Sep 22, 2017

Listen: Homegirl - @Dougiefmusic feat. @SuperDuperKyle

Dougie F has been building up a lot of steam in the past few years. We're not here to talk about that. Let's talk about now, well last week at least.

New project alert! Yellow Durag dropped a week ago today from the Orange emcee. It's his first full length project since Block Party was released two years ago. In between he's been breaking music on the radio and even NBA TV. He even got a verse from Pitbull on On Purpose a couple years back. This time he enlists the talents of Super Duper Kyle. The duo float on this crossover pop, trap, Jersey Club track, Homegirl. I kind of a cute love song to shorty from round the way. If you like all these genres you'll probably like this too. Press play below.

Sep 21, 2017

Listen: Actress - @partyxmichael

I feel like being as braggadocios as the people I write about. I've had this song in my clutches for probably a month now.

After interviewing him on Pass The Aux, Party Michael gave me his new project NVR WRY. Of the 13 tracks, Actress is one of my favorite offerings. I think it's cool for every setting. Sit in your bed and close your eyes you could definitely picture a music video in your head. I enjoy songs that paint the picture this vivid. Play this one softly and let it be the soundtrack to your night. Oh, and lookout for the live review of the entire project. More details later, listen to Actress after the break.

Aug 3, 2017

If You're Reading this I Just Listened to @SZA (A Letter to My Younger Self)

Dear 22 year old Jonathan,

I listened to SZA's Ctrl today. Like really listened to her for more than just a review or for sonic pleasure. I got a tip that the themes and messages were worth ingesting. With that being said, I learned something and decided I was going to write you in a failed attempt in teaching you something that only experience can. I want to say I have no regrets except that I hadn't gotten this letter to you sooner. Let me explain. I swear, SZA has got to be pissed that her entire album didn't get the respect it deserved for such clarity, concise thoughts and concepts put into audible form. Ctrl takes us on the emotional roller-coaster that is a twenty something. You my friend are about to embark on that as we speak. The project got an unfair stigma and side chick vibe just because of one song. The song is a bop though and who knows one day maybe you'll get lucky here or there because of it hehe. It's called The Weekend. It explores some Jezebel tendencies that most of us have experienced on either end whether we want to speak on it aloud or hide in the facades that are our social lives. In other songs she explains being under appreciated in a misogynistic and patriarchal world. Doves In The Wind with Kendrick Lamar touches base on how entitled men feel. I mean really think about it, some of us really think we deserve some action just off strength of being a "Real N*gga." Really dude?

You're probably sitting here now wondering how in just under four years time you grew up to be such a pussy. I'm not I promise. I guess this project hit close and I wasn't prepared to get knowledge from a different woman from Maplewood than the one I planned for. SZA isn't just the girl you'd be proud to take home to your mom. She is a woman who'll make you question yourself. No matter if you treat them with respect or like a trophy, women like this make you think "Am I really willing to risk losing her forever over my nonsense? Do I really want to see what happens when you hurt someone so transparent and understanding?" Jonathan you'll ruin her if you do and yes I will give you that much credit you manipulative punk. You're capable if she loves you enough. Not only could you bring her to moms but she's not ever going to be someone you need to brag about. Spend five minutes with her and her magic and allure is infectious. She will demand the room's attention the moment she opens her mouth. As much as I'd like to say it though, SZA isn't one in a million. There are plenty of wonderful transparent women like her. We as a society have just become so accustomed to replacing each other at any sign of conflict. If we continue that thought and keep hurting each other there will be less and less SZA's out there thus continuing a endless cycle of pain we all bring each other and pass to the next generation. Okay maybe you did grow up to be a little fake deep so what? You'll watch this show called Insecure by Issa Rae and completely get it in a few years.

