James Blake – Assume Form (Album Review)

James Blake - Assume Form

The perfect emotional balance is reached with James Blake’s new studio album, Assume Form. With James Blake’s latest installment, he features an interesting mix of features. There is a rare André 3000 feature followed with features from Travis Scott, Metro Boomin, Moses Sumney, and Rosalía. There was a lot of excitement upon this release!    His last full-length project ‘The Colour in Anything’, was released in 2016 so you could see why the anticipation was at an all time high. 

So James Blake’s music career is an interesting one. Did y’all know at one point this man was a dubstep DJ? His signature was his kinetic drums and wild fractured rhythms. He didn’t stick around though for the peak years of dub step though. Anyways after that phase, with his first debut artist he was viewed as pop artist who became the “hook maker” as a featured artist or writer for today’s biggest stars such as Frank Ocean and Post Malone. James hooks and lyrics seemed to display loneliness. Well, on ‘Assume Form’  he expresses a kind of cautious happiness for the first time. And yes, he could be happy due to him now dating Jameela Jamil. 

I personally loved how this album started off. “Assume Form” was an amazing intro track. It set the focus and mood for the whole album. In the opening verse, James sings’ “Now I’m confiding, know I’m in haze. Gone through the motions my whole life.I hope this is the first day..That I connect motion to feeling. We spin slowly, we spin slowly ’til morning.” “Mile High,” which features Travis Scott and Metro Boomin, is about joining the mile high club basically. The opening track, “Mile High” and “Tell them” had really enjoyable production! Metro and Travis did a great job and their contributions helped create quality tracks with REAL replay value.

‘Assume Form’ is full of insight. Blake lingers over  the anxieties of new relationships. On “Are You in Love, ” he asks that question, but doesn’t allow any time for a response before begging you to “Do your best impression for me.” In an interview with iTunes he spoke about this track.

“I like the idea of that moment where neither of you know whether you’re in love yet, but there’s this need for someone to just say they are: ‘Give me assurance that this is good and that we’re good, and that you’re in love with me. I’m in love with you.’ The words might mean more in that moment, but that’s not necessarily gonna make it okay.”

On the Andre 3000 featured track, “Where’s the Catch,” focuses in on that jittery anxious feeling one feels as they await for a good thing to go bad. The approach James took on this album works. He battles with sweetness/happiness, always ready to balance it out  doubt or bitterness. This restraint pays off on the big, romantic numbers, especially “Barefoot in the Park” featuring Rosalia.

The album did die a little at the end as I felt that “Don’t Miss It” and “Lullaby for My Insomniac” were low energy tracks. Even with an underwhelming close, ‘Assume Form’ was a solid body of work by James Blake! Blake is a true and pure songwriter and one of the most original of this generation. It’s safe to say this was Blake’s most focused project to date! 

Rating: 9.2/10

 

Stream On Spotify:

Big K.R.I.T.’s – TDT (Compilation Project) Review

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In my short few years of blogging I’m finally reviewing one of my favorite artist!!! Big K.R.I.T had quite the 4th quarter finish in 2018. Mississippi’s very own gave us a three-peat of hard hitting EPs. In two week intervals, K.R.I.T. delivered ‘Thrice X’ (November 16, 2018), ‘Double Down’ (November 30, 2018) and ‘Trifecta’ (December 14, 2018). Prior to these releases K.R.I.T was relatively quiet. Like me, most fans we were kind of hungry for some new material from K.R.I.T. as we began to get satiated wit 2017’s ‘4eva Is A Mighty Long Time.’ The Summer of 2018 was absolutely nuts when it came to album drops. This past summer we were gifted with albums from Jay – Z and Beyonce, Kanye and G.O.O.D Music had their multi album run, Drake dropped during the midst of  that run. Also, we got the most anticipated project arguably in 2018 with Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld’. 

K.R.I.T is not just a musical genius. He’s overall a smart individual. So it’s my belief he had been working on his EP roll out and had everything ready but assessed the temperature in the industry leading to him ultimately deciding to drop in the 4th quarter of 2018. K.R.I.T generated some crazy buzz with these drops.  They all were no more than 3 tracks and kept us eager to hear more! I think he has an end game with this roll out but in the mean time, K.R.I.T. has taken the songs from each of those projects and combined them to give us ‘TDT’. Yes we have heard these songs before this release. But man….. listening to them as a whole project changes the energy of the tracks.

‘TDT’ is a solid body of work. It consists of eight tracks that are all enjoyable.  Production was done by K.R.I.T per usual and he did a pretty good job. A few tracks stood out more than others production wise. My favorite tracks were “Pick Yourself Up” “Look What I Got” and “Glorious.” Those tracks had great production to go hand and hand with K.R.I.T smooth uptempo flow and his high quality lyricism. All in all, this was a great compilation but I think a bigger and more heavy project is being worked on as we speak and I’m predicting it to be some of K.R.I.T.’s best work in every aspect. 

