Music Galaxy


joi, 25 octombrie 2007

Trance music

Trance is a style of electronic music that developed in the 1990s. Trance music is generally characterized by a tempo of between 140 and 165 BPM, featuring repeating melodic synthesizer phrases, and a musical form that builds up and down throughout a track. It often features crescendos and breakdowns. Sometimes vocals are also utilized. The style is arguably derived from a combination of largely electronic music such as ambient music, techno, and house. The origin of the term is ambiguous with suggestions that the term is derived from the Klaus Schulze album Trancefer or the early trance act Dance 2 Trance though it is likely that both these uses are linked to the perceived ability of a drum beat to induce altered states of consciousness. As this music is almost always played in nightclubs at popular vacation spots and in inner cities, trance can be understood as a form of club music.

Trance begins as a genre
The earliest identifiable trance recordings came not from within the trance scene itself, but from the UK acid house movement, and were made by The KLF. The most notable of these were the original 1988 / 1989 versions of What Time Is Love? and 3 a.m. Eternal (the former indeed laying out the entire blueprint for the trance sound - as well as helping to inspire the sounds of hardcore and rave) and the 1988 track Kylie Said Trance. Their use of the term 'pure trance' to describe these recordings reinforces this case strongly. These early recordings were markedly different from the releases and re-releases to huge commercial success around the period of the The White Room album (1991) and are significantly more minimalist, nightclub-oriented and 'underground' in sound. While the KLF's works are clear examples of Proto-trance, two songs, both from 1990, are widely regarded as being the first "true" trance records. The first, Age of Love's self-titled debut single was released in early 1990 and is seen as creating the basis for the original trance sound to come out of Germany. The second track was Dance 2 Trance's "We Came in Peace", which was actually the b-side of their own self-titled debut single. While "Age of Love" is seen as the track which cemented the early trance sound, it was Dance 2 Trance (as a result of the duo's name) that probably gave the sound its name.

The trance sound beyond this acid-era genesis is said to have begun as an off-shoot of techno in German clubs during the very early 1990s. Frankfurt is often cited as a birthplace of trance. Some of the earliest pioneers of the genre included Jam El Mar, Oliver Lieb, Sven Väth, and Torsten Stenzel, who all produced numerous tracks under multiple aliases. Trance labels like Eye Q, Harthouse, Superstition, Rising High, FAX +49-69/450464 and MFS Records were Frankfurt based. Arguably a fusion of techno and house music, early trance shared much with techno in terms of the tempo and rhythmic structures but also added more melodic overtones which were appropriated from the style of house popular in Europe's club scene at that time. However, the melodies in trance differed from euro/club house in that although they tended to be emotional and uplifting, they did not "bounce around" in the same way that house did. This early music tended to be characterized by hypnotic and melodic qualities and typically involved repeating rhythmic patterns added over an appropriate length of time as a track progressed.

[edit] Commercial trance
By the mid-1990s, trance, specifically Progressive trance, which emerged from acid trance much as Progressive house had emerged from Acid house, had emerged commercially as one of the dominant genres of dance music. Progressive trance set in stone the basic formula of modern trance by becoming even more focused on the anthemic basslines and lead melodies, moving away from hypnotic, repetitive, arpeggiated analog synth patterns and spacey pads. Popular elements and anthemic pads became more widespread. Compositions leaned towards incremental changes (aka progressive structures), sometimes composed in thirds (as BT frequently does). Meanwhile, a different type of trance, generally called uplifting trance was becoming popular. Uplifting trance had buildups and breakdowns that were longer and more exaggerated, being more direct and less subtle than progressive, with more easily identifiable tunes and anthems. Many such trance tracks follow a set form, featuring an introduction, steady build, a breakdown, and then an anthem, a form aptly called the "build-breakdown-anthem" form. Uplifting vocals, usually female, were also becoming more and more prevalent, adding to trance's popular appeal.

