31 December 2009

Thank You!

Thanks for the support everybody! I promise Heartless Handshakes will be bigger and better in 2010. Until then, be safe, party right, and drink responsibly.

30 December 2009

Heartless Handshakes' Top 10 Mixtapes of 2009

1. Drake, So Far Gone
Obviously this was hands down the mixtape of the year. Beyond that, Drizzy Drake dropped the best body of work in 2009 period-- album, mixtape, whatever. The fruits of his labor: two Grammy nominations and a lucrative distribution deal with Universal/ Cash Money Records. What's next for Mr. Toronto, you ask? Be on the lookout for his first studio album, Thank Me Later, to drop Spring/Summer 2010.

2. Mike Posner, One Foot Out the Door
What a year for Mike Posner, huh? One Foot Out the Door dropped in October and it blew me away-- straight hits. What more can I say about the kid? He's got the right people and the right resources around him to drop a classic freshman album. Think he can do it?

3. Chiddy Bang, The Swelly Express
The Philadelphia duo from Drexel University quietly dropped one of the best mixtapes of the year. It still puzzles me as to how they managed fly under the radar like that. They flipped MGMT's smash hit "Kids" and haven't looked back since. Don't sleep on Chiddy Bang in 2010.

The kid from detroit spit the freestyle of his life for Kanye West back in 05, signed to G.O.O.D. Music soon after, and has worked with some of the industry's best and brightest ever since. Big Sean showed the world why 'Ye and Pharrell put so much stock in him on this mixtape. 2010 is his year to shine.

5. Wiz Khalifa, Burn After Rolling
Khalifa man has been around for a couple years, but hasn't managed to get over the hump until now. Burn After Rolling was simply amazing-- a nice blend of original material and crazy bars over jacked beats. His freshman album, Deal or No Deal, drops early 2010. Do yourself a favor and pre-order it on iTunes. OKAY!

6. Chester French, Jacques Jams Vol. 1: Endurance
Chester French x Clinton Sparks... a delightful combination. The boys from Harvard have done well to integrate the their classic Beetles vibe with Clinton Sparks, Diddy, Kanye West, Jermaine Dupri, and Pharrell's influence. This mixtape makes you want to party like a Ciroc Star.

7. Ocean's 7, 3000 and 9 Shit
The modern day Rat Pack-- JD, Usher, Nelly, B. Cox, Trey Songz, Johnta Austin, and Ty. An all-star cast of hip hop artists, R&B singers, super producers, and label execs team up to give away free music-- too good to be true, right? Nope. No tricks here, just Vegas swag.

8. Pac Div, Church League Champions
Phat beats and dope rhymes-- yeah, that's Pac Div. My face was scrunched up the first time I heard "Mayor." The heavy 808s and early 90's snare had me bobbing my head so hard I almost broke my neck. These dudes murder tracks in 501 jeans and crew neck sweaters. You'll definitely hear more mixtapes from them in 2010.

9. Mike Posner and the Brain Trust, A Matter of Time
Mike Posner went from making beats in his dorm room at Duke University to working on one of the dopest mixtapes of 2009 with DJ Benzi and Don Cannon. That's a fast come up. Now he's your typical poor college student by day and your favorite singer/songwriter/ producer by night. Catch Mike Posner at a venue near you in 2010.

10. Wale & 9th Wonder, Back to the Feature
Ah yes, a classic pairing in hip hop. 9th makes the beats, Wale raps and gets the girls. I remember anxiously waiting for this tape to drop, and when it finally did, it was like when a dope fiend gets their fix. Order was restored and all the blogs had to find something else to talk about. I wish Wale would have used 9th more on Attention: Deficit because some of the songs on the mixtape are definitely better than some of the material on the actual album.

