NISAN XIV: A Day To Remember…

Nisan 14, 33 C.E., a man revered by the Jews and viewed as a King, a man hated for no justifiable reason by the clergy of his time, and a man, who was the son of God, was standing before the Sanhedrin of Israel, right about this time. He was on trial for his very life.

Everyone knows Jesus Christ, no matter what religion you ascribe to. He is touted as the savior and son of God by all aspects of Christianity, and as a prophet of Allah by Islam, but no matter how he’s viewed by people, what is clear is that he was a special man, and his sacrifice deserves to be remembered.

Jesus was a mighty angel in heaven, in fact he was the head angel, the Archangel, Michael, while in heaven, which is deserved given his special standing as the only-begotten son of God (1 John 4:9). Yet, when the time came for God to redeem mankind, completely out of his own undeserved kindness, since this was a problem we brought upon ourselves, he needed a perfect being to replace the perfect life Adam, our first father squandered, and no one other than Jesus willingly volunteered to magnify his father’s love in the most unbelievable way possible, to suffer humiliating treatment and a shameful death.

While as a man on Earth, Jesus showed that he had immense love for mankind, just like his father does. Despite the standing he had, despite his power, despite what he could have done had he chosen to, he never Lorded his position over others, neither did he abuse his power or lose sight of his mission, which was to spread the teaching of God’s kingdom to as many people as he could, then die for our sins.

Just take a second to imagine this:

Imagine you had power. Not just any power, but power to do anything, ANYTHING, with no limitations, what would you do? Conquer the planet? Make yourself wealthy beyond compare? Make every attractive person you could envision marry you against their will?

Jesus had that power; in fact he had more.

Apart from the power alone to manipulate reality, which is mind-boggling, he also had myriads of reality-bending angels, and the backing of his heavenly father, the supplier of all power, he could have done anything. Yet what he chose to do was allow mortal men, men he indirectly created and could have vaporized with the snap of his fingers or a mere whim, to insult him, spit on him, and then kill him.

That is humility.

In honor of the anniversary of Jesus’ death, I have made a song.

Please take a listen and attend the memorial of Christ’s death to “Keep Doing This In Remembrance Of Him” as he commanded at Luke 22:19 because let’s be honest, he deserves one hour of your Tuesday evening for dying and shedding blood for your sins, doesn’t he?

Please go to https://jw.org/jehovahs-witnesses/memorial for more information of how you can be part of this solemn occasion.

Jehovah loves you. Jesus loves you.

New Music: Love, Adam…

Am I the only one who’s really sick of the world recently?

I used to be able to stomach watching the BBC, but nowadays, I can’t tune in without getting unbelievably bummed after five minutes.

There is bad news, and it’s relentless, pouring in like flood waters. Even if you decide not to watch, you’ll still find a way to hear it because like a really ripe fart, it literally invades your nostrils and dares you not to breathe, and we all know that as humans, we need oxygen to survive.

After a while, you realize you can’t possibly ignore the bad news, violence and chaos everywhere, without turning into a recluse and hiding yourself in some remote cave in the middle of nowhere so you just stop reacting to it. You put less emotional involvement into every report of some disaster, some terrorist attack, some bad thing anywhere, not because you’re an unfeeling jerk or that it isn’t awful anymore, but simply because caring that much will lead you into depression.

Have you noticed how many people are depressed nowadays? It’s no coincidence. This world is seriously depressing of late.

It hurts a lot when the countries far away from us are having some sort of trouble, but to be honest, my country, Ghana, had been free from chaos for a long while, and we thank God for that.

However, it seems that we got jealous of the whole world getting attention from their disasters that some people, in some part of this country, recently decided to make the news in the most disgusting way possible, and do that they did.

An innocent soldier-on-duty, was making his way through a 20K walk from his base through the town of Denkyira in the Central Region of Ghana, where he had been posted to serve for one week. His family, a young wife and two kids, were eagerly awaiting their father’s return from his one week-long assignment, but little did they know, that there were some people, who had conspired not to make that a possibility. They had planned to kill him, under the absolutely preposterous pretense that they were lynching a dangerous criminal.

The scene, rife with bloodthirsty and animalistic vigor scours the majority of social media as a large number of the townsfolk pursued this poor man with such vigor that you would assume they were digging for gold, but rather, they were on a mission to spill the blood of their fellow-man.

For a man who apparently jogs 20K a day, he must have been an extraordinarily fit man, but the determination of man’s heart gives man superhuman strength. Wielding weapons, they proceeded to attack this man after they had managed to catch him, and not only did they beat this poor man to death, they stripped him naked, filmed this disgusting act, and some circulated it on social media.

He was only 31 years old when he was killed. He never attempted to kill any of his attackers, despite being fully armed and trained. It’s always the good ones that get the short end of the stick, don’t they?

I could say that this song, Love, Adam… is a tribute to Major Maxwell Adam Mahama, but to be honest it’s more than that. His death, like the deaths of countless individuals that occur everywhere everyday is just a small concentration of the violent, hedonistic air that permeates our atmosphere today, and it almost seems like it’s a letter from our first father, Adam.