Immensely popular, trance found itself filling a niche that was 'edgier' than house, more soothing than drum and bass, and more melodic than techno, which made it accessible to a wider audience. Artists like Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Johan Gielen, and Paul Oakenfold came to the forefront as premier producers and remixers, bringing with them the emotional, "epic" feel of the style. Many of these producers also DJ'd in clubs playing their own productions as well as those by other trance DJs. By the end of the 1990s, trance remained commercially huge, but had fractured into an extremely diverse genre. Some of the artists that had helped create the trance sound in the early and mid-1990s had, by the end of the decade, abandoned trance completely in favor of more underground sounds - artists of particular note here include Pascal F.E.O.S. and Oliver Lieb.

As trance entered the mainstream it alienated many of its original fans. As the industry became bigger, record labels, Ibiza based producers, clubs (most notably Ministry of Sound) and DJs began to alter their sound to more of a pop based one, so as to make the sound more accessible to an even wider, and younger, audience.

[edit] Post-commercial trance
An alternative evolution would be to fuse trance with other genres such as drum'n'bass, various artists have attempted this but it has still to break into acceptance even in the underground. Frustrated, extreme versions of trance have mutated through gabba into violent fringe genres of "hard-trance" such as terrorcore and drillcore.

Trance more loyal to its roots has begun to rear its head on the internet more recently however, with the abundance of legal music download sites - including the likes of Audiojelly, Trackitdown and Beatport - enabling enthusiasts to avoid having to track down hard to find vinyl by downloading mp3s, updated on a weekly basis. As a result, both commercial and progressive trance now have a much more global, if not chart-bound, presence, with big-draw artists such as Tiësto, ATB, Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Above & Beyond, Paul Oakenfold, Johan Gielen, and the US's George Acosta able to maintain their esteemed positions while upcoming producers and DJs can also breakthrough into the public domain.

[edit] Trance production

Trance employs a 4/4 time signature, a tempo of 130 to 165 BPM, and 32 beat phrases , somewhat faster than house music but usually not as fast as rave music. Early tracks were sometimes slower. A kick drum is placed on every downbeat and a regular open hi-hat is often placed on the off-beat. Some simple extra percussive elements are usually added, and major transitions, builds or climaxes are often foreshadowed by lengthy 'snare rolls' - a quick succession of equally spaced snare drum hits that builds in volume towards the end of a measure or phrase.

Synthesizers form the central elements of most trance tracks, with simple sawtooth-based sounds used both for short pizzicato elements and for long, sweeping string sounds. Rapid arpeggios and minor scales are common features. Trance tracks often use one central "hook" melody which runs through almost the entire song, repeating at intervals anywhere between 2 beats and several bars. While many trance tracks contain no vocals at all, other tracks rely heavily on vocals, and thus a sub-genre has developed. The sound and quality of the production relies to a large degree upon the technology available. Vintage analog equipment still holds a place in the hearts of many producers and enthusiasts, with names such as Moog, Roland and Oberheim staples in the trance sound palette. However, the mainstream availability of digital technology has allowed a whole new group of producers to emerge due to the fact that while top shelf digital (or analog modeling) synthesizers cost thousands of US dollars, high demand and a small supply of clean vintage analog synthesizers causes them to be extremely expensive.

Trance records are often heavily loaded with reverb and delay effects on the synthesizer sounds, vocals and often parts of the percussion section. This provides the tracks with the sense of vast space that trance producers tend to look for in order to achieve the genre's epic quality. Flangers, phasers and other effects are also commonly used at extreme settings - in trance there is no need for sounds to resemble any real-world instrument, and so producers have free reign.

As is the case with many dance music tracks, trance tracks are usually built with sparser intros and outros in order to enable DJs to blend them together more readily. As trance is more melodic and harmonic than much dance music, the construction of trance tracks in such a way is particularly important in order to avoid dissonant (or "key clashing", ie out of tune with one another) mixes by DJs who do not mix harmonically.

Trance festivals

The best known Trance festivals in the world are held in the Netherlands, as well as some in Great Britain.

