ARTIST TO WATCH: KEHLANI

Kehlani is making waves on the music scene and grabbing everyone’s attention. Don’t let the tattoos fool you. The 19-year-old Bay Area songstress’s voice will sweep you away as she perfectly blends R&B and Soul.

Although the “FWU” singer dropped her debut project Cloud 19 back in August, she’s been active in music since she was in 8th grade.

Kehlani began her singing career as the lead vocalist in the band Poplyfe, who came in fourth place in season 6 of “America’s Got Talent.” She’s also a dancer and showcases her talents in her videos.

From then the young singer continued to pursue her vision. Kehlani definitely sets herself apart from other artists. Also known as the First Lady of HBK, Kehlani mixes her musical influences as well as a little bit of Oakland in her music.

The queen of the Tsunami Mob is currently touring with G-Eazy on the second half of his “From The Bay To The Universe” tour.

The tour is making it’s way to Nashville Saturday, Jan. 24th at Marathon Music Works and you can check out Kehlani’s talents yourself.

Check out her mixtape Cloud 19 below:

[VIDEO] Eric Bellinger ft. 2 Chainz- Focused On You

Grammy-Award winning crooner, Eric Bellinger released a new single entitled “Focused On You” last month and today he returns with a visual to follow-up. The song is an instant favorite as it samples the classic Nas track “Oochie Wallie.” With the help of Mya enhancing the vocals and the production of Dernst Miles II, a new club favorite has came into fruition. The Focused On You video features cameos from Tyrese, Mya, Kid Ink, and Love & Hip Hop Hollywood’s Mally Mall. The LA shot visual also features 2Chainz relaying his verse. Be on the lookout for Eric Bellinger’s forthcoming album, Cuffing Season.

Rome Fortune & OG Maco Release Collaborative EP Entitled ‘Yep’

Quiet as it is kept, both RomeForture and OGMaco had a pretty awesome 2014.Fortune has had great success with his Beautiful Pimp I & II releases as well as his eclectic 11-track Small VVorld album. Fortune’s unique sound has worked quite well for the Atlanta native. OG Maco,introduced through his U Guessed It, also hails from Atlanta. Maco’s breakout track allowed him to quickly grace the platforms of some of the most influential web outlets. The two collaborated for their latest EP entitled YEP, which features notable production from 808 Mafia, Childish Major, Cubby, Ben Pramuk, and many more. If you’re use to the more recent sounds coming out of Atlanta, GA, this project probably isn’t for you. However, if you understand the different approach these two each hold on their own, you’ll better accept the project.

A few of our favorite tracks include:

Pearls (prod. by Childish Major), which undoubtably holds a feel for something we’d hear from Kid Cudi. Both Fortune and Maco bring their different, creative sounds to this track. Childish Major NEVER disappoints.

Yep (prod. by TM88 of 808 Mafia), 808 Mafia is band of creatives that have been setting fire to anything they touch. In this track, we get a more vibrant, hyped feel for Rome as he even states ‘got me rapping like a Maco.’ With the project being titled ‘Yep,’ this is a track that had to be heat.

Riot (prod. by LC on the Traxx) -this track showcases the screaming heat from Maco we all oddly love. Maco touches on the growing controversy behind artists like Iggy Azalea and Macklemore as far as their take on the rap game. The gentrification of the hip hop/rap genres of music is the focus point on this song, which we enjoy that Maco doesn’t hold his tongue on this topic.

[2L's Spotlight] Nashville Emcee, Burman Offers ‘Free’ Knowledge

Its quite easy to recollect memories in 2010of Nashville native, Burman, standing in closed circles rapping in the streets of Huntsville, AL for an annual rap event to showcase your talents. Although many could not see the talent in the Oakwood University student, it was clear that he and his Free Nation family were well beyond their time.

