Desert Island Discs Episode 4: Danielle Tatton

This week’s Desert Island Discs is one I did with a friend before she jetted off to Prague on a placement and it is a really good one. Danielle really grasps the concept of the game and picks a great variety of songs for us to enjoy. From the depths of 00s R&B to a 2016 chart topper, have a listen and see what her choices are. Thank you for taking part Danielle and I hope you are loving life in Prague! If anyone else is interested in taking part then be sure to let me know.

 

 

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Top 20 Rappers in their 20s

Last September, Complex did their ’20 Best Rappers In Their 20s’ list and as is often the case with a Complex post, it caused a few controversies. Inclusions of the likes of Lil Uzi Vert and Swae Lee seemed just as odd as their choice to put YG and Meek Mill above A$AP Rocky and Travis Scott and it has prompted me to do my own list. I’ll also shoutout Liam Jones who did this post first and added fuel to my fire in terms of wanting to put out this list so check that out too. Links to both lists will be at the bottom of the post. Without further ado let’s get into the list.

DISCLAIMER: ARTISTS SUCH AS DRAKE, CHILDISH GAMBINO AND SCHOOLBOY Q ARE 30 OR OVER SO CANNOT BE CONSIDERED FOR THIS LIST. LIL YACHTY IS 19 SO HE IS TOO YOUNG FOR THE LIST.

20. Mac Miller (25 years old)

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Mac Miller has been a rapper that I have struggled to get involved with and enjoy previously, but with the release of his latest album ‘The Divine Feminine’ he silenced critics and proved his credentials as a great artist. Mac has also had a lot to say about Donald Trump and much like fellow rapper YG, has written a song about his shortcomings if he were to be elected as President (which he has in case you lived under a rock). I like his suave style over a beat and the beats themselves are soulful to the core.

 

19. D.R.A.M. (28 years old)

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The happiest man in the world, I have never seen a man love his dog quite like D.R.A.M. does. After being turned down for the 2016 Freshman list, he could have stopped and thought it would never happen, but no. He kept going and now has a Grammy nominated song to his name with ‘Broccoli’, which also happens to be the greatest song of all time believe it or not. His self-titled debut is feel good and above all it is bloody good too, I hope we hear more from this loveable man and I also hope we see him with more dogs.

 

18. Noname (25 years old)

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A complete unknown at the start of 2016 but look at her now. Noname made just about everyone’s albums of the year list and she was in the top 10 of mine with her smash debut ‘Telefone’. Chicago has been on the up for a while and we are now starting to see this in action with the likes of Noname, Vic Mensa and Chance The Rapper becoming big names in the genre. With a very limited number of talented female rappers in today’s rap scene, perhaps Noname has what it takes to become the queen, she has Nicki Minaj to topple first, though…

 

17. Vic Mensa (23 years old)

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More proof that Chicago is having a honeymoon period of music at the moment, Vic Mensa has taken 2016 as an opportunity to speak out on major issues with Chicago, mainly police brutality and the effect it has on the local people. His ‘There’s Alot Going On’ EP was brilliant and it raised a lot of issues, opening a lot of eyes to the current state of America’s police force. His flow and cadence is something we are used to, with previous releases ‘U Mad’ and ‘Down On My Luck’ remaining bangers to this day.

 

16. Meek Mill (29 years old)

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You could excuse people for calling Meek Mill a bit of a banter artist given his well documented feud with Drake which resulted in Meek falling flat on his face and becoming a laughing stock. This papered over the fact that Meek Mill has actually been moving very well musically in the past couple of years and he followed that trend on in 2016 with his DC4 mixtape which featured some of the game’s hottest artists and as a result we got banger after banger. His work ethic can’t be questioned and if he carries on like he is, the Drake feud will be a thing of the past.

 

15. Denzel Curry (22 years old)

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The coldest flow in the game at the moment, hands down. Denzel blows my mind on a regular basis and it all came about from ‘Ultimate’, his biggest track and the soundtrack to the bottle flip challenge. The meme that became of it threw quite a lot of shade on it as a track which is a shame because it is genuinely incredible the way he keeps the track flowing at such a high tempo. He is full of energy and talent, as seen in 2016’s ‘Imperial’ album which was one of the better releases from a Freshman last year. If Denzel can carry on at this rate I honestly think he could be one of the greats.

 

14. YG (26 years old)

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YG seemed like a bit of a joker when he released ‘My N****’ in 2014 but the way he has responded has been very impressive indeed. 2016 was a very busy year for the Compton rapper as he released two projects, ‘Still Brazy’ and ‘Red Friday’, the former of which was absolutely fantastic and made my albums of the year list. His political side has also shone through this year, most notably his ongoing feud with Donald Trump and the message he sends in his ‘FDT’ track. YG has bounced back from being a meme artist and is now one of hip-hop’s truest speakers.

 

13. Tyler, The Creator (25 years old)

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Tyler is as creative as anyone in this list, his mind goes way beyond that of hip-hop and it is very refreshing to see. Odd Future’s ring leader has now moved onto become a fashion guru as well as an award winning solo artist and a TV personality so it is clear to see why he is so well loved by so many people. Sticking with his music, however, Tyler is undoubtedly controversial, that much is a stone cold fact, but his controversies often help him shine and create his best music. 2016 was fairly quiet for Tyler, with us only getting a couple of A$AP Mob collabs and a remix of Zayn Malik’s hit ‘Pillowtalk’. The remix is absolutely stunning and the feature tracks are just as good so the future is bright for Wolf Haley indeed.

 

12. Joey Bada$$ (22 years old)

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One of hip-hop’s wittiest and talented MC’s, it is an absolute criminal offence how underrated Joey Bada$$ is. ‘Paper Trail$’ is one of the best hip-hop songs I have heard in years and it doesn’t stop there. Every track Joey does has his stamp on it, a stamp of phenomenal flow and expressive lyricism from the very core. 2016 has seen Joey plotting a comeback with tracks like ‘Devastated’ and ‘Front & Center’ being released and prompting mass excitement for his new project, particularly after the success of ‘B4.DA.$$’. Joey Bada$$ has a huge future and his new album will be fire, if it isn’t I will eat my shoes.

 

11. 21 Savage (24 years old)

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In his own words, he makes “murder music” and he couldn’t be more correct. 21 is actually an incredibly clever man who has clearly learnt an awful lot from his traumatic experiences on the streets of Atlanta. From gun violence to out and out murders, 21 Savage raps from the heart and tells us all how it is, no sugar coating or stretching the truth. He is one of my favourite artists from the 2016 Freshman list because of how unique he is, sounding like a possessed middle aged man with a death alibi at the best of times but I just can’t explain how it sounds so enjoyable, it just does. Listen to his ‘Savage Mode’ mixtape and you will soon realise what I am talking about.

