‘Runaway Love (Remix)’- Justin Bieber feat. Kanye West & Raekwon


Rating: B+

I honestly never thought I would see the day that Justin Bieber would collaborate with a classic rapper, but the day has come and I am surprising still alive after the fact. Two weeks ago Kanye West tweeted that he would work with Justin Beiber and Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan on a track, bringing upon a storm of both skeptics and critics. Personally, I feel that anything Kanye touched turns to gold, but I had some serious concerns about this. Luckily Kanye has proved me wrong once again and has turned a mediocre record into a throw back smash.

Originally on Biebers albums ‘My World 2.0’, ‘Runaway Love’ was a dance track that seemed to pay homage to the younger Michael Jackson. Kanye completely changed the beat bringing in an old school sound. I can’t believe that I am going to say this, but this is one of the most legitimate hip-hop tracks I’ve heard in a while. I’m not typically a fan of Bieber’s, but no one can deny that the boy can sing. His pre-pubescent vocals are a perfect match to the beat on throwback track. It is rare for an artist to have real soul in their voice at such a young age, but Bieber adds more soul to the song than many older singers. I still think that his music is garbage, but this song proves that he can shine when given the right track. If Justin Bieber’s team were smart they would steer him away from the pop world and channel his talents into R&B, where he clearly shines.

Even with Justin’s vocals the best part of the song is Raekwon. It is great to hear Raekwon on a track again, and his sounds right at home with this beat. I’m glad that Kanye gave Raekwon more mic time, because his delievery mixes with the beat. A good rapper knows how to use their voice to make a song sound complete; the same way a singer knows how to use theirs. Raekwon is a professional. Kanye is always on top of his game, so I’m not surprised that he murdered his verse. The song is a testament to Kanye’s producing talents as well. Remixing a song is hard enough without changing the beat, but ‘Nye literally created an entirely new song.

The most respectable thing about the song is that no one is trying to hard. All three of these artists are in their own respectable lanes, and for them to have the ability to blend on a track is true talent. It will be interesting to see if this will be released as a single. I’m sure that R&B radio will be all over it, but I doubt that it will get airplay on the Top 40 stations where Biebers audience lies. Regardless, it was a smart move for Bieber to broaden his audience and even smarter for Kanye and Raekwon to not only show how far their talents can stretched, but to team up with the current ‘it’ artist in music. All around a solid effort.

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Tour Review: Rihana


Rating: A+

Rihanna embarked on her first solo world tour this year officially marking her level of superstardom. The tour itself has seen some tough times (hospital visits, cancellations), but overall has been quite successful, especially overseas. The tour wrapped up Wednesday night in Chicago with a near perfect performance. Not only did Rihanna prove to the audience that she literally owns the stage, but also proved that her vocal talent continues to get better as the years go on.

I saw Rihanna in CT when she opened for Kanye West in 2008, which was quite possibly the greatest concert I’ve seen. Rihanna, however, lacked full confidence and swagger, but still put on a good show. All the problems she had has since been solved and perfected. Starting out the show with the chilling ballad, ‘Russian Roulette’,
Rihanna displayed a vocally ability that has yet to been seen by her. Since this was the last show I know that her voice has gotten better since she has been touring since the spring. The biggest difference in her voice came when she performed ‘Disturbia’, which was an utter nightmare during the 2008 VMA’s. Since, Rihanna has learned how to vocally conquer the song, even having the confidence to add some extra runs.

No matter what someone may say about her, the fact that Rihanna performed and sang live for nearly two hours is amazing. She may not be at the level of Justin Timberlake or Beyonce, but Rihanna has a confidence that saturates the audience. Whether it was the island flavored dancing of ‘Rude Boy’, or the vocally runs of ‘Unfaithful’, Rihanna grabbed the audiences attention and held onto it with every song she did. In today’s music industry, touring is the only way an artist can truly make money. The fact that Rihanna was able to sustain a successful tour means that she will only build on this momentum when her fifth album comes out later this year.

