JAY-Z – 4:44 Review

This release shows that it is possible for veterans to change up how they operate in the game and still be a success. JAY-Z sheds a little of his armour to shoe a more complex emotional side that resonates with the listener.

The production is much less in your face but without being less powerful. Each is different from the others but still projects the correct atmosphere to enhance the message of the artist. Maybe something with a little more flair could keep a little bit of the old Jay Z alive, but with the point of this album being to get rid of that alter ego, as shown by the first track, it was a good choice not to.

The lyricism is great with JAY-Z showing that while he may have grown as a person, he has kept all his rhyming abilities. Each bar impacts well with the audience, while containing plenty of smart wordplay to increase the descriptive power. Maybe something with more aggression could add another dimension to the album, but would not fit with the overall, running theme.

The features really help this to come to life with the voices of some of the people close to the main artist lending their help. Each helps enhance the song they are on while not detracting from Jay-Z’s performance. Some more guests could help to show his level of influence in the rap game, but Jay-Z has an agenda here and doesn’t allow others to jeopardise it.

Overall, this is a great piece of work to show where JAY-Z is in his life right now. There is always a chance for the resurrection of his old self, but hopefully he continues to move forward and doesn’t fall back.

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DJ Khaled – Grateful Review

This release is full of big names and big tracks that make this a very entertaining listen. With DJ Khaled acting more like a  on this album, only the best tracks make the cut, and this album proves it.

The production is varied but always interesting. Every beat is energetic and works very well with the artists chosen to work on it. There may be something for everyone, but most will appeal to any listener as they are all polished and work as a full listen through as well as individual songs.

The Features on here make this project such a success. All show great skill and have great chemistry with the other artists on the songs as well as DJ Khaled. It is possible that some guests further from his comfort zone may have made some more interesting moments, but DJ Khaled has chosen most of the biggest names in Hip Hop to be a part of this release, and they don’t disappoint.

Overall, this is great for those who want to stick on an album and not use the skip button at all, leaving it to play through. DJ Khaled continues to have enormous success with his albums, but it should be noted that it is mostly down to other artists work. Not to take from Khaled’s ability to bring artists together, but most of the entertainment value is down to the features and not him shouting out during the project.

Nicki Minaj – The Pinkprint Review

This is a pop album with definite Hip Hop roots. While Nicki is known to the general public for her hit pop songs, this project shows she has the lyrical ability to be playing around with some of the Hip Hop heavyweights. However the number of tracks trying to appeal to a wider audience stops this from becoming a purely Hip Hop project.

The production is good and works well with Nicki’s flow. The beats are very well put together and are very modern in sound. This helps enforce the feeling that Nicki is at the forefront of Hip Hop culture and builds atmosphere on the tracks. However it would be¬†interesting to see Nicki try to tackle production with a bit more diversity away from pop culture and more to the streets.

The lyricism is there and is done very well. While not the most complex it is very effective in creating entertaining songs that are easy to listen to and have some good imagery to go with them. Nicki changes her style a couple times which helps to bring a higher level of depth to the project and makes it more enjoyable to listen to.

The features are good and help add some flavour to the mixing pot. Bringing the A-list to this project helps show that Nicki is amoung the elite in the rap game, however also bringing her label mates and rappers who she has good chemistry with makes more cohesive tracks. All of this points towards a good track list and a smooth listen.

Overall, this is a good project if you like Hip Hop music that is blended with pop to create a project that could appeal to both audiences. This is an enjoyable listen and while not being a purist Hip Hops ideal project, it can still be enjoyable.