J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar swap beats for “Black Friday”

While most celebrate the day after Thanksgiving by trampling over each other for the best deals on this shopping holiday; “Black Friday,” two of hip-hop’s biggest names decided to surprise their fans (and the internet as a whole) with free music. Kendrick Lamar rapped over J. Cole’s “A Tale of 2 Citiez” and J. Cole rapped over Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” to further add to the hype of a possible collaborative project by the two MCs.


Out of these two songs, I favored J. Cole’s remix of Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” mostly because of the last lines of the song: “‘When you and K-Dot shit drop?’ Bitch never, they can’t handle two black niggas this clever. But this February, bet shit gets scary when I fuck around and drop…” 

I wonder if Cole chose to rap over Kendrick’s “Alright” because it was used as a chant at the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March — of which, Cole attended.

But of course Kendrick Lamar also spazzed on his remix of Cole’s “A Tale of 2 Citiez.” I’m excited to see what both of these MCs have coming up next and if a collaboration of any sort is in the near future.

And the winner is…. HIP-HOP!!!



REVIEW – ‘CHI-RAQ’ (trailer)

I am so conflicted by the looks of this film. A part of me is a Spike Lee fan, I love most of his films. Another partof me is often annoyed by his public actions and opinions.

Being from the Chicagoland-area, I hate the term “Chiraq.” The term references the high murder-rate in the city and compares it to the war in Iraq. The term is accredited to Chicago’s “drill music” scene, consisting of artists like Chief Keef and Lil Bibby. The “drill music” culture isn’t about glorying the crime in Chicago as much as it personifies the crime in Chicago. It is proven that Chief Keef was involved in some criminal acts, his music represents those acts. I am not excusing Keef and artists like him for promoting that criminal culture. I am simply saying that they are telling their story, they are painting a picture of the worst parts of the city.

It is not Chief Keef’s fault that his music was more attractive to the mainstream than other Chicago artists, like Chance The Rapper, who promote more positive lifestyles.

There are parts of this “Chi-Raq” trailer that disgust me. Makes my skin crawl. There are also parts that intrigue me. The immediate annoyance for me was Nick Cannon portrayal of a gangster. Ugh.

The way it seems Spike shot the film and his storytelling method, it feels very similar to Justin Simien’s “Dear White People” — a film that may have been influenced by Spike’s past works.

The film seems to be about women withholding sex in order to stop the violence in Chicago, which is just stupid. Very stupid.

Spike Lee is known for taking a serious issue and adding some comic relief to it to bring everyone down to earth, which I appreciate as a moviegoers. I hope the concept of women withholding sex is just comic relief. If not, he has to address systemic racism and how impoverished these predominantly black communities are; which leads to unemployment, which leads to desperation, which leads to crime.


The title “Chi-Raq” is propaganda, now Spike has to hope this film is good enough to help him climb out of the grave he dug himself by using such a controversial term.

Go check out “Chi-Raq” in a theater near you on December 4th 2015, I am anxious to see how it turns out.

Biggest positive of the film? Samuel L. Jackson is in it, playing a role possibly similar to Mister Senor Love Daddy!!

NEW MUSIC – “Angels” by: Chance The Rapper featuring Saba

It looks like Chance The Rapper is in midst of finally releasing another solo project. It is going on three years since the release of Chance’s critically-acclaimed mixtape; “Acid Rap.”

Chance is in an interesting place in his career (especially compared to many of his peers) because he has complete power of all of his work and can pretty much pick-and-choose whatever platform he would like to release his work on. For instance, he premiered this new single on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” after getting the internet buzzing about a collaboration between him and Colbert on his Hot 97 interview. In his interview with Colbert the future collaboration was confirmed.


After his brief interview with Colbert he hit the Late Show stage to perform “Angels” featuring fellow-Chicago artist; Saba. The opening line to the song is  “I got my city doing front flips,” and I can attest, by reading people’s reactions on social media, that all of the Chicagoans who were tuned in were thrilled to see the city being representing so well on such a big stage. Saba and Chance were wearing hoodies representing the two biggest hip-hop radio stations in Chicago — Power 92 and WGCI. Both stations were also mentioned in the song.

Peep the choreography though! Haha

This is a pretty great song with high energy, very reminiscent of the Chance the world fell in love with on “Acid Rap.” My only knock on this song was that Saba was confined to just being featured on the hook and not getting a verse of his own — but that would just be me nitpicking.

