Last week, I took a look at some upcoming summer movies that might be of some assistance when you have nothing better to do, the weather is less than favorable, or you’re just flat out stoked for it. In this final issue of the paper for the year, I’m switching gears from film to music to give the final preview of some albums that might make the time off from school that much more relaxing and enjoyable.
May 7th: Talib Kweli – Prisoner of Conscious
The fifth studio album from rapper Talib Kweli is going to be two things: soulful and overlooked. Kweli is one of the most intelligent rappers in the game today. His smart style is not only reflected in the topics he dives into, in similar fashion to Lupe Fiasco or Macklemore, but in the vocabulary and flow in which he delivers it. Lately his albums have been underrated and underappreciated, despite the thoughtfulness within them that display both the harder rap and mellow, calm change-ups. Features include big names like Busta Rhymes, Miguel, Kendrick Lamar, Currensy and Nelly, with production from Harry Fraud and Oh No.
Various Artists – Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film The Great Gatsby
Since gradually becoming more eager to see this movie, I’ve done a lot more looking into it and came across the rather interesting assortment of characters involved in the soundtrack. In between clips from the actual film of dialogue from the cast is a track list that harbors great cuts from stars like Jay-Z, Beyonce, Andre 3000, Jack White, will.i.am, Fergie, Q-Tip, Florence and the Machine and many more. This combination looks strange at first, but the variety is very welcoming with top-notch production value on both the movie and soundtrack.
Other notable May releases:
May 17th: 30 Seconds to Mars – Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams, Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
May 21st: French Montana – Excuse My French
May 28th: Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, The-Dream – IV Play
TBA: Mariah Carey, Dream Theater, Switchfoot
June 11th: Black Sabbath – 13
This will be the 19th studio album from the legendary British heavy metal band, but it is carrying a lot of firsts. The album will be the first studio album released by the band since Forbidden in 1995, the first studio recording with both original singer Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler since the live album Reunion in 1988, and also first album appearances from Osbourne since Never Say Die! in 1978 and Butler since Cross Purposes in 1994. Original member and guitarist Tony Iommi joins back up with Osbourne and Butler, but drummer Brad Wilk from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave will take original drummer Bill Ward’s position after he decided not to participate in the album due to contractual disputes. Black Sabbath still has a huge following of both young and old fans both far and wide, so the amount of people waiting on this to drop is bound to be big.
June 25th: Wale – The Gifted
I always thought that Wale was the most skilled (intellectually and artistically) member of the Maybach Music Group, even to the point where he doesn’t really belong with guys like Rick Ross and Meek Mill. If anything, his last album, Ambition, proved that with demonstration of immense range, and that’s exactly what the rapper from Washington, D.C. wants to stick with and continue to stress through his projects. He’s mentioned that this one is going to take time and patience, something that I can live with in order to receive a well-crafted product. In December of last year he released the mixtape Folarin, which saw features from Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Scarface, Nipsey Hussle, Trinidad James, French Montana and others. Look for great features and production on the third studio album from the unsung hero of MMG.
Other notable June releases:
June 3rd: Ciara – Ciara
June 4th: Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
June 11th: Jimmy Eat World – Damage
TBA: Akon, MGMT
July 9th: Skylar Grey – Don’t Look Down
Skylar Grey’s major-label debut album is a huge milestone in her career. For someone who started out on Fort Minor’s “Where’d You Go?” under the name Holly Brook, and then changed to her current name on choruses for “Coming Home” from Diddy and “I Need a Doctor” by Eminem and Dr. Dre, this has been a long time coming for one of the hottest on-the-rise female artists. The poplar single “C’mon Let Me Ride” featuring Eminem is one of only two tracks in the collection with a helping hand (the other being with Marilyn Manson). That says a lot about the confidence and message Grey is putting forth, finally taking center stage and no longer having the word “featuring” before her name. A second single, “Final Warning” was released April 16, so be sure to check that out as well, and remember, don’t sleep on Skylar.
Wu-Tang Clan – A Better Tomorrow
Regardless of the date being up in the air as of now, I really want to give a heads up on this project. The Clan is preparing what might be their final rodeo in the rap game with this upcoming LP. The target is July and there is confirmation from Method Man, Cappadonna, and RZA that something big is in the works and that it’s their last job that must properly embody and represent their brand. There are plenty of middle-aged rappers still doing extremely well today. If you really need examples try Eminem, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, as well as some individual Wu-Tang members who have still been making music since 8 Diagrams first came out five and a half years ago. RZA and Method Man have kept their arsenals full in the last few years, but it’s going to be both exciting and nerve-racking to see how this comes out.
Other notable July releases:
July 16th: Chris Brown – X, Sara Bareilles – The Blessed Unrest
July 17th: Kelly Rowland – Talk a Good Game
Until next year when the movie and music reviews continue, enjoy the entertainment and better yet, the summer. Shout out to all the seniors that made The Springfield Student so organized and professional this year. Good luck to all of you moving forward!