Friday, April 29, 2016

Loosies Of The Week, April 23-29

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. A slow week overall in the wake of Prince's death, but we did get one original throwaway in tribute of his life. Elsewhere, loosie regulars appear, from Hip-Hop and Indie.

Donnie Trumpet - In Your Light

In light of Prince's passing Donnie Trumpet (of The Social Experiment fame) has dropped 'In Your Light,' a small ode to the legend's warm breath. Joined by fellow Chicago native Sima Cunningham, Trumpet basks in the glow, receiving a warm embrace that he then sends off. It's funny because, through a different perspective, this is nothing new for The Social Experiment, their music seeks to unify all under instrumentation that's peaceful and serene; Prince's passing just seems ripe for any one of their passages to play. I'll never deny a new track though and while 'In Your Light' fails to surpass the two-minute mark its pleasures are immediately felt.

Much of this, similar to their classic 'Sunday Candy,' is through the vocals of the singer. Cunningham touches the production with style and grace, carelessly and carefully gliding her melody over background hums and a quaint guitar riff. Never letting the death of icons let you down, the track sees the positive side and what Prince was able to give us. "I love to see you in your light" Cunningham sings with a smile on her face, cherishing the moments had together with him and his music. I for one feel this track needs not be any longer, its primary focus felt instantly, doubling its length would only do detriment to its importance and performance.

Chief Keef - Violence

Considering the artists involved this might be one of the strangest drops of the year. Chief Keef, Cee Lo Green, and Tone Trump singing about violence in a negative light (something odd enough for Keef) over a sample of Eddy Grant's 'Electric Avenue.' Yeah, that happened. Now I can't say I've heard of Tone Trump but as for collaborations in 2016, I couldn't have picked two more different artists in the same genre than Chief Keef and Cee-Lo Green. Even more, cause why not keep toppling on oddities, this song sounds nothing like anything either of these artists would make. And considering Tone Trump largely dabbles in Trap, throw him in the mix too.

I am just beyond flabbergasted at this track's notables that I can't even begin to describe the music within. The beat, which incorporates elements of Funk (largely derived from the sample) and sounds of cars revving, is so over-the-top that it's kinda good. Not really, more gimmicky, but at least it's something original. I don't even know how this song came to be, yet somehow Chief Keef actually sounds good on it. Yes, good. He's not doused in a slathering of bass or mumbling lines, he's actually rapping with intent and purpose. I don't mind either side, at least judging by his most acclaimed singles that I quite enjoy, just welcoming to hear a different side. CeeLo and Trump both polish their verses with a certain level of aggression, fitting the beat rather well, and there you have it. Odd but tantalizing.

Mac Demarco - I Was A Fool To Care

I've been known to hate Mac DeMarco. His music is empty, simple-minded, and regurgitated. There's no originality, within the scope Indie or himself, and the effort is virtually non-existent. That being said, I try and try to get him to click for some strange reason. The first album I checked out of his, Salad Days, I didn't think was half bad. There were a lot of forgettable moments but a few gems, namely 'Salad Days' and 'Passing Out Pieces,' found their way in. Then Another One happened and all my theories were proven right. I mind it less when he releases one-off singles like 'I Was A Fool To Care,' but, like all of his other music, it's simple, and in this case doesn't need to adhere to a collection of others.

The music video that accompanied it is expectedly dumb and goofy. I won't discredit that, some of my favorite songs have corny videos with them too, but the fact that DeMarco creates serious melodramatic music but he himself doesn't take it seriously rubs me the wrong way. Musically speaking 'I Was A Fool To Care' isn't all that bad. Starts out boring enough, and the chorus takes up too much of the track without it being interesting, but the ending almost completely makes up for any faults when he brings back some synths that've been missing. They've always added that much-needed punch to DeMarco's music and I'm glad they're here. It's not exceptional, but as a loosie I'll take it.

Stormzy - Scary

Ahh so this is the Grime scene I've been hearing everyone talk about. Essentially hardcore street rap with British vocals, making it sound a bit peculiar. Can't call it a shtick when it's not done by their choosing but I can't help in thinking with the vocals accent-less 'Scary' by Stormzy, for example, would just be another empty braggadocios track a decade behind the times. Now all that being said it's still rather entertaining, with a vicious flow being spit over a haunting beat, but it's not all that original.

It also doesn't really have me intrigued to investigate more of this well-known Grime scene. There is nothing, apart from the flow brought on by Stormzy's accent, that other artists haven't done the same, or better, in America's streets a decade ago. It's just a bar-spitting track, excusing any enjoyability after picking apart his lyrics on the first go around. It's strange, for how ahead of their time English musicians tend to be, rappers have always been behind the buck when compared to the US and even Canada. Unless I'm forgetting someone they've never been inventive and have only merely rode the trends brought on by the US some time ago, even though the Internet makes it so there's no excuse from being an ocean apart.

Havoc & Alchemist - Buck 50's & Bullet Wounds

Havoc's had quite a difficult time transitioning to Hip-Hop in the new millennia. As one-half of the infamous Mobb Deep, Havoc, and Prodigy by effect, haven't had much success after the genre transitioned into a brighter spotlight. Their most acclaimed albums of the 90's thrived off adolescent darkness, with looming violence around every bend. These were emcees with nothing to lose, living the scenes they envisioned. A rise in notoriety would only mean the music suffered as a result. In recent years Havoc has receded, both critically and commercially, giving him a new scope through which to view his life. The Silent Partner, a collaborative LP between him and longtime producer The Alchemist, aims to bring back ferocity.

The lead single 'Buck 50's & Bullet Wounds' succeeds by all accounts. With an Alchemist beat providing etched in stone gravity, led by a piano and some haunting vocals, Havoc goes to work. There's enough space to allow Havoc's lyrics to shine, but the way they merge with the production makes that side stand out too. Better yet, Method Man appears, and he drops a shockingly good verse. Never thought I'd be saying that in 2016 but here we are. 'Buck 50's & Bullet Wounds' takes listeners straight back to the smoked out streets of the 90's. Both emcees spit some seriously sick lyrics, one-liners packed to the brim with goodies to find.

Yung Lean - Pearl Fountain

Apparently Yung Lean felt the need to make a deluxe edition of Warlord. I can't think of an album less deserving of one, in respect to necessities. And honestly, I don't even know why I'm reviewing this, it's just a down week. Anyways 'Pearl Fountain' shows some versatilities, bringing in an aged sound the 90's wouldn't even miss with these simple synth plucks. It may even be a sample, sounds familiar? Unfortunately, the rest of the beat is far too cluttered to even make mince meat out of, so really another Lean track not produced by Yung Gud.

'Pearl Fountain' has features from Black Kray and Bladee, and honestly that doesn't matter one bit. Each rapper is slathered in reverb, and conjoining that with the already cacophonous production, you can't even make out who's speaking at any point in time. They just all sound like Lean using different effects. It's a bad track, what did you want me to say? I do respect it for being somewhat different than Warlord, but that's not to say the quality has seen any improvement, in fact it feels more amateurish and sloppy, just arriving from a different destination.

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