29 December 2009

Heartless Handshakes' Top 10 Albums of 2009

1. The-Dream, Love vs. Money
What can I say about this album? Wow. Top to bottom, every track is on point-- a perfect blend of fast and slow tempo and everything in between. I can't believe the Grammy committee snubbed my man like that. That's alright though, he gets my vote for album of the year 2009.
2. The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D.
BEP raised the bar for pop acts in 2009. "I Gotta Feeling" was the summer anthem and still gets the party jumping. The rest of the album is jam packed with that 120 bpm head bobbing, foot tapping, hip swaying vibe.
3. Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon
People's faces were scrunched up when Cudi's highly anticipated freshman album dropped. How could such an emotional and spacey record garner such mainstream success? Well, Cudder found the winning formula-- clever album concept, the right co-signers, and the Crookers remix to Day 'N Night.
4. Passion Pit, Manners
They came out strong with Sleepyhead and managed to keep their momentum going throughout 2009. They have an airy, melodic, and unique sound that lulls you into la la land. It is truly a blissful listening experience when you're rocking with Passion Pit.
5. Jay-Z, Blueprint 3
Hovi's home! The third installment of the Blueprint trilogy reestablished Jigga's starting spot as the point guard in the rap game. Many thought Jay lost his hunger as a musician in the past few years, but it seems as if he rediscovered his timeless swag in 2009.
6. Maxwell, BLACKsumer'snight
Finally, people can start making babies again. Maxwell is a true artist-- he consistently delivers that sultry, mood-setting music, which many other artists imitate but rarely duplicate. Gentlemen, keep it simple-- wine, dine, Maxwell. It works every time.
7. Rick Ross, Deeper than Rap
There was a lot of pressure on Officer Rawse to generate big numbers with this album. And fortunately for him, he moved more units than 50 Cent. The whole body of work conveys that smooth, laid back in the Maybach vibe-- for bosses only.
8. Milkman, Circle of Fifths
Riding the wave of his hugely popular debut mashup, Gregg Luskin AKA Milkman released his sophomore album in March. I didn't think he could top Lactose and THC, but pulled it off in a big way-- better quality, production, and song selection. Put this on at a party and watch the room bounce in unison.
9. LMFAO, Party Rock
The album title is self explanatory. The Miami-based duo developed their crazy party flavor over the span of a couple of years and this is what came from it-- a ridiculously hyper sexual orgy of party beats and playful rhymes. Always a winning combo. Brilliant.
10. Robin Thicke, Sex Therapy: The Experience
I've been on Robin Thicke since he signed to Pharrell's label, Star Trak. The man can sing, especially when he puts it down with the falsetto. The album is loaded with good music and oh, tons of sexual innuendoes to make things pop off late night. Enjoy.

Skillz - 2009 Rap Up

It's that time of the year, folks. You can stop asking when that song about the events of the past year by that rapper is coming out. Well, his name is Skillz and the song is "2009 Rap Up," and it's finally here. Get em while they're hot! Check the link to listen the year that was 2009.

Complex Magazine's 10 Best Heavy Winter Boots

Complex Magazine has put together a list of the 10 best boots for the winter time. Seeing as how I go to college in Waterville, Maine I need to cop some new boots to get me through the harsh weather conditions. It's definitely time to put the Dunks and Jordans in the shoe box at least until the middle of March... sad to say, but that's the reality when we are talking about winter in central Maine. I've got my eye on the Bean Boots by L.L. Bean for $134. It's a classic boot with longevity, plus it's made in Maine, so I will also be supporting the local economy. It is crafted with waterproof grain leather, chain-tread rubber bottom, and lined with shearling. Click here to check out the rest of the list.

27 December 2009

Nike Air Flight Condor

$98. Now available at wish. Call 404. 880. 0402 to order.

Birdman, "A Day in the Life" Part 2

"A Day in the Life" continues as cameras follow Birdman and Jay Sean and the Cash Money crew as they attend their album release parties, perform at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, make it rain the Louis Vuitton store, and jet set all over the east coast and across the Atlantic Ocean to London. I can't imagine that the life of a rapper is anything like this, but I guess when you are the owner of a record label you have to be everywhere supporting your artists, which may involve album release parties, video shoots, television appearances, power meetings with lawyers and accountants, etc. It's a crazy fast-pace lifestyle with tons of perks including an rolodex full of celebrity contacts, preferential treatment, loads of money, luxury cars, designer clothes, and all sorts of other cool stuff.

26 December 2009

Birdman, "A Day in the Life" Part 1

Birdman makes a lot of money and spends a lot of money. It's crazy to see the life he lives-- taking a private jet to a different city every night, carrying $52,000 in cash on him at any given moment, random power meetings with his dream-team of lawyers, etc... As I was watching I couldn't' help but wonder what goes on in the mind of Birdman. Beneath the tattoos, diamond encrusted teeth, and Gucci rags is a business savvy man who knows how to make a buck. So all you Economics majors out there should take some notes. Just because you have read a couple financial books and learned to manipulate product demand curves doesn't mean you can go out there and make money.

