J. Cole Tackles The Consequences of Addiction on "KOD"

  ℗  2018 Dreamville, Inc., Under exclusive license to Roc Nation Records

℗ 2018 Dreamville, Inc., Under exclusive license to Roc Nation Records

J. Cole's new album, "KOD," is a profound critique, and tailored exploitation, on the consequences of addiction in our society.

The North Carolina emcee, whose transition from hip-hop hitmaker to hip-hop activist, followed up 2016's, "4 Your Eyez Only," with a superb record that accounts for Cole's experiences with addiction seen through the windows of his own personal struggles.

Across this 12 piece epic, however, Cole also finds room to tackle some of America's other controversial and polarizing subjects – including the government's response to gun violence, depression/anxiety and the hypocrisies of Black America & urban culture. There's even room for a "lil" beef with today's trap stars and emo-rappers, as Cole also addresses the state of hip-hop with the genre's future artists.

On "KOD" (or depending on how you wish to decipher the acronym - "Kids on Drugs," "King on Drugs" or "Kill our Demons"), Cole encourages listeners to steer away from drugs through the polarizing storytelling and expressive lyrical ability that harbors his own personal battles with addiction during his childhood and adult life.

On "Once an Addict (Interlude)" Cole's vulnerability takes whole when he opens a window for listeners to view some of the emcees most intimate challenges. The song speaks on his mother's addiction with drugs and alcohol and their frictional relationship during his upbringing. Cole also addresses his own addition, both personally and professionally, on "Breakdown;" while also poised with relying on drugs to escape from his opportunistic friendships on "The Cut Off."

J. Cole - ATM (Official Music Video) - Directed by Scott Lazer. © 2018 Dreamville, Inc., Under exclusive license to Roc Nation Records

Cole also touches upon his success in contrasts to the misfortunes that surrounded his former circle on “Friends.” He combines this concept of guilt and blessing with a stance on how success can be misleading. On “Brackets,” Cole enlightens listeners to re-think about the fruits of their labor and the effects of taxation on our urban communities. Cole offers us a little humor, however, where he references one of Richard Pryor’s old stand-up skits at the beginning of the song, offering another perspective on how money is viewed in our society. While on, "ATM," Cole shows us his own perspective on money and it's lack of importance due to its a temporary void.

And what’s a Cole world without songs about love, sex and infidelity? On “Photograph,” Cole’s swag and tenacity on the mic discusses the mirage of love in the digital age where online-dating sites and matchmaking apps remain apparent. Cole also issues an exposition on infidelity and selfishness with, “Kevin’s Heart,” which is titled from Kevin Heart’s cheating scandal. The song dictates the lack of appreciation men have for a faithful woman and the emotional consequences that are conveyed.

J. Cole - Kevin's Heart (Official Music Video) - Starring Kevin Heart. Directed by J. Cole & Scott Lazer. © 2018 Dreamville, Inc., Under exclusive license to Roc Nation Records

At the album’s conclusion, Cole’s song, “1985 (Intro to “The Fall Off”),” set’s off another heated commentary and lecture on hip hop’s mumble and emo-rap culture. This critique is specifically geared to the longevity and sustainability of emcees set in a genre-trending sound. With warnings of fiscal irresponsibility, a falling off sound, and ultimately, the lost of an audience, J. Cole’s shots at today’s youth speak to his experiences of how rappers have risen and fallen over the course of his career. With Cole’s on going feud with this new form of hip hop, this song allegedly aims at such charting trappers such as Lil Uzi Vert, Smokepurpp and Lil Pump, who have also had words for Cole in the last year.

J. Cole mastery on “KOD” illustrates again how persistent Cole’s dominance has been in the game today. With enduring storytelling, daring vulnerability and profound empathy, the Dreamville emcee forces us to reflect on the gifts that we take for granted.

From the painful consequences of America’s drug epidemic to the hypocrisies that are endured throughout our urban communities, Cole’s activism, through lyrical brilliance and prolific expression, makes “KOD” one of the most daring and intriguing albums of 2018 so far.

Along with stern commentary on today’s rising emcees in the trap/emo-rap space, as well as an onslaught on man’s infidelity, Cole continues to be the exceptional voice for today’s hip hop generation.

Listen, steam and download “KOD” on all digital streaming platforms today.

 

J. Cole

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Alison Wonderland's "Awake" is an Electro-Pop Gem Perfect For 2018

 "Awake" - An EMI Recorded Music Australia Production;  ℗2018 Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.

"Awake" - An EMI Recorded Music Australia Production; ℗2018 Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.

Australian producer/DJ, allison wonderlan, released her latest record, “Awake,” on Friday and we’ve been digging this album throughout the weekend. 