 

10. Quavo (25 years old)

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Best known as a part of rap group Migos, Quavo has enjoyed a huge 2016 and it has come from a lot of groundwork with Migos, working hard to get commercial success and be recognised by a wider audience. They did that with ‘Versace’ but after that they struggled to hit those heights again. Well, ‘Bad & Boujee’ came out in 2016 and the rest is history, Migos are now a household name and have a song with over 150 million plays on Spotify, not bad going. Quavo himself has also dominated on features with Travis Scott, G.O.O.D. Music and Post Malone, making him almost impossible to ignore.

 

9. Earl Sweatshirt (22 years old)

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Earl truly is like gold dust when he hops on the microphone and gives us some bars. Two releases into his solo career, Earl Sweatshirt has demonstrated that he is far more than one of Tyler, The Creator’s friends from Odd Future; instead he is actually the best MC OFWGKTA have to offer, including Tyler himself. Both ‘Doris’ and ‘I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside’ are prime examples of the raw talent he possesses as a songwriter, rapping about his life and the struggles he has faced, from depression to drug addiction. For such a young man he is incredible and with an album predicted to be released this year, I cannot wait to see what is next.

 

8. Vince Staples (23 years old)

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Vince goes hard, talks hard, and lives hard. 2015’s ‘Summertime 06’ album made him one of hip-hop’s biggest names instantly because of it’s boom blast emotion and the anti-gangster rap mentality he has preached for so long. His rise from Long Beach to the golden sands of fame continued in 2016 with his ‘Prima Donna’ release which was a solid follow up to one of hip-hop’s modern smashes. If you think you had it tough, listen to ‘Norf Norf’, a banging track with a hardcore message about the streets of California growing up as well as the growing unrest between police and black civilians. He has a banger with Australian producer Flume as well so his diversity knows no bounds.

 

7. Big Sean (28 years old)

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Like him or not, Big Sean is one of the most well-known rappers around and that has to stand for something. At the beginning of his career he really struggled to release a good enough quality album to be recognised widely but ever since 2015’s ‘Dark Sky Paradise’, Sean has gone from strength to strength. A couple of huge features on DJ Khaled’s album, particularly on ‘Holy Key’ and the best of the bunch on G.O.O.D. Music’s ‘Champions’ single have seen the Detroit born rapper taken very seriously indeed in the genre. His name hasn’t faded either thanks to the release of album ‘I Decided’ at the start of 2017 as it really looks like Sean has turned a corner.

 

6. Logic (27 years old)

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A white guy with great flow and a name that isn’t Eminem? Surely not? Well think again because Logic is the best name underground hip-hop has to offer for a very good reason. Incredible speed on his bars as well as a positive attitude gives him a very devoted fan base and even if he isn’t hitting the mainstream audiences, Logic is turning heads in the depths of rap and has soared towards the absolute best in the business after his fantastic ‘Bobby Tarantino’ mixtape. Oh, and he can freestyle while doing a Rubiks Cube without looking, so he is basically the coolest guy in the world.

 

5. A$AP Rocky (28 years old)

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Rocky is one of rap’s biggest names, with two commercial hit albums to his name and a rockstar lifestyle which varies from his music to his fashion, both of which he is exceptionally creative with. It is his music we are discussing here, though, and he hasn’t been hugely involved this year. Yes we saw an A$AP Mob album but that seemed fairly half-hearted to me and only told us what we already knew, that Rocky was comfortably the best artist there. Even after this year he makes the top five because as an entity he never seems to fade, with his music always standing tall and blasting through speakers on a regular basis. A big year next time round and he could be a contender for top spot.

 

4. Young Thug (25 years old)

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Hands down the craziest man not just in hip-hop, but in music in general. Thugger has built up his popularity through his incredible work rate and the staggering amount of music he releases. He has been quoted to say that he only listens to his music and nobody else’s but if I was as good as Young Thug I would probably do the same. All of the ‘Slime Season’ mixtapes have been fantastic but Thug really outdid himself on the third, which was released early last year. ‘JEFFERY’ was another success story and gave us perhaps the best music video of all time in ‘Wyclef Jean’. The tracklist was consisted of his influences and I feel like he is close to reaching some of their levels. Also, Elton John compared him to John Lennon while Wyclef Jean himself called him this generation’s Tupac, high praise for a high flyer of the industry.

 

3. Travis Scott (24 years old)

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The king of hooks, Travis Scott is yet to release a song I have disliked, genuinely. That is including songs he features on, his ability to create catchy hooks on top of booming beats is truly one of a kind; whether it be the psychedelic clicks of ‘Goosebumps’ or the feelgood bounce of ‘Apple Pie’. Just listen to the chorus’ on ‘Pick Up The Phone’ and ‘Champions’ and tell me Travis Scott isn’t the first name you’d go to when writing a trap song. His ‘Rodeo’ album is a classic I don’t care what anyone says, and 2016’s ‘Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight’ has simply solidified his place as one of rap’s biggest superstars. Trust me on this, LA Flame has more greatness coming, I am sure of it.

 

2. Chance The Rapper (23 years old)

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Chance has soared from underground success to being arguably the most talked about male artist around at the moment. He started the year with one of the features of the year on Kanye’s ‘Ultralight Beam’ and went on from there. His third mixtape ‘Coloring Book’ was the best one yet and as a result he went to the top of Billboard’s charts and even won three Grammy awards; and the best part of all of this? Chance is an independent artist, no label, completely self-controlled. He has shook the world with his accomplishments and he is sure to become the new king of hip-hop in the coming years. His beautiful mixture of gospel and hip-hop is infectious and it is his faith that has made him so passionate, long may it continue.

 

1. Kendrick Lamar (29 years old)

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Simply unstoppable. Luckily for everyone else in this list, Kendrick turns 30 this year so he won’t be able to top this list anymore and we might be able to see some fresh blood take the lead. It is fairly self-explanatory as to why Kendrick Lamar remains the number one MC in the game, whether it is his classic discography which just never seems to grow tiresome or the brilliance of his guest features, just witnessing Kendrick’s influence is enough to tip you over the edge of hype. He is more than just a rapper, he is a wordsmith, a poet and a prophet of our times, a man we should feel luckily to breathe the same air as. All hail the king.

 

Complex’s top 20: http://uk.complex.com/music/2016/09/20-best-rappers-in-their-20s-2016

Liam’s top 20: https://ljmusictalk.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/top-20-rappers-in-their-20s/

 

The Curious Case Of Frank Ocean

With this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony quickly approaching, it’s around about now where anticipation peaks and we can’t help but speculate which of the nominees will be awarded for their storming 2016 and come away with one or two of those prestigious awards. Artists like Beyoncé and Chance the Rapper have enjoyed a sensational past twelve months, after releasing the two fantastic projects Lemonade and Colouring Book respectively, and are certainly considered favourites to clean up. With Ellis having already written an article on this year’s nominees, there were a few notable absences- one considerably more notable than the rest. Enter 29 year old born Christopher Edwin Breaux, or better known by his stage name: Frank Ocean.

