Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring has begun and Easter is a couple of days away, so why has it felt like this lately?


Playa please.

Good news is that it's warming up down here. If it's still chilly where you are just cozy up with these old favorites.

Even Gwen can't doubt Tralana Wyatt.


No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom (1995)

Tralana said: "This album spoke to my teenage angst at the time. 'Just a Girl,' 'Spiderwebs' and 'Don't Speak' are my favorite cuts. 'Don't Speak' helped me through a breakup."





Also check out:
"Just A Girl"
"Spiderwebs"

Edward is afraid of this woman.


Jazmine Sullivan, Fearless (2008)

Edd said: "Jazmine Sullivan might be the meanest woman in modern R&B. She's not afraid of lions, tigers, bears or police charges because she can and will destroy a man's personal property. 'Bust Your Windows' is more than just a gimmick though. It fits in with the album's theme of the fear of falling in love, and all the trauma that can come with it. It's a great concept album and an amazing debut."





Also check out:
"Lions, Tigers & Bears"
"Live A Lie"
Soul In Stereo's review of Fearless

Now, it’s your turn. Email soulinstereoblog@gmail.com  hit me up on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section and share your Flashback Friday album. Leave a couple of sentences describing what makes it so great. I’ll feature your album on the blog.
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Tyler, the Creator

Wolf (to be released April 2, 2013)

Today's hip-hop history lesson: Movements.

There have been a ton of rap crews in the history of hip hop, but few of them have triggered actual movements - a shift in hip hop culture itself. For better or worse, those movements transcend music.

For example:

Image via
Wu-Tang Clan brought Asian culture to the streets, along with incomprehensible slang.

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Dipset brought pink the hood, along with ... American flag ponchos, or whatever Juelz is wearing.

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G-Unit had grown men wearing spaghetti straps and turned us into stutterers. G-g-g-g-g...

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A$AP Mob - I still don't get what they're supposed to be but it involves a lot of purp.

And then we have Odd Future. Odd Future is like a living Family Guy episode - wildly swinging from crudely hilarious to infuriatingly annoying. Much like their animated doppelgangers people either love or hate them.

Frontman Tyler, the Creator bears the brunt of that love/hate relationship - praised for his sketch(y) comedy show on Cartoon Network (like I said, real-life Family Guy) and reviled for his eyebrow raising lyrics and antics.

But give the devil his due: love or hate him, Tyler's third album, Wolf, will make you respect him.

Wolf is a bizarre combination of lush, beautiful production, disturbing lyrics clearly intended for shock value and surprisingly meaty concept tracks. It's like a nutrient-filled smoothie mixed with motor oil and poured it into a wine glass - and it somehow still tastes pretty good.

Lil' Wayne fans took me to task when I claimed his acclaimed stream-of-consciousness flow flopped on his most recent album. Tyler shows 'em how it's done, like making off-the-wall comparisons to Kelly Price and even Grady on "Jamba." "Cowboy" has even more bizarre punchlines, saying his mind is "darker than the closet Frankie (Ocean) was hiding in" and that he "ain't been this f**king sick since brain cancer ate my granny up." Geez, dude. First single "Domo23" knocks so hard it "sounds like midgets in the speakers" and he ends the track ranting and raving about lettuce. No, I don't get it either. But you're not supposed to.

Wolf's strengths are not it's cartoonish insanity, but the nuggets of reality mixed in. "Awkward" details a meaningless kiss Tyler shares with a girl. He gets so excited about it leading to a future relationship that he practically starts picking out his tux for the wedding. Fellas, don't front like you never did that back in grade school. It also features the worst falsetto since 808s & Heartbreaks but the whining adds to the track's naivete. "Answer" also goes much deeper than you'd expect - what starts sounding like a stalkerish love song is actually an angry cry for his attention, cursing his father and his genes for leaving him "stuck with this sh**ty facial hair."

"Colossus/The Bridge of Love" is Tyler's version of Eminem's classic "Stan," enduring the stress of fame and fanatic fans. "Pigs" sees him going to war with  the establishment and "Lone/Jornada" is a heartwreching tale of his aforementioned grandmother's last days. It's shockingly captivating.

Tyler even takes the back seat so his guest can shine, allowing Erykah Badu and Coco O. to inject soul into Wolf with "Treehome95." And while the three-for-one set of "Partyisntover/Campfire/Bimmer" is mostly a miss, Frank Ocean's vocals ignite "Bimmer."