There’s a lot of music coming, but I hope I can get a chance to release it before we kill ourselves and there’s no one left to listen to what I, or anybody else, has to say.

Mankind, we are a lost species.

The song is also available for free download and stream on AudioMack. Link below:

Return of the Beast…

The Mystery Beast has been quietly brooding in his lair for a long time now.

Bar the brief scare that he made on April the 1st that he’ not be releasing music anymore, he’s been relatively quiet, and now we know why.

On May the 3rd, Mystery dropped his first track since the much loved “Toolie” and it’s easy to say that, it wasn’t quite what  we expected.

Mystery is known mostly as the aggressive, and sometimes affable rapper who uses his silky rhymes and humorous ad libs to convey his thoughts but on this track we saw a new Mystery, a Mystery with a heart, emotional Mystery.

Rumors have it that this track is inspired by a failed relationship Mystery has endured in his personal life and while that is the general consensus, being the investigative journalist I pretend to be while in reality I’m just an inquisitive person with a laptop and way too much free time, I decided to go to the source, I asked the rapper himself.

After a very interesting and revealing interview with the young rapper, I have been charged to paraphrase what Mystery real intended with Peter Pan and I intend to convey them in the best way possible.

Rumors have it that Mystery was in a relationship with an unknown female, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, the relationship ended, leaving Mystery with a mysteriously broken heart and fuel for Peter Pan. Well, the news from the rapper himself is that NO, all the rumors are false, and that Peter Pan is NOT about any relationship or any girl in particular.

So that leaves one burning question in all our minds: where did Peter Pan come from?

Basically what I received from Mystery was not a trickle of water, but an ocean of motivation. Peter Pan doesn’t signify the flight of pent up emotions that were like a caged bird, dying to break out or die, but rather, the showing of a new layer of the multi-layered emcee. The reason why Mystery had gone quiet over the past months is simply because he felt his music had become monotonous and as a result needed to find a new source of motivation to pool from, and what is purer and with the potential to create a rapport than the enigmatic purity of emotion.

The song starts off slow and ambient, with an angelic female voice singing the intro to Peter Pan and setting the mood but what comes next is a lovely shocker. Instead of the usual boom bap beats we’re used to from Mystery, the much-loved sounds from Lukas Graham’s 7 Years come in to form the main beat, and Mystery absolutely murders it!

If you haven’t heard the song yet, please do, it’s a must listen! Check it out at http://bhints.com/mystery-peter-pan-mixed-fairytale/

Peter Pan is the first in a line of emotionally-geared songs Mystery plans to release and if his previous slew of music is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat.

Welcome back from Valhalla, Mystery Beast.

Album Review: Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

98/100 (Damn near perfect)

        Pun intended.

The norm of rap nowadays is being set. For other rappers, an album is an article about what they did right and what they did wrong on the album, but for the man who is for some reason now affectionately called Kung-Fu Kenny, album reviews seem less like reviewing the music and more like deciphering what he’s trying to say on the album.

So, let’s get to it. What exactly was the modern-day rap savior saying on Damn.? Was he speaking about Black America again? No. Was he telling us what we’re doing evil that we need to change? Not necessarily. So what was he speaking about? Himself.

On Damn. Kendrick shows us a side of him he readily showed on arguably his most loved album to date, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, which is, brutal honesty, chilling introspection, and the ability to remind us that first and foremost, he’s a rapper, and he does this with some incredible rapping throughout the album.

It’s hard to think Kendrick Lamar was speaking about just himself on the album, given his propensity for metaphors and imagery, and after listening to this album almost religiously for three continuous days, even while in class, I found a few key points where Kendrick subtly revealed the message of his LP. This time, it wasn’t as evident as the poem on To Pimp a Butterfly we are all so accustomed to by now, but just as brilliant.

1. BLOOD.

The album kicks off in classic Kendrick Lamar style, with an anecdote about meeting a blind woman on the street and getting shot by her. It’s obvious that this was meant to set the tone for the album, and it does this perfectly, before a sound clip of FOX news saying they have a problem with his hit song Alright reminds us that Kendrick is not one to talk about himself entirely on a record.

The blind woman on the street Kendrick sees is an obvious metaphor for the American society as a whole. He observes her grope around in her own self-imposed darkness for a while, and after a while, his passive observance turns into a need to help her find what she’s looking for, which seems to signify Kendrick Lamar’s recent mantle as the proclaimer of what’s wrong with America, after having watched America grope around in metaphorical darkness since he was a teenager.

The blind woman killing Kendrick Lamar is the part which sets the real tone of the album. After going over to help the blind woman find what she’s after, she pulls out a gun and kills him. There is a lot of symbolism in here.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that not everyone has been a fan of Kendrick upsetting the calm bubble of ignorance they’ve been sitting in for decades. Despite the majority of the black community adopting him as their prophet and soothsayer of what’s to come, there are groups of people (FOX news included) who think that he is upsetting the balance of the American society they prosper from at the expense of others, and it’s these “blind” people who end up shooting down (pun intended) his music despite his attempts to help them.

