3×3 Monday’s 6/24/19

Figure It Out – French Montana ft. Kanye West & Nas

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not a huge French Montana fan, however, “Figure It Out” is most likely his best song to date. The song is serious as it discusses topics of death, imprisonment, and honesty. While French Montana isn’t considered to be a deep and serious rapper, he really outdid himself with this song especially with the inclusion of Nas. Nas is another rapper I wasn’t a big fan of at first but after this song and NASIR, my opinion on the legendary rapper has changed. Add in Kanye West for bonus points and you get a solid sentimental track that invokes inner emotions.

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Slayerr – Tm88 ft. Lil Uzi Vert

This song is my second time being exposed to Tm88’s work with the first being “Been Thru a Lot” back in 2016. “Slayerr”, however, is my newest favorite song from Tm88 as Lil Uzi Vert takes the song and makes it his own. The song is very reminiscent of Luv Is Rage 2 and brings the colorful yet dark-toned sound that we’ve come to love and expect from Uzi. I really like Tm88’s production on this song too and their teamwork definitely brings the track to a new height.

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Cops Shot The Kid – Nas ft. Kanye West

As previously mentioned, I wasn’t a big fan of Nas for quite some time. I never understood the hype of Illmatic but I heavily enjoyed his songs “Hate Me Now” and “I Can”. I didn’t listen to NASIR when it came out last year but upon my first listen I fell in love with it. “Cops Shot The Kid” is my favorite song on the album and the Slick Rick sample completes the song in my opinion. I plan to listen to more of Nas’ discography down the road because if it’s anything like this song, I’m surely going to become a huge fan of Nas and his legendary status.

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Panini – Lil Nas X

“Panini” is Lil Nas X’s second single from his newest EP titled 7. This song is so simple and fun that it prompts me to bob my head and bounce with joy. I hope this song blows up like “Old Town Road” did because it truly deserves recognition for its addicting sound. I cannot wait to hear what Lil Nas X has to offer after and “Panini”.

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Soul Glo – B.o.B

I am a huge B.o.B stan and that will never change. Bobby Ray is one of my favorite musicians and has been since his commercial debut in 2010. Flat-Earth theories aside, he is one of the most creative, consistent, and unique rappers in the industry. The music video for “Soul Glo” serves as a homage to the classic Eddie Murphy film, Coming to America. This song is surely going to make one smile with happiness because of its infectious rhythm and beat that is complemented by a catchy chorus. I am still currently listening to his newest release “Southmatic”, but I can highly recommend this song as a place to start.

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Honey – 070 Shake

I have been a huge 070 Shake fan since her debut in 2016 and even got to see her in concert. Her voice is so unique that she can match pretty much every beat given to her and can switch from rapping to singing with ease. Her versatility is what makes Honey such a standout song from her discography. Honey is a great song to get you hype but can also be interpreted in a sad way if looked at from a different viewpoint. I think 070 Shake deserves way more credit than she’s gotten and I’m forever glad that Kanye West gave her a spot to shine in 2018.

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Ransom – Lil Tecca

I just heard this song for the first time last week and haven’t stopped listening to it since. Lil Tecca’s rhymes are very smooth and the beat compliments his delivery very well. I’m glad this song blew up as much as it did because Lil Tecca honestly deserves credit because of this song. I hope we see more of him this year and maybe even a project release.

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Zulu Screams – GoldLink ft. Maleek Berry & Bibi Bourelly

Being one of the more successful rappers from the DMV means that GoldLink has come a long way from his debut in 2014. With his debut album Diaspora being an album I really enjoyed this year, I must highlight one of the best songs from the album. “Zulu Screams” is a song you cannot help but dance to as GoldLink glides over the beat like he usually does. With the beat being more of a dance or house type it is refreshing to see him experiment with this particular sound because I think it works very well for him. I would love to see what else he can do with this sound in the future.

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Dots & Lines – Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco has always been a special kind of rapper with his innovative way of telling stories through albums but it should be known that out of these stories come hidden gems. “Dots & Lines” has stellar production as it sounds like an old western tune mixed with classic rapping. Lupe Fiasco really killed it with this song and it makes me want to listen to all of his discography especially Tetsuo & Youth.

