October 14, 2016
A lot can be said and written about Hip-Hop. Its rise can be documented from a small South Bronx neighbourhood to international sell-out arena tours. We can study, explain, and write about its origins but that doesn’t do the genre justice. If you want to find out about Hip-Hop history, you needn’t look further than these ten songs. Notoriously anti-establishment, the genre pulls on the anger, injustice, lifestyle, reality, excitement, and raw emotions felt by a sub-culture throughout some of its hardest times. Hip-Hop music is real, uncensored, and revolutionary. Here’s our pick of the 10 most influential Hip-Hop songs of all time. If you like this, check out our Greatest Hip-Hop Rivalries of All Time blog.
There’s no denying that N.W.A. deserves a place on this top 10 list. No doubt many reading this would have seen the recent film depicting the band’s rise to notoriety. ‘Straight Outta Compton’ brought the Hip-Hop of South Central Los Angeles to the forefront of consciousness. In turn, this changed the genre from having a predominantly New York focus to something that could resonate across the country.
Released in 1995 ‘Dear Mama’ was described by LA Weekly as a song which “transcends race and socioeconomics”. Not only did it achieve this but the song went beyond genre too, becoming wildly popular internationally. The lyrics pay tribute to Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur and speak truthfully of her drug addiction, their arguments, and the love a mother has for her son.
Many claim Biggie to be the best rapper that’s ever lived. We’ll let you argue that between yourselves, though we certainly can’t think of many who have a better claim to the throne. ‘Juicy’ featured on the Notorious B.I.G.’s outrageously popular 1994 album ‘Ready to Die’ and saw the artist at his peak. Rolling Stone magazine described him as “hilarious, incisive and insanely inventive as he balances urban realism and playalistic excess”.
Defiant, aggressive, and revolutionary. ‘Fight the Power’ was a statement and protest against the racism and white supremacy experienced by black teenagers in 80s/90s America. The song slams institutions like Elvis, John Wayne, and the U.S. Postal Service for being “straight-up racist”. This was a song made for change.
‘Mind Playing Tricks on Me’ gave Houston Hip-Hop genuine recognition, but also gave the genre a cracked and human side. In 1991, Bushwick Bill of Geto Boys reportedly shot himself in a failed suicide attempt. The song that followed was a manic depressive death wish which resonated with the trio’s fans. The song humanised the group and gave them a level of complexity which secured their place in Hip-Hop’s hall of fame.
At the time of its release Snoop Dogg was a relatively unknown name, but ‘Nuthin’ But a G Thang’ landed him squarely on the map alongside legend in the making Dr Dre. This song indeed cemented Dre’s status as West Coast rap royalty whilst allowing the genre to take a slow trundle towards mainstream. Dre slowed down the “hyped up” beats of the time, giving them a synthesised, funk style, and the rest of the genre quickly followed.
First released as a cassette B-side to ‘It’s Like That’, this song marked the beginning of a new age of Hip-Hop artist. It took the genre from club dancefloors to teenagers on the street. The minimalist arrangement featured nothing more than caustic rhymes and the loud beat of an Oberheim DMX drum machine, and went down as one of the very first dis-raps ever made.
Sugarhill Gang were the first ever Hip-Hop artist or group to secure a place on Top 40 radio. When ‘Rapper’s Delight’ was brought out, the genre was still underground and almost entirely limited to New York. The song, still considered timeless, gave Hip-Hop an edge of fun, braggy wordplay. It did however, feature numerous “borrowed” elements which later came back to bite the group.
There’s no denying that ‘Planet Rock’ would feature on this list. Has there ever been a Hip-Hop song more influential to music than this? This is a song that could be heard across the dance floors of America from the East Coast to the West. It allowed Hip-Hop to take centre stage in world music. It also introduced Roland 808 beats which have been sampled in the genre ever since.
This was a song that truly set rap on its course to international success. ‘The Message’ wasn’t concerned with parties or bragging, instead speaking of the realism of inner-city America. The song went on to influence rap royalty like Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Biggie and N.W.A. The lyrics spoke of drug abuse, prostitution, prison, and potentially dying young. When each verse came to the crescendo of warning, “don’t push me, ‘cause I’m close to the edge…” you believed every word. The group proved that rap could have genuine social significance.
