Archive for the ‘Music Reviews’ Category

Good Morning all you bloggers, poetry lovers, readers, writers, and all around good people.

Today, we will be discussing a relatively new album our right now, Drakes debut album with the Young Money Record Label entitled ‘Thank me Later’.

To begin with I must give it pretty good marks for creativity and style, lots of good singles on it. Even before I listened to the entire thing, I was continually bombarded with lines from it via Twitter Trending Topics (#ohyoufancyhuh, Fireworks, anything from ‘Over’). So he has very obviously produced a commercial hit which will probably go Gold or Platinum.

Now, in my personal opinion, I think he went harder on his mix tape than he did his album.

Yes, I said it, I think ‘So Far Gone’ was a better body of work than ‘Thank Me Later’.

On ‘So Far Gone’, Drake is going for recognition. He’s unsigned, and he’s hungry. The majority of the material on that mix tape was top-notch, with few exceptions. His mix tape produced #1 singles before it even came out. But he also seemed to have more creative and insightful things to say on his mix tape. On the album, he seems to have adapted more of the typical Young Money, Lil Wayne style of rap, which is simple similes which are more focused on rhyming than really making sense or relating to the overall message of the song.

I will readily admit that personally I don’t care much for Lil Wayne. I believe he was a better rapper in his younger years, and these days he seems to be more in love with the sound of his voice than with the improvement of his craft. It seems to be a side effect of fame and fortune when it comes to rap/hip-hop culture, which is a shame. However, in regards to Drake, I think its way to early in his career (the time it took to go from a mix tape to an album) for him to suddenly become intoxicated with fame and forget about making quality music.

My favorite verse from the album actually doesn’t even belong to Drake, but to Jay-Z. That in itself says a lot because I’m not really a Jay-Z fan. Not because of any blatant dislike of him or because I think he’s a bad rapper, I just haven’t really listened to much of his music, especially not his older stuff which is apparently where I should start.

The singles which have come off the album so far are indeed the best tracks, and as far as I can see I don’t see any others lurking that may become surprise hits in the near future. Overall, I give Thank Me Later 3/5 stars, middle of the road. I simply think that he could have come harder on his debut, and there is room for improvement. That being said, I look forward to seeing him grow as a rapper, and already anticipate his second album in hopes that it will be better that his first.

Another personal opinion is that as long as he’s with Young Money, he will produce middle of the road work. Seeing as Wayne was the first to give him a deal however, I feel the loyalty to the Record Label will be there for quite some time. I hope that however long the time he spends there turns out to be however, he grows as an artist and continues to improve.

It seems that this week has been all about other artists. Well this will be my last post of the week, and to continue in the same vein I will post more about some amazing artists I have come in contact with. I have decided to split this into two separate posts. No reason really, I just feel like I can. To begin with, a book review:

Letters From The Editor

Revelations of Soul

By: Dominic Antoine Thomas

Mr. Dominic Antoine Thomas, a personal friend of mine has paved the way and done what I hope to do one day soon. Mr. Thomas has published a book of poetry which I have just had the pleasure of reading, and strictly from an artist perspective, it is an amazing piece of work. I definitely give this book two thumbs up.

Even in the Table of Contents, Thomas has found a way to make the entire work feel more like an ongoing conversation where he is simply informing you of days events, or perhaps situations which he has encountered and is now recounting to an old friend. At the completion of each poem, the reader is left with the question of ‘whats next’, a characteristic which makes for the best novels, thrillers, and horror stories. Thomas however, has done it with his poems.

One poem which particularly stuck out to me in the book was ‘Prisoner of My Mind’. He includes attention grabbers such as:

Im losing touch with what is real

real is fake

and damn

that scares the

boy inside this man

i wish i could cry again

because at least i’d know that im still feeling things

but i cant tell for anything

i thought i had it

but i tossed it

no, you broke my train

i lost it

damn

Damn indeed. Other page turning poems include ‘A Lesson in Love’, ‘Fade’, ‘The Proclamation’, and ‘Released’. A Lesson In Love in particular was another favorite for its raw, realness.

And there can be no stipulations on true love

because it isnt something you trip into

and brush yourself off from

you dont fall into it

get lost in it

drunk off of it

and then you fall out

no

[Reprinted with Permission Pending]

I could of course continue with line after line of the creative masterpiece which he has created, but that would be to detract from the hard work of the Author.

In a time when good books are becoming harder to find and poets are fading away, I would dare say that this is what the new league of poets should be, should look up to, and model themselves after; providing the reader with an engaging experience that can’t be matched. Like all poets, Mr. Thomas is telling his story, one that no one else can tell in the way he can, and he accomplishes his goal extremely well.

Like many poets, Mr. Thomas chose to self-publish his book, and it is available for purchase directly from his website TruthRevisited.com. You can also find Mr. Thomas on Facebook, and on Twitter (follow him @TruthRevisited). Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Dominic Antoine Thomas

****

Ladies and Gentleman, we have another singer/songwriter/MC in our midst. She goes by the name of Devin Claymore.

I have personally never met Ms. Claymore, though we have both agreed that there is an acquaintance like vibe between the two of us. Regardless, Ms. Claymore is on the up-and-coming tract, and here’s why.

