Friday, May 28, 2010

Rick Ross: From Being Humiliated to Being a Mixtape King

I will be reviewing Rick Ross’ The Albert Anastasia EP mixtape for this post.

Listen to or download the mixtape here

Background Information:

  • Birth name: William Leonard Roberts II
  • Birthplace: Carol City, Florida
  • Influences: Sam Cooke, Ohio Players, Lenny Williams, Johnnie Taylor, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Big Daddy Kane, and Ice Cube
  • How long has he been doing music: The mid-90s
  • Type of Artist: Mainstream
  • Genre(s): Rap
  • Current Label(s): Maybach Music Group/Def Jam
  • Similar Artists: Young Jeezy, Triple C’s, Birdman, Ace Hood, DJ Khaled
  • Fun fact:  He took his stage name from “Freeway” Ricky Ross, the drug trafficker.
           William Leonard Roberts II was born on January 28, 1976 in Carol City, Florida. Him and a few others started the rap group Carol City Cartel and began rapping in the mid-90s. He was later signed to the former label of 8Ball & MJG, Suave House Records. Next he signed to trick rapper Trick Daddy’s label, Slip- N- Slide Records, which also falls under Def Jam. Rick Ross recently created his own label entitle Maybach Music Group. He has since released three albums Port of Miami (2006), Trilla (2008), and Deeper than Rap (2009). This mixtape is named after gangster named Albert Anastasia.

Rick Ross is a Mixtape King because he personifies the thug mentality. He was exposed by 50 Cent as being a former police officer; yet, if you know like I know; good cops can turn into bad cops. I do not know whether Rick Ross was truly a hustler or not, but through his words he sounds like he has experience in being a thug. Rick Ross has gone from being humiliated to being a Mixtape King.

Favorite Line: Fire Hazard- “Never Hollywood, even though I got it good” There were no lyrics posted for this song.

Top 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I like most to the song I like least.)
  1. Blowin Money Fast (B.M.F.)- The first thing I thought when I heard this song was I wish it was edited and on a CD so I can play it on the campus radio station. My next thought was that it was the perfect blend between smooth and hard-hitting elements. I didn’t want this song to end because Rick Ross and Styles P delivered some magnificent lyrics.
  2. Fire Hazard- This song’s title does it justice because it is certifiably ON FIRE.  This song sounds as if it should be the theme music for something. More specifically, Rick Ross rapped as if Fire Hazard was the theme to his life.
  3. Super High- This instrumental seems really familiar, and it has a positive effect on the lyrics. Rick Ross delivers a good verse and everything Ne-Yo touches, including this song, turns to gold. So, the combination of the two artists makes this song worth listening to.
Bottom 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I dislike most to the song I dislike least.)
  1. White Sand, Part II- I don’t like the concept of the song which is based on crack cocaine. Featured artists Triple C’s made the song sound elementary. In accordance, the instrumental was too basic.
  2. All I Need- Once again momentum kills a song. The song started with a sample from the Notorious B.I.G. and was followed by a statement by Jadakiss. Rick Ross and Birdman rapped good verses; I was expecting the song to end with a bang. Kool G Rap anchored the song, and just like running or swimming the anchor should be one of the best; Kool G Rap was definitely the worse person on this song. There were no videos posted for this song.
  3. Sweet Life- The song started off with John Legend singing, and that took away from the momentum of the previous song. I am not a fan of fast tracks sandwiching slow tracks on a music project. Rick Ross delivered good lyrics, but I would have liked this song more if it was placed somewhere else on the mixtape. There were no videos posted for this song.
I recommend The Albert Anastasia EP mixtape to people that like money. Also, if you are on a mission to accomplish this mixtape would be just right for you. I did not expect Rick Ross’ lyrics to still be hustler related after his beef with 50 Cent. I listened to this mixtape out of curiosity. Being curious left me feeling like 50 thought he killed Rick Ross’ career, but in the words of Drake “It’s far from over.”

