Earlier this week, August Alsina dropped “Wouldn’t Leave,” which samples a song of the same name by Kanye West (with an assist from PartyNextDoor). The sampled song is on Ye, and since I’m generally serious about my cancellations, I haven’t heard it. I had a moment of weakness when “I Love It” dropped, but I’m back now.

I’m not sure what the original sounds like, but the production August’s version gives me Joe vibes. The video is just August all by himself in what looks like a Yeezy fit. Check it out below.

Even before her recent BET docu-series and appearance on Tha Carter V, I had Nivea’s “Laundromat” on the docket for a Throwback Thursday post. It’s a song I’ve always loved from a singer that — in my opinion — should’ve been a bigger star. She had the beauty and the talent and all the right people on her side, but for some reason, she was never able to achieve superstardom. It’s another reminder that there are no guarantees in life, especially in show business.

“Laundromat” was released in February 2003 and features R. Kelly, who was still very popular but also in the thick of a court case regarding allegations of statutory rape — the infamous golden shower video had surfaced just one year prior. Given these circumstances, it’s not hard to understand why R. Kelly wasn’t in the song’s music video. Also, Nivea was only 19 (and looked 15).

Nick Cannon appears in the video lip-synching R. Kelly’s verses. At the time, Nick was dating Christina Milian, who would go on to marry (and have a baby by) The-Dream and date Lil Wayne, both of whom Nivea would go on to have children for — she was actually engaged to Weezy at the time and can be seen wearing her engagement ring in the video. Also, Nick would go on to marry Mariah Carey, who is Nivea’s idol. Thank you for allowing me to nerd out for a second.

Watch the video below.

Weeks after the release of her “promotional” single — all lead singles are promotional, but whatever — Mariah Carey has released the official lead single for her upcoming album. The song, titled “With You,” was written and produced by Mariah Carey and DJ Mustard. Production-wise, it’s unlike anything Mustard has ever done — it’s very, very, VERY Mariah. Nü Mariah, to be exact (i.e. post-Charmbracelet).

I think “With You” is her best single in years, and unlike “GTFO,” it doesn’t require any getting used to. That being said, I don’t know if it’s enough to make an impact; “GTFO” failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100 despite seeming to have gained traction in the days after its release. Also, based on the clips I’ve seen online, I know Mariah is about to release another video with no replay value. Ah well.

Listen to “With You” below.

G-Eazy is quickly becoming one of my favorite white rappers. When he isn’t dropping banger after banger, he shows public support for social justice, even going as far as calling out Koonye for his ignorance.

Yesterday, he dropped “Endless Summer Freestyle,” which sampled “Neki-Hokey” by the Cleftones and features YG 4hunnid. Most of the track is about wealth and excess, but it takes a very solemn turn at the very end, with G-Eazy once again showing us why he’s a real one. Listen to the track below.

A whole seven years after Tha Carter IV and four years after its intended release date, we now have Tha Carter V. Lil Wayne released two studio albums and a gazillion mixtapes since IV, but they all felt like placeholders for V, which has been delayed as a result of years of legal battle between Weezy and Birdman. Now that the legal stuff has been settled and hatchets have been buried — not to mention, Wayne now owns all of Young Money — nothing was in the way of the much-anticipated album.

Tha Carter V starts with “I Love You Dwayne,” a two-minute intro that features Lil Wayne’s mother, Jacida Carter, giving a teary speech — in the thickest Nawleans accent you’ve ever heard — about how much she loves him and how much she can’t wait till his album drops. It’s very touching.

The warm feelings from the intro are quickly dashed by “Don’t Cry,” which features XXXTentacion singing the chorus. I try not to speak ill of the dead, so I’m just going to keep it simple and say that the track is average at best.

The next track is “Dedicate,” which is essentially Lil Wayne talking about all the ways he changed the game. This includes normalizing face tattoos, which is one of the more disgusting trends of the last decade. The song samples 2 Chainz’s “Dedication,” which is an ode to Lil Wayne, and the production sounds like vintage Weezy. The song ends with audio of Obama name-checking Lil Wayne in a 2009 speech.

