The top 5 rap songs that sampled Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s rap influence (Artwork by Eddy “Precise” Lamarre)

The world is celebrating Aretha Franklin because of who she is and what she represents to music and Black culture. Her talent has stretched across many genres of music and affected many soundscapes. Rap music is not absent from that discussion. Many of the driving rhythms and melodic music of Franklin’s have added to the tapestry of this art form we call rap and the culture of hip-hop. Let’s take a look at the top five rap songs to sample The Queen of Soul.

While the world is singing “Respect,” arguably Aretha Franklin’s greatest hit, the song that resonates with this writer is “Rock Steady.” The rhythm is timeless and has made for one of the perfect breakbeats for rap.

EPMD sampled “Rock Steady” on their classic release Strictly Business in the song “I’m Housin.” The funk is preserved and still remains hip-hop.

 

Ms. Franklin’s song “One Step Ahead” is an ode to avoiding heartbreak and preserving a love.

Ayatollah produced “Ms Fat Booty” which contains elements of “One Step Ahead” for Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, and appears on his album Black On Both Sides. This song is arguably Yasiin’s biggest hit. The song tells the story of a young brother shooting his shot to a beautiful woman.

The way Aretha addressed the subject of love you can tell that it comes from a heartfelt and emotional place. Her song “Call Me” is a song of anticipation, a song where you find a woman yearning for her love just by asking for a phone call.

The Kanye West-produced “Selfish” borrowed a bit from “Call Me” for Slum Village’s album Detroit Deli. Slum approaches their song as a moment to praise all the beautiful women they love. Kanye makes sure not to miss out on this dope production with his own verse. “This one here is a heat rock spit like a beat box the way the beat rocks new version of Pete Rock.”

On “Young Gifted and Black” we find Aretha steeped in her gospel roots. She celebrates the beauty of Blackness at time when Black Power was the mantra of the culture.

DJ Premier sampled the song for Gang Starr’s Daily Operation album on a 30-second joint called “92 Interlude.” I always felt like that would be an awesome song. Most recently you can find the vibe on the 9th Wonder-produced “Laila’s Wisdom.” It appears on Rapsody’s debut project by the same name.

“Oh Baby” is yet another song where we find the Queen lamenting over love.

The producer Ski skillfully plants her vocals across the production of Jay-Z’s song “In My Lifetime (Big Jaz Radio Mix) from The Streets is Watching soundtrack. This is rap at its essence, and the soul was able to traverse the genres effortlessly.

 

-Precise

Stream/Buy “That Ol’ Boom Bap” by Precise

Kanye wants ALL SMOKE in interview with Big Boy in Wyoming

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Ye has dropped and after 2 days of taking it in I can honestly say its a great release. An in depth review is coming soon. Big Boy was fortunate enough to be in Wyoming for the official listening party and interviewed Kanye. We find a very happy and lucid Kanye in this setting. Check it out.

-Precise

Stream/Buy “That Ol Boom Bap” ft Precise produced by Dj Tekwun

What do Kanye and Wyoming have in common?

After the all the rants, drama, racial tension and MAGA hats dozens of influencers and media have descended upon Wyoming to listen to Kanye’s newest project. The release is also being streamed on an app called WAV. The stream started at 9pm CST. If you were expecting music you were disappointed. The stream focused on the Wyoming landscape with horses in the background while you listened to crackiling a campfire.

Chris Rock introduced Kanye with a few jokes and mentioned that hip-hop is the first art form created by free black men. He also said that Kanye has taken full advantage of his freedom and to listen to the project without prejudice.

The name of the project is Ye and the first lyric you hear behind a brooding vamp is “The most beautiful thoughts are beside the darkest. Today I seriously thought about killing you. Premeditated murder.” The production is classic Kanye and lyrically it plays like a journal he has been keeping for the past few months. A few well placed lines speaking on current issues lace the project. “Russell Simmons wanna pray for me too. But imma pray for him cause he got #metoo I wonder what if that happened to #metoo”

The inspirational Kanye that we all know and love enters with a Slick Rick sample assisted by the unmistakable vocals of Charlie Wilson. The campfire is LIT literally and figuratively and all of the people who flew out to hear the project seem pleased and content under the Wyoming sky.

