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Obsessed: Rather Be

You know how there’s a song that you randomly hear and like?  But you go to look for it and can’t find it?

That was Rather Be for a long time for me.  But thanks to YouTube, I’m now listening to it on repeat forever and ever.  It’s a problem.

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This was literally me all weekend.

ALL DAMN WEEKEND!

This dumb song is everything and I can’t even explain it. Like I want to give you musical analysis, how it pulls live classical instruments over a dance beat, how the early 90’s influence is so strong (a la Crystal Waters & Black Box), how the harmonies are super super tight, how the ab libs are soft but effective.

That last swell into the final chorus???

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But really, the song just embodies happiness right now.  Or my version of it. As weird as it sounds, I’m strangely in a good place. Are things perfect?

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But this song embodies my version of happiness and real love. Where shit can go wrong but you know just being with that one person will fix your mood immediately. It pleases me to think that I’ll be in that place at some point in my life. (Speaking it into existence, y’all!)

Either way, I’m going to be snatching your faves wigs with my karaoke rendition of this song with some patented Countess step-touch choreography.

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TRASHY THURSDAY IS BACK! – The Big Tymers

WHAT’S UP FRESH? IT’S OUR TURN BABY!

Trashy Thursday is back, snitches! It’s been far too long since the dulcet tones of hoodboogers have populated this blog.  But how exactly do we come back??

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Now by the time we were blessed with this duo, Cash Money has been around for a while. But like a bat out of hell, Still Fly came through and stormed the charts gaining the duo MTV-Level fame with the catchy hook and hilarious subject matter.  So let’s take a step back and just deep dive in the anthems.

This Is How We Do is perfect.  Mannie Fresh truly was the best part of Cash Money.  His productions are why so many of their jams were so catchy.  This song has his fingerprints all over it.  Baby might as well be a feature rapper in it.

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Now Stun’n is actually their first single as a duo.

The sheer difference between the sound here between the first two songs we listened to is a clear example of late 90’s Dirty South rap and the early 2000’s rap that was played on the top 40 stations. It’s not just the money difference.  It’s a range in style and polish. It’s in the griminess of Stun’n juxtaposed with the slickness and pleasant beats of This Is How We Do.  But you can go to Complex to get a true historical point-of-view on rap and hip hop.

I.

FUCK.

THESE.

HOES.

AFTER.

OUR.

SHOOOOOOW!

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Listen, I just had a pure dance break to this.  Also, how many people punched themselves in the face getting their roll on?  I was actually driving home to NC from Boston for my vacation when this song came on the radio.  I, of course, started to jam and dance.  Luckily, there was no damage to my car or the Chikfila drive-thru.

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Let’s go back to an earlier jam.

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EVERYTHING I TELL YOU! If you aren’t pursing your lips and shoulder bopping, you’re not listening to it correctly.

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YES YES YES YES YES! The Cribs parody. The cornrows.

So this is my absolute favorite Big Tymers song of all time.  OF ALL TIME!!! It just makes me smile so hard.  The special effects!

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Story Time! So young Trash actually attended a Big Tymers concert back in the day.  It was pretty much the greatest thing to ever happen. During Oh Yeah!, there was a giant diamond set piece.  During the breakdown, the top opened and what had to be 100 hoochies dressed in metallic swimwear poured out to dance around the stage for the next few songs.  It was SO SO SO GOOD!!!! Y’all the early 2000’s were a glorious time.  I only paid $5 for my ticket.

To close this out, turn your hymnals to Page 55, Bling Bling.

I know I left out some brilliant tracks. 10 Wayz and Fuck You are other favorites.  What are yours? Share your favorite memories of Baby and Mannie Fresh.

Black History Facts Plus Random Thoughts

Hey y’all! It’s been a minute, now I’m back with the jumpoff.

I saw this on our dear friend Brash’s Facebook and thought it would be important to keep up with the important Black History facts she’s sharing here on the blog.

