Eminem’s Latest LP Re-Issue Will Find Appeal Among His Most Devoted Fans

Courtesy: Aftermath Entertainment/Shady Records/Interscope Records/Goliath Artists

When Eminem released his album Kamikaze in 2018, the veteran rapper reached the apex of his career.  The 13-song record exhibited the veteran rapper at the absolute top of his game.  Fast forward two years and audiences got a surprise follow-up in the form of Music to be Murdered By.  That record was an intriguing new offering from a figure who had spent years making his way to the top of the mountain that is the rap community.  It was such an intriguing offering because it presented Eminem in a state in which he seemed uncertain as to where to go.  Do not misunderstand this.  It gave audiences the best of both worlds from Eminem, the musical and lyrical sense of his early days, and some of the influence of his more focused, razor sharp delivery.  The thing is that even with that mix of influences, it seemed to lack direction.  It went all over the place between the two influences.  That same issue detracts from the new re-issue of that album, Music to be Murdered By Side B.  The double-disc presentation was released digitally last month with no prior push and then released physically this month.  It came less than a year after its predecessor’s release.  That noted lack of direction is the only negative to the re-issue.  Making up for that concern is the amount of content that audiences get in this re-issue.  That aspect in itself forms a solid foundation for the record.  The average price point of this presentation, considering how much content audiences get, puts the finishing touch to its appeal.  When it is considered with the overall content and the concerns raised by the disc’s collective content and sequencing thereof, the whole proves itself a presentation that will appeal to Eminem’s most devoted fan base.

Eminem’s re-issue of his 2020 album Music to be Murdered By is an interesting presentation from the veteran rapper.  It is a presentation that will appeal primarily to his most devoted audiences.  That is due in large part to the content (and amount thereof) featured in its second disc.  Audiences don’t just get a collection of random b sides or archived live clips, etc. that are so common in other acts’ re-issues.  Rather, audiences get in this presentation’s bonus disc, the equivalent of a whole new album.  It is a 16-song presentation of “new” content.  Odds are the extra content is likely a collection of songs that were recorded during the sessions for Music to be Murdered By, but that aside, Eminem went to the length of giving audiences the noted amount of content, rather than just tossing in a couple previously unreleased songs and maybe a remix of one of the original album’s songs.  In other words, what audiences get here is essentially two full-length albums in one.  When one considers this along with the recording’s average price point, the appeal grows even more.  That aspect will be discussed a little later.  Staying on the topic of the content, it proves slightly problematic.

The content featured in the bonus disc of Music to be Murdered By Side B gives audiences the best of both worlds from Eminem’s catalog.  The focused, sharp writing and musical approach featured in Kamikaze is evident here, as is the more familiar writing and performance style from the records that filled out the early part of Eminem’s catalog. The thing is that there seems to be no definite direction in the sequencing of that content.  It’s  as if Eminem  (and  those responsible for the  bonus disc’s sequencing) were unable to decide about which side of Eminem would get a better  response.  ‘Black Magic,’ which officially opens the bonus disc is among that more recent side of Eminem.  It finds him rapping about a woman who has “cast her spell” on him.  It turns though, as it transitions into ‘Alfred’s Theme’ by having him murdering that woman and then using the classic Alfred Hitchcock Presents theme for another lyrical assault on all the people who have ever criticized him.  In other words, it doesn’t take Eminem long to go back to his familiar lyrical defensive stance on which he built his fame.  The music bed that Eminem uses in ‘Tone Deaf’ finds him moving backward even more, along with his sarcastic lyrical content and delivery style.  His statement about trying to decide which side chick to be with is vintage Eminem, but those who appreciate his more serious approach to writing  might find this song less appealing.  It will leave those audiences  wondering if in fact Eminem has in fact already reached his peak.  ‘These Demons,’ which comes late in the disc’s run, is another notable moment showing the division in this re-issue.  Musically and lyrically, it starts out strong, what with its beats and socially conscious lyrics about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation (especially the black community).  But from there, he proceeds to fall back again on his familiar defensive lyrical approach as the song continues, going after his critics once more.  It’s like even within one song, he cannot decide whether he wants to show his angry for the sake of being angry side or the more mature and powerful side of himself.  This happens throughout the course of the bonus disc in Music to be Murdered By Side B.  The result is that while there is some positive content, there is just as much material that might divide audiences.  It is a trend that continues what Eminem started with Music to be Murdered By.  To that end, the overall content featured in this re-issue is a concerning detractor from the album, but thankfully is not enough to make the album a failure.  It just makes the record a presentation that is far from being his best work.

