Drake, one of the best rappers alive, has a huge effect on the R&B genre

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A few weeks ago, in the iTunes Spotlight section which features albums based on a theme, I saw that the current offering was titled “Spotlight on Post Drake R&B” and included such albums as  DVSN’s “Sept. 5” and Majid Jordan’s “Majid Jordan.” It was interesting to see a rapper being highlighted for his effect on R&B, but if you take a look at his career, he has been an R&B artist from the start.

Drake had been putting out mix tapes since 2006, with “Room For Improvement” and his 2007 followup “Comeback Season.”Both these mix tapes had elements of R&B  mixed with his raps.  For example, “Room For Improvement” included a sample of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour.” “Comeback Season” sampled Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love.” “Comeback Season also yeiled the music video and single “Replacement Girl” featuring R&B singer Trey Songz.

Drake’s delved deeper into R&B with the first single for “So Far Gone,” the mix tape the propelled him into the mainstream. With “Best I Ever Had,” Drake went back and forth with his delivery style, singing and rapping the chorus of the song. Many songs on the mixtape featured him exclusively singing, such as the song “Sooner Than Later.” With this mix tape, which acted as an offical introduction of Drake to the hip-hop world, Drake showed that he was a multi-genre performer who was not going to choose one lane.

With Drake’s official studio albums, he was known to release both R&B and rap singles. His debut studio album “Thank Me Later” included the R&B single “Find Your Love,” on top of the rap singles like “Miss Me” and”Over.”  He was featured on R&B songs singing, like Beyonce’s “Mine.” and even wrote R&B songs like Jamie Foxx’s “Fall For Your Type.”

It was not just the delivery that was different with Drake. The subjects matter was different.  Drake music was able to touch on more sensitive topics like family, unrequited love and mistakes, topics that weren’t traditionally talked about in a vulnerable way in rap songs. Drake propelled what Kanye started with 2008’s “808s and Heartbreak,” showing that rap arists can be vulnerable and sing.

Other artists have been influenced by Drake. Bryson Tiller, an R&B singer, frequently raps on his songs that are rooted in soul music. PARTYNEXTDOOR, an artist signed to Drake’s label OVOSOUND, also mixes rap and R&B.

While Drake is not to first to mix the two genres, he was the first artist to build his career with this angle from the start. It will be interesting how he approaches this on his new album, Views From the 6, which was just released on April 29th.

Check on some of Drake’s best R&B songs below.

 

3 reasons why Beyonce’s surprise album should be of no suprise

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When Beyonce released her sixth studio album, “Lemonade,” after the HBO event of the same name, people were surprised that she released a new album. However, it was pretty obvious that she was going to release a new project for the past few months. Here is 3 reasons why Beyonce’s “Lemonade” move was very obvious.

  1. She finally gave an actual interview: After Beyonce’s September 2015 Vogue cover story came out and did not include any actual quotes from Beyonce, people wondered if she actually still doing interview. Her publicist told the New York Times that she hasn’t answered a question to a publication in over a year, and many attribute it to the infamous elevator fight between her husband, Jay Z, and her sister, Solange at the 2014 Met Gala Ball.
    However, Beyonce appeared on the cover of ELLE magazine’s May 2016 issue where she gave an actual interview about her athleisure line, Ivy Park. Although this was seen as publicity for her forway into fashion, the fact that she was willing to do an interview showed she was in publicity mode for major projects, not just Ivy Park.
  2. She announced a tour: Did you really think Beyonce was going to go out on tour to support the “Beyonce” album again? She has already had two tours to support that album, the 2013 Mrs. Carter Tour and the 2014 On The Run Tour with Jay Z. When she announced the Formation Tour after releasing the song and video with the same name and her Super Bowl performance, it was obvious she had a cannon of new music to perform.
  3. She’s done this before: In fact, she practically invented this move. For her last album, “Beyonce,” she set the new standard of surprise releases by dropping it on iTunes with no single back in 2013 with a video for every song. She’s even done the whole visual album thing back in 2006 by releasing a video for every song on her second album “B’Day.” Most artists give little to no notice of an album release date, and Beyonce is no different.

 

[Photos] Lukas Graham and Daye Jack at Double Door

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Lukas Graham and Daye Jack made their Chicago tour stop at Wicker Park’s Double Door with a sold out show. Daye Jack, a Nigerian rapper who released his debut mix tape “Hello World” from his dorm room at NYU, opened the show with songs from that mix tape and his 2015 EP “Soul Glitch.” Daye Jack had loyal fans at the show, but also won over a new crowd with his socially conscious raps and his music’s production, which is influenced by both soul and electronic music.

Lukas Graham, a band from Denmark fronted by Lukas Graham Forchhammer, are known for their pop-soul music. Their single “7 Years” which broke them into the U.S. scene, has peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The band opened the show with a slow, somber song “Better Than Yourself,” but then built momentum with songs like “Drunk In The Morning” and “Take The World By Storm.” The momentum built led to an all out rager when the band jumped around along with the crowd to “Strip No More.” They closed out the show with “Funeral” where Lukas talks about how he wants his funeral to be a celebration of life. After having the crowd begging them to come back, band came back to play “7 Years” and “Happy Home.”

