I review music from all genres every week from the charts and music that is released online. i am going to make a facebook page soon hopefully.

samspratt:

“Logic - Under Pressure” - Album Cover illustration for Def Jam Recordings by Sam Spratt

I usually don’t like to give much context or explainer for anything I’m illustrating, but this is an exception. When Logic reached out to have me paint the cover art for his debut album under Def Jam (this is the first of 2 covers) he started by just telling me his story.
He grew up in poverty in a very broken home filled with violence, abuse, drugs, his brother dealt crack to his own father, mother was stabbed, he was kicked out of school, out of the house, all by age 17, and when these systems failed him, he turned to his friend to stay in his basement — with a couple others close to him, he sat down and started to write — to make music. He showed me a few grainy low-res photos which was all he had from this basement — enough to look at and see how the room was laid out, but little else. There just wasn’t any sort of documentation of that specific moment/feeling he had there — which despite everything that had happened prior, was a positive and warm memory. So he explained to me this quiet scene in the basement of him reading his recently written lyrics off his phone while his two friends sat there, listened, and the sun started to go down and bleed through the window. He described some of the things that filled this basement like an old thrift store painting of a car, an ugly yellow moth-eaten sofa, perpetually twisted-up window blinds, a stolen street sign, the colors, the materials of the desk, stereo, and speakers, down to some of the stickers that were pasted over it. And then he asked me to recreate that.
So this album cover was about a month worth of researching, sketching, and painting but not for a glitzy portrait like I assumed I’d be doing as rap album art — instead it was piecing together the mood, color, feeling, action, and setting of a very vivid, fairly unexceptional, yet important memory that a camera just never captured. I’ll have more to share in the near future as to how this was made in-depth, the back cover, and the other album artwork we worked on together, but I thought I’d share a bit about what went into this one. When you hear the album, it’ll make even more sense as it has this amazing narrative throughout the whole thing that we worked hard together to sync up on the art side. If you’ve never listened to Logic, here’s a small taste of what to expect on a couple awesome tracks: HERE and HERE with Childish Gambino.
Source: samspratt

Yo @stlawrenceu fellow students, get ready for our upcoming Fall Concert on October 3rd featuring two amazing bands, @coldwarkids and @ambabies. Tickets ads 10 dollars and if you volunteer and help out with setup for three hours or more, you are rewarded a free ticket. So get to know these two bands and get excited for an amazing time filled with some excellent music to vibe to.  (at St. Lawrence University: Sullivan Student Center)

Yo @stlawrenceu fellow students, get ready for our upcoming Fall Concert on October 3rd featuring two amazing bands, @coldwarkids and @ambabies. Tickets ads 10 dollars and if you volunteer and help out with setup for three hours or more, you are rewarded a free ticket. So get to know these two bands and get excited for an amazing time filled with some excellent music to vibe to. (at St. Lawrence University: Sullivan Student Center)

Daily inspiration #stilldreamin #2014 #thefuture #iimpossibleisnothing

Daily inspiration #stilldreamin #2014 #thefuture #iimpossibleisnothing

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It’s 2:20 and I’m hopping on a MetroNorth train heading to Grand Central, NYC. I arrive by 3:45 and head to the Info Booth to wait for a friend of mine, RD, who lives uptown. While waiting for a long while, I see some people running around in vibrantly colored outfits as they are likely celebrating Gay Pride Week in NYC or going to rage at Bingo Players which happened to fall on the same night as the Logic concert. RD arrives around 5:30 and we head right down to 14th Street and Irving Plaza to get a bite to eat and get in line. As we wander over to the venue, Irving Plaza, the line is already around the corner and half way up the block and the crazy thing is that the doors do not open for another hour. True fans? I think so. 

We conversate about our summers thus far and all the dope music that has been released and that is to be released in the near future. RD is a rapper too and goes by the name of Supreme. He is a multi-talented rapper and singer who can capture your ears and mind with his verses and rhymes or his soulful vocals. Check him out on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ryan.daniels.587. True talent. 

7:00 rolls around and the line starts to inch forward. We get in the doors and they are handing out free condoms haha. Not sure if that was a move by the venue or Logic’s team but either way it is a classy move as it seemed everyone was appreciative of the gift. The general standing area fills up as time passes and finally once everyone’s feet are aching from standing around for so long, DJ Rhetorik comes out to gets this crowds stoked to see Logic perform. His intro was actually real unique and cool as he told a story through the snippets of many of today’s popular songs. Shouts to Rhetorik and what he does and the passion he has while up there on stage and behind the scenes creating that energetic and dope mix for the fans. He then gives way to the opener, QuESt.

