Video by Hugo: “99 Problems”

Born in England and raised in Thailand, Hugo is a new artist signed to Jay-Z‘s Roc Nation label, and he’s put a spin on “99 Problems” that  no one saw coming. Like it or not, it’s a drastically different twist on the classic Jigga track that has the chance to bring the song to an entirely new audience. This is a single off of his upcoming album, Old Tyme Religion, which Hugo believes to be as mainstream as anything out there now – almost like an artful twist on pop and rock.

Listen to another one of Hugo’s tracks and sign up for a free MP3 after the jump.

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New Video for Janelle Monáe’s “Cold War”

Janelle Monáe, the always innovative songwriter and singer, has released a new video for her song off of The ArchAndroid, “Cold War.” It features a close up, sometimes out of focus image of Monáe lip syncing the entire song in not just one take, but in her first take. It’s an emotionally charged experience straight from the black box auditorium at the Palace of the Dogs insane asylum.

Incognito & Samples

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On their new album Transatlantic RPM, Incognito remakes a heavily-sampled classic, “Lowdown,” originally by Boz Scaggs. The remake is infused with the vocal soul power of Chaka Khan and Mario Biondi while preserving the hip-hop rhythms that sprouted from the original.

Boz Scaggs - original version of “Lowdown” (1976)

Whether you’re a hip-hop fan, producer, or just an educated listener, you’ll probably hear something familiar in this. The various layers of rhythm in the Boz Scaggs track have been sampled enough in old school hip-hop to qualify “Lowdown” as a break beat classic. Scaggs’ drums are easy enough to spot, but that flipped bassline produces a bit of a challenge in discovering samples.

Leave a comment with more sample knowledge and we’ll be your best friend.

Leaders of the New School – “The International Zone Coaster” (1991)

MF Doom – “Black Snake Root” (2003)

Blackstreet – “Booti Call” (1994)

Girl Talk – “Give Me A Beat” (2008)

New Video/Single from SonnyBoy: “Time (Clock of the Heart)”

While living in Minneapolis, “soul, R&B, hip-hop, rock, reggae, and funk” artist, SonnyBoy (and his band) earned powerful praise from Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the best unsigned bands in the city. With that small boost of confidence he moved out to the big apple, where he’s released four albums on his self-owned label, ArtSoul Entertainment. As the new single off his upcoming album, The BarFly Theory, this remake of the hit Culture Club song, “Time (Clock of the Heart),” features a sound hard to define in one genre, but is without a doubt soulful (and lacking the 80s-style synthesizer).

Obama’s Favorite Standup Bassist/Singer/Composer Esperanza Spalding to Release New Album

With her sophomore effort Chamber Music Society on the way, check out the preview for Esperanza Spalding’s album and see why Barack says, “I love listening to Esperanza, she is wonderful.”

The innovative album that combines jazz, folk, and world music with the enduring foundations of classical music will hit shelves August 17th via Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group. Chamber Music Society features the legendary Milton Nascimento, pianist Leo Genovese, and vocalist Gretchen Parlato, among others.

“It’s clear Esperanza’s definitely got game – and has no hang-ups about showing it.” —Vibe Magazine

“Whether exploding into vocalese or making her bass solo sound like a horn, she’s a spark plug who dances as she grooves through a funked-up and rocked-out repertoire.” Billboard “Faces to Watch”

“Esperanza has got a lot: accomplished jazz improvisation, funk, scat singing, Brazilian vernacular rhythm and vocals in English, Portuguese and Spanish. At its center is a female bassist, singer and bandleader, one whose talent is beyond question.” New York Times