Magic & Bird: A Review

Magic & Bird: A Review

Introduction

Since it was teased from the start of the year, Magic & Bird has been one of the most anticipated releases of the summer. This is the year that CHH returned, with artists such as Lecrae, Andy Mineo, and NF all dropping albums in later half of this year. But before Andy Mineo drops the long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Uncomfortable, he announced a “fun summer mixtape” would be released with his friend and collaborator, Wordsplayed. Andy Mineo launched his career in 2011 with his mixtape Formerly Known and his debut album Heroes For Sale. He followed that up with his 2013 EP Never Land before dropping his 2015 sophomore album Uncomfortable and his 2016 single Candy Rain. Wordsplayed launched his career with his 2016 debut album Clowntown. Now, the two rappers have joined forces for Magic & Bird, an album named after the legendary NBA stars Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. This has been one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I cannot wait the listen and review this album.

1. HI-FIVE (LOADING)

This introduction track is a comedic, retro-styled track. The first half of this song is styled like a retro sports game centering around Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The second half sees a coach giving a comedic attempt at a motivational speech warning kids about the “high-contact sport” that is life and warning against ending up as a greasy car salesman. It perfectly sets the tone for the album: fun and nonsensical joy.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

2. KIDZ

The first single from the mixtape was well-received and continues to shine on the album. Wordsplayed goes first, rapping about success on Spotify and his life. Andy goes second, rapping about love and individuality. The connective tissue that ties their verses together, “I’m in the pocket like Brady/Magic and Bird like the 80s”. As they claim in the hook, they do it for the kids, and this “kid” throughly enjoyed this track. It’s well-constructed with a great beat and expert vocalization. They control this track with master flow-patterns and timing.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

3. DUNK CONTEST (MAGIC BIRD)

The second single appears next. Once again, Wordsplayed starts, but it’s a back and forth between him and Andy. In comparison, the beat is more low-key than the last track, and the hook is more simple, but it works. It’s fun, with great lyricism from Andy and Wordsplayed. Their timing and chemistry is even stronger in this track and more precise. Andy has some outro commentary on Magic & Bird’s rivalry that seamlessly plays into the theme of the track. Overall, it’s a fun song, and solid display of lyricism from the two.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

4. SAY LESS

As soon as I heard “GAWVI, get em,” I knew we were in for a fun time. GAWVI is the Reach Records producing genius and artist in his own right. Andy comes out with some mumbling rapping, which was different, but he picks up his steam as he goes on. This is the first time ever I can honestly say Wordsplayed was better than Andy Mineo on a track with the two. Wordsplayed’s verse was straight fire with great lyricism, while Andy’s was more subdued than normal. The beat was different, with Eastern vibes and 80s influence and it works. Overall, this track is strong, but stands as the weakest of the project so far. The hook is mediocre, as his the first verse. The track is well produced, but the lyricism comes back hard in the second verse. It’s a pretty decent song.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

5. DISQUIS (Skit)

The skit is performed by Andy Mineo doing an accent and it’s hilarious. The skit sees an Olympic tryout telling kids in a comedic fashion to encourage kids to never give up, telling them of his attempt to throw a disquis and his training, resulting him being covered in sweat. It’s mildly funny. It’s not the funniest of the spoken material so far, but it’s a solid intermission.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

6. R.U.T.S.

This beat already sounds intense in the beginning, but then Andy gets on and takes an even more intense command. The verse is very strong and Andy slays this track with expert lyricism and a superior flow pattern. He rides the beat flawlessly. The hook reveals what R.U.T.S. stands for: Run Up The Score. Wordsplayed jumps on and rides this beat just as perfectly. His flow pattern is strong and his lyricism, while not as incredible as Andy, is amazing in his own right. It’s a perfect workout or athletics song. It’s easily the best offering so far since KIDZ.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

7. JUDO (feat. Judo)

The third single released features the producer Judo. JUDO is a strong track. It has the sleakest production of the album so far. Andy gets on with great lyricism and rides the beat well. The vocals on this song are beautiful and fun to listen to. The hook is silly and fun and work perfectly with the song. Wordsplayed has fun on this song and rocks it. They both have killer one liners in their verse that absolutely slay it. It’s a great song that also works in hyping and in athletic situations.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

8. BREAK BREAD

The vocals are coated in some auto tune that adds to the track, which as good production. Andy comes in with some strong lyricism about being isolated in the industry by producers and merchandisers. This track has a great hook. Wordsplayed makes references to the Minnesota Vikings, which makes me rather bias, but he continues the same themes very well. It’s the most subdued track of the album, but it works very well.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

9. METRO (Skit)

The second skit sees a lady lose her metro card and she talks Andy about it. It’s not as funny, but it really is about how this lady has faith in the Lord about being okay. It’s a solid intermission.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

10. DANCE (You See It)

This track launches strong  with great production and Wordsplayed, who absolutely kills it in his first verse with strong lyricism. “I told I was kinda strange, and, yeah, I can’t debate it” is my favorite line. Andy jumps in with a good hook and then launches into his verse. He rides the beat well with great timing and masterful lyricism and amazing wordplay. It’s a solid jam with a great ending.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

11. TEAM (feat. BEAM)

The track starts with some vocals that sound Jamaican reggae and work very well on the track. The song sounds like it’s slower and is about teamwork and how you need a team to make it in life. Andy jumps in with some great lyricism and a strong verse featuring personal stories. Wordsplayed follows him with a strong verse with some personal stories as well. This song has the best hook out of all of the tracks on the album.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

12. LEGEND

The track starts with the guy from DISQUIS and Wordsplayed yelling at the audience about needing to work until they sweat to get better. The track then launches into a what sounds like the perfect culmination of the album. Wordsplayed jumps in first and gives a strong verse with some solid wordplay. The hook is just some remixed phrases, but it works well. Andy jumps in with a very strong verse about how long he will last and his team, tying every theme together. His verse is incredible with amazing lyricism and some personal introspection. Andy jumps back into his second verse and makes some comments on Donald Trump and his ex-girlfriend (unrelated, but they’re both killer lines). Wordsplayed jumps into his second verse and talks about his situations. The most poignant line in song: “There ain’t no time to rest when you’re trying to be a legend”. This is a great song from both men, who are talented enough to do just that. The track then transitions into Wordsplayed and the guy from DISQUIS giving some comedic coaching to someone about wanting to smell..no, taste, the hardwork the audience has been putting in. It’s a comedic little thing to cap off the best song on the album.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. LAY UP (Bonus)

