hot.

A few presidential terms, an entire high school experience, one Chief Keef, and more than a few lonely nights curled up with “Cry Me A River” and “What Goes Around… Comes Around” later, and I’m finally listening to a new Justin Timberlake album. It feels weird—surreal, really. What other major artist in pop history has ever taken such a lengthy hiatus to then reappear and not miss a beat? Pop music has changed so much since then. We’ven gone from Gwen to GaGa. Seven years is FOREVER—an entire generation—in entertainment, yet JT came back in three months without any hiccups, delays, or bad press. It’s all gone too smoothly. But maybe that’s the result of an unknown number of years of planning for this.

S: It’s so weird to think about the seven years that have passed since FutureSex/LoveSounds dropped. I was so afraid that my mom would see the word “sex” show up in my iTunes purchase history after copping the singles. That album though… it was truly a MOMENT. It’s so funny hearing someone say that they’re “bringing sexy back” nearly a decade after the phrase first entered the pop culture vernacular. It’s been awesome to hear JT’s sonic evolution though. He’s remained true to his signature sound (save for the few Robin Thicke-isms) while still being progressive at the same time.

AND CAN WE TAKE A MINUTE TO TALK ABOUT TIMBO?

Hit the jump to read on.

A Few BLUNT Predictions for 2013

Posted by J. Block | Posted in Justantha, Justin's Archive, Samantha's Archive | Posted on 31-12-2012

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Our 2012 predictions were on point again. Let’s shoot for 3/3 with 2013.

S: Kendrick Lamar will begin his quest to an EGOT and turn Good Kid, m.A.A.d City into a short film, earning him both Oscar and Grammy noms. We’ll see GKMC: The Musical in 2014.

J: Following TDE-themed predictions, both Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q will release major label debut albums. Ab-Soul’s will be better, to the surprise of everyone except Ab-Soul and Top Dawg.

S: 2013 is gonna be Beyoncé’s year. As usual.

bey cackling

J: Lil Wayne’s I Am Not A Human Being II will be his best post-jail album.

J: Trinidad James will release an album to more acclaim than Jay Electronica’s debut, which will finally emerge in 2013.

S: Nicki Minaj will finally launch her fashion line, Pink Friday: Roman Reclothed. Nobody will buy her neon-ass designs.

J: Scooter Braun will have a new creation in 2013 that will top Carly Rae Jepsen. But this one will be from French Canada, so nobody will understand their lyrics. (Although that won’t stop them from climbing the charts.)

S: Keeping with the #777 theme, Rihanna will release seven albums. Only the final one will go number one, as has been the case with her past seven.

J: Chris Brown-Rihanna duet album. It’ll happen. (S: Much to the dismay of black Twitter)

J: Drake will be the undisputed champion of hip-hop by time the year’s up, but will abdicate the throne at the end of the year in his quest to find more “me” time.

S: Female rap will see a resurgence with Azealia Banks and Angel Haze leading the way. Nicki Minaj will release a diss track full of pop fluff, only to be ignored. (J: It will be pure fire, only to be hated on by Peter Rosenberg’s bitter ass.)

crying nicki

J: No Watch The Throne 2.

S: No Cruel Winter.

J: Action Bronson will follow in the footsteps of J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Mac Miller by releasing an album with major distribution and outperforming sales expectations.

S: J. Cole will release his sophomore album. It will fail to meet expectations and his sophomore slump will be spent on the sideline.

J: Wale will learn to speak English, and Meek Mill will lose his voice.

S: Wale will quit rap to pursue other dreams. He will become the most celebrated slam poet of the 21st century.

tumblr_lq4pmqhxSQ1qmu20vo1_500

J: Future’s next album will take RnB to new highs and new lows, but it will satisfy all.

S: Future’s next album won’t satisfy me.

J: Indicud will be Kid Cudi’s best album, and make everyone forget that WZRD happened (if you haven’t forgotten already).

S: People won’t remember who Kid Cudi is.

J: Joe Budden’s girlfriend will get a television show on BET. I will watch intensely.

S: The theme song for the show will be “Instagram That Hoe.”

J: T.I. will go back to jail.

