Thursday, October 20, 2016

Loosies Of The Week, Oct. 14-20

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. Two artists trying to make a political statement despite failing utterly, a few Hip-Hop tracks as always, and an absolute legend continues on after his death. 

While much of the music industry is still reeling from David Bowie's death, we all knew, at the very least, that we'd get a slew of material from his vault in the months and years to come. Surprising or not, the first of which has been released, and it's apart of Blackstar's outtakes, his final album. They're entitled 'When I Met You,' 'No Plan,' and 'Killing A Little Time.' And while they fluctuate in terms of quality, each one is easily worth listening to. 'No Plan,' in particular, I could've easily seen being attached to Blackstar without a drop in quality whatsoever. The heart literally pouring out of Bowie can be heard here, it's a truly devastating work that sounds more astral than any work on Blackstar.

As far as the other two go, 'When I Met You' succeeds for being intensely eery and unwavering, bouncing between his Folk origins and the darkness that befell upon 1.Outisde. The monumental hook that hits towards the finale of the song will surely take you back to Bowie's prime, drawing similarities to an atmospheric Diamond Dogs. I do feel as though 'Killing A Little Time' is the weakest, a shame, considering it's the first official one released to the masses. It's not bad, but you get the sense from the get-go that Bowie's vision here is different than the previous two tracks, and, by that logic, Blackstar as a whole. Sounds closer to Earthling or some more aggressive moments on Black Tie White Noise. Once again, not bad, just a little unorganized and, at least sonically, a bit dated.

Pusha T - Circles

After last week's 'H.G.T.V,' a short but combustible freestyle of sorts that saw Pusha T return to his left field brand of Gangsta Rap, not more than two days later he released 'Circles,' pulling him and my hype for King Push back to reasonable levels. You don't need to do anything more than glance at the features to understand what type of song 'Circles' is. In an attempt at maintaining relevance on a large scale, Push collaborated with Ty Dolla $ign and Desiigner, both accentuated here with their excessive autotune crooning. For a Trap banger that'll get play at the clubs, it ain't half bad. For Pusha T though, it's uncharacteristic.

Simply put, 'Circles' is a twerk anthem. There's no hidden details in Pusha's bars, no nuisance in the production. All that 'Circles' has is revealed to you without any searching needed. All fluff, no subtlety. While we await King Push, it's clear 'H.G.T.V.' was released to reel in Pusha's long-time fans, while 'Circles' was meant to reel in the mainstream audience. Problem is, from the man's own words, King Push is going to be a more Pop-oriented endeavor, as compared to last year's Darkest Before Dawn. Take a guess as to which of the two songs will be on the official tracklist? Club material, sure it's a go. Album material though, 'Circles' is a bust.

Eminem - Campaign Speech

I've never been quiet about my reasons for disliking Eminem stans. To me, they're far worse than any other rapper's out there. So, for the percentage of which go about their day on Facebook proclaiming Eminem the greatest, Yelawolf the reincarnated, and Lil Dicky the realest whilst spouting racist messages using the N-word while supporting Trump, 'Campaign Speech' is awesome. Now, don't get me wrong, the song sucks. But anything that'll get those stans using their brain, either deciding to support their GOAT or attack him with vitriol, is a step in the right direction. All that, by the way, over a handful of bars that take up no more than 30 seconds of this eight-minute blunderbuss. 

If it weren't for those handful of lines, declaring this 'Campaign Speech' would be asinine, as the rest of the track does nothing to sway my opinion on Eminem. As per usual, Em mixes two distinct styles interchangeably, that of conscious lines meant to instigate and those meant to be garbled nonsense. Controversy abound, those calling out his thesaurus-snatching rhyming style are being reminded by his fans of Em's same style dominating his earlier material as a means to nullify their statements. A correct rebuttal that doesn't affect me, considering I've felt he's one of Hip-Hop's most overrated emcees from day one. 'Campaign Speech' only goes on to prove that, even though there is some entertainment value to be found. For one, it lacks a hook, which automatically makes it better than 'Rap God.' Secondly, it lacks a beat, and while that's an odd choice for someone whose typically used formal production, I kind've admire the decision.

