Archive for the ‘R&B’ Category

On top of being an electronic/hip-hop artist, DJ and producer, Kaytranada (aka Louis Kelvin Celestin) can add 2016 Polaris Music Prize winner to his repertoire – even beating out the likes of Drake and The Weeknd. The Polaris Prize may not be well known to most, but it is probably one of the most coveted awards out there, and that’s because it recognizes the best full-length Canadian album, based on artistry – not sales or popularity.

Kaytranada is a Haitian-Canadian artist based out of Montreal. 99.9% is an incredibly accessible album, because it has something for everyone. DJ tracks sans lyrics, so you can appreciate his 70s funk-like beats with new age twists, and also his super-synth 80s vibes.

He fulfills the guest artist quota on several occasions. UK electronic pair AlunaGeorge appears on “Together” giving it just the right amount of soul; Toronto-based hip-hop instrumentalists BadBadNotGood show up on “Weight Off;” Rapper Phonte lends his rhymes on “One Too Many,” which marry well with Kaytranada’s sounds to create a classic dance track. Most notably, however, is the resurgence of R&B sensation Craig David on the instant hit, “Got It Good.”

99.9% takes the listener on a musical journey. It’s the type of album that can get a dance party started and keep it going. It’s the type of album that can be on in the background at a dinner party. Distinct and precise use of sounds and instruments, and a wide range of vocals make it the type of album that suits all tastes and is appropriate for any occasion. If you’re still not convinced of Kaytranada’s musical prowess, the following video should make you doubt no more: a dancing robot, scat singing and a dope beat. Gold.

 

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Let’s put aside the fact that the MTV VMAs have become incredibly irrelevant over the past few years, because they just award the same artists over and over. Let’s ignore the fact that they don’t even televise the awards that actually have anything to do with the creative aspects of the videos. Let’s forget the fact there was no mention of Prince or David Bowie during the live broadcast. Let’s also pretend to believe the MTV VMAs represent all music and not just pop and hip-hop. That said, here are some thoughts on this year’s show.

Kanye does whatever he wants

After years of interrupting acceptance speeches, hating on anyone that wasn’t Beyoncé, Kanye was handed a full 4 minutes to rant and rave about whatever he wanted. It was disguised as a prelude to the premiere of his new NSFW video “Fade” off 2016’s Life of Pablo. His speech was nonsensical ramblings for the most part (as expected) but I’m not sure what MTV was hoping for: he shocked no one, and bored everyone.

Bey is Queen of everything

Slay, slay, slay. That’s all Bey does. Forget all her nominations and wins. Forget the fact that she gave a perfect 16-minute performance of snippets of her entire Lemonade album. Forget the fact everyone’s jaws dropped, and were left speechless. Forget everything you thought you knew about anything: Bey rules all.

Watch the epic performance here

Britney Spears needs to throw in the towel

Poor, Britney. In an attempt to revive her “career,” Britney Spears’ MTV VMA performance was slated as her big comeback. Except she had to follow Beyonce’s epic 15-minute explosion, and there’s no way she was going to surpass that. It didn’t help that Spears looked like old news, struggling to sell her sexuality. She performed her recently dropped single “Make Me” featuring no-one’s-ever-heard-of rapper G-Easy. Her outfit looked like something a figure skater would wear, and seemed to meander along the stage aimlessly, until G Easy showed up, which was her cue to grab his crotch. She needs to realize she’s not 16 anymore, and it’s not longer the 90s – no matter how much she wishes.

Drake vs. Rihanna

After essentially pouring his heart out and confessing his love for Rihanna, Drake went in for a kiss, and Rihanna so awkwardly dodged it. You could hear the viewers cringing, and Drake’s heart breaking  all over the world. Why can’t Rihanna just love Drake back? Also: as if she got some sort of lifetime achievement award for her videos. As if.

The Burning Questions

  • Is Puff Daddy still a thing?
  • Why is DJ Khaled such a fool? Conversely, why is Alessia Cara so adorable?
  • When panning the audience, why did the camera always fall on Kimye and/or Michael Phelps?
  • When did lip syncing during live performances become so widely accepted?
  • How many Kardashians need to be present at an awards show for people to watch?
  • Why is Nick Jonas’ new track called “Bacon”?
  • Why did Alicia Keys get high before dressing up in a tent and presenting?
  • How did Fifth Harmony win? Sexual inuendo is the only “art” in their videos
  • Who are the Chainsmokers and why are they so awful?

Lastly: why am I so old?

 

 

 

Sean Paul: reggae singer, party starter, anthem-maker. He makes songs that create memories, and define at least one of your past clubbing experiences. We all know he’s the king of Dutty Rock, and he proves that by raising the following tracks to higher places, merely by appearing in them. There’s just something about that voice that screams dance party (even though it’s impossible to decipher what he’s saying.)

1. “Make It Clap” – Busta Rhymes feat. Sean Paul & Spliff Starr

Any song that involves Sean Paul’s signature “Yeah, yeah, yeah” is destined to succeed. His intelligible reggae mumbles are the perfect match to Busta’s rhymes, and when he slurs “Make it Clap,” my hands immediately come together. It’s like he’s rapping reggae. Plus, who else can pull off a red fur coat, shades and an athletic head band inside a club?

 

2. “Baby Boy” – Beyoncé feat. Sean Paul

This track dropped before Beyoncé was Queen Bey, so she was still on her way to taking over the music world. A magnanimous talent on her own back then, Sean Paul still undoubtedly next levels this track. The first 15 seconds are random Sean Paul spewings, with the only coherent part being when he says his own name. He knows how to keep his vocals in the background, and when to bring them to the forefront. There’s just something about the rhythm in the way he sings, that hooks you in. It’s like his words are dancing along with him, making you want to bust a move. His music does no harm.

 

3. “Bailando” – Enrique Iglesias feat. Sean Paul, Descemer Bueno & Gente de Zona

Enrique Iglesias naturally exudes an incredible amount of sultriness; just watch the way he sings into the microphone. He drips sensuality, yet on this dance-filled track, it’s so easy to get distracted by Sean Paul’s interruptions: he says so much, by saying so little. The words “baby girl” leave his lips so many times, and you hear each and every one of them, in spite of Iglesias’ sexiness singing over them. Sean Paul is just that good.

 

4. “Money Jane” – Kardinal Offishall feat. Sean Paul, Jully Black & Baby Blue Soundcrew

I bet you you have all forgotten that Sean Paul appeared in this gem of a track. Lead by Toronto rapper Kardinal Offishall, Toronto artist Jully  (pronounced Julie) Black, and backed by Toronto DJs Baby Blue Soundcrew (remember them?), this offering is a Costco-sized bottle of nostalgia. Sean Paul’s vocals aren’t as prevalent as in other songs, but he is at his most coherent here. Though he’s one amongst many appearing here, he still resonates strongly enough for this track to be included on this list.

 

5. “Cheap Thrills” Sia feat. Sean Paul

The most recent of Sean Paul’s guest appearances and possibly one of his greatest. Sia definitely holds her own here, and this track is dance-able even without Sean Paul’s presence. But having him say “girl” at least 6 times in the first 10 seconds, is just too priceless to ignore. After hearing this version, it’s difficult to go back to the only-Sia version. He also tells us we’re worth more than diamonds and gold, so why wouldn’t you want to hang out with this track?