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Tuesday, 30 November 2010



You thought it was 'The E.N.D.' but it's only just 'The Beginning'

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Singers Fergie,,, and Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas perform onstage during the 2010 American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for DCP)

I guess 'The E.N.D' really wasn't it for the Black Eyed Peas. The group have still 'Gotta Feeling' for the clubs as they end the year with 'The Beginning', another disc of party tracks for the new decade as they and David Guetta continue to rule the clubs. Seriously though do these guys ever leave the nightspot?

The party starts with 'The Time (Dirty Bit)' an even catchier track than their biggest hit. This club ready tune really starts off the 'Dirty Dancing' with taking the lead and Fergie acting as Jennifer Grey perfectly. The sample is sublime, the beat is ridiculous and even and Taboo gets some shine with some cool raps, Taboo speaking out with lines like "All-all these girls, they like my swagger/They callin’ me Mick Jagger/I be rollin’ like a Stone/Jet-setter jet-lagger", on this new classic the Peas rock out and have a Swayze.

The samples don't stop their as the Black Eyed Peas are cleared for more chart takeoff. The illuminating 'Light Up the Night' samples Slick Rick's 'Children's Story' furthering the development and growth of the hip-hop classic. The upbeat track keeps the party going way into the evening, even more than Montell Jordan's classic sampling 'This Is How We Do It'. This take on Slick's coolest number is very different to Jordan's but this is how the Peas do it.

'Fashion Beats' is another gem tailored for the after party. The 'My Forbidden Love' sample really is Chic.The beat is retarded and's lyrics even stranger but hey there in fashion. Will suits up like Kanye rhyming, "Enchantée, comment allez vous?/Très bien, merci. Et vous?/Super good, super nice/Salt and pepper/Sugar and spice/Space sugar case to the moon let's go/Coco Chanel/Maralyn Munro/Cat walk/Fashion show/Runway/Fashion show/Tall man/Radio/G6/I don't know." This track is definitely a strange stand out, but your going to love the way it fits.

The Black Eyed Peas love for the classics doesn't stop there. They 'Love You Long Time' 'Gives It Up' to KC & The Sunshine Band and with Fergie and Will's trademark, classic back in forth this could be another massive hit their sampling here. It could be the make up to 'Shut Up'. Finally with 'The Coming' the Black Eye's go out with a final sample, 'Here I Come' by Barrington Levy. A cool track which let's you know these guys are on their way to yet even more success.

The group extend their curfew with 'Don't Stop the Party' proving that they wont stop dancing till their thrown out and with another album laden with hits, this group is more than welcome. They wont be bounced for some time as they provide the bounce with big bass numbers like 'Do It Like This' and the lyrically, text perfect, single to be 'XOXOXO'. A couple of good numbers that embrace the love this band preaches about. As the album kisses us goodbye there's a few tracks that get lost in the party. Not that the group are watering anything down but as they keep on drinking, your glad this album doesn't reach into the 20 track radius because that would be the point you'd tell them they've had enough. Ironically by 'Just Can't Get Enough' you may actually have had, wanting to tell them and 'The Best One Yet (The Boy)' may not be just that but still these tracks are good. Plus when 'Play It Loud' finishes up this album the volume will still be set to high and you'll still be at the party. As you look for your coat at 'The E.N.D.' this may not be as great a night as the last but it will still be one you will always remember.

The Black Eyed Peas continue their clean sweep on hip-hop proving their PG raps have something for everyone. Even without the respect of some the Black Eyed Peas still hark back to real hip-hop. plus this group have a lot of people behind them. It doesn't get much bigger than Oprah Winfrey (pun not intended) and she even co-signs this album naming it one of 'Oprah's Favorite Things' for 2010. Her audience even got the album 11 days prior to it's official release, 'You get a new Black Eyed Peas CD, you get a new Black Eyed Peas CD'. These stars really have moved in to another galaxy with their recent sound. As they top the charts they rise to the forefront and the doorstep of every household. The hip-hop game may not be theirs (yet) but the chart game certainly is and remember this is only 'The Beginning'. Whatever next? TIM DAVID HARVEY.



Even with money in his account Banks is still hungry.

NEW YORK - APRIL 16: Recording artist Lloyd Banks visits BET's '106 & Park' at BET Studios on April 16, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Some guys really want it all. Even with all the money and fame in the world G-Unit's second in command and top lyricist Lloyd Banks wants it all. He's still hungry, so here comes 'H.F.M. 2. (The Hunger For More 2)' the sophomore set from the second G-Unit foot soldier to release after general 50 Cent. This second album continues the recent trend in hip-hop for sequel albums. Everything is reminiscent of Banks 2004 album even the artwork, which features the rapper in a similar pose. He's leaning on a street lamp-but on the other side-while the backdrop is similar but more affluent. Thus showing that Lloyd has had a lot more on his plate and after six years without an album this is true in more ways than one. This really is the other side.

Still however from the Tony Yayo assisted (just like the first album) opener 'Take 'Em To War' Banks acts and raps like he hasn't gone anywhere. Fighting hard on the 'H.F.M. 2.' first track in his hopes to regain the success of his first album. After this appetizing starter Banks delivers a satisfying main course. With no more beef with Styles P, he fills up fans with the 'Unexplainable'. While no questions need to be asked on the nasty 50 assisted 'Payback (P's and Q's)'. On 'Home Sweet Home' with Clipse rapper Pusha T, Banks gets reacquainted while Pusha T continues to push his hot streak. The two trade punchlines like they were the brotherly duo, and I thought Kanye was doing this to the T?

It's on the lead single 'Beamer, Benz, or Bentley' where Banks gets flashy and diplomatic with Dipset's own second up Juelz Santana. Reminiscent of 'I'm So Fly', the song may lack depth but it wont tread shallow water in the clubs. With a smooth beat, complete with sirens and a catchy hook, this is one check off the list that will bounce in the club. The other single 'Any Girl' is another favourite for the clubs. As Lloyd gets assisted by the singer Lloyd this track is a guaranteed chart hit like money in the bank.

Banks also teams up with super producer/singer Ryan Leslie for some guaranteed, mainstream maintaining hooks. On 'So Forgetful' Banks slows it down as he registers another hit. While the Leslie, Fabolous, Kanye West, Swizz Beatz collabo 'Start it Up' continues where the Kanye track 'Christian Dior Denim' number began. The acts who participated on that song come back for another grand design but one done in a whole different fashion.

On 'Father Time' Banks raps hard looking to make sons out of his competition. Then Akon provides yet another catchy chorus (how many does he have in him?) for 'Celebrity' a potential single that looks to make this G-Unit player an even bigger star. As the album comes to an end the set doesn't lose focus and Banks even looks deeper on the more heartfelt, super, J.U.S.T.I.C.E League produced, Jeremih sung 'I Don't Deserve You'. With this track, 'Any Girl' and 'So Forgetful' Banks increases his currency for hip-hop slow jams. A trend he first brought into with his hit 'Smile' off the G-Unit debut and doled out more with 'Karma' off his own. Banks however saves one of the best to last with 'Sooner Or Later (Die One Day)' an unofficial sequel to the standout 'Die One Day' from his debut album. A dark song that features the sequel starter Raekwon on another New York collaboration bound to reach across the five boroughs.

All in all Lloyd is guaranteed more money in the bank with 'H.F.M. 2' but that's not what the talents hungry for. He has success now he wants more recognition and after making it a double on his standout albums we can drink to that. The boys 'On Fire', remember that. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



For the best of British soul this fall, Rumer has it.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Rumer sings on stage with Sir Elton John as part of BBC Radio 2's Electric Proms at The Roundhouse on October 28, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Getty Images)

Britain has a real talent for soul singers and songwriters. The place formally known for Rock & Roll in the 60's is now smoothing it out in the new millennium. From the sensational Corrine Bailey Rae to the seriously good Duffy. Even veteran singer/songwriter David Gray has plenty of soul to boot. Rae release a classic album to begin the year with 'The Sea' and to close 2010 Duffy herself hope to bridge the tide of big releases with her sophomore set 'Endlessly'. Still this cold British fall belongs to Rumer, believe it. A soul singer with talent more than just hear say. In this Winter Rumer's debut 'Seasons Of My Soul' brings warm and comfort for those long days and even longer nights.