For all of the concern that the overall content of Music to be Murdered By Side B raises, the sheer amount of content works with the re-issue’s average price point to make for even more appeal for audiences.  The average price point for this double-disc set – obtained by averaging listings at Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers (It was not listed through Best Buy and Books-A-Million) – is $16.82.  Yet the most commonly listed price for the re-issue is $15.99, well below that average.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ listing of $19.30 is the only one that exceeds the noted average.  In other words, audiences who get this re-issue are essentially getting two albums for the price of one.  Most full, “double albums” generally average in the range of $20-$25 if not more.  So even with the concerns raised by the inconsistency in the overall content featured here, the affordability of all of that content is sure to make this recording even more appealing, again, for Eminem’s most devoted fans.

Eminem’s re-issue of his 2020 album Music to be Murdered By is an intriguing presentation from the veteran rapper.  It is a presentation that is certain to appeal primarily to Eminem’s most devoted fan base.  That is due in large part to the fact that the bonus disc featured with the original album is rounded out by actual original content.  Rather than just throwing in a bunch of random live clips, b-sides other content, audiences get what is essentially an entire “new” album’s worth of music.  That in itself forms a strong foundation for the record’s presentation.  The content itself is somewhat problematic, though.  Given, Eminem gives audiences hints of the stylistic approach that made him famous as well as touches of his more current stylistic approach.  The problem is that throughout it all, there is a sense of inconsistency and lack of direction.  It is as if Eminem and company were unable to decide which side to show more in the bonus disc just as much as in the original album.  This notably detracts from record’s presentation, but not so much that it makes the re-issue a failure.  Considering the average price for this price listing, it gains even more appeal.  That average price point is that of a single, not double album, yet audiences get here the equivalent of a double album for the price of a single album.  To that end, whether audiences are the most devoted or just casual, they will agree that this affordability, together with the record’s amount of content (and even slightly with its content itself), makes this re-issue at least a slight success.  Music to be Murdered By Side B is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Eminem’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.eminem.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eminem

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/eminem  

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always  keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

GNL Zamba’s New LP Could Make Him One Of The Next Big Names In The Rap-Rock Community

Courtesy: baboon Forest Entertainment

The Spear is a sharp new offering from international rap artist GNL Zamba.  Released Nov. 11 through Baboon Forest Entertainment, the 11-song album is one of the most unique rap albums released so far this year.  That is due in no small part to the album’s musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s featured musical arrangements adds its own share of interest to the 43-minute presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of the record’s content rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  All three items noted here are important in their own way to the whole of The Spear.  All things considered, they make the album a presentation that deserves  its own share of attention among rap and hip-hop audiences as well as World Music fans.

Rapper GNL Zamba’s new album The Spear is a presentation that any rap fan will agree is worth hearing at least once if not more.  That is due in no small part to the album’s musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question cross a wide range of styles.  The album opens with an arrangement in ‘Afrika,’ ‘’Zim Zim Bombo,’ and ‘Who Got The Power’ that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Skindred and Rage Against the Machine.  ‘Black Caesar,’ which immediately follows, is sort of like a Fort Minor style arrangement that offers audiences something of a nu-metal rap/rock approach.  Also featured throughout the course of the 43-minute record is a song in ‘No Borders’ that presents some very infectious African-infused jazz.  As if that is not enough, ‘Zamba The Great’ is a full-on modern rap style presentation, showing even more, the diversity in the record’s musical arrangements.  ‘Wake The F*** Up,’ another of the album’s entries, even offers some EDM style influence.  Between everything noted here and the other arrangements audiences get a lot to like about GNL Zamba’s new record at least in regards to its musical content.  Its musical content is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements adds its own touch to the presentation.

The lyrical content that is presented throughout The Spear is sure to generate its own share of interest among audiences.  It features a lot of socially conscious content.  the album’s opener, ‘Afrika’ is itself a commentary about people needing to take price in their roots inn Africa.  The mentions of the great pharaohs, queens, and peoples of Africa across its many nations make that clear.  As fast as GNL Zamba raps, it can be heard at one point that he makes mention of his mother and grandmother telling him about the legacy of Africa.  ‘Who Got The Power,’ on another note, is a call to unity, urging people to come together and stand up to those in power.  ‘No Borders,’ on yet another note, is its own unique call for unity.  Audiences hear the statement here, “I imagine a world with no borders/One love/One world/No borders.”  It is a statement about bringing the world together among all the separation that is out there.  This is a statement that many listeners will find welcome.  It is just one more way in which the record’s lyrical content proves its importance to the whole of this album’s presentation.  On yet another level, GNL Zamba noted in a prepared statement, that the lyrical content featured in the album actually follows one central theme.

“People are waking up to something,” said GNL Zamba. “People are longing for more connection, more love, equality and wisdom. Many are realizing now that what you actually need is thriving relationships and community to stay functionally sane. We’re asking: Are we just tools for data mining, or where is this all going? We’re seeking a level of consciousness that improves us as human beings. It’s time to go back to where it all began.”

