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October 26, 2011

Video Spotlight: J. Cole - Lost Ones

You all know I L-O-V-E J. Cole and his new album Cole World: The Sideline Story which debuted at #1 in its first week of release selling 217,000 copies.  Not bad for the North Carolina native who started this all off with a "dollar and a dream".  I'm very impressed by the subject matter, metaphors and lyrical content on the new album, especially on songs like Lights Please where he discusses a women's preoccupation with sex while he is only trying to get to know her, Breakdown where he talks about the pain of not having his father in his life, and Dollar And A Dream when he speaks of the hard times he experienced in his life. 

He keeps the balance with dance/club tracks like Can't Get Enough and Workout, but Lost Ones speaks to the experience that both a young man and women who are in love undergo once the girl finds out she is pregnant.  Cole personifies the thoughts and fears of a young man encountering this situation, as well as the abandonment a women feels when left to make the decision whether to keep their baby.

I've been pumping J. Cole for awhile so I'm happy to see the success that he is receiving after his debut release.  If you haven't heard the whole album yet I highly urge that you go out and get it and see what all the hype is about.  People are always saying that Hip Hop needs more diversity and intelligent topics, well here you go Hip Hip critics! Hopefully, this talented lyricist is here to stay.

Check out the emotional and profound Video Spotlight for Lost Ones:

Did you enjoy watching the video?
Was the subject matter on point and current with today's times?
Would you like to hear more music like this?
What are your thoughts on J. Cole as an artist?
Have you listened to the album, and if so, what are your thoughts?
What are your thoughts on abortion?

October 19, 2011

Can West Coast Hip Hop Music Make A Comeback?

I hope most of you caught The Cypher on BET's 2011 Hip Hop Awards that featured newcomers like Machine Gun Kelly and Lecrae, but what stood out most for me were the Hip Hop artists from the West Coast getting major shine.  Specifically, Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy and Crooked I.  For those that don't know, Crooked I is a well known underground artist that is a vet on the West Coast Hip Hop scene, and quite possibly one of the most underrated MCs west of the Mississippi.  Kendrick Lamar has been deemed the Leader of The New School by West Coast greats Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, while collaborating with a plethora of artists from J. Cole to to Jay Rock all while toting Compton on his back. 

There are even more MCs that are making a name for themselves in the Hip Hop world that were not featured in the Cypher, but have been steadily building momentum, including Jay Rock from Watts, CA and Problem from Compton.  I could mention new artists like Tyler the Creator, who hails from Los Angeles, Lil B and Kreayshawn from Oakland, but I'd rather focus on artists like Jay Rock, Problem, and Dom Kennedy as these artists deserve more shine and attention.

Lets be honest, the West Coast Hip Hop scene hasn't been the same since Death Row was extinguished years ago.  Nowadays it seems the vets like Snoop Dogg, E-40 and Ice Cube run the game and local DJs don't give much play to West Coast artists, unless you're YG (ie. Toot It and Boot It).  With that being said, I want to highlight a few solo acts that are making a name for themselves straight from the underground to your speakers.

An Introduction To West Coast Hip Hop's Up And Comers:

Dom Kennedy
From: Leimert Park, Los Angeles, CA
Dom Kennedy was featured on BET's 2011 Cypher alongside Lady of Rage and Blind Fury.  While some critics say his "so-called" freestyle didn't cut the mustard, his name is steadily coming out of the mouths of Hip Hop enthusiasts and critics alike.  He is associated with Pacific Division AKA PacDiv, whom have been featured on MTV2 and tour the country performing and making appearances.  Kennedy has a strong mixtape following and is making waves, all with no major deal.  Kudos to him!  Here is a formal introduction, Kennedy's video Grind'n from the From The Westside With Love II mixtape:

From: Compton, CA
Problem is probably one of the most underrated rappers in the West, mainly because you've probably heard his music before, and danced to it in the club, but didn't know who he was.  He is known for club bangers like I'm Toe Up, Potion, Double Dip and I'm Burnt (a collaboration with Snoop Dogg and Kurupt).  And it doesn't stop there.  Problem is none for writing for various other artists and has worked with the likes of E-40, Too Short and DJ Quik.  His most recent body of work is featured on his mixtape Hotels that was released earlier this year.  Check out his video for Know What It Is"

Jay Rock
From: Watts, CA
Possibly best known for his recent collaboration with Kendrick Lamar on Hood Gone Love It, Jay Rock was named one of the top 13 most street artists by XXL and has worked with industry heavyweights Lil' Wayne and Will.I.Am.  His debut album Follow Me Home was released in the Summer of 2011 under Strange Music.  Check out his video for Hood Gone Love It:

I'm very excited about what these artists can possibly contribute to the West Coast Hip Hop legacy now and in the future.  Keep your eye out for artists like these and the West Coast will be back in no time.  WEST UP! lol

Have you heard of these artists from the West Coast?
Who stands out the most?
Do you think the West Coast can revive its Hip Hop scene on a major scale?
Are you a fan of West Coast music?

