Happy 2014!

Nas-performs-at-TAO-2-588

 

Here we are on New Year’s Day, the day infamously known for being full of long hangovers and great college football.  I’m surely enjoying it so far (even though I’m nursing a hangover), and I hope the rest of you are as well!

I got into a conversation with a friend last night, discussing the feeling of introspection that I usually get this time of year.  Thinking about the various things that happened in the past year, mixed with the expectations based around the clean slate opportunity that the new year gives you.  I think of it as almost like a soul-cleansing experience (if that makes any sense).  While I can’t say I’ll stick to a resolution I make, I can say that it’s time to make moves and create opportunities for myself, and move forward in life.  Get your hustle on, make this next year your greatest.

Anyways, here’s my favorite song from 2013.  It was a tough decision, but this Dom Kennedy track goes hard.  The perfect song for the grinding mindset.

All in all, have a great New Year’s Day, ladies and gentlemen.  All the best to you, your family, and friends.

-Ronzo

Advertisements

Monday Grooves (Back and kickin)

groooovin

 

Welcome to another edition of Monday Grooves, ladies and gentlemen.  Quite a lot has happened since my previous Monday Grooves post. New albums, cooked beef (Drake and Kendrick), and even a wildly entertaining Kanye interview.

Now that just scratches the surface, though.  The Hip-Hop world is alive and kicking, with all sorts of up-and-coming artists making waves.  Now, this does mean there’s a whole lot of songs for me to choose from to put on here today.  However, no matter what I pick, here are three tracks that are guaranteed to keep your week groovy.

 

Dom Kennedy – If It Don’t Make Money (feat. Skeme)

Get Home Safely had high expectations, especially around these parts.  The album is pure dope and features everything we love about the smooth rapper from the West Coast.  Props Dom, it’s been hard to live up to expectations for an album this year.

“If it Don’t Make Money” is one of my favorites off the project, with swag levels to the max.  The hustle is very apparent within the bars of this track, as Skeme and Dom both represent hard work and dedication.  On a side note, it’s nice to finally hear something big from Skeme, who for some reason has been very reclusive lately.  The West Coast is on the rise, and it’s certainly not gonna stop any time soon.

 

Problem ft. Bad Lucc – Like Whaaat

Usually I get tired of a heavily played radio track very quickly.  It gets old after I hear it for the 5th or 6th time that day.  This is the reason I’ve always used a CD player in my car, listening to endless amounts of rap mixes.  Unfortunately, circumstances lately have led to my CD player to break, forcing me to use the radio.

This song has been one of my favorites that I’ve heard on the air, and I’m still not tired of it.  The hook is infectious, the beat reps the Bay Area, and you just can’t help but root for Problem as he makes his way up the West Coast food chain.  It was good to see both him and Bad Lucc in the BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher, and I’m sure we’ll see plenty more of him.

 

The Diplomats – Dipset Anthem

You knew I had to throw in the old school favorite.  The Diplomats formed their own sound back during the Roc-A-Fella hayday, and the best way I can explain it would be referring to it as “Ghetto Extravagance”.  Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, and the rest of the crew found clever ways to display Gangster attitudes with humor mixed in.  I’m pretty sure if Cam’ron wasn’t a rapper he’d be a stand-up comedian.

Anyways, Diplomatic Immunity is a gem and should be added to any serious Hip-Hop fan’s collection.

-Ronzo

Dom Kennedy – Get Home Safely (Preview)

dom doing it big

With about a week away from the October 15th release date of Get Home Safely, Dom Kennedy and rap fans alike can hardly contain their excitement.  The long and winding road through mixtape after mixtape finally feels fulfilled with this official label release.

From various singles released in anticipation of the album, the feel seems very much similar to his older music.  That is not a bad thing by any means, as he has truly carved out a very unique style.  He knows what he’s got, and he knows exactly how to use it.