“Uproar” samples G. Dep’s “Special Delivery” (featuring Diddy and Black Rob). Weezy ain’t saying nothing on this track (which technically isn’t a bad thing) and Swizz Beatz doesn’t help matters by yelling “ladies and gentlemen” and his other signature ad libs throughout the song. This track is terrible.

“Let It Fly” features Travis Scott, and for a second, it will feel like you’re listening to Astroworld. The beat is not bad, but it just sounds too much like a Travis song. Also, if it sounds a little dated, it’s because the song was recorded in 2014.

“Can’t Be Broken” has that trap bass line that every song on the radio has, so I’m going to have to subtract 1,000 points on GP. The song also has a piano line that sounds like something off an Eminem album, so I’m going to shave a few more points off. Whoever’s singing the hook sounds good (autotuned, but good), and overall, the song gets better with each listen. As the title indicates, Wayne is rapping about all of what he has been through and his continued resilience.

Drake isn’t featured on this album, but through “Dark Side of the Moon,” the spirit of the 6 God is present. The track is the first love/sex song on the album and features a singing Nicki Minaj, who oscillates between sounding surprisingly good to sounding like her regular self. Lil Wayne also does a bit of singing on the track and actually sounds better than Nicki. The track is the best on the album so far, but please note that “intergalactical” is not a word. You’ll understand when you listen.

Kendrick Lamar is featured on “Mona Lisa.” Lil Wayne’s verses are decent,  but I think K.Dot really shined on this track — and this is coming from someone who isn’t a fan. The song is at least a minute too long, but it has a few lines that I’m sure will be quoted on social media for months to come.

Wayne goes back to singing on “What About Me,” which features Taylor Gang artist Sosamann. The chorus sections switch to a beat that is consistent with the verse but somehow feels drastically different — I was caught off guard on the first listen. Sosamann’s verse is unremarkable (and sounds like a poor man’s Travis Scott), but this is another solid track.

“Open Letter” is a stream of consciousness. For four-and-a-half minutes, Lil Wayne bares his soul about everything from his love for his kids to his relationships to feelings of self-doubt and even self-hatred. There is no chorus on this song — it’s one long verse. The track ends with Jacida Carter talking about when Wayne told her that his then-girlfriend, Toya Wright, was pregnant and how she told him to be the best father he could be (even though he was only 16).

Fittingly, “Open Letter” is followed by “Famous,” which features Lil Wayne’s child with Toya, Reginae Carter, on the chorus. Reginae has a great voice, but if I heard this on the radio, I would’ve thought this was Skylar Grey or someone like that. She has that I’m-a-white-girl-with-a-white-voice-but-I-sing-hooks-on-rap-songs voice. There’s no other way to describe it. Another shining moment on the album.

“Problems” is a Zaytoven production that has Wayne rapping about rich nigga problems. The track sounds like any ol’ beat on the radio and begins with Wayne lighting up like old times, so it all feels very familiar. Lil Wayne also uses the term “whodi” in the refrain. What it in the year 2000?

“Dope N****z” features Snoop Dogg on the chorus and interpolates the beat to Erykah Badu’s “Love of My Life.” Wayne thanks God that he isn’t a broke nigga and raps about growing up around dope niggas. Snoop says you are what you smoke. The lyrics are decent, but the beat will keep you coming back.

On “Hittas,” Lil Wayne is RAPPING. Look out for “money in the air, who says white men can’t jump” in Instagram and Snapchat captions — because that’s a bomb-ass caption if I ever saw one. Wayne is also back to using the word “whodi,” so I’m sensing a real commitment to bringing it back. I approve.

“Hittas” ends with Weezy’s mom saying he was a very smart child — a genius, in fact. The track is followed by “Took His Time,” where Wayne says that God took his time when he made him. On the chorus, he appears to be referencing the time a then-12-year-old shot Wayne himself, which he recently revealed was a suicide attempt.

