5 Excellent Examples of Intellectual Hip-Hop

The closest I’ve come to hip-hop was two-years ago when I heard some tasteless beats about having your way with women and winning as much money as possible. Little did I know that hip hop can be an excellent form of artistic expression. I changed my mind about it when I first heard Macklemore sing. Since then I started listening to Grieves, Atmosphere and many more.

Once you go beyond what the masses listen to, you will discover some subtle variations of the hip hop genre that will definitely move you and send out  a powerful message. There are a select few artists that have managed to create absolutely brilliant intellectual hip-hop. Let’s take a look at their best songs and videos.

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1. Atmosphere – Guarantees

But I don’t wan’t to go home yet, so I’m gonna talk to my cigarette and that television set / It doesn’t matter what brand or station, anything to take away from the current situation.”

People don’t require tragedies to be broken down. Sometimes, the struggles of every day life are more than enough to make them feel overwhelmed. In “Guarantees”, and through these lyrics, Atmosphere directly expresses the state of his life. He concludes with the only guarantee in life / is a life worth dying for. These two lyrics have been interpreted time and time again. Some said that they refer to his son, while other believe that it is only a depiction of his state of mind.

Video: Atmosphere – Guarantees

2. Grieves – Lightspeed

“Mom was a religion and happiness was a fact / It’s a shame how the time goes past / Movin’ so fast / It’s like I’m movin’ at light speed / Slow down.” 

When I was young, happiness was a fact for me. As I grew older, the struggles of life made my childhood feel like a distant and blissful past. This is probably also the reason why the song from Grieves, Lightspeed, touched me. The song is a recollection of memories, and an encouragement to see the beauty in all things. 

Video:Grieves – Lightspeed

3. Astronautalis – Contrails

‘ Lionel Terray said it the truest, I set it to music / We’re all Conquistadores of the Useless.”

Austronautalis is one of the deepest intellectual hip-hop bands out there. In this song they talk about the tale of a deceiving duo who pretend to be disabled in order to take advantage of generous souls of one city, before moving to another. The idea of the lyrics may sound improbable, but the way that the story is woven is brilliant.

Video: Austronautalis – Contrails

4. Sage Francis – The Best Times

‘ Don’t listen when they tell you that these are your best years / Don’t let anyone protect your tears / It’s best that you hear what they don’t want you to hear / It’s better to have pressure from peers than not have peers.”

Is there any need to comment on this superb song? The lyrics above already speak for themselves. “The Best Times” from Sage Francis is basically a lyrical memoir, and a home-run for the artist. He managed to deal with his childhood and re-tell his experiences while also reflecting on them. The message is also optimistic, because he tells future generations that it can only get better as you grow older, and they should never give up.

Video: Sage Francis – The Best of Times

5. Eyedea & Abilities – Smile

” I can only build if I tear the walls down / even if it breaks me I won’t let it make me frown / I’m falling but no matter how hard I hit the ground / I’ll still smile.’

Eyedea has passed on, but this music will live on forever. “Smile” is a superb example of compassion and optimism. The artists show that no matter how thick the walls are, or how much it will hurt to take them down, it is all worth it in the end. Whatever you do, you have to smile.

Video: Eyedea & Abilities – Smile

Eight Iconic Guitars we all Dream of Having

Clearly looks aren’t everything when it comes to a guitar and sound is surely more important than how a guitar is varnished and designed, there is merit to a guitar that both sounds heavenly and looks like a million bucks. This is because a guitar has an impact that will surely go beyond the fine tuning of your ears- when you look at a rock artist performing on stage and he is holding a stunning Fender in his hand, you’ll clearly be impressed. On this note, we decided to bring you 8 of the most beautiful guitars to have ever been played on stage. Decide which is your favorite or let us know if we left something out!

1. EET FUK ESP Explorer- James Hetfield

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Metallica’s own James Hetfield has indeed used several guitars throughout his career and many of them have been Explorers, but this model stands out precisely because of the nonsensical writing that have remained without an explanation-EET FUK.

2. Cloud- Prince

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Featured in Prince’s hit song “Purple Rain”, this guitar is a symbol of sheer beauty and grace: it was originally custom built by David Rusan in 1983 and while some may say that his signature guitar may have been better, there is nothing more beautiful than the Cloud.

3. “Axe” Bass- Gene Simmons

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A bass guitar is still technically a guitar and there was no way that this symbol wouldn’t have made the top of our list. Kiss have always been a band that should be seen and not necessarily heard at home. And in accordance with this image, Gene Simmons had a bass guitar made to look like an axe.

4. Red Special- Brian May

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Great bands deserve recognition and where would Queen have been (or better said, where would we have been without Queen?) had Brian May not had his one-of-a-kind guitars? Well the Red Special was designed and built by Brian May together with his father and its particularity is that it’s actually a semi-acoustic guitar (pieces are kept together in a weird fashion and the hardware is also wired oddly).

5. FrankenStrat- Eddie Van Halen

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This wouldn’t have been a serious top ten without a Van Halen guitar and the Frankenstrat is simply the best option- a Gibson with the body of a Fender Strat, his Fenderstrat was built by Van Halen himself (and also given the unique finish we know today). Replicas have of course been released over the years but there is only one original out there.