Fast forwarding to the present, Burman has continued to work hard at his craft and build a solid foundation for his name. Burman isn’t your ordinary emcee as he focuses his raps over beats that relay a 1999 feel and raps of original subject matter. After releasing his Nothing To Something EP last year, Burman has immediately began writing new content to keep his listeners on their toes. Recently, he released a new tracks entitled Slick Weak & Letterman. Both tracks are offerings that showcase a nostalgic approach. It is evident that the South is the battlegrounds for some of the most unique emcees coming into the game seeking to shed the light on the original hip hop culture. Check out some of Burman’s tracks below and get more familar with him via Soundcloud.

Letterman (prod. by 808 Beats)


 

Slick Weak (prod. by GoldSoul)

Who Is G.O.O.D. Music’s Kacey Hill?

Kacey Hill is G.O.O.D. Music’s newest signee, but what led to her earning a spot on one of hip-hop’s greatest music regimes? It seems like the young songstress popped out of nowhere. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Hill currently resides in Los Angeles. Under M Model Management she has done work with American Apparel and was also one of the models on Kanye’s Yeezus tour.

Kacey released her debut single “Experience” back in September. So far this is the only music from the new artist, but if Kanye is rocking with her expect nothing but greatness from G.O.O.D. Music’s new addition.

Peep the video for “Experience” below:

REVIEW: J. Cole “2014 Forrest Hills Drive”

J. Cole’s third studio album is a breath of fresh air that inspires hope for hip-hop going into 2015. Cole breaks barriers with this new release. The album dropped with no singles which is something the rapper hasn’t done before. After hearing the strength of the product it’s hard to see how one would even begin the process of trying to pick a single with so many great tracks. Cole is like an open book with this project, and each song reveals his growth.

 2014 Forrest Hills Drive solidifies J. Cole’s position as a great story teller and lyricists.  Throughout the album he tackles popular topics such as the state of hip-hop, cultural controversies, and demons of his own. The concept and theme of the album is portrayed well. The title of the album is the address of Cole’s childhood home and the songs reflect him reminiscing on growing up and coming back home now.

The intro to the album encompasses all of that. Cole asks “Do you want to be happy? Do you want to be free?,” and goes on talk about looking at how far he’s come. The best line from the intro has to be “they say that dreams come true and when they do it’s a beautiful thing.”

“Wet Dreamz”, “’03 Adolescence”, and “A Tale of 2 Citiez” are great examples of his ability to weave a story together over a beat. “Wet Dreamz details the story of his first time with the catchy hook “I ain’t never did this before” over a sped up sample of “Mariya” by Family Circle.

“’03 Adolescence” reveals thoughts and memories of growing up in Fayetteville. The best part about this track is the conversation Cole has with his friend who gives him a reality check and makes him grateful for what he has.

“A Tale of 2 Citiez” is a favorite off the album. The beat alone gets you hooked, and then the title plays into the song as it describes two different points of view of a robbery.

The next set of tracks are heavy-hitters on the project. In “Fire Squad” J. Cole takes the crown as the hottest artist and in the same song destroys the title. He blames rappers trying to out do each other and fight for a title is the reason why artists like Macklemore and Iggy Azalea can come in and steal “Album of the Year” awards. The song is a wake up call for hip-hop.

“St. Tropez” feeds into the next song on the track. It describes how at this point Cole has made it and is successful.

“G.O.M.D.” is definitely one of the best songs on the album, and one of the singles. J discusses issues with naysayers from his home town and sums up how he feels about thoughts on him “going Hollywood” in 4 words. There’s also insight to his relationship and his faithfulness, or lack of.

“No Role Modelz” would’ve made a great single for the album. The hook locks you in but there’s a lot of meaning in this track. Cole describes not having any role models to look up to, the lack of good relationships, and girls who are obsessed with living the life of women depicted in reality TV shows. “Fool me one time shame on you. Fool me twice, can’t put the blame on you. Fool me three times, f*** the peace sign, load the chopper, let it rain on you” in my opinion are the hottest lines of the song.