Feb. 2nd – Meet Alexander Miles. He is credited with an important evolutionary upgrade to the elevator. You know how the doors close automatically so you can ignore that coworker you don’t like or avoid the serial killer who’s after you? And also how you don’t have to close them when you get off the elevator? Thank Mr. Miles. He also improved the closing of the elevator shaft when the elevator isn’t on a floor.

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Now some cobbled together thoughts…

Empire is still the greatest.  I’m going to get up some more detailed thoughts this week.  (Finally!)

RuPaul’s Drag Race is FINALLY back!!! Best believe I’ll be here recapping it with you all.

The Super Bowl was a good game.  Missy Elliott is the queen of everything. Let’s enjoy a retrospective of some of her greatest hits.

I listened to Work It so so so so many times.  One of the greatest songs of the early 2000’s.  The amount of practice to get the backwards lyrics is why I didn’t do well in Pre-Calculus.

One Minute Man with Trina PLUS The Get Ur Freak On Remix with Nelly Furtado has me about to flip a table.

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Stone. Cold.  Classic.  If you don’t know this song by heart, rectify this immediately.  This is music video history.

 

That’s all for now.

Quickie Post: Saaphyri vs. H-Town

So this was on my mind this morning:

Saaphyri is amazing. My personal favorite part of this is when Saaphyri yells “GET OFF OF ME!”  while clinging to H-Town’s hair.

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Also: You better quit interruptin’ my prayers before God directs me to whoop your ass.

 

Your New Pop Queen: Sophia Grace

Listen, I’ve always seen it for Sophia Grace. because While she’s completely aware of the camera, she’s always acted like any extroverted child to me.  Not to mention that she and Rosie are super adorable.

So when this popped up on my timeline, I knew it was going to be cute.

But what I didn’t expect that I would hit a smooth two-step to it!

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“IF YOU GOT A FRIEND LIKE THAT, LIKE THAT??”

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Come through Sophia! My only question is where the f*** is Rosie?!?!?!  Rosie was the special spice, serving you Muted Princess Adorableness.  Is she not the best friend the song is about?

IS ROSIE ABOUT TO RELEASE HER DISS TRACK FEATURING THE MIGOS BECAUSE FAME GOT MISS SOPHIA????

Because that would be hilarious.

But on a serious tip, I have a deep and abiding love for child/teen-appropriate songs performed by people in that age group.  I don’t think it’s impossible to make good music for the children that’s actually enjoyable.  So go ahead and put this on Spotify!

 

 

Aretha Butchers The Great Diva Classics – An Album Review

So you might remember this being a thing that happened:

Aretha’s Wet N’ Wild Eye Shadow.

Aretha’s wobbly knockers sitting sideways like boys in the days.

Aretha’s minty green discount prom dress.

Cissy’s perpetual over it face and lack of effort.

It’s amazing.

Well all of this was leading up to a new album release!!!

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So this is a cover of the “great diva classics” and Aretha is here to show you how she does it in 2014.  I’m going to listen to what can only be a flaw-free album.

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I’ll be rating each song on a scale of 1 to 5 Aretha Jigs.  One Aretha Jig being a live Jhene Aiko performance.  Five Aretha Jigs being this Respect performance. Let’s get started!

Track 1: At Last (originally performed by Etta James)

This one starts out pretty well.  Aretha seems comfortable and ready to slay.  But then, we get some of Aretha’s slight liberties where she slides up an octave. But you know this is nice.  Aretha’s trademark rasp and lisp are here, but there was some restraint here.  Both in the performance and the post-production (you’ll see what I mean later).  This is a good start to the album!

Rating: 4/5 Aretha Jigs

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Track 2: Rolling In The Deep – Aretha’s Version (originally performed by Adele)

You’ve already laughed at that live performance.  But how does the recorded version hold up?

