Articles Tagged: music review

DJ Cruze Reviews Iggy Azalea’s The New Classic

April 22nd, 2014 | By

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iggy Azalea The New Classic Album Cover

Released April 14th, Iggy Azalea tops record charts from the States to the United Kingdom.  With trending news in both the music and fashion industry; we’d say this has been a great week for Iggy Azalea.  DJ Cruze highlights a few stand out points regarding her latest album release.  
Do you agree?


He says,
1.
Iggy Azalea is similar to Shawnna; from her rapping style to her swag
2.
Iggy Azalea can rap better than some rappers in the industry currently
3.
“The New Classic” is pretty much a Dope Ass Party
4.
You’ll hear a little Dubstep, Rock & Roll and Hip Hop on this Album
5.
Iggy Azalea can sing, rap and look good
6.
The industry needed a release like this
7.
Iggy Azalea is a Triple Threat that many record labels can’t fulfill
8.
Iggy Azalea is the new Nicki Minaj; the new female Eminem
9.
Iggy Azalea didn’t need the features that she has on “The New Classic”
10.
T.I. signing Iggy Azalea makes us wonder what else is to come


Not only does DJ Cruze love the project, he loves the way Iggy Azalea carries herself.  As a new artist in the industry, she is surely gaining respect in a positive light and producing banging hits that DJ Cruze plan to spin in the clubs.  Cop That!



Listen to Track #1, Walk the Line below:


DJ Cruze Reviews: Drunk in Love, Remix

February 15th, 2014 | By

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…The first thing I heard was an “Arab” intro; it kinda gave me the feel of Jesus Walks by Kanye West.  Not too long after, did I realize this was a rendition of “Drunk in Love;” it had the same beat, but with a few more synths.  This new version of “Drunk in Love” is like the “Ish I Don’t Like” by Chief Keef.

Ahhh…here’s the key difference, Yeezy’s on the track!

Continuing with his love manifestation with Kim Kardashian, Kanye delves back into his happy place…talking about himself along with his “perfect” relationship.  This time, ‘Ye gets very explicit.  We were so shocked when Beyonce spoke on “Surboard” and “Watermelon,” but wow, music symbolism is seen yet again.  In his verse, Kanye gives us a window into their life “messing up sofa’s” and even discloses a few personal secrets of his lover, such as “impregnating Kim Kardashian’s mouth” and the idea that Kim always wanted her own reality show, separate of that of her and her family seen in “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”  Kanye made it very clear that he didn’t want to live his life, nor did he wants his daughter paraded in front of the reality show cameras, but could this be any hint at a change of heart on Kanye’s part?  I guess we’ll have to keep watching and listening to find out.

Finally, we get a more human side of Kanye, or has he been completely transparent with us this whole time?  [sidenote] Makes me wonder if his speaking on the drug Molly can be taken literally as well.

The composition of the beat is pretty much the same, nothing really special.  Listen closely, a few more instruments are added to the simplistic beat, like a clap here and there in addition to a deeper key kick to the rhythm.  You’ll notice a few differences in B & Jay’s lyrics, a drop from Kanye’s “Flashing Lights” B’s a little chopping and a “church echo” on Beyonce towards the end of the song.

To be honest, I’m not really shocked of this remix. I pretty much expected this from Kanye; however, rather than add to the track, I believe he ruins the overall feel of the record.

DJ Cruze Trichotomy:
A Review of June 18th releases Kanye West, J. Cole and Mac Miller

June 18th, 2013 | By

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A Tribute to the June 18th Artists; here’s to A Big Day in Hip Hop!  Check out DJ Cruze’s June 18th Mix from his podcast below.

 

YEEZUS ORIGINAL ALBUM WORK
YEEZUS ARTWORK #2
YEEZUS FINAL ARTWORK
YEEZUS

 

It seems like for months, DJ Cruze has awaited the release of Kanye’s latest and most criticized album to date, not only because it was highly anticipated, but it has been DJ Cruze’s top interest to critique whether the album was worth all of the stir it has since caused.  Immediately, when DJ Cruze received the copy, he went straight for the productions credits and style, saying “It looks like he [Kanye] is taking production in another way [than before].”

 

 

Not only was this the smallest tracklist that DJ Cruze has ever seen released from a rap artist, aside from the album’s name, he was also surprised that much of the production is from Daft Punk.  “Daft Punk is a French EDM producer in which Kanye previously worked with on the “Stronger” track on West’s third studio album, Graduation.”  Already, DJ Cruze is optimistic, as he hears a completely different perspective than ever before!