6. Monterey Fender Stratocaster- Jimmy Hendrix

iconic guitars

Another world-class guitarist that has shown us all how music is supposed to sound like, Jimmy decided to give us yet another unique moment when he decided to set his Fender Strat on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967. And it gave us one of the most memorable moments in rock history.

7. Jaydee SG- Angus Young

iconic guitars

This guitar custom made by Jaydee Custom Guitars was played by AC/DC’s guitarist after it had received an important add-on: the lightning bolt inlays on the neck of the guitar. Granted, Angus could play the hell out of any guitar he would hold, but this is an absolutely breathtaking guitar.

8. Gibson Les-Paul Standard- Jimmy Page

iconic guitars

We’ve already talked about custom Gibson guitars but Led Zeppelin’s guitarist Jimmy Page did have an astonishing collection of guitars. Out of the many items he did have, his standard Gibson with the sunburst finish and the simple yet tasteful feel makes it on our list of exceptional guitars not just because of the music that was played on it, but because we simply can’t picture Page without it.

This was our countdown for the most iconic guitars. We hope you enjoyed it!

5 Awesome Dancing Songs for Kids

Since we’re all on vacation more or less, and definitely fun is the main thing on our minds during the summer, let’s take a moment to get enthusiastic about dancing. Having a mini disco in your back yard or your living room is – and I’m firmly convinced of it – one of the greatest and most fun ways to spend your time with friends, which the world has wrongly forgotten about. Besides making a case for the return of the disco or dancing session as a casual source of fun, this post will also bring to your attention 5 great dancing songs for kids, which can be totally used for grown-ups as well.

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Since dancing in such a relaxed and casual manner as inviting a few friends over is obviously more about goofing around than about actually dancing with expert moves and skills, why not also employ some children’s songs in the process? It might be much more fun than you expect, even if you don’t have any young guests around. Sure, hosting a Game of Thrones drinking game is an equally legit source of fun, but maybe giving a chance to a few dancing songs for kids will spark up a refreshing change.

Therefore, without further ado – here goes.

1. Veo veo – Spanish kids’ song

We didn’t plan this article as a top and all the dancing songs for kids presented here are mentioned in a random order, but still, if I had to choose an all-time favorite, this would have to be it. It’s in Spanish and thus makes a nice variation to all the English songs out there, it’s very cheerful and light and you can’t help but giggle each time you listen to it. You can listen to it here.

2. The Hamster Song

If you already feel like bursting into laughter, you have every reason to do so. Originally developed by the Wii franchise, the Hamster Song is one of the most awesome dancing songs for kids ever developed. What’s disarmingly fun about it is the fact that it’s not so much a song, as it is a slightly melodious pile of babbling. Once you get over your initial surprise or sense of ridicule, it can become addictive and turn the whole atmosphere into an overwhelmingly fun place to fool around and jump up and down. You can listen to it here.

3. Lambada

Ok, so this one was never really a song specifically designed for children, but it’s one of the songs which I associate the most with my own childhood. When I was 3 or 4, which was about 25 years ago, I used to dance my socks off on this song, to the delight and general laughter of the grown-ups around me at the time. Interacting with small children now, I noticed how much they like the song as well – it’s so melodious and fun and hummable that it definitely deserves a place in the list of awesome dancing songs for kids. You can find it here.

4. Kaczuszki (or the Duckling Song)

This song is major hit with kids all over Eastern Europe: each country has its own cover of it and kids generally seem to go crazy about it whenever it comes up on shuffle at a mini disco. This one here is the Polish version and it’s one of the best, but if the tune gets you dancing, try listening to its other versions as well. You can listen to it here. P.S: The song sounds impossibly fun even without understanding the lyrics, but to have some major laughs try using Google Translate for the lyrics.

5. Ram Zam Zam

Oh, this last one sounds so funny that if you still have a bit of life left in you, you won’t be able to help dancing on it as soon as it starts! It’s in German, but the lyrics are so goofy and silly that there isn’t really anything to understand about it, so don’t worry about not getting it. You can listen to it here.

Hopefully you’re already convinced of the surprisingly fun potential for grown-ups which dancing songs for kids hold. Charge up your batteries and have all the dancing fun and the chocolate shakes you can muster!

Absolutely Outrageous Outfits- Nicky Minaj Edition

Few of us have not heard of this American singer/songwriter/actress/rapper that has often left fans speechless more than once with her out-of-this world appearances. Indeed, she takes pride in being not only dynamic and original with her personal style, but also fearless and common-sense-defying. And if you thought that Lady Gaga was one of those artists that made fashion decisions based on a complete lack of logic, think again! Here are some of the most courageous (and outrageous) outfits that Nicky Minaj flaunted to make you change your mind!

Recommended Read: Fashion Disasters Around the World

Toffee and Mirrors?!

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At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Nicky Minaj lived up to her reputation when she decided to wear a Japanese-inspired outfit that combined bubble-gum-colored hair, a patterned face mask, an ice-cream pendant and mirror-like elements that were only completed by the toys in her hands and pink tutu. Clearly worth noticing!

