Authors Posts by Cara20

Cara20

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On Episode #4 of Lipstick N Lyrics, Lisa and Cara take a look at upcoming summer tours they are looking forward to, the latest BET Award nominations and why Cara is excited for the show, their thoughts on the Scandal finale, and their thoughts on Ciara’s latest offering.
Check out the episode below!

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9 years ago, Cara and Lisa, two freshmen at Illinois State University, crossed paths from two different lifestyles but shared two common bonds: their love for both music and writing. After graduating from college with dreams working in the journalism industry, both ladies quickly realized they would have to take charge of their destiny instead of waiting for a company to offer them a position. Hence the birth of Lipstick N Lyrics.

Lipstick N Lyrics is a monthly podcast hosted by Cara and Lisa where they discuss a variety of topics ranging from music, celebrity news, and anything else they feel like. Armed with opinions that some may or may not agree with, the ladies don’t hold anything back and let it all out. During the premiere episode, which is linked here, Cara and Lisa take a look at the recent happenings including Drake’s new album, Twitter beefs, and the Jackie Robinson West Little League drama.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy Lipstick N Lyrics! And make sure to tune in for the second episode next month!

-Cara

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How’s it going ladies and gents? It’s ya girl Cara back with another look at her fave five tracks for the week. I know, I been kinda M.I.A. but meh I just wasn’t feeling any music lately but I’m back to bless y’all with some hotness. So let’s get to it shall we?

Rihanna has the ability to go from sexually free vixen to pop princess effortlessly. And I tend to like pretty much all her singles and this is no exception. Yep, it’s an oldie but a goodie.

Little known fact about me: I have every one of Game’s albums. I’ve had his latest offering Jesus Piece since it dropped but I didn’t start loving this song until lately because I was too busy twerking to “Church”.

I wasn’t even going to check out Pharrell’s latest album, G I R L, because I was too busy listening to other albums for reviews. But after I saw all of my friends praise the album I checked it out. And I’m glad I did. Words can’t even describe how much I love this album but it just clicks for me. This is one of the many songs that I love from the album and is definitely worth a listen.

Speaking of albums that I reviewed, this is clearly my favorite song from ScHoolboy Q’s album Oxymoron. It’s the typical love song that you can expect from an artist like Q: raw, straight to the point, and simple.

Speaking of love songs, this is simply one of my favorite love songs of all time. Gosh I miss 112 (I was definitely Team 112 in the 112/Jagged Edge debate). We need more R&B groups like this! You can’t tell me this doesn’t seem like the perfect wedding song? *swoons*

So those are my favorite songs this week. What about y’all?

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Hey y’all it’s Cara back with a mini review. It’s been a minute since I reviewed an album (life is hectic) but I’m back to take a quick look at the latest offering from the TDE crew, ScHoolboy Q’s Oxymoron. 

Let’s be clear: Q is not the first rapper from LA with a gang affiliated/drug dealing background and probably won’t be the last. In a time when most rappers in the game are known for bragging how much money they have, how fly they are, and are known to show their emotional side, TDE’s ScHoolboy Q breezes through the genre like a breath of fresh air.  Instead on his album Oxymoron, he shares an autobiographical tale of some sort. He delves into his experience being addicted to pills, he describes his history gang banging on the streets, and he also celebrates how he’s about to make it big because of the rap game. Q is as blunt as they come today. He doesn’t waste time waxing poetic sayings in a woman’s ear to get her panties to drop. He blatantly tells her that he’s gonna put his dick all up inside of her. While his bluntness is endearing, he still manages to let his creativity show with verses where he is speaking from a pill’s perspective and songs that show the contrast of him being an addict versus being a dealer that supplies addicts. Point blank, the man’s wordplay is insane and might go over your head if you aren’t paying close attention.

