J.Cole's much hyped debut on Jay-Z's RocNation label shows an awkward transition from lyrical mixtape MC to commercial pop-rapper.
Cole World lacks the raw energy of his digital releases, instead focusing on bland R&B tracks with tween star Trey Songz, and tepid dubstep with a tired Hova.
But it's not all bad.
Jermaine sprinkles a few great lines on each track, which are worth listening to despite sub-par choruses.
The North Carolina native touches on some interesting subjects, speaking from the viewpoint of a pregnant woman during Lost Ones and about daddy issues on Breakdown.
Dollar And A Dream III, Lights Please and Sideline Story are also rapped with enough conviction to satisfy hungry fans.
Cole World isn't another example of major labels crushing young talent to conform, but you can still pick up their poison touch.
By Jimmy Ness
“You see a mouse trap, I see free cheese and a fucking challenge.”
Scroobius Pip isn’t your typical rapper. The heavily accented Englishman delivers intellectual lyrics in a unique spoken style. His free-thinking wordplay covers a series of touchy subjects and is told with genuine conviction.
Loud crunchy guitar and industrial beats create a flurry of intensity to back the lyrical blast, which has Pip almost shouting at times.
The production is often jarring and lacks any real catchiness, but it’s the lyrical power that will have you picking up new pop culture references on each listen.
Pip even sings an anti-war chant over a Soulja Boy cover (better than it sounds) and reaches a touching note with a Kate Bush tribute. The pace slows during the final tracks as Pip’s personal reflections bring the album to a powerful end.
Distraction Pieces is not an easy listen, but it’s a worthy one.
By Jimmy Ness
Ask any guitar groupie who the six-string king is, and Joe Satriani might be the first name that comes out of their mouth. The 55-year-old virtuoso has spent decades training and working with the best guitarists in the world.
It all began on the day Jimi Hendrix died. A young Joseph Satriani ran up to his football coach during a training session and immediately announced he was quitting to become a guitarist.
Was it the universe's way of replacing one genius with another?
Joe says he can only guess. "In my 14-year-old brain, I felt I was losing something that I couldn't live without. That wasting my time playing sports was something I had to stop, and I had to learn how to play music so I could replace what I was going to be missing. It was a very emotional moment."
The fretboard wizard soon discovered he was blessed with a natural skill. He was playing in a band and at high school events within eight months of first picking up a guitar.
Jason Powers, better known as Elzhi, has dealt with the death of close friends and the break-up of his group Slum Village, but he still sounds as passionate as ever.
“It’s more than getting paid. You can’t even put into words how it feels to put the mic out and have the crowd finish your sentence. I love to create. I love to write something, put it down in the studio and play it back. It’s a beautiful feeling man. I do it for the whole experience."
Elzhi joined underground favourites Slum Village in 2001, a group often praised as the reincarnation of A Tribe Called Quest. Legendary producer J Dilla was partly responsible for bringing Elzhi into the group and helped him to get his first paid music gig.
Sadly, Dilla passed away in 2006 after a battle with Lupus disease. Founding Slum Village member Baatin also died three years later due to mysterious circumstances surrounding a struggle with mental illness.
After their 2010 release Villa Manifesto, Elzhi announced his departure from the group citing shady managers and underhanded labels.
Despite a traumatic decade, he says he never considered quitting rap. “The way it affected my music, it made me want to get a lot more personal. You can’t just bottle those feelings up inside, so the only way I know how to get them out is express it through my music. It’s almost therapeutic for me. It’s almost like medicine.”
We Do It Right magazine is lucky enough to be speaking with Detroit emcee and producer Bronze Nazareth for its very first interview. Bronze is known as an integral part of the new generation of the Wu Tang family and his production credits include Raekwon, Gza, Rza and Immortal technique, as well as having a solo career and being part of the group Wisemen.
Firstly, Bronze thank you for taking the time out to answer our questions!! What’s up with you at the moment?
Right now I’m taking a break from mixing out the 60 Second Assassin album, also finishing an album for the 67 Mob, some cats from BK who linked up with me for their album. I’m also recording my solo School For The Blindman and working on a new Wisemen album. Quite busy at the moment.
For those who don’t know about you, tell us a little about your background and how you first became affiliated with the Wu Tang family. Did Rza mentor you to an extent?
Born in Grand Rapids, MI, which we call Gun Rule. Got with Cilvaringz who led me to Rza. Rza heard some joints and gave me five minutes to speak to him, I splashed him with some heat and he asked me to join the Wu Elements! Moved to Detroit some years ago, and began diggin in with the Wu camp. Nah Rza didn’t really mentor me, more so he gave me a push, so I could take my car to the gas station and fuel it up myself.
As far as producing records, what is your mindset before you go into the studio?