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3×3 Monday’s 5/28/18

Do It Now – Mos Def ft. Busta Rhymes

It took me a long time to get into Mos Def mostly due to my incompetence to listen to “good” music growing up. However, I’ve recently gotten into Mos Def and I enjoy quite a lot of songs by him today. “Do It Now” is without a doubt one of those songs I enjoy. I personally have a soft spot for rap songs that include duos who tend to rap back and forth. Artists like Kanye West and Big Sean is perhaps my favorite duo to do this, however, Mos Def and Busta Rhymes destroy it on the track. The sharing of the chorus is something I will always smile at when this song plays due to the perfect chemistry of these two rap legends.

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Blue Dream – Dance Gavin Dance

This weekend saw my feelings being exposed as “Blue Dream” was on repeat this week. This band was introduced to me by a few close friends and since then I’ve slowly become a fan of their work. “Blue Dream” is perhaps my all-time favorite Dance Gavin Dance song as it features vocalist Jonny Craig pushing himself to his limits vocal wise. While “Blue Dream” might be about a girl with blue eyes, it means a lot more to me. “Blue Dream” is a love ballad that I will always feel connected to. I cannot wait to see what Dance Gavin Dance has to offer next month with their new album Artificial Selection.

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I Was Never There – The Weeknd

My Dear Melancholy, is an EP that I believe was greatly overlooked compared to The Weeknd’s other releases. Nonetheless, this EP delivers on its name “Melancholy” with the song “I Was Never There”. This song could perhaps be one of my favorite songs this year especially with the production credit by Gesaffelstein. “I Was Never There” really captures the sound and image that The Weeknd first debuted with his notorious Trilogy albums. With sadness in his heart and depression in his head, The Weeknd perfectly details those feelings on this song and it shows. While the breaking up of him and Selena Gomez is undoubtedly the sole motivation of this sound, it could be considered a crucial moment in his life and subsequently his career which ultimately depends on his life experience. I hope to see The Weeknd happy again this year and come out with at least one more release before the year is over.

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Saturation 3 (Album) – Brockhampton

With Saturation 2 being one of my favorite albums of last year, Saturation 3 had high standards to beat in order to impress me. Unfortunately, after first hearing Saturation 3 when it was released I found it to still be inferior to Saturation 2. I decided to listen to it again this week and multiple occasions and found it to be more enjoyable than I first thought. Songs like “Alaska”, “Zipper”, and “Stupid” have really grown on me. Although I still find Saturation 2 to be their best album. With the recent removal of my favorite member, Ameer Vann I am curious to see how the group can continue after taking such a critical hit.

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Testing (Album) – A$AP Rocky

I have a love/hate relationship with A$AP Rocky’s music ever since he first debuted with LONG.LIVE.A$AP which I only really liked two songs from the album. However, two years later he would go on to release one of my favorite albums of all time with AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoy A$AP Rocky, A$AP Mob, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP, and Testing. Testing is a very outlandish sounding album coming from someone like A$AP Rocky, except it somehow still works well as an A$AP Rocky album. The sampling he uses to craft most of the album makes it feel like a classic A$AP Rocky album. I plan to listen to this album more in order to get a better feel for it and might even revisit it after enough time has passed so that I may further evaluate and compare this album to his other work. Until then, A$AP Mob as a whole has yet to let me down and hope to see them do more collaborative and solo projects this year.

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Daytona (Album) – Pusha T

With King Push being renamed to Daytona, I’ve come to wonder what the album used to sound like back when it was King Push. Regardless, Pusha T delivers a solid album in 2018 and I am thoroughly impressed by this release. Being one of my most anticipated albums of 2018, it certainly didn’t disappoint by any means. With production by Kanye West and even a Kanye West feature, it’s good to see Kanye is still putting out quality work amongst all the recent criticism and debates. In 7 songs, Daytona delivers a short but sweet album that I have absolutely no complaints with. The lyrics, beats, and theme are all on point for a Pusha T album and I am glad this album was on par if not better than his last album which was King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude.