After the critical success of Q’s Habits & Contradictions along with the overall success of  Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, hip hop listeners were waiting with bated breath to see if Q could build on the success from the TDE camp while showing people that he too could be a viable opponent for Kendrick’s crown. Oxymoron is the type of album where one won’t be able to understand its appeal after one listen. It may take several listens for a person to truly understand the concept of the album. So if you’re looking for songs filled with radio ready singles, this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for an album that takes a deep look into Q’s candid background as a pill addicted gang banger that keeps it gritty all the time, you’re in for a treat.

Rating: B

Favorite Song(s): “Studio” feat. BJ The Chicago Kid

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Hey, hey everybody! It’s Cara back with another installment of my fave five tracks of the week. I know I’m a few days late but I had to get over how underwhelming the Grammy’s were (like seriously they bored me to tears LAWD!) But hey I’m still here. Let’s get to the music shall we?

Now this song dropped when I was one of the BIGGEST Eminem fan (not ashamed to admit it). He was “new” on the scene and his delivery was so intense and raw, how could you NOT like this song?

Of course I have to show some love to Chicago’s own Da Brat. I’m truly showing my age by posting this song seeing that this album dropped in 1994! (GOD I’M SO OLD!) but this song is just..the shit. And this album is a classic. Clearly her best album (no other album of hers compares to be honest). My only gripe with this song is that it’s so short but I guess this was supposed to be the “intro”?

Am I the only that wishes they had a theme song to play when they walked into rooms or nah? If I had to choose a theme song, this would be it. Old school Three 6 Mafia/Hypnotize Minds that wasn’t a big commercial single but it still bangs nonetheless. Fun Cara Fact: I’m a big fan of Three 6 Mafia. I blame my brother.

Although I’m STILL mad at Cyhi for the “She rode a broom on the beach/That’s What I call a sandwich” line, I have to admit that Ivy League Club by Cyhi Da Prynce is my favorite mixtape for him. It’s like he FINALLY was able to obtain the right beats he needed to match his flow and it worked. And although I don’t smoke weed, I still love this song.

There’s always that one song that sticks out like a sore thumb on my lists, and this would be that song. Although this album wasn’t released in the United States, this has to be my FAVORITE Amerie song ever. Nothing else can come close to this song. Like if I was going to get married and didn’t commit to being the best playa I can be until the day I leave this Earth, this would be my first dance song. Like my future husband wouldn’t even get a say.

And there you have it, my fave five for the week. Some oldies but goodies because hey, I like listening to old songs. Sue me. So what tracks are you all feeling this week?

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What’s good everybody? It’s your girl Cara back at it again! I know, I know..it’s been a while but yeah life gets hectic, work gets hectic, and all you wanna do is sleep in the fetal position. *kanye shrug* But one thing that hasn’t changed in my absence is the fact that I love music! So I’m back with a new post to showcase my fave 5 songs RIGHT NOW.  So enough of my rambling, let’s get to the tracks.

Back in September, I got the opportunity to see J. Cole for the third time in concert and it was amazing. To see how far he’s come in regards to putting together an actual concert was breathtaking (mind you first time I saw him was in Texas when it was just him and a mic!) He performed this track at the concert and I can’t help but get hype when this comes on. Not my fave Cole track but still a good song.

One surprise I had last year was how much I enjoyed Drake’s Nothing Was The Same. Anybody that knows me knows that I don’t particularly stan for Drake like others. I mean I’ll NEVER forgive him for the “Back That Ass Up” Remix but that’s the past. But this album is a very good album. And this is one of my favorite songs. Although I still like the first half better than the second half but hey that’s just me!

Ever since I saw the TLC documentary, I’ve been in a TLC zone and listening to all of their old songs. But I almost forgot about this until a few weeks ago. A very smooth, sexy song.

This right here, is the album of the year. And that’s taking EVERYBODY’S album into consideration (and y’all know who dropped albums last year). All I wanna know is who told Janelle Monae to release such a wonderful, well rounded album? If you feel that The ArchAndroid was too eclectic for you, Electric Lady will be a better listen for you since it has more of a commercial feel to it although Monae doesn’t lose her quirkiness. Damn I could listen to this album all day if I could.