Do you agree with our list? Tweet us at @TheBlueJayMusic and let us know. Why not broadcast a playlist of your favourite Hip-Hop tunes to your friends live. Download our free social radio app here:
2016’s festival season…
September 27, 2016
2016’s festival season has officially come to an end (sob) and it was jam packed with amazing performances. Many musical legends headlined some of the major UK and European festivals this year, but what about the smaller artists and groups that are not necessarily well known? Often the massively successful and more popular acts who perform on the main stages started their careers playing on the smaller stages of festivals, so who could be making it big in the future? Although some artists may be classed as up and comers in the mainstream music world, some have been making waves in their scenes for a while and are seen as the cream of the crop. Here’s some of our predictions for who we’ll be hearing a lot more from in the future.
If you’re always on the look out for new music, check out our <a href=”https://bluejaymusic Full Report.com/best-ways-to-discover-new-music/”>Best Ways to Discover New Music blog.
This British indie-pop band have supported the likes of The Courteeners and have progressed from playing smaller festivals such as Tramlines in Sheffield, to the biggest in the UK at the likes of Reading, Leeds, and even the main stage at Glastonbury this year. These boys are one to watch!
After releasing their debut album ‘Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow’ and finishing up their biggest UK Tour to date, they managed to squeeze in a couple of festival performances such as Ibiza Rocks and Kendal Calling this summer. They also bagged headline spots at smaller, local festivals such as 110 Above. If you like anthemic indie-pop music these are your guys.
This Brighton-based, 80s-inspired indie-pop band have worked hard to get to where they are after forming in 2013 and playing a whopping 31 festivals in 2015. If you like Two Door Cinema Club you’ll love these guys, producing bouncy yet glossy pop tones with plenty of synthy riffs! They have spent this summer working on their debut album with non-other than The 1975 and Foals and have played some of the biggest festivals in the UK such as Reading, Leeds, and Bestival.
These rock ‘n’ rollers moved beyond their usual local gigs this year onto festivals such as Common People and the Isle of Wight Festival. With their upbeat, catchy, feel good tracks, they’re bound to get you bopping along.
Alternative-rock band Palace create rich and sultry sounds with a Jeff Buckley feel – the perfect festival vibe! These 4 close friends from school played the likes of Reading this summer and they did not disappoint!
This dark-pop singer/songwriter creates music with a fresh feel, taking influences from artists such as Bon Iver. He played at Latitude and Larmer Tree Festival this summer and will be joining Benjamin Francis Leftwich on his European tour in October.
This 26-year-old singer/songwriter/producer uses electronic techniques to create music with elements of surf rock and a clear influence of Hip-Hop and R&B. He has co-written with the likes of Emenike and Zara Larson and gave a hypnotic performance at Field Day Festival this summer.
20-year old Las Vegas born singer-songwriter Shamir holds a futuristic vibe, playing tracks from Funk, Techno, and Hip-Hop genres and has toured with the likes of Adele, The Prodigy and Vampire Weekend. He played some of Europe’s largest festivals this summer, including Øya Festival in Norway and Flow Festival in Finland.
It’s hard to believe that Soak is only 18 years old with magical, beautiful tones which will capture your heart. She has already been compared to the likes of Laura Marling and toured with George Ezra – definitely one to catch before she’s playing a main stage.
Camden born, 21-year-old MC Ocean Wisdom has made a name for himself by producing Hip-Hop music which has spread like wildfire across the internet. Touring with The Four Owls was just the beginning – Ocean has since supported the likes of Mike Skinner and played festivals such as Boom Bap and Boomtown Fair, moving onto Europe this summer for Paléo Festival in Nyon. He has recently signed to Hip-Hop label High Focus Records and is set to drop his debut album. Watch this space…
Previously part of indie band Late of the Pier, electronic musician Sam Dust now goes by the name of LA Priest. His disruptive pop tunes are funky, psychedelic, and so catchy that you just can’t shake them off!