[edit] The Netherlands
Trance festivals in the Netherlands are mainly organized by three companies ID&T, UDC and Q-Dance:

Armin Only, Ahoy, Rotterdam: the only DJ to mix at this event is the very popular Armin Van Buuren. Organized by UDC.
Dance Valley, Netherlands: an outdoor festival organized by UDC.
Qlimax, Gelredome, Amhem (20,000 visitors): a Hardstyle, Hard Trance event which has been gaining in popularity recently. Renowned for its impressive laser show. Organized by Q-Dance.
Sensation, Amsterdam Arena (80,000 visitors on two nights). Not a trance-only festival, many genres such as house and hardstyle coexist. Famous for the venue (a football stadium) and the lightshow. Organized by ID&T.
Trance Energy, Jaarbeurs, Utrecht (30,000 visitors): a festival which features only trance music, and very popular for diehard fans of trance. Many well-received DJs have played sets at this event, helping to create its fame. Organized by ID&T.

[edit] Great Britain
Global Gathering festival, promoted by the Angel Music Group. The weekend long Global Gathering held every summer features the Godskitchen arena as its centerpiece, showcasing the best trance and techno acts in the world and attracting 45,000 people between a Friday afternoon and a Sunday morning. The organization promotes other stadium trance events under the Godskitchen brand, the largest being Godskitchen: A Gift From The Gods which brought 12,000 revelers to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham UK back in April 2003.
Cream's annual Creamfields festival has also showcased an 8,000 capacity trance arena for the last 8 years at various venues across the United Kingdom.

Non-European festivals

Monster massive, a Los Angeles Sports Arena event held once a year around the night of Halloween. Typically an audience of 15,000+ electronica enthusiasts attend.
Ultra Music Festival, Miami, Florida, USA: (80,000 visitors): A two day-long event with eleven stages playing various genres of electronic music with the main stage focusing on trance. Famous for their impressive lineup of the most famous and influential DJs in the world along with pyrotechnics and light/laser shows.
Ultraworld and Universe Kryal Castle, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia: a 12 hour long event, comprising mainly Hardstyle, Hard Dance and Hard Trance (also featuring happy hardcore) event held in a replicated medieval castle.
World Electronic Music Festival: held annually in Canada, this three-day-long outdoor event, comprising mainly of Trance, Hard Dance and Jungle (also featuring happy hardcore) has been held for the past ten years. It is also known as WEMF.

[edit] Other
Portugal: Boom Festival (the last edition was in Idanha-a-Nova) since 1997. This event is an outdoor festival running every two years with a duration of several days, focusing in psychedelic goa trance. The festival also features workshops, presentations, and cinema.
Many other countries lack such festivals due to legal restrictions. Public prosecution departments in many countries — notably France — have been reluctant to give permits for techno and trance events, due to perceived drug issues.[citation needed] Recently however, ID&T has been expanding operations and begun to organize festivals in Belgium and Germany.

luni, 15 octombrie 2007

Electro house

Electro house (also known as dirty house, electrotech, and often shortened to electro) is a subgenre of house music that rose to become one of the most prominent genres of electronic dance music in 2004-today. Stylistically, it combines the four to the floor beats commonly found in House music with harmonically rich analogue basslines, abrasive high-pitched leads and the occasional piano or string riff. The tempo of electro house ranges approximately from 125 to 135 bpm.

The use of the word "electro" to describe this style of modern house music is contentious, and creates an ambiguity between electro house and the 1980s electro movement, by which it was influenced.

The most obvious precursor to the modern electro house scene is the electroclash movement of the early 2000s; largely a re-run of the early 1980s synth pop sound, but deliberately made cruder and more raw-sounding than the primitive records on which it was based. More recently, some of the artists and labels involved with the sound, such as Crosstown Rebels, have found a new direction in electro house. Some artists associated with the electroclash movement, such as Felix da Housecat, noticeably used elements of house in their music at the time and have since come to be seen as highly influential. French electro, such as Mr. Oizo, has also been considered an influence.

Previously and concurrent to electroclash, tech house was developing. Traditionally, the most noticeable influences of tech house were from Detroit techno, such as sweeping strings and 909 beats, but it developed a dirtier sound in the early 2000s, owing largely to a trend of acid house revival, shown by artists such as David Duriez and the Brique Rouge label.