Ok, funny story. I didn’t get the hype about this song when the album first dropped. I downloaded the album but I didn’t understand the hype. And I’ll be real…I STILL DON’T GET THE HYPE ABOUT THE ALBUM. But I’ll let y’all love this album while I hug Janelle’s close to my heart. But this song right here, just caught my eye in the past week. Maybe it was the fact that I serenaded my friends while drunk in the club for my birthday this past Friday with this song enjoyed dancing to this song with my friends this past Friday but it’s growing on me. But y’all know me..I’m ALWAYS late to the party.

So there you have it, my fave 5 of the week. What songs are y’all feeling? Check back next week for my next fave 5!

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Back when I was in college, my friend tried to introduce me to this new rapper named Drake. I had heard one of his songs, “Replacement Girl” since it had my boo thang in my head  favorite singer of the moment Trey Songz on it & had even seen him on my guilty pleasure Degrassi. But that was it. She swore up and down that I need to check him out because he was going to be large.

4 years later she’s looking like a damn prophet.

I’ll admit I was late to the Drake appreciation party. And after I listened to his first few mixtapes, I definitely wasn’t ready to crown him the best new artist of our generation. To be honest, I actually fell asleep the first time I tried to listen to “Comeback Season” (whoops!) But I still decided to give him a chance. It took some time for his debut album, “Thank Me Later” to grow on me but once it did I felt like I was part of the masses. Here I was naming Facebook picture albums after his song titles and dancing to all his hits in the club. But I still wasn’t ready to join the Drake fan club. Then he dropped his sophomore effort, “Take Care”.

Sighs.

I’m not going to even lie. I would like to act like “Take Care” really didn’t happen. I would like to pretend that he didn’t really release a R&B version of Juvenile’s “Back That Ass Up” but unfortunately this was real. If “Thank Me Later” was Drake’s attempt to please the urban masses with hit singles galore, “Take Care” was his attempt to experiment with his sound and to show another side to him that we hadn’t seen before. And either you loved it or you hated it.

I mostly hated it.

Maybe it was because I was expecting the Drake that appeared on the urban radio hits on “Take Care”. Not the one that would make a song like “Marvin’s Room”. I had a preconceived image in my head as to what “Take Care” Drake would sound like and the version I got didn’t match up. So when I learned that he was going to release a third album, “Nothing Was The Same”, I made myself a promise. I was going to go into the album with an open mind. My expectations wouldn’t be set that high because usually when that happens, I’m let down time and time again. But this time, I was gonna approach listening to this album with no expectations. No images of what this version of Drake should sound like. And see where that takes me.

Great idea I had.

I could sit here and dissect every single verse, line, adjective, adverb on this album but I’m not because…well I would bore  myself to tears doing that. But I will make a declaration now:

This is Drake’s best album.

On “Nothing Was The Same” it appears that Drake was able to do what a lot of music artists set out to do but fail miserably at: staying true to their sound but creating hits. This album epitomizes who Drake is. He’s not a hardcore rapper that sold drugs in Toronto. He’s not a conscious rapper discussing the plight that faces the black community. But he is a rich rapper. He’s a rapper that could more than likely pull any chick at the club. He’s a rapper that believes that he is the best out right now. And he’s a rapper that spills out his emotional issues in his verses.  That’s who Drake is. And that’s the Drake that was presented to me on this album.

Random thoughts that I took away from the album:

  1. I don’t think there’s a beat on here that I hate.
  2. The guest features didn’t outshine Drake.
  3. I wonder how long will it be before people start tweeting random Drake lyrics. (I Think I did this as I was writing this review)
  4. I’m actually struggling to pick my favorite song because I have so many options.
  5. Hold on! Is this the first Drake album that I’ve heard without ANY features from any of the big names from Young Money (I’m not counting Detail). GLORY TO GAWD!
  6. This album kinda reminds me of “So Far Gone” Drake.

