State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Courtney Neal

ALL HAIL QUEEN B: An Early Christmas Gift From Beyoncé!

Queen B has done it again!

Beyoncé has given her fans a wonderful surprise just in time for the holiday season. The COMPLETELY unexpected album was released when the clock struck midnight on Friday the 13th. The BeeHive has been buzzing with excitement ever since.  I really didn’t see this coming B. How did you pull this one past me? I thought we were Besties4Life, girl. You left me sitting here like…

Beyoncé’s last album, 4, was released back in 2011. It included chart-toping hits such as the afrocentric “Run The World (Girls),” the sassy-cool “Party” feat. Kanye West, and the song you dedicate to your boyfriend “Love On Top.” Since then Beyoncé has won numerous awards, made a documentary, toured the world, and given birth to a beautiful baby girl, Blue Ivy (featured on the song and video for “Blue”).

The album is self-titled and features 14 unheard songs and 17 unseen videos! YES, you read that right… go ahead, read it again…14 unheard songs and 17 unseen videos! The album features Drake, Frank Ocean, and husband Jay Z. It also contains creative collaborations from greats such as Timberland and Pharrell  Williams in addition to visionaries, Terry Richardson and Hype Williams.   I am going through a Beyoncé overload trying to process all of the amazing vocals and mesmerizing visuals the Queen has just bestowed on us. We are not worthy!

She gives us everything we expect from Sasha Fierce and more! She covers all of her bases with this one, giving us those “sexy, give a striptease to your man then put it on him and leave him begging for more” songs along with some “get a little ratchet in the club with all of your girlfriends… and all of ya’ll are looking like a bag of money” songs that we love so much.  Beyonce wanted to give her fans something personal, something special. “I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans,” Mrs. Carter said in a press release.

This is something different, something that no R&B diva been done before. Some of the videos have an artistic touch like “Mine” feat. Drake. Others like “Yonce” and “Drunk In Love” feat. Jay Z are just Beyoncé having fun, being sexy, and looking great. Now, you have to check out “Partition” and “Rocket” if you want to see lusty Bey looking like a smoldering sex pot. My favorite so far is “Blow,” because the song it’s self has a real disco feel. That is then combined with a music video set at a 1970’s roller disco rink, denim short-shorts,  and sexually suggestive lyrics for grown folk only. The roller skating rink is actually in Houston, Texas where the Queen was born and she skated there as a kid. Beyoncé says that she is able to see music “It’s more than just what I hear. When I’m connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they’re all connected to the music.”

Bey and her team have been working on this project since Summer 2012. They all thought Bey was crazy when she announced that she wanted to do this. Writers and producers for this album all lived together in a house in the Hamptons (swaggy) working on each track. The videos for the album were shot as Beyoncé traveled on her Mrs. Carter World Tour featuring locations such as Brazil, Paris, the streets of Los Angeles, Coney Island New York, and a church in South America. Watch this playlist of 30 sec previews of each video.

Beyoncé is just so amazing. She is like a mystical creature of fabulousness. She’s currently wrapping up The Mrs. Carter World Tour, which has had her all across the world since April 2013. But noooo that’s not long enough for Bey, this past Tuesday she announced an additional 16 tour stops in Europe throughout February and March. Keep in mind that she is still performing sold out shows with songs from 2011 and previous years.

Hello, Rihanna? Beyoncé THE IDOL is on the phone. She said, Have a seat, my child. 

Seriously, you mean to tell me Rih gets to claim the ‘idol’ title and Bey has yet to receive hers? (Don’t get me started… that’s a whole ‘nother article) Beyoncé basically just said Hey, I’m Beyoncé. I don’t even have to promote my new album. I’m just gonna drop it and ya’ll are still going to buy it.

Yes, Bey… you’re right. I gladly handed over my $16.  Beyoncé, you have done it again. You have once again stolen our hearts with your class, sassy, and big ol’ ass. Look out for a review soon. Believe me, I will have it on repeat until I know every word. The album can be downloaded for free here.

Here’s some of the album artwork:

Lady GaGa and R.Kelly Get FREAKY on SNL

Okay, I’m sorry that I had to show ya’ll this but this was to… er, interesting… to pass up. So Lady Gaga preformed her latest song “Do What U Want” on last night’s Saturday Night Live. Well, it looks like she let R.Kelly do whatever he wanted to her body as the song suggests.

Gaga twitched and flung herself around the stage during the verse and chorus until R.Kelly came in to awkwardly sweep her off her feet… literally.  Gaga hung over his shoulder for a couple seconds until old man R.Kelly had had enough and put her down to only start rubbing on her butt. I must say, I was pretty disappointed by R.Kelly’s appearance. Aging is a natural thing but R.Kelly obviously doesn’t believe in aging gracefully. I mean, C’mon! His rhinestone Versace ensemble made him look like a bootleg Kanye West. I’m sorry R.Kelly, but you need to act your age!

Things began to get a little more creepy when R.Kelly handed off his microphone and sunglasses to some chick on the side. That was his way of telling us that sh*t was about to get REAL. Gaga laid down on her back as R.Kelly proceed to dry hump her, lick her neck, and perform other inappropriate and uncomfortable sexual simulations.

