NEW MUSIC — Kendrick Lamar, ‘The Blacker the Berry’

Grammy-award winning artist Kendrick Lamar (that has a nice ring) has released another single off his upcoming album titled ‘The Blacker the Berry.’ Although he won a Grammy for the single ‘i’ with no album reeled, I was expecting a darker Kendrick sound similar to sounds from Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, and this track gives me that. Take a listen below:

2015 Grammy Review

Musics biggest night, The Grammy’s, has come and gone and social media has created a lot of buzz surrounding the show from the red carpet to the usual Grammy snubs. This review is not a play by play of the show being that I wasn’t fully interested. A lot of the performances were very somber and nothing made me jump out of my seat. Anyway, here are my highlights.

sam smithFirst of CONGRATS to the biggest winner of the night, Sam Smith. He won 4 Grammy’s: Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. His feat reminded me of Adele as they both capitalized on breakups to make amazing music.

FAVORITE Performances:

tumblr_njholmKhZ41r7mjwxo1_500The first performance that I loved was Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’ alongside Annie Lennox who then performed ‘I Put a Spell On You.’ I’ve heard Hozier’s song before, not any of his other music, but I do like his voice. Annie Lennox MADE the performance with her energy. I absolutely loved it.

giphyThe second performance that I loved is of course from Sia. She brought Maddie Ziegler along with her, of course, and added actress Kristen Wiig. I’m upset ‘Chandelier’ didn’t win anything. I guess she’s invisible to the Acaedmy. 1000 Forms of Fear is still my favorite album of 2014. I’m for any and all things Sia. Unfortunately Sia didn’t win any Grammy’s DESPITE ‘Chandlier’ being an amazing song with amazing performances.

I’m not discussing all performances simply because there’s nothing for me to discuss. I will say that I did like the Target ad being Imagine Dragons performing ‘Shots’ (click HERE for that review) LIVE from Vegas. Other performances were ok. I did like Katy Perry’s ‘By The Grace of God,’ and Miranda Lambert’s, ‘Little Red Wagon,’ but that’s about it.

Performances I DIDN’T Like:

There was talk of Pharrell performing a different version of ‘Happy’ which shouldn’t have been allowed based off the title of the song. He came out looking like a hotel Bell Hop speaking the lyrics and having it spoken in different languages, excuse me, creepily whispered in different languages before the song took a dark turn. What was supposed to be ‘Happy’ sounded like something that belonged on a soundtrack to a scary movie.

Another performance that I didn’t like was Rihanna’s with Paul McCartney and Kanye West. they all came out in suits and what not and did the song. As I stated in my review (click HERE for that), I don’t see this as a comeback track, but I’ll stick around for what’s coming.

Speaking of albums, Album of the Year went to Beck for Morning Phase. Other nominees in the category were: Beyoncè (Beyoncè), Sam Smith (In The Lonely Hour), Pharrell (G I R L), and Ed Sheeran (X). Kanye was about to go on stage and interrupt as he did to Taylor Swift at the VMAs, but he had a change of heart. Beck invited him to come back, but talk about another awkward moment. He did rant in an interview after the show saying:

And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyoncè.

I can’t sit here and completely agree with that although it would’ve been great to see Beyonce win an award she’s never won before. I will say that every artist has their own form of artistry and that it’s the people who pick the artist as the winner, no the artist that should get the backlash. Another artist that had something to say about Grammy snubs was Trey Songz. He tweeted (see right):


In certain areas of music, I will say that there are a lot of artists that could be nominated yet they do get snubbed in one way or another. There’s not a huge presence of R&B aside from Beyoncè. Speaking of she won Best R&B Song for ‘Drunk In Love’ and fans watched her perform ‘Take My Hand Precious Lord’ as the introduction to the final performance of the night, ‘Glory,’ by John Legend and Common. The song on the Selma soundtrack was performed by Ledisi, a Grammy nominee, but she just sat back and watched as Beyonce did what she should’ve done.

Also Kendrick Lamar might have been snubbed last year in the Best Rap Album category, but he ended up winning not one, but TWO Grammy’s this year for his track ‘i’; Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. Better late than never.

