Cell Therapy 017

My friend is teaching me the difference between hearing bluegrass and hearing country. See, everyone doesnt know everything.

Bassment Jaxx Creating a Saga with Santogold

I'm just jumping right into Bassment Jaxx new joint Saga featuring Santogold because after hearing it, my creative juices and energy is steady flowing!

Bassment Jaxx did their thing, as usual, mixing and creating the beat for Santogold to crush with her insane vocals. The mixing is the best thing about this single. There's a hint of everything in this four-and-a-half-minute song, from reggae to electronic to rock to hiphop to soul. The most important thing is that it all blended well together, making this an all-purpose song. Like, I could enjoy this song anytime of the day. Well, maybe not a work, because this song has a bit too much potential energy that may not be worker-friendly. Nevertheless, people will like this song where ever they hear it thanks to the mixing by Bassment Jaxx.

As for Santogold, one of the most slept-on singers of 2008/9, this may not have been her best, but it surely wasn't her worst. She definitely put work into this song and gave the group a lot to work with, which is a DJ's/mixer's dream! When a vocalist sings her soul out in a song, whether it's much or not, a good group like Bassment Jaxx will do nothing more than enhance it. So she may have played it a little over safe, but gave he boys a whole lot to play with.

Listening to this song, I can tell there isn't much to take from it, but to party. Unless you're like me and not a party-hardy kind of individual, you will at least feel like bouncing around or bobbing your head or something. It does come with a cool, nice and catchy hook: "You're just limiting all your possibilities!" And with that, I can't be mad at all!

Star's Grade: A

Cell Therapy 016

After watching funny people, Im thinking RZA should have made the soundtrack for the movie instead of playing a role for it. Actually, he should never be in movies and just make the soundtracks!

Being As Tall As Lions.. Well, You Can't Take It With You

You ever listen to an album so good you have to tell everyone else they have to listen to it themselves? Well, I can't do that or I will have no career, so I have to tell you about As Tall As Lions's latest album You Can't Take It With You.

When listening to the first song, you may instantly think of sitting back and relaxing to this album. Well, good luck with that! The guitarists rip through the calming drums as the hook approaches, forcing you to listen instead of making their album a rock-me-to-sleep kind of album.

Going into it you understand why it took them about three years to release another album. It is good even down to their order of tracks. Yes, the whole album is pretty depressing, but in the order the tracks are placed give you a decent storyline. Playing the album straight shows what is happening, then how it feels, and then what needs to happen. I don't want to go into too much because you really have to listen. No, seriously, I would need another blog. This has to be the best album so far this year that is a story about life, real life. Each song is well-written and thought-out, not to mention well-sung. The lyrics cry for listeners and folks to relate. It definitely contains traces of the blues; at some point it is a straight-up blues album! It's a kind of album that anyone who listens-listens to music will relate. If not relate then at least enjoy the band's presentation.

Every track has a nice flow to it; if it isn't the drums that has your head nodding, it's the piano. Which is weird because you really don't imagine pianos having you nod your head to a beat in a pulse-like fashion, at least with rock music. And if you're not nodding your head, you are beginning an emotional trip as these guys bring back the slow rock; not necessarily the love ballad, but the kind of slow music you want to wave a lighter to. Dan Nigro, the vocalist, has a very light pitch and soulful voice that drifts you away from whatever you are doing without noticing this is a rock record. Actually, the tempo of this album is fairly slow, but slow to only make you listen to the words and the beats swirl together smoothly.

If I had to comment on one thing, and if I could ask these guys one thing, I would have to ask why on earth is there no upside to this album? I feel incomplete. I know most albums used to go with either a good or bad mood for their sound in their album, but now everyone likes a full circle album. Well, they at least want a feel-good song after hearing rawness that relates. That's pretty much everyone's definition of a full-circle album. If As Tall As Lions wasn't going for You Can't Take It With You to go full circle in that sense, then they definitely gave my ears a good story to vibe with.

