Our good friends over at P&P sponsored this awesome new mashup mixtape from Jonathon Lee that features two of my favorite bawses. The Big Boss Rick Ross lyrics thrown over the original Boss, Bruce Springsteen? Unbeatable. Jonathon Lee recreates instrumentals combining his own beats and the original instrumentation from Springsteen’s classics “Born to Run,” “Streets of Philadelphia,” “Blood Brothers,” “Secret Garden,” “Murder Incorporated” and “Atlantic City.”
Bruce is one of my all time favorite artists, and I’ve got to give kudos to Lee for using the tracks he did, especially “Streets of Philadelphia” and “Atlantic City.” Something about hearing Ross rap over Clarence Clemons’ beautiful sax is just perfect.
Kinda wish he had sampled “Jungleland,” but an all around awesome concept has been incredibly well executed by Jonathon Lee–I haven’t liked a mashup in a long, long time, but Lee’s cemented the genre as dope and legitimate, if done correctly.
For me and many others, this release has been long awaited. Oncue has been an artist I have felt particularly invested in, and seeing him progress has been extremely exciting for me, as I consider myself a true fan from the beginning. I interviewed Cuey last December right after Cuey Sings the Blues dropped, and every time I see a new release from him I am excited to see the progression Cuey has shown time and time again.
This one’s different though; this release means something more to me. You see, Cuey is kind of at that point where he’s just about to blow up, but hasn’t really yet; that’s an extremely vital point in an artist’s career, and they can go in multiple directions. They can make songs that they think people want to hear; poppier production, catchier vocals–this option often leads to a significant style change for the artist, and it can either lead to their success or cause their fans to feel alienated. Or, they can progress their sound naturally, remaining true to their artistic styles and beliefs–they can talk about issues that still pertain to their lives, they can speak honestly, and they can make music they want to make.
Cuey took the latter road, and is all the better for it.
Headlights starts the album with some really smooth, mellow production, and is one of my favorite tracks on the tape.
I got no days off, that means no weekends
Cuey has been working like a mad man to make his dream a reality, and testimonials to his hard work run throughout this project. He’s honest about the struggles he faces, and no song makes that more clear to the listener than another one of my tracks on the tape, “Better than Before.” With an awesome sample from Ben Gibbard’s side-project, The Postal Service, Cuey raps about how the life he chose has a lot of harsh realities–strained relationships, alcohol abuse, etc. One thing I really respect about Cuey’s style is this realness; while many rappers unfortunately rap about things they truly do not have and feats they have never actually accomplished, Oncue just lays his life on the line.
We can’t deal with the problems of being stuck on the bottom so we go and grab the bottle/ And I gotta ask myself, am I the common factor?/ Everything I grab a hold of falls to the ground and shatters/ Or maybe I’m not, I doubt it’s the latter/ Everything I chase after turns around and runs backwards it’s a hazard
Cuey’s style has progressed in a really great way–the songs I didn’t like on Cuey’s tapes were all the “poppier” sounding records, and there are a few of those on here: Only Thing We Know, or Running, for example. But while I didn’t like those kind of tracks on Cuey’s older work, I really do like that style of his on Can’t Wait. Cuey shows us that he has a really great, enjoyable voice, and this is exciting as I think it could really help his future popularity, boosting him to that next level. But it’s hard staying on a grind that at times can feel extremely lonely and fruitless, as Cuey points out.
My drywall is cardboard, windows made of saran rap/ All I’m trying to do is build a song and see your hands clap/ So much words I’ve spoken/ Tired of being broken/ Heal me I need the potion, why can’t I feel emotion anymore, lately I’ve been so fucking numb/ Where the paralysis coming from? I don’t know I’m fucking done (Better than Before)
Cuey’s voice is complimented beautifully with the great production on this tape; I honestly don’t have an issue with the production of a single track on this record, and that’s something I am rarely able to say. 88-Keys lays some really smooth jazz down for “Kinda Late,” the collaboration track with Mike Posner, and Matt Grover, manicanparty, and Justin W all provide tight production throughout, along with the always consistent, never not dope CJ Luzi. Luzi has been Cuey’s chief producer for a long time, and it’s awesome seeing him progress along with Cuey. “They’re a pair that beats a full house,” as my grandfather might have put it. On “Running” they have a certifiable jam that I would not be surprised to hear on the radio. Cuey’s been working to make that dream a reality for a long time;
They don’t need to know, who about to blow/ No pun intended he was right under your nose/ 15 years old living in the studio rockin hand me down clothes tryna shimmy down flows/ Been focused, wasn’t till I left this shithole/ Yeah ya’ll took notice, now I’m hot/ Yeah you bogus/ I love my home I just hate some fuckers up in it (Can’t Wait)
One thing I pointed out the other day was how amusing it was to me that Cuey featured Mike Posner on a track and sang the hook himself, and also completely outshined Mike with his verse, as well. This is a testament to Cuey’s potential popular appeal, as he really shows time and time again throughout this project that he has a sound that can remain true to his artistic style while also appealing to a popular audience. Sonny Shotz also provides a nice cameo on Justin W’s wonderfully produced “Don’t Fall for That,” a standout on the album.