QuESt hails from Miami, Florida and has now become an integral part of VMG and Logic’s crew of rappers, producers and photographers. QuESt has a motto of Fear Not Failure in that we should not fear failing as it happens almost everyday. His words exactly, “I just want people to shed their fears and embrace their failures. And, “We fail every single day. Failure doesn’t stop us from what we desire. But fear can literally prevent you from everything you want to achieve and more.” Those are definitely good words to live by. Never let fear take control of your life and thwart you from following your passions, dreams and ambitions that we all have in life. Believe in yourself and put in the the hard work and some good will come your way. 

While on stage, he spits some dope bars but the crowd, as seen by QuESt himself, was there to see Logic, so he has to refocus the crowd and enable them to let him rock the stage and have his deserved time up there on stage. Through it all, he kills it and I have definitely become an even bigger fan of his and what he represents. I am intrigued to hear what he has been cooking up for us in the lab. If I may stand corrected, new material is coming in the very near future, as in by the end of the month. 

Logic comes out after a set change and rocks with the fans for around an hour or so. He plays hits on hits and parties with us all evening. One moment that stood out was when he introduced us to a bet that he and his good friend DJ Rhetorik made. Rhetorik proposed that Logic play two specific songs that Logic had retired from live concerts. Rhetorik bet him $20,000 that if he indeed did play these two songs that the crowd would go wild and would rap along to every word in both songs. Needless to say, the first song that came on, “Tic Tac Toe” from his outstanding Young Sinatra: Undeniable mixtape. The crowd most definitely held there side of the beat. $10,000 down. $10,000 more to go. The next question for the fans was, “What would the second song be?” I went wild when the next song that he performed was none other than the song that really solidified my love and passion for Logic as an artist, “Numbers” another dope track from his Young Sinatra: Undeniable mixtape. I had listened to that song countless times. I gladly and enthusiastically  rapped every word to it as loud and passionate as I could. By the end of night, my feet were more than uncomfortable and aching and my voice was starting to go. It was just about 11 PM and I had just witnessed the best concert of my life thus far. 

That tells me something eye opening. My favorite two concerts have been Logic and Macklemore in that order. The two things that both those artists have in common is that they are independent artists as well as the fact that both the concerts were at Irving Plaza just spread apart by about two years. Logic did sign with Def Jam Records but he still is able to be free and do whatever he wants with whoever he wants. He is therefore able to continue to push his vision to higher levels and really change the music world and along the way gain some of the most amazing fans in the world. Shoutout to the #RattPack and #Bobbysoxers around the world. I consider myself to be a full and integral member of the RattPack as I saw my first true Logic concert and also went home and purchased some merch in order to support the dude and his team as I know he has been working his ass off for this life that he now is able to live. 

The last thing on my mind is, “Logic, where the fuck the album at?” I can sense it coming real real soon. Latest, September release date. Whenever the project releases I will most def copping that shit in stores, on line and anywhere else. The man deserves everything and more. One of the most real humans I’ve ever heard rap. It would be real cool to have a conversation with the dude. Better yet, my dream would be to tour the world with him and his team and just inspire me to do some amazing things with my life as I have a full life ahead of me. I’m only 20 for god sake. Let’s live this life to the absolute fullest and never regret anything. Peace, love and positivity to the world. 

Thanks Logic, Rhetorik, QuESt, Jon Bellion, C-Sick, 6ix, Kevin Randolph and the rest of VMG and as well as Def Jam for inspiring us all to magnificent things with our lives. Best motherfucking concert of my life!! 

@music2myears13 

Best Regards,

Matt Craighead

 

The calm after the storm #happy4th ##USA

The calm after the storm #happy4th ##USA

Jam Out to My Summer Playlist for 2014! Let me know what you think anything I should add… please speak up!

Source: Spotify

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XXL Magazine started their industry-renowned and highly sought after Freshman Covers back in 2007 with their Leaders of the New School with artists like Lupe Fiasco, Saigon, Plies, Gorilla Zoe, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz and more. Of those the obvious name that sticks out as the one who has been the most successful is Lupe Fiasco with the release of a couple classic albums and hit songs like Kick, Push, Superstar, Daydreamin’, The Show Goes On and more. The others had short runs of success (prime examples being Plies and Gorilla Zoe) but the others have had relatively lackluster careers. 

From there XXL took a break from their Freshman list in 2008 but got right back at it in 2009 with a quality list of artists including B.o.B., Wale, Asher Roth, Ace Hood, Curren$y, and Kid Cudi. All of these guys have had a pretty exciting career. Curren$y is too one dimensional and has therefore yet to blow up and Asher Roth started as a college rapper who had to reinvent himself in order to reinvigorate his career with the recent release of his new album RetroHash which is definitely his best work to date. 