This introductory skit is loaded with a lot of imagery and sets the tone of the whole album,

2. AIN’T NOBODY PRAYING FOR ME
Despite spilling an incredible number of ideas and topics on this album, this sentence seems to appear in almost every song, signifying another facet of Kendrick Lamar’s personality: the need to be reciprocated for all he does.

Let’s be honest, what Kendrick Lamar does isn’t easy. For anyone to be single-handedly touted as, and burdened with, the expectation of speaking out fearlessly on what is wrong in our society is not easy, and for an introverted, very introspective man like Kendrick Lamar, this will obviously cause him a lot of stress.

Despite the pressure, he has done a magnificent job of meeting this expectation, but as will happen to all of us, especially someone like Kendrick who feels so much concern for literally everyone around him, it’ll just hit him one day that wait, I care about everybody, but to be honest, who really cares about me? Brilliant.

3. ALBUM ART
When the album art for Damn. was revealed, it seemed so simple, but there was an obvious message to reveal. After listening to the album a few times, it’s pretty clear what he was trying to convey.

The album cover sees Kendrick standing outside a brick building in a pure white shirt, with the parental advisory sticker placed awkwardly but purposely over his left arm. The album title, Damn. is then written in giant, blood-red, block letters above him to complete the simple, but striking ensemble.

There are two interpretations of the art I believe are correct:

  The white shirt signifies a stripped back, pure Kendrick, now washed clean of his past demons, but when he looks on his arm, there’s a parental advisory sticker, placed easily for usage to tell the world of what is wrong with it. But the look on his face says he has used it with ease, and now, he looks down at himself and says, Damn, look where I am now.

  The parental advisory sticker is placed over his arm to conceal the gunshot wound of the woman, and Damn. is spelt in big, red, letters, to signify, well blood spilled, and his reaction to this whole insubordination.
Now, I know I may be reading into this too much but it’s what makes Kendrick Lamar’s music so special; it forces you to think.


4. THE MUSIC ARRANGEMENT

After listening to the album a few times over, it gets pretty evident that the songs are arranged in a particular cluster of tracks, all conveying a different message.

PART ONE: BLOOD. DNA. YAH. ELEMENT. FEEL. & LOYALTY.

The first six songs of the album sound extremely different from each other, but by the time you get to LOYALTY. you realize that it’s loyalty he’s been talking about. DNA. is an angry, rhyme-spilling track about how he’s loyal to a fault, but there are few with loyalty like his. YAH. is almost the opposite of DNA. taking a more laid-back tempo to speak about how people seem to want him to spit his thoughts no matter the circumstances in spite of what he really wants to say or do. ELEMENT. regains the fire, but retains the melodious tone of YAH. on the chorus. ELEMENT. starts off with Kendrick screaming that he don’t give a fuck four times before admitting his own loyalty to a fault that he’d die for this shit, aka, Compton, Black America and the rap game. FEEL. then goes very introspective as he speaks about his loyalty to his message being a bother, but then realizing how much he also needs what he gives out so freely. LOYALTY, featuring slurry, and as usual brilliant vocals from Rihanna sums up the first part of the album.

PART TWO: PRIDE. & HUMBLE.
This may be the most impressive example we have of juxtaposition we have in rap music, or music in general.

PRIDE. is in every single way the opposite of HUMBLE., pun intended. PRIDE. is vulnerable, PRIDE. is honest and sombre, PRIDE. is very easy on the ears, but it touches your insides in a way only Kendrick can, and not in a way R. Kelly can (Damn. I’m on fire today).

Then comes HUMBLE., and after listening to PRIDE. on the track before, you almost wish Kendrick had put PRIDE. after HUMBLE. instead of before, because it makes more sense on the surface, but this was obviously done intentionally. A big theme of the album is Kendrick’s inner fear that he’s losing his humility, and placing HUMBLE. after PRIDE., whose titles should really have been reversed if you think about it, is really indication of what seems to be gaining ground in Kendrick’s eyes. And who knows? Bitch, sit down, be humble, could really have been to himself.

PART THREE: LUST. LOVE. & XXX.
The third part of this album then shifts attention to the more primal urges of man. Kendrick slowly progresses from speaking about simply wanting physical satisfaction on LUST. before slowly progressing to wanting a more emotional connection on LOVE., backed up by the goosebumps-inducing vocals of Zacari, while simultaneously questioning if he would get the attention of a female if he wasn’t rich and famous; perfectly antithetical and almost shamelessly addressing a problem that plagues us all as humans today, being used. XXX, despite it’s suggestive title, is actually more of a bridge from part three of the album to part four, while subtly using the title to suggest that no matter what we do, it’ll be different for us to separate our lust from love and the need to do what’s right.

PART FOUR: XXX, FEAR. GOD. & DUCKWORTH.