 

He states, “In this album, Kanye has a great deal of yelling and wailing.  He gives off a weird feeling; almost somewhat Gothic in a sense. Not only is this album is very explicit; it even goes a bit over board, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I do believe that Kanye will lose many people’s interest simply because people are not used to this side of him. But this is what hip hop and rap are about, right?  Testing new ground?  Evolving?”

 

He continues, “Compared to his other releases, in Yeezus, Kanye takes a more lyrical approach. His flow is so natural that is almost sounds like his talking and melodizing which is something new. I enjoy the beats, which were very simple; however, still complex at the same time.  Any producer can see the talent it took this production to pinpoint the necessary instruments to contribute to the sound.”

 

In the end, there were still a few unenjoyable and distasteful aspects; Kanye’s vulgarity being one of them.  DJ Cruze says in support, “I see where he is coming from, but I still believe he had a way to go around what he was saying without being so ignorant about it.”  Maybe that’s what gave the album it’s edge, because DJ Cruze says “there was never a dull or boring point; it’s a good CD overall!”  It is quite evident; however, that Kim Kardashian is a common thread throughout the entire work.  DJ Cruze continues, “Thinking back to Van Gogh, I remember he had an infatuation so deep with a woman as to where he cut his own earlobe off and sent it to her in declaration of his love.  This CD almost makes me think, it is actually Kim Kardashian that is making Kanye feel like he’s GOD.”

 

On a scale of one-to-10, with 10 being the highest, DJ Cruze rates Yeezus an eight!

 

bORN sINNER ALBUM ARTWORK FROM AMAZON

BORN SINNER

 

It’s safe to say, J. Cole is still fairly new to the rap game; he’s an artist who is still developing and DJ Cruze gives him his props as he can hear his progression.  Born Sinner, to DJ Cruze, seems more of a versatile and even more enjoyable album than J. Cole’s last.  Unlike Kanye West, J. Cole is sticking to the simplicity of hip hop; even some of his instrumentals sound like Kanye West old productions.

 

 

DJ Cruze enjoys, “that he’s more liberal and you can hear he had fun doing this project.”  He adds, “Even though a lot of J. Cole’s songs are already getting radio play, he still has a lot of music which may not be as popular as the radio hits, and a great amount of that is on this CD.  For example, as a huge fan of Outkast, so when the two collaborated on “da art of Story Tellin Part 1,” the beat alone made me much more of a fan. You can hear that J. Cole is more lyrical, and took this project much more personal with what he had to say.  It just gives me an idea of how much his life changed now that he’s a big time artist.”

 

DJ Cruze did not enjoy, “the instrumentals.”  He says, “Most beats sound very similar to the previous ones. Even though you hear the difference in his flow, it’s not yet enough to deliver the “WOW Factor.”  It takes artists a few albums before they get into their comfort level and J Cole fits into this category.”  In addition, “the songs are way too long; since people have short attention spans, the same song on for four minutes is sure to bore the listener.”

 

Overall, DJ Cruze says, “the CD is A LOT better than Cole World.”  He explains, ” This album opens up a new perspective for J. Cole and shows he’s here to stay. I like the cameos he has and not one track sounded too out of his range. Even though there really aren’t any club bangers, there is a great deal of lounging music and it fits perfect for his style.”

 

DJ Cruze rates Born Sinner a seven-and-a-half out of 10, saying “J. Cole tried new things with this project, and has definitely proved himself to the general public.  I’m sure his fans are satisfied with his hard work! It’s Real, True Music.”

 

Mac Miller Albumwork

WMWTSO

 

Mac Miller’s “Watching Movies With The Sound Off” was also released today. Unfamiliar with his history, DJ Cruze had to do a fair amount of research on this artist.  Being his second album release, DJ Cruze feels that this release was “really good material,” compared to Mac Miller’s previous work.  DJ Cruze also stated that he’s surprised Miller has not received a bigger buzz!
DJ Cruze opened this project with an open mind and hoping not to feel disappointed after the listen.  After listening to the first few songs he was quite impressed.  DJ Cruze says, “this reminds me of the old Eminem… his flow, the subject matter and the ruthlessness of his words.”  He continues, “His music is much deeper than what we’re accustomed to but is good material. Later in the project, you can hear influences of Talib Kweli, and Common (in terms of beat selection).”

 

In this CD, Mac Miller collaborates with artists such Schoolboy and Jay Electronica, and it doesn’t end at those two.  However, although those collaborations are important for Miller, DJ Cruze says “those artists will not help to popularize him any more than his current state.”  Just as J. Cole above, Mac Miller also lacks the “WOW Factor” according to DJ Cruze.  He says, “Although I enjoy his flow and dynamic lyrics, his music is too slow for me to vibe with.  The beats are similar, the kicks and snare are tight, but it’s just not enough.”

