Contact: tdharvey@hotmail.co.uk Or Follow On Twitter @TimDavidHarvey

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

REVIEW: TANK-DIARY OF A MAD MAN (MIXTAPE)


4/5

Tank keeps rolling.

AMP's & 808's favourite Tank has had a great year. This time last year Tank went one better than his Grammy nominated classic 'Sex, Love & Pain' by releasing the seriously successful and sublime 'Now Or Never' featuring top tunes like 'Emergency', 'Scream', 'Sex Music' and 'Celebration' featuring Drake. Then in 2011 came great albums his fellow TGT members Ginuwine ('Elgin') and Tyrese ('Open Invitation'). To top off this off Tank has even released a brand new hit single ('Compliments') off a forthcoming album ('Saviour'). So with compliments and via Twitter Christmas has come early with the teaser, free download release of the gifted singers new mixtape; 'Diary Of A Mad Man'.

10 top, original tracks are reeled out on this tape that features Kevin McCall, Ace Hood, and Slim Thug. When it comes to fresh, new music these brand new songs show that this writing and producing fiend is still on fire like his 'Emergency' video. Side A starts with the mixtape's title track and what a way to start and get your tape decks ready? 'Underrated' really highlights just how much this man really is what the song says, while the star talent shines even brighter for the ladies on 'Stars Girl'.

Tank throws his 'Money On The Floor' with Kevin McCall, Slim Thug, and Ace Hood for a monster collaboration, reuniting Durrell Babbs and the H-town rapper Thug for the first time since TGT remixed Slim's 'Let Me Grind' and the results are just as big. Tank charges forward even more, killing his R&B competition even more with 'Dead Man Walking'. Then he brings an artillery of new artists with J-Doe on 'Take You Outta Here' and Bayley on the pleasing 'Don’t Be Mad at Me'.

The 'Compliments' singer toasts his fans once more with the refreshing 'Tip Yo Cup' which is bound to raise spirits as well as glasses of mixers. Young artist Luke James also drinks to the party starting 'I Be On One'. Tank finishes this tape with the diary entry 'Get Back' a perfect end to a record you will want to go back to the start and spin again and again. This music mad man gives us one 'diary' we'll all want to read into. Call this singer/songwriters work output crazy but this guy is the kind of Jon Hamm 'Mad Men'. Grown, sexy, and suited and booted for success. After realising it was 'Now Or Never' Tank's time is now and he really has made the most of it. He's a 'made man' now and now we can't wait for the new album. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

See Also

REVIEW: TANK-NOW OR NEVER

http://ampsand808s.blogspot.com/2010/12/review-tank-now-or-never.html

TGT (Tank, Ginuwine & Tyrese)-THE GIANT THREE

http://ampsand808s.blogspot.com/2010/12/review-tank-now-or-never.html

Monday, 28 November 2011

SONG FOR THE MOMENT (DECEMBER): COMMON SENSE-I USED TO LOVE H.E.R. (J-Emcee's Old School Remix)


"I met this girl, when I was 10 years old. And what I loved most, she had so much soul." If you know this lyric, then you know real hip-hop. You know Common Sense and this 'I Used To Love H.E.R.' song by Common the artist formerly known as Sense, the classic of all classics, serving as both an open letter of devotion and the history of hip-hop. Common's classic is one of raps most well written scribes and his story is one that is only right to be celebrated in the coming December release of his new album 'The Dreamer, The Believer'. 'I Used To Love H.E.R.' already has a pretty nice beat but what better way to pay homage to this track and genre by way of a reminiscent remix?

Well that's what J-Emcee (James Mark Currie) has done with his 'Old School Remix' of this 1994 iconic track. Sampling beats from everyone from Biz Markie to Dr. Dre (the full incredible list of samples for you hip-hop heads follows this piece) J-Emcee really paint the portrait and picture of this classic and genre like it should be. Drawing many of Common's inspirations for this record all on one track. The samples tell the story of 'h.e.r.' just like Common's rhymes do and thanks to J-Emcee's visionary style it also doesn't use any beat after 1994 (when this track was released) so therefore it's true to both the originality and inspiration of the timeless track. The vision also extends to the remix being played over the original video, where many beats fit like Kangol's on Cool J's, some adding to the sound effects of tape decks and breaks. It all seems so seamless, it all seems so meant. J-Emcee has reinvented the Remix going beyond the usual. It's clear he loves 'h.e.r.' too, and who we're talking about is hip-hop. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



Audio Two – Top Billin’
Boogie Down Productions – The Bridge Is Over
Biz Markie – Make The Music With Your Mouth, Biz
MC Shan – The BridgeFunkdoobiest – Shittin’ On ‘Em
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Ill Street Blues
Lord Finesse – Track The Movement
Schoolly D – P.S.K.
Marley Marl – The Symphony
X Clan – Verbs Of Power
Boogie Down Productions – Stop The Violence
Eazy E – Still Talkin’ S***
De La Soul – Fanatic Of The B-Word
Dr Dre – Deep Cover
A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum
The Pharcyde – Passing Me By
Naughty By Nature – Guard Your Grill
Stetsasonic – Talkin’ All That Jazz
Pete Rock & CL Smooth – Skinz
Gang Starr – Manifest
Eric B & Rakim – Microphone Fiend
Just Ice – That Girl Is A Slut
Diamond D – Red Light, Green Light
Ed OG & Da Bulldogs – Bug-A-Boo
Apache – Gangsta Bitch
Cypress Hill – Stoned Is The Way Of The Walk
EPMD – Let The Funk Flow
Whodini - Friends
Showbiz & AG – Runaway Slave
Onyx – Slam
Das EFX – Straight Out The Sewer
Slick Rick & Doug E Fresh – La Di Da Di
Wu-Tang Clan – Shame On A N****

Friday, 25 November 2011

ALBUM SELECT OF THE WEEK: GINUWINE-THE BACHELOR


Ginuwine released his most personal and genuine album this year with 'Elgin'. So let's look at his dominating debut for our classic selection for the week. 'The Bachelor' made himself open to everyone with a CD full of hits and a new sound for the mainstream R&B world. Collaborating with superproducer Timbaland throughout, these superfriends teamed up for a supreme, concise, classic collection. The groundbreaking, beat-making 'Pony' was so revolutionary it still sounds fresh today, while his take on Prince's, 'When Doves Cry' was so well done that even the artist known for hating his covers loved it. Still from every prelude to interlude this album was sublimely seamless, whether it be from Magoo raps to peculiar English soundbites. This album was club heavy ('550 What') but also bedroom ready ('Tell Me Do You Wanna') and with deep tracks such as 'Only When Your Lonely' and 'World Is So Cold' the G man proved he could think a well as dance. 'The Bachelor' proved he was here to stay and 15 years later this game changers music is still playing. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TAPE DECK SHUFFLE


The playlist of our favourite songs this week. 'Side A' features some latest cuts, while the classics make the 'B Side'.

SIDE A

MARY J. BLIGE & DRAKE-MR. WRONG: This just could be the duet of the year, like Rihanna and Drizzy's 'What's My Name' last year. You know what it is.

WALE Feat BIG SEAN-SLIGHT WORK: Last years best rap newcomer and this years one get to work over some cool police sirens.

TYRESE-STAY: Number one album, number one single. Number one guy.

PUSHA T-ALONE IN VEGAS: Glossy and gritty, like the video, like the city.

DRAKE-LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE: Sampling the late, great Static Major of Playa Drake shows love and respect with a deep hit from the heart.

SIDE B

PLAYA-CHEERS TO YOU: Speaking of Static and Playa this is a classic.

GRANDMASTER FLASH-WHITE LINES (DON'T, DON'T DO IT): This Grandmaster was a Flash in Liverpool last week with this classic and more.

QUEEN-ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: Flash played this too and even though Freddie Mercury has been gone 20 years this song, him and more still reign supreme.

INXS-NEW SENSATION: Michael Hutchence has also been gone 14 years but his legacy is still alive. "Live baby live".

MICHAEL HUTCHENCE-LET ME SHOW YOU: The man himself. Rest in peace. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

REVIEW: MARY J. BLIGE-MY LIFE II: THE JOURNEY CONTINUES (ACT 1)


4/5

More sublime J. Blige.

Beyoncé? Rhianna? Sure they're incredible but the queen of R&B and urban soul Mary J. Blige still wears the crown. She's even watching her throne by boldly releasing an album in the same week as the unstoppable Rhianna. Mary, Mary has been here for years since she asked 'What's The 411' through when she sang about 'No More Drama' to recently showing that crossing over to the dance floors and charts was 'Just Fine'. Mary J has obliged with more hits and classics that anyone can count that's why with 'My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1)' the singer can release a sequel to a classic album in two parts.

It wouldn't be a November fall without some Mary. The buzz for the sequel to her 1994album ('My Life') was hyped with two smash singles. '25/8' is so well worked and good it could be played 24/7, while 'Mr. Wrong' with M.C. of the moment Drake could just be the late rap/R&B duet of the year just like his Rhianna record last year ('What's My Name'). It's a monster collaboration like 'Feel Inside' with hip-hop heavyweight Nas. The New York rapper is as legendary as Mary and is on too form like Drake. What results is another hit for Miss J.

Speaking of legends friend and collaborator Busta Rhymes takes it to the next level with a real, rugged raw track right after Mary takes it to yet another level duetting with her brilliant alter ego rap self (Brook-Lyn) on the cool, atmospheric 'Midnight Drive'. Long-time producing partner Darkchild samples a classic while Mary beautifully covers 'Aint Nobody' with a refreshing taste of an otherwise overdone and redone hit record. 'Don't Mind' and 'No Condition' show this solo singer going it alone with perfect poise and decedent dignity. These are the album tracks that make this disc.

