I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside is a new and different type of Earl Sweatshirt. Sweatshirt through his career transformed from just a child to a man in a matter of only five years. Gone are the immature lyrics and beats, they are instead ditched for grittier and grimier sounding tones that are more like a serious side of Earl. Listening to I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside is like listening to a horror music soundtrack that relies on rough sounding bass and the use of near-symphonic piano chords to create a sense of how somber life is for Sweatshirt.
Given as this is Earl Sweatshirt’s second studio album, expectations are high for the still young rapper. I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside is a record of vivid dreams that creates a picture of what growing up, progressing through life, dealing with depression, and deaths of friends and family are. This is a journey through the inner channels of Sweatshirt’s mind, even including personal accounts of stealing and hitting “licks” to survive.
Through one song titled “Grown ups,” Earl has a great line about “Asking god for favors, guess he isn’t home…” which is Earl’s way of saying he never found comfort in religion. He would pray to God but never find answers, which then resulted in having to hit the streets to make another tomorrow. Having nothing given to him was the way Earl has always lived and the way he always will live.
On the first track “Huey,” subjects such as drug use, money, death and being unable to focus on real problems are all prevalent. Earl describes his life today almost like “Burgundy” on Doris, speaking on the terms of his grandmother and the fact that Earl hasn’t had an unchallenging life. Earl has always been on a struggle to not only surviving in Los Angeles but also dealing with his “friends” that say they will be there but never are. I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside is a stepping-stone to see what Earl has in store for the audience as we go deeper into his psyche.
A single was released for the album called “Grief” which shows imagery of rats, snakes, and a dark world which is what Earl primarily sees in the world. Sweatshirt does not keep many close friends as he describes in another line, “Can’t trust these hoes, Can’t even trust my friends.”
I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside is a true masterpiece coming from the mastermind behind this interestingly produced record. Sweatshirt not only sets the bar, he raises it high and hits chins while on it.
Mac Miller’s The Divine Feminine is a cinematic love voyage through the deepest parts of Miller’s psyche. Rather than talking about the dark depression like in his previous work, Mac Miller is alive and well; proving that he is not only able to adapt to daily life, but musically as well.
The Divine Feminine opens with “Congratulations,” a track with a similar piano solo to the one in Pixar’s “Up.” Miller spreads his arms and lets this track melt over the listener, this is a song that sounds straight out of the movies. Rather than opening with a banger, Miller decides to take an entirely different approach to this song, and this album.
The Divine Feminine is a rare breed of an album, Miller balances between a record that could be shown to your mother, a record that could be played in night clubs, and even played to flow some excitement into a room. It is strange in concept, Mac Miller making an album all about love and every song becoming something that Miller has never done before; but it just works incredibly well.
Miller has changed his style up so much and has adopted so many different genres in his music that it is near impossible to keep track of his accomplishments. From the tracks like “Dang!” and “God is Fair, Sexy, Nasty” where Miller is able to tightrope between a jazz hit and these subtle two-step tracks. The Divine Feminine has such a reinvigorating use of chord progression and horns that for a moment, this does not even sound like an album from Hip-Hop aficionado, Mac Miller.
Following “Dang!” is the track “Stay” which has these downright incredible horns that blast and protrude throughout the song. Then as the beat slowly fades in and the percussion lays down some 808’s and some innovative hi-hat beats, the track feels complete. Miller does magnificent job of layering each track and making them feel so fleshed-out and massive.
Miller also continues to sing more on this project than in the past. On GO:OD AM Miller did sing on certain songs, but The Divine Feminine features singing performances on nearly every song. Miller has shown improvement with his voice since GO:OD AM and thankfully the beats behind Miller are interesting enough to move the songs forward as well.
The Divine Feminine was overall an interesting expedition through Mac Miller’s approach to an album full of love songs. Surprisingly, the album came out better than I had originally expected and it might take a few listens, but The Divine Feminine could be one of Miller’s best projects. If nothing else, The Divine Feminine is definitely the most transformative album coming from Miller in a long time.