The album plays out in spectacular fashion in part four, as Kendrick now looks backwards, and attempts to come to terms with who he has become today while simultaneously merging his past-image with his present one.

On FEAR. he speaks simultaneously from the perspective of his mother as she relates all the things that scared him when he was just seven years old. This song maybe Kendrick’s most vulnerable and introspective song to date as he fearlessly exposes everything he fears, not least death and mulling over his own human mortality.

The next song, GOD. however, sounds like a triumph. Seemingly now having conquered his fears, he raps with more braggadocio and swagger in his voice than he’s had over the entirety of the album. But, upon closer examination, the theme of fear makes it’s way out in small doses, and it seems that Kendrick’s humble brag about feeling like a god and using his money, knowledge and bravery is actually empty talk, subtly masking a man who is really worried about a lot, and acknowledging that material possessions can never mask his inner turmoil.

The album ends in a very curious, but absolutely enthralling way on DUCKWORTH. It seems that finally being tired of looking into his own brain, he looks outwards and sees Anthony, the boss of T.D.E. and his concern for others is immediately restored. He proceeds to end the album which was supposed to be all about himself and his introspection spilling the sad story of Anthony, making the title of DUCKWORTH. another example of the paradoxes he uses so markedly on this LP.

The album ends in fitting manner as the whole album is summed up in reverse speech before ending with the first line of the first song, making this album feel complete, from beginning to end.

DAMN. in my opinion is Kendrick Lamar’s best work by far to date. On To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar took time to speak out on the problems confronting black america, and america as a whole, and even though it was needed, if one wasn’t actively interested in politics, this wasn’t a very relatable listen, and Kendrick knew that. On DAMN., he brought the music back down to ground-level. On To Pimp a Butterfly, he was viewing society as a whole from a birds eye view, while riding on the back of Lucifer initially before calling him out and landing on Angel Gabriel’s back, making it a more wide-reaching scope, and effectively accomplishing the work Tupac wanted for his music. On DAMN. however, he phased out the generalized problem and brought it to street-level, weaving his worldview this time around problems he’s facing, and we all face on some level, making it his most introspective, relatable and brilliant work to date.
Don’t forget to pray for Kendrick Lamar…

An Introduction to Psychological Type Classification, the Cognitive Functions and Function Systems

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

Carl Jung

Welcome to the wonderful world of psychological typing!

I feel like an announcer, welcoming you to a live performance of some sort, but in actuality, all this introduction is to is an article about your brain, your personality, and why you do the things you do; I know boring right.

Anyways, this subject of psychological typing has gained massive headway in modern society, the most popular of which is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test or MBTI, which was developed by Isabella Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers in the 1940’s. It has become increasingly common today to take an MBTI test either for professional purposes, academic purposes, or even personal use, due to how widespread and easily accessible these tests have become i.e. via the internet or a professional assessment.

The concept of the MBTI was developed from the research of a Swiss psychiatrist by name of Carl Gustav Jung, who discovered the existence of the cognitive functions, which are a system of behaviors and traits that when put together, form our core personalities.

Carl Jung proposed eight different cognitive functions, which are split into two groups, the first of which are the Judging functions, that is Feeling (Introverted and Extroverted), which is based more on emotions and values, and Thinking (Introverted and Extroverted), which is based more on logic.

Despite the name given to these functions, it does not indicate in anyway whatsoever that users of these functions are ‘judgy’ by nature. On the contrary, Judging refers to classifying or settling information in a clear and well-defined manner, usually in relation to the person and his beliefs and not in relation to others.

The other group of cognitive functions are called the Perceiving functions and these are more straight-forward because they are basically the way we take in information from the outside world. These are Intuition (Introverted and Extroverted), which is an abstract way of viewing the world, and Sensing (Introverted and Extroverted), which is a concrete way of viewing the world.

As humans, we all use both a Judging function and a Perceiving function actively in our daily lives, mostly to take in information from the outside world (i.e. to perceive) and then classifying or justifying this information (i.e. to judge).

infj-function-stack

The INFJ Function Stack

Professor Jung, also in his theory expanded on the fact that we as humans do not use these different functions equally, but that we rather use some functions rather strongly, while some are rather repressed. He termed this as a function stack, as seen in the image above, with our first two functions on that stack being our conscious functions, the ones we readily use with ease or that come naturally to us. The next two are our unconscious functions. These functions do play a role in our lives, but due to them being further down our ‘conscious realm’ they may require a bit more effort to utilize.

Carl Jung also proposed something else in his theory that he termed, the shadow functions. He discovered that somewhere in our psyche lie the direct polar opposite of our four top functions and these four shadow functions reside in us, largely dormant and unusable.

For these shadow functions, I have developed a theory I like to call the Function System, to explain what role,or influence these hidden functions have in our lives and on our personality, and this is explained into detail, plus a whole lot about cognitive functions in the YouTube video below:

Now that I have explained what the background is to this whole cognitive function deal is, I think it would be fitting to give a brief description of what each cognitive function is, how it manifests, and what it is commonly known as.

