On November 13, Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, re-released his three mixtapes as one collection in Trilogy. The 33-track album contains mixed and mastered versions of every song from House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence plus three, never-before-heard bonus tracks “Twenty Eight,” “Valerie,” and “Till Dawn (Here Comes the Sun).” At $9.99 Trilogy, which also includes the music video for “The Zone” featuring Drake, is the definition of a steal. Digital and physical ($11.99) copies are available. Trilogy was released under Universal Republic Records and Tesfaye’s own XO label. If you enjoyed his mixtapes, support a growing, talented artist by picking up Trilogy today.
In addition to dropping the album, The Weeknd also directed three music videos to promote the release. Clips were shot for “Rolling Stone,” “Wicked Games,” and the previously aforementioned “The Zone” featuring Drake. In a note directed at his fans, Tesfaye opens up and sheds light on the symbolism behind the “Rolling Stone” clip. He acknowledges that signing to a major record label and releasing a studio album in Trilogy takes him away from “the underground” and into the spotlight, but promises that “this does not mean what you think it means.” In other words, he will not be affected by his new-found fame and next-level success. “YOU WILL CONTINUE TO GET WHAT YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH, AND I WILL CONTINUE TO GIVE YOU WHAT YOU ASK FOR. I’LL NEVER MAKE YOU WAIT AGAIN,” he shares in all caps.
Click after the break to view the note in full and all three music videos. In addition, you’ll find a new track “Enemy” outed last month that is not included on his first major release. (Click here for more…)
At last, Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music collaboration album Cruel Summer is out. To celebrate its release, Mr. West has released a video in which he discusses the inspiration behind the music. The rapper speaks candidly above.
Hit-Boy shares “Old School Caddy” (featuring Kid Cudi) ahead of album release [Update: 'HITstory' out now]
G.O.O.D. Music member Hit-Boy is best known for wearing his producer hat; he’s collaborated with Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and A$AP Rocky to design the beats behind “Christmas in Harlem,” N****s in Paris,” “Drop the World,” and “Goldie.” But now he’s ready to step into the spotlight and become a solo artist, his own rapper. Earlier this summer he dropped his first single “Jay-Z Interview” and left the producing to Bink!; it blew up on Twitter as he quickly made a name for himself as a solo rapper in the hip-hop community. This week he shared a new track “Old School Caddy,” and for this one he jumped behind the boards to produce. He is joined by fellow G.O.O.D. Music signee Kid Cudi in the laid back rap that’s spit in front of a smooth-as-butter beat. Listen above. (This release was teased with a 30-second clip featuring Hit-Boy and Cudi, so a full-fledged music video may be coming soon.)
All of this comes ahead of HITstory, the producer-turned-rapper’s first album that’s expected to release August 7. “This album is for the sophisticated ear,” tweets 25-year-old Hit-Boy. Check back here next week for a link to download the free album.
Update (8/7): HITstory is out today. Hit-Boy’s first release contains 11 tracks and guest appearances from Big Sean, Kid Cudi, Chip tha Ripper, Bun B, John Legend, and Stacy Barthe. Download it for free here. Snag the cover art and back tracklisting after the break. (Click here for more…)
Today is a big day for music fans ’round the world spanning two very different genres. First there’s the long-anticipated release of Kid Cudi’s concept album WZRD, featuring beats by producer Dot Da Genius and guitar riffs by the Rager. The self-titled album can be downloaded digitally at iTunes, or a physical copy can be purchased over at Amazon. Celebrate the release by heading over to Complex and checking out their online cover story that delves deep into the perfect collaboration.
Next up is a taste of what’s to come for fans of the one and only Mr. A-Z. Before dropping his third studio album on April 17, Jason Mraz is releasing a four-track live EP titled Live Is A Four Letter Word and it can be yours today: the digital-only EP is now available on iTunes. The songs were recorded from his performance at Spreckels Theater in San Diego.
Oh happy day.
