Posts Tagged ‘G.O.O.D. Fridays’

After completing his charity show last week in LA, Talib Kweli gave an insightful interview on the new emcees in the game. He gives cosigns to Joell Ortiz, Wiz Khalifa, Nicki Minaj, U-N-I, Blu, and Exile. He surprisingly reveals that he’s a mentor to Bow Wow. He also talks about how he momentarily lost his “Chain Heavy” verse for Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Fridays series. Other important developments include his beginning work with Madlib for Liberation 2. Kweli’s Gutter Rainbows album drops on January 25. Shout out to M-Boogie and www.lastereo.tv for the interview.

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“I am the day Ice Cube met Michael Jackson…”

Welcome to the first ever Sunday edition of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Friday series. You never should rush an artist hard at work, so the Hip-Hop world waited patiently for ‘Ye’s latest drop while other big news hit (J. Cole’s new mixtape, Jay Electronica signing with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, etc.). We can now count Q-Tip amongst the revered 90′s producers to work with Kanye, courtesy of this excellent offering “Chain Heavy.”

For all his classic work with Tribe and other artists (Nas, Mobb Deep, etc), Q-Tip is still somewhat underrated as a producer. The Renaissance album went a long way to raising his profile, and this track will likely do the same. The Abstract combines otherworldly, Star Trek like chimes with traditional string instruments like cellos, and piano notes. The bass and drums thump hard. So even though this is not a traditional boom bap track, it’s a definite head nodder that reminds of Kanye’s work on College Dropout and Late Registration.

Kanye drops two verses sprinkled with Afrocentric pride and the Chicago emcee’s trademark boasting. He doesn’t commit to either side, so you equally gets bars that bemoan white flight and Twitter racism mixed with froppish quotes about his new diamond teeth (“My teeth real diamonds/ What’s the cause of the fronting?”). The flow is smooth and engaging, but the early Kanye feel of the beat makes you wish he really went back to the more socailly insightful ‘Ye we heard on those earlier albums.

Talib Kewli’s recent voice and breath control have been the subject of concern amongst some fans. It’s not an issue early on, as Kweli weaves together commonalities between boardroom ambition and street corner juxing. Towards the end, Kweli begins to ramble somewhat just as Consequence comes in. His verse uses “chain” constantly as a buzzword, and the narrative is about accosting a man dealing with his old flame. It’ll remind you of some of those scenes out of Baby Boy.

This is the sound many were expecting from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, after the news hit of the likes of Pete Rock and DJ Premier being involved. But it seems these type of songs may be reserved for ‘Ye’s Jay-Z collaboration Watch The Throne. Tell will reveal all, and we’ll all be listening intently.

KANYE WEST X TALIB KWELI X CONSEQUENCE “CHAIN HEAVY”


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“What you now hearing is putting fear in all the older ones…”

Forget that G.O.O.D. Fridays has started becoming “G.O.O.D. Saturdays.” We nearly got a G.O.O.D. Sunday due to series creator Kanye West having to wait on one final verse to complete this week’s project. We probably won’t find out which emcee was running late. But if we’re going to guess based on quality, there’s a good chance it was J. Cole who was putting the finishing touches on his show-stealing rhyme.

Even several months deep into G.O.O.D. Friday, Kanye is still coming up with ways to make the series fresh. The production is a familiar sample of Steel Pulse’s “Blues Dance Raid,” which is the basis for Cam’Ron’s Purple Haze joint “Bubble Music.” It’s definitely an interesting choice considering Cam’s forgettable diss to him last month. It’s nothing intricate, but as you’ll hear it’s the perfect palette for emcees to boast about themselves.

Pusha T leads off with a good verse mixing contrasting spectrums of the black experience, ranging for the Civil Rights Movement to the infamous Shower Posse. His verse and Cyhi’s form a loose link that continues that those themes (“Where we looking for trouble?/  Maybe if we weren’t black than we wouldn’t have struggled…”).

