Results for Drake

reviews
Thank Me LaterThank Me Later available on iTunes

Drake Thank Me Later

Thank Me Later, the debut album from rapper Drake, went to #1 this week, and Jim and Greg have no doubt that the young Toronto artist has a long career ahead of him. Previously best known as the wheelchair-bound Jimmy on the teen soap Degrassi: The Next Generation, Drake and his MC skills caught the attention of Lil Wayne. Wayne, along with Kanye West, Alicia Keys and a number of other heavy hitters join Drake on Thank Me Later, but it's a testament to his strength as a performer that he's not overshadowed by any of the guest stars, according to Jim. He presents a thoughtful album that focuses on hip hop's latest drug–celebrity. Jim calls the record introspective and brilliantly minimalistic and gives it a Buy It. Greg agrees, noting that Drake lacks the typical rap bravado. It's fascinating, but also monochromatic, meaning you'll need to sit and live with the record for a while. Thank Me Later gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 239
If You're Reading This It's Too LateIf You're Reading This It's Too Late available on iTunes

Drake If You're Reading This It's Too Late

Drake's release of his latest opus If You're Reading This It's Too Late was a complete surprise, à la Beyoncé — though there's debate whether to classify it as a mixtape or a proper album. The Canadian superstar is once again working with producer Noah “40” Shebib. Greg credits Drake and Shebib for creating a uniquely atmospheric aesthetic for his introspective rap. But the minimalist beats make this feel half-finished: there are no hooks or pop hits, and the record never picks up steam until the end. Jim won't even concede any originality in the production. He says, Drake has been ripping off Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak his entire career. To Jim, Drake is incredibly hard to like, as he continues to whine about his petty personal problems. If You're Reading This It's Too Late gets a double Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 483
ViewsViews available on iTunes

Drake Views

After much anticipation, rapper Drake has finally released his fourth album, Views. Over the past six years, the Canadian artist has risen to the top of the commerical rap genre, releasing four albums and several mixtapes, all of which have gone platinum. Jim takes issue with the album's subject matter, with Drake frequently complaining about the perks of his superstardom. Aside from that, he thinks Drake has yet to take his 808s & Heartbreak-inspired music to another level, something contemporaries The Weeknd and Frank Ocean have managed successfully. Greg agrees, though he acknowledges that Drake's earlier material was pretty effective. Ultimately, Greg thinks we‘ve already heard this Drake album and he’s capable of more. That's a double Trash It for Views.

JimGreg
Go to episode 547
Kiss LandKiss Land available on iTunes

The Weeknd Kiss Land

The Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, has released his first studio album called Kiss Land. It comes after a series of successful self-released mixtapes. Jim continues to be fascinated by this artist's soulful“ennui”and recommends you Buy It. Greg, on the other hand, thinks Drake's doing this style better. Tesfaye switched producers, possibly in an effort to be more commercial. But what it really is, is less interesting. He says Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 410
Nothing Was the SameNothing Was The Same available on iTunes

Drake Nothing Was The Same

With his third and latest album, it's safe to say actor-turned-rapper Drake no longer needs much of an introduction. Drake's latest album Nothing Was The Same has certainly cemented him as a musical force to be reckoned with, but Jim and Greg don‘t agree on why exactly that is. Greg appreciates Drake’s consistently introspective and candid lyrics, while Jim is a fan of the musicianship on the record. On the other hand, he thinks Drake's naval-gazing verses retread ground already covered on Kanye West's last few albums. But, both hosts agree that it was wise of Drake to stick with his long time collaborator, producer Noah“40”Shebib. Greg says Buy It, Jim says Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 409
Beauty Behind the MadnessBeauty Behind the Madness available on iTunes

