Ignorant music is one of those guilty pleasures that holds such a high place in my heart. It is such an ugly side of music that attracts me and is just as gritty as the dirty streets of the city in the late nights.
Juicy J is continually aggressive throughout his music and is the king of rude rap. It is not a new style, but there is something about Juicy J’s delivery that makes his music stand out more than the competition. With the production from $UICIDEBOY$, Highly Intoxicated quickly became a rising star in my music library. It was while I was thinking about my site, I realized that I do not review enough ugly music that is crushing, but uplifting in personal gain. The type of music that makes money a motivation for a slight second and is irresistible to move to.
The thunder crashes give way to the the opening track simply called, “Intro” leads Juicy J into the first of what would become eighteen total tracks in a saga of punchy bass anthems and rough cut entertainment. “This ain’t a mixtape, bitch this a rich tape. Nah it ain’t my birthday but I got big cake… Do I really got them bands? (Yeah Hoe, Yeah Hoe),” is exactly what Juicy J delivers within the first minutes of Highly Intoxicated. It is ugly, aggressive, but is also able to be chanted in a room full of crowded people, turning the dance floor into a mosh pit fairly quickly.
From “Dope Fiend” to “Call My Lawyer”, Juicy J comes with a powerhouse of instrumentation from $UICIDEBOY$, TM88, Mike Will, Southside, and even Juicy J himself. It is a powerhouse of hip-hop power that becomes engaging and movement inducing with the ad-libs shining brightly from each lyricist featured on Highly Intoxicated.
The production is simply the best portion of the tracks present and makes the splashes of Juicy J’s verses a topping to the sweet cake that comes from the instrumentation. It attacks, spazzes, and eventually goes out with a bang.
Mass Appeal Again… // Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Black Milk has been producing and illustrating a sense of abstract style since he stepped from the shadows of Detroit in 1983. He has worked with various producers and rhymers from both his Motor City home, to the international with collaborative efforts. Just as music knows no bounds, Black Milk follows a similar pattern and weaves a new path that is both adventurous, investing, and consciously-centered on his newest work, FEVER.
Diving into ideas like lifespans, social media, and the future of an entire artist works have been covered before and are frequent in most modern tracks, but Black Milk does things his own way. He uses a loose style of bass and jazz lines that are incredibly distinct within his own markings. FEVER feels as adaptable as ever; Black Milk at the helm creates a new flavor of rap that is moving and different. Even within his own previous releases, Black Milk works more within the workings of acoustic efforts to capture a laidback, but aware calibration behind his music.
It never bombards and becomes weighted down by any instrumentation, but FEVER does instead show this unrelenting sense of waves that come crashing and then retract once more. Tasteful, elegant, and flowing are some of the descriptions that come by Black Milk’s production that includes a wide variety of strings and percussion that is both authentic, to the synthetic which is almost none-existent as a foreground instrument. Black Milk can somehow make a sound that has been made before feel fresh again, twisting the 1970’s era jazz progression with features from Sudie, Dwele, and Ab to form a modern twist.
A heavy head carries the crown, but Black Milk has a head that is high above the crowds here and seems to be more socially conscious as he raps on “Could It Be” over the vocal heavy production, “That American pie, he just want a portion… Feels like I’m on the cusp, great forever, forever’s not enough.” The Thirty-Four-year-old producer, lyricist, and songwriter shines a light on his own personal workings in the past, but more importantly a social message on his future and the future of his world around him.
The abstract style of producing is what helps Black Milk achieve such grand, near boundary-breaking heights on FEVER. Especially on the single and video, “Laugh Now Cry Later” that is heavily influenced by African jungle percussion of bongos and upright bass lines that resemble a complex jazz standout. “From raps to movies, to black is beauty. Cop didn’t feel the same, felt he had to shoot me. Laugh now, cry later. All fun and games, screaming out gang gang, until lil homie pull up, put a bullet through a brain. Laugh now, cry later.” It is touching and actually a relatable concept that shows a sense of high perception to his surroundings. Black Milk has tons of these quotable gems throughout FEVER and manages to combine them all into a forty-minute project.
The following, “True Lies” has one of the more impressive displays of production from FEVER with the bass and guitar that blares while the percussion begs to be played along to. Black Milk continually outdoes himself on FEVER with each passing track and moves to create true gold through both his lyrical output, and his strong productive credits.
Through the pain and suffering, Black Milk has a message to debut, and does it with a stone face that is both equal parts entertaining and moving. It grips the listener and commands their attention, without throwing it to the foreground as much as possible. It displays but does not intrude, it performs without preaching; Black Milk stands as a brick wall of enforcement behind a golden curtain of instrumentation.
It’s as angry as I thought // Listen Here – Smart URL
Live albums can throw a mix off with an artist and strip down their polished sound, allowing for a more personal approach to the often mastered stereo style. Through this, there is a reason and necessity to focus attention on the space itself and see how the artist reacts within the venue. Nina Simone At Carnegie Hall is one of the most professional, and mesmerizing live performances to ever be recorded and pressed onto vinyl.
It would be featuring Nina Simone as the lead vocalist and pianist, with Alvin Schackman and Phil Orlando on the guitars, Lisle Atkinson on the bass, a pivotal part of Simone’s performance. Roger Sanders who was better known as “Montego Joe”, and The Malcolm Dodds Singers on a back up performance. While what Simone performs is moving and touching, she does reach into doing covers and works from other artists. This was common for Simone, but here, there is a gracefulness that is never truly captured on her refined studio efforts. The whirl of piano on “Theme from Samson and Delilah,” or the moving display of “Black Swan” which opens At Carnegie Hall is still chilling to this day.
There is subtle piano that sets the mood for Simone as she is imagined to creep onto the stage, in a smooth, almost prowling style that is reflective of a skillful animal. Her voice is incredibly textured and able to adapt into this new found environment of Simone’s first solo appearance at Carnegie. She fits like a final puzzle piece that continues to give that feeling of satisfaction over an extended period of time until finally brining in a wider range of instrumentation through near-perfect pacing.
Her eloquence is something that Simone has always been able to manage, keeping a tight grip on the microphone as she tells stories that are both personal, and based off a society around Simone. She becomes this storyteller that avoids the antiquation and decides to move forward with the sound. She dives low and submits this synonymous nature with the instruments that has Simone working hand in hand as the music shifts and does a waltz with her. The arrangement, showmanship, and final moments of At Carnegie Hall are just as moving and substantial as when she begins.
Simone performs “The Twelveth of Never” which has an influential step that is equally as gripping, as it is translated well from the roadmap that the backing band lays. The music has a huge part that is due to showcasing a side of Simone that is able to be tapped into rather easily. Her style is simply beautiful, but never becomes overbearing in a sense. She works tirelessly to achieve this grand scale, but without sacrificing the personality of her voice.
At Carnegie Hall is just as touching as it could have been as when it was first released. From the 1960’s to near 2020, Nina Simone continues to impress and showcase an ability that is beyond comprehension at certain moments. She moves crowds and shines in a way that still knows no ceiling.