Big Sean, who usually stay in laid back mode, breaks that expectation by starting off his verse with a rapid-fire, double-time flow. He doesn’t sound of character in the style, but only uses it to serve as an introduction. From there, it’s straight braggadocio on female conquests and his growing status in the industry (“Does he sound like ‘Ye, Jay or Drizzy Drake?/ Meanwhile I’m chilling with all these niggas counting all this money you aint…”). Sean doesn’t have that “authentic asshole” appeal that always adds to Kanye’s shit talking, but he’ll still make you grin with a few of his pointed punchlines (“Greet me with a middle finger when you see me/ It’s cool ’cause I can’t see you from this side of the TV, motherfucker!”).

The beat refrain usually signals ‘Ye’s last verse. Instead, it’s a precursor to a J. Cole assault. The Roc Nation young gun is in battle mode, and you get the sense that it’s not just due to the excellent exposure that comes with G.O.O.D. Friday. He’s looking to put his peers on notice.  Lines like “This the rap Moses/ Better yet/ Mary and Joseph’s son,” let you know Cole is not just happy being amongst the talented. He wants and demands recognition as one of the best. Kanye knows a monster verse when he hears one, and Cole is the only one who gets the beat dropped to add further poignancy to his closing bars (“…ironic you’ve been sleeping on the one you’ve been dreaming ’bout”).

Funnily enough, Kanye has a verse quietly placed in the middle of the song. It’s not sub par, but clearly this track is for the young guns to shine. It’s a development that’ll be great to hear pushed forward in future G.O.O.D. Fridays.

The G.O.OD. Music fam is a very young team, but their chemistry is unmistakable. Is Kanye poised to have his very own Roc-A-Fella? That remains to be seen. For now, he’s on the right track.


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Fans will have to wait until next year for Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne album.

Originally, West planned to release Watch the Throne and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in November. But Kanye confirmed today (November 4) that the focus for the rest of the year will be his own LP and his G.O.O.D. team.

“It’s coming soon,” Kanye said during his Ustream conference call. “It’s gonna be early next year, though.”

The duo’s work has been heavily featured during Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Fridays series on tracks like the “Power (Remix),” “Monster,” and “So Appalled.” Last week’s song showcased the pair rhyming over the Pete Rock-produced “The Joy,” causing speculation on if the offering signaled the album’s direction.

Both artists have been recording since August. According to Jay-Z, they are close to wrapping up the 10-track album.

“Before I came into London we were in Bath at Peter Gabriel’s studio,” Jay-Z told Tim Westwood. “We recorded some songs there. It’s exciting that its coming out…[We’re] pretty close.”

At press time, no outside producers or guests emcees have been finalized.

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The greedy side of me was hoping this would come in November. But stepping back, it made little sense for them to rush it out like that.

Of course, the project would have gotten a lot of attention, but there would be a big risk of supersaturation with it dropping in the same month as Kanye album, Kid Cudi’s LP, and the G.O.O.D. Friday tracks. With all that music coming, fans wouldn’t really be able to digest it full without getting ready to move onto the next project.

According to Jay-Z on his recent Hot 97 stop, their target date is February, which is more than enough space for them to take their time selecting producers and determining the final tracklist.

Since 2009, we’ve seen a lot of artists moving towards the one emcee/one producer format. I wouldn’t mind seeing more artist partnership albums like Kanye and Jay-Z becoming the norm, even if it’s just mixtapes.

No good idea in Hip-Hop goes unnoticed. Timbaland has taken a que from his contemporaries, and announced the formation of his very own free weekly music series, Timbo Thursdays.

Timbaland confirmed the news via Twitter, citing the recent work of Kanye West (G.O.O.D. Fridays) and Swizz Beatz (Monster Mondays) as his inspiration.

“So my brother told me Kanye is putting out a new song every Friday called G.O.O.D. Fridays. Swizz got Mondays,” Timbaland tweeted. “I don’t know if they are on Twitter,but you can hit them up and tell them to reserve Thursday for Timbo da king baby.”

