Friday, July 22, 2011

The Cool Kids feat. Ghostface Killah-Penny Hardaway

MySpace was recently sold for a fraction of the price that Murdoch bought it for, which, coupled with the News of the World scandal, has quickly made this a helluva bad month for the Murdoch clan. Wear it.

As good as dead as a social service, we have to take a look back at what MySpace has given to us, the music loving public. Other than being a decent site to check out the tour schedule of your favorite artist/band, the biggest achievement of MySpace was bringing Michael Rocks and Chuck English together, forming one of the dopest duos in rap right now. From their jaw dropping mixtape "The Bake Sale" to finally dropping their debut album When Fish Ride Bicycles, The Cool Kids have always done things their own way. While their new music has an added layer of complexity compared to their earlier stripped down lyrics and vocals, they continue to make jams that simply bang. Though not the dopest lyricists around, the two make have come on a recipe which  just works. On "Penny Hardaway" the duo bring along the Ghost himself and the three take turns doing what they've all been doing for years: their thing, Penny Hardaway.

Click here to download

The Cool Kids Penny Hardaway (feat. Ghostface Killah)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Washed Out-A Dedication

Washed Out's new album is either brilliant or nonsensical. He's either a genius or a warmed-over Enya from Georgia with hair on his chest. Chill wave is either the next big thing in music or a bunch of hipster crap. Within And Without is an album that you'll either love or hate; I think it's great.

"A Dedication" is the perfect kick your feet up summer jam. Washed Out starts with a lazy piano loop, adds some humid static and haunting vocals on top of it, and lets it build. Slowly. Like a big Gator sunning itself on a hot summer north Florida day, Washed Out is in no hurry to go anywhere too fast with this one. When the lethargic horns finally make their entrance they just put the jam in cruise control on a one way trip somewhere far away in sleepy head land. Washed Out has come a ways since he was making jams in his bedroom, but he never loses sight of where he came from, continuing to push the genre he help start.

Click here to download

Washed Out A Dedication

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


"Everyday" is like taking a shot of tequila to start off your day. Wakey wakey eggs and bacey!! Walking the line between house and dubstep, Rusko makes a fusion gem that starts off strong and never stops. Building and building until exploding at the 54 second mark, "Everday" seems possessed by the restless energy of a twelve year old with ADD-always wanting to move, never willing to take a second off. While nonstop, this jamandahalf never enters progresses into being obnoxiously energetic, the purgatory where many a dubstep song live. Rather, it comes off as crystalline clear, willingly and able to give you that extra push of adrenaline whenever you need it. 

Rusko Everyday

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mississippi John Hurt-Monday Morning Blues

There's nothing Hollywood about Mississippi John Hurt. He tells it like it is and talks about what he knows. And you can tell Hurt knows something about the Monday Morning Blues. No matter where you are or where you're headed this fine Monday, I bet you got a case of the blues. The weekend seems like a distant memory, future salvation seems so far away. But be strong, and know that John Hurt's got your back with a story that makes your case of blues seem trivial by comparison.

In a year marked more and more by the pressures of record labels (Lupe and Frank Ocean), Mississippi John Hurt's music is about as about as pure as you can get. Telling the tale of a man who has to go to the mines as a punishment for an unknown crime, you can't help but feel for the guy, with a fate so cruel, and yet on top of it, he can't even find his Monday morning shoes. While the story is sad, the music is about as alive as you can get. So wherever you are this Monday, jam with the eternal Mississippi John Hurt and help put your Monday morning blues behind ya.

Click here to download

Mississippi John Hurt Monday Morning Blues

Thursday, July 14, 2011

J.Nolan-More To Come

What a difference a year makes. Last summer I interviewed J.Nolan, a young rapper who reached out to me. I listened to his mixtape and felt the promise in his rhymes, and above all, the hunger that pervaded the tracks of the tape. While not a completely polished product, the tracks and the interview I later did with him definitely opened up my eyes to J.

Now preparing the release of a new mixtape, this standout track shows that Nolan has been putting in some serious work. Showing off a flow that's leveled up almost beyond recognition, Nolan's verses now fly off with a confidence that only comes with time and practice. With incredible ease, he seems like he's almost playing with the listener, effortlessly juggling complex in-rhymes. Rapping about his place in the game: young and still hungry with a healthy realization of how far he still has to go but with the confidence to know that he's getting there, Nolan promises that this is only the beginning. After seeing the incredible bounds that he's made in the last year, I can't wait to see what he's got planned.

Click here to download

J.Nolan More to Come(prod. Blizz Cartel)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Anthem-A Boy's Dream

New track from Jamandahalf favorite, Anthem. Over Dave Matthew's "Crash," Anthem continues to prove that he can rap over anything, with a flow and delivery that does nothing but improve with each new release. With an urgent undertone to the too short track, Ant demands and rewards those who pay attention to each rhyme, each bar, each metaphor. Playing with the song's titled, Anthem finishes with "Mama raised a hellraiser/Ima raise hell on the air waves/Crashing head first right into my dreams" an outcome that with each release like this jamandahalf and every honest video looks more iminent by the minute.

Click here to download

 A Boy's Dream by AMGEsquires

Friday, July 8, 2011

Big Sean feat. Mike Postner-Who Knows

Back in the day, unless you were from the city/state of an artist, it was often hard to track their progression from unknown to made. Today it's much easier. From Twitter and blogs to Hype Machine, the trajectories of artists, both those who make it big and those who crash and burn, are visible to the wider world. It's exciting to come across someone who you know has that "it" factor before most of the world knows about them. Exciting hearing people talk about a song that you were bumping months ago. Although the internet has at times seemingly outpaced demand with a unceasing amount of new music, it's also allowed music lovers the world over to "discover" and follow artists much before most catch on.