This soul set starts off with 'Am I Forgiven?' a perfect opener about being closed off in a relationship. Rumer's haunting vocals from the start evoke a dark, brooding passion that continue to be frighteningly good throughout the whole album. The words to the chorus are simple but heartfelt, making them the best of the song. The simple way 'Am I Forgiven' is sang is so deep and meaningful, where the lyrically strong verses bridge everything together as she laments, "I Lost My Heart/I Sat On My Window And Looked Out At/Watched The Rain Washed Down The Street/Oh Will The Sunrise/Like The Birds The Birds That Fly Over" In her soulful display Rumer is at one with the seasons.

The buzz of this album sped up a notch from the instant classic 'Slow'. A track that ages like fine wine and is drawn out like a classic cigar. All in perfect timing. A sweet, soulful sombre number for the ages. Rumer's tribute 'Aretha' to Miss Franklin also displays this soultress' heart. This ode to souls greatest might be one of the most respectful tributes in music. Rumer reminisces with nostalgic lyrics such as, "Aretha/Aretha/I don’t want to go to school/Cause they just don’t understand me and I think the place is cruel". This song shows that even at times of loneliness Rumer had soul on her side. To be Franklin would to be touched even more by this song.

The delicate number 'Come To Me High' is uplifting from the first 'ba, ba, ba'. The soft drumming matches the subtle but sensual vocals. Rumer brings a depth and devotion that has been missing in most mainstream music. She asks us to 'Take Me As I Am' on yet another high note from an album where we accept her into the high ranks with immediate effect. 'Saving Grace' is yet another super song from an album that doesn't need a hero. You'll appreciate tracks like 'Thankful' and be soothed by the soul of 'Healer' a song so classic it feels and sounds like it was recorded many fall moons ago.

This album is so good the 11 tracks fly by as the track 'Blackbird' soars and 'On My Way Home' returns us to a distinct, individual sound which has gone from new to familiar as this album plays from start to finish. As Rumer reaches the finale of this album and waves with 'Goodbye Girl' this upbeat number is one we'll want to hear again from an artist we want to see from. As the singer tells us "Now that I have found you, you must not slip away". The feeling could not be any more than mutual.

So who is Rumer apart from thirty something Sarah Joyce? What's true and not from all this publicity? Is she as good as Corrine and Duffy? Englands answer to Norah Jones? Take it from me above all Sarah Joyce is her own, unique individual talent. A throwback who is about to become the future of British soul and that's the Rumer you can believe in. TIM DAVID HARVEY

Sunday, 28 November 2010


Christmas has come early with December's best.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 28: Rapper Dr. Dre arrives at the Shady National Convention to launch Shade 45, a new satellite radio station, at the Roseland Ballroom October 28, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

Just what the doctor ordered. Some big bass beating, west coast funk courtesy of the return of the good Dr. Dre. Yes were back in 'Detox' and Snoop Dogg returns with his partner in rhyme with Akon back for the first time. Dr. Dre has been 'Under Pressure' to deliver a hit after some leaks didn't master that well for him. Critics and non believers will be eating his rhymes now however with this timeless, Dre classic sound. Sure we've heard a beat like this before, but it still bangs. Yes the subject matter again is on drugs, but the song is still dope and still D.R. Mother expletive E. Akon again pulls out a catchy chorus out of his bag of hooks, while Snoop makes it feel like '2001' (or 1999) all over again. Speaking of which, hold up... what would a track like this be without the additional vocals of Nate Dogg? As hear the Californian crooning legend tells us to "Roll up, wait a minute/Let me put some kush up in it" in an instantly, addictive repetitive chant we'll all sing along too. This really is 'Nuthin' But A G Thang' as this 'Chronic' track blows smoke up the industry and of course it's all ignited by Dre. His beat is a monster, his voice even more menacing than usual and as for the lyrics hit up Youtube and hear for yourself because the Doctor is in. You got your prescription? 4.5/5 TIM DAVID HARVEY

Tuesday, 23 November 2010



This collection of hits really is 'The Blueprint' of hip-hop of the new millennium.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Jay-Z performs live on the Main Stage during Day 3 of the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park on July 4, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Jay-Z really is the undisputed king of hip-hop (Sorry Kanye, Wayne, Em, Drake etc, etc, I need a separate post for all this). Normally Shawn Carter dominates the fall fourth quarter, it's just hip-hop tradition. He did last year with 'The Blueprint 3' and that wasn't even a classic (still a great album though) and it was released in early September. Still this year there is no new Jay-Z studio album. Fear not however he's still writing rhymes with his lyrically insightful book 'Decoded' hitting shelves. Plus a highly anticipated, real 'Best Of Both Worlds' collaboration with label mate and protegee Kanye West ('Watch The Throne') is expected as soon as they take that day it's going to take to finish it. Until then fans and Roc Nation sales figures will have to rely on 'The Hits Collection Vol, 1' Jay-Z's actual second greatest hits compilation that is aimed at the newer audience he has garnered over the years. Those post 'Blueprint' trilogy, pre Glastonbury fans (this guys older than you think you know).

Jay's public service announcement starts with 'PSA' and what a better introduction to allow him to reintroduce himself. After this brief interlude comes last years hit 'Run This Town' , as the Brooklyn bomber steps up with label mates Kanye West and Rhianna to prove the city of New York is his. It's on the classic 'Empire State Of Mind' however where the king of N.Y is joined by the queen, Alicia Keys for an instant Big Apple anthem that is a core hip-hop/R&B duet for the ages. Also, although it may have no B.O.B.'s on the 2Pac original, Jay-Z's duet with his real queen, Beyonce ('03 Bonnie & Clyde') is a ride or die, top down in your car classic.

The Neptunes helmed 'I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)' and the Kanye produced 'Izzo (H.O.V.A.)' highlight the best of the Carters club ready partying best, but when it comes to popping bottles nothings more basic or better then, 'Big Pimpin'' with UGK. It's been a long time and a different Jay-Z since then but the tune still hits.

For those new to Jay-Z it's where he's at his lyrical best however when the G.O.A.T is at his greatest. Tune into 'D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)' for a lyrical assault on throwaway, electronically assisted sing/song chart fodder. The Timbaland produced collar popper 'Dirt Off Your Shoulder' shouldn't be brushed off either. While the flossy, 'Show Me What You Got' and 'Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)' are upmarket, ashy to classy celebration joints. Get out those cigars and trumpets, Hovies back home on the charts.

Jay-Z's true classics however come when he pushes the envelope. The 'Annie' sampling 'Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)' is timeless, creative introspection at it's best. Also the Rick Rubin helmed, Beastie Boys esque, guitar solo swagger of '99 Problems' built Jay-Z a new audience, some work with Linkin Park and mo' money but no problems.

For those hardcore, collectors who see nothing new here than fear not the deluxe editions for you. With 32 pages or rare, classic black and white, Rat Pack esque photo's the Sinatra of hip-hop has some more to show. Plus 'What More Can He Say'? Well with a bonus disc it appears a few more rare gems. Such classics like the 'Young, Gifted and Black (Freestyle)' where Shawn Carter goes back to his lyrically, talented roots or the remix to Young Jeezy's 'My President Is Black' where Jay further captures the euphoric Barack Obama inauguration into words.