Every rappers favourite feature rapper right now, Rick Ross gives 'Why' an unquestionable appeal from the streets to the charts. Still the duet of this album is 'Love a Woman', featuring Beyoncé (originally meant for B's '4') as these two independent women come together to show just how much they really mean. The heaven sent 'Empty Prayers' gives more answers to Mary's unquestionable range before this sequel comes to an end with the terrific tandem of 'Need Someone' and 'The Living Proof'.

'Irreversible' and 'Miss Me with That' gives the extended album more deluxe qualities while the Diddy and Lil' Wayne assisted smash 'Someone to Love Me (Naked)' is a real, revealing bonus. As Mary gives us more of her 'life' the sequel lives up to the original and then some. After some great recent releases Mary goes back to the beyond with an album as big a her greats like '411', 'No More Drama', 'Love & Life' and 'The Breakthrough'. As Mary's incredible life goes on thank God that the journey continues. We can't wait for 'Act II'. Now how long is the intermission? TIM DAVID HARVEY.

REVIEW: PUSHA T-FEAR OF GOD II: LET US PRAY


3/5

More spirited rap from one that should be feared.

Pusha T has come a long way in this rap game. From 'Grindin' hits out with super producer Pharrell, The Neptunes and his double act group the Clipse to 'Re-Upping' with his crew. Even without his twin Pusha T still has clips worth of lyrical ammunition and plenty of one-liner malice (on the track 'Blow' Pusha explains his brother Malice "found the Lord"). This time last year this rap pusher was signed by Kanye West's 'G.O.O.D. Music' imprint along with Mos Def and others and what resulted was some great album features ('Runaway', 'So Appalled') and some gracious free 'G.O.O.D. Friday' gift downloads ('Looking For Trouble', 'Christian Dior Denim Flow' and 'Christmas In Harlem').

Kanye brought out the best of Pusha, or at least showed the whole world just how good he is. West and T rhymed so much and well together that they could be the ones 'watching the throne' and releasing a collabo album together. Still now Pusha is pushing a sequel EP ('Fear of God II: Let Us Pray') to his independent album as his first release on Kanye's label. A release of hardcore hip-hop heaven that should put the fear in the rap competition, leaving them on their knees.

What better way to start off an album but with a Diddy assisted big record. 'Changing of the Guards' boasts a game changing sound and artist. While the amazing collaboration with Young Jeezy and Yeezy, Kanye West gives us everything rap fans have prayed for in 'Amen'. The Neptunes produced single 'Trouble on My Mind' featuring Tyler, the Creator is a great blend of new artist/underground artist coming up big, while this song also serves as a great reunion between Pusha and Pharrell.

'What Dreams are Made Of' is the solo track this new solo artist has been waiting for. With no guest appearances he shows he's one of the best lyricists with a crowning outcome. Then the collaborations re-up with Juicy J, Meek Mill & French Montana adding some 'Body Work' to this album. The new artist French Montana translates on to 'Everything that Glitters' as well adding some gold to the track. 'So Obvious' and 'Feeling Myself' keep the mid-section of the album tight with even tighter rhymes.

Things get louder and prouder with the 50 Cent featured 'Raid' with Pharrell. 'My God' sends this album even higher before crew member Ab-Liva and Maybach Man Rick Ross keep it lyrically rocking on 'I Still Wanna'. Pusha saves one of his best for last with the bright lyrics of 'Alone In Vegas'. A track that's a mix of grit and flash like the songs video in sin city. All in all going solo was a gamble for Pusha but he's showed it's paid off to a tee. Thank the rap God's for this one. Amen. TIM DAVID HARVEY .

BOOK REVIEW: TYRESE GIBSON-HOW TO GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY


4.5/5

Tyrese show's us the way.

This writer has put down the pen of late and picked up three inspiring books from three influential individuals in the urban music industry. The first was rapper/actor Common's spiritual journey 'One Day It'll All Make Sense', the second was business and music mogul Steve Stoute's cultural exchange 'The Tanning Of America', and now the latest is R&B and movie star Tyrese Gibson's 'How To Get Out Of Your Own Way'.

This isn't an autobiography, this isn't a self-help book...it's something in-between. Making for a powerful, motivating piece of prose Tyrese's success story is one of struggle, survival and self-strategy. Part religious and part spiritual, with God and self together it all blends into the perfect recipe of success and self-fulfilment.

This book really should garner your self worth's attention after a humbling, tragic foreword this book begins with Tyrese detailing his humbling beginnings in Watts California. Talking about how he had to ignore the financial and instantly gratifying temptations of the world of drug dealers in the 'hood. This millionaire actor and singer used to find it incredibly hard to string a couple of quarters together to get the bus to school and get his education.

We all remember his infamous Coca Cola commercial at age 16 and Ty' inspires us with how this 30 second spot resulted into a 15 year and counting career. His journey really is incredible he used to not be allowed on the bus, but following an advert where he sang on one about a soft drink he now never has to take the bus again. If your that doesn't serve as encouragement and inspiration then what will?

If this fact sends shivers down your spine then this book is for you from the spine to the acknowledgments. From Tyrese breaking down the relationship between men and women and that of positivity and success he really lets you into his mind and guides you down the right mental path without sounding too preachy or like he's trying to be the next Dr. Phil. Tyrese keeps it real with his talk and genuine accounts of his life's experience. He doesn't act all high or might or talk down to us, he acts like our friend sitting next to us through these pages. He tells us it's fine to be labelled 'weird' if we are just different (citing Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and himself) but that if we are feeling down we shouldn't label ourselves 'depressed', as the shoe will fit. It all makes perfect sense. It's not cheesy or corny, it's devoted and meant.

Tyrese shares the complacent life changing advice he received from mentor and megastar Will Smith and along with the Fresh Prince's five people theory puts it into words for our own benefit and reflection. To conclude this great, game-changing read the movie star-who this year starred in two top franchise sequels ('Fast Five' and 'Transformers: Dark Of The Moon')-talks about his break into acting (with John Singleton's 'Baby Boy') and how no matter how successful or happy we should all strive to always better ourselves.

Millions of Tyrese's social networking Twitter followers will know how much this man's character inspires on a daily basis. It's this constant motivation and feeling of self-worth that has just this week given this multi-platinum, Grammy winner a new number one album. Counting and sharing his blessings Tyrese offers us an 'Open Invitation' to his way of life and thinking and it's a real positive step forward. Like the man himself says "don't leave this on the bookshelf". This is a real page-turner with depth that reads more into life. So open up and don't let anything stand in its way. It's really out there. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

See Also.

REVIEW: TYRESE-OPEN INVITATION

http://ampsand808s.blogspot.com/2011/10/review-tyrese-open-invitation.html

TGT (TANK, GINUWINE & TYRESE)-THE GIANT THREE

http://ampsand808s.blogspot.com/2011/11/tgt-tank-ginuwine-tyrese-giant-three.html

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

LIVE BABY LIVE-In Memory Of Michael Hutchence



(Also Published On 'MUSIC FEEDS' http://musicfeeds.com.au/features/live-baby-live-in-memory-of-michael-hutchence/ )

Remembering One of the Last True Rock Stars.

“Put the pieces back together/every moment back together/In your quiet moments/Looking back in tears/Can I count the nights you’ve lived/That you’d live again”. Michael Hutchence: Put The Pieces Back Together.

Icons don't come around everyday, believe that. Don't be fooled by the who's who of today. Some stars today are merely 'role models' and their not doing a very good job at that either. Sure there are icons still around, but sometimes the phrase 'iconic' is thrown around all too much. Michael Hutchence, however was iconic. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 14 years since he was found hanging in a Sydney hotel room on November 22ND, 1997. This coming weekend, (Saturday, January 22ND) he would have turned 51, so let’s look back and celebrate the man.

Celebrate and not speculate because when Hutchence burst on to the scene with his band INXS back in 1979 it was this mans personality and not his personal life or troubles that people were attracted to. His energetic, magnetic and sensual persona is what gave him a presence on the world’s biggest stages. A presence that extended from the small pubs and hotels INXS played coming up in 1977 to the sold out stadiums they made it to when they truly broke out. His enigmatic personality, coupled with his good looks and his confidence, matched with the blueprint of a true rock star persona made sure all eyes where on him. Then the lyrics he wrote, cultivated with the way he sang and the ways he moved about the stage did the rest. A true star that sang some of the best songs and made some of musics most memorable moments became an icon. A guy that just like AC/DC before him and Heath Ledger after him was iconic not just in his native Australia but all around the world.

INXS first commercially hit in the 80's with their self-titled debut. 'Just Keep Walking' was their first hit. Their success came from their own hard work. They played sold out shows almost every day of the week. As attention grew people wanted a piece of this band even before the press got wind. The bands hard work was rewarded with a gold plaque for their debut and more importantly their name on everyone’s lips. INXS were playing 300 shows across Australia during the release of their sophomore album 'Underneath the Colours'. When their third album 'Shabooh, Shoobah' hit they broke America, making the billboard charts behind great music and the dynamic, provocative personality of Hutchence.

INXS first number 1 in Australia was 'Original Sin'. 'Sin' had lots of rhythm with fast paced drum rolls, quirky saxophone and even stranger ad-libs from Michael. The great lyrics from Hutchence completed the song perfectly and the hometown heroes took seven Australian Countdown awards and a double platinum plaque for the songs album 'The Swing’. The first three albums established the band, but with this swinging success Michael, Garry, Andrew, Jon, Tim & Kirk truly planted their feet.

With their feet firmly in place it was time for INXS to break new ground. They did this in the mid-80's with the release of two albums, one definite and one definitive. By 1985 INXS were in the mid-90's of degrees of hotness. The bands first million seller in the States came with 'Listen Like Thieves'. The albums title also spawned a hit single and more radio play was garnered with the funky hit 'What You Need'. A song so funky that the artist always known as funk, Prince covered it back in 2007, during his legendary, 21 dates in London.

