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It is Sunday, October 14, 2012. Welcome to the next generation of Hip-Hop and independent music! I’m proud to write this article regarding the current #1 Album on Itunes, “The Heist” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. This much-anticipated 18 track deluxe (15 track regular) debut album by the northwest caucasian lyricist from Seattle, WA is a completely independent effort with no major label involvement whatsoever.

Over the course of the past couple years, Macklemore and his producer Ryan Lewis have worked tirelessly touring, recording, and filming viral music videos while building a deeply loyal fan-base to support their independent movement. His fan base grew large enough to vote him onto the list of XXL’s annual Freshmen class of 2012, and since then has grown immensely. A fan base that has included myself since I first saw and met him at SXSW 2010.

Macklemore is an extremely unique and signature artist, articulately expressing his rhymes with a soft, sincere quality that dances over every beat. His lyrics are comprised with a depth and emotion any listener can literally feel and relate to. Unlike much of his genre peers, his material is based on real-life experiences of normal middle class struggles, touching on topics such as addiction and consumerism. Perfect examples are “Starting Over” and “WIng$”. “Neon Cathedral” is a testimonial of alcoholism and the battles one faces that lead to a loss in religious faith.

Its more than the unique style of Macklemore’s raps, but also the authentic and organic sounds Ryan Lewis uses for the instrumentation behind the music. Many tracks are formulated on various horns, strings, and keys over heavy drums with little to no sampling. Though themes are prevalent on every track, “Cant Hold Us,” “Thrift Shop,” and “Gold” are uplifting ballads that are whip-ready for head bopping. “White Walls” featuring Schoolboy Q is a rider anthem while “Jimmy Iovine” featuring Ab-Soul is a hypothetical portrayal of an artist faced with a choice to sign a major label deal and the unspoken consequences that come with that success. Of course “Same Love” tackles the controversial subject of same-sex marriage, a topic that is completely overlooked and ignored in all popular music.

From opening to closing, this is by far one the best album release of 2012 in my opinion, and possibly one of the most complete albums I’ve ever heard. I’ve read some ridiculous responses to a few of Macklemore’s choices for subject matter, but one cannot deny his creativity and originality. Make no doubt about it, this release is a triumphant achievement for not only a more obscure side of hip-hop, but for completely independent music as a whole. I promise you as an artist and fan alike, this is only the beginning for what the future has in store for the success of independent music.

Buy The Album Now
The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

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If you’re watched American Idol over the past 2 seasons you’ve probably seen the older gentleman that coaches up the contestants behind the scenes and goes back in forth with the judges from time to time. That is Jimmy Iovine, and he was well known way before Idol ever aired. So what’s Jimmy Iovine character all about? Here are 5 things we’re guessing you didn’t know about Jimmy Iovine…

Lots of celebrities get shout-outs in songs, and Jimmy Iovine is no exception. Bruce Springsteen gave Jimmy a nod in his song “Aint’ Good Enough For You” where he threw in the line… “Hip and cool, just like Jimmy Iovine.” If “The Boss” thinks you’re cool enough to give you a nod like that in a song, you’ve gotta’ be pretty damned cool…

If you’re into headphones for your mobile or just in general chances are you’ve heard of Beats by Dre. Well you might not know that it’s actually Beats by Dre and Jimmy Iovine as Jimmy is actually the Co-Founder of the Beats product line.

Jimmy Co-Founded Interscope…yup, that Interscope in 1990 and helped introduce artists like Eminem, Limp Bizkit, No Doubt, and Eve. Jimmy Iovine is not the first name to come to mind when you thought of Interscope back in the day, but he really helped to give several major artists a push.

Jimmy’s Ex-Wife is famous as well… a famous author that is as Vicki McCarty is author of the best selling “The Girfriend’s Guide” series. I’ve obviously not read the books, but from what I’ve heard they are very, very popular with the ladies. She was also a Playboy Playmate which is a pretty nice claim to fame as well.