As of right now, there is a limited body of work by which I can judge the artist, but that being said what I have seen/heard (two songs and 1 spoken word piece) were all equally impressive. Her rap style, as well as the musical composition of her track “The Campaign” reminds one of early Common, (pre Like Water For Chocolate), and her voice has a similar brashness, with a feminine touch something like Macy Gray with an Eve type of flow. All of that is said to say this; she has a very unique, old school hip hop type of flow and it makes you anxious to hear more from her. Her debut album is said to be on the way soon, and I for one cannot wait to review it track by track.

As I have said before, up and coming artists are always big on marketing themselves, so she is easy to be found on Facebook, and ReverbNation.com. Her spoken word piece which I mentioned as well can be found here. We look forward to hearing much more from this talented emcee. Follow her on Twitter @DevinClaymore.

Ladies and Gentleman, Devin Claymore.

So to begin with, I have to shout out my friend Will McGrath (follow him on twitter @Ouill) for indirectly contributing to this blog entry. As promised I will be featuring another up and coming artist as my May entry did, but first;

SHE’S BACK!

Now I will admit that this may be pre-emptive and in fact over-confident.  There was a time about 2 or 3 years  ago when everyone was excited about a Fugees comeback. They released a song, and Lauryn released a song which was included at the end of the Shark Tale Movie if I remember correctly, and every hip-hop head got excited. She and Macey Gray actually both released singles which were included on movie soundtracks that years, but nothing much came of either. Regardless, both the Fugees, and a solo Lauryn return turned out to be smoke and mirrors.

So whats different now?

Well to begin with, we have this NPR Article by Zoe Chace. Zoe, as it seems, is one of those who was growing up at the time when Lauryn was hot. So around my age, albeit a bit older. When Mis-education dropped in 1998 I was 10, so my appreciation for the meaning behind the lyrics didn’t come until later although the enthusiasm for the music was still there. Now however, I can honestly say it remains one of my favorite albums to date.  In addition to this article however, we have performance dates. ACTUAL performance dates. Not rumors that she will be in a city for one night for one hour and never be heard from again for about 10 years. Performance dates such as Rock The Bells in DC, Chicago, New York, and other city’s as well.

Chance’s article of course doesn’t cover the rumors that fans have been hearing for years about the whereabouts of Ms. Hill. But why should it? The important thing is that we may once again have the woman who many looked at as something of a hip-hop savior in the booth once again. Nikki, sit down and watch a pro do it effortlessly.

And now, without further ado, Ladies and Gentleman I present to you Selah J Rauw. 19 year old Californian who may very well herself be on the way to do great things.

I first heard about Ms. Rauw through my good friend mentioned earlier, Will McGrath in one of his #FF (follow friday) shoutouts. (Follow her on Twitter @SelahJRauw). Later on when doing my profile of the beautiful and talented Ms. Gabrielle Baty (@GabrielleBaty), a comment was left on the blog also telling me to check out Ms. Rauw’s work. Well, while away at Airborne school I didn’t check out anything, so this morning was actually the first time I was exposed to any of her work. This is not to say I am rushing to put her into my blog or anything such as that, I had planned this for some time. That being said, my initial impression is I am impressed.

Selah has a style and a voice which immediately sound like a mix of Avril Levigne chords on her guitar, and Kerry Underwood/Natasha Beddingfield type vocals. And I mean that in a good way. A bit country, a bit pop, and a good mix of both.

I am especially impressed with the amount of original music that she has, as most times it seems artists today rely more on Covers and less on original work. Not that there is anything wrong with covers. Besides, she has a really great cover up right now anyway. However, as a writer/poet, I especially appreciate the work that goes into writing an original piece, so she gets major props for that.

What probably impressed me the most however, was the song she has called “Lemonade”, another original, which also features her playing the Ukulele! The sound of both the music and her voice, as well as the tone and rhythm of the song immediately reminded me of the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version of “Somewhere over the Rainbow”. Love that song.

Like any hard-working, up-and-coming artist, she of course has a Myspace music page, and a Facebook fan page. Dont just take my word for it, check out her music. Check out any of these pages, but especially the YouTube page so you can hear the music that she is making.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the multi-talented Selah J Rauw

Turning Point

Posted: May 7, 2010 in General, Music Reviews, Poetry
Tags: , ,

Its not what you know, its who you know.

Thank being said, by finding Robert Lee Brewer on Twitter and reading his blog from time to time, I have stumbled upon a poetry publisher. They have some guidelines that its gonna take a little time to fully adhere to. Mostly as far as getting published in eZines, magazines and contests. Submitting to them wont be a problem, but getting published is pretty much a hit or miss type thing.

Regardless, its a shot in the dark, but a step in the right direction. They only publish 4-6 collections a year, so I have a 16-25% chance of making it. Man oh man that is a long shot considering how many people submit to be published every year. But im ready to take that chance.

In other news, I want to take some time to highlight another up and coming Artist, personal friend, and fellow Lansing-ite; Gabrielle Baty.

In the past few weeks she’s been featured on MySpace Music and has had her track ‘Why is it So Hard’ as the Number 1 download on MP3Discovery.com.  You can download the track here

http://www.mp3discovery.com/FreeDailyDownload.html

But you may have to search for it.

I am always going to be supportive of fellow artists, writers, singers, rappers who are actively working to accomplish their dreams and make them happen. And she is definitely one of those people. Be on the lookout for her in the very near future. I have been been listening to her track on repeat since I downloaded it, and I’m definitely looking forward to buying (whoops…almost said downloading.) her album when it drops.

Ladies and Gentleman, the beautiful and Talented Gabrielle Baty.