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Friday, 31 August 2012



Back To School.

Tyrese Gibson does things BIG! The singer/actor is without a doubt the hardest working man in all of entertainment. The franchise star of 'Transformers' has recently been on location in London filming 'Fast Six', the latest in 'The Fast & The Furious' franchise which is leaving other action films in the rear-view coughing up dust. If that wasn't enough the driven star has wrote a New York times bestseller ('How To Get Out Of Your Own Way') and is currently revving up the book 'Manology' with Rev Run of legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC.

As if that wasn't enough the 2 million followed man on Twitter has much more coming through the feeds. We haven't even begun to talk about his music. The singer/songwriter has teamed up with fellow R&B legends Ginuwine and Tank to form the supergroup TGT who have a new album for the new year which-with all due respect-could even send acts like Boyz II Men back to adolescence. Tyrese's own latest ('Open Invitation') was his biggest yet, coming last fall with the scorching singles 'Stay', 'Too Easy' featuring 'Fast' partner Ludacris riding shotgun and so much more soul.

The classic 'Open Invitation' was Tyrese's first album since the huge 'Alter-Ego', where Gibson doubled up on discs showing his R&B side and mega-hit 'One' on one and his rapping side on the other. With songs like 'Fly Away', 'Roses', 'Roll The Dice' 'Ghetto Days' and more Tyrese's rapping alter-ego Black-Ty showed he was no gimmick or side-project. Alongside West Coast greats like Kurupt, Snoop Dogg and The Game the Watts City jugganaut showed he was and remains the real deal. Now if ruling the record stores, film reels and bookshelves wasn't enough Black-Ty is back with 'Invisible Bully-The Lost Tapes'. A free mixtape which is worth so much more. Want genuine, generous talent? Then how's over 50 new tracks for your iTunes megabytes? 50 Cent may aswell be here too, because everyone else is. Everyone who is part of the who's who of hip-hop and R&B are on the honor roll call of these lost tapes. A half century plus three set of three figure percentage tracks.

Rick Ross, Kanye West, Robin Thicke, Snoop Dogg, Akon, R. Kelly, T.I., Busta Rhymes to name a few...and THE legendary Stevie Wonder help showcase the rap and R&B sides of this man. Taking transparent rappers back to school on the 'Invisible Bully' mixtape Tyrese sees through it all. Its a Black-Ty affair so its time for the competition to smarten up. 'Switching it up', Black-Ty gets cake with Cassidy while giving more imagination and depth to Snoop, Dre and D'Angelo's 'Imagine' and Busta Rhymes 'Been Through The Storm'. Kurupt is back with his fellow Californian while Black-Ty even features himself on 'Press Release' and more. Read and listen all about it Black-Ty is the only rapper in the game that can get the best R&B singer on his hooks on demand...himself. DMX, Bishop Lamont and the legendary Ice Cube are also on call for some formidable features.

Choice classics off Black-Ty's 'Alter-Ego' album, 'Ghetto Royalty' mixtape and Tyrese's 'Open Invitation' round out some more rap/R&B urban sound for the mixtape record. As do some brilliant B-Sides like the Brandy featured 'Rest Of Our Lives' which amazingly didn't make 'Invitation' and great big remixes of 'Fireworkz' and 'Stay' (which sounds like an entirely new song with Faith Evans and Rick Ross making one of those classic remixes of a classic). Great freestyles over Jay-Z hits, 'The Watcher' and California classics like 'Boyz N Da Hood' (with Beanie Sigel and Freeway) make this free tape a reel worthy expanse set for the multi-million star of the film reels, showing he can stand in the mic booth with the best. Even remixes like the top TGT feature on Slim Thug's 'Let Me Grind', the TGT remix of Tank's classic 'Please Don't Go' and Ty's cult favorite remix of Kanye's 'Say You Will' make the 808's bounce here.

The majority of this iPod filling tape is original, but even when Ty freestyles over other peoples beats he still keeps it fresh. Like his 'Lost With Guns' socially conscious concept over Jay-Z's 'Lost One'. There are even some beautiful ballad B-Sides's from Tyrese's singing side like 'I Aint Tryna' and the 'You Put Up With Me' (which hits you right away as being just as great as his award worthy feature on late West legend Tupac Shakur's 'Never Call You Bitch Again') that thankfully make the tape instead of the albums they should have. Like any great rapper does Black-Ty even remixes his own classic featuring himself as Tyrese's 'One' gets a ghetto face-lift with 'You're The Only One', Method Man and Mary J over Marvin 'All I Need' style. It's clear to hear the 'Baby Boy' breakout star is on top, West Coast form like 'Baby Girl' featuring Glenn Lewis.