The Weeknd Beauty Behind the Madness

Canadian R&B artist Abel Tesfaye spent several years as a mysterious underground phenomenon, releasing acclaimed EPs for free under the name of The Weeknd. After guesting on songs by his friend Drake, he's now become a star, selling out arenas behind his new album Beauty Behind the Madness. The Weeknd is a major voice in the new wave of neo-soul along with Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs, and Solange. Jim thinks his musical ability is undeniable, particularly in the moments when he is reinterpreting the sound and vulnerability of Michael Jackson. Yet on the more R. Kelly-inspired half of the album, Jim feels The Weeknd crosses the line from sexiness into lewdness, so he can't give the album more than a Try It. Greg agrees the sexual content of the lyrics is troubling, but believes Tesfaye is self-aware and ultimately critical of the attitudes his character expresses. The album represents a huge step forward musically, thanks in part to master pop producer Max Martin who managed to add hooks without watering down the darkness. Greg says Beauty Behind the Madness is a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 510
Take Care (Deluxe Version)Take Care available on iTunes

Drake Take Care

Is the new album by rapper Drake another contender for the Turkey Shoot? According to Jim, yes. He really enjoyed the former Degrassi star's debut in 2010. But on Take Care, Jim just hears a young man whining about his wealth and fame. And worse, that whining stays in the same tempo for 17 tracks. Jim says Trash It. Greg had a completely different reaction. He thinks this sophomore effort is an improvement and doesn't hear whining as much as an honest depiction of what happens when fame shatters your moral compass. Greg also appreciates the way Drake blurs the lines between hip-hop and R&B. This host would encourage you to Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 312
Echoes of SilenceEchoes of Silence available on iTunes

The Weeknd Echoes of Silence

Canadian musician and producer Abel Tesfaye, otherwise known as The Weeknd, is emerging out of the underground after the release of three acclaimed mixtapes. Those free albums earned him a Polaris nomination and the support of fellow countryman Drake. Jim includes The Weeknd in the great tradition of unnerving strange R&B (Marvin Gaye, D'Angelo). He is an interesting vocalist, but on this recent free mixtape Echoes of Silence, the real reason to listen is the music, which blends R&B with industrial and trip-hop influences. Greg agrees, noting that Echoes is not the best of the 3 releases, but certainly worth a listen. He uses his voice to play against type and really draws you into the dark lyrical content. Both Jimand Greg say Buy It, but luckily, you don't have to.

JimGreg
Go to episode 320
untitled unmastered.untitled unmastered. available on iTunes

Kendrick Lamar untitled unmastered.

Last year, Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar released the groundbreaking album To Pimp a Butterfly. Both fans and critics enjoyed the record, and it earned him numerous Grammy awards just a few weeks ago. Now he's back with untitled unmastered., his new album full of“leftover”tracks from Butterfly. To Greg, the polished songs hardly seemed like leftovers. He admires Lamar's fusion of different musical styles and poignant lyrics and says Buy It. Jim is also enthusiastic. While contemporaries Kanye West and Drake have also recently released“unfinished”material, this is a bigger achievement.“Short, but sweet”and a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 537
Man On the Moon, Vol. II: The Legend of Mr. Rager (Bonus Track Version)Man on the Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager available on iTunes

Kid Cudi Man on the Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager

Bringing us full circle, we again think of Kanye West. But this time, we don't ponder his dismissal of Taylor Swift, but rather his influence on a new movement of introspective hip hop. Drake, Lupe Fiasco and now Kid Cudi are all embracing self-examination, as well as rock and roll. And, explains Greg, Cudi is the great existentialist. His new album, Man on the Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager, is a continuation of his last concept album. It is full of interesting narratives, wordplay, rock instrumentation and cameos. Both Jim and Greg are hugely impressed and give the record another double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 258
lists

Turkey Shoot 2015

It's time for the annual Sound Opinions Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot! Each year, Jim and Greg serve up their biggest musical turkeys of the year with a hefty glob of cranberry sauce. They share the albums that they had high hopes for, but ended up letting them down.

Go to episode 521
features

Sample Platter: Drake's "Hotline Bling"

It's time for another installment of Sample Platter, where Jim and Greg take a look at a contemporary chart topper that prominently features a unique sample. This week, they analyze Drake's "Hotline Bling," a song first released in July of 2015 and hasn't left the charts since. The main sample in the track is Timmy Thomas's 1972 hit "Why Can't We Live Together," a song that relies on minimal instrumentation and vocals, driven primarily by a rhythmic organ beat. Jim and Greg discuss how Drake used the Timmy Thomas song to create a new piece of music with a completely different message and vibe.

