J. Cole grows up with ‘4 Your Eyez Only’

J. Cole’s  4 Your Eyez Only is a love letter to Hip Hop. The interesting thing about J Cole is that their is a segment of the population who loves him and another who feels like he is cool and not living up to his potential. I can say with utmost certainty that J. Cole is easily one of the most talented and honest artists that we have come across in many years. 

This recent project has been in the making for the past 2 years. At first listen the music sort of blended into my surroundings. I knew it was dope but I wasn’t tuned in. When I came back to it I was focused and what I found was that this is not an album of thrown together songs. It has a common theme of redemption, forgiveness and love. Now the average Hip Hop fan was probably not checking for that after the release of “False Prophets” and “Everybody dies”, two songs released before the the album was dropped. Interestingly neither song is on the album. Cole hit his fans with the old one two. He dropped some heat for them and then provided a project full of thought and substance. 

This is a project from an emcee who has matured with every release. There are a few standout songs. “Foldin Clothes” is a song where Cole laments on his love for his significant other and wants to show his appreciation “If I could make life easier , the way you do mine save you some time alleviate a bit of stress from your mind help you relax let you recline.” “She’s Mine part 2” is the most personal and emotional of all the songs from the project. It’s a song about his daughter. He speaks on his love for her. “Reminisce when you came out the womb tears of joy I think fill up the room you are now the reason that I fight I ain’t never did nothin this right tinny whole life.” Even as he shares this deep emotion he still touches on the economic struggles of Black people on Black Friday. 

4 Your Eyez Only touches minds and souls in a way that autotune never could. Excellent work Mr. Cole. 

Buy/Listen to “That Ol’Boom Bap’ ft Precise produced by Dj Tekwun

A Tribe Called Quest delivers classic material for last album

 

A Tribe Called Quest album cover for “We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service” – Photo Source: Instagram @qtiptheabstract

“Got to get it together forever got to get it together for brothers, got to get it together for sisters, for mothers and fathers and dead niggas, for non conformers one hitter quitters for Tyson types and Che figures. Let’s make something happen.”

The world has shifted and we got exactly what we needed to lift us. A Tribe Called Quest dropped a new album after 18 years. The quote mentioned above is from the first song off the release We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service called “Space Program”. The words are a call to action to a segment of the community who felt crippled and damaged after the current election cycle. It’s a shot in the arm a reminder that the mission for improvement and freedom is not over with.

To say that this album was highly anticipated is an understatement. This release continues a trend of amazing music that has dropped in 2016. In March of this year one of the members of the group Malik Issac Taylor aka Phife passed away from complications with diabetes at the age of 45. It was a blow to the hip hop community. Hearing his voice on the project is somber, fulfilling and amazing. When Q-Tip mentioned that the album was coming he made it a point to mention that these were not not old Phife bars “No this isn’t filled with old Phife bars…this is that pure, unstepped on pure.”said Q-Tip

That is the best description of this project. It is pure in a way that the production and the verses are nurturing to the soul. Jarobi White who has been called the glue of the crew and plays the background laces a few tracks with rhymes no one was expecting and son got skills yo! Andre 3000 , Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes Consequence, Talib Kweli, Jack White, Anderson Paak, Elton John and Kanye West add their voices to the project. As diverse as this guest list is you never get the sense that this is not a Tribe album. The track Mobius featuring Consequence and Busta Rhymes has no original Tribe members on it but it still feels like Tribe.

It’s refreshing to hear real voices with annunciation, definition and substance. All the tracks are produced by Tribe as a unit. This is fitting being that this is their sixth and final studio album that includes all of their original members. “Lost Somebody” is an ode to Phife and celebrates his life as Q-Tip and Jarobi lament over their relationship with their brother. Q-Tip and Phife issues were very public and on some level caused for the the group to break up. Q-Tip admits to being overbearing and appreciates the fact that they were always honest with each other and never pretended.

We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service triggers an emotion that seems to have been untapped in rap music as of late. Knowing that Phife is no longer with us and status that Tribe holds in the world of hip hop makes this album more meaningful. Hip hop heads are rejoicing all around the world right now because Tribe delivered a classic right on time.

Buy/Listen to ‘Speak Life’ by Precise

Review: Solange earns her “Seat at the Table”

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Solange provides a beautiful melancholy an unapologetic strength on her latest release A Seat at the Table. Solange’s writing skills are not a secret to the music industry. Her ability to create pop and R&B hits with ease has established her as one of the most desirable artists in the industry. Her most recent project is an example of her skill. A Seat at the Table  is chock-full of lush vocal and musical arrangements. The depth of the project captures a vulnerability that gives the listener an opportunity to be drawn into the ethereal vibe.

“Cranes in the Sky” a standout track from the project finds Solange trying to make peace and find solace with life’s circumstance. She says “I tried to drink it away, I tried to to put on in the air, I tried to dance it away, I tried to change it with my hair.” Any of us who breathe air have found ourselves in moments where we can’t escape the circumstance no matter what we do. Sometimes we don’t want to feel. Solange attacks this head-on and it makes her relatable and expresses her humanity.

A Seat at the Table is a raw emotion floating in the ether through an angelic voice. It addresses everything from pain, love, independence and freedom. When listening to the project you find that you will be immersed in the mind of an individual who is on a constant journey of growth and spirituality. Production by Questlove, Raphael Saadiq and Solange combine to allow the spirit of R&B to be reborn.

On the interlude “The Moment” one of the features and executive producer Master P says “We have to show the evolution of where we come from, I’m bout to send a message to the world. A Seat at the Table is Solange’s message. The project is sprinkled with life lessons and experiences from both of her parents. You can feel the project mature from the first track to the last. 2016 has been a great year for music. Add A Seat at the Table to your list of must-haves.

-Precise

Buy/Listen to Speak Life