Zimbabwe-born British singer-songwriter, formally known as Tinaché, has been described as ‘the man with an unforgettable voice’ and it isn’t hard to see why. Influenced by his Mother and Soul/Jazz musicians, Rationale’s music is meaningful with lyrics that cut to the core and sounds which stretch across multiple genres, particularly Hip Hop. Since releasing his debut EP ‘Fuel To The Fire’, he’s attracted the likes of Pharrell and Justin Timberlake and has played festivals such as Boardmasters, Reading, and Leeds this summer.
Real name Rory Graham, this British singer/songwriter started out as an MC. After working on his potential as a singer, he signed with Hip Hop label High Focus Records releasing tracks such as ‘Wolves’ which have been playlisted on BBC Radio 1 Xtra, and made it onto BBC Radio 1’s ‘In New Music We Trust’ playlist. He has created a prolific underground name for himself and played festivals such as Reading this summer.
SURVIVE are an experimental synth quartet from Texas who produce music which has been described as ‘an exercise in analog synth mastery’. Inspired by horror scores, much of their music has a dark, slightly eerie feel to it. Their most recognisable track to date is their soundtrack for the series Stranger Things. They are set to play at Day for Night Festival in Texas at the end of the year, which introduces music with new sensory experiences.
This group of ‘rap-scallions’ produce music which is definitely rap relatable, and plays homage to UK Rave culture, in particular grime/garage/DnB, but is nothing like we’ve heard before! As well as playing many local London gigs, Problem Child have played at festivals such as Boom Bap and we predict that they will move on to higher profile festivals in the future.
This London-born up-and-coming Grime artist has a lot to say on his tracks, recently releasing mixtape ‘Gangster with Banter’ and appearing on Sneakbo’s track ‘Right Now’. He has appeared on Capital Xtra with Tim Westwood and played at this year’s Great Escape Festival alongside the likes of Grime royalty Stormzy.
Originally from Grime group ‘The Square’, Elf Kid decided to go solo as an MC and is best known for his grime remix of Jamie XX’s ‘Gosh’ and latest track ‘Golden Boy’. His career in Grime peaked this summer when he played at Wireless Festival in London and we are sure this is the start of good things to come.
19-year-old Jordan Cardy from Chemlsford puts an interesting Essex twist on Hip Hop. He recently toured with The 1975 and played Reading and Leeds Festival this summer – not a bad year for a 19-year-old! We expect to see a lot more from Rat Boy in the future, look out for his EP launch later this month.
This 24-year old multi-instrumentalist stormed into 2016 already quite well known after supporting Ben Howard and Mumford and Sons in 2015. 2016 has seen Jack smash a US tour and perform at multiple high-profile festivals this summer such as Reading and Leeds. We predict that you’ll be hearing a lot about this super talented guy in the future.
At just 22-years-old, this singer/songwriter has an incredibly smooth, bluesy sound and his music is simple, honest and emotional. He has been compared to artists such as James Bay and George Ezra and spent the summer touring the US and playing festivals such at Festival No. 6. Lawrence will be back in the UK in Autumn to support Birdy – we hope he follows in her footsteps of success!
If like us you love discovering new music, why not create a playlist on the Bluejay app of your favourite up-and-coming artists and share it live with your friends! Download it here:
September 27, 2016
Everybody listens to music when they work out. When you feel up against it, it’s often music that’ll help you pull through, and building a workout playlist is a fine art. Whether you’re a beginner to the gym, out on a run or training hard for your favourite sport; build a workout playlist on BlueJay to motivate you and your friends. We’ve put together a few playlists that’ll get you pumped – there’s bound to be something for everyone here.
