FREE MP3 DL: Pusha T’s “My Crown Weighs A Ton” (mixed by DJ Pizzo)

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Pusha T this, Pusha T that, all anyone wants to talk about Pusha T.

Is that the conversation you’ve come across on a regular basis? There are good reasons, and one of them is that Pusha T is this, that, and more importantly: good. My Crown Weighs A Ton is a nice 71 minute mix put together by DJ Pizzo, featuring 29 tracks. Listing? You got it:
1. Kanye West Intro
2. I’m A Boss (Freestyle)
3. Infatuated
4. She Bad Bad (Remix) (w/ Eve)
5. We Right Here – (w/ Kid Named Breezy)
6. Shame The Devil (w/ No Malice)
7. Your Favorite Rapper (w/ Alley Boy)
8. They Do Drugs (w/ Juicy J)
9. Machine Gun (w/ Chase & Status)
10. What Happened To That Boy (Thugli Edit Interlude)
11. I Don’t Like (Aylen & Dotcom Remix) (w/ Chief Keef)
12. Mercy (RL Game & Salva Remix)
13. Tadow (w/ French Montana, 2 Chainz, N.O.R.E.)
14. Fettuccine (w/ Future)
15. Tony Montana (Freestyle)
16. In This Ho (Lambo) (w/ Swizz Beatz)
17. 100 (w/ Bangladesh, 2 Chainz, Jadakiss)
18. Mad Fo (w/ Ludacris)
19. Exodus 23:1
20. Clouds (w/ Rick Ross, Miguel, Curren$y)
21. Tick Tock (w/ Raekwon, Joell Ortiz, Danny Brown)
22. Peso (Freestyle)
23. Don’t Fuck With Me
24. Sweet (Freestyle)
25. You Need This Music (w/ Nottz & Dwele)
26. Concrete Jungle (w/ Troy Ave)
27. Vortex (w/ Kid Cudi, King Chip)
28. Mobster Dinner (w/ Mayalino)
29. Pies

It is a free download, while supplies last.

REVIEW: Eve’s “Lip Lock”

Eve photo Eve13_cover_zps0d9706e5.jpg On one hand, Lip Lock is Eve’s long awaited follow-up to her Eve-Olution album that she released eleven years. While a lot of other rappers would have given up with music and went a different route, Eve isn’t about to give up. In fact, she sounds as great as she always has and she definitely shows the void in female rappers in today’s mainstream hip-hop scene. Lip Lock (From The Rib/RED) has her catering to perceived modern tastes, so musically this is not the Eve of 2002. This is Eve 2013 style, with her rhyming over modern hip-hop and even a few dubstep songs, and yet through it all, it still sounds like the standards Eve created for herself. She’s never been afraid of merging with pop, as her duet with Gwen Stefani showed, and if she were to ever do a track with Lady Gaga, it would sound like “Keep Me From You” which features former Danity Kane member Dawn Richard in the Gaga role. While Snoop Dogg is listed in the assistance of “Mama In The Kitchen”, his contribution is limited to repeating the song title and three extra words. That’s it, no special verse or anything and with Eve proclaiming that she’s the lioness, it would have been perfect if Snoop brought his Snoop Lion persona to the song. No such luck. The instrumental sounds like indie rock chopped samples mixed in with a synthesized college band horn section. It may come off as a musical oxymoron but the vibe blends well, thanks to producer Swizz Beatz. Or since “Forgive Me” has a nice reggae vibe to it, maybe Snoop would have been welcome to drop a verse there, but with a lyric where she refers to having a “fire chocha”, one can only imagine how Snoop would’ve followed that up. “All Night” is a nice one produced by The Neptunes, in their trademark style of creating fantastic sounds that may come off as familiar but is definitely not.

“Grind Or Die” sounds like something Diplo would have thrown her way, but by this point in the album, it comes off like classic Eve with the kind of music she could have easily been doing in the last eleven years. Maybe she wanted to avoid overkill or watering down her music (or simply wanted to take a break from music), but the album credits say some of these songs date themselves as far back as 2007. Even if they are from that time period, they aren’t dated by any means. (Then again, we’re also not sure how these songs were tweaked to make them song more now than then.) The album ends with a remix of “She Bad Bad” that brings in Pusha T. and Juicy J, who tear up the track nicely. While I would have preferred for Eve to close the song, Juicy J.’s verse wraps things up nicely. The song that is sure to get a lot of attention is the one with Missy Elliott and Nacho, “Wanna Be”, where Elliott splits herself up in four with a melodious voice during the chorus, and the Elliott octave divider trio that would be what it might sound like if she was each member of Outkast. The last proper song features vocalist Chrisette Michele, “Never Gone”, where Eve thanks those who have supported her over the years and while her departure seemed longer than the norm, she explains herself lyrically and with the song title. It has a nice R&B/pop feel.