Also on Joe Budden's 'Pump It Up' Jay takes his basketball references and the song to a whole new level. "I'm not Mike Jordan/of the mic recordin/hovi baby you Kobe,/maybe Tracy McGrady/matter fact you Harold Miner, J.R. Rider/washed up on marijuana/even worse you a Pervis Ellis/you worthless fella/you aint no athlete you Shawn Bradley", (OUCH!).It's a classic, slam dunk battle with the former Def Jam artist (Budden handles the Roc legend well though though on the extended mix). Also despite some ill advised Heath Ledger references the DJ Khaled, Kanye and T-Pain remix of 'Go Hard' displays some lyrical prowess, while the closer, 'This Life Forever' is a true Carter classic from the vault made available for his catalogue.

This greatest hits collection should have been labelled 'Volume 2', but for a guy who's given us volumes of classic work in the past it doesn't matter. Sure this compilation knocked the hustle and could have had some 'Girls, Girls, Girls' but it still displays the boys best. It may be lacking some 'Heart Of The City, 'Where's The Love' but overall this collection is a 'Blueprint' of Jigga's best work. An ideal stocking filler this Christmas for new fans getting to know the MC or those die-hard fans yet to 'Watch The Throne'. The king is back. Long live the hits. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 21 November 2010



Lil' Waynes protegee shows she's much more than the next Lil' Kim.

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 11: Recording artist Nicki Minaj visits and performs at BET's 106 & PARTY's New Years Eve special at BET Studios on December 11, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

When top rappers introduce their crews the reactions garnered are usually somewhere between politeness and the shelves. With that being said however, there's just something about Lil' Wayne. 'Tha Carter' is a protegee himself too, the musical son of Cash Moneys Baby, the number one stunna, Birdman. His most proud sons own Young Money crew have birthed a big hit, ('Bed Rock') a solid album ('We Are Young Money') and a couple of great new artists.

Hip-hops man and woman of the year have been brought together by Dwyane Carter. First Wanye unleashed Toronto's top lyricist Drake, who may just be hip-hops next legendary thing. A smooth talking/singing, Jay-Z/T.I. hybrid who has more than claimed his own place. Second up with 'Pink Friday' is Young Moneys first lady, Nicki Minaj. A talent ready to show that hip-hop is not just a mans world as she wilds out like James Brown.

Nicki states her case right from the jump with 'I'm The Best'. An uplifting, victory number for a woman who's already had a long run of success before her first single and album promotion even started (See, 'Monster', West and Kanye). It's on 'Romans Revenge' with Eminem however where Minaj claims she can lie with the best, on a collabo so retardly great it makes Em's work with Lil' Wayne seem tame. She unleashes the 'Dungeon Dragon' and the foulest curses, spitting in the face of her non ladylike rivals. "I got bars, sentencin'
I’m a bad bitch, I’m a c***/And I’ll kick that h**, punt/Forced trauma, blunt
You play the back, bitch, I’m in the front/You need a job, this ain’t cuttin’ it"
Better not intoduce her to your mother. Nicki's barbs are sharp whoever their pointed at. Eminem hasn't been on a track so abusive since his own 'KIM', reference intended.

On 'Did It On 'Em', Nicki continues her lyrical assault after her track with Em on her competition. In using their careers as a toilet, Nicki gets real nasty especially when referring to other female rappers as 'number two's'. OOH!. Minaj really is wiping the floor with her opposition. Nicki softens but also lowers the tone on 'Righ Thru Me', a smooth relationship rap where Minaj doesn't lose her edge. Nicki remains Nicki and it's refreshing to see. Even gunning or the charts the rapper doesn't shoot herself in the foot or sell herself out.

Still Nicki realises to be the best, she's got to be seen, so out come more mainstream hits. When Minaj cools it down a little bit she produces some hot tracks which are as appealing as her. On the Annie Lennox 'No More, I Love Yous' sampling, sweet lead single 'Your Love' Minaj looks for a classic. While on the potential single 'Fly' with Rihanna she finds one. A song so smooth it touches the Rihanna and Drake banger 'What's My Name'.

On the smoother still 'Here I Am', Nicki introduces her deeper self. Then the track literally revs up as Minaj's raps moter on. Just like her label mate Drake, Minaj proves she can write, rap and sing. The perfect menage. With the perfect mix of hard raps and slower jams the extrovert, enthralling rapper proves she really does go both ways. The track 'Dear Old Nicki' furthers this rap princesses appeal, 'Darling Nicki' indeed.

Minaj gets even smoother, cooler and more introspective on the brilliant 'Save Me' which really rescues any doubt from your mind that this lady is a few hit wonder. On the Drake assisted 'Moment 4 Life', the Young Money husband and wife prove their lyrics score more hits than some joking tweets giving us something we can all follow.

As the album goes deep into the second half. Young Moneys draft pick doesn't suffer any Rookie mistakes. provides real heat with 'Check It Out' and this classic sampled banger is something you'll want to look up. It's Nicki's last verse on this single however that will leave any casual fan wanting more than a taste of this sugar sweet, rapping delight. If's beats knock than you know Kanye's production is going to bang and on 'Blazin' West does exactly that, taking Nicki north with some fire. Now as for Kanyes quotes on this track, forget about it, because believe me you won't. Kanye spits a mean 16, and then some. Now that's almost a magic 32. Chicago's musical M.J. slams the competition with this assist.

Now although the title of hip-hops leading man is still up for grabs (with Lil' Wayne and Drake deep in the hunt). In terms of females, Nicki Minaj proves fairly that she's the hottest of them all. She more than makes up for Lil' Kims iconic absence, starting her own legend. Also she shows she can rap as good as someone like Missy Elliott with her proper punchlines as funny and potent as the greatest Misdameanour. Nicki also follows in legendary, female rappers studio steps as she has a distinct but yet defining voice like the great MC Lyte. Overall Nicki shows that she's not only ready for the female rappers tiara. On her quest for the throne the alluring MC also proves she can play with the big boys. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



Roc Nations new signing looks to rock the world before his fall debut with a 'Cole Winter'.

Singer J. Cole arrives at the 2010 BET Awards in Los Angeles June 27, 2010. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

Jay-Z's New Jersey Nets may have missed out on the top NBA free agent (and his close friend) LeBron James this summer but still Jay had already inked a top young forward thinking player from his Roc Nation label. A young prospect and YouTube favourite J. Cole who hails from the basketball hotbed of North Carolina.

J. Cole however isn't a sportsman (don't get him confused with the soccer player) but he sure loves Basketball references and themes for his records. After his steller mixtapes 'The Come Up' and 'The Warm Up' comes 'Friday Night Lights' continuing the theme before his highly anticipated debut 'Cole World' hits stores this December. So lets speak his language because he's worthy of it. On 'Friday Night Light's' Cole heats up and shoots the lights out this weekend. Jay-Z's top free agent signing balls hard once more rocking the country from coast to coast.

On his previous mixtape. J. Cole gripped a bball in a hoodie with snow around him making his point that this cold rhymer aint to be played with. Now on this records artwork a ball player is sported with his head in his hands like he's missed the cut. Already we know this us going to be a more introspective number and even if this tape was Cole's debut album he definitely qualifies, suiting up a smooth, laid back concise bit of production. The perfect blacktop, backdrop to his go hard or go home rhymes.

It all tips off with 'Too Deep For The Into' with the bars, "Partially functional, half of me is comfortable/the other half is close to the cliff like Mrs Huckstable/these boys got them hoslters and clips they pack like lunchables". This cut really is deep and sets the tone for the rest of the 48 plus minutes. This tape is reeled with rewindable gems and punchlines that are so tough and cold, you'll react like you've seen one of your favourite players getting dunked on. Cole gets real clear in his perspective on 'Before I'm Gone' and with some range this J is good. As is the 'Back To The Topic (Freestyle)' that goes deep for 3.00.

This East coast star looks to the West coast legends to ball even more in the sunshine of success. On 'Enchanted' J interpolates Tupac's 'Hail Mary' for some mixtape magic. Cole continues spelling 'Pac on 'See World', where his and Elites beat samples and loops 'Pain' to the best effect as this DJ and rapper look for those up high, big league, Will Smith numbers. Jada would love it.