1. Breathe – The Prodigy
2. Phat Planet – Leftfield
3. Run Boy Run – Woodkid
4. Black Betty – Ram Jam
5. Next Hype – Tempa T
6. Power – Kanye West
7. ‘Till I Collapse – Eminem, Nate Dogg
8. Black Skinhead – Kanye West
9. Back in Black – AC/DC
10. If I Can’t – 50 Cent
11. All I Do Is Win – DJ Khaled
12. No Problem – Chase & Status
13. Purple Lamborghini – Skrillex, Rick Ross
14. Numb/Encore – Jay Z, Linkin Park
15. Phenomenal – Eminem
16. Welcome To The Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
17. Paranoid – Black Sabbath
18. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
19. Turn Down For What – DJ Snake, Lil John
20. Banarang – Skrillex
1. My Head Is A Jungle – Wankelmut, Emma Louise
2. I Wanna Feel – Secondcity
3. Rinse & Repeat – Riton, Kah-Lo
4. All Four Walls – Gorgon City, Vaults
5. Freak Like Me (Remix) – Lee Walker, DJ Deeon
6. Remind Me – High Contrast
7. My Love (Sigma Remix) – Route 94, Jess Glynne, Sigma
8. Nobody Does It Better – Michael Calfan
9. House Work – Jax Jones, Mike Dunn, MNEK
10. Say You Do – Sigala, Imani Williams, DJ Fresh
11. How Deep Is Your Love – Calvin Harris, Disciples
12. Stronger – Kanye West
13. Trouble – Offaiah
14. Magnets – Lorde, Disclosure
15. Rumour Mill – Rudimental, Anne-Marie
16. I’m In Control – AlunaGeorge, Popcaan
17. I Wanna Know – Alesso, Nico & Vinx, Deniz Koyu
18. Greyhound – Swedish House Mafia
19. 212 – Azealia Banks, Lazy Jay
20. Jungle – X Ambassadors, Jamie N Common
1. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore
2. The Girl Is Mine – 99 Souls
3. Hot Right Now – DJ Fresh, Rita Ora
4. Waiting All Night – Rudimental, Ella Eyre
5. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5, Christina Aguilera
6. 7/11 – Beyonce
7. Girls Like – Tinie Tempah, Zara Larsson
8. This Is What You Came For – Calvin Harris, Rihanna
9. Bonkers – Dizee Rascal
10. One – Swedish House Mafia
11. Sweet Lovin’ – Sigala, Bryn Christopher
12. Desire (Remix) – Years & Years, Zac Samuel
13. Give Me Your Love – Sigala, John Newman, Nile Rodgers
14. Work From Home – Fifth Harmony, Ty Dolla $ign
15. Levels – Avicii
16. Pump It – Black Eyed Peas
17. Cheap Thrills – Sia, Sean Paul
18. Alive (Cahill Club Mix) – Sia
19. Run The World (Girls) – Beyonce
20. I See You Baby (Fatboy Slim Remix) – Groove Armada, Gram’ma Funk
Whether you use one of our suggestions or build your own, share your playlist live with your friends on the BlueJay app now. Download it here:
July 19, 2016
So you’ve got a great club night and want to get the word out. Where do you start? Club nights are seriously competitive, many people have a favourite venue, some pick where to go based on recommendations, and others just follow the big name DJs. To promote your club night, you need to tap into your audience’s interests and lives without spamming them or appearing too eager. Not only is it important to get people through the door, you want to keep them coming back. Thankfully, we’ve put together a few tips that’ll help you bang the drum about your night and build a faithful, captive audience.
Who do you actually want to bring through the door? This will affect how you portray and brand your night. If you’re predominantly a House music club night, your branding will be different to that of a Rock night. Where is your club located? Try and tap into the local vibes and see whether your music genre and general theme actually fits in. Once you’ve got an idea of who you’ll be aiming at, be sure to show this in your social media and leaflet branding. Be specific about your targeting, you may alienate some people but you’ll be far more appealing to others.
Once you know your ideal audience, you need to get yourself ‘out there’. There’s no better tool for club night promotion than social media. Build pages on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram but remember to stay active. A club is expected to be current, it’s expected to be an authority, and it’s expected to be easy to find. Revellers need to be able to search for your night, see what’s happening, and get their names on your guest list. There’s no easier way to do this than Facebook or Twitter. Instagram is great at giving followers an insight to what your night is like. If the club you’re working for doesn’t actively use its social media then suggest taking it on yourself.
As we said earlier, club promotion isn’t just about getting people through the door, it’s about keeping them coming back. Get on good terms with the club photographer, direct him or her onto the dance floor every night to take pictures of friends posing for the camera. Make sure you’re the first person he sends the pictures to. If you recognise regulars, tag them in pictures to get them talking about your night. Record videos if you can and post these onto your social media pages, encourage followers to tag their friends and share your posts. Not only will this grow your audience but it’ll help build your reputation too.
