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Brent Faulkner Brent Faulkner
Starpulse Contributing Writer
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Brent Faulkner is a music educator, composer, music journalist, blogger, and all around music enthusiast. Faulkner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education as well as a Masters degree in music theory/composition. Faulkner contributes his pen to several sites.

5 Big-Time Rappers Whose Stock Needs A Lift

April 29th, 2014 10:30pm EDT
50 Cent
Sometimes artists go through a dry spell. In rap in particular, hotness just doesn’t last forever. I mean, wouldn’t LL Cool J still be a hot commodity commercially if that were the case (no shade LL, no shade)? Here, I have identified five big-time rappers who need good things to happen for them in the near-future/future. One or two names may be surprising, but there is a rationale for all five. Hear a bro out!

T.I.

Reason for being here: Inconsistent albums in the 10s; ‘less fire’ where rhymes are concerned

Man, how I hate to put T.I. on this list. The ATL MC is one of my favorites,...
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Review: Future's Second Album ‘Honest’ Proves To Be Much Better Than Expected

April 28th, 2014 9:30pm EDT
Future Honest
I’ll give credit where credit is due – Atlanta MC Future has stepped up his game on his second major label LP, Honest. That doesn’t mean that the content is the deepest ever (it’s not), but arguably better than Pluto, Future establishes his artistic niche. Still a divisive MC at best (or contemporary R&B artist or however you wish to classify him), at least on Honest you know where Ciara’s fiancé stands. After recently finishing penning a review of Honest elsewhere, I’ll briefly rundown three highlights.

“Move That Dope” was definitely a favorite, even though its theme of selling drugs d...
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Review: Asher Roth, ‘RetroHash’

April 23rd, 2014 4:20pm EDT
Asher Roth - RetroHash
It’s pretty safe to say Asher Roth is one high mellow dude on RetroHash

“That party last night / was awfully crazy, I wish we taped it / I danced my a** off / and had this one girl completely naked,” sings Roth on one of the more memorable songs of 2009, “I Love College”. Yep, “I Love College” was Roth’s ‘ace in the hole’ for debut album Asleep in the Bread Aisle, which managed to debut at in the top five of the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. Even so, Asleep in the Bread Aisle didn’t exactly set up Roth to be the next great MC. Until his 2014 LP RetroHash, Roth hadn’t released a proper soph...
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Estelle Shocks A Little Too Much On 'Make Her Say (Beat It Up)'

April 23rd, 2014 3:45am EDT
estelle
Something has clearly happened to my girl Estelle. Even that statement is an understatement. Estelle’s new single “Make Her Say (Beat It Up)” is nothing short of shocking and I do mean NOTHING short. Estelle has fooled around (no pun intended) with being risqué on songs such as “Wait A Minute (Just A Touch)” (Shine), but nothing to the extent of “Make Her Say”. “Make Her Say”, like the majority of contemporary R&B these days, relies on its explicitness. Perhaps what’s more shocking about this is that a female rather than a male leads the blunt, hypersexual approach. There is a clear do...
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Review: August Alsina Shows Tremendous Potential On Full-Length Debut 'Testimony'

April 17th, 2014 10:10pm EDT
August Alsina
The moment has finally arrived for up and coming New Orleans contemporary R&B singer August Alsina to take center stage. Sure, the 21-year old represents the new generation who prefer boldness to subtlety, but ultimately the brasher style suits the hardships he’s enduring in his personal life. “Through the pain”, Alsina seems to find the positives, even if it seems overcome with pessimism on full-length debut Testimony. A true testimony the LP ends up being, Alsina builds off the momentum of 2013 EP Downtown: Life Under the Gun, upping the ante.

“Testify” sets the tone for Testimony exce...
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'Frozen' Proves To Be The Shining Moment On An 'Ice Cold' Albums Chart

April 17th, 2014 9:08am EDT
Frozen
Well, another week and another chart and guess who’s on top – yep you guessed it, the Frozen Soundtrack. While sales aren’t exactly hot across the board, the additional 133,000 copies that the unstoppable soundtrack sold are solid, particularly compared to the rest of the albums. How sound is 133,000 copies? Well according to Billboard, Pharrell ascended back to his peak position (no. 2) this week, selling 29,000 copies. Talk about April being the month of the music sales drought!

Honestly, the news on the charts isn’t good, particularly since a holdover like G I R L outsold the new entr...
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Review: Jason Derulo, 'Talk Dirty': Over-Reliance On Sex And Swagger Holds Album Back At Times

April 16th, 2014 3:30pm EDT
Jason Derulo, 'Talk Dirty
It has been a minute since “Whatcha Say” had this music enthusiast excited about new pop/R&B artist Jason Derülo. Nah, I wasn’t a ‘fan girl’ as any number of YouTube personalities might put it, but I did think ole boy had something fresh about him. Judging by the uniqueness of that number one hit, it seemed he was well on his way to conquering the music industry. Things didn’t quite work out that way for a number of reasons. Sure, Jason Derülo hasn’t exactly set the Billboard 200 on fire (understatement), but nor has his music since his debut truly stacked up either (no shade – or at least ...
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Review: Martina McBride, ‘Everlasting’

April 15th, 2014 9:15pm EDT
Martina McBride - Everlasting
Martina McBride balances soul music and her country roots soundly on Everlasting

Veteran country superstar Martina McBride’s 12th album, Everlasting, is certainly a surprise. No, McBride doesn’t go radical and become a pop artist or anything like that, but rather than opting for new original material, she hearkens back to the past. What specifically from the past one asks does Mrs. McBride hearken back to? Soul. While a country artist singing soul music seems somewhat far-fetched given the contrasts of styles, Everlasting proves to be an enjoyable and effective album. McBride isn’t suddenl...
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Review: SoMo’s Major Label Debut Leaves The Listener Underwhelmed

April 9th, 2014 10:45am EDT
SoMo
YouTube has become the ‘it’ means of being discovered as an artist these days. Honestly, the art of self-promotion is truly savvy, aggressive gameplay personally. Where so many talented artists don’t have the confidence or the moxie to put them self out there, those that use a platform like YouTube deserve success. Even so, that doesn’t mean that what they have to offer is necessarily exceptional or laden with swag. SoMo, a burgeoning R&B/pop artist, takes his stab at fame with his major label debut, SoMo. Being signed to Republic is definitely a come-up from YouTube uploads. While SoMo sho...
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15 Songs That Will Make You Smile

April 4th, 2014 7:03pm EDT
15 Songs That Will Make You Smile
Sometimes, it is incredibly difficult to smile. Even for the most positive person, there are circumstances in life that sap the joy right out of you and supplant happiness with incredibly sadness. Being sad or worried is a big-time drag, but it’s nothing that a little “happy” music can’t rid of. Sure, a good song can’t erase the debt one has built up or that bad breakup over irreconcilable differences, but it can certainly be therapeutic. Here are 15 Songs That Will Make You Smile.

1

“Happy”

Pharrell Williams

From the album G I R L (2014)

There isn’t a song in 2014 that coul...
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