Tag Archives: cover

DIRTY LOOPS: What do Bieber and Talent Have in Common?

Forbes ranked Justin Bieber as the #3 Most Powerful Celebrity in the World, last year in 2012. At age 19, Bieber has sold close to 13 million albums, garnered over 3.75 BILLION views on YouTube, and has amassed a small fortune of over $130 Million USD. With that type of unilateral success, it’s only natural for haters to emerge, and Justin has gotten it pretty bad across the internet and various forums, where users often post sarcastic and biting criticisms of the Justin Bieber brand of music. It’s not uncommon to see humorous and sometimes violent comments from users in any given music blog. Even a quick YouTube search for “I hate Justin Bieber” yields over 1.3 million results of user-generated hate videos. It seems that, on a metaphysical level, some people have grown tired of the the new sound of Pop music, and Justin seems to be the perfect scapegoat for that type of frustration. It makes us wonder, “Does pop music suck?” What about pop music has gone terribly wrong since the days of the Beatles and Motown? Is it the songwriting, the performance, or the production? To put this question to the test, a trio of classically-trained musicians from Sweden have re-invented some of the most commercially successful American pop songs with a progressive-Gospel flair, showing us that, maybe, just maybe….pop music doesn’t suck after all.

La Bey Revamps Kanye’s Controversial Song, “New Slaves.”

Kanye West…Some people are so smart, they appear stupid.

Most geniuses live a life of border-crossing the fine line into insanity. Its even worse when the focus of the mad man is music. I’ve watched Kanye West bloom and wither over several seasons throughout his career, and I’m completely inspired by the bipolar highs and valleys of his music and style. Kanye is a household name by now, and most can easily recall his confident personality without issue. We’ve seen him say and do some inconsiderate things, but the magic is how he manages to offset those actions with worldly acts and works of art that pioneer music towards a new horizon.

It’s like we can never know what to expect from the guy. And I love that about him as an artist. Is he going to hijack a Taylor Swift moment of success, or is he going to release a “Jesus Walks?” Is he going to ignore a teleprompter for an impromptu political assertion against George W. Bush, or is he going to make a new sneaker? Will he walk head-on into a metal pole in front of TMZ and girlfriend Kim K, or is he going to revolutionize PR strategy for an album release?

And he’s done just that. “New Slaves,” does not appear in any way to be a single off his upcoming album, “Yeezus,” but he nonetheless chose to do something special with the record. Rather than doing the traditional thing, where you release the audio of a song, or a teaser of the video, or some sort of snippet….Kanye chose to film a post-apocalyptic video, seemingly black and white, with high contrast and film grain destruction. And with the help of others scattered across the nation, Kanye managed to project this mini-music video against the facades of famous landmarks, simultaneously in major cities across the US. The beautiful part about this whole concept, is that Kanye never uploaded the film to his youtube or blog or website, but rather relied on fans and spectators to create a “user-generated” buzz that didn’t rely on blogs, billboards, and interviews. Once again, Kanye leads the pack with a new idea, that leaves every other artist in the dust, as if they are using some business model or music style from the stone age. The song appears to be an intro or interlude, and I’m excited to see what the rest of his album has in store, considering how exciting he made this release.

In fact, I was so happy to inhale this breath of fresh air, that I found myself writing my own lyrics to the beat, after only minutes of hearing the original version. I’ve long been a fan of the counter-culture, and I even believe there to be destructive forces at the helm of society. Call me a conspiracy theorist. “New Slaves” captured my attention and allowed me the avenue to pursue forward in the direction of conscious political rap, which often too bitter tasting for those seeking milk chocolate. But we live in a time where the music seems to be all frosting and no cake, and I think the people have over dosed on the sweet, and on a subconscious level, desire to be awakened. I can’t speak for Kanye, but version of the song is a warning, that the future is our responsibility, and a passive approach to social, economic, and environmental issues will certainly result in misery.

