Nicki Minaj — You thought the Google thing was bad?

Culture, Feature, Music

‘I Get Crazy’ by Nicki Minaj featuring Wayne was my introduction to Onika Maraj. I subscribed immediately. Although she was a new name to me in 2009, she had been going hard in the US for years. And then her Sucka Free mixtape came out and the reference to Lil Kim was there, from the start. “We did that pose to make a statement,” Nicki explained to Jabari Johnson in 2008. 

I subscribed to her flow and her balls, which allowed her to say whatever she felt like in her verses. Her flow was fierce and her bars held your attention; not just with words but flava too — there was no air of ‘token female rapper’ on her. As plain as that sounds in 2014 with the likes of Azealia Banks, Dej Loaf, Chelsea Reject and others today – back then – it was the beginning of a new trajectory in the realms of rap and women. There had been hardcore female rappers before her, but there was something about Nicki that pushed the envelope further and offered a fresh sound; eagerly, I anticipated the release of Pink Friday… The 2008 interview with Jabari Johnson did it for me:

JJ: Do you think it’s harder as a female rapper to achieve?

NM: Yessssss, why you think there’s only been a handful of females in the game the last 15 years. It’s hard because you get judged by the industry and you get judged by consumers, hard, bodied. Like females, we have this crab in the bucket thing, like we never wanna see another female get somewhere, so it’s very hard, because you get critiqued by the girls, boxed in by the dudes…

…Its’ very hard I write my own shit, that’s another thing, people, a lot of the times I work with people and they’re like, ‘Oh you need a ghost writer’? Like, boo, I do this, please don’t get it twisted, don’t get it confused. When I’m in the studio with Wayne, when I’m in the studio with whoever, I fuck with the best of them, come on, Jadakiss, come on, I write my own shit…People say, why you feel the need to say that all the time, I say it because there’s not a day that go by, where people don’t ask me, ‘You write your own raps?‘ and I got to say. ‘Yes fuckface, I do.’

 

Review: Beyoncé — “Yoncé All On His Mouth Like Liquor”

Music, Review

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To be perfectly honest, I have never listened to a Beyoncé album from start to finish and not skipped through a song — until now. Beyoncé is a self titled album that exudes all of its creator’s power and prowess  —  it gets in touch with her inner thug (which is still graceful) and lays her out over 14 beats with help from producers Pharrell, Timbaland, Hit Boy, Detail, 40. There is no Sascha Fierce on ‘Beyoncé.

The album’s initial recording began in New York City, where Beyoncé invited producers and songwriters to live with her for a month.  It’s all a projection of her without an alter ego. Songs like Drunk In Love, Rocket and Partition show the natural woman in her unafraid to show other women to be unafraid to flex their sexuality too.

Beyoncé is honest. Beyoncé is too real and too damn hot in this release. Don’t get me wrong when I say I skip songs, because there is something else about this women that I have never skipped on since the D-Child days, and that’s her as my hero in life;  with the sheer ability to overcome odds and raise the bar every time she releases something new — to now — the only other person I can remember to release a visual movie-type album like she has done with  ‘Beyoncé’ is Michael Jackson and even still, her self-titled release switched that concept up again.

“People saying Beyonce’s back, Beyonce never left” My home girl Celeste instagrammed.

The woman just finished her Australia/New Zealand tour. For me, she is the flag waver for all mamas who know what it is when two successful people have a baby, women often have it harder in the situation, but apparently not in Bey’s case. She’s released her best album to date, complete with a music video for each track. No promo, no lead up, just a straight bomb into the hearts of all. But women and women of colour specifically. ‘Flawless’ also features African poet Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. Speaking about feminism:

“Feminist — A woman who believes in the social and political and economic equality of the sexes.”

Beyonce, with her leotard wearing, curvy deriair has single-handedly opened up a new-found confidence for coloured women across the globe and she’s been doing it since 2003 when she went solo with Dangerously In Love. Shout outs to curvy white girls though, y’all also know what I’m talking about in terms of a gateway into the mainstream.

Public service announcement***BEYONCE! CURVY WOMEN ACROSS THE GLOBE THANK YOU*** (In a Chris Rock, Blame Game, Dark Twisted Fantasy type voice.) My self-confidence thanks you. (Same Chris Rock voice)

“Queen Bey taught me”, man I need to put that on a  T-shirt.