J. Cole has recently impressed the game giving G.O.O.D musics El Capitan Kanye West a great Friday himself with his stellar verse spitting on Jay-Z's little brothers 'Lookin' For Trouble'. That song appears on this tape as a great bonus for the fans but those fiending for more of the attack the rim persona of Cole needn't stop there. J searches for more trouble on 'Blow Up' where he ignites and lights up the competition with vicious blocks and jersey popping bravado.

This tape may be full of classic hip-hop music for the car but there are some radio plays on this official bootleg. On 'In The Morning (Remix)' with Drake, Cole smooths it out, singing and rapping with the in his own league, Toronto power player. The ladies will love this cool number from Jermaine.

This kid is hot and in demand like this tape. The second most searched topic on Google and Twitter this weekend finds more heat in '2Face' which is good on both sides and 'The Autograph' which co-sings Cole's talent even more. 'Premeditated Murder' is another signature, killer track. So chilling, so cold and so Cole. J really has reversed the trends to fashion himself amongst the most sought after MC's. The game really is beginning to look like his.

Still if your not convinced by this blowout then realise that your defence will be finished by the fourth quarter of this tape. J. Cole goes from Rookie Of The Year to All-Star with his last couple of shots. 'Home For The Holidays' is uplifting even to those away from it all. While you'll fall in love with the 'Wonders' of the 'My Cherie Amour' sampling 'Love Me Not'. In the last second Cole drops his final 'Farewell' which is all net, scoring high.

As J. Cole heads back to practice he plays big in his last exhibition, repping his team hard. The playoffs come next and as this star looks to be champ we are ready for the 'Cole season' ahead. Cole's past, present and future. Get used to him. Raps fall schedule just got hot again. I love this game! TIM DAVID HARVEY.



On his second trip to the moon Kid Cudi explores his musical space.

NEW YORK - JUNE 05:  Recording artist Kid Cudi performs at the Ultimate Prom 2009 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on June 5, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Will Ragozzino/Getty Images)

Ever since Raekwon struck lightening twice last year with 'Only Built For Cuban Linx 2' there has been a new fashion for sequels to classic albums. The fairly new talent of Kid Cudi decides to see if his sophomore sequel can better his original as 'Man On The Moon II (The Legend Of Mr. Rager)' comes a years worth of 'Days N Nite's' after his debut.

Debuting this set that goes up against the likes of Cee-Lo and Kanye in the charts is 'Scott Mescudi Vs. The World'. A geeked out chic track that features 'The Lady Killer' , Cee-Lo himself on a deadly, seriously good chorus. Cudi starts strong. It looks like this Pilgrims got himself a life. 'Man On The Moon' was no faux, fluke, flash in the pan. This unique left rapper is back from some David Guetta inspired holiday 'Memories' to help make those 'no Lupe Fiasco blues' right.

On 'REVOFEV' Cudi further displays his innate ability to sing and rap while producing futuristic hits with old school flavour. On this one Kanye West's protegee talks to kids. This uplifting song is Cudi's 'We Don't Care' and on this joint Cudi does repeating "I am your big brother" whilst harmonising, "Let go/life does get tough/no need to stress/hold your back too much".

Cudi's mentor Kanye also assists the Kid on the rocky 'Erase Me'. A different rap song and a different pop song that actually works and you thought their collaboration 'Poker Face' was a strange reach. In order for this Kid to grow Cudi reaches out to Mary J. Blige and new depths for two tracks. The queen knights the young rap prince on 'Don't Play This Song' and 'These Worries' two highlights on a flawless album full of futuristic light sabre strikes.

'Man On The Moon II' again reaches into the dark recess of the coming of age Cudi's mind. Even the interlude 'We Aight (Wake Your Mind Up)' takes us on a journey. Deep, profound themes of youth ('Wild'n Cuz I'm Young'), identity ('Mojo So Dope'), loneliness ('All Along') and life's journey ('The Rager') are explored as are more basic themes like drugs. This however is a small part of a bigger picture that is being painted, take a look at the album cover. Also see tracks like the lifting 'Marijuana' and the aptly titled 'Ashin' Kusher' to show you this Kid is no punk. As much as Cudi likes smoke he's at his best when dealing with another form of Mary Jane, so he can be forgiven for exploring the shallow waters of a dope for a couple of tracks.

Cudi produces a complete album that can stand next to or over it's part one like it was 'The Godfather'. Now can we please have the final part of the trilogy? Even at 17 tracks the album is concise. The cohesive effort brings everything from the first album and this together, pumping it up and lacing it up perfectly like a pair of your favourite sneakers. This second moon landing is complete with futuristic, Sci-fi beats and classic rap patterns that will take you 'Back To The Future'. By 'The End' you'll feel more reminiscent, classic, old school hip-hop and once Cudi is 'GHOST!' you'll feel his spirit. There is no sophomore slump here for the former rookie of the year. This guys one of the freshest men out there. The Kids all grown. Cudi be one of the best? TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 20 November 2010



After 5 albums it isn't 'Just A Dream', Nelly's still 'Hot In Heere'.

Hip Hop artist Nelly performs during a free concert in Kiener Plaza in St. Louis on July 29, 2010. The free concert was given for those who want to volunteer to work at the 2012 Democratic convention should St. Louis be chosen as the site. A group from the DNC who is touring the city, also attended the concert. UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

Nelly has been making hits for exactly a decade now after coming out of St. Louis and introducing us to a 'Country Grammar'. Since than in the early 2000's he dominated the pop/rap charts alongside Ja Rule with hits like 'Hot In Heere' off his neighbourhood friendly 'Nellyville'. Coming up on the mid and late 2000's Nelly tailed off a little bit with the dual release of 'Sweat' and 'Suit' and his last gold LP 'Brass Knuckles'. Still, however throughout this time Nelly has been able to build a home of longevity off catchy hooks and platinum hits. Plus his bricks and mortar and his bread and butter aren't showing any signs of drying up with his latest '5.0'.

This is because Nelly has hit big yet again with a slower (Or more 'Suited') number. 'Just A Dream' is a vintage Nelly combo of singing and rapping and trademark 'oh's' and 'yeah's'. In an ad-lib the kid is back! Nelly's been working on his music game as much as his weight game logging as much time in the studio as the gym. So what has resulted apart from some strong press photos is another diverse collection of rap hits for a diverse audience. Love him or hate him a guy like Nelly is needed as much as a guy like Jay-Z and like Hov once said "Only ones moving units is Em, Pimp Juice and us".

One time Nelly almost outsold everyone and as '5.0' starts to play Nelly looks to top any chart of ten yet again. On 'I'm Number 1' with Baby and DJ Khaled Nellz stunts and screams his case loud and flashy. With raps like "Fourth quarter/I'm going hard/if money's stupid my credit cards a retard" Nelly's got a point putting this track right next to 'Nellyville's' own '#1' stunner. With 'Long Gone' Nelly, Chris Brown and Plies exhibit great chemistry on a track that feels like it was tailor made for another Nelly/Jaheim hit.

Nelly gets even smoother reuniting with T.I. for 'She's So Fly'. A fast rapped, laid back slow grinder which grounds one of the finest moments for this album. Nelly also reunites with Kelly. Rowland to be exact on 'Gone' trying to rediscover that magic. Don't get mad Ashanti! The pairs 'Dilemma' however is following a classic, but still they produce a nice sounding track that slots right next to the other slow jamz on the relationship portions of this mixtape tailor made album.

As the album ups it's notches to the club it makes it past the door and onto the floor. Nelly suits up alongside Konvicts T-Pain and Akon for the 'Sweat' inducing banger 'Move That Body'. While the Diddy assisted, B.I.G. sampled '1000 Stacks' is a guaranteed money making, money maker shaking hit. Nelly and Diddy reunite to shake more tailfeathers and take that, take that, take that spot in the clubs back to where it belongs.

