Azealia Banks gives us life, Alicia Keys adds more fire and Talib Kweli comes hard this week. Get into Sonic Boom!
Common – “No Sell Out” (Prod by No I.D.)
Common linked up with No I.D., once again…to play with our emotions. OK so, “No Sell Out,” isn’t bad. It’s was uploaded by No I.D. at what I think was the spur of the moment, so it probably wasn’t designed for release. The beat is gritty while Common is trying to convince us to not be fooled by the Hollywood ish he’s been on lately. Again, it’s not bad but Common’s signature storytelling is a bit off from the vibe of the beat and the song is really short. It’s probably a throw away from the archives but Common stans should check it out any way.
Azealia Banks – “1991|” [Video]
Azealia Banks recently dropped the video for her latest single, “1991,” which can be found on her 1991 EP. Say what you want about this young spitfire, but the girl’s got skills. Sonically speaking, the single is giving us Crystal Waters meets Queen Latifah. Visually, the video is all 90s everything. It’s like looking at Foxy Brown with clothes on (think dark lips, chocolate skin and long wavy weave), plus a little bit of Madonna—vogue-ing included—waves at the kids. What’s great about Banks, among a few things is that she’s appealing to hip-hop’s latest lean toward a more house and electronic sound while keeping it relevant and true to her style. She seems authentically who she is and…she didn’t come off on a male cosign. I’m dying inside because we have to wait until February for her debut, Broke With Expensive Taste.
Alicia Keys ft. Nicki Minaj – “Girl on Fire (Remix)”
Alicia Keys is in a great place. She’s on top of her career, has a son and is seemingly in love with her megaproducer husband. So, why wouldn’t she sing about it and then remix it? Enter the inferno version of “Girl on Fire.” It’s a remix of the aforementioned single, which features Nicki Minaj. Minaj opens with a verse that’s closer to her hardcore Queens roots stylistically. Lyrically, Minaj is talking about communing with the spirit of Marilyn Monroe and then eventually about how she’s winning the gold like Gabby. Yeah…Alicia Keys, on the other hand, is more sane in her approach. Over heavy drums (think boom bap) and minor piano riffs Keys sings about being on top of the world. Obviously, the title and theme of the song was inspired by Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen, as Keys sings about a woman who is an outsider, but in a good way, because she’s a force to be reckoned with, hence being on fire. Speaking of, Alicia Keys’ next album, Girl on Fire will be available on November 27.
Talib Kweli – Attack the Block
In a previous Sonic Boom I mused about “To the Music” (featuring Maino), which was a joint from Talib Kweli’s mixtape, Attack the Block. It wasn’t available then but it’s out now and I suggest you get to downloading. Kweli enlisted a motley crew of rappers like Mack Maine, Black Thought, Styles P, John Forte and more—and even got a hook or two from Ryan Leslie for this hardcore masterpiece of a mixtape. Kweli goes from Chuck D references to partying to musing about sexy ladies over the span of 17 tracks, and does it well. He even paid homage to the Joe Cornish movie that inspired the mixtape’s name.
Gyptian – “My Number One”
Reggae crooner Gyptian has returned with another soothing tune about love. You probably still can’t get the infectious melody of “Hold Yuh” out of your head but you’re going to have to make room for “My Number One.” This version of the song is Gyptian’s rendition of the Greogry Isaacs classic, which can be found on his next ep, SLR, which will be available on October 16. The ep is just a preview of Gyptian’s forthcoming album, Sex, Love & Reggae, slated for a 2013 release.
Listen and watch here.