Observations Prompted by Roy Wood$ by Maxwell Young

I was listening to Roy Wood$'s Exis project and found my thoughts venturing toward the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.  The OVO Sound member has an appropriately placed endorsement by the boss man in the catchy track "Drama", but other songs on the LP caught my ear in an unsuspecting way.  The singer/rapper from Toronto has the trademark melodic [lullaby] flow that is apparent in other artists under the label, like PND and the excommunicated The Weeknd. He elevates this trope a notch with the heavy-breathed passion and intensity Michael exuded. Songs "All of You" and the chorus of "Go Go Go" particularly seemed like derivations of his iconic sound that for a minute I thought I was playing "Jam". 

Hip hop and pop are essentially cousins.  When Michael Jackson was at the height of his career recording platinum record after platinum record (Off the Wall, Thriller, etc.) hip hop was in its infancy.  Rap groups like the Sugarhill Gang and Run DMC were just starting to enter and sort of popularize the movement.  Their impetus was the celebration and lamentation of the streets and the hustle, setting hip hop down a raw path that could be revered for its honesty and loathed for its commercial sell-outs.  As hip hop has expanded into different sub-genres, we've arrived at the point where both rap and pop have begun to intermingle, culminating with Taylor Swift inviting the likes of Fetty Wap to play his hits at her shows.    

Whether it was Roy Wood$ intention to utilize Michael's eccentricities, it's interesting to listen to how sounds and genres morph and influence future sounds.  When you think about it, the intersection of hip hop and pop was inevitable.  Artists run in the same crowds; Madonna dated Tupac,  Ye and Hov are 03's Bonnie and Clyde—some have connected and collaborated.  It was bound to happen.  The difference is it's 2015 and the young singer-songwriters who are entering the industry are millennials, so they grew up listening to not just Nas, Biggie, or Mos Def, but also Michael Jackson and even Nirvana--artists who helped revolutionize the sounds in music we hear today.  

Drake & Air Jordan 10 'OVO' by Alex Young

For the last two weeks Drake's behavior resembles more of his boss, Michael Jordan; a statement complimenting and comparing Drake's winning spirit he exuded all throughout his beef with Meek Mill. Two years ago Drake aligned himself and OVO with greatness announcing a partnership with Jordan Brand. Quickly after the news fans learned they would be the ones to reap the rewards of the deal as 'OVO' Air Jordan 10 and 12 silhouettes surfaced on Drake's Instagram but never received a release date.

Roll forward to July 22, 2015, on this day to many Drake sits as the game's most popular rapper and most talented rapper. Meek Mill goes on a Twitter rant saying his recent success made relevant by his album Dreams Worth More Than Money should not be a surprise, he has "been had the culture" and it is no credit to his relationship with Nicki Minaj. He went on to Tweet, "Stop comparing drake to me too... He don't write his own raps! That's why he ain't tweet my album because we found out!" Drake is being challenged and rap's brash, primal, and proud culture means Drake must respond. Imagine how Michael Jordan felt after being challenged any point after winning back-to-back-to-back NBA championships, that is the type of frustration and determination that leads to the Flu Game and 6 rings when it is all said and done.

Drake's counterattack came swiftly, strategically dropping two diss tracks "Charged Up" and "Back To Back Freestyle" right before hip hop's epicenter shifted to Drake's home court-- Toronto, for OVO Fest this past weekend. OVO and all its fans relished in their icon's victory, taunting the loser with "Free Meek Mill" t-shirts and memes on screen while Drake performed. OVO Fest served as Drake's trophy ceremony, the man delivered on a world stage-- a true championship moment that made wearing the Air Jordan 10 'OVO' only appropriate, especially with the sneaker's public release date officially announced.

On September 12, 2015 the 'OVO' 10 will launch globally to select Jordan retailers. The sneaker boasts a tonal white colorway built with premium leathers and gold accents branding both parties. When Drake signed to Jordan Brand in 2013 it is unknown if the plan was to hold the shoes for a special moment, but thanks to Drake's dismantling of Meek Mill now is the perfect and only time. Watch the golden owl become timeless. 




Drake - Back To Back Freestyle (Another Meek Mill Diss) by Alex Young

I woke up to a text this morning that read, "there goes Meek's career," a clear comment regarding his feud with Drake, but I was unaware of the new developments that came this morning. Six hours ago Drizzy posted to his SoundCloud another Meek Mill diss titled "Back To Back Freestyle" where he states, "Back to back for the n*ggas that didn't get the message... I know that you gotta be a thug for her / This ain't what she meant when she told you to open up more / Trigger fingers turner to Twitter fingers / You gettin' bodied by a singing n*gga". It is hyperbole to say Meek's career is in the tank, but the statement recognizes the new respect Drake garners from his pointed retaliations. After listening to "Charged Up" and now "Back To Back Freestyle" OVO's front man seems agitated that his skill is being questioned so he has done what he must, respond. A series of Tweets from Meek, continuing his rant on stage during The Pinkprint's Brooklyn stop, and no diss track of his own makes it seem like the Philly rapper is simply whining trying to maintain relevance, all of which has moved Drake to hang his nemesis out to dry. Maybe later this week will present a true response from Meek, but until then all eyes are on Drake; enjoy "Back To Back Freestyle" below.

Note: This is not a response, Meek. This is you sticking your fingers in your ears saying "Lalalalalalala I can't hear you," not addressing the current quarrel you and Drake have (that you started). Sure, you may be toying with us ready to comeback appropriately very soon; but thanks to Drizzy's swift answers, and listener's need to consume it seems your opinion on Drake's writing is becoming irrelevant.

Drake Responds to Meek Mill with Three New Songs by Alex Young

Apple Music's Beats 1 radio station will be a destination for exclusive music releases, which will only draw more subscribers to the streaming service; Drake's OVO Sound used the platform to debut new tracks during its first program. July 25th marked OVO's second show and it offered a perfect opportunity for Drake to address Meek Mill's ghostwriting accusations he fired at Drizzy via Twitter this past Tuesday regarding "R.I.C.O.". A new song "Charged Up" is believed to be Drake's direct response to Meek as he raps, "Done doing favors for people. Because it ain't like I need the money I make off of features". OVO's lead man did not stop there, "You Used To"-- a remix of "Cha Cha" by D.R.A.M.-- and "Right Hand" are two more new songs to cease any doubt listeners may have had. Enjoy Drake's latest work below and read what Meek Mill had to say after the retaliation, let the beef continue.

UPDATE: Also listen to OVOSOUND Radio's second show in full and check the setlist here.

October's Very Own for Apple Music by Alex Young

Apple Music has digested with music listeners for a little more than a week now. The streaming service gives users access to 30 million songs all in one place and an array of features like shows by Drake and Pharrell on Apple's internet radio station, Beats 1. Drake is an interesting part of Apple Music. Back in June it was reported that Apple offered Drake a $19 million deal to have him as part of the new service. Today, those efforts pay off because Drake released the music video to his song "Energy" exclusively on Apple Music. Then, OVO mates Majid Jordan dropped a Drake collaboration called "My Love" to Apple Music as well. For all parties involved today is a win, win, but the competitive culture in music streaming services only continues to grow. Watch the "Energy" video here and listen to "My Love" on iTunes or below.