The album wraps up with what I like to call “sit back and think” tracks. The beats are a little slower but it allows you to focus on what he’s saying.

“Hello” seems to be an ode to someone in his past, and he’s telling them about where he’s at in life. The title seems fitting. He rhymes like he hasn’t talked to them in a long time. Cole also discusses the emotion that comes with reminiscing on certain things.

“Apparently” is the first single for the album. This and the album intro are the only songs with visuals so far. This is another standout track. Cole starts out pretty much saying he can say what he want. He’s so open and truthful in the first verse. He details the foreclosure of his childhood home as well as his relationship with his mother. The gist of the song is despite everything there’s still people that believe in him. It’s really beautiful and the video is minimalistic but made me love the song even more. Peep the video below:

“Love Yourz” and “Note to Self” wrap up the album. “Note to Self” also serves as the his “thank you’s” for those that were involved. The track is 14 minutes long but definitely worth listening to the whole thing at least once.

The album is solid and just what I needed. J. Cole is one of those artists that can put out bodies of work that somehow correlate with what’s going on in your life at the moment. There’s always something you can pick out in each song that speaks directly to you. The debate is whether the project holds up to Born Sinner. I can’t compare the two. They both serve different purposes and have different concepts. A lot has happened between the two albums. In my opinion the only thing different between Born Sinner and 2014 Forrest Hills Drive is more songs and features on the sophmore album. But 2014 Forrest Hills Drive wasn’t meant to do what  Born Sinner did, and definitely shows that J. Cole can hold his own over an entire album. There’s a lot of artists you know you can’t listen to unless there’s a feature, and half the time the feature is why you’re listening in the first place.

The album is personal and real. Cole is so open and honest. I think the concept behind it is great and  the timing for the project is perfect. There isn’t one song I can bring myself to skip over. Be sure to support and buy it (leak lovers)!

 

RECAP: Anthony Hamilton’s Home For The Holidays at The Schermerhorn

Anthony Hamilton brought his Home For The Holidays tour to Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center Monday night. Hamilton came straight from his Memphis show to the music city, but you couldn’t tell from the level of energy on stage. Anthony and his band were suited up and ready to put on a great show. Fans loved Anthony’s presence. Hardly anyone could stay in their seat for long. The soul-singer was very interactive with the crowd, often telling jokes with the audience. Even those seated in the upper levels and behind the singer felt apart of the show. Hamilton of course performed crowd favorites such as “Coming From Where I’m From” and “Can’t Let Go,” as well as songs from his current album. The Grammy-nominated artist also sat down with 2Ls to discuss the making of Home For The Holidays, his role on Empire coming in January, and the controversy of the Mike Brown verdict.

Welcome to Nashville. This isn’t your first time here is it?

No, I’ve been here a few times.

You just finished performing here at the Schermerhorn. The performance was amazing. A lot of energy and you were very interactive with the crowd. How do you feel about the show and your performance?

It’s about being an artist, and allowing people to be apart of the show. I feel great about it. I feel like the crowd got exactly what they wanted to feel. I think it came over well.

I want to get into the album. Your last album was Back to Love in 2011. What made you want to come back with a Christmas album?

In between times you think of ways creatively; what you can do to expand your brand. I felt like a holiday album, me and my team felt like a holiday album would be good. So I put some thought into it and I was like “You know what? I kind of always wanted to do a Christmas album.” I might as well put it together now, and I thought that the timing was right.

How long did you work on the album?

It took me about maybe a year. I started it and then I stopped. Then I went full speed with it.

You remade a lot of classics on this album. Was there a song that was you’re favorite to remake?

Wow. That’s a good question. Anything Al Green probably. Anything Bobby Womack; anything Otis Redding.

You also have a role in the upcoming show Empire as well?

Well I was called in to do the part. It’s a great series and a music based series. You know Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard. I’ve worked with them before and it was great to be directed by John Singleton.

