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[Video] OnCue – This View From Here

New OnCue!

The goal of an experienced artist on the come up is to just try and make something undeniable. That’s what “This View From Here” is. The first single from OnCue‘s highly anticipated Angry Young Man is a statement. Watching the video, you see the hunger in Cuey’s eyes, and that desire is not lost on the music. The song is a gripping proclamation–a declaration of the driving force behind all fine art. Above all, it is a manifesto to the unfuckwithable feeling of chasing your dreams, struggling, and then making your dreams a reality. At the end of the video, the release date for Angry Young Man is shown.

September 3rd. Mark your calendars.

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Introducing: Le1f

New York rapper Le1f was introduced to me today via a Gisele video that my friend gchatted me at work. I didn’t know what to expect, except for the fact that the video wouldn’t be safe for work. (Which turned out to be true….which is also why I included the video for you guys after the jump so you can also embarrass yourselves at work.) Anyway, as soon as I pressed play, I recognized that trap/rave sound that’s blazing (pun intended: shout out to Just Blaze) across the country right now, rattling dance floors, encouraging drug habits, and keeping the youth crazy. It seems Le1f is another artist who endorses this movement.

The young rapper is putting out a deep, dark and grimy sort of hip-hop that might revisit you in your nightmares, but while you’re awake and listening to it, it’ll shake your bones a bit. Though you might not be able to understand all the words he’s mumbling, it’ll most likely awaken you to a new style of music that’s sonically minimal but physically colossal: trap music. If you think I’m just throwing out buzz words, I challenge you to put in a good pair of headphones or bump Le1f’s music on quality speakers. I was sitting here listening at my desk at work and thought there might have been a small earthquake (I live in California, mind you). My desk started shaking with the bass coming out of my computer. I’m not typically one for heavy basslines, but my body has somehow glued itself to Le1f’s beats and synths and I’m now finding myself swaying back and forth. It’s bright daylight outside, I’m in the middle of doing some work, and I feel like I was just thrown against a wall to see if I’d stick. And I did…and slowly melted to the ground by the time the song ended. You win, Le1f.

And as an aside, if you couldn’t tell from his lyrics, Le1f is a gay rapper. It’s a rarity these days, but maybe that’s part of what’s so appealing about this. He’s making something different and doesn’t seem the least bit hesitant to do so. Listen for yourself as he raps in Hate2Wait “Oh, you got a twin bed? Well, let’s squeeze up in it/ We don’t need no covers, let us freeze up in it/ Cuz you gonna need a cold shower anyway/ After all of the kinky little games that we play.” Or listen to his hit song “Wut,” when he spits “Ukrainian cutie – he really wanna cuddle/ The fever in his eyes, he wanna suckle on my muscle/ He wanna burst my bubble and see what’s up in my jungle.” Yeah, he said it. And he’s turning heads and making a splash. So I repeat: you win, Le1f.

Hit the jump for a bonus…the NSFW video, an animated gif of Le1f dancing, and a party trap rave song by Just Blaze.

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[Video] Just Blaze & Baauer Speak on “Higher” Collaboration

Recently, Just Blaze and Baauer teamed up to drop the massive, dubby “Higher.” Two of the most influential producers in their respective genres, this track had big expectations and, in my opinion, delivered. It’s interesting seeing Just Blaze dabble in the heavier electronic scene–only one more sign that hip hop is moving that direction.

The two spoke to Pitchfork about the collaboration, which you can see below. I think Baauer really sums up the effect of the collaboration in that Just Blaze comes at it with a mastery in beatmaking, and Baauer comes at it with a unique catalog of sound. The combination of the two is very, very dope, and the video and the full song can both be streamed below.


Dream Big

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ASAP Rocky – Public Service Announcement Freestyle

So I’m sure you guys know this, but rappers who release “freestyles” or “go off the dome” on radio stations very rarely are actually, truly freestyling.

ASAP Rocky is one of the few popular rappers out there today who stays true to the freestyle form–truly improvising on the spot.

It makes for some rough patches, for sure, but there are moments of glory in there too, and more power to him for staying true in his freestyles.

Not an incredible freestyle, but I love That Pretty Mutha Fucka, and this song is Hova’s best in my opinion, so I had to post.

Shouts to Just Blaze, shouts to lil Rakim’s mother. 

Download ASAP Rocky Public Service Announcement Freestyle

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[Video] OnCue – Kinda Late

Wow. Going into this, I was excited because this is one of my favorite OnCue songs and I knew that it would be Just Blaze’s directorial debut. Needless to say, my expectations were huge.

Shockingly, the finished product blew my expectations out of the water. This is just too good.