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The Nights – Avicii

This week I felt like some electronic “feel-good” music was needed and with the recent passing of Avicii, I decided to revisit some of his work. “The Nights” is very much so a “feel-good” song that shares an undertone of wisdom and experience. Taking into account the producer’s passing, songs like these seem to take on a dual meaning which in turn can give these songs a new purpose and story to tell. The passing of Avicii has only made his music more effective at invoking emotion through song and it is fully exemplified on “The Nights” where a father gives his son advice about remembering the good nights in life that we often would otherwise forget. Avicii was an amazing artist and his music continues to inspire fans like myself and many millions of others.

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Call on Me – Eric Prydz

Continuing this theme of electronic music for the week I decided to revisit Eric Prydz who many years ago produced some of my favorite electronic tunes. “Call on Me” is a very simple song that is filled with simple happiness. Coming out in 2004, this song samples the song “Valerie” by Steve Winwood in order to create the elementary yet enjoyable chorus. With a questionable music video and a great song, Eric Prydz really struck gold when he created “Call on Me” and it wouldn’t surprise me if his work was the foundation for this newer era of electronic producers.

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Halloween – Kodak Black

“Halloween” by Kodak Black is a song that I listen to on a daily basis and have on every Spotify playlist I’ve made. Is Kodak Black my favorite rapper of all time? No. However, he does know how to create dynamic songs that can be interpreted is great pieces of music due to his wild imagination and creative use of descriptions. Songs such as “No Flockin” and “Roll In Peace” further support my argument, however, “Halloween” is perhaps the best Kodak Black song to display this skill. Kodak Black is gritty and honest which in turn allows him to paint pictures with his words, this, therefore, allows for some truly great songs to come out every once in a while. I recommend “Halloween” to enjoy who enjoys a laid back rap song with an outstanding beat that will surely allow you to close your eyes and imagine what Kodak Black is going through on this song.

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3×3 Monday’s 5/21/18

Yet again another new series on this site, 3×3 Monday’s. Every week or two I plan to release my 3×3 chart of what I listened to each previous week along with an explanation of each choice. I hope my music suggestions can open you up to new genres, sounds, and artists as I highlight my favorite listens of the week.

Shoota – Playboi Carti ft. Lil Uzi Vert

Previously, I wasn’t a huge fan of Playboi Carti, however, this changed when he released “Shoota” on his album Die Lit. With an incredible introduction by Lil Uzi Vert followed by a memorable verse by Carti, “Shoota” has become one of my favorite songs of 2018 already. The iconic line of “Woke up with my toolie, what it do?” has been one I look forward to hearing every time I listen to this song. With this song’s release I am willing to look more into Playboi Carti and what else he has to offer assuming “Shoota” isn’t his best song out there.

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This Is America – Childish Gambino

Donald Glover has always been a person that I’ve been inspired by whether it’s from his acting career or music career, he simply is one of the best in both of these categories. His comedy performances aren’t even that bad either. However, it’s his work under Childish Gambino that has been a standout from me over the past seven years with his debut album Camp. Seven years later and two albums later we have a new single from Gambino titled “This Is America”. The release of “This Is America” was accompanied by the release of a stellar music video that highlights everything wrong in America. “This Is America” is not only a strong political statement, it’s also a celebration of freedom of speech and how Gambino’s connections in the music industry can come to life. With supporting lyrics by Young Thug, 21 Savage, and Quavo intertwined with others, Gambino really is in charge of the industry in this single. If “This Is America” is the new sound that Gambino is going after since his latest album Awaken! My Love, I for one cannot wait to see what this new album is going to offer.

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Watch ft. Lil Uzi Vert & Kanye West – Travis Scott

With the release of AstroWorld seemingly being any day now, the first single from the album is monumental. “Watch” is an anthem in every aspect of the word. Travis Scott links up with Lil Uzi Vert and Kanye West to produce one of the most fun and hype singles of this year so far. With clever features by Uzi and Kanye, “Watch” feels like just a hint of what we will be hearing on the upcoming AstroWorld. “Watch” not only makes me excited for AstroWorld, it also makes me excited to see what else Lil Uzi Vert plans to do this year along with Kanye West’s two albums due in June.