In 2003 some tribal house DJs such as Steve Lawler, while previously associated with the darker-hued sounds of progressive house, began to use analogue basslines, starting a sound dubbed 'dirty tribal'. Concurrently, the breakbeat scene was creating similar sounds with the popular tech-funk style. It was around this time that electro house properly began to emerge.

Electro house today

The sound became steadily more popular throughout 2006. Bodyrox's single "Yeah Yeah" featuring Luciana was labelled by several BBC Radio 1 DJs "the biggest tune of the summer of 2006", and the remix by D.Ramirez gained worldwide popularity, particularly in the Ibiza clubbing scene. Another key point was when Tocadisco's remix of "Walking Away" by The Egg gained significant media coverage after being featured on a TV advert for the Citroën C4. A mashup of the track with "Love Don't Let Me Go" by David Guetta was also later released as a single, which reached #1 in the charts in Spain and #3 in the UK.

As of 2007, the sound has been recognised as one of the most dominant movements in House music,[citation needed] surpassing funky house in popularity,[citation needed][10] with a large range of DJs and producers finding an interest in its dancefloor sensibilities and sense of fun, such as Dave Seaman from the progressive house scene; Tiefschwarz and Ben Watt who previously played deep house, Steve Lawler from the tribal sound, and popular Ibiza club DJ Lisa Lashes who is most known for her work in hard dance.

Electro house has also introduced electronic music to the indie rock scene through its links to the new rave movement. Artists such as Digitalism, Justice, and MSTRKRFT have pioneered a new sound in electro house which crosses over with new rave and alternative and indie rock, as well as its electroclash roots.

duminică, 7 octombrie 2007

50 Cent


In many ways the ideal East Coast hardcore rapper, 50 Cent endured substantial obstacles throughout his young yet remarkably dramatic life before becoming in early 2003 the most discussed figure in rap, if not pop music in general. Following an unsuccessful late-'90s run at mainstream success (foiled by an attempt on his life in 2000) and a successful run on the New York mixtape circuit (driven by his early-2000s bout with Ja Rule), Eminem signed 50 to a seven-figure contract in 2002 and helmed his quick rise toward crossover success in 2003. The product of a broken home in the rough Jamaica neighborhood of Queens and, in turn, the storied hood's hustling streets themselves, 50 lived everything most rappers write rhymes about but not all actually experience: drugs, crimes, imprisonments, stabbings, and most infamously of all, shootings -- all of this before he even released his debut album. Of course, such experiences became 50's rhetorical stock-in-trade. He reveled in his oft-told past, he called out wannabe gangstas, and he made headlines. He even looked like the ideal East Coast hardcore rapper: big-framed with oft-showcased biceps, abs, and tattoos as well as his trademark bulletproof vest, pistol, and iced crucifix. But all-importantly, 50 may have fit the mold of a prototypical hardcore rapper, but man, he sure could craft a catchy hook! As a result, his music crossed over to numerous key markets, appealing to both those who liked his roughneck posturing and rags-to-riches story as well as those who liked his knack for churning out naughty singalong club tracks. And too, 50 didn't forget about his posse. He helped his G-Unit crew grow into a successful franchise, spawning platinum-selling solo albums for his group members, lucrative licensing deals for the brand name, and sell-out arena tours to promote the franchise internationally.

Born Curtis Jackson and raised in Southside Jamaica, Queens, 50 grew up in a broken home. His hustler mother passed away when he was only eight, and his father departed soon after, leaving his grandmother to parent him. As a teen, he followed the lead of his mother and began hustling. The crack trade proved lucrative for 50, until he eventually encountered the law, that is, and began making visits to prison. It's around this point in the mid-'90s that he turned toward rap and away from crime. His break came in 1996 when he met Run-D.M.C.'s Jam Master Jay, who gave him a tape of beats and asked him to rap over it. Impressed by what he heard, Jay signed the aspiring rapper to his JMJ Records label. Not much resulted from the deal, though, and 50 affiliated himself with Trackmasters, a commercially successful New York-based production duo (comprised of Poke and Tone) known for their work with such artists as Nas and Jay-Z. Trackmasters signed the rapper to their Columbia sublabel and began work on his debut album, Power of the Dollar. A trio of singles preceded the album's proposed release: "Your Life's on the Line," "Thug Love" (featuring Destiny's Child), and "How to Rob."

