This was a very light week in the music industry as far albums go, but that doesn’t mean it was short of excitement. We kicked it off with an ill verse from Kendrick Lamar in the taking shots at Drake on the B.E.T. awards. This is really the first time in a long time that we could possibly have a hip-hop battle between two rappers that matter. I know Drake has always been un-confrontational, but in those interviews he seems to sound more and more irritated when people brought up Kendrick’s name.
A few Bands released albums that I am not going to rate. These albums speak for themselves.
First, I would like to remind country music fans that Lady Antebellum released Golden this week, which I have not had the opportunity to hear, so I’m not rating their album this week. There were also several indie rock releases that flew under my radar, but hey I am only one man.
The Beatles – Live At The BBC (Remastered)
The Beatles released a live album, Live At The BBC. The album was originally released 19 years ago, but the new re-mastered touches are worth the purchase. This is quite the gem for the Beatles fan. It’s a double disc that covers the period of 1962 to 1965 in which the Beetles made 52 live studio appearances at the BBC. The album features several of their hits as well as several songs that were never released. It is a must have for any Beatle’s fan.
Direct Hits is a greatest hit compilation that features all of the charted hits from the last decade from the alternative rock band. They had a lot of good songs in their career, however my personal preference is to listen to the actual albums. I’ve never been a fan of greatest hit albums because in the iPod era you can literally put your own playlist together of the songs you love and not just the ones that received heavy rotation. Nonetheless, it’s a good collection of songs and I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to rate.
This week was filled with R&B and hip-hop records but the one sore thumb was…
Lady Gaga, our reigning Queen of eccentric music released another album full of upbeat dance tracks in the obscure manner that only she can. The album features appearances for Twista, T.I., Too Short and R Kelly. She has literally turned pop music inside out and made it her own and this album is an extension of her originally.
Score – 8
Jhene Aiko – Sail Out (EP)
Jhene Aiko is my spotlight artist to watch. She started her career under the Boy Band B2K and was supposed to backpack off of their success as a cousin to members of the group, which wasn’t true. It was just a publicity stunt. Years later she’s back and all grown up. Her EP features 7 songs of mellow emotional sounds. Don’t expect any dance tracks or radio single. It’s R&B but the line is truly blurred as the tracks are very hip-hop influenced. Most of the tracks feature rap verses. It features appearances from Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino amongst others. Honestly from the production to the lyrics and arrangements it is almost identical to rapper Drake’s sound. If I didn’t already know that she’s a writer I would assume that Drake wrote her album. She’s literally the female Drake. She’s been credited for writing hooks for rappers Drake, Kendrick and Big Sean among others.
Score – 7
For those that have not been paying attention Omarion, the ex-front man from B2K has released 3 mixtapes over a four-year period. All of them are playlist worthy. Featuring original songs over original production. It’s basically a 9-song album released by Rick Ross’s Maybach Music. This let’s us know that the mixtapes are here to build his buzz back up for an upcoming album. I just hope that he’s not using his best material on the mixtapes to lead to a disappointing album release because this is a stellar project for R&B and a must download. What are you waiting for? It’s free.
Score – 7.5
Another free download features 12 new original tracks from the original 5 members of the Three Six Mafia. That’s right, I said 5 members you heard me right. It’s a Three Six Mafia reunion with an album to follow next year. The group is under the new name Mafia 6ix because the founding member Juicy J will not be apart of the reunion and is in fact on his solo grind. It sounds like the original Three Six sound. Lots of chanting and dark heavy based tear the club up type beats. It’s violent and more satanic than I remember the previous works being. I heard Satan’s name mentioned quite a bit. It’s was refreshing to hear them all back together including my personal favorite Gangsta Boo, but the chanting doesn’t sit well with me and really never has.
Score – 6.5
The youngest sister of the Braxton family released a Christmas album for the holiday season. This a very soulful rendition of Christmas classics done well by a wonderful R&B voice. The music is very minimal, putting all the emphasis on her voice. A decent Christmas album, it’s not a classic but it’s not a bomb. It’s a good effort.
Score – 7
Bun B returns to keep the UGK brand alive. He even brought some unreleased hooks from the late Pimp C. Remember when Pimp C was in jail and Bun B said he wasn’t interested in doing solo albums with out his partner in crime? Well he becomes a seasoned vet when it comes to the fourth quarter or what I like to call big dog season. Features on the album include more relevant names and he does a good job of mixing up production to preserve that Texas sound as well as other tracks inspired by other areas of hip-hop. No real surprises as far as him stepping outside of his comfort zone but a solid release.
Score – 8.5
Not a lot of varieties as far as genres go this week but a lot of good stuff to check out if you missed it. Feel free to speak up if you support or disagree with the rating. Next week is an even lighter week so there’s nothing I’m really anticipating. I’m hoping Drake throws a response to Kendrick here pretty soon cause that Cypher verse was brutal. Until then look for my artist spotlight post for the month over the next few days.
10 – Instant Classic – must have
09 – Great Album just short of classic
08 – Good Album recommend checking out
07 – Above average more upside then down
06 – Worth the listen, has a few moments
05 – Average, maybe core fan base will enjoy
04 – You’re not missing much if you skip this one
03 – Bad album let down
02 – Trash- don’t waste your time
01 – Everyone involved in this album needs to reevaluate their life