Not too well actually.  The autotune on her voice in the verses are strange.  I like her performance during the pre-chorus for the most part.  But I just don’t follow where Aretha was going with the arbitrary octave jumps.  Her slides in the chorus are just as hilarious as they were live.

WE COULD HAVE HAD IT aaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWLLLLL!

ROLLING IN THE DeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPP!

But I can’t recommend this for any reason other than the lols.  There’s so much happening and it’s such a tonal departure from the original.  That doesn’t mean I’m not going to listen to it over and over again.

The bridge into Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is an interesting choice.  But they’ve autotuned her belting and it’s just so weird and, sorry to say, bad.  It’s just bad.  This is not a good song.  But it is an amazing one.

Rating: 2/5 Aretha Jigs

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Track 3: Midnight Train to Georgia (originally by Gladys Knight & The Pips)

Ooh I love this song!

::starts bopping::

“aHeeeeeeLL AAAAAAAAAYYYYEEEE”

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This one is going to be a hard one.  Part of it is that I absolutely adore the huskiness of Gladys Knight’s voice and her vocal performance on this song.  Aretha staying in her upper register does not fit this song even a little.

Once I get over that tragic mistake, it’s listenable.  The beat is comfortable and the background singers are killing it.  Aretha’s voice is much more natural here than in Rolling In The Deep.  Her ad libs as the song closes is some of the best stuff on the album so far.  It’s not too bad.

Rating: 3/5 Aretha Jigs

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Track 4: I Will Survive – The Aretha Version (originally by Gloria Gaynor)

Okay this is the first song that should really use her upper register.  Is that auto-tune???

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What is the jazz hi-hat??

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Okay.  It speeds ups after the first chorus.  I love the scatting! For the most part, once the disco beat kicks in, this is good.  Not great, but solid.  Aretha could have kept that ending run.

Wait, is that Survivor by Destiny’s Child?!?!?!? Okay, that is how a mash-up is done.  Wait, is this about her broken engagement from Catfish??? Okay Aretha! Sing from your pain!

Whomever thought it was a good idea to use effects on Aretha Franklin’s voice should be put out to pasture.  Her voice may not be at peak, but what in the absolute fuck? Leave it as it is.

This song has all the parts to be a good cover.  I like the scatting and Aretha’s mashup.  But I hate that the auto-tune and I especially HATE the intro.

Rating: 1/5 Aretha Jig 

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Track 5: People (Originally by Barbra Streisand)

Now I’m not as familiar with this song in comparison with the first four tracks.  But I think that it truly benefits from a more laissez-faire approach to the production.  The slower songs let Aretha be Aretha.  That’s all we really need.  My only complaints here are that I wish she had taken a bit more care to enunciate the song.  With the lisp on each “people,” the message loses just a hint of its power.  The other is that there’s a slight thinness to her voice in the later parts of the songs.  I wish it had a little more power to it.

Overall, I like this and it befits the Queen of Soul.

Rating: 4/5 Aretha Jigs

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Track 6: No One (originally by Alicia Keys)

Umm, is that the Casio keyboard Reggae 2 beat?

Wow…this intro…

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It doesn’t get any better from there honestly.  This is a travesty.  The voice is processed with in an inch of its life.  The beat is just awful. The vocal performance does not fit at all.

This is the first song that is actively terrible.  Yikes.

Rating: 0/5 Aretha Jigs

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Track 7: I’m Every Woman/Respect (Originally by Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin)

Pump up the groove! Okay, this is already miles better than No One.  This song fits so much better on her voice.  I also love that the first voice stays in one octave.  It’s rare that she doesn’t arbitrarily jump up the octave.  (See the second verse and chorus).

Even with that complaint, it’s still good.  I’m bopping you know!

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Now, the Respect portion of the song doesn’t work at all.  I mean, did you click that video I linked earlier in the post?  Now that was over 50 years ago. But once you listen to that, it’s hard to listen to this.  That said it’s still good, and I almost upped the score to five jiggin’ Arethas because I love a good key change.