Everyone has heard of Lady Gaga, unless you live on the Moon or under a rock in some remote location. Well, you might not know that Jimmy was actually the person to sign the singer/performer/ball of weirdness known as Lady Gaga. He was her perform at Lollapalooza in 2007, and signed her shortly after

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The headphone giant Beats By Dre, which was recently infused with $300 million dollars in cash, has purchased the social music service MOG for $10 million dollars. According to the LA Times, MOG’s CEO David Hyman would remain with the company and will continue to lead its direction in conjunction with Intercope Records boss Jimmy Iovine.

SiriusXM has announced that its has launched it’s internet radio app on Google TV. In addition SiriusXM internet radio app will be available for download via Google play formerly known as Android, Market.

Last week XBox Music announced a full blown assault at the social music world with XBox Music. XBox Music will be avialble on on Xbox 360, Windows Phones and Windows 8 PCs and Tablets. The XBox will have a similar payment system as Zune with a competitive monthly subscription price.

Spotify announced its new Music Unlimited service for iPhone users. With two plans available at $3.99 and $9.99. Unlike Spotify for iPhone Music Unlimited only gives you the option to stream music and not download music

So the American Idol Judges finally used their “Save” tonight, and they used it on the person they consider the best in the competition… Jessica Sanchez. Last night was an odd night, as the Judges seemed overly critical of some contestants like poor little Holly and gushed over others like Jessica Sanchez. Personally, I thought Holly was fine last night, but she got raked over the coals by Steven while Jennifer backed him up, and Randy looked like a cat with his tail caught under a rocking chair. Randy actually ended up bailing her out even though it was obvious he knew Steven and Jennifer’s criticisms (and the crowds booing) put him on the spot as he was the last to make a comment.

Tonight I missed 90% of the drama and Durbin’s performance which I actually wanted to see. I did however remember to tune in 10 minutes before the ending only to see 2 groups of contestants and a confused looking Sklyar. Ryan asked her “which group will you choose” and said she wouldn’t pick before he grabbed her and stuck her in the group of Hollie Cavanagh, Phillip Phillips, and Colton Dixon. Then Ryan declared that group safe leaving Elise, Jessica, and Joshua’s heads on the chopping block. Immediately the judges started complaining, and saying “America got it wrong.” I immediately started thinking, wow what a setup…

The judges have adored Jessica from the beginning and have made it pretty evident that she’s the one to beat over the past few weeks. I’ve not seen every episode, but honestly I can’t remember them saying anything bad about her since she’s been on. It was obvious to everyone that somebody was getting saved tonight, and I was a little shocked when it was Jessica who they said America voted to send home. The judges however took that shock away when they all got up on the stage during her “goodbye” song before J. Lo’s fine self grabbed the mic and said there was no reason for her to finish as she’s getting saved. That whole move really reeked of “setup” and showed America who the judges (or J. Lo at least) wants to win.

Don’t get me wrong Jessica Sanchez can flat-out sing, and certainly didn’t deserve to be in the bottom three based on talent. That being said, she’s a bit too cocky for my taste (not a fan at all) so maybe America agreed or maybe it was all a big ol’ setup. Were you surprised by “Americas” decision tonight or do you think it was just a ruse as they pick had to be used soon anyway?

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>Beats Electronics just recently opened a store in SoHo New York and remains a great item for the Christmas wish list for anyone yearning to listen to their music in style. The headphones range from $200 to $600 for limited edition versions. The headphones have been seen everywhere the past few months on Ellen DeGeneres and just about every known recording artist has a custom pair thanks to Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.

However there seems to be a lot of mixed reviews about their sound quality. Some of the complaints are that the bass is overpowering and the mid-range sound is lacking.   Recently funded by HTC for 300 million dollars they are set to be a major force in the mobile music industry. HTC is has been heavily advertising the HTC Rezound  for the Holiday Season which comes with built in Beats Technology.