“This is the soundtrack to a human revolution, coming back full circle after completing the first journey of physical evolution to now start the elevation to a spiritual one!” added GNL Zamba …”This Universal Pan African album is inspired by the urgent need to remind the people of the world about what we have in common, an origin of the human race in Africa. Among so much divisions on basis of race, colorism and worship it is imperative to draw from the spiritual wisdom understood by ancient African societies; by looking at the past we predict the future. The oneness of “Obuntu” (The Human spirit).”

Everything noted here rings true with the songs addressed.  They all have that central theme of unity, just in their own unique way.    Keeping all of this in mind, there is no doubt as to the importance of this album’s lyrical content, both by itself and together with the album’s musical arrangements.  Even with all of that in mind, it is still not all that is worth examining in this album.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

The Spear starts off strong in ‘Afrika’ with the aforementioned rap-rock arrangement that so conjures thoughts of Skindred and Rage Against the Machine.  While ‘Black Caesar,’ the album’s next song, changes stylistic approach, the song’s energy maintains the energy established in the album’s opener.  The album’s energy does not even begin to pull back until roughly halfway through its run in the ironically titled ‘Energy’ whose own energy is far relaxed in comparison to its predecessors.  The record’s energy slightly picks back up immediately after in ‘Sweet Uganda (Star Taffa).’  Things start to pick back up even more in ‘Wake The F*** Up’ and continues on through ‘Who Got The Power’ before pulling back again in ‘Zamba The Great.’  That song gives listeners a familiar modern hip-hop vibe, so its energy is not too reserved.  As a matter of fact GNL Zamba’s speed rapping is reminiscent of that of Eminem and certain other rappers.  The album goes on just as strongly as it opened in ‘Zim Zim Bombo’ with its heavy rap-rock style arrangement.  It may not be fast, but its heaviness closes out the album with noted same strong musical punch with which the album opened.  Looking back through the record, it can be said of its sequencing that it ensures the album does not get too monotonous at any point.  The stylistic approaches and their related energies change up just enough throughout to keep things interesting for listeners.  When this is considered along with the album’s overall content, the record in whole proves itself to be a successful offering that could make GNL Zamba one of the next big names in the rap and rock communities.

GNL Zamba’s latest album The Spear is a positive new offering from the veteran rapper who calls America and Africa home.  His album offers listeners musical arrangements that will appeal to fans of acts, such as Hyro The Hero, Rage Against The Machine, Fort Minor, Eminem, and even Skindred.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements follows one central theme of unity while in itself giving listeners something different with each song.  The sequencing of all of this content rounds out the most important of the album’s elements.  It brings everything full circle, ensuring the album never gets boring.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of The Spear.  All things considered, they make the album one “sharp” new record.  The Spear is available now.

More information on The Spear is available along with all of GNL Zamba’s latest news at:

Website: http://gnlzamba.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gnlzamba

Twitter: http://twitter.com/therealGnlzamba

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

New Rap, Hip-Hop Albums Prove 2020 Was Not All Bad

Courtesy: Def Jam

Rap and hip-hop fans have had quite a bit to be happy about this year.  That is because over the course of the now fading year, a lot of notable entries have made their way to audiences within the genre.  They have come from independent and well-known acts alike, too.  From the familiar socio-politically charged content featured in Public Enemy’s new album What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down, to the lighter yet still engaging content featured in Aesop Rock’s new album Spirit World Field Guide, to the unique hybrid jazz/hip-hop instrumental offering from Analog Players Society, Soundtrack For A Nonexistent Film, and more, this year’s field of new rap and hip-hop records has proven quite diverse and entertaining.  Even Eminem released his own new album (albeit by surprise) in the form of Music to be Murdered By early this year.  Between that record and so many others, this year’s field of new albums was full of interesting, impressive new albums, both mainstream and independent.  Phil’s Picks has kept track of them once again this year and produced a list of the year’s best new product.

As with past years and each list, this collection features the Top 10 new titles in the category, as well as five honorable mentions, for a total of 15 titles.  Here for your consideration is the Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 new Rap & Hip-Hop Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW RAP & HIP-HOP ALBUMS

  1. Public Enemy – What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?
  2. Run The Jewels – RTJ4
  3. RJD2 – The Fun Ones
  4. Common – A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 1
  5. Jamo Gang – Walking With Lions
  6. Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide
  7. Eminem – Music to be Murdered By
  8. Analog Players Society – Soundtrack for a Nonexistent Film
  9. Atmosphere – The Day Before Halloween
  10. GNL Zamba – The Spear
  11. Denzel Curry – Unlocked
  12. Prof – Powderhorn Suites
  13. Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event 2
  14. Aesop Rock – Music From The Game Freedom Finger
  15. Black Eyed Peas – Translation

