Posts Tagged ‘kendrick lamar’


January 2022 – Music Edition

February 2, 2022


Che Noir – Food For Thought

Top 25 Most Played Albums of January 2022 (* indicates new album in January)

  1. *Che Noir – Food For Thought
  2. *The Weeknd – Dawn FM
  3. J Dilla – Donuts (2005)
  4. Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
  5. Roddy Ricch – Live Life Fast
  6. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter II (2005)
  7. *Gunna – DS4EVER
  8. Baby Keem – The Melodic Blue
  9. Mos Def – Black On Both Sides (1999)
  10. Nas – Magic
  11. Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele (2000)
  12. *Cordae – From a Birds Eye View
  13. Roc Marciano – Reloaded
  14. *FKA twigs – CAPRISONGS
  15. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III (2008)
  16. Nas – King’s Disease II
  17. Ghostface Killah – Ironman (1996)
  18. Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales
  19. Lil Wayne – SQ4 (2004?)
  20. Adele – 30
  21. Big Boi & Sleepy Brown – The Sleepover
  22. Lil Wayne – Sorry 4 the Wait (2011)
  23. Labrinth – Euphoria Soundtrack (2019)
  24. The Roots – Undun (2011)
  25. Mac Miller – Circles (2020)

The 25 Most Played Artists of January

  1. Che Noir
  2. Lil Wayne
  3. The Weeknd
  4. The Roots
  5. J Dilla
  6. Nas
  7. Little Simz
  8. Ghostface Killah
  9. Roddy Ricch
  10. AZ
  11. Gunna
  12. Baby Keem
  13. Mos Def
  14. Cordae
  15. Roc Marciano
  16. FKA twigs
  17. Mach-Hommy
  18. Westside Gunn
  19. Jazmine Sullivan
  20. Adele
  21. Big Boi
  22. Conway the Machine
  23. Labrinth
  24. Mac Miller
  25. Ransom

Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020s Bangers Playlist
January 2022 Additions:

AZ, “Jewels for Life”
Baby Keem, “trademark usa”
Big Boi & Sleepy Brown, “The Big Sleep”
Che Noir, “Brains For Dinner”
Che Noir, “Communion”
Che Noir, “Table For 3” (feat. Ransom & 38 Spesh)
Dr. Dre, “Eta” (feat. Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes, & Snoop Dogg)
Dr. Dre, “Gospel” (feat. Eminem)
FKA twigs, “careless” (feat. daniel caesar)
FKA twigs, “tears in the club” (feat. The Weeknd)
Lute, “Birdsong” (feat. JID & Saba)
Lute, “Overnight”
Nas, “Speechless”
Nas, “Meet Joe Black”
Nas, “Wave Gods” (feat. A$AP Rocky)
Nas, “40-16 Building”
Ransom & Rome Streetz, “Claudine” (feat. Che Noir)
Roddy Ricch, “rollercoastin”
Roddy Ricch, “don’t i” (feat. Gunna)
Wale, “Poke It Out” (feat. J. Cole)
The Weeknd, “Take My Breath”
The Weeknd, “Sacrifice”
The Weeknd, “Out of Time”


2021 Year In Review – Music Edition

January 2, 2022


Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together

Top Albums of 2021 (in alphabetical order)

Adele – 30 (Pop)
Benny the Butcher – The Plugs I Met 2 (Rap)
Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together (Rap)
Isaiah Rashad – The House Is Burning (Rap)
J.Cole – The Off-Season (Rap)
Kanye West – Donda (Rap)
Nas – King’s Disease II (Rap)
Nas – Magic (Rap)
Olivia Rodrigo – SOUR (Pop)
Silk Sonic – An Evening with Silk Sonic (Pop)
Tyler, the Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST (Rap)

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

AZ – Doe or Die II (Rap)
Boldy James & The Alchemist – Bo Jackson (Rap)
Conway the Machine – La Maquina (Rap)
Grip – I Died For This!? (Rap)
Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (Rap)
Lute – Gold Mouf (Rap)
Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti (Rap)
Skyzoo – All the Brilliant Things (Rap)
Tash Sultana – Terra Firma (Alternative Rock)
Westside Gunn – Hitler Wears Hermes 8: sides A & B (Rap)