The latter track became a sizable hit, attracting a lot of attention for its baiting lyrics that detail how 50 would rob particular big-name rappers. This willingness to rap openly and brashly and the attention it attracted came back to haunt him, however. His first post-success brush with death came shortly after the release of "How to Rob," when he was stabbed at the Hit Factory studio on West 54th Street in Manhattan. Shortly afterward came his most storied incident. On May 24, 2000, just before Columbia was set to release Power of the Dollar, an assassin attempted to take 50's life on 161st Street in Jamaica, Queens (near where Jam Master Jay would later be fatally shot two and half years later), shooting him nine times with a 9mm pistol while the rapper sat helpless in the passenger seat of a car. One shot pierced his cheek, another his hand, and the seven others his legs and thighs, yet he survived, barely. Even so, Columbia wanted nothing to do with 50 when they heard the news, shelving Power of the Dollar and parting ways with the now-controversial rapper.

During the next two years, 50 returned to the rap underground where he began. He formed a collective (G-Unit, which also featured Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo), worked closely with producer Sha Money XL (who had also been signed to JMJ around the same time that 50 had), and began churning out mixtape tracks (many of which were later compiled on Guess Who's Back? in 2002). These mixtape recordings (many of which were hosted by DJ Whoo Kid on CDs such as No Mercy, No Fear and Automatic Gunfire), earned the rapper an esteemed reputation on the streets of New York. Some of them featured 50 and his G-Unit companions rapping over popular beats, others mocked popular rappers (namely Ja Rule, who quickly became an arch-rival), and a few discussed his shooting. This constant mixtape presence throughout 2000-2002 garnered industry attention as well as street esteem, particularly when Eminem declared on a radio show his admiration for 50. A bidding war ensued, as Em had to fend off numerous other industry figures, all of whom hoped to sign 50, driving up the signing price into the million-plus figures in the process and slowly moving the rapper into the up-and-coming spotlight once again as word spread.

Despite the bidding war, Eminem indeed got his man, signing 50 to a joint deal with Shady/Aftermath -- the former label Em's, the latter Dr. Dre's. During the successive months, 50 worked closely with Em and Dre, who would co-executive produce his upcoming debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin', each of them producing a few tracks for the highly awaited album. Before Get Rich dropped, though, Em debuted 50 on the 8 Mile soundtrack. The previously released (via the underground, that is) "Wanksta" became a runaway hit in late 2002, setting the stage for "In da Club," the Dre-produced lead single from Get Rich. The two singles became sizable crossover hits -- the former peaking at number 13 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, the latter at number one -- and Interscope (Shady/Aftermath's parent company) had to move up Get Rich's release date to combat bootlegging as a result.

Amid all this, 50 made headlines everywhere. Most notably, he was tied to Jam Master Jay's shooting in October 2002, the F.B.I.'s investigation of Murder Inc's relationship to former drug dealer Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, and the shooting incident at the offices of Violator Management. Furthermore, he made more headlines when he was jailed on New Year's Eve 2002 for gun possession. The media relished his life story, particularly his storied brush with death -- and not just the expected media outlets like MTV -- even such unlikely mainstream publications as The New York Times ran feature stories ("Amid Much Anticipation, a Rapper Makes a Debut"). By the time Get Rich finally streeted on February 6, 2003, he had become the most discussed figure in the music industry, and bootlegged or not, his initial sales figures reflected this (a record-breaking 872,000 units moved in five days, the best-selling debut album since SoundScan started its tracking system in May 1991), as did his omnipresence in the media.