J: After a massive gun battle outside of the Jenner residence in LA between Ryan Seacrest and the CIA, we’ll find out that Seacrest is actually a robot—a Terminator if you will—sent from the future by the Chinese to destroy Western Civilization. Bruce Jenner will be morality wounded in the battle. Kanye will end it all by killing Seacrest and Kim, saving us all from 1,000 years of darkness and despair.

S+J: Regarding Baby Kimye- Kim will still be married to Kris Humphries by the time the baby is born, the baby won’t have a K anywhere in its name, and Kanye won’t make a “Glory”-esque song because his voice should only be spent speaking words about himself.

Wouldn’t bet on it: Labels understanding the music business.

Salute to 2012, here’s to 2013.

Glory: The Maturation of Shawn Carter

Posted by J. Block | Posted in Justantha, Justin's Archive, Samantha's Archive | Posted on 09-01-2012

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“Life just got REALLY good.”

Two days ago, Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé welcomed their first child, daughter Blue Ivy Carter into their lives. Today, Jay released “Glory” (A nice double entendre, aptly titled after his mother, Gloria)—a song about the conception and birth of Blue Ivy, and her importance to him: “You’re a child of destiny/You’re the child of my destiny/You’re my child with the child from Destiny’s Child, that’s a hell of a recipe.” Finished off with actual audio of Blue Ivy’s first cries, it’s a beautiful track that evokes Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.”

“Glory” could very well be considered one of the most important songs of his career. It joins the exclusive ranks of songs such as “Moment of Clarity” and “This Can’t Be Life,” songs that open up deep cutting wounds for Jay. He’s made it clear multiple times that he’s been afraid to love after being hurt so many times, whether it being from his father’s abandonment or going through the trauma of an ex-girlfriend delivering a stillborn child. The topics of the aforementioned songs find their way into “Glory,” but it’s the song’s revelation that the Carters have suffered through at least one miscarriage that makes Blue Ivy’s birth all the more triumphant. Wracked with emotion, fear, and bliss, “Glory” is the full realization of the line from “Beach Chair” (See I got demons in my past/ So I got daughters on the way). Jay acknowledges that he’s made a few mistakes in the past, but it’s all about baby Blue now. Recall Jay’s line in “Monster” when he states that his Achille’s heel is love. All the proof is in “Glory.”

Leave it to Jay to release a song about his daughter, featuring his daughter, before he and his wife even issued their statement on their child’s birth. But music has always been his outlet—whether he’s fighting court cases on “Izzo (Hova),” airing out rivals on “Takeover,” addressing relationship rumors on “03 Bonnie and Clyde”—Jay has told his story and expressed his feelings through his raps. Aside from retelling stories about his drug dealer past, the topics of songs like “03 Bonnie and Clyde” and “Takeover” were all on very public incidents and rumors. If anything, he was setting the  public record straight through those songs. Only recently have we been invited into his private life. Songs like “Glory” let us into parts of Jay’s mind that have been locked up for decades, juxtaposing the intimate nature with Jay’s wide-reaching platform.

It’s important to remember that Jay’s been an emotional stonewall his entire career. Never one to be even be photographed smiling, his all-black-everything style, his shades, his Yankee fitted, and his business persona oozes swag. They’re all indicative of a fiercely private man, despite being a cultural messiah and husband of the biggest female icon of a generation, even being quoted years ago that he was “dating Michael Jackson.” There’s no escaping the limelight for Jay, which is perhaps why he finds solace in rapping about his past ways. His drug dealer chic has spanned across 11 solo albums, and barring a few instances in which he let his walls down (“Song Cry” and “December 4th” come to mind, along with the songs mentioned above), he’s kept his cards close to his heart his whole career.

Though as of late, the sensitive side of Jay has been more prominent. In turn, he’s become less of a rapper, and more of an adult—a novel concept. In an October 27th, 2010 interview with The Wall Street Journal, we saw further chinking in his faceless armor. Speaking on “Big Pimpin,” perhaps his most misogynistic, but invigorating banger to date, he talked down on himself:

Some [lyrics] become really profound when you see them in writing. Not “Big Pimpin.” That’s the exception. It was like, I can’t believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing? Reading it is really harsh.”