There is something to be said about how her past albums have appealed to such a broad, mainstream market but on ‘Beyoncé’  she takes it back to the hood; her roots, herself. The sex in it is R rated; but it is tasteful sex. Beautiful love. Black and white, on the screen for all to see. It exposes Beyoncé  sexuality; comfortable in her own skin, making love to her husband, one year old in tow —  displaying sex and love in the way it was made to be done. It has made many people [parents] nervous. But Beyoncé’s  ‘R rated’ is still gentle, respectful, caring. It is a scary truth, how many people are upset about it; considering how we all got here, you know, by a man and a woman conceiving and all. As Beyoncé exposes human reservations adverse to such a natural feeling, it is only another ‘legendary’ box checked in her arsenal of greatness.

This woman is a goddess, there’s no two ways about it. All the money and power in the world has only enhanced this tool box of hers. Producing albums just as epic, if not more than her husband’s of late, he’s still right there next to her, helping her make it happen. That’s a marriage to aspire to.

“I woke up like this. Ladies tell em, I woke up like this. I woke up like this….Godamn, godamn, say I, look so good toniiiiight”

The whole thing’s great. From beginning to end. It didn’t seem possible, but Beyoncé has become more comfortable in her own skin, post mummy she is still holding it down — even at one of the most vulnerable times of her life (for most women post baby is like this and she mentions it on Mine feat Drake), Beyoncé is only stronger, more earthly, and so much more sexier. My hero.

The home girl Hyclass says:

“Yes @ better music ! Because she can do as she pleases now but isn’t it cool how she puts all the record label bullshit out there… “Make no money-oh well”.  LOL she has the creative freedom with such wealth but instead of desperately throwing herself into anything to “keep up” she’s took her time & produced an album that I think is the most cohesive, credibly creative and empowering album she has ever made! And I’ve been listening since I was 14 to everything. LOL.”

 

Interview: Munashe — “I Don’t Actually Watch TV Aye”

Feature, Interview, Music

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“The media always tries to make Africa sound like it’s the most horrible place on earth, but that’s not the truth at all. Africa’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to but there is also a negative aspect, there’s heaven and there’s hell in the same place. These two realms are located in Africa.” This is Munashe. 17 years old. Born in Gweru, Zimbabwe. Raised in New Zealand since 2003. Hip Hop started for him when his nanny in Zimbabwe would play ‘R&B and Hip Hop 24/7’ says the rapper who also states he’s an artist and emcee. Also in the AmmoNation collective his début release, 1st Impression has his team beaming with pride, as it should. And though it has been released as a ‘mixtape’ all the beats and lyrics are made by Munashe. Every sound on the tape was recorded by an instrument played by him. It really is impressive. There’s a genuine integrity in Munashe as a person — not just an artist that comes out in his music. During the interview, I’m in awe of his consciousness, he is a nice surprise as he says, ‘Realness, hip hop, that’s what the culture’s all about’. 

AmmoNation creator Raiza Biza says, ‘Munashe has been sending me music for about two years and the first thing I admired was his determination. That can’t be taught. I knew he would be a great artist, but what I was more sure of was that he wouldn’t quit. Truth is, I knew for years that I would ask him to join the team, it was just a case of timing. And now that I look at all he’s achieved once joining Ammo, I know I was right.”

Speaking to whenndidyoufallinlovewithhiphop, we talk about religion, Africa, Munashe’s definition of a lady. Rep FM named him artist of the week and earlier in the year Thandi Ntshinga interviewed Munashe for the blog. In that interview he said he wants to be global by 21. At the time it seemed like a bold statement. But with 1st Impression now released, it is clear the kid has the goods to back it up.

Get 1st Impression HERE:

Review: Kiss Land – The Weeknd

Editorial, Music, Review


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The Weeknd’s back, with a new twelve track album Kiss Land . It’s a well rounded and intimate project made in true Weeknd style. He has progressed, evidently, with the album having more balance in comparison to passed projects: (House of Balloons, Thursday, and Trilogy). With that said, it does not discredit the fact that he has consistently set a brand and identity for himself from the very beginning.

Kiss Land has a lot of punch in terms of production and vocals, found very quickly on songs like “Belong To The World”. The track feels visual, which has always been something The Weeknd’s been able to do with his music. Besides the fact that most of the songs on the album are somewhat blended with similar production and story lines, it doesn’t sound like a continuous series of events. He does change things up with “Live For” featuring Drake – a seemingly Arabic influenced sound, with a bit of hip hop influence. There’s elements of EDM on “Wanderlust”, and there’s a general notability of his experiment with screams, sirens, thunder and other sound effects. He mixes it up, but remains true to the style he does best – his own. A lot would worry that putting too much into their music would be a distraction, but this feels quite organic and it all makes sense. The Weeknd’s semi Michael Jackson/Melisma falsetto paired with his signature dreamy slow tempos make for a brilliant album. The difference this time around is we’ve got more songs to fuel our hunger for his infectious music.

Give the album a stream if you haven’t purchased it on iTunes yet.