Best Song: Duermete - This eight-minute song is the meat of this entire album! Not because it is the longest song on it, but it is the fullest song on the album. And it is so genius; who would be thinking to mix those trademark, sexy vocals and the horns with the slow drums and a delayed blast of guitars on a rock record? One word for this song: original.

Worst Song: Is This Tomorrow - This was tough, I almost skipped this section. But this is the weakest song on the album because it's not within the territory of their sound. It's good that it's a song that is somewhat inspirational, but it doesn't fit well with the album. Maybe they need an EP to follow up.

Star's Grade: A

Cell Therapy 015

I dont know how much i like this electronic sound anymore. Soultronica is cool but ppl are exploiting it instead of taking on its rawness.

Cell Therapy 014

I just interviewed G Tee Shotta, the only reggae artist under the Wu Tang music group! A true member of the Wu Tang Clan right there!

Cell Therapy 013

It seems like the more i am in atlanta, the more i am diggin the hiphop sound out in cali and the bay on the west coast.

Turn Up the Radiohead! The New Self-Released Single

They left us with one of the best albums in 2007 In Rainbows. There was nothing like Weird Fishes, Reckoner, and Videotape; even hiphop DJs and MCs had to blend their talent with theirs. They left us hanging amongst the rock/alternative/indie (whatever you call it) trash for almost tow years. But now they are back! And not only are they airing a new single on a radio station, but, like the group that I know them to be, give their new single "These Are My Twisted Words" to the people for free to enjoy on the mp3/iPod players.

But is it all worth the technological trouble? Is Thom Yorke's voice still as whiny yet seductive as it was two years ago? Is Ed O'Brien, the guitarist, still on point?

I would have to say yes to all four questions! The long, 2-minute and 30-second introduction, although Death Cab for Cutie did it with I Will Possess Your Heart, makes you wait on the edge of your couch to hear Yorke swoon on the track laid down by the band. And once he begins to sing, it's as if the song is complete, or the whole album is complete (Which is funny since this is the only completed song on their upcoming album). You would want to sit back and take in what Radiohead has presented to you, because you honestly feel that, like ALL artists should do, this group made this song for you.

"These Are My Twisted Words"
's lyrics give off the sense that Radiohead usually does - darkness, loneliness, and a state of feeling empty. This group has a knack for making dark songs so seductive that it's a mystery that they aren't blamed for teens who are violent or whatever.

My only problem with this song is that there are only two minutes of singing. And the lyrics are repeated. I understand the impact of repetition in art, but Yorke doesn't give this song great dialogue. Bottomline - too much of the introduction, not enough of the goods.

Star's Grade: B+

Now usually I don't give out free music, but since they did it themselves...


Go to this site and download "These Are My Twisted Words" for free!!! No gimmicks, you just need to extract the file once it downloads onto your computer to hear it. And you be the judge of their new piece!

Cell Therapy 012

My criteria for mixtapes: a nice theme, a good subject(s), exclusive music, and some sort of mixing by the DJ. Or if no DJ good transitions!

Slaughterhouse Slaughters Competition With All Skills But No Outline

No one could ever put together a greater supergroup of MCs like this. Royce 5'9", Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, and Joe Budden are like the rap version of the Redeem/Re-Dream Men's Basketball Team from the 2008 Olympics (minus the benchwarmers). Individually, these guys are great, very popular in the streets and underground hiphop scene. But to see them come together as Slaughterhoupse and put out an album with all four of them spitting hot lines on every track is like a dream coming true for most fans. The group has released several smaller projects, i.e. mixtape appearances, to make any hiphop head gag on such a huge dose of hiphop at once. And now they present an album to their fans of the individual and the group:

An album that has all the flare, but no food. Slaughterhouse's self-title debut retail album has everything a hiphop head could ask for - lyrical skill, teamwork within the group, unforced chemistry between them, great beats. However, with no substance, no food, no story/plots with the album, it might as well be another mixtape. It is definitely a mix CD of how good they can rhyme individually and together.

