REVIEW: Aceyalone’s “Leanin’ On Slick”

 photo AceyLOS_cover_zps9fd3f207.jpg The solo path of Aceyalone has moved forward for 18 years, and as one of the members of Project Blowed, he has continued to be the focus of those who show a priority towards making hip-hop their own. For Leanin’ On Slick (Decon) he is showing the positive side of the ageism some fans claim is the biggest plague of hip-hop. I say the biggest plague is ignorance, and Aceyalone goes through it and causes it to disappear.

On the music side, Acey goes for a wide range of styles by rhyming over classic soul and funk, or gracing his voice and lyrics over tightly knit hip-hop. In many ways, some of the best hip-hop tracks are sourced from classic soul and funk, but the difference is that with the classic retro feel of these songs, what he’s trying to do is show the parallel between the two ears and how the traditions are passed on while still showing the unifying theme of the music. “One Cup, Two Cups” sounds perfect to bust out moves on a piece of cardboard while “Pass The Hint” has an undeniable groove that is driven by guitar riffs, a horn section, and a mean Hammond B-3 that digs deep into the song. While one can get a feel for what “I Can Get It Myself” is doing, it sounds like a tight head nodder and one that someone would want to pass on to the next generation.

On the lyrical side… c’mon, this is Aceyalone we’re talking about here, the coordinator of many verbal concepts that take you to the place where he wants to take you, whether it’s about finding a lady to get warm with (“Cold Piece”) or making the sacrifice to prove yourself as worthy of a representation (“Boss”). Despite the representation people create for him, there is a true side to Edward Hayes and as he says in “I’m No Casanova”, “I just go where my heart go” and if that path is unpaved, he will make the first step towards a new trip. Daniel Merriweather joins in on vocals in “Things Get Better”, and the Northern Soul feel may remind some of the poppy jump Gnarls Barkley’s “Smiley Faces”. Speaking of Gnarls, Cee-Lo enters the scene in “Workin’ Man Blues” where he blesses the song with his vocals, almost as a means of approval and perhaps a way to let people know that he too has been the workin’ man in his career for the last ten years. Aceyalone becomes descriptive about the daily grind, punching in the clock, and doing what one must do in order to pay the bills.

The character (or characters) Aceyalone portrays on this album may be shades of his true self, or the self he would like to be, but he also details the journey he has taken so far through his music. The voice is pretty much the same but while some may say his flow lacks that old school elation, what I hear is growth and maturity that comes from experience and a wiser sense of self which re-establishes the confidence he has had for decades. The music may be a partial detail of the elders he may be trying to acknowledge as the reasons for his love of music, but also for the person that he was, is, and will become. Leanin’ On Slick may be a declaration of the person he is today, while also acknowledging the attitude passed on from generation to generation to him, which in turns allows him to pass that frame of mind to those willing to listen and comprehend.

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VIDEO: Teddybears featuring Cee-Lo & B-52’s “Cho Cha”


Sweden meets Georgia in this new track by Teddybears, who bring on Cee-Lo Green and The B-52’s in this song about something that’s not quite explored in the video. It’s one of those great non-sensible things that is sure to make a lot of people on YouTube go “WTF is this?” Perfect.

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VIDEO: Prince & Cee-Lo’s “Crazy (Live At Madison Square Garden)”


Let me get this out of the way: I’ve been a Prince fan for about 32 years, became hooked after hearing “I Wanna Be Your Lover” when the video was shown on public access on Oceanic Cablevision in Honolulu many years ago. Yet even with all the albums and singles I have by the man, I’ve been only a Prince fan from afar, as I’ve never been to a Prince concert. Sad, but true.

Nonetheless, Prince has been doing a string of shows in New York City in early 2011, including a show last night at Madison Square Garden. There were a lot of musical surprises, as told by numerous Tweets by those who were there, but Prince brought up Cee-Lo to the stage so that they could do Gnarls Barkley‘s “Crazy”, complete with guitar solo.


Some will argue that that was not the highlight of the show, but rather it was when Prince was bringing up selected guests to dance with him, and for some reason he brought up Kim Kardashian. When you’re in the presence of Prince, hearing some incredible music, you have to move. She did not, and he quickly told her to get off the stage.

Arguably, Prince *was* telling each person to get off the stage, but perhaps people expected Kardashian to move those hips and get funky. That did not happen. Either Kardashian didn’t dance because she wasn’t paid for the effort, or because she simply can’t dance (or as some had commented on Twitter, she didn’t have any rhythm in her sex tape, no one should expect her to get funky with Prince either.)

VIDEO: Inverse Phase’s “Fucked 6502” (8-bit Cee-Lo cover)

Cee-Lo has been very fortunate in that people are covering his songs like, um, crazy. Here is yet another cover of his latest hit, “Fuck You”, and this time it’s brought back to 1981. It was created by Inverse Phase and is called “Fucked 6502”, and it will bring back memories of the Commodore VIC-20 or the Nintendo Game Boy. 8-bit funk is always nice. You can purchase the song as a 320kbps MP3, lossless FLAC, or a number of other file times by heading to Bandcamp.com.

The song has been out since September, but didn’t notice it until tREBLEFREE posted it and made it aware to me.

REVIEW: Kid Cudi’s “Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager”

Photobucket Kid Cudi is not a bad rapper, but I have yet to have a grasp on his music like others have. However, I found Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager (Universal Motown) to be an improvement over Man on the Moon: The End of Day.

Kid Cudi sings a lot, or at least what he calls singing. It’s very dry and droll, and maybe that’s meant to sound like he’s emotional and melancholy. At his best, he comes off like a sharp dancehall reggae artists. He stands out because there aren’t many who are making music like him, at least not in hip-hop. It’s hard to tell at times if artists who create this music are trying to cash in on being pop, or they think this is what pop audiences would like to hear out of hip-hop. If you view him as a pop artist, this album is probably just under the latest projects from N*E*R*D. If you want to view Kid Cudi as someone who wants to make left-of-center hip-hop, he’s okay at it but what’s missing is the demented and freaky factors. Maybe mentioning suicide is odd in terms of hip-hop, and Kanye West has already milked it this year. I don’t know if the perception is “if white people can talk about suicide on their music and no one throws an issue, maybe they can lure them with our references.” If so, it’s corny, so stop.

I think half of these songs have the replay factor, I’d want to hear them again and if I heard them somewhere, I wouldn’t want to run out of the room. In this case, his many collaborators outshine him: Cee-Lo, Mary J. Blige, St. Vincent, and the aforementioned Kanye West. They are popular people to work with, but when you forget that it’s a Cudi album, that’s when it may have been too much.

I like what I like, but what I don’t like could be reconstructed into something very interesting. For me, Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager is half interesting, and I’m sure he’ll continue to make solid halves before he reveals a concrete hole.

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SOME STUFF: Goodie Mob are back to fight mostly over bullshit rap

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Goodie Mob are back, and when I say back, I mean that Cee-Lo is also back with this awesome ATL hip-hop group. Since they wondered who was peeking in their windows way back when, the group as a whole and as individuals have changed from time to time, but perhaps the most drastic changes they’ve seen is what hip-hop has transformed into. Not bad for a group who were from a city that no one ever thought would rise as one of hip-hop’s kingdoms, only to keep things at home.

Their mission this time is to tell people what they’ve been missing, and also to get everyone back into a Goodie Mob way of life, because that’s how fans want it. You can read more about their return to the surface by reading an article by Maurice Garland at CreativeLoafing.com by clicking here.