Originally released as a single by Andy Mineo in early 2015 and featuring Wordsplayed, this fun jam returns and fights a perfect fit as a bonus track on this mixtape. It’s an absolute jam with some great lyricism and wordplay from both Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed. It’s a fun way to cap off the album after the semi-serious note that LEGEND ended on.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion

This album is a fun and very strong piece of music that is filled with an energy that comes from two best friends making music they’re passionate about together. They’re fantastic together and is a perfect project to remind us the fun that Andy can have before he comes back with his fourth album that is sure to hold nothing back. In the end, Magic & Bird is filled strong lyricism, solid production, and masterful flow patterns. In the end, the message of their album rings true and they kill it: There ain’t no time to rest when you’re trying to be a legend. The two of them are a perfect match. Overall, their album is very strong and I can’t wait to hear what’s next from the two.

Album Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

Top 40: Ed Sheeran

Top 40: Ed Sheeran

Recently, I had the idea to start a series of ranking articles and came up with the idea of doing a Top 40 list. By Top 40, I mean my 40 favorite songs by a particular artist. The obvious first choice was Ed Sheeran, my favorite artist of the twenty-first century. Today, I will be ranking my top 40 Ed Sheeran songs.

40. Small Bump – +

The song comes midway through Sheeran’s debut and is a fun, sweet, acoustic song about pregnancy and love. It’s a very chill jam that tells a sweet story. Sheeran also released a live version of the song on the Wembley Edition of X, but the original + version is better in my opinion.

39. New York – X (Wembley Edition)

One of many special additions from the Wembley Edition of Sheeran’s sophomore effort, New York tells the story of falling in love in the big apple.

38. Everything You Are – Don’t (EP)

One of the forgotten gems of Ed Sheeran, this song appears on his EP Don’t, which preceded X. The song has a very Elton John vibe to it and is so much fun to listen to. It’s a crime it didn’t get more recognition.

37. Even My Dad Does Sometimes – X

This slow ballad talks about how it’s okay to cry and mourn the tragedies and hard things that come your way. It’s a beautiful song that pleads the listener to keep going and not give up.

36. Shirtsleeves – X

This song about comforting heartbroken friends details the story of a boy who loves a girl who has just now become available and he makes himself present to her by comforting her. It’s a song with a sweet sentiment.

35. Take It Back – X

One of the lesser known songs from Sheeran’s second album, Take It Back demonstrates the third talent in this singer/songwriter’s toolbox that makes him a triple threat: rapping. Performing over an acoustic beat, Sheeran demonstrates an elegant flow pattern that absolutely kills while he simultaneously shreds on his guitar.

34. Barcelona – ÷

Appearing on his junior effort, the latin-pop blend mixed with Sheeran’s trademark acoustic stylings is a killer track that is sure to get your feet tapping.

33. Bloodstream – X

This tragic song about doing drugs is a cautionary tale told from Sheeran’s own personal experiences.

32. Don’t – X

This track about friends with benefits was the most popular to come off X and was named one of the songs of the summer upon its release, garnering ludicrous amounts of radio play. Unfortunately, this is why it’s so low on my list.

31. I’m A Mess – X

This song about emotional heartache is evocative and features some of Sheeran’s best vocals.

30. Runaway – X

This song tells the story of a child running away from home, which is inspired by Sheeran’s own personal experience. The song is very blues-inspired and is a rich song to listen to.

29. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here – ÷

This love song is inspirational, uplifting, and holds its own spot on what is easily Ed’s most energetic effort yet: ÷.

28. Nina – X

Nina is a pretty, piano-driven love song about teenage love and how he fell in love with Nina.

27. New Man – ÷

Ed always has a song on his albums where he criticizes the newest partner of his former lover. This iteration of the theme takes it in a more lighthearted direction and does a fun job of jabbing at the “new man”.

26. Happier – ÷

This is probably one of Sheeran’s most tragic and real songs. The song tells of Sheeran’s expressed tragic happiness for his ex-lover’s new found romance and profound happiness as he waits to be that happy with someone else as well.

25. Bibia Be Ye Ye – ÷

The perfect road trip song, this care-free diddy follows Sheeran as he traces his steps from last night’s drunken escapades including finding his wallet and keys. It’s a delightful song that is a must for any road trip.

24. Sing – X

This is another popular track from Sheeran’s second album that is about needing love from a specific girl. It’s a very fun song,

23. Lego House – +

The song that led most people to his music, Lego House details his want to fall in love and grow old with his love and how he wants to rebuild the relationship and keep going.

22. English Rose – X (Wembley Edition)

This is another road trip song that follows Ed as he travels Tennessee looking for his dreams while reminiscing about the love that he has waiting for him back in England. The acoustic jam is very upbeat and fun.

21. Make It Rain – X (Wembley Edition)

This one is one of the extremely rare examples of Sheeran building his song off of an electric guitar instead of an acoustic. The R&B/Gospel-style song is infectious and slow and evocative.

20. Autumn Leaves – +

This gentle treasure tales about falling in love during the fall and is, in my opinion, the definitive “autumn” song.

19. Touch and Go – X (Wembley Edition)

This song is fun and fast-paced and treat for the ears. Trust me and listen to it. You’ll thank me.

18. You Need Me, I Don’t Need You – +

The song that solidified Sheeran’s talent as a rapper, the song shows off Sheeran’s talents and vents his frustrations about industry people and critics.

17. Shape of You – ÷

Easily Sheeran’s best produced song, Shape of You is the flagship song of his third album. The song talks about lovers who meet in a bar and the relationship that follows. It’s a great song, but I don’t need to tell you that.

16. Afire Love – X

This song tells the sweet story of Sheeran’s grandfather and the struggles of old age. He also tells about what his grandfather said to his grandmother. It’s a beautiful song.

15. Dive – ÷

This is the other example of Sheeran building his song around an electric. The slow jam details Sheeran’s hesitations to “dive” into a new relationship.

14. Tenerife Sea – X

This acoustic ballad talks about falling in love and does it masterfully. It’s a beautiful song that is unmatched in Sheeran’s catalog, which features lots in the way of love songs.