Next up from Phil’s Picks is a listing of the year’s top new jazz and blues albums.  Stay tuned for that.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Calibro 35 Crosses Musical Boundaries On Its Seventh Full-Length Studio Recording

Courtesy: Record Kicks

Calibro 35 apparently is a group that does not rest easy on its laurels.  The veteran musical collective will release its latest full-length studio recording Jan. 24, less than a year after the group released its sixth album Decade.  The group’s forthcoming collection of songs, titled Momentum, is a wonderful jumping on point for any audiophile who may be less familiar with the veteran outfit’s work than its more seasoned fans.  It is a work that will easily appeal to fans of acts, such as Jagajazzist, Gorillaz and Handsome Boy Modeling School with its largely instrumental makeup.  Save for two songs, the 10-song, 38-minute record is largely composed of instrumental compositions that boast a variety of elements and styles.  One of the most notable of those instrumental compositions comes late in the album’s run in the form of the song ‘Thunderstorms and Data.’  For all that ‘Thunderstorms and Data’ offers audiences, its follow-up, ‘Black Moon (ft. Mei)’ – one of the record’s only tracks with vocals – offers its own share of entertainment and engagement.  ‘Death of Storytelling,’ which comes early in the record’s run is another of the album’s many instrumental tracks.  It stands on its own merits just as much as the other songs addressed here.  When it and those songs are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the record in whole proves itself to be an early candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hip-hop/rap albums and best overall new albums.

Veteran music collective Calibro 35’s members recently said of the group’s forthcoming seventh album Momentum, that it “is the prequel of what you will hear in the next ten years” from the group.  If that is the case, then considering the fact that the band has already released six other albums prior to this record, it is a strong statement about where the group is headed.  That is proven in part late in the album in the song ‘Thunderstorms and Data.’  This full-on experimental opus is one of the album’s strongest points, opening with some gentle chimes that very quickly give way to a semi-brooding keyboard line that easily lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Daft Punk.  Those electronic elements are accompanied by – believe it or not – some distinct jazz elements and even some hip-hop elements throughout the course of the song’s nearly four-minute run.  The combination of those elements and their subtleties couples with the song’s different movements to make the composition in whole a clear example of what makes Momentum a sign of Calibro 35’s forward momentum.  It is just one of the songs that stands out in this album.  ‘Black Moon (ft. Mei)’ stands strong on its own merits just as much as ‘Thunderstorms and Data.’

‘Black Moon (ft. Mei)’ is one of only two tracks featured in Momentum that includes vocals with its musical content.  The song’s musical content, with it guitar, bass and drums, boasts some old school soul and funk influence while also presenting some more modern hip-hop and rap elements alongside those soul and funk elements.  The collective of those elements makes the song’s musical content alone more than enough reason to take in the song.  The lyrical content that partners with the noted musical content adds even more engagement and entertainment to the whole of the song.

Mei presents some distinctly positive vibes in the song’s lead verse, making statements, such as “ready more than ready for this rhythm” and “navigate these streets though they murky.”  She adds in the lead verse, “Never stop ‘cause our enemies are thirsty/Survive off the power that’s in we.”  Mei’s flow in the song’s second verse is so fluid that trying to follow her without a lyrics sheet is next to impossible.  That is meant in the best way possible.  However, what can be inferred through what can be understood, is that the song’s second verse presents more positive lyrical vibes from Mei.  That being considered along with the positive message in the song’s lead verse and the infectious grooves in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of this work serves to show even more why Calibro 35’s forthcoming seventh album is on course to be a big hit for the group on both sides of the Atlantic.

‘Black Moon (Ft. Mei)’ goes a long way to entertain and engage audiences on Calibro 35’s latest album, just as does ‘Thunderstorms and Data.’  While the two noted songs do a lot to prove why Momentum is an enjoyable new offering from the group, they are only two of the songs featured in the record that serve to show its appeal.  ‘Death Of Storytelling,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is yet another example of the album’s strength.  The song clearly boasts its own hip-hop influence.  At the same time though, the use of the guitar to build on the song’s foundation added to that element gives the song a while new feeling and identity.  The coupling of the elements makes the song sound like something that would serve well as the music bed for a song by Eminem or Mike Shinoda.  That is meant in the absolutely most respectful manner possible toward all involved.  The feeling in the arrangement, the tempo and the balance of the elements – including the keyboards – makes the song in whole one of the record’s most moving moments and most memorable in turn.  It truly leaves a lasting impression and is deserving of being one of the album’s singles along with the other two songs addressed here.  When it is considered with those songs and the rest of the album’s entries, the end result is a work that proves without doubt, Calibro 35 still has plenty of its own momentum.