The first song is the most impressive and bananas of all their songs on this album. Each artist starts rhyming slow, and breaks out into fast, Twista-like rhyming. We all know first impressions are key, and Slaughterhouse feels the same way by showing their competition how lyrically skilled they are by what they say, how they say it, and how fast.

Listening further into the album, you get the nice punchlines and other creative ways to say how much they are better than other MCs, some of which aren't that creative. The only creativity lies in their ample amount of funny punchlines and rhyme schemes. Towards the end of the album, they take a minuscule twist into some stories of living rough and being a thug. This really reminded me of hiphop back in the late 90s to early 2000s where most artists had tracks asking Lord to forgive them for being in the streets and telling the world what the projects are like. Definitely 90s with the Lord answer a thug’s prayer. However, Royce delivers a very deep story on being a crack baby as if it was true and happened to them (which I do not know). Definitely an early 2000s feel with the slow extra-hardcore songs and then the faster not so hardcore ones.

One thing I really enjoyed was that Slaughterhouse followed the same routine for almost every song. Royce, Crooked I, Joell and Joe Budden. It felt like a lyrical relay race or something. Royce starts and make the pace, Crooked I would be the pace keeper, Joell increases the lead, and Budden takes them home. It's good that they follow a certain structure because it keeps them from making the album look like a total mixtape/showcase album. This also highlighted how well they mingle as a group with the flowing patterns and styles.

Overall, I can't give Slaughterhouse the full credit they deserve because they don't provide any substance behind what they say. Only a couple tracks give me the lyrical food I, as well as other hiphop heads who listen to musicians for a voice, need to get through the day. They deliver the best punchlines, that which are cool, well thought out and make sense, that I've heard in a very long time. But that's about it.

Best Song: Rain Drops ft. Novel – the most creative song, and one of the two songs that didn’t brag about how great they can rap. The only song that has a voice for the voiceless (esp. Crooked I’s verse). The vocalist on here, as well as the drop with just the snaps and piano behind him, brings this song back to some sort of 90s Boyz II Men song.

Worst Song: Killaz ft. Melanie Rutherford – Why? The last thing the hiphop community needs is another uncreative, violent song about killing someone. Not only that it’s a very violent song, it directly follows their best song.

Star's Grade: B

Cell Therapy 011

I know a person who has the bougiest job in the world, but is the hoodest person i been around all year. So? She is a PLIES LOVER. Not good.

First Rap Beef: The Wiki Wiki Song

Now I may get a lot of confused looks from the readers, but did anyone know that the first rap beef was in 1983? And yes, it was "Jam on Revenge(The Wiki Wiki Song)" by Newcleus! I'm pretty sure people believed it was a perfect world in the music business back then; where every artist would vibe off of one another, and all the hiphop and funk music was perfect for every b-boy and b-girl could break, but that was not the case.

In this song, the group takes several jabs at Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, Sugar Hill Gang, and anyone different than the electro-funk sound of the 80s. They made fun of them between hooks with spoofs of the masterpiece "The Message" by GMF. They even went as far as calling them the Furious Jive! Let's not forget the spinning off the lyrics from "Rapper's Delight", poking fun at how uncreative Sugar Hill was. Although "The Wiki Wiki Song" was hot on the streets, Newcleus made it clear that they were "tired of that hiphop stuff," considering hiphop was only out for a few years. Man, they really weren't feeling hiphop!

Newlceus was a group that had a style similar to Afrika Bambaataa in that they followed the futuristic electro-funk-rock sound. I can't be mad at them because this song is a downright classic because of its funky sound and party-like atmosphere it attracts. Not to mention the hook is off the chain! You will never forget when to cue in screaming "Wiki wiki wiki wiki!" This song is perfect for any barbecue with the family or an old school party. Regardless, you will dance or sing this song no matter where you are!

