Biggie said it, and time and time again we see how right he was: “The more money you make, the more problems you get.” Take Canadian rapper/singer/serial blog muse Drake, for example. The man has “Trust Issues,” an emotional hangup that would seem to fall squarely within the subset of problems about which Biggie waxed philosophical. It’s a shame, because trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and even famous people deserve love. And while I don’t have millions of dollars and can’t exactly relate to Drake’s worries that bitches are going to slip something in his drinks, trust does figure prominently when I’m thinking about how to dole out my dozens of dollars when I’m at the record store, as I was this past Saturday.
Given its title, I couldn’t resist spending today’s post on The Weeknd’s amazing new mixtape, Thursday. While a few other blogs could very well be doing the same thing today, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say few of them can claim the following fun fact: The very first You Hear That post was about The Weeknd’s first mixtape, House of Balloons. It’s true — hearing that album made me get off my blogger laurels and start writing about music. Clearly House of Balloons struck some inspirational chord for me, but when I stop to think about it, that connection is somewhat bizarre. The dark vignettes that Abel Tesfaye’s songs sketch are genuinely creepy to me, and R&B has never been my wheelhouse. So why am I drawn to his music? What does it meeeean?!? I think the connection may stem from the fact that The Weeknd’s creepiness seems profoundly honest to me. So many artists glorify the drug-addled club scene, but songs like “Life of the Party” make it sound as scary as it probably is in real life. Can you imagine listening to these songs while performing the acts they describe? Wouldn’t that be wildly depressing? I don’t mean to suggest he makes public service announcements, just that he’s the documentarian of something that people normally write fiction about. To me, that’s fascinating, and I can see why Drake was so quick to jump on Tesfaye’s bandwagon. Check out “Life of the Party” below, along with the rest of Thursday, and download the whole thing for free here.
I didn’t go nuts for Drake’s last album, Thank Me Later… but I kinda did. I just didn’t realize it. Even though I never sat down and listened to the album all the way through (and still haven’t), so many songs on the album squirmed their way into my consciousness via remixes, the radio (What? I still listen to the radio sometimes… don’t look at me like that) and ya know, just being out in tha cluuub. Part of my initial reluctance came from his sounding like Lil Wayne — I already had one Weezy in my life, and things were doing just fine thankyouverymuch. However, my friend J Clyde recently enlightened me as to the true nature of the two rappers’ sonic likeness. Apparently, it’s widely accepted that Drake may have … ahem … coached I MEAN “helped” I MEAN worked closely with (we’ll go with that) Weezy on some lyrics early in their careers, so really, Wayne sounds like Drake, not the other way around. Quite the bombshell. That fact, plus the amazing Drake/James Blake mashup, have me very excited for Drake’s upcoming album, Take Care. We’d already heard “Marvin’s Room,” a dark and brooding song about drunk-dialing people (OK, so that may be a bit reductive. Gimme a break, I’m on vacation this week), but over the weekend, the interweb brought us a much more swagger-packed tune, “Headlines.” Though it still hints at Drake’s characteristic broodiness, “Headlines” is a triumphant, top-of-the-game banger, and I’m really enjoying it. Chekkit below.
We live in a crazy world of possibilities. Want proof? There is so much music in the world that people sit around MAKING AWESOME MUSIC OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S AWESOME MUSIC. It’s like usury, except it won’t land you in the 7th circle of Dante’s Inferno! Yay! With sampling, remixes, mix tapes, mashups, and whatever the hell you want to call Girl Talk, there exists a wild and diverse ecosystem of used tunes that overflows with creativity, and I’m extremely pumped about what washed up at my feet today. James Drake is the work of Philly producers Bombé and Mr. Caribbean, and it mashes together the music of British composer/performer James Blake and Canadian rapper/performer Drake. That’s right friends! Drake’s Canadian! And so is Alex Trebek! Yeah, I guess everybody knows that one … how about Michael Cera? Whaaaat? I know! OK, moving on … While most producers and DJs would settle for throwing a few Drake verses over some of Blake’s electronic soul songs, James Drake provides valuable insight into what makes these two musicians tick, boiling down the two singers’ common mastery of melancholy into a potent concentrate. And let me tell ya, this is one weighty bouillabaisse. The combination acts like it has it’s own gravitational pull – anytime you hear a flash of Drake’s star power, or of Blake’s subtle sweetness, the other is there to bring the darkness back into focus. It’s a fascinating listen, slickly produced and truly fun, in spite of it’s gravity. Listen to the whole thing below or download it for free here. And if you don’t have James Blake’s self-titled album, get that shit STAT and then get your James Drake on.