The 80’s Aren’t Dead

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Another key appearance of 2011 was when Nicky decided to rock a pink patterned jumpsuit and a pink wig courtesy of Marge Simpson while leaving her hotel. The pink shoes were indeed a must, and the lips would of course need to be pink. Granted, the outfit is not only bold, but also compliments her figure! Oh and none of us, mere mortals, could pull it off. So we have to give her that.

Somewhere Inside the Rainbow

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Clearly stage outfits can be as fashion forward as they can be and an artist that wants to completely portray the feeling of his music can use tools such as make up, clothing, hair and lighting to create a complete experience for his audience. This is what Nicky Minaj did in April 2011 when she appeared in a rainbow patterned outfit, a white corset with a dash of glitter and another Marge-inspired wig that seemed to be as high as the Empire State Building.

Modern Day Little Red Riding Hood

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A unique combination that involves the stories of the Grimm Brothers, the Vatican and some creative designers had Nicky Minaj wearing a mind-boggling outfit that couldn’t have done Red Riding Hood herself justice. This is the dress  that the singer wore for the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012 and we’d be crazy not to admit that she reminds us of a nun in her unique Versace ensemble.

Leopard Print

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There is a clear motive in the wig selections of Nicky since this is the third such outfit that includes a bi-colored wig worthy of Marge. Only this time, the artist decided to pair it with a leopard-print outfit that is neither a dress nor pants. At the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011, she lit up the red carpet in a vintage Givenchy creation had her dressed from head to foot in leopard-printed fabulousness.

White’n’Blue

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It’s not just the hair that has to be spot on with Nicky. Aside from her asymmetrically colored hair, the singer decided to inspire her look from Beach-goer Barbie and pair a maxi skirt with a beautiful bra (clearly meant to flaunt the girls) and a fabulous pair of blue boots. Come on Barbie, let’s go party!

Satellite Lady

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It’s not just the boys that dreamt of becoming astronauts when they were five. Clearly Nicky drew from this when she decided to wear this out-in-space inspired outfit with a Jetson-Family vibe and electric blue and silver planets attached. This is how she performed at the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in Los Angeles.

These were just a few of her outrageous outfits, although a simple image search could make you discover so many more! Whether she is too much for some of us, she clearly has a statement (or more than just one) to make and she does so constantly.

Horrible Covers to Ruin Perfectly Awesome Songs

Some songs are written so utterly perfect that no cover could or would ever do them justice. And in spite of our availability when it comes to listening to a song that has been rehashed in order to make it possible for wannabe artists to hit the top of the charts, there are songs that simply shouldn’t be tackled. Even though we should also address the topic of including parts of famous songs into pieces that simply aren’t good (as Abba’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme” was raped by Madonna or how Christina Aguilera and Pitbull decided that Aha’s “Take on me” needed some improvement), today’s article will only discuss appalling covers that could even make fans doubt the original song. So here are (x) horrible covers that have completely ruined the originals:1

Madonna- American Pie

At the top of our list is one of the best contenders for the Worst Covers of All Time lists. Madonna’s American Pie has been so loathed and has been described as one of the biggest travesties to ever be heard. Recorded for the romantic comedy “The Next Best Thing”, it’s more than clear that neither the song nor the movie were well received. So much so that Madonna herself disavowed the song, stating that her decision to record it was sort of forced by a certain record company. Whatever the reason, there is no reason for such bad music.

The Video Here.

Britney Spears- Satisfaction

Wasn’t it more than clear that if the queen of pop wanted shit to hit the fan with the previous cover, that the princess of pop would follow in her footsteps? She decided therefore to take this absolutely amazing song from the Rolling Stones, grind it together with a dash of bad singing, stick it to a ridiculously horrible re-orchestration and market it as her own personal insult to a band that has written music history.

Decide for yourselves.

Sheryl Crow – Sweet Child o’ Mine

Who doesn’t love the original, down-to-earth, absolutely perfect song that was, is and forever will be Sweet Child o’ Mine? Apparently Sheryl Crow, as she single handedly destroyed it (as if she had lit it on fire, spat on it and lit it on fire all over again to make sure that the ashes themselves had burned). Her version is even worse than anyone could imagine, but if you don’t want to take our word for it, we invite you to try and get to the end of this 3 min 57 second musical cacophony.

Enjoy.

Massive Attack- Light My Fire

Even great bands such as Massive Attack can totally screw up from time to time and there is no better example of such a situation than what they have achieved by trying to cover the song “Light My Fire” (originally sung by The Doors). We all know the original and if you don’t we strongly suggest you listen to it at least ten times so that you can erase any and all remnants of this cover from your memory.

The Cover here.

Sean Kingston- Me Love

Can you imagine a situation in which a relatively bad song is covered and it becomes an even worse song? Of course you can’t so we decided to help you and bring you one perfect such example. Originally sung by Led Zeppelin (as Dyer Maker), Sean Kingston managed to suck out everything in the song that had to do with good-old-fashioned music and replaced it with poorly structured commercial music, thus turning it into complete and utter rubbish.

For your own viewing pleasure.