Posts Tagged ‘Nas’

imgonline-com-ua-twotoone-VSHqOzyaAGLqV

November 1969 was a seminal month in U.S. history. The Vietnam War unrest was in full swing with over 200,000 protestors descending on Washington, D.C. for the “March Against Death.” The second manned mission to the moon was a success via NASA’s Apollo 12 program. Sesame Street aired their first episode. And one of the greatest voices in music history, Minnie Riperton, was beginning the first steps of what would become a remarkable solo career.

At 22 years old, Riperton has spent the last two years as the lead singer of the psychedelic soul/rock band Rotary Connection. While the group’s experimental sound never found huge commercial success, their eclectic approach spawned a devoted a following and a 1968 Grammy nomination. But Riperton was ambitious and eager to retry a solo career, having previously released records as a teen under aliases. This time, she had the backing of multi-talented producer Charles Stepney, also a member of Rotary Connection and already acclaimed for his work on albums with Muddy Waters, Marlena Shaw and Howlin’ Wolf.

Riperton_Stepney

Over the span of a mere two days, Riperton and Stepney would record the 10 tracks that comprise Come To My Garden. Listeners will immediately notice the drastic sound difference from Riperton’s 70s LPs. Come To My Garden is marked sprawling orchestral sounds that weave seamlessly with her otherworldly octave range. A master arranger, Stepney enlisted Ramsey Lewis, bassist Cleveland Eaton, guitarist Phil Upchurch, and Maurice White to round out a sound that is at times jazzy, dreamy and neo-classical, but always subordinate to Riperton’s towering vocals.

“This chick,” he told Downbeat magazine in 1970, “has a soprano range of about four octaves, a whole lot of soul, she’s good-looking and she’s got the experience of Rotary behind her.”

Come To My Garden is considered a masterpiece today. However, it hasn’t been an album that lends itself to easy sampling like Riperton’s later works. The arrangements are multi-layered, making loops and chops difficult in most cases.

But there are notable exceptions. On the “Rainy Day in Centerville,” Minnie sings of being in solitude and lost in her thoughts under the persistent rainfall. Stepney crafts the arrangements to hit like crashing tidal waves around Minnie’s subdued vocals. When we arrive at the eye of the storm/song, a brooding peace comes from the chords of Lewis’ piano keys and Eaton’s bass.

1:52-2:07 mark

****

There have been two persistent criticisms of Nas’s albums in the latter part of his career. One is the beats never live up to the potency of his lyrics (debatable). The second is the cutting room floor is littered with tracks of much higher quality than what made the albums (not debatable). A strong argument for the latter is “Where Y’all At,” released in 2006 during the Hip Hop Is Dead era. Admittedly, this song was released early on as a “street single,” to promote the project, but still one that was so dope it deserved inclusion on the album.

Produced by Salaam Remi, the piano-driven sample from Minnie and Stepney is perfect for Nas’s lyrical wheelhouse.


For more samples from Minnie’s career, check out Know Your Samples: Minnie Riperton.

 

Advertisements

swizz_beatz

The culture had a defining moment last night when Swizz Beatz and Just Blaze squared off for over two hours in an impromptu beat battle. Swizz dominated early with his overall showmanship, but Blaze came on strong late by dropping vintage Dipset (“I Mean It”), Jay Electronica (“Exhibit A”) and Jay  (“PSA”). Not to be outdone, Swizz decided to blow everyone’s mind by dropping an unreleased banger featuring Nas, Jay Z, Jadakiss and DMX.

I have no idea whose project this is supposed to be for or how old the track is. Based on Nas’ opening words, the song is presumably called “Bath Salts.” All I know is a CDQ version needs to drop ASAP. The sinister beat, grimy chorus (“This that shit street/ Nigga fuck that weak shit…”), and aggressive NY bars from everyone is exactly what the game needs.

Check out the track below.

wale_folarinlike

On a desolate street, Wale pays homage to Nas with a freestyle of over the DJ Premier produced classic “Nas Is Like.” The visuals are handled by Chop Mosley and Big Vic.

nas_kevindurant_billsimmons

Photo Credit: HBO/Jordin Althaus

Last night, Nas and Kevin Durant were the guests on Bill Simmons’ Any Given Wednesday. The pair discussed a myriad of topics including Tupac and Biggie, Donald Trump, their favorite athlete turned rapper, Steph Curry’s sneakers, and the upcoming NBA season. One question Bill Simmons missed — when is the new Nas album coming?

Watch the clips below.




nas_djkhaled_

The video for DJ Khaled’s “Nas Album Done” is here in all its cinematic glory. From the over the top opening intro with Khaled and Ox from Belly fame, the video has the epic feel appropriate for Nas’ return. Too often these days, we treat our Hip-Hop legends as afterthoughts and don’t appreciate the honor it is to still have them with and performing at a high level. I’m glad to see Khaled doesn’t have that issue.

“Nas Album Done” is featured on Khaled’s latest album Major Key.

Dave East – “Percocets” x “No Lights”

Posted: July 27, 2016 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News
Tags: , , ,

Dave East_percocets

Dave East continues his daily grind with two new tracks — “Percocets” and “No Lights.” For those of you who wish the younger cats would attack the mic with the same energy as the greats from yesteryear, here’s an NY guy to keep an eye one.

***************************

French_Montana_FigureItOut

French Montana, Nas and Kanye West are living that desert jet life. Montana has finally laid down some visual from his standout track off his recent Wave Gods mixtape.