 

DJ Cruze concludes, “I like this album; it’s a little too much on the underground side, but I see that’s his style.  This is a totally different type of hip hop from the two artists above, therefore I have to rate it on a totally different scale.  In terms of underground hip hop, this album would be just shy of a rating of seven out of 10.”  DJ Cruze feels that Mac Miller has much to prove in the music game, especially considering he’s going head-to-head [regarding release date] with two of the biggest artists in Hip Hop right now.  DJ Cruze ended, saying, “I would definitely keep a couple WMWTSO songs in my Ipod to hear from time to time.  Mac Miller is a threat; artists beware of what he has to bring on the table, he may hit the foreground faster than you think!”

 

DJ Cruze Review: “Better” by Chrisette Michele

June 11th, 2013 | By

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Available in stores worldwide today, Chrisette Michele releases her latest work, Better.

 

Chrisette Michele Better

 

For those whom may not be familiar with Chrisette Michele, she is what we may consider a “Hip-Hop, Soul Singer.”  She has collaborated with many big-time artists such as Jay Z, Nas and The Game and most known for her music award nomination, GRAMMY win in addition to several BET Award accolades.

As a DJ, It is my job to be knowledge of all acts across all genres.  I enjoy new and experimental sounds; especially those that are outside of the “norm.”  When I listen to Chrisette Michele, I expect “grown” and mature music.

This album is a bit a different from her older projects; “Better” really doesn’t stand out.  With no disrespect intended to her talent and her singing ability, I simply do not feel there is one song that catches a listener’s ear.  Usually there’s always that “one song” that makes people want to buy her CD just to hear what else she has to offer; unfortunately, this time, she fails to comply on delivering for her fans.

Even though she has a few collaborations on this project, I feel she used those collaborations to her advantage, to generate buzz and to convince people to listen to her.  The songs with Wale and 2 Chainz aren’t the highlights of this CD, as you would expect with featuring these two major and current artists on the project. But, maybe her intention this go round wasn’t to stimulate sales.  Yes, she has a beautiful voice; but I feel this CD is no where comparable to her other works released in the mid 2000s.  Artist’s of her caliber, or even that of Fantasia or Jennifer Hudson just don’t exist these days, and it seems that it’s hard for these artist to even top themselves!

 

Chrisette Michele courtesy of Amazon

 

We do; however, give Chrisette credit for sticking to what she knows and being good at it. I like the fact she stuck to percussion instruments and did not come across too futureristic. Many of the most recent releases from artists in the industry are sex related or about degrading men. I feel that with this project Chrisette intended to speak directly to her female audience.

Even though Chrisette stayed within her range and her the CD overall is a good compilation, it still isn’t provoking enough to convince the younger crowd to purchase this CD. I feel that many of her songs have an Estelle or Fantasia kind of feel or style. I’m not saying it’s a bad sound, it just doesn’t have that WOW factor that many critics listen for. Even though she has been in the music industry for over five years, I feel she still has room to improve and become an exceptional singer.

Listening to this CD is not a waste of time, you just have to be a real fan of music and the artist to support it.  This CD doesn’t not appeal to the younger crowd, and I personally would only recommend it to the rhythm-and-blues audience.

Considering this project, in my opinion, was dull and mediocre; I would actually keep a couple of the songs in my iPod. Chrisette is still roughly new to the industry and has a great deal of room and time to improve, especially given the fact that this is only her fourth album.  Signing to Motown Records was a good decision and I guarantee the company will help her progress and showcase her true talent.

“Excuse My French”
DJ Cruze reviews
French Montana’s Debut Album

May 22nd, 2013 | By

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Excuse my French Coverart

French Montana’s highly anticipated debut album released May 21st after being rescheduled several times.

Considering DJ Cruze is a fan of the artist, he tried his best to provide an unbiased critique of the album Excuse my French. You’ll be very surprised at his comments, which are provided in detail below.

French Montana

DJ Cruze doesn’t hesitate, “Every song on this project is a feature…that’s my first impression! It gives me the impression that he cannot sell records on his own.”