In case you aren’t familiar with him, Frank Ocean is the Long Beach born; New Orleans raised singer/songwriter who, despite only 6 years on from his first project, has become the pacesetter in alternative R&B. Ocean’s career started initially with him acting as a ghostwriter, where he wrote songs for the likes of John Legend, Beyoncé and Justin Bieber. Dedicated to establish himself as an artist, he joined the likes of Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt in rap collective Odd Future in 2009, as well as signing to Def Jam Recordings the same year. Odd Future’s youthful and off-the-wall spirit influenced his songwriting, and after a few collaborations with his new OF cohorts, Frank released his first mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, on the 16th February 2011. This project was met with critical acclaim, with stand out singles Novacane and Swim Good featured. As the title implies, lyrically, the project paints a picture of reminiscence, mostly recalling relationships and encounters with romantic interests Frank has found himself in. Nostalgia, Ultra also showcases the diverse palette of Ocean’s influences, sampling instrumentals from Radiohead, MGMT and The Eagles.

It only took Frank Ocean a year to return with new music, in the form of his first commercial record: Channel Orange, released on the 10th July 2012. Much like Nostalgia, Ultra, this record follows themes of youthfulness; the title Ocean derived from a synesthetic colour he associated with the summer he first fell in love, a story which is explored in further depth in lead single Thinkin Bout You. Unlike his first mixtape, where sampling existing work is standard custom, Ocean took a more hands-on approach to songwriting, involving himself more with the structuring and sonics of his songs. What resulted was quite possibly one of the greatest debuts any musician has offered in recent years. Channel Orange is a neo-soul masterpiece, saturated with unrelenting R&B grooves straddled over trendy 808 drum patterns. The brilliant musicianship on display is equally met by Ocean’s phenomenal lyricism and storytelling: from the fickle, affluent blues of tracks like Super Rich Kids, to the emasculated love song Forrest Gump, a track, much like Ocean’s lead single, which provided insight into his sexuality, making headlines around the world when he came out as bisexual- akin to the publicity David Bowie garnered when he did the same, which, combined with his inventive, genre-defining work at the time, made him such an unstoppable force in the music world. Critics have also likened Ocean’s vivid depiction of one’s formative years to that of Brian Wilson with The Beach Boys’ 1966 album Pet Sounds, perfectly captivating today’s youth. By the end of the year, various publications, including Billboard and The Guardian, placed Channel Orange first in their Albums of the Year lists- as well as earning 4 nominations at the 2013 Grammy Awards, for Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Record of the Year (Thinkin Bout You) and Best Urban Contemporary Album- winning the latter award, as well as earning an award in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category for his contribution to Jay Z and Kanye West song No Church in the Wild.

Still enjoying the resounding success of his first LP, it was around this time that Ocean confirmed that he had begun writing a follow-up. After finishing touring Channel Orange in the second half of 2013, Ocean slipped away from the public eye to continue working on his second album, supposedly titled Boys Don’t Cry. As more time passed, tensions grew among fans who were anxious to hear new music, but Ocean’s seemingly brief hiatus had turned into a full on disappearing act. This silence was briefly interrupted in early 2014, when he posted the song Hero to SoundCloud, as well as Ocean insisting that LP2 was nearly finished. Despite this, almost 2 full years passed without any real sign of a release, before hip hop giant Kanye West released his seventh studio album The Life of Pablo in February 2016. This contained the song simply titled Frank’s Track, a stripped back outro to the preceding track Wolves, which featured the man himself, Frank Ocean. Excitement erupted at his return and the glimmering hope of the release of his desperately anticipated follow-up album, as numerous hints emerged through the year that Boys Don’t Cry was to be released very soon. As months passed, I couldn’t help but still feel pessimistic- with rumoured released dates slated for the past two years without any response- but on the 19th August 2016, a 45 minute long visual album titled Endless was streamed on his website and uploaded to Apple Music. Frank Ocean was well and truly back. It’s fair to say Endless is an unusual body of work, with no adherence to individual tracks. Sonically, by no means is this a purist’s R&B album. Instead, Ocean opts to take an avant-garde twist on pop, particularly through the use of spacious soundscapes and bizarre sampling. Despite its untypical presentation, this album was still one of my favourites of the year, displaying Frank’s incredibly gifted voice in a perfect light, including the opening track, an enamouring reinterpretation of (At Your Best) You Are Love by soul legends The Isley Brothers. Endless is a shapeless, assorted banquet of intimate tunes that I can’t help but go back to again and again.

However, we only had a matter of hours to enjoy this new release before representatives of Ocean stated that Endless was not the project supposedly titled Boys Don’t Cry, and that we should expect even more music imminently. In a new found honesty to his word, Ocean finally released his second studio album, titled Blonde, as well as a music video for lead single Nikes, on the 20th August 2016. Blonde is without doubt one of, if not the most widely anticipated album of this decade so far, so it isn’t unreasonable to suggest that there was a possibility that all this anticipation could have resulted in a total anti-climax; many artists before Ocean have experienced the “difficult second album” and his second release could end up being a sub-par response to such an exciting and promising debut. This is not the case with Blonde, under no circumstance. This album is very much a slow burner, Ocean doesn’t rely on anything particularly exciting to seize your attention, but songs become precious after a few listens. Unlike the more orthodox grooves and hooks heard on Channel Orange, Blonde finds its strength in simplicity when it comes to production. The abstract and minimalist instrumentals on this album at times remind me of the sound The xx honed on their stunning debut xx, highlighting Ocean’s departure from the obvious in popular music. This change in style doesn’t remove anything from the album’s identity- this is still very much a Frank Ocean record, his familiar nostalgic narratives are still strongly featured on here, yet the sense of naivety you find on Channel Orange has long gone, with Ocean sounding a much more mature artist both vocally and lyrically. A long list of renowned artists have also been credited for their contributions to the album, including Beyoncé, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, André 3000, Kanye West and Jamie xx. Despite this, these featuring artists are not utilised conspicuously, as the limelight seldom moves away from Ocean at any point throughout. Blonde thrives on its ambiguities and presents an ambitious view into the mysterious mind of its creator, as well as marking bold steps into the progression of popular music. But most importantly, if Channel Orange was the record that made him a big player within alternative R&B, then Blonde is the record that proves that the name Frank Ocean should be on all of our lips for many years to come.