On “Big Pimpin,” he also says, “Me give my heart to a woman?/Not for nothin, never happen/ I’ll be forever mackin.” He acknowledges his growth in Decoded, stating that eventually he would give his heart to a woman (enter Beyoncé). On Watch The Throne, he was as open about his personal life as he’s ever been on an album. He had parental aspirations on “New Day,” he spoke up against Beanie Sigel and Dame Dash on “Why I Love You,” and even admitted that he was “fuckin depressed” on “Welcome To The Jungle.” The existence of Jay’s newfound feelings isn’t coincidental. Not only does family life change a man, but he was bound to open up while collaborating with Kanye West—it was Kanye after all, who cleared the lane and made it okay for rappers to become more introspective (pay homage, Aubrey).

A sensitive Hov not only stemmed organically from working with Kanye so closely, but also from him recognizing the prevailing zeitgeist of hip-hop today. If Drake can sell millions of records about wallowing in an emotional cesspool—if Kanye was able to generate the biggest of his career out of some auto-tuned, rapped/sung breakup ballad—then Hov can get down with his deeper side. Hip-hop is getting more personal than ever, and it’s the transparent rappers who are getting the attention and selling records. Jay not recording a song like “Glory” would make him seem like a dinosaur in a kid’s genre, instead of the aging, wise OG he’s become.

Topically, he’s avoided his own feelings for two decades. Now that he’s discovered and let go of what’s inside for the first time, he’s got a few albums of material unlocked. On “Glory” he raps:”I wreak havoc on the world, get ready for part two/A younger, smarter, faster me.” Rap Genius interpreted it as a reference to Blue Ivy, but with the birth of his daughter, it’s also the rebirth of his career. Get ready for part two to Jay’s career. Call him sensitive Hov.

A Few BLUNT Predictions For 2012

Posted by J. Block | Posted in Justantha | Posted on 08-01-2012

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Our 2011 predictions were eerily on point. Expect our 2012 predictions to come true too.

J: Drake records “Marvin’s Room 2: Marvin’s Revenge” with Common dropping a guest verse. Aubs will also do a lot more rapping in 2012.

S: Rihanna takes a couple of months off after touring to rejuvenate and let her relationship with her lesbian lover blossom.

J: House/Dubstep music will continue to grip its ugly tentacles around the realm of hip hop; vocals will become obsolete. Following that trend, Kanye West will officially go by the name DJ Yeezy World Peace, and create an album through a dubstep vocoder—his first invention as “Yeezus The Carpenter” for DONDA. It’ll sound kind of like this.

J: Big Boi will release another album, giving him 2 solo efforts before Andre 3000 even announces his first.

Hit the jump to read the rest of our blunt predictions!

WTT Tour Quick Recap: A Conversation With The Throne

Posted by J. Block | Posted in Justantha | Posted on 06-11-2011

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We attended the IZOD Center leg of the Watch The Throne Tour last night. Instead of doing a formal review, we decided to share our thoughts through conversation. Justin will be attending their Madison Square Garden show on Tuesday, so expect a formal review of the two shows then. But for now, here’s our experience with The Throne.

Hit the jump to see our reactions to ‘The Throne’

BB’s 2011 Grammy Predictions

Posted by J. Block | Posted in Justantha | Posted on 12-02-2011

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It’s that time of year again. the Grammy’s will soon be upon us. Well, they’ll be airing on CBS tomorrow night (2/13) at 8 PM. While this past year seemed to be an “off year” for music, the Grammy Committee still managed to fill up the categories with nominations. Of course, there are a few O_o choices (Katy Perry for AOTY), but as usual, there’s quality music which will hopefully in the end come out victorious. Check out our predictions for some selected categories below. Scroll all the way down if you’re lazy and just want to see our picks for the big 4 awards.

Best Urban/Alternative Performance

  • Little One- Bilal
  • F*** You- Cee-Lo Green
  • Orion- Carolyn Malachi
  • Tightrope- Janelle Monae & Big Boi
  • Still- Eric Roberson

Who Will Win: Cee-Lo Green

Commercial appeal and runaway crossover success gives “F*** You” the edge over the other songs listed in this category. Whether it’s performed as “fuck,” “eff,” or “forget” you, everyone knows the song. The biggest competition for Cee-Lo in this category is “Tightrope,” which deserves the award nearly just as much as “F*** You.” However, it should not be ignored that this song is nominated for both Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year, which will most likely prove to be a huge factor in its success.