Rating: 4/5 Aretha Jigs

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Track 8: Teach Me Tonight (This was performed by everyone, but let’s go with Dinah Washington)

Ooh, the slower songs are better.  And this is no exception.  The simple production really lets her shine.  Though the touches of autotune are completely out of place.

But this is beautiful.  This is the kind of cover I want to hear from Aretha Franklin.  Soulful, simple, all about her voice.

Best song on the album, by a wide margin

Rating: 5/5 Aretha Jigs

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Track 9: You Keep Me Hangin’ On (originally by The Supremes)

Okay, the opening is promising.  I love that Aretha performed with a bit of sweetness in her voice (a lovely nod to The Boss).

I like this a lot.  It’s much more relaxed and truly uses Aretha’s gifts appropriately.  Minor pitch correction.  Minimal octave jumps until Aretha is allowed to just go at it.  There’s such restraint here and the album shines in those moments.  Now excuse me while I bop my shoulders.

Another of the finer moments of the album.  Not as good as Teach Me Tonight, but solid all around.

Rating: 5/5 Aretha Jigs (I originally had this at a 4, but I honestly don’t have any real complaints)

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Track 10: Nothing Compares 2 U (originally by Sinead O’Connor)

Did you all know this was written by Prince?  Great diva classic, indeed!

Okay, this is jazzy. With a big band arrangement.  This isn’t what I was expecting.  I like  it, I think.

So I need to actually write about this song.  It’s so far outside of what I was expecting that I’m struggling to write about it.  There’s no way to compare this to the original.  That’s actually smart.  I’m not so sure that the song itself fits the production.  It’s an admirable attempt, but my brain just associates this lyric with Sinead’s buzzcut and lone tear.

NothingCompares2U

Taking it from  an sparse, emotional ballad to this upbeat, sassy song.

Don’t let my critique take away for Aretha’s singing.  I actually think this is her strongest vocal performance on the entire album.  So soulful and full of life.  The beginning of the album has this weird feeling of trying to modernize Aretha.  I don’t know about you all but that’s not what I want.  She has a voice that is representative of that bygone era and we don’t need to plasticize it, even if it’s not in prime condition.

Rating: 4/5 Aretha Jigs

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Overall Rating: 3/5 Aretha Jigs

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I like this album way more than I thought I would going into this review.  After that Rolling In The Deep, what possible opinion could I have??

But as I started to mention in the last song critique, the strengths of this album lie in letting Aretha be Aretha.  She’s not Kesha.  She doesn’t need vocal effects.  Give her a standard or a song from an era where covers of covers were number one hits and let her do her thing.  Despite age, Aretha still has a remarkable ability to convey emotion in her voice and to really use her voice as an instrument.  Look at the difference in her performance on Keep Me Hanging On versus the power on the opening verse of People.  Most of your famous singers these days are incapable of that versatility and it is why the divas are revered.

The album goes wrong when we try to modernize Aretha to make her “palatable” for the current music scene.  The covers of Rolling In the Deep and No One are easily the worst parts of the album.  Someone with good sense could have stopped this and steered her towards more classic sounding songs or at least better production as it relates to these two.

The other issue that I may not have raised is that there definitely is something cheap sounding about the album.  I mentioned that there are some pre-packaged sounding beats here and there.  Again, this isn’t as big a release in 2014 as say a Taylor Swift album (I just vomited in my mouth typing that). So there’s not going to be as much of an investment in the production on behalf of the label.  This can work for certain artists, but since most classic songs rely on a hearty instrumentation, it weakens the song rather than adding to it.

Go take a listen and let me know what you think! I’m off to bop to Hoodrat Tunes.  My basic side has been neglected.

Guest Post: Instagram’s Explore Page

Editorial Note: Welcome Sass back into the fray for another hilarious post about how you’re fucking up on a daily basis. -Team Trash

The Instagram Explore Page…where the shitty taste of my friends gathers and kills my soul.

