For our American readers, no, that's not a typo. 'The Nixtape' is a regular feature on BBC Radio 1's popular 'Breakfast Show'; a weekly segment every Friday morning where an hour of music, usually consisting of classics and barely-dated hits from the 90s and earlier 00s, are played. 'BBC Radio 1's the Nixtape' is split into two discs, each with a different style. The first is a rap/hip-hop compilation, with the second being more of a club/techno/house mix. While it's all the same 'Nixtape', the styles are divergent enough to demand a separate look at each.
The first half of the 'Nixtape' kicks off with some vintage swag in TLC's 'Creep' and Ashanti's 'Only U', starting the first CD squarely into classic 90s hip hop, before quickly launching into more conventional rap beats like A$AP Mob's 'Trillmatic' and the enjoyably hilarious 'Shake Ya Ass' by Mystikal, all of which ooze with vintage. The second portion of the album lands the big hits of the last two decades, featuring Sean Paul's 'Get Busy', Snoop Dogg's 'Beautiful', Busta Rhymes' 'Thank You' and Notorious B.I.G's 'Mo' Money, Mo' Problems', encompassing some of the most profound hip-hop in music history. It wouldn't have been a hip-hop album without Nelly's 'Hot in Here' or 'The Way You Move' by Outkast, but the latter half of the album had fewer memorable beats. 'Welcome to Jamrock' by Damian Marley and 'Nobody to Love' by Sigma stand out amidst a number of old school rap tracks, but few of the rest stood out as being particularly memorable after the repeated punches of the big hitters made their way.
The 'Nixtape''s electronic second half isn't bad, though it's something that's going to appeal more to die-hard fans than casual listeners. There aren't quite the same identifiable groups of music within disc 2, though there are equally a few stand-out acts scattered throughout. The soothing 'Rather Be' by Clean Bandit, the ivory-tingling 'I Wanna Feel' by second SecondCity, and an infusion of pop in 'Take Care' by Rihanna and Drake prompt all but the most lethargic listener to get on their feet and move. Where the first half of the 'Nixtape' had variety, the second half runs together completely. Perhaps this is an appealing factor for fans of club music, and maybe this would make the second half of the 'Nixtape' perfect for your next dance party, but it can be difficult to stay interested in an album when the songs begin to run together so cleanly.
Continue reading: Various Artists - BBC Radio 1's the Nixtape Album Review
There's a nagging sense of indulgence that leaves us wondering just how truthful this documentary actually is as it follows Snoop Dogg on a voyage of personal discovery. Part of the problem is that he smokes so much weed that we're not even sure how much he'll remember about his decision to travel to Jamaica to reinvent himself. But at least he has this film to remind him of what happened.
Snoop, aka Calvin Broadus, decides to record a reggae album instead of his usual rap, so he takes his entourage to Kingston to explore the Rastafarian beliefs of his idol Bob Marley. He knows this will involve shifting his musical focus from his violent past to a more love-filled approach, and this is affirmed when he meets original Wailer Bunny (who renames him Snoop Lion) and Marley's son Damian. They explore key locations from the Wailers' past, smoking an almost comical amount of ganja with the locals. And along the way, Snoop reminisces about his earlier life working with Dr Dre, the late Tupac Shakur and his cousin Nate Dogg, who died in 2011 after a series of strokes.
All of this is presented in a loosely linear narrative, as their experiences in Jamaica are combined with extended flashbacks to events that have affected Snoop's life along the way. It's an intensely intimate odyssey, as Snoop talks openly about leaving his life as a gangster and pimp behind him and returning to his wife Shante and their children. Director Capper lets us watch all of this through Snoop's eyes, which creates a sharp portrait of an intelligent man on a strongly artist quest for meaning.
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