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Jae Apollo Vs. Jay-Z

Jay-Z is the king of the rap game. Widely regarded as one of, if not the, best living rapper, Hov has the unique ability to make street-hardened music but still sell tons of records and hit singles. Beginning his career in the early ’90s as a protege of childhood friend The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z has since set the record for Number 1 albums on the Billboard 200 (eleven total) by a solo artist. Despite all of his commercial success, no one can accuse him of selling out. Throughout his career he has always focused on making quality hip hop, and he never intentionally tries to pander to the Top 40 audience. Jay-Z is respected by rappers worldwide for his varied flow and complex rhyme schemes. All rappers strive to achieve the success that Jay-Z has had, and OurStage artist Jae Apollo is no exception.


OurStage's Jae Apollo








Like Jay-Z, Jae Apollo shares a similar attention to detail in his flows. Check out his song “Rule The World Freestyle” and you can hear an emcee at the top of his game. In fact, this song shares some similarities in style to Jay-Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt, particularly the track “Feelin’ It.” Both songs are based around a dusty piano loop and a basic drum beat. The simple beat in both songs allows each rapper to showcase their complex flows and wordplay without the beat getting in the way. While the Jae Apollo song is slightly faster than Jay-Z’s, both emcees use similar flows and continually change up their rhyming schemes throughout the song. “Sonnet 116″ uses a similar technique with its beat, by looping a piano melody on a simple drum beat. However, this song has a somewhat darker tone with subtle synths used in the background to create an eerie effect. “Warring With The Devil” is another song that shows stylistic similarities to Jay-Z, but this song has more in common with the rapper’s later career output rather than his early work. The beat uses the technique of speeding up samples and looping them that Jay-Z popularized on his album The Blueprint.

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New Music Video Roundup

Ever since the launch of MTV in the early ’80s, music videos have been extremely important for artists. Videos are more than just a promotional tool; they are their own art form. A great music video can provide a distinct visual element to the song that you will remember every time you hear it. When Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” plays, most people can instantly picture its iconic video in their head. Here at OurStage we have a variety of great music videos in our many Video Channels. However, a few artists have dropped some brand new videos in the last few weeks, and they are so awesome that we needed to share them with you.

First off we have Late Cambrian, who won our “Kickoff To Kahbang” Competition a few months back. The band just released a music video for their song “ND Passerby (A Background Anthem),” which the band described as “about being an extra in movies and TV shows.” The video shows the members of the band experiencing the downsides of being an extra; being excluded from the VIP dressing room, having to use a different bathroom then everyone else and getting banned from the good snack table. There are some really interesting shots in the video, particularly between 1:25 and 1:37, which uses a neat stop motion effect. The video is really funny and it suits the upbeat, power pop style of the song.

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UTG: REVIEW: Yelawolf – Radioactive

Artist: Yelawolf
Album: Radioactive
Genre: Hip Hop
Label: Shady


2011 has been a huge year for hip hop. From genre-defining releases like Tha Carter 4 and Watch The Throne, to the overwhelming success of mixtape artists MODSUN and Freddie Gibbs, there is little to no doubt that this was one of the biggest years for the hip hop community in recent memory. Now, arriving just in time to close out the year by helping us get through the holiday season, Shady Records’ Yelawolf has dropped his debut record and made it clear that there is still a lot of great new music to experience before we say goodbye to 2011.

Even though November has found itself packed with hip hop releases, practically no two have been alike. Pusha T talked drug rap like no one’s business, Childish Gambino referenced pop culture the way most reference bitches, and Drake showed us that wearing your heart on your sleeve no longer has to be a sign of weakness in this tough man’s arena. With Radioactive, Yelawolf showcases the wide range of possibilities within the genre. From the the songs made to set the night off right (“Let’s Roll” and “Hard White”), to the introspective (“Everything I Love The Most”), autobiographical (“Get Away”), and even romantic (“The Hardest Love Song In The World”), Radioactive keeps you on your toes while continuing to deliver again and again. Continue reading ‘UTG: REVIEW: Yelawolf – Radioactive’

Soundcheck: Album Review — Drake’s ‘Take Care’

As he prepares to release his sophomore studio album, Take Care, fans and critics continue to speculate whether Drake will top his platinum-selling debut. According to the twenty-five-year-old Young Money superstar, he doesn’t have much to worry about.