October 6, 2011

Video Spotlight - CJ Hilton - So Fresh

I was just recently put on to this R&B newcomer from Baltimore, MD who notes his musical influences as Usher, R. Kelly, Stevie Wonder & Marvin Gaye.  One listen to this song and you will see why.  The song has an upbeat tempo with a nice groove and Hip Hop vibe.  While R&B lovers are curious about the current state of R&B, you have newcomers like CJ Hilton, who is signed to J Records, answering the call.  CJ is 21, but has already worked with the likes of Raphael Saadiq and Marsha Ambrosius and is a talented musician and writer, writing most of his own material.  His voice is unique and I am excited to see/hear more from this cat. 

Check out the video:

For the life of me I cannot place where I have seen the main chick in the video, but I will figure it out sooner or later.  But until then, I want to know...Are you feeling this song?  Can you hear his musical influences in the track?  Do you think he can make a name for himself?  Share your thoughts!

More pics of CJ Hilton so you all can get better acquainted:

His official website:
Twitter: @iamcjofficial 

October 4, 2011

Are Women The Only Ones With The Emotions?

I received a lot of feedback from my post last week regarding relationships Is The Chase Dead In Modern day Relationships.  Thinking about the current dating market, in Los Angeles at least, I decided the topic of relationships might need to be explored a little more.  As I was thinking about what to write, the word "emotions" came to mind and specifically, who has them, who exercises them and who hates them?  Off the top of my head I can recall countless times men have told me that women are too emotional.  That they use their hearts instead of the heads and that women operate off of emotion, whereas men operate off of logic. *side eye*

When you think about the experience or expression of "emotions" its kind of hard to think that only women have emotions in romantic relationships.  I mean, we're all human, all have pretty much the same make up as human beings, and we all seem to strive for common goals: happiness, pleasure, success, self-assurance, etc.  So how could only one sex experience and utilize their emotions?  Forgive me for my ignorance, but aren't all humans, for the most part, capable of feeling and expressing emotions?  So why when it comes to love, which is one of the most emotional activities in life that one can engage in, are women the only ones using them, or even acknowledging that they exist?

Perhaps this is a little to psychological for you all, but the debate over nature vs. nurture is a never-ending one.  However, I bring up the concept of nature vs. nurture because perhaps men (or young boys) start off using their emotions ie. crying, displaying sadness or disappointment, but are quickly told by their parents to "suck it up", "boys don't cry" or to "wipe their tears and man up".  Maybe this is why men are so adverse to using expressing their emotions when it comes to matters of the heart.

I'm sorry, but I refuse to believe that women are the only ones who experience and feel the need to express emotions, but in my dealings with men, it almost feels like I'm trying to pull teeth to get a man to express his emotions as freely as I do.  I know, I know, I've had much more practice, but why is it such a big deal to express emotions that one has to keep them bottled up inside?  And we wonder why some men have issues with aggression.  Is it not manly to show that your feelings are hurt, someone disappointed you, or perhaps, that you (men) actually care about more than busting a nut?

It seems that men only express emotions when they are forced to and their backs are against the wall.  Why do relationships have to come to extremes in order for a man to express he is "feeling" something.  Now don't get me wrong.  Women are definitely emotional creatures, at some times, to our detriment and we all must learn to balance it.  So I guess its safe to say that both parties have some work to do when it comes to this topic if we are ever going to meet in the middle and achieve balance in our relationships. 

Sidebar: Someone recently expressed to me that my relationship posts are a bit one-sided and I have taken note of this and promise to have some female bashing posts for you men, lol, but first things first...

I would love to hear from the fellas on this!!!!

Do you think that men experience emotions and often do not express them?
Do you find yourself holding your tongue or not expressing your true emotions for fear of not being "manly"?
Do men really react strictly from logic as they say or are they just not experienced in exercising their emotions?

I would love your feedback.....WEIGH IN!