Timbaland would be the sixth artist this year to launch their own weekly series. He follows the work of Joe Budden (Mood Muzik Mondays), Lloyd Banks (Blue Friday), the RZA (Wu Wednesdays), Rock of Heltah Skeltah (Monsta Mondays), Kanye West (G.O.O.D. Fridays), and Swizz Beatz (Monster Mondays). The trend’s originator is Crooked I, whose groundbreaking Hip-Hop Weekly series had him releasing new freestyles every week from April 4, 2007 through April 3, 2008.

Although Timbaland’s series will happen, the Virginia producer is not sure on actual start date. For now, he is taking his time mixing tracks and deciding which ones are worthy for public consumption.

“I will announce when Timbo Thursday will officially start. I can’t at the moment ’cause I’m in mixing mode,” he said.

Timbaland plans to release his fourth studio album, Shock Value III, in early 2011.

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All we need now is someone to lock up Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday to have the whole week wrapped up. There’s always a danger of saturation, but I personally like to see artists opening up their vaults and showing musically what direction they have, or are looking to go into.

With Timbaland, I hope he concentrates more on his Hip-Hop and R&B tracks than his Pop work. Tim’s been in the game since the mid 90′s, so he has a wealth of material to sift through. Imagine if he threw up some Aaliyah tracks from the One In a Million era? Or some Missy from the Supa Dupa Fly timeframe? I think he could really do something with his series if he looks back at his late 90′s work.

I hope Just Blaze jumps into the fray (Blazing Saturdays, perhaps?). At a beat session I went to last year, he played snippets of some crazy tracks like Jay Electronica’s “Exhibit B,” and a song with Twista and Busta Rhymes that had the fastest rhyming I’ve ever heard.

With the latest G.O.O.D. Friday and Nicki Minaj/Eminem releases, Lloyd Banks’s Blue Friday drop is once again being overlooked. But those who’ve been payinhg attention to Banks’ output know to check for him just as much as the aforementioned superstars. This week, he goes with a “bigger is better” approach on “Goodbye.”

When I say “bigger is better,” it’s in regards to the beat, which combines high-powered synths and guitar licks. It’s much more lively than than the plodding “When I Get There” from last week, and Banks responds in kind with more energy to meet the track’s production. “Goodbye” is a nice drop and one of the higher-tier Blue Friday/Saturday offerings.

LLOYD BANKS “GOODBYE”


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“No electro, no metro, a little retro…ah, perfecto!”

When Hip-Hop fans complain about how they miss the 90s, what do you think they really mean? Is it the baggy jeans or box braids they’re bemoaning the depature of? No, it’s the loss of the sound that defined the decade, specifically the early and mid 90′s work of producers like DJ Premier, Q-Tip, and Pete Rock. After playing around with autotune and the neo-electro stylings of today’s music, Kanye West seems to have begun to miss that sound too ( see his RZA/No I.D. track “Dark Fantasy” ). So this G.O.O.D. Friday/Saturday track isn’t your standard offering, but a DeLorean trip down memory lane featuring Pete Rock on the boards, and Jay-Z reminiscing on the “good old days.”

For the beat, Pete goes to Curtis Mayfield’s classic debut, Curtis, for “The Makings of You.” He uses Mayfield’s vocals for the intro, and loops the funk guitar led melody for the foundation. For bells and whistles, Pete includes the famous opening grunt adlibs from Syl Johnson’s “Different Strokes.” Finally, Charlie Wilson and Kid Cudi add subtle but recognizable background crooning to flesh out the song’s musicianship, delivering a lush palette of sounds for the emcees to rock over.

Kanye and Jay are drawn into nostalgic musings from different angles. West begins strong, rhyming on being inspired to deliver excellence by those who missed getting to his position (failed street rappers, emcees turned A&Rs, etc). Like many of Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Friday lyrics, there’s several lines of debauchery like ejaculating on a groupie’s face. But Mayfield’s lyrics on children also cause Kanye to think about the effects of unplanned pregnancies, and being haunted by “the ghosts of kids that I never had.”

