What I’ve been listening to this week:
JAY-Z & No I.D. – 4:44
At midnight on June 29th, JAY-Z dropped his 13th studio album 4:44. Produced by the legendary No I.D., it’s another example of how well one rapper/one producer albums can work. 4:44 is, thankfully, heavy on the soul samples, giving it a nostalgic feel all the way through. Much respect to Guru for his incredible engineering skills, too. While the media complained about JAY’s adultery, they glossed over the gems he dropped about the black community. He isn’t the first to mention financial literacy and black accountability. He expressed these ideas on a large platform, and for that, I commend him. We know “black capitalism” isn’t the panacea for systematic racism, but supporting/building black empires is the first step to gaining true independence. Support your black brothers and sisters, y’all.
Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
Ever since Prima Donna, I had a feeling Vince Staples was going avant-garde with his musical approach. Fans complained about him rapping on “weird techno beats” but Vince didn’t budge; He went left-field with no f***’s given. Big Fish Theory is in the same boat as Yeezus (Kanye West), Black Up (Shabazz Palaces), and CLPPNG (clipping). It’s a rap album with vibrant, electronic production. Vince’s performance makes it even wilder; He doesn’t miss a step at all, even on these “weird techno beats.”
Persona 2 Innocent Sin: The Errors Of Their Youth
I’ve always loved the Shin Megami Tensei series because it shook up the JRPG formula. Even before it formed a cult fan base in the West, it always managed to have something crazy going on – like controversial religious themes. The music is a staple, thanks to Shoji Meguro, who I feel is underrated among video game composers. The Errors of Their Youth is a Persona 2: Innocent Sin remix album arranged by Persona 2 composers Kenichi Tsuchiya, Masaki Kurokawa, Toshiko Tasaki, and Yoshiharu Ohta. The house remix of Maya’s theme and trip hop remix of Jun’s theme stood out the most, but overall, this was a forgettable album. It doesn’t have the cohesiveness of the original soundtrack. I’d only recommend it if you can’t get enough of Persona and J-pop.