I titled this post with the preface of “Fralbum.” That’s a term Mac Miller coined, and it applies to this project more than anything else I’ve heard in a long time. This is not a mixtape–this is an album, free of charge. It’s a beautifully composed, intricately detailed, perfectly polished finish project. I would pay for this, and when he releases his next album I hope we all have the opportunity to give back to Cuey by reimbursing him for the gifts he has given us via his music. While I can’t say that a lot of the issues Cuey talks about directly pertain to me and my life, I still feel as if I can relate to his message; perseverance, hope, and loyalty to our dreams. Cuey’s making his dream come true, and inspiring many others to make their own dreams a reality; in my mind, that’s one of the highest praises I can bestow upon any artist, and Cuey deserves it.
I have streamed some of my favorites below, and I strongly, strongly urge you to download this entire album on Datpiff. It’s more than worth it
The good die young so I want to grow old (Not for Nothing)
Mac Miller released the highly anticipated Best Day Ever mixtape yesterday. Miller was recently named a member of XXL’s Freshmen of 2011. Here is a complete review by D Prep of Sunset in the Rearview:
Expectations (written the morning of the release date):
Massive. I have been waiting for this mixtape, or “fralbum” (free album), for what seems like forever. Mac, to me, is one of the most exciting up-and-comers. The leaks that have come out so far (Donald Trump, She Said, and In the Air) have all been extremely impressive. Each time I listen to “Donald Trump,” I find myself bobbing to the extremely catchy production and rapping along with Mac’s rhymes. When I listen to “She Said,” I kick back and relax. When I listen to “In the Air,” it makes me mellow and happy. With the versatility and delivery he’s already packed into the first three leaks, my expectations for Best Day Ever couldn’t be any higher than they are. I hope to see some classic Mac production sounds like “Nikes on My Feet” and “Kool-Aid and Frozen Pizza,” and am also looking forward to seeing what new sounds he decides to rap over. As Andy Milonakis said best,
I hope it’s the best day ever, man, fuck it. Don’t just name your shit the best day ever unless it’s gonna be the best day ever. If that shit’s gonna be like a mediocre day, you better change your fuckin’ mixtape title now. Alright? I’m expecting it to be the best day ever.
Thoughts During Download:
1. Damn, Mac’s one of my favorites and his team seems to be really great, but what’s up with the delayed releases? The video for Donald Trump was released well after 12:00 AM after many had gone to bed, and Best Day Ever was released two hours later.
2. Crash. Crash. Crash. Crash. Datpiff, uStream, etc. Mac and the Most Dope crew made the internet shiver, and sites were either going haywire and taking ages to download or shutting down completely. That’s impressive. Maybe it took so long to upload because the internet was secretly thinking “Shit. I’m about to get rocked by the Best Day Ever.”
3. I’m going to love this. No doubt. I’m sure when I will listen I will like it even more than I thought I could. The leaks have been fantastic, and this fralbum is going to be spectacular.
Hit the jump for a track by track breadown and rating, mp3s for all tracks, and full mixtape download link.
Track By Track Breakdown: All Taken During First Listen
I love how this starts. Just a mellow introduction to something that I really cannot wait to listen to. I am a huge fan of this type of beat (i.e. his latest leak ‘In the Air’ and a little bit like ‘Fighters’ by Lupe Fiasco). His rhymes on here are lyrically solid, and the kid can really flow over anything. I’m sure if you played him some Beethoven, Bach, or Mozart, Mac would ‘spit incredibly dope shit.’ I hope he remains this honest with his words throughout the entire tape.