My mindset is on nothing really, I may be in a certain mood or feeling some way and that will drive what I’m looking to make. I don’t ‘try’ and make Wu sounding beats or anything, I sit at my board, and find something I like, chop it, play it, cut it, do whatever to get the sound I want to get out of it. I don’t go in trying to make a hit, or whatever, it’s simply me feeling the music.
I know that you don’t go by many aliases which is definitely a good thing. What does the name Bronze Nazareth mean exactly?
If you’ve ever seen the 18 Bronzemen movie, my name is symbolic of the struggle they went through to exit the temple and go into the real world. Nazareth is symbolic for the Prophetic Jesus of Nazareth, I see myself as a sort of prophet or soothsayer for my people who listen.. so really it’s all symbolic and can be compared to my modern struggles.
Anathallo’s latest album Floating World is one of my most treasured albums and being the nice guys (and gal) they are, they decided to let me interview multi-talented band member Andrew Dost.
Currently touring the U.S and Canada, Anathallo have been very busy, so I count myself lucky for the opportunity. Thanks man!
Thank you for interviewing me!
You guys have a very “pretty” sound going on, I can often imagine you all holding hands and sitting around a family dinner whilst singing haha.
That actually isn’t too far from the truth sometimes. Most of the band just moved to Chicago, and they’ve been having lots of pot-lucks and themed parties, so I think that’s pretty accurate. We definitely have our disagreements like any band, but things are the most fun, and creatively stimulating, when it feels like we’re a big family, so we try to nurture that atmosphere.
Ha, actually in all seriousness you have such a unique sound on the newest album. For a group with eight core members the creative process must be somewhat hectic, tell us about how you guys operate as a band. How does everything work as far as songwriting and coming up with such creative ideas?
It’s a pretty complex process, and one that I’d say is based more on relationships than on musical ideas. With so many people, with so many different ideas about where a song should go, a lot of the process is communication. We talk about everything, even ridiculous tiny details that we probably shouldn’t waste time with. But that’s the fun of it - everyone shares, we all throw ideas in, then we weed through and edit until we have something we can all agree on, something we all believe in and want to play night after night.
Novembre has always been a special band. From arctic landscapes to scorching deserts, the Italian four piece manage to convey an amazing sense of atmosphere without resorting to any of the dramatic cheesiness of a cliche metal band.
Firstly Carmelo, congratulations on another quality release.
Thanks a lot mate!
Was there a specific concept or idea you guys had in mind when writing songs for The Blue?
Not really. But thinking again, this blue/cobalt picture was always in my mind. Who knows how these things work.
Recently Novembre have been booked for a tour across the UK in support of Paradise Lost, what expectations do you have from the tour and most importantly are you excited!!!?
Absolutely. We are supporting the most important band of the post-Death Metal age, the founders of the Gothic-Doom scene. It’s such an honour for us. They’re A class people, really kind, down to Earth and helpful guys. Killer tour indeed!
Israeli progressive metal band Orphaned Land released their first concept album Mabool, in 2004. After receiving rave reviews for their unique style of Oriental and Middle Eastern music, they are now working on a follow-up with prog legend Steven Wilson.
Guitarist Matti Svatizky spoke to me about Orphaned Land’s seventeen year history, beards and the Israeli metal scene.
Hi Matti, it’s a pleasure to interview one of the creative minds from such a great band! Before we start, I must know what happened to your beard? I thought it was pretty glorious haha.
Hey man, what’s up? Thanks for the compliments, they’ll get you everywhere! Now for the more serious business, my beard! The truth is, in band photos it may have looked cool, but in real life it turned out to be a disaster, so I really had to let it go.
For those who are new to the band, can you describe what Orphaned Land is all about?
Well, visiting our website (orphaned-land.com) is a very good idea. You can really learn a lot from there, hear sample music, see my ex-beard, see the rest of the guys etc. But to sum up what we’re about, I’d say that we play metal with ethnic touch. The metal we play is influenced by the whole metal genre and has aspects such as thrash metal, heavy metal, death metal, doom metal, black metal, progressive metal and so on. However, our music is not inspired by metal only, but from other genres as well. We consider ourselves to be open-minded music lovers.
The Weeknd's second album is a drug-fueled haze of sex and heartache.
After releasing House of Balloons earlier this year, Abel Tesfaye went from obscurity to god-like worship. On Thursday, the Toronto based singer further broadens his soundscape.
Instead of trying to repeat the success of his previous work, he ditches the catchy hooks and trash talking by revealing a more emotional side. His falsetto glides effortlessly over atmospheric production on tracks like 'Lonely Star' and 'Rolling Stone', and he briefly flirts with reggae during 'Heaven or Las Vegas'.
Even Drake makes a worthy appearance, somehow managing not to bore the ears off the listener with his usual cheesiness. While it's not as instantly rewarding as its predecessor, Thursday has enough great moments to continue The Weekend's cult-like buzz.
Look for the third part of this sacred R&B trilogy later in the year.
By Jimmy Ness