Calibro 35’s seventh full-length studio recording Momentum is a strong new offering from the veteran music collective.  One would think that seven albums in, any act would be showing some signs of wear and tear.  That is especially the case when the group has been recording and touring for a dozen years.  In the case of this group though, this record shows that the group has no plans to slow down any time soon.  The mostly instrumental compositions that make up the record’s body show that this group can easily hold its own against its American counterparts.  That is due to the diversity of the arrangements and the clear time and thought put into each arrangement.  Whether in the songs addressed here or through the record’s other entries, the album in whole proves to be an early, easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new albums overall.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of the group’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.calibro35.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/calibro35

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Calibro35

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Evidence “Beats” Out Everyone In Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 New Rap & Hip-Hop Albums List

Courtesy: Rhymesayers Entertainment

The old year is almost over, and the new year is nearly here, but before the clock turns midnight, turning 219 to 2019, there’s still some work for Phil’s Picks to do.  That work is some more year-ender list.  The year’s top EPs have been noted already.  Now, today it is on to the year’s top new Rap and Hip-Hop albums.

This has been an interesting year for the worlds of rap and hip-hop, with strong new offerings from the likes of Ice Cube, Evidence, Atmosphere and others.  There have also been some positive surprises from the likes of Mourning (A) BLKstar, Black Eyed Peas (yes, Black Eyed Peas — the group, now a trio again thank goodness, returned to its old school roots on its new album) and Dr. Octagon.

From one to the next, the albums that have been offered rap and hip-hop fans this year has largely been strong.  Keeping that in mind, forming this list was just as difficult as any before or after.

Topping this year’s list is Dilated Peoples emcee Evidence and his new album Weather or Not.  The album, from start to finish is everything that hip-hop and rap purists will appreciate, but musically and lyrically.  It is an old school presentation that is confident in both elements’ presentation.

Next up is fellow veteran emcee Eminem and his new album Kamikaze.  This record is, in this critic’s view, some of his best work to date, hands down.  The fire from his past albums is there, along with a certain maturity, too.  that balance makes for a solid work from start to finish.

Third place belongs, on this list, to Black Eyed Peas’ new album Masters of the Sun: Vol. 1.  As noted previously, this record takes the group, now a trio again, back to the sound that made it a hit during its underground days.  At the same time, the pop sensibility that made the group a hit in the mainstream is there, too.  Lyrically, the songs are their own stylistic rebirth for the group, too.

With 1st – 3rd noted, the rest of the list is fleshed out below.  As always, 15 titles are listed, with the Top 10 being the best while the next five are honorable mentions.  That is not to say that there is anything wrong with those albums.  They are just worth noting.  Now enough rambling.  without any further ado, here is Phil’s PIcks 2018 Top 10 New Rap & Hip-Hop albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW RAP & HIP-HOP ALBUMS

  1. Evidence — Weather or Not
  2. Eminem — Kamikaze
  3. Black Eyed Peas: Masters of the SunVol. 1
  4. Ice Cube — Everythang’s Corrupt
  5. Atmosphere — Mi Vida Local
  6. Mourning [A] BLKstar — The Garner Poems
  7. Dr. Octagon — Moosebumps
  8. Denzel Curry– TA1300
  9. Del & Amp Live — Gate 13
  10. Camp Hope — Micheal
  11. Everlast — Whitey Ford’s House of Pain
  12. dem Atlas — Bad Actress
  13. Four Fists — 6666
  14. Brownout — Fear of a Brown Planet
  15. Cypress Hill — Elephants on Acid

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Rainy Milo’s Debut LP Is One Of This Year’s Best New Re-Issues

Courtesy:  Big Picnic Records

Courtesy: Big Picnic Records

British R&B artist Rainy Milo made quite the splash with her debut album This Thing Of Ours when it was released overseas last year. Now thanks to the people at independent record label Big Picnic Records, American audiences finally get to learn what Milo’s fans around the world already know. What they know is that as this album shows, she could very well be part of the future of the genre. With a vocal style very similar to that of Erykah Badu and Amy Winehouse, and songs that largely defy the musical and lyrical trappings of R&B songs churned out by American artists, Milo shows that given the right support, she could soon become a household name not just in her home country and abroad but here in the United States, too. Considering how much enjoyment her album offers listeners, and that it was already released last year overseas, it is safe to say that This Thing Of Ours is one of this year’s best re-issues.