Cell Therapy 010

Jimi hendrix: Landing. Holy sh!t. Live fast and die young!

Cell Therapy 009

Autotune is like herpes - it never goes away! It should have died with Zapp and Roger.

Goapele Releasing Her "Milk and Honey"

First, "Things Don't Exist". Then she became "Closer" to her dreams. Now Goapele, a songstress in her own right, is taking a sexier approach in her music with the new single "Milk and Honey". And of course, if you can read and understand my previous posts, you know what milk and honey means in her song. At first, Goapele was more political with her content, speaking on racial and gender issues, and sprinkling some personal songs on her albums blessing us with her wonderful voice. But now she is taking the lead of other R&B artists and getting sexy. And I like it!

"Milk and Honey" is sexiest yet reserved song I've heard all year (sorry Maxwell, I still love Prettywings). She sings about sex without having to flat out explicitly describe what all will happen in a night with her. I don't have to worry about playing the song in front of my nieces and nephews like I would with Jeremih's "Birthday Sex", yet I will hesitate. Goapele's voice, let alone her content in this particular song, is more of a unwind kind of song than something you blast with your kids on the way to the movies or something.

I like the electric feel in this song, but every note she hits with the autotune slowly hurts my soul. But that's just me. I understand where she is going with it because it goes with the sound, but I think it's unnecessary. On the other hand, the electric sound actually works with her, as she always comes with an edgy side to her sweet, melodic voice. I can't be mad at all about this song or this artist, I can only wait until her album drops.

Star's Grade: A-

MILK & HONEY - Goapele

Eminem's The Warning: Did He Really Have to Go There?

After hearing Eminem's lyrical slaughter of his relationship with Mariah Carey, I have to say I am shocked and disappointed at Eminem. In no way am I supporting Eminem with his new song "Warning", which is a response and diss to Mariah's video "Obsessed" where she dresses up like a man resembling the Slim One and sings on and on about his obsession with her when they were together in 2005.

Now, usually I don't get into gossip-like beefs (i.e. The Game and 50 Cent, 50 Cent and Ja Rule, etc), and I won't. I am writing this to discuss the way true MCs should pick and choose their battles.

Aside from the misogynistic and mom-dissing ways Eminem has in previous albums, he is one of the best MCs, and I mean MC not rapper, ever. When you surpass almost every MC in Detroit, 8 mile and so on, as well as take out national artists careers, you rank pretty high amongst MCs in the hiphop industry. Slim Shady is probably the only musician I'll let slide with all the cussing and name-calling towards his family because he didn't have such a glorious life growing up because he can flow it's nobody's business. He is one of the few MCs to make it through the battle circuit, underground circuit, and mainstream. SO WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD HE WANT TO USE HIS MAGNIFICENT TALENT IN BATTLING AN R&B SINGER????????

My problem is beyond all the skeletons that were yanked out of Mariah's closet by way of Eminem because in MC battle wounds occur and feelings will be hurt. However, a true MC from the battling circuit knows when he or she needs to attack his or her with brute force, play around with their opponent, or just play D. With this diss record Eminem put out, I have to disagree with Em on his choice to attack Mariah with such brute force. That whole incident, and I say that because Eminem murdered the beef (because if Nick Cannon come out with anything, his career would be over. Oh wait, it already is), was like the atomic bombs we launched on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Eminem's explicit and explosive content, or even a response, was not necessary. Whereas Mariah aired some dirty laundry, Eminem brought out them dirty, poop-stained drawers!

I bring this review of The Warning by Eminem to a close with a grade of a D+
because an MC with such stature in the hiphop world like Eminem should not have wasted time on an R&B singer who is trying everything to keep her career afloat.

