Earl Sweatshirt Drops New Album and Music Video

Two weeks ago, Interscope accidentally placed Kendrick Lamar's new album, To Pimp A Butterfly, on iTunes a week before it was scheduled to be released. This week, in a similar fashion, Columbia completely botched the release of Earl Sweatshirt's surprise album—I Don't Like Sh*t, I Don't Go Outside. The plan was for Earl to first release the video for "Grief," which you can see below, which would announce the album title and then he'd drop the album. However, according to Earl in an interview with NPR's Microphone Check, Columbia released the album on iTunes and then released the video without Earl knowing; the principle of this frustrated him because he felt he had no control over the vision he had for the album's rollout. Message to the labels: do better.

Well, the album is out now and it's pretty dope. It's way darker than his first album, Doris, but lyrically Earl is at his best. Stream it here and purchase it here. Check out the video for "Grief" below. Enjoy.

-AO

Kendrick's Album Arrives A Week Early

Well, it seems there was some sort of mess-up at Interscope but that mistake has benefitted us greatly. Kendrick's sophomore major-label album, To Pimp A Butterfly, has been released a week early. The album is everything I hoped for and nothing I expected all at the same time. The bar has been set. You can stream it on Spotify above and purchase it via iTunes and Amazon below. I know what I'm gonna be blastin' for the next couple months lol. Enjoy.

iTunes, Amazon

-AO

Kendrick Lamar- "King Kunta"

Kendrick Lamar's highly anticipated album, To Pimp A Butterfly is expected to drop on March 23rd. Now we can listen to the album's third track, "King Kunta." It's definitely not what I expected when I first heard about the song; it's a funky track that interpolates the sounds of West Coast hip-hop wonderfully. This album will be an album that challenges other hip-hop artists to wonder whether what they're making is good enough. I believe that wholeheartedly. Enjoy.

-AO

Earl Sweatshirt Announces New Tour

Earl Sweatshirt has announced his "Not Redy 2 Leave" tour with Vince Staples at select locations and Remy Banks. He hasn't released an album since 2013 so it's an interesting concept to go on tour right now. You can check out the dates below. Enjoy.

03/24 – St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
03/25 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theatre
03/27 – Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights
03/28 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave/Eagles Club
03/31 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Intersection
04/01 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s Hall
04/02 – Columbus, OH @ Park Street Saloon
04/03 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s Cincinnati
04/04 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Small’s Theatre
04/08 – West Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues Sunset Strip
04/14 – Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
04/16 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
04/18 – New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
04/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of the Living Arts
04/22 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
04/23 – Silver Spring, MD @ Fillmore Silver Spring
04/25 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos’ Southend
04/26 – Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz
05/06 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
05/07 – Birmingham, AL @ Iron City
05/08 – New Orleans, LA @ Republic
05/09 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
05/13 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
05/15 – Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Live Las Vegas
05/18 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red *^
05/21 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s East
05/22 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Music Hall
05/23 – San Antonio, TX @ Alamo City Music Hall
05/29-30 – Dublin, IE @ Forbidden Fruit Festival
06/05-07 – Mildenhall, UK @ Boom Bap Festival
06/06-07 – Brighton, UK @ Wild Life Festival
06/19-21 – Hilvarenbeek, NL @ Best Kept Secret Festival

-AO

Kendrick Lamar- "The Blacker The Berry"

Kendrick Lamar has delivered, my friends. Kendrick Lamar is expected to release his sophomore studio album this year and he has just released a new track from the project called "The Blacker The Berry." Kendrick was criticized last year for his first release from this project, "i." "i" is a song about self-love and positivity, but yet Kendrick was criticized because it wasn't the song people expected after releasing his acclaimed album, good kid, m.A.A.d city. Fans thought he was going commercial and unfairly judged him for a song that only delivered good vibes. It doesn't make any sense if you ask me. Well, this song is nothing like "i." Kendrick was also recently criticized for his comments in an interview with Billboard on the killings of African-Americans this past year:

"I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s f—-ked up. What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within."

This song speaks directly to that topic as Kendrick embodies the voice of the African-American community and address a hypocrisy in that community brought on by years of discrimination, hate, and much more. It's a deep track and will easily be a popular topic in the period leading up to his album release. I cannot wait. Enjoy.

-AO

Big Sean- Dark Sky Paradise (Artwork & Tracklist)

Big Sean has revealed the album artwork for the standard and deluxe edition of his upcoming album, Dark Sky Paradise. He has also delivered the tracklist for the album, which features multiple songs with Kanye West and also features Drake, Lil Wayne, Jhené Aiko, and more. Check out the artwork above and the tracklist below. Dark Sky Paradise arrives on February 24th. Enjoy.