2010 came a year of big names as well with the introduction of J Cole, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Nipsey Hussle, and Jay Rock. J Cole has the most promise for the future with Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa coming in a close second and third. Jay Rock is the original TDE member but has yet to truly reach the level of fame and success that his fellow members Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q have. 2014 will hopefully lead to a quality album release from him. Nipsey Hussle is a true street rapper with the release of his Crenshaw mixtape release where the asking price was $100. A hefty price for a no-name rapper, right? 

The 2011 has some huge names on their with the biggest name in hip hop other than Drake in Kendrick Lamar. The other successful rappers on this year’s list are YG, Meek Mill, CyHi the Prince, Mac Miller and Big K.R.I.T. Kendrick released one of the best hip hop albums of all time back in 2012 with good kid, m.A.A.d city (and don’t forget Section.80 either). The whole world is waiting on his next move and are definitely getting antsy. What will Kendrick do next? Also, Mac Miller is a truly self-made artist and released one of the best hip hop albums of 2013 with Watching Movies With the Sound Off. He also just released a new mixtape entitled Faces which is filled with dark yet gripping lyrics and storytelling on the 24 track mixtape that sounds more like a studio album than a mixtape filled with a compilation of tracks recorded over a long period of time. YG is doing his thing now as well. Cyhi is back at it with a couple successful mixtapes. Meek Mill is recording a new album as well so there is still a lot of promise for the XXL 2011 Freshmen Class. 

2012 brings us the introduction of Macklemore, Kid Ink, Future, Danny Brown, French Montana, Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), Hopsin among others. Macklemore releases one of the most well put together albums of 2012 with The Heist. It was a top 2 album of the year in my eyes right up there with Kendrick’s GKMC. His heartfelt stories led the listener to have an understanding for where Macklemore has come from and what he has been through. Kid Ink has been delivering hits since day one with his slew of mixtapes and now 2 studio albums with the huge hit Show Me (feat. Chris Brown) as the highlight of his career thus far. Danny Brown is a very ecclectic rapper but seems to have a cult following as does Hopsin. Future has talent and released a pretty good studio album in Honest this past year. French Montana gets on my nerves but has had a pretty good career so far too. MGK is also doing his thing with the release of a couple real dope tracks in the past 10-12 months such as Mind of a Stoner, State of Mind, and Sail (Remix). 2012 seems to be one of the better classes in regards to overall talent instead of one or two huge standout artists. 

Last year’s cover (2013), was released with the debatable headline, “Best Freshmen Class Ever?” Artists like Schoolboy Q, Logic, Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, Dizzy Wright, Kirko Bangz, Travi$ Scott Angel Haze and that’s basically it. This is arguably the best lyricist class ever with top-notch lyrical rappers such as Logic, Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul and Angel Haze but it is too early to tell if they are the best freshmen class ever. There are arguments for each and every class to be the best. The most convincing are 2012 with the overall talent, 2011 solely based on Kendrick and Mac Miller and 2010 with the rise of J Cole, Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean. 

Now finally to this year’s list. Their Freshmen Class is as follows: Chance the Rapper, Rich Homie Quan, Isaiah Rashad, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Durk, Kevin Gates, Troy Ave, Vic Mensa, Lil Bibby, Jon Connor, Jarren Benton, and August Alsina. This list is interesting in that August Alsina is an R&B singer who has a rap-like style and Ty Dolla $ign predominantly sings on his tracks are very club dominated so far with the heavy production from DJ Mustard. There is most definitely a lot of promise in artists like Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, August Alsina, Ty Dolla $ign, and Isaiah Rashad. Those names I definitely think deserve to be on that list based on pure talent and hits thus far. Jon Connor needs to prove himself a bit more but seems to have the lyrical talent. And I would not call Troy Ave a freshmen anymore. The others should by no means be on this list. 

My list for the 2014 Freshmen Class goes as follows:

Chance the Rapper, Isaiah Rashad, Ty Dolla $ign, Vic Mensa, August Alsina,  Dillon Cooper, G-Eazy, Hoodie Allen, Chris Webby, Mike Stud, Casey Veggies, and Vince Staples. These guys all are very talented and have a huge buzz surrounding their name. Dillon Cooper blew us all away with his flows and lyricism on his mixtape Cozmik back in 2013. G-Eazy has been killing it across the country on his These Things Happen Tour and actually had E-40 come out to perform the remix to G’s hit song Far Alone (feat. E-40 and Jay Ant). Plus his debut album, These Things Happen, is coming out June 23rd this summer and is going to make waves in the industry. Same goes for Hoodie Allen who I hear all the time at colleges and summer parties all the time with his hit No Interruption and No Faith in Brooklyn, he is now back at it with Show Me What You’re Made Of which is the lead single for his new upcoming album. Webby is a fellow Ct native who has had one of the most illustrious mixtape careers where he was the only artist to crash DatPiff.com at least a couple times. He is planning to release his debut album this coming year at some point and after hearing his EP in late 2013, I am very intrigued to hear what he has to give the fans. Mike Stud has been releasing hit videos on YouTube almost weekly since 2011 and they keep getting crazier, funnier and full of even more talent. He is releasing a new album this summer and I feel this will be a defining moment in his career and what the future may entail for him and his team. Veggies and Staples are both full of talent and successful mixtapes but have yet to prove themselves in the public eye with a album release. Staples has been killing it recently with his remix to The Worst by Jhene Aiko and a couple other features and tracks of his own. This is my list and it is just an opinion. I tend not to listen to artists like Lil Bibby, Lil Durk or Rich Homie Quan but that’s just me. It will be interesting to see how all these aforementioned artists do this year and who will impress the most and then the big question of who will be members of the 2015 Freshmen Class. I hope some of the artists I mentioned above who were not named to the 2014 Freshmen Class end up on the 2015 Cover as they have worked hard and deserve a bigger following.

Thanks and please feel free to comment and spark some debate! 

Ten Choices You Will Regret in 10 Years | True Activist

Some inspiration to change your attitude and life in 10 ways… late night thoughts are flowing right now. #newme #betterme #futureme #happinessiskey #wakeupwithasmile and #everymorningpresentsitselfwithanewopportunitytoaccomplishsomethinggreat Good night world!

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I feel that people are so fake and are very quick to judge and put someone in a box. Like just because someone is black does not mean that they are only a black person and that is all they will be. They might have a passion for plants and longboarding and be one of the most humble and heartfelt people out there with the drive and perseverance and vision of MLK. Last year my roommate found me so weird just because I was different than he was. I did not like the same music he liked, dress the same way or act the same way. Are personalities most definitely clashed and at times we had some pretty verbal fights. Our next door neighbors called us a married couple with how much we yelled each other which was kind of funny. He was a downright asshole who had no respect for me and who I was. I am the only Matthew Craighead in the world. I mean maybe there is one other Matthew Craighead but we are all unique and special in our own ways and are trying to make it in this world we live in.

On the superficial part, people today are so focused on the technology in the hands. Always texting. Snapchatting. Not actually talking to each other. All we really want is that connection and the feeling that we know someone and understand where they came from and who they are at this moment in time. We want to empathy for that person and help them through the tough times in life as well enjoy the bright moments together as well. 

Make the effort to get to know someone. Talk to them for hours on end. Enjoy their presence. Feel the connection growing as time passes. We all deserve the connection. I find true beauty in a well flowing conversation especially with that of the sex/gender you are attracted to. I had one of those conversations about a week ago and it was the most enjoyable part of my weekend. But then comes women, who are sometimes very hard to understand and decipher the things they do and say. They seem to be very complex creatures. I’m just trying to find someone who understands me for who I am and likes me for I am and I feel the same way about them. No one should ever change themselves just so they can be with a person. There are several people out there for everyone. Everyone has the capacity to find that connection, but I feel that a lot of times they do not get close to reaching their full potential.

This is why I am not a fan of the ‘hookup culture’ at college. Everyone gets drunk and all they want is to have sex with the best looking person they can and a lot of times those actions and decisions can easily lead to a number of consequences that none of us want. That is why I try to stay out of out. It is really sad to see the lack of couples on college campuses in general. A large majority is just drunk hook-ups. 

But one cannot blame one specific person for being fake and superficial. A lot of is how you were raised as well as all the negativity within the media. It is a daily struggle for me to stay true to my makeup. One has to be mentally tough and sure of themself as a person to really stray away from all the fakeness and superficiality that we are confronted with. Dare to be different. Make a name for yourself. Make sure to do it for the right reasons tho. I have developed a passion for music, especially hip hop, and am working to get into the music industry as I see light within the industry with independent artists like Macklemore, Logic, Mac Miller and a number of others. I really want to keep the power of music alive and well and headed in the right direction. There is so much temptation in life. As humans, we need to do a better job of avoiding it regardless of what our peers do. Good luck everyone!

North Country Sunrise from this morning. This earth is beautiful place as is @stlawrenceu #lovethisplace (at St. Lawrence University)

North Country Sunrise from this morning. This earth is beautiful place as is @stlawrenceu #lovethisplace (at St. Lawrence University)