I used to take the bus now the boy board jets/ Cause K.I.D.S. got me buzzing like a fucking Hornet/ They say I got next tell ‘em that I got now
Rating: 9.5/10. Also, those lyrics might sum up the entirety of this mixtape better than any others.
Another mellow one, and one thing I’m thinking about a lot is the production. The production on K.I.D.S. was unbelievable, and extremely unique. I will try to avoid making too many K.I.D.S. references, but you have to understand that after that tape was so unbelievable, my expectations are huge. I like the laid back groove of this, and Mac’s flow, as always, is slick. This one definitely has my head bobbing and I can definitely foresee this track being one that will get a lot of plays in my iTunes.
Life a comedy like my last name Griffin/ Livin for the moment blowing potent overloaded/ and my swagger, call me “Old Spice”/ Yeah the kid is so nice
So this was the first leak off of Best Day Ever, and it really elevated everyone’s expectations, understandably so. When I did my first review of this track, here is what I said:
I really like this track. Sounds like it would be really hype live, which I’m assuming is why he has been playing it live recently, and why he decided to have this as the first leak.
Luckily, you can watch the video below of him performing “Donald Trump” live to a sold-out crowd at the Highline Ballroom. This track has not changed much at all, and the only change I noticed was that the beat was pulled back at “I kill my Henny break the bottle for the hell of it,” which is swag. Other than that, the ending is chopped a little differently but that doesn’t change much. By far my favorite leak; I hope to see more songs like this on the fralbum. The video for the song was also really great, as is everything produced by Rex Arrow, so check that out too.
Style comes with excellence and money makes benevolence
I like the beat on this one a lot, but at first the “Oy Vey” refrain strikes me as a little corny and poppy. It got stuck in my head almost immediately, and by the end of the song I started singing the refrain to myself, so maybe it will grow on me. I actually laughed out loud at the line “Hoes up on my dick cause I look like Ryan Seacrest.” Maybe this is a tip of the hat to Lil B, or maybe Lil B is going to have a bigger impact on the game than I may have thought? Because that is definitely Lil B’s swag right there (“I’m Bill Clinton, fucking all these women” etc.) with the comparisons and references to celebrities.
Living out my life/ People still sleeping/ the best night of your life/ but we do this every weekend/ Life couldn’t get better/ I hope it lasts forever/ When I spit my verse they gon’ remember every letter
Ok, I like this one immediately. I love that soul singing from Phonte, and I love the laidback piano from Beanz ‘n’ Kornbread. This is Mac’s “Dear Mama,” and tracks like this always get to me. I’m sure his mom really appreciated this. I was happy that he refrained from any suggestive or explicit lyrics in this song (which is the only song on this tape that really does so). This is really well done. I get that tributes can often be corny or cliché, but Mac did well on this one to make it real and heartfelt, and, maybe even more importantly, a great track.
In the quest to be a man you start to learn you need your family/ If it wasn’t for them, I’d be way closer to insanity/ It ain’t about the vanity/ Think about what’s important/ The reason I was six years old rocking some Jordans/ The reason I had food/ My own damn room/ A TV in the living room to watch my cartoons/ I just hope she know that I love her/ The world’s best mother yeah it ain’t fair/ So imma take care of her and her gray hair
Seeing anything (Prod. Chuck Inglish) ignites massive expectations in my mind. Of The Cool Kids fame, Chuck Inglish has worked with some of my favorite MCs, including Chip tha Ripper, Big Sean, etc. This track has a really dope bassline, which is a Chuck Inglish trademark by this point. Unfortunately, this track doesn’t deliver in the way I wish it would. It never seems full to me, which may be a fault of the production, or Mac’s rhymes, or both. Maybe this one will grow on me; I hated Chip tha Ripper’s “Fat Raps,” another Chuck Inglish production, when I first heard it, and now it’s one of my favorite Chip songs. For whatever reason, Chuck’s production takes a while to hit me, so we’ll see how this one progresses.
