Tag Archives: drake

‘Marvin’s Room’ Covers | The Room is Getting Crowded

Drake released “Marvin’s Room” in the beginning of June, a somber track from his “Take Care” album that’s set to drop in October. It’s not Drake’s best work by any means, but I do love the premise of a drunken phone call to an ex-girlfriend. The random rapping that interrupts his “singing” is pretty jarring and doesn’t really fit the mood of the song. The music video is pretty low key (and low budget), but it does the job. It’s not a bad song, but any Drake fan will agree he can do way better. Nonetheless, a bunch of artists put their own spin on the song.

JoJo’s cover, subtitled “Can’t Do Better,” was the first I listened to and it’s still the best I’ve heard so far. She strayed the least from the original premise of the song and lyrically she turned it into more of an anthem for girls who find out their ex-boyfriend is dating someone else before they’ve even had a chance to really get over him. Best line: “She’s not crazy like me/I bet you like that.” She added a lot of anger and sass to the song (I’ma send a sexy picture/to remind you what you’ve given up), giving it the extra push it needed for me, and a few other Drake fans I know, to bring ourselves to admit it’s better than his version. This also gives JoJo’s image a lot of maturity, which I think she was hoping for with a new album expected soon. She really set the bar and a line from her version pretty much explains how I feel about every other cover I’ve heard: “I’m the best so you can’t do better.”

Teyana released a cover around the same time as JoJo and she also released a video today. The song is mediocre, to say the least. Teyana seems content to dance around the line of celebrity as more of a socialite than an actual artist, but she does have a beautiful voice. Lyrically, the song wasn’t up to par, mostly because it wasn’t focused. Her feelings are all over the place, which portrays the reality of someone in that situation, but in a song it’s best to stick with one or two emotions than choosing all of them. Also, I think when you sing “Wife-beater and my panties on” in a song, you’re aiming it at a male audience, but you can’t keep their attention when the song they thought was about sex turns into emotional vomit. I did like her homage to Lauryn Hill’s “Ex Factor” at the end of the song and I wish she’d used the song as a model for her own. The video was just as confusing emotionally and visually. It’s basically a love letter to Teyana’s abs and her hair. I’m still confused about why Omarion was even necessary.

Chris Brown was the latest superstar to put out his spin on the track. The only reason he released the song was to put out some vulgar lyrics and remind us all that we’re haters if we don’t like him. Chris, I’ll just have to keep hating because it was garbage and you could have done way better. I know I seem to dislike Chris Brown, but he really just frustrates me because I’ve been waiting to be wrong about him being a complete jerk, but he keeps proving me right.

I was hoping some unknown YouTube sensation would stand above the rest or at least be better than Teyana’s, but I haven’t found one yet.

Check out the original song by Drake and the covers I mentioned below. Are there any good covers out there besides JoJo’s I should listen to? Am I being too harsh on Teyana and Chris?

Look out for a review of Beyonce’s “4” really soon!

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Is Nicki Minaj Trying Too Hard?

Nicki Minaj rocks a fabulous dress and green hair during an appearance on BET's 106 & Park in April of this year. The rapper debuted her video for "Massive Attack."

I saw a tweet on Twitter the other day from a radio host that said Nicki Minaj was trying too hard. I’d rather not name names because I’ve had a celebrity get an attitude with me before over my opinion, which is pretty ridiculous. I’m personally not interested in becoming famous, especially not for a Twitter war with a celebrity, so I’ll stay mum about who it was.

This host had a point: you really cannot turn on the radio without hearing one of her songs or a collaboration she has done with someone. But shouldn’t new artists be trying hard? Isn’t that the point in saying you want to be a success in any profession?

I don’t think she’s too trying hard, I think she’s putting in the effort she’s supposed to. You don’t usually become a success by sitting around and watching TV all day, especially if you want to be a female rapper.

It’s only because she’s worked so hard in the past that she’s gotten the opportunity to do so many collaborations. Before Lil’ Wayne went to jail (and I’m pretty sure it’ll happen again now that he’s out), he was doing a lot of collaborations, too. Drake also does a lot of collaborations. Eminem was in the same boat during the first peak in his career (I’d venture to say he’s starting a second peak now that he’s back). Lady Gaga hasn’t really done many collaborations on the records of other artists, but when she first started, she was eveyrwhere, too.