The Perceiving Functions

  • Ni – Introverted Intuition: This is an introverted, abstract, perceiving function that deals with understanding how the world works through an internal intuitive analysis. People who use Introverted Intuition actively, or consciously, rely on gut feelings and their intuition to gain understanding and usually ignore what is merely seen on the surface.
  • Ne – Extroverted Intuition: This is an extroverted, abstract, perceiving function that deals with experiencing the outside world, noticing possibilities and what could be. Users of extroverted intuition easily see how all things in life are interrelated and allows the users to see the world in multiple different perspectives.
  • Si – Introverted Sensing: This introverted, concrete, perceiving function deals primarily with the recollection of facts and details of past events in a very tangible and concise manner. Users of this function have incredible memories and are able to recall experiences from the past with great accuracy.
  • Se – Extroverted Sensing: This is an extroverted, concrete, perceiving function, that deals mainly with experiencing the outside world as it is in the present moment. Dominant or conscious users of extroverted sensing are constantly seen as taking in new experiences through their senses and sizing up the situations in the world around them.

The Judging Functions

  • Fi – Introverted Feeling: This is an introverted judging function that deals with an individuals own sense of self and personal beliefs they hold. This function forms an inner sense of what is right or wrong to a person and creates a mental image of what the person believes or thinks about themselves, which they rarely change.
  • Fe – Extroverted Feeling: This extroverted judging function deals with understanding the emotions of others and being able to identify, appropriate and classify the emotions of others in the present moment. Dominant users of extroverted feeling are very attentive to what others are feeling and are able to assess very quickly the mood of the environment and manipulate it skillfully.
  • Ti – Introverted Thinking: This is an introverted judging function that deals with a desire to make the world make sense in a logical manner. Users of introverted thinking form an internal framework of how the world works which they constantly modify and improve through their life experiences and experimentation.
  • Te – Extroverted Thinking: This extroverted judging function is concerned primarily with understanding and organizing the outside world in a logical and efficient manner. Users of this function want everything to make logical sense and have very little patience for activities that they see as illogical or unproductive.

Now that we have finished explaining what each of these functions are, or what they look like in people, I’m pretty certain you may have identified a few of these superpowers in yourself.

The online and standardized personality tests make use of these function descriptions to create their models, but they fall short in probably the most crucial part: they generalize people’s types and use stereotypical analysis to classify people instead of getting to the roots of why we do the things we do to figure out who we are as individuals.

In light of this, my research is geared mainly at collecting data from all the sources I can pool, from Carl Jung’s original research, to MBTI type models and descriptions, to the Vultology analysis, added to my own personal observations, to hopefully come out with the most accurate indicator of psychological type known to man.

I will be posting these articles periodically to help all my readers to gain awareness about what is arguably the most important field of knowledge in existence today, one which if everyone ascribes to, will help us solve many of our societal and behavioral problems that plague us today by being able to get to the root of these and being able to predict them, thus controlling and eliminating them.

It will also get us closer toward the holy grail that everyone on earth is striving for, whether consciously or unconsciously, “self-actualization“.

The first step towards the achievement of this is to know the self, extensively, before you can start the journey toward being the best person you can be; a journey I am on, and hope to share with every single person on this planet and those to come.

This is the start of a very long journey, that may only end when I finally decide to collate all the data into a working framework and the time to implement the “Type Everyone on Earth” initiative has finally come.

Until then, please enjoy the subsequent articles which will explain more of this subject matter in a clear and concise manner, so that you, can also begin the journey to be the best you you can be.

Feel free to ask anything in the comments section or on any of my social media platforms relating to this or any other subject.

See you next time,

Toby.

Man is not a machine that can be remodeled for quite other purposes as occasion demands, in the hope that it will go on functioning as regularly as before but in a quite different way. He carries his whole history with him; in his very structure is written the history of mankind.

Carl Jung

Album Review: DROGAS Light – Lupe Fiasco

86/100 – Scorcher

Tetsuo & Youth was one of the best albums I’d heard for a long time when Lupe dropped it just over two years ago. The atmospheric beats, subject matter and incredibly cohesive and solid guest appearances had me entranced each time,I listened to it, and I still do today. If I had the choice of choosing between Tetsuo & Youth or DROGAS Light for a listening party, I’d probably go with the first one, then promptly kick everyone out of my room because I’m not a fan of visitors.

Now, that’s not to say that DROGAS Light is a bad album; far from it. It’s only that it sounds like a completely different album from Tetsuo & Youth, failing where it excelled and excelling where it fell short.

Tetsuo & Youth, Lupe’s official farewell from the land of being under a label’s control, sounded heavy, and almost full of spite at times, despite being brandished as light and lurpy. DROGAS Light on the other hand sounds light, lurpy and triumphant, a shout of joy for finally being free from the label, but has an air of dense obscurity that keeps you listening all throughout.

