The Rap Up: Week of January 6, 2014

Rap Up

This Week In Music:
Fans of live performances were highly pleased this week as several artists were announced to appear on upcoming shows and festivals. First, a few notable artists were added to the 56th Grammy Awards performers list. Katy Perry, Lorde, Robin Thicke, and special performances from Stevie Wonder (with Daft Punk) and Metallica have all been added to the bill of the January 26th show. In addition, the upcoming NFL Super Bowl will be highlighted by special performances throughout the week. The Black Keys, John Legend, and Band Of Horses will put on special concerts for Citi cardholders as a part of a series of functions that are set to lead up to the Super Bowl on February 2nd. Finally, the annual Coachella festival has announced its star-studded 2014 lineup. Taking place over two weekends in April, the festival will be headlined by Arcade Fire, Muse, and the newly reunited duo Outkast. In its 14 year run, Coachella is putting on what could possibly be their most talked about lineup in recent years.
In other news, Guggenheim Media announced that Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter have a new person running the show. On Tuesday, it was officially announced that Janice Min will now serve as Co-President/Chief Creative Officer of the Entertainment Group of Guggenheim Media, a role which is an expansion for her and effective immediately. In her new role, Min will be responsible for leading Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter as the authority of the editorial direction of the brands. We congratulate Janice Min on her growth within such an established company, and look forward to what the brand will offer in the coming future.
In more controversial news, rapper Young Jeezy turned himself in last Friday to face charges which he incurred in September of 2012, involving an altercation with his son. The rapper was arrested for battery, false imprisonment, and making threats, according to a court report cited by TMZ. The report also gives in-depth details on the altercation, noting punching, dragging, choking, and death threats (“If I could get away with it, I would kill you”). Jeezy’s lawyer did not comment on the charges, but noted that they hoped the situation would resolve itself soon.

The News:
DJ Drama lands a new gig as an A&R for Atlantic Records
Conor Oberst responds to anonymous sexual assault allegations
Curren$y, The Clipse, The Cool Kids announce new projects
Jay-Z brings in $1 Million with Barneys
The-Dream announces split with Def Jam
Lionel Richie, Mary J. Blige, and Erykah Badu to play Essence Festival
Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears dominate People’s Choice Awards
Chris Brown rejects plea deal on assault charge
Nas will be honored at the upcoming Vibe Impact Awards
Kid Ink set to debut near the top of the Billboard 200

The Tunes:
Beyonce – “God Made You Beautiful”
Common – “War”
Broken Bells – “After The Disco”
Yelawolf – “Louder” (ft. Inkmonstarr)
Chromeo – “Come Alive” (ft. Toro Y Moi)
Zo! – “We Are On The Move” (ft. Eric Roberson & Phonte) Video
Maffew Ragazino – Brownsville’s Jesus
Keyshia Cole – “Loyal Freestyle” (ft. Lil Wayne & Sean Kingston)
Freddie Gibbs – “One Eighty Seven” (ft. Problem) Video
Nickelus F – “Painkillerz” Video

The Charts:
Hot 100: Pitbull – “Timber” (ft. Ke$ha)*
Radio: Eminem – “The Monster” (ft. Rihanna)
Digital: Pitbull – “Timber” (ft. Ke$ha)
200: “Frozen” Soundtrack
R&B: Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Rap: Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Rock: Lorde – Pure Heroine
Independent: Garth Brooks – Blame It On My Roots
*Indicates New Entry

The Bonus Tracks:
Blu & Exile’s Below The Heavens reissues, Tupac musical set for Broadway, SNL finally adds a black female cast member

Advertisements

Album Review: Wiz Khalifa – “Taylor Allderdice”

“When you talk about longevity, you can’t base that on one year, or six months, or eight months, or anything like that… I was speaking to anybody who’s riding with me for the long run, and who’s looking for the next thing for me to do”.
Wiz Khalifa on his comments in “Strictly For My Taylors

