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JAY-Z: 4:44

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The numbers of the moment may be 4:44 but it only took Jay-Z 36 minutes to shake up the world. That precious time was crafted into a syllabus of 10 lessons. So put on your thinking caps and get your pen and your pads ready. Woke-Z has just entered the class room.

With hip-hop entering into its early forties it’s only logical that it matures and has a wealth of experience to educate from. Jay Z has taken the cue and has delivered some salient points on fatherhood, relationships, race, economics, supporting your own community and much more. Yes all of that in 10 joints!

Now do you remember this line from Moment of Clarity If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be / Lyrically Talib Kweli / Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense / But I did 5 mill, I ain’t been rhyming like Common since…” ?

Well lyrically Jay found his moment of clarity in this album and embraced his depth unapologetically. Sean Carter is very present throughout this offering with sprinkles of Jay-Z. Peep this little quip from Bam feat Damian Marley:

Put that drum in your ear, don’t get Srem’d

I’ll Bobby Shmurda anybody you heard of

Niggas could not be further, I fathered your style

Birth of a Nation, Nat Turner style

Uh, y’all make me turn up all this talkin’ down

Uh, niggas is skippin’ leg day just to run they mouth

I be skippin’ leg day, I still run the world

I pressed ahead of your team with one finger curled

I’ll line you all up with one finger wave

Make niggas weave, niggas is out here fake

Laced front to the back, don’t front

Y’all gonna make me wig. I’ma give y’all what you want

Sonically we are blessed again by the talented NO ID. Any hip hop head won’t be surprised by the quality of tracks he cooked up for this one. We’ve co-signed this man for over twenty years! This is just what he does and we’ve come to expect it.

Jay also invited another one of his former collaborators back into the studio…his Mom. They shared some personal and insightful words of advice on Smile. 

I won’t spoil your listening experience by divulging too much but do yourself a favor and get your asses to Tidal immediately! You won’t be disappointed.

Track Listing

1. “Kill Jay Z”

2. “The Story of O.J.”

3. “Smile” feat. Gloria Carter

4. “Caught Their Eyes” feat. Frank Ocean

5. “4:44”

6. “Family Feud”

7. “Bam” feat. Damian Marley

8/ “Moonlight”

9. “Marcy Me”

10. “Legacy”

 

 

HB aka The World Traveler is fully committed to exploring and sharing with you what the world has to offer in travel and music. Get on board and enjoy the ride!

Music

Mitski Wants Love

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Image result for mitski be the cowboy

Mitski has been dropping about an album a year since her debut in 2012. Her latest, Be the Cowboy, is arguably one of the best records released this year – an emotive excursion dripping with buttery vocals and cheesy synths – as likely to explode into a Pixies flourish as to conjure Bjork or Joni Mitchell.

Comparisons aside, Mitski is her own sweet beast, balancing the candid and complex with an economy of words, simmering the layers of love into individual components of fidelity (“Geyser”), regret (“Why Didn’t You Stop Me”) and desire (“Remember My Name”). She’s as comfortable in the Brill Building (“Me and My Husband”) as in the Grand Ole’ Opry (“Blue Light,” “Lonesome Love”).

Mitski is an artist to be reckoned with, but at the end of the day she just wants a little love. Just like you.

 

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Music

Death Cab for Cutie Draws a Line in the Sand

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Death Cab for Cutie’s shiny pop musings are in full effect on Thank You For Today, their ninth record and first without longtime member/producer Chris Walla. The short affair, 38 minutes over 10 songs, has some fans burning their membership cards, and others fainting into their lattes. How you feel about it boils down, like everything else, to how closely your identity is linked to the pop culture you coveted during your formative years. The rest of us, who don’t expect musicians to freeze in time, will have no problem digging this batch of dreamy and effervescent tunes.

“the swinging of a wrecking ball
through these lath and plaster walls
is letting all the shadows free
the ones I wish still followed me”
– Gold Rush”

Thank You For Today stands comfortably within the arc of their later work, and only occasionally reaches back across a twenty year career for inspiration. Songs like “Your Hurricane” and “Near/Far” hark back to early Death Cab, for example, and “Summer Years” may remind you of Ben Gibbard’s side project The Postal Service (and possibly Amnesiac-era Radiohead).

But this isn’t a back to basics record. Death Cab continue the buoyant rhythms exercised on their last two albums Kintsugi and Codes and Keys to great success, especially on “I Dreamt We Spoke Again” and “Northern Lights,” the latter “featuring” buried background vocals by Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry.

The press can have a field day pining for the early days. Meanwhile Death Cab’s last four records have topped the Billboard Rock and Alternative albums charts. Fans even sent this one to number one on the Vinyl chart, and the divisive single “Gold Rush” (with its The Verve inspired video) has been sitting in the number one spot of the Adult Alternative Songs chart for six weeks now.

All this suggests that someone out there still loves Death Cab for Cutie. Me included.

What Other Folks Are Saying 
Rolling Stone
Metacritic
Pitchfork
The Red & Black
Paste

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Music

Axel Leon – Rich Port 3

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Axel Leon! Let that name sink into your consciousness for a minute. For the few of you that seek and find talent, you may already be aware of this lyrical juggernaut. As for the rest of you, here’s your opportunity to get on board before you’re forced on.

This emcee hails from the birth place of Hip Hop (the Bronx) via his birthplace of Puerto Rico, and it shows. Axel has a new album by the name of Rich Port 3 that deserves some recognition and airplay. Want proof? Check out the gems dropped in the video below for Jungle.

The simple yet seemingly more elusive marriage of lyrics and beats are joined together in holy matrimony throughout the album. Don’t worry, no hard bottoms are required to attend these festivities. Feel free to be his guest and consider yourself a witness after you peep Yacht Master

As you can hear by now Hip Hop is alive and well throughout this 11 track body of work and wordplay is the connective tissue. Inspect it, dissect it and learn from it.  You’ll be very pleased to have finally discovered Axel Leon.

If the flow ignites some memories in your head, don’t be surprised. His voice has increasingly been getting out there and he’s ready to take the next step up. So don’t be alarmed by the heat, it’s just The Bronx burning again!

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