Truthfully, this song is perfect as is and it could be groundbreaking for Chicago artists like Chance The Rapper, Saba, Vic Mensa, Joseph Chilliams, Mick Jenkins, MFn Melo, John Walt, Noname Gypsy, and many more to get support from the mainstream media. This song and the performance was really the first time the new generation of Chicago artists (outside of the drill music scene) were put on a mainstream platform.

“Eyes From The Nineties” Podcast – Episode 5: GET BY

In the fifth episode of the “Eyes From The Nineties” podcast, I list my top five hip-hop albums of 2015 with much praise to J. Cole. I list my top five NFL quarterbacks of all-time, with much praise to Aaron Rodgers. I briefly touch on the Chicago sports world. And I wish my grandmama a Happy 94th Birthday,

Please look past my few slip-ups (from stuttering to calling my grandmother my “dad’s father” haha) and ENJOY!

Follow me on Twitter: @justynvp

NEW MUSIC – “Boogey Down The Block” by: Joseph Chilliams featuring Saba

I have made a few posts on the Pivot Gang, so I feel obligated to share that I have known them on a personal level for several years. I took it upon myself to explain this to you — the readers — because I know a lot of people who make music. I post Pivot Gang’s music, not because I know them but, because I believe they are making some of the best music in hip-hop.

Joseph Chilliams is a Chicago MC with the unique ability to throw punchlines, metaphors, and many eccentric references in his verses and somehow making sense of it all. His punchlines are a art-form on their own. In this smooth track featuring (and produced by) fellow-Pivoter; Saba, Chilliams mentions everything from Sonic the Hedgehog to Galileo.

TScreenshot (11)he harmony Chilliams uses on the hook is slightly reminiscent of The Pharcyde’s “Runnin but not really, it’s just a very groovy feel. The track gives off a very easy-going vibe, much to due to Chilliams’ harmonious hook (that will get stuck in your head) and Saba’s laid back instrumentals.

Joseph Chilliams definitely had his standout moments on Pivot Gang’s collective project — ‘Jimmy‘ — but “Boogey Down The Block” may be the best thing he has released to the public to date. He has dropped a few songs in the past few weeks or so that really have me anticipating his first solo full-length project. The only negative I took away from “Boogey Down The Block” is I would have liked a second verse from Chilliams, the song felt a bit too short — but that is just me nitpicking.

Below you can watch and enjoy a spoken word performance by Joseph Chilliams to better understand his artistry.

2015: The year I listened to Drake and The Weeknd

When I was a junior in high school, way back in 2007, Drake had just dropped his first project — “Comeback Season” — which was actually one of my favorite projects that year (and that was a big year for hip-hop).

I was checking for Drake’s “Comeback Season” for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I was a fan of “Degrassi”– which you should know was a Canadian teen-drama series, I actually think the show is still running but I stopped watching after the original cast left — and Drake was on the original cast, his character in later years actually became a rapper. Secondly, I was a “hip-hop nerd” so once Drake started getting buzz on the hip-hop sites, I was going to know. The hip-hop sites were definitely giving Drake a nice buzz from the jump — him collaborating with artists like Lil Wayne, Little Brother, Elzhi, Malice, and Trey Songz definitely didn’t hurt though.

Shortly after “Comeback Season,” Drake grew a tighter relationship with Lil Wayne — who was easily the hottest rapper in hip-hop at the time — so, Drake’s exposure was through-the-roof. Drake didn’t run from the spotlight, in fact he did the opposite in 2009 by dropping a giant project — “So Far Gone.”1098x1098-drake

Drake was now looked at as the next big thing in music, and he has been that. He’s been the most popular artist in hip-hop since dropping “So Far Gone” but he lost me as a fan very shortly after that project. His flows became annoying, his singing was terrible, his topics were one-dimensional, and frankly I thought most of the music he was making was straight-up wack.

Being a self-proclaimed “music snob,” I would still listen to every Drake project when it dropped and try doing so with objectivity but he definitely made that a tough task for me. His debut studio album, “Thank Me Later” just sounded lazy from beginning to end — that is an awful album.

People tell me “Take Care” is great! I do not know what those people were listening to. “Take Care” is also when I was first introduced to The Weeknd. After sitting through the depressing album that was “Take Care,” I checked out some of The Weeknd’s music (“House Of Balloons,” “Thursday,” and “Echoes Of Silence“) and quickly discovered how influenced Drake must have been by The Weeknd when making “Take Care” because The Weeknd’s music was also very depressing.

After my experience with “Take Care” and skimming through The Weeknd’s catalog, I accepted the music they make just isn’t my cup-of-tea and just moved on to better things like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Run The Jewels, and so on.

