(Tres Records; 2009)
Blu and Mainframe team up to create an excellent combination of verse and beat with their debut album Johnson&Jonson. The self-titled collaborative effort features an amazing collection of soul samples; tracks such as “Mama Told Me” utilizes the brass section which is always welcomed with open arms by any hip hop producer. Originally titled Powders & Oils, the album is expected to be re-released with that name and the original song count of 21 intact.
The Bird and the Bee
Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future
(Blue Note Records; 2009)
The duo’s second release aims to impress, and impress it does. The album is over an hour of easy-to-dance-to musical rhythms with vocals that seem vaguely familiar (Feist-esque?). This album proves that Greg Kurstin and Inara George are a force to be reckoned with on the indie-pop scene. “Love Letter to Japan,” is an exemplary track, beginning with superficially-oriental sound effects, the song grows exponentially catchier when the chanting chorus kicks in: “From the West to the East I have flown to be near you . . . ” An exceptional album to set the pace for 2009.
To compliment the release of Notorious, the film, Atlantic records has created a standout soundtrack. Featuring many Biggie Smalls originals, the album also rediscovers his first demo tape, as well as new songs from Jay Z and Jadakiss (who teams up with Christopher Wallace’s widow Faith Evans). But best of all, there is an appearance made by C.J. Wallace – Biggie’s son – who also plays the young B.I.G. in the film. C.J. puts his mouth to the mic on a remix of “One More Chance.” A great record for dedicated fans and new listeners alike – almost a greatest hits album.