As I’ve learned from a short Wikipedia search, a purple ribbon can stand for all manner of things, but it is obvious that in Eddy B‘s case, it signifies cancer. Eddy B released this song as part of his debut album HopeLess Act yesterday. “A Purple Ribbon” is one of my favorite tracks off of the album, despite its heartbreaking subject. Eddy B tells his story over an instrumental driven by a rolling military drum beat and mournful combination of sax and piano. In quick, expressive words, he shares the experience of receiving a phone call from his mother, telling him she was about to go into surgery for the unexpected resurgence of cancer. The emotional weight of this song is increased with the detail that they hadn’t spoken in a while because they had been arguing. His final verse is an affirmation of his love to her, leaving the results of this sudden and dangerous surgery unclear. The song is a beautiful way to capture the instant of shock and emotion that this call created. Give it a listen, and while you’re at it, download the whole album here.
Archive for April, 2013
Mastermind has consistently delivered some of the most inspired and interesting hip hop music in the scene today. On April 23rd, he dropped an album that confirmed this reputation yet again. “A.D.D. (Artistically Day Dreaming)” is packed with clever, attention-grabbing lyrics, quirky, fitting beats, and truly engaging story-telling. Here are three of my favorite tracks off of this stellar album. You can download the album for $7 at Bandcamp if, like me, you realize after listening to a couple of songs that it is totally worth it. If you find yourself a bit too strapped for cash to spend it on this, that’s ok, he understands and also provides it for free on SoundCloud. But don’t just take my word for it. Listen!
“Overdraft <$" is both amusing and real. Backed by a deep syncopated rhythm and electronic reverberating chords, Mastermind Einstein holds forth on a subject familiar to just many people coming of age. Budgeting is hard. He has lots of fun telling banks exactly where to put their bills while at the same time illuminating a vivid vignette of debt, student and other. At the same time he captures the difficulty in leaving college to pursue something different, the conflict of personal pride and societal disapproval. I found quite a bit of it resonating with me, both from my experience and those of my friends. Check it out!
At first listen, you might think this is the story of his younger cousin (I did), but it’s actually a song for a younger Mastermind Einstein. He paints a picture of slightly isolated child, loving the simple things in life, but set apart by being poorer than most. Yet again, MME’s lyrics tell an incredibly clear tale, this time of youth, backed by a soft, simple, keyboard instrumental. With only a few broad strokes of detail, a love of dinosaurs, pokémon, and the gameboy start-up tone, he creates a full image of his youth. He only drops the beat a minute in when he fast forwards to the present and asks for approval from his past self. It’s incredibly poignant and well made. Give it a listen.
And for a change of pace, here’s a drastically different sound from “Reverie”. With the aid of some guest artists, this song takes the sound that Mastermind Einstein likes in his beats and expands it into a beautiful electronic track. The eerie, practically fae harmonies that he likes are showcased and even
autotuned at points distorted with a vocoder at points. The syncopated rhythm is there, but the song also features a section that wouldn’t be out of place in an electro track, with a unified wob-like bass synth and vocal “ah”s. It’s a lovely way to sum up and begin to close the album. Enjoy.
AZEDIA has atmospheric down to an art. This song is flat out beautiful and, with the proper speakers, will shake the room. Starting out quiet, with a hint of discordant reverb, the song picks up a simple light drum line before adding bass to emphasize the beat. A couple minutes in, a melodic line enters the music and the beat drops then returns changed. This track is slow, but not boring. Enjoy it.
I’m shocked I didn’t blog this earlier, but delays happen. Dave Edwards released this remix of Kentö almost a month ago. It is stellar. It is incredibly cheerful. It’s the brand of cheerful electro house that is hard not to smile at. It reminds me a bit of Madeon’s style. Check it out; you won’t regret it.
Using only hands, voice, and a 1978 Moog Minimoog D synthesizer, Jeffrey Jerusalem put together this compelling and well layered song. The track’s sound flirts with electro but doesn’t have the hectic pacing or gauche synths. If pop electro house were action-packed movies without much in the way of plot, this track would be an older Bond film, sporting its own action, but also plot and clever classy dialogue. The attractive dancing synths in this track feel like they’re striding through danger with panache instead of running into it, guns blazing. If my contrived metaphor hasn’t enlightened you yet, I suggest you give the song a listen. Enjoy!
A week ago Matty released his eighth full length album, Mr. Nice Guy 2. The album is full of soulful, well-made hip hop music, filled with emotion, honesty, and wit. “Know By Now” combines a slick beat with emotion-filled singing and well thought out rap verses. This song tells the tale of Matty’s path to the present, fighting to make it in the industry. He wants people to stop asking the same old questions, giving the same old criticisms, and just know by now that he’s on his way. The chorus really ties the song together and hooks the listener in the heart as the verses hook the head. Check it out!
BONUS: Here’s another track from Mr. Nice Guy 2. This one exemplifies his sense of fun. Not only is “Popular” treating on a fun subject, putting down the competition, and repping himself, but it samples the song “Popular” from the musical Wicked. It’s a fabulous beat, one that only suffers from a quality drop when the drum drops onto the track. Other than that jarring shift, the beat is one of the catchiest I’ve heard this year. It’s obvious that Matty is having fun on this beat; just listen for his pun. Enjoy and if you like what you hear, download the album here!
Bramzwig‘s latest track combines a dynamic beat with an energetic rant about America’s flaws. The exciting instrumental complements the quick and dirty message. It captures the trend of dissatisfaction in government with style and flair. It’s catchy and well timed, rapping a criticism of a political disconnect: lowering taxes on the rich while people are in need of government aid, while at almost the same time Bramzwig released this, gun control fell through Congress. Bramzwig covers hunger, wealth inequality, college debt, drugs, lying on the news, foreclosures, cronyism, consumerism, and the poor draft in under three minutes. Now that’s good word-smithing. Check it out!