Nelly keeps it after hours, going it alone with the fast paced 'Don't It Feel Good' and the hard hitting jam 'Broke' keeps the big spenders on the floor, continuing that 'Tipdrill' theme. Watch that plastic now Nelly! On the Keri Hilson aided 'Liv Tonight' Nelly takes the party down south almost with a Flo Rida like hit. Nelly can be forgiven for this one however seens as Flo Rida (who strangely looks like a twisted lovechild of Nelly and Laurence Fishburne) adopted a style that Nelly put 'heere' first. Nelly's style of club jams and slow jams is executed perfectly on '5.0' and as the album finishes Nelly slows it down one last time for one of the best tracks of the album. If it wasn't for 'Just A Dream' the closer, 'Nothing Without Her' would of been good enough to be the opening single.

The 'Deerty' is back and raps cleaner audience can rejoice and for those who want something harder, take it easy. If your looking for real rap you don't have to look further than Nelly. Besides who can argue with ten years in the game and millions of units sold. Billboard's 3rd Top Overall Artist of 2000-2009 is about to return to his home on the charts and he's more than welcome. Let him in. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



On their latest 'Nothing' music's biggest geeks prove they've still got something.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Musicians Shay Haley, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of N.E.R.D. arrive at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on September 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Earlier this decade three of the biggest geeks became the most popular kids in music school. Pharrell's production team with Chad Hugo crafted hits for everyone from Jay-Z to Britney Spears while their group with Rob Walker N.E.R.D. hit big with 'Rock Star' proving these guitar loaded, urban stars could make non-genre specific hits. Still after their debut the band were left 'In Search Of' the perfect follow up. 'Fly or Die' and 'Seeing Sounds' where real decent but the band are yet to capitalize on the 'Provider' success of their first project. So the team that crafted 'Nothing', (a massive hit for N.O.R.E) reunite as N.E.R.D. to give everything to 'Nothing', their new album.

It kicks off with 'Party People' an upbeat jam with Atlanta's T.I. which looks set to rule clubs from the ATL to across the world. Pharrell's distorted chants kick the song and dance into rhythm and as the board master looks for more followers playing musical chess with one of raps best. On the lead single 'Hot-N-Fun', Pharrell and N.E.R.D. 'get right' with Canadian, 'Maneater' Nelly Furtado on a cold track that's as cool as they come. Lock up sons and daughters.

The band get 'Stronger' however when they team up with Daft Punk to craft another hip-hop/dance jam. With 'Hypnotize You' N.E.R.D will have listeners in a trance with Pharrell's smooth and cool vocals. Pharrell is no stranger to the dance circuit, tapping hits with David Guetta and the Swedish House Mafia and on this cut Pharrell keeps it on the floor. You can sure cut a rug with this catchy number or even chill at home with in it's laid back tone.

It's not just dance that these 'trakies' experiment with. In searching for that 'out of this world' sound the band fuse rock, dance, rap and R&B and at times they even go further left-almost sounding western-but still they look right. Especially with tracks like 'The Man'. This band are so tailored for the wild west that they may as well wear stetsons and chew straw because even without that trademark cowboy whistle the bands musical redemption is still 'Red Dead'.

Funk fans fear not because these Star Trak's hop back in the spaceship...or even the time machine for 'I Wanna Jam'. A pure foot tapping, floor filling, sing along number. Even with chants like "I came to sweat" this song is disgustingly catchy. They travel to even funkier planet plains with 'Nothing On You' which has nothing to do with Bruno Mars. This B.O.B, title sharing cut is N.E.R.D.'s own unique making and it's distinctly good too. The nice, potential next single 'I've Seen A Light' also shows that the band are looking even higher for inspiration.

Speaking of which N.E.R.D are still looking for a classic sound like their debut. Still, however like their last two LP's this album proves even further that this band have a diverse, ever far reaching sound. On 'Nothing' Pharrell and co prove they can do anything. Now it's time fo them to show us everything. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



'The Lady Killer' takes a gamble and pays with new life.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 03: Cee-Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley performs on stage at the Best Of V event, which showcases artists from the V Festival line-up in more intimate concert settings, at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on April 3, 2007 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)

He's one half of Gnarls Barkley! He's part of Goodie Mob! He was birthed with The Dungeon Family! Nah! Cee Lo-Green is as much a solo artist as he is a team player and if you don't agree, check the name of his big hit, lead single. Don't let censorship 'Forget' things for you however. 'The Lady Killer' isn't Cee-Lo's first solo roll of the dice. He's been around with his 'Soul Machine' before aptly on the Timbaland produced, killer classic 'I'll Be Around' and after the success of the Bruno Mars penned, funky 'F*** You' the green monster looks to murder the game once more with 'The Lady Killer'.

So lock up your daughters because this big man's about to hit the big time and it all starts so brightly with the fabulous funk of 'Bright Lights, Bigger City'. The singer crafts his classic croon as he aims to dominate the weekend and the music of Friday night singing, "Been livin for the weekend/But no not anymore/Cuz here comes that familiar feelin/That Fridays famous for/Yeah I'm lookin for some action/And it's out there somewhere/You can feel the electricity/All in the evening air."

If your lucky to witness the smooth 'Lady Killer' than you'll detect that it kills everything in it's path. On the upbeat 'Wildflower' Cee-Lo keeps the 'wonderful' pace of this album on course with a song that would make the perfect single. The stand alone, standout 'It's OK' is the next single however and it's more than just that, it's great.

The Salaam Remi produced 'Bodies' furthers the singers murder game. The Nas collaborator chills a dark number for the eerie sounding singer who sings a crime story with such genuine authority you'd think he was really guilty. Aside from some 'WHAM!' references this track really hits home. Remi and green man the boards and hit again following with 'Love Gun' a rockier number that kisses you goodbye with a Gene Simmons tongue, yep it's that nasty. If that isn't enough for you then try the next upbeat number on for size, 'Satisfied'?

The cut 'Fool For You' is idiotically good, harking back to soul classics. While Remi and Cee-Lo take you back to school even further with 'Old Fashioned', the old school that is. Class really is in session and if you stay after class you'll get a chance to witness 'No One's Gonna Love You'. This final cut on this mainstream massacre may just be the deepest.

Cee-Lo's distinct raspy, unorthodox voice rains proudly throughout this album. The same voice has helped the Gnarls Barkley front man switch it up between rap, R&B and all sorts of genres of music as he has crafted 'His Perfect Imperfections' from 'Crazy' to 'F*** You'. Cee-Lo has rolled out the big guns and after years of assisting others it's now time for Green to get his, most notably money and fame on his biggest solo set to date. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



On 'National Ransom' it's clear were still held by Costello music.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27: Elvis Costello performs during day 3 of the Hard Rock Calling festival held in Hyde Park on June 27, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Mr. Costello has come a long way from the British 'Pub Rock' scene and being 'the other Elvis'. For more than 3 decades and 30 albums Elvis Costello has brought hit after hit, even penning some great songs for others including his Canadian, jazz singing talent, wife Diana Krall. Now with his third album in as many years Elvis looks to hold our attention once more with 'National Ransom'.

This versatile, something for everyone album pays off too. The title track and main attraction 'National Ransom' starts off this album. The upbeat number sounds a lot like Costello's early work with his group The Attractions. From the first note Costello fans from the start will be brought in and felt welcome.

Producer T Bone Burnett has-as usual-been busy this year. The legendary producer gave Jakob Dylan a more country, American rooted edge for his acclaimed album 'Women & Country' this year and now he joins Costello again following last years 'Secret, Profane & Sugarcane'. On this album T Bone grows the British singer more American roots. Especially with the slow number 'Jimmie Standing in the Rain' which could be played in a down south bar. A far cry away from that 'pub rock' scene .

