Video Playback Error

The Adobe Flash Player is required to watch videos on this page

Exclusive Q&A: A Conversation With Theophilus London About Love, Life and Antarctica

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsWhen you look at the hip-hop scene at it stands now, with artists like OFWGKTA and LMFAO on the rise, you can feel the genre shifting a bit both in terms of music and artistic vision. Taking a more wild and eclectic approach to not only music but fashion sense is becoming a running trend. With that in mind, the up-and-coming rapper Theophilus London is riding the wave with his unique blend of influences, that read off like something from an indie rock band, and his eye-catching sense of style. This has led to widespread success with his debut release Timez Are Weird These Days getting significant buzz and landing high-profile performances like at this past year’s Cannes Film Festival. Taking some time out of his busy tour schedule, this budding rap star sat down to chat with us about topics ranging from his Tumblr to listening to actress Milla Jovovich cover Prince.

OS: In the past, you’ve voiced displeasure about mainstream rap. Do you feel it’s something you still try to stay away from?

TL: In a sense of [it] being played out, maybe. But, there’s a lot of mainstream rap.

OS: How would you describe the difference between your approach and a regular hip hop artist?

TL: I work off of references. I idolize producers and try to sit down and work with producers on brand new sound. We talk about favorite artists first and foremost and develop a brand new sound. I really can’t say I’m different from other rappers because I’m not in the studio with them or in their creative process.

OS: You announced on Tumblr today that you got Michael Jackson to DJ some of your shows. How did you find him?

TL: I found him in New Orleans. He was hanging out a window. I asked him if he wanted to tour and he said yes. Really glad he came out to tour with us.

Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q&A: A Conversation With Theophilus London About Love, Life and Antarctica’

Soundcheck: GRAMMY Showdown — Nicki vs. Kanye vs. Jay-Z

The 2012 GRAMMY nominations are in and it looks like another big year for hip hop, with the genre’s brightest stars earning the majority of nominations for the music industry’s biggest honor.

Leading the pack with seven nominations is Kanye West. His hit “All Of The Lights” earned nods for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Song of The Year while his joint album with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne, is up against his own My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy for Best Rap Album.  The duo is also nominated for Best Rap Performance for their song, “Otis”.

Bruno Mars and Adele are tied with Foo Fighters with six nominations each.  While it may seem a little dated by now, Mars’ debut missed last year’s cut-off.  His debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans is up for Album of The Year while his hit, “Grenade” is vying for Song Of The Year, Record of The Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance.  Lil Wayne isn’t far behind with five nominations including Best Rap Performance for  “Look At Me Now” with Busta Rhymes and Chris Brown. Like West, Weezy will battle himself in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category where he’s nominated for “I’m On One” with Rick Ross, Drake, and DJ Khaled and “Motivation” his duet with Kelly Rowland.

Continue reading ‘Soundcheck: GRAMMY Showdown — Nicki vs. Kanye vs. Jay-Z’

Soundcheck: Rihanna Is Ready To ‘Talk That Talk’

Talk That Talk hit stores November 21, making it the sixth studio album we’ve seen from Rihanna in six years.  The busy Barbadian beauty has been touring in support of last year’s platinum-selling album, Loud for the past year, and released Talk while on the second European leg of her Loud tour. The album’s single, “We Found Love” has been No. 1 on the charts since it hit the airwaves and shows no sign of slowing down.  The racy video features a strung out RiRi tearing up the town with a Chris Brown look alike.  Thankfully, that’s about the only reference to her ex we see from this project.  The rest is a welcomed departure from her darker days of Rated R.

The only feature on the project comes from Jay-Z on the album’s title track, where he spits a verse boasting about his bedroom skills and flying to Jamaica to get the best ganja.  It’s a little unexpected from the Forbes cover boy, but it’s nice to be reminded that Hov isn’t always a big wig who’s too important to rap about sex and smoking weed. And while the note from the man who discovered her is a nice touch, it’s evident that Rihanna didn’t need any help making this record a winner.

The eleven-song album is heavy on the sex and love and light on the drama.  She’s found her stride with her unique brand of pop/house/R&B and found songwriters who seem to get where she’s coming from.  She can still throw a reggae vibe on a dance track and create something that works anywhere in the country.  Her naughty lyrics are super sexual, but somehow she manages to deliver the devilish goods in a way that comes off as racy, not raunchy. She worked with an all star line up of song writers and producers including The Dream, Alex Da Kid, Stargate, and Dr. Luke among others to create a truly unique and cohesive product.

It’s hard to pick a stand out from the short list of strong tracks.  “Where Have You Been” is a sure crowd pleaser and “Birthday Cake” is likely to become the new word for the female pleasure zone.  Songs like “You Da One” and “ Drunk On Love” remind us that we’re all just out in the world, looking for someone to love. It’s a simple theme that permeates the album, and offers justification for some of the harder hitting tracks.

So far, critics have applauded the album that went head to head against another highly-anticipate Diva drop, Mary J. Blige’s My Life 2. While one would expect some competition, I think Rihanna’s appeal stretches much further than the realms of the urban crowd.  Her fan base is clearly younger, and her delivery is too fun and fresh to be deterred by heart-wrenching ballads on the same subject. People Magazine called Talk That Talk “one of 2011’s best pop-diva statements,” while others call it her strongest project to date.  In one of the most accurate reviews, Billboard calls the album, “a fleshed-out statement that captures Rihanna’s relentless drive and will likely keep her on top. This album’s not a victory lap; it’s a whole new race.”

Given the ease with which she transitioned from Loud to Talk That Talk,  and the fact that there wasn’t one “skip” song on the album, I couldn’t agree more.  Rihanna is on a whole new level without a rival in sight.  The only question now, is where will she go from here?

 

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.

Jay-Z

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.

Continue reading ‘Jae Apollo Vs. Jay-Z’

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.

Continue reading ‘New Music Video Roundup’

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.”

Continue reading ‘Drake Doesn’t Like Those Tumblr Girls’

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.

 

 


Exclusive Interviews
Featured Artists
OurStage Updates
News
Features
Reviews and Playlists
Editors Pick

 

 




 

iAnEAqqqq