TVT Records Website
Buy Lumidee at Amazon
Buy Ying Yang Twins at Amazon

There’s a certain reason why I’m schlepping out reviews here at CHUD and not, Vibe, or some other music site. Well, actually there’s two: one is that Dave Davis wasn’t working for any of those guys, and two is that I can go on ad nauseum about movies, but when it comes to music, I pretty much don’t give a rat’s ass anymore. Let’s quickly review what we have to choose from. First up is Country. I’m not a Southerner, nor a NASCAR fan nor do I like deer hunting, so that’s pretty much out. Adult Contemporary: I still have by balls attached so no thank you. Christian / Gospel: White and Black versions of the same stuff that doesn’t float my boat. Pop: Stopped listening when New Kids On The Block hit and haven’t gone back since. Rock: Aha, here we’re a little sketchy. On the one hand, there is some rock I can get down with, but it’s mostly 20 and 30 years old. Today you could put up in successive order songs by Blink 182, Maroon 5 and System of a Down and if I had a gun pointed to my head extorting me to pick them out, I’d probably end up with a new cranial orifice.

Then you have Hip Hop and Rap… Admittedly, this is mostly the music that I tend to gravitate towards. But it’s gotten full of so much repetitive bullshit that at times it’s hard to stomach. If I could enact five immutable yet simple rules of rap, I think the number of musical acts would dwindle down to a handful and that’ll tell you where the state of the industry is today.

To wit, Oliver’s Rap Laws:

1. Rappers can no longer mention any of the following in any of their songs:

  • Rolling on 20s, or deuce zeroes or any other permutation of wheels.
  • The words crunk, skeet, bling, paper, skrilla, nor anything ending with –izzle.
  • How big their car is, how much money they have, being in a club, any kind of after party, Hennessy, Courvoisier, Cristal (not an issue since the Hip Hop boycott, but just to be safe), nor how much quiff the rapper has banged.
  • Keeping it gangsta if the rap artist has never even been arrested or if his parent(s) has a median income of at least $30,000 per year.

2. Sampling and/or Remixes are now illegal. Rappers can no longer use so much as a guitar strum from any previous musical act, especially greats such as the isleys, Marvin Gay or Al Green.

3. Rappers can have no more than two guest performers on a song. If the credits on a song look like the phone book, this is deemed to be in breach of the law.

  • Special Corollary: No musical performer can have R. Kelly doing more than 50% of the singing on their song. No exceptions.

4. No beef between rap stars will be given any street cred whatsoever without first getting confirmation of said beef from an independent investigation that it’s not just a ploy to boost record sales.

5. Rapping about the objectifying of women is still allowed and in fact encouraged.

Put these five laws into effect, and I believe it’d be fair to say that most of what’s wrong with Hip Hop and Rap will be taken care of. But of course, all this is neither here nor there in terms of the musical offerings below. I just felt like blowing off some steam…

Anyway, the below are all artists on the TVT Records Label some you may know, others they want you to get to know.

Lumidee feat. Tony Sunshine – She’s Like the Wind

Lumidee’s Offical Site
TVT Records’ Lumidee Page

Lumidee is a an R&B singer of (I believe) Puerto Rican descent who so far has charted with the single, Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh) in 2003. Now she’s back with a single, which is a cover of, of all things, the 20-year-old Patrick Swayze’s song, She’s Like the Wind, from Dirty Dancing. Now normally, this might generally be considered to be in violation of Oliver’s Rap Law #2, but said law doesn’t apply because covers are allowed. If not, we wouldn’t have some of Aaliyah’s better work of covering some Isley Brothers songs such as Choosey Lover or (At Your Best) You Are Loved. But in this case, Lumidee’s version is just a Hip Hop redo of a song that was of footnote status at best. Tony Sunshine does the singing and Lumidee provides the hooks. The original is still better and that’s not saying all that much. Although for the record, Tony could make a career doing Usher impressions as he sounds very much like him.

There’s the radio version of the song, the instrumental, acapella, and a 22-second callout version, the purpose of which I have yet to discern.

3.3 out of 10

Ying Yang Twins – Chemically Imbalanced

Ying Yang Twins’ Official Site

The Ying Yang Twins are easily the biggest name act that TVT provided to us. They’re a rap duo consisting of Kaine and D-Roc, who are representin’ out of the ATL. Their two biggest hits to date have been Salt Shaker with Lil Jon and the endlessly annoying yet catchy Wait (The Whisper Song), where they whisper the entire song. Salt Shaker was also quite a catchy (i.e. crunk) tune a couple of years ago, but overall, I’m not that much into the Ying Yang. Atlanta’s is pretty much ruling the Hip Hop scene right now, and I like a lot of the acts that have come out like Ludacris, T.I. and others, but another duo to come out of Atlanta is OutKast, and Ying Yang aren’t anywhere near their level. TVT actually provided their entire new album, Chemically Imbalanced, which featured 14 tracks in all. There’s plenty of party ballads, bad language, and several violations of Oliver’s Rap Laws. The newest cuts off the album are Jigglin’ and Dangerous.

6.4 out of 10

New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day’s MySpace Page
TVT Records’ New Year’s Day Page

This is a band, probably up and coming, and they rock it teeny bop chick metal style. Don’t be surprised if you hear one or more of their songs on any CW Network show in the near future. They have five songs on the disc: I Was Right, So Long, Razor, Who We Are and Away. Not too big of a stretch to say that these guys and dolls are going to appeal to the Clearasil crowd (preferably with ovaries) and not much else. Certainly not my cup o’ tea. I liked their music better when it was Ashley Simpson, Brooke Hogan, Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, Avril Levigne, yadda yadda yadda. I think I’m about as old as all of the band members collectively.

2.2 out of 10

The Cinematics – Break

The Cinematics’ Official Site

The Cinematics are another group I’ve never caught wind of, but they’re a Glasgow foursome who formed in 2003 and credit The Cure, Talking Heads and Smashing Pumpkins as their influences. They have a four-song EP called Break, featuring the title track, Burning Light, Sunday Sun and Home. Their sound, although not generally what I’d be bumping in my Ipod (okay my wife’s Ipod, I don’t have one), actually goes into the ears fairly smoothly, with Home being the track that appealed to me the most. I’m not with it enough to know if this is art or not, but I kind of liked it. Several more songs would have been better than just four.

5.1 out of 10