Liverpool's greatest musical export bar a fab four comes funky and deep with 'Stations Of The Cross' proving he's come a long way from Lime Street. Elvis Costello's distinct, diverse vocals have always allowed him to deviate between timeless, slow ballads ('She') and uptempo classics ('Pump It Up') and after adopting the vocal styling of his earlier work he returns to 'her' on 'A Slow Drag With Josephine' . A slow burner that really draws you in with each tote.

On 'Church Underground' that raw Costello attitude that made him so big in his youth is still apparent. As are his scathing, on point social commentaries with lyrics including, "Deflowered young and then ever since/She's tried to wash off his fingerprints/So every charlatan and prince/Was made to feel inferior". If that's too much to take then the following track 'You Hung The Moon' rises and lights up next to the most beautiful songs in Costello's deeper, more delightful discography.

Costello slows it down even further with the acoustic, sombre 'Bullets For The New-Born King' so we can really hear. Listening to a polite but potently powerful number. On 'Dr. Watson, I Presume' Elvis investigates and detects more of those bluegrass American roots but does he pull it off? No S*** Sherlock! As he turns up the tempo on 'The Spell That You Cast' Elvis furthers this notion with a magic, entrancing number showing that this Brit's North American adoption is no trick.

At 16 tracks long and with a bonus digital EP 'National Ransack' Costello's latest output is rich. Still, however his versatile, diverse album does not leave him a poor man. Elvis Costello has often gone out his comfort zone to walk through different genres but he's always wore the right shoes. Even this album is more different than the rest but still because of it's diversity and realised range it's still classic Costello. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



Channeling the king of pop on 'Libra Scale' R&B's royalty checks his 'Thrillerscope'.

Singer Ne-Yo attends a promotion event for his new album Libra Scale in Tokyo, Japan on October 28, 2010. UPI/Keizo Mori Photo via Newscom

Who's the king of R&B right now? Well Mr. Raymond sure has ushered in a good year of hits but during his absence singer/songwriter Ne-Yo rose from the ranks of prince on his quest for the throne. Now the star who has channeled everyone from Usher to Prince looks to claim his place once again. With 'Libra Scale' the 'So Sick' talent looks to the king of pop for inspiration on this new crossover LP.

The concept album revolves around a story of three garbage men who look at the 'Libra Scale' and their morals as they dance around the themes of money, fame, power and love. This idea and album is anything but trash. Ne-Yo also uses his inspirations of science fiction, comic books and Japanese animation to influence this out of this world, culture crossing, heroes and villains piece.

This new compilation serves almost as a score as Ne-yo writes a story with these ten tracks. Although there is now no movie to go with the album the CD's story revolves around two characters, Jerome and Pretti Sinclair. Ne-Yo's idol Michael Jackson heavily inspired this project. Not only Michael's music but his movie accompaniments, 'Moonwalker', 'Thriller' and 'Bad'.

The inspiration sparks off a great set that was made for the dance floor as much as the singers silver screen. The single 'Beautiful Monster' is thrilling, 'Champagne Life' is anything but bad and 'One In A Million' is as fresh and pure as a perfect moonlight, night with the only one that matters. Meanwhile the other album tracks 'Cause I Said So' and 'What Have I Done' sound like M.J.'s early upbeat and slow tempo ballad's respectively.

This album may feel a little short at 10 tracks for the usually prolific artist, however it's concise just like it's meant to be. Sure Ne-Yo's last three albums have spurred a wide range of versatile tracks ranging from brooding to banging whilst this piece fits a more general theme. Still however this is the point. Plus with a perfect set of songs this point is well taken. On 'Know Your Name' the singer gets real familiar, and on 'Telekinesis' R&B's matrix sees it all.

On 'Crazy love' Fabolous and Ne-Yo are back for the third time and after 'Make Me Better' and 'Making Love' off Loso's albums the pair continue their great chemistry on Ne-Yo's latest science project. Returning the favour Fabolous is sharp as ever with the punchlines, rapping, "Outfit look crazy on her you my Lady Gaga/But you wanna start at first and get the last word/You wanna lock me down and get the password". Whereas the 'Irreplaceable' songwriter Ne-Yo proves he's still on top of his game and the game with real lines like, "We may struggle/We may even very well see hell from the gates /Don't think that you are alright /Are above making mistakes", on the track 'Genuine Only'.

The track 'Making A Movie' is the perfect cut to start this best picture off. This dance orientated album is clearly inspired by the 'baddest' of all time but Ne-Yo's extended studio time with European powerhouse DJ David Guetta also rubs off onto the wax. The single 'Beautiful Monster' is a club ready tune on an otherwise smooth album of slow jams built for the slow dance. Still however Ne-Yo's fans wont mind. This album's got something for everyone. You'll be clicking your fingers and clicking your heels as this music will leave you asking someone to dance. You better tip your hat because this really is the 'Year Of The Gentleman'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


('1 IN 10' is a new series that looks at the best track of the month, here's Novembers)

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 07: Rihanna performs during the MTV Europe Music Awards 2010 live show at La Caja Magica on November 7, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Your cure for those winter blues is here. Tune in to any R&B or pop station and leave it 15 minutes, no doubt you'll hear 'What's My Name'. Now flick over and repeat, now what do you have? Same song. From the first beat and trademark Rihanna 'Ooh na na' this song feels like your back in Summer, whether your in Barbados, Los Angeles or foggy old London town. After the success of 'Only Girl (In The World)' Rihanna looks to keep her new release 'Loud' screaming with her stellar second single. The woman of the moment keeps giving hit after hit and if that wasn't enough the man of the year Drake (check GQ if you don't know) provides a great set of bars to unleash this scorching hot summertime sensation. The Canadian rapper keeps it heated with lines like, "Good weed, white wine/I come alive in the night time/Okay, away we go/Only thing we have on is the radio". Sure it's a wonder this song wasn't released a few months back but in a real cold winter, it's the perfect hotter than July medicine during flu season. 4.5/5. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 19 November 2010



On a collaboration compilation album featuring almost everyone Norah's still the main feature presentation.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Musicians Norah Jones and Sasha Dobson perform onstage at the 2010 MusiCares Person Of The Year Tribute To Neil Young at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 29, 2010 in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)

(Norah & Sasha Dobson playing homage to Neil Young during the 2010 MusiCares Person Of The Year at the Los Angeles Convention Centre)

Miss Norah Jones has already made herself a Grammy award winning, legendary solo singer/songwriter on her own with four great platinum albums. From the classic debut 'Come Away With Me' to the new guitar sound on the end of last years 'The Fall'. Norah hasn't needed much help over the years apart from her backing band or producers but that hasn't stopped her from assisting a wide range of artists with their projects, from Andre 3000 to Willie Nelson. Jones has experimented with all sorts of duets, songs and styles. She has more than held he own on these collabos and adjusted to each artists sound all whilst maintaining her own style and integrity. Just call her the female Snoop Dogg...or maybe just check out '...Featuring' which brings all these collaborations together for a compilation album.

Norah is no stranger to teamwork aligning with The Peter Malick Group in the past for the record 'New York City' that featured classics like the title track, 'Deceptively Yours' and 'Strange Transmissions'. It's Jones however that provides the backing on this set, striking great chemistry with each unique artist that has given the opportunity for a physical album that boasts more tracks than most records.

This set could play as a normal Norah studio album. Her beautiful voice and charisma hits with each note. From the playful, sweet chemistry with Willie Nelson on the cover 'Baby It's Cold Outside' to the classic 'Here We Go' with the late Ray Charles, the iconic singer proves on these standouts that she belongs next to the legends.

Over highlights include the Ryan Adams & The Cardinals duet 'Dear John'. As Ryan and Norah harmonise together these notes are a devotion to great melodies. Meanwhile 'Virginia Moon' with the Foo Fighters is one of the most beautiful tracks the band has ever done. A band who ever since have been renowned as both a great loud and acoustic band. On the OutKast, more specifically Andre 3000 acoustic jam 'Take Off Your Cool' Norah's smooth, evoking singing and lyrics takes the eclectic, before his time hip-hop star through a galaxy of soul. What results is a clear cut standout on any CD, even the same disc that included his massive 'Hey Ya!'.

