Tag Archives: Kanye West

Eddie Yang Encompasses Soulful Sound With Split The Night

17 Mar

Eddy Yang debuts with his newest single Split the Night and it encompasses everything one could think of when thinking of an artist with soul power. The sound of his music can only be characterized as reflective, yet has a full and folk inspired rhythm. Influenced by a wide variety of artists ranging from Beach House to Kanye West, Yang gives himself just a start into a peek in his debut upon the indie music scene. Eddy Yang proves himself as an indie musician who gives listeners a raw and full sound destined for greatness in the future.

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Top Songs of 2013: #8 – “Black Skinheads” by Kanye West

13 Dec

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Soon as they like you, make ’em unlike you,” Kanye rapped on the follow up to this track from Yeezus. It explains a lot really. Right after producing the critically-acclaimed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Nightmare, which perfectly balanced all of his diverse talents, he dropped Black Skinheads, and it was divisive to say the least.

Many people hated the new House/industrial-influenced sound, while others pointed out that the rapping was still sub-par, and he had less guests than before to prop himself up. It was as though he had thrown out everything that made his last album such a hit.

Nevertheless, Black Skinheads is an absolute masterpiece. The tribal drums and his primal, screaming vocals are a stroke of genius, setting the combative tone as Kanye prepares to take on the world. His music works best when he has something proactive to say, and his entry into the political arena is no exception. On this and New Slaves, he touches on racial problems still facing African-Americans in America. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Kanye song without a touch of brash, political incorrectness and he duly provides, breathlessly rapping ‘If they see a black man with a white woman on the top floor they gonna come to kill King Kong.’

Even if the song was just a look at the world through the eyes of someone with a God complex, it would be highly entertaining. It’s the pounding industrial beat (produced by Daft Punk, no less), the completely uncensored thoughts and Kanye’s absolute passion that make it one of the best songs of the year. It’s proactive, visceral and essential listening. If that isn’t the definition of a masterpiece, what is?

Album Preview – YEEZUS by Kanye West

7 Jun

Before you read on let me introduce you to the author of this post and new Music Court contributor, Jamie Waller. We are excited to have him on board. Jamie will cover the rap and indie rock beat. Keep an eye out for his posts every Friday. Check out Jamie’s bio:

“I’m from Mansfield in UK, and am studying Journalism and History at the University of Lincoln. I’m a keen marathon runner and often write about running on my blog – http://feetfailmenot2.wordpress.com/. I’m a big fan of both rock and rap – my favourite bands are Arctic Monkeys and Gaslight Anthem, and I also enjoy rappers like Eminem, Nas and Kendrick Lamar.”

 

Kanye West

Whether you are rap fan or not, you won’t be able to avoid hearing about Kanye West’s new album YEEZUS for the next few months. Kanye announced its entrance into the world by projecting the lead single on the side of 66 buildings across America. Here is what we do and don’t know about one of the most anticipated albums of the year.

What we do know

Kanye’s god complex hasn’t gotten any smaller. Kanye has always been one of the most eccentric (some would say arrogant) character in the world of rap, but he seems to be now taking it to new heights. Yeezus is a combination of his nickname, Yeezy, and Jesus. After his smash hit song New God Flow last year, he has now developed a god complex of his own.

The Dropout Bear isn’t back. The adorable bear from his first three album covers still isn’t back – instead he has opted for a minimalistic cover that mimics bootlegged CDs, complete with a handwritten sticker saying ‘YEEZUS.’ Perhaps the moral is ‘Don’t judge a CD by its cover?’

The guest list will be as huge as usual. The list of people he has worked with in the studio just keeps growing, from regular collaborators like Frank Ocean, John Legend and Pusha T, to some people you might not expect – Skrillex and Daft Punk, for example. The French duo reportedly produced the single ‘Black Skinhead’ while Skrillex’s role is still a mystery. Jay-Z will almost certainly have a guest verse too as usual.

It won’t be like anything we’ve heard before. If there’s one thing you can rely on Kanye for, it’s to constantly reinvent his musical style. From the slowed-down horns of his debut to autotune, there’s little telling what he will do next. People who have worked with him have hinted towards the album being ‘dark’, ‘primal’ and ‘tribal’, whatever that means.

It will be released on 18th June. That is, if you believe Kanye’s mysterious tweets.

What we don’t know

What’s actually going to be on the CD. Kanye may be very ostentatious but he can keep a secret when he needs to; there have been almost no leaks about YEEZUS. Going against the current trend, the album won’t be streamed before release either. Kanye has performed the songs New Slaves and Black Skinhead live, but besides that everything else is under wraps.

Whether his rapping has improved. Without being disrespectful, Kanye has never been the most gifted lyricist. His talents lie in producing songs and getting the best out of other rappers, but he constantly gets outshined by them. He has definitely made strides in recent albums – for example, take lines like “They say I’m the abomination of Obama’s nation/ Well that’s a pretty bad way to start a conversation.”  It will be interesting to see whether he can actually hold his own now.

Is he really going political? The first single from the album touches on themes about how consumerism is used to keep black people down, while the word Skinhead has strong political connotations. While he’s never been afraid to touch on struggles black people face before, this is the first time he’s placed them as the centre piece of his album.

Whether it will live up to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Nightmare. Kanye’s last solo album wowed critics and the buying public alike back in 2010. Looking at fame through the prism fairy tales, it dove into the grimy heart of celebrity, winning the Grammy for Best Rap Album. There was an outcry when it was snubbed by the main award in favour of more commercial albums. The question now – and the only one that will really matter to listeners – is if whether Kanye can return to the heights of his masterpiece.

Money, Cash, Hoes: What Type of Facts are Those

12 Sep

I’m going to go from my oldest obsession to my newest.  Hip hop music.  I’m going to say upfront I never liked hip hop music. If your name starts with a “lil,” I don’t like you and I know your music sucks.  For that shrinking subset of rappers whose names don’t start with a “lil” or autotune, I’ll give you a chance.  That being said, I don’t like most rap.  I can’t really relate to either the excess rappers (smoke blunts) or the socially conscience rappers. That being said, there is still good rap even if you have to dig deep for it.

Take everything I said about excess rappers and throw it away for a second.  Just a second.  Or however long it takes you to read the following.  Despite what I’ve said, I really like Jay Z despite his embodiment of much that I despise.  The only explanation is that he has really soulful beats.  Try The Blueprint or the Black Album.  Neither album has him rapping over a drum machine which I particularly dig, even if much of his stuff is about living the life.

Watching that video, I remember just how great Eminem is.  Eminem was the first rapper I ever heard and said wow.  The man doesn’t just rap a line and take a break, he barrels forward without a break, even if it means you have to catch up to him.  His dark humor and violence turn me off at times but even then, he is, undisputedly, the most clever lyricist out there.  Similarly, Louis Logic’s clever lyrics and similar sense of humor remind me of Eminem.

My favorite rapper, however, is Common.  Originally attracted to his cool, soul and jazz influenced beats, I also started listening to his meaningful lyrics and was hooked.  There are, like with every other rapper, particulars that I don’t particularly enjoy but his album Be is the only rap album that I enjoy all songs on.

This last bit is about my favorite verse in all of hip hop.  It’s on a Kanye West song but no, it’s not a Kanye West lyric.  Jay Z is also on the song, but it’s not his either.  It’s by a hip hop poet by the name of J Ivy and you can skip to 3 minutes to hear it on the following link.

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