[R&B] Beyonce’s Surprise Album Drop on iTunes

Beyonce

Can we just talk about something real quick?

Let’s first talk about the fact that Beyonce just released an album at 12am on Friday, December 13th – with NO HYPE. No publicity, no stunt, no warning, no build up… no nothing.

No one knew that Queen B was about to drop a bomb as arguably one of the best – if not THE best – albums of 2013. No other musical artist has done this, “this” being one of the smartest “campaigns” for an album release. The rest of Hollywood is probably shaking her head right at this moment…

After the album drop, Queen B stated, “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it, I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”

Along with this surprise album, Beyonce gives fans a list of 17 tracks to bounce too – including a music video for every track. This is probably B’s greatest holiday gift ever. Here are some of my favourites:

1. Rocket

2. Yonce / Partition

3. Mine ft. Drake

4. Blow

5. No Angel

Full of confidence and sass, Bee really amped up the sexiness on this album. You can also get a sense that Jay-Z lent a hand to Beyonce on the self-titled album “Beyonce,” with tracks like “Drunk in Love” (which features Jay-Z) where B takes a shot at spitting her own rap game.

While the hype around the surprise album release was starting to sky rocket in the social realm, Beyonce casually uploaded a picture of cupcakes on her Instagram. The girl didn’t even blink at the millions she just made overnight. And all she’s sayin’ is “H-Town vicious, bow down bitches!”

[RnB/Soul] “Lady” – D’Angelo

D'Angelo

It’s been a long time coming – 13 years to be exact – since D’Angelo released one of soul’s (or music’s for that sake) sexiest sounds. It’s also been over a decade since the soul and RnB singer disappeared when getting caught up in a series of unfortunate events.

BUT. Michael Eugene Archer, better known D’Angelo, is making his return to the RnB and neo-soul scene. After a 13-year hiatus, D’Angelo is making his way to Toronto’s Sound Academy this coming Friday, May 31st (get tix here!). Needless to say, this post is dedicated to the countdown until I see him light up the stage.

“Lady,” featured on his debut album Brown Sugar, is my favourite D’Angelo track – it’s smooth, sensual and slow, the epitome of good soul and RnB music. It’s the type of song that’s best mixed with a scrumptious dinner, a smooth glass of wine and sitting beside a significant other. Ladies, this one’s for you!

[Downtempo] “Radio Retaliation” – Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation

It’s Monday, people. I know you’ve had long day at work, coming straight out of the weekend, making it that much harder to have patience for than the rest of the week days. But it’s almost over, and what better way to let is pass than some slow, laid-back, ambient music? Enter my all time favourite downtempo/electronic group, Thievery Corporation.

I was first introduced to Thievery Corp by my senior year Communications professor at Western (go Mustangs!) and he immediately went from 3 to 10 points (out of 10) on The Cool-ness Scale. He liked to play music before class started, and in came “Radio Retaliation” with its heavy, reggae beat and bass – I almost had to stop myself from throwing the lighters up. True story.

From this song, I became a huge fan and began listening to the rest of their tracks. I even met up with one of the members at SXSW in Austin, Texas while studying there and basically hogged the DJ booth with my friend so we could party with TC. Hashtag #groupies!

If you’re into lounge sounds with strong international vibes and influences (mostly Spanish and African sounds), this is right up your alley. Here are some of my favourite tracks, so hopefully you’ll enjoy them just as much as I do:

1. Lebanese Blonde

2. Originality

3. Lemon Tree

4. Habanos Days

5. Until the Morning

Happy Monday peoples!

[Pop] “Dress On” – Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake

Ladies and gentlemen… he’s baaaaaaaaack!

After 7 (very) long years of hibernation, Justin Timberlake has finally made his much anticipated come back. With the release of “Suit & Tie” earlier this year with the one and only H.O.V. (aka Jay-Z, my man), it is one of many to-be hits off the 20/20 Experience album.

Although there was some backlash about “Suit & Tie” not being “Justin-enough” with too much of a different, new/old school mix, this next little diddy should reaffirm your faith in the true Justified experience.