The G-Unit debut, Beg for Mercy, hit the shelves in late 2003 and soon went platinum. A new mixtape series with DJ Whookid also kicked off around this time. Titled G-Unit Radio, the series would introduce new tracks by the crew along with cuts from Lloyd Banks and Young Buck, who would both release albums in the coming years with 50 as executive producer. Rapper the Game would become a member of G-Unit in 2004, but by the time his solo album came out in early 2005, things had gone sour with 50. On February 28 as their collaboration "How We Do" was climbing the charts, 50 announced the Game was out of G-Unit on New York's Hot 97 radio station. After the revelation, members of 50's entourage clashed with members of the Game's outside the radio station. Shots rang out and one of the Game's crew took a bullet in the leg.

As this was all taking place, leaked copies of Get Rich's follow-up were flying across the Internet, forcing Interscope to push the album's release up by five days. The Massacre was to officially hit the shelves on March 3, but street-date violations were reported on March 1. By the next day, everyone from the mom-and-pops to the major chains was selling the album at a furious pace. Unsurprisingly, it sold extremely well, rode the top of the album chart for a while, spawned numerous hits, and kept the 50 Cent train a-rollin' mighty fine amid all the requisite controversy and plentiful paper-stacking. Later in the year, the video game 50 Cent: Bulletproof appeared and in November the rapper starred in the semi-autobiographical film Get Rich or Die Tryin'. The soundtrack for the film featured 50 and also introduced the first G-Unit-produced tracks from the veteran duo Mobb Deep. ~ Jason Birchmeier, All Music Guide

duminică, 30 septembrie 2007

Sean Kingston


Sean Kingston, the 17 year-old Miami born, Jamaica bred artist, is not just a new face in popular music; he’s accomplished the rare task of creating a new genre where rap, reggae, pop, doo-wop and remarkable songwriting all combine into something totally refreshing. Add in Sean’s family roots, which cite Jamaican legendary producer Jack Ruby as his grandfather, and you have one of the most exciting debuts this year. And while hip-hop lyrics have sparked the biggest debate in years, Sean finds himself in the center of the controversy - but not where you might think. The teen prefers to show his creativity without using profanity.
It’s no wonder then that Sean is quickly becoming a household name with his first single “Beautiful Girls,” a song cross-pollinating on both urban and pop radio stations coast to coast. The unmistakable hit boasts the instant hook of “Stand by Me” which acts like a muse for the song produced by savant J.R. Rotem. Sean, who is the flagship artist on J.R.’s label Beluga Heights, will release his debut album Sean Kingston on July 31 via Beluga Heights/Epic.
“I heard the track ‘Stand By Me,’ one night in the studio while listening to the radio and asked J.R. if anyone had ever used that sample. He made the beat immediately and I wrote down the lyrics within an hour – it happened very quickly. I loved the way it turned out and I think my sound is a lot different than what else is out there. It all just worked and we knew we had something special with the track. I’m also singing about something people can relate to – I’m singing about being in love with someone who you think is your world but they don’t see it that way and you have to end the relationship.”
Kingston wants to make it clear that he is no cookie cutter artist that has the songs mapped out for him - he comes up with 100 percent of his lyrics. Sean also understands that as a 17 year-old making urban music he has a responsibility to fans, “With this album I thought it was important to not use curse words or negative language that might offend people. I write my own songs so it’s like if I can write a great track without using those words, then that’s the style for me.” Sean continues, “As an artist, my whole goal is to make powerful and classic album. I want everyone to feel my music and understand my heritage and that’s what this album will do. The music is all about the authentic Sean Kingston vibe. J.R. is a talented dude and a dope producer and he heard that I had something different to offer from other artists out there. Together we’re a powerful force and I’m ready to share it with the world.”
Sean talks about J.R. more like a big brother, rather than an Executive Producer of his album. Last spring Sean reached out to J.R. on MySpace. Sean was drawn to J.R. because he was young and hungry like himself and felt like the music he was making was the type of music for him. Rotem emailed him back. J.R. almost had no choice. “Sean would hit me up at least three times a day!” J.R. says.
“He had a real distinct sound,” Rotem remembers. “I worked with some of the best and I don’t see why Sean can’t grow to be one of them. His potential is limitless.” Rotem invited Sean for a meeting in Los Angeles; coincidentally the young performer was already in the process of moving to California. Shortly after their initial meeting, Rotem had his flagship artist for his Epic records joint venture, Beluga Heights. For Sean, it was a prophecy beginning to be fulfilled. Not only is music his love, it is in his blood. Now Kingston says he’s looking forward to making timeless music and living out his dream.
In just a short time, Kingston has already done what few in his age bracket can accomplish - get people excited about music again. His album is shaping up to be filled with a string of hits including the second single “Me Love,” “Got No Shorty,” “There’s Nothin,” “I Can Feel It” and “Take You There.”

