Get ready for London’s most exciting month of music. We’re counting down the days to 1 September and will be revealing new additions to the iTunes Festival line-up over the coming months.
Kings of Leon, Sigur Rós, Paramore, Vampire Weekend, Ludovico Einaudi, Rizzle Kicks and Bahamas will all be onstage at the Roundhouse in September — and you can apply to win tickets right now when you download the official iTunes Festival App. If you can’t attend the gigs in person, you’ll be able to watch live or after the performances with the official app or on your computer with iTunes.
In the best possible way, Joey Bada$$ sounds like he’s beaming in from a different era. This Brooklyn MC is all about hip-hop stripped down to its bare essentials, the focus placed firmly on the beats and the lyrics. In a rap game where so many tracks are laden with identikit dance-pop production in order to increase their chart potential, Joey’s embrace of the old-school is ludicrously refreshing.
‘Word is Bond’ is a lean and direct beast. The beats boom and snap with irresistible purpose, while a languid piano loop and expertly placed turntable squiggles round out a production that feels genuinely timeless.
Lyrically, Bada$$ is also operating at a different level. Without wishing to sound like the creaky old giffer that he undoubtedly is, your reviewer can’t help but feel that today’s scene seems overly populated by rappers who, well, can’t really rap. In so many cases, genuine lyrical dexterity has been replaced with mush-mouthed mumbling. It’s hard to believe someone like French Montana could hold his own in an animated conversation, much less a rap battle. By contrast, Joey Bada$$ takes an obvious pleasure in crafting and delivering memorable lines.
This care and attention is reflected in the protracted genesis of his new mixtape ‘Summer Knights’. For fans, it’s been a long time coming, but that’s just because Bada$$ wanted to get it right.
“It’s been about a year,” he told Prefix. “I’m a perfectionist. I’m really nervous with what I put out, and really self-conscious. I can’t hold on to my tracks too long because I’ll just start to hate it. Ask any one of my homies, they’ll tell you—I hate every song I’ve ever made. Because the thing is, I record it and then listen to it like fifty times after, and I play it out before anybody ever even hears it. To hear people bumping shit I did like a year ago, it’s the strangest.”
If this slow process results in more tracks like ‘Word is Bond’, let’s hope Joey Bada$$ keeps on taking his time.
Being an innovator isn’t always easy. As the ‘Godfather of Grime’, Wiley was one of the figureheads of one of the most exciting recent developments in British music. But once you become a symbol for an entire genre, you also become a target should you seek to blur your musical boundaries. Dare to step outside the narrow parameters defined by self-appointed purists and suddenly you’re a sellout.
Thankfully, Wiley doesn’t appear to have let his status become a millstone round his neck. Quite the contrary, he sees his willingness to embrace new ideas as key to his longevity.
“I think the main way that I have stayed relevant – or tried to – is by finding a balance in the music I make,” he told MTV. “Obviously I started out with grime, but things have moved on since then, for me. The hardest part about changing, or ‘success’, is that as music lovers we have this thing where when everybody else starts to like it, we decide not to love it as much anymore.”
Latest album ‘The Ascent’, successfully straddles the line between underground club bangers and chart-friendly pop songs. ‘Lights On’ falls squarely into the latter camp. Big dancefloor synths and a syrupy vocal hook from guest Angel practically guarantee that this is going to one of those inescapable summer hits. But despite all the success, there’s a good chance that Wiley may not be around that much longer.
“Even though getting to the top of the charts is a big deal, people forget that I’ve been doing music for 15 years now and yeah, I could keep releasing music and chasing another hit, but I want my next project after ‘The Ascent’ album to be my last – I’m planning on retiring around the end of 2014 or 2015.”
Atlanta’s rapping and singing star B.O.B provides a snappy, whistle heavy new single in “Headbands” featuring rising star 2 Chainz. The Grammy nominated sensation raps on flexible women who know how to get down in the club with 2 Chainz’s charm also schooling listeners on his art of seducing.
The man born Bobby Ray Simmons spent much of his early years in the underground Hip Hop arena, unleashing fiery verses and teaming up with some of today’s popular figures including J. Cole and T.I.
In 2010 the young man became a star, releasing two massive chart singles in “Nothin’ On You” featuring Bruno Mars and “Airplanes” alongside Hayley Williams. Three years later and the towering B.O.B now finds himself as one of music’s A-List stars, which has led him to greater opportunities beyond music.
Speaking recently to New York radio station 92.3 Now FM, Bobby Ray revealed plans on releasing a jewelry line for the foreseeable future. Naming the brand Underground Luxary, the same name as his forthcoming album, he said, “I like the name so much, and I just naturally fell into making jewelry… for people who like the type of fashion that I like”.
Collaborative partner on “Headband” 2 Chainz continues his ascendance within the Hip Hop ranks, recently performing new single “Feds Watching” alongside Pharrell Williams at one of Hip Hop’s biggest summer festivals Summer Jam.
“Headband” provides 2013 with another anthem for the clubs and should keep B.O.B within the circle of Hip Hops crossover stars.
The UK’s pop starlet Jessie J comes back in front of the camera with a fierce attitude and some familiar friends for her new single “Wild”. Joined by UK’s rap sensation Dizzee Rascal and the US rising star Big Sean, “The Voice” judge flaunts her curves whilst the two rhymers add some extra bite to the already sizzling video.
Known for her strong stance on embracing inner beauty, the “Price Tag” singer recently commented on Twitter about negative comments about her size and shape. She said, “Yes I do and I have very long legs and a small waist and small shoulders and size 6 feet!” She then went on to encourage her younger following to take pride in their appearance. “All girls should embrace what makes them unique…Stop being so negative about each other!”
Dizzee Rascal’s long term dominance in the UK Charts looks set to continue this summer as he prepares his forthcoming album, “The Fifth” which will feature his new single “Going Crazy” alongside Brit legend Robbie Williams.
Kanye West’s protege Big Sean has established himself as one of the future Hip Hop stars thanks to numerous club hits and impressive mixtapes. His feature on Jessie J’s single should provide the Detroit native with his first Top Ten hit in the UK.