The record is an electro-pop gem for listeners as Allison utilizes her steep drops and electrifying beats to guide us on a journey through self-reflection and anxiety. 

Some of our favs off this one include, “Church,” a song that illustrates reflection on Alison’s self-worth; “High” where Allison teams up with emerging hip-hop artist Trippie Red on a numb and anxious feeling record and “Easy” a song about the artist’s past and dark memories.

With an electro-pop sound filled with pulverizing beats, lyrical honesty and tales of depression, anxiety and reflection - Alison Wonderland’s “Awake” is a perfect fit for 2018. Add to your playlist today.

 

Alison Wonderland

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Water Seed Redefines Funk & Soul With "We Are Stars"

 

Water Seed continues to establish themselves as the essence of contemporary funk and jazz hailing from the streets of New Orleans. Progressively authentic, yet innovatively versatile, Water Seed has adamantly blended the genres of soul, gospel, funk and blues that adhere to their complex musicianship and tender dexterity.

Founder Lou Hill (drummer, composer & vocalists) cultivated Water Seed out of Atlanta, where they toured extensively across the country to develop Water Seed’s an emerging resume.

With a variety of performances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans Essence Festival, The Richmond Jazz Festival, New York’s renowned The Apollo Theater, Tipitina’s in New Orleans and a three month residency in Russia – just to name a few – the band obtained a national following through it’s funkalicious grooves, smooth keys, early 60’s soul and gospel-esque melodies that have mesmerized audiences. Flautist Cinese, along with lead vocalist Berkley the Artist and vocalist Shaleyah, have also propelled Water Seed to establish its unique genre binding sound along with preservation, keen artistry, and composition.

The band’s extensive discography has stacked to over 250,000 downloads, album sales and music streams. Their last two projects, “Water Love 1” and “Water Love 2,” have debuted in the top 20 iTunes album charts.

Along with an immersive fanbase, Water Seed continues to emerge as one of the best independent funk/soul bands with the release of their fifth studio album “We Are Stars.” Water Seed’s latest project constitutes a musical journey that’s packed with soulful melodies; a mix of classic jazz and seasoned Orleans-esque sounds straight from the Bayou. With songs such as the album opener “Open Sesame,” early 60’s island groove “Work It Out” and the hit lead single, “Bollywood,” Water Seed resonates a sound that continues to grow among audiences to get on their feet and dance the night away.

Water Seed provides funkier elements on “We Are Stars” with songs “Arithmetic,” “Simple Truth” and “Funktamis,” accentuating late 70’s synths, elaborating horns and energizing grooves. The album itself elicits more of Water Seed’s funkier compositions and progressive songwriting that elevates the band’s music identity and effective sound.

Water Seed’s continued focus on strong musicianship and innovation, allows this band to redefine the sound of contemporary funk and soul, while finding new grooves for fans and audiences to get funky. . 

On June 29th, we’ll be offering two free exclusive tickets to see Water Seed perform their new album, "We Are Stars," at The Bitter End, one of the oldest music venues in New York City, with a signed copy of their album. The show will be apart of Water Seed's spring/summer tour, kicking off next month.

Make sure to catch Water Seed live in a city near you and download/stream, “We Are Stars,” today! Tour dates and locations shown below.

 

Tour Dates

6/2. Cafe DaVinci. Deland, FL

6/3. The Atlantic. Gainesville, FL

6/7. 1904 Music Hall. Jacksonville, FL

6/8. Vinyl at Center Stage. Atlanta, GA

6/9. AM Booth's Lumberyard. Huntsville, AL

6/10. Blue Canoe. Tupelo, MS

6/16. Chop Shop. Chicago, IL

6/17. Two-EE's Winery. Huntington, IN

6/18. Player's Pub. Bloomington, IN

6/19. Be Here Now. Muncie, IN

6/20. Urban Artifact. Cincinnati, OH

6/21. Nighttown. Cleveland, OH

6/22. Spirit. Pittsburgh, PA

6/23. Livery. Benton Harbor, MI

6/24. PJ's Lager House. Detroit, MI

6/27. Sauf Haus. Washington, DC

6/28. Tipping Chair Tavern. Milldale, CT

6/29. Bitter End. New York, NY

6/30. Plough & Stars. Boston, MA

7/1- World Café-  Philadelphia, PA

7/2. Emilio's. Richmond, VA

7/4. Town Pump Tavern. Asheville, NC

7/6. Preservation Pub. Knoxville, TN

7/7. Acme Feed & Seed. Nashville, TN

7/13. Seven. Santa Barbara, CA

7/18. Hotel Utah. San Francisco, CA

7/19. Crazy Horse. Nevada City, CA

7/20 through 7/22. Peppermill Casino. Reno, NV

7/23. Lagunitas. Petaluma, CA

7/25. Winston's. San Diego, CA

7/27. Pour House. Oceanside, CA

7/28. Hotel Cafe. Los Angeles, CA

 

Water Seed

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Logan Vath Speaks of Long Journeys and Missing Home on "Better Man or Ghost"

 

Logan Vath is the kind of artist that doesn’t require anything. You hand him a guitar, a place to sing, and soon he’s made that place a concert, and the guitar his band. He’s a folk singer, but more than that, he’s a writer; Logan uses words and imagery to create a tone on his album which are as simple and harsh as coming home.

