We Plug 2 Y.O.U... Daniel De Bourg - The DDB Mixtape (The Prelude)

Feliz Navidad everyone..... Merry Christmas in English that is... This is the Season to be Merry and Joyful and in that spirit, I wanted to share with you as my last post for the year 2010 an artist I just found out about and who has put a smile on my face in the past couple weeks. I listen to him everyday and I mean literally everyday, since I was introduced to him. This is a first on WE PLUG GOOD MUSIC so I hope you really enjoy it.

I reside in the U.S and not the U.K so forgive me for not ever hearing about Daniel De Bourg prior to this. He was a contestant on the popular show The X Factor in 2007 and I feel like I ought to go back and watch that season to see why he was not a contender to win the show. The English Singer/Songwriter and former dancer/model who had apparently previously released an album here in the States in 2002, just last month released THE DDB Mixtape Volume 1 - The Prelude.

The Prelude is a compilation of DDB's most popular covers, re-writes and a few exclusive original tracks. I am not usually interested in covers of songs, they just tend to not sound great to me. If you are gonna do it, you gotta do it atleast equal to OR better than the original and that's exactly what Daniel does on his covers, from Drake's 'Shut it Down' to Bruno Mars 'The Way You Are' to Prince's 'If I was Your Girlfriend'. But I'm running my mouth at this point, let me let you listen and form your own opinions, yea?

That was Daniel's cover of Drake's 'Fall for Your Type'. The way he sings this song gives me chills, I don't know why. His voice transcends to my inner soul, I hear him clearly, like he was singing to me alone in a room. I have heard Drake sing this song and Jamie Foxx as well, and they do nothing for me as Daniel does on this song. But if you are not convinced at this point, I have more to share with you.

What you just heard is Daniel's cover of Labrinth's 'Let the Sun Shine'. At this point I am convinced that this is a black guy singing by the way. I mean, do you hear the soul that emits from his voice? I like how he slows down the beat as well, it feels like this is the way the song should have been sung in the first place. He totally makes Labrinth, who sings the original, look irrelevant as a musician with this.

One more cover shall we?

What you just heard was an all-vocal cover of Cee-Lo Green's "Fuck You". Cee-Lo did a great job on this song and obviously deserves all the accolades he gets for this. I Love DDB on this song though, it instantly makes me smile. Have you noticed the range in his voice? It makes him so unique that he can make his voice suit the style of the song. It's a tricky line, because that makes him also unrecognizable, but for me its such a plus. Have you also noticed that you cannot tell for even a second that he is British? Let's end with an original song then or two :)

This one is an original track by Daniel featuring Belle titled 'Made 4 Me'. This is my second favorite song off this mixtape. The vocal arrangement is so old school R&B. Do you hear it? Like how songs were back in the 90's with a male and female artist bouncing off each other. Neither of them overshadows each other and Belle's voice is awesome. I totally love this song, I reckon it will be played on my wedding day.

 "If you judge me on my sound alone, it would be your loss"
And for the last but not the least, what you just listened to is an exclusive that you would only get if and WHEN you download this mixtape. Aptly titled 'Mutha Fucker', I love this song because I like how he can make fun of himself. He says what I allude to earlier in this post a couple times and I thought you ought to hear him say it for himself.

This was a great way to end the year, and this mixtape is definitely one of my favorites to have reviewed this year. Daniel is what you would call a natural artist, you don't learn what he's got in school, it comes from the heart. Hoping 2011 is a great year for him in the music industry. This is my opinion though, please leave your feedback and let me know what you think.

Keep Tabs on Daniel De Bourg: Twitter // Youtube // Facebook

Till Next Week

Peace, Love and Good Music



We Plug to You... John Regan - Sorry I'm Late

OK So I've been going back and forth for a good few weeks about whether to feature this album on here... On the one hand, it is an amazing Hip-Hop album and everyone should have the pleasure of listening to the music BUT on the other hand, there's so much history and so much going on behind the scenes with this album that listening to it gives me quite the bitter-sweet feeling every time and I'm sure it's the same for anyone else who knows the 'Sorry I'm Late' back story! Alas we're here strictly for the music and music this good, especially Hip-Hop music this good should ALWAYS be shared so without further ado, iPlug to you Culture VI Records + John Regan's 'Sorry I'm Late'