Even when Jones leaves her comfort zone entering the world of hip-hop even further she sits perfectly next to fellow New Yorkers, Talib Kweli ('Soon The New Day') and Q-Tip ('Life Is Better'). Jones fits in to two profound album cuts from the socially conscious rappers. Jones shows she can compliment great hip-hop records as well as Mary J. Blige. It's just a shame that the sunny, Wyclef Jean collabo 'Any Other Day' isn't on the disc neither is the hilarious 'Dreamgirl' by parody group The Lonely Island where Jones is hilarious but still sweet sounding at the same time. Still with her own side group 'The Little Willies' Norah has explored the lighter side of entertainment many times before and the pretty ditty 'Love Me' more than makes up for the other absentees starting this disc off.

As does the sensual, Spanish flavour of 'The Best Part' with El Madmo which spearheads the second half of this collection. It's deep, brooding and as alluring as the woman herself. The jazz duets 'Court & Spark' with Herbie Hancock and 'Ruler Of My Heart' with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band are more traditional Norah Jones esque tracks, but still they are a familiar addiction with their power and potency. It's with these tracks that Norah really takes you and makes you feel at home in her New York City.

The country gems 'Creepin' In' with legend Dolly Parton and 'Bull Rider' with Sasha Dobson take Norah back to her country and Johnny Cash inspired roots. Speaking of Johnny Cash, its always paid off when Jones has covered the stars. Just check the deluxe edition of 'The Fall' for her brilliant take on The Man In Black's 'Cry, Cry, Cry' and her rousing rendition of The Kinks 'Strangers' but on here, aided by Charlie Hunter she shadows the classic 'More Than This'. From the first note she hits with the word 'feel' you sense how original this take on a classic is going to sound.

There is a lot more takes on this compilation to absorb. This collection could have even venture into the double disc territory. One place this album will probably find itself in though is in the vicinity of double platinum sales or more. This CD is a must for any fan of Norah Jones to complete her catalogue because these songs like any B-side are distinctly her and distinctly significant. Even the people that aren't fans would do little wrong in checking this out, so long as they are fans of good music. On '...Featuring' Norah may be the guest but in reality she's the star of the show. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 18 November 2010



'The Boss' fulfils his promise as the long awaited 'Darkness' sessions see the light of day.

ROME - NOVEMBER 01: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Bruce Springsteen attends the 'The Promise: The Makin Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town' premiere during the 5th Rome International Film Festival on November 1, 2010 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Bruce Springsteen is still 'The Boss' of rock and roll. His last three albums 'Working On A Dream', 'Magic' and 'The Rising' have lifted him further in legendary status. Even in his 60's Bruce is still as relevant as he was in the 70's, back when he was making his mark along with Dylan as one of the best to ever do it.

Over three decades ago Springsteen released one of his most defining, groundbreaking and classic works from his 30 plus catalogue. 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town' was a timeless rock and roll record for the ages, from the album title single, to the cover that depicted the young Bruce, sporting a leather jackets and slick hair in front of a set of blinds. Now in the second decade of the new millennium Bruce Springsteen once again see's a darkness as he releases 'The Promise'. A collection of B-sides from the 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town' sessions that span a double disc set.

These B-sides are more than that and more than promising. They are definitive, timeless classics. Just like any Bruce record of years gone by. Most album anniversary re-releases normally come with a bonus disc of a few choice tracks, this piece on the other hand is a whole new album. As soon as you hear the first bit of piano, big man sax and boss man vocals it feels like 1978 again, even if your an 80's baby.

The first disc starts with a brilliant 1978 version of 'Racing In The Street', while the second disc comes to a close with a whole different take of 'The Promise', which works just as well as the classic version on the complimation '18 Tracks,' just in different ways. With the classic Pointers Sisters, boss penned, favourite 'Fire', the single 'Save My Love' and the long awaited studio release of the Patti Smith Group classic 'Because The Night' (that Bruce also wrote and gave up) this album definitely feels familiar amongst Bruuuuce fans. The other, 'new' tracks however are what holds this piece together. Fans and followers alike now have a cohesive, classic catalogue from the crates of The E Street Band. Whereas new listeners after hearing these lost sessions will find out what rock and roll is all about.

As per usual there is plenty of uplifting, heartland rock music. The themes of being in love with women, cars and the accompaniment of the open road leave a feeling that 'The Boss' has been reborn to run. From gems like 'Gotta Get That Feeling' to 'One Way Street'. Even the more sadder songs have an uplifting quality to them which is a Bruce hallmark. 'Wrong Side Of The Street' 'It's A Shame' and 'Brokenhearted' are three gems that have that sense of loss and spirit. Bruce has always been that writer that makes you feel like your sitting in a New Jersey bar with him and listening to his stories. If you relate to them, you feel even closer and with his more solemn records Springsteen is telling his audience 'I'm with you'.

Although 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town' is a concise, flawless piece (That's what happens when you 'Prove It All Night' and 'Adam Raised A Cain' ) there are songs on here that could of easily made the album, which makes this collection a worthy addition to his discography. 'Someday (We'll Be Together)' is a brilliant love song of it's era that still holds relevance today. It could be a hit for anyone and along with 'Because The Night' it could of made 'Darkness' the bosses most brightest album. Just like the Patti Smith hit, now these unreleased takes have taken to the shelves, the boss owns this moment.

Even when Bruce pushes the envelope he delivers. From 'Spanish Eyes' to 'Candy's Boy' and the lovely, light 'Rendezvous' to the heavier 'Gotta Get A Feeling'. These songs are were a sign of things to come. They may have been left on the cutting room floor but still they paved the way for this versatile legend to cut even more diverse discs in the future, like this one.

Every piano, sax, guitar or vocal solo is so epic and familiar feeling, even years after they went from being forgotten to sought after. Not only does Bruce have timeless LP's he also has classic B-sides as this disc delivers on 'The Promise' that these sessions of legend for told. The man doesn't have a bad record, even when his extensive songbook flicks to the outtakes. Even though Bruce Springsteen is still in his prime continuing to define age this is a whole 'new' album that is so fresh and relevant-even today-that you would think that the boss managed to build a time machine or hop in the Delorian. Either way, 1978 or 2010, this guitar player of the youth has no signs of fading off the stage. We've moved from 'The Edge Of Town' to the promised land and it's even better than we thought it would be. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



Kanye's most dark and twisted fantasy really is beautiful.

46324, USA. Monday October 18, 2010. NO WEST FOR THE WICKED: Rapper Kanye West has launched a Twitter tirade after his latest album cover was banned in the US. Kanye, 33, says officials have ruled that the front of his 'My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy' album is too explicit. The cover art on the front of the CD features a couple with demonic faces and wings straddling each other on a sofa. Writing on Twitter Kanye says the image has been banned in America - meaning the album won't hit the shelves. He wrote: ''Yo! They banned my album cover! Banned in the USA! They don't want me chilling on the couch with my phoenix! ''In the '70's, album covers had actual nudity... It's so funny that people forget that... Everything has been so commercialized now. I know that cover just blew y'all minds... I wish y'all could see how hard I'm smiling right now! ''In all honesty, I really don't be thinking about Wal-Mart when I make my music or album covers. I wanna sell albums but not at the expense of my true creativity. Photograph: Supplied by , USA: +1 Disclaimer: BWP Media Inc and their brand Pacific Coast News does not claim any Copyright or License in the attached material. Any downloading fees charged by BWP Media Inc and their brand Pacific Coast News are for its services only, and do not, nor are they intended to convey to the user any Copyright or License in the material. By publishing this material, the user expressly agrees to identify and to hold BWP Media Inc and their brand Pacific Coast News harmless from any claims, demands or causes of action arising out of or connected in any way with user's publication of the material.