13. Supermarket Flowers – ÷

This piano-driven song is a tragic one. Detailing the death of his grandmother and the mourning process that followed from the perspective of his mother. It’s by leaps and bounds the most heartbreaking song in his catalog.

12. What Do I Know?

This song talks about how music and love can save the world. It’s a very important and powerful song. There’s only one image that can sum up this song…11590722

11. I See Fire – X

This haunting song was written for 2013’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and appears in the end credits. Its depicts the story of Smaug’s attack on Rivendale, the scene that closes out the film.

10. The A Team – +

This ballad about a prostitute’s life is tragically beautiful. It’s the best one from his debut album.

9. Galway Girl – ÷

This catchy tune about a perfect night in Galway with the fiddler in an Irish band is perfect.

8. One – X

The opener for his second album is a great song about waiting for love from a specific person and how they are the only one for him. It’s the perfect start for an album.

7. Thinking Out Loud – X

Many have named this the definitive slow dancing love song. I would agree had a certain song not been released on ÷. Nevertheless, the grammy-winning song is a masterpiece.

6. Photograph – X

This beautiful acoustic ballad about lost love works surprisingly well for road trips.

5. Castle on the Hill – ÷

You know how a song can find you at the right time and right place? This is one of them for me. As a newly minted senior in high school, the lead single off of Sheeran’s third album, the song about nostalgia and childhood is perfect to me.

4. The Man – X

This rap song about betrayal and moving on is excellent, with some of the best production on a Sheeran song ever. Bravo!

3. Nancy Mulligan – ÷

Irish music is very fun, especially for Irish people such as myself. This song about how his grandparents got together is infectious and stellar. It’s always on rotation in my house.

2. All of the Stars – X (Wembley Edition)

This beautiful song about falling in love under the stars is gorgeous and sweet. It’s an underrated and under-appreciated gem in Sheeran’s catalog.

1. Perfect – ÷

The song is literally called perfect, need I say more? This love song is actually the best love song of all time and is absolute mesmerizing. It’s my favorite song in his catalog.

 

What do you think? What is your favorite Ed Sheeran song? Which artist should I make a  Top 40 for next? Let me know!

 

 

Ranking The MCU: Live Rankings

Ranking The MCU: Live Rankings

The MCU is gearing up to the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming next month and I thought it was a good time to rank the various films in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. This franchise is one of my favorites and I can’t believe it’s already nine years old. Check back here after every Marvel movie to see my updated list!

16. Iron Man 2 (2010)iron-man-2-di

Iron Man 2 isn’t a bad film and definitely has rewatch ability. The plot just feels very filler and the film was kind of unnecessary to the overall MCU. It doesn’t do much but tease the next year’s films. It felt kind of like a cash grab, but it was the most enjoyable cash grab ever. It is nowhere near as good as the original, but it is definitely good for white noise on FX every month.

15. Thor: The Dark World (2013)460372

This was very boring the first time, but, upon revisiting, it is more enjoyable and contributes significantly to the MCU overall. It features the worst villain ever and the biggest waist of a great actor in Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki carries the film through dull moments and is the emotional drive of the film. This was very much about Loki post-Avengers. And if they had made it Loki rather than jam it with meaningless Thor junk then maybe this would’ve been much higher on the list.

14. Ant-Man (2015)ant-man-captain-america-3-giant-man

Ant-Man is funny at times, but this character really only works within an ensemble. It’s a necessary installment to set-up Civil War and Paul Rudd is great, but it has no rewatch value and was very dull for an MCU film. It also introduces Marvel’s de-aging scene in the beginning, which is now a staple of MCU films.

13. The Incredible Hulk (2008)the2bincredible2bhulk2b1

The Hulk’s introduction to the MCU is good. It’s very interesting, but it does not feature nearly enough Hulk. In the long run, Marvel has sort of swept this one under the rug, mainly due to Edward Norton’s departure from the role in post-production and we’ve heard only small references to it. That was, until Civil War, but besides that, the film is still enjoyable, but is overly full of character and low on HULK SMASHING!

12. Thor (2011)thor-3-ragnarok-chris-hemsworth

Thor’s introduction is fun and the most diverse introduction to an MCU character yet. The film has second act that is focuses on character and heart and boy does it succeed, but it’s just a hair long. The third act is short and effective, but ultimately dissatisfying. Overall, Thor is effective and a thrill, but ultimately fails to completely deliver.

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)the-avengers-2-ultron-captain-america-iron-man-official

The film had the big task of living up to the original while also introducing new characters and elements to drive the story forward. In most regards, it does. It gives us the first permanent death in the franchise, while also driving the direction of the MCU forward. It also features a great villain in the form of James Spader’s Ultron and turns Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye into a lovable character. Overall, AoU succeeds, but it does have some parts that feel weird and unnecessary, like the Thor in a cave pool stuff. Weird.

 

10. Iron Man 3 (2013)tumblr_static_ironman3

Widely considered as awful at the time, the film’s twist works and the story work as a self-contained ending for the Iron Man trilogy. It concludes his story perfectly, while being avoided by the wider MCU because of the poor fan reception and the fact that Robert Downey Jr’s contract was almost up at the time. Shane Black delivers a great story set in a superhero world.

9. Captain America: Civil War (2016)civil-war-2

Captain America’s series is one of the rare and beautiful examples of perfect trilogy. The series feels like they always mainly serve as Avengers stories without the whole team involved and this film definitely embraced that by bring virtually ever Avenger in for what can only be described as a better Avengers 2 or Avengers 2.5. The film is great, building fantastic character arcs and delivering amazing action sequences. Spider-Man and Black Panther are standouts and the rest of the cast is developed forward in their respective stories. It feels like a comic book crossover come to life and is an absolute delight.

8. Doctor Strange (2016)doctor-strange-1

Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent. With a fantastic story and self-contained discover for the MCU, the film introduces its most interesting character since Captain America. The film features a great ensemble and the best VFX of the franchise. Strange is a masterpiece and I can’t wait to see his return.

7. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)at6khn8b

This is the most accurate depiction of modern day high school on film. Tom Holland is fantastic and his ensemble cast is stellar. The film also features some of the best costumes in the franchise, as well as one of the best villains in the MCU in Michael Keaton’s Vulture. The film personalizes the MCU again, while still connecting to larger events. It was a fantastic high school film and stands as the best Spider-Man film.

6. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)rjhvhttx0kxduc5anmh9

Superheroes in World War II…what more do I have to say. This story is perfect and works as a great period piece while introducing arguably the best character in the MCU in Chris Evans’ Captain America. The film also features one of the best villains of the series in Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull. And that post-credits teaser for Avengers…what more must I say.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017)guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-2-wallpaper

The latest installment of the franchise works on so many levels. The growing ensemble has so much chemistry and work together so well. The great character development and the moments delivered pay off in unexpected ways and work so well. With breakout returning performances from Michael Rooker, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, and Dave Bautista, Guardians 2 succeeds immensely. The film also features the best villain introduced in the MCU since 2011 in Kurt Russell’s Ego The Living Planet. The film ends beautifully and features a great soundtrack. However, it does have too many post-credits scenes.

4. Iron Man (2008)greatest-superhero-films-iron-man

The film that started it all works so well. It’s a brilliant comedy and a self-contained story that gives the best character arc of any single film in the franchise. Iron Man is brilliant and kickstarted a franchise that has grown to an amazing powerhouse.

3. Captain America: The Winter Solider (2014)captain-america-the-winter-soldier-hd-wallpaper

The second film in Cap’s trilogy is so different from anything else in the MCU. The Winter Soldier is an amazing political thriller that is relevant and features a great villain in Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce. The film pulls back the covers on the biggest, most detrimental twist in the MCU: SHIELD is HYDRA. The death of SHIELD affects the MCU in big way and helps shape the landscape in away that propels us towards Infinity War.

2. The Avengers (2012)the-avengers-2-full-page-feature

The culmination of the first phase of the MCU, The Avengers is a non-stop thrill ride that delivers excellent moments and a great story that finals births the MCU as we know it. It is eminently re-watchable and works on so many levels. It is the definition of a blockbuster and is the epitome of the Marvel Universe. It is the product of Kevin Feige’s vision and is a near perfect film.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)guardians-of-the-galaxy-wallpaper-roster-nebula

This film is an instant classic that creates a whole new side of the MCU that is fun, thrilling, daring, and dangerous. The Marvel Cosmic Universe is the brainchild of James Gunn, who masterly directs this project through two installments that couple together to make a perfect, seamless story. This film, however, stands perfectly alone and features the most incredible cast with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dame Bautista, and Vin Diesel and their chemistry is so explosive that is trumps the untouchable chemistry of The Avengers. And to top it all off, the film features the best soundtrack in cinema history.

Anomaly: A Review

Anomaly: A Review

Introduction

This album came out in 2014 and earned Lecrae many nominations, including three Grammys in the categories of “Best Gospel Song,” “Best CCM Performance,” and “Best Rap Performance”. He won two of three, losing Rap to Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”. That doesn’t negate the brilliance of this rap album. As a performer, Lecrae ranks among the very best. His catalog is remarkable, including albums such as Rebel, Rehab, & Gravity and his Church Clothes mixtape trilogy. Anomaly proves to be a very different flavor for Lecrae and maybe his best album yet. The album features the least amount of other artists, resulting in a lot of time with Lecrae and his thoughts.

1. Outsiders

The opening track sets a style for the album’s production that sounds very sleek and professional. The song sets the tone in terms of subject matter and immediately tells listeners that Lecrae has somethings to say and he is unashamed of his thoughts. The song talks about how he never really fit in as a child and still doesn’t fit in to this day and that doesn’t bug him. As he says, Lecrae would rather be an outsider than sacrifice his integrity. The song gradually builds while maintaining an ominous tone, hyping listeners up for big things to come. It works extremely well as an intro song.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

2. Welcome to America

The song that many would assume to be a patriotic welcome song will pleasantly surprise. The song exposes stereotypes of America’s colored culture and pulls the layers back on the negative jobs and acts that inner citizens are forced to perform to survive. It tears down the fake portrait that we put up for ourselves and other nations. There is a verse as well that sheds a light on the mistreatment of veterans and soldiers of our nation as well. The final verse exposes the positive dreams of immigrants who want to live here and trying to pitch why they want to live there. Lecrae rides the beat well and the production is very solid.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

3. Say I Won’t (feat. Andy Mineo)

The third track is a change of tone from the previous two heavy songs and gives listeners something fun to jam to. Andy Mineo and Lecrae go crazy with fast verses and displays of lyricism common from Andy’s catalog. The beat is fun and these two play off each other with excellent chemistry. The song is an anthem for overcoming doubt and being proud of being different, piggybacking off of themes from “Outsiders”.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

4. Nuthin

Lecrae displays his talents as a hip-hop vocalist as well as a skilled rapper in this jam that is a must for any hype playlist. The song compares what Lecrae deems is important and what he talks about in contrast to the rest of the rap genre, which he claims don’t talk about anything of importance. The song has a fun beat and great vocals. This is a necessity for any DJ who thinks they make fire playlists.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

5. Fear

At this point, Lecrae slows things down a little bit to examine the virtue of bravery. He shines a light on his insecurity and private fears and he confesses his worries over the top of an impressive beat with another display of impressive vocals from Lecrae. This song is raw and real. He lyrically samples Psalm 21 for his intro and it works wonderfully. This song is brilliant and an under-appreciated gem in his catalog.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

6. Anomaly

This funky beat that takes cues from reggae and jazz creates a smooth and fun beat that is sure to make heads nod. Lecrae examines how “the system didn’t plan for this” and brings back his outcast theme that is prevalent throughout this album. The song is a wonderful song that really examines abnormality from the social norms.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

7. Timepiece

This song switches the album pacing and slows thing down in a good way. This song has a catchy hook and amazing production. The lyricism in this one song alone demonstrates Lecrae’s uniqueness and importance to the rap industry. The song deals with the concept of time and how we don’t have much. Time is a commodity that we are running out of.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

8. Dirty Water

At this point, we make an aggressive change with a hard beat and hard lyrics that highlight social fakes and the need for social change and faith. The song is really fun tom listen to and has very good production.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