Rating: 8.8/10

 

Stream on Spotify: 

New Music Alert: Ariana Grande – 7 Rings

 

Ariana walks into 2019 still scorching hot from a very successful 2018 campaign! “7 rings” is a bop that I think will be played nonstop probably through out 2019… It’s an Ariana thing. All she does is give us hits and she has another here with 7 rings. One thing I’d like to point out is the delivery on the hook that pays homage to Young DRACO aka Soulja Boy. One it was very unexpected and I was always curious on to who was going too mimic the “Pretty Boy Swag” hook post high school. Never thought it’d be Ariana Grande. Anyways, the visual for this video was dope and  Ariana is accompanied by her BFFLs here which is key because we know much she loves her girls. I think Ariana is in for yet another big year. Check out “7 rings” and let me know what you all think!

Rating: 4.2/5

New Music Alert: YNW Melly – Mixed Personalities (Ft. Kanye West)

 

Alright guys. A part of me loves this song. Like I really love this shit. The hook is super enjoyable! Ye sounds great and he and Melly’s vocals blend nicely on that hook man. Melly sounds great on here minus his screeching at some points when he attempts to hit those high notes… That literally was not needed at all. I’m not too familiar with Melly but he’s been popping up on my Twitter feed recently so its definitely time to do some homework. I love the whole concept of this track as well. Shout out to Cole Bennett and the duo behind the 3D animation, Sam Shea and Marco Mori. This video is AMAZING! Let me know what y’all think of this track! Is it hot or am I trippin’?  

Rate: 4.5/5

New Music Alert: Young M.A. – “Bake Freestyle”

 

Young M.A went crazy on the infamous Clipse “Grindin” beat! You all should know how I feel about M.A. by now so there is no need for me to go off on a rant on how nice she is. This was the perfect way for M.A to kick off 2019 as she delivers a freestyle on such an iconic beat/popular freestyle beat that in my opinion hasn’t been done justice to since Cassidy’s famous “Cosmic Kev Freestyle” when he came fresh out of jail 7 years ago! Anyways, hit play and prepare for a BARS GALORE!

Rating: 5/5

 

#SongOfTheDay for 8/4/2018 – 8/31/2018

I’ve been super busy and just flat out either forgot to post the #SOTD or just too tired too. Here were the songs selected for the past six days! No write ups were done but songs were picked out. all the songs selected are new tracks! I want to to do a whole segment for new music weekly and continue the doing a “Song Of The Day.” I’ll post a poll or something… anyways sorry everyone for  being MIA. I’ll do better! 

 

August 4th:  Machine Gun Kelly – Loco

 

 

August 5th: Diggy Simmons – It Is What It

 

August 6th: Future – Scammalot

August 7th: Trippie Redd – Taking A Walk

August 8th: Kap G – Raise The Roof (Ft. Ty Dolla $ign)

August 9th: Playboi Carti & Lil Uzi Vert – Big Bank

August 10th: Soulja Boy – Infinity

August 11th: Travis Scott – Stop Trying To Be God

August 12th: Young M.A – Car Confessions

August 13th: Gunna x Lil Uzi Vert – .223

August 14th: Smokepurpp x Dj Flippp – Guap

August 15th: NBA Youngboy – Drawing Symbols

August 16th: BHAD BHABIE – INTRO

 

August 17th: Kid Ink – Cana Ft. 24hrs

August 18th: 24hrs – YG

August 19th: Russ – The Flute Song

August 20th: Juelz Santana Ft. Ez Work

August 21st : Young MA – LA LEAKERS FREESTYLE

 

August 22nd : Sahbabii – 7 Squids (Ft. R.Kelly)

 

August 23rd: Logic – The Return

 

August 24th: blackbear – the 1

August 25th : Chance The Rapper & Joey Purp Help KAMI & Smoko Ono – Reboot

August 27th: Bryson Tiller – Normal Girl

August 28th: Bryson Tiller – Canceled

August 29th: Mick Jenkins – What Am I To Do

August 30th: Logic – YSIV Freestyle

August 31st: Kanye West- XTCY

Travis Scott – Astroworld (Album Review)

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So what have y’all anticipated more the actual drop for ‘Astroworld’ or for me to actually drop the review? Don’t answer that I know its probably both! The wait is over. Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld’ has been one of 2018’s most anticipated drops. Its been two and a half weeks since its long waited arrival and I needed the full two and a half weeks to dive into Travis’s latest piece, which was named after the now-closed theme park in Texas that Travis used to go to as a kid. ‘Astroworld’ consists of seventeen tracks and a stacked supporting cast that resembles a particular NBA team (My hoop fanatics know the team I’m referring too). Such key players include the likes of Drake, Sheck Wes, Juice Wrld, Quavo, James Blake, Stevie Wonder, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Pharrell, Nav, Gunna, Swae Lee, and many more. Production is handled by Travis and some of the games finest including Mike Dean, Frank Dukes, WondaGurl, FKi 1st, Sonny Digital, and a few others. Before we dive in I wanted to leave a direct quote from Travis when comparing ‘Astroworld’ to ‘Rodeo’.

