Dear Barack, Here Are Some Song Recommendations Based On Your Favorite Songs from 2017

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Dear Barack,

First off, thanks for sharing your favorite songs of 2017.  You have such great taste, and I think we could be best friends.  Your probably pretty busy enjoying retirement, so I decided to give you some music recommendations based on some of your favorite songs from 2017.

Since You Liked: “Wild Thoughts” by DJ Khaled ft Rihanna and Bryson Tiller

You’ll Like: “Run Me Dry” By Bryson Tiller

What’s great about “Wild Thoughts” is the fun, international sound.  Instead of the Spanish sound of “Wild Thoughts” you get more of an island sound with “Run Me Dry.”  But it features a similar fun groove to dance to and has Bryson Tiller who was on “Wild Thoughts.”

Since You Liked: “Butterfly Effect” by Travis Scott

You’ll Like: “Ex Calling” by 6lack

Barry, you’ll get that trap sound that you like in “Butterfly Effect.”  The also have similar rap cadences on these songs. However, with “Ex Calling” you’ll get more of a cohesive story line about the turmoils of an ex.

Since You Liked: “Chanel” by Frank Ocean

You’ll Like: “Loose” by Daniel Caesar

Both songs have the similar “stream of consciousness” lyric style. Frank is talking more about the duality that exists within gender and sexuality, while Caesar is talking more about letting go of an ex. Production wise Caesar was definitely influenced by Frank Ocean.

Since You Liked: “Rise Up” by Andra Day

You’ll Like: “Thank You” by Kehlani

While “Rise Up” is about tenacity during adversity, “Thank You” is about appreciating the people who have been around you while your were going through growing pains. Both have a positive message about solidarity and the evolution of a person.

Since You Liked: “Havana” by Camila Cabello ft Young Thug

You’ll Like: “I’m A Fan” by Pia Mia ft Jeremih

“I’m A Fan” is a great song that was buried in all the music that came out in 2017, but Pia Mia’s babydoll voice is a bit similar to Camila. Also, they both share a fun beat, with “Havana” being more Cuban and “I’m A Fan” being more Caribbean based.

I hope you like my recommendations. I made a Spotify playlist for you for easy access to the songs below. Please keep in touch and give us some more of you favorite songs. Maybe touch base in the summer?

Sincerely,

freshpairofiis

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Seven Best B Sides of 2017

At the end of the year, we usually highlight the hit singles of 2017 as our favorite songs. While “Location” and “Bounce Back” were definitely bangers, we definitely need to give roses to great songs that weren’t singles. Below are the best B Sides of 2017, hidden gems on albums that just didn’t make it to radio as official singles.

“Get It Together”-Drake ft Jorja Smith, More Life

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Do all the little things, little things, little things
That excites me
As your woman
Give me a kiss goodnight
Over the phone
When you’re working late
When you’re out of town

It’s funny that one of Drake’s best of the year barely features Drake; he is only on the chorus. English singer Jorja Smith is basically asking for her lover to not be trife and for them to get their shit together and make the relationship work. Drake tried several times to mix Euro club music and island sounds on More Life and this was his most successful attempt.

“Personal”-Kehlani, SWEETSEXYSAVAGE

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I got good heart, good soul, good sex
No stress, next for me is best
Don’t you run your mouth ’cause in this song I say it best

No pun intended, but I personally love this song. All cheese aside, the recurring theme of SweetSexySavage of independence and growth through pain was most prominent on this song, becoming one of my anthems of the year.

“Wild Irish Roses”-Smino, blkswn

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It ain’t no Backwoods on this side of town
Wanna ride with me to get some more?
Pick a couple of Wild Irish Roses

“Wild Irish Roses” was my favorite introduction track of 2017 because it set the tone of the album perfectly. The casualness of the Backwoods, the Wild Irish Roses and making a girl feel like she’s the only one there ran throughout the entire album.

“Don’t Get Too High”-Bryson Tiller, True To Self

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Damn shawty, you know love not the same way I do it
I’m the only drug you need to get you through it

Of course the beat goes hard on this song, but I love the contradictions of the lyrics. He’s asking this woman not to do all the things he himself does (getting high, partying, being selfish). It is a party song which is really an examination of the male’s mind.