9. Wish

The song talks about wishing and regrets and how to deal with change and things we wish we could change. The song is pretty and the sentiment is really touching. We’ve all been where Lecrae is at this point on the album and it really hits home. The choppy production is a stylistic choice that pays off excellently. This song is a great one that briefly highlights the theme of fleeting time again.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

10. Runners

This song is another fun jam, speeding things up again as Lecrae examines the theme of loyalty in relationships and how to avoid the temptation of lust and the struggles of cheating. The song wouldn’t nearly be as good without the comedically and realistic skits that start, bridge, and end the song. The bass-heavy production is some of the best of the album and backs Lecrae as he highlights his own temptations as he admits his faults and his own imperfections while advising from experience.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

11. All I Need Is You

The lead single from the album is the best from the project. The medium paced track features great vocals and solid lyricism from Lecrae. The song talks about how Lecrae’s relate ship with God is all he needs and lists all the things that he needs help with while comparing the relationship to being an anchor for his life. It’s an addictive song that really does affect the listener.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

12. Give In (feat. Crystal Nicole)

The production of this one is the best of the album. The song is based 99% off of acapella recordings done by Lecrae and Crystal. It sounds so good and the message of the track is really sweet. The song serves as a love song and lists all the ways he gives in to his love.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

13. Good, Bad, Ugly

The album slows down a bit here as things get real and personal again for Lecrae. The song detailing the story of how he was sexually abused when he was eight by his seventeen year old babysitter and a later story about how he and his girlfriend got an abortion and regretted it. The song also talks about how he found healing with the bad and ugly parts of his life and how people don’t always want to listen to or help with the ugly parts. He asks God to take his good, bad, and ugly parts. The song is really tragic and beautiful. It’s my personal favorite from the album.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

14. Broken (feat. Kari Jobe)

This song is also beautifully tragic and deals in similar themes on a bigger scale. Telling the story of how everyone is broken by sin and how we chase anything to feel better, when the answer is the grace and restoration we get when we accept Christ into our lives. The song features gorgeous vocals from Kari Jobe and wonderful metaphors backed by sleek production involving strings. He details his brokenness as including sexual abuse, fatherlessness, and insecurity. The song is a beautiful tribute to the hurting.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

15. Messengers (feat. for KING & COUNTRY)

The final song is a excellently produced call to action, encouraging Christians to spread the good news of The Bible and features the style of music and perfect vocals of for KING & COUNTRY. The wonderful arrangement of alternative and bolstering music just uplifts and inspires change in all areas of life. It’s an excellent closer to the best album of 2014 and Lecrae’s best work.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion:

Lecrae is a prolific rapper and songwriter. The production of this album is some of the best work done by any artist in any genre. The album inspires, encourages, and entertains to levels that is not seen much in any genre. Lecrae carries the bulk of the album on his back, balancing the themes and tones brilliantly and shares the spotlight wonderfully with acts that compliment his style perfectly. The album is a masterpiece of music and creative expression if their ever was one. The project reaches out and offers help to the hurting, inspires change for the revolutionaries and leaders, and sympathizes with the broken, highlighting his own struggles and past. This album is a necessity of not just rap music, but music in general.

Album Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

Kaleb Koho’s Corner: A Film Recap (January-April 2017)

Kaleb Koho’s Corner: A Film Recap (January-April 2017)

So far, I’ve made twelve trips to the movie theater so far this year to see ten films. I’m impressed with 2017 thus far, having not seen a film I outright disliked. I decided today that I would rank the ten films I’ve seen so far, and preview the top films I’m looking forward to thus far this year.

 

10. Kong: Skull Island17. Kong

Kong looked amazing. This film was a masterpiece of action and visuals. The story and performances left a lot to be desired. Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson felt like forced characters, while Samuel L. Jackson’s revenge plot was lame. The only performance worth mentioning was the fantastic, layered showing from John C. Reilly. His character was well-written and successfully connected with me. While this film was okay to me, it did successfully entice me into returning to Skull Island to see the King Kong face the Godzilla in 2020.

9. Power Rangerspowerrangers_share_1200x600v2

I was very excited for this movie. I love this property and was hoping that the film retained the Chronicle-like elements gifted to it by screenwriter Max Landis. The film did a great job of establishing the world and making realistic characters for the first half of the film and retaining the dark and gritty nature. By the middle, the film abandons the world established for a CGI-heavy megaword fight and cheesy quips that reflect that of the classic 90s TV show. The film had a hard time choosing what it wanted to be. The performances by RJ Cyler (Billy), Dacre Montgomery (Jason), Naomi Scott (Kimberly), and Bill Hader (Alpha) were great, but the film was hindered by Elizabeth Banks and her awkward performance as Rita Repulsa and Bryan Cranston’s sleepy showing as Zordon.

8. The Case for Christnews_img_f_1491238831

The Case for Christ, based on the true story of journalist Lee Strobel, surprised me. I was expecting another Christian family film in the vein of God’s Not Dead. Instead, I got a film that painted a genuine struggle within a man and conflict between him and his loved ones. The film does a good job of displaying both sides of the argument. The cinematography and hair and makeup styling were great. I would be remiss to not mention to brilliant and layered performance by lead actor Mike Vogel. The man did a great job of portraying the role and struggle going on internally.

7. The Lego Batman Movie10. The Lego Batman Movie

This was one of two movies that I made two trips to see. The first time I saw this film, I loved it, enjoying the simple plot, great voice work and nostalgic elements. However, upon a repeat viewing, I was bored and found myself disinterested in the simple plot. The performances from Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, and Zach Galifinakis are still great. The nostalgia loses its touch over time. Overall, your kids will love it, but this is one that only needs one viewing to be satisfied. The first showing, however, is great.

6. The Fate of the Furiousfate-of-the-furious-logo-216895

This franchise is one of my personal favorites, admittedly a guilty pleasure. I rank the fun franchise as such…

  1. Fast and Furious 6
  2. The Fate of the Furious
  3. Fast Five
  4. The Fast and The Furious
  5. Furious 7
  6. The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift
  7. Fast & Furious
  8. 2 Fast 2 Furious

This one is a worthy entry that is, personally, my second favorite Fast film (behind Fast & Furious 6). The action is the best in the franchise so far. Jason Statham is fantastic and Kurt Russell is a treat. F. Gary Gray directs this film very well and you can tell everyone is having fun. I had a blast watching this film.