“It’s a different story. I’ve been through so much different shit. I’ve seen so much different stuff now, its just a different story I have to tell. It’s kinda like a more personal album. I just want people to get to know me and really get to know the rage inside. Really know what’s going on with my mental and what I be thinking. How I feel about all types of shit…”

Lets get to this review now.


Tracklist and Song Ratings

  1. STARGAZING (5/5)
  2. CAROUSEL (5/5)
  3. SICKO MODE (5/5)
  4. R.I.P. SCREW (5/5)
  5. STOP TRYING TO BE GOD (5/5)
  6. NO BYSTANDERS (5/5)
  7. SKELETONS (4.7/5)
  8. WAKE UP (5/5)
  9. 5% TINT (4.4/5)
  10. NC-17 (4/5)
  11. ASTROTHUNDER (4.3/5)
  12. YOSEMITE (4.5/5)
  13. CAN’T SAY (4/5)
  14. WHO? WHAT! (4.2/5)
  15. BUTTERFLY EFFECT (5/5)
  16. HOUSTONFORNICATION (4.5/5)
  17. COFFEE BEAN (5/5)

Favorite Tracks: STARGAZING, CAROUSEL, SICKO MODE, STOP TRYING TO BE GOD, NO BYSTANDERS, YOSEMITE AND COFFEE BEAN

Stream


Man this album is special so I’ll choose my words wisely as I carefully review this project…. ‘Astroworld’ is F*cking AMAZING. Travis Scott creates his most complete and cohesive album to date. Since I want to discuss how great this project is I’ll tackle its flaws. There are no flaws. Okay, I’ll be honest. There were a FEW lazy bars on a couple tracks but it’s only noticed if you spend time to look for this project’s flaws. These “lazy bars” that I’m speaking on BRIEFLY does not inflict any damage on the whole ‘Astroworld’ experience. This album is FULL of infectious flows and atmospheric beats. Personally, i needed this project! Well based off the albums feedback and ‘Astroworld’ going  #1 on Billboard back to back weeks (Sorry not sorry Nicki), I think Hip Hop and fans of dope music needed this project. Travis was driving me nuts with all the stalling/push backs/and other reasons for him to not put this project out. An album of this caliber cannot be rushed so forgive me for my impatience Travis.  ‘Astroworld’ sounds amazing but most importantly, it’s super organic. Whether it’s your first listen or tenth. It’s like it gets better each time.  

Travis and his supporting cast showed out like the 96′ Chicago Bulls (the hell with the GSW). The album starts off in the most magnificent way possible with “Stargazing.” The two for one intro that is “Stargazing” has two separate musical vibes. Part one has a very psychedelic feel and then there is this urgent and sharp beat switch that just transitions impeccably.  On “Carousel” we get a surprise Frank Ocean appearance! On the tracklist for this project the features are left out and meant to be discovered upon listening, which feels purposely done by an artist who is aware of how limited his audience’s attention span can be. “Carousel” has Frank Ocean rich sound floating over an amazing beat as he sings, “Blue bands, blue bands/Get my cash from drive-thru/Boy you’re too flash, too flash/Keep the flash minimal/Bitch I’m too cold, too cold/See my breath visible.”

TRAVIS AND A FEW GOOD MEN CREATE AN EARGASM OF A LIFE TIME WITH “SICKO MODE.” On “Sicko Mode”, Scott teases Drake vocals before switching gears. “Sicko Mode” has not ONE BUT TWO BEAT SWITCH UPS. On part two of this track we get two dope verses from Travis and a special appearance by that boy Swae Lee! At this point you’re already pretty engaged and loving what you hear but it’s like the song is missing something and Travis literally doesn’t neglect the feeling that listeners would feel after the first two segments. The beat switches up again to a Tay Keith production with none other than Drake reappearing to just put the icying on the cake to an amazing three for one record that leaves you in awe tempted to replay the track. Going back to Drake we hear a clear shot at Adidas as he raps, “checks over stripes.” I hear you Drizzy! Get your ish off boy.  Travis pays homage to DJ Screw on “R.I.P Screw” which also features Swae Lee lending his vocals once again.

