Tag Archives: jay-z

New Music: Drake Recruits Kanye West and Jay Z for “Pop Style”

BY TER STAFF

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Drake surprised many this morning as the 6 God took to Twitter to drop two brand new records. First was his Wizkid and Kyla collaboration ‘One Dance’, but even bigger was Drake’s huge and unexpected collaboration with “The Throne”. Titled ‘Pop Style’, Drake recruits Kanye West and Jay Z for his hot new record. Not only is this an all-star collaboration, but this one is sure to get a ton of play.

The records aren’t yet available for streaming to download ‘One Dance’ and ‘Pop Style’ now on iTunes.

Continue reading New Music: Drake Recruits Kanye West and Jay Z for “Pop Style”

Throwback Thursday Review: Jay Z & Kanye West | Watch The Throne

Watch The Throne.jpg
BY EVAN VOGEL

Luxury Rap. This is what happens when two of pop-culture’s most identifiable and revered artists come together to make an EP that vibes so well it soon becomes a full length album debuting at hotels, museums and planetariums alike. Jay Z and Kanye West have long been in the public’s eye, whether for their music or more personal affairs. The success stands them on an elevated podium from which they are able to peer down and establish or destroy trends so the rest of us can go on living our lives thinking we are cool. Not a bad place to be. For us mortals, we remain grounded and are coerced by images of grandeur into doing the one thing they want us to, Watch The Throne.

This album is a success no matter how you look at it. Commercially, it has sold nearly two million copies and it contains enough of each artist’s handiwork to sonically ascertain their legacies. The production is where this project shines through most aptly. Each track is lush and expansive with an army of top producers attached to the credit list. This may very likely be the album with the most expensive and creatively used samples ever. From the entrancing Indiggo Twins sample on ‘Murder To Excellence’ to the ridiculously awesome and soulful chops of Otis Redding’s voice used on ‘Otis’, nothing is in its proper place, and thank the lord because it sounds fantastic.

The scope of the project is gigantic. Take the opening track for example, ‘No Church In The Wild’ verifies Jay and Kanye’s refusal to relinquish the control of their lives to any God. It’s harshly funky synths isolate their raps and twist Frank Ocean’s vocals into a dark chant. They take time to do a little of everything on this project. Reflecting on their rocket-like ascension to success on ‘Lift Off’ couple the undeniably fun braggadocio that Kanye and Jay make sound so good with a very catchy Beyonce hook. It starts with enough brass wind instruments to take you back to ‘Touch The Sky’ era Kanye.

Lyrically, the album and duo sounds best when they are boasting about their success or poking fun at white corporate America on ‘Gotta Have It’. They aren’t afraid to layer in some socially conscious talk about being a good father, the struggles of black women and women’s image in society in general. But right when you start thinking about how much fun ‘Otis’ and ‘Niggas In Paris’ were a few tracks ago, one of the album’s best instrumentals and some of the most memorable bars are dropped on ‘Who Gon Stop Me’. The synths sweep across the electronic/house backdrop and the verbal pacing is veteran if anything.

To put it simply, this album has everything that we have come to expect from these two master class musicians; expansive lyrical artillery, uncontainable energy, production that manages to root itself in history yet be ‘in the moment’ and forward thinking all at once. It gives us all this and so much more in the form of playful camaraderie between the two. While they have worked together countless time before this album was even a thought to them, something about the process they underwent while creating this project churned out very gratifying results. It is the Kanye and Jay Z album we all needed and definitely the one everyone deserved.

8.8

Throwback Thursday Review: Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter | Jay Z

Jay Z Vol. 3
BY EVAN VOGEL

Rest easy Hova. Your song is safe. You may have 99 problems but a court case ain’t one.  A verdict has finally been reached on the copyright infringement case over chart-topping 2000 hit, ‘Big Pimpin’ was tossed by the presiding judge. So what better way to celebrate than by looking at the entire album in question, Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter. Dropped mere days before the turn of the century in 1999, Jay Z invigorated the 2000’s before they even started.