This leaves us with a few questions: Why did he take 4 years to release two pieces of work at once? And if Endless and Blonde are so good, then why isn’t Frank nominated for any Grammy’s this year? As I mentioned previously, Frank Ocean signed a record deal with label Def Jam, a deal he saw fulfilled with the release of Endless. Although, Ocean had made attempts to part company with his label before this, describing his experience with them as a “7 year chess game”. After having to buy himself out with his own money, he finally managed to part with Def Jam, and Blonde was released on Ocean’s newly formed independent label: Boys Don’t Cry. This suggests that Ocean’s plans for a follow-up to Channel Orange were possibly too bold and left-field for Def Jam to oblige releasing, hence why his visual album was put together to break away and release a second LP on his own terms, demonstrating that not only should art not be rushed, but it should not be limited by a third party. As for the Grammy’s, it turns out Frank Ocean wasn’t snubbed by the awards ceremony at all- more the other way around. Reports came out in October 2016 that Ocean’s albums were not submitted in time for consideration at this year’s ceremony, sparking protests from fans, and even Ocean’s contemporaries; our favourite rapper/enfant terrible Kanye West took to the stage at one of his shows and declared his threats to boycott the 2017 Grammy’s if Ocean’s work remained ineligible. However, a rare interview with The New York Times revealed that Ocean actively chose not to submit his work for consideration, quoted saying: “That institution certainly has nostalgic importance; it just doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down.” The interview goes on to discuss an asset of Frank Ocean’s identity that is possibly his most integral: his polite, yet categorical refusal to remain in the spotlight. His name may hold a decent amount of weight in popular culture- in the United States, Blonde enjoyed the third-biggest opening week for an album in 2016, beaten only by Drake’s Views and Beyoncé’s Lemonade– but he isn’t a megastar like them. Frank Ocean is an enigma; every move he makes is shrouded in the unknown. There is one thing I can be certain of, though: it’s a pleasure to have you back, Frank.

What if Bands were Football teams?

Football and music. Mankind’s two greatest pastimes and both can make or break friendships with their highly divisive opinions. Despite their obvious differences, there are certain aspects of both which share some specific similarities. This is your chance to see what your favourite band or team would be like if they were to swap roles. From Arsenal to Leeds United, from Courteeners to Kasabian; this post is bound to divide opinion but also make you realise some home truths about some of the biggest names in each field.

The 1975 – Arsenal

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  • Think they’re better than they are
  • Play some unique and cool stuff
  • Never win trophies/awards
  • Often seen as a bit of banter to other fans
  • Brags about things that they don’t have

 

Arctic Monkeys – Manchester United

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  • Been class for years
  • Dropped off a bit
  • Biggest in the country
  • Won’t reach the good old days of their absolute best again
  • Arrogant leaders
  • Annoying fans

 

Catfish & The Bottlemen – Newcastle United

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  • Think they’re big but they’re dead in reality
  • Boring and unoriginal
  • Fans who don’t shut up
  • Always wear black
  • Won’t catch them ever winning a trophy

 

The Strokes – Liverpool

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  • Were absolutely amazing back in the day
  • Went through a slight banter period of shoddy work
  • On their way back to the top
  • Dead cool leaders
  • Fans always go on about the past
  • Conquered Europe

 

Kasabian – Chelsea

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  • Strolled in and took over
  • Brash and arrogant in their approach
  • Won loads of plaudits and trophies
  • They had a minor blip but they’re coming back and better than ever
  • Loud and in your face, often scruffy but effective

 

Foals – Tottenham

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  • Quietly gone about their business well for a while
  • Massively underrated for years
  • Lack of success but it’s been building for something special
  • 2015/16 they hit us with a bang and became big boys
  • Struggle overseas but one of the best in this country

 

Courteeners – Everton

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  • It all started so well
  • Now they are garbage
  • Trying desperately to be hip and cool but failing miserably
  • Often reminded of the good times and how great they were
  • Die hard fans are pretty blinkered

 

Gorillaz – Manchester City

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  • Came about from nowhere and shocked everyone
  • Splashed money on all sorts of extravagance
  • Conquered for a little bit and were a real force
  • They have lived on for a bit and are now ready for a big comeback
  • Properly cool and trendy leader who everyone is dead jealous of

 

Coldplay – Leeds United

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  • Had huge initial success and became absolute stars
  • Got far too carried away with what they had
  • Lost their way and ended up falling into irrelevancy
  • Tried being different and edgy to get people’s attention and it didn’t work
  • Look to have gone out with a tiny bang but not enough to get them back where they want

 

The Killers – West Ham United

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  • Been rubbish for years but nobody dare tell them
  • Famous for one song/player
  • No success in years and none coming to them in the future
  • Moved onto big things and completely flopped as a result
  • No appeal to them anymore

Desert Island Discs Episode 3: Ellis Karran (me)

This week’s Desert Island Discs is a very special one because it will be my choices. Usually I am the host but I have given myself the responsibility to give you all my picks and see what you think of them. They vary from 2015 trap music to a 1980s classic so be sure to tune in and let me know what you think. As always I hope you enjoy and if you are interested in doing this then please be sure to speak to me and I am sure we can arrange it for you.

Album Review: Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3

Run The Jewels are a hip-hop supergroup formed in 2013, consisting of rapper/producer El-P and rapper Killer Mike. As you could probably guess from the album title, this is the third instalment of their discography so far, with the other two albums being widely regarded as one of the best in their particular year of release, particularly Run The Jewels 2 which was absolutely remarkable. The pair were very successful before forming RTJ but creating this supergroup has added a whole new dimension to their sound and made sure that the best parts of each member shine through. Can Run The Jewels continue their record of great albums and make it three from three? Let’s find out.

Down (feat. Joi) – 9/10:

As is often the case, El-P’s production here is absolutely stunning, the way it fades out and then builds back up after Killer Mike’s fantastic intro is just glorious listening. Speaking of Killer Mike, his verse is fantastically catchy and could be one of the best verses on the whole album. El-P does his thing too and really compliments his beat very well indeed on this absolutely rocking intro which sticks in your head from the chorus to the witty wordplays. Brilliant start which will leave you full of optimism.

Talk To Me – 9/10:

The way this song is brought in is yet again a masterstroke from El-P who really has established himself as one of the most adventurous and talented producers in hip-hop. I may sound like a broken record on this album because the same positivity’s are screaming out at me, Killer Mike slays his verses and El-P is hard on the beats and his verses as well. Mike just edges this one but both are fantastic on this hype track full of clever samples and hardcore use of the ‘RTJ’ label they represent. Strong start to this album it has to be said.

Legend Has It – 9.5/10:

I love the way Killer Mike jumps into this song as he takes over the track over the top of that robotic intro which plays in the background throughout. The two of them also do a great job of swapping and changing who raps and they really prove how great their chemistry is, hence why the content they produce is so good. This was one of their singles and it is very easy to see why, a real banger without a chorus but that doesn’t matter when the rhymes are this good. The fine details they add are fantastic and they create such a brilliant sound. It gets better and better.

Call Ticketron – 8.5/10:

Once again I love how the songs fade into one another before that sudden switch on the beat, it makes everything sound so much better. For once we get to hear El-P start on this one and he does a good job but once again it’s Killer Mike who smashes it and confirms to us all he is one of the best MC’s out there. The beat is very strange and sounds like a bass boosted version of something Danny Brown would spit over but I really like it because it strikes Yeezus vibes for me and I really dig that. The chorus is cool and shows the best side of the group but those two verses at the end of the song, wow. They are the highlights of the whole album I promise you, crazy flow.