Other Rick Ross Related Links:

Monday, May 24, 2010

5 Mixtapes I recommend

I have provided links for you to play and/or download the mixtapes: (I hope you all enjoy them! )

1Ludacris- Atlanta Ambassadors


2. Young Jeezy- Trap or Die Pt. 2 (By Any Means Necessary)  

3Jadakiss- The Champ is Here 3

4Chris Brown & Tyga – Fan of a Fan

5The Game- The Red Room

Hello world, 

I would like to encourage you all to share good and/or bad mixtapes with me. If you have certain thoughts, questions, or comments about any artist please feel free to say what you would like to. I love to hear other people's opinions on music and artist in general. Also, if you have mixtapes that you would like me to review, or if you want to know how a certain mixtape is and would prefer for me to listen to it rather than listening to it yourself, just let me know. If you would like my opinions on anything, please let me know. Thank you for your support! 

Sincerely Yours,
Roberta "The Media PRHO" Collier                          

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fabolous: From Okay Album Sales to Mixtape King

I will be reviewing Fabolous’ mixtape There Is No Competition 2 (The Funeral Service) for this post.

Background Information:
  • Birth name: John David Jackson
  • Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York   
  • Influences: None Found 
  • How long has he been doing music: Since he was in the 12th grade.
  • Type of Artist: Mainstream
  • Genre(s): Hip-hop  
  • Current Label(s): Desert Storm/Def Jam
  • Similar Artists: Nas, Ace Hood, Jadakiss, T.I., and Papoose
  • Fun Fact: He chipped his tooth by trying to impress a girl with a basketball.
            John David Jackson was born on November 18, 1977. He is one of the first East coast rappers to be influenced by the South and West coasts.  When he was in the 12th grade Jackson began rapping. He later was invited to radio station Hot 97 to rap on DJ Clue’s show. Afterwards, he was signed to Desert Storm Records. Fabolous has release five albums Ghetto Fabolous (2001), Street Dreams (2003), Real Talk (2004), From Nothin’ to Somethin’ (2007), and Loso’s Way (2009). He also has a number of mixtapes, but his most notable are the installments of There Is No Competition. 

Fabolous is a Mixtape King because his last studio album, Loso’s Way, debuted in the number one spot on the Billboard 200 chart. Yet, his album did not live up to his first two platinum albums, or his fourth album that went gold. The album was initially received well yet it was no competition for his previous CD’s. As far as his last two projects are concerned, Fabolous went from okay album sales to a Mixtape King. Fabolous most likely realized the fans didn’t like his album as much as he expected them to, so he decided to drop the second installment to his There is No Competition mixtape series.   

Favorite Line: The Wake- “It’s good to wake up look in the mirror and the only competition’s you, and even that [n!##@] ain’t seeing me. My reflection have a hard time being me.”

Top 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I like most to the song I like least.)
  1. The Wake- This song which begins the mixtape, opens with funeral music and a commentary that ends by starting the funeral service per Fabolous’ request; DJ Drama asks for a moment of silence, and the track actually gets quiet. In any other mixtape I don’t think that would work for me, but it was definitely befitting for a “funeral service”. This song really sets the tone for the whole mixtape. It exemplifies Fabolous at his best, so it was hard for me to pick just one line from “The Wake” to be my favorite because almost everyone of them were “niiiice”, as Fabolous would put it.
  2. For The Money- This song talks about significant others that are in love with money, and maybe love money more so than their mates. The instrumental is one that actually had me rocking, rather than nodding my head as I usually do. Fabolous once again delivered great lines, and so did featured artist Nicki Minaj. She had one line in regards to his chipped tooth that literally caused me to rewind the song to make sure she said what I thought she said.  
  3. Roger That- Lil’ Wayne, Tyga, and Nicki Minaj originally rapped on this instrumental, but I didn’t really like their version. In my personal opinion, Fabolous’ version is at least 3 times better than theirs. Fabolous definitely kills the competition on this track; his lyrics, and featured artist Freck Billionarie both roger that.     
Bottom 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I dislike most to the song I dislike least.)
  1. Love Come Down- I didn’t like the fact that Fabolous sang at the beginning of this song because he sounded horrible. The instrumental sounds a little creepy to me, and I do not like the Diddy sample he used.
  2. Beemer Benz or Bentley- Lloyd Banks’ original verse opens this song; I do not like much about his verse.  I don’t like most of Julez Santana’s verse either. Fabolous’ verse is the only one I like. The song would have been much better if it was just Fabolous rapping.
  3. All The Way Turnt Up- I expected this song to be great when I realized Fabolous and Trey Songz were both on it. This song is good, but I imagined it to be much better than it was. Trey Songz rapped, but I would have preferred him to sing on this track. Also, this song was less dynamic than previous tracks. I did not like the transition from a better song, “Tonight”, to a mediocre one.
I recommend the There Is No Competition 2 (The Funeral Service) mixtape to anyone that strives to be, or is competitive. With the exception of bad choice of feature artist and choosing to sing, this mixtape was all around good. Fabolous definitely did a better job on this mixtape than he did on his last album, so maybe he should have asked for the rights to release these tracks instead of releasing Loso’s Way. This mixtape is worth listening to, and I found that it is music that will keep you alert while you are driving. I cannot wait until he releases There Is No Competition 3, but he will have a hard time duplicating or improving the success of this mixtape.