Last week, Drake told the L.A. Times, “To be 100% honest … I wasn’t necessarily happy with Thank Me Later. People loved it [but] I just knew what I was capable of with a little more time,” he said. “I’m very confident in Take Care. I definitely made the exact album that I wanted. Will it appear that way to the world? I’m not sure, because its definitely different. It’s not fifteen ‘I’m On Ones’ It’s not  ’She Will’. I’m very happy with Take Care. More so than I’ve ever been with a project.”

The Canadian rapper hopes to showcase his growth as an artist and a person in the nineteen-track album, which includes two bonus songs. With features from Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, The Weeknd, Andre 3000 and Rihanna, among others, Drake said he hoped to create a “consistent” project.

“This album has consistency. You will not hear a piece of music that does not belong,” he said. “The words were really important to me. When you get a young artist and they are on the rise, often the music becomes not what they have going on in their lives or surrounding things, but it starts to lose substance. You can always be like, ‘Man I’m the …’ but I think you have to thread some life in there so there’s something that will last.”

While at times some songs do sound awfully familiar, Take Care does show some lyrical and emotional growth from the young emcee, providing a more introspective, honest look at the inner workings of Aubrey ‘Drake’ Graham. The albums leaked last week, (not bad for such a highly-anticipated project) and hit stores today.

Here, a brief review:

“Crew Love”: One of the more puzzling tracks on the album features The Weeknd, who showcases his strong vocals against Drake’s usual flow.  The beat is a back and forth of slow and fast and doesn’t really pick up until minute two.

Continue reading ‘Soundcheck: Album Review — Drake’s ‘Take Care’’

Raise Your Tankard

Cannock Wood is a small village in Staffordshire, England known for its charming natural beauty. And in this bucolic land of rolling hills, green pastures and thick groves of trees, lives a man who wants nothing more than to loll about in last night’s jeans and drink beer. Now don’t get us wrong, as much as Kid Rad talks about his love of slacking off in his lackadaisical track “Melt Away,” the kid’s quite ambitious. The UK rapper is the first to have performed live on BBC Radio 2, and has steadily built some buzz around his mixtapes and live shows. But you wouldn’t know it from the picture he paints in “Melt Away” of “a lazy little git and a slob” who’d “rather drink beer under the sun.” Against a trilling piano and minimalistic beat, Kid Rad offers advice to worker drones who labor away in passionless positions: “If you don’t [like what you do], don’t do it.” Lucky for us, Kid Rad’s found something he enjoys as much as a pint. Cheers to that.

“Melt Away” – Kid Rad



Drake Doesn’t Like Those Tumblr Girls

Aubrey Graham is never one to bottle up his emotions. Late night tales of romance, scorn, jealousy and intoxication are the basis for some of the man’s best work! There are no sacred cows to Drake; the rapper has even publicly aired grievances with his record label in the past. And while Drake is not known for beefing with other rappers, there is one big target that he’s facing head on.

The Internet. Specifically, Tumblr.

In an interview with The Source, Drake has some interesting thoughts regarding the web. Drake made it clear that he thinks little of social media and the impact it has had on shaping the current generation, taking time to single out Twitter and Tumblr in particular. In fact, Drake has some special words for the popular blogging platform.

“The thing that scares me the most is tumblr. I hate what tumblr has become. Because it like, it reminds me of those clique-y girls in high school that used to make fun of everyone else and define what was cool, but in five years, when you graduate, that shit doesn’t matter,” says Drake. “They don’t actually embody any of those things. They just emulate.”

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UTG: Gym Class Heroes Stream New Album

Gym Class Heroes are streaming their upcoming release, The Papercut Chronicles II, over on the bands’ Facebook. This material seems to be a healthy departure from their past releases and is pretty catchy.