5. Splitsplit-movie-james-mcavoy-ending

This film is a fantastic thriller. I was surprised by M. Night Shamylan’s work. While I enjoyed The Visit, he hasn’t made a universally praised film since Unbreakable, which lends a hand to this film’s additional appeal. James McAvoy gives the best male performance of the year thus far. He is given the task of creating nine distinct characters for Kevin’s personalities and he succeeds in spades, especially with the creation of M. Night’s new supervillian The Horde.

4. Logan5. Logan

The final outing of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was a beautiful sendoff. Hugh gives a great performance in a film that was written very nicely and directed greatly by James Mangold. Logan nicely captures what we love about Wolverine and gives us a tearjerking farewell to the only man to portray the character in live action.

3. Live By Nighthou_art_20170113_livebynight_headerjpg

There aren’t many gangster epics left in Hollywood. It’s a dying genre. Ben Affleck skillfully adapted the novel Live By Night masterfully. I drank in every frame of the beautiful visuals and loved every minute of story. Ben’s performance left a little to be desired, but his writing and directing are masterful, with great supporting characters that help carry the film.

 

2. Beauty & The Beastlandscape-1478512906-beauty-and-the-beast-movie

This film blew me away. Everything, the direction, performances, music, production design, makeup, costumes, and even the visual effects are stellar. I was skeptical about this film, but I was pleasantly blown away. Emma Watson is excellent. Dan Stevens is great. Luke Evans and Josh Gad are brilliant. Kevin Kline and Ewan McGreggor surprise. The film really is the prime example of how to remake a film: keep the best parts and improve on what didn’t quite work originally. This film is incredible and Disney’s best live action picture.

1. La La Landlala-land

La La Land is one of the greatest films of all time. I said it. Justin Horowitz’s score is fantastic and Damien Chazelle brilliantly writes and directs a masterpiece. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s chemistry is irresistible. Emma deserved her Oscar, as her performance is legendary. This film should have won Best Picture over Moonlight. If you haven’t watched this film, go watch!

 

Top 20 Films I Want To See:

20. Geostormgeostorm-trailer-700x300

  • Releasing October 20th
  • Directed By Dean Devlin and Danny Cannon
  • Written By Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot
  • Starring Gerard Butler and Abbie Cormish
  • Distributed by Warner Bros.

19. Sleightmaxresdefault2

  • Released April 28th
  • Directed by J.D. Dillard
  • Written by J.D. Dillard and Alex Theurer
  • Starring Jacob Latimore and Dulé Hill
  • Distributed by BH Tilt

18. Itit-movie-2017-pennywise-bill-skarsgard

  • Released September 8th
  • Directed by Andrés Muschietti
  • Written by Chase Palmer, Cary Joji Fukunaga, & Gary Dauberman
  • Starring Bill Skarsgård and Finn Wolfhard
  • Distributed by Warner Bros.

17. The Mummythe-mummy-2017-movie

  • Releasing June 9th
  • Directed by Alex Kurtzman
  • Written by Jon Spaihts and Christopher McQuarrie
  • Starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella
  • Distributed by Universal Studios

16. Despicable Me 3

top-25-anticipated-movies-of-2017-june-30th-1303807.jpg

  • Releasing June 30th
  • Directed by Kyle Balda, Piere Coffin, & Eric Guillon
  • Written by Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul
  • Starring Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig
  • Distributed by Universal Studios

15. Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets

top-25-anticipated-movies-of-2017-july-21st-1303808.jpg

  • Releasing July 21st
  • Directed by Luc Besson
  • Written by Luc Besson
  • Starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne
  • Distributed by STX Entertainment

14. Blade Runner 2049

top-25-anticipated-movies-of-2017-october-6th-1303814.jpg

  • Releasing October 6th
  • Directed by Denis Villeneuve
  • Written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green
  • Starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford
  • Distributed by Warner Bros.

13. Bright

bright-jpg.297824.jpg

  • Releasing December 2017
  • Directed by David Ayer
  • Written by Max Landis
  • Starring Will Smith and Naomi Rapace
  • Distributed by Netflix

12. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

top-25-anticipated-movies-of-2017-december-22nd-1303830.jpg

  • Releasing December 20th
  • Directed by Jake Kasdan
  • Written by Chris McKenna, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, & Erik Sommers
  • Starring Dwayne Johnson and Karen Gillian
  • Distributed by Columbia Pictures

11. War for the Planet of the Apes

top-25-anticipated-movies-of-2017-july-14th-1303835.jpg

  • Releasing July 14th
  • Directed by Matt Reeves
  • Written by Matt Reeves and Mark Bomback
  • Starring Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson
  • Distributed by 20th Century Fox

10. Wonder Woman

top-25-anticipated-movies-of-2017-june-2nd-1303841.jpg

  • Releasing June 2nd
  • Directed by Patty Jenkins
  • Written by Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, and Jason Fuchs
  • Starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine
  • Distributed by Warner Bros.

9. Pitch Perfect 3

top-25-anticipated-movies-of-2017-december-22nd-1303847.jpg

  • Releasing December 22nd
  • Directed by Trish Sie
  • Written by Kay Cannon
  • Starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson
  • Distributed by Universal Studios

8. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

top-25-anticipated-movies-of-2017-may-5th-1303856.jpg

  • Releasing May 5th
  • Directed by James Gunn
  • Written by James Gunn
  • Starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana
  • Distributed by Walt Disney (Marvel Studios)

7. Spider-Man: Homecomingspiderman-homecoming-759

  • Releasing July 7th
  • Directed by Jon Watts
  • Written by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Day, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, & Erik Sommers
  • Starring Tom Holland and Michael Keaton
  • Distributed by Walt Disney (Marvel Studios)

6. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedisw-the-last-jedi-tall-b

  • Releasing December 15th
  • Directed by Rian Johnson
  • Written by Rian Johnson
  • Starring Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley
  • Distributed by Walt Disney (LucasArts)

5. Cars 3

au_rich_large_cars3_nr_b9e5af7c.jpeg

  • Releasing June 16th
  • Directed by Brian Fee
  • Starring Owen Wilson and Armie Hammer
  • Distributed by Walt Disney (Pixar Animation Studios)

4. Thor: Ragnarokgallery-1469440016-logo-thor-ragnarok

  • Releasing November 3rd
  • Directed by Taika Waititi
  • Written by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Steohany Folsom, and Eric Pearson
  • Starring Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo
  • Distributed by Walt Disney (Marvel Studios)

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

landscape-1488452253-pirates-of-the-caribbean-poster.jpg

  • Releasing May 26th
  • Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
  • Written by Jeff Nathanson and Terry Rossio
  • Starring Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem
  • Distributed by Walt Disney Studios

2. Justice Leaguebg

  • Releasing November 17th
  • Directed by Zack Snyder
  • Written by Chris Terrio and Zack Snyder
  • Starring Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot
  • Distributed by Warner Bros.