Although DJ Cruze presented few reasons on why he in actuality “liked” the CD, the bad aspects seemed to outweigh the good. He says, “I like that French Montana failed to take this project to an artistic level as it shows that he is simply making music and sticking to what he knows; the music is synonymous with both the radio and the club atmospheres. Generally speaking, with the release of his previous projects referring to the “Coke Boys,” it’s pretty evident that his general audience is primarily that of a”thuggish/street” crowd; his music simply appeals to those who have struggled or being raised in tough environments, neighborhoods and situations. A good example in this current project is ‘F*ck What Happens Tonight’ featuring DJ Khaled, Mavado, Ace Hood, Snoop Dogg & Scarface. In addition, his collaborations with artists such as Ne-Yo and Raekwon brings a classic, Hip-Hop feel.”

He Continues, “Adversely, every song is about the same.” Although that may be his flow, DJ Cruze notes, “after a while,it gets very tedious. It’s like 50 Cent rapping to the same beat, but with different instruments… it gets very cliche.”

In terms of management, DJ Cruze is “disappointed that being associated with Diddy, he expected the album to show diversity.” Even worse, Cruze left us with this lasting statement,

The song he has with Rico Love is boring, and I wouldn’t play it even if my girlfriend wanted to hear it!

Overall, this CD is “average;” according to DJ Cruze, “there’s no motive for me to spend a couple dollars to have this in my CD changer. Please take into account that I am also taking iTunes overall ratings into consideration when rating this project, and most of his songs are rated below average by consumers!”

Album Coverart Excuse MY French

Excuse MY French Promo

Kanye West Releases Music from the Vaults:
A DJ Cruze Mixtape Critique

April 29th, 2013 | By

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Kanye West

Kanye West releases never-before-heard material, dating back to 2001 and The College Dropout Era.  The demo/mixtape is comprised of 15 unreleased tracks.

Listen & Download Here:

 

 


DJ Cruze’s Thoughts on the Demo:

 

Listening to this mixtape took me back to my high-school years, listening to Kanye West’s old-school flow.   The first thing I noticed was that Kanye’s voice sounds much deeper in tone than previous years.  This could be the result of using a lower end of microphone then compared to the equipment he utilizes in his recent/current releases.  Perhaps, he’s simply more comfortable on the mic now than he was in previous years.  Overall, I enjoyed the old flow and his storytelling; you can hear the sincerity in his voice/lyrics.

 

Kanye sources more hip-hop/soul beats for this release; simple kicks, snares with a piano melodies and a few samples. The overall composition was impeccable as Kanye utilized percussion instruments, which to me is “hip-hop at its finest.”   The beat construction was very simple, and few rappers today go this route in production or even master it on any level. The fact that Kanye does not use 808 drums in this release, compared to rappers today, added to the success of this release.  Many of the beats you’ve heard in the market once before; a good example is “Jesus Walks.”  However, the song “Gotta Pose Snippet” on the demo tape samples a previous Solomon Burke 1968 original production (“Get Out of My Life Woman”) and uses the wording “I Don’t Love You;” this was used on “I Changed My Mind,” a Keysha Cole song featuring Kanye West on her 2005 Album “The Way It Is.”  The recent new hip-hop version consists of that slow 128 or 66 bpm, while in this mixtape, you hear the beats start about 88 to about 101 bpm.

 

On the flipside, there aren’t any “club bangers” on this demo mixtape, but the lack of club songs doesn’t put the album to shame… it’s very enjoyable.

 

I can almost compare it to the G Unit Mixtape circuit.
His sound is an influence of Talib Kweli and Common; the latter, to me, is expected, especially given both Kanye and Common’s links to Chicago.

 

His storytelling is against the grain and will surprise many listeners.

 

His style is a true showcase of talent; he displays different paces of rap flow, demonstrates that he can Rap at a slow pace, while being melodic st the same time.

 

Maybe this is the demo presented to Jay-Z while Kanye was shopping labels for a deal; if so, I completely understand Jay-Z’s rationale on picking up this artist.  Kanye sounds completely different that what we’re accustomed to hearing from his releases.

 


RATING:


Take into consideration that aside from being a DJ, I am also a producer and trained to listen to every kind of genre of music on a daily basis.


I give this mixtape a score of 8.5 out of 10.


Rather than being quoted as a mixtape, this release is obviously a demo; although, Demo Tapes are usually three-to-five songs, with the best songs in the beginning of the sequence to capture the listeners attention. However, as an avid listener of music and moreover a fan of early 2000s music, its evident that this release was not duplicated and is in fact, the real thing.


One aspect that contributed to this being a great demo piece was that there weren’t enough songs!  Although he presented a complete track listing with 15 songs, it didn’t feel long enough. For any aspiring rappers, this is an important factor when making a CD or EP. Overall this demo was good, and i wouldn’t change anything because this is what people like to listen. PROPS!