 It’s crazy that after just 5 songs in on ‘Astroworld’ everything just sounds so fluid. Okay maybe five songs is nothing but it gets better.  As things seem to slow down and the production sounds extremely Houston on “R.I.P Screw” the slow tempo continues into the albums longest track “Stop Trying To Be God.”  Some way, some how we get James Blake, Kid Cudi and Stevie Wonder all on one track. I could do a deep dive on this song alone and probably give you 1,000 words but maybe some other time. What I will do is thank everyone on this track for giving us an absolute gem of a track with a deep meaning behind it which essential is to “let GO and let GOD” possibly? (You decide) We get a surprise banger in the Vibrant “No Bystanders” which features the next big musical acts in Juice Wrld and Sheck Wes. From here things begin to drift a bit with “Skeletons” which features The Weeknd and Pharrell. The Weeknd remains involved as we are gifted with another collab between Travis and Abel on “Wake Up.”  This track also involved many people on both writing and production and to hear so many different ideas in sound coexist makes this song a lot more special. The acoustic guitar’s played on this track is the real MVP here.  

So now as we approach the half way mark I want to to say few things! Isn’t this album super fluid? Isn’t ‘Astroworld’ flawless? Travis takes us on a psychedelic journey that is truly one of a kind. The first half is extremely mesmerizing giving of this high extremely profound sense of feeling similar to a first time acid trip. So for basically the next half of the album I view it as the “come down.” I don’t refer to it as a come down because of  the quality of music decreasing but there’s a change of pace throughout the next 8 tracks but it all still coexist as one sound, one vibe, a whole experience.

To begin this second half we have “5% Tint” which samples the piano sequence from Goodie Mob’s hip hop classic “Cell Therapy”  by re-recording it for a darker, slightly more dignified and not so playful version. The song also features the samples hook: “Who’s that creeping through my window/Before you come outside I got the info/Took her to the end zone from The Ends.” “NC-17” features 21 Savage as he spits one of the most graphic bars on this whole album. It’s a line that only 21 would get away with.  An interesting sampling job occurs on “Astrothunder” as he uses the guitar hook from “Sold Out Dates” by Gunn ft. Lil Baby and  “Florida Logic”, from the instrumental post-rock band Cougar. This track feeds right into the Dark Horse for best track on ‘Astroworld’. YES I SAID IT. “Yosemite” is ‘Astroworld’s Dark Horse. A track that features a SUPER MELODIC hook by Gunna  and a “questionably” feature from NAV, actually all blend in to create a hell of a vibe! Leave Nav alone y’all I love him on here. Especially since they went back and boosted his vocals on this track.  

“Can’t Say” features Don Toliver an artist who I wasn’t familiar with. This was my least favorite track because I wasn’t feeling his contributions too much but song is still didn’t sound too bad at all. “WHO? WHAT!“  finds Travis teaming up with his Atlanta brethren in Takeoff and Quavo.  This song definitely could have been on Huncho Jack. As we continue to “come down” we hear the lead single for ‘Astroworld’ in “Butterfly Effect” as it still sounds as sonically mesmerizing as it did when first released. “Houstonfornication” is an ode to Houston and the reckless activities Travis’s younger self would have engaged in. Personally, I thought in verse two Travis was addressing Tory Lanez as he rapped, “Yeah, nobody can press me but the press/Nobody can check me when it’s chess.” I could be wrong but I tend to be right when it comes to decoding bars meant to be shots at another artists.

As we come to ‘Astrworld’s final track, our acid trip comes to an end as we don’t experience a single bad trip and experienced a ride of a life time but have one last profound experience. On “Coffee Bean” we get a track completely different from every song on this album. Production wise we get an old school hip hop type beat laced with some blissful guitar strings. This track is where Travis gets super personal and opens up to us. “Coffee Bean” features important bars about Kylie and issues that faced such as the Kardashian Klan disliking him. Travis raps, “Your family told you I’m a bad move/Plus I’m already a black dude.” This sounds like Travis reflecting back at a time where Travis was not accepted by Kylie’s family. It seems to be that things are great now, in the public eye at least. This close out track is really important as we get a clear look at Travis natural self as he performs this song with little to almost no auto tune.

Travis Scott delivers a performance of a lifetime with ‘Astroworld’. ‘Astroworld’ presents itself as an experience that no album could give you this year or possibly last year, sonically speaking. Travis has always been good at collaborating with others as he able to cater to their strengths or at least help showcase it. This is why I have always viewed Travis as a Kanye West minus the f*ckery. He is a special talent who is an extraordinary producer as well as “rapper” making him a superior artist. Travis’s previous work has all been pretty superb but ‘Astroworld’ is different. Right now I feel compelled to call it his best album. That feeling may or may not change. Also, Its only right that I acknowledge Drake, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Juice Wrld, Kid Cudi, Jame Blake and Stevie Wonder for their phenomenal performances. I’ve been a Travis fan since the mixtape days and I used to tell everyone he was next and that he was ahead of his time. Here we are 4 years later as he delivers his third album and it feels like this isn’t even Travis Scott at his maximum potential. Call me crazy but the future is beyond bright for Travis. 

RATING: 10/10