No stranger to Everything’s Fly, Noah Fence releases a timeless EP titled “Twelve Nineteen” displaying his versatile artistry. Noah stretches his range of sound on this 5 track classic, delivering a beautiful sound along with angelic wordplay that would please a crowd of the masses. Twelve Nineteen caught me by surprise as I was scrolling my twitter feed & I damn sure glad it crossed my eyes. Easily one of my favorite projects so far. Be sure to follow Noah and check out Twelve Nineteen below.
Long overdue, let’s break down Jhené Aiko‘s most recent album release: Trip, a plunge into a deep unknown with everything we love about Jhené’s music, from drugs and dark thoughts to twisted desires and dream vocals.
Before we dive into her subconscious together, we need to take a look at the artist as a whole. Jhené Aiko was born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, California and comes from a musical family. Her R&B career began in the early 2000’s but she emerged after finishing school in 2011 with the mixtape, Sailing Soul(s). The tape was life changing for me; tardy as usual, I discovered Aiko in 2012, when I was a moody high schooler with little interest in anything besides music, being misunderstood and altering my reality by whatever means were available. The smooth mixtape features high profile names like Miguel, Drake, Kanye West, Gucci Mane and Kendrick Lamar as well as a versatile selection of beats. For a taste of classic Jhené flow, listen to Stranger from Sailing Soul(s) on Soundcloud here.
Flash forward 5 years, after dropping the EP Sail Out (2013) and the album Sailed Out (2014), she releases a joint album in 2016 with babyboo Big Sean, as they introduce the world to the duo of TWENTY88. If you’re like me, you may have liked this self titled collaboration a little too much (I won’t disclose frequency… but, lets just say I have posted a criminal amount of Snapchat clips reciting the skit from Talk Show word-for-word).
That brings us to the present and, lets be honest: there has been nothing predictable about 2017. And so in light of her beautiful, mutually height-challenged relationship with Big Sean and the success of TWENTY88, I have to admit I was skeptical of new music from Ms. Aiko. Would it carry through her usual honest sound? Was this a project for fellow happily cuffed individuals? In the past, like many others, I have depended on Jhené for dark, raw, twisted, freaky and quite frankly depressing music, and I selfishly feared being unable to connect to whatever 2017 has done to our lovely lady.
Welp, we can cut that weak worrying crap out righhhttt now —
Trip, is a masterful compilation of 22 songs that tell a story of “Penny” an alter ego based off a childhood nickname from her grandfather. In September of this year, Jhené dropped the album out of nowhere along with a short film and collection of raw and biographical poetry. The short film is ironically enough, directed by Tracy Oliver, a writer for the film Girls Trip who, an article on Jhené for NYLON says, “She’s a brilliant writer and storyteller,” Oliver is quoted. “I was really impressed with her ability to float between so many different mediums with ease: songwriting, poetry, and screenwriting.”
Throughout almost all of her music, Jhené mentions the loss of her older brother Miyagi, and Trip is sculpted from pain of losing him to cancer and the period of self medication she underwent to numb the memories and heartache, hence the references to various hallucinogens and psychoactive drugs. Whether you’ve tripped in any fashion or are still scared to take more than the instructed dose of headache medicine, there’s no way not to connect to this vibrant and diverse collection of freestyles, collabs, love songs and long tracks.
“Came all this way to escape all our problems
Came all this way just to break every promise
Everything you said I shouldn’t do
But those things bring me closer to you
So the other night, I
Took a tiny piece of paper and put it under my tongue
This white guy said it’d be fun, and it was, but
What I saw
Oh my God
Oh my God”
Since you don’t actually need to be on acid to partake in the music, I highly recommend taking a listen for yourself. However, 22 tracks can be intimidating and there are even a few intro’s and songs with seemingly multiple versions, so I highlight a few individual songs to get you started:
- While We’re Young — A single that dropped a little before the full album, this song sounds like the moments you realize you’re falling in love with that crush. Yeah. It’s sweet, and fun and has a melody that begs to be listened to with the windows down riding past the beach at sunset. Let down your guard and fall for this song.
- Lsd — A short song that seems to be a message to her brother, in which she details the events leading up to her trying LSD, it ends with a twist and the lyrics enough can hook you into the rest of the album.
- Sing to Me (feat. Namiko Love) — If you think Twitter and Instagram are dangerous places where cute pictures and videos of beautiful babies are out to get you, knowing full well you can’t afford a child… Might as well press skip. This beautiful ballad features actual vocals from Jhene’s daughter and simple soul touching lyrics. Don’t get any ideas, though. Baby fever is highly contagious, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Psilocybin (Love in Full Effect) [(feat. Dr. Chill)] — This spooky track is that classic combo of sexy lyrics and mystical beats that will have you in a trance. The song has various parts to it, and is a bit lengthy but if you treat it like the experience it is, you might catch a glimpse of what it’s like to be on the drug the track is named for.
- Other favorites: OLLA (Only Lovers Left Alive), Overstimulated, Moments (ft. Big Sean), When We Love, New Balance and the almost hymn-like and tranquil Frequency.
All in all, the album was a pleasant surprise for me, and while I don’t always let it play through without skips, it’s found its way into my usual rotation and I cannot say I’m disappointed. As a Jhené fan, I can say (with zero authority whatsoever), that this is an album completely necessary to her discography and evolution as an artist. Aiko will leave a legacy as not just a sweet sounding feature but an artist in every sense of the word, a mother and a victim of the pain of the world. Trip is yet another exhibition of the ability of humans to take the darkest things afflicting us and transform it into love and beauty and music that we can all experience. And let’s face it, we could all use a little trip considering the current state of affairs.