Tyler's creativity may have won me over, but let's be real - this is still Tyler. And like that Pixy Stix-fueled little cousin you find funny in small doses, things can get annoying quickly, especially when all his hoodrat friends star running amok. Odd Future has more members than Sounds of Blackness and good lord, ALL of them show up here. Trust me, these guys don't have the lyrical dexterity of Wu-Tang. Plus, at 18 tracks, the deluxe edition is just much too long. All the ranting and self-loathing starts to get old after awhile.

But you can bet Tyler doesn't care. On "Rusty," he strikes back hard at critics who have labeled him a misogynistic, Satantic anarchist. He makes a very convincing argument too, but it's not like he has to convince his fans. This album will be their Illmatic.

And for the rest of us? Honestly, this album isn't for everyone. Fickle hip-hop heads will write off Tyler as a gimmicky late-90s Eminem clone. But if you look deeper, there really is a method to his madness.

Wolf is proof there is true artistry in the Odd Future movement. I'm as shocked as you are.

Best tracks: "Awkward," "Answer," "Domo23." And props to "Bimmer" as well.

4 stars out of 5
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I usually keep an open mind but sometimes it takes a lot of convincing to win me over.

Y'all keep saying it's spring, but I'm still scraping frost off my car.

Y'all keep telling me Lil Wayne's new album is good but all I hear is an hour of mush-mouthed babbling. Wake me when Ghostface Killah's new album drops.

Y'all keep telling me your new beau is definitely THEEEE ONE. We'll see about that. As I said, I'm a tough sell.

If you want some honest, no frills advice, hit me up.

Send your inquiries to soulinstereoblog@gmail.com, or find me on twitter @etbowser. Just provide your initials, or a fun nickname.   

Here's today's question:
Is it healthy to keep a sexual attachment to an ex?
AT

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Yes, lord, TGIF. The four most beautiful letters of the week.

Here's what we're listening to today. What about you?

The wifey stops by to drop off a not-so-oldie but goodie.


Beyonce, 4 (2011)

Jai said: "Even though Bey's recent track "Bow Down/ I Been On" left me disappointed, I've been listening to 4 a lot lately in anticipation of her new album, which drops next month."





Also check out:
"I Miss You"
"Run the World (Girls)"
Soul In Stereo's review of Beyonce's 4

Edward kicks the truth to the young black youth.


Group Home, Livin' Proof (1995)

Edd said: "This one is strictly for hip-hop heads. The duo of Lil' Dap and Melachi the Nutcracker were blessed with some of the best production in rap history, thanks to the iconic DJ Premier. They're truly one of the most unsung groups in rap history. Many listeners recognize their work but not their names. Get familiar, people."





Also check out:
"Supa Star"
"Tha Realness"

Now, it’s your turn. Email soulinstereoblog@gmail.com  hit me up on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section and share your Flashback Friday album. Leave a couple of sentences describing what makes it so great. I’ll feature your album on the blog.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013


Lil Wayne

I Am Not A Human Being II (Deluxe Edition) (to be released March 26, 2013)

A few weeks ago, after watching Lil Wayne lose his natural mind in the "No Worries" video, I asked my Facebook followers how long it would be until Weezy made headlines in a bad way.

I didn't have to wait long.

Wayne's health seems to be improving but the jury's still out on the health of his career. Wayne went from glorified hype man in the early '00s (remember "wobbledy wobbledy?") to one of rap's headliners by 2005. The quality of his work has regressed in recent years - even some of his hard core fans chastised me for giving his 2011 album a positive review.

Well, after listening to I Am Not A Human Being II, the sequel to his 2010 album, he's gonna have an even harder time getting fans to visit his planet.

Despite claims to the contrary, Wayne has never been an outstanding lyricist - his strength comes from his delivery and bizarrely entertaining punchlines. But these days, that delivery is so frantic and unfocused that it makes the hyenas from Lion King sound like Orson Welles.

And those punchlines? The first line Wayne spits on "IANAHB," the album's intro, goes like this: "I'm sitting in the crib butt naked, b****/she said my d*** could be the next black president."

Say huh? And that's just the half of his nonsensical warpath.

"That p**** boneless, that's Chick-fil A" - "Curtains"

"Long hair don't care/Hacksaw Jim Duggan" - "Trigger Finger"

"If you fake, put a egg in your shoe and scramble." - "IANAHB"

You'll spend half of  I Am Not A Human Being II trying to figure out what exactly Wayne is talking about.