Nas, the ever-prolific, verbal “Assassin” drags the listener in to the gritty New York Streets and shows them the ropes of what an average day would be like in the concrete jungle. The disgusting people, the seedy underbelly of a world of crime, but also the beauty in New York, a journey through a double life, and doing what needs to be done for survival. In the end, Nas is an educator, rather than just another New York rapper.
Illmatic, not only one of the most outstanding hip-hop records ever, but also a statement on life in New York. The constant struggle to overthrow the next person in power to come out on top. Nas has no problem opening up on his personal story, and from the very beginning of “N.Y. State of Mind,” it is clear what his intentions are.
“N.Y. State of Mind,” has this New York at nighttime feel, the back-alleys with manholes spewing steam, the busy streets, and the classy style of the people. Nas opens up about where his roots are, “Straight out the fucking dungeons of rap, where fake niggas don’t make it back.” Nas is not afraid to put his personal story out there to share exactly what goes down in The City That Never Sleeps. Rather than speaking of how wonderful life is there, he explains the struggle for food, power, and survival.
Nas then follows up with “Life’s a Bitch” which has this smooth, boom-clap beat. It feels like a callback to the jazzier sides of hip-hop, and throughout Illmatic, these callbacks to a different time period. The smooth beats, the constant theme of survival, and growing up on the city streets. The hook, while laid over this uplifting beat is quite depressing, “Life’s a bitch and then you die, that’s why we get high cause you never know where you’re gonna go.”
Illmatic then comes to “The World Is Yours,” which is hands down one of the greatest hip-hop songs ever made. The beat, the lyrics, everything about this track is just so musically sound and it gives Illmatic a switch up in style. The lyrics are still about how untamed Nas’ life was, but it at least has a more uplifting mood and looks to the future with bright eyes.
Following is the track “Halftime,” which goes back to the boom-bap style that was made popular by the East Coast rap clique. Nas was the king of East Coast rap and anytime that someone mentions New York or the East Coast, they will be talking about Nas. “Halftime” has these intriguing horn pops that go in synchronization with the hook and it truly makes the track come alive.
All over Illmatic there is an enormous amount of Jazz horns being played over the beats and it gives the feeling of something like a street performer playing in the wee hours of the night. The horns compliment each beat so well, making every track feel similar in style, but entirely different in tone. Each track feels so layered and it was nearly impossible not to fall in love with each one. It was no question seeing why Illmatic is still talked about today as one of the greatest records of all time.
Nas then continues on with the theme of the older days with “Memory Lane (Sittin’ in Da Park.” The beat rather than having horns that flare up, has a great use of vocal samples and record scratching to fill the empty space. Nas strikes again with another great verse and throughout the whole of Illmatic, there is not one single verse that feels lacking or not fleshed out. Nas did an incredible job with each track, making his story relatable and understandable by all. Nas takes the listener to New York, shows him the situations, and the finally proves why Nas was and still is The King of New York.
So this is going to be a recap of some numbers, some thank you’s, and some future stuff. Lets start with the boring things first…
Since I started this website, I have had exactly as of right now
So since the numbers are out of the way… I want to say thank you. For every single person that has and will ever read my opinion on music. I put my soul into this site, and I couldn’t be happier seeing people coming back every week and reading. This will grow, I promise… I have not missed a single day yet, and I will do everything I can to keep that going. I have a ton of things going on in my life, Senior Year is no joke… But seriously, stick with me and I promise you that I will not fail you. I will write on this site until I can no longer hear music, or type on a keyboard. I want to start in Pittsburgh, but see MattsMusicMine.com grow around the U.S., then finally the world. I am going to hold this shit down and make my dream come true. Just stick with me, and enjoy what is coming.