Rainy Milo’s debut album This Thing Of Ours is one of this year’s best re-issues. The album, which was originally released overseas via Virgin/EMI last year and domestically in the U.S. this spring via Big Picnic Records, is the antithesis of nearly every R&B song dominating mainstream radio today. There is no talk of sex to be heard at any point on this record. And the standard oh-woe-is-my style songs that are just as much of a favorite among American R&B artists are nearly non-existent. Instead of taking that path far too often taken by other artists within her genre, Milo carves out her own path with this record. That is evident right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Are You Sure.’ Examining its musical content, audiences that are worn out from all of the constant club-ready run-of-the-mill R&B songs soaked in sex and synthesizers will especially enjoy this song. Rather than be one of those cookie cutter songs that are all too familiar on Top 40 radio stations across America, Milo uses a more stripped-down approach with the song’s musical content. It relies more on beats than on the synthesizers and other overly used elements used by so many American R&B artists. The song’s lyrical content makes it stand out just as much as its musical content. Looking at its lyrics, Milo comes across as expressing the cautious optimism and joy felt by so many at the start of any relationship. She sings, “You gave me something yesterday/I saw I wouldn’t lose it/I swore I’d hold on tightly/But then/I started to lose grip/Yes I lost it/As I always overthink.” She goes on later in the song to ask in the song’s chorus “Are you really sure you want to take this farther?” From there she continues on questioning herself as if she is ready to keep going not because of the guy but because of herself. This is a situation in which so many people have found themselves at different points of their own relationships. To that extent, it is easy for audiences to relate to the song. In terms of its musical content, that it presents an upbeat vibe instead of a more overly emotional sound (which so many artists would do in a song such as this) makes it even more impressive. The combination of both elements within this song alone go to show quite clearly both why ‘Are You Sure’ was chosen as the album’s opener and why it is just one example of what makes This Thing Of Ours such an impressive R&B record.

‘Are You Sure’ is a solid example of what makes TTO stand out so strongly from the R&B crowd. That is thanks both to its musical and lyrical content. Both elements stray from the norm of most American R&B songs musically and lyrically. The result of this is that it establishes the song as a solid opener for Milo’s album and establishes just as much that the identity of her album in whole. It is just one point at which TTOO establishes its identity apart from other R&B acts. The album’s title track builds the album’s identity just as much as its opener. Examining its musical content, yet again, it relies more on beats than electronics. The resultant effect is something of a hip-hop/R&B hybrid that will most certainly grab listeners’ ears if only for that content. Audiences can hear that sound for themselves online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfJXFZczyqE. Looking at the song’s lyrical content, it stands out just as starkly in this avenue, too. It comes across as a piece about a woman who is wrapped up in a man who really seems the wrong one for her. That argument can be made as she sings, “Shiny tears on a porcelain face/Tight lipped/Wished you luck for your case/She says just don’t get caught for me/You end up in a clink/Then where will I be/Lonely/Don’t leave me lonely/He says you know you shouldn’t doubt me/I got my ways/I’m always lucky/Lonely/You won’t be lonely.” Men and women alike know of men just like the one portrayed here. He is headstrong and overly confident. As the song’s companion video shows, that sort of figure never turns out well whether by himself or with another. And he didn’t turn out too well with Milo’s subject in this song. The video does a good job of interpreting Milo’s lyrics. Getting back on subject, the combination of the song’s lyrical and musical content sets piece apart from other mainstream R&B songs even more than the elements do on their own. It isn’t another song about a breakup or even lost love. Rather it comes across as a song about a strong woman who just made a bad choice and got wrapped up with the wrong guy; a guy that is all too familiar to many listeners. On the surface it comes across just like so many other songs out there. But it is the execution of the song that makes it stand apart. There are few if any R&B songs out there that take the route taken by Milo. Because of this it makes this song and TTOO in whole stand out even more in the R&B crowd.

Both ‘Are You Sure’ and ‘This Thing Of Ours’ show in their own way just how much Rainy Milo stands out from the rest of the R&B crop on her debut album. They are just two examples of what makes her and her album stand out. The album’s closer, ‘Bankrobber’ is one more example (and an interesting one at that) of just how much she and her album stand out. Milo sings in this song about a person whose father was apparently a bank robber. She sings, “Daddy was a bank robber/But he never hurt nobody/He just loved to live that way/And he loved to take your money.” Just like as in the case of ‘This Thing of Ours,’ this song plays out lyrically like something right out of a movie. The difference here is that this song comes across as a tribute to the subject’s father. In his or her own eyes, the father figure noted here might have been a criminal in the eyes of most but despite that he was still a good-hearted person with a good heart. The song’s musical backing, with its guitar riff and keyboard line, sounds like something that Eminem might use for one of his songs. That alone makes it well worth the listen. considering that few if any R&B artists today use such an avenue for their music it makes this song stand out even more. It could even be argued that it stands out even more than any of the other tracks on this record. Regardless of which one of the album’s songs stands out the most, it can be said that all three of the works noted here all stand out in their own way as do the rest of the album’s works not noted here. All said, TTOO proves from beginning to end to be an album that stands out completely from nearly every other R&B album out there today. While it may not necessarily be a new album in the purest sense of the word, it is still new for most American audiences. To that point, it can be said of TTOO that it is one of the best of the year’s music re-issue.