The album 'Listen Like Thieves' featured memorable hooks and intriguing lyrics. Like many rock greats before him, Michael was a master at writing love songs. Michael indulged a lot in his life but it seemed like love was really his biggest motivator. INXS songs were the type of catchy tunes that only after a few listens on the radio listeners would know word for word. Michael's passion for writing about love was fuelled with his lyrics. Even if the songs were about loss they still had an element of positivity to them. Songs like 'This Time' >("We are hoping/yes we are praying/this time will be the last time/that we will fight like this") and 'Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain)' ("Playing in the dirt/we find the seeds of doubt/don't water them with your tears/don't think about all the years/you'd rather be without") epitomize the beauty in the hope and belief of love. Michael was able to translate this into song seemingly effortlessly with the help of writing partner Andrew Farriss.

INXS biggest selling album propelled them even higher. 'Kick' in 1987 expanded their already wide and diverse fan base even further. Millions of copies were sold and 5 MTV Awards and a Grammy nomination came. Some of the bands biggest singles, 'Mystify', 'Need You Tonight', 'Never Tear Us Apart' and 'New Sensation' helped make this album a rock and roll classic. From the success of this album came a lot of buzz, a lot of excitement and even more touring around the world.

The singles themselves became classics around the world. 'Never Tear Us Apart' showcased Michael's ever improving writing ability. At his worst Hutchence was honest, at his best he was poetic. INXS may have recorded their best love song with lines like, 'We could live for a thousand years/but if I hurt you I'd make wine from your tears". Lines that are so soulful, just check out modern day legend, Ben Harper's take on them. The jam 'New Sensation' seems to be a motivating, mainstay at sporting events and 'Need You Tonight' was another provocative hit that helped Hutchence become a hit with the housewives. The video for this song furthered this. Striking black and white images and Michael’s colourful personality helped this become yet another classic visual for a band that was becoming known for their unique music videos. The camera loved Michael and Michael loved the camera-sometimes maybe a little bit too much- not that the housewives minded.

The video of 'Need You Tonight' also blended in seamlessly to the track 'Mediate' which furthered the display of Hutchence's lyrical ability. Michael effortlessly rapped cohesive words and sentences that rhymed with the word 'Mediate'. Not many rock singers had done this before him and again this was an example of Hutchence’s self-assured swagger, which is why he appealed to so many people. Confidence is one of the most attractive features and whether on the microphone, the screen or the stage Michael had it by the bucket load. Even performing for Jools Holland, sprawled across a piano, with shaggy hair, workman jeans and baggy clothing he was still the perfect man for those housewives tuning in on a Friday night.

This hot streaked continued for Hutchence and INXS as their follow up 'X' was no slouch. The album spawning hits such as 'Suicide Blonde', 'Bitter Tears' & 'Disappear', which helped INXS leave their successful decade on the 80's on a high note coming into the 90's. Although the last decade saw fewer releases and tragedy for the band and its lead singer, the 90's still had high notes for INXS. In 1991 the band headlined Wembley Stadium in London with Michael's magnetic on stage persona attracting a crowd of 74,000 excited fans, more than half of them probably female.

With the release of 'Welcome To Wherever You Are' INXS pushed the envelope further both musically and visually with their second, definitive album. The band included an orchestra on the hit 'Baby Don't Cry' offering appreciation to other forms of music. They also however received heat again for the video of the hit 'Taste It', with Michael again raising the temperatures of female fans and music television networks alike, albeit in very different ways. 'Beautiful Girl' was yet another classic love song from the band with genuine and endearing lyrics from their front man. A song, like all love classics still relevant today (just check the trailer for hit movie, 'Love & Other Drugs'). The positivity in Michael's writing again shined through. Too many songs these days about love or lost love focus on all the negative, back then however Michael begged to differ. He even described the complications in relationships perfectly on the classic, album take 'Men and Women'.

Approaching the mid-90's INXS cooled off a little bit but they still remained relevant and true to their style with the release of 'Full Moon, Dirty Hearts' in 1993. One of the bands most aggressive songs 'The Gift' was full of heavy guitar and fire, especially in their award winning, ground-burning video. Now it was getting even harder to cool off Hutchence or his fan base. The album also featured a couple of guest appearances but Michael more than held his own alongside strong personalities like Ray Charles ('Please (You Got That...)') and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders ('Full Moon, Dirty Hearts').

A couple of complimation albums came and then years later there wasn’t much noise from INXS and their outgoing singer. This was apart from his often time written about private life and problems. Hutchence’s drug and relationship problems with celebrities was something the tabloids couldn't’t resist prying into, the music heads however wanted to hear something new, something true, something public, not private.

In 1997 came the last album from INXS with Hutchence, 'Elegantly Wasted'. The album may have not been a commercial success but it showed that the band had moved with the times. Musically and lyrically they remained relevant and true to themselves despite a harder, more mainstream, American sound. They showed in that respect they could stand next to other rock acts from Dave Matthews Band to Pearl Jam.

The albums title track was a hit and songs like 'Shine' showed that they could even move with the times with their speciality of rock and roll tracks infused with funk. Songs like 'Searching' (“Have we lost direction/washed our hands of blood/I’m in need of sensation/is there more to this love”) and 'I'm Just A Man' (“I’m just a man/my will is so strong/When I’ve got plans/I close my eyes to the pain”) showed Michael Hutchence’s introspective style of writing in a much stronger and more poignant light. Bold but beautiful, dark but decedent.

This writing ability was then seen even more with the release of the last studio album from Hutchence, his self-titled solo LP. Cuts like 'Possibilities', 'Fear', 'Put The Pieces Back Together' and 'All I'm Saying' stirred the soul, But he also had fun to. Songs like 'Get On The Inside' and 'Let Me Show You' gave fans the fun loving, sexy Michael they were used to. It was clear however, that this was a very personal album, especially as it was a solo piece. The haunting 'Flesh & Blood' (“All of the days we thought would come/all of the words we thought had gone/all of the pain & pleasure gone without you”) and 'Slide Away' (with Bono) showed a much deeper side of Hutchence's thinking. This resulted in beautiful, yet saddening tracks to hear straight from the mans heart.

Since his death his legacy has lived on to the full in his music. A wealth of timeless classic songs, entertaining, loving and at times reflective have been the legacy of one man and his band. He was an icon in his life and his death marked yet another tragic case of an icon gone before their time. The rest of INXS have soldiered on and kept Michael's name and music alive. They have also tried to go on as a band. Terrence Trent D'Arby did a very good job filling in at the opening of the ‘Stadium Australia’ in Sydney but he rightfully made it clear that his performance was out of respect, as a guest and nothing else. Replacing this man has been a much harder task for the group. It always will be when some little known names follow in the footsteps of such a huge talent. Even the modern day staple of reality television produced a new singer and album, but even that was no good as J.D. Fortune ended up without a band- and as it seems a home -living in his car. Even as nice as tribute albums featuring the talents of INXS, French singer Loane and John Mayer are, nothing bests the original, real thing.

The reality is that the talent, charisma and confidence that burst out of Michael was all natural. It cannot be taught, trained or cultivated over a television series. Michael was nothing short of iconic, a phrase which when properly given is an exclusive one and not a doled out saying. Michael Hutchence epitomized both a true rock star and entertainer. He was born to do what he did and what he did in turn lives on a decade plus after his death. Plain and simple Michael Hutchence can not be replaced and he will always live on in his music and he will always be INXS.

“Live baby live/Now that the day is over/I gotta New Sensation/In perfect moments/Impossible To Refuse”. INXS: New Sensation

BY TIM DAVID HARVEY.

SONG FOR THE MOMENT (NOVEMBER): CHARLOTTE ERIKSSON-I WILL LEAD YOU HOME


They say charity begins at home and it really does with Swedish singing/songwriting sensation Charlotte Eriksson. Her beautiful song 'I Will Lead You Home' raised money for Swedish cancer-organization Ung Cancer which supports young victims, all whilst rising to number 2 on the Swedish itunes chart. Now that's what raising awareness and funds is all about. Eriksson goes beyond the financial however with a strong show of solidarity that is as beautifully lyrically as it is in harmony. As she sings "When you’re out of breath/With nothing left to give/When you’re left behind/Laying on the ground/When all I see is sadness in your eyes/When all you want is reasons you can’t find/This town is getting smaller ever day/I’ll leave with you, we’ll find another way/When you’re left alone/Just hold on/I will lead you home again" you can really feel how connected and devoted she is to her cause. This is something we can all sing along to. This goes beyond buying into the single, this is recognising a real talent and a real charity that needs awareness and doing something about it. This donation to a cause is one that should really effect us. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 21 November 2011

ALBUM SELECT OF THE WEEK (CD CHANGER): R.E.M.-COLLAPSE INTO NOW



4/5

The rapid eyes have it in motion.

With their 15th studio album after 31 years in the industry, R.E.M. may look even older, but their sound has remained young, fresh never tired. Every one of this acts albums have been great and there are just too many classic long players to choose from. All the way from their 'New Adventures In Hi-Fi' to L.P.'s that are 'Automatic For The People'. Classic songs including 'Everybody Hurts' and 'Losing My Religion' have defined not only the band but the incredible 90's decade of popular music. This band is so popular and familiar that although it doesn't seem like three years since their last release they are always sorely missed during hiatus and warmly welcomed on their return between fans and industry critics alike.

Following 2008's 'Accelerate' and a great tour the band re-unite with the albums producer Jacknife Lee, fast-forwarding their sound even further for old tape-decks and new iPods alike with this weeks release 'Collapse Into Now'. This alternative act had a lot of choices for this set's inspiration. Recording in Berlin, Germany, Nashville, Tennessee, and New Orleans, Louisiana to expand their already wide world sound. This new sound kicks off, live in stereo with the upbeat, uplifting 'Discover', where the band find the help of Patti Smith for some additional vocals.