Hey Kids (Bumaye) (feat. Danny Brown) – 9/10:

Did someone mention Danny Brown? All I think about is how insane he would sound over an El-P beat and now we get to hear it first hand. Before we have that treat we have the joy that is another red hot Killer Mike verse, his flow is just scary good on this song and it is complimented very nicely by the chanted chorus chosen, in which people shout “Bumaye” a few times. El-P has outdone himself on the beat again and his verse isn’t half bad either. As for Danny Brown, he is as nuts as anticipated, you can barely understand a word he says but that’s ok, all I need to know is that it is incredible and be done with it. Another absolute banger.

Stay Gold – 8/10:

Hands down the most bizarre beat on the album as he remixes the words “stay gold” and creates a beat from it, genius at work. I do think the chorus is a bit soft, however as they spell out “gold” a few times and it is a good job we don’t hear it much. In this one, El-P does a better job than Mike and I think this is one of Killer Mike’s weaker performances with all things considered. You can almost allow it because of how amazing the production on it is and also the fact that El-P flies the flag with elegance. This is a great track again but it could have been even better.

Don’t Get Captured – 8.5/10:

A bit more of a haunting and dark beat at the start of this one, it sounds like something you’d expect to be accompanied by some low-budget teen fanasy-horror film. That doesn’t mean it is a poor beat, I actually very much like the beat and it is made better by the performances of Mike and El-P who slay the beat but what is new there? Mike takes this one again just for the fact that he started his verse with “hello from the little shop of horrors”, brilliant. The chorus is great and has a really catchy chant style to it while the whole atmosphere of the beat picks up around it. Another really clever and unique song.

Thieves! (Screamed The Ghost) (feat. Tunde Adebimpe) – 7.5/10:

The sirens spread from thee end of the last song into this one, and that isn’t the only thing we get which is similar. Once again the beat is a bit darker and has more of a horror feel to it, particularly when you hear those subtle inclusions from Tunde Adepimpe who sets the scary scene of thieves and ghosts so well. He does distract me from the verses of Run The Jewels on the odd occasion, however and it is a shame that happens but luckily we are given a clear sound on their second verses, where each of them absolutely smash it. Not the best song on the album but it is still a good tune.

2100 (feat. BOOTS) – 7/10:

The atmosphere seems to pick up around this song with the high keyed synths on the beat and the whole instrumental becomes crazy once El-P kicks in with his verse. I love the way the beat goes once it all kicks off and it gives this one serious banger potential as El-P spits truth all over it. My honest opinion is that El-P smashes it out the park and really gets the style of the beat while Killer Mike sometimes get swallowed up by the intensity of it, but there are times where he sounds great. The feature of BOOTS does his bit in the hook but he hardly blows you away in all honesty, it’s neither here nor there. As a whole the song is one of the weaker ones on the album but again that isn’t saying it is poor because El-P’s production and bars combination is great.

Panther Like A Panther (Miracle Mix) (feat. Trina) – 8.5/10:

Upon release this song became the most listened to one and it is plain to see why, absolute insanity in the EDM influenced beat and Trina’s red hot arrogance in the hook. I really like the energy the whole song brings and I think it is great how they have managed to switch up the beat and not just make it a generic EDM track, instead throwing layers on it and spitting bars over it. Mike’s verse is great but for me the hook is the standout part of this track. Great moves from RTJ on here.

Everybody Stay Calm – 8/10:

Telling everyone to stay calm and then playing a banger like this guys? Come on now sort it out you know full well people won’t be calm listening to this one. It has the feel of a freestyle at times and I like the way Mike and El-P bounce off each other from line to line as they seem to almost go head to head with their bars. “Smoke anymore and my brain is vapour” is a truly awful line, however, and it lowers my rating for El-P on this one. I don’t know what he was thinking of with a line like that, it is just poor. The song flowed nicely without changing a great deal and the bars were clear and strong.

Oh Mama – 8.5/10:

This is like a heavy rock cut with the drum and the guitar riff at the start but that is soon squashed by El-P’s production as he distorts the sound and basically makes it sound like it is underwater but in a very good way, the beat is just sick on this song once again. I really am running out of superlatives for him as a producer he is simply unstoppable. Killer Mike is red hot on this too he really goes with that beat and sets it alight before stomping it down with authority. Great track again and I love the hook.

Thursday In The Danger Room (feat. Kamasi Washington) – 9/10:

Block rocker of a beat once more, it makes everything that much easier and they sure as hell show that when they pick up the microphone. El-P hasn’t used up his energy on this beat because his verses are hard on this one and his cadence is on point, not a single stutter in sight. I love the hook on this, it is so rhythmic while also maintaining a serious banger stamp, it also gives us a chance to hear Killer Mike a bit differently as he ad-libs his way through the hook. Mike’s verse is great and I love the anecdote he tells about a family who lose it all, he shows a soft side to himself and I like that. The role swap on the verses and hooks gives me life on this tune, by the way. Different class once again.

A Report To The Shareholders / Kill Your Masters – 9.5/10:

If ever there was a way to end a bass heavy album of wild production then this was it, sirens from the off and a very strange sound effect which sounds very similar to what I would imagine a UFO to sound like. Maybe that’ll explain why these guys are so good, maybe they’re not human? I love the enchantment of the production on this track as it gives off a sound and a feel of triumph, as if they know they have done it again, another top class album. Mike and El-P have such a strong bond and this song shows it as they both shout each other out for making one another millionaires. An absolutely brilliant way to end an absolutely brilliant project.

Overall – 8.5/10:

If this album had been released two weeks earlier it probably would have made my top 10 of the year, it is that good. Killer Mike is confirming to me that he is one of the most dominant MCs in the game as well as being a criminally underrated rapper. El-P is the production king and always will be, his beats are legendary and he will be legendary I am sure of it. In fact scrap that, Run The Jewels will be legendary. That is THREE top class albums back to back to back, there is a very select few artists who can pull that off and this group is one of them. RTJ all the way to the bank.

Top 10 albums of the 2010s so far

The 2010s are into their eight year, wow that has flown by. A lot is made of the state of the music industry currently and that age old statement is said: “music was so much better back in the good old days”. Well although I can often agree with people’s grumbles about modern music, particularly the death of bands and the introduction of brainless EDM, there are still shining lights amongst us don’t you worry. Upon creating this list it did actually make me realise how fantastic some of the projects we have been treated to are. We still have a large portion of fantastic artists who are pushing the culture forwards and trying to create innovative sounds and it is those who I shall be celebrating with this list. I hope you enjoy it and please remember that this is all personal opinion.