A quick flashback to last year would be indicative of Wiz Khalifa’s meteoric rise to stardom. At this time in 2011, Wiz had just released his major label debut Rolling Papers to lackluster reviews after experiencing his first mainstream success behind the hit record “Black And Yellow”.
Fast forward and TGOD supporters around the world rejoice as the 24 year-old Pittsburgh native is back on the scene with his newest project Taylor Allderdice. Named after Wiz’s high school alma mater, the project shows a return to the form he had prior to his Atlantic Records venture. During that span, Wiz enlisted a shortlist of producers and engineers (Sledgren, Cardo, Big Jerm, Johnny Juliano, I.D. Labs) to create synth-heavy, bass-blaring, listener-engaging instrumentals which were crafted specifically to fit his signature deliveries and lyrical content, the latter of which is centered on his heavy usage of marijuana and his party lifestyle. Taylor Allderdice sees Wiz bringing back a sound which fans have come to expect from him, and that’s definitely not a bad thing.
The qualities and characteristics of Taylor Allderdice are largely comparable to some of Wiz’s more recent works. For instance, the more aggressive atmosphere which Wiz attempted to achieve with Cabin Fever has a presence on Taylor Allderdice. With songs like “Taylor Gang” and “Homicide” being huge fan favorites last year, it’s good to see Wiz incorporating this sound into this new project with records like “Guilty Conscience”, “T.A.P.”, and “The Code”. Simultaneously, fans of Kush & Orange Juice will appreciate the cohesive sound of Taylor Allderdice. Whether it’s the flow-heavy rapping and melodic choruses which spawn memorable records, or if it’s the familiar production styles and thematic interludes which provide a packaging for those records, Taylor Allderdice sees Wiz and the gang perfectly meshing these essential song qualities in order to craft a project which is wholly enjoyable and plays like a soundtrack fitting of a stoner lifestyle (no Mac and Devin).
Taylor Allderdice has several standout tracks for the listeners to enjoy. The inaugural record “Amber Ice” is likely to be the smoothest opening to any of Wiz’s projects to date, while “Mary 3x” is more than serviceable as the “weed song” this time around. The beauty of Taylor Allderdice is that the project gets better after it reaches its midpoint. “Rowland” (track 10) features fellow emcee Smoke DZA and captures a vibe which is faintly reminiscent of Wiz’s How Fly days with Curren$y. “My Favorite Song” sees the Academy Award-winning Taylor Gang member Juicy J make his first of three straight appearances on the project. The song is produced by Rob Halladay (of Yung Berg “Sexy Lady” fame) and is slightly infectious to say the least. Next up, the SpaceGhostPurrp-produced “T.A.P.” slows the pace and brings a more bass-heavy production for Wiz and Juicy J to takeoff to. Finally, a Lex Luger production finds its home on the project as “The Code” lets the Taylor Gang (Wiz, Chevy Woods, Juicy J, & Lola Monroe) engage in a new-school posse cut. While the momentum gained by these four records is somewhat lost after the project fails to go out with a bang, Wiz’s effort is still commendable.
In summary, Wiz Khalifa fans will appreciate and enjoy Taylor Allderdice for the foreseeable future and add it to their collection of Pittsburgh-penned marijuana music. Hopefully, this project is foreshadowing of good things to come for Wiz and the Gang.

Pros:
+Serves as a nice rebound from Rolling Papers
+Returns to the use of in-house producers/engineers, with efficient use of outside production
+Further demonstrates Wiz’s ability to craft cohesive projects
+ “Mary 3x”, “Rowland”, “T.A.P.”, “The Code”

Lows:
Closes out with lackluster, filler-quality songs
Shows a lack of growth in terms of subject matter; no expansion or evolution
“Brainstorm”, “Number 16”, “Blindfolds”

Listening Rating:
3.9/5, BA[S]ICs
STRONG