Speaking of the future… I have had business cards made and are available for anyone to get. If you would like one or ten, just e-mail me or hit me up in real life if you know me. There are also going to be T-Shirts made very shortly so again if you want one, just let me know and I will gladly send them out. Nothing too extravagant, just a little something for the people who support me. I am still taking suggestions for any music, do not be shy. I will listen to anything and try to share my opinion. It is still crazy to see how everyday this little castle of mine continues to grow. No one starts at the top, but I intend to see it within my lifetime. I treat MattsMusicMine.com like a job or a future career. One day I hope I can live off this site, but until then I want everyone to know that I appreciate every single follower, every single view, and every single person that even acknowledges me in this vast world. Thanks again, and welcome to The Mine.
Matthew Ryan Miramontes
Amy Winehouse, the immensely talented singer with a dark past that was able to refine soul music and bring it to a mainstream audience. The use of her blissful voice, tainted storytelling, and ultimately a story of despair, produced one of the greatest soul records of all time.
Back to Black is the tale of Amy Winehouse’s unfortunate downfall and run-ins with depression, alcoholism, and an endless string of pain. While Back to Black has a primarily cheery sound, the end product when mixed with Winehouse’s ability to illustrate the short-comings within herself becomes a picture of light forming into the shadow. The “black” creeps in as the light fades out, the whole album is constantly met with this undying theme of duality within itself.
Back to Black begins with Winehouse’s hit song, “Rehab” which not only was one of the biggest songs off of the album, but the perfect example of how Winehouse struggled with her addiction and those around her wanted to help her with her habit. Back to Black as the title suggests is a constant downward motion. The perpetual spiral Winehouse describes through her music, leading up to her death in 2011 leaves a bitter taste in the listener’s mouth. Back to Black is such a masterpiece musically, but it has this great amount of baggage and dread attached to the tracks and what Winehouse speaks of.
The following track “You Know I’m No Good” has this great jazz style bass line and the drums behind both Winehouse and the gradual horn flare creates this relaxed feel. The musicians that Winehouse worked with on Back to Black did a perfect job of backing her vocals and to have them both stand out without overpowering each other could not have been done any better. Winehouse sings a great chorus “I cheated myself like I knew I would” and again, it gives off an uneasy feeling to the listener.
“Me & Mr. Jones” follows and this is the perfect example of what sounds like soulful, gospel music. The organ, the lively background vocals, and even the way Winehouse uses her booming voice to assert herself in the track was outstanding.
Then the song “Just Friends” has this interesting dreamy guitar beginning that slowly rises up into the use of off-beats on the percussion. Winehouse again does an outstanding vocal performance and that is one of the staples of Back to Black. With any other singer, this record would just simply not work. Winehouse does an incredible job with each delivery and she can make even the most hurtful lyrics sound like silk.
Finally, the track “Back to Black” comes into frame and it is easily one of the best tracks Winehouse has ever performed in her career. Everything about this song was executed so well, and the strings ensemble used these great chords that stick out so well and could make a substantial song by itself.
There is also the track “Wake Up Alone” which has this 1950’s teenage dance sense to it. The guitar moves freely through the fret-board making the whole track feel like as if it is moving in slow motion. Winehouse speaks again about “The dark covers me and I cannot run now.”
Amy Winehouse was a truly talented musician and Back to Black is her swan song of an album that touches into the depths of her struggle with depression, addiction, and ultimately death. Winehouse was able to create on of the most soulful albums of a generation, and will live on through her tracks that continue to rattle the Earth even to this day.
$uicideboy$, the now fairly known punk/clout/trill-rap group that swept the underground rap scene by storm, finally releases their highly anticipated debut album, Eternal Grey. This was supposed to be the best of the best from $uicideboy$, the real crème de la crème. Unfortunately, Eternal Grey is interesting at a first glance, but then slowly fades into what feels like a writer’s block nightmare.
Eternal Grey has some interesting and intuitive instrumentation, the beats that back the tracks are actually varied and switch up in style even within the songs themselves. What was lacking, was the actual verses. $uicideboy$ has always been on the verge of “edgy” and “trying too hard,” with Eternal Grey, they start to teeter more towards the “too hard” part of the spectrum.