Best Contemporary R&B Album

  • Graffiti- Chris Brown
  • Untitled- R. Kelly
  • Transition- Ryan Leslie
  • The ArchAndroid- Janelle Monae
  • Raymond V Raymond- Usher

Who Will Win: Usher

Who Should Win: Janelle Monae

Usher has a great chance at winning this one considering his competition and where he stands in the music industry at this point, slowly rising back up. However, once again, Janelle Monae is the spoiler in the category who could mess up Usher’s chances. The ArchAndroid is without doubt the more deserving album, yet it will very likely get passed over for Usher’s album which while commercially appealing, fails to hold up to his previous work. It should be taken into account that Raymond V Raymond is the top selling album in this category.

Best Rap Solo Performance

  • Over- Drake
  • Not Afraid- Eminem
  • How Low- Ludacris
  • I’m Back- T.I.
  • Power- Kanye West

Who Will Win: Eminem

Who Should Win: Kanye West

For the Grammy calendar year, no rapper had a better year than Eminem. “Not Afraid” had a special message—that of redemption, overcoming obstacles, and togetherness. Em even had the sense to admit that his last album wasn’t up to his standards (even though it won Rap Album of the Year): “Let’s be honest, that last Relapse CD was ‘eh’.” “Over” is a strong contender in this category, but “Power” should take the Grammy. It’s Kanye at his unapologetic, cocky, boastful best, with a perfectly chopped sample and hard drums to boot.

Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group

  • Shutterbugg- Big Boi, Bosko, Cutty, & Mouche
  • Fancy- Drake, T.I., & Swizz Beatz
  • On To The Next One- Jay-Z & Swizz Beatz
  • My Chick Bad- Ludacris & Nicki Minaj
  • Lose My Mind- Young Jeezy & Plies

Who Will Win: Drake, T.I., & Swizz Beatz

Who Should Win: Drake, T.I., & Swizz Beatz

I think we should all take a moment to note that Piles is a Grammy nominated rapper. Now that we’ve gotten past that, “Fancy” should be a lock for this award. “Shutterbug” is certainly a dark horse, but “Fancy”—a song that many thought was one of Thank Me Later‘s weaker efforts, (one critic even called it a “train wreck of a beat”) is as complete of a song as there is in this category. T.I.’s verse should be omitted from the face of this planet; but Swizz’s hook has become a calling for all the bad bitches out there (“Oh you fancy, huh?”), Drake’s wordplay (“At the mall steady racking up the air miles”) and 40′s breakdown of the beat (one of my favorite moments in music last year) all adds up to a stellar track.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

  • Nothin’ On You- B.o.B. & Bruno Mars
  • Deuces- Chris Brown, Tyga, & Kevin McCall
  • Love The Way You Lie- Eminem & Rihanna
  • Empire State Of Mind- Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
  • Wake Up Everybody- John LEgend, The Roots, Melanie Fiona, & Common

Who Will Win: Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

Who Should Win: Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

This one is a tough category this year. Although “Nothin’ On You” and “Deuces” dominated their respective radio formats this past year, neither song will come away victorious. “Wake Up Everybody” was a great song off a great album, but will come and go unnoticed, leaving “Empire State of Mind” and “Love The Way You Lie,” two songs that are facing off in multiple categories. As far as songs go, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys certainly have the better song out of the two. The impact is unparalleled, and the song captures the essence of a true collaborative effort between the rapper and the singer, which is why Jay and Alicia will come away with the award. In addition, this is the Grammy Awards, not the VMA’s, so don’t expect the awards to be divided up evenly between the two songs. It should also be mentioned that Jay is no stranger to this award, winning it in 2004, 2006, and 2010.