Other Fabolous Related Links:

J. Cole: From The Come Up to Mixtape King

I will be reviewing J. Cole’s The Warm Up mixtape for this post.

Listen to the mixtape or download it here:

Background Information:
  • Birth name: Jermaine Cole  
  • Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
  • Influences: Tupac Shakur, Nas, and Outkast
  • How long has he been doing music: Since 1997
  • Type of Artist: Underground
  • Genre(s): Hip-hop
  • Current Label(s): Roc Nation/Columbia Records  
  • Similar Artists: Wale, No I.D., Kid Cudi, Young LA, and Young Dro
  • Fun Fact: He went to school in New York as a means of getting signed to a label.
            Jermaine Cole was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on Janurary 28, 1985, but shortly after his family moved to Fayetville, North Carolina. He began rapping at the age of 12, when his cousin from Louisiana spent the summer at his house. His cousin showed him to the basics of rhyimg. At the age of 15, J. Cole had composition books filled with rhymes, but he did not have any beats. He begged his mother to buy him a beat machine; he received the machine and started to produce his own tracks. He has released two mixtapes The Come Up (2007) and The Warm Up (2009). J. Cole does not have a set date for his debut album (The Blow Up), but he hopes to have it completed by August 2010. 
    J. Cole is a Mixtape King because he was the first artist to be signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. This was a great feat because Jay-Z decided to sign him after hearing “Lights Please.” J. Cole is no longer on the come up as his first mixtape title suggested. The artist/producer came into the game and is definitely warming up to the industry fast.

    Favorite Line: Hold it Down- “At times it’s hard to feel blessed in this madness.”

    Top 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I like most to the song I like least.)
    1. Dreams- I like every element of this song. J. Cole sets the scene by telling you that this song deals with thoughts which are actually crazy. He is in awe of a woman and he becomes obsessed with her. He wonders if she is really as great as he imagines or if he should “try and get some help?” To me this is the updated rap version of Just My Imagination by The Temptations.
    2. Lights Please- This song tells the story of J. Cole being involved with a young lady that is not very bright when it comes to academics, but she pleases him sexually. All his worries go away when he is with this young lady. This story was told well, and it really happens to people in relationship. I could relate his experiences with those of my friends, but he painted the picture so that I could view this type of relationship as if I had been through them.  
    3. The Badness- This track gives the essence of the yin and yang of life. J. Cole is trying to do good acts, but bad seems to loom around him. Everyone experiences that feeling from time to time. I would recommend this song to anyone.  
    Bottom 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I dislike most to the song I dislike least.)      