I never understood Planned Parenthood, ’cause I never met anyone that planned to be a parent in the hood,” Kanye rhymes. “Taking refills of that Plan B pill/ Another shorty that won’t make it to the family will.”

In his second verse, ‘Ye briefly goes back to his tawdry ways when discussing how he and a friend obtained two black women with the names of “white bitches.” Overall, Kanye uses the verse to indicate that not only is he hot again from a publicity standpoint, but that there’s music to back it up (“So next time you see me in your Fallopian/ Know the jewelry’s Egyptian/ Know the hunger’s Ethiopian”). As with most of us, and definitely Kanye West, the biggest potential obstacle is the face in the mirror.

 “In the mirror where I see my only enemy/ Your life’s cursed?/ Oh, mine’s an obscenity.”

The music has a special meaning for Jay-Z, considering it’s his “Mama’s shit.”  He sets the era by noting his household was littered by Afros, marijuana sticks, Bally shoes, and Ballantine Ale. Jay only briefly mentions his drug-dealing past. Instead, the verse is really an homage to his mother Gloria. He praises her strength in the face of the criticism she endured from the religious (“Virgin Marys tried to judge her/ I’m like where the Madonnas now?”). The end result was a child that became a “warrior,” and Jay promises that no one will ever take away their joy.

Early reports suggest this song may be a part of the Kanye West/Jay-Z album Watch the Throne. Both artists have been very instrumental in setting trends in Hip-Hop. Kanye, for example, played a hand in the neo-electro phase mainstream Hip-Hop is now enamored with. Don’t be surprised if within the year the next “retro” phrase results in a return to music like this.

KANYE WEST X JAY-Z X PETE ROCK X CHARLIE WILSON X KID CUDI ” THE JOY”


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Kid Cudi gave a definitive statement on his future creative direction by proclaiming that rapping gives him no further enjoyment.

Cudi, who has begun the promotional rounds for his sophomore project Man On the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, explained that his main musical goal is learning how to play the guitar. While he did drop a recent verse on Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Friday track “Christian Dior Denim Flow,” Cudi revealed that these days he only gets excited about performing Hip-Hop music when he’s asked  to create singing hooks.

“I’m just over rapping. I don’t get any fulfillment out of it anymore,” Cudi told MTV News. “I really don’t get any fulfillment out of writing a 16. That’s why you never really hear me on Kanye joints like that…I’m more passionate when he be like ‘yo Cudi come up with a hook!’ Because he asks me to put verses down and I’ll try to procrastinate or disappear or something. I get more fulfillment now out of singing and learning to play the guitar. That’s my newfound love; I just never thought I could play an instrument.”

Following his next solo, Cudi will front a new rock band called the Wizards. He will also work extensively on fellow Cleveland native Chip tha Ripper’s next album.

Man On the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager will be released on November 9.

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Pretty ironic to hear Cudi losing hsi passion for emceeing the same week that Drake rediscovered his. I appreciate the honesty from Cudi. One listen to his mumbling verse on “Christian Dior Denim Flow” is strong confirmation that his heart isn’t in straight Hip-Hop. I wonder if it ever was.

Personally, I don’t care much for Cudi’s singing voice either. But with the right production and melodies it can come off well, as evidenced by a handful of songs on Man On the Moon, Jay-Z’s “Already Home,” and Kanye’s Runaway film. Luckily, no one looks at him as a straight emcee, so he won’t have to worry about possibly alienating any of his fans by going full-blown into other genres.

Overall, Kid Cudi remains a valuable member of the G.O.O.D. Music team. All that’s really missing now from the label is a first lady.

“Crying all the time, I’m tried of lying in these puddles…”

Under the surrealistic images and scenarios that adorn mythological stories, is an inherent truth that critiques the society that spawned the tale. Hip-Hop music, even with its rampant, many times self-indulgent tales of fiction, is no different when used correctly. But its takes a skilled artist, or group of emcees, to use the medium on that level. With the latest G.O.O.D. Friday/Saturday offering, Kanye West gets close to that creative plateau by bringing together Mos Def, Lupe Fiascom and series newcomer Big Sean.