DJ Mustard provides the production on “Open Safe.” It’s standard Mustard; you could rap the lyrics to “Rack City” over this beat and it would almost fit perfectly. From a lyrical standpoint, Wayne is snapping.

“Start This S**t Off Right” features Ashanti and Mack Maine — I had to check my calendar to be sure we weren’t in the 2000s. And if that wasn’t enough for nostalgia, the track was produced by Mannie Fresh. If you like a groovy beat, this is your song.

“Demon” is primarily about sex, but more broadly, it’s about Lil Wayne’s demons. There are tons of quotables on this track: “Found a halo in her trash but she don’t talk about her past” will be popular on social media — I am willing to bet on it. The track samples “Lord Hold Me in Your Arms” by the Crowns of Glory.

In terms of subject matter, “Mess” feels like a continuation of “Demon.” Lil Wayne is rapping about his vices, particularly his sex obsession — his words, not mine. The track samples “Midsummer Madness” by 88rising.

Lil Wayne’s ex-fiancé and unsung talent, Nivea, is featured on “Dope New Gospel,” and dope, it is. Nivea sounds GREAT as she sings, “It’s been way too long.” In a recent interview, she mentioned that she and Lil Wayne had recorded a song that featured Drake and was expected to be a single. Drake is nowhere to be found on this track, but I can totally hear him on it. Also, this song is definitely single-worthy.

On “Perfect Strangers,” Lil Wayne raps about relationships — with a lover and with himself — weakened by his promiscuity. The production — which includes a keyboard and finger snaps — has a familiar sound, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that it was a Mannie Fresh creation.

“Used 2” is about a whole lot of gang shit. Pistol this, pistol that, shoot him in the head and give him a third eye — it’s all very graphic but entertaining. If you enjoy all that gun talk, this is your song. The track ends with Lil Wayne’s mom explaining that she still doesn’t know how he ended up shooting himself at 12 years old — she’s never asked.

The album ends with “Let It All Work Out,” which features an uncredited Sampha — the song samples vocals from “Indecision,” a track from his 2013 EP, Dual. The beat is great and the lyrics are even better. On the track’s final verse, he directly addresses his suicide attempt and how — despite making a bad and potentially fatal decision — it all worked. The track, and the album, ends with Jacida Carter: “I love you, Dwayne,” she says.

Highly anticipated releases tend to disappoint because we always expect them to be worth the wait, so I tried to keep my expectations relatively low for this album, especially because Weezy hasn’t wowed me in years. However, Lil Wayne more than delivered. There are a few duds here and there, and in some instances, the album feels a little dated (due to the fact that a lot of it was recorded more than four years ago). But overall, it is a solid body of work that can definitely lay claim to being one of the year’s best.

Album rating: 8 out of 10 stars.

Twenty years ago today, Jay-Z released his third studio album and most commercially successful album to date, Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life. In my opinion, this isn’t one of his best albums, but it’s the one that made him a superstar. People couldn’t get enough of “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).”

The album was the first of his 14 No. 1s on the Billboard 200 — the highest among rappers and only second to the Beatles — and went on to sell over 5 million copies in the US alone. And with a Best Rap Album win, it earned Hov the first of his 21 Grammys. Join me in celebrating this iconic album.

About 12 hours ago in Paris, Lindsay Lohan — someone I used to describe as a “problematic fave” — livestreamed herself on Instagram as she approached a homeless family she described as “Syrian refugees” to offer help. “I want you to tell America what you need, and I will get it for you,” she says as she points her camera at them. Lindsay tells the family — a man, a woman, and two young boys — that she wants to get them a hotel room for the night because she feels terrible seeing the children on the street. First, she offers to hotel room for just the kids, and when that was rejected,  she offers the hotel room to the woman — their mother, I presume — and the two kids. They decline again.  The man was never included in the deal.

The whole time, Lindsay goes back-and-forth between speaking Arabic and speaking English in an Arabic accent. I was impressed with the former until I read on Twitter that a lot of what she was saying was, according to Arabic speakers, gibberish. But wait, there’s more.