    1. Royal Flush- This song has two different instrumental, which is a little distracting. I do not care for the either of the instrumental. If the song had one instrumental it would be much better.
    2. I Get Up- This song moves too quickly form one thought to the next. By the time I visualize the picture he is painting he is far beyond that topic. He has a good message in this song, but I am missing that picture with all the vulgarity in this song.
    3. Heartache- The instrumental has a lot of elements. J. Cole’s voice has to compete with the background, and the instrumental is winning. If he was a little louder or the instrumental was a little less hectic it would be a much better song.

      I recommend The Warm Up for people that are motivated to accomplish things. This mixtape is all around great. I thoroughly enjoyed this mixtape, so it was hard to pick my top and bottom three tracks. He is a genius at telling a story through song. J. Cole is definitely a person that is coming into the music game quickly, and he should be well received with his terrific metaphors and lyrics.

      Other J. Cole Related Links:

      Thursday, May 20, 2010

      Drake: From Wheelchair Jimmy to Mixtape King

      I will be reviewing Drake’s So Far Gone mixtape for this post.

      Listen to or download the mixtape here:

      Background Information:
      • Birth name: Aubrey Drake Graham 
      • Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
      • How long has he been doing music: Since 2006
      • Influences: His family members; Larry Graham and Mabon 'Teenie' Hodges 
      • Type of Artist: Underground
      • Genre(s): Hip-hop, R&B
      • Current Label (s): Young Money/ Universal Motown 
      • Similar Artists: J. Cole, B.O.B, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, and Lil’ Wayne
      • Fun Fact: He was once in a Toys'R'Us commercial.  
                  Aubrey Drake Graham was born October 24, 1986. He became a part of the spotlight when he acted on Degrassi: The Next Generation as Jimmy Brooks. In 2006, he released his first mixtape Room for Improvement. Since then he released Comeback Season (2007) and So Far Gone (2009). So Far Gone debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 chart. His debut album Thank Me Later will be released on June 15, 2010. 
      Drake is a Mixtape King because has yet to release a mainstream album, but a lot of older hip hop and R&B artist are getting him to feature on their songs and vice versa. Jimmy from Degrassi has now made a name for himself in the rap industry without having a studio album. I listen to his major mixtapes, and since doing so I cannot wait for him to release his first album “Thank Me Later.”

      Favorite LineSay What’s Real-“Account’s in the minus, but yet I’m rolling round the f[@$#]in city like your Highness.”

      Top 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I like most to the song I like least.)
      1. Brand New- This song’s is about a relationship Drake is in, and he wonders if he can compete with his significant others past mates. Brand New made me feel the need to evaluate my own relationship and ask “Is anything I’m doing brand new”. He really showcases his singing, and after hearing this song I consider this to be one of Drake’s best songs.
      2. Say What's Real- Gives the true essence of Drake. He talks about the problems that he has. The title is befitting because it seems as he really said all the things that were real issues or topics in his life. In this song Drake gives a glimpse of his triumphs and troubles.
      3. Uptown- Drake raps about a number of topics in this song, but he flows nicely from one topic to the next. The lyrics show his versatility. Bun B and Lil’ Wayne are both featured on this song, and his lyrics are much better than theirs.
      Bottom 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I dislike most to the song I dislike least.

      1. Bria’s Interlude- Drake and Omarion both sing on this song, but I do not care for the way either of them is singing. The singing sounds whiny to me at times. Also, the instrumental seems creepy to me for some reason.
      2. Little Bit- All I like about this song is the instrumental and the 25-30 seconds Drake raps. For him to sing softly on this instrumental was not fitting at all. I would have preferred for him to either sing harder or rap  
      3. Ignat [S#!@]- This instrumental was used by the Isley Brothers before, and I like the way they did it better. When it comes to mixtapes, which use older instrumentals that are popular, you must do a great job because you are expected to make your best attempt. I don’t feel as Drake made his best attempt, this was good but I was expecting great.
         I recommend the So Far Gone mixtape to people that enjoy listening to real music. In this mixtape Drake is ahead of the seasoned rappers (like Bow Wow and Lil Romeo) in his age bracket; he is definitely so far gone when it comes to his current content versus the current songs of Bow Wow and Romeo. The mixtape sounded as he put as much time and effort into it as someone would put into a studio album. Drake has already made a nice legacy within four years.
        Other Drake Related Links:

        Wednesday, May 19, 2010

        Nicki Minaj: From Super Violent to Super Barbie?