'Sorry I'm Late' is the début solo album from 24-year old Baltimore native and Hip-Hop artist, John Regan released on Independent label Culture VI which boasts features & production from some of US Hip-Hop's established names such as Joell Ortiz, 88-Keys, Skyzoo, Sha Stimuli, Nottz, Ill Bill. Naledge (Kids In The Hall), Needlz as well as the amazing Marsha Ambrosius! Already for an Indie project, the calibre and quality of features and guest-producers Culture VI's Wil Loesel managed to bring together on this album without the budget of a major label is a HUGE feat in itself... The question is does it work??? I guess only the music can answer that...

We proceed with one of my personal favourites on the 14-track 'Sorry I'm Late'. This one is called 'Stars' with production from Needlz & YZ and featuring British Singer Nicholas Howard who does PERFECTLY on vocals. On here, John Regan is at his introspective best and it makes for very compelling listening. John's not a punch-line rapper, neither is he heavy on the smart/witty lines or double entendres BUT what you get is a brutal honesty with real heartfelt and relatable lyrics that's really just refreshing and liberating to listen to & what can I say about the production on this song that you cannot hear for yourself... The musical backdrop on this is beautiful, thanks to Needlz & YZ!!!

You already know that I'm a sucker for a good Soulful Hip-Hop song and the song you just heard, 'One Day In Heaven' featuring Skyzoo and Jaiden on vocals (another amazing vocal feature) is exactly that! One of my stand-out tracks of the album, another musical masterpiece of a backdrop from YZ with John Regan and Skyzoo especially (on that second vese) riding this one rather beautifully. Don't you just love it when a Hip-Hop song actually tells a story and is written with purpose and craft rather than just plodding along trivially? Or am I just bugging? I keep replaying this song and can't get over the realness of Skyzoo's verse. A really good song from whatever front you look at it!

Now for a slight change of pace unto the second single off of 'Sorry I'm late', a song titled 'Yesterday' featuring the colossal Joell Ortiz in adept & reflective story-telling mode about losing his 'baby' with the hauntingly gripping vocals of emerging R&B artist Meylin on the hook to complete this YZ-produced rock-influenced number heavy on head thumping drum patterns and guitar riffs as similar to tracks like 'Breath of Fresh Air' & 'She Loves Me... Not' which the album start off with...

The first single off of 'Sorry I'm Late', 'Paint the World' is as HIP-HOP as HIP-HOP gets plus it's a song about John's early years as a Graffiti artist! From the DJ scratches to the full-on rap hook to the head-bopping production courtesy YZ and let's NOT even begin to talk about the cameo appearance from veteran emcee Pack FM on the hook just in case you didn't notice. I ain't even gonna lie, I was half hoping FM would lend a verse to this BUT alas, this song still comes HARD!

Can I just take a moment though to say this... One of the overriding themes on this album is that the quality of production and music is just way UP there! For that, we especially have to thank YZ who is on production credits for 10 out of the 14 tracks on  the album as well as serving as Co-Executive Producer on 'Sorry I'm Late'... I know you are waiting to hear the Marsha Ambrosius feature and even though I've already featured one song too many than I should, I'll oblige you and share it with you before I get outta your hair.

OK so what's the verdict? Is 'Sorry I'm Late' one of the best Hip-Hop albums of 2010? I would be inclined to say Yes! 'Sorry I'm Late' is certainly one of the best Indie Hip-Hop albums of 2010 without question. Moxie Black's 'How Did This Happen?' & Pack FM's 'I F*cking Hate Rappers' rank up there too for Indie projects this year (lemme know any more I should make mention of) but alas I digress, the point I'm trying to make is that 'Sorry I'm Late' is a very good album with AMAZING production, I cannot go on enough about how good the music is on this album, from a really good & honest rapper (Do they even make 'honest' rappers any more?). Granted John Regan hardly departs from talking or rapping about the hardships of balancing or separating his music from his life and doing what he loves versus taking care of his family and ordinarily, there might be only so much of that you can listen to in just under an hour BUT John expresses himself  very excellently and with such honesty and realness that you cannot but help lend him your ears for all of those 60 odd minutes. I highly recommend it.

