It's October and it must be the season of the Drake…..literally. Canada has artists dominating the Billboard charts right now and Drake is leading the pack with 14 songs on the Top 100 singles chart. He's joined by The Weeknd and Justin Bieber who seem to be battling for the number one spots. And meanwhile back in the US, Janet Jackson has dropped a great dance tune, Rihanna prepares to release yet another album and a social media whore tries buying her way into the dance charts with over 26 different remixes.
I think it's time we dive right into what's going on in the music scene right now.
Let's start with the new Disclosure track called "Jaded". I have to say that I love these two guys. They are definitely leading the way in today's House sound. I guess because the US market is too busy trying to merge everything into Pop Music, the UK has got a better handle on what House Music is. I've only received the "Lone Remix" so far with its haunting chords and androgynous vocals, but I am sure there will be at least 4 more remixes to come.
And in the tradition of DJ/Producers not giving credit where it is due, Diplo & Sleepy Tom have ripped off the 90's R&B group, Jade with their release of "Be Right There". It is actually the group's main hit, "Don't Walk Away". I mean…I love the House treatment they gave the vocals, but why not at least mention the girls as a feature.
This trend of basically stealing the acapellas and renaming the song is disturbing. But I guess today's generation of listeners are not concerned with "who did it first"…..as evident with reports of Grace Jones speaking out about folks like Lady GaGa stealing her ideas and images. Recently in the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Union Square in New York City, she flashed her breast to the crowd at her book signing which features Grace quoted saying that upon her first meeting Lady GaGa she "saw no soul behind those eyes". Of course the GaGa fans went mad defending their heroine while Grace fans are laughing and enjoying every minute of it.
Today's music lovers are not like the ones of yesteryear. But I guess without the internet the legends that were born back in the 70s and 80s could mold and shape their images to hold our attention. Today the artists practically have to set themselves on fire to keep their names in the news feeds.
But someone who is having no trouble keeping his name all over the news and internet is Toronto's very own Drake. After destroying Meek Mill over the summer in their rap battle beef where he just kept dropping diss tracks "Back To Back" and then releasing a surprise duet album with Future called "What A Time To Be Alive", there seems to be no stopping this young man. They can say what they want about Aubrey Graham not being from the streets, he certainly has macked the Hip Hop game lately. Why? Probably because he does have a clean record. And although I don't suggest sitting down with your parents to listen to him, against most on the scene he seems like an angel. His latest solo single (which has been answered and covered by the likes of Keyshia Cole, Erykah Badu, Jadakiss & Nino Man) "Hotline Bling" really annoyed me when I got my first request for it. Anyone who has read my blogs know that I am not a big fan of this Hip Hop Trap genre. All these songs at 70 BPMs are too slow (in my opinion) to be dance-able. And unless the production has a decent bounce to it, the song may as well be a ballad. I even took the song and manipulated the speed and added beats to make it work for my floor (just so I could have a version to play that I could live with). But you can imagine I jumped for joy when I came across the James Hype remix! Definitely the House remake that was needed. And be on the look out for the Noodles remix of "Big Rings"…..hotness!
And Stratford's Justin Bieber finally had his first number one on Billboard with "What Do You Mean?" I never thought I'd be saying that I actually like one of his songs, but the Disco Suckz remix and the Strobe remix are kinda hot! His new album isn't set to drop until next month in November. I guess all his nude photos that magically keep being "leaked" online have nothing to do with the promotions for said project…..LOL
While Scarborough's The Weeknd has been fighting himself for the number one spot as well. "I Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills" seem to be the choice tracks for most dance floors across North America. And after his surprise duet with Nicki Minaj for "The Hills" on SNL October 10th, I'm sure he has cemented his spot for a few more weeks. And the remixes for this track range from Trap to full on Club. My favorite is DJ MSC remix…..the right amount of bouncy beats at the right speed to dance to.
For some reason, it seems female artists recording with Chris Brown is the fashionable thing to do these days. Beyonce's new track "Jealous" is a duet with the "King Of Pops….To The Lip". Usually I feel like Mrs. Carter is up her game, but I'm not feline' this one. I guess it's because I'm not sure where she is trying to go with the production on this track. It's definitely R&B Pop, but it's too slow to dance to (unless you are a stripper). And my rule for those who like to practice their stripper moves on the floor is…."if you gotta hold on to something like a bar stool or the wall of the DJ booth, you ain't dancing!" I also started hearing about a UK single featuring Beyonce called "Runnin' (Lose It All)" by Naughty Boy with Arrow Benjamin. I gave it a listen. It's a nice song, but I don't think it would do anything for my floor.
Perhaps this trend of half ballad with a double time beat is popular on the other side of the pond or even for watching music videos, but this track is not motivating me to move. I also suspect that this trend is fueling the Hip Hop Trap movement as well. I just feel that this speed of music is better listening to in your car while cruising along to show off your new rims….not on the floor where people are trying to party.