I will always want creativity out of the music I listen to, whether that be through flow, lyrics, concepts, or whatever else — I cannot listen to one-dimensional music where every song sounds exactly the same or has the same vibe, but that is what I got from those early mixtapes from The Weeknd and I just felt Drake was being lazy (or maybe he was just spreading himself too thin with all of the features).

I gave Drake another chance in 2013 by listening to his third studio album, “Nothing Was The Same” and I enjoyed it a great deal. I thought Drake was very innovative on this project and created a different sound (which he hadn’t done, in my opinion, since “So Far Gone”). Although, I did like “Nothing Was The Same,” I never craved to revisit it.’

1035x1035-drakeAt the beginning of this year, Drake surprised everyone by releasing a project — “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late” — on iTunes without any announcement. Upon my first listen to “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late,” I enjoyed the project, Drake was aggressive and he was really rapping. “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late” has gotten the most replay from me of any Drake project since “Comeback Season.”

Coincidentally, the year Drake is on fire — with the release of “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late” and destroying Meek Mill in an supposed “rap beef” — The Weeknd is also dominating the radio with songs like “The Hills” and “Earned It” (songs I actually like a lot). But I didn’t think anything really of the impact these songs were having on me until The Weeknd decided to switch things up and drop this tune that sounds like some new age Michael Jackson shit (yes, I went that far with it), “Can’t Feel My Face.” When I first heard “Can’t Feel My Face” I immediately started craving a full-length project from The Weeknd — it was such a confusing moment for me, I went from thinking The Weeknd was this “just OK”-singer with a melancholy sound to comparing him to Michael Jackson and wanting to hear more from him.


The Weeknd released his second studio album, “Beauty Behind
The Madness,” on August 28th and just days before the album’s release, he released a video for the song “Tell Your Friends” (produced by Kanye West), after hearing this song I knew I was going to absolutely love his album. There was no question about it. He released five videos for this album and every video was for a pretty great song. Now, here I am just eight days removed from the release date of “Beauty Behind The Madness” and I must say, I love that album. It may be the best R&B album (if it is even considered R&B) I’ve heard since Usher’s “Confessions.”

Drake and The Weeknd - O2 Arena, London 25/03/2014 | Photo by Bu

I have been so critical of these two artists in the past that it is almost comical how much I enjoy their latest projects so I was compelled to make a playlist of my favorite songs from “if You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late” and “Beauty Behind The Madness” and named the playlist “the unJustyn.”

“Eyes From The Nineties” Podcast – Episode 4: DEEP COVER

In the fourth episode of the “Eyes From The Nineties” podcast, I give my thoughts on racism in America through focusing on the death and arrest of Sandra Bland, and the “debate” over the confederate flag. I also briefly talk about some recent hip-hop “beefs.”

I am in the works of bettering my audio quality.


Check out some quality hip-hop:
Saba – @sabapivot
Melo – @mfnmelo

L’Orange & Jeremiah Jae – “The Night Took Us In Like Family”

NEW MUSIC – “Temporary” by: Saba featuring Tink

“They make the same records and y’all call them hits. If that’s what it’s taking to make a name then consider my new shit anonymous.”

Saba recruits fellow-Chicago artist, Tink, for his new track “Temporary.”

Saba is probably the most lyrically-reflective he’s ever been on this new track, “Temporary” (outside of his appearance of Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s “SmthnThtIWnt” and sababtnh“Marbles” from his last  project — ‘Comfort Zone’). Between his passion, the hint of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s influence on Saba’s flow, and Tink’s vocals — “Temporary” is a very dope tune.

On “Temporary,” Saba discusses the struggle of not getting stagnant at his craft, not caring about people’s opinions, and just how temporary life is altogether.

There are high-expectations for Saba’s next project and if “Temporary” is any indication of what’s to come on his next project, he will exceed expectations!


“Fuck you and your opinions.”

“Eyes From The Nineties” Podcast – Episode 3: All Eyez On Me

In the third episode of the “Eyes From The Nineties” podcast, I give an in-depth analysis on the results of the NBA Finals and the media’s coverage of it. I discuss the hit TV show “Power” and I react to the fifth season finale of “Game Of Thrones.”


I am still searching for my comfort zone at podcasting, so please bear with me as I fight through the growing pains.

“Eyes From The Nineties” Podcast – Episode 2: Karma

In the second episode of the “Eyes From The Nineties” podcast I talk about LeBron James’ dominance over my Chicago Bulls for the last few years and how it compares to Jordan’s dominance in the 1990s, that discussion led me to listing my top 10 NBA players of all-time. I also briefly talk about Da, listvid Letterman’s retirement and the series finale of “Mad Men.”