Best Rap Song

*we’re listing performers, however, this is a songwriter’s award*

  • Empire State Of Mind- Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
  • Love The Way You Lie- Eminem & Rihanna
  • Not Afraid- Eminem
  • Nothin’ On You- B.o.B. & Bruno Mars
  • On To The Next One- Jay-Z & Swizz Beatz

Who Will Win: Eminem

Who Should Win: Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

This is where award show politics come into play. If Jay-Z and Alicia Keys win “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration” over Eminem and Rihanna, then Eminem and Rihanna will win this category. “Empire State of Mind” has become the modern “New York, New York,” while “Love the Way You Lie” is arguably the single of the year. Looks like Skylar Gray will continue to stay winning on Sunday.

Best Rap Album

  • The Adventures Of Bobby Ray- B.o.B.
  • Thank Me Later- Drake
  • Recovery- Eminem
  • The Blueprint 3- Jay-Z
  • How I Got Over- The Roots

Who Will Win: Eminem

Who Should Win: The Roots

Personally, Thank Me Later was my favorite album out of all these on this list, but How I Got Over was easily the best rap album during the Grammy calendar year. The soul/jazz/funk combination is hip-hop existentialism at it’s finest. But Recovery was the best selling album of 2010, and is still moving 20K units a week. Sales will reign over hip-hop musicality here.

THE BIG 4

Record Of The Year

  • Nothin’ On You- B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars
  • Love The Way You Lie- Eminem Featuring Rihanna
  • F*** You- Cee-Lo Green
  • Empire State Of Mind- Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
  • Need You Now- Lady Antebellum

Who Will Win: Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

Who Should Win: Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

Empire State Of Mind’s impact and influence surpassed that of all the other songs in this category combined. It became our generation’s “New York, New York” (as encapsulated by it replacing Sinatra’s hit at New York’s Belmont Stakes Racetrack) and lifted all Americans up even in a seemingly bleak period. That’s what a song worthy of this Grammy should be capable of. The toughest competition is Cee-Lo and Eminem & Rihanna. Lady Antebellum has no chance whatsoever at this award.

Album Of The Year

  • The Suburbs- Arcade Fire
  • Recovery- Eminem
  • Need You Now- Lady Antebellum
  • The Fame Monster- Lady Gaga
  • Teenage Dream- Katy Perry

Who Will Win: Eminem

Who Should Win: Arcade Fire

This award typically goes to the highest selling album of the year, thus it will most likely be going to Eminem this year. Does highest selling mean most deserving though? Well call up Taylor Swift and ask her. This category is a motley crew of musical tastes going from alternative to rap to country to pop. Historically, pop albums don’t win this category, and an alternative album has never won. It’s not likely that Lady Antebellum will win, so signs point to Eminem. However, Arcade Fire put out arguably the best album of the year. The Suburbs was incredible. Fact. If the Grammy’s don’t go with the best selling album this year, Arcade Fire is the next bet for the win. Lady Gaga should be kept in mind though… #justsayin. Don’t count her out yet. As for Katy Perry… never mind.

Song Of The Year

*we’re listing the performers, however, this is a songwriter’s award*

  • Beg, Steal Or Borrow- (Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs)
  • F***  You- (Cee-Lo Green)
  • The House That Built Me- (Miranda Lambert)
  • Love The Way You Lie- (Eminem & Rihanna)
  • Need You Now- (Lady Antebellum)

Who Will Win: Love The Way You Lie

Who Should Win: F*** You

If I may be blunt here, Love The Way You Lie doesn’t deserve to win. If someone had told me that you could get nominated for a Grammy for writing “I guess that’s why they call it window pane.” Spare me. Please. Eminem had better word play and lyricism in his verse on Roman’s Revenge. My next bet for a win would be “F*** You” to give it one of the BIG awards that it’s nominated for. However, if neither wins, “Beg, Steal or Borrow” is going to be the one to take it home.

Best New Artist

  • Justin Bieber
  • Drake
  • Florence & The Machine
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Esperanza Spalding

Who Will Win: Drake or Justin Bieber

Who Should Win: It really doesn’t matter

Best New Artist isn’t a great determining factor of how successful one will be in their music careers. Yes, people like John Legend and Carrie Underwood have won in recent years. However, Amy Winehouse won too, Evanescence won too, and so did Lauryn Hill. In addition, artists like Andrea Boccelli, Kanye West, and *cringes* Taylor Swift lost. With all that being said, I’m calling this one as a toss-up between Drake and J.Biebz. Both of them have had equally successful years. I personally want Florence & The Machine to get it, but Florence Welch doesn’t need this award to validate her talent. I’m sure that her, Mumford & Sons, and Esperanza Spalding will all find great success without this award to propel them.