Young Money Cash Money is getting stronger and reemerging as one of the most lucrative labels in the music biz. Birdman, Wayne, and Slim have done well to assemble a solid core of talent to keep churning out hits. Wayne, Birdman, Jay Sean, Drizzy Drake, and the rest of the Young Money crew all have projects out or coming out in the near future-- talk about a solid game plan. Birdman has got it all figured out.

25 December 2009

The Cool Kids x Don Cannon, "Merry Christmas" EP

Chuck, Mikey, and the Cannon have joined forces to give you a short, 4-track EP for Christmas. I'm a fan of the Cool Kids and when Don Cannon co-signs you already know what it is. Peep one of the tracks then cop the rest after.

This joint is grimey as hell. Word up to Chuck Inglish on the production.

24 December 2009

Mike Posner, "One Foot Out the Door" Episode 5

Two New Wale Freestyles

Wale isn't kicking his feet up just because his album's out. He continues on his grind by releasing new material on the regular. As the industry evolves, rappers have to find a way to stay relevant. Wale and others see this trend and leak free shit all the time. In the past week Mr. Falorin has flipped two instrumentals for our listening pleasure. First, he jumps on the "Thank You" instrumental off Jay-Z's Blueprint 3 and delivers the smooth DC flow. I liked the Twitter shout out towards at the end-- clever way to show his fans some love. Second, he jumps on the Young Money "Bed Rock" instrumental and switches up the flow a little bit. Cudos.

Downlaod: Wale - Thank You Freestyle

Download: Wale - Bed Rock Freestyle

Kanye West x BAPE Spring 2010 Collection

18 December 2009

The Hood Internet, "The Mixtape Volume Four"'

I've been meaning to put this up for about a month now-- sorry for the delay. This is a pretty dope mashup compilation-- no tricks, just clever simplicity. The Hood Internet duo distinguishes themselves from other mashup artists in that their mixes are pretty much one acapella over one instrumental. Mashups are typically an orgy of chopped samples that get repetitive if looped for too long. However, Hood Internet have developed a winning formula, where they can sustain high energy with very few samples in a given song. This allows the songs blend into each other seamlessly, which is far more difficult to accomplish if you are Girl Talk or Easter Egg. Each song flows perfectly into the next, so you don't really realize when one song ends and the next begins. It's like listening to one really long song. As a result, you are bobbing your head nonstop for one hour. Check out a couple cuts below then download at your leisure.

16 December 2009

New(ish): Jay Sean - Down (Candle Light Remix)

It's finals week and I'm buried in loose pieces of paper, notecards, and gigantic science text books. Pretty stressful, right? Well, earlier this evening I was studying with a friend and she was telling me how she had been listening to this Jay Sean track on repeat to calm her academic jitters. I thought this was pretty funny considering I was doing the same thing all last week when I was also swamped with tons of assignments due at the end of the semester. Anyway, tonight I've gone back to listening to this smooth, stripped down rendition of Jay Sean's breakout hit "Down." Pianos and stings. Nothing else. Aspiring singers, this is what a ballad should sound like.

15 December 2009

New: Lil' Wayne featuring Eminem - Drop the World

This is a leaked track off of Lil' Wayne's rock album called Rebirth. It's more of an emotional track with a dreary, spacey, hard hitting beat and dark motivational lyrics. Eminem murders the third verse by the way. Wish Cudi could have added a quick 16 as well. Wanye, you mad? Check it out below.

14 December 2009

Cisco Adler, "Alice in La La Land" Mixtape

I like Cisco Adler. I think he's a talented dude with the guitar. I didn't really know who he was until he had his own show on MTV with Shwayze, which I found hilarious. MTV should bring that show back.
Anyway, i guess the mixtape is an EP of his home recordings. It's got a pretty chill vibe for the most part. You'll like it. Check it out.

Here is a track called "Love is Like."

10 December 2009

Kidz in the Hall, "The Professional Leisure Tour"

Naledge and Double-O are back at it and have partnered up with LRG to release a quality mixtape for the masses. This is as close to a studio album as you can get. No jacked beats. No recycled verses. All brand new material people. Download this and I guarantee you'll be bobbing your head and tapping your feet. Check the link:

03 December 2009

Chip Tha Ripper - Back to Cleveland (prod. by Rami & Dez)

This is one of many extremely tight tracks on Chip Tha Ripper's recently released mixtape, The Cleveland Show. The beat's got a cool Neptunes vibe with the string stabs and plucks and guitar synths-- props to Rami & Dez on the production tip. Chip does his thing here and delivers that smooth flow and dope hook. If you're feeling this song then I suggest you take a peek at the rest of his material. Check the link to download that Cleveland swag.