Hope you enjoyed this break down. Now go break down, roll up and press play.
Back from my hiatus with something new. So many albums have been released this summer, but we can’t forget about those who aren’t mainstream. I feel like Chrishan’s TieDye, Pt. 1 was slept on. That entire project is full of hits. Eli Sostre is on the rise, right along with X Factors Arin Ray, and Mabel bringing the 90’s R&B vibes; I’m praying they keep on succeeding. Be sure to click that link and check back ever Friday.
Every year XXL releases a list announcing the next wave of rappers that are next up. Along with the list announcement XXL also drops freestyles and interviews from each artist and provides them with a great amount of exposure. XXL has predicted the success of many rap stars like Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, and Travis Scott by adding them to prior freshman lists. This year XXL freshman class includes; Kamaiyah, A Boogie, PNB Rock, XXXtentacion, Madeintyo, Playboicarti, Amine, Uglygod, Kap G, and Kyle. I think XXL did a good job with this list, although I believe NBA Youngboy, Montana of 300, Rich the Kid, Famous Dex, YFN Lucci, and Blac Youngsta could’ve easily been on the list as well. Every year a new list is dropped there is always controversy on who should have and who shouldn’t have made the freshman class. There are a lot of good artists right now especially in the music streaming era, and it’s hard to include them all on the list. Whether you agree with the choices of this year’s list or not you should check out each artist, and wait to see if any blow up in 2017.
Bryson Tiller dropped his long awaited album last friday titled, “True to Self.” The album is pretty hot, and with 19 tracks Tiller gives you versatility and consistency throughout the entire project. His first album, “Trapsoul” was very successful, so I was interested in seeing how Tiller would respond to the success for his second project.
While listening to the project I kept replaying the second song called, “Don’t Get Too High.” Its definitely one of the best tracks off of, “True to Self,” and I would highly suggest you give this song a listen if you haven’t already heard it. I like the song so much because of how real and genuine Tiller is, “Turned up at the function. You could barely function. Oh, you getting drunk and too high to call me up, and hanging with them other niggas, I could barely stomach.” Tiller is basically telling a girl to party less and spend more time with him. You can stream the track by clicking below.
Summer May not have officially started on the celestial calendar, but as this month closes to an end, here are a few tunes to try out to get you through that shift, pregame to, and fit the vibes of those hot, sunny drives.
- Young Hot Thotties x Dan Murray
This 2016 jam, available on Apple Music and here on Soundcloud, is by Virginia
birthed, ATL reppin’ Dan Murray. In this interview with The Perfect Play, Murray states, “Everyone has that cocky side to them an I’m just open about it and like fuck it – being cocky or conceited is okay if your intent is good. I’m a pretty ass nigga blame my mom & dad not me so shit I’m going to brag about myself – why not you know.” It’s my current go-to solo drive song whether I’m feeling myself, the weather or I’m just back on my bullshit. Bump this track here on Soundcloud or stream on Apple Music, and thank me later.
- XO TOUR Llif3 x Lil Uzi Vert
“All my friends are dead, push me to the edge.” I know, I know – not exactly the fun message you think you’d want to hear when taking advantage of late nights and chasing thrills, but you’d be surprised. While perhaps lyrically disturbing, this Uzi track is currently placed eighth on the Billboard Hot 100 list. Don’t knock it till you try it, this tune is a guaranteed to be played at some functions if you havent heard it already. Check it out on Apple Music or here on Soundcloud. Prepare yourself, after party staples like Carti’s Magnolia and GoldLink’s Crew, you may find yourself in Uzi’s dark space (and you might like it).
- Everyday We Lit (feat. PnB Rock) x YFN Lucci
Lucci claims this collab between the two came organically when just vibing in the studio, running through beats. However it was birthed, this track certainly captures the attitude many share this summer. A highly requested bop on college campuses, its got a sound that carries it beyond the seemingly played out topic. So, how lit does it get you? Peep the original on Apple Music or the remix featuring Lil Yachty and Wiz Khalifa here on Soundcloud.
- Lemon Pon Goose (feat. Jean Deaux) x Smino
The beloved STL native dropped this single in 2016 around the same time of the underappreciated release of the blkjuptr EP and its been sitting pretty in my “Songs to Whine on my Future BD” playlist ever since. (I wish I was joking). Infectious beats and the sultry feature of Jean Deaux (a dope voice known to roll with the Pivot team in the Chi with fellow up-and-coming-artist, SABA). Listen on Apple Music or via Soundcloud here.
- RAF (feat. A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert & Frank Ocean) x A$AP Mob
The Mob has done it again with this fat collaboration with a specific request of the listener. Originally, a preview was flashed by A$AP Rocky in January under the name Please Don’t Touch My Raf and more recently an alternate version aired on Frank’s Beats 1 Radio station Blonded earlier this month. With such a diverse set of artists, it’s impressive how cohesive it comes together and how consistent the sound represents Rocky and the Mobs usual ambiance. From Carti’s adlibs to Frank’s variations and stresses, the song is art just as much as any Raf Simmons original. Available on Apple Music and you can hear the preview on Soundcloud here.
More Summer Selections coming your way next week. Enjoy your flight.