New Music Review: Lore’l – Billboard Bytch

April 18th, 2013 | By

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Many of you may know Lore’l from her recent appearance and cast as member of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop’s Season 3; however, record shows as well as she claims, she’s been in the Rap Game for quite a while now. Given all the hype Lore’l’s career received both throughout the season and especially during the Season 3 Reunion Episodes, many music lovers anticipated the release of her upcoming project given that she teamed up with Yandy Smith, who has managed acts from Cam’Ron and Jim Jones to Missy Elliott and 50 Cent.  Lore’l stunned the audience by highlighting not only a mixtape release, but also a bigger venture – opening her own record label.

 

BillboardBytch

 

Courtesy of datpiff.com, Listen to “Billboard Bytch” in its entirety here:

Download Mixtape | Free Mixtapes Powered by DatPiff.com

 

However, in DJ Cruze’s opinion, the work comes off being very amateur and didn’t delivery as expected.  Although Billboard Bytch is the “follow up piece” to Lore’l’s last project “Leading Lady,” this new mixtape did little to advance her as an artist.  In the words of DJ Cruze, “I don’t see any growth from the last mixtape.  It’s not any better.”  Prior to listening to the mixtape, DJ Cruze read the mixed reviews amongst the Hip-Hop blogs; for the most part, they comments were fairly positive, so DJ Cruze went into this project with an open mind.

 

Here’s his in-depth critique:

 

On her Flow…

DJ Cruze says, “she reminds me of a combination of Remy Martin and Foxy Brown.”  He continues, “Yes, these women were a major influence on the Hip-Hop Culture, but like the both of them, Lore’l brings a “ganster” style to her flow…that was relevant back in the early 2000s.  In my opinion, the music she produced on this release is not sellable to a large market.”

On her Beat Selection…

DJ Cruze says, “it’s very uptempo and street tough, but the release lacks  radio-friendly records and what we like to call ‘club bangers.’  What stood out, instead, was her foul language (cursing), but also various styles of rapping.”

DJ Cruze recommends that listeners “play this demo in their Beats by Dre headphones, and not in a home theater.

 

Like vs Dislike

I immediately enjoyed the beats…you can see that she had a lot of fun doing this mixtape.  I also like the fact that she spoke very freely about how she felt about certain things and didn’t sugar coat her lyrics. Many of her choruses were very catchy and it’s evident that she wrote all of the music herself.  I can respect a creative artist, simply since many musicians lack an overall imagination these days.”  He continues, “my favorite song is “‘Tear the Club Up” and I would qualify this mixtape as a “cruzing cd”.  With the volume on high, you’re sure to get an adrenaline rush.”

On the flipside, DJ Cruze didn’t like “the poor song structure.”  Saying, “the mixtape had no sense of relevancy to the title of “Billboard Bytch,” that should have been reconsidered.”  In addition, he adds, based on the songs in the mixtape, it seems as though she was heavily influenced by Lil’ Kim as many of the lyrics either sounded like Lil’ Kim or similar to the lyrics she would use.”

 

The Critique

“As a music critic and having a production background, I did not see the symmetry between the artist and the project.  Every song on the mixtape wasn’t necessarily for her/didn’t match her flow, and most importantly, her voice was not up to key to many instrumentals she rapped on.  She failed to tell her specific story and relationship with Rap, but instead, highlighted “Niggas, Bottle Popping, and Money Blowing.  She delighted in telling a story of guys fiending over her crotch and blowing weed.  Comparing her to other Hip-Hop artists I’ve studied, Lore’l failed to show her true artistic side.”

Although the mixtape featured artist cameos, DJ Cruze was disappointed yet again, saying “it just contains up-and-coming rappers.”  Rather than working with Local Artists or some in which she’s been known to be associated with, she opted for a different route; however, manymusic heads anticipated an appearance by Fabolous or even Red Cafe.  “Overall,” he continues, “This mixtape; unfortunately, is one of those CD’s that are only good for one song, and then you throw it away.”


Rating

On a scale of One-to-10, with 10 being the highest, DJ Cruze rates “Billboard Bytch” at a six!

He says, “Many aspects of the mixtape kept it from receiving a 9.5 or even a 10;  starting with the song structure, CD graphic design, and creativity on songs.

Ironically enough, he concludes, “I look forward for future productions from her.”

 

Lore'l

 

Look forward to New Artist Releases and Album Reviews by DJ Cruze each and every Thursday at DJCruze.com!

*** NEWS ALERT ***

A Special Friday Mix will be released by DJ Cruze on Friday, April 19th and available for download.  Check back at Noon, EST.