Top 25 Most Played Albums of 2021

  1. J. Cole – The Off-Season
  2. Isaiah Rashad – The House is Burning
  3. Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together
  4. Kanye West – Donda
  5. Nas – King’s Disease II
  6. Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti
  7. Benny the Butcher – The Plugs I Met 2
  8. DMX – Exodus
  9. MC Eiht – LESSONS (2020)
  10. The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death (1997)
  11. Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter (2020)
  12. Tash Sultana – Terra Firma
  13. Conway the Machine – La Maquina
  14. Tyrone’s Jacket – Tyrone’s Jacket (2020)
  15. Tyler, The Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
  16. Grip – I Died for This!?
  17. Toby Ganger – Free Machine (unreleased)
  18. Pink Sweat$ – Pink Planet
  19. Drake – Certified Lover Boy
  20. Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over the Country
  21. Ghetts – Conflict of Interest
  22. Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By – Side B
  23. Nyck Caution – Anywhere But Here
  24. Vince Staples – Vince Staples
  25. Courtney Bell – Poverty Stricken (2020)

The 50 Most Played Artists of 2021

  1. J. Cole
  2. Benny the Butcher
  3. Isaiah Rashad
  4. Nas
  5. Eminem
  6. Kanye West
  7. DMX
  8. Scarface
  9. Dave
  10. Kool G Rap
  11. Lana Del Rey
  12. The Notorious B.I.G.
  13. Big K.R.I.T.
  14. Boldy James
  15. Vince Staples
  16. Sa-Roc
  17. Conway the Machine
  18. MF DOOM
  19. Mach-Hommy
  20. KOTA the Friend
  21. Westside Gunn
  22. Drake
  23. MC Eiht
  24. Outkast
  25. Yelawolf
  26. Dua Lipa
  27. Kendrick Lamar
  28. Mac Miller
  29. Tyler, the Creator
  30. Tash Sultana
  31. Jessie Ware
  32. Lil Wayne
  33. Tyrone’s Jacket
  34. Grip
  35. Pink Sweat$
  36. Toby Ganger
  37. Adele
  38. Freddie Gibbs
  39. Ghetts
  40. Nyck Caution
  41. Snoop Dogg
  42. Elzhi
  43. Jadakiss
  44. AZ
  46. Courtney Bell
  47. Devin the Dude
  48. Emotional Oranges
  49. Evidence
  50. Kali Uchis

Top 25 Most Played Artist of December (* indicates released new album last month)

  1. Nas *
  2. Elzhi
  3. The Beatles
  4. Lil Wayne
  5. DJ Quik
  6. Adele
  7. Roddy Ricch *
  8. Big Boi *
  9. Dave
  10. Brother Ali
  11. Kanye West
  12. Russ *
  13. Westside Gunn
  14. Benny the Butcher
  15. Boldy James *
  16. Silk Sonic
  17. Porter Robinson
  18. Khalid *
  19. Big K.R.I.T.
  20. Cozz *
  21. LE$ *
  22. Young Thug
  23. Ghostface Killah
  24. Isaiah Rashad
  25. J. Cole

Top 50 Most Played Artists of All-Time (since like late summer 2020) [last year’s ranking in brackets]

  1. Eminem [1]
  2. Benny the Butcher [2]
  3. Nas [10]
  4. J. Cole [unranked]
  5. Conway the Machine [4]
  6. Lil Wayne [3]
  7. Kanye West [unranked]
  8. MC Eiht [6]
  9. Scarface [unranked]
  10. Isaiah Rashad [unranked]
  11. DMX [unranked]
  12. Black Thought / The Roots [5]
  13. Sa-Roc [24]
  14. Che Noir [7]
  15. Boldy James [29]
  16. Lana Del Rey [unranked]
  17. Toby Ganger [16]
  18. Westside Gunn [26]
  19. Dave [unranked]
  20. Kool G Rap [unranked]
  21. Amine [9]
  22. Outkast / Big Boi [unranked]
  23. The Lox / Jadakiss [37]
  24. Dua Lipa [30]
  25. MF DOOM [unranked]
  26. 38 Spesh [14]
  27. Spillage Village / Earthgang [8]
  28. Mac Miller [48]
  29. Dueling Experts / Recognize Ali [15]
  30. Ty Dolla $ign [12]
  31. The Notorious B.I.G. [unranked]
  32. Ransom [31]
  33. Tyrone’s Jacket [44]
  34. KOTA the Friend [unranked]
  35. Berner [11]
  36. Big K.R.I.T. [unranked]
  37. Jessie Ware [unranked]
  38. Elzhi [49]
  39. Busta Rhymes [13]
  40. Vince Staples [unranked]
  41. Kid Cudi [46]
  42. The Weeknd [17]
  43. Drake [unranked]
  44. Kendrick Lamar [unranked]
  45. Pop Smoke [28]
  46. Blu [22]
  47. Flip Huston [19]
  48. Mach-Hommy [unranked]
  49. Freddie Gibbs [unranked]
  50. Brother Ali [42]