Tellin’ me she’s single but to tell the truth I’m not convinced/ It’s all good I’m used to boyfriends always talking shit/ Thinkin’ that they players but I’m coachin’ call me Popovich/ Baby I ain’t Doctor Rich but I’ll probably show you a good night/ When girls come out with me they make sure they look right
This one was kind of a throw out for me. Really wasn’t feeling it. As I listen to it all the way through, though, I can definitely see myself playing it at a party. Sitting on my computer alone, however, I’m not a big fan. I can never fault his flow, though, it really is always right on. The hook on this one just doesn’t get me, nor does the production. First weak song I’ve heard on the tape.
I came to get fucked up/ I came to act wild/ You came to prepare for the future/ I live for right now
Ok, Chuck Inglish makes me excited. Just Blaze though? (Prod. Just Blaze) makes me giddy like a 6 year old on a sugar high. This one got my head bobbing immediately, and that drop at 25 seconds is just too dope. Well timed, well hyped, well executed. I love this flow, I love these verses, I love the hook, I love this song. Another tip of the hat to Lil B in the intro perhaps when Just Blaze shouts out “Swag” at 6 seconds? Swag. I can definitely see this one getting serious airplay on the radio, and for Mac, Rostrum Records, and the entire Most Dope crew I hope they are able to make that happen. My favorite track off of this tape at the moment.
Living life like it’s my job and I don’t ever take a day off/ Shit ain’t been the same since I seen my music take off/ I be on some “I don’t give a fuck” shit/ Still with my homies I came up with/ So celebrate the fact that we young rich and famous
Once again, this is some extremely unique and intriguing production. Mac, Wiz, and Curren$y are maybe the only rappers I know who could turn this into such a dope track. I think this will end up being a moody track, the kind of song you listen to when you’re in certain moods and situations that can, at times, be exactly the right song to listen to. Overall, not a standout, but a solid song nonetheless.
I’ll admit I’m kind of famous/ My life is like a vacation/ Cause day out and day in these hotels, Days Inns/ Travel, navigation, I switch up my location
This one leaked the other day, as the last single off of the fralbum, and I like it even more a few days later. When it came out, I compared it to Lupe Fiasco’s “Fighters,” which is a comparison I still very much see. I said:
“In the Air” is an extremely unique song and is unlike anything I’ve ever heard from Mac. It strikes me as very similar to one of my favorite Lupe Fiasco songs, “Fighters.” The production is minimal and understated, and that really leaves Mac to take over on the track. He shows off his singing voice on this track which is actually quite good.
This song is extremely catchy, and I’ve been listening to this a lot recently. Definitely a standout on the tape.
Blessed with some success so/ Imma try my best to/ Live my life right when I see God he’ll be impressed/ Cause I been on my grind/ Thinkin’ I’ll be fine if I take my time/ Working so hard might break my spine/ So all of y’all see this face of mine/ There’s different ways to shine/ Imma find my own
Another Chuck track leads to more great expectations. This time, Chuck and Mac immediately deliver. This is crazy production, and I absolutely love it. This one has a real cool old school vibe to it, and the first word that comes to mind is ‘groovy.’ I just mean it has a really fun, dancing vibe to it, and the groove is extremely catchy and fun…not ‘groovy’ the way hippies say it. Shout out to hippies though. Immediately a huge fan of this one, definitely something that will be fun to dance to at parties.
I came to rock right now/ I’m the best and I came to get down/ I’ve been known to rock a microphone
This was the second leak off of Best Day Ever, and this definitely grew on me since the first time I heard it. When I first posted, I said:
This one brings the laidback, mellow flow Mac has come to be known for, along with a really mellow beat by Khrysis. I’ve gotta say, I don’t like this one nearly as much as “Donald Trump”, but I’m confident this one will grow on me. Mac’s lyrics are always dope, and his flow is always on point: this is no exception.
Look at that foresight; I knew it would grow on me. He goes hard over this beat and I really like the style of the hook too. Great song overall.
Ayo my herb smoke tasting like a Nerds rope/ Imma get rich so I can buy myself a fur coat/ Something like a millionaire in training/ Still my shit amazing
This one’s got a feel-good vibe to it, and while it may not be my favorite track, it is definitely fun and easy to listen to. This is the kind of song you listen to riding around at the start of the summer, or lying on the beach over Spring Break. Man, this one just makes me happy. Watching Mac come up since the release of “The Jukebox,” it was awesome to see him blow up to where he is today. To say he deserves it would be a crazy understatement.