The transformation that Drake went through these past few years (starring on a Canadian teenage soap opera to a popular rapper) seems very surreal. But it seems as if people have forgotten about his stint as Wheelchair Jimmy and is buying into Drake being one of the great artists of our generation. Now I don’t know if I would go THAT far, but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by this album. I’m going to hold off calling this a classic (because I don’t make that determination until a few years pass by), but I will say that this album is a very solid offering from Drake.

And easily my favorite that I’ve heard this year.

Rating: A-

Favorite Track(s): “Worst Behaviour” 

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I hated Big Sean’s debut album, “Finally Famous”.

Sure if you read the review I did on it, it doesn’t seem like I truly hated it. But as I  look back on the album as a whole, the album just didn’t do it for me.

Sure he still had his punchlines  that he showcased on his mixtapes (whether you think they were corny or not is another story). But the beats on the album weren’t that good (“Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay” was particularly God awful) and after listening to the album, I was left with the question of exactly what type of artist was Big Sean? Who was his he trying to target? How would he be remembered years from now?

I still don’t know the answers to that question.

So I was particularly wary of checking out his mixtape, “Detroit” that dropped last year. I was convinced that it would fall into the range of either being horrible (“Finally Famous” the album) or aiight (his previous mixtapes). But at the urging of my friend, I decided to check it out.

And I’m glad I did.

“Detroit” was what his debut album should’ve been. The mixtape had an overall theme that was prevalent throughout the songs. There weren’t any songs that wanted to make me punch a wall. And the beats didn’t make me want to toss my iPod out my car window. Once the year was over, “Detroit” stood tall as being one of my favorite mixtapes of the year.

That’s not necessarily a good thing though.

Now that I’ve seen that Big Sean was capable of releasing a project of that caliber, I expect him to fully back it up with his sophomore effort, “Hall of Fame”. I expect him to make me forget about the mediocrity bullshit that was his debut album just like I expect to see some growth from him as an artist. I expect him to show me that he’s able to pick the right beats that match his style and for me to thoroughly enjoy the album.

Boy was I wrong.

When I review an album or mixtape, I listen to it three times. Three chances for the artist to impress me. After the first listen, I was like “aw ok. I guess. At least it sounds better than ‘Finally Famous’”. After the second listen, I said to myself “God this is just awful!” By the third and final listen I was completely through with Big Sean and ultimately myself for falling into his trap. Once again he tricked me. Got me all hype for a good album only to be treated to this disjointed hot mess.

“Hall of Fame” follows a blueprint that a lot of mainstream albums follow nowadays. Instead of being focused on crafting an album with a cohesive theme throughout the songs, Big Sean is only focused on creating an album with a hodge podge of songs that can possibly pass off as hit singles. Although there are some lines that are suspect (“I wake up and treat the day like Rack History Month”), Big Sean shows that he has some type of lyrical ability and is capable of inserting catchy catchphrases and one liners in his songs. And that’s great if you’re featured on songs with other artists (let’s be real he did shine on “Clique”). But when he’s the main focus of an album, he falters to keep me as a listener interested because of the lack of diversity in his subject matter. We get it: you got money, you trying to get more money, you’re fly, and you love having sex with women. What else do you have to offer?

Despite my displeasure with the album, my biggest WTF moment came when I heard “Milf”. There’s no doubt in my mind that this will be played in clubs across the country and some women will toss their hands in the air, proclaiming that this is their song. But I’m not one of those women. I don’t know what’s worse: the song title, the chorus with the annoying kids, or Nicki Minaj’s verse (seriously what the hell?). Besides the fact that this song may possibly find some mainstream success like “A$$” did (another song I detested), there’s nothing positive to say about this song.  It’s an entire mess and should’ve never seen the light of day.