Like my letter to you, SZA's Ctrl is a letter to the young ladies like her. She's saying don't give it all up because someone has things going for them however don't be afraid to give altogether. Just be cautious that it's not only to one deserving but appreciates you in addition to that impressive resume. SZA ends the project with a song, Twenty Something. She with all the advice in the world doesn't claim to be an authority and have all the answers. She just gives you a piece of her and a few stories and experiences. Like her, I unfortunately do not know anything either. It's okay I've seen some things in this little bit of time and you can look forward to not being an idiot forever. As much as you'll beat yourself up for how things ended with AJ, it's okay. I can tell you that you've learned at least enough that you guys won't be damaged goods forever. It was just a rainy season. Learn grow and don't compare her to any other woman you may meet. You'll live longer and they will too if you just continue to do the right thing as difficult as that is. Besides you're autobiography would have been bland if you didn't have any conflict on your way to the top. This story does end with a happily ever after. Be sure to be the catalyst and not the product of your environment. This story will end with a happily ever after, I promise.

One twenty something to another,
25 y/o Jonathan C. Ramsey

P.S. Just have fun writing this story. We'll all be watching.

Jul 7, 2017

4:44 Review - by @jephtoda

In four years so much can change. Presidential terms end, entertainers come and go, fashion changes, TV shows get canceled. However with all that being said one thing seems to stay the same. Everyone and everything will stop and listen when Jay-Z drops an album. 

4:44 is Hov’s 13th solo studio album and at the age of 47 we were all waiting to hear what he would sound like and if it would connect. At this day and age less and less rappers are actually rapping and many wondered if Jay would follow suit Even more importantly, how it would translate? I'm happy to report that Hov is still Hov and everything he raps is still gold. 

4:44 starts with the self deprecating and shot filled song Kill Jay Z. Although throughout majority of the three minute track he speaks on his own flaws, what sticks out the most is the “shot” that he takes at Kanye. Longtime friends, Jay finally opens up about the frustrations he has with Mr. West and digs into the root of some of their issues. It's safe to say hopes for a Watch the Throne II are dwindling. 

art by Jeff Rose King
"you got hurt because you did cool by 'Ye
You gave him 20 million without blinkin'
He gave you 20 minutes on stage,
But if everybody's crazy, you're the one that's insane"(Kill Jay-Z)

Kanye isn't the only rapper he jabs at on track one. The triple entendre king plays on words also mentioning Future and his dealings with Ciarra, Russell Wilson and their son. Bye Jay-Z he ends. It's almost as if Jay-Z has been an alter-ego this entire time and Sean Carter emerges for the first time in forever. From there he quickly switches gears and kicks some much needed game in The Story of OJ. Hearing an artist dive into how to work your money instead of spend it is refreshing. Hearing it come from a guy who was once notoriously known for balling and being super extravagant is a new feat. The Story of OJ is a message on how to keep it for generations and make your money stretch. The video takes a minstrel show approach, oh the irony.

Jay has a history of a braggadocio flow and talks about expensive wine, classic art, and the finer things in life. Sean Carter is that uncle at the cookout dropping knowledge. For $9.99 he put us all on game about themes of gentrification and generational wealth (okay we know you got that free trial just for this album, we did too). This father like approach of trying to teach us through his mistakes is riddled throughout this whole album.
In some of the songs Hov abandoned prose and rhyme to just tell the truth. Not that he hadn't been honest before but I've never heard The Jigga Man be so vulnerable since maybe Song CryWhether it be infidelity on the title track 4:44 , unity on Family Feud, or independence with Moonlight, the album hits home on so many values and topics that are generally not touched. Without a doubt one of the most personal and helpful Jay albums, 4:44 feels more like a letter that he’s leaving us or even more a will (ironically enough Blue asks “Daddy what’s a will?” on the final track Legacy). After all these years of stunting on everyone it seems like “the greatest rapper ever” wants to part wisdom on us all and help us grow, a fourth blueprint if you will. Well as a fan and admirer I’d like to say thank you Mr. Carter thank you, you’re far too kind.