A lot of people seem to think Young Money’s success is a fluke. It’s really a product of hard work and creativity. All three of the front-runners of Young Money right now (Lil’ Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj) are all some of the hardest workers in the business. They don’t take breaks. I saw Drake in concert a couple of months ago and he talked about taking a break to record more music, which really isn’t the long, Caribbean vacations a lot of artists take after they’ve had their round of first-album fame.

It’d be lazy of her to step back now, especially with her first album releasing on Nov. 22nd. She got this much fame with mixtapes and collaborations, so why would she slow down when we are finally getting the chance to hear songs that reflect  her? Just because she’s so diverse and so original, that doesn’t mean she should just sit back and wait for the world to embrace her.

I think Nicki’s doing exactly what she should be–working hard for what she wants.

To celebrate her hard work, I’ve put some of my favorite songs/collaboration of Nicki Minaj’s.

Right Thru Me (if you’re wondering who the hot guy is in the video, find out here)

Your Love

Up Out My Face by Mariah Carey ft. Nicki Minaj

My Chick Bad by Ludacris ft. Nicki Minaj

Bottoms Up by Trey Songz Ft. Nicki Minaj (I reviewed a Trey Songz performance and you can see what I thought here.)

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Rihanna Re-Invents Herself–Again

Rihanna at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards

Some female singers are better at re-invention than others.

Bad attempts include Britney Spears circa “Blackout” and whatever Christina Aguilera is doing now. Instead of going down that road to Rihanna seems to inching toward joining the ranks of the queens of re-invention, Madonna and Janet Jackson (even they have had their bad re-invention moments, though).

Rihanna started as the “good girl,” serenading us with SOS and We Ride from her first album A Girl Like Me.  She moved onto the Good Girl Gone Bad album and phase with edgier hits like Umbrella and Rehab. Next, she went “good girl gone bad gone gangsta” with her post-Chris Brown album, Rated R, with songs like Hard and G4L (if you haven’t heard G4L, it’s a must-listen song).

The first two albums seemed to be more about her image than Rihanna herself, which happens with young artists a lot. Her last album was more of a reflection of where she was in life. After her very public break-up with Chris Brown, she wasn’t singing about being in love; that’s not where her mind was. The running theme on that album seemed to her taking control of her life and letting everyone know just because she was beaten physically and emotionally by her ex-boyfriend, that didn’t mean she was weak. A few of the songs even captured weak moments that people face when they are in love. When the album came out last year, I actually reviewed it for a publication I wrote for at the time.

If I had to give her name for this phase in her music, which coincides with her soon-to-be-released album Loud, I’d say it was: “good girl gone bad gone woman.” From what I’ve heard of the tracks, Rihanna has really come into her own as a woman. I’d no longer call her a girl. Her first two singles have been about relationships, but they are done in a mature way. Well, mature for a young woman (remember, she’s only 22). They’re fun, upbeat and reflective of how much better her life seems, as opposed to what was happening during her last album. I’m counting on some really good ballads, as well, including Love The Way You Lie (Part II) with Eminem. The first version of that song is one of the most productively honest songs the two have done about their past relationships (Eminem’s marriage was not exactly the stuff from Leave It To Beaver). I also heard a song she did with Nicki Minaj called Raining Men, which is nothing like the original song of the same title, but is an amazing song in its own right.

As she continues down this path to more honesty in her music, I’m hoping Rihanna will go to the next level by picking up a pen and writing a few tracks herself. She’s done some co-writing on her past albums, but I’m hoping she will do a little more of it on her own. I’ve looked up writers for the songs on this next album and it’s looking like she didn’t do any songwriting for it. Surprisingly, Ne-Yo, who has written hits for her like Unfaithful and Take A Bow, did not contribute any songwriting either.

If you’re embarrassingly behind on your music, you can watch the videos to her first two singles below.

Only Girl (In The World

What’s My Name ft. Drake

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