Earlier this year…or maybe late last year…or maybe earlier last year? Fuck it, I don’t know, sometime before today, Instagram updated their Popular page to become the Explore page. Before, the Popular page was a place where the most liked pictures on Instagram were showcased. There you could see Kim Kardashian’s newest selfie (even though you don’t follow her, but 10 million other people do) or the latest vegetable that Oprah picked from her garden (because, Queen). Even if you don’t follow them, you were able to see what was popular at the time.

And then that changed.

Now, the Explore page displays a mix of pictures popular in your country, pictures your friends have liked and people similar to the people that you follow. It’s more a platform to discover, or explore (see what they did there?) the world outside of themselves and their immediate circle. Sometimes, there are some good finds there; for example, Mankofit with her killer workout tips, DanaChanel and her inspirational messages, and Oprah with her vegetable garden (because, Queen). But other times…Lord Jesus, bless it. The ratchetry of some of my friends is out, about, and pushed to the forefront of my feed.

Here are the top 5 terrible things I can ALWAYS count on seeing on the Explore page:

1.)  Instagram Models and Boutiques – I probably brought this on myself, honestly, because I follow Draya, but there are A LOT of Instagram models and boutiques featured here. There’s a lot of mesh, a ton of weave, breast, butt and lip augmentation and flesh that I don’t need. Usually, these “fashions” can be purchased on the low – bandage, cut out dresses made of mesh can be purchased for $15.99, which includes shipping, handling, tax, service fees, production costs and materials. These “models” have booking information for club appearances and fully styled “I woke up like this” pictures. Yeah, okay.

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2.)  The Half-Naked Boys – Some of these half naked boys are models of either the Instagram or legitimate variety. Others of them are regular people, stunting for their thirsty Instagram followers, whit their pants halfway removed, giving us pubic hair and six-packs, while they brush their teeth with the caption, “Morning.” Boy, stop.I don’t know how these end up on my page, but my eyes are dead set on people I follow (lowers glasses and glares at Trash). Sometimes you get shirtless, sometimes you get pantsless, and sometimes you get an ass clap/twerk video with the caption, “Bored.” I’m never ready for those videos.

(Editor’s Note: I don’t know what Sass is talking about.  I keep it sophisticated and elegant at all times.  Maybe she should check Class)

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3.)  Philosophical Posts from the Ignorant and Highly Uninformed – Everyone is not bright. We know this. The second I find out which of my friends likes posts like the one below, they’re unfollowed. Dead ass. Ebola can be treated and cured, just like you can HIV? Okay, boss. Catch both, and tell me which one clears up first. Honest to God, one of the comments said that they won’t tell you that drinking Lysol cures HIV and they’re keeping that information from us, too. You’re right, medical professionals just won’t tell us that. How rude of them.

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4.)  Memes – The first go ‘round of memes are usually funny. And then they’re not. Let Olivia from The Cosby Show, Kermit and the tea, the “this could be us, but…,” and all the other dead memes go to their much deserved eternal slumber. They don’t need their own accounts and they most certainly don’t need new life every single day. Are some funny? Certainly? Are most? NOPE! Be mindful of your meme usage, ladies and gents. Send Terrio to school, draw on LeBron’s hairline, cure that awkward looking Black girl of her perpetual confusion, and give that struggle ponytail a weave. However, Kim’s cry face and the Martin Baker on the phone memes will never get old to me. Also, any Rihanna face usually makes for a good time. Just be accurate in the captions.

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5.)  Food posts – Honestly, I don’t have an issue with these, I just needed a fifth and Trash didn’t answer his phone when I needed another suggestion (I set myself up with five, I should have gone for three). I even think that CookinForBae is amazing. This bitch be hungry. Keep sharing those, I need them.

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(Editorial Note: Trash can in fact confirm that this did not happen.  However, I did just see a large man in a taupe sleeveless top with a cowl neck on my Explore page, so carry on.)