Tuesday, February 26, 2008


As much of a music snob as I profess to be, I guess I'm just a slave to pop culture like most of America. I kind of heckled Janet a few posts ago when I heard the snippets, but upon hearing the full album I've had a slight change of heart. Discipline is her most fluid, consistent, cohesive album since The Velvet Rope. The interludes tie the record together very nicely, I might ad. Some dope cuts on this one, IMO, are "Cant B Good," "So Much Betta," "The 1 (feat. Missy)," and "What's Ur Name." "Feedback" is a cool record, but the video was very budget. It seems to me that if you're an icon whose career has been on the down slope for the past three albums, you might want to consider a full reinvention. Meaning the sound as well as all aspects of the visual, most importantly the music video of the first single.

The first thing I noticed about this record, being the avid liner note junkie that I am, was that Janet had NO writing or co-production credit on this album...with the exception of one interlude. Very odd, seeing as that she had a hand in co-writing and co-producing all of her records from Control to 20 Y.O. The album artwork is very risque and edgy. The Velvet Rope was the last time we saw her put some provocativeness in her swagger. This could potentially be the stepping stone to a rebound, like Charmbracelet was for Mariah Carey. But I don't know if Discipline will convert the non-believers. I guess time will tell...

For those of you who refuse to accept the fact that I bought Penny Gordon's latest joint, I hope this redeems me a little:

This record is dope. Front to back. No games. I don't absolutely dig all the cuts on here, but the few that I don't dig are balanced out by being book ended by my favs...not to mention the overall energy of the record. As I stated in a previous post, it's definitely a mood record. A concept record that doesn't try too hard to stick to a main theme. It flows very naturally, eccentricities and all. She delves into subjects of race, class, the slanted distribution of wealth, the correlation between substance abuse and depression...you know the drill. But that's one of the main reasons I'm diggin' this record. She says a mouthful over the course of 10 little tracks. My favs are "Amerykahn Promise," "Me," "Soldier," "The Cell," "Master Teacher," and "Telephone." But my ULTIMATE joint is "Twinkle!" At 5:27, some kat gets real fight-the-power on there. Hell...first time I heard it, I wanted to run down Broadway with a picket sign and a fist in the air!

I like the fact that she switched up her sound and pulled in new talent. Madlib pitched two home runs; 9th Wonder did "Honey"; Questlove and James Poyser did the Dilla tribute "Telephone"; Roy Ayres did the opening cut (by default of being sampled). SA-RA Creative Partners produced the other 5 cuts...which got me to thinking. Remember when SA-RA first started touting their production resume after hittin' the scene in 2004, even when NONE of their production had hit the streets besides their own one-off singles? The fellas was droppin' BIG names like Jill Scott, Bilal, and Erykah, among others. But none of this outside production started surfacing until 3-4 years later. Jill's album came out last year with the cut "Breathe." Bilal's version of "Hollywood" leaked to the internet last spring. Then came Erykah's record this year with 5 cuts by SA-RA. Could it be that these tracks from New Amerykah, Part One were dusted off after sitting in the vaults for 4 years? Eh...who cares. The shit is dope, and that's all that really matters.

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