Stream/Listen: John Regan - Sorry I'm Late

Purchase: John Regan - Sorry I'm Late

Until the Next Time...

Peace, Love & Good Music 

We Plug to You: Add-2 - A Tale of Two's City Vol. 4: Better Days

What up, y'all? *checks calendar* word, it's December already? 2010 definitely pulled a Usain Bolt on us. Not gonna lament on it, though, cuz it's been a good year for me (hopefully, it was a good one for y'all too). Moving along, a while ago the chief Ayo suggested I plug some Hip-Hop. A specific project in particular. I was game, but a little wary, because this specific artist is one I could literally go on & on & on about. And he's from my city, Chicago, so that bias is one I can't completely get rid of, no matter how much I try. He's just that good. Without further ado, I plug to you Add-2.

I became a fan of Add-2 back in 2008. Besides the uncanny resemblance to someone I attended college with (LOL), I used to read his blog on hiphopdx.com back when they had blogs (ahh...the glory days). Seems like forever ago, though. It was there that I heard his murderous freestyle over The Roots' '75 Bars (Black's Reconstruction)', I've been hooked ever since. He spat with such ferocity & tenacity on that freestyle, I'm pretty sure I rewound that ish a couple times. Later that Summer, he dropped 'A Tale of Two's City, Vol. 2: The Return of the Menace'. Since then, he has been consistently spittin' ETHER, via features, freestyles, more singles and his next mixtape a year later, 'A Tale of Two's City, Vol. 3: The Rise and Fall'. Personally, that mixtape was spun on a daily basis for a long time. The breakout song 'Luxury' was being played on radio, and #TeamAdd2 was stronger than ever. Add's buzz was building greater by the day. Even 9th Wonder was put on game.

In March, I saw him kickin' freestyles with Tanya Morgan, Blu & Exile, and he even got to perform with The Roots (!!!!) at the Highline Ballroom this past June. It was really dope to see all the success for the homie; besides being super talented, dude is super humble. Periodically, he kept hinting that an EP called '...Better Days' would be dropping sometime this year. Lord knows I was geeked. In the meantime, he was featured on Actual Proof's 'Super Genius' remix, which included spitters such as Naledge, Kendrick Lamar & Laws (just to name a few), and the recently released 'Drunken Style' by The Away Team (both of these songs bang, btw). Long story short, '...Better Days' soon turned into the mixtape 'A Tale of Two's City: Better Days', one of the BEST (yeah, I said it) mixtapes to drop this year. Add sticks to a winning formula for the 4th installment of his tales, and I can't complain at all. Truthfully, if I could, I'd highlight every song on the mixtape, cause there isn't a skippable track, but alas, I can't. I'll highlight the 3 (out of the many) that I absolutely loooooooooove.

"Success makes me look so damn good, don't it?"

MAAAAAAN LISTEN. The beat provided by The Getards is just so crisp. And I'm not afraid to say I stan for Tanya Morgan, so when I saw Donwill & Von Pea on the track list, I knew that the three of 'em were gonna deliver nothing less than heat. Everyone (or almost everyone) has those people in your lives (exes, even ex-friends or the like) who didn't support or care until they saw your success. They see that you're on, so they try to get on. This is the song you play when you gracefully decline and then spit in their face lol. The song is aptly titled 'A Love Letter To All My Exes'...

"Nobody gotta accept you, EXCEPT you"

Add dedicated this song, 'Brown Skin Girl' to the youth, more specifically our young women. This song is a beautiful dedication. I definitely love the second verse, because Add's telling young women (even some of these older ones, yo) that they're fine the way they are and not to fall victim to society's "standard" of beauty, and to basically love themselves for who they are. Andy Allo does a beautiful job of adding her vocals to the chorus, which is life-affirming in it's own right in my opinion. Beautiful song all around. This is a song that needs to be played on radios, in schools... man, anywhere kids need some support.