Taking on a much more sinister and lethal persona than the previous two entries in this album series, it brings his hustler mentality to the forefront. He has clearly reached a point of success within the rap game by now and it affords him the opportunity to compare that lifestyle with that of a successful drug dealer. Starting off with a little well deserved “rap god” likenings in the introduction, we get an idea of how Jay looks down on the direction the industry is headed. Then, Jay rides a bouncy yet ominous piano arrangement accompanied by some classic DJ Premier scratches on ‘So Ghetto’. He may have topped the radio charts countless times, but the murderous lyrics remind us that Jay is not too far removed from his Brooklyn lifestyle.

Jay clever uses the metaphor of a court case to explain his unprecedented rise to the top of the rap game. Separated by the interjections of an MTV reporter, his verses come across as testimonies to the appeal his music has and how he is simply a successful product of Brooklyn’s systemic violence and poverty. A central theme becomes apparent in the form of how a young black gangster from “that off-limits part of town” all suburban kids grow up hearing about, came to make it even with every imaginable obstacle impeding his path. It’s a success story disguised as gangster music.

The album has some of the most overlooked production of Jay’s entire discography. The Mariah Carey assisted Swizz Beatz track, ‘Things That U Do’ has some of the most expertly implemented flute whistles that provide a smooth surface for Jay to lay what may be his most rhythmically articulate lyrics to date. The back to back Timbaland produced joints, ‘It’s Hot’ and ‘Snoopy Track’ incorporate his mastery over the electronics as Jay steps into new territory behind the sound of intensely distorted synths.

By the time we reach the song in question, Jay has cleverly aligned the Roc-A-Fella name with the depictions of a journey from dirt to dynasty. Weaving stories of women, money, drugs and the police often in the same song. It sounds like the epitome of what we don’t want from anymore rap artists but Jay manages to do it in a very self aware way on ‘Watch Me’. He glorifies splurging and spending stacks on ridiculous cars because there’s a good chance you could get killed by the system anyway. References to cops distributing drugs in the hood only to turn around and arrest or kill them right after can’t help but to maintain their relevance in a modern-day context.

Now, we reach the holy grail of controversy. Not only was it the subject of previously mentioned recent copyright case, but Jay himself has expressed his discontent with his own words. To this day I find it a hilarious example of the lack of attention people pay to the words in a song. How did a whole nation get behind a song where the first two bars are, “You know I thug em, fuck em, love em, leave em, Cause I don’t fuckin’ need em.” Looks plucked straight out of the misogynists handbook (which hopefully doesn’t exist). But here is the paradox – the combination of the flow that is uttered and the instrumental are fantastic. Both catchy and infectious, I can still put this on at a party today and not a single person expresses any lack of satisfaction; it sounds really good.

Then our ears are geared back to the conscious hustler Jay, as he discusses the ability to connect with deaths in the hood on ‘There’s Been A Murder’, while still being looked at as hard as ever. Even thugs cry. Then he reestablishes his realness and that of his neighborhood on ‘Come And Get Me’ and ‘NYMP’. No matter the environment, be it the harsh streets of Brooklyn in the late 20th century or a studio with a microphone, Jay Z had proven his dominance in his crafts with the best sounding album he had released up to this point.

8.6

Watch Vic Mensa Sign to Roc Nation Records

BY TER STAFF

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Earlier this week Jay-Z took to his Twitter to announce that Chicago’s Vic Mensa is the newest member of Roc Nation Records. Joining J. Cole, Rihanna, Rita Ora, Jay Electronica and more, Vic Mensa is in great company. As a TIDAL exclusive, fans now can watch video of Vic’s big signing, where he meets with Hov directly to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.

Watch Vic Mensa sign to Roc Nation Records below.

Continue reading Watch Vic Mensa Sign to Roc Nation Records

The Awesome Story of How Vic Mensa Got Signed to Roc Nation

BY DAN GARCIA

Vic Mensa
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

While we have known about the signing for awhile, Jay-Z made the official announcement that Chicago’s own, Vic Mensa, is the newest member of Roc Nation Records. Perhaps the most interesting part about the deal is the story behind the signing, which dates back from over a year ago. Jay-Z’s right-hand-man at Roc Nation, executive Lenny Santiago, shared an awesome story about how he first pursued and eventually signed Vic Mensa.