Can you tell us what the show is about?

It’s about a mogul that gets out and is trying to start his musical empire up. They call me in to be apart of a beautiful occasion for him……I can’t give more away.

So you can’t give us a little hint about your character or anything?

Well I’m going to be looking pretty good.

You performed a ton of crowd favorites tonight. But I want to go back to a song you did with Jadakiss called “Why” and relate that to everything that’s going on with Mike Brown and Eric Garner. How do you feel about everything that’s going on?

I feel like injustice is injustice. I feel like we need more people to stand up; more leaders who are strong. I feel like a lot of times we lay down and let stuff happen to us as a people.

They try to devalue who we are; what we were. It’s so blatant. I feel like it’s injustice and somebody is going to have to do something., or it’s not going to be a beautiful thing if it continues to happen.

Do you think there’s a chance of it getting better at this point?

It’s going to have to. People are tired; my people are tired. A lot of people are tired so it’s going to have to get better.

2Ls stands for “living life.” If you were to say “I’m living life in spite of….” how would you finish that sentence?

I’m living life in spite of all of my hardships.

NEWS: J. Cole Announces “2014 Forest Hills Drive”

Rumors of J. Cole dropping a new album next month are confirmed with his announcement of 2014 Forest Hills Drive. The surprise album due out Dec. 9 is now available for pre-order on Amazon and iTunes.

Cole, who’s usually quiet on social media, revealed the album artwork on his Twitter and Instagram as well as releasing a seven-minute trailer for the upcoming project.

 He also revealed that he isn’t dropping any singles from the record before its release.

What up? My New Album is finished. It’s called 2014 Forest Hills Drive and it’s very special to me. It’s available everywhere on 12/9. This time I’m releasing no singles, just the album. See you in 3 weeks. Thank you for the love and support.

- Cole

His sophomore album Born Sinner was released June 2013 against Kanye West’s Yeezus. Cole puts himself against another heavy-hitter again with the first part of Lil Wayne’s Carter V set to be released the same day.

 

NEW MUSIC: Azealia Banks Releases Debut Album

Azealia Banks takes the Beyonce route and randomly blesses us with her debut album Broke With Expensive Taste.

Banks teased fans on Instagram with a post of the album’s artwork before releasing the project on iTunes hours later.

BWET was originally set to drop back in Fall 2012, but suffered multiple delays. After Azealia left Universal it seemed like the album would never be released.

Banks fans, aka the KUNTBRIGADE, can enjoy hits off her mixtape Fantasea as well as new material on the 16-song set.

Peep the tracklist below:

Broke With Expensive Taste 

1. “Idle Delilah”
2. “Gimme a Chance”
3. “Desperado”
4. “JFK” feat. Theophilus London
5. “212″ feat. Lazy Jay
6. “Wallace”
7. “Heavy Metal and Reflective”
8. “BBD”
9. “Ice Princess”
10. “Yung Rapunxel”
11. “Soda”
12. “Chasing Time”
13. “Luxury”
14. “Nude Beach A-Go-Go”
15. “Miss Amor”
16. “Miss Camaraderie”
 

NEW MUSIC: Tyga – Make It Work

Tyga drops off a new track that MIGHT be a shot at Drake.

Tyga recently sat down with Vibe and revealed his true thoughts regarding the Young Money crew, Drake in particular.

“I don’t like Drake as a person. He’s just fake to me.” – Tyga to Vibe

He also shared his opinion on twitter.

Rumors are that Drake smashed Tyga’s ex Blacc Chyna which may be the reason for the beef. Drake added fuel to the fire when he liked a some of her pictures on Instagram.

Tyga spits on “Make It Work”:

Sleepin’ with the enemy, It’s like hangin’ on a rope

N*gga never was my homie, all these bitches know you’re corny n*gga.

Check the drop below. Do you think Tyga and Drake will “take it there” like he says?