So, it made me a little apprehensive when I heard that Naughty Boy was remixing the new Janet Jackson featuring Missy Elliott called "Burn It Up". And just like I predicted about her album….she released the wrong song as the debut single. "No Sleeep" was a sleeper! The Strobe mix was the only redeeming version for me. But as usual, Janet has this hot joint sitting in the wings. "Burn It Up" has the perfect sound for a dance track. It has her signature sound behind it (a production that sounds like its sampled from an 80s hit - namely "White Horse" by Laidback) and it's got some call-to-action shout outs by Missy. Why she didn't spit a complete verse is a mystery to me, but I guess Miss Janet wanted it to be all about her return. So, when I hear Naughty Boy's remix I wanted to cry. Why on earth would they let him strip this great album track down to some mellow half-baked version is beyond me! If you want the best version, find Alex B's Extended Mix. Naughty Boy….you deserve a spanking for this one! Although…I did sample Curtis Atchison's Midnight Society remix of Janet's "After You Fall"…..I'm kinda loving' it. It's a ballad on the album. There's a few other uptempo tracks on the album but none of them struck me as something I would like to play. I hope for her sake that she gets some really good remixers to handle her future releases. Janet fans must be thrilled that as of October 11th despite the universal panning of her latest effort, she has landed her 7th number one album on Billboard's Top 100 chart.
Speaking of the Billboard charts, as of October 17th Paris Hilton's "High Off My Love" featuring Birdman has slithered into the 19th spot for "Dance Club Play". This is how I know "payola" still exists. I don't know any DJs who would play this song (or any of her songs for that matter). Especially since she's out there taking work from real DJs by showing up in designer clothes and her high end "Beats" headphones while pretending to be mixing. Being paid to show up at a club for no reason other than you're a celebrity is so 2000 and late! Girl….go sit down somewhere! You have lost the throne to Kim Kardashian and she ain't even gotta make a record. Just a few duck-lipped selfies during her busy days of spending the money she makes for broadcasting her everyday life will trump anything you do these days. Nobody is interested or cares what you have to say or what you are doing.
Funny how a "taboo" sex tape changed the game. Paris, darling….you can featuring as many rappers like Lil' Wayne & Birdman on your tracks as you want. Until you are willing to do the horizontal mambo on video with one of them and leak it, I'm afraid you will remain yesterday's news. And I'm sorry….all those remixes still didn't help. You could have used that money to buy yourself a clue….you're done.
And speaking of publicity stunts….I guess announcing his bid for the US presidency was not enough. Apparently Kim's husband, Kanye West wants to be the last American Idol. Reports say that He and Kim were spotted with an audition ticket for the final season of the show. Yes…the "Attention Whore" award goes to this couple hands down!
So, I guess Rihanna's last album didn't do as well as she had hoped. Despite being voted the most fashionable artist and one of the most beautiful women in the world, her one-two punch of voicing an animated character for the movie "Home" and releasing "Bitch Better Have My Money" as a debut single just didn't cement her back at the top of the charts. Although I liked the music video for the track, I kinda think "Bitch Better Have My Money" was a little too intense given the environment and climate of violence in the US. And I appreciated "American Oxygen" for lyrical content, but it just didn't do very much for dance floors or radio. So, on October 7th, she revealed the album cover for her forthcoming eighth studio album (possibly called "R8") at the MAMA Gallery in Los Angeles. The cover will be a topless childhood photo that has been made into a painting and brail by Roy Nachum.
Pitbull has recorded a song for the television show "Empire" as well has made a guest appearance. "No Doubt About It" with Jussie Smollett. It's a cute song, but I am more interested in his latest single called "FREE.K". Like I mentioned earlier here is another case of using a vocal and not giving credit where credit is due. This is just a dance rap version of 90s R&B artist Adina Howard's "Freak Like Me". I like the track, but I am still upset with this concept of dissing the original artists.
I was so upset about this that I decided to included a line in my alter-ego's new track due out on October 27th. The "Karma EP" features 7 remixes of the title track, "Karma" and 4 mixes of the very controversial n-word protest song, "Scared Of Evolution". In "Karma" I took a dig at a few DJ/Producers who tried to steal my songs or my vocals to make new tracks without giving me credit. One even used the same name of my track, but if you google "Bitch You Look Fierce", Jade Elektra is the first thing that comes up. "I'm legends, darh-ling…..and don't you ever muthaf#%kin' forget it!" And I am really proud of "Scared Of Evolution" since it started as a spoken word piece that I wrote back in 2013. It has been amazing to see how Cris Is Bliss and Erik Elias have transformed my words into so many different genre(s) of beats.
Okay, finally I want to talk about the new Taylor Swift music video for "Wildest Dreams". It seems there is a backlash because the video was shot in Africa and there are no people of color in it. Believe it or not….I did spot one. Not in the jungle scenes but at the movie premiere as one of the reporters. I kinda think this is a ridiculous item to be bitchin' about. The theme of the video is a nostalgic look back at a 40s style movie starlet filming a love scene in the wild. The accurate view for that time period would have called for Africans to be savages in the background. Then people would have been upset because that's how the people of color were depicted. You just can't win, can you? Taylor….you look amazing in the video and it shot beautifully. I haven't heard a remix of the song that I really like yet, but like Ben Carson's chances of getting into the White House….this too shall pass.
Here's one of my latest mixes to give you ataste of what I do for my floor....CLUB LITE FRIDAYS at Crews & Tangos (10 pm to close).