Jonathan Mannion on Shooting Classic Album Covers: DMX ‘Flesh of My Flesh & Jay-Z ‘Reasonable Doubt’
These stories aren’t anything new, especially if you’re a music head like myself… However, DMX’s sophomore album and Hov’s debut hold so much weight in my book (Along with OutKast’s debut and sophomore follow up, 2pac’s ‘Me against the World’ and ‘All Eyes on Me’, Scarface’s ‘The Diary’ and Goodie Mob’s debut). I can honestly say those eight albums directly influenced what I do for a living today. So lets keep it 100…. Flesh of Flesh, Blood of my Blood is one of the best album covers of all time. Period.
For Jonathan Mannion’s full story go to http://www.Complex.com
J. Cole finally releases the visual for one of my favorite tracks off his now gold certified debut “Cole World: The Sideline Story“. It’s well worth the wait as Missy Elliot makes a rare appearance in the Colin Tilley directed clip for “Nobody’s Perfect, J. Coles thrid single. Enjoy grinders!
Def Jam started as an independent rap label run out of a college dorm room by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, but today it stands amongst hip-hop’s strongest brands. Now, the powerhouse label has added to its legacy by naming former Warner Bros. Records executive Joie Manda as its new president.
“Running Def Jam is the greatest challenge of my career,” Manda said in a press release issued to MTV News Wednesday (March 14). “The Def Jam artist roster has always been synonymous with the greatest in hip-hop, and I intend to carry that tradition into the future.”
While serving as head of Warner Urban Music, Manda helped build the record company’s current roster of Common, Gucci Mane and Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group imprint. The move to Island Def Jam connects Manda with a roster that includes Kanye West, Rihanna, Ludacris, Nas, 2 Chainz and Rick Ross as a solo artist.
Lyor Cohen, Kevin Liles and Jay-Z have all famously held the esteemed position, and last year former Def Jam A&R and Murder Inc. CEO Gotti lobbied for the coveted job.
During an October interview on MTV News’ “RapFix Live,” Irv Gotti pleaded with Def Jam to fill the presidency position with someone who was passionate about hip-hop culture — of course nominating himself. “If you don’t want to hire me — the best man for the job, the man who will die for it — cool, I understand. You think I’m Suge Knight, you think the Feds may come in here again if you hire me, cool,” the music producer said, referring to the money-laundering charges he beat in 2005. “Put somebody in there, because you not giving any sign or any indication that you care about my culture.”
“As we look to expand Def Jam and our creative urban music activities even further, there is no one better to lead them than Joie,” said Barry Weiss, chairman and CEO of Universal Republic and Island Def Jam. “He has emerged as one of the most respected young executives in today’s urban music landscape, possessing all the qualifications and experience that are essential to run Def Jam, the world’s most important hip-hop destination.”
Blog Music: R&B Rundown
By: Brandon Clay @bballplusmusic
Blog Music will give readers a different look at some of the hottest songs in the music game regardless of genre from my iPod. This week, we take a look at three R&B tracks and provide a breakdown and grade of each:
Track: “Talk That Talk”
Eval: Anytime Rihanna and Jay-Z get together, they seem to make magic on the track. Just 30 seconds in (Ed: The beat is mean by the way) and I was in my seat on a plane rocking my head in unison with the track. This should be a club hit across the country in no time. Rihanna’s voice goes great with the track itself and Jay delivers with an opening verse that sets the stage for “talking the talk” that Rihanna says she wants to hear.
Favorite Line: “Everything I do is big. I talk big money, I talk big homes. I sell out arenas, I call that getting dome.” – Jay-Z
Artist: Elle Varner
Eval: Nice follow up track to the debut single “Only Wanna Give It To You” from the 23 year old artist. That track featured J.Cole while this one is Varner doing her thing solo. She has a nice distinctive flavor to her voice that makes for easy listening as she talks about wanting another drink at the bar after she’s had more than enough. The deeper layer in this is her talking about needing her man after going through the fire in their relationship. Varner draws a nice parallel between the two painting a clear picture of both scenarios all the while showing off her ability to dance on track vocally fitting her voice in pocket with the beat.
Favorite Line: “I don’t wanna sound like a broken record but until you say goodnight all I know is that I’m staying. Can I get a refill?”
Track: “It All Belongs To You” Artist: Brandy & Monica
Eval:The bar for these two is high with “The Boy Is Mine” on their collaboration resume. That said, though this song isn’t that level of a track it is a solid output from them. The premise of them having their man leave everything (MacBook, cars, rings…etc.) on the floor is cool (Ed: Though I don’t believe either of them are dating a guy who can’t afford those things on his own). It lacks the punch of some of their music over the years but it’s a nice re-introduction to them as a duo. It will be interesting to see if they follow this track up with another single or compilation of some sort.
Favorite Line: “All you do is talk, never known you to do anything else.”
Brandon Clay is a contributor to TheOrganizedGrind.com. A self-professed music junkie, Clay has been on his music game since picking up his first Sony Walkman in the early 90’s. You can follow him on Twitter @bballplusmusic