Dropped Out: R.A. the Rugged Man [18], Big Sean [20], 21 Savage & Metro Boomin [23], Felt [25], T.I. [27], Goodie Mob [34], Ariana Grande [35], CunninLynguists [36], Jaden Smith [38], Dinner Party [39], Future [40], Kaash Paige [41], Deante Hitchcock [43], Rich Brian [45], Dave East [47], Ice Cube [50]

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020 Bangers Playlist
2021 Bangers Playlist


August to November 2021 Music Ratings

December 10, 2021


Adele – 30


10 – Masterpiece
9 – Amazing
8 – Great
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended
5 – Decent
4 – Lackluster

3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Trash

Top 25 Albums from August 1st to November 29th

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to (scrobbles) over the past month. Previous ranking in brackets. Year of release in parentheses if it’s not 2020 or 2021.

**indicates November release

  1. Isaiah Rashad – The House is Burning – 7+
  2. Kanye West – Donda – 7
  3. Nas – King’s Disease II – 8
  4. Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together – 9
  5. Grip – I Died for This!? – 7
  6. Drake – Certified Lover Boy – 5+
  7. Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti – 6+
  8. Travis Thompson – BVLD BOY – 6+
  9. Big K.R.I.T. – It’s Better This Way
  10. Boldy James & The Alchemist – Bo Jackson – 6+
  11. AZ – Doe or Die II – 7+
  12. Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert – 7+
  13. Olivia Rodrigo – SOUR – 7
  14. **Adele – 30 – 8+
  15. DMX – Exodus – 6
  16. Baby Keem – The Melodic Blue – 5+
  17. Benny the Butcher – Pyrex Picasso – 6+
  18. Big K.R.I.T. – A Style Not Quite Free
  19. *Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak) – An Evening With Silk Sonic – 8+
  20. Westside Gunn – Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Side B – 6+
  21. D Smoke – War & Wonders – 6
  22. Skyzoo – All the Brilliant Things – 7+
  23. Lute – Gold Mouf – 7+
  24. Tyler, The Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST – 7
  25. Westside Gunn – Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely Adolf – 6+

The 25 Artists I Listened To the Most last three months

  1. Kanye West
  2. Isaiah Rashad
  3. Nas
  4. Dave
  5. Big K.R.I.T.
  6. Eminem
  7. Grip
  8. Outkast
  9. Westside Gunn
  10. Drake
  11. Benny the Butcher
  12. Travis Thompson
  13. AZ
  14. Mach-Hommy
  15. Boldy James
  16. Lana Del Rey
  17. Little Simz
  18. Adele
  19. Olivio Rodrigo
  20. DMX
  21. Halsey
  22. Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak)
  23. Baby Keem
  24. D Smoke
  25. Skyzoo

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020 Bangers Playlist
2021 Bangers Playlist


June & July 2021 Music Ratings

August 16, 2021


Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together


10 – Masterpiece
9 – Amazing
8 – Great
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended
5 – Decent
4 – Lackluster

3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Trash

Top 25 Albums from June 1st to July 31st

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to (scrobbles) over the past month. Previous ranking in brackets. Year of release in parentheses if it’s not 2020 or 2021.

*indicates June/July 2021 release

  1. *Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together
  2. J.Cole – The Off-Season
  3. *Tyler, The Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
  4. *LLoyd Banks – The Course of the Inevitable
  5. *Evidence – Unlearning, Vol. 1
  6. DMX – Exodus
  7. *Vince Staples – Vince Staples
  8. Scarface – My Homies (1998)
  9. Kool G Rap – Return of the Don (2017)
  10. *HRSMN (Canibus, Kurupt, Killah Priest, Ras Kass) – The Last Ride
  11. *Isaiah Rashad – The House is Burning
  14. Yelawolf & DJ Muggs – Mile Zero
  15. *H.E.R. – Back of My Mind
  17. Kool G Rap – Riches, Royalty & Respect (2011)
  18. Kool G Rap – The Giancana Story (2002)
  19. *Smoke DZA – The Hustler’s Catalog 2
  20. *Sy Ari Da Kid – Sy Ari Not Sorry
  21. Kool G Rap – Roots of Evil (1998)
  22. Wu-Tang Clan – Wu-Tang Forever (1997)
  23. *Emotional Oranges – The Juicebox
  24. Kool G Rap – Live and Let Die (1992)
  25. Kanye West – Late Registration (2005)