Community star Donald Glover is a rapper, if you didn’t know. After submitting data into a Wu-Tang Clan name generator, he decided to make the result his alter-ego rap name: Childish Gambino. Glover has been making music since 2008, outputting mixtapes and albums and headlining national tours over the years. Today his latest studio album Camp released and it includes 13 tracks. The lead single “Bonfire” has a music video and it’s embedded above. Before starring in the NBC sitcom and writing for 30 Rock, Glover made viral videos with his troup Derrick Comedy. Dan Eckman, a member of that comedy troup, directed the clip for “Bonfire.” Fair warning: the lyrics contain lots ‘o expletives. For an actor-rapper, the production value hold up pretty well, and Glover is gifted with hustle and flow. The music video includes a story and twist ending that is well worth your time; visually it’s enticing and at the same time it’ll introduce you to Glover’s rap style. Need to hear more before you purchase Camp at iTunes? NPR is currently streaming the album in its entirety.
This weekend I visited the Watch the Throne Retail Experience in the trendy section of Manhattan known as SoHo. To celebrate the release of their collaborative album, Jay-Z and Kanye West decorated Openhouse Gallery (201 Mulberry Street) with all sorts of Throne memorabilia. The outside of the store is dressed in the Riccardo Tisci-designed gold album art; it really pops. Friendly security holds the door open for you and keeps count of the number of people inside the store. When you walk inside the store is organized in two sections: the Maybach and the album listening experience. Jay and ‘Ye thought it’d be neat to show off the über-expensive Maybach they stripped, chopped up, and drove in the laid back “Otis” music video. The luxury car, which will be auctioned with the proceeds going to the East African drought disaster, looks really awesome up close. The doors are torn off, the trunk is home to the grill that’s normally installed on the front of the car, suicide doors stick out in the back and give the car wings, the seats have monitors inside of them, the engine looks mean, and there’s sticker on the bumper that reads “What Would Hova Do.” When I was there the security man allowed salivating attendees to snap as many pictures they could within a six second time frame. What I was able to capture sits in the gallery below.
Beyond the Maybach section of the store and down a very short flight of stairs the “Otis” music video plays on a giant wall in silence; a sound system loops the album throughout the store at a comfortable level. The listening experience section is very big; just a handful of people and I stood in the center of the large space and watched “Otis” on a loop. All around the space hefty projectors beam images from the album on the surrounding walls; the album art, the “Otis” American flag artwork, and other imagery that’s stuffed inside the deluxe version of the album are displayed. To the right an attractive woman sells the deluxe copies at $15 a pop. The small retail section consists of a table with the Riccardo Tisci artwork folded open to reveal the aforementioned album imagery. There is also a listing of the album’s tracks and production credits for attendees to glance at. On my way out I noticed DJ equipment set up in the left corner. This must have been used opening night when the pop up store was packed with celebrities like Swizz Beatz, Memphis Bleek, Beyonce, and Jay-Z himself. The store is scheduled to close its doors today at 6PM. I highly recommend you check it out before the limited run is over. On a more general note, I have to say that I love the idea of a pop up store. Openhouse Gallery is a great space in a prime location; hopefully more artists and companies choose to use it when they plan to release anticipated products.
Underneath the pop up store gallery you’ll find a collection of pictures I took while unwrapping the Watch the Throne deluxe album. The duo did a great job putting it together, and it’s no secret that Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy had a big hand in the creative direction. The packaging folds open in a cross-like shape; four of the five panels feature the same embossed pattern and the center one is unique. On the reverse side there are five unique images on each panel: the American flag image of the “Otis” single artwork, dark images of Jay and Kanye with giant fangs, an image of a winged angel with a star pasted on her face, and in the center (the sleeve that holds the CD) is a shiny visual that evokes a slab of wood. The CD is a special edition black colored disc and its face matches the wooden pattern that it’s stored within. Under the angelic imagery lives an 18-panel poster; on one side is colorful artwork that takes design cues from the H.A.M single artwork, and the reverse side spells out the production credits and lyrics for every track. What’s neat is that the lyrics specify when Jay-Z and Kanye rap in each song with the markings JZ and KW. Overall, the packaging manages to elicit what Jay and ‘Ye were originally going for with Watch the Throne: grandiose rap. Tisci successfully channel his aesthetic touch that consists of symmetry, lightness, darkness, sharpness, and 3D. If you’re going to buy a physical copy of the album (and you should!) it’s definitely worth the extra pennies to go deluxe.