So wait until you hear “Dress On.” This is actually a bonus track off of JT’s 2013 album – and it will take you back to the days of Future Sex LoveSound, where you’ll hear a good amount of influence from his side kick Timbaland. It’s the type of JT/Timbo combination that will make you say “ahhhhh, now that’s the real Justin that we know!”

A few words of warning: be prepared to be seduced.

[House] – “Wakanda” by Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike

wakanda

I’m sorry peeps, but this post has been long overdue. It’s been two weeks since Swedish House Mafia‘s One Last Tour – which I attended twice because, well, you know, YOLO – and I wanted to dedicated tonight’s content to house music.

I’ve been on a house/dance/electro streak now since those two nights of intense fist-pumping and head-banging and can’t find another song than “Wakanda” that better expresses this experience.

House enthusiasts Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike created this epic track. The song (and the image) reflects the rhythms and sounds originating from tribes of the Northeastern African region. Add a hard-hitting bass and tribal beats to the mix and you’ve got one sick house hit. Eh ai ee nene…

[R&B] “That’s The Way Love Goes” – Janet Jackson

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That’s The Way Love Goes is my all-time favourite Janet Jackson hit. It’s a slow, sensual, R&B jam that’ll get you in the mood for love. There isn’t really much to say about this song because it speaks for itself. Personally, I think this is old school Janet at its finest…

Like a moth to a flame, burned by the fire…

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone ❤

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUOkg4jFNus

[Reggae] “Goggle Remix” – Tanya Stephens

Tanya Stephens

With hits like It’s a Pity, These Streets and Boom Wuk, Tanya Stephens has made herself a name for herself as one of Jamrock’s queen reggae artists. She is no doubt a bad gyal, straight outta Jamaica.

Goggle, her 1997 release, was remixed and made that much hotter using Busta Rhymes‘s Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See rhythm. It has the bump n’ grind beat – if you wanna get down – and speaks to women who shouldn’t pay mind to guys who just want to fool because they’ll tell their guys friends after the fact. Or at least that is how Urban Dictionary translates the lyrics.

So ladies, if you’re going to do anything good for yourselves, “gal yuh never goggle.”

[House] “Sweeter Love” – Blue Six

jay_denes_460x212

I’ve only recently been introduced to the ‘deep house, down tempo’ music of Blue Six and I’m only sad I haven’t been listening to them sooner!

Blue Six, produced by Jay Denes, plays a mix of house, soulful pop and smooth jazz, which might often remind you of lounge music – and their 1998 release “Sweeter Love” expresses just this. You might even find yourself singing along with the “ah ah” parts – or maybe that’s just me?

[Soul] – “Boa Sorte” – Vanessa da Mata & Ben Harper

tructruc

If you love soulful Brazilian music, then you’re in for a treat.

Boa Sorte, meaning “good luck” in Portuguese, is actually a song about a breakup but it is sung beautifully by Brazilian artist Vanessa da Mata and Canadian musician Ben Harper.

What I love most about this song is the Brazilian influence that is subtly added to the soft, soulful vibes. While Vanessa lends her own idiosyncrasies to the creation, Ben translates every word. So don’t worry, you won’t get lost in translation:

E so isso / That’s it
Nao tem mais jeito / There is no way
Acabou, boa sorte / It over, Good luck

Nao tenho o que dizer / I have nothing left to say
Sao so palavras / It’s only words
E o que eu sinto / And what I feel
Nao mudara / Won’t change

This has to be one of my favourites from both artists, so I hope you enjoy!

[R&B] – Leon Haywood vs. Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Leon Haywood

Leon Haywood, an American funk and soul musician from the 60s and 70s, created a piece of genius called I Wanna Do Something Freaky to You. It was so popular that many artists have ripped off the same tune to add to their track resumes, including Mariah Carey’s You Had Your Chance, Redman’s Rockafella and many more. Here’s Haywood’s smooth single from 1975:

Probably the most popular remake is the gangster-infused Nothin’ But a G Thang by Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. Besides the change from Haywood’s sexy yet subtle lyrics to Snoop and Dre’s more explicit (and less romantic) gangster rap, the flow remains the same but with a little more hip hop in the mix. It’s like this and like that and like this and uh.

What’s your take? Do you prefer the original Haywood version or the rap and rhyme of Snoop and Dre?

p.s. Did y’all see that baby dancing in the video?