During a time where the class of new rappers show progression as an artist on their sophomore albums, Big Sean disappoints. After being pleasantly surprised by his mixtape “Detroit”, my expectations were set very high for “Hall of Fame”. While others may be happy with this album and want to deem it a classic, Big Sean failed to impress me & simply regressed back to the artist that I saw on “Finally Famous”: catchy/suspect one liners & subject matter that was in desperate need of a sprinkle of diversity. Maybe third times a charm?

Rating: D

Favorite Song: “10 2 10”

 

 

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I’ve seen the story before: an artist announces that their album is dropping on a particular date only to push it back because they don’t have enough buzz behind their album since their lead single isn’t doing that good. The build up to an album release can be very long and tiresome. And there aren’t many music artists that can release a successful album without much build up.

Jay-Z isn’t most artists.

Since Jay-Z announced he would release his twelfth studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, on the 4th of July, the music world was drooling with anticipation. Everybody was ready to see what he would offer on the album although he didn’t officially release a single to wet people’s appetites. By doing that and giving the album away for free to fans, it’s clear that Jay-Z abandoned the typical procedure to release an album and was creating his own rules. Jay-Z’s way was innovative. It was fresh. But would the music on Magna Carta Holy Grail be just as fresh making the album a new classic for Jay-Z or would it be just another album?

For the past few years, I’ve been very disappointed from the music Jay-Z released. Although I liked a few songs, I didn’t love Watch The Throne as a whole like everybody else (yeah I said it!) & Blueprint 3 suffered from annoying chorus after annoying chorus. So I was kind of skeptical to listen to this album. Would I get the Jay-Z from The Blueprint, The Black Album, American Gangsta (albums that I loved) or the Jay-Z from the albums that I didn’t like as much or hated?

After listening to the album a few times, I can safely say that I didn’t get neither Jay-Z. I definitely like this album better than the last few albums he has dropped. The BEST thing that could’ve happened to this album was the fact that Timbaland executive produced it. Just when I think Timbaland lost his marbles and released some garbage, he bounces back this year. The overall sound on MCHG fits Jay-Z as an artist. There wasn’t one song on the album that seemed to not fit him as an artist and made me give the side eye. On the other hand, I don’t feel like I’ve heard this album before. It’s a completely different album from his previous ones. Not only is the sound different but so is the content. At first he was rapping about the struggles that he faced while hustling back in his younger years. Now he’s rapping about wanting to be a good father to his daughter although he didn’t have a father to show him how to be a father (“Jay-Z Blue”). Or he’s rapping about how different it feels to be a billionaire in different businesses (rapper, sports agency) when he grew up from the projects.

As I sat waiting for my album to finish downloading, I saw a lot of people giddy over the album. Claiming that Jay stole the summer from every other artist that released an album this summer. Claiming that this was a new classic for him. While I will agree that MCHG was better than the other rap albums that were released this summer that I’ve heard, I have to seriously question whether this is a classic or if people are claiming it’s a classic because Jay-Z released it? The album is a very good album, a great bounce back album in my eyes after subpar releases. But I will have to wait and see if it can stand the test of time before I deem it a classic. If by the next year I can still bump MCHG at insane levels and still like it as much as I do now, then I can claim it as a classic. But right now, the jury is still out.

In my review for J. Cole’s Born Sinner & and Kanye West’s Yeezus, I stated that both artists could learn from the other: Cole needed to learn how to create an album that didn’t sound like his previous pieces & Kanye needed to incorporate some of the old Kanye that made people become a fan. On MCHG, Jay-Z is able to do both effortlessly. While I won’t go as far to call it a classic, I will say that Jay-Z released a very enjoyable album.

Rating: B

Favorite Track(s): “La Familia”

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Before the BET Awards tonight, Ciara dropped the video for her new music video “I’m Out”, featuring Nicki Minaj. Check out the video, which was clearly inspired by “Scream” by Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson, below.

The collabo will appear on Ciara’s upcoming album, Ciara, which is scheduled to drop on July 9th.