Go to episode 567
news

Music News

Last year, Apple purchased Beats headphones and its streaming service for $3 billion. This was an attempt to get away from the already antiquated iTunes method of paying to download a song. On June 8, Apple unveils what the new Beats will look like. The Wall Street Journal has reported a subscription will cost $10/month and there will be no free tier like on Spotify. Beats has also paid millions to Pharrell and Drake to be guest personality DJS (and to stay away from Jay Z's floundering TIDAL). Will it be the next big streaming service?

A$AP Rocky topped the Billboard Charts this week with his album At. Long. Last. ASAP. However he isn't the first hip hopartist to do so in 2015. Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Big Sean have all inhabited the number one spot. 2015 has had many different leaders as opposed to 2014, where the soundtrack to Disney's Frozen held top billing for much of the year. At 5th place comes a surprise: the religious band Hillsong United. Our hosts are curious to see how far their fame goes.

Go to episode 497

Music News

North Carolina Congressman Melvin Watt has introduced a bill that promises to shake up the radio world. Known as the "Free Market Royalty Act," it would require broadcasters—online and offline alike—to compensate artists and labels whose music they play. (Under the current rules, only the songwriter and rights holder receive the royalties, and terrestrial radio stations get a free ride.) While artists have come out in support of the bill, The National Association of Broadcasters — the U.S. radio industry's lobbying arm—is making its opposition known, warning that this“performance tax”would burden already-struggling radio stations.

Over on the charts, a string of debuts took top slots. Drake's new album Nothing Was the Same exploded at number one, making it the second best-selling debut week for any artist in 2013 (topped only by Justin Timberlake). And, for the second week running, Miley Cyrus'“Wrecking Ball”is number one on Billboard's Hot 100… but is it really? In February, Billboard began including digital streaming in its tally for the Hot 100. So, Miley has YouTube to thank for her success.

In other weird charts news, the finale of AMC's smash hit Breaking Bad aired last week, and it closed with the forgotten Badfinger track "Baby Blue." Hours after the final credits rolled, 5,000 fans had purchased the 1972 song on iTunes, and its Spotify streams skyrocketed by 9,000%. Greg thought it was a good song choice, but Jim says that he would have preferred Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." (Hey, at least it wasn't as painful as The Sopranos farcical "Don‘t Stop Believin’."

Jim and Greg invite you to "Ask the Critic." This week they answer a question from Kevin, a 15-year-old fan from Chicago. Kevin seeks advice on starting a band. Jim and Greg tell him to play from the heart…never mind those stinkin' critics! Got a question for Jim and Greg? Email interact@soundopinions.org or call 888.859.1800.

Go to episode 410

Music News

The list of possible inductees for next year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony has been announced. Among the first-time nominees are Kiss, LL Cool J, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Genesis. But there are some old faces, too. ABBA, The Stooges, and Donna Summer have all been up for induction before. Jim and Greg think they deserve recognition, but also have a healthy dose of skepticism whenever they talk about the Hall of Fame. It's notoriously conservative and often overlooks more fringe genres. Plus, as Jim explains, winners always run the risk of being encased in glass and wax in Cleveland.

A heavy debate on piracy and the internet is brewing in Europe. First, the controversial“Three Strikes”law in France has passed in the French assembly. This means that if a French citizen is caught downloading illegally three times, he or she will lose internet access and be subject to fines up to $450,000. Their neighbors in the U.K. are also concerned about this issue. British pop stars like Radiohead, Annie Lennox, and Robbie Williams are members of the Featured Artists Coalition, which recently released a statement coming down firmly on the side of the consumer and defending internet file-sharing as a promotional tool for up-and-coming artists. But artists like Lily Allen and James Blunt have taken the other side. Jim and Greg find this to be a bit ironic considering Allen's use of MySpace early in her career.

Before they launch into reviews of new fall albums, Jim and Greg take a look at how things are going on the charts. The Beatles are still the big winners, selling more than 2 million albums worldwide in just five days. But, as Jim points out, this is a fraction of what they might have sold back in the CD heyday of 1992, and a fraction of what they might have sold digitally. Another big chart winner is Jay-Z, who sold almost 300,000 albums of The Blueprint 3. Hip hop still dominates the charts, with big-selling albums by Drake, Lil Boosie, and Kid Cudi, whom Jim and Greg discuss later in the show.

