REVIEW: Tyler, The Creator’s “Cherry Bomb”

 photo TylerTC2015_cover_zps7n3qqcr1.jpg Cherry Bomb (Odd Future/Sony) is the brand new album from Tyler, The Creator and considering what has happened since its release, maybe some are asking about the future of Tyler, or the future of Odd Future.

This is what we know. Odd Future as a collective are no more. Earl Sweatshirt seems to not be part of the camp. Other people who were within the camp have released music recently. Tyler, The Creator is still creating and on Cherry Bomb he shows why he is one of the best MC’s around and one of the best artists out today. If you feel that Tyler is trying to create music that is accessible to more people, then be free to say that. However, Tyler never does anything regular despite the fact that some of the songs here are more developed and arranged than his previous works. It’s a more in-depth Tyler, and it’s nice to hear him go off in that way. If he’s trying to answer to the current vibe of hip-hop, he does that in a number of songs. Yet there are times when he’s not only answering back, but adding his own sidebars and information to let people know he is in control of his destiny, he’s not trying to comply or simplify. There are tracks where he actually sings and jokingly says he can’t sing at all.

What I really like is when a song may have two, even three different arrangements so waht looks like an 11-track album may have 15 or 16 songs total. Some of it comes off like mini hip-hop operas in the vein of Beastie Boys’ “B-Boy Bouillabaisse” or Siah And Yeshua Dapo ED’s “A Day Like Any Other”, where you’re unsure where a part of a song will drift to until you listen to it in full. Even that will lead listeners to want to listen to it a few times to get a grip. While Cherry Bomb shows hints of where he came from, it very much shows a path he is ready to explore, where it’s the unpredictability of something along the lines of Divine Styler or maybe twist and get into MC 900 Ft. Jesus mode, all while showing a solid style that shows he’s more than capable of dropping in a hardcore way without getting freaky or eccentric, all while being that freak and eccentric rapper he is known as. The album is a nice balance of the known and previously unknown, so I hope he will continue to balance on that fine line for projects to come.


SOME STUFFS: Pharrell Williams to head line this year’s Camp Flog Gnaw

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The 3rd Annual Camp Flog Gnaw Festival has been announced, with tickets to be made available to the public tomorrow (Friday, August 8th) and what you see is not a joke: Pharrell Williams will be headlining this year, hat and all. Also scheduled to attend include people like Action Bronson, Freddie Gibbs, MURS, Rick Ross, Mac Miller, and such Odd Future folks like Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Hodgy Beats, Left Brain, The Internet, Domo Genesis, and many more. Early bird tickets can be purchased directly from Camp Flog Gnaw.

Oh yeah: as for where it will be, it’ll be held again at The Park at Los Angeles Coliseum on November 8th.

AUDIO: Liz’s “That’s My Man”

Pharrell Williams produced this new track by Liz, and with the connections Williams has had with Diplo, this is how they were able to connect together, but Liz would not have approved if it wasn’t that good. Result: it’s good. You may like it because Pharrell is the champion but again, it would be nothing without Liz. Then again, it could’ve been Cee-Lo for all we know. You can find this on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack-a-lack.

VIDEO: Major Lazer featuring Pharrell Williams’ “Aerosol Can”

If you’re wondering how come Pharrell Williams doesn’t rap more like he used to, then you know he has to take it into the hands of Diplo and Major Lazer to get things in you maofakin face. “Aerosol Can” could be considered a lyric video, but it’s a bit more than that if you allow it. I’m sure more lyric videos will be done like this, but it began here. Thank you Wes, thank you Pharrell.

SOME STUFFS: Write subject about new Major Lazer EP here

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Some will tell you that an apocalypse will happen… now. Of course, you’re still alive so it didn’t happen now unless you are checking out my website in the after world and if you are: welcome. With Major Lazer, it’s not about now but Apocalypse Soon (Secretly Canadian/Mad Decent). That’s the name of the new Major Lazer EP that will be released in a few weeks, and it will feature guest appearances from Pharrel Williams. Sean Paul, RDX & Moska, Mr. Fox, and Machel Montano. The track with Pharrell may take this one to the top.