Considering that Kanye has spent the last year in Utah and Wyoming it makes more sense why he has been espousing these middle America sentiments. He doesn’t get a pass for it, it just makes sense. When it all comes down to it when it comes to Kanye its all about the music and always has been.

After two listens it is safe to say Kanye delivered once again. He has captured the attention of the world and given an insightful heartfelt and honest project. Fresh off of Pusha T destroying Drake the G.O.O.D music wave continues rise with the release of Ye. Cudi and Kanye are up next. Lets see how he will top this release.

-Precise

Sway talks Toyota’s Music Mix and Kanye rant

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Sway's Universe broadcast live from the Chop Shop in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago during Lalapalooza weekend. Sway has partnered with Toyota to bring about "The Music Mix". We spoke to him about his partnership with Toyota, his thoughts on the industry and Kanye West. Check out what he had to say.

-Precise

Listen/Buy "Speak Life" by Precise

Top 3 Albums of 2014

It’s been an interesting year in music. If you have been paying attention you can see the shift has all but solidified itself with respect to how music is consumed. Streaming and mobile consumption has taken over. The amount of times a release has been streamed is now included in the 1st week album sales. The landscape is truly different.

As a result of such a different industry the idea of a full project almost seems foreign. We are in a single driven world. Artists are given multi million dollar deals based off of one song. It is because of this that everything in my humble opinion has been watered down.

The full release or complete album is now an anomaly. I heard my share of music in 2014 some was great and some was not so great.

Here is my list of the Top 3 Albums of 2014

3. Flying Lotus “You’re Dead”

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I first caught wind of this project about a month ago. I never really considered myself a fan of Flying Lotus. I have always known who he is and his pedigree, however I never really plugged in. When I saw the video for “Never Catch Me” with Kendrick Lamar I was intrigued. I needed to hear more.

“You’re Dead” is like an palate of sounds used to paint a beautiful picture. It brings to mind a Herbie Hancock sort of vibe. The Hip Hop influence is there and so are traces of Trance, R&B, EDM and Soul. With that being the case it still manages to be it’s own thing. If you are looking to get lost in a tapestry of sound then this is the album for you.

2. D’Angelo and The Vanguard “Black Messiah”

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Let me start this out by saying FINALLY!!! After 14 years of will he or won’t he, flipped cars, drug arrests and Questlove statuses, D’Angelo finally returns with “Black Messiah”

Autotune has been the standard for the past few years and at this point it’s almost unimaginable to hear an artist not use it. It becomes tiresome and repetitive. Hearing D’Angelos voice is nostalgic. It reminds us that people are still making music and it’s ok if people don’t know what you are saying if the groove is funky. “Really Love” is one of the stand out tracks. It feels so good to hear that groove. The way the internet blew up when this album dropped proves I am not the only one who finds some satisfaction that D’Angelo decided to comeback.

1. Precise “Ladies Love Mixtapes”

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If you are wondering if I am making this my number one pick because it is my release , then I would say you are 50% right. The other 50% is that I delivered the world a concept driven album. The production on this project if amazing. Tye Hill and D.J Thunder deliver amazing lush soulful music that is complimented extremely well by Precise (thats me). The stand out tracks are “Im Dreaming” and “Take Our Time”.

If you truly want to experience what I call Adult Hip Hop this is the release for you. I am not ashamed to say I am proud of this album and I cant wait to deliver more classics to you in 2015.

-Precise

Those are my favorites. What are yours? Let me know below. Leave a comment!!

Listen/Buy Ladies Love Mixtapes!!

 

 

 

TOP 10 REASONS LIFE WAS BETTER WITHOUT CELL PHONES

In 2014 the thought of being “out of touch” is kind of strange. Think about it, everyone is a Facebook, Twitter, Google+ status update or text away from the latest and greatest news or breaking story. If you happened to miss the event there just might be audio or video of it. I guess from one perspective that can be viewed as progressive, however, I can think of a few reasons that life was better without cell phones. I have 10 reasons below. POW!

10. People had conversations at dinner parties.

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How many times have you been out at a dinner party or even out for a bite with a friend and every time you look up from your phone they are hypnotized by theirs.

9. You didn’t have to worry about the “context” of your message

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It seems like we are at the mercy of autocomplete and spell check these days. How many times have you been confused by a text, or even pissed off by a message you received just to be informed that it was “taken out of context”? Back in the “good ole days” you would pick up a phone and actually say what you mean.