On his debut album, Better Man or Ghost, he takes you on a long, quiet journey as he looks back on his past and reminisces about his home. On tracks such as “This Far From Home” and “Still Me” you can hear the distance in his voice.

Vath is a solid vocalist who uses his own guitar skills as the foundation of his songs. The combined efforts of his acoustic guitar and the raw sound of his voice are soothing and smooth as he dances with ideas of death and loneliness.

Buy, share, and download Better Man or Ghost on Bandcamp today. The lyrics are also available to read on the site, which make for a touching read, full of strain, strength and truth. 

Like Logan Vath on Facebook for all upcoming shows, events, and upcoming music.

 

Greg Dean Combines Smooth Vocals with Alluring Sophistication in His New Album, "The Greg Dean Project"

 

Internationally acclaimed song-writing producer, Greg Dean, released his new compilation album last Friday, featuring some of the most captivating and emerging voices in indie-soul music today. The result? An impressive music achievement that illustrates Dean's dynamic and versatile songwriting-production abilities that take stellar command of captivating vocals and harmonious melodies. "The Greg Dean Project" exemplifies the heart of urban soul music and does so with sophistication, suave, tenacity and maturity.

Dean's jazzy and soulful instrumentation masterfully flows throughout the album with the assistance of an all-star singer-songwriting cast. The entirety of his 12-track masterpiece is embraced by leading indie-soul names such as Eric Roberson, Gordon Chambers, Chester Gregory, Carol Riddick and Mykal Kilgore, as well as emerging singer-songwriters from the likes of Chantae Cann, Amber Iman, Jarrod Lawson, Aaron Marcellus and Natalie Weiss. The presence of these acts, and more, make for "The Greg Dean Project" to be one of the quintessential indie-soul/r&b albums of 2016.

As a native of South Africa, Greg Dean is best known for his work with under-the-radar and emerging acts in his own country, producing several albums within the South African market over the years. These songs, featuring local artists such as Kabomo, Brian Temba and Mabongi Mabaso, earned Dean top chart positioning across South Africa's radio music charts, as well as frequent placement in the region's emerging radio music scene that has lifted Dean's work to international praise.

Greg Dean's strategic arrangements on "The Greg Dean Project" demonstrates his ability to manage various music styles, and unique vocalization, to harness the music prowess of his artist collaborations. Dean's work with Eric Roberson on "Grass Ain't Greener" is an excellent example of how the producer's jazzy-esque mid-tempo groove can blend beautifully with Roberson's dynamic and soulful presence. Dean's production with rising stars, Natalie Weiss and Amber Iman, elicit a tranquil atmospheric melody in "Like Rain" that displays Dean's crafted music structure throughout his entire album. In Dean's "Unconditional Love," Jarrod Lawson and Chantae Cann muster a blend of soulful harmonies, with a mid-tempo one-two punch, that kicks off the album, enticing audiences to listen further.

Some of the more refined songs from this album is under Carol Riddick's, "Pitter Patter," Chester Gregory's "Keep on Lovin' You" and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Gordon Chamber's "That Would Be All." Dean and Riddick compose a lyrical gem that echoes the smooth hymns of Sade with a touch of Phyllis Hyman, seducing listeners on their journey into Dean's dominance in the genre. On Gregory's "Keep on Lovin' You," Dean presents another groovy production that allows listeners to snap their fingers, and nod their heads, until the track fades. Dean's exposure to Gordon Chamber's brilliance in "That Would Be All" showcases a beautiful composition rich in lyrical excellence and captivating vocals.

"The Greg Dean Project" is an essential collection to the contemporary indie-soul/r&b genre. Dean's mastery in this impressive songwriting-production, details his vision for expressive lyrics, compelling vocals and pictorial arrangements that seeks to redefine the meaning of urban soul. This album is a must listen for those seeking a fresh sound; while also, leaving room to embrace new listeners within this realm of urban soul music. This one is highly recommended and cannot be missed!

Buy, share and download "The Greg Dean Project" today!

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