Sunday, September 2, 2007

What’s New In Dart’s iPod #4 AKA The Clash Of The Titans And A Little Lady

I’m back at it again, this time I’m reviewing Kanye West’s “Graduation”, 50 Cent’s “Curtis” and yet another female singer from the UK whose music may make it to our shores soon, Candie Payne. For those of you unfamiliar with my three point “Cop It Or Not” system I’ll explain for you below:

Oh No! This CD is a drink coaster/table balancer/doorstop/gerbil/hamster room divider/frisbee/discus/makeshift shield/last ditch choice for a visor/alternate shuriken choice. Sell this shit to whoever's dumb enough to buy it from you.

Maebe (Maybe)! Depending on your own set of personal preferences you might like this joint. Give it a listen first to see if it's your lane or not.

Mos Def! Cop the album when it drops...'Nuff said.

Now on to the reviews:

“Do you listen to the music or do you just skim through it?” © Jay-Z

I’ll start off with my review of 50 Cent’s “Curtis”. This album was originally supposed to be called “Before I Self Destruct” and that’s a horrible title for an album unless you’re a rock band. I was throughly bored by 50’s last project “The Massacre” and I don’t expect him to stray too far beyond his basic subject matter which consists of him being either rich as hell, horny as hell or making death threats to the listener. I haven’t liked any of the singles so I’m looking forward to actually hearing some album tracks. Let’s get started.

The album opens up with the intro from a movie I’ve yet to determine and goes straight into “My Gun Go Off”. This joint sounds like it’s fresh off of 50’s debut album (which is a good thing). The sound effects in the background include a spinning barrel and the sound of a gun sparking off...and to thinks that millions of people are going to buy this album. The next track has your head noddin’ immediately, “Man Down” also sounds like vintage 50, although it’s weird to hear someone who owns a stake in the Gluceau company talking about how he’ll kill anyone, including police who stand in his way.

Speaking of talking about killing people and how willing he is to do it, the very next track is “I’ll Still Kill” featuring everyone’s favorite underage girl, not R. Kelly! I wrote “humper”. Akon lends his annoying ass half rapping/half singing vocals to the song. His high pitched yodelling style works on this track, though. Overall, it’s a cool joint but I’m starting to feel like 50 wants me dead for some odd reason. The next track I wish was an instrumental, “I Get Money”. I admit that this owns the streets right now but I’m one of those people that listens to lyrics and this song makes my eyes roll to the back of my head. I can’t front on it,’s a banger.

“Come & Go” is the typical “I don’t love them hoes” track complete with lame lyrics and 50 changing the lyrics of the song “Just Be Good To Me” during one of the verses. This joint is a yawn even though the beat is hot. “Ayo Technology” sucks horse cock. “Follow My Lead” features the Jon B. of the 00’s minus the production talent, Robin Thicke. He warbles sweetly in the background while 50 Cent spits some of the most ignorant shit you can imagine on a track for the ladies (?). This song is clearly supposed to be a single and it will be all over the radio. I don’t hate it (Yes, that’s the best I can do). This song is followed by the monster “Movin’ On Up”. This joint is the standout of the album so far in my opinion...this is another that reminds me of the early 50 Cent work circa “Get Rich Or Die Trying” before he actually took over when he was hungry and wanted knock everyone else out of the box. He doesn’t make efforts like this nearly enough. Case in point, “Straight To The Bank”.

“Straight To The Bank” sounds like he didn’t even try. The lyrics are nonexistant to anyone that’s looking for some content or’s sounds like business talk. I didn’t put The Robb Report into my iPod, I want to hear an album. This song sucks. The next song is another bullshit single that sounds uninspired, “Amusement Park”. “Fully Loaded Clip” is a head sounds like a mixtape diss song but is he dissing Jay-Z and Nas (among others) for being in stable relationships while he’s obsessed with being the King Of New York? I felt the same way about this track when I first heard it way back..Huh? What’s your point, 50? This track is alright, nothing special.

As soon as the beat for “Peep Show” drops I begin asking myself “Where’s Busta at?”. I really don‘t like 50 on this track and the lyrics are lazy as all hell. It sounds like a wannabe single and that turns me off immediately. As does the Nicole Scherzinger featured “Fire” which sounds like it could’ve been on the upcoming Britney Spears album. The chorus makes no fuckin’ sense. Why would you put drug talk anywhere in this song? Now I’m just pissed off. Uh Oh...what’s this? “All Of Me” feturing Mary J. Blige is what the fuck I’m talking about! Whooo! That beat is bananas and you know Mary is gonna bring it vocally. 50 stays in his lane and this joint and “Movin’ On Up” are definitely the stars of the album so far.

The beat for “Curtis 187” knocks but 50 bores the fuck outta me on this track. It’s typical 50 fare. It ain’t wack but I won’t be reciting any of these lines later. “Touch The Sky” sounds like an outtake from “The Massacre” (that’s NOT a good thing). Whoever let Tony Yayo spit on this track fucked up royally. I don’t care about this track at all.

In conclusion, this album will sell a shitload of copies and it has a shitload of potential singles. I will hear this album everywhere all Fall and perhaps Winter long. I can’t remember one quotable line from this album and if I did rewind a track, it was scrictly for the beat alone. This album has too many lame attempts at singles to get anything but a maybe from me although I will say that I expected this album to be way worse it’s actually a lot better than I thought it would be.

