The-Dream – “Black” Apr30

The-Dream – “Black”...

There are no real coincidences in the world. So when The-Dream (Radio Killa!) drops his anthem “Black” on the same day that the NBA commissioner Adam Silver banished known racist slumlord Donald Sterling from the LA Clippers and the NBA, you have to admire the attempt at planned serendipity. But this well-constructed song would be powerful on any other day. For all the strides America has made to overcome racism and prejudice, being Black still harbors way too many emotions, good and bad, burdening its people everyday. Sometimes, you just have to be reminded of all the good Black leaders have done in the past to lay the framework and ease our struggle. Intolerance is still out there. The old racists are not dying fast enough before infecting the young. I can laugh about race, then again I can pass. Yet I have felt the sting more than once. Being Black has emboldened me at times and entrapped in other moments. I have long embraced my unique position, maybe not my lineages. I know how to navigate this world as a man not born with ivory skin and blue eyes. I don’t need it. I don’t want...

Stitches – “Brick In Yo Face” Apr30

Stitches – “Brick In Yo Face”...

How did I find this shit? OnSmash certainly has a large repository of videos, but maybe I should be checking WorldStar because that’s where Stitches has amassed 6.6 million views for his debut video, “Brick In Yo Face.” This is my favorite song right now. http://t.co/VJIjLEsngI — Harley Morenstein (@HarleyPlays) April 28, 2014 I can’t front, this track is hype as fuck. Stitches has a mixtape ready to go, No Snitching Is My Statement. In an interview with Complex, he states Juicy J and Wiz Khalifa are his influences and that comes through in his cadence and flow throughout his mixtape. His voice crackles and snarls track after track even when the production can’t elevate to his energy. But it’s on his video where Stitches rampages around like brahma bull in a shanty house. The screen is too small for his personality. I mean, it’s a straightforward song lyrically. He loves selling blow. My complaint is about the music blogs who think, “hmmm Stitches is white, but he ain’t like the platinum selling white rapper who swept the Grammys. However, I will make the comparison anyways.” WTF chump journalism. And yall get paid for this shit, Nelson Liu and Confusion. Come on. Let artists be just artists instead of saying this is like that. Bump this shit, it’s blissful ignorance. Stitches is unsigned …for now. And dude has an AK-47 tattooed on his face…ffffffff...

Big K.R.I.T. – “Mt. Olympus” Apr29

Big K.R.I.T. – “Mt. Olympus”...

The Mystery Overbearing Hater is a hip hop trope. It motivates rappers to become defensive, channel that energy into battle raps, and reinvigorate debates on who’s the best today. KRIT has been an ongoing battle with this mystery hate. He’s universally respected, but maybe the stigma of Mississippi, which did not affect David Banner, keeps KRIT from realizing his potential fame. I’m not as enamored with this track as many commenters and bloggers. Rapping fast with fury doesn’t make it good (see: Kendrick Lamar), but I still think this is better than a great majority of the shit out there. Low bar, I guess....

DJ Khaled feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, and French Montana – “They Don’t Love You No More” [tags] Apr29

DJ Khaled feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, and French Montana – “They Don’t Love You No More” [tags]...

I keep listening DJ Khaled’s newest posse cut looking for redeeming qualities. Meek Mill comes out of the gate with ferocity. Rick Ross delivers a nice bridge verse well within his range. French Montana is once again relegated to hook-singing and hype-manning. DJ Khaled talks at the end of the record to qualify for royalty checks. And Jay Z somehow finds himself in the studio ready for battle. I mean that was Jiggaman’s goal when he compared some “soft” unnamed rapper to a lacrosse team. Or maybe he had so much to say, you can excuse Jay for flying way off beat on the opening bars of his verse. It doesn’t matter. Mike Zombie delivers a lazy production job taking the “Started From The Bottom” beat, substituting church bells for keyboard lullaby, and adding strategic gunshots. Keep riding that horse into the ground. Overall, this DJ Khaled track is sloppy as fuck. You can’t dance to it. It doesn’t feel like elevating jeep music. It’s just another rap dirge put upon listeners to reinforce our hate against haters....

Coldplay – “A Sky Full Of Stars” Apr29

Coldplay – “A Sky Full Of Stars”

Coldplay is arguably the biggest rock band in the world. The most popular? The safest? The most consistent in the last decade. In anticipation of their May release of Ghost Stories, they even get a NBC special during Sweeps. That should make the “conscious uncoupling” feel a bit better when NBC hands over the check. Did I mention Avicii! and Paul Epworth (who? …shit yeah. that’s who.) produced this pre-fab Vegas club-type track? It’s so uplifting. I can here this playing now for the World Cup or The NBA Finals. It doesn’t even really fit, but it’s Coldplay. People will love it! Even the Taylor Swift-like voice crack flourish Chris Martin pulls off. (OnSmash) NBC Special...

Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea – “Problem” Apr29

Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea – “Problem”...

Damn Idolator and Pitchfork already beat me to punch. That ubiquitous saxophone bleat is making a comeback here and here and now here with Ariana Grande’s monster hit. Shit the track just dropped on Sunday night during the Radio Disney Music Awards. I’m pretty sure that screaming girls at a teen-oriented award show presents a highly bias opinion, but even in a vacuum this track is a bio-engineered hit. Trap-lite. Rapper of the moment: Iggy Azalea (who I assumed replaced Big Sean who is relegated to hook whispering duty…the check still clears). But Ariana glides through “Problem” like young Mariah. You know she can sing stronger and higher, but this is dance-pop. Coast through and save the pipes for a real torch song....

Caitlyn Scarlett – “Bad Love” Apr29

Caitlyn Scarlett – “Bad Love”...