The album drops this coming Tuesday, November 15, through Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen.

Give the album a spin and be sure to let us know what you think of it!

View original article on Under The Gun Review.


UTG: Wale and Miguel Perform “Lotus Flower Bomb” on Kimmel

Hot on the heels of the first week success of Ambition, DC rapper Wale took his promotional run to the stage of Jimmy Kimmel Live last night to perform “Lotus Flower Bomb.”

The performance, which you can view below, only further cements already highly regarded stage presence. His delivery is spot on and the assistance from Miguel on the hook is killer. Check it out for yourself.

If you’re still sleeping on Ambition, wake up! November is a huge month for hip hop, but this is one album you CANNOT miss out on.

View original article on Under The Gun Review.

Live Wired [Review]: Childish Gambino 11/2

You may know Donald Glover from NBC’s comedy Community, where the Georgia native plays college student Troy Barnes. Last week Live Wired got to experience this actor’s musical side. Glover is currently on tour with his rap side project Childish Gambino in anticipation of his full-length album Camp, which comes out on November 15th. The writer, actor, comedian and rapper has been all over the place in the past year: from hosting the MTVU Woodie Awards to playing at Bonnaroo. This time around, he’s touring the country and selling out venues like House of Blues.

The crowd went wild from the second Donald Glover came on the stage and everyone was at full energy for the rest of the show even though the performance was simple. There was a live band and a small movie screen for graphics, but there was nothing extravagant. Honestly, not much else was needed because his stage presence is so big that he brings enough intensity to his performances. Having seen Glover do stand-up comedy in the past, it was fascinating to see the difference in he acts on stage when it comes music. There’s no doubt that, as hilarious as he is, he’s in the process of getting huge with his music.

He chose to perform one of his most popular songs towards the beginning of the set: “Freaks and Geeks”. The track, from an EP he released earlier this year, has a memorable beat and witty lyrics that gave the audience the chance to rap along with him. The crowd also got a kick out of Childish Gambino sampling John Legend’s cover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”, as it turned into a giant sing-along followed by Glover rapping his own verse. We were also treated to some new Childish Gambino material which was exciting for fans who have been anticipating the new album. “You See Me” is incredibly catchy—the always-clever lyrics were displayed on the screen on stage so everyone could join in by the end. On the other hand, most of the crowd already knew “Bonfire”, the first single from the album and the best performance of the night.

Wanna see what you missed? Check out Glover’s free-styling talents over Meek Mill’s ‘Ima Boss” after the jump!

Continue reading ‘Live Wired [Review]: Childish Gambino 11/2′

Soundcheck: Hot New Hip-Hop

As we eagerly await the last batch of big albums to drop before year’s end, a steady stream of singles have been coming out of the woodwork.  With some unexpected mash-ups, album teasers and repeat offenders like Rick Ross, Drake, Wale and Mary J. Blige, the fall music season is heating up as temperatures cool down.  Here, a few tracks worth paying attention to.  

Common, “Sweet”: Fresh off his upcoming album, The Dreamer, The Believer, Common is back with a vengeance on the No. I.D. produced track. Remniscent of his early days on the mic, Common reminds fans that despite the glitz and glamor, he’s still the Chicago-bred beast who is not to be messed with. The G.O.O.D. music alum says he plans to make an appearance on the recently announced compilation album, even though the label isn’t backing his release. “We had talked

Rick Ross/ Wale

about it before, but it was actually some new news to me that it was going forward. But I’m definitely looking forward to it and I obviously want to be a part of it. I’m G.O.O.D. Music family forever. Even though my album is not coming out on G.O.O.D. Music, I’m still a G.O.O.D. Music affiliate and artist. That’s my family forever.”

Trey Songz ft. Fabolous, “What I Be On”: Trey is at it again with last week’s release of his double mixtape.  He dropped the Fab-featured single complete with a play on Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” in his verse.  Was that a diss?

Continue reading ‘Soundcheck: Hot New Hip-Hop’


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