The album sounds almost as if being with someone on a drug high, as the album title suggest (DROGAS is Spanish for Drugs). The album starts off very strong with Dopamine (Intro), with Lupe shouting DROGAS DROGAS in different voices and with different effects, almost a laugh in the face of all those at his label who tried to control his ways and his music. The next six songs then continue this feeling of being high of freedom, bringing some of the closest music of Lupe to sounding like bangers we have ever, and may ever get.

The production on Promise is some of the most hauntingly brilliant I’ve heard for a long time.

I’m sober, I’m sober, I’m sober, I’m sober – Promise

Not so sure of that…

The second half of the album sees the album slowly recede in energy, but not in depth, as the figurative high slowly dies off into self-reflection, making this almost an album of two halves-high, and after high.

After listening to this album, I felt oddly satisfied, yet craving more, so if the rumors of Lupe releasing three albums in close succession before quitting music forever (yes, I teared up a bit while typing this as I realized that the Eminem – Lupe Fiasco collaboration I’ve fantasized about for most of my adult life will never come to fruition), then I’m eager to hear what he has next in store for us.

Album Review: I Decided – Big Sean

92/100 – Superb

Starting a new tradition of only reviewing an album when I have something new to review, and with DROGAS Light and The Chief knocking furiously on my ears, I can now post this review, after extensively listening to this album for the past week or so.

So where do I begin? The Eminem verse? The song about his mom? The rapping? The singing? The unswerving focus? The concept? Seriously, this album has it all. This album almost feels like an explanation of his previous LP Dark Sky Paradise, and what he intends to do now that he’s found his little slice of heaven.

Sean spends a lot, if not all of the album, in introspective mode, analyzing what’s really important to him, i.e. his family, specifically his mom, who he calls his inpiration; his girlfriend, Jhene Aiko, his career, and most captivatingly, his theoretical reincarnation.

The whole concept of the album revolves around Sean realizing that his former life was one he wasted on the apparent non-essentials of life, like chasing pretty women and the like, now realizing that, in his own words,

“I’ve realized that when it come to girls, that chemistry mean way more than anatomy.” – Halfway Off The Balcony

I love that line.

The album is also an indication of just how far rap has come since the Kendrick-evolution of 2015. Instead of spitting meaningless raps on 200 dollar trap beats (MIGOS not included), rappers are realizing that people are after albums that make them think, and it warms my heart that rap is where people are turning to for real intellectual material.

All in all, this is a really, really, solid album, and arguably Sean’s best work so far, as indicated by my overall score. I won’t be surprised, and I don’t think you should be either, when this album ends up on many year end lists and cops a few well-deserved award nominations….

Sean Don!

2016: The Sonoverview

I’ve put this off for far too long, and with good reason, but with Big Sean dropping his much anticipated fourth studio-album tomorrow, kick-starting the cycle of new music for the year, I Decided (pun-intended) to finally do this. The music deserves attention too.

Okay, let’s get to it.

2015 was a stellar year, to say the least, when it came to music. Modern-day rap activist Kendrick Lamar tugged at our heart strings and minds with his poetic juxtaposition, becoming the voice of the voiceless in the land of the free in his highly-acclaimed third studio-album, To Pimp a Butterfly.

Indie singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens reminded us just how mortal we are, dedicating his album Carrie and Lowell to his late mom, and making us (well me) shed a few errant tears in the process.

Legendary Icelandic pop star Björk perhaps made the biggest, albeit the most subtle, splash in the sea of 2015 music, by showing us just how pure words from the heart can be through the emotional tapestry of Vulnicura.

And who can forget how Mbongwana Star showed us almost visually through their music just how colorful the African continent, and to be specific, Congo, can be, and usually is.

2016 certainly had a lot to live up to, and in many aspects, well, it failed. I’m not going to get too wrapped up in why 2016 was an awful year, because I did enough of that in my other blogpost, 2016: Greatest Year of My Life, feel free to check it out. Let’s stick to the music; the music didn’t give me heartburn and depression.

Despite the magnanimous failures of 2016, to be honest, last year served up some tasty tunes.

BEST NEWCOMER:

Token

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I’ve been following this young man for a while now, and ever since I heard him on No Sucka MC’s Contest about a year ago, he’s never ceased to amaze me. His effortless flow, aggression and wordplay far outweigh other rappers far older than him.

His first official mixtape, Eraser Shavings, now available for free on his website http://tokenhiphop.com or for purchase on iTunes, is still one of my preferred albums for when life gets a bit much.

One for the future.

BEST LEGEND:

David Bowie

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Okay, I’m pretty sure it’s a bit obvious that this category was made specifically to honor this great man, but it had to be done.

To be honest, before last year, I had no idea who David Bowie was. It wasn’t until I heard about his album and his passing that I sat up and took notice, and take notice I did.

After hearing his final album, Blackstar, it occurred to me why people were so sad about his passing (well, obviously but because he was a human and when humans die, we get sad but, you get what I mean). The music on Blackstar is almost near perfection, with tasty guitar licks and incredibly focused lyrics from a man who knew it was his final hurrah, he certainly went out with a bang.