I’ve been waiting to hear this album for a long ass time and at long last here it is, Kanye West’s “Graduation”. The version I have has 16 tracks and opens with the Lil’ Wayne guested “Barry Bonds”. While Kanye West spits fire over this Nottz beat while Lil’ Wayne just spits a typical verse. Nice track. It’s followed by “Big Brother”, Kanye’s dedication to Jay-Z over a perfect beat for a story track. Next joint up is the “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’ Remix” featuring Young Jeezy, I loved the original version of this track and this one is dope as well. It leads right into the far too short “Champion” which could’ve gone for another good minute in my opinion. Kanye spits verses about his father and being a role model and “drop gyms (gems) like I dropped out of P.E.”. “Drunk And Hot Girls” featuring Mos Def in his role as the Boogieman going “Oh Oh Oh Da Da Da!” in the background is the type of track that would turn off a 50 Cent fan. The average hood cat would fast forward this with the quickness (I, of course, liked it).

“Everything I Am” is enhanced by the DJ Premier cuts on the hook and features dope introspective lyrics complete with some nice punchlines. If you looked up “album track” in the dictionary this track would be there. None of these tracks on these album so far could be categorized as “bangers” but so far I’ve heard quite a few joints that I’d call “my jam”. I’m actually listening to each track intently because it’s good music. “Flashing Lights” features Dwele on vocals and it’s yet another one of those laid back driving songs that might get a rewind because it’s so fly. “The Glory” means that I have to rewind this track, too. So far “The Glory” is the “hardest” beat on the album (with strings) and Kanye’s killing it lyrically once again. Kanye’s lines about him rockin' a speedo and still comin’ off like a fuckin' hero are emblematic of his style. He KNOWS he’s killin’ it. This joint is bananas. Next up is the first song I’ve heard T Pain on that I’ve ever liked. Kanye slides that part from Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.” right into the beat and it’s another head nodder. We’re only halfway through the album, too.

“Good Morning” is yet another fly track that keeps the album on track. Next up is the Chris Martin featured “Homecoming” which I would like a lot more if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s just an inferior version of one of my favorite unreleased Kanye joints “Home” featuring John Legend. I like the original better. It’s just okay. “I Wonder” is another ridiculous jam, this beat takes the crown of hardest beat on the album from “The Glory”. Kanye doesn’t try to overdo it lyrically on this track preferring to let the beat rock for most of the song. Wise choice. “Stronger” is annoying and I think it could’ve been a lot better. When I originally heard it on the “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’” mixtape I thought it was a mixtape track like “Young Folks” was. I never thought this joint would make the album. It wasn’t until my brother told me that the “Stronger” video premiered on MTV that I found out it was a single. The original track “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” is bananas and this joint doesn’t do it justice.

The next track is the lead single “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’” which I loved from the first time I ever heard it. This joint’s hook damn near tell the story of my life... you can’t tell me nothin’. I know I could tear shit up if given the opportunity and wait till I get my money right and put myself in postion to make moves. Fuck the Dipset, THIS is powerful music. Last up are the bonus tracks, the John Mayer collaboration “Bittersweet Poetry” and the CRS joint “Us Placers” (called CRS on this album although it’s actual name was on the “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’ Mixtape”. Both of these joints are crazy and it’s time for the verdict: This album gets a mos def. Cop this shit when it drops on the 11th and listen to some good music for a change.

I decided to review an album from another young lady based in the UK to balance out this post. The artist is named Candie Payne and the album is called “I Wish I Could Have Loved You More”. If you love Portishead or James Bond theme music this the fuckin’ album for you. The title track “I Wish I Could Have Loved You More” is nuts. The very next track “Why Should I Settle For You” is some laid back niceness that’s reminiscent of Beth Gibbons vocal style. “Take Me” sounds like classic 60’s style production (thank you Mark Ronson). “In The Morning” and “All I Need To Hear” both sound like those old school 45’s people sample from nowadays. “A Different You” starts out like one of those classic Phil Spector productions and has you waiting for the Wall Of Sound to come in at any moment. It’s still a fly song.

“By Tomorrow” sounds like an uptempo joint from the Mersey Sound era of the mid 60’s and “One More Chance” sounds like a Quincy Jones arrangement he would’ve made for Leslie Gore mixed with Phil Spector’s production (that’s a good thing). “Hey Goodbye” and “Season Change” (which was about 2 minutes too short) are back to back heat rocks. This album is fire so far. It closes with “Turn Back Now” which reminds me of some old school Lulu material (once again, that's a good thing). Dayum!

This album is only 11 tracks long and it’s pretty short since the songs all average just under 3 minutes long (around the length they were in the 60’s). While Amy Winehouse’s last album did an excellent job of recreating the 60’s girl group sound, this album utilized a lot more of the different styles of chilled out 60’s production and sound that people still look to emulate today. I was taken by surprise by this LP as she’s had no hype or press in the US of any type. If you miss the Portishead style sound, excellent production and are a fan of 60’s music than you most def need this in your life. Cop it from the UK iTunes store, look for Candie Payne’s videos on YouTube or just look for her album here .

“I’ll be back but for now just sekkle!” © KRS One



DocZeus said...

I personally love the original name for Curtis. It sounded like a record that might actually have something to say considering 50 Cent is one of those rappers who can and will be found shot to death in his car. If this record doesn't sell at least 700,000 copies the first week, I can't imagine Interscope dumping anymore money into this record. The promotion budget alone on this makes it hard to re-coup even if it did GRODT numbers. What's it had like 6 singles and 5 videos released? All of the videos were pretty high budget,too especially Ayo Technology and Straight To The Bank. Jimmy Iovine knows when to let a failing project die.

Anonymous said...

Nice write-ups here, Dart. None of these will come close to making my top ten list (especially Curtis), but Graduation isn't the disappointment I half-expected it to be.