My people always tell me/ Mac please don’t ever let the fame change you/ They say I’m so different but it ain’t true/ Still got the same girl, roll with the same crew/ I’m just doing what it takes for me to make due
Another feel-good vibe track, this is kind of nostalgic in Mac’s memory of his come up. I am a big fan of this soundscape beat, it’s a real wall of sound and is really intricate, creating a cool vibe. ID Labs produced a fair amount of the tracks on here and overall they did a great job. This is definitely going on the same playlist as “Life Ain’t Easy,” as the two are very similar in their vibe.
Hit snooze, I ain’t tryna wake up yet/ Imma keep on dreaming be the straight-up best/ And I’m blessed/ Everyday I’m getting straight up fresh/ My homies like “Mac, damn, you get your cake up yet?”/ Yes I did, that’s the life I live/ I grind all day, high school sellin mixtapes in the hallway/ I bet they never thought I’d be this cool/ Now they understand why I skipped school
After Mac’s comments about not putting Wiz on K.I.D.S. because he didn’t want to be known as “Wiz’s little homie,” I was a bit surprised to see Wiz on here, especially as the hook on the closing song. Doesn’t seem to make sense if he’s trying to get rid of the “Wiz’s little homie” stigma, but hell, I can’t complain, I love Wiz. Mac is definitely still the star of this song, as his verses to me are on a different level than Wiz’s on this. He also has a lot more space to work with than Wiz’s short verse, but they both deliver. Big fan of Wiz’s refrain on this, definitely a fun little track. Mac’s flow is pristine, and he definitely delivers with that trademark Wiz Khalifa stoner, lax vibe on this. It’s incredible that Mac, at such a young age, was able to release such an impressive mixtape that hardly had any guest features at all.
Hey my mind be cookin’ rhymes up/ Livin’ till my times up/ Hate me then they love me tell ‘em try to make their minds up/ Barbers and they line me up/ ID was on the beat, it’s best to shout the people out that help you make your cheese
I immediately recognize the opening sound from the intro of the “Donald Trump” video. This is some of my favorite production on the tape, and I would listen to this a lot even if it were just an instrumental. Really awesome vibe to it. It has the same acapella from Best Day Ever, and it makes me wonder how they chose which one would be a bonus and which one would be on the tape. I know that I would have had a really difficult time deciding, because I absolutely love both versions. This is an immediate standout to me. Shout out to ID Labs for killing it on this tape.
I ain’t just an average Joe/ Way above the average flow/ Boy my life is Most Dope
Top 5 (In Order)
1. Donald Trump
2. All Around the World
3. Best Day Ever/BDE Bonus
4. She Said
5. In the Air
Completely blown away. From start to finish, I was floored. My expectations were massive, my hopes were even larger, and this shattered all of them. I’m sure people will hate on this review and will hate on this mixtape, and that’s alright. To each, their own. To me, though, this is Mac’s best work yet. Every single song is worth listening to, and I’m sure every single song will be in heavy rotation for days, weeks, months, and years to come. Mac Miller will be a legend in the hip-hop community. I have no reservation in saying that. He is one year removed from high school, and as a 19 year old, his only peer in terms of talent at such a young age seems to be Tyler, the Creator. His flow is one of the most versatile I know, and his ability to make anything sound unique and amazing is extremely impressive. The sky is not the limit for Mac; for him and the Most Dope crew, there is no limit.
Pac Div is back again with their 4th mixtape, ‘Mania!” Sponsored by the legendary Don Cannon, this one has a little bit of something for everyone. Starting out extremely soulful and jazzy with “The Mirror,” they quickly move to a really energetic song that’s sure to have you dancing in “SuperNegroes.” With smooth R&B on tracks like “Take Me High,” mellow rap on “Nobody’s Perfect,” and harder tracks like “Still a Knuckelhead,” Pac Div covers it all on this tape. From start to finish, this is a quality listen.
While I’m not a particularly huge fan of their music, this is the best I’ve heard from Pac Div, and the potential is blatant. For whatever reason, I’m just not particularly attracted to their sound. I’m planning on keeping this in the rounds over this week though, I really think it could grow on me. If it grows on me and my initial thoughts are proved wrong, I’ll be sure to post another Pac Div track setting things straight.
What do you guys think?
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