1. Murder on the Orient Express

feature_update2016_101_main.jpg

  • Releasing November 22nd
  • Directed by Kenneth Branagh
  • Written by Michael Green
  • Starring Kennet Branagh, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Lucy Boynton, Judi Dench, Michael Peña, Derek Jacobi, and Leslie Odom Jr.
  • Distributed by 20th Century Fox

 

What film is your favorite so far? What are you most looking forward to seeing? Let me know in the comments below.

Nobody But Me: A Review

Nobody But Me: A Review

Michael Bublé released an album late last year that went very under the radar. Bublé’s self-produced ninth studio album dropped and it is a collection of underrated gems in Bublé’s catalog. Today I will be analyzing Nobody But Me track by track.

1. I Believe In You

This song is an inspirational acoustic piece that stirs the listener and reaffirms and reassures them. The song builds and touches all at once. The chorus is catchy and inspiring, making this song a promising start to a great album. The production is solid and very acoustic. I Believe In You is a gentle and stirring song that immediately makes you forget that this album is self-produced and surprised me. I was instantly sold on music producer Michael Bublé after this song.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

2. My Kind of Girl

Michael Bublé is a crooner. His style is one that has not been approached and attempted for ages before Bublé appeared on the scene in 2003. He has gracefully adapted, remade, and created songs that resurrected the dormant swing music genre years after the greats like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett had passed and retired. This song reaffirms his ability to control massive swing bands and croon into the hearts of listeners. This is Bublé at his most expert and comfortable. This fits right into his catalog with exceptional ease.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

3. Nobody But Me

The title track of the album removes the swing and returns to the pop style we were introduced to on his previous album To Be Loved. Using fun and upbeat pianos and percussion, Bublé sings about how he wants to be the only one to love his girl. The song also incorporates hip-hop influences and features an upbeat rap by Black Thought of The Roots who owns his sixteen bars. Bublé’s vocals are solid and strong here as well.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A+

4. On An Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo de Roma)

This English-Italian hybrid slows things down beautifully and demonstrates Bublé’s crooning vocals perfectly in a new arena. The playful mystique works perfectly with the strings reminiscent of a classic Bing Crosby love song. A very well produced song that is an absolute must for any date or love song playlist.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

5. Today Is Yesterday’s Tomorrow

This song adds harmonicas and bluegrass with his normal brass band and jazz-pop. This upbeat, inspirational tune features Bublé’s best-written song yet and debuts his ability to sudo-rap. This funky pop song is insanely catchy and fun and is a must for any playlist.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

6. The Very Thought of You

Slowing things back down is a great change of pace and allows the listener to catch their breath after the previous jamboree. Utilizing classic strings and harps once more to emulate a classic mystique of lounge music that was perpetuated mainly by Bing Crosby. The crooning vocals are accompanied by acoustic guitars, lounge pianos and jazz drums. It’s an easy listen and a great addition for any relaxation, date, or work playlist.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade A-

7. I Wanna Be Around

Bublé brings his big jazz band back for another lounge song in the vein of Sinatra’s love songs. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before from Bublé’s catalog. It fits right into his repertoire, but I wouldn’t expect to hear him perform this one on his next tour.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

8. Someday (feat. Meghan Trainor)

This song is very pretty and modern. The sudden change of pace and style is much welcomed and is sure to be another hit for the crooner. This duet with pop darling Meghan Trainor is perfect. Their vocals blend beautifully. Meghan is a great duetist, which we knew after her stellar duet with John Legend. The song about desired love is gorgeous and realistic. Utilizing a ukulele for the rhythm was a stroke of genius, working expertly into this bright, beautiful love song.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

9. My Baby Just Cares

We get another jazz lounge song that’s more upbeat and is another safe bet on Bublé’s part. With his swinging brass band and strings meshing together in a fun love song about how his lover cares only for him. Bublé is clearly at home and having fun on this track, presenting himself and his band like Frank Sinatra. A great jazz song that has a nice place on this album. It doesn’t really pop, but it’s perfect for Bublé and his album.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

10. This Love of Mine

Slowing things down again is good after the medium paced swinger we just heard. This string led song is pretty and brings back the 40s love song feel. Bublé carries himself with such bravado as Bennett and Sinatra, and even Elvis in his love songs. A beautiful track for Bublé to croon on. I wouldn’t expect to see this one on tour, however.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

11. Nobody But Me (Alternate w/ Trumpets Version)

This song isn’t enhanced or really affected in any significant way with this alternate version. The trumpet section gets an awkward solo in place of Black Thought’s rap, which I honestly prefer as the better choice than the screechy trumpets. It just sounds like the original version with some altered percussion and louder trumpets in some spots.

Track Rating: 4/10

Grade: C

12. Take You Away

This song is fun and poppy. The song utilizes road trip sounds and fun guitars. This song is a treat and worth the deluxe edition alone. The song features fun trumpets and is perfect for your road trip playlists. It’s a treat to listen to.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

13. God Only Knows

The original ending to the single version of the album, God Only Knows ends things on a somber note, like Ed Sheeran’s ÷. This slow and pretty song serves as a tragic breakup ballad. The song doesn’t even demonstrate Bublé’s crooning abilities, it just ends things sadly for the sake of sympathy. It’s not an impressive song. It’s not provocative. It builds slightly in the bridge, but ends up falling flat. The otherwise well-paced album ends, on both accounts, very flatly with this song and leaves the listener wanting more from Bublé.

Track Rating: 6/10

Grade: B-

Conclusion

Michael Bublé’s ninth studio album is a solid addition to his catalog. It’s certainly not his best album, but it features some gems that are sure to be classics on his resume. Where does Nobody But Me fall in the rankings of his albums? I’ll show you.