I go a bit further in my lyrics, brushing the surface of heavier topics like Monsano NK603 cancer corn, the Federal Reserve currency scandal, and the effect of post-colonialism on Black Americans. Food, currency, and race are huge problems for me and the greater American populations, and whole songs could be dedicated to each topic alone. But I didn’t want to preach on this record, I wanted to imitate my idols, like Pink Floyd and Radiohead and Sly Stone, who always managed to use subliminals and other clever techniques in their songs to allude to heavy topics without destroying the primer sheen of entertainment that shines on top.

So I hope that you enjoy, share, and repost my version. Remember that I make music for you!

Peace,

La Bey

(PS. Don’t forget to download the .MP3 below by clicking “Download” on the right side of the player!)

Click Download on Right Side of Music Player

Rich Don Satires Hollywood in a Drake Remix

As editor and CEO of 4resh, it’s a little strange to write up reviews of my own music, so I decided to quote a brand new fan, using the direct language from his “share” on Facebook. Hip Hop enthusiast Tim Morris writes…

“Richard Donald explodes with the truth but the infrastructure has yet to feel the impact. With lyrics that go beyond the spectrum of the ego, his lines report the collective sigh of stark realization among the aware who have noticed themselves broken from the hypnotic mass culture commodification of a super industrialized market scheme that is the conglomerate mainstream. Being only the one hundred and first view of this video it is clear the force of this hit has yet to reverberate its farthest blast radius. Step before this.”            -Tim Morris, Facebook, March 19, 2013

As a songwriter and record producer, I’m always combing the net for inspiration. I like to keep my ear to the ground, that way I can quickly get a feel for what people are listening to. Last week or so, urban mega-star Drake released a new song through his blog titled “5am in Toronto,” a 3+ minute freestyle with no hooks. I loved it! The beat was a dark “boom-bap” style of rugged NYC hip hop, reminiscent of the golden-era of years passed, and his lyrics scream with a braggadocio bravado from an icon who’s lonely at the top. Drake has been quite the incredible trend-setter since he dawned on the rap scene about 4-5 years ago.

But it wasn’t so much what Drake was saying that got me inspired. I think it was a combination of the beat and the song title that got me going. I immediately thought of doing my own local version of the song, rightfully retitled “5 am in Hollywood” to represent where I’m living. If you have never been to Hollywood, CA at 5am, well….it’s nothing like the star-studded, red-carpet showcase you may see on television. In fact, it couldn’t be much more of a stark opposite. The city’s warm weather and wealthy tourists allow the perfect recipe for destruction; prostitution, drug trafficking, illicit and public drug use, public intoxication, vandalism and theft, police brutality and arrests. The irony of the whole situation is alarming, because the same streets that host family-centered enclaves like shopping malls and Disney-themed restaurants, those same streets illuminate in neon after dark to host the counter-forces aimed to destroy the family and community. And no one seems to notice except the locals; it is never broadcasted or televised, and the tourists are quickly appalled and dismayed.

You see, LA and Hollywood are no different than other industrial city, like Detroit or Pittsburgh, for example. Most of the people who live here or poor and working-class, and a significant amount are Spanish-speaking, with culture and customs that lead an outsider to assume that they must be 1st or 2nd generation Americans. But this city’s industry is not steel or auto factories, it’s over-indulgent music videos, sexualized photoshoots, trifling and gossipy reality programs and contests, and large budget action films with weak plots and literary foundations. Whereas other cities are known for their contribution to society and culture, one is left wondering if Hollywood (as a generalized whole) is really contributing socially and artistically to culture. The profits in dollars would seem to argue so, but if success is measured in dollars, how will we measure the destruction and counter-productivity these art forms encourage?

 

Aria gives soul to Rihanna’s ballad, “Stay.”

Last week, Rihanna released her steamy, nude-in-tub music video for “Stay.” And although that video has been met with over 30 million warm welcomes in its 1st week, we think that we have created something hotter! Aria shows us that she is completely comfortable singing ballads, and although many have said she looks like Rihanna, that has not stopped her from being inspired by bad girl Ri Ri. Watch and download Aria’s version NOW FOR FREE!