Visibly uncomfortable because this random woman is bothering them, the family begins to walk away with their few belongings — Lindsay Lohan, who is all by herself, follows them. The stream appears to skip a few minutes; Lindsay Lohan is now accusing the man and the woman of being child traffickers. “Give me your hand,” she says to one of the children. The camera isn’t facing anyone, so we don’t get to see exactly what happens, but right after saying that, we hear the mother yell and we see the camera’s view drop to ground level. Lindsay has been shoved, it seems. She lets out that unmistakable cry that white women do when they are struck in a confrontation that they initiated. Click here for a perfect example of this.

This entire interaction was absurd. First of all, why are you recording these people who were simply minding their business? If this was a genuine act of charity, why did the world need to see it? Why can’t you grasp the idea of your charity being rejected? And how dare you try to take someone’s child against their will? This is some Madonna shit.

Also, for someone who is supposed to be feigning compassion, she says a lot of ridiculously insensitive things. At one point in the video, she says to the mother: “You should be a hardworking woman, and you should be doing what you do for you children to have a better life.” Like…what in the actual fuck? How do you know she isn’t hardworking? And if she is a refugee like you say she is, wouldn’t that kind of explain her circumstances? Besides, there are tons of hardworking people living in abject poverty. Lindsay is nuts.

Now, let’s go back to the fake Arabic she spoke and the English in an Arabic accent. The Arabic gibberish is inexcusable and just plain weird, but I might’ve excused the accented English if she spent long enough in an Arab country — she didn’t. Lindsay spent a few winters in Dubai and now she don’t know how to act. And she actually thinks she’s some kind of custodian of the culture, telling the family that they’re “ruining Arabic culture.” Pure insanity.

Watch the mess of a video below. Skip to 9:20 for the attempted kidnap.

DJ Snake recruited Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B for “Taki Taki,” which is — in his words — a “reggaeton club” song. I am not a fan of reggaeton, so I’m reluctant to offer any opinion on this track, but I will say that I did not hate it and I can definitely see it being a big hit (if only as a result of the artists involved). Selena’s verse was my favorite. Listen to the song below.

UPDATE: In a comment on the blog’s Instagram page, Jody Watley has debunked this theory. Normalcy has been restored.

————————————————————————————————

Ladies and gentlemen, I am unwell.

Usually, when a musician’s birthday lands on a Thursday, it’s a no-brainer: The Throwback Thursday post will be one from the artist’s catalog. However, today is a little different. Today is different because I just found out that a song I have loved for so long might not be about what I thought it meant.

Shalamar’s “A Night to Remember” is one of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrics, the beat and the melody are simply perfect, and there few songs as good. Though it was a top 5 hit in the UK, the song only peaked at No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100. That being said, anyone with a true appreciation for R&B — and, quite frankly, music in general — understands that it is a classic. Also, it was during a live performance of this song that Jeffrey Daniel debuted the moonwalk, which he later taught Michael Jackson how to do.

As far as lyrics go, “A Night to Remember” is fairly simple. “Gonna make this a night to remember,” the group sings. Sure, they’re insinuating sex, but no freaky shit, nahmean? One man and one woman, both in love, sharing an intimate night.

Imagine my shock when Twitter user @BarkyBoogz mentioned that the song is about a threesome. “It couldn’t be!” I said, and then I watched the video.


I cannot breathe. I CANNOT BREATHE.

It’s totally possible that the song was written as a regular degular love story between two people, but this video? THIS VIDEO? Issa threesome. Watch below.

A whole three months after the audio release, we now have a video — or, shall I say, short film — for GoldLink’s “Got Friends,” which features da god Miguel. The five-minute clip follows a group of young women (including Bria Myles) who come to a diner to get some food before hitting the town — Miguel is also at said diner. Before leaving, the girls find out that some nigga at the diner has paid for their food, so they happily head out for what is supposed to be a good time. Soon after, strange things start happening.

It’s all a little bit half-baked, but I am very impressed with the amount of effort, especially considering that “Got Friends” isn’t a major hit. Watch the the video below.