  1. Crazy Love
  2. It’s Time
  3. Christmas
  4. Call Me Irresponsible
  5. Nobody But Me
  6. To Be Loved
  7. Michael Bublé
  8. Come Fly With Me
  9. Totally Bublé

 

Therapy Session: A Review

Therapy Session: A Review

NF is a growing, intense presence in the rap game. Priding himself on real music, NF (real name Nate Feuerstein) is a lyricist with darker themes about dealing with internal struggles. His debut album, Mansion, was met with raves as a dark and gritty look into the mind of NF. Therapy Session is his return and serves as a second voyage into the thoughts and mind of NF and won the 2016 Dove Award for Best Hip-Hop/Rap Album, beating out the likes of Andy Mineo (Uncomfortable), Lecrae (Church Clothes 3), Tedashii (This Time Around), and Flame (Forward).

1. Intro 2

The sequel to his award winning “Intro” from Mansion was an inevitability. NF comes out hard and fast in Intro 2, featuring a piano and chorus driven beat to ride. The intense opener sets the stage for what’s to come, and warns fans that if you’re looking for happy songs you’re in the wrong place. This album is full of personal songs and how music is his therapist. The production is intense and instills both a sense of excitement and dread. NF rides this beat like a bull and tames the beast and he comes out hard.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

2. Therapy Session

Therapy Session takes the beat we last heard and slows it down and polishes. NF raps about how music is therapeutic to him and how it’s not just entertaining, it’s real life. He talks about the pressure and real stories that happen after shows. The rant is solidly produced. NF is a lyricist who couples words together in unexpected ways. Therapy Session is a downer, but it’s a rant song that is intriguing to those who are looking for a window into NF’s life.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

3. I Just Wanna Know

The second single off of Therapy Session is faster and features some faster-paced raps and poppies production. NF rides the beat expertly and masterly controls the track. The song talks about people changing and losing trust.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

4. How Could You Leave Us

This piano driven ballad is the most heartbreaking song you will hear for a long time. NF opens up his pure grief and anger and pours it into this song about his mother’s death by drug overdose. The emotional rap is overwhelming and will bring you to tears. The words land just right and the crying in the track only solidify the emotional response. It’s gut wrenching blow that moves the listeners to tears.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

5. Breathe

This slower song has echo-y production and some solid, unique stylistic choices. NF is a good vocalist as well. The slow track talks about everything he gave up to chase his dreams. The industry’s treatment of NF is called into question in this song. Despite some stylistic choices and interesting production, NF doesn’t ride the beat as well as he does in other tracks.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

6. Real

The piano driven style that NF excels in returns in this one. The bells and electronic vocal production is really good. NF hits this beat quickly and moves fast. This track flows quickly and NF goes near supersonic. He really speeds up what otherwise was a depressed first half. The song is pitch for him and his skill. He has some fun with this one and it’s refreshing.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

7. Oh Lord

This song is a wake-up call to Christians and people who claim a faith in God. The track calls out how two-faced and backstabbing humans are to God. He himself confesses that he’s guilty of it too but he really goes in with his wake up call. A fantastic song with great production, the song uses acoustic guitars for the beat, something NF does once an album. The song has very similar feel to “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. The song is an anthem and a song everyone needs to listen to. Like NF says, “ain’t nobody wanna pray until they got something to pray for.”

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

8. I Can Feel It

Starting out with pianos, NF shifts his focus on a more pop-influenced beat similar to Oh Lord. The vocally driven track features a simple hook and some medium-paced raps and talks about his reality. The song is an anthem for change and how to remain positive when the situation seems unfair.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

9. Got You On My Mind

This is NF’s very first love song and it is one for the books. The song goes slow and features vocals more than rap. The Hip-Hop song demonstrates NF’s more human side and talks about how he and his girl met and how much he cares about her. The song is a pretty track that is also soothing, relieving the intensity of the album and NF’s general mantra.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

10. Grindin’ (ft. Marty)

The album picks up big time and presents some work out tracks that are the real bangers of the album. This is the first of three. NF kills his beat and goes in, rapping about how hard he works and how the reason why he’s a top ten rapper is because he works harder at this than anyone else. He really rides this beat and gets his audience hyped. The song is well produced, featuring pianos, bells, and a choir and give some dramatic intensity. Marty’s verse is great and the comedy relief this album has been missing.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

11. Wish You Wouldn’t

Things slow down again and serves as a breakup song, driven by NF’s solid vocals. The raps aren’t here much, it’s just reliant NF and his singing voice. The song is pretty and understated, something NF doesn’t do often, but when he does it, he does it well.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

12. Statement

This is the second banger and is the one where NF gets to show off his speed and lyricism. There’s always one of these towards the end of every NF album. Taking a page from “Motivated” from Mansion, Statement sees him show off his speed and lyricism. He focuses more on the couplets and rhymes and puts to fast tracks. He really goes in on reminding his fans why he’s elite in their eyes.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. All I Do

The third banger on this album is more of a fun anthem. Taking the gritty style beat that NF thrives in and applying it to a bigger song, NF raps about how he’s proud of what he’s doing and why he likes it and one of the best. Production doesn’t really stand out from the rest of the album.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

14. Lost In The Moment (ft. Jonathan Thulin)

The closer of the album is one of the highlight in terms of production. Jonathan’s vocals are meshed with gentle and piano driven beat. NF raps gently about how life shouldn’t be taken so seriously, especially because it’s so short. The song is beautiful ballad telling us how hard life can be. The song is told from the perspective from God who real talks with him about how he’s feeling and how he can’t lie to him and the circle they’ve been stuck. The song is a beautiful song about being honest with yourself.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

 

Conclusion

Overall, NF delivers a less diverse version of Mansion with some bangers and a lot of raw and honest emotion. There a lot of emotional ballads and some fun joints that mesh together to make a pretty advanced package that is better than most rap musicians out there. NF is skilled and elite, but, in terms of production, this album has some highlights, but is ultimately a step down from the diverse package of MansionTherapy Session has some emotional and raw songs that are well written, some more so than the best of Mansion, but the production is pretty much steady repetition throughout, with some obvious exceptions.

Album Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-