So you press play and think this record sounds like Fiona Apple redux. Plaintive voice over an upright bass and strings, then the slaps and drums come in…you know it’s building to something. Then 57 seconds…WOMMMMP WOMMMMMMMMP. Did I mention Caitlyn Scarlett is British? Production from Ayo Beatz. Look for more in 2014 and beyond. (OnSmash) LISTEN to her EP, Jurassic Jukebox & Other...

Club Kuru – “All The Days”...

I tried digging up a picture of who makes up Club Kuru, a musical project from producer Laurie Erskine. This is what I found on my background check. ‘ku·ru’ – an incurable neurological disorder transmitted among members of the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea via cannibalism. Hot damn! Communicable brain disease spread by cannibalism. Well, let’s see what the music tells me. It’s a little James Blake but a bit more sunny melodically. That, of course, belies the sobering lyrics about the pitfalls of love, freedom, the choices we make, and the options not considered. And all this comes to a cracking crescendo of stuttering drums. BTW the video, directed by Danny Sangra, is an incredible visual experience. Sublime storytelling. A picturesque setting. The video matches the tremulous energy of the track beautifully. (Okayplayer/Clash/Nowness) Club Kuru: All the Days on...

The Roots feat. Raheem DeVaughn – “Tomorrow” Apr28

The Roots feat. Raheem DeVaughn – “Tomorrow”...

I have seem some strange criticism in various C-sections about this track and the current trajectory of The Roots. “Tomorrow” likely fits cohesively into the storyline of The Roots’ concept album, …and then you shoot your cousin. On its own, the jawn is a poignant R&B track with the underrated (Radio) Raheem DeVaughn on vocals. But what the people want are Black Thought’s lyrical gymnastics over a rollicking boom bap orchestrated by Questlove. That sounds like shit you can find on their old albums. If you want that, you should heed Jay Z’s advice. Besides if you haven’t read Questlove’s essay on the failure of hip-hop’s promise to Black America, do yourself and read it now. One read will enlighten on you on The Roots’s new purpose in the musical landscape....

Raury – “God’s Whisper” Apr28

Raury – “God’s Whisper”

In another multiverse this record from Raury could be the Millennial anthem with all its bravado and conceit. But this is our world rife with the pitfalls of business plans, pisspoor marketing schemes, and miscellaneous industry bullshit. “God’s Whisper” is considered genre-less by its author, but because of his skin color (Black), his hometown (Atlanta), and his age (17), he must be a “rapper” of some sort. No, he does not rap. Not on “God’s Whisper.” Not on his excellent follow-up male/female duet record, “Sunshine,” which reminds me of a sanded down version of Shlohmo and Jeremih’s “No More.” On his first release, “Bloom,” in fact Raury initially croons effortlessly over a mellow acoustic guitar riff then busts into a stream-of-consciousness spoken chatter that sounds a lot like rapping. “The very essence of romance is uncertainty,” is the quote attached to the song. So he must be an R&B singer because he’s Black and sings. No, he’s a hybrid like Chris Br…man, I don’t think there’s a real way to box this dude into a genre. “God’s Whisper” is Raury at his full power. Spare lyrics emphasizing his freedom credo. He will not pinned down. Raury’s music is everything you love and none of the shit you don’t want. Just don’t call him a rapper or a singer or some folk hero. It is clear to me in the visuals of “God’s Whisper” that he wants to just be Raury....

BANKS – “Goddess”...

New NEW BANKS. The title track of her debut album, Goddess. Just hit play and luxuriate in the downtempo harmony and sensuality of BANKS’s voice and Lil Silva’s production. (NPR) (Ed. note – pls secret token work for me! if the shit below is missing or doesn’t work, click here to...

Blood Orange feat. Robert Owens – “Uncle ACE” (Kindness Remix) Apr25

Blood Orange feat. Robert Owens – “Uncle ACE” (Kindness Remix)...

Dev Hynes released his album, Cupid Deluxe, last November on the strength of three excellent singles (You’re Not Good Enough, Chamakay, Time Will Tell). For his latest single, he has had it reworked by producer and video director Adam Bainbridge aka Kindness and added house music singer, Robert Owens, add some vocals. The result is a track that starts as a throwback R&B funk track that gets polished down into a very modern chillwave movement....

BOOTS feat. Beyoncé – “Dreams” Apr25

BOOTS feat. Beyoncé – “Dreams”...

BOOTS is the mysterious (read: unknown) producer/songwriter who worked with Beyonce on her smash self-titled album released last Christmas. Rather than picking up more producing gigs, BOOTS is determined to make his own path as a complete artist. For the balance of 2014, he has been leaking excellent track after track of his projected WinterSpringSummerFall mixtape. This ethereal record in particular also has a special cause attached to it. By purchasing this track, you can support DayOneNY.org, an organization “working with youth to end dating abuse.” All around good...

Devonté Hynes – “Palo Alto” Apr25

Devonté Hynes – “Palo Alto”...

When the bassline and melody kicked in, I immediately thought of another soundtrack record from a Coppola-helmed movie about dysfunctional white kids. Not to disparage Air, I am definitely a fan of their music and style. Hell, “La Femme d’Argent” is my go-to mood music. ahem…I digress, while not as rhythmically driven and sinuous as his Blood Orange work, Dev Hynes has created a lush canvas of melody and groove to set the stage for his soundtrack work on the upcoming movie, Palo Alto. Apparently the soundtrack is already on sale. The movie…I may watch it....

Kid Art feat. V.Cha$e – “Imperial” Apr25

Kid Art feat. V.Cha$e – “Imperial”...

The biggest problem I have writing this post is not writing “Ink” when typing Kid Art’s name. Art. Ink. Fuck. I will say this. Kid Art and V(inny) Cha$e wreck the “Long Red“-based production....