Jun 20, 2017

Editorial Review: #HERVol2 - @HERMusicx (written by @RamseySaidWHAT)

I have a friend who raps, who doesn't right? He once had this idea for a concept project. It was going to be called, Fame While Anonymous. That album never happened but this concept screams H.E.R. She's an up and coming RCA artist who's gotten co-signs from the likes of Alicia Keys, Wyclef, and Bryson Tiller. H.E.R. is a music blogger's wet dream. Anonymity meets R&B. I think she's one of the purest R&B acts in years. In a genre that is dominated by artists that use subgenre, pitch correction, and different crossover sounds she stands out for those that go back to the true roots of rhythm and blues. It's refreshing to hear someone that's only concerned with the quality of the music vs being a diva. Let's get to it.

Her songwriting prowess is top notch without going over the top. She's clearly someone that's seen some things and been some places that love has taken her. I think anyone that's ever wanted someone so bad it hurts could relate. I wasn't particularly blown away by the lead singles Every Kind of Way and Say it Again. Either way they are sexy as hell. In volume one she did have some joints for the sex set with Focus and Wait For It. You can add these new singles to the bunch. She's never been super vulgar with her lyrics but definitely in your face about what she's going to do and how she's going to do it.

"I wanna love you in every kind of way, I wanna please you no matter how long it takes." (Every Kind of Way)

From track three to track seven is the meat on this project. The rest is potatoes, no need for gravy this project it is seasoned well enough. The middle of the project takes us on a roller coaster of emotions from happiness to melancholy and remorse for failed love. The thing I like about H.E.R. is how vulnerable she is. She attacks the relationship and lets us in no matter what. I think most singers only show one side at a time whether it be happiness or sadness. We see it all. I'd love to interview her one day. I'm curious how much she lets the audience in and how her exes would feel about their most intimate moments being exposed.

Avenue and Gone Away are the standouts on this project content-wise. Avenue seemed like an extension of her remix to Drake's Jungle from the previous project. She mentioned she sometimes borrow her friends car and pull up on her man undercover. Avenue is about her confronting her man.  Gone away is one of those songs that hit the very soul of a lover. She addresses the relationship for what is was. She felt it was one sided and her man wouldn't fight for them. He only wanted to be around for just the good times, and wouldn't apologize for his part in it.

"We were much happier when it was always happy endings." (Gone Away)

The project ends with Lights On. Yes this is another one for the good ole "Get The Drawers" playlist we've all been building for years. I do enjoy that H.E.R retains her mystery and isn't ridiculously nasty. You don't have to wear headphones while listening to this. At the same time it's clear as day what she's talking about. This song is fire, period.

I think you would enjoy Vol 2 more if you listen to it directly after listening to Vol 1 (which I am already certifying as a classic). My only quarrel with Vol. 2 is it isn't as cohesive as the first. It's weird but with Vol 1 you can put the entire thing on shuffle and it sounds the same as if you started with track one. Vol. 2 is cohesive in it's own right but has to be played in order or it just won't work. If you want to like the sequel, you can't compare it to the former, respect it as it's own body of work. Her production is top notch and I love how her music is mixed. I can't really tell if she sings her own background reaching into tenor range or if she has a male vocalist. She's an alto who can falsetto into soprano and riff down the ledger lines into tenor. She doesn't do the most and trust me, a lot of artists do. I'm really only worried about one thing with her. She has released two projects now and both of them are EPs. The first was seven songs and 22 minutes, and the second was eight songs lasting 27 minutes. She held my attention for less than a half hour twice with great success. How well could she last on an LP? Would the overflow of emotion be overwhelming and boring or would she thrive with more time and possible skits? Could we expect visuals one day? Either way, I'm super intrigued by uncovering the mystery of H.E.R. I want to know if she's really this Gabi Wilson like the rumors suggest or if she's someone completely different. Ironic because H.E.R stands for Having Everything Revealed as she told the LA Times. H.E.R. isn't the first anonymous act out. The Weeknd, Sia, and even Goldlink have all adopted less visible monikers before they came out to the public. I wonder if this new tour with Tiller and Metro Boomin will lead to her walk to the spotlight. Only time will tell. H.E.R. Vol 2. gets 3.9 of 5 stars on the Ramsey Rating Scale. Listen to it in it's entirety after the break and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.