VIDEO: N.O.R.E. featuring Pharrell’s “The Problem (Lawwwddd)”

“Woooo, lawd!” This is the expression one may find themselves saying after watching and hearing the new one by N.O.R.E., and while the song is not a problem, the song is called “The Problem (Lawwwddd)”. Pharrell is in the song but is not in the video, but what you will see in the video is a woman in a shopping cart and a B-girl. The song is of quality.

REVIEW: Tyler, The Creator’s “Wolf”

Tyler The Creator photo TylerWolf_cover_zpsd2605eca.jpg It should be obvious at this point: when it comes to the output of Tyler, The Creator and a good amount of Odd Future’s work, you are either a fan or someone who thinks they are everything that is wrong about the bad side of today’s hip-hop. I happen to be a fan because I find Tyler’s work to be amazing. He can pull off the dumb role well but also shows intelligence not only in his lyrics and flows, but how he produces the tracks. This isn’t someone who plays “connect the dots, la la la la la” and says here, this is my album, deal with it. There is some sense of control with what he executes, and there is definitely a master plan in how these songs are presented, as one can hear with his new album, Wolf (Odd Future/Sony).

Is this album, as one reviewer put it, part of a trilogy and if so, is this third part the finale? It depends if you want to consider it part three or part two, because his Bastard debut may have been him laying out seeds but let’s not get too deep on this. In terms of Wolf on its own merits, Tyler remains Tyler but he also isn’t afraid of talking to himself in the form of a self-exam, as if he’s seeing a psychiatrist. However, there are more self-developed characters and one can either call this an extension of his family or a lunatic who has yet to run deeper. I love it, because his recording studio/facility/garage/closet is whatever he wants it to be, and he is having fun. Even with guests like Pharrell and Erykah Badu, nothing is taken away from knowing whose album this is. It’s part of the Tyler, The Creator compound, and he is an equal opportunity offender, if you wish to focus on all of the bashing he does towards certain groups of people.

If we are to talk about lyrical growth within the crude humor and jokes, there is a sense that there is someone growing up in front of our ears and eyes. He may not show it in an obvious manner, but some of the songs are deep and there I say touching. Someone might say “whoa John, that is a bit too much for you to say about Tyler, it’s as if you’re trying to say he’s worthy of something. He ain’t worthy of my…” and that’s when I come in and say yes, he is worthy of anyone’s time if they are willing to take a serious listen, not only to the barrage of lyrics that he throws out, but also his production. There’s still a bit of that funky minimalism, but these songs are nicely arranged. There’s thought put into all of it, and it should not be ignored. When I was listening, I had felt that he is this generation’s The RZA. Someone else on a music board had said the same thing, and while that might be considered ludicrous by some, that’s fine. But I hear what I hear, and while he could easily be 100% conscious, Tyler wants to have fun and will do so for the sake of having fun. He is a part of a business that can pull down people, and Wolf shows that he continues to be hungry and will eat anything that comes in his way. Tyler is isn’t afraid to unveil that nerd and geek, and maybe that’s what draws some listeners in. At the same time, there’s that confident bravado that may make some go “aah, it’s a bit of a game, and I’m going to not participate, but watch from afar to see how far he takes it.” Tyler is taking it to where he wants to, and he’s very much keeping it…Tyler. Wolf is just an entry into a room full of fun bags. Have a squeeze.

VIDEO: Tyler, The Creator’s “IFHY”

From his brand new album comes Tyler, The Creator, telling his lady “I Fucking Hate You” but maybe that’s not true. While he doesn’t appear in the video, Pharrell Williams supplies background vocals in the song, a nice piece of the component known as Wolf (Odd Future/Sony).

(BTW: The track at the end is called “Jamba”.)

SOME STUFFS: Gloria Estefan gets down with Pharrell Williams on new album

Arguably, Gloria Estefan doesn’t need Pharrell Williams to make her a superstar, she has been doing this back when Williams didn’t understand how to shake his rump effectively. But they did collaborate with not just one or two songs or remixes, but a full length album.


