Tag Archives: jay z

Cool Music

Jay-Z – I can’t get with that

I’ve been reading Decoded recently, which is a surprisingly good read.  The usual self-rationalization etc., but Jay-Z shows some surprisingly insightful moments.  In the book, he discusses the track I Can’t Get with That, as one of his first music videos when he was really trying to get out there.  Back before labels took him seriously.  He describes it as as a showcase for his various flows, and it’s a pretty amazing thing to watch.

Art Music

Jay-Z Explains Why Rap Is Poetry

Jay-Z, in an interview about his new book, Decoded, says rap music should be considered poetry.

Music

Coachella Fun – Want to see the Gorillaz live?

gorillaz

I feel like I spend half my time linking to Pitchfork articles, but I guess that’s because they do a damn good job at covering music.  They’ve created a big post linking to a bunch of videos from the Coachella festival.

Wired loved the festival, particularly Jay-Z’s set

But that’s not to say there weren’t highlights, the biggest I’m-texting-my-friends-about-this-right-now moment being when he brought out Beyoncé Knowles — the Bonnie to his Clyde — to sing the chorus on his track “Forever Young.” They’re a couple that eschews much, if any, attention given to their union, but for those few minutes onstage, the Coachella crowd got a small glimpse of what it’s like to see two of the biggest names in music, well, flirt. Needless to say, it went over well.

“I got goose bumps when Beyoncé came out,” Matt Johnson of indie dance-punk duo Matt & Kim said Saturday, to which his band mate Kim Schifino replied, “See? Going in [I was thinking], ‘I bet 10 bucks he brings out Beyoncé.’”

Read More http://www.wired.com/underwire/2010/04/coachella-2/#ixzz0lhVaA65v

Personally, I was a fan of watching the Gorillaz performance with De La Soul (via video of course since I couldn’t be there for real.)  Watch that below.

Music

Coldplay and Jay-Z? Yes it’s true, and yes, it’s okay

jayandchris

You read that headline correctly.  Terry Urban has gone ahead and made his own kind of Grey Album.  Urban has mashed up Jay-Z and Coldplay into an album he has titled Viva La Hova.

I was totally taken aback because I never would have thought of matching those two artists, but I guess that actually might be why this idea sort of works.

I’ve got something of a weak spot for mashups,  more for the idea than the result.  In general, I sort of like the idea of putting two incongruous artists together into something new.  It either really adds something to an artist or abruptly forces you to rethink why you liked the artist in the first place.  This album does both of those things.  Listen to the Life of Clocks and you’ll get what I mean.  Coldplay’s mellow beats honestly overwhelm Hova’s rhymes, and it seems like it sort of exposes Jay’s lyrics as being just absurd.  On the other hand, a track like Science is Ignorant works a little bit better.

But yes, the end result (as with most mashups) is that it entertains you for a few minutes and then you sort of get bored of it.  But it’s worth looking at.  You can download the album here.

Stream it off their Myspace Page: www.myspace.com/vivalahova

Music

Empire State of Mind

shot7.com Jay-Z in Toronto for ACC concert and press photos 2009

In light of the mad amounts of press Jay Z has been getting lately, it seemed fitting that we give him a post.  Hova’s been on tour in Canada lately, and has been wowing people with his new album. 

One of the better moments in the career of Jay Z has to be the opportunity to perform at the World Series.  He and Alicia Keys got to perform their track Empire State of Mind at Yankee Stadium (the new one, obviously) and that resulted in the Yankees beating the Phillies.  Well, maybe not resulted, but it’s a nice coincidence that a song about New York pride accompanied a Yankee victory.  That must have pissed of Phillies fans everywhere.  Still, the Phillies can probably dig the line that Jay “made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can”. 

Speaking of that (like that segueway?), Pitchfork is reporting that Beanie Siegel (a Philly resident) is unimpressed with the jigga man.  Apparently Beanie released a diss track called "What You Talkin Bout (I Ain’t Ya Average Cat)".

According to Pitchfork, on the track Beanie talks

“about how Jay allegedly "snitched" on him and basically won’t return his calls. Unlike most Jay-Z disses, though, this one isn’t just petty and attention-grabbing. Beanie is clearly torn up by the falling out, as shown by a long, ranting outro during which he seems to be near tears.

Check out the video for Empire State of Mind, (via Nah Right and Pitchfork)

 

If you’re curious about the diss track, check it out here:

Awareness Underreported News

Miley Cyrus loves Jay-Z

Now I don’t want to start a vicious rumour or anything, but there’s a very real possibility that Jay-Z has officially fallen off.  It’s not his fault, he is a legend and a dope emcee, but he’s also made songs so commercial that even Miley Cyrus knows who he is and drops his name in a song.

It just gives me shivers talking about this, but it’s true.  Listen to the first verse of Party in the USA and you will know what I mean.  She talks about how hearing “a Jay-Z song” makes her nervousness go away and makes her get all down and dancing.

If you make it that far, she later says that about Britney Spears too.

Lyrics for this verse below:

I hopped off the plane at LAX
With a dream and my cardigan
Welcome to the land of fame excess
Am i gonna fit in
Jumped in a cab
Here I am for the first time
Looked to my right
And I see the Hollywood signs
This is all so crazy everybody seems so famous
My tummy’s turnin’ and I’m feeling kinda homesick
Too much pressure and I’m nervous
Was when the taximan turned on the radio
and a Jay-Z song was on x3

[Chorus:]
So I put my hands up they’re playing my song
The butterflies fly away
Nodding my head like yea
Moving my hips like yea

Got my hands up they’re playing my song
They know I’m gonna be okay
Yeah, it’s a party in the USA x2

Music

M.I.A’s Grammy performance with the ‘Rap Pack’

At the Grammy’s a few nights ago, a very pregnant M.I.A. performed.  In fact, it was actually her due date!