Then the group give more of their effort to the great rock and roll number, 'All The Best'. As he band step into second-gear it's clear their going to stay right on track. Now how about the singles? The cheekily sweet 'Mine Smell Like Honey' is traditional, 'Monster' era R.E.M. with great lyrics like "I would dare you, but I know I don’t need to/You’re going to do just what you want to/You’re going to take the leavings here at the fairground/You’re going to sing the praises of your fruit". While the great, German inspired third single 'Überlin' is a typical, timeless slow, sublime, beautiful ballad.

Still it's the second single co-wrote by Scott McCaughey, 'Oh My Heart' that stands first and foremost amongst the rest. Bursting through with it's trumpet and sousaphone marching band feel with some real March Madness to begin this month. Then the legendary act further their legacy with Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder for the stellar, stunning collaboration 'It Happened Today'. Vedder's haunting vocals make this a shining jam worth it's weight in pearls. It's little wonder the band have made 12 video clips to go with these 12 songs because they are all huge with a cinematic edge to them. The motivating 'Everyday is Yours To Win' could see itself in some movies or writers work playlists for years to come. Truly inspiring.

As the album heads to it's fall, this first quarter release ignites the start of the year even more with the piano fuelled led potency of 'Walk it Back'. This track that harks back to other R.E.M. slow burners steps in the direction of greatness. As Stipe classically croons "something needs to change", one things for certain, he and his band needn't. Then on the alliteration rocker 'Alligator, Aviator, Autopilot, Antimatter' the group show despite age, their amazing, appealing attitude is still apparent after 'Automatic', 'Adventures' all the way to their recent 'Around The Sun' and 'Accelerate'. On 'That Someone is You' Stipe gets to his point quicker then he did on 'The End of the World' verses but on a precision, point track it all feels fine.

Referencing 'Scarface' and Al Pacino the group then get theatrical on 'Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I'. A track enigmatic and interesting like the great actor was. Still, however as Patti Smith rejoins the three-piece for the closer and a 'Discover' reprise, R.E.M. save their best for last with 'Blue'. As classic as the Joni Mitchell album of the same name this deep, dark spoken word number really harks back to the early days of the band when the hair was on Michael Stipe's head, not his chin. Stipe may aswell have his 'Orange Crush' megaphone, as this rally cry refuses to yield with lyrics like, "I don't mark my times with dates, holidays, fate, wisdom, luck" as the group inspire and refuse to be moved or changed all at the same time. This is a notion that has kept this 'best band in the world' so relevant and so alive in the industry for all these decades and albums. As R.E.M. refuse to fall in line they still remain accepted even to this modern-day. 'Collapse Into Now' is a truly great disc to add to an incredible discography. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TAPE DECK SHUFFLE-R.E.M. SPECIAL



As we say goodbye to the worlds nicest band, this weeks 'Tape Deck Shuffle' celebrates R.E.M.'s career by selecting tracks off their new greatest hits compilation 'Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011'. Side A is the first disc, 'B' the second.

SIDE A

GARDENING AT NIGHT: First track from their debut EP 'Chronic Town', what an introduction.

FALL ON ME: You really fall in love with this one, as catchy as it is full of heart.

FINEST WORKSONG: Big, bold and full of hard bravado. This really is the finest worksong.

ORANGE CRUSH: Get the megaphones out for this one.

LOSING MY RELIGION: One of their most famous, spiritual releases.

SIDE B

EVERYBODY HURTS: No more need be said.

WHAT'S THE FREQUENCY KENNETH: Their livest, most energetic and contagious hit.

THE GREAT BEYOND: The 'Man On The Moon' stars take us to their world once again for the 'Man On The Moon' soundtrack.

OH MY HEART: Love for the last album...

HALLELUJAH:..and the last track. What a record. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

FOR THE RECORD: GRANDMASTER FLASH Live @ Mojo, LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND (19/10/11)

5/5

Flash came to Liverpool with a bang.


There's no party quite like a Grandmaster party, so what getter way to kick off 'Liverpool Music Week' then with the hip-hop icon Flash himself on the wheels of steel? Last night England's capital of culture and home of musics most influential band The Beatles saw one of hip-hop's true pioneers take the stage at the age of 53 but looking like a young man and only charging the clubs packed faithful £15 to get in and see a piece of hip-hop history that's still on top of his game after all these decades.

The first hip-hop act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame enshrined the crowd with classic after classic for hours of fun and good times as he brought the joy back to hip-hop and nights out. The amped crowd were dancing on the tables and throwing fists but this was only in the air, but this was only in the name of good times. Flash played with the crowd, teasing them with classics and making sure they where ready. From getting his 'Message' to spinning classics from Run-DMC to Jay-Z these wheels were really spinning with steel strong classics.

Flash showed he was the grand master of any party those as the D.J. dropped it all. He wasn't scared to play anything and whatever he did and Flash himself sounded all the cooler for it. From Nirvana to Lenny Kravitz to the White Stripes, to even 'I Got The Power' by Snap. The mark of a true D.J. was set again tonight and it can't get much higher than being in the presence of a rap God who can still move the crowd with Eric B. & Rakim hits. Littered around this venue was posters of everyone from AC/DC to David Bowie and yes Flash payed and played homage to all of them. There were adverts on this clubs doors for a Queen 'Rhapsody' tribute act coming soon but Flash played so much Freddie you would be mistaken for thinking that the tribute was tonight. Mercury was rising with the crowds heat and enthusiastic energy.

Still nothing sounded better than when Flash scratched himself (his decks that is). That iconic, incredible sound almost inspired the crabs in a barrel crowd to get on their heads and get down...someone needed to provide some lino's. Flash brought New York City to Liverpool in a show that was only missing the Furious Five or the Sugar Hill Gang in the flesh because they where present in the spirits of a sensational sound system that played all night long and ended on Grandmaster's grand closer 'White Lines (Don't, Don't Do It)' . Behind Mojo's bar are bold neon letters reading 'Music For The People' and last night Flash provided that and then some. This was a night like no other. This was hip-hop. This was Grandmaster. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 18 November 2011

BOOK REVIEW: STEVE STOUTE-THE TANNING OF AMERICA


4/5

Seeing the light.

To say Steve Stoute is successful is a gross understatement to what this man can actually gross. This marketing genius has made a fortune of turning the fortunes of everyone from Gwen Stefani to McDonalds. This mogul has made it all look so effortless too as he shifted his tie between the music and advertising executive world, suiting and fitting in wherever he's been tailored. Now he tells his story, as well as the history of advertising and hip-hop's influence on modern culture and tastes in 'The Tanning Of America', a book that rewrites popular consensus and how things are done.

This best-seller, great-teller is a bookend of two stories. One being in autobiographical nature of Stoute's career and the development of hip-hop culture in the 'tanning of America' and the changing face of advertising and trends. While the other serves as the perfect business studies manual that would help any young entrepreneur reach their dream step by step. Look at the back of the book to see innovator Chris Gardener's co-sign amongst others (Kanye West and Russell Simmons to name a few). Endorsements don't come much better than from a stock broker that went for broke on pursuing his 'happyness' so well that Will Smith made a career movie out of it.

From telling tales of the make or break history of Coca Cola in all its bubbles to his own personal stories of sipping champagne and smoking cigars with Jay-Z, Bono and Roger Moore this book is rich with volumes of clever creative and inspiring real-life scenarios. It all started with Run DMC leading a sold out Madison Square Garden crowd to all hold up their Adidas trainers to Stoute and Justin Timberlake showing the world how much McDonald's is 'loving it'. Also amazing accounts of how N.W.A. changed and revolutionised the NFL and sports merchandising industry and how LL Cool J got smart with FUBU in a Gap commercial are also attributed.

There are so many more exceptional examples but to reveal more would be to ruin the insightful, discovery nature of this real read. You'll just have to go by the book to see just how well Steve Stoute wrote his own successful life script. Page by page, career move by career move it's clear to see Stoute, Hip-Hop and the modern day mainstream have come a long way and as cultures are brought together by this it's clear we are all the better for it. Anyone wanting the bright things in life need to shed some light on 'Tanning'. It's eye-opening and therefore truly visionary. Make sure you absorb it and take it in. Don't get left in the shade. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

BOOK REVIEW: COMMON-ONE DAY IT'LL ALL MAKE SENSE


4.5/5

Hope from the pages of Chicago.

"Being a poet is a powerful thing".-COMMON

This year this writer embarked on a trip to Chicago a decade and a half in the making. Since 11, since Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and the Chicago Bulls I've been drawn to this beautiful, classic city. Since modern music greats like R. Kelly and Kanye West changed the tides of the Windy City music scene my ear has been lent even more. Over the last decade however one man from this city of Illinois has drawn me in further...even before President Barack Obama. That man is Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.

"The First Emotion I Ever Felt Was Love".-COMMON

Otherwise known as Common. The rapper/actor has really shown us common sense, heart, love and inspiration and influence through his music and lyrics and other work. He has defined rap in the last decade with two positive moving and barrier-breaking albums (the back-to-back 'Be' and 'Finding Forever') that changed the game for the better like his groundbreaking classic 'I Used To Love H.E.R'. Even if he questioned it to begin with, without a doubt the writing of a book was always the logical and meaningful next chapter for this hip-hop spokesman. So here we have it, 'One Day It'll All Make Sense' (named after one of his breakthrough albums), a true to its name story of how everything in life comes together.

"'Be' was a great time in my life as an artist. I felt like I had risen to another level of artistry and fame".-COMMON

Common's story is really one that you want to absorb in all it's inspiration an love. It's the kind of wonderful read that will take you on a journey all day as you strive to take it all in on one, quiet Sunday, coffee shop tour of your town sitting. This book makes for the perfect Christmas present that you just want and need to come early. Legendary writer Maya Angelou is right this is a "magnificent memoir" full of marvellous memories of an amazing life. One that took part in a million man march and saw the election of the first black President. One voice of a race and generation that has seen and been a part of major change.