Want to drum up interest but unsure how? Try offering contests that are easily sharable on social media. One of the best ways to do this is to offer a free VIP table for a group of friends each night – all followers need to do is retweet or share a picture. This gets a massive level of exposure and will give a real sense of exclusivity to the winners. Your night should always appear current and never get stale. Revellers don’t want to go to the same night over and over again. Make every night appear a little better than the last. Why not suggest a change to the club owners? Introducing a switch up in music theme or gimmick once a month will help you get more people interested. Live acts and DJs are a great way of adding variety to your promotions. If you know any up and coming local acts, suggest that they do a set on your night. This will bring in extra support and cement your position in the community. Big name DJs are perfect for building hype, though this is likely to be out of your control as a promotor.
Your reputation is incredibly important. If you’re competing with other local club nights or promoters, you need to appear more popular. You should be considered an authority and the person to know. To achieve this, you should monitor conversations being had about your night. See what people are saying, positive and negative. Understand how people perceive the night and improve where you need to. Talk to people on social media and comment on funny club photos. If people are unhappy then give them the same attentive service that a shop would. If you succeed in achieving a positive reputation, everything else will become far easier.
One of the best ways of promoting your club night is remaining interactive. Build hype outside the building and get people talking. The night starts long before anyone gets to the door, revellers spend time getting ready, meet with their friends, and pre-drink for hours. Why not get their attention at this stage to cement their attendance? If you have a big night planned, build a BlueJay playlist of relevant music and stream it live to your followers during pre-drinks to get them in the mood. Get creating yours here:
June 21, 2016
It’s widely accepted that Glastonbury Festival is one of the most revered music festivals in the world. Every year it is the highlight of the UK festival scene and attracts some of the largest names in music. Acts like Adele, who are not necessarily regulars on the festival scene, cannot deny the lure of the event. Anyone who attends it will tell you that Glastonbury offers a unique and distinctive atmosphere that cannot be replicated elsewhere. So how did it all begin?
If you love discovering new artists at festivals, check out our <a href="https://bluejaymusic get more.com/best-up-and-coming-artists-from-this-years-festival-season/”>Best Up and Coming Artists from This Years Festival Season blog.
Originally named the Pilton Festival, the very first event kicked off on 19th September 1970, the day after Jimi Hendrix’s death. The attendance was 1,500, tickets were £1, and T-Rex were the original headliners. Then history was truly made – the festival was changed to the time of the Summer Solstice and was redubbed the Glastonbury Fair. The event was paid for by a few loyal supporters and was free to attend. At the Glastonbury Fair you could enjoy music, dance, poetry, theatre, lights, and spontaneous entertainment. The iconic Pyramid stage was first erected in this year and has remained a key component ever since. The festival was deeply inspired by the hippie movement and allowed freedom of expression and a free thinking ideology. Since its inception, the festival has soared in popularity and has seen some of the most decorated acts perform there. Some of the most famous names to appear include David Bowie, The Smiths, Van Morrison, The Cure, Oasis, Radiohead, The Prodigy, Coldplay, The White Stripes, Jay-Z, Arctic Monkeys, The Rolling Stones, U2 and Metallica to name just a few.
Okay, so everyone’s really hyped up to see acts like Adele, Tame Impala, Muse, Coldplay and Disclosure but there a few lesser known musicians performing that we’re really getting excited about.
Eska – Nominated for a Mercury Award this year, Eska has taken the music scene by storm. We’re sure that after her performance at Glastonbury, she will continue to rise and rise. Find her at the West Holts Stage on Sunday at 12.30pm.
Lion Babe – This is a group that you will fall in love with almost immediately. Lion Babe is a neo soul duo made up of Jillian Hervey who sings and Lucas Goodman who works on production. This seriously is a group to watch. Find them on the Sonic Stage on Saturday at 2.50pm.
Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – If you haven’t heard of Rag ‘N’ Bone Man before then stop what you’re doing and give his music a listen. The singer is absolutely phenomenal and definitely a gem you’ll find on a smaller stage. We have no doubts that he’ll be headlining festivals in the future. Drag yourself away from whatever act you’re watching on Sunday at 2.30pm, head to the Gully and you will not be disappointed.