At the end, a tired and out of breath R.Kelly held on to Gaga tight as if he was telling her “Thank you for making me relevant again.”


Melanie Fiona, Bridget Kelly, and Elijah Blake Concert Review

If you missed Melanie Fiona, Bridgette Kelly, and Elijah Blake at Levels Night Club presented by EOS and RocNation… psh, you missed a good show! Penn State was delivered the dose of Hip Hop and R&B it desperately needed.

When I first entered Levels, I was greeted by a lovely EOS rep who handed me free drink tickets! I mean, a FREE concert with FREE drinks included? I’m sure every 21+ college student agrees with me when I say  was a great night waiting to happen. So anyway, I made my way up to the bar as people began to enter onto the levels dance floor. The DJ was playing something cool, like… Rihanna.  This was a Girls Night Out type of show… The artists on the roster were a pretty boy heartthrob in-the-making, a feisty R&B diva, and a sultry Grammy award winning Caribbean Soultress.

I had my drink in one hand and my camera in other as the first performer, Elijah Blake, took the stage. He performed his single X.O.X. which features rapper Common. His vocals were on point. Now, I said before that he was the “pretty boy” type. But my…my… my… when he did a cover of Usher’s “Climax”, I felt myself beginning to melt. (But I had to keep my composure because I didn’t want to spill my drink 😉  haha) At only 22 years-old, Blake actually wrote “Climax” for Usher, as well Rihanna’s “No Love Allowed,” and Rick Ross’ “Presidential.”  Who knew?! Anyway, it’s clear that this young man has the talent and the potential to go far.

NYC’s own, Bridget Kelly, represented for her city by beginning her set singing the chorus of “Empire  State of Mind.”  Baby, I’m from New York/ Concrete jungle where dreams are made of. Instantly, the New York natives in the audience went wild! Not only is this chick strikingly beautiful, she also has a voice of gold. That was very apparent when she covered The Roots’ “Baby You Got Me” and Justin Timberlake’s “Until The End of Time.” Bridget Kelly is a very captivating performer. See, she tells  stories as she moves from song-to-song… connecting each song to a feeling or an experience from her real life.  Her song “In The Morning” talks about secretly loving someone and only being able to say it when she’s drunk… then denying it in the morning. It has a swaggy beat and lyrics that’ll make you be like “MmmHm. Guilty! I’ve done that too GURL!” Check out these videos from her set.

Headliner and Grammy Award winning artist, Melanie Fiona pulled out all the stops when it was her time to hit the stage.  She electrified the crowd with her energy as she paid tribute to her Caribbean roots.  Her songs “Somebody Come Get Me” and  “Ayo” have this distinct Caribbean flavor too them. I found myself singing along with a heavy Jamaican accent that I didn’t have 5 minutes earlier.

When she preformed her Grammy award winning song, “Fool for You,” I could hear all the women in the audience yell “YAAAAAAAAAAS.”  Because you know, mostly every girl has been in that position when they’ve acted completely foolish for a man. She dedicated her next song, “It Kills Me” to the men in the audience. This heartfelt ballad verbalizes how it feels to love and hate someone at the same time… torn between staying with someone or leaving them alone. Pretty deep, huh. There was an awkward moment when Melanie Fiona paused to allow the audience to sing along… but no one sang. Yikes! Fiona played it off well by making a couple jokes and asking one of her back up singers to refresh the audience’s memory before starting the song over again.

“4 A.M.” peaked at number 8 on Billboards Hip-Hop/ R&B charts. This is one of those songs that got played out from being on constant rotation on the radio of for so long. When it was first released in 2011, I loved it. I even loved it when it was remixed and re-released a year later with a new techno beat and a  feature from reggae artist Sean Paul.  I played so much that it eventually became one of those song that I said “Ugh, not this again” every time it played. So naturally I was dreading for it to be performed that night. When I heard the intense beat drop, I was like “Oh Here It Comes!” But something was different. I don’t know if it was the passion behind the way Melanie Fiona was singing… but something was different. I fell in love with this song all over again!

Melanie Fiona ended her show as her hip-hop alter ego Felony Minoa (a name given to her the rapper Wale).  She did a medley of Drake’s “Starting From The Bottom,” Wale’s “Bad,” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe.” She even gave her ‘rapping hat’ to one lucky fan in the audience whom had been singing along and rockin’ with her all night.

The lucky fan, Toni, posted this picture on Intagram of herself wearing Melanie’s hat.


Jhené Aiko Releases "Sail Out EP"

You have most likely heard her voice before. She’s that unique voice that you hear singing along with hip hop heavy hitters such as Drake, Kanye West, J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, and more.

Jhené Aiko has been on the music scene for more than 10 years, beginning her career as a female vocalist for former heartthrob boy-group B2K. If you were a die-hard B2k fan like me, you secretly wanted to be Jhené Aiko, and when her verses came on you belted out her lyrics at the top of your lungs as if it was YOU that was in the studio with B2K. No? That was just me? Oops. Haha. Anyway, Since then Aiko has played the background through song writing and features.  NOW… It’s time for her to shine!