Davie, you will be missed.

BEST BEEF:

Sarkodie vs M.anifest

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Haha, you were expecting me to say Drake vs Meek Mill huh? And you’re probably asking who M.anifest or Sarkodie are. Don’t worry, all will be revealed…right now.

In my homeland of Ghana, while Meek Mill was getting compulsively raped by “rapper” Drake, a huge beef broke out between two of Africa’s best and most talented rappers, Sarkodie and M.anifest.

The two incredibly skilled emcees threw unapologetic jabs at each other in two highly-acclaimed tracks namely, Kanta from Sarkodie, rapped over the Desiigner Panda beat and godMC, by M.anifest, showing us his extensive vocabulary in the process.

Where Drake vs Meek Mill ended up like a match between Barcelona and Swindon Town, this beef is still undecided to this day and that makes it worth a look in.

BEST NOISE OF THE YEAR:

Desiigner – Panda

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Don’t look at me like that; we all know Panda is noise. The only difference between this noise and the Bad and Boujee noise is that, Desiigner’s noise is infectious.

The man who seems not to use full words anymore took the whole music world by storm with his mega mega mega hit Panda, and for good reason; this song is catchy as heck.

Let me just end this in typical Desiigner fashion…

Ay, ay, ay, ay, Panda, Panda, ay, get, get, get!

Clearing throat.

Moving on…

BEST ALBUMS OF 2016

Yes, we’re here; when I finally elevate some artists work over others for the purpose of a blogpost. Oh, I’m kidding; these albums actually deserve their accolades.

I’m going to give out awards for music I actually like and listen to, for obvious reasons, so don’t bite my ear off if you don’t see your favorite EDM albums listed here. Dance music makes me sick.

You know what, just so that my EDM fans don’t send curses to my dm’s, I’ll do a category.

Alright, here they are:

BEST RAP/HIP-HOP ALBUM:

Coloring Book – Chance The Rapper

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When I first heard this album, being the unbelievably prudish and pretentious person I am, didn’t really see what the fuss was all about.

What does a Coloring Book have to do with gospel music? Why the heck does cursing appear on a gospel album? Is this gospel? What is Justin Bieber doing on here without bursting into flames?

Then, after a few, open-minded listens, it hit me; realization.

No, not my realization, well, yes, I realized what the album was about but I’m not talking about my realization but Chance’s realization.

Wait, let me try that again. Stop interrupting me.

On this whole album, Chance seems to be in a celebratory mood, but celebrating where he’s at, or a realization of what’s truly important to him right now.

Aha, that’s better.

With a slew of stellar guest appearances, all which gel perfectly with the atmosphere of the album, and classic Chance style rapping and singing, this album shines far above the rest of the hip-hop offerings we had last year.

BEST URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM:

Lemonade – Beyoncé

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I still don’t know what Lemonade means or stands for, but what I do know, is that this is a dense album. Queen B always had an amiable voice, that we know, but from this album, arguably her best, we see a side of her we’ve not been introduced to; visionary Bee.

She takes the mantle of the voice of all women, shifting genres and juggling features and showing us that dang, women be fierce!

Instant classic.

BEST POP ALBUM

Joanne – Lady Gaga

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No more Gaga, oo-la-la, and I’m fine with that.

Ditching the well-preserved meat suits and wacky outfits, Lady Gaga shows us that behind the weird, there’s a person.

Joanne is unbelievably deep, and even more surprisingly stripped back, raw (not meat) and human coming from her, but as talent goes, this is what we’ve expected for years from her and look forward to more real music like this and less, well…

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Eminem’s face just says it all.

“Yo, is this real, or am I just really, really high right now?”

BEST ROCK ALBUM

David Bowie – Blackstar

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Well, I’ve already handed this album a short review and this great man so much well-deserved praise so I doubt I need to do much more except say, kudos, and rest in peace, David.

BEST EDM ALBUM:

Virus – Excision

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Okay, I’ll be completely honest with you guys; if it wasn’t for my friend, who is an EDM fan, I’d never, ever, no way in heaven, gone near this album, but I did, and it was completely worth my time, I think.

Even though it took some willpower to shed a few of my preconceived notions, I honestly enjoyed this collection of really well-made music and it deservedly sits atop the tree for this years electronic dance music offerings.

Now, check out the complete list of my top albums for 2016.

I rated them based on five categories I have affectionately named the C.V.P.A.F. (Coherence, Vocals, Production, Atmosphere and Features.) and then proceeded to give an average of the categories scored, rating them over 100, before coming up with this list.

Sorry the list isn’t as extensive as I’d have hoped. I had a little time to listen to A LOT of music, and in a hurry, compiled the list, leaving out some well-deserved entrants, like Isaiah Rashad and Iggy Pop. But, I believe this list is still worth it’s weight in beans.

Here it is, my top albums of 2016, beginning at 35.

