From the archives a circa 2015 review of Rebecca Ferguson’s Lady Sings the Blues album
This is Rebecca Ferguson; you may remember her from such songs as “Nothing’s Real But Love” and finishing second during X Factor 2010. Previously, we wrote a gushing review of her debut album, Heaven, where I described her as the only credible musician to get their break from the series.
As a result of watching the majority of X Factor 2010, I developed an affection towards her and have followed her career with declining interest as she struggled to follow up her impressive start. Heaven was released in 2011 on Simon Cowell’s Syco Music, with the support of several heavyweight producers and co-writers which created memorable singles like “Glitter and Gold” and “Backtrack”. With the backing of Syco, there was a six month period during 2011 when Rebecca Ferguson became a borderline-household name and her album sold enough to go 2x Platinum in Britain. Then came the dreaded sophomore slump.
2017 has been a breakout year for Migos, the ubiquitous rap group consisting of family members Quavo, Takeoff and Offset. Supported by monster single, “Bad and Boujee”, the group took control of mainstream rap in early 2017 with their album Culture which achieved Platinum certification.
Culture 2 is due towards the end of the year, Quavo’s attempt to tease the project ended in embarrassing fashion. The Atlanta rapper planned to preview some tracks on Instagram Live, which ended in tears when it became clear he’d lost the hard drive containing the album.
Let’s hope the boys had backed Culture 2 up on some sort of cloud-based storage. This is no great loss; I’m sure Migos will get together, smoke cookie in the hot box then mumble some raps about drop tops thots and they’ll be fine.
While we wait for Migos to get their shit together, we’re going to review what will be likely to feature on Culture 2:
Lil Yachty has released his much-anticipated debut studio album Teenage Emotions, a project which seems likely to establish his status as a legitimate force in mainstream hip-hop. Yachty is a controversial figure, especially within rap, where his amateurish lyrics and dinky delivery style put him at odds with the more ‘traditional’ rappers. However, the album fails to deliver on this promise of blazing a new path within the genre. Continue reading →
There was a time when American rap musicians loved Donald Trump; he was regarded as the charismatic ‘billionaire’ celebrity who embodied the aspirational nature of the genre. Many famous rappers came up from a life of poverty to become world famous and rich. Trump was one of many icons who lived a life to envy.
When Trump began campaigning for President of the United States, his bigoted views were exposed before the world. Many who used to glorify his name are now staunch critics of the man in the golden wig.
We’re going to look at how rappers went from calling themselves “the black Trump” to making songs like “Fuck Donald Trump”. We’re examining this genre because many of the artists are African-American and hip-hop is very in-tune to cultural and political shifts.
We’re looking at UK Grime and how the genre has permeated the British chart, creating a time of unprecedented chart success. Interestingly, many of the prominent artists are signed to their own independent labels; finding success away from the major labels.
They have total creative control over their output and have blossomed away from the powerful distribution networks of the big boys. Consider Giggs, who never had an album reach the Top 20 until he went fully independent and hit #2 with Landlord.
We’re going to take you on a journey through the history of the genre and how we got to this stage. But first let’s quickly explain what Grime is: Continue reading →