Big K.R.I.T. - Free Agent

In one sense, I feel bad for KRIT. His material is solid, representing the early 2000's era of Southern-based Hip-Hop with the likes of Outkast, 8 Ball & MJG, and UGK, but the era in which he's releasing music won't give him an outlet to gather recognition. I understand too, because music will always move forward. You may become infatuated with what you grew up on, but that doesn't mean the music industry's going to pay you any mind when you start replicating it. Simply put, in 2016, when you think of the South, Big KRIT is one of the last guys on your mind. He's an outcast now, especially with a string of albums that failed to live up to the expectations he set with his mixtapes.

'Free Agent' starts out positing this theory, using a interview sample taken from the Breakfast Club as they questioned KRIT's association with Def Jam. The two parted ways earlier this year, leading some to believe Def Jam let him go because of poor sales or KRIT left because of artistic limitations. 'Free Agent' goes on to tell KRIT's side of the story, through his usual slab of Southern hype anthem, a la 'Mt. Olympus.' The track, whether true or not, seems like a desperate plea to announce that he's open to invitations from other labels. That, or he's taking on the independent role with open arms. Which means his next album better be something good, cause the excuses are dwindling just as consistently as his fame.

While everyone is gearing up for this upcoming political debate, musicians, as they are prone to do, have taken to making songs declaring their beliefs on a certain party. This year more than others, because Donald Trump is a serious candidate, we've been hit with an influx of anti-Trump material. This started with YG's 'FDT,' which still stands as the only good attack song released thus far that doesn't hide behind walls. It just so happens two others, Moby's 'Little Failure' and Eminem's 'Campaign Speech,' released in the past 24 hours. Both are awful, but it's the former, surprisingly, that takes the cake.

Now, don't get me wrong, I agree with every reputable fact Moby states on the track, it's merely the matter in which does it that causes 'Little Failure' to be a calamity. Usually when these political tracks come out the artists tend to ignore the musical aspect, and that's never been as obvious as here. A sterile, passionless, and embarrassing Electro-Metal clash that can be compared to Tim Heidecker's pseudo-band Decker. Only difference? The latter's joking, Moby's not. I mean, if you're going to make a political track, you gotta be at least somewhat subtle about it, or else you're going to be opened up to mockery. Even still, Moby's descriptions of Trump being a "little failure," while accurate, as so stereotypical and redundant that 'Little Failure' the track is utterly pointless.

Joey Bada$$ - Front & Center

Really difficult to understand the direction Joey Bada$$ is going, not just with 'Front & Center,' but his career as a whole. Hyped because of it's use of Narcos' theme song as a prominent sample, 'Front & Center' rides around this Salsa-inspired two-step, mixing in basic Trap elements that he's becoming more and more accustomed to lately. For what it's worth, he is advancing past his Boom Bap sound. To his 'real Hip-Hop' fans, this isn't good news, but to anyone else, someone who was seen as a purist and stuck in the 90's moving onto something new is a good thing. There is a cost though. 

His last full-length release, B4.DA.$$, used generic Boom Bap production to allow Bada$$ to tell stories of inner-city struggles while also expanding upon his laid-out beliefs about the music industry, politics, and life in general. Nothing astounding, but it's surely better, content-wise, than the material we've seen from his recently, namely this record, and 'Devastated,' which garnished Joey with his biggest single to date. 'Front & Center' is nothing more than a women-worshipping Trap anthem fed through with a Salsa vibe solely because he's talking about Latino women. Lyrically, it might be his worst effort yet. If it wasn't for the interesting beat, which does carry it a bit, helped at moments by Joey's strong flow, than 'Front & Center' would be a complete dud.

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