Hear Ye, Hear Ye…. Blog Announcement.

Hello All,

It is about time I make an official announcement relating to the current status of Sound Snob. As you can tell post have been extremely sporadic as of late and that is honestly because I haven’t been as inspired to write and I’ve felt very limited content-wise. As previously stated, I want to focus on quality over quantity and truly feel passionate about what I write considering this to be my “personal” blog. With that being said, I want to announce that Sound Snob will be taking a turn. Instead of just music content there will be a shifting to more lifestyle postings and content that differentiates the site from the millions of other blogs out there. I am currently shooting around a lot of ideas and meeting with people I respect in various industries for their input and help with some creative collaborative efforts. The site will have a new name that will be announced pending further developments. Beyond being a lifestyle blog, the site will be partially interactive where readers can not only inspire content but also be a part of it; eventually sparking a cultural movement. I know the information may seem generic or vague, but with some of the ideas in their infantry I want to fully make sure there are capable before speaking definitely. I must say that this site will be a great challenge because it will be something different. I want to spark the culture, create conversations, and have an active opinion on more things than just surface. But please be aware that although content be maybe diverse or deeper than the former, I still have a grandiose sense of humor and will find even a lighter side to even the heaviest of topics. Please bare with me and know that greatness takes time. I will try my best to move expeditiously, but I want all angles to be covered so that I don’t have to face another rebranding or restrategizing any time soon.  Thank you again for your loyal readership and I look forward to giving you great updates.

Best Best Best….

xoxo Victoria

SoundSnob Soundoff Part 3

3. What I’ve Been Loving Lately

Fabolous’ Soul Tape 3. I have to admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of Soul Tape 2, but Fab came back with a vengeance on Soul Tape 3. Featuring the likes of Mack Wilds, Tiara Thomas, Young Jeezy, Stacy Barthe, and Jadakiss and ultra stand out production, I find something new to like with every listen. My favorite songs, “Situationships” and “Cuffing Season”.

Pharrell’s Song and 24 Hour video for “Happy”.

All of Earl Sweatshirt’s Doris, especially “Sunday” featuring Frank Ocean.

Nipsey Hussle. The way he raps, the way he speaks, and most of all… the way he looks. Hey boo : ) Go spend $100 on Crenshaw

Chance the Rapper. Chance the Rapper definitely had to grow on me. I was taken aback by his voice and cadence, but once I’ve gave him a clear listen, Acid Rap is constantly on repeat. My favorite tracks include “Cocoa Butter Kisses”, “Favorite Song”, and “Everybody’s Something”.

Rico Love. “They Don’t Know” is such a side-chick anthem, but video is gorgeous and the music is wonderful.

Daley. I love a good British import and Daley raised the bar for me in soul music. “Alone Together” was one of my favorite songs of 2013 and “Look Up” makes me feel quite lovey-dovey.

John Legend’s Love in the Future. This was hands-down one of my top 10 albums in 2014 and as a collective body of work my favorite of John Legend’s. When you’re tired of turning up and want to turn on a slow jam or two reference this album. Songs to look out for “Caught Up”, “Aim High”, “The Beginning”, “Asylum”, and “Wanna Be Loved”…Ok, the whole album!

Joey Bada$$’s “Right On Time”, it samples one of my all-time favorite B-cuts, singer Tweet’s “Beautiful”.

Dom Kennedy’s “Everything You Wanted/Be Happy”, lyrically insane and the live music composition is next level.

SoundSnob Soundoff Part 2

2. Artist to look out for in 2014

Kelela. With a recent feature on Solange’s Saint Heron compilation album, this DC mellow-vibe-y songstress peaked the attention of many folks late 2013. Her mixtape Cut 4 Me is a combo of trippy, sometimes twerky anthems blended with her soulful vocal styling. Her standout tracks include “Floor Show”, “Go All Night”, and my personal favorite “Bank Head”.

Sampha. Sampha is a new-age soul singing pianist, who was one of the few artists featured on Drake’s Nothing Was the Same . While he’s been flirting with a big break since late 2012, I believe 2014 is his year. Check out his EP Dual and his newest single “Too Much/Happens”.

Isaiah Rashad. Tennessee native rapper and new TDE signee made quite the stir with his career ground-breaking freestyle on the 2013 BET Hip Hop awards. Keep on the look out for this one and listen to tracks “Ronnie Drake” and “Shot You Down”.

Jhene Aiko. Although not new to the scene, Jhene Aiko had a great 2013 touring with Drake and releasing her EP Sail Out. Her single “The Worst” has been her biggest commercial success and her song/video “Bed Peace” featuring Childish Gambino was a fantastic homage to John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Aiko’s project Souled Out is due out this Spring.

Stay tuned for Part 3.

SoundSnob SoundOff

So its 2014 and a lot of music has transpired and I want to sound-off on what I’ve been personally attracted to sound-wise, tousled in with my opinion on recent music happenings.
Lets jump right on in…

1. Beyoncé or Yonce (whichever you prefer)

Beyonce_album

First I will start off by saying that I honestly, absolutely predicted this surprise album months ago and that my opinion does not waiver the fact that I am an absolute Beyoncé fan and whole-heartedly appreciate her talent and impact on music within the last decade plus. With that disclaimer out of the way, I have to say while I admire the concept of a visual album and the no-promo platform, as a body of work… I’m not thrilled and for many reasons. Collectively I do not think that Beyonce is a timeless album and after the excitement wares and the dust settles, I’m not sure much will be left. I just don’t see this being played or being relatable three years from now, like Dangerously in Love and songs on 4. Also, for this to be deemed a “visual album” I think some of the visuals were rushed or too literal in a sense. Lastly, my biggest tiff is the stamp of ‘Explicit’ on the album. If anyone knows me personality they know I’m a fan of risqué, but not raunchy… and yes there is a big difference. For years I’ve admired the fact that, although sexy, Beyoncé has never had to sell sex as apart of her image, while a host of other female ‘artists’ flock to it not being able to reach a fraction of her album sales or cultural impact. Imagery-wise and subject matter, Beyoncé is a little too left for me and while we know you’re a Grooowwn Woman, your mystery, which has been apart of your appeal was lost here. In a corporate since the album wasn’t my favorite, but highlights for me include ‘Superpower’ (song and video, actually my favorite on the album and definitely top 5 Beyoncé songs to date), ‘Mine’ (song and video), ‘Grown Woman’ (video), ‘Jealous’ (video), ‘Partition’ (video), and the addition of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to ‘Flawless’.

Whewww… Beyoncé wore me out! This is going to have to be a two part post… More to come. Also fill free to weigh-in on your opinion of Beyonce. Stay tuned.

The New Hip-Hopera

1_168117

2Pac-Inspired Musical “Holler If Ya Hear Me” to Debut On Broadway In June.

The 2Pac-inspired musical Holler If Ya Hear Me has been given the green light for Broadway. The musical will open on June 19 at the Palace Theatre in New York with preview performances starting May 26th.

The musical, which is described as an original, non-biographical story (whew…), will use songs like “Me Against the World,” “Keep Ya Head Up,” and “California Love” from 2Pac’s catalog to accompany a narrative that follows two friends and their struggles to survive in a Midwest town. The production was written by Todd Kreidler and will be directed by Kenny Leon, who also has his hand in the upcoming revival of the musical A Raisin In the Sun. In my opinion, I’m glad this isn’t biographical, I could foresee an extremely cheesy portrayal ahead. I’m not sure if its because I kind of detest Broadway plays or because rapper “reinactors” have always given iffy performances. Probably a combination of the two… None-the-less, a narrative with that kind of soundtrack sounds more promising. Will you check out Holler If Ya Hear Me?

Sidebar: The usage or “Holler” rather than “Holla” for some reason bothers me in this circumstance… Or am I being overly critical???

At First They Were Together….

Now moments like these don’t happen often when two Hip Hop Mega Heads announce tours on the same day, but leave it to Jay-Z and Kanye West to go for shock value. After touring with Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z is venturing off with the ‘Magna Carter World Tour’ and Kanye is hitting the road in the name of ‘Yeezus’. West sent waves when he took to Twitter to announce and debut artwork for his first solo tour in five years; but the kicker is that the show will feature none other than Kendrick Lamar as a special guest. Yes, I’ll give you a moment to soak it in ………………………………. Kanye and Kendrick. Sign me up, I’m so there! Starting October 20th in Seattle and concluding December 7th in Houston; the tour is short, but definitely going to be sweet. Presale tickets for ‘Yeezus’ go on sale this Friday, September 13th. As for the ‘Magna Carter World Tour’, it will began later this fall on November 30th and run until January 31st, with presale tickets up for grabs September 12th.

Check out dates for both tours below…

JayZ_MagnaCarter_722x722

November 30th St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
December 1st Lincoln, NE Pinnacle Bank Arena
December 2nd Denver, CO Pepsi Center
December 6th Anaheim, CA Honda Center
December 7th San Diego, CA Valley View Casino Center
December 9th Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
December 10th Fresno, CA Save Mart Center
December 11th San Jose, CA SAP Center at San Jose
December 13th Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Events Center
December 18th Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy Arena
December 19th Houston, TX Toyota Center
December 20th San Antonio, TX AT&T Center
December 21st Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
December 27th Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
December 28th Birmingham, AL BJCC Arena
January 2nd Ft. Lauderdale, FL BB&T Center
January 4th Charlotte, NC Time Warner Cable Arena
January 5th Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum Complex
January 8th Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
January 9th Chicago, IL United Center
January 10th Detroit, MI The Palace Of Auburn Hills
January 12th Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center
January 13th Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center
January 16th Washington DC Verizon Center
January 17th Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
January 18th Boston, MA TD Garden
January 19th Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum
January 21st Pittsburgh, PA CONSOL Energy Center
January 22nd Newark, NJ Prudential Center
January 24th Montreal, PQ Bell Centre
January 27th Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
January 29th Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
January 30th Buffalo, NY First Niagara Center
January 31st State College, PA Bryce Jordan Center

BTey1lRCAAACbdO_jpg-large-747x923

Oct. 19: Seattle, WA KeyArena * #
Oct. 20: Vancouver, B.C. Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena * #
Oct. 22: San Jose, CA SAP Center * #
Oct. 23: Oakland, CA Oracle Arena * #
Oct. 25: Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena * ^
Oct. 26: Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center * #
Nov. 1: Salt Lake City, UT EnergySolutions Arena * #
Nov. 3: Denver, CO Pepsi Center * #
Nov. 5: Minneapolis, MN Target Center * #
Nov. 7: Chicago, IL United Center * #
Nov. 10: Detroit, MI Palace of Auburn Hills * #
Nov. 12: Toronto, Ont. Air Canada Centre * #
Nov. 14: Montreal, Que. Bell Centre #
Nov. 16: Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center ^
Nov. 17: Boston, MA TD Garden * #
Nov. 19: Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center * ^
Nov. 21: Washington, DC Verizon Center #
Nov. 23: New York, NY Madison Square Garden * ^
Nov. 29: Miami, FL AmericanAirlines Arena * #
Nov. 30: Tampa, FL Tampa Bay Times Forum ^
Dec. 1: Atlanta, GA Philips Arena #
Dec. 6: Dallas, TX American Airlines Center #
Dec. 7: Houston, TX Toyota Center #
# With Kendrick Lamar
^ Special Guest To Be Announced

Which one will you snag tickets for? Or Both?

What’s Good With Gunplay

gunplay-huh

After countless hours of debate amongst Hip Hop heads, Rap Geeks, and the sometimes the innocent by-stander, I’ve pretty much exhausted myself defending the greatness that is Gunplay. Although one of the most rough around the edges MCs currently, the gutter and grittiness of Gunplay often overshadows his profound lyrical content and fascinating personality. Gunplay, often known as the ‘Goon of the Group’ in relations to powerhouse clique MMG, is now slowly but surely making his own unique mark. His hood philosopher persona parallels to Young Jeezy during the The Inspiration era in my perspective. His antics have made him controversial, but a fine-tuned ear can sense the hunger and depth of Gunplay. The most evident tribute to this can be his ground-breaking verse on Kendrick Lamar’s “Cartoons and Cereal”. Showcased in the last minute and thirty seconds of the song, Gunplay inadvertently overcasts Lamar. Gut-wrenching and brutally honest, he tells his story so dramatically captivating, still keeping it extra raw. As I would looooooove to say I was the first to big-up Gunplay, countless other outlets know what’s good with Gunplay.The good folks at Pigeons and Planes have even given him a monthly article that allows for him to express his unedited opinion on various topics, from the obvious debate on gun control to less charted territory like his take on the Bilderberg Group. Sometime last week I was put on the the visuals for one of my favorite Gunplay songs “Bible on the Dash”, although the video isn’t anything to special the track knocks. Check for it below…..

 
Also below Kendrick Lamar feat. Gunplay- “Cartoons and Cereal”

Soul Series…. You Should Know Joel Baker

joel-baxter-image-1

Its something like a London Calling that draws you into the sweet sounds of Joel Baker. The Britain-born crooner is an acoustic master with a diverse musical catalogue. I was first introduced to him after hearing his dynamic rendition of Kanye West’s ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ and I’ve been hooked ever since. Its very rare that Rap songs translate well into R&B covers without sounding too forced, but Baker does it well. He has also covered tracks by J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Drake. Aside from his successful covers, Baker is soon releasing an EP, Long Sleeves featuring his own original material. Here he has unveiled the first single for the project entitled ‘Further Than Feelings’ hoisting his vocal talent and writing ability to a high platform. Baker delivers a mellow, yet husky sonic performance with underlying sounds of the guitar. Male singer/song-writers are definitely having their moment now and to me its a breath of fresh air. I feel like I need a break from all of this overly-aggressive Rap, aren’t you ladies a little tired on twerking and turning up?!?!?! Maybe its just me…..but this one is absolutely Sound Snob approved. Check out the single below, as well as my favorite Kanye cover and stay tuned for updates on the official release of Long Sleeves.

The Music and Moi… Adventures of Toro Y Moi

Image

The mister of multilingual chillwave that is Toro Y Moi has a special place in my heart; probably somewhere near my love for planetariums and taxidermy. But its location is less relevant when it comes to the music. An astounding aggregate of art-pop, dance, and indie Toro Y Moi has nestled into his own lane. A no-nonsense approach to his music leaves no room for pomp and circumstance; just the man with the plan, his afro, and a keyboard. I grew friendly with movement when I was introduced to his ‘Underneath the Pine’ album by my homegirl Pandora. Ever since our meeting, I’ve grown to be quite the stan and a sundress and cool brew isn’t quite the same without Toro Y Moi playing. Although perfect for an afternoon at Urban Outfitters playlist, Toro Y Moi easily dismisses the ultra hipster label by his infusion of hip-hop elements. The San Francisco Bay Guardian called his January 2013 release ‘Anything in Return’ “highly indebted to the late sacrosanct hip-hop producer J Dilla”. And we need not even go into my ultimate love affair with J Dilla….so I won’t! Fresh off a buzz from SXSW, Toro Y Moi will embark on a tour this fall and also play at music festivals like Glastonbury and Pitchfork during the summer months. If you aren’t as cool or still dancing for bands, I’ve put together my favorites for your sonic satisfaction. Toro Y Moi….Sound Snob approved.