Shea Serrano Names The Most Important Songs of 2015-2017 in his Reddit AMA

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Shea Serrano, my personal King of Twitter and the leader of the FOH Army, did a Reddit AMA to promote his new book, “Basketball (And Other Things).” A Reddit user asked him if he could add additional years to his book, “The Rap Yearbook,” (it only went up to 2014) what songs he would choose from 2015-2017. His choices were:

2015: Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”
2016: Desiinger’s “Panda” or Migos “Bad and Boujee”
2017: Possibly Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow”

Interesting choices for most important song. I read the book, so I know its essential to have the argument to support the choices, and while I agree with 2015 and don’t have a decision on 2017 yet, I think I would pick Chance The Rapper’s “No Problem” for most important song of 2016. Chance showed that an independent artist can exist and have mainstream opportunities without the backing of a label.  Also, this song and artist did influence the Grammys to change the rules allowing streaming albums to qualify for nominations.

 

 

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Before Insecure, Frank Ocean was the soundtrack of a Gossip Girl episode

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Insecure has been dropping Frank Ocean lyrics in every episode of Season 2, but this isn’t the first time that Frank Ocean has been featured on a TV show. Back in 2012, during the finale season of Gossip Girl and after the release of his debut album, Channel Orange, Frank Ocean’s music was featured on the popular show.  This was the first and only time a Gossip Girl episode featured music from only one artist, and the first time Frank Ocean  music was featured on television.

The songs that were featured were “Super Rich Kids,” “Lost,” “Sweet Life,” “Pyramids,”  and “Thinkin ‘Bout You.”

Check out a playlist for this episode below:

What is your favorite Gossip Girl moment? What is your favorite song from Channel Orange.

Every Color of Chance The Rapper’s ‘3’ Hat So Far

At Sunday’s Video Music Awards, Chance wore the yellow hat of his signature ‘3,’ adding another color to the collection. It was previously featured in his Teen Vogue cover shoot, but this was the first time he wore it out in public.

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Let’s take a look back at all the colorways of the hat so far.

Early 2016-Black

Chance traded his Sox hat for the 3 hat around the time he announced he was releasing “Coloring Book” in early 2016. This color option is also featured on the mixtape cover.  The hate is available online.

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August 2016-Khaki

Chance premiered the khaki color around the time of the 2016 Video Music Awards, to match his khaki overalls.  He has continued to wear the hat on many occasions.

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September 2016-Red

Chance premiered the red hat during Beyonce’s 70s theme birthday party. This hat has been in his rotation since, including being in the “Same Drugs” video.

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February 2017-Orange

Chance wore the orange hat for the photo shoot for the “Thank You Obama” clothing collection.  It hasn’t been apart of his hat rotation since.

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May 2017-Light Blue

The light blue version premiered around the time of the “I’m The One” video. This hat has been worn frequently and is available online.

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May 2017-Yellow

Chance wore the yellow hat for his Teen Vogue cover shoot. It made a reappearance at this year’s VMAs.

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August 2017-Hunter Green

While announcing that he was giving out free State backpacks at the Bud Billiken parade, Chance wore this hunter green version for the shoot.

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What is your favorite color of the hat so far?

Today Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin” celebrates its 17th Anniversary

Jay Z’s, “Big Pimpin” was released 17 years ago today.

The last single from Vol. 3: The Life & Times of Sean Carter, this song got the Making The Video treatment. It was shot in Trinidad during Carnival.

This is my favorite Jay Z songs of all time.  The fun lyrics.  The cadence.  The beautiful music video and its use of white in contrast to the color of Carnival.  This song was the introduction to the opulent rap that Jay would soon be known for.

This song is also named the best rap song of 2000 by Shea Serrano in The Rap Year Book.

There was actually a lot of drama behind this song. As discussed in this article, Pimp C originally did not like the beat, and refused to travel to be in the video. Jay Z also said in his Decoded after reading these lyrics, he regretted some of the lyrics.

Despite all of this, still one of my favorite songs. Check out the video below.

Two of Ariana Grande’s Victorious castmates reunited at her Forum show

There was a mini Victorious cast reunion at The Forum stop of her Dangerous Woman tour by having past castmates Leon Thomas (Andre) and Matt Bennett (Robbie) hang out backstage for the show.

These two have always been supportive of her music career. Bennett was in her “One Last Time” video and Thomas was a producer on her debut album “Yours Truly” and on her EP “Christmas Kisses.”

Check out the pic of them back together below.

Elijah from “Girls” reminds us of our favorite fallen star of a show, “Smash”

During his audition for the musical interpretation of “White Man Can’t Jump,” which I would love to hate-watch, Elijah decided to sing “Let Me Be Your Star” for his audition instead of his original choice of a song from “Newsies.” His rendition reminded me of this gem of a show. Yeah, the actual story of the show didn’t make sense after a while, but the music of “Smash” was always amazing. Also, it introduced me to Leslie Odom Jr. from Hamilton so another win for this show.

Check out Elijah audition below and check out a playlist of the best songs from Smash.