Lukas teared up at the end of the show, saying that this has been the best night of his life and that Chicago has been the loudest crowd. The show was extra special for him because he has flown his mom out to see the concert, so he smiled with sheepish pride while bowing to the crowd.

Check out pictures and stream both of their albums below.

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Photos by Ariana LaBarrie/Fresh Pair of ii’s

Skylar Grey releases video for new single “Moving Mountains”

Skylar Grey has made a name for herself in the hip-hop world for the better part of a decade. She has earned Grammy nominations for her collaboration with rap artists. She was a writer for “Love The Way You Lie,” the Rihanna and Eminem song that received a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year and Best Rap Song. Her collaboration with Dr. Dre and Eminem for “I Need a Doctor” earned her nominations for Best Rap/Song Collaboration and Best Rap Song. She has also been a featured artist for many hip hop heavy weights songs, including T.I., Diddy and Nicki Minaj.

Following her previous solo projects, the albums “Like Blood Like Honey” and “Don’t Look Down,” she has released the single “Moving Mountains.” The video, filmed in Utah, where Grey now calls home, has the well known collaborator solo, attacking a snowy mountain climb on her own. Grey soulfully sings about going with the flow and living in the moment.

It will be interesting to see what direction Grey goes next. While this track definitely has a folkish vibe to it, I wonder how inspired she will be by her new home in Utah, or if she will continue the hip-hop collaboration that she is known for.

You can check out the video for “Moving Mountains” below and also listen to a playlist of her most popular collaboration.

[Photos] Kweku Collins celebrate release of Nat Love with release party and concert

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Evanston, Illinois’ own Kweku Collins released his debut LP “Nat Love” on Apr. 8 and had a party to celebrate at Reggie’s on April 15. Performing tracks off the LP, which he produced himself, he had a large group of fans who already knew every word. Taylor Bennett, who is featured on the track “Vanilla Skies” also made a surprise appearance to sing the song alongside Collins.

Check out pictures from the show and stream the LP below.

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WGCI celebrates The Morning Takeover Anniversary with Takeover Jam Concert

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Some people celebrate anniversaries with cake, WGCI celebrates with a concert at the historic ChicagoTheatre. In celebration of the one year anniversary of WGCI’s radio show The Chicago Morning Takeover Show with Kyle, Kendra G, and Leon, WGCI held The Takeover Jam with Yo Gotti, K. Michelle, Kevin Gates, 2 Milly, TK & Cash and Zoey Dollar.

Several of WGCI’s top songs were played live, including 2 Milly’s, “Milly Rock” and TK & Cash’s “3X In a Row.”  These opening performances got the crowd ready for the headliners, Kevin Gates, K. Michelle and Yo Gotti.

The crowd went crazy for Kevin Gates, who after putting out mix tapes for years released his debut album “Islah” this January. Playing songs from both his mixtape catalog and studio album, the crowd knew every word.

K. Michelle represented R&B  with her set, that included some of her classic songs like “Can’t Raise a Man” and “V.S.O.P.”  She also sang songs from her latest album “More Issues Than Vogue.”

Yo Gotti closed out the night with songs spanning his entire career thus far, from his earlier mixtapes to his current album, 2016’s “The Art of The Hustle.” He finished the show with his single “Down In The DM,” which has hit number one on Billboard’s Mainstream R&B/Rap Charts.

Check out pictures from the night below.

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Photos by Ariana LaBarrie/Fresh Pair of Iis.

Tinashe postpones international dates for her Joyride tour

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Photo by Ariana LaBarrie

Tinashe announced that she will postpone the international dates for her Joyride tour. She released the following statement on her Facebook:

It is with a heavy heart that I come with the news that due to unexpected recording commitments I need to postpone my upcoming international tour. Originally, I had planned this tour in support of Joyride, and as you know, the album has yet to be released.

My two biggest loves are music and my fans, and it is never my intention to disappoint anyone. I know there has been some confusion in regards to my album’s release date. Trust me, I am as eager to get it out to you as you are to hear it. I will be wrapping up the finishing touches on Joyride by the end of May, and will be back on the road shortly thereafter to see all of you. If you know anything about me, you know this was the last thing I would ever want to do.

I know there will be a lot of questions about this. I am going to do a live Q&A on my Facebook tomorrow to answer them all. Stay tuned for more info on that.

Thank you for your love, support and patience always. It means the world to me.

xo
Tinashe

During the live Q+A she answered fans questions. One fan asked “I thought the album was already finished and you were just waiting on the label to release it? Pls come back to Melbourne soooooon” to which Tinashe answered “it was finished, but “we” felt it needed a couple more songs.” Her answered made many people wonder if she is having issues with her label and if they are delaying the release of her album. Tinashe previously stated that the Chris Brown collaboration for her first official single off the album, “Player,” was the label’s ideas, not hers.

Hopefully Tinashe will be able to release her album soon. She recently was announced as a main stage lineup for the Hot 97 Summer Jam.

You can see pictures from the Joyride Tour’s Chicago show here. You can also read a review of the show here.