"I lost my mind man, Google couldn't map that / tryna hit Dondria & see if she got a Phat Phat"

I'm a sucker for charging beats & awesome horns, and D-Man delivers with this, 'Spare None'. I can only imagine the screw faces in the room when this beat came through the speakers. But yo, Add spits line after line, rhyming like a damn savage. When I heard the line "runnin' over every n*gga that you runnin' with / then walk up to ya grandpa & kick over his bucketlist ", I literally said "that's rude as hell!" and then rewound it. That's vicious as hell, man. The song is quite menacing, from the lyrics to the production. All around dope.

Another song I dig a LOT is 'Slow it Down'. Gives me that perfect Chicago Do or Die / Twista feel. Good job on that one. You could slip this in a 90s playlist & it'd fit perfectly. And the song is a grooove. *snaps on beat*... More songs to check out include 'DGK', 'The Feeling is Gone',  and 'Off Our Cloud'. But seriously, the whole tape is solid.

So what more is there to say, really? G'on 'head and download it already!
*the link is missing track three for some reason, so click on this



PS: Add recently released the track Comic Book Flow. Peep it here, and read his words here:
"As an artist whose career has been aided heavily through hip hop websites, blogs & the internet as a whole it upsets me to see the powers that be trying to dismantle our outlets for our voice in an attempt to gain control over us. Try as they may they can not, nor will they ever be, successful at silencing us."

We Plug 2 You... IKES - The Intermission

Yes yes y'all! This week is a special week, because today iPlug to you one of UK's hardest working Rappers, Ikes (Yes #TeamUK)! I've known Ikes for about a year now, and I have to say, if there is anything you can't knock him for, it's his work rate... If you haven't heard Of Ikes, in the next year I'm pretty sure you will. Ikes is UK's latest offering of talented lyricists who have been entertaining hip-hop heads and not-so-hiphop heads on both sides of the Atlantic for some time now.

Ikes' real name is Kevin Ogbodo, born to Nigerian parents and unlike a lot of other rappers, Ikes is not just a rapper, he is also a brilliant RnB songwriter and he was involved in back in the 2008 underground hit 'Dream come True' by Sheya. He was also featured on Flavour Magazine's hit list for 2010. Ikes has made significant progress this year as an artist with his June mixtape 'Peer to Peer' receiving 10000 downloads in just two weeks. This year, Ikes was also featured on SBTV, which has featured the likes of Chipmunk, Wretch 32 and Chiddy Bang on it's on-line platform. 

If you are into heavy hard-hitting beats and top notch lyrics, I'd advice you to pay attention to this guy. Before I bring to you 'The Intermission', I thought I'd plug to you a few of Ikes' previous art. This one is his SBTV freestyle, which he did over Rick Ross's Mafia Music.

With that freestyle, he is definitely in my list of top ten SBTV freestyles ever.

This next track is called 'The One' and no need to front, Ikes is the one. This tune is off of his previous mixtape 'P2P' but it kinda fell under the rather, so I'm bringing it back. This has that late 90's hip-hop feel to it. You just can't listen to this tune and not bop your head or move your hands, 'The One' also features Mega from S.a.S!

Well, I featured the above tunes, so you know where Ikes is coming from, anticipate and appreciate where he is heading to. Now its time to connect you with his latest offering (The Intermission). The intermission is a link between 'Peer to Peer' (P2P) and his forthcoming album 'One of One' (1/1).

This next track 'Miss This' from 'The Intermission' is produced by one of London's finest emerging producers MaleekBerry. If you are from London, you will love this tune but if you are not, you should still appreciate this. This is a proper UK Hip-Hop song (so if you are not in the UK, get with the program or MISS THIS)!

Oh wow! I wish I could continue with more tracks, but I need to stop now, so I'll drop one last tune. As much as I love hooks, I have to say that this is my favourite track off the mixtape, straight rapping and heavy content. This track 'Believe' is too inspirational for me to ignore it.
"Im wrapped around the steering wheel of my career, I've never known a chauffeur"

Thats all for today folks... Download the mixtape The Intermission, its a very good Rap compilation and there is a lot of thought out lyrics in there. You are assured 16 tracks of pure goodness! To keep up with Ikes, follow him on twitter: http://twitter.com/ikesonthereal and keep an eye on his blog for new tunes: http://www.lifeofikes.com/

We Plug Good Music, you love it and everybody's happy

2 up, 2 down Until next week

... Fhanthom
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