Jan 092018
 
Jorja Smith Lost

You may have heard rising British star Jorja Smith on a couple of tracks on Drake’s latest album. And just last month, she recorded a soulful version of “Lost” by Frank Ocean; not in (to quote the lyrics) “Miami, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Spain…Los Angeles, India…[or] on a train”– but in London’s Metropolis Studios, for Spotify Sessions.

Smith’s rendition is what one imagines the writers’ original version sounded like pre-production: soulful, stripped-down, and emotional. With lyrics about a woman who’s lost her way, this cover aims right for the heartstrings while Ocean’s version – written and produced by Malay (who has also produced Sam Smith, Lorde, and John Legend) – is upbeat and contradictory to the lyrical journey. Continue reading »

Jul 252017
 

Fans were on pins and needles at last weekend’s FYF in Los Angeles, fearing the elusive Frank Ocean may not show up again.

Ocean is a rare talent catalogers and writers have a hell of a time classifying. In fact, any one of his albums can fit into multiple musical genres: contemporary pop, hip-hop, psychedelic pop, R&B, alt-R&B, soul, avant-garde, etc. There are multiple Reddit threads dedicated solely to debating how to categorize his music.

Given his range, when this ultra-versatile musician and music lover, whose playlists show a wide-ranging taste, covered a 1984 hit from the Nigerian disco star, Steve Monite, the sound felt natural and fit right into Oceanic soundscapes. Continue reading »

May 302017
 
james blake frank ocean

Frank Ocean’s “Godspeed”, from his Blonde album, has been a popular song to cover, with a great recent take from Stormzy. But it’s even more special that James Blake would cover the song that samples his own “Always”.

Blake, who’s been a mastermind and contributor to a lot of other great artists, including Kendrick Lamar, produced, arranged and made keyboard contributions to Ocean’s original “Godspeed”. It is safe to assume the performance on May 14th in Arizona was not Blake’s first time playing the song. In a solo piano set, Blake performed an even mellower, more somber version of Ocean’s song. Continue reading »

Jun 102015
 
RESIZE-PHIL-MANZANERA

Samples in hip hop are a main ingredient of many successful hits. “No Church In The Wild” is no exception. That beautiful looped guitar riff comes from the talented master, Phil Manzanera, of Roxy Music. Phil’s solo work, “K-Scope” from 1978, was sampled by Kanye West and Jay-Z in their 2011 song. Continue reading »