Sometimes, Wayne is like the old guy at the barber shop who spits so much nonsense that he actually becomes entertaining. "Rich As F***" has Wayne bragging about some girl "blowing kisses at me with her p**** lips" but it's oddly mesmerizing. "Trigger Finger" has the same effect, conjuring fond memories of the infamous "Mixtape Weezy"  until someone unchains Soulja Boy from his post in the back yard and he ruins everything after just one line.

Speaking of guests, this albums is full of them, and hardly any add anything meaningful. When Gudda Gudda drops one of the album's stronger verses on "Gunwalk," you know we're in trouble. Wayne spends the rest of the song biting (heh) Rick Ross' style. Drake does help make "Love Me" a bit more radio friendly and Corey Gunz outshines everyone on the album with his uncredited verse on the bonus cut "Lay it Down." I have no idea why that guy still doesn't have an album out.

As for the rest of the set, Wayne tries to seduce women in the most disgusting ways possible. "Be a lady and buy me lunch," he demands on "Romance." I guess it's lines like those that landed Wayne all those baby mommas. "Back to You" is like the misguided sister of Wayne's old "How to Love" track. And you can probably guess what "Wowzerz" is all about. Hint: It ain't Inspector Gadget.

If you're looking for a tutorial on giving your girl oral sex, this is the album for you.

If this review seems disjointed it's by design. One listen to this album and the world's greatest psychologists and neurophysicists will be driven insane by the time they reached the eardrum-bursting track "Hello." I'm all for controlled chaos (see ODB's first two albums) but not unfocused insanity.

What's worse is that Wayne's core fans likely won't make time to decipher the nonsense. Many young fans who grew up with Weezy as their rap savior have gravitated to the likes of Kendrick Lamar, an artist who serves up a healthy diet of substance with his street tales. I Am Not A Human Being II, on the other hand, is like a big ol' bowl of trail mix filled with crickets and ear wax thrown all over the living room floor. I doubt fans will have the patience to pick through the trash for a couple of morsels.

Earth to Wayne: I know you're from another planet but if you can't convince your fans to join you, you'll be left behind.

Best tracks: Ummmm, two-thirds of "Trigger Finger" is OK. And maybe "Rich as F***." That's all I got.

2 stars out of 5
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Question for you music enthusiasts - how many American Idol alums went on to establish successful R&B careers?

Jennifer Hudson is probably the gold standard, but her success is probably more related to film roles than record sales. Fantasia and Ruben Studdard have fared relatively well, with Jordin Sparks shortly behind.

That's a pretty shallow pool when you think about all the talent that has gone through that show.

Back in my day, Star Search was our American Idol, and even the lesser-known acts carved out impressive careers. One such success story is Shanice, the dream of many a young man. Remember her?

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Friday, March 15, 2013

It's Friday, people! Some of you lucky souls are heading into Spring Break 2013. Others are just headed into a well-deserved weekend.

And the rest of us have to work.

But it's all good, we've got great music to get us through the day.

Charles Clark GOT THE GLOW.


The Last Dragon Soundtrack (1985)

Charles said: "Just got through listening to 'Upset Stomach' by Stevie Wonder off the Last Dragon Soundtrack. That song is amazing, you really hear Stevie get into the song when his voice kinda has a gargle backdrop to it. Lol. The song makes me think of the movie but nowadays it has other meanings to me now."





Also check out:
"Peeping Tom," Rockwell
"The Glow," Willie Hutch

Edward loves it when you call him big poppa.


The Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death (1997)

Edd said: "Last Saturday marked 16 years since Biggie left a massive void in hip hop. Jay-Z, Nas, Rakim, Eminem, 2pac, yeah, they're all great but all of them pale in comparison to Frank White. Looking back, Biggie's tenure in hip hop was extremely brief, but his influence is everlasting."





Also check out:
"Notorious Thugs"
"Long Kiss Goodnight"

Now, it’s your turn. Email soulinstereoblog@gmail.com  hit me up on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section and share your Flashback Friday album. Leave a couple of sentences describing what makes it so great. I’ll feature your album on the blog.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013


In the mood for love? Before you get in too deep - word to Omar Epps (not Mekhi Phifer, Kanye, ugh...) - you might want to holla at me. Here's how.