Comments: Recent albums that are absolutely must listens: J. Cole, Tyler the Creator, Isaiah Rashad, and I think Dave just dropped the 2021 Album of the Year so far.

The 25 Artists I Listened To the Most in June & July

  1. Kool G Rap
  2. Scarface
  3. Dave
  4. J. Cole
  5. Yelawolf
  6. Tyler, The Creator
  7. Lloyd Banks
  8. Evidence
  9. Benny the Butcher
  10. Vince Staples
  11. DMX
  12. Wu-Tang Clan
  13. Isaiah Rashad
  14. Kanye West
  15. Ransom
  16. Lana Del Rey
  17. Eminem
  18. HRSMN
  19. Sa-Roc
  21. H.E.R.
  22. King Blitz
  23. Pop Smoke
  24. IDK
  25. Smoke DZA
  26. Sy Ari Da Kid

Comments: My biggest focus over the past couple months was going through the discographies of a couple of hip-hop legends: Kool G Rap and Scarface. I’ve always been a casual fan of KGR, but I have to admit I’ve never really dug into his music too much and it’s hard to have a valid opinion on someone’s place in hip-hop history if you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Old school heads love to put G Rap in their top 20 so not being able to debate that claim intelligently is something I felt like I needed to fix. After listening to basically every project he’s ever made, I think KGR is a great rapper that deserves more credit from the current generation, but I’m not really seeing someone I’d seriously consider for my top 20. He’s vocally nice and lyrically great, but I wasn’t blown away by his discography – it just doesn’t have the versatility or emotional depth I’d like to see from someone I’d consider in my all-time favorites. Scarface, on the other hand, is a fringe top 10 rapper of all-time. His discog is amazing and he’s someone that has evolved with the times and was still completely relevant as recently as the mid-to-late 2010s. The Fix is an absolute masterpiece of a rap album. Every song is a pure banger. It really looked like Covid and the pandemic might take Scarface away from us, but he fought through it and survived and hopefully he will bless us with more great music eventually.

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020 Bangers Playlist
2021 Bangers Playlist

You can click the link above to see my most recent additions to either playlist, but I’m not going to list them here because it’s the middle of June and I don’t which songs I added in May and which ones I’ve added in June, so I’ll just post them all in my next writeup.


May 2021 Music Ratings

June 16, 2021


J. Cole – The Off-Season


10 – Masterpiece
9 – Amazing
8 – Great
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended
5 – Decent
4 – Lackluster

3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Trash

Top 20 Albums in May

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to (scrobbles) over the past month. Previous ranking in brackets. Year of release in parentheses if it’s not 2020 or 2021.

*indicates May 2021 release

  1. *J. Cole – The Off-Season – 8+
  2. *Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti – 7+
  3. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06 (2015) – 7+
  4. Westside Boogie – Everythings For Sale (2019) – 8+
  5. *DMX – Exodus – 7+
  6. *Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter (Deluxe) – 8+
  8. *Benny the Butcher & 38 Spesh – Trust the Sopranos – 6+
  9. Eminem – Kamikaze (2018) – 6+
  10. Pink Sweat$ – Pink Planet [17] – 6+
  11. Mac Miller – Faces (2014)
  12. *DJ Khaled – Khaled Khaled
  13. JID – The Never Story (2017)
  14. Tash Sultana – Terra Firma – 7+
  15. Yelawolf – Mud Mouth
  16. JID – Dicaprio 2 (2018)
  17. Toby Ganger – Free Machine – 8+
  18. Inverse – So Far (2008) – 7+
  19. Devin the Dude – Soulful Distance – 6+
  20. Guapdad 4000 – 1176
  21. Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over the Country Club [20] – 6+
  22. Mello Music Group – Bushido