This Thing Of Ours proves through the course of its ten tracks and forty-minutes to be an album that is one of the best of the year’s re-issues. That is proved both through the songs noted here and through those not noted. That is because the songs presented on this record break every standard used in today’s mainstream R&B realm. Add in a vocal style from Milo that hints at both Erykah Badu and Amy Winehouse, and listeners get an album that every R&B and hip-hop fan should hear. It is an album that were it a new, first-ever release, would be one of the year’s best new albums overall. Even being a re-issue, the combination of Milo’s standout vocals and the album’s equally stand-out songs makes TTOO one of the best of the year’s re-issues. It is available now in stores and online. It can be downloaded now via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/this-thing-of-ours/id981822983. More information on TTOO is available online now along with Milo’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.rainymilo-official.uk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RainyMilo

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rainymilo

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN, Eminem To Make Saturday Nights Go ‘Berzerk’

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN is teaming up with rap superstar Eminem for broadcasts of its weekly Saturday Night Football presented by Windows broadcasts.  The “Sports Leader” has teamed up with Eminem to use his new single, ‘Berzerk’, as the featured song on the weekly broadcast on ABC.  The song, which is the lead single from Eminem’s upcoming album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, will be used in a variety of settings within the show.  It will be used going to commercial and coming back, as well as for the show’s open.  It is also expected to be used for various highlight packages throughout the program.  The Marshall Mathers LP 2.  The album is expected to be released November 5th via Aftermath/Interscope Records.

ESPN will have a sneak peek at the vide for ‘Berzerk’ tonight, September 7th, at halftime of the Notre Dame/Michigan matchup on ESPN.  Along with this, ESPN is also expected to work with Eminem to develop a video for the song to be used exclusively on every Saturday Night Football presented by Windows broadcast from September 14th to December 7th.  Brent Musburger will anchor each week.  He will be joined by analyst Kirk Herbstreit and reporter Heather Cox.

More information on ESPN and ABC’s Saturday Night Football presented by Windows and all things college football is available online at http://espn.go.com/college-football and http://www.facebook.com/ESPN.

More information on The Marshall Mathers LP 2 and all the latest news from Eminem is available online via his official Facebook page, Twitter page, and his own official website at http://www.facebook.com/Eminem, http://tiwtter.com/eminem, and http://www.eminem.com.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Indie Rapper 13’s Self-Titled Debut Shows He’s As Good As Any Mainstream Rapper

Courtesy:  Goomba Music

Courtesy: Goomba Music

The self-titled debut from Puerto Rican born rapper William Morgan (A.K.A. 13) is the album that fellow rapper Eminem’s fans have wanted ever since the release of his 2004 album, Encore.  The follow-ups in Relapse and Recovery haven’t been met with quite the vigor from fans as his earlier works.  Enter 13, with his brand new self-titled release.  The eleven-song album from the once homeless military veteran is easily compared to music from the likes of Eminem.    If audiences were to hear this record without knowing it was the New York native, they would believe that it was in fact Eminem.  13’s self-titled debut sounds just like Eminem’s music both stylistically and lyrically.  Even 13 himself sounds quite like Mr. Mathers in terms of his voice and rhyming style.  The similarities between the two are inescapable, right from the moment that the album opens. 

The album’s opener, ‘Hi/Hello’ is quite the first introduction of 13 to his audiences.  And it is crafted much as Eminem has done on past records.  Until the moment that he introduces himself officially, letting people know who he is, audiences are led to believe that they are listening to Eminem.  It is said though, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Eminem would in fact be flattered by the fact that this artist sounds so much like him all the way around.  Thirteen doesn’t let up once throughout the course of the album’s eleven songs.  From one song to the next, each one is hard-hitting in its own way.  One of the hardest hitting of the album’s tracks is the song, ‘Houston We Have a Problem.”  Richy Nix guests on the track.  The song opens with the ominous strains of a piano.  The piano part stays on as 13 raps about his tough upbringing and of his adult life.  The picture he paints is one of a man that has so much turmoil in his life going all the way back to his childhood growing up around drugs and babies born to moms on drugs.  It’s a tough picture to see.  But it is definitely impactful in hearing this.

Just as powerful as ‘Houston We Have a Problem (ft. Richy Nix)’ is the album’s midway point, ‘Alter Ego.’  He writes about finding God despite everything that he has been through in life, and how he wishes he had that American dream of having a child and a wife.  He writes, “Hey what up/My life was never easy/Raised up in the ghetto/You would never wanna be me/I’m a product of an adult something crazy/See me rise up to the top/Then I promise/Best believe me/something I never know/Is why society is so cold….I had to slowly realize/That my pain is why I rise/Once I reach up to the top/Then I push the pain aside/What a life, what a life/Oh man, what a life/All I really want/A couple kids and a wife/That’s alright/It’s a battle/It’s a fight/Imma fight with all my might…forever hold on tight.”  As ominous as the song sounds, musically, it’s really quite the uplifting and inspiring piece that many people will understand and appreciate in their own way.  And it’s just one more part of what makes this album one that any hardcore rap fan will appreciate in whole.