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And there you have it. Don’t forget, the Grammy’s are at 8 PM tomorrow night. Let us know if you agree or not with our predictions in the comments section!

We Go “H.A.M”

Posted by J. Block | Posted in Justantha | Posted on 11-01-2011

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We don’t normally review single tracks, but the significance of the song itself warrants a weigh-in.

Justin:
Even though Jay and ‘Ye are on the track, the first thing I paid attention to was Lex Luger’s production. The subwoofer shattering bass coupled with the sharp snare and hats are trademark Luger. The opera was probably added in by Kanye, but Jeff Bhasker and Mike Dean deserve props for the guitar, strings and piano additions. Simply put, the production on “H.A.M” is top-shelf. The rapping? Not exactly up to par. Kanye’s flow and technique were certainly impressive, but his supposed shots at Fabolous were weak. “H.A.M” was your classic shit-talking track, which is fine—but if you’re going to talk shit, your lyrics better have venom—and Kanye’s didn’t in my mind.

I think we can all agree that Jay-Z had the stand-out verse. He fires shots (at Baby and Wayne?), asserts how amazing he is at life, and touches on the death of his nephew and uncle—all with witty wordplay and snappy delivery. He changes his flow effortlessly four times, keeping the listener’s attention throughout. Jay crafted together an expert verse that saved the song, even with the outstanding production. I wish Kanye and Jay had came back with another set of verses, because the last two minutes are just instrumental that I’m sure whack-ass Internet-pack rappers are surely going to hop on. I actually liked the deep, epic opera after Jay’s verse, but that should’ve served as a bridge—not as a segue to the end of the song.

Quotables (from Jay-Z of course):
“I play chicken with a Mack truck/Y’all muthafuckers woulda been moved,
I swam waters with great whites/Y’all muthafuckers woulda been chewed”

“N*ggas fantasize about the shit that I do daily like/These rappers rap about all the shit that I do really”

Side note: “That’s My Bitch”>>>”H.A.M”

Samantha:
After hearing the song when it dropped at midnight, my first thought was, “I stayed up for THIS?” Underwhelmed, I closed my browser window and went to bed. However, after giving the song a couple of more listens, it’s grown on me. I’m not really a fan of Ye’s verse (a stale Eli Porter reference, really?), and I think the album artwork is correct in giving Jay’s name the larger font. His verse was the better of the two, no doubt. I personally loved his double entendre shot at Lil Wayne, “Really, you got baby money.” If you didn’t listen hard enough, you also might have missed that he took it one step further with “You ain’t got my lady’s money,” referring to Mrs. Shawn Carter raking in 87 million this past year. I’m sure though that while Jay takes the W on this one, Kanye will have his fair share of killer verses on Watch The Throne. And although I didn’t love this track, I’m still fully expecting WTT to go above and beyond our current expectations.

Side note: I wasn’t really feeling Ye’s Martin reference playing off of Weezy’s line (“kickin bitches out like Pam”). I’m waiting for Nicki Minaj a female rapper to run with the idea and say “throwin niggas out  like Jazz.” The world needs more Fresh Prince references.

“H.A.M” gets 4 blunts out of 5, so light this track UP!

Your thoughts?

“H.A.M”—Kanye West x Jay-Z (produced by Lex Luger)

Posted by J. Block | Posted in Justantha | Posted on 11-01-2011

Tags: , , , ,

1

After much anticipation and over a month of speculation, the Lex Luger produced banger, “H.A.M” (Hard As A Motherfucker) has finally dropped. And yes, it’s dope. It’s the first single from the ‘Ye x Jigga collab album, Watch The Throne, which is tentatively due out March 1st. I bet they stick with that date, because the album was rumored to be finished months ago. If it’s delayed, it’ll be to promote it more effectively—not because the music is unfinished.

Props to NR

DOWNLOAD: “H.A.M”