Classic after classic, 'Bully' man-handles the game. Its clear to hear 'Invisible' reopens another chapter of this mans career. This is the ultimate tape for Tyrese fans and followers and as his friend and rap mentor Kurupt rhymes with him on the freestyle 'Change The Game' you can tell Black-Ty is doing exactly that. Its about more than the features though...its about him. Tyrese Gibson isn't just a great singer as well as an actor, he's a great, legit rap star too. Now let's hope his alter-ego makes it on his next album, (especially if its a double disc). Or an album of its own, because Black-Ty is an artist in his own right. What does 'rese have left? (Update: apparantly 4 more formidable tracks just for you) TIM DAVID HARVEY.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012



Orange is the color.

If you watched the throne with Jay-Z and Kanye West last year you will have been introduced to the next great R&B songwriter Frank Ocean. He was all over the album like unconventional samples, book-ending the classic with hooks that lined and made the incredible tracks 'No Church In The Wild' and 'Made It In America'. The spirited talent who has ghostwritten for the likes of Brandy, Justin Bieber, and John Legend is more than the new Ne-Yo with a matrix of talent. He is the one. Still it was his work with OFWGKTA that have given this guy a future as well as the magnificent Stanley Kubrick referenced, directed mixtape 'Nostalgia, Ultra,'. Frank recently wrote an open letter on his Tumblr about having feelings for another man when he was 19. It was a bold, brave and beautiful move in an industry that has been accused of being homophobic and shows just how much courage this strong, young man has. Now after all this hype comes the biggest and most, hotly anticipated album of the year...and it's worth the buzz.

Tune in to 'Channel ORANGE' because to be Frank this kid has Oceans of talent. The genre traversed traveler explores themes of electro and jazz-funk, psychedelic pop/soul music while presenting us with a relationship diary record complete with interludes and intrigue. The imagery on this vivid sonic piece is in bloom for the singers boom time. We've been excited for this album ever since Ocean revealed on the great 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' he was no longer tiding us by by releasing it early. The lead single 'Thinkin Bout You' is one of not just the best R&B, but the best overall singles this year for mainstream minds. As soon as the lyrics "A tornado flew around my room before you came/Excuse the mess it made, it usually doesn't rain/In Southern California, much like Arizona/My eyes don't shed tears, but, boy, they bawl" kick in over the snares you know this kids going to be a huge star.

Just like the Cleopatra referencing second single 'Pyramids' which really is a wonder switching atmospherically between guitar and sax and Prince influences as the artist known as Orange goes deep and decadent. Ocean gets even more lyrical with lines like "The jewel of Africa/What good is a jewel that ain't still precious?/How could you run off on me? How could you run off on us?/You feel like God inside that gold/I found you laying down with Samson and his full head of hair/Found my black queen Cleopatra, bad dreams, Cleopatra", before repeating "working at the Pyramid" over building beats. It's late night, Las Vegas haunting and the best thing this album has to offer apart from the out of this world, Neptune, Pharrell production collabo of the beautiful 'Sweet Life' and the albums real highlight.

"Too many bottles of this wine we cant pronounce/too many bowls of that green no lucky charms/the maids come around/too much parents ain't around enough/too many joy rides in daddy's Jaguar/too many white lies and white lines/super rich kids with nothing but loose ends" starts the lyrical and beat addictive classic 'Super Rich Kids' with a well worn feature from Earl Sweatshirt. This is the self introspective, shallow others scathing classic that is the anthem for socially-conscious youth. As Frank gets real frank singing "Real love/I'm searching for that real love", you're right there with him wondering in amazement.

