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Samuel Duckett, Author at The Sampler - Page 7 of 7The Sampler
BJ the Chicago Kid – Church ft Chance the Rapper and Buddy

I’d like to take a moment to shine a light on this up and coming artist, BJ the Chicago Kid. This song should spark your interest and inspire more of a look into who this guy really is. We love his soulful vibes and the rare stance he’s taking on staying righteous in the face of alcohol, drugs and scandalous women. You don’t hear too many artists saying that these days!

Chance the Rapper also comes through with some clever bars, always on point and worth a listen at least for the Chance fans our there.

Travi$ Scott – Antidote
Exactly two weeks after we got our first peak at Travi$ Scott’s upcoming album Rodeo with the debut track 3500, we are given this second offering entitled Antidote.
Antidote comes in smooth, rolling in a low-key tone.  Oddly enough, it doesn’t hit you with that classic Travi$ feel straight off the bat.  It eases in as a standalone piece and only once you sink into the track do you begin to detect the usual suspects.  Trippy vibes, oohs and ahhs ad-libbed throughout, trap drums and autotone remind us we are indeed in the year 2015 and listening to Travi$ Scott… because you gotta stay relevant.
If you wanted something new out of this drug-laced tracked, you came to the wrong place.  We find a party narrative similar to 3500’s.  All in all, I was less than impressed with this one. I feel it’s better served as an interlude than given it’s own ownership of a full drop off of Rodeo.  And if the verse is all you want, Travi$ Scott waits until three and a half minutes before he goes in.
Enjoy Antidote below and stay tuned, more Rodeo to come.

Fans have been waiting, praying (BLESS UP), and reloading their Hypebeast default webpages to hear a peak of what’s coming from arguably one of the biggest names in hip-hop. Well, fans, here’s our first track from Travi$ Scott’s debut album, Rodeo.  (With the album so close, high quality tracks are only available on iTunes).
Firstly, you can breathe a sigh of relief because Travi$’s Houston heritage and Yeezy mentorship are alive and well. That’s the good news and we’ll come back to that but unfortunately, off the bat, 3500‘s content is surface-level at best, materialistic and worn out… (fun to stunt to, for a week) and taking the easy way out if you ask me. Were it not for the astronomical expectations set by Days Before Rodeo (and Owl Pharaoh before it), 3500 would surely be receiving better grades. But harshness and expectations aside, since Travi$ Scott is still one of the best hip hop artists out right now, it’s worth noting that his greatest attribute, the production, is on point once again without fail. This track notably features top-shelf production contributions from Metro Boomin, Zaytoven, Mike Dean, Million $ Mano and Allen Ritter. Their talents serve to maintain some of Travi$ Scott’s signature sounds such as chopped and screwed vocals over a grandiose chorus treatment, Yeezus-reminscent 808s and trap drums and the eerie gothic accompaniment throughout that we all know and love. So who cares if it’s surface-level content’s luster fades, we can still tune that out and vibe with the sonics. As an added bonus whether you like it or not, 2chainz and Future go hard and do their part to maintain ties with this heavyweight hip-hop legend-in-the-making by lending proper guest verses to the track.
Rodeo will be the follow up to his appropriately-named sophomore approach, Days Before Rodeo, which somehow avoided all clichés of inadequacy that usually follow a stunning first effort.  In Travi$’s case, this first effort would be his May 2013 mixtape, Owl Pharaoh. With the placeholder middle child, Days Before Rodeo, garnering so much critical acclaim across the board, it’s safe to say Travi$ has his work cut out for him with his third project. We’ll be keeping our ears to the fiber optic cables to hear how Rodeo begins to take shape when Travi$ drops more from it… stay tuned.
Who is Rome Fortune?