Today Jay-Z and Kanye West (aka The Throne) dropped the music video for Watch the Throne‘s first official single “Otis.” In the Spike Jonze-directed clip the dynamic duo strip down a gorgeous Maybach and ride around in it like they haven’t got a care in the world. And that’s what make this video so great: the guys are having so much fun and the pyro-infused atmosphere is infectious. You can’t help by smile and bang your head to the Otis Redding-sampled beat all the way through. Add some hot models, fireworks, a giant American flag, and ‘Ye’s buddy comedian Aziz Ansari to the mix and you’ve got yourself a care-free joyride that’s truly a blast to watch.
In related Throne news, the highly anticipated album is out! On Monday, August 8 Watch the Throne released digitally exclusively on iTunes. Today the physical version dropped in stores; the standard version can be found in most retail stores that sell CDs, but the deluxe version is exclusively sold at Best Buy through August 22. In a press release the deluxe packaing is detailed:
The DELUXE packaging for “WATCH THE THRONE” is high-end art created by acclaimed designer Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy. The softpack, when opened up, turns into a cross-like shape printed on gold mylar with Tisci’s patterns embossed throughout. The package also includes an 18-panel poster that features Tisci’s artwork as well as lyrics to the entire album. The CD is a special edition black colored disc which is not standard with normal packaging. In tune with his codes for Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci created an artwork that channels most of his aesthetics: symmetry, lightness, darkness, sharpness and 3D.
MTV reports that Jay and ‘Ye have opened a pop-up store in Manhattan to sell copies of the album today (August 12) through Sunday. The storefront is wrapped in the Riccardo Tisci-designed gold album art and inside you’ll find the Maybach used in the “Otis” music video; you’ll also hear the video since it’s played on a loop. The location is SoHo at 201 Mulberry Street and Jay-Z is expected to make an appearance there tonight. So there’s that.
Want to sample the album before you buy? Spotify’s got it streaming.
Adam Young’s third studio album is out now! “All Things Bright and Beautiful” features 12 songs from the electro-pop-synth master, including singles “Alligator Sky” and “Galaxies.” iTunes is currently offering the bonus track version which includes all 12 tracks, the aforementioned singles, and “How I Became the Sea.” Pick up Owl City’s new space travel-themed album today; it should join Ocean Eyes, Maybe I’m Dreaming and An Airplane Carried Me To Bed in your growing collection of all things Adam Young.
Bonus! Hop after the break to watch a “making of” video that features Young talking about the process of putting the album together. (Click here for more…)
After dropping four singles–count ‘em “Born This Way,” “Judas,” “The Edge of Glory,” and “Hair“–Lady Gaga’s second studio album is finally in stores now. Two versions exist. The standard version contains 14 tracks, while the bonus track version tacks on an additional eight. On the whole Born This Way is receiving positive reviews. RapUp’s put together a nice review roundup, if you’re so inclined.
Update: Amazon is selling the album for 99 cents. What are you waiting for? This is a steal!
Update 2 (5/30): And just like that the special offer is gone. Still, Amazon is selling the album for less than iTunes at a low $6.99.
The Dudes are back. In anticipation of their second studio album (the followup to the incredible Incredibad), the Dudes of the Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer) released wickedly hilarious SNL Digital Shorts like “Motherlover,” “Threw It On the Ground,” ”I Just Had Sex,” “Shy Ronnie 2,” “The Creep,” “We’re Back,” and their most recent creation “Jack Sparrow.” You’ll find all of these tracks and more on Turtleneck and Chain, available in stores now. The guest list is insane: Justin Timberlake, Akon, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Michael Bolton, Beck, Snoop Dogg, and Santigold all make memorable appearances.
Two versions of the album exist. The standard version (iTunes) contains 19 tracks. The deluxe version (Amazon/iTunes) packs the 19 songs, adds the bonus track “Reba (Two Worlds Collide) featuring Kenan Thompson,” and nine videos. All but one of the included videos are Digital Short fare, a never-before-seen video for “We’ll Kill U.”