Audiences will appreciate 13’s songs both for their music and for their hard-hitting lyrics.  There is not one bad song throughout the course of the album.  The music isn’t all that audiences will appreciate from this record.  The album’s production values are what make the music sound so good.  The mix of the piano parts, the occasional guitars and the beats is a very good touch.  No one part overpowers the other at any point throughout the album.  The same can be said of the vocals.  They are just as well balanced with the album’s other elements.  They all work together to make this an album that any purist rap fan will enjoy.  It serves to prove that just as with the world of rock music, indie rappers can be just as good as the big names.  13’s new self-titled debut is available now.  It can be downloaded via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/thirteen/id667109934.  And fans can keep up with the latest from 13 online at http://www.facebook.com/13isgodsend and http://newyork13.com

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.      

 

IBF Title Fight Headlines March 1st Edition of ESPN’s FNF

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This Friday night’s edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights has a big as its main feature.  Friday’s main event features a title fight between Featherweight titlist Billy “The Kid” Dib (35 – 1, 1 NC, 21 KOs) and undefeated challenger Evgeny “The Mexican Russian” Gradovich (15 – 0, 8 KOs) in a 12-round bout.  Dib is named by The Ring magazine as its number 4 Featherweight and by ESPN.com as its number 8 Featherweight).  The match will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT.  It will be broadcast live at 9pm EST on ESPN 2 HD and online via WatchESPN.com.  Audiences with tablets and smart phones can watch it on their mobile devices with the WatchESPN app.  Spanish speaking fans can also watch the fight on ESPN Deportes+.  ESPN Deportes+ is the new digital extension of ESPN Deportes.  It will air tape delayed on ESPN Deportes Saturday morning at 3am EST. 

Friday’s fight is co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and SMS Promotions, which are owned by multiplatinum recording artist and entrepreneur 50 Cent.  50 will be in studio at ESPN’s headquarters today for an ESPN “Car Wash” to discuss tomorrow night’s main event on ESPN TV and radio shows.  He will also perform one of his songs tomorrow night at the Foxwoods before the main event and will serve as “sparring partner” to ESPN Friday Night Fights co-host Teddy Atlas for Friday’s edition of Fight Plan.

Dib comes into tomorrow night’s fight fresh off of a 10-round unanimous decision in a non-title fight against Juan Rodriguez.  That match was preceded by a successful title defense against Eduardo Escobedo.  Dib’s win over Escobedo—a sixth round TKO–was his second successful title defense.  When asked about the upcoming match, Dib was upbeat.  “I am really excited to be headlining against the “Mexican Russian,” he said.  “It’s going to be an all-out punch up.  The fans can definitely expect to see a great fight on March 1st.”

Gradovich, a Russian native, also comes into tomorrow night’s fight fresh off the heels of his own decisive victory.  He defeated William Villanueva with a TKO in the seventh round of the pair’s fight.  Gradovich is trained by 2012 Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) “Trainer of the Year” Robert Garcia.  When asked about Friday’s fight, Gradovich sounded especially focused.  “Becoming a world champion has been a life-long dream of mine, and on March 1st, I will finally have that chance,” he said.  “This is going to be a very special night for me, as not only am I fighting for my first world title, but the entire country will have the opportunity to watch it.  I am already in great shape and I am going to show the world what I am capable of come March 1st.”

All eyes will be on the matchup between these two athletes Friday night.  Before the bout though, audiences will be treated to a fight between Junior Middleweight titlist Willie “The Great” Nelson (19 – 1 – 1, 11KOs) and former Junior Middleweight titlist Michael Medina (26 -3 – 2, 19 KOs).  The pair will face off in a 10-round fight prior to the night’s main event.  Nelson comes into tomorrow’s fight on the heels of a 10-round unanimous decision win over previously undefeated 2008 Olympian Josh Jackson.  Medina also comes into tomorrow’s fight with some momentum.  He was also victorious in his previous match with an 8-round unanimous decision win over James Winchester.

Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be at ringside to call all of the action for ESPN 2 HD.  Studio host Todd Grisham will also be on site with all of the latest boxing news and highlights.  Alex Pombo and Delvin Rodriguez will call the fights for ESPN Deportes along with Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega in studio.  Bernardo Osuna will have interviews and reports for ESPN 2 HD and ESPN Deportes. 

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights is presented each week by Corona Extra.  Fans of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights can keep up with all of the latest news and more from the show online at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf and on Twitter at @ESPNFNF and @ESPNBoxeo.  Fans can also score the fights themselves from home thanks to the “Live Friday Night Fights” voting app on Facebook.  The app allows users to score the fight live round-by-round.   

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always get the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.