"What has kept me going through all the struggles I've faced in my life? The love of God. The love of family and friends. The love of hip-hop."-COMMON

As you really turn the pages this book will fill you with laughs, contagious enthusiasm and inspiration, you may also shed tears as Rash sheds light on his life and those he's lost with beauty and poignancy. From his humble beginnings in Chicago to his world-wide success, chapter by chapter of his life is told by Common and his mother Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines in inspiring italics. From feeling the effects of the brutal murder of Emmett Till to meeting another Chi-town icon while being a ball-boy for the Chicago Bulls to his success in music and movies it's all here. From his close brotherhoods with super producers Kanye West to the late, great, legendary J. Dilla (rest peacefully) to the acting advice from forefathers and icons Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman.

"Being an actor has helped me to articulate my feelings with greater clarity and precision".-COMMON

Common even gives light to the loves in his life from singer Erykah Badu to tennis ace Serena Williams as well as the places of the world that have had a profound effect on him from Cuba to China. This book also gives us some funny stories with Prince and insight into his triumph over the Fox News criticisms of his White House appearance. In this frank, honest but fair and considered memoir Rashid also shares his thoughts on his beef with West-Coast legend Ice Cube and his evaluation of his President, truthfully saying; "Whatever Obama has failed to do to satisfy certain people's political agendas has been far exceeded by what he's achieved on the level of our spirits".

"A man knows who he is and has a sense of responsibility for himself, his family, and his community. A man believes in something and stands for it. He does his best to practice what he believes".-COMMON

Each chapter (named after one of his aptly titled, iconic songs including 'Love Is' and 'Retrospect For Life') starts with a beautiful, heartfelt letter to someone in his life from his mother to Erykah, to his younger himself or his unborn son. This personal piece of writing makes for a book that is more than Common's love for 'h.e.r.' or his silver-screen dreams. It's a testimony to God, love, family and positivity, the cornerstones of his successful life. On one of his biggest hits; 'The Corner' this poetic rapper told us; "I wish I could give you this feeling". Well it looks like he finally has. A feeling of life, love, friendship, family and artistic integrity. This is a book for anybody, hip-hop head, movie buff or not, religious or spiritual, single or married with children. This is a book for anyone that believes that being good and gaining ones definition is not a tale of fiction but a story we all write for ourselves. After all that's just common sense. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

"My aim has been to inspire and raise consciousness".-COMMON

ONE TO RECORD: CHARLOTTE ERIKSSON


"I think you have to decide what kind of person you wanna be. Do you wait
for things to happen, or do you make them happen yourself? I believe in
writing your own story."-
Charlotte Eriksson.

These days artists will go through many different routes to get their music heard, forget the prescribed routes. Hit British indie band the Artic Monkeys showed the world how good they looked on the dance floor by getting a number one single and deal off the Internets social networking phenomenon Myspace and now Swedish singing sensation Charlotte Eriksson has done more for her career then move from her home-country to London at the tender age of 19. A brave girl in a new world dismissed the notion of London being the place 'where dreams become suicide' by living her dream directly and forming her own record label and putting out her own releases.

'Broken Glass Records' has seen the release of a smashing debut EP from Eriksson and a sublime single that hit the number 2 spot on the Swedish itunes chart while receiving 40,000 hits on youtube. The song-'I Will Lead You Home'-rose money for Swedish cancer-organization Ung Cancer which supports young victims. It's clear this genuine and graceful individuals incredible and inspiring heart is in the right place. Now one great EP deserves another as 'This Is How Ghosts Are Made' is set to become another spirited release for the young star bound singer this December 5th. Featuring great lyrical and vocal displays of the makings of a fan-favourite, the standouts 'Tell The World' and 'Best Part Of Me' really show the world the great things Charlotte has to offer and how.

She's been all around the world even performing her crazy cool 'Insanity' in the bright lights of New York City on Halloween night. The progression of this 20 year old is straight scary. It's not just this singers poetic and perfect lyrics that are real and raw, so is her hard work, true grit and determination to get her dream. Remember the name Charlotte Eriksson because she's going to be something of great significance in this music industry. One way or another she's not letting her talent or her dream get away from her...or us. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

"Shake up the world. Make them think thoughts and feel things they never
felt before. Leave a scar. I want to go above and beyond what’s expected of
me. I want to do this so well that they can’t take their eyes off me. I
want to be breathtaking."-
Charlotte Eriksson.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

REVIEW: KATE BUSH-50 WORDS FOR SNOW


4/5

A legend returns this fall.

Kate Bush is back...officially. The legendary, iconic British singer returns and it's only fitting she does in the same year Björk comes back. The music industry right now needs the refreshment of two unique, one in a million artists with their one of a kind styles. This is Kate Bush's first full-length album in six years. Sure she released the delightful 'Directors Cut' this year, but that was a reinvention album of sorts of her best work from the classics 'The Sensual World' and 'The Red Shoes'. With '50 Words For Snow'. This 7 track album goes beyond E.P. status to become her second album released off her label 'Fish People' and her first time releasing two albums in one year since 1978. It's clear Kate is back and here to stay.

'50 Words For Snow' is a perfectly themed album for this coming fall but this is no Christmas album, it's much more than that. Bush describes this album as "set against a backdrop of falling snow" and her vocal and backdrop make for a deep, romantic album about love. With this great album Kate Bush slips back on 'The Red Shoes' and shows she's still producing her best work. You can tell this album is something big as Elton John and Stephen Fry are added to the playlist. Things don't get much more legendary or British than this...and we're talking about Kate.

These tracks are epic. The shortest one is only just less than 7 minutes long. This makes this 7-track album run into the hour territory of most full albums, meaning this L.P. stand next to the rest in quantity. In terms of quality however it stands apart in it's own incredibly, unique experimental league. The album begins with the beautiful fall of a song called 'Snowflake', before getting operatic, strange and even more sublime with 'Lake Tahoe' which is as deep and decedent as the place itself, it's that kind of picturesque music.

'Misty' is a another deep and epic track which is atmospheric and draws in the feeling of a Winter's night perfectly. Then the lead single 'Wild Man' tells the story of sightings of the Yeti in the wilds of the Himalayas and is signature, traditional Kate. Even when it gets more peculiar it just feels all the more Kate. It sounds like it was lifted straight from her 80's period. Even today Bush can still record with the best. That's why Elton comes in for 'Snowed In at Wheeler St' that makes for the best British duet in decades and a song that's even better than Kate's classic cover of John's 'Rocket Man'. As the two sing "I don't want to lose you" in unison this is the record fans have been waiting for for years. Finally together on record these two English, worldwide icons show just how good they are together.

Another British icon joins the warm, fall party as actor Stephen Fry lends his words to the album-titled '50 Words For Snow'. Trust this isn't weird, it fits perfectly and Kate once had comedian Lenny Henry lend some awesome vocals to 'Why Should I Love You' off 'The Red Shoes'. This great album closes with the spirited piano of 'Among Angels', a closer as beautiful as the album opener. This all bookends '50 Words Of Snow', a concise, cohesive classic feeling album that brings Bush back into the mainstream music world in which she belongs. We could give you 50 or more reasons why the industry has been missing her sound, but we'd rather give you '50 Words For Snow'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 11 November 2011

STATIC MAJOR Feature-HE MAJOR


Nothing but Static.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

"I stay in the streets, that’s where I draw my inspiration. If it can’t be played in the hood, then it just doesn’t work for me. And nobody can hold me on harmony. My whole aura is not your typical R&B aura." Static Major.

"If at first you don't succeed, you can dust it off and try again." Hear that? Sure you do, it's unmistakable. It's the words of R&B icon Queen Aaliyah, but can you hear that bit of Static on the record? A classic hit sung by the baby girl we've been mourning and missing for 10 years but penned and produced by Stephen Ellis Garrett, otherwise known as Static Major, another late legend took way too short before his time tragically three years back. It's been a long time but the feelings are still raw. Neither of these incredible, inspiring, influential individuals should of left us. His tragic trip to the hospital in February 2008 took his life, still today his life is what we should celebrate. 01/01/11 marks remembrance day and what should have been Stephen 'Static Major' Garrett's 37th birthday. On this anniversary let us not forget this young man who was part of more classics in urban music than most care to remember or would desire to have.

'Are You That Somebody?', 'Come Back In One Piece', 'Try Again', 'More than a Woman,' 'We Need a Resolution', 'Rock the Boat', 'Loose Rap', 'Extra Smooth', 'I Refuse', 'What If', 'Those Were The Days', 'Never No More' and that was just for Aaliyah. Static Major changed the game with Jay-Z (on the song 'Change The Game'), rode Ginuwine's career success by writing the genre changing classic 'Pony' (as well as 'So Anxious', 'Same Ole G' and 'You Owe Me') and made Pretty Ricky stars amongst giving hits to others like Truth Hurts ('Addictive') and Jamie Foxx ('Can I Take You Home'). So many hits, so many credits, but outside of those he worked for and his fans Static Major barely gets or received the credit he justly deserves.

It's simply another example of an injustice in music. The appreciation from some is long overdue like this article or the promised, posthumous album 'Suppertime'. A shelved release that should be a celebration of his life's work and legacy. If released in his lifetime this album would have finally made Static the major star he deserved to be. Maybe fat cat record labels need to listen to hungry fans, it's time for supper. Even the singles looked set to be food for platinum thought. The uplifting 'My Valentine' was sweet and sublime, like the upbeat, motivating 'Till The Wheels Fall Off', the unique and cool 'Bus Stop Breezy' and the undeniable, career song 'I Got My' featuring Lil' Wayne.