Her voice, is so heavenly and soulful. Her sound… It’s like a new age R&B. Oh and not to mention, She is exotically BEAUTIFUL! When I’m listening to her songs I can’t help but bob my head to the beats but at the same time, my hips are swaying to her sweet melodies. She writes all of her songs as if it’s an open diary…as if she’s sharing a piece of her soul with you.

In early 2011, Aiko released a free mixtape, Sailing Soul(s), to tell her waiting fans, like myself, that she’s still here. Aiko calls herself a perfectionist when it comes to her music. Since the release of her mixtape she has been working to compile the perfect combination of tracks for her highly anticipated album Souled Out set to be released at the end of the year. As she was recording, she realized she had so many good tracks that couldn’t all possibly go onto the album. So she released Sailed Out EP as a preview of what she has in store. The EP features one of my favorites “Bed Peace” feat. Childish Gambino. It also includes a very raw and emotional “Comfort Inn Ending (Freestyle),”  which is about falling in love with the wrong person. You can download the EP here.

Check out Jhené Aiko’s cover of Tupac’s “Keep Your Head Up.” This is also one of my favorite snippets of her.

Isn’t she so cute?! GAAAAAH! 🙂 Girl Crush Alert!

BLACK Is The New COOL: An Interview With PSU Rapper Cooley Black

While standing in line at Panda Express in the HUB, Cooley Black just happened to run into recording artist J.Cole who was preforming later that night in Heritage Hall. The rapping megastar offered the young aspiring rapper some quick advice. “Just Do It.” Yup, as simple as that! Cooley Black took his idol’s encouragement and ran with it. He began to work vigorously on his craft, producing two independent mixtapes since his freshman year. Now as a senior, Cooley Black is currently putting the finishing touches on his third project The Cool Table.

Cooley Black refers to The Cool Table as an “appreciation tape.” Black wanted to pay homage to all of his friends, family, and mentors that have helped him grow as an artist in the best way he knows how… through his music. Black says that his friends Oakes and Marquis are key players in his growth and success thus far. Black has even encouraged his younger brother to get involved in music by letting him play a part in the project. Black is inspired to make music by what he feels, what really happens in his life, and his desire to make it in the music industry.

Chinese food washed down with champagne was the meal of choice that inspired Penn State rapper Cooley Black’s first single off of his most recent mixtape The Black Bang Theory. The song, appropriately titled “Chinese and Champagne,” features a smooth sample from Marvin Gaye’s classic “Come Get To This.” Gaye croons the lyrics ‘Ooooh… went outta my mind’ in the background as Cooley Black raps about his personal struggles and striving for success. Cooley Black hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a Senior preparing to graduate in the spring. He said that “Chinese and Champagne” is the track that reignited the most with his listeners. Even as I am listening to it at this very moment, I cannot help my bob my head to the beat and connect with his word.  The Black Bang Theory can be downloaded or streamed or free here.

Cooley Black offers a unique sound on his mixatape. He is clearly lyrically inclined and when that’s combined with beats produced by his friend Oakes, a hit is bound to happen.  “College Thrills II” is a song off of the tape that many college students can relate to. It is also one of my favorite tracks off The Black Bang Theory. This song features a familiar sample from Empire Of The Sun’s “Walking On A Dream.” Through the verses, Black conveys a day in the life of the average college student from skipping lectures, to student loans, and excessive drinking. This song even shouts out of many familiar aspects of life at Penn State! Believe me, this song will force a smile on your face as he raps:

Blue and White living life like a movie/ Get it poppin’ on campus like f*** what the school say/ In the HUB, blue cups getting liquored up/ And we don’t gotta say ‘We Are’ they just know it’s us.

The music video was actually filmed on PSU’s campus and the downtown State College area.

Cooley Black likes to connect with his audience via Twitter. He encourages his listeners to give him feedback at his handle @CooleyBlack. He is also open for collaborations with other musicians and producers and can be reached at

Drake's "Nothing Was The Same" Leaks!

If you’re like me, you’ve been anxiously awaiting Drake’s third studio album Nothing Was The Same. Well, the wait is over! The album that was supposed to be released September 24th was leaked late Sunday night (Sept. 15th).  The official track list for this album was leaked last week when his father ‘accidentally’ posted a photo on Instagram of the CD casing. The album features appearances from  Jhenè Aiko, Detail, Majid Jordan, Jay Z, and even a Wu-Tang Clan sample! Classic. You can find the album leak here. The album track listing is below:

1. Tuscan Leather
2. Furthest Thing
3. Started From The Bottom
4. Wu-Tang Forever
5. Own It
6. Worst Behaviour
7. From Time (Feat. Jhene Aiko)
8. Hold On Were Going Home (Feat. Majid Jordan)
9. Connect
10. The Language
11. To My City
12. Too Much
13. Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2 (feat. Jay-Z)
14. Come Thru*
15. All Me*

*Featured on Deluxe album

With a little over a week left until the official release date, I kind of expect Drake to switch it up on us to combat this leak. A few unreleased tracks, perhaps? None-the-less, I am loving this album as is. You can still pre-order Nothing Was The Same here.