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Bubblin – Anderson .Paak

Anderson .Paak is one of the greatest working musicians currently, and “Bubblin” is a testament to this statement. “Bubblin” is fun, fast, and inventive as Anderson .Paak seemingly glides over the beat with playful and intuitive rhymes. Since his work on Dr. Dre’s album Compton, I’ve been a huge fan of .Paak and this song only reaffirm my love for this artist. One of the greatest and most hardworking musicians, Anderson .Paak absolutely earns my praise and recommendation for “Bubblin”.  I cannot say this enough, but if you haven’t already, listen to his second album Malibu especially if you enjoyed “Bubblin”.

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Reckless (Album) – NAV

The year is 2016, Travis Scott just released Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight and one song, in particular, stands out to me more than the rest. “Beibs in the Trap” is that song. However, NAV is the main reason why that song works so well. Fast-forward to 2017 and NAV releases two projects, NAV Perfect Timing which both became favorites of mine very quickly. Now we’re in 2018 and NAV releases yet another project called Reckless. While not my favorite of the three, Reckless proves once again that NAV knows how to be entertaining. Songs like “Champion”, “Wanted You”, and “Faith” explore NAV’s synergy with feature rappers such as Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, and Quavo while songs such as “Never Change”, “Hold Your Hand”, and “Freshman List” show his versatility on his own. The XO artist continues to impress me every release, and I am looking forward to hearing from NAV again this year.

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In Da Club – 50 Cent

Earlier this month I decided to make a Spotify playlist filled with songs that reminded me of the Summer season. “In Da Club” by 50 Cent fits the category of Summer music quite well. While 2003 50 Cent is one of my favorite artists, Get Rich Or Die Tryin isn’t one of my favorite albums. Regardless, however, “In Da Club” is the definition of a hit single from this era. Arguably, “In Da Club” is a timeless single that still holds up to this day and is almost if not better now than it was then. 50 Cent puts his talent on display while Dr. Dre’s production ascends this song into a whole different tier of excellence. This rap song is one of the greatest songs of all time and I look forward to listening to it often.

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Midnight Crusade – Dance Gavin Dance

I got into Dance Gavin Dance last year, and I hate myself for not getting into them sooner. “Midnight Crusade” is perhaps on my list of favorite songs of all time, and with that, it has a very high replay value. Since it’s release in April, I’ve listened to this song at least once a day and plan to continue doing so until the end of time. “Midnight Crusade” is such a fantastic song that I’ve recommended it to at least 15 people this month alone. Tilian Pearson brings this song to life with his dynamic synergy with the rest of the band as they escalate my expectations for their new album Artificial Selection. I’m very happy to call myself a Dance Gavin Dance fan now as the release of “Midnight Crusade” only further exemplifies my love for this band.

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Lost Y’all Mind – Kilo Ali

While creating my Summer playlist I came across an artist named Kilo Ali, to which I’m quite happy I came across him. Kilo Ali makes bass music and more specifically makes bass music similar to Miami bass which has quickly become one of my favorite genres recently. While not the most successful or popular artist of this genre, Kilo Ali holds his own on “Lost Y’all Mind”. This 1997 song from his album Organized Bass makes me thankful for discovering him while searching for Miami bass songs to add to my playlist. With a song that’s 21 years old, it holds up surprisingly well and the production and bass are still very well constructed even to this day. I hope to find other lesser-known artists in the Miami bass genre, but Kilo Ali is definitely a highlight of the genre in my opinion.

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Audio – LSD

LSD is a collaborative group that consists of Labrinth, Sia, and Diplo. Their first release “Genius” is a very fun and rhythmic song, however, their second release “Audio” is what really got my attention. “Audio” is perhaps my favorite Summer-oriented release of this year so far and for good reason too. Sia’s voice is the perfect choice for this super-group as she simply makes every electronic-pop song stand out from the rest. Combined with Diplo’s production and Labrinth’s lyrics, “Audio” is the recipe for a successful pop song in 2018. There is nothing bad about this song, and every listen makes me like it even more than the last. If I can say anything, it’s that I will be playing this song in my car on every drive and trip this Summer.

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