One such artist is Big Sean. After an eternity of putting out mixtapes, Big Sean's debut recently dropped. And although I haven't given it a full listen through, it immediately brought me back to this jam, which apparently I've had since April 2009. Sporting the now famous Big Sean flow, the talent is immediately recognizable. While it's impossible to point to one thing about this song that makes it a jamandahalf, and to be honest, nothing about it is that amazing, somehow it just works. Lazy rivering along, Big Sean works his way through his verses on his own time. The beat isn't that special. Mike Posner hops on the chorus with his trademark rasp, but it's just another Posner chorus. But with music there is no magical checklist that makes a song a jam. Taken individually, nothing on this one sparkles; put them together and for some reason its a jamandahalf. "Who Knows" is a song infused with doubt and self questioning by Big Sean. Two years before his debut, Big Sean has neither 0s in his bank account or pretty lady friends, but he was doing something he loved, pushing until he made it. Above all, this song just vibes well. An honest look at where he's been, his faults, and where he's going, Big Sean's doubts seem long gone now, now that he's officially made it.

Click here to download

Big Sean Who Knows ft. Mike Posner

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Joell Ortiz-Battle Cry

There is no other form of music as obsessed with being #1 as rap. Grown from the seed of competition, rap's history is a timeline of challenges and rivalries, stars coming and going, with careers that only lasted as long as they remained the best. Almost all rappers have their introduction that challenges the standing pyramid of rappers both dead and alive. It's hard to even reach the bottom of the pyramid, much less attempt to scale its lofty heights. With the internet allowing every rapper from Anycity, World able reach an almost boundless audience, rappers need to have their intro be something fierce, something memorable.

A presence on the mixtape scene for years, Joell Ortiz's introduction to the larger world is "Battle Cry." Ortiz sticks to the basics: no chorus, no hook, and other than a brief setup, nothing more than a expansive beat by Just Blaze and lyrics. Ortiz needs nothing more and raps for a lyrical marathon-almost four and a half minutes. One minute spitting funny punchlines like

          From now on I'm a bully, I'ma pick the fight
     Let them pick you up off the ground when I chip your bike
     You'll become a lil' memory, gigabyte
     Me and these beats got married, I'm Mr. Right
     Lil' man, you spit aight
     I'm on fire, you got a lil' buzz, Miller Lite

to then going after the collective them, every other rapper out there, Ortiz knows that the beat has your ear and he plans to tell you why he should be considered the best out. Whether you're a casual listener or Joell's competition, it's hard not to be impressed with both the rapper's wordplay, flow, and swagger, the three crucial ingredients to any rapper. To the casual listener it just sounds good, to the hip hop head the lyrics   hold the fire of a thousand suns. With a little something for everyone, Joell has what it takes to be your favorite rapper's favorite rapper and that undeniable quality to have your clueless cousin nodding to this one. He proves this with his last few lines,

          My worst rhyme's thirty times rougher than your hardest bars ever
     I could front like a car fender
     Cause everything I'm on DJ's pull up, like the bartenders
     New York, I'm the answer to your prayers
     Head nod music, leave the dancin over there
     Project shit, ain't no mansion over here
     Just murder on the strings, Charles Manson on the snare
     I'm hungry, the game's like a food court
     I just gave y'all a loose hundred, Newports

and then lets the beat ride. Nothing more needed.

Joell Ortiz Battle Cry (feat. Just Blaze) [Explicit]

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Letter To Aloe Blacc

Dear Mr. Blacc,  

First off, “I Need A Dollar” is one of my favorite songs, ever. I’ve played it countless times, taught it in my English classes, have sang the chorus and verses randomly pop into my head, have shared it with all my friends… But past that song, I’ve never given you a real shot. I gave Good Things a listen-through a while back but after such a brilliant introduction like “I Need A Dollar” I expected a game changer and I was honestly, well, underwhelmed.  

But Mr. Blacc, after giving Good Things the second listen to it thoroughly deserved, my mind changed completely. The album is full of songs that capture the fleeting beauty of life: the flash of a smile, the mundane moments spent with loved ones, the optimism of a new day. Musically the album glistens. Taking cues from the 70's while never sounding trite, you follow in a long line of memorable and meaningful R&B. With tough guitar licks and pounding rhythms taking turns with mellow moods and sage advice, you are never afraid to mix it up, and even take cues from your past, breaking into raps from time to time-each time making a point and showing off, just a little. Good Things has been the soundtrack to my past few nights and the foreseeable future. Looking forward to your next album, and this time I'll be ready.  


Monday, July 4, 2011

Nappy Roots-Awnaw

Happy Birthday America. Can’t quite celebrate properly here at the English summer camp where I am working at in the outskirts of Madrid, but there’s no way to stop the celebratory vibes coming over across the pond. I was thinking what would be the perfect birthday song to recognize so many years, and other than Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday,” I don’t think this jam can be topped. 

Kentucky’s finest, Nappy Roots have been making quality rap for almost a decade now, mixing in the different personalities and flows of their members as smoothly as a strawberry-lemon slushie at Sonic’s. Adding a serious heaping of love for family and food, and a generous mix-in of an intense joie de vivre, Nappy Roots’ music often feels as good as it sounds. “Awnaw” first came out when I was in 8th grade, and is a remembrance of both the good and bad times as well as an appreciation of the long road that the group had to take so that people like you and I would be listening, and jamming, to their music. Just like the 4th is a day to celebrate where the US has come from (acknowledging the good and the bad), it’s also the perfect time to let loose with, while appreciating, those you love. So wherever you are, wherever you’re from, put this one on loud and celebrate _________ (your life here).

Nappy Roots Feat. Jazze Pha Awnaw