The windy city of Chicago really has had it's fair share of stars blowing a gale in the music industry over the last few decades, from R. Kelly to Common. Still it's Kanye West who seems to had the most universal influence. From his refreshingly hip-hop groundbreaking, classic debut 'The College Dropout' to his sophomore swagger 'Late Registration' and from his coming of age 'Graduation' to his beautiful '808's & Heartbreaks' (thanks for the inspiration K).

This year Kanye has received criticism from some questionable media outlets but he has answered to these Inquisitions with a barrage of classics that return him to his more edgier hip-hop side. A smooth but strong, spitting side which made him so renowned amongst backpacking, hip-hop heads in the first place. Kanye began removing his curse by gifting his fans with an incredible free track at the tail end of each week and after these 'G.O.O.D Fridays' ( Mr. West comes back with a great album to start the next 7 days.

If you've been keeping up with Kanye's 'G.O.O.D Fridays' than you will be familiar with some tracks off 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'. The potent lead single 'Power' (which gave strength to 'The Social Network' movies TV Spot trailer) set off a group of hard hitting musical moves by Kanye, accompanied by some serious power players.

'Monster', 'So Appalled' and 'Devil In A New Dress' are three tracks which will go down amongst the best in K. West's catalogue solo or otherwise. The first two feature guest spots from everyone from Swizz Beatz to Bon Iver. Everyone steps their game up, especially Nicki Minaji on 'Monster', proving she's even hotter than forecasted this year. Still however West still holds his own on two crowded cuts beyond the production values, proving these tracks really are is.

The latter, 'Devil In A New Dress' has been adapted from the 'G.O.O.D Friday' version as Rick Ross adds a verse. A verse which Ross said was nerve wracking to do, but one which in this writers opinion is the best he's ever done. Plus with Kanye's versatile verses and hand tapping hook this track is fashioned into a hip-hop, catwalk, show stopper.

Since the recording of this album started Kanye seems to have been making frequent collaborators of old and new friends alike. From Jay-Z to Pusha T and John Legend to Raekwon this results in a regular frequency of familiarising favourites. West's hanging with the Wu-Tang Clan seems to have rubbed off on him (The RZA also appeared on 'So Appalled'). The beats on this album are at times dark but still with a twist of commercially viable Kanye beauty. The music in the opener 'Dark Fantasy' twists around so much it feels like vintage, disjointed Wu updated for the modern day. Kanye really has entered the realms of classic hip-hop via the '36 Chambers', or just spent a lot of time in the studio with The RZA. What results is one of the freshest, rawest things you've heard in hip-hop and on the contry to the contradiction. This is straightforward beautiful, g.o.o.d music.

Speaking of the collabos Raekwon assists Kanye on 'Gorgeous' which starts as a two man effort with Kid Cudi that is a good look. Cudi picks up where '808's & Heartbreaks', 'Welcome To Heartbreak' left off as both him and Kanye both lend a hand and some studio time to each other on their separate projects that are coming out round about the same time. Over sinister but cool guitar licks the Kid births yet another fitting chorus for West's introspective, back against the wall, down south, heading north lyrics. Cudi who is building himself a rapping/singing Mos Def reputation sings "I'm on the edge, so I aint playing, I'm saying, I will never, ever let you live this down, down, down." as West talks real, "Penitentiary chances, the devil dances and eventually answers, to the call of Autumn, all them falling, for the love of balling, got caught with 30 rocks, the cop looked like Alec Baldwin". Kanye really is live after all the Saturday Night disses, I guess their really feeling the 'Power' now.

With all the familiar collaborations it's one half of The Clipse that makes himself part of Kanye's G.O.O.D Family such a great thing. Pusha T pushes his alliance with Kanye so hard, the pair could form a group of their own or crown themselves on their own collabo album. After many incredible G.O.O.D feature spots Pusha makes himself the feature presentation to a T on 'Runaway', the song that accompanies the magical movie of the same name, which accompanies this album. Even on a basic sounding chorus "Let's have a toast to the d***** bags" this 9 minute classic has depth from the very first piano stroke.

The rest of the album doesn't get away from itself with a great reunion with John Legend on 'Blame Game'. You can start pointing your fingers at another timeless classic from Chi-towns finest and 'Hell Of A Life' is hip-hop heaven sent. Whereas the 'All Of The Lights' interlude and song duo give the album more deep themes and 'Lost In The World' and the Gil Scott-Heron 'Who Will Survive America' are a perfect, poetic pairing to finish this piece strong with meaning while the weaker critics are left reeling.

So Kanye comes back even harder, faster and stronger than ever and the results are amazing, so amazing. Even if he hasn't released other albums that were on the cards yet it doesn't matter Kanye is doing more than 'A Good A** Job' and the throne is his. Now all the hating critics can do is watch as the leader of G.O.O.D music shows the world he still loves h.e.r. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 15 November 2010



Before his 'Reformation' Bishop seeks 'Redemption'.

Some people may not know the name but then again some people just don't know real hip-hop. Bishop Lamont is a testament to original, dynamic, refreshing hip-hop. The Dr. Dre protegee is a controversial, west coast rhymer. One part The Game, one part Eminem but on the whole a unique talent. The future of west coast hip-hop is coming straight outta Carson.

Bishop Lamont has released street album after street album for free. These are original beats and rhymes, not mixtapes. After the groundbreaking 'N**** Noise', Bishop teamed up with Detroit MC, Black Milk for the cool 'Caltroit' and then blessed us with 'Pope Mobile'. Following the classic 'The Confessional' ,Lamont teamed up with Indef for the hilarious 'Team America F*** Yeah Special Forces'.

Now after building an incredible reputation for talent and generosity over the years Bishop uses inspiration from the silver screen again for 'The Shawshank Redemption/Angola 3', his latest street album between Aftermath label pains and the long delayed, highly anticipated 'The Reformation' album. This street certified legend needs that industry recognition and he isn't about to play the waiting game.

Bishop's finds 'Redemption' on the albums opener 'Wanted Man'. A hard hitting track which rocks hard like Run DMC meets Busta Rhymes. Bishop goes hard with his lyrics showing that even on the ropes he's the one pulling the punches and the 19 track piece doesn't lose energy from there. 'Affirmative Action' keeps this battle ready MC on the same war path.

'I Like Yo Face B****' and 'Off The Liquor' are funny and funky, as is 'I.W.P' which teams Bishop up again with Indef. The track is so out there it begs the question like the 'Team America' album where the inspiration came from. Still high point or not this tracks smokin' like Jim Carrey wearing a mask. With 'The Homies Girl' Bishop keeps the laughs going, lamenting stories about accidentally hitting on other rappers girlfriends including conscious rapper Talib Kwelis. Lamont goes half B.I.G's 'Dreams' and half 50 Cents 'How To Rob', with a sly tongue in cheek homage to a classic rap concept.

As we get into the meat of the album the middle gets even better. From the modern gem 'Home' to the old school feeling 'Shout!' and the recently released 'Hollow Eyes' , which is a brilliant retrospect of how the artists year has gone. 'Anything' and 'Get Inspired' are everything that is uplifting while 'Land Of The Free' and 'Change Is Gonna Come' give great depth to the end of an immensely extended play. With these two thought provoking tracks-the album that has something for everyone-stays with you.

His release schedule may be more up in the air than George Clooney but his music is still grounded in classic hip-hop. With production from the good doctor himself and fellow former Aftermath talent Focus this album is surgically concentrated. As Bishop looks to escape the prison of record shelving his 'Shawshank Redemption' may be his best piece yet. Hip-hop hasn't seen bars like this for awhile.

The album mixes all the elements of his previous best work. It's introspective, check 'Rain'. Funny, listen to him diss 'Twilight' and most importantly its a versatile piece of commercially viable, true hip-hop. Bishop belongs with the best of the best so lets we hear more from this 'Shawshank' survivor now he's a free man. Word to Morgan.TIM DAVID HARVEY.