Comments: Almost no holdovers from the previous month, as I continued to work older albums into my regular rotation. May belonged to J. Cole though. I listened to his new album so much already that he went from unranked in my top 25 most listened to artists of 2021 to #1 on the list below. I’m a big fan of the album. I think every song is good. I can’t say I had high expectations for a new DMX album since he hasn’t made good music for like 15 years now, but this new album is pretty damn good. Certainly anyone that’s been a loyal fan all this time will enjoy it and even those of us that abandoned ship long ago should give it a listen. The production is substantially better than on any of his most recent releases and while X is far from sounding in prime form, his vocals are improved. Plus he also has some stellar features on the album. Imagine Benny the Butcher going half a year without releasing a new project. I’m officially starting my JID and Vince Staples anticipation phase.

The 25 Artists I’ve Listened To the Most in 2021

  1. J. Cole [unranked]
  2. DMX [unranked]
  3. The Notorious B.I.G. [1]
  4. Benny the Butcher [5]
  5. Eminem [2]
  6. MF DOOM [4]
  7. MC Eiht [3]
  8. Sa-Roc [14]
  9. Conway the Machine [unranked]
  10. Mac Miller [25]
  11. Tash Sultana [8]
  12. Lana Del Rey [18]
  13. Tyrone’s Jacket [12]
  14. KOTA the Friend [15]
  15. Dua Lipa [13]
  16. Pink Sweat$ [unranked]
  17. Toby Ganger [unranked]
  18. Kali Uchis [23]
  19. Kendrick Lamar [unranked]
  20. Kid Cudi [6]
  21. Courtney Bell [7]
  22. Snoop Dogg [unranked]
  23. Scarface [unranked]
  24. Boldy James [9]
  25. Nyck Caution [10]

Comments: Since I last updated this two months ago, J. Cole released a new album and DMX passed away and then released a posthumous album so they went from outside my top 25 through March to my two most listened to artists of the year. Conway also got a similar bump thanks to yet another new project. I’ve been listening to a lot of TDE lately since all their artists are due to drop this summer. Almost all of them fell shy of my top 25 here, but Kendrick cracked the list and I expect him to keep climbing it, especially if his long overdue follow-up to 2017’s DAMN. finally drops.   

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020 Bangers Playlist
2021 Bangers Playlist

You can click the link above to see my most recent additions to either playlist, but I’m not going to list them here because it’s the middle of June and I don’t which songs I added in May and which ones I’ve added in June, so I’ll just post them all in my next writeup.


The DAMN. Tour featuring Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, and D.R.A.M.

August 4, 2017

Seeing Kendrick Lamar live was an obvious bucket list item for someone that is already hailing him as the greatest hip-hop artist ever, so I had my alarm set for ten minutes before tickets went on sale. I have to say I was worried about my chances since I got shut out on Adele tickets last year even though I was similarly prepared. Somehow the Adele show sold out entirely within seconds of tickets going on sale to the public – something I still can’t wrap my head around to this day. So when I had success with Kendrick tickets on my first try I just snatched up the first seats I saw and hoped for the best (more on that later).

For those of you that have read this post about my recent anxiety issues, it will come as no surprise that I decided to pass on driving myself to and from the Tacoma Dome, so I took an Uber to downtown Tacoma and met up with a friend for dinner before the show.

We managed to get to our seats about 10-15 minutes before show time and amazingly – and unprecedented for a rap show – the lights dimmed at 7:29, one minute before the show was scheduled to start and D.R.A.M. came out to perform with roughly half the stadium still empty. I liked D.R.A.M.’s album and consider myself a fan so far, but my buddy had no clue who he was and I really didn’t care to see him perform live so we mostly just talked through his entire set. The crowd didn’t seem to care too much either as they really only responded enthusiastically when he closed out his set with his most popular track “Broccoli.”

I was excited to see Travis Scott. I consider him to be the absolute best of the mumble rap/autotune guys and his Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight is a clinic on constructing hit songs. Needless to say, I was looking forward to seeing him bring that album to life in a live setting.

At this point, I feel it’s worth mentioning where our seats were located. We were located off to the side of the stage in the upper deck about 15 rows away from the top of the dome. In other words, our seats were total garbage. As an adult that can afford nice things for myself, one of my rules is that I don’t go to live events and sit in crappy seats. What’s the point? If I’m going to go to a game or a show, I’m going to cough up the extra money and sit close enough that I feel involved in the action and can actually see the people I came to watch. In this case, I sort of panicked and bought the first seats that were available. Those damn Adele tickets. I would have happily paid $200ish to sit on the floor and be able to see what was happening on stage.