The Warning - Eminem

Gospel's New Tune

Every simpleton should know that as time changes, music evolves. For gospel music, there is no exception. As time changes within the Christian society, so will its music. But gospel has taken a huge transformation from the “hand-clappin’, foot-stompin’, hootin’ and hollerin’” persona it boasts. It has become the edgy and liberal type of music that the edgy and liberal society it is trying to reach, and the noise most conservative Christians wouldn’t want to hear.

Growing up in a Baptist-turned-Nondenominational church, I’ve seen how much church music has changed. Organs aren’t the only instruments that harmonize with the choir, tambourines don’t slap on the sides of the singer to keep up the pulse of the song, and drums do not follow the traditional “boom-kat, boom-kat, boom-kat, boom-kat” so many genres have adopted in their style of music anymore. Instead, guitars are most favored to play along with the choir (IF there is a choir), synthesizers and other electric tones enhance the beat, and drums want to bang, and are often replaced with something to add boom to the system. You are lucky to find a chorale or mass choir anymore; if you want to hear the latest gospel be prepared to hear a hot 16 bars, or even auto-tune enhanced singing.

And it’s not only the beats that have changed. The lyrics have become edgy as well. I was listening to a gospel singer by the name of Canton Jones. In his album Kingdom Business, he touches on pimping, thugging, and riding on 24s. One of his choruses says “I know that you’s a pimp and wanna pimp hard / And in your pimping you can never pimp God”. Another hook on his albums says, “I’ma do something good for my hater today”. A new spin on the Ten Commandments, huh? Another singer named Deitrick Haddon isn’t exactly as raw with his lyrics as Jones, but he does have the reputation for his edgy, rock-star like character in his music. In his latest album Revealed, Haddon pushes your ears to the limit with loud drums and synthesized guitars, almost as if he wants you to get crunk for God. The two even collaborate on a song, a vibrant and energetic song at that, that would bring everyone attention to the guys who does this in the name of Jesus.

Why the huge transformation? As I said before, times are changing. More and more people are unaware of Christianity, and since the true purpose of people of the Christian-faith is to save those who are lost, Christians have to use the tools that the lost use. And often the lost are the young people and those in the streets and clubs, so what better way than by luring them in with the music that got the boom in the system, a hot 16, and some guitars? Well, not all will agree with the new strategy new gospel artists have cooked up as most of them refuse to leave their hand-clapping, foot-stomping ways. Critics of the new sound of gospel music calls the new sound noise – there are no real instruments involved, the content/production is too harsh for the young and old, and hiphop and Christianity will never mix, comingle, or get along in any way, shape or form.

The thing about the torn relationship between hiphop and gospel music is one believes it is the devil’s music (I shouldn’t have to explain who). Most Christians believe hiphop music was made directly from the devil to get people, particularly the youth, running the streets. Who can blame them with such artists as Bone Thugs and Harmony, NWA, and so on. Most people of the Christian faith, and even of other religions or no religions, disapprove the violent and misogynistic lyrics in the music. Not only that, but hiphop has always had a strong tie to the Five Percent Nation of Islam. Most of its artists, like Wu-Tang, were heavily influenced by the teachings within the Five Percent Nation of Islam. There’s no wonder Christians can’t accept hiphop music in its spiritual harmonies.

One thing Christians ignore about hiphop is that it is around to tell the story of people stuck on the streets and want a way out. Emcees rock the mic to speak for the untold, so why not do it in the name of Jesus instead of as a five percenter. It is the story of the streets, the lost, the poor. Gospel music tells how to stay inspired to live the Lord’s way to avoid trouble. Why not mash the two? Why not ignore the few emcees who do not believe in God and take the power of hiphop to add to the power of gospel?

Well, the point of gospel, as I said before, is to use God’s gift of music to tell the lost how good the Lord has been. And quite frankly, the old way won’t cut it anymore. The boys in streets won’t be lured into the Lord’s house with organ pianos. And if it takes a hot 16 and some electric guitars to get people in the right direction then congregations better hit some emcee workshops!