10. J Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive

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Did you know this went double platinum with no features? The ongoing meme of this album and it’s crazy success given the lack of commercial appeal is part of the reason people love it so much when in actual fact, it is an absolute stunner of an album. Whether you want a slow jam like ‘Wet Dreamz’ or ‘Apparently’ or a hard hitting banger like ‘A Tale Of 2 Citiez’ and ‘G.O.M.D.’ this album has it all. A 13 track album of hits and supreme talent, entirely self-dependent and absolutely brilliant. It is easily Cole’s best project and without doubt it is one of the best hip-hop albums of this decade, it has all the credentials to be a genre classic.

9. Frank Ocean – Blond

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The best album of 2016 bar none, Frank made us wait for this one that much is for sure. With that being said, once we were treated to ‘Blond’ all was forgiven, we could hear the progression, the journey that Frank Ocean had been on to create the perfect sound to his music and to mature from his days of Odd Future and debut album ‘Channel Orange’. ‘Nike’ is stunning, ‘Nights’ is a toe tapping bop and ‘Futura Free’ is an emotional rollercoaster, as well as a blinding guest feature by Andre 3000 on ‘Solo Reprise’. This album couldn’t be topped in 2016 and it has soared Frank to the top of the game, becoming one of music’s most loved and cherished assets. He could literally retire tomorrow and we wouldn’t begrudge him because he treated us to this.

8. Disclosure – Settle

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This album is a true celebration, a return to form for classic electronic dance track, courtesy of Disclosure, a couple of young lads who wouldn’t strike you as this talented at all. This album is absolutely STACKED with colossal hits and iconic house beats as well as having some very brave and high profile features, with the likes of Sam Smith, London Grammar and Eliza Doolittle changing their styles to create floor filling bangers. Every gamble they took paid off and as a result we were given an album of sheer class from top to bottom. ‘You & Me’, ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ and ‘F For You’ are my personal favourites but in honesty they’re all bangers and they rekindled the flame of funky electronics in the music industry.

7. Alt-J – An Awesome Wave

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A viral video has spread in regards to how to write an Alt-J song, creating a bit of a laughing stock stigma around the band, but let’s not forget the absolute brilliance of their award winning debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’, which conquered a stacked group of competitors including Plan B, Michael Kiwanuka and Ben Howard to the Mercury Prize in 2012. They had an album which was bizarre to the core and yet every single track could have been a single, I can’t think of many bands who can create a sound like Alt-J’s and still keep that commercial sound at the helm. Of course they had wild success with ‘Breezeblocks’ and ‘Something Good’ but it was the songs like ‘Tessellate’ and ‘Fitzpleasure’ which really stood out for me and made this one a classic. They are yet to replicate this huge album but they’re comeback is imminent so we can only hope for more brilliance from them.

6. Travis Scott – Rodeo

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An accidental concept album, how does that even happen? This album took Travis Scott from Houston to the big time, from the streets to marble floors, from rags to riches. Yes he had mixtape success beforehand but none of them came close to this, one of the most technically risky and talented hip-hop albums I have heard in a very long time. Lead single ‘Antidote’ will ring many bells with neutrals and rightfully so given it’s popularity and how much of a tune it is. It’s the likes of ‘Apple Pie’, ‘Maria I’m Drunk’ and ‘90210’, however, that make this album so special, trap songs with a completely unique sound; a psychedelic take on a hardcore genre. In short, Travis broke the rules on this song, he flew through the wall of uncertainty and brought us the light, he showed everyone that trap music didn’t have to be like it was, and my god he was right.

5. The xx – xx

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Dark, mysterious, genius. The London based trio’s debut album caused shockwaves in the music industry and completely evolved the way we view the indie and alternative genres for good. ‘Intro’ is still the most remarkable piece of music you will hear and is hands down the best album opener out of any on this list, while lead singles ‘Islands’ and ‘Crystalised’ are passionate but still gloomy and left field. Romy, Oliver and Jamie work perfectly together and there isn’t a single group who can replicate what they do, and god knows people have tried. Listen out for the piano on ‘VCR’ as well as that is just lovely, the production of the album from start to finish is absolutely magnificent and it convinced me that Jamie xx was and still is this country’s supreme music producer. Oh, and it won the Mercury Music Prize in 2010, beating Biffy Clyro, Foals and Dizzee Rascal to the crown.

4. Tame Impala – Currents

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Australia’s best export since Tim Cahill, Kevin Parker and co. who prefer to go by the name of Tame Impala have had a gradual rise to fame in this country particularly. ‘Lonerism’ in 2013 was their second release and was fantastic but it wasn’t really until ‘Currents’ in 2015 when the world stood up and took notice of Tame Impala for what they truly are, a catchy psychedelic band with a unique flavour to their sound. When you open an album with ‘Let It Happen’ and end it with ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’ you are onto a winner, let along having hits like ‘The Less I Know The Better’ in between. ‘Cause I’m A Man’ and ‘Yes I’m Changing’ are personal favourites of mine and this album will forever remain in my back catalogue of classics, no matter how modern you may deem it.

3. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

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A cult classic. There isn’t a weak song on this album from Kendrick Lamar, from the big hits ‘i’ and ‘King Kunta’ to the album tracks of ‘Institutionalized’ and ‘Hood Politics’. He was given ELEVEN Grammy nominations for this masterpiece and it truly was the album that certified his spot as king amongst the masses (we knew he was king long before this album came out). ‘How Much A Dollar Cost’ is Barack Obama’s favourite song so it is an instant classic and ‘Mortal Man’ holds an eight minute conversation with the late Tupac at the end to complete the masterpiece. The production is magic, with Flying Lotus and Thundercat doing bits alongside the likes of Pharrell Williams and SZA; and of course Kendrick’s bars are god-level. This album is just incredible and who can forget the poem he crafts throughout the album before reciting it to Pac at the end? Unbelievable stuff.

2. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, M.A.A.D city

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The most culturally important album of this decade, Kendrick is better known by the general public for ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, the album which came after this one but fans of hip-hop will be well aware of the sheer genius behind this project. Lead singles ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ and ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’ became club anthems alongside their hugely influential meanings, especially in the latter where he challenges alcoholism. ‘Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst’ steals the show on the whole album as a 12 minute piece about life on the streets and Kendrick’s acceptance of death, it is just chillingly magical. The best part of this album? The tale it tells of course. Teenagers on the streets of Compton with drugs and gangs, with all the dangers that come with it. You find yourself completely engulfed in the anecdotes he tells and it begins to feel like a motion picture towards the end, it is special, truly special.

1. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

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Do I really need to justify this decision? Like at all? If you disagree with me I would love for you to name one album, just one is all I want, that is better than this from our very own twisted genius Kanye West. Let me run through some of the songs that are bangers. ALL OF THEM. Every. Last. One. Every feature is crisp and on form (apart from Jay Z on ‘Monster’), he has two of the biggest hype songs of all time in ‘POWER’ and ‘All Of The Lights’ come one after the other, and he even has time to throw in some heartbreak anthems and a Bon Iver feature, mesmerising to the very core. A polarising album for a polarising figure? Sounds about right but one thing is for certain, this is a world class album from a truly masterful artist who will, whether you like it or not, go down as one of the greatest of our generation, if not THE greatest. If I had to tell you to listen to three songs, they would be ‘Gorgeous’, ‘Devil In A New Dress’ and ‘Runaway’, but just do yourselves a favour, put your Kanye agendas to one side, put down your pitchforks and give it a chance, because I guarantee you there is at least one song on this album that will take you by surprise. AT LEAST.

 

Jaden And Willow Smith, The Future

In 2010 at the tender age of 9, Willow Smith released the track ‘Whip My Hair’ which went platinum in America and slowly but surely was not to be heard of in mainstream music for years. A similar story could be told with her older brother Jaden Smith who after a terrible remake of ‘Karate Kid’ went on to feature in a JB song in 2010, and like his sister he was not to be heard in mainstream music again. As much as I hate to admit it the musical careers of the two of them began very poorly, fueled by their famous parents they reached success at a very young age, and no doubt in my mind they had no creative input in what they did. Fast forward 7 years and they are slowly changing the game.

The pair of them now ooze creativity, as members of the MSFTS Republic , Jaden and Willow have excelled themselves in recent years, Willow with a surprisingly amazing singing voice, and Jaden has a wicked flow with his style of rap which is unique to the new modern era. Songs like ‘Offering’ ‘PCH’ have proven the talent of both these youngsters and proven that the sky is the limit for them both. Jaden Smith will be releasing his album ‘SYRE’ later this year, Willow will most likely drop an album too along with other members of the MSFTS. In recent times the pair have worked with some big stars such as Post Malone, Kid Cudi, Childish Gambino and Jhene Aiko. Their stock is constantly rising and this year should be their biggest year yet in music.

Jaden made my ‘Ones To Watch In 2017’ as well as my ‘Top 10 Underrated Rappers’ coming in at number 4. I prefer him to Willow, without disrespecting Willow in any way, I just love Jaden’s creativity and flow, he’s one of the most diverse rappers in the game right now. The irritating part for me is for all the diversity and creativity the pair show, they usually get more criticism than praise. I compare Jaden Smith to Young Thug a lot, not in any terms of success or rap style, but just in a general case of craziness. Both are massively extrinsic characters, however Thug gets heaps of praise and Jaden gets none. I feel like Jaden and Willow don’t get the chance to prove themselves because of the judgement people made 7 long years ago, the pair of them are lit but people can be stubborn. I often wonder if someone had this kind of talent without famous parents they’d be more liked. Pretty much every artist has got some poor work from their pasts, it’s all part of growing and evolving and the Smith kids are no different.

Seriously guys please give them a listen! They’ve got some seriously underrated stuff and they will continue to do their thing for this year and many years to come, opening the ears to new sounds can only be a good thing.

Album Review: Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone

South London rapper Loyle Carner was hardly Einstein in the way he discovered his rap name. With his birth name being Benjamin Coyle-Larner, he simply used a spoonerism of his double-barrelled surname and created Loyle Carner from it. Anyway, he is unlike any other rap artist around in this country at the moment and that is mainly down to his style, which is very sensitive and pleasant on the ears, not needing boom blast beats to get himself recognised. His talent is being acknowledged at a rapid pace and it has resulted in the release of his debut album here being highly anticipated. Let’s see if Loyle Carner has stepped up to the mark with ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ or if he is quickly going to become one to forget.

The Isle Of Arran – 9/10:

Straight from the off you can tell this won’t be your typical grime track or album, the instrumental is very holy and subtle with it’s delivery, something which is the exact opposite to the likes of Stormzy or Wiley when they make a beat. Loyle’s flow on this song is crazy and it will definitely make people stand up and realise him as one of the best MCs this country has to offer. The sampling is top draw and his lyricism is hard and heartfelt, a real emotionally fuelled album opener about life and death and how we deal with both. Fantastic stuff.

Mean It In The Morning – 9/10:

I love the beat on this song, it is just so smooth and relaxed in every sense of the word, with those great guitar chords and the steady synth taps. This song strikes me as a bit of a late night affair where he was waiting on this girl to tell her how he truly felt. It is clear that Loyle is rapping about his mistakes on this and the way in which he spins his flow to help us understand the story behind the song is just brilliant, it is a real selling point of this song which is a personal favourite of mine.

+44 – N/A/10:

A little interlude which sounds like a direct approach to the listener about sent texts that you wish you hadn’t sent. That is all well and good and he easily could have just said it to us and moved on, but the fact he created a poem from it and yet again a great flow with each line suggests that this guy truly is incredibly talented and that we are on the verge of a special project here. Due to it being 44 seconds with no backing track it isn’t fair to rate it but I really enjoy it with the album’s context.

Damselfly (feat. Tom Misch) – 8/10:

The inclusion of Tom Misch on this song goes a very long way to creating a more feel-good atmosphere around it and putting a smile on your face. It is also a more upbeat instrumental than the previous ones which suggests that he is perhaps moving on from the girl he was dreaming about and is living his life a bit more. Tom Misch does a good job on the chorus and helps create a distinct difference between verse and chorus which is an underrated element in hip-hop music nowadays. Shoutout to the Justin Bieber reference on this one too. Very good track once more.

Ain’t Nothing Changed – 8.5/10:

Another slow jam courtesy of this potentially fantastic wordsmith of the younger generation. Mentioning student loans and debt will be literal music to the ears of the youth of today because it is such a relatable and real issue, unlike something which happens to only a select few. It is another sad tale told by Loyle about how he lost his childhood because he had to grow up quickly for a number of reasons, from looking after his mum or protecting himself from the rough streets. The chorus is quite boring in all honesty and it is the only downside to an otherwise incredible song.

Swear – N/A/10:

A 30 second clip involving someone who I believe to be his mum where they have a very normal and very natural conversation about swearing, it is in a jokey fashion and it demonstrates the relationship between this mother and son very well as it gives us what we assume to be a real scenario rather than a staged one. Again it is hard to judge a song with no instrumental and that is a piece of dialogue but it fits with the context of the album and helps the listener understand his relationship with his mum, someone he mentions a lot.

Florence (feat. Kwes) – 8/10:

A love ballad about a girl called Florence, which comes from the Latin equivalent of “blossoming” so that could suggest that the two of them are becoming proud figures together given Loyle’s sudden rise. Kwes on the chorus is absolutely class and is probably the best feature on the album as he puts a great harmony on the song with his soft and cherished tones. This song holds a lot of Loyle Carner’s common values in that it looks at an idealistic scenario where Carner tells it how he wants it to be rather than what it is actually like in reality. It is a clever technique and shows his ambitions. Nice song with a great chorus.