Add Rome Fortune to your radar of rappers to keep an eye out for.  His newly released single “Grind” indicates its the right time to get on this guy’s music.  He instantly hits you with his signature slow-and-low flow that’s completely his own, reminiscent only of Dom Kennedy’s pause-between-bars style.  It’s the combination of his slow flow with smoothly constructed trap-influenced beats that makes his sound stand out on its own. His recently released track “Grind” has those elements throughout, not to mention a perfectly placed Chromeo-esque electronic breakdown, and its got to be one of our favorite releases in recent months.  Accompanying the single is this balloon-filled visual that is spot on in its execution of pairing with this man’s original style.  I mean, who doesn’t like looking at high-def fruits being chopped in sync with soulful chopped and screwed samples?

For more of Rome Fortune, stream his mixtape Beautiful Pimp below.

Album Review: Yeezus

Praise Yeezus.  In true Kanye West form, he has broken the rules once again.  Which rules, you ask? All of them.  In a perfectly succinct and ironically contradicting description of the man, Kanye West is a consistent revisionary.  This project is the furthest departure from his original soft suburban-rap approach of College Dropout yet. If you haven’t heard his sixth solo album then what are you doing with your life? How are you possibly avoiding this work of art.  With all of the word-of-mouth hype, controversy and ever-present reviews on every website with an audience, you must be actively avoiding it.  Yeezus crept its way out of a dingy and sinister dressing room, down the most unconventional hallways, and into the brightest spotlight of the world stage.  The only sneak previews offered were drastically under-promoted projections on the sides of buildings in 66 cities around the globe followed by two songs performed on SNL’s season finale (in true Kanye West fashion), and last but not least, a 13-second clip from the soul-sampling West we know and love that reassured us that this is undoubtedly still the same Kanye West who birthed College Dropout and that we aren’t dealing with a (complete) psychopath on solo album #6.  I said the hallways were unconventional, didn’t I?

Yeezus is defined by dramatic juxtaposition, much like the man himself.  The only way you’re going to accept this album is if you accept Kanye West as a person in his entirety.  For example, he is both extremely outspoken and self-conscious.  The album follows the same patterns of contradiction.  One can expect to find vulnerable confessions on one song (“slightly scratched your Corolla… OK I smashed your Corolla”, Hold My Liquor) and literal claims of being the closest thing to God on Earth (“I know he is the most high, but I am a close high”, I Am A God) on another.

Even the content of this album leaps from one end of the cultural spectrum to another without the slightest warning.  At the public forefront of this album is the song that premiered in metropolitan projections, New Slaves, in a purportedly symbolic in-your-face protest style that served to embolden the song’s message of consumer-based slavery.  On Blood On The Leaves, Kanye’s unending tendency to break new ground led him to the sampling of Nina Simone’s classic civil rights ballad Strange Fruit in a song laden with tales of shallow women and their drug-fueled escapades.  Blood On The Leaves‘ sound alone is enough contradiction for one song, combining EDM with hip hop and Kanye’s classic soul sampling.  The most dramatic juxtaposition of all seems to be that Kanye West can effectively brag about the most graphic sexual acts imaginable on one track and on the next have you squirming in your car-seat about the race related issues that everyone sees on a daily basis but nobody has the guts to talk about.  And Kanye West, being the man we know and love (or hate) doesn’t talk about these issues, he literally screams them into public discussion.

While many aspects of this album seem to tear it in different directions, it is actually quite unified.  At first glance, one might wonder how there can be such differing forces acting on the album’s production.  However, when you look closely, you’ll see there is a second-in-command on Yeezus and it all becomes clear when you read that behind Mr. West is Rick Rubin.  I guess in Yeezus‘ case, we can rule out immaculate conception.  During the production of Yeezus, with just three weeks to go, West came to Rubin, a man whose hands have graced the production of the majority of the most influential albums of the past 20 years (from Licensed To Ill to Future Sex/Love Sounds and not to mention he produced the ’99 Problems beat for christ’s [Yeezus’] sake…).  It is Rubin who can be rightfully credited with taking Kanye’s messy brilliance and exquisitely polishing it into a complete album worthy of the adjective ‘classic’.  The sound of this album is so refreshingly unique when compared to anything that has come out anytime soon that you could easily use these beats for the Blade Runner soundtrack with no chance of a complaint from die-hard Blade Runner fans.  This is what makes the album stand out.  It comes from one of the biggest names in pop and hip hop music yet it’s dark, brave, and terrifying, all while seeming to hail from some distant future that frightfully shares the same three adjectives.  But to save you from ending this album terrified of the electronic clanging on On Sight, I Am A God, or Send It Up, Kanye ends Yeezus with his ode to the queen of Calabasas.  Bound 2 is your savior if you’re like me and for a second there believed that you were transported to a rundown and lawless future, Blade Runner-esque, where it never stops raining and is always night for some unspoken reason.  Thankfully Kanye brings it home with this one, reminding us that the lighthearted soul-sampling Kanye is still in there somewhere… PHEW.