Overall while the show moved rather quickly with few interruptions, it wasn’t all that entertaining to me. I love that there were a lot of performances, just not any that were upbeat enough to make the crowd dance like last year. Another thing was that these artists need to work on their acceptance speeches and keep them from 30-45 seconds. If you’re nominated you should have a speech prepared just in case.

Click HERE for full list of winners. Until the next award show…

Drake VS Lil Wayne

drake2Drake and Lil Wayne have announced that they will be at war with each other come _ as they prepare for their joint tour titled, Drake VS Lil Wayne. Let me just FIRST say that I absolutely love the title. Might seem simple, but these two on tour is going to be amazing.

The tour will hit 31 cities (so far) starting in New York (Darien Center) August 8th and finishing in Texas (The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Foundation) on September 27th. For those in the tri-state area I would personally recommend the PNC Banks Arts Centre (Holmdell, NJ) show on August 26th. No these venues are not Met Life, Barclay, Staples, or any of that. I’m still interested in this tour. Tickets go on sale NEXT FRIDAY (6.20) on LiveNation.

Check out the full list of dates below (via Rap-Up):

Aug. 8 – Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Aug. 9 – Noblesville, IN – Klipsch Music Center
Aug. 10 – Tinley Park, IL – First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Aug. 12 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Aug. 13 – Hartford, CT – XFINITY Theatre
Aug. 15 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
Aug. 16 – Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
Aug. 17 – Burgettstown, PA – First Niagara Pavilion
Aug. 19 – Forest Hills, NY – Forest Hills Tennis Stadium
Aug. 21 – Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center
Aug. 25 – Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center
Aug. 26 – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
Aug. 27 – Virginia Beach, VA – Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach
Aug. 29 – Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live
Aug. 30 – Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion
Aug. 31 – Atlanta, GA – Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Sept. 3 – West Palm Beach, FL – Cruzan Amphitheatre
Sept. 4 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Sept. 6 – Austin, TX – Austin360 Amphitheater
Sept. 7 – Dallas, TX – Gexa Energy Pavilion
Sept. 10 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Sept. 11 – West Valley City, UT – USANA Amphitheatre
Sept. 13 – Ridgefield, WA – Sleep Country Amphitheatre
Sept. 14 – Auburn, WA – White River Amphitheatre
Sept. 16 – Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
Sept. 17 – Wheatland, CA – Sleep Train Amphitheatre
Sept. 19 – Irvine, CA – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Sept. 20 – Chula Vista, CA – Sleep Train Amphitheatre
Sept. 22 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl
Sept. 25 – Phoenix, AZ – Ak-Chin Pavilion
Sept. 27 – Woodlands, TX – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

These two have a LOT of hits between them and together. Check out their latest collab ‘Believe Me’ below:

May Favorites

Another month has come and go and I have a pretty decent list of favorites for the month. Not all songs are new, but are worth mentioning in this month’s rotation. Let’s get to it (in no particular order).

I came across this amazing original song from a new YouTube sensation by the name of Molly Kate Kestner . The song is absolutely video and since it’s release it has over 7.9 million views and was featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. Check it out the song titled, ‘His Daughter’, below:



2014 BET Awards Nominees + My Picks

It’s been a few days since this has been announced, but as always I want to give my predictions so let’s get into the 2014 BET Awards Nominees.

The 14th annual show will air will air Sunday, June 29th, at 8/7c and will be hosted by Chris Rock. Yup, yet another comedian as a host. Let’s discuss the nominees in the bigger categories of the night: Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Best Female Hip Hop Artist, Best Male R&B Pop Artist, Best Male Hip Hop Artist, Best New Artist, Video of the Year, Best Collaboration, and Coca-Cola Viewer’s Choice Award. Out of the 20 categories these eight hold the most weight.

Continue reading “2014 BET Awards Nominees + My Picks”

Then & Now Thursday (V.9): Pitbull

When I first created this segment on MusicMovingForward I had all intentions of Pitbull being the first artist I wrote about. The evolution of his career is what inspired this series. Well here it is about 3 months in of me doing this series and I am finally going to do my take on the artist, Armando Christian Perez, better known as Pitbull.