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Chance sits proudly atop the tree.

And now, it’s time for the final category:

ALBUM OF THE YEAR (2016)

Usually, it’d have just made sense to hand this to the album which had the highest review of the year, but for some odd reason, I just couldn’t give this one to Chance. So as a result, while following my gut, and those noodles I ate last night, I award the Album of the Year for 2016, the album which was just head and shoulders above the rest in all categories, especially influence, to…drum roll please.

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Young Thug’s No My Name Is Jeffery!

Psyche.

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It’s Beyoncé, with Lemonade.

Rounding off what was a marvelous year for the audiophiles, let’s vibe to some Freedom.

Now that 2016 has been laid to rest, 2017…show us what you’ve got.

The Labyrinth

The door is locked; I do not have a key.

My map expired,

Twenty days score three.

I see myself as a saviour, but I’m only…me.

How do you comfort someone,

Whose first last breath they witnessed, was their Dad’s?

My heart is in tatters, but yours

Is incinerated.

The fact that you keep it light and lurpy means,

That now more than ever, you require a saviour;

I am not Jesus.

I do know how you feel, but I don’t.

Paradoxical labyrinth you traverse all alone,

With no torch,

A dim flicker at the end of the endless tunnel,

To keep you hopeful.

How do you sip from the cup of the Lord,

When you don’t have a funnel?

The tears, the anger, the hopeless dispair;

Put it up in prayer,

Oh God I wish I was there,

So I could share in your pain, but,

It would never have been identical…

Just know, no matter what happens, I am here.

2016…The Greatest Year of My Life

One word will come to most people’s minds when they think of 2016…shit.

In many aspects, this year has been incredibly shit. The deaths of countless icons many people looked up to and respected, the number of oddly unexpected wins both in the area of sports (Looking at you Leicester, Portugal and the Cubs) and in politics (King Trump, holla at you). In many respects, this year just felt, wrong.

I’m sure you’re nodding your head in ferverent agreement while holding back tears as you hear your favorite Prince or David Bowie song come through your playlist while a Marvel movie comes on on TV, R.I.P to Bowie, Prince, Stan Lee, and all the people whose Earthly mission finished in 2016. You all will be sorely missed for your unbridled genius. I’m tearing up a bit. Let’s move on.

I’m sure judging from the title of this post, you’d be thinking I had a pretty awesome year, but relax, my year was just as shit as yours all was, maybe even shittier. Aside from failing an important exam once and barely scrapping by with a pass in the 2nd try, my year was filled with many more downs than I would have liked. However, despite all this, I can say with absolute confidence, that 2016, was the greatest year of my eighteen year old life. All because, I met her…

Hahaha, yeah,  I know what you’re thinking; he met a girl he has a massive crush on so he is blinded to how shit this year was. Actually, no. I know how shit this year was, for me and for most people, and there is a lot of fear about what the future holds. Well, I say this now: If I had a chance to go back, and change anything about 2016, I would change absolutely nothing. The amount of growth I have experienced, the incredible journey of self discovery I have gone through simply for knowing this incredible female would take me until 31st December, 2017 to talk about so let’s leave it at this. I just want her to know how incredible she has made my life over the past four monthsmassive

Well, she wasn’t the only one who made my year awesome. I’d like to give a huge thanks to my brother, Fuseini Wumpini, who proves that friends can be forever, and for listening to me even when I had nothing but weird, incoherent trash to say. I can’t put into words how much I appreciate you bro. You are cherished.

On top of this, through her, I met a wonderful group of people who have become my incredibly close friends, and I doubt I can live without their presence in my life. From Atinga to Elikem and from Sarah to Henry, and everyone in between, you guys make everyday of my usually too serious life even more fun than the last. I love you guys to death. Keep on being your awesome selves.

Can I really do shout outs and forget the Fantastic All squad? Despite the fact that we don’t talk as much as we do, I still love you guys to death. Kofi and your squad at B.A. Conglomerate, you guys are really going places. Great places.

This year, I graduated Presbyterian Boys Secondary School, and some of the memories I made there, and the people I met there, you will live with me forever. You guys made life both hell and heaven, and I miss you like crazy.

The note I’d like to end on is the people who have the biggest impact on me, and are the reason why I am even here in the first place, my awesome parents and my sister. We don’t always get along but I know we’ll always be there for each other. I know the struggle you guys go through to provide for us, and to keep me in line, and even though I don’t always let these feelings out, I just want you guys to know hoe much I appreciate your care and to say I love you guys.

Wow, that was heavy. Haha, just kidding. So, looking back, I guess 2016 wasn’t as bad a year as it seemed huh? Or maybe it was and I am just being overly positive? Who knows. I have huge hopes for 2017 though.

Also, for anyone who I forgot in this post, I just want you to know that it isn’t that I don’t appreciate you, it’s just that I have a very short memory. Just know that you hold a very special place in my heart….Let’s enter 2017, and spoil there too. Thank you all for your presence in my life.

2016, you were special….