In fact 'I Got My' served as the incredible sequel to 'Lollipop'. This cult favourite was set to be a classic like it's predecessor. A predecessor that was written by and featured Static. That's Major living it up like Ja Rule in his day with Weezy F. Baby in a stretch-hummer limo with a bevy of beauties in Las Vegas. Wait to the end of this classic video to see Static get the credit he deserves. In his loving memory the clip serves as a beautiful but tragically poignant moment. The video shows Wayne and Major living it up like the 'Blues Brothers', rocking out in shades and suits. After all these years they finally made it and were deservedly exclaiming it. This video was released after Static's death, it's a shame he didn't get to see it or that of the success Wayne had and he could have.

Still even after his death he gifted Lil' Wayne with his biggest, world-wide, commercial hit. A hit that tuned his career and 'Tha Carter' album series into the most sought-after thing in hip-hop. What a touch of grace from the spirit of urban music. Wayne rightfully and respectfully so recognizes and is thankful and grateful for what Static has done for him. Even if they don't in the record books, 'Lollipop' and 'I Got My' stand next to each other as two legendary licks on a musical collaboration that was so much and set to be even more.

Forget the NBA's hottest stars in Miami for a moment. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh may be amongst basketball's best but the original 'superfriends' belonged in Blackground. Static was just as heroic as his fellow, superfriends and record company dream team. Just like the one in a million Aaliyah, original R&B male megastar Ginuwine, legendary lyrical female Missy Elliott and super-producer and father to it all Timbaland. Aaliyah, Missy and Gin were dominating the pop charts aswell as the urban ones with that signature, unique and ahead of it's time, Timbaland sound, but those signature Static lines helped them all hit big in the major leagues. Own, incredible talent aside this big three owe as much of their careers to Static as they do Timbaland. More was going down in the name of fresh, futuristic beats for the streets however.

Timbaland had his own underrated rap duo with the unique Magoo and Static had his own side-project at the forefront in the form of his own group Playa. Another underrated act who hit big with the R&B classic 'Cheers 2 You'. This group lie Static were played a bit by the masses. They should have been stars as Static even held his own next to Ginuwine on Timbaland's infectious, inspiring 'Joy'. They should have been played more like their biggest hit 'Cheers 2 You'. The album of the same name was timeless and cohesive featuring greats like 'I-65', 'I'll Be 2 C U', 'Ms Parker' with Missy or 'One Man Woman' with Aaliyah which just like Li-Li's own duet with Static ('Loose Rap') displayed their incredible charisma and chemistry. No wonder romantic rumours surfaced, but out of respect we'll leave that there and private like it should be.

From there the work, royalties, Grammy's and Mercedes came rolling in. Just like his incredible contributions that made the 'Romeo Must Die' soundtrack even as good as the Jet Li movie it was from. Static brought the best out of co-star Aaliyah producing some of her most defining songs, all whilst he gave Ginuwine a 'Simply Irresistible' track and got Playa played on the score with their top track 'Woozy'. It's no wonder for a man who has worked with everyone and has even had some posthumous promise with Twista ('Gotta Get Me One'). Static understood how to write hits not just for him, but for others too. This explains why he could write so many hits like 'More Than A Woman' from a females perspective for Aaliyah. He understood more than just lyrics, rhyme schemes, verses, bridges and hooks, he understood the perspectives of others, even the opposite sex.

This is a testament to just how good a writer he is like the legacy of classics he left. Dig through the crates of his tribute mixtape classics and you can find more catchy classic solo songs like 'Speed Of Life', 'Private Number', 'For A Long Time' and 'Good Weather Music' featuring another late great in the form of Pimp C from UGK and some classic, upbeat, energetic lines like, "you never thought I would be more than a gangster" which if properly released would make him stand out loud and proud.

Still regardless of celebrity status, which these days ranges from the overnight to 'over in 15 minutes' Static's body of work is bonafide famous and speaks for itself. Forget that he's underrated, his groundbreaking, pioneering music will never be outdated as it defined a time and change in modern sound. Like Drake on the sample of his new hit ('Look What You've Done') we need to keep Static's memory alive in his beautiful music. The man brought fun, energy, and the understanding of a culture to the mainstream music industry. He goes down in music history as one of the greatest writers and hit-makers of our generation and in urban music all-time. For the record his names there on the record. No more need be said except, Happy Birthday Stephen. We and music as a whole misses you but your work lives on in all its legendary legacy. Rest in peace.

ALBUM SELECT OF THE WEEK: DRAKE-THANK ME LATER


Next week Drake releases his highly anticipated sophomore set 'Take Care'. So let's take it back to last year and one of 'AMPs & 808s' top albums of 2010. After all the build up, guest spots, mixtapes and hype in 2010 all Drake had left to do was live up to everything and everybody. With 'Thank Me Later' the Canadian rapper saved the praise for later and got to work. What resulted from the lab was a physical album that was the biology of modern day rap, displaying great chemistry with the charts and the critics. Drake gave hip-hop in 2010 a commercially viable and versatile album that Jay-Z would be proud of...and he's the best in the game. Shawn Carter also illuminated 'Light Up' for Tha Carters protegee Drake, so hows that for a co-sign. Wayne also readied himself for time inside with 'Miss Me' a Young Money gift that paid off for the fans. Y.M.'s other protegee and breakout star Nicki Minaj also gave Drake a boost on the strong, battle cry, 'Up All Night'. Still Drake shined the brightest on these and every track that the industry was grateful for from this album. From opening, bright 'Fireworks' with Alicia Keys to the final 'Thank Me Now', Timbaland assisted declaration. Drake got 'Fancy' and diverse with his flows with T.I. and Swizz Beatz and with Young Jeezy he truly dropped the 'Unforgettable', with beautiful remembered, reminiscence to the late, legendary Aaliyah. Sure this album was feature, heavy but Drake proved on his own he was the main feature presentation. With the Kanye produced, 'Find Your Love' and 'Show Me A Good Time' to his own 'The Resistance' it was 'Over' for the billboards. This Torontonian showed even in an industry cold to newcomers, he can stand on his own in his position atop the charts and the rap game. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TAPE DECK SHUFFLE


The playlist of our favourite songs this week. 'Side A' features some latest cuts, while the classics make the 'B Side'.

SIDE A

TYRESE-STAY: An 'Open Invitation' to why Ty's latest creation is his best. A slick, trademark, beautiful ballad over sick acoustics.

JOE-LOSING: A winner for the clubs off Mr. Thomas latest good, bad and sexy project.

WALE-MIAMI NIGHTS: The D.C. Rapper takes the talent off his new album to the South Beach club scene in new Vice city.

IDLE WARSHIP-LASER BEAMS: Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli and singer Res stun us with their long-awaited electro-hip-hop debut.

COLDPLAY-CHARLIE BROWN: If you thought this band had made all their classics then you must be barking like Snoopy.

SIDE B

HEAVY D & THE BOYZ-NOW THAT WE FOUND LOVE: What are we going to do without this legend who brought the fun to hip-hop? Rest peacefully D.

THE JACKSONS-PRIVATE AFFAIR: Another late legend who's still sorely missed had a great family unit. Michael's brother Randy takes the lead on this Commodore-esque classic family affair.

ERIC CLAPTON-FATHER'S EYES: Soulful and beautiful. If you wonder why this man is one of the best wonder no more.

LUTHER VANDROSS-DANCE WITH MY FATHER: With Father's Day coming it's getting real fatherly on deck with this classic ode to pops from another late legend. Truly beautiful, truly missed.

GHOSTFACE KILLAH-THE CHAMP: This killer, top five rapper played Liverpool this week but we use this as our final selection to pay tribute to the great 'Smokin'' Joe Frazier. The heavyweight boxing legend we lost this week. Rest In Peace. TIM DAVID HARVEY

FOR THE RECORD: GHOSTFACE KILLAH Live @ Kazimier, Liverpool, England (10/11/10)


4.5/5

His 'Killah' sound is never Ghost.

This writer has to admit, he's a bit of a hip-hop purist, meaning he's a bit of a die-hard Wu-Tang Clan fan, meaning he's a massive Ghostface Killah geek. I've been lucky enough to see Shaolin's finest rapper three times before (two solo sets, and one with the Wu) and this top five rapper who's about to celebrate his 20th anniversary in rap never gets old.

The first time I saw him live I met him and got a photo, the second time I got his autograph and the third time I laughed with him about the first two times and how young I looked on the photo. Still the fourth time was the charm as I took a balcony view on Liverpool's cool, intimate Kazimier venue and just enjoyed another great show from Pretty Toney.

Iron Man showed that despite being in his 40's he can still keep up with the young bucks with an energetic stage presence. With a real steal set, this guys rhymes, swagger and enthusiasm was contagious. He had the crowd jumping around in the cramped, but classic feeling hip-hop venue like it was the House Of Pain. We may have been in The Beatles town of Liverpool last night but it really felt like a New York setting, Staten Island to be exact.

When Ghost came bounding out to rhyme partner Raekwon's 'Criminology' the crowds spirits were instantly raised. As Ghostface unleashed killer track after 'Killah' track the crowd knew and sung it all. He came out swords blazing, from spitting sharp 'Metal Lungies' to encoring the beautiful 'Baby', chorus to chorus, over and over again. While making his way through his classic, ever growing catalogue he declared "I've got too many F$£*$&$ albums", while name dropping the classics 'Supreme Clientele' and 'Bulletproof Wallets' drew speaker busting cheers. As usual he got the crowd involved challenging a young man and women to recite parts of the Clan classic 'Protect Ya Neck'. The man was so perfect he won the respect and admiration of everyone including Ghost, all the young lady could do in response was run off scared. How could she follow that?

Ghostface's setlist also made it's way through his group classics and even he solo songs of his Wu-tang Clan brotherhood. From paying tribute to the late, great Ol' Dirty bastard's 'Shimmy, Shimmy, Ya' to giving the Kazimier crowd another taste of GZA/Genius' 'Liquid Swords' (the GZA was at this very venue months back encoring his classic). Ghost even did his trademark dropping of Marvin Gaye's 'Distant Lover (Live)' classic and showed his passion, love and influence of soul music. Telling the crowd that if it wasn't for guys Like Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke and Al Green he wouldn't be here. While closing his eyes and looking to the sky, classic respect was served as he truly bared his soul.