But we were in binoculars territory and the production didn’t help things by adding a smoky graphic to the monitors and making Travis Scott impossible to see on the big screens as well. And the sound was bad too. I don’t know if it was because of where we were sitting or if the sound was actually bad for everyone, but the music sounded more like angry noise and I pretty much couldn’t understand anything Travis Scott was saying throughout his entire set. The lackluster sound, terrible seats, and useless big screens made Travis’ set far less enjoyable than it should have been. Still, the man has a number of hits and his energy was good, so my enjoyment was hindered by the production and not his music or his abilities. I was kind of surprised when Travis closed with “Goosebumps,” his song with Kendrick, because it almost certainly meant they weren’t going to perform it together. The headliner is just never going to pop out for the first time to do a verse on one of his opener’s songs. Still, “Goosebumps” easily got the best reception from the crowd and the Tacoma Dome was jamming during this song.

Finally, it was Kendrick Lamar time and unsurprisingly Kung Fu Kenny’s set had a martial arts theme throughout. Thankfully, the production decided to skip any visual effects on the screen during Kendrick’s set so you could actually see him on the screen and it’s pretty cool to see an artist genuinely smiling because the audience is fully invested in his music. And it was pretty amazing watching the whole audience moving with the songs and singing along. In fact, when Kendrick did “HUMBLE.” he rapped most of the first verse and then let the crowd finish it off and do the rest of the song acapella. It was quite the sight. Something someone like D.R.A.M. wouldn’t be able to pull off. I can’t even imagine how satisfying it would be to have 20,000 people rapping your lyrics in unison while you just sit there admiring how much all your hard work has paid off. Kendrick did most of the songs off DAMN. and a number of classics off Good Kid M.A.D.D. City. “Did ya’ll remember?” Yes, yes we did. Kendrick’s set seemed to have better (but still not great) sound mixing than the two previous acts, but it was still hard to make out a lot of his vocals. For instance, when he did “Bitch Dant Kill My Vibe” I couldn’t hear the verses at all, which was pretty disappointing because that’s one of my favorite Kendrick tracks. In addition to the DAMN. and Good Kid tracks, he also did a few off untitled/unmastered and To Pimp A Butterfly, most notably “King Kunta,” which absolutely brought the building down. My only complaint about his track selections is that he decided to perform “PRIDE.” and “LUST.” but didn’t do “FEEL.” which is a mortal sin. Nobody pray for him.

Kendrick was a great performer, but our seats and the sound really hindered how much I could really enjoy things. I wasn’t blown away like I have been by past shows and, honestly, I was wondering if I wasn’t getting too old for the whole mass audience hip-hop show. I’m not really one to get too involved physically with the music; I just want to watch, enjoy the show, and mind my own business. And I’m still unsure if the sound issue was a me problem or a whole stadium problem. If it was just me then, well, maybe it’s time to start staying home for these things.

Regardless, it was a fun experience and I was happy to see King Kendrick live even if my seats were crummy and the sound mixing was disappointing.


April Movie & Music Preview

March 31, 2017

Now that March is over, April provides another slate of new entertainment options, so it’s time for me to give a brief preview of what I’ll be looking forward to next month.

Theatrical Releases: After a strong early start to the year that has already seen high quality films like Get Out and Logan be released, it looks like April is going to be a rather dull month in theaters.

Colossal (April 7th) – I’m not particular interested in this film, but anything that stars Anne Hathaway gets my attention. There’s some sort of monster on the poster and I guess she has some mental problems, but I don’t know anything else about this movie. It might be 2020 before I actually watch it.

The Fate Of The Furious (April 14th) – This has been one of the most surprising franchises of all-time. We are now on movie #8 (and there are two more sequels already announced!) and I don’t even know how many of them I’ve seen up to this point, but I do know that I’ve enjoyed almost all of them and I consider that to be rather shocking. Somehow this series keeps pumping out entertaining flicks, all while keeping it’s core cast together (R.I.P. Paul Walker though). This sequel adds Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, and Helen Mirren to the mix, while nabbing Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray to run the show. I’m at least one movie behind – maybe two – so chances are I won’t be seeing this in theaters, but with such a slow movie month, maybe I’ll catch up and check it out.