Oh, and there’s one more thing. Should you opt to purchase the album at a local Best Buy make sure you bring this coupon with you. With it for $15.99 you’ll get the CD/DVD package and a super cool and exclusive Lonely Island-branded t-shirt. Or you can use it to get the album itself for a low $7.99.
Now check out a bunch of the album photos in the gallery below, then jump after the break to sing about the adventures of Jack Sparrow with Michael Bolton! It doesn’t get any better than this.
Believe it or not, we’ve been following the release of this album since mid-January. And now it’s finally out on store shelves! Everyone’s favorite Spanish teacher has a freshly minted record to call his own. All kidding aside,
Mr. Schuester’s Matthew Morrison’s pop-with-substance self-titled album is here and it includes three duets. Morrison collaborated with personal inspirations Elton John and Sting for the tracks “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters / Rocket Man” and “Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot” and Glee guest star Gwyneth Paltrow in “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Snag a copy of the 11-track Matthew Morrison at iTunes.
This week Disney released a Tron: Legacy remix album containing remixes of the original movie tracks composed by Daft Punk. Though the electronic duo did not have a hand in putting together this re-release of sorts, many well-known artists contributed to it. The Glitch Mob’s fantastic remix of “Derezzed” is just one of the 15 tracks found on Reconfigured. Paul Oakenfold, The Crystal Method, Moby, Com Truise, and Pretty Lights also took turns at rehashing the original soundtrack. Full tracklist is after the break. Physical/digital copies available at those links. This remix album cannot come close to Daft Punk’s original creation, but for hardcore Tron and electronic dance club music fans this is something not to be glossed over.
In related Tron news, Tron: Legacy is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and a bajillion other formats. Get home release details here.
After warring with his record label Atlantic Records, rapper Lupe Fiasco has finally managed to release his third studio album LASERS. The 12-track album features singles Words I Never Said and The Show Goes On. iTunes is selling the record for $10.99 and a $13.99 deluxe version which includes “I’m Beamin’”, the Matthew Santos assisted “Shining Down”, and two music videos (“I’m Beamin’” & “The Show Goes On“). John Legend, Trey Songz, and Skylar Grey are among the featured artists.
Actor Bryan Greenberg’s album releases next week, ‘How To Make It In America’ season 2 in production [Update: Stream single here]
Bryan Greenberg, the star of HBO’s How To Make It In America, is about to drop his debut album. It’s called We Don’t Have To Wait Forever and it releases January 18. It’s being described as “a fresh collection of introspective narratives and soulful ballads” and it features a track called “You Can Run” that features Kid Cudi. Back in June Cudder dropped by a live Greenberg performance and laid down a freestyle and joined in on the chorus. In an interview with Complex Magazine Greenberg shares the story:
“I did have one [song] in mind for him and he did it live. He came to my show like a year ago in New York, when I was on tour. He jumped on stage for a little freestyle. When he heard the song he was like, “I really like it and that’s why I’m going to do it.” I was really honored by that. I thought he was going to rap, but he sang. It was cool. He’s really a true artist.”
Looking forward to the second season of HTMIIA? In that same interview Greenberg talked about what’s in store for Ben and Cam. ”[The show] hasn’t reached the tipping point at all. I’m going back to L.A. next week and we’re going to do read-throughs of the first four episodes. I’m super excited. It’s going forward a couple of months and the business is growing…it’s like, how does this guy become Ralph Lauren? How does it happen? We take if from the street, like early, early sh– to like…that’s the goal, you know? It’s going to take years to develop.”
Preview the album’s lead single “Walk Away” in the video embedded above. How to Make It In America season 2 is currently in production and is expected to air this summer.
Update: The acoustic-based single “You Can Run” featuring Kid Cudi’s singing voice is now available to stream! Listen to it below and download it here.
Fun fact. The inspiration for the song actually stems from Greenberg’s character Ben from HTMIIA. “I was kind of writing from the point of view of Ben and being scorned by Rachel and that just being a reason to succeed in life,” he says. “I did notice that a lot of successful people in this world, they always say that it’s about the art or it’s about the work. But when it comes down to it, [what drives them is that] they were made fun of in high school. Or there was a girl that dumped them and they’re trying to get back at them. I was coming from that mentality.”
