The Reviews | Mali Music – ‘Mali Is…’

“I started making music so I could help put everyone at ease. Each Sunday that I came into this building… I realized music could make you cry, make you dance, or even change your life.”
-Mali Music (from his official website)

The Reviews Mali Is...

The feeling of finally arriving is a powerful moment for any artist. While the events following that moment cannot be predicted, that small period of time becomes memorable after the realization of all of that artist’s hard work up until that point. For Kortney Jamaal Pollard, better known by his stage name Mali Music, that moment is now. Continue reading

The Feature: Drake, The Makings Of A Mogul

Drake

For half of a decade, Drake has been a mainstay in regards to the hottest names in the music industry. In a generation loaded with flash-in-the-pan artists, the Toronto-bred emcee’s perennial popularity is an astounding achievement, and a testament to his star power. Drake’s extended period of success has largely been due to the combination of his unique sound, his charisma and connection with his listeners, the establishment of his own brand, and his ventures outside of the music industry. Drake possesses a rare blend of qualities which have made him a household name and provide him the potential to be much more. 2014 will be the year that Drake solidifies his spot amongst the hierarchy of the music industry’s elite. Continue reading

The Spotlight: Run The Jewels

Run The Jewels

With genres within the art of music beginning to cross paths more than ever, it is very rare to find an act that is a throwback to the original sounds of a genre. Typical artists are sonically similar to one another due to the high level of influence that exists, and sounds tend to drift further away from their foundations as music becomes more cookie-cutter and widespread. For these reasons, finding an artist whose style calls back to the origins of a genre is extremely refreshing for a hardcore fan. For those searching for a breath of fresh air, look no further than Run The Jewels. Continue reading

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

The Rap Up: Week of January 23, 2012

We might be two days late, but not two dollars short. This week in music:
Madonna has been named as the headliner for the upcoming NFL Super Bowl on February 5th. The iconic pop star will perform at halftime when the surging New York Giants match up against the perennial powerhouse New England Patriots. Madonna has recruited a host of fellow musicians to perform alongside her, including Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., and Cee-Lo Green. Madonna also has several tricks up her sleeve, which have intentionally been kept under wraps. Those who like surprises should feel inclined to tune into what is sure to be one of the more exciting halftime shows in recent memory.
In other news, Rihanna has become the first female artist to reach two billion views on music video website VEVO. With numerous hit records such as “Man Down”, “Rude Boy”, and “What’s My Name”, the female pop sensation has experienced a huge amount of internet and digital success in addition to her success on the airways. Considering the fact that the music industry is moving into a more digital environment, Rihanna’s achievements are remarkable and should be applauded.
Finally, rap super group Slaughterhouse has announced a release date and title for their sophomore studio album. The LP, entitled Welcome to: Our House, will be released on May 15th. The album will be the group’s first since signing with Shady Records in early 2011, and it will be executively produced by label founder Eminem. In order to promote for the album, the skilled lyrical conglomerate will embark on a two month tour. The tour will begin in March and end in May prior to the release of the album. Now that they are being backed by Eminem and the Shady Records brand, it will be exciting to see what the group can do in a mainstream spotlight.

News:
D’Angelo performs for the first time in 12 years
Stones Throw Records reveals the Stones Throw Digital Discography
Kid Cudi releases track listing for upcoming WZRD album

Releases:
Bruce Springsteen releases “We Take Care Of Our Own”, single from Wrecking Ball
Up-and-coming songstress Elle Varner releases Conversational Lush mixtape
Rock duo Sleigh Bells drops a video for their new single “Comeback Kids”
NY emcee Saigon releases the third installment of his Warning Shots mixtape series
Mixtapes: Chip Tha Ripper, Young Buck, Emilio Rojas, Rockie Fresh, Lyriciss
Wichita rapper XV drops a video for “Batteries”, his Trae the Truth-assisted single
New artist Yuna releases the Pharrell-produced single from her forthcoming album