The Circle (April 28th) – Just watched the trailer and it didn’t exactly grab me, but I’m a big Emma Watson fan and Tom Hanks has done pretty good work in recent years when he’s not playing Robert Langdon.

Sleight (some time in April) – Jacob Latimore plays a street musician that may or may not have some sort of superhuman power. One critic described it as “Chronicle meets Iron Man” and the trailer looks interesting enough that it’s on my radar, but again, this is a movie I might not end up watching for a while.

Netflix: In addition to the releases I highlighted last month, Dave Chappelle also released a two part comedy special and it was phenomenal. If you haven’t seen it already, I suggest you make it a priority immediately. Amy Schumer’s special was a total dud – after wondering if I was just being overly critical, I fell asleep during the second half and haven’t had any desire to finish it.

Louis C.K. 2017 comedy special (April 4th) – After watching the Chappelle and Schumer specials, I polled Facebook wondering if there was any comic that has been consistently top shelf for many years and the only answer I got was: Louis C.K. – and I couldn’t argue against it. All his stand up has been fantastic and I’ve really enjoyed the seasons of his show that I’ve seen. No reason not to expect more greatness here.

The BFG (April 6th) – I’m yet to see this Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s classic, but I will now that it’s streaming next month.

The Get Down season two (April 7th) – I haven’t seen the first season yet, but show about the formation of hip-hop music in the Bronx is obviously something I need to be watching.

Kevin Hart: What Now (April 11th) – I really don’t consider myself much of a Kevin Hart fan – I’ve skipped his last five movies – but I will at least watch his stand up material.

The Secret Life Of Pets (April 22nd) – This movie made a heap of money at the box office and received solid ratings from the critics, plus it features a pretty solid voice cast, so I will be watching it while it’s streaming.

Netflix will also be adding A Nightmare On Elm Street, Gremlins, and Schindler’s List (all classics) on the 1st of April, as well as a Richard Pryor stand up. Two other solid films, Kubo & the Two Strings (April 8th) and Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige (April 21st) will also be added later in the month.

Music: March saw the release of a number of good albums, with Khalid and Ed Sheeran providing my two favorite releases of 2017 so far. Rick Ross and Raekwon both surprised me by releasing albums I’m enjoying.

Kendrick Lamar – “Ya’ll got til April the 7th to get your shit together.” (April 7th) – Sounds like a release date announcement to me. Anyone that knows me knows that Kendrick is currently my favorite rapper by miles. MILES! I have him ranked #6 on my all-time list and with two classic albums, a fantastic mixtape, and a slew of phenomenal guest appearances under his belt already, my expectations for his next album are out of this world. If he can somehow manage a third straight classic, he’s right up there with Jay-Z and Nas as the greatest rappers of all-time IMO.

Joey Bada$$ – All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ (April 7th) – If Kendrick is really dropping an album, this could be an epic weekend of hip-hop as Joey Bada$$ easily makes my list of my top 10 favorite rappers of the moment. His last album was very strong and I’ve liked all the songs he’s released in the past year, so my expectations for this album are pretty high.

The Chainsmokers – Memories… Do Not Open (April 7th) – I don’t know much about this group, but I do know they have a knack for crafting incredibly infectious music, so I will be checking out this album.

Talib Kweli & Styles P – The Seven (April 14th) – Hey, it’s the hip-hop collaboration nobody’s been asking for! There was a time when Talib Kweli was one of my favorite emcees, but it’s been about a decade since I felt that way. Kweli’s released a ton of music since then, but I’ve mostly skipped it and if it was stellar, somebody would’ve told me about it. I’ve never been much of a Styles P fan. With that said, I don’t have to be selective with Apple Music and I can listen to everything, so I’ll give this a chance.

Kamaiyah – Don’t Ever Get It Twisted (April 21st) – Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma are getting all the attention right now, but last year Kamaiyah released the best rap album from a female artist that I’ve heard in years. On the surface, her style seems really simple and her subject matter isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but Kamaiyah makes undeniably good songs. I’m curious to see if she can keep it up and build on the success of her debut album.

Other notable releases scheduled for April include 2 Chainz and Tech N9ne – neither of which I really like – on the 7th, Incubus on the 21st, and Mary J. Blige and Gorillaz on the 28th. I will probably check out the MJB album and skip the rest.