With Trife Da God and other members of the Theodore Unit hyping him all night and a packed crowd strapped to his every word it couldn't get much better. The stage looked like a cipher, the crowd had a street hungry feel. That was until Killah met Killah and legendary, cult hip-hop icon Killah priest came out as a surprise and this real hip-hop fanatic crowd knew who we was. As he performed his classic 'B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)' this testimony was what the Kazimier faithful wanted to see at the GZA gig. It seems that the Wu-Tang Clan are making a home for themselves in Liverpool like their names were John, Paul, George and Ringo and know one his making himself more comfortable than Ghostface. He's more than welcome. Mi casa es su casa. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

See Also:

FOR THE RECORD: GZA @ The Kazimier, Liverpool

http://ampsand808s.blogspot.com/2011/04/gig-review.html

Review: GHOSTFACE KILLAH-APOLLO KIDS

http://ampsand808s.blogspot.com/2010/12/review-ghostface-killah-apollo-kids.html-killah-apollo-kids.html

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

REVIEW: DRAKE-TAKE CARE


4.5/5

Time to be thankful.

It's a good job Lil' Wayne's talent is out of this world because proteges of top rappers are never this good. Now we all know that Nicki Minaj is on a whole different level but it's Toronto M.C. rapper Drake who is the new poster boy of rap. Not only is this guy Canada's greatest hip-hop artist (no offence Kardinal Offishall, your still a pioneer) but he's climbing the charts of the elite list of the greatest in his genre. This is thanks to his classic debut 'Thank Me Later' and the hype of the mixtapes and 'So Far Gone' E.P. that came before. From 'Best I Ever Had' to 'Fancy' and 'Find Your Love' this popular artist already has hits. Now with his sophomore set 'Take Care' Drizzy Drake looks to take care of business and cement his already concrete solid status. This sublime, second offering confirms this signed, sealed and delivered.

Speaking of which this albums so great, it's good enough for the harmonica of soul legend Stevie Wonder (who's only performed with Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes and Raphael Saadiq in recent years) as the Motown magician sprinkles, tinkles and Blows some magic onto the righteous record 'Doing It Wrong'. In fact Drake credits the wonder of Stevie as a creative director on this deep and decedent, introspective piece that really is some of the most atmospheric and thought-provoking mainstream hip-hop we've heard in years. Time to dim the lights and turn up the headphones, this is getting real and personal, or should we say real personal.

Drake really did take his time with 'Take Care' and that's why we need to celebrate this quality in full by appreciating the 'Birthday' edition (or deluxe itunes offering) of this epic set. Drake recorded a lot for this piece, recruiting every one from The Neptunes to Q-Tip to produce music in his Toronto studio. Drake even abandoned an eagerly anticipated all singing, all R&B mixtape (featuring the TLC of his cult hit 'I Get Lonely Too') to focus on his next project. A lot of hit singles came buzzing from all this creativity, including the deep, dark drunk text devotion of 'Marvin's Room' (which is as soulful as a hip-hop Marvin Gaye), the stop-press 'Headlines' and the big, expensive, head in the clouds hit 'Dreams Money Can Buy'. Even a leftover from the cutting room floor ('Trust Issues') turned into a hit for DJ Khaled ('I'm On One'). This is due to Drake's incredible rhythmic flow which makes most of his versatile verses sound like bridges, choruses or hooks. More of this rhythmic prose reels us in on this L.P., hook, line and competition sinker.

This ladies man gets down with his darling Nicki on 'Make Me Proud' on a latest single which should certainly provoke an emotional response of that kind from Young Money manager Lil' Wayne (who himself appears on 'The Motto' the anthemic 'HYFR (Hell Ya F#@%$^*' Right)' and the big three man strong 'The Real Her' which features lyrical legend and spotlight outcast André 3000). The title-track of this album also features old-flame Rihanna as the two heat up from the magic of last years smash hit 'What's My Name', with another shining dance-floor spotlight highlight.

From the chilling intro of 'Over My Dead Body' (featuring Chantal Kreviazuk) you can feel the seriousness of Drake's killer rhymes. Sure this is a moody piece at times, but this thoughtful record shows that this man is no emo like some have mocked. With his inner introspection's we are genuinely given something real. As this man wears his heart on his sleeve he plays his best hand. This refreshing brand of hip-hop is something we can all drink to, just like 'Shot for Me'. 'We’ll Be Fine' (which is more than), the spiritual 'Lord Knows' (featuring a terrific Rick Ross testimony) and the flashes of brutal brilliance on 'Cameras' are more snapshots of this tremendous albums tone and tenor. 'Look What You’ve Done' Drake with songs like this and the perfect 'Practice' your hitting all the right notes and themes.

The rapper makes drunken talk about women sound classy and his own flaws sound cool with a 'man-enough' honesty (delve deeper into the brutally bold bonus 'Hate Sleeping Alone') which ups a somewhat weak-willed, modern mainstream game of hip-hop. Drake claimed his first, brilliant album was rushed (it was still great) but on this second go-round he gets focused to a needle point of fine rhyme precision. He really does take time and care here for our consideration. It's time we afforded the same on his best work to date. 'Take Care'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

REVIEW: R.E.M.-PART LIES, PART HEART, PART TRUTH, PART GARBAGE 1982-2011


5/5

R.I.P.R.E.M.

Fans of one of the last, great, decade spanning rock and roll bands can't believe it, or at least refuse to (I know I do). R.E.M. are really going to sleep with the rapid eye movements and calling it quits. Rolling Stone called them 'the best band in the world'. These nice guys certainly and genuinely where and now they finally finish last, shaking hands and outlasting all their peers over the years. Now another 'Greatest Hits' package is expected, but this is the mother of them. 'Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011' shows the bans humility, honesty, humour and most importantly heart-filled hits. Just under 30 years of classics are brought together for 40 tracks over two tremendous discs, essential for die-hard, to new born fans.

From the independent 'I.R.S. Years' to the latest and last tracks from the band, the new and old are brought together seamlessly on an epic but cohesive set. This coda to their career is as classic as their tremendous tenure. This Warner Bros. music release is such a soundtrack to many generations it's cinematic. This band need a film like Pearl Jam. They defined the expansion, growth and now the nostalgic love of the nighties. Step forward Spielberg. From the bands first 'Gardening at Night' outing off the 'Chronic Town' E.P., to the last devotion of 'Oh My Heart' off this years formidable and final album 'Collapse Into Now' it's all here, loud and clear.

'Everybody Hurts', 'Man On The Moon', 'What's the Frequency, Kenneth?', 'The One I Love', 'It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)', 'The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite', 'Shiny Happy People', 'Losing My Religion', 'Nightswimming', 'Electrolite' and 'Orange Crush' can all be heard too from a band that have too many classics of not just theirs, but modern music itself to remember all in one go. This is where this definitive guide comes into play. Merging classic albums of the early days (like 'Fables of the Reconstruction' and 'Life's Rich Pageant' (which was honoured with it's own 25th Anniversary special this year) to the peak time of 'Out of Time' and 'Automatic For The People' and beyond to the later greats of 'Up' and 'Reveal' to make a catalogue collection that makes this collective stand out, showing as a band they really had something more than the rest.

'So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)', '(Don't Go Back To) Rockville', 'Fall On Me' and truly the 'Finest Worksong' help show new fans just how defining R.E.M. Where in their early years. While the likes of 'Bad Day' (although originally recorded for 'Pageant' we learnt this year), 'At My Most Beautiful', 'The Great Beyond', 'Imitation of Life', 'Leaving New York' and the wild energy of 'Living Well Is the Best Revenge' show the old heads that Stipe, Buck and Mill still had it. If that isn't enough than there is always the serious and significant new single 'We All Go Back to Where We Belong', the most-high 'Hallelujah' and the strong-end of 'A Month of Saturdays' to finish this compilation and the bands collection.

This really is a definitive package of one of the worlds most defining bands but to get to know one of the greatest bands better you really have to go beyond the hits. The depth and dignity of a trio that embodies these qualities to the letters of the words of their songs are really found in the individual albums. This is no sales pitch, this really is how it is for a band that has a classic for an album. You can't quantify decades of definition into a double disc (besides it's criminal that more tracks from the incredible 'Up' aren't in pride of place here, I mean 'Daysleeper' was a huge hit regardless). It will come to die-hard fans creating their own compilations, mixtapes and playlists, but still this stunning set will more than do. What won't is what we'll do now the last disc of the band that saved rock and roll music is pressed and released. Now that's a cut. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

REVIEW: IDLE WARSHIP-HABITS OF THE HEART


4/5

Time to worship these idols.

You have to love a super-group that works and comes true. Legendary Brooklyn M.C. and rappers rapper Talib Kweli formed a group with Philadelphia neo-soul singer Res in 2008. They called this group Idle Warship and with former member (Toronto rapper Graph Nobel) they released a darling of a debut mixtape for free ('Party Robot') featuring some stunning singles ('Screamin'', 'Black Snake Moan', 'Steady' and 'Fall Back'). Now three years after their inception the duo who have collaborated on many classic Kweli songs before since his 2000 debut ('Too Late', 'Where Do We Go', 'We Got The Beat', 'Soul Music', 'Everything Man' and most recently 'Back Again') finally release their long-awaited and anticipated debut album 'Habits Of The Heart'.

You have to love 'Habits'. Experimental hip-hop soul that haters will hate and lovers will...well you get it. This is Lucy Pearl with balls and rhymes. The die-hards are going to go nuts. It's not hard to tell that these two top stars are on the top of their respective games. They're last two independent albums (Kwe's 'Gutter Rainbows' and Res' 'Black.Girls.Rock') furthered the two individual talents, showing just how much they stand alone and stand out. Now together they reach all new heights. From the Latin loving 'Enemy' opener to the classy, crazy closer 'Driving Me Insane' or the up-top, hot 'Burning Desire' for those itunes aficionado's.

