Vaughn J – Ride or Die ft. JW & Gemstones | spingold

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The point of ‘spingold’ (Spin Gold) is simple: As an outlet for ministry New H2O recognizes the need and obligation to distribute the best content that we possibly can to advance the gospel in a profound way. The platform that God has blessed us with is the result of a cumulative effort of thousands of hours from hundreds of ministers. Yes, ministers. Musicians might not be pastors, deacons, etc., but we are definitely ministers in the capacity of spreading and sharing the gospel. That thought should be at the forefront of every song, every performance, every action, and every aspect of this unique ministry outlet. With that being said, ministers are to be held to a standard of quality and excellence.

‘spingold’ is an upcoming artist review segment for New H2O where we pick apart songs for the purpose of edification and refining artistry. Upcoming artists sometimes get overlooked when it comes to in-depth reviews. As we dissect songs we give aspiring artists the tips and tools to advance their ministry using actual examples! We’re excited to dive into this!

Our first review!
Ride or Die – Vaughn J feat. JW & Gemstones

Ride or Die definitely has potential as a track. I think the general feel and bounce is great and is definitely a popular sound right now. For an independent artist, it was executed quite well. Before I get into the feedback portion of the review, I want to make sure that it is clearly understood that this is for edification. I might pick up on things that the average consumer wouldn’t notice or recognize. In most cases I’ll try to be as honed in I can because that’s the point of it. I WON’T however really breakdown flow, lyricism, and subject matter as I don’t know the artist personally or the specific point they were trying to convey.

So what did Vaughn J do right? I think the beat selection is a great place to start. The music stood out to me as a solid choice. The beat was full and had a lot of elements that didn’t overwhelm the listener too much, but kept it interesting enough with change ups and added melodies and drops. Another great element of the song was the chorus. I think the chorus was well thought out and layered really nicely vocally. Lastly I think Gemstones was a solid feature selection for this track. While one of my criticisms is that we had to wait more than 3 minutes to get to Gemstones, I think it was great to have him on this track as a cherry on top.

As I move into my criticisms on what could be done better, know that I say it in love. We need to be honest, open, and transparent with people when we are making our assessments of their art. Musicians pour their heart and soul into this stuff, so I don’t take it lightly and every thought will come with an applicable action as to improve it!
rideordie

  • The artwork doesn’t communicate the artists or who’s track it is very clearly. Naturally I know who Gemstones is, and I appreciate the song name being in the right hand corner, but I don’t know the other two artists at all. Who is who? Who is the main performer? Even if that was detailed, the names are small and in the upper left hand corner of the art which is extremely difficult to find. Try to make the text stand out when it comes to the artist’s names and the song name. Within a half second I should know who is on the song and who holds priority. If it’s a mutual collaboration track the first rule still applies.
  • The mix is sub-par and doesn’t provide clarity on the vocals. Rap is an art form where the lyrics are of the utmost importance, which means that the mix should be crisp and the vocals should be one of the loudest/clearest elements of the mix. The vocals were buried within the music and it made it very difficult to hear every lyric at first blush: Mix tip – if the beat has a lot of mid-range frequencies, try to compensate by cutting them out to make room for the vocal.
  • The song is 5 minutes long!!! This is WAY to long for a song from an artist who I don’t know. Again I stress, WAY to long. I recommend trying to slim out the single version of the song and maybe having the longer version for the album. If you’re a newcomer I can assure you that no one is going to sit through 5 minutes to get to a Gemstones verse! I found myself wanting to skip ahead at around 2 minutes. Be mindful of this guys; don’t drag out a song when it isn’t needed. Your goal should be to make an impression and convey the content of the music. General rule of thumb is 3 – 3:30 minutes.
  • The files were delivered on Mediafire in the form of an .mp3 that didn’t have artwork or a proper name. Never do this. I don’t hate Mediafire, but I do when the .mp3 is labeled “ROD MIX.mp3” BIG no no in my book. Make sure the file is named appropriately and artwork is added in the metadata. You can also add Artist Name, Song Name, Producer Name, etc. iTunes is a simple way to do this. You want to convey a completed product by the time a website receives it, not a work in progress.

Overall like I said it is a good song with a lot of potential. I’m looking forward to more music from Vaughn J for sure, and I will keep him on the radar and see if he applies some of these principles. They aren’t hard or difficult principles! You can apply them easily and simply without impacting the creative process too much.

Thank you Vaughn J for your submission and being our first pick on NewH2O’s new weekly segment, ‘spingold’!

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