Monday, January 28, 2013

"A$AP Rocky - LongLiveA$AP" Review by Dom

A$AP Rocky has blown up and become a pretty big figure in hip-hop. Since his acclaimed 2011 mixtape LiveLoveA$AP he has become a force to be reckoned with, with a huge buzz and numerous featured verses, even appearing on a Rihanna remix and on T.I.'s newest album. I'm not crazy about that mixape, there are some songs I flat out love, "Peso" and "Demons" mostly but overall I thought it was just okay. But that tape along with Joey Bada$$'s 1999 mixtape, New York is becoming a hip-hop scene again.

Let me start with the production. First he barely worked with the producer from the mixtape, which for me is a good thing. But A$AP has a fantastic ear for beats, he flows over the beats so well and it bangs in headphones and speakers equally well.

A$AP sounds so good on this album, before he had that lazy, don't care flow but on this he switches up producers and his flows and it works to his benefit.

The features on this are weak at points yet strong at others. Drake and 2 Chainz fit perfectly on "Fuckin' Problems" while Kendrick Lamar seemed a little out of place. Santigold makes "Hell" a huge standout on the album. I can't talk about features and not bring up "1 Train". Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Yelawolf and Danny Brown all one track and what's most impressive is that A$AP actually holds his own up with these heavyweights.

This album only has a few tracks that have features, this really is an A$AP driven project. The biggest standouts for me are "Wild for the Night" which features Skrillex on the production, and also "Phoenix" which delves into darkness and suicide.

I'm not a fan of "Ghetto Symphony", "PMW" or "Suddenly" they're just not that great. Other than those few tracks this album was a pretty big surprise for me. I enjoyed this pretty thoroughly and return to it pretty often. Definitely give this album a listen, even if you didn't like his mixtape, if anything purely for the "1 Train" track, it's truly a great track.

Support him and the New York scene and go buy this album, like with real money.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Top 10(11) Movies of 2012 by Dom

While I know this isn't what this blog is usually about I thought I'd give my 2 cents about my favorite films of 2012. Now, I'm a pretty big movie buff but I haven't seen every movie from 2012 nor have I seen most of them, I hear Silver Linings Playbook and Perks of Being a Wallflower are great movies but I didn't get around to seeing them. All in all I count 39 that I've seen, while that seems low take into account the fact that I only really see movies that I want to see, being as movies are pretty expensive to go to now, especially as a college kid. So here are my top 10. Actually, this is going to be my top 11 because I really can't get it to 10, I'm stuck at 11.

11. Rise of the Guardians - I was between this and Wreck-It Ralph for the best animated film this year and I picked this because it truly pleasantly surprised me. I went into it not expecting much and I left loving the characters and for once, hoping there would be at least one sequel for it.

10. Sinister - I was hesitant to put this on the list being that it's a horror film but this one was a really something else, sure it had the usual pop out scares but it was genuinely creepy and burnt images in your head that stayed with you for a few days. Most importantly it had a pretty great story as well.

9. 21 Jump Street - If you know me, you know I love comedies and this one outshined them all in 2012, it's only real competition came from Ted which was funny but somehow this movie had more heart and more genuine laughs. It's a great movie to watch with a group of friends that's not too serious but no so stupid as well

8. Flight - Put Denzel in a movie, I'll see it, put Denzel in a movie and have it be gripping, well acted and hauntingly real and it'll be on my top 10. I thought I'd hear more of this movie during awards season but besides a few I haven't heard much. Despite that it's a very good movie that isn't exactly what you'd expect, the trailer depicts the aftermath of a plane crash while the overall theme of the movie dives into serious alcoholism. It's a riveting film.

7. The Avengers - It's probably the most fun you'll have at the movies in 2012, it's a superhero movie that's been built up for years now and it doesn't disappoint one bit. It's entertaining and it's just an all around good movie.

6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - What a return to Middle Earth this turned out to be, Peter Jackson had the difficult task of making a trilogy out of one book, which in my mind is difficult in trying to make each film seem satisfying in it's ending even though it's not the true ending. I'm looking so forward to the sequel and I hope it's just as good as the first. While it's true it was more light-hearted than the Lord of the Rings trilogy it doesn't mean it's not worthy of existing.

5. Les Miserables - This was the surprise of the year for me, I enjoy a musical but this film takes it a step further with around 97% of the dialogue coming through song. At first I wasn't crazy about the movie but after I let it sit and digested it I really loved it, so much so that I bought the soundtrack to it. It's definitely not for everybody but it's something everyone should at least see.

4. Django Unchained - This movie may be my favorite Tarantino movie, behind Pulp Fiction of course. It was seriously perfect, Foxx, DiCaprio, Waltz, Jackson, were all perfect in their roles. It was a damn good time.

3. Argo - This movie was phenomenal, it was intense, suspenseful and well directed. After he directed The Town I had a new found respect for him and he knocks this one out of the park. I can't wait to watch this again and I will buy it on DVD.

2. Lincoln - Talk about well directed movies, my god. If Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't win an Oscar for this performance then I'll be very upset. This movie should've been rather boring, an 2 hour and 40 minute movie about trying to pass an amendment doesn't sound excited but Spielberg kills it and makes a movie that will last for a long time and will definitely be a part of my DVD collection.

1. The Dark Knight Rises - Like you expected anything else. Need I say anything about it? Amazing director, all star cast, a script to die for and the best ending to a trilogy since Return of the Jedi, wait actually since Toy Story 3. Bane was a hell of a follow up to The Joker and Tom Hardy stole the spotlight away from Bale in scenes, which isn't an easy task. An excellent villain, a hero for the ages and a supporting crew makes this movie the best of 2012 and quite possibly the decade, though we have 7 full years of cinema to go through.

Here's to 2013!