Kanye West: ‘Watch the Throne’ coming this week?; unreleased track “Eyes Closed” leaks; The Muppets sing “Monster”; and more
Ever since Kanye West’s magnificent album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy released on November 22, things have been pretty quiet on the West front. Besides downloading the holiday-themed G.O.O.D. Friday joint “Christmas In Harlem” and watching a leak of the upcoming “Monster” music video hitting the ‘Net, fans have been sitting idly by rocking out to “Dark Fantasy” in anticipation of another major release dubbed Watch the Throne. It’s a collaborative album between rap gods West and his mentor Jay-Z. Originally ‘Ye billed it as a 5-track EP but after time he admitted enough tracks would be made to consider it a full-length album. Sweet music to fans’ ears. So what’s all the hub-bub about it spreading around the Internets today? Well… at a New Years Eve party in Las Vegas West (drunkenly?) announced, “Watch the Throne, coming in one week!” So what does that mean? One of two things, in my humble opinion: (1) The album will come out this week (highly unlikely since Ye’s Def Jam record label has not even confirmed its existence); (2) West was referring to a possible lead single called “Watch the Throne” (highly more likely). I’ve heard whispers that case #2 is the winner, and the album is looking at a March drop. Whatever the case, though, something is going down soon so be ready.
Update (1/6): Looks like I was right. Today ‘Ye posted a Twitpic of the elaborately designed lead single artwork and it’s called “H-A-M.” The track will drop 1/11/11, that’s next Tuesday.
Side note: The New Years Eve party I mentioned earlier… it took place at Las Vegas’ Marquee Nightclub and so many celebrities made an appearance. Besides ‘Ye and Jay Z, Rihanna, Diddy, 50 Cent, J. Lo and many others enjoyed the night’s festivities. Click here to browse through a gallery of hi-res photos from the party. And look after the break to watch some videos from it (one includes ‘Ye screaming the “one week” announcement).
Next up is an unreleased track featuring vocals from West and John Legend. ”Eyes Closed” made its rounds today, spreading like wildfire in an unfortunately tagged now tagless version. Sources say the track was originally intended to be included on Twisted Fantasy but in the end it didn’t make the cut. Rumor has it that the West-produced beat will be handed off to Snoop Dogg who will use it (with Legend in tact) for his upcoming record Doggumentary Music, due out March 8. Preview and download the track below. If the lyrics sound familiar to you that’s because you’ve heard that before in the BET Cypher video and West’s “Dark Fantasy” track.
Download: Kanye West – “Eyes Closed”
This news bit is short but sweet. Over at Amazon you’ll find a preorder page hyping a “G.O.O.D. Friday [Import]” audio CD. Is West prepping an album to publicize his free G.O.O.D. Friday tracks? There better be some bonus tracks or slick artwork and packaging or what’s the point?
Two more things. Today two video cropped out that are West-related must-sees. The first features classical vocalist Josh Groban belting out Kanye West tweets, and the other is a Muppets mashup of the Twisted Fantasy track “Monster”. Yes, Piggie Minaj makes an appearance. Watch the videos after the break. (Click here for more…)
Support the Peas a pick up a copy of their latest album The Beginning. iTunes offers three versions: the standard CD, a deluxe version that includes three bonus tracks, and that same deluxe version with five popular songs from The E.N.D. You can purchase a physical copy of the deluxe version at Amazon. I can’t get over how cool that album art is! All pixelated like that, the Peas never looked better.
At long last, Kanye West’s latest and greatest album has released. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has been lauded as Ye’s best album to date; in fact, prestigious music review site Pitchfork awarded it a perfect 10 score. Ryan Dombal’s review in which he makes intelligible comparisons between Michael Jackson and Mr. West makes for a great read after you’ve listened to the album in full. Snag a copy of the album at the links provided below:
iTunes: standard / deluxe // Amazon: standard / deluxe (“See Me Now” is an iTunes bonus track available on both versions. The deluxe version comes with the Runaway film. And I recommend the physical copy; the packaging is aesthetically superb. If you want to learn more about the five interchangeable album covers read this insightful NYMag interview with artist George Condo.)
Upon listening to Twisted Fantasy all the way through without interruption I experienced a natural high; it’s hard to explain but you’ll see for yourself. It’s easy to be a Kanye West hater since the rapper producer often provides a basis from which things like this will grow. But in the end, it all comes down to the music. And I am happy to say with Twisted Fantasy Kanye West delivers on an unbelievably high level. The man is a perfectionist, and this album reflects that statement. From top to bottom, it’s a perfect record.
The darker, more sinister sequel to Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon debut is out today. Support the talented and rising rapper and snag a copy.
Jed Whedon, the man behind all the catchy tunes from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, released his very first album unto the world on August 10. Hopefully you previewed three tracks from the album History of Forgotten Things when I shared them with you a few weeks ago. If you did you would know that the album has no connection to his cheery, catchy hits from Dr.H. (Except for the fact that Felicia Day lends background vocals and violin strings to a number of tracks.) Instead it takes a more personal, grounded journey that covers many bases ranging from traumatic experiences to character-study songs. In a humorous interview led by his brother Joss, he listed Paul Simon, Brian Eno, Jane’s Addiction, and Pink Floyd as influences on the record, categorized the album as “alternative/singer-songwriter/ambient/rock”, explained that the cohesive theme is nostalgia, and talked about the nature of the album title:
“The title comes from a few things — the terrifying feeling that we are forgetting our life as it rolls along. My obsession with all the history that was never documented (though in the digital age, that may be over). As well as the sensation that history can give you. A feeling that is indescribable. That feeling of connection through the ages. It is related to nostalgia. Sometimes, when I pass through a town I have never seen before, I long to not only live there, but to have lived there my whole life; to be nostalgic for it. I get the same feeling from history. I yearn to have lived during all those times. And, of course, in the future.”
Jed plans to continue his music career by releasing some EPs “soon” and another album “in the future.” “But first”, he says, ”I am going to start fleshing out some DH2 stuff.” You hear that, Dr.H fans? The sequel really is being worked on! Too bad Joss is busy working on other projects at the moment (ahem–The Avengers).
History of Forgotten Things is available to download at the iTunes Store. So stop reading this and listen to it right now.
It’s been a long time coming for British musician Mr Hudson. Though you’ve probably heard of him from Jay-Z’s recent single “Young Forever”, Hudson has been in the music biz since 2007 when he dropped his first album A Tale of Two Cities. Back then he was in a band called Mr Hudson & the Library. Having listened to his debut album and working alongside him at his Glow in the Dark tour, rapper Kanye West fell in love with Hudson’s sound, and so he decided to sign him to his G.O.O.D. music label. Hudson graciously accepted and started to work on his debut solo album Straight No Chaser, which would be executive produced by Kanye. The 12-track album includes singles “There Will Be Tears“, ”Supernova” (Featuring Kanye West), “White Lies“, “Everything Is Broken” (Featuring Kid Cudi), and “Anyone But Him” (Featuring Kanye West). It released in the UK way back on October 19, 2009. After numerous delays, it was finally made available to purchase and download in the U.S. on June 29, 2010. The UK version contains two additional tracks (“Lift Your Head” & a Calvin Harris remix of “Supernova”).
The best way to describe Mr Hudson’s music is alternative hip hop/electro-pop, if that makes any sense. Straight No Chaser is a breakup album, so naturally it features heavy bass thumping tracks with softer ones to balance it all out. Hudson is a fan of auto-tune, and so a number of the tracks include him using it. Interestingly, he eliminates the use of auto-tune when he’s touring; he finds it to be a fun and useful tool when working in the studio. Having listened to the album only once all the way through, I am not ready to formally review it yet. However I can say that Mr Hudson is going to be huge. He is a gifted artist with a knack for writing and beatmaking. I’d really like to see him perform live someday. Just read these choice words from collaberator Kanye West: “I believe Mr Hudson has the potential to be bigger than me, to be one of the most important artists of his generation.” Again, that comes from Kanye West!
Be sure to look after the break for some more Hudson content. You’ll find music videos for “Instant Messenger” and “Central Park”, plus there’s a short trailer that celebrates the U.S. release of the record. (Click here for more…)