The lead single 'Laser Beams' furthers the lightening strike of this energetic, Electronic dance, electrohop duo. For 40 relentless, rap and R&B revolutionary minutes the pair get stuck into the 'Habits Of The Heart' with a knife and fork like the woman on the albums artwork. Covering all genre bending, envelope pushing bases the pair hit-hard on the decks of clubs with 'The Floor'. From the praised 'God Bless My Soul' to the fast-paced, city slicking 'Rat Race' and the gorgeously good 'Beautifully Bad', the pair rock over guitars, soul and funk.

When this collaborative effort features more guest spots this album comes together all the more completely. Kay Cola rocks like Incubus on 'Are You In', while Jay Knocka goes hard on 'System Addict', but once again it's Kweli's rhyming partner Jean Grae that steals the show, showing she really is a super-talent to marvel at. Frequent collaborators Chester French and John Forte make record assisting dreams come true on 'Covered in Fantasy'. 'Katya' is another shining, creative gem featuring Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child. All throughout this album it's clear this rapper and singer were meant to be together. From Talib Kweli's intelligent, complex, classic, put together lyrics to Res charismatic, classy and sultry singing after all these years lying idle on record company shelving this Warship is finally ready to set sail...and what a maiden voyage. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

REVIEW: WALE-AMBITION


3/5

From 'Ambition' to achievement.

D.C. rapper Wale hasn't been in the public eye for long, but the Washington rapper is looking to get presidential with his ambitious sophomore release. Besides this is a hip-hop star who's released two mixtapes with themes from hit, classic comedy show 'Seinfeld' ('The Mixtape About Nothing' and 'More About Nothing') and managed to get Lady Gaga on one of his records when other top rappers couldn't. Now with more 'Ambition' comes Wale's latest.

From the albums latest self- titled single (featuring Meek Mill to Maybach Music label leader and Wale signer Rick Ross) to the former 'Focused' release featuring the growing talent of Kid Cudi this really is a determined effort for greatness and it all buzzes and blooms like the lead single 'Lotus Flower Bomb'. More explosive heat can be heard from South Beach on the club-ready 'Miami Nights' which is ready to really get the party going. The albums intro 'Don't Hold Your Applause' really demands an ovation from this 'Double M Genius' who's showing flashes of brilliance and 'Legendary' qualities.

Wale stands proud and firm footed with some worthy credits next to his A-list guest starring on this album. He holds Atlanta singer Lloyd on hook hostage with his velvet smooth verses on 'Sabotage', while his 'so sick' rhymes keep the cool feel on 'White Linen (Coolin')' with R&B leading man Ne-Yo. More ambitious effort is seen and heard on 'Slight Work' with raps latest and greatest newcomer; the Kanye West certified Big Sean. Rick Ross features again with Jeremih on 'That Way' but Wale still leads. He also doe his city proud on 'D.C. Or Nothing' as Sam Dew also shows he's something too.

With fresh kinetic beats and an energetic, passionate flow Wale shows more fulfilled promise going from raw talent to a bonafide star in 16 bars. Unlocking his potential Wale treads the fine-line between underground and mainstream styles without falling off the tightrope. From his hard working 'No Days Off' Twitter hash-tag campaign to the actual song itself to the rattling hit sound of 'Chain Music' Wale laces the hip-hop genre with more tight rhymes. Looks like he'll be tied down in the studio for even more in-demand music in the future. Ambition fulfilled. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TGT (Tank, Ginuwine & Tyrese)-'THE GIANT THREE'


In 2011 R&B is about to get real grown.

By Tim David Harvey

Rhythm and blues music is all about heart, devotion and soul. It's all about 'Sex, Love & Pain', 'The Life' and powerful music like '2000 Watts'. It isn't about, auto-tunes, disrespecting women or basic things like clubbing and drinking. It's about the finer things in life. It's about those intimate moments with that special person. It's all about love. It's about partnership.

With the group TGT, you have the perfect partnership. R&B's big three like the Miami Heat in basketball. Instead of LeBron James, Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh however we have Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank, three grown men, moving units and females hearts. Three of the realest singer/songwriters and even producers of their generation. Sure label pains have made the birth of this supergroups debut more than overdue, but that hasn't stopped these hard workers grind. From Slim Thug features to remixes and unreleased gems these solo acts have kept it moving and as for their own projects, it only gets better.

Tank dropped his latest, greatest, 'Now Or Never' just this last fall. While 'Elgin' came out around Valentines. In-between films, Tyrese isn't being left out either as his 'Open Invitation' has made it an open season for classic R&B this year on the historic 11/01/11. 2011 is about to button up, shape up and look real grown. So if your sick of all this watered down, throwaway pop, R&B that dominates the charts, take three of these and call the request line in the morning.

T is for Tank. Once underrated, now celebrated like his big collabo with Drake. From penning and producing hits from everyone from Marques Houston to Jamie Foxx, it was about time that this unselfish talent was given the Hollywood treatment. He really is a problem...in a good way. When 'Sex, Love & Pain' was released the industry was blessed with an R&B album that covered every aspect from 'I Love You' to 'I Hate You'. Tank really brought a battalion of hits. He should have got the Grammy. He heated up with 'Coldest' and married himself to pushing the concept envelope with his incredible 'Wedding Song'. If R&B was missing a true voice, dun, dun, dah, it arrived. The man with the superman physique, became an R&B hero to marvel at.

Tank followed his classic with another great album to close out last year. 'Now or Never' is still heating up the R&B and mainstream charts like it's single 'Emergency'. Once again Durrell Babbs resuscitated R&B from it's state of alert with an album to save those late night playlists. Now the acclaim comes as Tank and R&B are far away from situation critical. Writing, singing and producing, Tank is involved in the whole process of his work. Now with that degree of study to music, how could you deny and not dedicate your time to this guy? Now the songs keep coming and Tank's phone keeps ringing. He went for his with a 'Now & Never' outlook and this is his moment. Don't forget it.

G is for Ginuwine. The genuine article when it comes to R&B singers. He's a legend. He brought the dancing before Ne-Yo, before Chris Brown, before even Usher. FACT! A superfriend years before LeBron took his talents to South Beach. With his family of Missy Elliott, Timbaland, the legendary Static Major (R.I.P.) and Aaliyah (Rest in peace and happy birthday baby girl), G made some of urban music's most classic and timeless records. Music hasn't been the same since. Sorry Nelly Furtado but 'Pony' is Timbo's most original, freshest song, still to this day and it's all G. Sorry Justin but nothing sounds as good as 'Tha Bachelor'. Even after G has given '100%' and so many classic L.P's, as 'The Senior' in the game he still remains one of the most underrated talents in music.

One thing that is certain, is that he is one of the best. Sure the Timbaland collaborations may be getting as slimmer as the producer himself these days (but who knows what will come over the next few 'Thursdays') but Elgin Lumpkin's style and substance have evolved and matured even more over his career. Just check out the tracks 'Love You More' or 'I'm Still In Love' to see his devotion. Ever since 'The Senior', Ginuwine has gone 'Back To The Basics' and showed every true, real aspect of 'A Man's Thoughts' with countless quality numbers over the last decade. G has continued his run of hits and rich, deep album tracks, getting real personal on Valentines Day with 'Elgin'. Elgin Baylor went all classic like his Los Angeles Laker namesake with the perfect soundtrack for the most devoted holiday of the year, provide a disc full of 21 and older, love songs like the 'Heaven' sent first single or the coldest cut 'Frozen' and the single 'Break' which brought the whole album together. 'Elgin' is another classic in the G man's catalogue.

T is for Tyrese. Ever since the kid with the big smile and an even bigger voice stepped on the bus and sang about a soft drink the hard work and thirst for success hasn't stopped. From his self-titled debut to his big hit movie with Snoop Dogg, this 'Baby Boy' has really grown. He's a bonafide actor and singer whether with his 'Four Brothers' or the other two letters that make his music group. Ty really advanced far with 'I Wanna Go There', and the smash hits, 'How You Gonna Act Like That' and 'You Don't Give A Damn About Me' that opened the album. Still it was the double disc, rap and R&B set 'Alter Ego' which really displayed this mans multiple talents. With his rap personality Black-Ty, Tyrese moulded himself into a legit rapper and confirmed himself as a real triple threat. As for the R&B, Black-Ty still got down, making some of his best music with 'Come Back To Me Shawty', 'Gotta Get You' and the standout single, 'One'.

Even Lady Gaga and Beyonce can't stop this man. Pick up the telephone and go tell somebody about this guys inspirational characters on Twitter and his great book, 'How To Get Out Of Your Own Way'. Tyrese is crafting himself another career as an incredible motivational speaker. Still he hasn't forgot about music, even in-between his further, great support of the awesome 'Fast & Furious' and 'Transformer' franchises. Between chrome and robotics you've see Mr. Gibson line the silver screen this Summer but a new albums here too this fall. Thanks to his fans tweets we've received an 'Open Invitation' to what Ty's got in store from the studio. From the hot club record 'Too Easy' (with fellow 'Fast', petrol-head Ludacris) to the sublime 'Stay', 'I'm Home' and 'I Miss That Girl' this album is fast, furious and set to transform the game.

It's no coincidence that these three men joined forces a couple years back. Thanks to their versatile and focused talents they are on a real hot streak in their own respective works. As if their careers weren't great enough already, coming off their greatest albums the big three are about to add more perfect projects to the resume. All that's left now is for their record companies to get it together and release this group out of music, politics purgatory, because with the legend Ginuwine, Hollywood's Tyrese and music's master Tank, TGT have every ingredient of real R&B. Now isn't that a recipe for success? Time to say bye, bye to fast food R&B and rewind and take it back to some classic talent. Get your tape decks ready and let 'em play.