The first track that comes to mind is “I Want to Believe,” this track starts out promising with a strong introduction from $crimm, or who is now better known as Yung $carecrow. Then it goes into this outrageously aggressive screaming match that destroys the track. Usually this would be something I could get behind as it is an in your face kind of attitude, however on “I Want to Believe” it just feels so out of place and unwelcome.
There were some great things on Eternal Grey, but they were mostly the production side of things. The beats on “BREAKDALAW2K16,” “Elysian Fields,” and the wolf howl sample used on “Eclipse” were all great uses of what $uicideboy$ had at their disposal. Unfortunately, the production just was not enough to save Eternal Grey from becoming monotonous after only a few listens.
From the track “Ultimate Suicide” that was leaked, it was easy to become immensely excited to hear some new music from the “Underground Kings.” Instead I found it to be better to go back to their older tapes that had more fleshed out ideas. Eternal Grey has so many shifts and jumps in songs, which sometimes works out for the album but in this case it crushed the album down even farther than it already was.
Eternal Grey was a project that had more than enough hype and potential to be $uicideboy$ best release to date. Sadly, the debut album is more of a less interesting sounding montage of all their songs from previous releases.
Eternal Grey was an experimental mess of misery, rather than moving forward, I feel like Eternal Grey is just standing still. It was not entirely a flop. The production continues to become better and better and while I downright hated certain songs, there were still some moments that made me feel like I was discovering $uicideboy$ all over again.
Bad Brains, the album that is better known to the public as “Banned in D.C.” will be the album that sparks a punk revolution. Bad Brains was a legendary group that seamlessly blended both raw aggression and slowed reggae to spread peace, love, and empowerment through music.
Bad Brains opens to the clash of drumsticks deciding the tempo to what would become one of the catchiest songs on Bad Brains line-up. “Sailing On” would become a staple in music history, the vocal performance from front-man H.R., the bands quick fingers on both the guitar and bass from Dr. Know and Darryl Jenifer, and the iconic drums being played by non other than H.R.’s little brother Earl Hudson, creates a frenzy and flurry of emotion that pours in within the track’s first four seconds.
The band had an established following in their hometown of D.C. for not only being Rastafarians that played punk music, but for their off the charts level of energy they brought to shows. Stage diving, wild dancing, and mosh pits were all synonymous with Bad Brains, and D.C. would soon have nothing to do with that.
The Track “Banned In D.C.” would touch upon their short-lived banned in the clubs and lyrics like “Banned in D.C. with a thousand more places to go.
Gonna swim across the Atlantic, cause that’s the only place I can go,” show their disapproval with the ban. It was not entirely surprising to see Bad Brains banned, but it was surprising to see how wildly successful the band was despite the ban. The group would move to do tours all over the United States, Europe, and pretty much any place that wanted to see Bad Brains destroy a venue.
Wild, belligerent, but still at a moments notice, able to calm down and go into a slow melodic groove of jazz, complimented with reggae. The group was able to understand how important the merging of multiple genres was in music, and were able to blend them perfectly.
Bad Brains will go from tracks like “The Regulator,” “Attitude,” Supertouch/Shiftit,” “Big Take Over,” and even “Right Brigade,” to the tender and tranquil tracks like “Leaving Babylon,” or “Jah Calling” where they could be played in a late night jazz club. Bad Brains has these breaks in the action, but they are done so well for the album has this great motion and flow that keeps the breaks feel so significant to the the record.
Not only is Bad Brains a punk hybrid, with reggae influences. They are actually social commentators that give the voiceless a voice in all the confusion that is daily life. Punk music was freedom and was a liberating way to express oneself in the 1970’s, just as it is today. Bad Brains shows how the punk mentality is not just for a single group of people, it can work for everyone and music can connect one branch of people to another.
No Love Deep Web is the violent child of overpowering synthesizers, a dramatic vocal performance, and a primal sense of understanding. The album perfectly balances both heightened sensation and the relation to inner destruction. No Love Deep Web not only gets in your face and destroys everything in sight, but it also taps into the inner-working of schizophrenia, paranoia, and elemental aggression.
Death Grips is like another wonder of the world; they are interesting to not only see, but to experience. No Love Deep Web is an experience like no other, from the first synth lead on “Come Up and Get Me” to the moment the track leads into MC Ride’s first vocal performance of the album, it has this immense amount of animation. The track moves through these varying beat patterns that include Ride with an exerting scream that appears all throughout No Love Deep Web.
This is easily Ride’s most intense form of vocal performance to date. Rather than simply rapping, he shouts every single lyric and there would be no other way that Death Grips would work without it. Between the vast amount of percussion, the varying beats laid with keyboards, and the aggressive vocals, they all compliment each other and make what Death Grips is. No Love Deep Web capitalizes on this concept and creates an in your face, primal rage of an album.
Throughout No Love Deep Web, there are these interesting beat changes that not only vary the songs flow, but vary the sounds used as well. The percussion is intricate, but also feels natural. Zach Hill does a perfect job of creating these near ritualistic sound with his drums, twisting them and distorting them like in the track “No Love.”
This track is the heavy-hitting, ear numbing, destroyer that has one of the most memorable beats of No Love Deep Web. “No Love” is a powerful onslaught that also includes a great percussion break in-between the constant pounding of the bass drum. The snare bounces and creates this strange but catchy tap beat when compared, the whole track is overall deafening. However, the snare break is able to reel the track back into a less aggressive flow.
Following “No Love” is “Black Dice,” this track has a low tuned bass undertone, with a more fore-frontal, higher pitched synth part that seems to echo throughout the song. It creates an interesting duality within the track as both instruments seem to build each other up. The track then leads into these great synth chords and then abruptly cuts off leading into the next track.
“World Of Dogs” has this strangely enticing beat with what sounds like a double bounce dream. The bass drums bang out these great eighth notes and the lyrics are what steals the spotlight. The “Mountains of Teeth,” and the line “It’s all suicide to me” floats out of Ride’s Monotone voiced. “World Of Dogs” and No Love Deep Web as a whole, has this overarching theme of death and suicide attached to it. Not only is MC Ride’s lyrics intense, but they also touch upon all the thoughts of one who is going breathe one’s last breath
The next track “Lock Your Doors” is what a tornado of fire would sound like. The track is not only aggressive like the rest of No Love Deep Web, but the track is also disturbed. Ride continues with the subject of misery, “Come on stick me, cut e, drain me, suck me, drink me, take me down.”
No Love Deep Web is aggressive, forceful, but ultimately full of vitality. I loved Ride’s vocal performances and Zach Hill was absolutely incredible with the percussion work.
The final track “Artificial Death in the West” features one of the less punishing tracks of No Love Deep Web. The track is able to blend what sounds like a drive through city outskirts at night, and an impressive display of vocalization and reverberation. While it does not fit the other tracks as well, it ends the album on a higher note and creates this great sense of space.
Not only is No Love Deep Web a crushing album full of fractured bones, loud screams, and an overly abrasive tone, but it is also filled with a certain beauty to the destruction. It obliterates, but it also rebuilds.
Cheena, the intense punk rock band from New York holds back no punches with their newest release, Spend the Night With… It is loud and abrasive, showing nothing but the raw musical emotion behind the shady nights in Brooklyn, The street-smarts of Soho, and the crowded train cars of Queens.
Cheena brings the downright dirty images of New York up in all of their music. One can imagine the crowded streets, back alleys, and of course the different types of people all forming in one single metropolis. Spend the Night With… is able to capture that incredible authenticity of the city life, and while the album is slightly reminiscent of Iggy Pop as the way the recording was done in an almost lower quality sound. Cheena is loud, in your face, and destructive as well.
Tracks like “Stupor,” “Car,” and “Tarzan” have these great changes in the song’s progression. It was intriguing to hear just where the song would finally end up, it was almost as though the tracks progressed themselves and they had this great amount of flow to them.