The first time I heard or saw Pitbull was alongside Lil Jon in his video for ‘Dammit Man.’ The year was 2004 and Pitbull merged Reggaeton with the King of Crunk very well. His debut album, M.I.A.M.I., stemmed hits ‘Culo’, ‘Toma’ and ‘Dammit Man.’ After that I didn’t really know if he would last let alone be the international sensation that he is today.

‘Culo’ and ‘Toma’ were more popular, in my opinion, and reached a different market other than urban radio and the hits clearly kept coming. He followed up his debut album with 2006s, El Mariel, which had the hit ‘Bojangles’ and followed that with 2007s,The Boatlift, which is the album that set the Pitbull sound that everyone loves today. ‘The Anthem’, yet another collab with Lil Jon peaked at #36 on the Hot 100, #24 on U.S. Latin Songs, and #8 on Rap Songs charts. The song is still played frequently on radio airwaves along with his hits from his following album, Pitbull Starring In: Rebulution. 

‘Rebultion’ was released in 2009 and spawned hits: ‘Krazy’, ‘I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)’ and ‘Hotel Room Service’. It was clear then that Pitbull had found his place and sound amongst a crazy industry where it’s easy to get lost and become a one hit wonder or in other cases sound like everyone else and be unknown. ‘I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)’ was described best by Billboard’s editor, Michael Menachem:

“The clever meshing of reggaetón with Euro dance music signals what looks like a multiformat smash.”

It became his first track to make the Hot 100 peaking at #2 followed by ‘Hotel Room Service’ which peaked at #8.

His 5th album, Armando (2010), was not only self-titled, but it was also his first full length Spanish album. It didn’t do too shabby on the charts peaking at #65 on the Billboard 200, #6 on Rap Albums, and #2 on Latin Albums. It also  scored him 7 nominations at the 2011 Billboard Latin Awards.

Pitbull went on to top the success of “Rebelution” with that of 2011s, Planet Pit. That album spawned hits: ‘Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor)’, ‘Rain Over Me’, ‘International Love’, and my personal favorite ‘Give Me Everything.’ That infectious track went on to become his first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The hits didn’t stop there. He followed up Planet Pit with 2012s, Global Warming. That album featured hits: ‘Back In time’, ‘Feel This Moment’, and ‘Don’t Stop The Party’. Chart wise it did not top the success of Planet Pit but it kept him relevant and on the airwaves especially with his ‘Take On Me’ (A-ha) cover, ‘Feel This Moment’ featuring Christina Aguilera.

Then there’s current Pitbull. He released ‘Timber’ with Kesha in October 2013 and went on to become his 2nd #1 single on the Hot 100. That track was featured on his 2013 EP,Meltdown.  He’s currently riding high off the success of ‘Wild Wild Love’ (feat. G.R.L.)

Over the course of his 10 year career Pitbull has collaborated beyond the hip hop scene, a scene he strayed away from by his 4th album. Again, “Rebultion” is the album that took his career to the next level and made people aware of his music. There are albums that an artist can’t top and there are albums that create the sound of an artist. Pitbull has a long way to go in his career and being that he can collaborate with just about anybody he hasn’t reached his peak, just yet.

Forbes 5 Wealthiest Hip Hop Artists: Race to 1 Billion

Forbes makes this list every year and for the past 4 it has looked very familiar. Hip Hop is beyond just music. It involves many different business ventures in which artists can show their versatility and knowledge in other areas. Forbes makes a lot of lists as far as money made in all walks of life, but this one in particular is on the net worth. Not just on music, but net worth. This began in 2011 when Diddy topped the “first ever accounting of rap’s richest net worth” (Forbes).  There have been 5 rappers to round out the 5 since the net worth counting and that 5 remains the same. (Photo credit Forbes)

Forbes Wealthiest Rappers
Photo Credit – Forbes

Well there’s no surprise that Diddy has topped this list yet again with a $120 million increase from 2013. Let’s get into the full 5 and the numbers.