There was no detail left out of this performance. The set list was solid; with Rihanna performing both known and obscure tracks form her catalogue. The stage itself was filled with glass guns, static TVs, dancers, and cars. During ‘Hard’ the stage transformed into a battlefield with an army tanks and troupe of dancers. If Rihanna was aiming to visually impress than she succeeded. ‘Te Amo’ saw Rihanna dancing with two women who were suspended from guns high in the air. During ‘Please Don’t Stop the Music’ Rihanna and her background dancers stomped, jumped, and danced there way through a giant medal box. Not all was a spectacle though; she knew when to slow it down during an acoustic set of ‘Hate That I Love You’ and a beautiful simple rendition of ‘Take A Bow’. Closing out the show with her biggest hit to date, ‘Umbrella’, Rihanna swayed on her moving platform looking out on the crowd one last time.

Overall, I would say that Rihanna is finally coming into her own as an artist. In a day where everyone uses auto-tune and lip-syncs during all of their concerts, it is refreshing to see someone who takes live music seriously. Her voice will only getting better with time, so I anxious wait until her next tour to see will bring!

New Features!

With school starting soon the blog will be updated more frequently. For whatever reason I do better blogging when school is on than not, so thats something to look forward too. There is a few things I want to raise to our attention:

-At the end of every post there are now options on how you can share it with your friends. Help me out and start sharing the blog on facebook, twitter, ect.

-I will also add a new tour review section of the blog. I cant promise that it will be updated frequently, but every time I go to a show I will review it!

-Start commenting! The more you comment the more interesting the blog will be. Tell me if you agree or not!

-E-mail me with any questions or suggestions you have.

Thanks!

‘Monster’ – Kanye West, Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross and Bon Iver


Rating: A

I cannot express my gratitude enough that Kanye West is back to releasing more music. He has committed to releasing “G.O.O.D. Music” every Friday, so my expectations were high every since I heard the masterpiece that is “Power”. “Monster” is not only the first installment of “G.O.O.D. Music Friday” but it is also the first song from ‘Watch The Throne’, the 5-track collaborative album from ‘Nye and Jay-Z.

Kanye is one of the most talented and creative artists in hop-hop history because he always moves beyond the commercial sound and into uncharted territory. The horn lead bead is great, backed with a strong drum line. The epic beat only reflects the nature of the song, which is the biggest collaborative rap song since “Swagger Like Us” in 2008. I have no idea why Rick Ross was even on the track considering he only raps 5 bars, so that is all I will say about that. Kanye also has a sweet tooth for indie artist, so I liked that fact that he gave Bon Iver some spotlight at the end of the song. Adding an indie artist means that more people are drawn to the track outside of hip-hop.

Lets be honest, ‘Nye and Jay-Z never disappoint with their verses. I cannot remember one time I left a song disappointed, and that’s because they are two of the best (I think Kanye IS the best) rappers around. Each rapper has their own distinct style, which not only separates them as far as rappers, but also makes the song an easier listen. My only complaint about the song is Kanye’s chorus, which is so distorted is hard to understand. Normally I would have gone crazy for these two verse and probably spent most of my review on them, but they can’t even compare to Nicki.

Nicki Minaj absolutely slaughtered both of their verse. The song honestly get an A because of her performance alone. I still can’t believe that I will say this, but Nicki outshined both of them. If anyone has any doubts about Nicki’s rapping ability this is the song that will put them to rest. Her rhymes are both complex and intellegent (something Lil Wayne often lacks), and she is still able to add her personality without losing the essence of the song: Genius. Nicki literally goes through five different voices during her verse, which is the most arrogant of her verses to date. She has always been her own person, but she is now coming into her own confidence as well.

I will stick to guns and always say that Nicki is one of the most daring hip-hop acts that have ever come around. Kanye stated a few weeks back that he thinks Nicki has the potentially to become one of the top rappers in the business. ‘Monster’ will solidify Nicki as a rapper, but she needs to focus this energy on her own music. If she can deliver a performance this strong on her own album, she will be unstoppable. I can already see a Grammy for everyone in this song. I will call it now- Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Kanye is gearing up to have a huge year, and every song he has released thus far has made me more excited for his album to drop in Novemeber.

Find the Video on Youtube, I couldn’t find one with out explicit language so your warned!

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