1. Dark Sky (Skyscrapers)
2. Blessings (Feat. Drake & Kanye West)
3. All Your Fault (Feat. Kanye West)
4. I Don’t F**k With You (Feat. E-40)
5. Play No Games (Feat. Chris Brown & Ty Dolla $ign)
6. Paradise (Extended)
7. Win Some, Lose Some
8. Stay Down
9. I Know (Feat. Jhené Aiko)
10. Deep (Feat. Lil Wayne)
11. One Man Can Change the World (Feat. Kanye West & John Legend)
12. Outro

Deluxe Edition

13. Deserve It (Feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR)
14. Research (Feat. Ariana Grande)
15. Platinum and Wood

-AO

Kanye West Unveils Artwork For New Song?

UPDATE (01/26-8 PM): This is not for a Kanye West track. I believe this is artwork for a new track, or even a project, from Big Sean. Big Sean tweeted this photo out as well with the message, "done." Drake, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and Jhené Aiko also posted this photo on Instagram. So this is either a huge song with them all on it or they are all contributors to Sean's new album. Stay tuned.

ORIGINAL: Kanye West just tweeted the above photo of what looks to be the artwork for a new single. His album is set to be released this year so maybe this is artwork for a follow-up single to his Paul-McCartney-assisted track, "Only One." Hopefully this means a song is coming soon. Enjoy.

-AO

Dilla Day Weekend 2015

This year's tribute concert in honor of the late J. Dilla will now take place over an entire weekend. Dilla Day Weekend will take place in Miami from February 5th to the 8th. Joey Bada$$ will be headlining while artists Pete Rock, Slum Village, Talib Kweli, and more will be performing. Get your tickets here before they sell out. Enjoy.

-AO

Lupe Fiasco- "Adoration Of The Magi (feat. Crystal Torres)"

Lupe's Tetsuo & Youth album is shaping up to be pretty amazing. He has revealed a new track from the album called "Adoration Of The Magi." The Crystal Torres-assisted track finds Lupe at his lyrical best. A quick analysis of the hook shows that each line references an album that features a baby depicted in the album cover.

"Why you ready to die? You just a baby
Why them tears up under your eyes? You just a baby
Keep your head up in the sky, you just a baby
Quit chasing money, never mind, you just a baby
(These Maji adore you)x2
Why you wanna be born again? You just a baby
Why you playing in the streets? You just a baby"

Lupe is back. T & Y drops on January 20th. Enjoy.

-AO

Kendrick Lamar Appears on The Colbert Report and Performs New Song

Kendrick Lamar appeared on The Colbert Report as the show's last musical guest a couple weeks ago. After a hilarious interview with Stephen Colbert, he debuted an untitled track. The song features Thundercat on the bass, Bilal on vocals, and Terrace Martin on the saxophone. It has a real jazzy feel to it and Kendrick delivers some very passionate verses. This album is going to be special. Check out the interview and performance above and enjoy.

-AO

Top 40 Songs of 2014

I generally dislike the radio and many of the songs that get played on it. When I first made this list last year, I did a top 40 because I had way too many candidates and could not narrow it down to 25, like I wanted. But now I realize that this list is more than that for me. This list is my answer to the standard top 40 list made famous on Billboard and the radio–a list that is more of a popularity contest, full of songs that sound eerily similar because they incorporate many of the same elements. My Top 40 list represents the songs I enjoyed the most from this past year and I take pride in its eclecticism. Enjoy.

1. “Babylon (feat. Kendrick Lamar)”- SZA, Z

2. “Drugs You Should Try It”- Travi$ Scott, Days Before Rodeo

3. “Weight of Love”- The Black Keys, Turn Blue

4. “Wonderful Everyday: Arthur”- Chance the Rapper & The Social Experiment

5. "Love Yourz"- J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive

6. "Really Love"- D'Angelo & The Vanguard, Black Messiah

7. “Keep On Lying”- Jessie Ware, Tough Love

8. "G.O.M.D."- J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive

9. “Sunday Candy”- Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, Surf

10. "0-100 / The Catch Up"- Drake

11. "A Tale of 2 Citiez"- J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive

12. “Autumn Leaves”- Chris Brown, X

13. “Heavenly Father”- Isaiah Rashad, Cilvia Demo

14. “Too Bad I Have To Destroy You Now”- Kid Cudi, SATELLITE FLIGHT: The Journey to Mother Moon