“Dominic” has been my favorite out of the couple songs released in anticipation for GHS.  Other songs released include “South Central Love” and “Erica Pt. 1” (which has a sequel on the album).  Smooth production is always at the forefront of Dom’s music, with sunny day grooves that sound heavily influenced by Old-School West Coast artists. The interesting part of his sound comes from the fact that he uses this influence for his sound, but then puts a twist on it.  Some of the songs on From the Westside with Love would fit just as perfectly with Snoop, Kurupt, or Xzibit in their prime.

The music promotes relaxation and peaceful vibes, perfect for warm weather.  His October release is strange in the grand scheme of things, as the majority of his older mixtapes have served as Summer soundtracks.  The album was originally scheduled for August, and was then delayed to October after a brief hiatus from the West Coast rapper.

Whether it was because of technical difficulties, or business maneuvers, or just simply taking a page out of Dr. Dre’s book to build anticipation, the album is now a week away and ready to be released to the fans who have been waiting for so long.  Along with the recent Nipsey Hussle Crenshaw mixtape release, and Problem’s rise to the mainstream, West Coast gangster rap is back on the scene.  Be sure to check out Get Home Safely next week.

get home safely tracklist

P.S. – Check out this Get Home Safely documentary, where Dom shows you around Leimert Park and explains the origin of his album.

-Ronzo

Monday Grooves

Drake

After a brief hiatus, Monday Grooves is finally back at it! This time around, the rap game is currently being headlined by the usual suspect, Drake.  Nothing Was the Same’s release has been a major contributor to this, heavily boosting his feature counts for the time being.  “Versace” and the eerily similar to “I’m on One” banger, “No New Friends” (similarity probably due to DJ Khaled’s doing).  The album is arguably one of the best of the year, and has been in rotation across speakers all over the country.

This time around on Monday Grooves, I’ll be showing you some of the newer releases.  Lots of good music this summer, and it should only get better as there are many more albums to expect.

Dizzy Wright – Still Movin

I’m quite pleased for how well Dizzy Wright is repping Michigan Hip-Hop.  His style is less like label-mate Hopsin, being more conscious and party-oriented.  On this track in particular, he shares take on the popular grinding anthem theme you’ve heard in abundance lately.  While the subject matter may not be the most original, the hook is catchy and it shows Dizzy’s versatility in making different styles of Hip-Hop. Take a track like “World Peace” off his recent The Golden Age mixtape for example, which has an entirely different feel.

Dizzy Wright so far is paving the way for his Funk Volume brethren, with catchy music and recognizable talent.  With Hopsin’s Knock Madness on the way, the label has a chance to be competing for the top come 2014.

Nipsey Hussle – Checc Me Out ft. Dom Kennedy & Cobb Supreme

Among the new-age West Coast rappers , Dom Kennedy and Nipsey Hussle are among the leading names.  Both have highly anticipated projects dropping within a week of each other next month, and the new music could set the tone going forward.  Get Home Safely is the highly anticipated debut album from Dom, and Crenshaw will be Nipsey’s first major mixtape release since The Marathon in 2010.

“Checc Me Out” is perfect for the relaxed vibes of any smoke session or cruise in the car.  G-Funk has evolved for the new era of Hip-Hop, and these guys are welcoming it in graciously.

Drake – Too Much

Let’s face it.  Drake has the music industry’s full attention once again.  Except the difference this time is his music sounds matured and well-rounded.  Nothing Was the Same is a perfectly cohesive album, with ambient beats symbolizing the musical and life progression he’s had in his rise to fame. ( I feel like the idea here is quite similar to what J. Cole has on Born Sinner, except a bit further along.  I expect J. Cole to make something similar down the line.)

This track is one of my favorites off the album, an especially deep cut that has Drake spilling his feelings for his past lovers and family members, giving advice to them.  What I like is how the raw emotion of the lyrics really show that he cares about the stories he’s telling.

-Ronzo