The second track off of Certified Lover Boy conjures up the right amount of nostalgia.

Drake’s Certified Lover Boy.

For the last decade Drake has swam with the current. As the accolades continue to pile on — most Hot 100 Top 10s, best selling singles artist — he’s held firm in his presentation. When the trap sound swept over the musical landscape in the mid-2010s, he curried favor with trunk rattlers like “Grammys,” “6 God” or the bulk of his collaborative album What a Time To Be Alive.

When streaming brought international clout to formerly far flung corners of the rap-o-verse, he co-signed UK standouts like Giggs, and Headie One. With the latter, Headie One’s “Only You Freestyle” (which…


However you like to enjoy your games, Celeste has you covered

If you asked me to summarize Celeste — the 2018 game by then-studio Matt Makes Games — in just one scene, I’d choose the end of chapter four. After the Madeline, the protagonist, scales a portion of the titular mountain, she finds herself trapped on a ski lift, stuck hovering above her death.

Following a series of self-doubting thoughts, Madeline begins a series of deep breathing exercises to calm down. Players are tasked with using the controller buttons to simulate the act, raising and lowering an on screen feather until her heart rate settles.

This moment captures what Celeste is…


Masato Nakamura’s second outing with the hedgehog attempted new instrumentation on old hardware

How do you make a sequel? Maybe you go the Super Mario Bros. 2 route, and make things harder? Or perhaps you go the way of Dragon Ball Z by adding a funky, underused letter to make things more extreme?


The Sonic the Hedgehog movie series helped confirm a fan-favorite character theory

I had mixed feelings when I first saw the Ugandan Knuckles video. Over the years, Knuckles has been the prime target for Sonic-related jokes. Ever since his original appearance in 1994’s Sonic 3 & Knuckles, he’s increasingly had his IQ questioned, often portrayed as a comic relief character who never really got the full grasp of the game’s dire situations. 2014’s Sonic Boom went even further in terms of embracing his idiocy, turning him from the mischievous anti-hero into a musclebound, dumb (if well-meaning) jock.

Ugandan Knuckles embraces the series’ mockery of the character while taking things a touch too…


The track marks the first new drop from the band since their hip-hop infused project, Look How Long.

Courtesy of Digital Jukebox Records.

The quickest way to capture the influence Loose Ends had on the world of music is through samples. The UK R&B outfit churned out its seventh single, “Hanging On A String (Contemplating)” in 1985, immortalized initially by a No. 1 ranking on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. 25 years later and the track would be the foundation for cuts like Wiz Khalifa’s “The Kid Frankie”. House maestro Frankie Knuckles would further interpret the track on the band’s 2011 re-release, introducing his patented percussion to an already danceable cut.

Funky as “Hanging on a String” is, “You Can’t Stop the Rain”…


Taeko Onuki’s debut on RCA was a turning point for her career and the nascent genre of city pop.

Taeko Onuki’s “Mignonne”

Fumble through some city pop records long enough and you’re bound to come across some of the genre’s staples. The blue sky cover of Anri’s Timely!! is sure to crop up, along with any number of Tatsuro Yamashita and Toshiki Kadomatsu albums. Artist Hiroshi Nagai is sure to have designed the artwork to a few records you’ll find, just as you’ll try (and fail) to escape Mariya Takeuchi’s “Plastic Love”.

Among that vaunted list of stellar talent is Taeko Onuki. Onuki debuted in Tokyo’s music scene as a member of Sugar Babe. …


With Sonic turning 30 this year, I thought I’d look back at something he should truly be proud of: the soundtrack for his debut game

Sonic the Hedgehog. Popping this cart into a Genesis feels like putting on your favorite pair of shoes or getting under your covers on a cold, December night. It’s just comfortable.

Unlike the games that follow it, the original Sonic the Hedgehog is fairly bare bones. There’s no multiplayer, and not even an options menu unless you enter a code on the title screen. There’s nothing to distract you from pressing start and embarking on Sonic’s first adventure around South Island.

Check out my review of the Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack on YouTube.

That streamlined approach makes for an immediately…


It doesn’t matter why we’re friends. Just make sure the music is good.

It is hard not to compare Scarlet Nexus to other games. Developer Bandai Namco Studios and producer Kenta Iizuka want you to think it’s some wholly unique creation. In a prerelease interview, Iizuka said that despite some Nexus team members having experience working on fellow Bandai Namco series God Eater, and “I myself personally love the idea of a futuristic world under threat and dark heroes who control forbidden powers”, I think this is where the similarities end.

Similarities are nothing to be ashamed of. Nier: Automata plays similarly to its PlatinumGames soul sister Bayonetta, but that doesn’t stop Nier…


The second edition of Smash Bros. can thank its intro for its cult following

When I say Super Smash Bros. Melee, what’s the first thing to come to mind? Is it the host of new characters, like the newly playable Princess Peach or the Prince of Darkness Ganondorf? Maybe it’s the North American debut for Marth and Roy, formerly sequestered to the Japan-only Fire Emblem. Or, it could be the intense amounts of crunch that game director Masahiro Sakurai endured over a 13-month stretch to deliver a worthy sequel to his mash-up fighting game?

For me, it has to be the game’s debut.

Super Smash Bros. Melee reveal at E3 2001

Unveiled four months…


Artists best known for bumpin’ and grindin’ elevated Space Jam to a cult classic.

Plenty of story beats from Space Jam could rank as my second favorite scenes. For one, there’s the racially transcendent moment when Bill Murray professes, “Larry’s [Bird] not white. Larry’s clear.” This claim has since been corroborated as fact by numerous documentaries, interviews, and anecdotes, which generally amount to describing Bird as one bad mo-fo.

For two, there’s when Michael Jordan struts onto the Looney Tunes practice court in his dress shoes and completely tears the wood flooring from its base. I’d like to think that this scene alone is responsible for all of the “SNEAKERS ONLY” signs plastered…

Brandon Johnson

Forever hunting for my new favorite music sample. Founder of tripleot.com & abrandbox.com. 🌴🦩

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