As Santiago shares, while Vic Mensa’s “I don’t care which label you’re from” attitude almost stopped a deal from taking place, it was Mensa’s love for the music and culture that made the partnership happen.

Check out the full story below!

Continue reading The Awesome Story of How Vic Mensa Got Signed to Roc Nation

Jay-Z Reveals that He Doesn’t Have a Record Deal

BY TER STAFF

Courtesy of Getty Images

During a recent Q&A (in promotion of his new streaming service TIDAL) at New York University, Jay-Z revealed some surprising information about his record deal. When asked if artists on TIDAL can continue on the service without a record deal (or when their current contracts expire), Jay-Z replied yes, saying “I’m on TIDAL. I don’t have a record deal.” Expect a bunch of major labels to start rushing to sign this emerging artist now that they know he is a free agent… kidding, of course.

While many were left disappointed by TIDAL’s recent press conference (where almost no new information was revealed), the company just may be changing the music industry like its claiming it will. Now let’s just keep our fingers crossed on an exclusive Kanye West or Rihanna release.

Check out the full transcript of Jay-Z’s NYU Q&A here.

A Complete Guide & Flowchart: Which TIDAL Artists/Owners Have Worked Together?

BY DAN GARCIA

Tidal Flowchart

Yesterdau, Jay-Z’s new artist-owned streaming service TIDAL held a huge press conference with a lot of star-power. TIDAL describes itself as “the first music streaming service that combines the best High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and expertly Curated Editorial.” In attendance for the press conference was Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Jack White, Daft Punk, and Rihanna (just to name a few). Seeing so many great artists team up for one common goal, we couldn’t help but be reminded of the artists in the room that have made great music together in the past.

Of course Jay-Z has made a plethora of hits with friend Kanye West and wife Beyonce, but a lot of the collaborations in the room are maybe under your radar. So we took the liberty of creating a huge flowchart and guide to help you follow. Check out our flowchart above and hit the jump for a complete guide to learn which TIDAL artists/owners have worked together in the past.

GET STARTED

Watch the Trailer for Jay-Z’s Streaming Service TIDAL ft. Kanye, Beyonce and More!

BY TER STAFF

Jay-Z’s new music streaming service “TIDAL”, is coming with a huge announcement in just hours (at 4:00 PM Central), and to get music listeners hyped is a new trailer for the streaming service that boasts about its heightened quality. The official trailer features appearances form Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, Daft Punk, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Usher and more! As tweeted by Kanye himself, “In five hours history will be made.”

Check out the TIDAL trailer below!

Continue reading Watch the Trailer for Jay-Z’s Streaming Service TIDAL ft. Kanye, Beyonce and More!

Will Kanye West’s So Help Me God Album Release Today on Jay-Z’s Streaming Service TIDAL?

BY TER STAFF

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Jay-Z’s new music streaming service “TIDAL”, is coming with a huge announcement in just 16 hours from now (at 4:00 PM Central), and Hov may have something big in-store. Correction… Hov WILL have something big in-store, it is just a matter of what. Tidal is described as “the first music streaming service that combines the best High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and expertly Curated Editorial,” and we will certainly know more in less than a day’s time.

One reasonable theory with a bit of supportis that Kanye West’s highly anticipated forthcoming album, So Help Me God, will be released exclusively through TIDAL. Not only are Kanye and Jay close friends and long-time collaborators, but Kanye is rumored to have a 3% stake in the new service. And how could Kanye help out his big brother and make himself a lot of money at the same time? By a surprise release of his 7th studio album to support TIDAL’s launch, an album that is has been closed to finished for months. Finally, while Kanye could just be showing his support, his new tweet (below) and Twitter icon may foreshadow a surprise release. “Together, we can turn the tide and make music history. Start by turning your profile picture blue. #TIDALforALL”, tweeted Ye.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Continue reading Will Kanye West’s So Help Me God Album Release Today on Jay-Z’s Streaming Service TIDAL?