Perhaps one of the most eye opening tracks is “Dry Your Eyes” where Sean visits the hardship of watching his mother and sister be sent to prison when he was just 15 years-old. He sings to his mother and tells her not to be saddened that she’s away from the family and to know that they’re always there for her.
“I always had my brother,” he began to explain. “But when my mother and sister went away, it took a lot out of me. My sister went away for four months and my mom has been away for over a year now. When she went away, I thought to myself, this is too much.’ I was only 14. I missed her like crazy but I pulled through and used it as my motivation. “Dry Your Eyes” is a defining song on the album for me because it touches on something that’s very personal to me and the dope melody that’s on there makes me feel even closer to it.”
Sean has a certified hip-hop knocker on his hands with the reggae remix of “Colors” (Reggae Remix) which features the legendary Vybz Kartel and the always profound Kardinal Offishall. The track, which was released this past Spring, was received really well by the industry as a first look from Sean and will appear on his album as a bonus track. “Unity and representation is where Colors came from,” Kingston elaborated. “The song is about representing whatever flag that you’re loyal to – whether it is Jamaica, the States, your block etc. It’s a lifestyle record that can be a street anthem no matter where you’re from and where you at now. The reggae version came up because I wanted to do something special for my roots in Jamaica. The first person I thought of was Vybz Kartel. His verse came out crazy. Then Kardinal, that’s my homie, really attacked the track.”
“In the future I want to have my own label and work on the business side,” he said. “I went to acting school when I was younger, so I want to revisit that one day. I want to get into every aspect of the business and see where it takes me. I’m grateful for the fact that my music is able to bridge genres – I’m ready to do that will any business opportunity that comes my way – it’s always been important to for me not to limit myself

sâmbătă, 29 septembrie 2007



Although he was born in St. Louis, Aliaune Thiam -- aka Akon -- grew up in Senegal before he and his family (including his father, jazz percussionist Mor Thiam) returned to the United States and settled in New Jersey when he was seven. There he discovered hip-hop for the first time, as well as crime. He was eventually jailed, but he used the time to work on his musical ideas. Upon release, Akon began writing and recording tracks in a home studio.
The tapes found their way to SRC/Universal, which eventually released Trouble, Akon's debut LP, in June 2004. The album was an interesting hybrid of Akon's raps and silky, West African-styled vocals with East Coast- and Southern-styled beats. The success of the song "Locked Up" raised Akon's profile, and he followed up in the fall of 2006 with Konvicted. Soon enough, two of the album's singles, "I Wanna Love You" and "Smack That," had made their way to the upper regions of the Billboard charts. ~ Johnny Loftus, All Music Guide

marți, 25 septembrie 2007

A prime house-pop group and consistent club act, Faithless is at its core a duo of producers Rollo and Sister Bliss. Before the group officially came together in 1995, Rollo had produced a previous club hit ("Don't You Want Me" as Felix in 1992), plus an album for Kristine W. and remixes for the Pet Shop Boys, Björk and Simply Red. Sister Bliss, a piano and violin prodigy from the age of five, converted to acid house in 1987, and quickly became one of the UK's best house DJs, also recording several singles as herself. Though the two had begun producing together as early as 1993, Faithless became a stable quartet two years later with the addition of vocalists Jamie Catto (previously in the Big Truth Band) and Maxi Jazz (from the Soul Food Cafe Band). The group reached worldwide status the following year with the singles "Salva Mea" (one of the biggest dance hits of the year), "Insomnia" and "Reverence." The debut Faithless album, also titled Reverence, appeared in late 1996 on Rollo's Cheeky Records, and was picked up for distribution by Arista the next year. Sunday 8pm followed in 1998, and was reissued in 1999 with a collection of remixes titled Saturday 3am. A comedown mix album, Back to Mine, appeared in early 2001, just before Faithless returned with Outrospective. In 2004 the band released the quieter than usual No Roots, with a new member (LSK) adding vocals. ~ John Bush, All Music Guide