The downside is that with a pop song as the album’s proper ending and a remix which closes the presentation, Lip Lock sounds like an open-ended album, or that it isn’t quite complete. Up until the end, the sequencing of the songs and the styles presented blend well as a representation of what Eve is about and how she presents herself as an artist. The music begins with the modern production styles before having her rhyme over the type of music that made her a star. Without a proper moral of the story, it lacks the kind of “fuck you” punch Eve is more than capable of delivering. A possible remedy would be for listeners to rearrange the sequence so that Lip Lock could end in fine style. Lyrically and musically, Eve is in fine form and while this album is not 100 percent perfect, it is better than 95 percent of what is being passed off as hip-hop these days.

SOME STUFFS: Eve releases new “Bad” single

Don’t put Eve in the “what happened to…” file just yet, she has been laying low but she has a new single where she explains why “She Bad Bad”. This is on hew new label, Blondie Rockwell, Inc. and if this is to pave the way for a bigger project, bring it on, woman.

REVIEW: Wyclef Jean’s “From The Hut, To The Projects, To The Mansion”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic For this one, Wyclef Jean says he is also Toussaint St. Jean on a new album-before-the-album. I hate the word “mixtape” used when it’s not really a mixtape in the traditional sense, but it’s a pre-album before his proper full-length. In this case, he’s calling this From The Hut, To The Projects, To The Mansion (Carnival House/RED), and while the cardboard cover makes it look indie, it is simply distributed through a Sony/Columbia subisidary. Now that we got the technical things out of the way, let’s talk about the music.

Sure, Wyclef has been bashed, ridiculed, and mocked not only for his success but for the path he has chosen to be a success, be it awful songs from Shakira or his collaborations. As I’m listening to this CD, one thing is clear: he has been doing this style of music for almost 20 years and it’s not like his many talents and musical interests have been a guarded secret. I bring this up because this CD (17 tracks total) is a amalgamation of the Wyclef of the past, meeting with the Wyclef of today, paving the way for the Wyclef of the future. He has a positive outlook, or as he says in “Warrior’s Anthem”, he feels he’s too old to be rapping at this point in his life, and yet commits himself to drop some of the best rhymes he has done in his career. He’s no longer the angry man from the days of “Boof Baf”, but he says he will not hesitate to write and make money from the royalties of a song that he writes. He’s now a sophisticated, confident, and eager Wyclef, and throughout this album he looks at his origins from the island nation of Haiti, the struggles of being a casual barefoot kid who had a birthday cake made out of dirt, to moving to the United States where he would meet up with people who would help sew the seeds towards a very promising (and positive career). He mentions how he used to do battle rhymes, and even shoots a few bullets to rappers who may talk about being a gangsta or Rastafarian, but aren’t ready to die. It’s a bold move for someone who has often been called a Haitian Bob Marley, not so much for their lyrics, but because both were/are young black men who play guitars, danced on stage while in a groove, and sing with an occasional raspy voice. If there’s something that they do both share, it was/is a love of their island nation and the people who struggle to live and survive.

Wyclef considers himself not a hustler, but a struggler, and even though he knows that he has “made it”, he knows there are still people in Haiti and around the world who continue to fight, so this is his rebel music. One of the more successful songs on this is “Slumdog Millionaire”, featuring Cyndi Lauper, who Wyclef calls Luscious Loo Loo for the album. While it may seem like an odd choice, Lauper still has one of the best voices in pop music today, and she has never stopped showing love for the street people that boosted her from obscurity to super stardom. When she sings about people from the ‘hood, it may seem odd coming from her but then you realize that she had been through some rough times of her own. “Robotic Love” has him resisting the urge to embrace Auto-Tune completely, but adds a bit of robot funk in his own way.

Wyclef works best on his own or those amongst his crew during any given times, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the tracks featuring Lil’ Kim, Eve, and Timbaland are the weaker tracks of the bunch, with the Timbaland-produced “More Bottles” sounding like a throwaway effort from both of them. Yet out of these three, the Timbaland is the best one.

As much as I wouldn’t mind hearing Lauryn Hill or Pras dropping something, Wyclef has created his own sound under his own name, and From The Hut, To The Projects, To The Mansion is a statement to his mission, which is to create good music, regardless of anyone says. He does pop well, he does soul and R&B great, and hip-hop is in his heart and soul. Even at 37, this isn’t old man hip-hop even though he claims he’s too old for this. Yet by saying this, he is perhaps hopeful that today’s hip-hop children will pave the way just as he did in the early 90’s with his uzumaki hairdo and electric guitar, managing to do something that Me Phi Me was unsuccessful at. The Fugees were once considered “alternative” just because Wyclef sported more than just a microphone on stage. He was different to most, but that didn’t mean shit to him. Almost 20 years after his initial impact, perhaps it’s time to find a different sound to hip-hop again. As I listened to this, I realized that Wyclef is a true hip-hop pioneer, and yet From The Hut, To The Projects, To The Mansion comes off as a proper album, even though it’s a pre-album. His next one will no doubt make some bold statements along with his knack for a bit of pop fluff to meet the demands of fluffy fans. Regardless, he’ll conquer them all.