Tag Archives: album

Music

Little Brother Unveils ‘LeftBack’ Album Art and Tracklist

Little Brother's final album "LeftBack"

Little Brother unveiled today the album art and tracklist of their next, and reportedly last, album. Called LeftBack, the album is set for release on April 20.  According to a press release, the album will “feature production from the likes of Khrysis, Denaun Porter, Zo!, Symbolyc One, J. Bizness and King Karnov, [and] is poised to take listeners on an epic auditory adventure.”  Guest-spotting on the album are Jozeemo, Yahzarah, Chaundon, Bilal, Darien Brockington, Carlitta Durand and others.  Sounds dope.

Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of their last album, it’s most definitely a shame to hear that LeftBack will mark the end of Little Brother.  Like Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte made amazing records based around their love of hip-hop.  Dudes weren’t the greatest rappers of all time, but their appreciation and understanding of the culture meant that their music will be listened to for years to come.

Their demise also speaks to the sorry state of contemporary hip-hop.  As a post on PrefixMag.com put it, “It’s sad to see bad timing, poor album sales, and record company mismanagement destroy a group as good as this. It made no sense why their considerable skills never translated into record sales and airplay. If anything, it’s an indictment of the style over substance attitude governing the hip hop mainstream for the last few years. Here’s hoping ‘Te and Pooh’s solo endeavors continue to shine as brightly as Little Brother’s brief but seminal catalog does.”

LeftBack tracklist:

01 Curtain Call
02 Table for Two [ft. Jozeemo & Yahzarah]
03 Tigallo for Dolo
04 Revenge
05 So Cold [ft. Chaundon]
06 Second Chances [ft. Bilal & Darien Brockington]
07 Go Off Go On
08 What We Are [ft. Quiana]
09 After the Party [ft. Carlitta Durand] (S1 and Caleb’s Who Shot JR Ewing Remix)
10 Two Step Blues [ft. Darien Brockington] (Zo‘s Purple Suit With the Matching Gators Remix)
11 Get Enough Pt. 2 [ft. Khrysis]
12 Before the Night Is Over
13 24 [ft. Torae]

Album Reviews Featured Music

New Souls of Mischief Album out

som-itunes Holy dopeness.  This is one new hip hop album I’m truly excited about.  Souls of Mischief have just dropped their newest album titled Montezuma’s Revenge.

The album is shaping up to be great Tour Stories is one of the best tracks I’ve heard.  Not even just this year.  It’s an unbelievable effort from some aging hip hop legends.  I’m not even going to bother giving you a hip hop history lesson for the Souls of Mischief, because if you don’t know who they are then you and I may just straight up have a problem.

Just playing.  The Souls of MIschief are a strong contingent of emcees who also run with the Hieroglyphics crew.  A-Plus, Opio, Phesto, and Tajai gave us the ever-so-classic ‘93 til infinity, the memorable track that has to be in my top ten songs of all time.  This effort, their 5th album to date, is no slouch of an effort.  The sound of this new album is pretty consistent with what they’ve been doing.  It’s co-produced by Prince Paul & Domino, so you know it’s going to be full of pretty strong piano samples and mellow hooks.

I haven’t had the chance to hear the entire album in detail yet, so I won’t spoil it for you by posting half-finished thoughts.  But I do want to encourage you to check it out.

It’s a strong effort to be sure, and  I’ve hooked you up with some youtube goodness below to check it out.

Here’s Proper Aim off the same album.  A very different vibe, but shows how diverse they can be.

Buy this album!

Album Reviews Music

Brother Ali – Us

So I quickly mentioned this the other day in my post about some upcoming albums in 2009 and I have to say that since I’ve had a chance to listen to the whole thing, this is just a stellar effort.

I was grossly underwhelmed by the Rope-a-Dope and by The Undisputed Truth, but Us’ target=_blank>Us is one of the best albums I’ve copped in a good while.

Unlike his previous efforts, this is not one that is overtly political.  Far shy of Uncle Sam Goddamn, this album has a lot more soul and melody than anything since Shadows on the Sun

Take Us (the track) for example.  It was featured in my last post, but it is soulful and haunting in a way that shocked me.  It starts off sounding almost like spoken word, and his phrasing is poetic.  There’s no hook, just solid bars and words that actually sound like he meant something.

Slippin Away is grittier and is more traditional Ali.  He’s telling a story of losing control and trying to deal with a childhood that was just downright oppressive.  It’s a story we’ve heard a lot of times, trying to make your way and resist the crazy peer pressure flying his way.

The Travelers is a bit surprising, coming from a white fellow.  It’s a matter-of-fact approach to telling the story of slavery.  It’s one part memorial and one part documentary, and comes across as both honest and not at all trite.  At least in my impression.  It’s totally possible that you may have another opinion.

Travis Lupick of Straight.com makes a pretty interesting observation when he says: “Us is a concept album that gives the impression its songs were inspired by the lives of a thousand real people. Hence the record’s name. It’s a portrait of America that is told with an amazing level of empathy. And it sounds damn good. Entirely produced by Atmosphere’s Ant, Us includes tracks that could almost find their way onto the radio, but overall, remains a jazz-infused product of the underground.”

I like the phrasing of that, but y’all will have to check it out to decide just how hyperbolic he’s being.  Frankly, I love this album and encourage you all to go find it.

Cool Music

The World’s First Album Cover

Undependent™ » The World’s First Album Cover – Alex Steinweiss’ Greatest Hit

The Undependent is a pretty solid blog that claims to try and keep tabs on and bring exposure to internet-based artists. That’s something noble in that endeavour, and 4080 stands behind them 100%.

One of the cooler posts I’ve seen, the one linked above, is all about the very first album cover in history.

Alex Steinwess, a then 23 years old designer, convinced Columbia’s suits to create the first true album cover. Until then, 78s were sold in generic sleeves.Recently, I came across an apparently original edition of this album and was able to pick it up for almost nothing. Someone unwittingly dumped it onto eBay for chump change. I mean, if they’d known what they had, I would’ve at least expected the auction to include “World’s First Album Cover!” and a reserve price of $100, $500, who knows? Instead, I picked it up for less than $30. –Source

It’s amazing how such a simple idea took so long to come about. And yet, in a lot of ways, this thing that revolutionized music when it came out is now a dying art. The age of mp3 has reduced the art involved in an album cover. Apparently this first cover, when closed, looked identical to a hardcover book. So it would fit in perfectly on that shelf of yours.

Now, album art still exists, and most of the new fancy mp3 players will do their best to display it for you. There are heaps of programs out there to download the art automagically and all that jazz, but it’s just not the same. Now every traditionalist and vinyl enthusiast in the world will tell you that album art and liner notes are part of what is so special about the physical music disc.

So, good on you Alex Steinweiss. You really did a lot to improve the music industry, so thank you for that. Now I hope we all keep our fingers crossed that album covers don’t just disappear into obscurity.