“Let’s Go”-Khalid, American Teen

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Can you feel this energy?
This is the start of something great
We might… be a little late… hey
Hey, but at least we’re on our way

While “Young Dumb and Broke” was too pop of a follow up to the R&B heavy, “Location,” “Let’s Go” was the obvious next step in Khalid’s journey. It’s laid back attitude about the future gives the youthful vibes of “Young Dumb and Broke,” but maintaining Khalid’s brand of woozy R&B.

“Inspire Me”-Big Sean, I Decided.

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My mama’s the man of the house
Mama you too good for them men
Even dad, you too good for him

Big Sean is known for having his signature inspirational song on each album (I Decided. had “Bigger Than Me”). However he also included an ode to this mother which is the best song about a mom since Kanye’s “Hey Mama.”

“Delicate”-Taylor Swift, reputation

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Just think of the fun things we could do
‘Cause I like you

While non singles “Dress” and “Getaway Care” are getting the most attention off the album “reputation,” “Delicate” needs to get its due. What’s best about this song is its simple lyrics.  Its not a complicated story that only Taylor could tell, it is just about a girl liking a guy and not wanting to reveal too much to scare him away, a position that everyone has been in.

Check out all the songs in the playlist below.

Most Underrated Albums of 2017

It is the end of 2017 and thank God. With all the craziness of this year, it was great to find solace in my favorite thing, music. Despite a troubling climate around the world, we at least had some great music to at least provide some sort of distraction. And while we listened to popular albums like Kendrick and Jay Z, some albums didn’t get the limelight they deserved. Below are my favorite underrated albums of 2017.

Kehlani-SweetSexySavage

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This album is basically my best friend in music form. It understand me, it sympathizes with me, it listens to me, doesn’t think I’m crazy. SSS is about the journey of a woman being comfortable with herself and balancing love and independence. It is about leaving the shell of pain that you have been used to and being comfortable with loving yourself. Its also just a really fun album and empathizes every adjective it is named after.

Favorite song: “Personal”

Smino-blkswn

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I first discovered Smino last year at a Redbull SoundSelect concert and become obsessed. I fell in love with the with the mix of rap, funk and gospel and it felt like each week since it came out in March I’ve discovered a new aspect of the album of the like. It just such a textured album that doesn’t fall sort on lyrics or productions. This album also motivated me to see Smino live three times this year, and with the live instruments and his voice, I would pay good money to see him numerous more times. I’m excited for what’s to come next.

Favorite song: “Wild Irish Roses”

They: Nü Religion: Hyena

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I feel like me liking They. shows that you should actually read those press releases that people in the industry are hounded with because sometimes it is actually really good stuff. I got a press release with They.’s music back in 2016 and I only gave it a chance because I heard the name before since They. had opened for Bryson Tiller earlier that year. I feel in love with the song “Deep End.” Fast forward to 2017 and once their debut album came out I was a huge They. Stan, getting super early to their concert to be in the front row and singing along to every song. What’s great about this duo is that they don’t make any shortcuts in their lyrics or productions, and knowing that the end product is fully created by the group is amazing.

Favorite song: “Deep End”

In Celebration of Drake’s 31st Birthday, Let’s Highlight His Francis and The Lights Collaboration “Karaoke”

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Before Chance and Francis became “Summer Friends,” Drake and Francis sang “Karaoke.” Back in 2010 on Drake’s first album, Thank Me Later, Drake had a song produced by Francis and The Lights called “Karaoke.”  To this day its still one of my favorite Drake songs. The unique production and sound of the song was something you never heard from Drake. The melancholy of the lyrics and Drake’s hollow voice definitely takes you to the sad, regretful place that the song is about.

Francis was asked by Drake’s camp about making a song after Francis was invited on tour with him. After trying a few different tracks, he eventually gave Drake the “Karaoke” track that he had made for himself.

While Francis and The Lights went on to do great work and also collaborate with Kanye and Chance, I still hold a special place in my heart for “Karaoke” and its on of my favorite Drake deep cuts. What is yours?

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.

 

 

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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