This album is for those people who love great sounding music played loud through their car stereo but make sure you have an idea of what’s coming because although you may think you’re tough and won’t jump to turn the song down to avoid awkward pedestrian stares Office Space-style, I guarantee Yeezus will make you throw glances at the volume control at least once on every song.  It’s hard for me to suggest just three songs on such a solid album but if you had to listen to three, the first one needs to be the beautifully inebriated masculine anthem Hold My Liquor.  From there, go straight to Kanye’s uncomfortably sexual mating call I’m In It.  Finally, to gain your sanity back, play the sample-packed Bound 2 and ignore the fact that it’s about Kim Kardashian and you’ll be good to go.

Review: The Great Gatsby Soundtrack

With the release of the much-anticipated film The Great Gatsby, anxious music fans were treated with this accompanying soundtrack that carried nearly as much buzz as the movie as it crept closer and closer to its release date.  Songs led by heavyweights such as Back to Black by André 3000 and Beyoncé were previewed on Hypebeast and other blogs prior to the soundtrack’s release. Movie fanatics already knew that with Baz Luhrmann at the helm (director, co-producer and co-screenplay writer) of The Great Gatsby they could expect an equally grandiose and ambitious musical score that promised to deliver.  Luhrmann’s cinematic resumé includes Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!, both of which followed the same musical formula: commissioning the biggest current artists to create or replicate relevant songs that interweave the plot’s poignant moments to connect the movie’s modern audience to a past era.  What resulted is a masterfully crafted soundtrack that conveniently rides the coattails of The Great Gatsby demanding a listen from front to back. Although at first glance the wide range of artists seems disjointing, the underlying 20’s influence that gives it a nostalgic retro feel throughout provides a common thread. Once I pressed play, I was surprised to find myself rocking out to will.i.am’s Bang Bang, belting lyrics from Florence + The Machine’s Over The Love, and vibing to some Hearts A Mess by Gotye.  This is what The Sampler is all about.

The Short List: Chance The Rapper ‘Acid Rap’
Chance The Rapper is one of those artists that has such a new sound that you just don’t know how to accurately rate them, but you do know that it’s somewhere near the top.  At such a young age (20 years old), he’s receiving the kind of all-around praise a young artist such as himself doesn’t often get.  Don’t call it hype though, and don’t pass it over either.  Known for his unique voice and ingeniously original flow, Chance is the next great talent to come out of Chicago, following in Kanye and Lupe’s legendary footsteps.  Acid Rap is Chance’s sophomore mixtape, giving us more honest introspection into what a 20 year old, wise and talented beyond his years, thinks about while showing us that he has no problem turning out original hits like Juice.  Just like Chance’s first mixtape 10Day (produced during a 10-day suspension from Jones College Prep High School), released a year ago, Acip Rap relays the same themes of family, enjoying life and in signature Chance The Rapper style, experimenting with mind-altering drugs.  Try this mix tape out and I guarantee that the honesty of his full range of topics from whole-hearted love (Lost ft. Nonanme Gypsy) to childhood nostalgia (Cocoa Butter Kisses ft. Vic Mensa & Twista) will grab you somewhere along the way. And if those don’t do it for you (hint: they probably will), put on the aforementioned Juice and get addicted.  Trust me, you do not want to sleep on this kid.
The mixtape includes guest features from Twista, Childish Gambino, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, BJ The Chicago Kid and more.