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4:44 releases synth-heavy single “Freedom” following hype from Jay-Z EP

4:44 | photo by Brittany Cook | instagram.com/brittcphoto | via facebook.com/fourfortyfour

You might remember Jersey prog / jam band 4:44 from their summer stunt when they released an EP called Jay-Z after Jay-Z released his album called 4:44. The news blew up on Reddit for a few months, and 4:44 follows it up this month with a new single, “Freedom.”

The new song vibes with all sorts of synth and bass-heavy grooves, while the lyrics are heavily influenced by all things free, just as the title suggests. Singer Anthony Friedlander channels a U2-esque sound when he really gets into the vocals, and it totally works. This is a fun, not-too-heavy, not-too-light song from a band who knows exactly how to grab a listener’s attention. Continue reading →

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Kill, Jay-Z: HOVA reigns supreme at Made In America day two with Meek Mill, Japanese Breakfast, Kelela and more

Jay-Z and Meek Mill | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Two-plus decades into the game, hip-hop icon Jay-Z is still full of surprises. First there was the lowkey release earlier this summer of 4:44, a terrific back-to-basics collection that easily sits along his canonical records Reasonable DoubtThe Blueprint and The Black Album. Then there was yesterday’s closing set at the Made in America Festival.

After a wide ranging, 90-minute performance touching on everything from “Heart of the City” to “H.O.V.A. (Izzo)” to “Hard Knock Life,” Jay swiftly exited the Rocky Stage after dedicating “Numb / Encore” to the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. The lights around Logan Circle came up, the crowd looked around and, perplexed, shrugged to one another, figuring the show had just come to an abrupt conclusion. As the exodus began, stage lights flickered on over at the festival’s Liberty Stage a little ways down the Parkway. Continue reading →

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Since Jay-Z put out an album called 4:44, Jersey prog band 4:44 put out an album called Jay-Z

4:44 | photo via 444band.bandcamp.com

From the redonkulous news file this morning — a self-professed “shameless marketing technique” from a New Jersey prog / jam three-piece.

See, about three weeks ago, hip-hop icon Jay-Z released his thirteenth studio album, 4:44. It just so happens that this band — singer and guitarist Anthony Friedlander, bassist Greg Mele Jr. and drummer Zach Gormley — is also named 4:44. So they named their new EP JAY-Z.
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Jay-Z prepares for Made in America with 4:44, a blueprint for the new generation

Photo by John Vettese

Rappers from Kendrick Lamar2 Chainz, Migos, Future, Drake, Rick Ross, Big Sean, Wale, Gucci ManeBig BoiVince Staples, Joey Bada$$ have all contributed to making the first half of 2017 a great year for hip hop. And a few weeks ago, rap icon Jay-Z added his own huge contribution by releasing his thirteenth studio album 4:44.

By putting introspective, complicated rhymes over captivating instrumentals, it’s no shocker that the album has received general acclaim from critics and has already gone platinum — thanks to the assistance of Tidal and Sprint — just a week after its release. Continue reading →

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Jay-Z honors Pimp C on “Tom Ford” remix (playing Wells Fargo Center on 1/29)

Photo via www.facebook.com/JayZ
Photo via www.facebook.com/JayZ

Jay-Z invited fans to share in his birthday (December 4th) bliss by offering them a little treat: a “Tom Ford” remix featuring an unreleased verse from the late Pimp C. As the original version, which is featured on Jay’s latest album Magna Carta Holy Grail, continues to dominate urban radio, hearing Pimp C’s flow on the remix brings to mind their hit collaboration, “Big Pimpin.” Get the remix via Okayplayer here, and get tickets to Jay-Z’s January 29th show at Wells Fargo Center here.

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Watch Halfro cover Jay-Z’s “Somewhere in America” (playing Voltage Lounge tomorrow)

Halfro | Photo via www.facebook.com/HalfroMusic
Halfro | Photo via www.facebook.com/HalfroMusic

Local indie hip-hop act Halfro have a sound that’s quite refreshing. They’re a full band that plays passionate, melodic music in a genre that rarely focuses on bands, but rather solo acts. Recently, they stripped down Jay-Z’s “Somewhere in America”, from this year’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, and gave it a poetry club type makeover. Halfro will open for Nappy Roots tomorrow night at Voltage Lounge. Get tickets here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Justin Timberlake / Jay-Z at Citizen’s Bank Park, Jason Anderson at Kung Fu Necktie

justin-and-jayThe anticipated double-bill of Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z co-headline Citizen’s Bank Park tonight. JT is expected to release a second part to to the 20/20 Experience in September, while Jay-Z has generated buzz for the abstract marketing is latest studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail. His video “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film” was released earlier this month, and the ten-minute piece starts and ends with an interview dialogue about concert performing, intercut with footage of him playing the song in a New York City art gallery. Find more information and tickets for tonight’s show here. Watch JT’s video for “Take Back the Night” and Jay-Z’s “Picasso Baby” video below.

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Magna Carta Holy Grail available for purchase tomorrow (Jay-Z playing Citizen’s Bank Park in August)

jay_z_web_1The self-proclaimed eighth wonder of the world, Shawn Carter a.k.a. Jay-Z shared his love (and new found philosophies) on Independence Day by dropping his new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail. And fortunately for his fans, the tracks – meant exclusively for Samsung customers – were leaked mere hours after their initial release. Jay-Z is joined on production by the likes of Timbaland, Swiss Beatz and Pharrell, and several tracks include the vocal talents of Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé. Carter says he wanted to experiment with theme and technique – and so far, critics have been generally receptive, although there are some laments that Hova did not move more outside of his comfort zone. The album will be released tomorrow, July 9th, for retail sale, and Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z will perform at the Citizens Bank Park on August 13th for the Legends of Summer tour. Take a listen to “Holy Grail” below and share your thoughts.

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Jay-Z takes the gloves off on a new song, “Open Letter” (playing w/ Justin Timberlake at Citizens Bank Park in August)

jayz Hot on the heels of the lineup announcement of the Jay-Z curated Made In America concert, Jay-Z has released a new song, “Open Letter.” Co-produced by Swizz Beats and Timbaland, Jay takes on the critics of his trip to Cuba, expresses his opinion about his Brooklyn Nets ownership, his new deal with Universal, brags about his “White House clearance” and declares himself the “Bob Dylan of rap music.” Let’s just say, he’s got a lot on his mind and takes the gloves off on this new song, that you can listen to below.

Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake perform at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, August 13th. Go here for tickets.