  1. Diddy – $700 million
  2. Dr. Dre – $550 million
  3. Jay Z – $520 million
  4. Birdman – $160 million
  5. 50 Cent – $140 million 

The race to 1 billion could be won by Diddy based on numbers, but Dre and Jay are not too far behind. Diddy has Revolt, Bad Boy and dozens of other ventures. Dr. Dre has Interscope Records and his biggest asset to date, Beats by Dre, in which Interscope owns 2/3 of Beats which is now worth 2 billion. Don’t count Hov out. He has a deal with Live Nation, still has money from selling Rocawear in 2007 for $204 million PLUS he has RocNation which encompasses record label & management plus sports. Score for that $240 million deal with Robinson Cano. Birdman and 50 Cent might not be the closest as the other 3 to 1 billion, but they are doing pretty well off to not have released any music, lately. Birdman co-owns Cash Money Records which has clothing, content, and of course the subsidiary label, Young Money (Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne). Plus his GT Vodka adds to the net. Then you have 50 Cent who is still reaping the benefits of his vitamin water sale in 2007 for $100 million. He also has deals with SM Audio and SK Energy.

I give Diddy two to get to 1 billion. As much as people can say they dislike him you CANNOT deny that this man is an entrepreneurial visionary. He really makes something out of nothing. He goes about his business so smooth and the energy he gives lures everyone in to his projects. The passion he puts into everything he does is the reason his projects launch, the reason they sell, and why he’s the wealthiest rapper to date.

Billboard’s, Hot Rap Songs Chart, 25th Anniversary


March 11, 1989 was the day that Billboard implemented the Hot Rap Songs chart. In celebration of the chart’s 25th anniversary, Billboard has released lists of the Top 50 artists from 1989-2014, the top 100 rap songs of all time, and the artists with most #1s and top 10s.

Here’s how the ranking was determined:

The 25th Anniversary Hot Rap Songs ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Hot Rap Songs chart, since the chart’s inception in the March 11, 1989, issue. Rankings are based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 having the greatest value and weeks at lower positions proportionately less. Due to various changes in chart rules, chart length and methodology throughout the years, songs had varying reigns at No. 1 and on the chart. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from all 25 years, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference in turnover rates from those periods.

drake-001Here are the top 10/50 artists:

1. Drake
2. Jay Z
3. Lil Wayne
4. LL Cool J
5. Kanye West
6. T.I.
7. 50 Cent
8. Ludacris
9. Diddy
10. The Notorious B.I.G.

Female MCs did make the list such as Nicki Minaj (#16), MC Lyte (#21), Missy Elliot (#29), Salt-N-Pepa (#36), Da Brat (#38), and Yo-Yo (#48). Macklemore & Ryan Lewis make the list at #40 based off the success of The Heist which spawned hits, ‘Thrift Shop,’ ‘Can’t Hold Us,’ and ‘Same Love.

Here are the artists with the most #1s:

1.Drake -13
2. Diddy – 10
3. Kanye West – 9
4. LL Cool J – 8
5. 50 Cent
    Bow Wow – 7
    Lil Wayne – 7
    T.I. – 7
9. Ice Cube – 6
    Nelly – 6
    The Notorious B.I.G. – 6
Lil Wayne tops the Most Top 10s list with 288. Jay Z comes in second with 34 and Drake finishes 3rd with 29. Kanye has 26, Diddy-24, LL Cool J and Ludacris tie with 22, T.I. has 21, 50 Cent with 20, and Eminem and Snoop Dogg tie with 19.
Missy Elliot holds the #1 spot for Rap song with most weeks at #1 with ‘Hot Boyz’ featuring Nas, Eve, and Q-Tip. It debuted in November 1999 and spent 18 weeks on the chart. Drake’s ‘Best I Ever Had’ and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’, ‘Thrift Shop,’ tie at #2 with 15 weeks on the chart. DJ Khaled rounds off that list with his track ‘I’m On One’ featuring Drake, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne. It spent 13 weeks on the chart.
Enjoy the playlist below of the Top 20 Rap Songs of All-Time from the Top 100 Rap Songs list.