Go to episode 200

Music News

Last week Jim and Greg rated Drake's new album Take Care. This week he's at #1on the Billboard chart with 631,000 copies sold in the first week. Greg notes that Drake has had luck achieving commercial success by initially giving his music away to build a fan base. The same model worked for last week's #1 artist Mac Miller. Using mixtapes and social media to build an audience, Miller became the first indie artist to debut at the top of the charts since 1995.

Speaking of the charts, Billboard has decided to change the rules. Earlier this year Lady Gaga jumped to #1, thanks in large part to some deep discounting from retailer Amazon. They sold her album Born This Way for $0.99, and helped Gaga reach the million sold mark. But according to Billboard, that's cheating, and they‘ve now instituted a mandatory price point of $3.49 in order for an album to be counted on the chart. Jim thinks this is telling about how dramatically the idea of“Number one”has changed in the last decade. In the mid and late ’90s, top-selling artists sold upwards of 7 million albums. Today that's down to 3 million, and that number will continue to plummet. So why then is Billboard making it even harder to recognize success? In an era when artists are giving away their music for free or close to free, Jim suggests we need to change the definition of success.

Go to episode 313

Music News

grateful_dead Jerry Garcia may be dead, but we're sure he'd also be grateful for huge outcry of interest from Grateful Dead fans for a series of reunion tribute shows in Chicago this summer. According to Greg's reporting for the Chicago Tribune nearly a half million fans went online at the same time with the hope of paying almost $200 a ticket. Many of them, of course, got shut out and can only hope to score tickets on the secondary market…that is if they are willing to pay $8,000 to $116,000! The show's promoter promises fans they will try to make the experience accessible via the web, but we recommend loading up your generic mp3 device with Dead tunes and heading over to kick back at your favorite (free) outdoor spot as an alternative idyll.

Jim and Greg next give an update on two ongoing court cases in the music world. First, the former British glam star Gary Glitter has been sentenced to 16 years in prison after being found guilty of indecently assaulting three girls in the late 1970's. There is no statute of limitations for such offenses in the UK.

And while less unseemly, the copyright case over "Blurred Lines" is also embarrassing for the artists involved. The trial pits Robin Thicke and his co-writers Pharrell Williams and T.I. against the family of Marvin Gaye. They, like many people, hear a lot of similarities to Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up." So far the testimonies have been striking. Thicke admitted he was on drugs during the song's recording and that Pharrell was the primary force behind the song.“The biggest hit of my career was written by somebody else, and I was jealous and wanted credit,”he testified,“I felt it was a little white lie that didn‘t hurt his career but boosted mine.”No wonder so many of these cases don’t make it to a public courtroom.

After decades of being ready to review new releases on a Tuesday, Jim and Greg are preparing for a shift to Friday. But in this digital age, there's not much to prepare. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry announced the decision as a way to eliminate variance from country to country (it's Monday in the UK and Friday in Germany). But in a year when Beyonce and Drake can release music whenever they want with no advance fanfare, this is another example of the music industry being well-behind the times.

Tom Wheeler, commissioner of the FCC delivered a ruling that won in a 3-2 vote to approve strong Net Neutrality rules across the country. The Net Neutrality concept posits that the internet should remain a level playing field; certain companies who control data flow cannot show a preference for one company over another due to self interests. Ars Technica reporter Jon Brodkin, joined us to talk about the historic ruling. He doesn't see a downside to the ruling and says that most of the large telecommunication companies will respond with lawsuits. Brodkin adds that the effect on music fans who enjoy streaming services will be largely positive at this point.

Go to episode 484

Music News

Foes of digital music have often cited streaming services like Pandora as the reason for the demise of the middle-of-the-road musician. Sure, artists like Drake and Coldplay can succeed, but what about everyone else? Well, Tim Westergren, Pandora's founder has revealed some surprising sales numbers that put this idea to rest. He says Pandora pays over 2,000 artists more than $10,000 a year, and over 800 artists make $50,000. Of course, it's only the Adeles of the world that can rake in $1 million, but that still bodes pretty well for many working musicians.

Go to episode 359