The album is called Miss Little Havana, and this could easily become one of the more interesting album projects of 2011, and rightfully so. If you want the physical CD, Target is the only place you’ll be able to purchase it, but regardless of the format, what should you expect? Definitely more Gloria, but it’s a dance record with the production and vibe of Pharrell, which is definitely not a bad thing. Fans of Mrs. Estefan will definitely enjoy the new grooves, and now it’s possible that Pharrell will have parents and grandparents getting into his VA hitmaking ways. Will this push Estefan to the forefront and outside of her core audience? We will see, and of course hear.

REVIEW: N*E*R*D’s “Nothing”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic N*E*R*D‘s fourth album has received a significant amount of buzz, not bad for a group who championed their music with a heavy visual representation seen through photos and effective videos. I mention this because while music videos are made, very few are promoted in a big fashion as they were five to ten years ago. MTV is the Jersey Shore network, VH-1: who knows, and BET creates award shows no better than cable public access channels. The group are pushing a set of songs based on, check this out, their music. Can you believe it?

Fortunately for N*E*R*D, they’ve always had good music. In the last few years though, their image has been complimentary to it. Nothing (Star Track/Interscope) is an album that sounds as if the group are pushing themselves further for the sake of longevity, and they end up doing a few things that add to their discography.

The one thing I immediately noticed is that many of these songs seem to honor Michael Jackson directly or indirectly. Some of these tracks could easily be considered Off The Wall knock-offs, more 1979 than the later vibe of 1982’s Thriller, as Pharrell Williams sings in his mock falsetto voice but still sounding good… for Pharrell. Williams’ and Chad Hugo‘s instrumentation, arrangements, and songwriting are sharper than ever. Either that, or because they seem to be considered something “other than” hip-hop, you get a chance to truly hear how they were able to work with non hip-hop artists. These guys have a craft for what they do, and if some songs sound like something that Gnarls Barkley would be comfortable in recording, then you’re paying attention to what both groups have been doing for years: displaying a fine balance between hip-hop, soul/R&B, and pop. Yes, Nothing is actually a pop album that holds all of the qualities that their previous albums have held, but by taking the importance of music videos as a means of promotion out of the equation, fans are now having to rely on something that many artists don’t place an emphasis on: the music.

I don’t say this without hesitation, but one is able to hear the artistry of these guys, something that has always been there. You’ll hear it with the sly and sometimes-sarcastic lyrics, occasionally filled with humor but always done with a smirk, with a pinch of Pharrell’s and Shay Haley‘s how-ya-like-me-now bad ass-attitudes still in effect. You can’t help but feel the hip-hop, it will always be there, but this could easily be ranked alongside MJ and Prince. I know, “blasphemy” right? But not really, these songs hold up incredibly well. If one has to compare them to artists of today, then I wish more people were celebrating N*E*R*D instead of Lady Gaga. Then again, if Gaga was smart (and she is), maybe a N*E*R*D/Gaga collaboration, if not a full length album, is something worth considering.

N*E*R*D are a group for the people, and as N*E*R*D, they create incredibly cool and funky music that will make you party and want to dance. It will also make you think, especially for the recording/studio nerds who will try to figure out what plug-in’s, mics, and proggies they used. Now, just because N*E*R*D isn’t directly hip-hop has made people claiming that this is a rock album. Rock this isn’t, and if it is rock, it’s more like that new wave rock Prince made his own in the late 70’s/early 80’s. But John Mayer or Green Day, this isn’t. This is N*E*R*D, and for those who wish to return to a time when music was the only thing that mattered, this is that time, and this is that album to celebrate with.

Minor complaint. The standard album has only 10 songs, while the deluxe edition being sold as a 2CD set features four extra tracks, tracks that could have easily been placed with the 10 songs on the same disc. Obviously they’re doing this as a sales tactic, a deluxe edition is not necessary but perhaps calling it a “10-track album with bonus tracks” is more effective than saying it’s a “14-track album”. Regardless if you consume this slim or bulky, Nothing is not its namesake, but something of value, by a group of value.