The three principal members of Faithless are Maxi Jazz, Sister Bliss and Rollo. Jazz acts as a vocalist in mostly rap format with lyrics that have strong spiritual or socio-political intent. Bliss constructs most of the music herself electronically, but is talented in playing the piano, violin, saxophone and bass. Rollo heads and produces the band. Lead female vocals for many of their songs are performed by Pauline Taylor, who also performed lead vocals for singles Rollo released under his monikers Rollo Goes Mystic and Rollo Goes Spiritual.

As well as these three members, Faithless have employed a guest member for each album. Jamie Catto was an original member of the band, but left after their second album, Sunday 8PM. On their third album, Outrospective, Zoë Johnston joined the lineup while their fourth album, No Roots saw LSK as Faithless member number four. The band often has various people do one-off features on their tracks, though one artist has managed to make a regular feature of her appearances. Singer Dido, who is Rollo's sister, recorded her first studio track with Faithless, "Salva Mea", and was reportedly paid with a curry. She has since featured on one track on each album, in order: "Flowerstand Man", "Hem Of His Garment", "One Step Too Far", "No Roots" and finally "Last This Day".

It was reported that Faithless were to split up after their latest tour in mid-2005. Speculation started after Rollo wrote in the liner notes of the No Roots booklet "We set out thinking it would be our last album, feeling maybe we have had our time in the sun".[1] However, a fresh clutch of live dates meant the tour actually lasted until December 2005. The band then released a greatest hits compilation, called Forever Faithless - The Greatest Hits, which reached number one in the UK.

Following the release of their greatest hits album, Faithless released a new studio album on 27th November 2006. The album, To All New Arrivals, from which the first single released was Bombs. The new album was followed by a major tour, The Bombs Tour.

duminică, 23 septembrie 2007


Ice Cube began his career with the notorious gangsta rap group N.W.A. He broke away at the height of their national notoriety. On his initial solo release, 1990's Amerikkka's Most Wanted, Ice Cube injected virulent political and cultural rhetoric that stepped above N.W.A's gangbanging braggadocio. Ice Cube squashed the bi-coastal rap rivalry and collaborated with New York's hip-hop heavyweights Public Enemy. Their production team, the Bomb Squad, produced Amerikkka's Most Wanted. The track "Amerikkka's Most Wanted" was his debut solo single and was #1 on the Hot Rap Single chart. The album sold over a million copies.

Ice Cube became a lightning rod for attracting attacks from rock critics and moralists for his lyrical content. Time has shown that the ruthless words and pointed imagery on both Amerikkka's Most Wanted and 1991's pre-LA riots Death Certificate were not included for shock-value. The message construed in his rhymes presaged Los Angeles's incendiary reaction to the outcome of the Rodney King trial. America was now listening to Ice Cube. Death Certificate debuted at #1 on the R&B Album chart and #2 on the Top 200 Album chart.

In 1992, Ice Cube continued his vocal incursion into suburban America with a role in John Singleton's epic film on South Central LA, Boyz In The Hood and by touring on the second Lollapalooza. His next release, The Predator, galvanized him as the premiere multi-platinum West Coast hip-hop G. It debuted at #1 on both the R&B and Top 200 Album charts. The Predator was an epilogue to the LA riots and while "It Was A Good Day" provides a hassle-free moment in a Compton day, there is still dissonance in Ice Cube's America. 1993's Lethal Injection sees Ice Cube morphing into his "Don Mega" persona that permeates his War & Peace albums and projects with Westside Connection.

These first four albums set him up for his later successes. In addition to his War & Peace two-album series, Ice Cube has recently starred in The Friday After Next, the 3rd installment of his multi-million dollar earning Friday movie franchise, Player's Club and the critically praised Barbershop.