Cuey told me they’ve been sitting on this for a couple months as it was filmed a long time ago, and finally decided the time was right to drop it.

Initially, Cuey was going to play the lead role, but his creative director Adam Ross played it as the team decided he was better suited for the role. I don’t know if he did a better job than Cuey himself would have done, but he definitely kills the performance.

The great thing about the video is that it isn’t just visually really well done–well framed shots, crispy pixels, one beautiful bit of facial hair–it’s got it all.

Cuey killed it, Just killed it, that beard killed it.


Dream Big

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[Album Review] Drake – Take Care (Track by Track)

This album leaked yesterday, and while I normally do not download leaks and instead wait until the final project is officially released, I couldn’t help myself with this one. As soon as it leaked I had an influx of emails, facebook messages, and text messages telling me that I needed to download this “masterpiece.” One friend went as far as calling it Drake’s “magnum opus.” He handled the leak with incredible class, and you have to give it to him for that. Most rappers get on their Twitters to vent frustration, anger, and sometimes straight up violence when they find out their albums have leaked prematurely; Drake handled the situation like a gentleman. He knows how classic this album will become, and he seems to have no concern about the leak.

I need to start this post with a preface: I have never been a Drake fan. I have never gotten excited about a Drake release. I’ve liked a song or two, a single here and there, but I’ve never gotten excited about a release. This album, though, is one that I consider to truly be one of the top 10 hip hop albums ever made. Drake’s flows, clever lyricism, and open, refreshing honesty are all massive assets, and with perfectly chosen production and features, this entire project is an instant classic. This will win a Grammy for Best Album, I am willing to place money on that fact right now. But that does not go far enough–this is not just the best album of the year, it is one of the best hip hop albums of all time. This is Drake’s best project to date, and I am extremely excited to see how this project is received when it finally drops on November 15th. I have uploaded these songs to stream, but we will not be providing any link to the leak. Buy his album; support artistry, support the craft, support the industry, support real music.

1. Drake – Over My Dead Body (10/10)

Drake Over My Dead Body

I listened to this album from start to finish, and this song set an immediate precedent for excellence and realness. 10 out of 10, hell of a way to start things. Drake is talking about his life in the kind of honest way that we see so rarely in mainstream hip hop. Going over a simple piano riff, Drake really lets his voice shine and carry this song. Beautiful hook throughout, and unbelievably honest lyrics throughout. This song gives us a look into Drake feels about all of his past success leading into Take Care, which he must have known would be an incredibly important album both for his career and for hip hop in general.

All these people really discussing my career again, asking me if I’ll be going platinum in a year again. Don’t I got that shit the world wanna hear again?

Jealousy is just love and hate at the same time

2. Drake – Shot For Me (8/10)

Drake Shot For Me

Drake starts this song with his singing voice, which is always pretty amazing to hear. Dude’s just got it all: crazy flows, clever, meaningful lyricism, and this unbelievable voice to boot. He doesn’t start rapping until about a minute and 30 seconds into the track, and when he does it’s a really nice change of pace to the song. He talks about relationships a lot throughout this album, especially relationships that have hurt him. While there are artists in mainstream hip hop talk about such relationships, Drake does it in a refreshingly honest and real way as is evident on this track. He ends it with a really beautiful, simply spoken string of well put together lines, kind of like Drake’s 2011 take on Biggie’s classic “Hustler’s Prayer.”

May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, angels protect you, and heaven accept you

3. Drake – Headlines (9.25/10)

Drake Headlines

I mean I’d almost be shocked if you guys haven’t heard this one yet, it’s been everywhere recently. This is was the lead single, and as such has great pop appeal. That does not mean that Drake’s lyricism or meaning takes a backseat, though. The hook (They know, they know, they know) itself is derived from him saying that his friends “know” that he will cover their case expenses; Drake talks about real issues throughout this entire album and it’s great to see him also do so on the singles. And the way he ends the song? No words.

They saying I’m back, I’d agree with that/ I just take my time with all this shit, I still believe in that/ I had someone tell me I feel off, oooh I needed that / And they wanna see me pick back up, well where I leave it at?

I heard once that they would rather hear about memories than enemies/ Rather hear what was or what will be than what is/ Rather hear how you got it over how much it cost you/ Rather hear about finding yourself than how you lost you/ Rather you make this an open letter about family, and struggle, and then take it forever/ About hearts that you’ve broken and ties that you’ve severed/ No doubt in my mind, that’ll make them feel better

Hit the jump to keep reading the full review.

Continue reading “[Album Review] Drake – Take Care (Track by Track)” »

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