Send your inquiries to soulinstereoblog@gmail.com, or find me on twitter @etbowser. Just provide your initials, or a fun nickname.   

Here's today's question:
Can baby mommas and baby daddys realistically be friends with the new person in their lives?
KJ

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Is it something embedded in our parents' DNA that requires them to embarrass their children?

I remember the first time I took my future wifey home to meet my parents. What do you think was the first thing my mom did?

A) Put my girl through the Ghetto Inquisition
B) Raved about how beautiful my girl is and how I'm such a great catch
C) Dragged out baby pictures of me naked in the bathtub

If you answered C, well, hi, mom.

I wonder if now-adult child stars are embarrassed to look back at their old work. You have to drive to my parents' house to see embarrassing pics and hear shameful stories about me but for a lot of young starts, the Internetz is their personal scrapbook. How sad.

Remember Perfect Gentlemen? If not, you're in for a hilarious treat.


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Friday, March 8, 2013

Well this week has sucked. I received a minor injury while working out and had a bad reaction to some medicine.  Meanwhile the electrical system in the wifey's car has gone insane.

But y'all didn't come here for whining. You came for hits. Here's what we have this week.

Henry Barnett (aka, the man with the million-dollar smile) wishes movie soundtracks were awesome again. Don't you?



Above the Rim Soundtrack (1994)

Henry said: "It featured classic artists you don't hear about anymore and also great Pac tracks."





Also check out:
"Afro Puffs," The Lady of Rage and Snoop Dogg
"Pour Out a Little Liquor," 2pac and Thug Life

Edward acknowledges the best rapper to never record a classic album.


Edd said: "Jada is one of those revered artists who creates phenomenal songs but has yet to make that one defining, classic album. Kiss of Death comes pretty close, combining mainstream hits ("Why") and gritty street tales ("Air It Out").





Also check out:
"Air It Out"
"By Your Side"

Now, it’s your turn. Email soulinstereoblog@gmail.com  hit me up on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section and share your Flashback Friday album. Leave a couple of sentences describing what makes it so great. I’ll feature your album on the blog.
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Thursday, March 7, 2013



Would you mind if I take you to church for a bit?

If you're a hip-hop fan, I'm sure you've heard at least a passing mention of The Illuminati, the ancient secret society of very bad people who are attempting to corrupt the world to in an effort to ... I don't know, embezzle one million dollas or something. These guys are so evil that they masterminded the death of Michael Jackson and took out 2Pac, who was the only person in the music industry who dared to speak out against them.


Anyway, in order to enact their master plan for world domination, they're targeting our impressionable youth through rap music. Jay-Z, Kanye West and Drake are among the rappers who literally sold their souls to the devil for fame. They're now using Illuminati imagery in their songs to brainwash us all into submission. Or so I'm told.

It's hilarious to me that of ALL the horrid, damaging rappers out there, it's guys like Jay-Z who are apparently dooming society.

But no one points fingers at this guy.


Or this guy.



OR THIS THING.



Go ahead and add Beyonce to the list of entertainers who will usher in the age of the antichrist. Allegedly.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy March 1!

Eh, scratch that. Happy Friday!

I bet that put you in a better mood. And speaking of good moods, enjoy a few old favorites from my favorite era of music - the '90s.

Kurratulayn Law Young remembers that one time Dr. Dre actually released an album. For once.


Dr. Dre, The Chronic (1992)

Kay said: "One of the albums that stuck out to me when I was in college was The Chronic. I just remember knowing all the words (and still do). They were mandatory party music."





Also check out:
"Dre Day"
"Let Me Ride"

Edward salutes Southern legends.


UGK, Super Tight... (1994)

Edd said: "A few weeks ago I shocked a bunch of friends when I admitted I had never listened to a UGK album. In UGK's heyday, my region was infatuation with New York titans like Nas, Wu-Tang Clan and The Notorious B.I.G.; there was little room for anyone else. But I've righted that grievous error. UGK's second album is magnificent - it makes me wanna throw on a fur coat and drive reaaaaaally slooooowly in a candy-coated Caddy."





Also check out:
"Front, Back & Side to Side," featuring Smoke D
"Return"

Now, it’s your turn. Email soulinstereoblog@gmail.com  hit me up on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section and share your Flashback Friday album. Leave a couple of sentences describing what makes it so great. I’ll feature your album on the blog.
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