8. Concerts were much better.

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I have to say I have been guilty of snapping a few pics during a concert or two. Plus its easier holding your cell phone up when the lights go down in the stadium, and it doesn’t burn your hand like a lighter. However watching a show I paid $50 dollars for through the screen of the person in front of me is not my idea of a good time. Plus, all the mystery of the show is gone when you can see the footage of the show an hour later on your latest blog.

7. You could miss calls without the guilt.

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These days you can block numbers, reroute calls, send them to voicemail or just flat out ignore the call. We are all free to choose. Sometimes our phones run out of juice and calls go straight to voicemail and on more than one occasion I have felt guilty for missing a call. I shouldn’t feel guilty because you know what? Sometimes I am busy! Some people are so attached to their phones that they feel slighted when you don’t answer yours every single time. The days when the phone rang indefinitely were classic.

6. You could remember phone numbers.

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I have about 4000 contacts on my amazing iPhone 4s (don’t laugh at me, I’m upgrading soon). Anyway, the other day all the names disappeared from my contacts so I was only left with the numbers and I could only recognize a few of them. The only way I’ve been able to associate a name with a number is by reviewing old text messages. Years ago I could rattle off the numbers of my closest friends with no problem at all.

5. Getting a “number” was an accomplishment.

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This one might be just for the fellas. I remember going to school dances with the intention of getting phone numbers from girls and at the end of the night we would have a tally of how many numbers we got…HA!! I know its childish, but I was a teenager. The excitement was calling the number the next day to determine if you got the right number and having a conversation with someone new. These days you might get the number just to be ignored when you call cause you have been named “thirsty” or “weirdo” when the call comes through on their phone….HA!!

4. Party Lines

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Party lines were so much fun!! You could call an 800 number and talk all night with a group of people you knew or didn’t know. The only drawback was the ridiculous charges to your phone bill. The plus side was when you were done with the group you could just hang up the phone. These days when you become part of a group message its eternal whether you like it or not.

3. Meeting people face to face

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Phones have become an extension of our lives. Sometimes we can carry on relationships via text messaging and video chats, however nothing beats the human touch.

2. We had privacy.

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I’ve had my share of embarrassing moments. I’ve even had some fights where I didnt fare so well. NONE of those made it to World Star.These days if you hear the word “World Staaaaaaaaaaaaar” rest assured it will be shown to millions over the world wide web because someone is recording it via their cell phone. As of late, I understand that the NSA has been tracking the  cell phone usage of American citizens providing the type of insight that was not involved before the advent of cell phones. MIND YOUR BUSINESS, YO!!!

1. WE HAD FUN IN THE MOMENT!!

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There is something about being tethered to a phone. Taking pictures updating statuses, sharing news all take away from enjoying our time in the moment of what we are experiencing. Be present! Have Fun! PUT THE PHONES DOWN!!

-Precise

What do you think? Was life better before cell phones or not? Leave a comment and share.

Listen/Buy “Ladies Love Mixtapes The EP”

Precise Interview on TWTTV

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See The ENTIRE Interview RIGHT HERE!! SHARE and COMMENT.

I visited Indianapolis for a show and met up with Taj Longino of TWTTV (http://talkwithtaj.com/) We discussed everything from the violence in Chicago, its musical legacy, the importance of good health and the music industry. Please Leave comments and share. http://precise.bandcamp.com/

What I REALLY think about YOU!

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I think sometimes you are scared to be who you are. I think you are focused on issues  that have no bearing on your life. I think you do not have enough confidence in yourself. I think you forget that we have a limited time on this earth. I think you worry too much. I think you get offended to easily. 

I think you forget how powerful we are.

I think you are AMAZING!! I think you add value to to the lives of those who are around you. I think your influence reaches further than you think. I think you are wonderful. I think you are wealthy. I think you are blessed. I think Gods connection gets stronger everyday. I think you are talented. I think you are a genius. I think you are LOVE! I think you are AWESOME!!!

What do you think?

-Precise

Buy/Listen to The Hit Single “Take Our Time (Right Away)” produced by Tye Hill from the soon to be released Ep “Ladies Love Mixtapes”