Other tracks, like “Nights” have this clash of both slower and faster parts that create a duality within the track. The drums while faster and pounding, contrasted with the floating guitar sounds created a great sense of a long day, but an even longer night.
The overall sound quality of Spend the Night With… was fairly eyebrow-raising as it sounded as though the tracks were recorded with only a single microphone. It added another element to the tracks that felt very personal, like this was a recording done in someone’s basement at two in the morning.
Cheena does a great job of creating a setting for their music, as Spend the Night With… progresses musically, it also progresses in telling this great story through instrumental solos and some downright gruff vocals. All throughout Spend the Night With… the vocals continue to repeat in my head as they just sound so dirty, but also elegant at the same time. Going with the theme of duality again, the vocals on certain songs like “Lost My Way” are more melodic and are actually quite pretty. This is contrasting with the instrumentation as it continues to be a mismatch of some guitar switch ups between higher and lower chords, and the drums keeping a steady beat on the floor tom.
Then finally comes the last track, “M.E.” This was easily my favorite track of the whole album as it has this great uplifting guitar riff and it is just the perfect song to move to. It is also one of the quicker songs and just as soon as it begins, it comes to a close.
However, I wish there would have been more use of the drums
as they seemed to only play a background part and there was so much potential to have them really shine through.So come on and spend the night with one of the better releases this year, come on and Spend the Night With… Cheena.
In 1974, an instant classic was released upon the public, an album showcasing both innovative instrumentation, fascinating harmonies between singers, and performances
Crime of The Century was a record that just simply rocketed Supertramp into becoming recognized for what immensely talented musicians they were. The production behind each track has this outstanding spacious feel and it sits, matching the interesting genre that most people will call “art rock.” This is still rock n roll at its finest points, but the way Supertramp modifies the formula and the way they are able to manipulate each track into becoming such a powerful and well layered song, is something of magic.
Crime of The Century begins the track “School,” the wails of the harmonica has just become so iconic in the way it echoes in the room. It begins to set the space, giving off this ominous sound that leads into a child’s scream, then finally the music comes blasting in. I loved the use of layering on Crime of The Century, the way that each track has such depth and finding something new becomes almost child’s play after each listen.
Supertramp then keeps the pace with the following two tracks, “Bloody Well Right” and “Hide In Your Shell,” which are both a powerhouse of saxophones and horns behind the almost hopeless lyrics each of these tracks. “Write your problems down in detail, take them to a higher place, You’ve had your cry- no I should say wail, in the meantime hush your face,” paints this bleak picture of no free speech on “Bloody Well Right.”
Then following, “Hide In Your Shell” starts out and seems to be a more slowed down, and almost having this symphonic sound. The track then ramps up to this emotional conversation that happens inside oneself. It illustrates through the lyrics the confusion of where one’s life has headed as they become older, and start to see things much differently than what they were.
“Asylum” follows and this is easily the most dramatic of the tracks on Crime of The Century. It makes a point to show this internal struggle of, what one’s life had come to. The track starts beautifully with these piano keys being played over what would soon becoming an intense fight for sanity. Eventually the blissful piano keys disappear and “Asylum” slowly falls down this rabbit hole of crashing sounds being played together to create what seems to be a split personality in the music.
Crime of The Century really focuses so well on a story of one person trying to fit in to a society that just will not accept them. The tracks like “Asylum,” Dreamer,” and even “Rudy” paint this actually quite daunting life of what seems to be a person that will never be allowed to live how they want. In the track “Dreamer” it simply explains how the dreamer in this situation is ridiculed for being just that. How his ideas will never be anything more, he is just a “Stupid little dreamer.”
Supertramp created what I would call a rock opera, it shows the story of a person trying to fit into a society, that will only throw them away, lock them up, and destroy the key. While the music is progressive and quite beautiful, it contrasts to the morbid overtone of how we, as a society will always be ridiculed for out ideas and never truly be free. Either way, Supertramp opens up a new world, not just musically, but narratively as well.