It doesn't end there. Organic musical interludes like 'Fertilizer' help this album grow as does an incredible incremental break from guitar hero John Mayer ('White') extending his own legend. The diamond cut of 'Sierra Leone' and the meaning mined on 'Not Just Money' is truly inspired. 'Lost' is a real find while 'Monks' and the cinematic 'Forrest Gump' keep this album running and running like 'Crack Rock' and 'Pilot Jones'. This laid back, chilled at times, slow burner gets real big and bold to close with two top collabos after the heaven sent, thought-provoking 'Bad Religion'. Industry friend Tyler, The Creator helps the shine of 'Golden Girl', while hip-hop legend Andre 3000 gives another one of his classic feature presentations on 'Pink Matter'. Still, even with raps like "By dinner Mr. Benjamin was sittin in awe/Hopped into my car drove far/Far’s too close & I remember/My memories no sharp/Butter knife what a life anyway/I’m building y’all a clock stop" it's Frank Ocean that stands out above one of hip-hop's biggest stars. The man that could have made himself an outcast has declared himself to the world and made himself outstanding. There's no skipping or channel-hopping with Orange. Ocean is in control now leaving the competition remote. This kids more than watching the throne...he's made it in America. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



Igniting bright Springsteen sonnets.

Jersey boys The Gaslight Anthem have had quite the six years. Forming in the latter part of the last decade, Brain, Benny and the two Alex's have made their native New Brunswick, New Jersey proud with hard-worked, relentlessly cultivated, albums after albums and tours after tours since their debut 'Sink Or Swim'. With shades of Springsteen and a co-sign from Bruce himself these Boss inspired boys really made their mark with the hallmark, uplifting 'The '59 Sound' and two years ago their album after their groundbreaking release was no disappointment either. 'American Slang' spoke volumes so loudly and proudly, the fresh feeling record doesn't seem like it was released two years back.

Still it was and now two calender 365's later means it's time for another release and the new album 'Handwritten' is exactly their signature that further engraves their post-30, young legend. With the Nets gone to Brooklyn it's time for these players to put the city of Jersey on their back. With liner notes written by England's Nick Hornby and great lyrics from top, young frontman Brian Fallon, this bands script looks ready for the personal touch as they further imprint their musical personality on the minds of the mainstream. '45' is the perfect record and lead single to start things off. The uptempo, rags to riches, feel-good number is classic igniting Gaslight. It's their new anthem. Good enough for BBC Radio 1's s Zane Lowe's 'Hottest Record in the World' pick.

The album-titled 'Handwritten' is another example of great songwriting from the palms of Fallon, while the 'Romeo + Juliet' esque, titled 'Here Comes My Man' keeps the amps blasting for star-crossed rock lovers. 'Mulholland Drive' is as vivid as the place in Los Angeles, and the film named after itself. It's classic, cinematic and the type of record that seems primed for Hollywood. Yet it's a blue-collar, labor of love from a band who "work our fingers down to dust". And just like those lyrics off the magnificent 'Mae' or the emotional pouring of 'Too Much Blood' and the screams of 'Howl' this is an album and band who give until it's gone. Acknowledgment to Ben Harper.

'Biloxi Parish' is heaven sent and 'Desire' is undeniable but this band really take themselves to the classic places of their last two discs with a couple of standouts that are far from album filler. A real find is 'Keepsake'. A real keeper this is the kind of instant classic that as soon as you hear the first time it'll have that nostalgic, deja-vu feeling of being something you've known for years as soon as you hear Brian sing "It's been 31 years since she's been in your arms". That's before it becomes the new record you can't stop playing until it becomes old favorite that is. It only gets deeper and realer with lines like "What we could have had here if you would had upon in my life/And there were children involved and they were brothers to me/Even if we never got to meet" and beauty like "But just like his daddy is gone/I just want to love someone who has the same blood, who has the same blood."

"I will never forget you my American love" begins the end of this album. The anthem's last chant is the 'National Anthem', a patriotic laudation that speaks volumes for band and country even if it is a slow-burner. It's a classic ballad like their previous two albums best efforts 'Here Looking At You, Kid' (off 'The '59 Sound') and 'We Did It When We Where Young' (off 'American Slang'). With this and some bonus tracks in the form of Nirvana and Tom Petty covers and some 'Teenage Rebellion' and 'Blue Dahlia' this bands latest album is right there with the rest of their best works. With their classic, consistent, cohesive catalogue, 'Handwritten' underlines this band as on of the modern-day, mainstreams leading acts. How proud must Bruce Springsteen be? Signed, sealed and delivered brilliantly 'Handwritten' continues the story of a young band, making their own lasting legacy. It's clear to hear their here to stay. The anthems wont stop until the gaslight burns out. TIM DAVID HARVEY.