** Click here to cop the whole mixtape.

01 December 2009

K'naan x World Cup 2010

Huge news for my man K'naan-- his song "Wavin' Flag" has been named the official anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This is a great opportunity for K'naan as he continues to push his music and get his name out there. While he has enjoyed some success in the United States, I firmly believe that he has the ability to cross over into foreign countries and experience even greater success. Check it out.

30 November 2009

Nike Dunk Hi Premium "DJ AM"

These Dunks are pretty dope. DJ AM was one of the best at what he did. Props to Nike for releasing this.

26 November 2009

Eric Koston x Nike SB Interview

I remember I had the original Koston 1's when I was heavy into skateboarding back in the day. Right now Nike SB is the squad.

Lupe Fiasco - Enemy of the State: A Love Story

If you read this blog, you know who Lupe Fiasco is. Well, he just released a mixtape. He's been gone for a little bit so it's nice to hear from Mr. 1st and 15th. Some new material, some recycled beats. Download it and smile. Check the link.

16 November 2009

San Francisco's People by Philip Bloom

Shot entirely on a Canon MKII with a 50mm F1.2 lens (our favorite lens by the way), British filmmaker Philip Bloom’s San Francisco’s People is the third in his People series. Not only does he capture human nature very effectively, but he does in stunning fashion. The colors are vivid, crisp and brilliant -surprisingly, they’re exactly how he is seeing them through the lens as there is no post-production done on the coloration. A magnificent way to spend 4 and a half minutes.

DJ A-Trak: Tour Stories

Remember this: the DJ is very important. A-Trak is a beast.

11 November 2009

Denim for Dummies

This is a great how-to buyer's guide for those in the market for new denim. Personally, I've experienced a wide array of denim: crappy Old Navy carpenter jeans, the classic GAP 5-pocket jean, baggy LRG's with tacky back pocket designs, ripped, torn and sandblasted Abercrombie & Fitch low-rise jeans, bootcut Diesel's, overpriced Seven's, slim J Brand's, uber euro G-Star Raw's, and of course, the good ol' American Levi's. So, I guess you can say that I've owned more pairs of jeans than the average heterosexual guy. From my experience with shopping for denim I have learned three essential rules for purchasing denim:

1. Buy jeans that actually fit. Jeans are potentially a multi-year investment. If you want a BMW 3-Series, why would you buy a Chevy Tahoe?

2. The simpler, the better. Bedazzled pockets and loud obnoxious stitching (True Religion) will have you waiting in line outside the club for a long time-- probably the whole night because that shit might have been cool 10 years ago in 6th grade. Simplicity, gentlemen. Simplicity.

3. If you aren't jumping up and down in excitement to buy the pair of jeans in your cart, then neatly fold them, put them back where you found them, and keep it moving. Never wear something you're blase about. Would you walk around with a girl on your arm who you think is just alright? Exactly. Get it together.

10 November 2009

New: Basement Jaxx featuring Lightspeed Champion - My Turn

This song is interestingly dope. My head just bobs naturally when I hear it. That's all. Watch the video then check the link to download.

Download: Basement Jaxx featuring Lightspeed Champion - My Turn

**UPDATE-- The RIAA has notified me that I have violated the Digital Millenium Copyright Act by posting the download link. So, I have to take it down. Enjoy the video clip.

04 November 2009

Wiz Khalifa, "Burn After Rolling"

Whoa. For the second day in a row Heartless Handshakes delivers to you yet another DOPE mixtape. If you haven't copped the new Chiddy Bang please do so immediately (it's free). Now, for Mr. Khalifa... I'm impressed. Considering he has an album coming out very soon, there is some certifiable, co-sign-everyday-of-the-week-and-twice-on-Sunday type songs on this mixtape-- dude flips the jacked beats surprisingly well (i.e. "Knock U Down). I mean if some of these songs are throwaway joints from the actual album, I'm beyond interested in what kind of heat he comes with on the official studio release. Download this now. That's All.