15.“Days In The East”- Drake 

16. "Do You Love Me (feat. Mara Hruby)"- Big K.R.I.T., Cadillactica

17. “Ronnie Drake (feat. SZA)”- Isaiah Rashad, Cilvia Demo

18. “Skyfall (feat. Young Thug)"- Travi$ Scott, Days Before Rodeo

19. “2 On/Thotful (feat. Drake)”- OB OBrien

20. “Gush”- Pharrell, G  I  R  L

21. “I’ve Told You Now”- Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour

22. "i"- Kendrick Lamar 

23. “Don’t Play (feat. Big Sean & The 1975)"- Travi$ Scott, Days Before Rodeo

24. “West District”- PARTYNEXTDOOR

25. “W.A.Y.S.”- Jhené Aiko, Souled Out

26. “Studio (feat. BJ The Chicago Kid)”- ScHoolboy Q, Oxymoron

27. "Pay Attention (feat. Rico Love)"- Big K.R.I.T., Cadillactica

28. “Stereotype”- Chris Brown, X

29. "Apparently"- J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive

30. "Ring Off"- Beyoncé, BEYONCÉ (Platinum Edition)

31. "Another Life"- D'Angelo & The Vanguard, Black Messiah 

32. “Say You Love Me”- Jessie Ware, Tough Love

33. “Drunk Texting (feat. Jhené Aiko)”- Chris Brown, X

34. “About the Money (feat. Young Thug)”- T.I., Paperwork

35. "Soul Food (feat. Raphael Saadiq)"- Big K.R.I.T., Cadillactica

36. “Man Of The Year"- ScHoolboy Q, Oxymoron

37. "Not Loving You"- Mary J. Blige, The London Sessions

38. "Lights On"- FKA twigs, LP1

39. "Y.A.S."- Trey Songz, Trigga

40. “Trophies”- Drake

Also, a small shout out goes to J. Cole's "Note To Self." It's the last track on his latest album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, and if 12 of the 14 minutes delegated to this song weren't credits, it would have easily been my top song. The two minutes of music he gives us before starting the credits is just beautiful. Happy New Year!

-AO

BJ The Chicago Kid- "It's True (feat. ScHoolboy Q)" (Music Video)

Check out BJ The Chicago Kid's music video for his ScHoolboy Q-assisted track "It's True." "It's True" is a pretty dope song as BJ abandons his standard singing ways for slowed down rap verses and Q lays down a solid verse to complement. But I have to say the tribute he did to everyone who lost someone at the end of the song is my favorite part. Enjoy.

-AO

Top 15 Albums/Mixtapes of 2014

It's that time again. 2014 is nearing its end and so I must deliver my list of the top albums and mixtapes from this past year. Last year, I listed ten projects but I could have done a top ten list of R&B albums alone, so this year I decided to increase the list to 15. I must mention that this list does not signify what 15 projects were the absolute best projects of 2014. This list signifies the top 15 projects, in order, that I enjoyed the most in 2014. These are my favorite albums of 2014.

It's hard to be objective when it comes to music because music means something different to everyone that hears it. I can feel something in an album that someone else may not have gotten and that is why I treat this list the way I do. For example, I chose Chance The Rapper's Acid Rap as my favorite project from 2013. 2013 gave us albums from Drake, J. Cole, Kanye, and so much more. But, I'm a Chicago kid and Chance delivered that album from a perspective with which I could completely relate. It was musically brilliant and conceptually amazing. It was not hard to unequivocally choose Acid Rap as my favorite project last year. This year delivered even more solid albums and so now I give you my list.

1. 2014 Forest Hills Drive- J. Cole

2. Cadillactica- Big K.R.I.T.

3. Turn Blue- The Black Keys

4. Days Before Rodeo- Travi$ Scott

5. Oxymoron- ScHoolboy Q

6. Black Messiah- D'Angelo

7. Tough Love- Jessie Ware

8. Cilvia Demo- Isaiah Rashad

9. G  I  R  L- Pharrell Williams

10. Souled Out- Jhené Aiko

11. X- Chris Brown

12. In the Lonely Hour- Sam Smith

13. LP1- FKA twigs

14. The London Sessions- Mary J. Blige

15. Nobody's Smiling- Common

Honorable Mentions: Trigga- Trey Songz, Run The Jewels 2- Run the Jewels, Faces- Mac Miller, Z- SZA

Oh! Shout out to Childish Gambino's Because The Internet. It dropped shortly before I made last year's list and didn't make the cut because I hadn't had the time to truly appreciate it. But it deserved to make the list.

-AO