The Seamstress [Tooting Masala] – 8.5/10:

The sound effects such as the deep breaths and the coughs at the start of this song are very symbolic of how Loyle sees himself as an artist, he knows he isn’t a superstar so he doesn’t need to be professional with it. Top class production on this song helps Loyle to flow hard and make a couple of very strong verses where he rhymes so much you get tongue tied just listening to it. I do like this song because it is a very reflective and reminiscent track as he says at the end. There is the part at the start where he says people claim he has a drinking problem and then the fact he ends the song saying it’s just him and his can, incredibly witty and clever in that other people see his problems before he does.

Stars & Shards – 9/10:

I really like the guitar riff on this track, it is cool and borederline funky really with all things considered on this album. It’s definitely the fastest he raps and he does one hell of a job on it, riding the wave of the beat very well and making you bob your head and tap your feet. He also challenges a lot of very large issues such as alcoholism and domestic violence as he relates the two together, he knows it is important that artists like himself perform songs like this one to use their platform for good. Above all, however, it’s a cool song that you’ll definitely enjoy.

No Worries (feat. Rebel Kleff & Jehst) – 7.5/10:

The chorus is a bit simple for my liking and it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would require a feature artist. With that being said, the beat is cool with the synths and the drums sounding like something you’d hear on a cypher, and a bloody good one at that. The feature verses are nice and refreshing to hear, particularly because their voices compliment Loyle’s so well and lets us have the best of the two of them. The guest verses make up for the chorus which is important to amend any errors on a song, even if the chorus is an integral part of a song. Not the best on the album for me but it had good verses on it and a slick beat.

Rebel 101 – N/A/10:

This sounds very much like the voice of a man who is off his head smoking weed and he says it himself in this little monologue that there is “more to life than just getting waved”. It turns into a discussion about just enjoying life no matter how you do it, as is said by his mate who tells him to stop trying to be “the f*****g Good Samaritan all the time.” He has a point, well they both do but anyway, moving on.

NO CD (feat. Rebel Kleff) – 8.5/10:

This was one of the singles he released in the build up to this album and it created a lot of buzz for Loyle, mainly thanks to how relatable he is on the track and that the track itself is quite the banger. That guitar riff is powerful and is the real driving force of the song as it goes from strength to strength the longer it goes on. This chorus is much better and will definitely be stuck in your head all day after hearing it. One complaint would be that I think Rebel Kleff is a bit weak on this track, he sounds a bit like his mate rather than a genuinely top draw rapper unfortunately. He isn’t awful he just gets completely murdered by Loyle on this. Great song.

Mrs C – 8.5/10:

Family emotion cuts deep on this song, as it is clear that either a family member has died or something bad has happened involving Loyle’s family, the memories he looks back on include toast and bacon so that says all you need to know about the family aspect; small stories that for some reason stick with you for life. The name drops of the likes of Harvey and Alex shows this bond between the family and how similar they all are, claiming that “little Harvey’s a reflection” of Loyle. It is a sweet and confessional song about his upbringing and something that has happened which clearly brought them crashing to earth. Fantastically executed.

Sun Of Jean – 9.5/10:

On Spotify this song apparently contained the features of “mum” and “dad” so we will be sure to look out for them. The cheeky name drop of supporting Nas in the first line is absolutely class I love that confidence he shows here and it tells the world how big of a deal he really is. The bass guitar on the instrumental cuts through you with how powerful that single string is played at the end of each bar and the rest of the instrumental is slick and smooth in it’s delivery. Again he discusses his upbringing and looks at it from the perspective of his mum as she worried about him when he was a child, perhaps coming back to it now to thank her. We then are treated to, yep, you guessed it, mum and dad. They tell us all stories about Loyle and how he was a child and what he was like in a creative sense. It is a brilliant addition and really could bring a tear to your eye.

Yesterday’s Gone – 7.5/10:

I would have preferred it if he ended the album there and then but he does have this the title track here for us to perform. It sounds like an acoustic cut which contains a couple of family or friends singing along to a nice and jolly tune. When you do hear this song you then begin to realise why he closes the album with it, as he tries to bring it all together and make it a very secluded and isolated entity which would be a heartfelt touch for the likes of his family and friends. As a song it isn’t absolute genius but it is heartwarming and the message it sends is lovely.

Overall – 8.5/10:

Loyle never once overdid it on a song here which is so important to the overall rating, he kept everything neat and tidy and made sure there was no unnecessary addition to the track listing or the album length. He appears to be re-shaping UK hip-hip here and proving that the idea of grime music isn’t the be-all and end-all for rappers in this country, we do have people here with flow and natural talent who can be subtle with their deliveries rather than try and sell out arenas with club bangers. In short, this album is absolutely fantastic and has to be a contender for my favourite album of the year so far. Loyle went from zero to hero in the blink of an eye.

4Chan have created a remix of Kanye’s Life Of Pablo album, titled ‘The Death Of Pablo’

For those who don’t know what 4Chan is, it is an imageboard website where people anonymously post whatever the hell they want, and it has become quite the phenomenon over the years; becoming the driving force for just about every single internet meme’s inception and also playing host to some of the strangest things the world wide web has to offer. But this is unbridled territory, something which seems absurd. Anonymous members have remixed Kanye West’s 2016 album ‘The Life Of Pablo’ and made it “twenty times darker in terms of lyrics and production” in the words of the main creator. Calling it ‘The Death Of Pablo’, it was always going to be a different flavour to the original, and what it gives us is something really quite bizarre and chilling.

The album was crafted thanks to a dream the creator keeps having about Kanye, stating that in the dream Kanye is the one releasing this album and making everything seem so much darker after the lower phase of his mental breakdown.

There are four songs on the album, the first of which is called ‘Ultralight Wall’ and samples both the original ‘Ultralight Beam’ song of Kanye’s and his track ‘Devil In A New Dress’ from his ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ album. It is of course absolutely crazy and nothing like the originals and the mood dampener it puts on the whole atmosphere is immensely deep. That is until we get the speech about French Fries which is just as crazy as everything 4chan get their hands on. “Washed Up” is insanity, speaking about the media’s obsession with him and overlapping them all to make a head pounding mesh. It also contains a live speech Kanye did at a show about the radio and it’s corruption. “Father Stretch My Hands Pt.3” treats us to a very disturbing piece of Kid Cudi moaning, where he genuinely sounds like he is being tortured alongside a very robotic and messed up instrumental. Finally, “Fade Pt.2” contains a 10 minute sequence in which Kanye talks about his deep and disturbing fears as well as what happens when you die, supported by a few minutes of absolute silence.

So all in all, this is hands down the weirdest thing I have ever listened to in my entire life and it just leaves you bemused, asking questions that aren’t there and wondering things that Kanye had no intention of opening within the release of ‘The Life of Pablo’. With this in mind, I would recommend listening to it, the link is here:

https://thepablocollective.bandcamp.com/album/the-death-of-Pablo