Mos Def steps into the crooner role that Charlie Wilson handled early in the series. The refrain is a directive that doubly instructs on overcoming fear and trusting your abilities. The words Mos uses are simple, but it’s a concept each of the latter three emcees build on with narrative verses (“Don’t look down/It’s an impossible view/Fly like an eagle/Whatever you do…Spread your wings”).

Lupe Fiasco opening rhyme is the most abstract and symbolic story. He stays closest to the classical phoenix mythology by speaking on the heroine of his tale bursting into fire before going on her journey. Behind, she leaves a grief-stricken lover who pleads with her to stay. Lupe keeps himself in third-person, and cryptic enough that the verse could be taken several different ways. Are we witnessing a journey to the afterlife, a life-changing career move, or a medieval-styled execution? Each scenario is possible. But however you interpret it, Fiasco makes one thing clear; it’s a journey that’s not ending (“So let’s hear it for our heroine/Applaud as her spirit just flies into the never-end/ One closed chapter/It opens up another part/So this is more like/The end, question mark”).

Kanye’s short verse is far more tangible, as he speaks with fondness about a dissolved relationship. The beat, which kept a mellow mood with subtle, marching drum stabs, a synth guitar, and violin melody, begins to get noticeably louder with West’s rhyme. By the time it gets back to Mos for the chorus, the synthesized arrangements have taken over. When Kanye puts instrumental breaks in these G.O.O.D. Friday tracks, he normally has a legit singer like Bon Iver, Charlie Wilson, or John Legend to flesh it out. But here, West unwisely does it himself by using distorted, auto-tune-styled effects. It breaks the songs mood and takes it into the realm of a 808s & Heartbreaks throwaway.

Thankfully the interlude is short, and Big Sean finishes strong with the track’s best verse. Whether motivated by the beat or his first G.O.O.D. Friday appearance, Sean sheds his normal laid-back flow for an inspired rhyme on lost love, bitterness and anger. While Kanye understands his ex-lover moving on to “spread her wings,” Sean does not. He laments her leaving a “Dear John” letter, and details the hollow feeling that remains after indulging in scores of women. Even with an aggressive flow and sad content, Sean makes sure to sprinkle the verse with some of that Finally Famous humor to make sure no one gets depressed (“1-2-3-4-5 models on the double/Give me head all at once/Looks like they’re lined in a huddle”).

Last week’s “Take It for the Team” wasn’t terrible, but “Don’t Look Down” is a considerable step up in quality. See you all next Friday or Saturday.

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A tracklist for Kanye West’s highly-anticipated fifth album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, has appeared this evening on iTunes.

The 12 track album features much of the Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music team (Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Cyhi da Prynce), and others such as Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, and Raekwon.

Many of the notable selections from the popular G.O.O.D. Friday series, such as “Monster,” “So Appalled,” and “Devil In a New Dress,”  reappear on the listing.

iTunes does allow for error, advising pre-order buyers that the listed songs “are subject to change without notice and the final product received may differ.”

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy drops on November 22. The iTunes tracklist can be viewed below.

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Uh oh, maybe G.O.O.D. Friday isn’t the great idea we all thought it was. I, like many, was under the assumption that those songs were essentially throwaways that wouldn’t have seen the light of day. This tracklist says otherwise, because four of those tracks appear here. And another four were heard through leaks and single drops. Essentially, this would mean an album with five different cover variations, only has three songs new songs!

But before we declare this album a waste of time, that iTunes disclaimer let’s us know this “tracklist” is far from official. In fact, it’s likely just a shot in the dark iTunes did based on the songs that have leaked. No way would Kanye, let alone Def Jam, who’s banking on this LP being a smash, let this album come out with 80% of the material being dated.

So rest easy tonight, Kanye fans. The chance of this tracklist being official is just as likely as Detox dropping this year.