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Rihanna’s “Umbrella” celebrates its 10th Birthday

“Umbrella,” the first single off Rihanna third album “Good Girl Gone Bad” celebrates its 10th birthday today. And that song is the definition of a love hate relationship in music to me.

“Umbrella” was the song of the summer in 2007 and I heard it at least a million times a day. Keep in mind, this was before Spotify, so it wasn’t like I was choosing this song on purpose. I couldn’t it avoid it. The remix with Chris Brown. The Mandy Moore cover that was featured on The Hills. I couldn’t avoid it. Still to this day, I don’t purposely play that song.

However, this song did mark the transition where me, and basically everyone else, fell in love with Rihanna. She had two successful albums before that. “Music of The Sun” and “A Girl Like Me” had hit singles. “Pow De Replay” “S.O.S” and “Unfaithful” were big songs. But with “Umbrella,” Rihanna showed that she didn’t need some formula anymore. She cut her hair. She was sexual, yet owned her sexuality. “Good Girl Gone Bad” spawned so many hit singles that is showed the popular of “Umbrella” wasn’t a fluke. Rihanna basically didn’t make a misstep since “Umbrella,” so even though I loathe that particular song, glasses up to celebrating 10 years of Rihanna being flawless.

In celebration of his birthday, a celebration of Justin Bieber’s most underrated album: “Journals”

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Bieber celebrates his 23rd birthday today, March 1st and while we can talk about all of his shenanigans, I rather be positive and think of his best work.  And while his last album “Purpose” was nominated for Album of The Year and this year’s Grammy, I actually think his best work is the unsung hero, “Journals.”

Many people don’t even remember this album. It is more or less a compilation of singles that he released at the end of 2013 on “Music Mondays” for ten weeks in head of the release of his film “Believe” on iTunes each week, with a few extra songs. The songs didn’t sound like any of his other pop heavy stuff that he released before with “My World” and “Believe.”  It was R&B influenced, moody and probably his most personal album to date. Fresh off the break up with Selena Gomez,  Justin moaned about heartbreak and regret over beat reminiscent of R&B slow jams. He wasn’t on the 2015 mindset of “Love Yourself,” he wanted Selena back and made it really clear on songs like “All That Matter To Me.”

While his sound was completely different, he did include his obligatory rap features, however, even these had a different approach. On his song “Confident” featured Chance The Rapper.  Keep in mind this was 2013, the same year he started to gain recognition with his mix tape “Acid Rap” but was no where near the mainstream success that he would have years later. Bieber showing that he had his ear to the streets edged him up a bit more.

His record company did not like the new sound, and plans for a physical release of the music was scratched. The album was only available digitally until it was released on vinyl in 2016.

Despite negative opinions, “Journals” was a turning point in Bieber’s career. He eventually experimented with other type of music, which I think makes “Purpose” his most diverse musical project.  To me, “Journals” is his strongest, most intimate work.

“Where the bangers at?” The issue with quick Twitter responses to new albums

Pigeons and Planes put out a video that shows the inner fight of listening to new music in the social media age.

We’ve all seen this on Twitter, when an album drops or leaks, people are quick to respond that its either garbage or a classic, before they have time to live with it, or even listen to the complete album. These quick opinions have definitely made me biased when listening to an album, and even a bit arrogant when I like a album that is being trashed on social media. As Evil Jinx says “they’re sheep…they aren’t smart enough to get it.”

There are plenty of albums that after a first listen I have one opinion and some time later, after its been integrated into my life a bit, I have a different opinion about it. For instance, last year, I wasn’t really a big fan of Rhianna’s “Anti” the first time I listened to it. After all the hype building up to it, I was a bit disappointed, and only really liked the single “Work.” But a few months later, a friend was playing the album, and I had a new perspective on it. Songs grew on me that I didn’t expect. For instance, “Close To You,” which can’t be described as a “banger” is such a beautiful, heartbreaking song.

I feel like you need to really sit with an album before you can give a definite response to it. I believe if you aren’t willing to listen to it three months after it was released, its probably not that great. But what about the necessity of album reviews coming out quickly? Well I do still understand that they need to come quickly, and having a strong opinion, negative or positive, does bring traffic to the site. But they should be taken with a grain of salt for those exact reasons. But when it comes to your own personal soundtrack to your life, understand that it takes more than 16 minutes to create an opinion.

Kehlani’s most empowering lyrics so far

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Kehlani might change a lot of things about herself, such as her hair or her body with tattoos, but one thing is consistent with her, her empowering and unapologetic lyrics.

In anticipation for Kehlani’s debut album, “SweetSexySavage” being released Jan 27, I decided to highlight a few of Kehlani’s most empowering lyrics.

Alive

We were in so deep
We could barely tread
But now I found a way to heal myself instead
And damn I feel alive

The Way

Baby boy, you gotta be the dopest
Gotta be to fuck with the coldest

CRZY

If I gotta be a bitch, I’ma be a bad one

Running

But I say she’s a keeper if she got it on her own and keeps it runnin’

Unconditional

I’m far from perfect, nothing even close
But that’s what makes me beautiful, that’s something you should know
I’m not looking for someone to tell me how to row my boat
So let me live and let me learn I promise we will grow