        I will be reviewing Nicki Minaj's Beam Me Up Scotty Mixtape for this post.

        Listen to the mixtape or download it here:

        Background Information:
        • Birth name: Onika Tanya Maraj
        • Birthplace: Southside Jamaica, Queens, NewYork
        • Influences: Jay-Z, Lil' Wayne, and Lauryn Hill 
        • How long has she been doing music: Since 2004
        • Type of Artist: Underground
        • Genre(s): Hip-hop and R&B
        • Current Label (s): Young Money/ Universal Motown 
        • Similar Artists: Trina, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, and Remy Ma
        • Fun Fact: She makes up her own words, and adds them to her Nictionary.
                      Onika Tanya Maraj was born on December 8, 1984. Maraj grew up with an abusive, drug addicted, and alcoholic father; her mother was a single parent. Miraj is a trained writer, singer, and actress. She started her music career by singing background vocals and hooks for local rappers. Dirty Money CEO Fendi found her on MySpace, and later signed her to the Dirty Money label. Lil’ Wayne noticed her on the Dirty Money DVD series, so he contacted Fendi about her. Lil’ Wayne signed her because she wrote her own songs and had a different style of rapping. Miraj started refers to herself as Minaj because she was “eating chicks” with her vicious rap skills. Nicki Minaj does things, like the pose seen on the picture below,  to “pull people in” to listen to what she has to say. 
         Minaj has released three mixtapes Playtime Is Over (2007), Sucka Free (2008), and Beam Me Up Scotty (2009). She is set to release her currently untitled debut album in fall 2010. Minaj is currently nominated for Best Female Artist, and three other BET Awards. 

                       Nicki Minaj is a Mixtape Queen because she has yet to release a mainstream album; she has two singles. Yet, she is gaining a lot of notoriety. Women are getting pink hair that resembles hers. Women and men are referring to themselves as harajuku barbz (Barbies) and kens, which are both terms she made up. I listen to her mixtapes, and I was angered because when she transitioned back to mainstream she went from talking a lot about violent acts (underground) to talking more and being more like a Barbie (mainstream). 

          Favorite Lyric: Go Hard- “I’m a be the queen no matter how they shuffle”

          Top 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I like most to the song I like least.)
          1. Can Anybody Hear Me- I like her metaphors, delivery, the instrumental, and the sincerity in this song. She talks about her personal problems in this song which makes it easy to relate to her.       

          2. Go Hard- This song conveys she is determined to accomplish her goals, and willing to go against anyone that stands in her way. This is a favorite because it shows a lot of her character, the featured artist Lil’ Wayne adds some character to the song as well.  
          3. Keys Under Palm Trees- Nicki Minaj ties her background of being in the streets into this song, but she also has sentimental lyrics. She sings and raps on this song. Therefore, it shows different aspects of her character.
          Bottom 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I dislike most to the song I dislike least.)
          1. I Feel Free- I do not like the parts of the song that are auto-tuned, which is most of the song. I am not an auto-tune hater, but it did diminish the value of this song for me.
          2. Envy- I dislike this track because I don’t like the way she chose to sing on it. Also, some of the background vocals she did were distracting.
          3. Best I Ever Had- Some songs are better in their original versions, and feature artist can tend to get on them and diminish the value. I liked this song more without Nicki Minaj’s additions.
                       I recommend the Beam Me Up Scotty mixtape to people that enjoy rap and hip-hop, especially if you like female rappers. This mixtape lets you see Nicki Minaj in multiple ways which include: playful, confident, competitive street, girly, singer, rapper, and sentimental. She has a song intro in which she says “You know behind every bad [woman] there’s a really sweet girly girl.” As for me thinking she is being more girly while doing mainstream, this mixtape made me realize maybe that’s the side she wants to show to the public at the moment.  

          Other Nicki Minaj Related Links: