Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Rick Ross Ft. Dr. Dre & Jay - Z - 3 Kings, Visual Piece

A lot try and do it but the way DRE Films and Jon J. of Maybach Films brought the past visuals tohether to put light on these 3 Kings... Nice. I'm especially taking a liking to the Dr. Dre montage. It's just different.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

#SoundsOfUtopia: Frank Ocean - Channel Orange, Review.

After snatching our attention with such tracks as “Novacane” and “Swim Good” stemming from the critically acclaimed Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape, Christopher Breaux has returned with easily one of the most anticipated albums of 2012. Frank Ocean of the Def Jam roster and Odd Future member who has worked with the likes of Beyonce, Jay Z, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and John Mayer to name a few, serves up a breath of fresh air this quarter with ‘Channel ORANGE’.

Originally a leaked track penned for Bridget Kelly, the album opens with Fan favourite “Thinkin Bout You” that has been reworked to incorporate a solid string section. Frank's ability to paint an image with words comes through on the subtle production and fits perfectly without the song coming across as too cluttered despite preferring the original version. "Fertilizer" which can be seen as one of a couple album fillers, seems to be the perfect transition track that leads us to "Sierra Leone", another track with subtle production and perfectly fitted lyrics about a young lady who reminds him of the West African nation known for its Diamonds... Or just having sex with said lady? Only Frank really knows. 

Produced by Pharrell Williams, "Sweet Life" serves up a jazz tinged bassline heavy summer anthem, painting the perfect beach life image stemming from the sounds of the classic Clav, bass guitar and drum combination that seems to be missing in general, manufactured, regurgitated music today; no soul. The simplicity and the use of live instrumentation continues steadily throughout the album with tracks such as “Super Rich Kids”, “Crack Rock”, “Lost” and “Monks” all providing an amazing instrumental back drop for Frank to illustrate his story to us, the listener, without us getting lost in a bunch of synthesised sounds - "Why see the world..." Yeah, that. 

However, in saying that, one of the stand out tracks on the album has to be 10 minute lead single “Pyramids” which offers a blue print on how to successfully use a synth without over powering the vocals on the track. The correlation from electro to a chopped & screwedesque R&B sound works amazingly well along with Franks controlled vocals which assists in drawing up a mental mirage of Cleopatra working at the Pyramid. Timberlake would be proud. Extra production points are given for “Pilot Jones” and the instrumental “White” featuring John Mayer on the electric guitar however that is not the only feature on the album. Mr Andre 3000 makes an appearance on “Pink Matter” and his choice of words and execution works perfectly well and gives the track exactly what it needs as it is quite difficult to make out what exactly Frank is singing about.

Towards the end of the album, we get a glimpse into Mr Ocean's personal life with “Bad Religion” where he sings about escaping from the heartbreak demons in the back seat of a cab. Word. After revealing to us in a personal letter that his first love was a man who could not reciprocate the feeling. The string filled ballad offers an excellent platform for us as the listener to get a small glimpse into the quite mysterious Mr Ocean. Delving deeper into his life with “Forrest Gump”, Ocean admits to how he still thinks about his past love. The first listen can be quite 'awkward' with the quite obvious male references, however the word play is quite intriguing depending on which perspective you choose to listen to it from. Referring to the Tom Hanks played character as a synonymy to describe his feelings really highlights how gifted and creative Frank Ocean is as a writer. Single handily breaking the glass ceiling within the black music industry, Frank has spoken his truth “I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore” something of great rarity in the music industry today and with his honesty one can only respect him even more as a creative as he has paved a way for many in similar situations to take heed from.

It is very easy to understand why he doesn't want to be bracketed as your average R&B singer, because he is not. The album touches on several different topics and has a consistency which keeps the listener intrigued throughout. It’s going to be difficult to see what songs are selected as actual singles in which I hope Frank and Def Jam come to a good agreement on. As an artist Frank is one of a small minority within the music industry that embodies talent of the highest degree, being able to paint crystal clear images through his writing ability, produce and take full credibility of his work whilst being truthful to the world in his simplistic style, something rarely seen today; solidified position within the music industry? A solid first album and follow up to Nostalgia, Ultra has left me feeling as if Frank Ocean is just getting started.  

Words: Nana Coker.
Edit: Ralph.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

About Time 29.6.12

Thank you to everyone that came to the first About Time. Whilst everyone awaits the next one, read up on the review in The Observer/ Guardian as one of it's recommendations for class night life in east London. Swerve.
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There are visuals for the epic night too at the Bells of Shoreditch; Hip Hop to Bass and everything in-between, Yeah, about time!

Ralph Hardy - Stevie Boi Interview x Promo

Ralph Hardy interviews Stevie Boi (@StevieB0i) Fashion Designer to the Stars such as Beyonce and Lady Gaga. www.StevieBoi.com Check out the promo video by @Sinikle shot on the same day.

#RandomRalph: Bangladesh on Michael Jackson, the media, Dizzee Rascal & 'The Ludacris Era'

Ralph Hardy chats with Producer Bangladesh on what he thought of Michael Jackson, what the media and people say about him and the women he encountered during the Ludacris era, as well as features on the album and what he thinks of the UK's Dizzee Rascal and Tinie Tempah.