Heatwave forecast for June

Attention fellow advocates of real good music. I know, I know man’s not hot but you should consider leaving your jacket in the closet because June will be a very heated month. Here’s a list of the artists releasing their new projects in June – after Pusha T’s album on May 25 which is produced by Kanye:

June 1 – Kanye West

June 8 – Kid Cudi (joint project with Kanye titled “Kids See Ghosts”)
June 8 – Jorja Smith (debut album, not produced by Kanye titled “Lost & Found”)

June 15 – Nas (produced by Kanye)

June 22 – Teyana Taylor (also produced by Kanye, duh)

And of course Drake’s new album titled “Scorpion” (exact release date tba) – not produced by Kanye…or is it? Nah, the executive producers on this project are Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib, but after their little vacation in Wyoming it is pretty safe to say that Drake will appear as a feature on Kanye’s new album.

So my suggestion is to make a little adjustment to our calenders this year to:
January, February, March, April, May, Kanye, July, August, September, October, November, December.

I’ll let you start your mental preparation now and in order to make the wait more bearable for you here’s my Freshnesss playlist where you’ll find the freshest of the fresh releases updated every New Music Friday. You’re welcome.

 

 

You NEED some NAAZ

You don’t know who NAAZ is? If you’re reading this it’s not too late! NAAZ is a Kurdish girl from the Netherlands who’s only 19 years old. She writes, records and produces her music herself in her freaking bedroom (wow, I know right?) and even though I haven’t met her I feel like she’s the most authentic and sincere person ever. This shows in her lyrics which are like little beautiful poems scribbled into a notebook. In fact, this is how she discovered her love for music, by starting to sing the poems she had been writing since she was 6 years old. You know how they say some people are really old souls? That is definitely the case with NAAZ.

Her debut single “Words” was released a year ago when she had just started producing herself but that just proves she was born to do this. The track (which is my personal favorite by her) is also featured on her debut EP “Bits of NAAZ” which just dropped two days ago on April 20. There are 8 songs on the EP and each one tells a story. I would describe her sound as hopeful, honest and liberating. Her music is meaningful but not heavy, which is not an easy thing to create. Her EP tells a story about taking risks, going for your goals, believing in yourself and living life to the fullest. Her song “Pretty” is an anthem about embracing who you are; “Sometimes I’m insecure, at least I’m sure ’bout that, but does it really matter when I know it ain’t all ’bout that, you can go feel my energy, it’s nothing but good vibes, nothing really matters, no I ain’t gotta hide”, she sings. And we’re all like hell yeah! Good vibes only!

So what are you waiting for? Go listen to her NOW!

Oh wait! One more thing, NAAZ is a huge Kanye fan and she recorded the most magical otherworldly cover of one of my all-time favorite Kanye songs “Ultralight Beam”, where she even kills Chance The Rapper’s part, so make sure you go check that out on Spotify as well! K, now you can go.

J.Cole is telling us what we need to hear

When it comes to turn up music I think we are very well supplied. But in a genre where beats are becoming increasingly important and guys can afford to be sloppy with their pronounciation because most people don’t really care about the lyrics anyways it is very necessary to hear something meaningful from time to time. The way I see it, Rap is poetry skillfully placed over music. According to the Merriam-Webster, the definition of poetry is “writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm”. Long story short; great rap is poetry, therefore not all rap is great rap.

Now let me tell you, this new J.Cole album titled “KOD” is some real good poetry. KOD, according to J.Cole himself, has three meanings, “Kids on Drugs”, “King Overdosed” and “Kill Our Demons”. He addresses the major issue that nowadays, instead of facing their issues, people turn to medication, alcohol and drugs as a form of escape. Yeah, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he released it on 4/20. In the intro of this album a woman’s voice says “Life can bring much pain, there are many ways to deal with this pain, choose wisely”. This line is a reappearing theme through multiple songs of the album and on “Once An Addict (Interlude)” Cole even addresses his own mother’s alcohol addiction.

The two songs “The Cut Off” and “FRIENDS” both feature a persona called “kiLL edward” who J. Cole uses as a rhetorical device to show a contrasting insight into the mind of a person who fell victim to drug addiction. In “FRIENDS” J. Cole hits us with a super real, honest and very wise line: “I understand this message is not the coolest to say, but if you down to try it I know a better way, meditate”. At this point I want to highly recommend a netflix documentary to you called “Feel Rich” which amongst others features personalities like Common and Russell Simmons and speaks about physical and mental health. Truss mi!

Another thing, that is usually glorified in rap lyrics nowadays, just like taking drugs, is infidelity. J. Cole addresses this in the context of drug addiction on “Kevin’s Heart” saying “I love her, I don’t want to lose her, I’m selfish, I know that I use her, My ego get stroked and I bruise her (…) On the road I’m a mac, I’m a chooser, I’m a addict, I’m maskin that”.

However his most epic verse on the whole album has to be the one on “BRACKETS”:

“Better yet, let me decide, bitch, it’s 2018
Let me pick the things I’m funding from an app on my screen
Better that than letting wack congressman I’ve never seen
Dictate where my money go, straight into the palms of some money-hungry company that make guns that circulate the country and then wind up in my hood, making bloody clothes
Stray bullet hit a young boy with a snotty nose
From the concrete, he was prolly rose
Now his body froze and nobody knows what to tell his mother”

Yeah I will just leave this right her. This is some powerful poetry right here people. Also, listen to the little boy’s response to why bad things happen in the world on the “Window Pain (Outro)”. Oh and “1985” where J. Cole fires some serious shots at a certain rapper, whose name I won’t mention but remember when I said “not all rap is great rap”. Yeah. That track is also the intro to “The Fall Off” which is speculated to be J. Cole’s next album.