CD Reviews: Drake, Pusha T and The Foreign Exchange

Quotable Pop-Rap

Drake Nothing Was the Same (Universal/YMCMB)

drakeDrake’s third studio album, Nothing Was the Same, finds the Canadian superstar using music as his metaphoric couch for psychoanalysis. Successful as he may be, Drake opens his soul to touch on faltering relationships (“Too Much”), neglecting ex-girlfriends (“Furthest Thing”) and missed connections (“From Time”) to prove he’s still human. Although flawed, he still can boast with the best of them as exemplified on the Jay Z-assisted “Pound Cake” and the egotistical “Worst Behavior.” In the end, Drake cements his status as hip-hop’s biggest draw with an album that combines smooth melodies with stellar rhymes. ★★★★✩

Dope Boy Rap

Pusha T My Name is My Name (Def Jam/ G.O.O.D.)

pusha-t-mnimn-cover-1When Pusha T suggested that his debut album would be the best hip-hop album of the year, it wasn’t too farfetched. The talented Virginia MC, and one half of The Clipse, lays wicked word play over lush soundscapes on My Name Is My Name and makes good on his promise. With Kanye West overseeing the proceedings, Pusha T’s highly anticipated solo endeavor is worth the wait. The drug dealer-turned-MC chest thumps over the snapping snares of “King Push,” waxes poetic on rats who are willing to spill their guts to police on “S.N.I.T.C.H.” and goes back to his earlier days alongside Kendrick Lamar on “Nosetalgia.” Although 2013 has seen some great releases, MNIMN will certainly be in the mix for top album of the year. ★★★★✩

Mature Soul Music

The Foreign Exchange Love in Flying Colors (+FE Music)

love_in_flying_colorsPhonte and Nicolay have mastered the art of constructing soul music for hip-hop fans who have grown out of listening to rap 24/7. The Foreign Exchange’s fifth album, Love In Flying Colors, is a welcome departure from the juvenile antics of hip-hop and R&B, and opts for a more grown-up approach. Focusing on a solid mix of experimental jazz and R&B, the duo stretches the boundaries of the genre with the string-heavy “Listen to the Rain” and the sax- and jazz flute-laden “If I Knew Then.” Add to that the precise lyricism that Phonte provides as a rapper whose songwriting has gone from angst-filled raps to thoughtful love poetry. Love in Flying Colors is another feather in the cap for The Foreign Exchange. ★★★★✩

Disc Scan

Upcoming on Andreas’s radar…

OCT. 29: Illa J and Frank Nitt unearth production from the late J Dilla for the upcoming Sunset Blvd LP. Despite Dilla being gone for seven years, it’s likely that the beats are still timeless. NOV. 12: Freeway and The Jacka team up for the project Highway Robbery. The result will surely be super aggressive and ideal Grand Theft Auto-playing music.