In the words of Queen Latifah, this was a hip hop ‘rap pack’.  Yes, that was a Latifah play on the ‘rat pack’ nickname.  Still, it’s not everyday you’ll see M.I.A, Jay-Z, Kanye, TI and Lil’ Wayne all perform together on the same track.

It seemed to be one of the biggest hip hop Grammy performances in recent memory, which is definitely a good thing.  Plus, it’s not really that bad.

Music

Jaydiohead is nothing to laugh at

Minty Fresh Beats has put together the latest Jay-Z mashup and is currently blowing up all over the internet.

Who is it with, you may ask? Surely it would be nearly impossible to top Dangermouse’s The Grey Album! That one mixed Hova with the freakin Beatles.

Well, Minty Fresh Beats taken it a step further and created Jaydiohead, a mashup of Jay-Z with various big Radiohead songs.  This isn’t a two-album mashup, but instead is a product of many hours of work, putting Jay-Z vocals overtop of re-chopped Radiohead beats whever they fit.

Any of you who listen to Radiohead can probably attest to the fact that those cats are not known for keeping their beats steady, so it must have been a hell of a challenge to put this together.

It’s a free download, so go check it out.  Or if you want to sample it, you can stream it here.

Classic Breaks

Classic Breaks: Seven Minutes of Funk

If you listen to hip-hop, you know “Seven Minutes of Funk” by Tyrone Thomas and the Whole Darn Family.  Even if you can’t identify it by name, or have any idea who Tyrone Thomas or his apparently massive family are, the first twenty second of this track have been indelibly etched into your subconscious. Have a listen:

A quick search of the sample database at The Breaks shows that “Seven Minutes” has been sampled for thirteen songs.  I suspect, however, that that list is incomplete given how damn funky and perfectly sample-able the song is.  Because – and let’s be honest – as soon as you hit ‘play’ your head was nodding.  It took me three hours to write this post because I start dancing every time I hear Woody Hughes’s (or Paris Ford’s, depending on who you read) “emphatic bass playing” and Tyrone Thomas’s “steady drumming.”* 

According to allmusic, “Seven Minutes” is from The Whole Darn Family’s 1976 release Has Arrived.  More information about the band is surprisingly difficult to find.  Fortunately, My Bass Rocks has a great post on “Seven Minutes” which includes some background info on Thomas and his fam.  The band was apparently formed in 1974, and the track was written after a gig in North Carolina.    

Like a lot of ’70s music, “Seven Minutes” gained far more exposure as a hip-hop sample than it ever did in its original incarnation.  The song’s opening seconds have been looped to great effect by a diverse group of emcees, largely because its infectious bass line is compatible with a seemingly endless variety of hip-hop subgenres, from g-funk to East Coast boom-bap to old school party music.  

Although sparse, the break is compelling enough to be used alone.  Nor does it need to be extensively chopped.  In fact, producers nearly always keep it intact, preferring to harness its already palpable groove than to risk mutating it into something far less interesting.

Below are four examples of the sample in action.  My favourite is EPMD’s “It’s My Thing.”  It seems to capture the fun, get-down-on-it spirit of the original.  Lines like “Rhymes fresher than fresh, never heard me fess/scored 110 on my emcee test, ” especially when delivered in the smooth cadence of an emcee like Parrish Smith, accompany the sample perfectly.  Grandmaster Flash’s “Superrappin'” is also interesting to consider because it uses a less-recognizable sample from the middle of “Seven Minutes.”  Anyways, check ’em out:

Jay-Z – Ain’t No N**** ft. Foxy Brown (Reasonable Doubt, 1996)

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EPMD – It’s My Thing (Strictly Business, 1988)

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Dru Down – Pimp of the Year (Dru Down, 1993)

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five – Superrappin’ (?, 1979?)

* Clearly not my own words.  My description of the track would include more phrases like “sexy-ass bass line” and “dope-tastic drums”.

Music

Jay-Z Launches New Label With Norwegian Duo | Pitchfork

Pitchfork media is reporting that Jay-Z is about to launch a whole new music label called StarRoc.   Weird name, I guess, but there’s a story  behind it.

Hova’s looking to lock down the hottest top40 production team since the Neptunes.  Stargate, a Norwegian duo comprised of or Erik Hermansen and Mikkel S. Eriksen.  It seems like a bit of a contrast in styles, but these electro-pop geniuses are making waves in mainstream hip hop all over North America.

They’re the ones behind the beats for songs like Irreplacable (Beyonce’s recent big hit) or Unfaithful by Rihanna.  Not exactly our style over here at 4080 Records, but definitely huge sellers in the market.

The New York Times describes these dudes as:

…wholesome-looking, milk-complexioned Norwegians who, despite having no public persona, have quickly become two of the most in-demand figures in pop music.

So there you have it.  Zeroes in terms of public image, but definitely the rising producing stars for a lot of artists (many of him Jay-Z’s already tied to).  So locking them down into a new label seems like a genius move.

Smartest of all, Hova’s new label will sign everyone to a 360 degree contract.  That means the artists get a share of everything.  This has become the new norm since the decline of CD sales, and really results in a better deal for the artist.

[Source: Pitchfork]