SG Lewis – SG Lewis is not only an absolutely underrated producer who’s sure to make it big, he’s also being mentored by Calvin Harris. Give him a google, listen to his songs and you’ll wonder why you haven’t heard his name yet. Even better, find him at the Pussy Parlure at 4.30pm on Saturday.
Are you excited yet? We certainly are! We’re getting ready to head down to the festival ourselves but first decided to create and stream a few playlists on BlueJay for our friends. Fancy some inspiration? This is what we’re listening to now:
Wolf Alice – You’re a Germ
Years & Years – Desire
Dua Lipa – Be The One
Alessia Cara – Wild Things
Laura Mvula – Phenomenal Woman
Rat Boy – Move
Raleigh Richie – Bloodsport
Mura Masa – What If I Go?
NAO – Fool to Love
Izzy Bizu – White Tiger
Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand
Adele – Hello
Ellie Goulding – Army
Of Monsters and Men – Empire
Coldplay – Adventure of a Lifetime
Foals – Mountain at My Gates
The Last Shadow Puppets – Aviation
Muse – Aftermath
Eska – Shades of Blue
Lion Babe – Where Do We Go?
Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Wolves
SG Lewis – All Night
Tame Impala – The Less I Know the Better
Disclosure – Magnets
Mabel – My Boy My Town
Kano – This is England
Little Simz – Gratitude
Protoje – Who Knows
Lady Leshurr – Take it Back
Section Boyz – Bimma
Netsky – Work it Out
WSTRN – In2
Kiko Bun – Sticky Situation
If you’re heading to Glastonbury this week or just jealous of everyone who is, create a playlist on BlueJay and stream it live for all your friends. Download BlueJay here:
June 15, 2016
Every month or so it seems that one artist or another has broken a record for the most downloads ever achieved or most songs featured in the top 40. But what does that actually mean? And who holds these records? We’ve taken a look at some of music’s greatest record breakers, who they are, and what they’ve achieved. Below are some of our favourites (all records are correct at time of publishing).
You can find out who smashed the charts in the 90s with our Best Selling Songs of the 90s blog.
It’s not uncommon for music videos to go the extra mile, but Pharrell Williams took this mantra to new heights. For the release of his song ‘Happy’, the American star featured the “world’s first 24-hour music video” on the website 24hoursofhappy.com. The video featured a line-up of stars and regular people dancing and miming to the four-minute track, which is repeated 360 times!
In 2006, Katie Melua entered the record books for having performed the deepest underwater concert on an oil rig that sits at 994 feet below sea level. She reportedly had to undergo deep sea survival training and rigorous medical testing before her performance.
In a Parisian theatre in 2009, electro-acoustic composer and producer Chilly Gonzales played the piano for 27 hours straight! The artist was said to have consulted sleep specialists and nutritionists in advance of the event to ensure he would stay awake.
There are many who have laid claim to this spot, but heavy metal band Manowar are widely acknowledged as the holder of this title for their 1994 Hanover performance which came in at 129.5 decibels. Just to give you an idea of how loud that is, the average jackhammer generates roughly 100 decibels of noise.
Between releasing ‘All Shook Up’ in 1957 and the re-entry of ‘It’s Now or Never’ in 2005, Elvis Presley has had 21 UK Number 1 hits. The Beatles have come the closest to this with 17 UK Number 1s. Elvis also holds the record for the most combined weeks at Number 1 with 80 in total.
Frankie Laine holds the title for most weeks at UK Number 1 for a single song with ‘I Believe’. The song spent 9 weeks at Number 1, fell to Number 2, rose back to number 1 for another 6 weeks, then fell again but amazingly rose a third time, spending a further 3 weeks at Number 1.
The UK best-selling album is Queen’s 1981 compilation ‘Greatest Hits’ which has sold just over 6 million copies. It is not the best-selling album internationally however. That title goes to Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1982) which has sold over 110 million copies!
On 9th June 2009, The Zimmers became the oldest group to enter the UK Singles Chart with their release of My Generation, which reached the Top 30. The group was made up of 50 members with an average age of 78.
Want to build, host and stream your very own record breaker playlist? Download BlueJay, the free social radio app: