Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Miles Meraki - High Definition

Hailing from one of the strongest collectives in music right now, Miles Meraki is definitely the Grammy Family's secret weapon. He has been quite secretive when it comes to his upcoming album Perfect becoming a bit enigmatic and dropping his music in an interesting way (see ). It seems to be all apart of a grander scheme and whether intentional or not, it is building my interest for the album. 

Getting to the track itself, Miles crafts something very unique with "High Definition" sampling Yuna's beautifully sung "Coffee" and if you know the track well, than the title of Miles' track resonates a bit more. The sample is definitely what makes the track. Miles masterfully constructs the production showing that you can make an "original" sound out of sampling. This is easily the best track from Miles yet, topping his previous "Imperfect". It may be a bit early to call but I'm confident that Perfect will be one of the best albums in 2014, from all the drops so far and just his verses on various GF tracks, I'm sure it will not disappoint. I haven't heard a song in a long time that had me excited for an artists' whole project but Miles did it with this one. Here's hoping the wait for Perfect isn't too long...

Mike of Doom - Hectic

As we wrap up the year 2013, Mike of Doom drops one of the hardest records of the year in "Hectic". Props to Doom for handling the raps and production. S/O GRZD

Vic Mensa - Suitcase ft Chance The Rapper

Two of the SAVEMONEY crew, Vic Mensa and Chance The Rapper come together for "Suitcase" no word on if this is from an upcoming project. I don't know why but this is easily one of my favorite verses from Chance, it's not necessarily what he says but how he says it (if that makes sense). Be sure to check out Chance's AcidRap or Vic's INNANETAPE if you haven't done so already.

Aceology - Movin' Out (Prod. MY$TIKAL)

Aceology becomes AceGawd and channels his inner Thug on his latest track "Movin' Out". Backed by some menacing production from MY$TIKAL, Ace absolutely goes in over the bass heavy instrumentation sending shots and calling out all foes. I don't know who pissed Ace off but ever since "OGAWD" dude has been deadly. GAWDBLE$$ coming soon...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

SIR E.U THE GREAT - For Swag People

Yesterday SIR E.U took to Twitter to recruit members for his new rap group Swag People and than unleashed the anthem "For Swag People". More on the track from the Hippo himself

"I wanna thank everyone for sticking with me through the very rigorous and tumultuous recruiting process and being true swagomalians until the end. this is our first annual inauguration (12/4/13) and the start to our legendary expeditions from here on out. Tonight, we dance."

Similar to "nikeboy$$$ilovethisbitch" and E.U, the track itself is hardly describable it is simply great. No word on if this is from his upcoming album Madagascar which is due out next year.

[Video] Toro Y Moi - Rose Quartz & Say That (Live Performance)

Toro Y Moi stopped by the Jimmy Kimmel Show last night and performed "Rose Quartz" and "Say That" off his latest album Anything In Return. If you haven't checked out the album yet, do so, it's my favorite non Rap album of the year.

[Video] Isaiah Rashad "Off Tha' Wall" With Mass Appeal

TDE's Isaiah Rashad chatted it up with the good folks over at Mass Appeal for their "Off Tha' Wall" interview segment.

SLK - Ride

SLK (pronounced Silk) is an alternative-soul singer based out of London, her debut single "Ride" is her introduction to the world. With some production courtesy of Embody, SLK croons over the dark melodic atmospheric vibe of the track and with a uniquely strong voice compared to today's light hush R&B princesses, SLK is sure to standout. 

Da Mafia 6ix - Murder On My Mind ft SpaceGhostPurrp, Bizzy Bone & Krayzie Bone

Da Mafia 6ix (DJ Paul, Gangsta Boo, Koopsta Knicca on this track) recently released their mixtape 6ix Commandments, which serves as the first full reunion of the group in years. One of the standout cuts from the tape is "Murder On My Mind" which features former Three Six Mafia rivals Bizzy & Krayzie from Bone Thugs N Harmony and SpaceGhostPurrp, who provides the dark instrumentation and hook for the track. Straight murder.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

[Video] A$AP Nast - Trillmatic ft Method Man

After the recent successes of A$AP Mob's Rocky and Ferg, Nast is the latest in the crew to get his shot and with "Trillmatic" it's a great start. By now I'm sure everyone is aware of the flack/criticism A$AP gets for being from New York but not having that "traditional" NY sound, Rocky being influenced mainly by Houston and Ferg by Ohio's Bone Thugs N Harmony. If anything Nast is the answer to those critiques definitely a old school New York track, straight rap, boom-bap and having a NY legend like Method on the track helps as well. Time will tell if Nast can be the next breakout star from the Mob, I don't necessarily think he can be the commercial success that Rocky and Ferg are but I think he'll find his niche.

[Video] Lupe Fiasco Talks Yeezus, Kendrick Lamar, Tetsuo & Youth, New Music & More

Lupe Fiasco stopped by Power 106 back in November for a great interview with Nikki Martinez. Lu shares his views on Yeezus and Kanye, Kendrick Lamar's Control verse, talks his new music and old and speaks on recent happenings with him and his new album Tetsuo & Youth.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blu & Knxwledge - DRAGINBREFF

More Blu! Dammit! It seems like every few months Blu comes out the cut and drops greatness. There is always a common theme, one he grabs great production from a great underground producer (Knxwledge this time around) and secondly it's waaaaaay to short. How I wish this song could go on for a minute or two longer. Hopefully these two will do a project sometime in the near future or at least release more tracks, it seems likely as they used to be roommates that there has to be more in the stash. 

YG Hootie - Two Presidents ft Kendrick Lamar

Bricksquad Monopoly's YG Hootie (not to be confused with "My Nigga") links up with Kendrick Lamar for this standout track "Two Presidents" from the former's upcoming project Destroy & Rebuild. I know I've said this multiple times now but trap artists need to just grab Kendrick for all their lead singles because dude goes off and brings something out of them in return. 

For more evidence peep Kendrick's "Cartoon & Cereal" and Fredo's "Jealous". All hail King Kendrick.

Mac Miller - I Come In Peace

Mac Miller has been on point lyrically ever since dropping his sophomore album Watching Movies With The Sound Off and this random throwaway is no different. It's nice to hear Mac link back up with Big Jerm & P.Fish and take it back to Pittsburgh (something he touches on in the track) plus I've always liked Mac over soulful production. 

If you haven't peeped WMWTSO yet I highly recommend you do, it's definitely one of my favorites from 2013. 

Lil Durk - Dis Ain't What U Want (Remix) ft Rick Ross, French Montana & Meek Mill

Chiraq's Lil Durk tabs French Montana and MMG boss and lieutenant Rick Ross and Meek Mill for one of the best remixes of a commercial track I've heard in a long time. I slept on this track when it dropped but props to Durk for being able to grab some of Hip-Hop hottest artist to jump on his signature single.  

Sidenote: What's up with the Travis Scott ad-libs during French's verse? 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

[Submission] Timmie - Aura

Arkansas producer Timmie recently dropped his album Aura and while short in duration it is an enjoyable listen. Aura's best quality is the trance like state you fall into listening to it, all eight tracks really flowed cohesively together. Credit to Timmie for that. I normally don't enjoy purely instrumental albums but this one is really nice.

[Submission] A Kid Named Apollo & Elleffo - Labyrinth ft Katerina

Nice track I received from AKNP and Elleffo featuring some sung vocals from Katerina. 

[Submission] Zen Gnarly - Wssup

Lebanon, Pennsylvania native Zen Gnarly recently sent me his track "Wssup" along with the video for it. It's definitely one of the better submissions I've gotten, nice flow and production from Mike Mo Beats. If you like what you hear be sure to check out the rest of Zen's music over at his SoundCloud and look for his upcoming project Golden

Thursday, November 7, 2013

[Video] Nardwuar vs.Earl Sweatshirt & Syd The Kyd

The Human Serviette does what he does best and comes with the facts and gifts for Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt and Syd The Kyd of The Internet. It's interesting seeing how Earl doesn't remember the story about his pants because I know exactly what Nardwuar is talking about. So either Earl lied when he posted that story (which has since been deleted) long ago in his Sly Tendencies BlogSpot days or he truly doesn't remember. Hmm...

[Video] Freddie Gibbs - Still Livin' 2

Freddie Gibbs has been relatively quite musically since dropping his album ESGN back in June, however today Gibbs decided to release the sequel to his "Still Livin" from his Baby Face Killa project more recently heard on the soundtrack to GTA V. Gotta hand it to him I like 2 just as much if not more than the original, Gibbs is one of the most consistent artists after Curren$y in my opinion.

Eminem - Don't Front ft Buckshot

Eminem flips Black Moon's "I Got Cha Opin" and puts his own spin on the classic record. Slim definitely took it back to the Marshall Mathers days with this one. MMLP2 in stores now.

Monday, November 4, 2013

[Mixtape Review] Marki$ Apollo - ChapterXX

Marki$ Apollo is a problem. He is definitely one of the best lyricist in the indie game right now, few can match dude. However, I've known that since listening to his self described "lyrical exhibition" XIII with his project ChapterXX I wanted to know how he stacked up as an artist and I feel CXX proves that Apollo is just more than lyricist. 

The inevitable comparison to Kendrick Lamar is going to come up when discussing Marki$, I don't know he himself has heard them but his flow at times is reminiscent of King Kendrick. It's ironic that the first track "Blvkkk Godz" is over Lamar's "Sherane" but over the course of my listen I found myself moving away from my initial comparison. If anything he is a product of Kendrick's lyricism combined with Pusha T's raw delivery, which is a deadly combination. 

I have to give credit to Apollo for creating one of the most cohesive tapes I've heard since Section.80 and ChapterXX is very reminiscent of it with it's soul sound something that is a trademark of young Apollo. The comparison ends at the production however, the two are very different content wise if Section.80 is for the 80's babies than CXX speaks for the 90's generation. 

Now with most lyrical artist projects can tend to get boring mainly due to weak production (Nas and Lupe come to mind) or due to preachy lyrics/over-the-top lyricism (Cannibus and Jay Electronica i.e.) Apollo keeps it interesting with the production featured on the tape which never bores for the most part. CXX features a nice mixture of highly lyrical tracks and smooth bangers, I definitely recommend listening to it in your car or if you have good headphones or a nice speaker system. The lyrics never outshine the production and vice-versa, the perfect balance. 

I can not praise Apollo's lyricism enough and again the production featured is top notch, a mixture of some familiar industry beats with a enough twist on them to make them Apollo's own and some original. Cohesive sound throughout, it sounds like Marki$ took his time and crafted every track as perfect as possible. Another improvement over his previous effort, HOOKS!!! for a while Apollo didn't have any tracks with a hook or chorus and while it didn't take away from his music I couldn't let him off the hook (no pun intended seriously) when he sent me his various tracks.

Marki$ Apollo is one of the many artist I know personally but he is one of the few I actually can see having what it takes to succeed in the music business. Only time will tell what will be written about him at the end of his time but I honestly believe if he continues on the path he is on, he'll eventually become the success I already see him as. 

+ High lyrical ability 
+ Cohesive sound
+ Excellent production
+ Clear vision 

- Messing up that Tekken reference (lol)


[Mixtape Review] Johny Locus - Point Blank

If it's one thing I like in music it is honesty, I'm always impressed when artists are able to be real with themselves in their music. Just about 40 seconds into Point Blank Johny Locus did just that "Me style on that second tape, my third tape a mistake". Since we're being honest I feel just like that. I was introduced to Johny through his second tape Something To Listen To at that point he had only been rapping a few months but he showed real promise. After sometime he dropped the follow up Music Speaks Louder Than Lyrics and if you read the write up for STLT I was excited to see how Johny would progress. To my disappointment it was as if he abandoned everything that worked on his first tape and regressed in skill. I didn't even bother posting it, don't get me wrong Johny is the homie but I couldn't support that. I'm just glad that Johny himself realized that long before it was too late.

Getting to Point Blank itself I'll start off by simply stating it is one of my personal favorite indie tapes this year. Johny likes to call himself "SNB's Finest" but he is more like SNB's Best Kept Secret. Steezy and Rashad tend to receive the most shine but Johny is definitely the most talented rapper out of the entire SNB. No disrespect intended. Throughout the entire tape he continually impressed me with his improved lyricism,  delivery and subject matter. Which is a bit more mature than his SNB counterparts as well and a welcomed addition to his repertoire. For the most part all the tracks worked for me aside from lacking guest verses/poor sound quality but that is mostly due to the guest and not Johny. The only track I didn't care for is "Comparisons" which felt unneeded and overly aggressive compared to the rest of the tape's mellow sound.

Another strong point was the production featured on the tape. Johny did well in picking beats that fit him and his style well. The sound clips spread throughout the tape also did well in breaking up the monogamy that a lot of projects suffer from just going from song to song without a pause or interlude. 

All together Point Blank is a good start at getting back on the right track for Johny. I feel like if he can prove to be consistent and delivers with his next project, he'll start to get some of the shine he deserves. After showing that initial promise and then the unfortunate decline, it seems Johny is back and on the way up. 

+ Sharp lyricism & wordplay
+ Good production
+ Subject matter 
+ Improvement over last projects

- Hit or miss features
- "Comparisons" 
- Sound quality lacking on certain tracks 


Matt McGhee - Whatever ft rMell

GramFam's Matt McGhee and rMell want you dance or bailo in this case, either way with the catchy bossa nova-esque production it's hard not to. While Matt and rMell prove once again that their chemistry is unmatched when it comes to duos, the most impressive thing about the track in my opinion is the production. I don't think Matt gets enough credit for just how great of a producer he is. I'm not sure if this is from Matt's upcoming 1920 project but with this and his recent tracks "Good Luck" and "IDK" his stock is quickly rising. Quality music and Matt McGhee are becoming synonymous and I can't say that for a lot of artists out here. 

Be sure to support Matt's "IDK" by purchasing it from iTunes. Also, checkout rMell's "Bape Kondumu". 

Sidenote: This is probably my favorite verse from rMell ever, clever wordplay throughout. Props for that.

Isaiah Rashad - Ronnie Drake ft SZA

Isaiah Rashad is slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with after dropping the remix to his TDE debut "I Shot You Down" with fellow label mates Jay Rock & ScHoolBoy Q, $pottie is back with another TDE collab "Ronnie Drake" this time with fellow newcomer SZA. I've been waiting for these two to collab since the announcement of their signings, I feared however it would sound weak and forced. Contrary to my fears the two actually have great chemistry together and it shows as Isaiah spits and SZA sings over some groovy production from The Antydote. TDE has been on a roll since last year and it doesn't seem like they'll be stopping anytime soon.

[Video] Ciscero - All I Need Is Soul ft Matt McGhee

Maryland artist Ciscero has been on my radar for a while now after hearing some impressive guest features from him on various projects. I've been waiting for some solo material from him though to see if he can hold his own, when he's the leading name in the title and homie doesn't disappoint. With some crisp visuals from the c(k)reative genius Helena Banks herself and a excellent guest verse from GramFam's Matt McGhee "All I Need Is Soul" is a definite standout indie cut. Backed by some druggy minimalistic production, Ciscero and Matt weave crafty wordplay all through their respective verses. Good video, good music.

Be sure to be on the lookout for Ciscero's upcoming project Kids Wear Crowns later this year.

[EP] Curren$y x Smoke DZA x Harry Fraud - The Stage

After back to back tapes with Young Roddy, Curren$y decides to switch it up and grab another JetLifer Smoke DZA and producer extraordinaire Harry Fraud joins in on the fun. While it is shorter in duration than his previous effort with Fraud, it definitely more than makes up for it in the quality of music. 

Sidenote: Keep French Montana on HF production, this might be the best verse from him seriously. 

Fredo Santana - Jealous ft Kendrick Lamar

The self-proclaimed "King Of Chicago" Fredo Santana links up with the self-proclaimed "King Of New York" Kendrick Lamar for this unexpected track entitled "Jealous". I don't know what it is with Kendrick but he somehow seems to bring out the best in "trap" rappers, just like his collab with Gunplay, this is definitely the best I've heard from Fredo. Fredo with Kendrick on the track now that's a truly scary sight...

Friday, October 4, 2013

SZA - Teen Spirit (prod. WondaGurl)

TDE's leading lady SZA dropped her first track "Teen Spirit" under her new label featuring some excellent production from fellow up and comer WondaGurl. I wouldn't mind hearing more collaborations between these two in the future. Between her, Isaiah Rashad and the Black Hippy crew TDE is looking like one of the most talented labels in the game.

Odd Future - Look (prod. Nottz)

Odd Future's Tyler, The Creator, Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt black out over some Nottz production. No word on if this is just a throwaway or from a upcoming project. I want more OF tracks like this and "Oldie".

[Video] Isaiah Rashad - I Shot You Down

TDE's latest signee Isaiah Rashad releases visuals for "I Shot You Down" his first track since signing with the label this past September.

[Video] Pusha T - Nosetalgia ft Kendrick Lamar

MNIMN 10/8/2013.

[Mixtape] Plue Starfox - 3 HEARTS

After revealing his hidden rap skills with "Ada Wong" Plue Starfox has been putting in work on the mic, culminating that into his debut 3 HEARTS. Plue has always been one of the most creative artist I know, with him basically being a nomad of music moving from one sound to the next. Now with a full length mixtape under his belt as a rapper it's even more evidence. 

Beginning with "Welcome To The Velvet Room" which is awesome for its Persona references, the rest of the tape plays out like your going on a trip through the mind of Starfox. Plue's knowledge of anime, video game and Japanese culture is definitely on display for the duration of the project. It's both a plus and minus, if you're a fan of those you'll catch many of the references and lines Plue and guests spit along the way. However, if you just the average rap fan you might end up feeling lost as Plue flexs his mighty Otaku knowledge. 

3 HEARTS production wise is strong, Plue sounds right at home over the dark and gloomy, spacey beats provided mostly by himself aside from two tracks from Along the way Plue grabs some friends for guest appearances with credit to all featured. 

Lupe Fiasco once said "I am American mentally with Japanese tendencies" and I think that one line can sum up 3 HEARTS and Plue himself in essence. It is basically a Toonami block of programming in audio form with each track being a different show and Plue being your host. All together a very solid debut project.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

[Album Review] Denzel Curry - Nostalgic 64

After tracks such as "Live This Shit" and "Threatz" a lot of hype was built up for Denzel Curry's first post Raider Klan project Nostalgic 64, in my opinion at least it definitely lived up to it. Curry has always been a promising artist even when he was with RK he was one of the few to gain a fan base of his own. With N64 he stepped out of SGP's shadow and into his own spotlight. 

The main thing N64 has going for it is Curry's excellent lyrical ability. Over the 13 track project you'll hear plenty of that, from tales of Carol City to the various anime/cartoon and 90s culture references weaved in verses. Only thing I could really criticize him for is his over use of the rapid time flow, I know that's something he is know for but after awhile it gets old. Other than that N64 is a treat for people who are big on lyrics. 

Production wise the album sounds like something between Yeezus and Flockaveli, going from dark and ambient to loud and reckless. It sounds like a drastic contrast but sonically it works well together to create a hybrid sound. Credit to POSHstronaut, Lofty305, Nuri, Rem and  Ronny J for helping put together a very cohesive project everything flowed really well from one track to another.

Along the way Curry switches it up by having a few guest appearances from artists you'd expect such as Raider Klan's Nell, JK The Rapper, Yung Simmie, fellow South Floridian Robb Bank$ and a few unexpected ones such as singer Steven A. Clark, the recently retired Lil' Ugly Mane and Mike G of Odd Future fame. Curry gathered a good supporting cast for Nostalgic 64 all bringing value to the tracks that they were featured on.

Nostalgic 64 is definitely a favorite of mine, quite possibly top 10 of 2013 for me but there is still plenty of more albums to be released this year so we'll see if it holds a spot at the end of the year. However for now it is a great listen. N64 has a little bit of everything something you can ride too, vibe too etc. very versatile and unique sound. If you've been sleeping on Curry to this point I'd highly recommend you'd stop and give this project a spin I can almost guarantee you'll hear a track or two you'll like. Press play and enjoy the nostalgia...

Standout Tracks: Zone 3, Dark & Violent, Mystical Virus 3, Benz & Denny Cascade

+ Unique and versatile sound
+ Excellent lyrics
+ Loads of references/lines to decipher
+ Cohesive sound

- Over use of the same flow
- Lacking substance outside of a few tracks


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

[Album Review] Mike of Doom - Rookie of the Year

So often when it comes to following up great projects we see many artists try to capture what made their previous project so good. The follow up ends up becoming a poor man's version of the previous or artists try to hard to deviate from their previous work to make the follow up stand out more. Nine times out of ten that ends up failing and displeasing fans. Take Tyler, The Creator for example, a lot of Bastard/Goblin fans don't like Wolf and vise-versa. What makes Rookie of the Year so great is the fact that it isn't trying to be the The Mane and Mike didn't go away from what made him popular in the first place.

Often in my reviews I talk about how the artist was able to top their previous project and show growth. That's because their previous project was easily surpassable, however with Mike, The Mane was his signature tape. Hell it was his signature, he was literally The Mane. Yet somehow he found a way to best that tape and still retain his signature sound while also expanding it. Take "Lets Get This Paper!" which starts out as your typical Mike of Doom "The Mane" sound, loud and braggadocio, the second half however is an introspective look towards the future when he does succeed. It's similar to how Lupe flipped Kick Push. I honestly didn't think Mike was capable of something like that. 

Another thing that makes ROTY one of my favorite tapes to drop in 2013 is the production. This is probably the strongest tape I've heard all year production-wise. Credits to Mike for his ear for good production and to all the producers on the tape. Also the features on here introduced me to a handful of great artists. Cisero, Goldlink, 431 (I knew of) and Quan The Padawan all kill their respective verses, especially Goldlink who brings "Flair" to the next level with his verse. Similar to Chance The Rapper's appearance on Childish Gambino's "They Don't Like Me". 

Mike has never been the "super-lyrical-miracle" type rapper, that doesn't mean he is a slouch on the mic either. Lyrically he is strong as ever. He even impressed me with a few lines over the course of the tape. The most impressive thing about ROTY to me however is the replayability of it. Immediately after listening to it I wanted to run it back. Not too many projects over the last couple of years has had that effect on me. Much to my dismay I can't say "let's get it" without damn near reciting Mike's verse. It's already bad enough that anytime I hear Brad Pitt's name I instantly think of the classic track from The Mane. 

In my personal opinion this is by far one of the most cohesive tapes of the last couple of years. There was only one or two tracks I wasn't feeling but other than that I have nothing negative to say. If you were a Mike of Doom fan before Rookie of the Year, you'll still be one and if you weren't...welcome to the club.

Standout Tracks: Coolington, Lets Get This Paper!, Flair, Zooted, Your All Welcome

+ Excellent production
+ High replayability
+ Nice features
+ Cohesive sound
+ Excellent features

- One or two lacking tracks


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Steezy Grizzlies - No Limit II ft Johny Locus

If you remember sometime last year on "No Limit" SNB members Steezy Grizzlies and Johny Locus tackled Master P's infamous "Bout It Bout It" instrumental. Well the duo is back with the sequel and unlike the previous track this one features a more swanky bounce, Steezy and Johny finesse all over the original production from Day X. 

[Video] Miles Meraki - Trippin' (prod. by Jaylen!)

While we all await the next project in the Grammy Family trilogy Perfect from Miles Meraki, he and GRAMFAM producer Jaylen! dropped some visuals for their collaboration "Trippin'" from the latter's upcoming project CRUMBS.

Iceburg Jettson - 93' Lexus

Iceburg Jettson has been building buzz for his upcoming project The Peoples Champ by releasing great records. After "92' Ric Flair", he dropped the latest single "93' Lexus" continuing the 90s theme from his last track. I have to say that Jettson doesn't get nearly enough credit for his ability to write catchy hooks, definitely one of the best in the indie game. With his last project Commercial Free trumping my expectations, I can't wait to hear what he has in store for TPC. Look for the full project sometime in October.

[Video] Matt McGhee - Good Luck

Maryland's Matt McGhee is back with "Good Luck" the first single from his upcoming project 1920. It all comes down to execution and Matt proves you don't have to have a major label backing you to have a well shot/edited video. Props to the director/editor Thomas Smith. I wish the indie rap game had more artists like Matt and the rest of the GRAMFAM.

Download available here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Captain Murphy - Between Villains ft Viktor Vaughn, Earl Sweatshirt & Thundercat

Adult Swim singles program introduced us to Captain Murphy last year with "Between Friends" and instantly people wanted to know who he was. A year later and identity reveled Murphy is back with "Between Villains" the spiritual successor to his previous effort with Sweatshirt, but this time around he brings along a couple more friends villains. Viktor Vaughn (DOOM) and fellow Brianfeeder label mate Thundercat

[Video] On The Road: TDE

Life+Times catches up with the Black Hippy crew for this in depth interview. The group discusses their beginnings, meeting each other, their goals for each of their respective careers and even a brief tour of where they grew up. Great stuff.

Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends (Jake One Remix) ft Danny Brown

Seattle producer Jake One links up with Danny Brown for this remix of Portugal. The Man's "Evil Friends". The original is good but Jake and Danny take this record to the next level, props to Danny for being able to even get on this not to many rappers could. Indie game "No New Friends".

[Video] Loaded Lux - Bout My Money

The Beloved Loaded Lux addresses his issues with Smack in his latest track "Bout My Money" and just like his battle with Calico that second verse is a killer. Jesus. This is off his You Gon Get This Work project which is due out Labor Day.

[Video] Danny Brown Freestyles & Announces Release Date For Old

Danny Brown stopped by Sway In The Morning and as always with Sway's guest he requested Danny spit something before he left, to which Danny obliged. I usually don't like it when artists spit writtens but if this is anything off Old I don't care because dude went off. Kinda wish he woulda took the 5 Fingers of Death challenge though, Danny is one of the most versatile out right now I'd think he do well but oh well maybe next time?

Aside from the freestyle Danny also annouced the release date for his long awaited album Old, which will be released on September 30th. Click here to see the interview he did with Sway as per the norm with Danny it is definitely entertaining.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Drake - All Me ft 2 Chainz & Big Sean

Year after year Drake seems to drop a track that will become the summer's anthem. 2010 it was "Miss Me", 2011 "The Motto" and after taking 2012 off sans guest features, he is back with "All Me" a boastful track over some excellent production from Key Wane. Drake who proclaims himself as the light skin Keith Sweat (not sure if that is good or bad) tabs 2 Chainz who starts the track off right with a trademark verse and Big Sean drops which might just be his best verse this year. One thing that is interesting though is that Drake's verse seems to be taking shots at G.O.O.D. or maybe possibly Chris Brown, if the former is true that would make Sean's appearance a bit surprising. Either way it's another quality track from Drake, who's upcoming album Nothing Was The Same seems to be looking like it might be a career best.

[Video] FADERTV Presents: Vince Staples & Mac Miller - Live At Grand Street Bakery

Tour buddies Vince Staples and Mac Miller recently "interviewed" each other while at the Grand Street Bakery, Vince even drops a quick "freestyle" for the camera. S/O to FADER.

2 Chainz - Where U Been? ft Cap 1

2 Chainz links up with Mike WiLL Made It for "Where U Been?" from his upcoming B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time and grabs Cap 1 for a surprisingly good guest verse. Seems like Chainz went back to that T.R.U. Realigon feel for this one. Can't help but notice the lack of buzz surrounding the album though, number of features are down from last year and while "Feds Watching" is dope it hasn't done well as I'm sure Def Jam expected. Have to wonder if Chainz should've waited another year and took some more time to craft his album, hopefully he hasn't over saturated himself. It took homie so long to get where he is now and I'd hate to see him lose it in a year's time. None the less the release date of his sophomore album is rapidly approaching, only time will tell if he avoids that sophomore slump.

[Video] Gary Samurai - Ocean Floor.

Atlanta's or Lemuria's (in this case) Gary Samurai has been relatively quiet since dropping his excellent project Lemuria. late last year. However, months removed from the initial release he is still supporting the tape dropping some visuals for "Ocean Floor." one of the standout tracks from the project. I still can't get over how awesome this song is. Gary has promised to doing something for his fans once this video gets 1,000 views so watch people!

Be sure to check out my review for Gary's Lemuria. and the project itself.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

[Video] Nitty Scott, MC - Skippin' Clouds

Nitty Scott, MC is one of the best female rappers in the game right now and slowly but surely gaining a buzz with tracks like "Flower Child" and "Skippin' Clouds" she is proving she knows how to make a well crafted concept record and further the concept by having excellent visuals. Be sure to check out the video on YouTube to see the explanation behind the video (mainly because I'm being too lazy to reiterate it) and to support her latest project The BoomBox Dairies Vol.1 and look out for her next project The Art of Chill sometime later this year.

[Video] Inside Cover: Mac Miller & ScHoolBoy Q

Mass Appeal reveals the behind the scenes footage for Mac Miller and ScHoolBoy Q's cover shoot. If you follow Mac or Q on Vine you'll surely recognize a few scenes.

[EP] Nomad - Mythos

The Nomadic One is creating something special with his next full length project The Royal House of Thebes, so in the meantime he dropped an EP called Mythos a rough draft of a concept that will be fully explored and fleshed out on RYoT. Below is just a small taste of what to expect from it. #GodRap

[Video] Chance The Rapper - Everybody's Something

Chano releases some dope visuals for "Everybody's Something" from his critically acclaimed Acid Rap.

A$AP Ferg - Hood Pope

The Trap Lord A$AP Ferg switches it up for his next single and becomes the "Hood Pope" mostly singing over the ambient production. After "Work" and "Shabba" both being high energy hype tracks it's nice to hear Ferg slow it down and still be able to create a banger. Ferg's ability to switch up his flow from slow to double time and sing is something reminiscent of Bone Thugs N' Harmony, yet he finds a way to make it unique all to his own. I'm very excited to see what else he has in store for Trap Lord, he definitely is proving himself to be one of the most versatile and creative new age artists. Trap Lord in stores August 20th.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Joey Bada$$ - Norwegian Breakfast

The Smokers Club recently dropped OIL:710 in honor of a new smoker's holiday 7/10 featuring many of guest one in particular Pro Era's Joey Bada$$, whose track "Norwegian Breakfast" featuring some ambient production stands out from the pack. 

Tourist - Stay

Every now and then I like to switch it up on Digital Drop and give you something behinds Hip-Hop/Rap, I recently came across this joint while on SoundCloud and it's pretty dope. It's a track called "Stay" from London producer Tourist the track itself is very minimalistic sans a vocal sample and a synth melody. I personally don't like electronic music all that much but this is definitely nice. Check it out and let me know what you think.

[Mixtape Review] Rashad Stark - VIGILANTE

Since dropping his project SOAR 2 last October, Rashad Stark made it clear that he was not a stagnant artist. Showing major improvement in his rap and especially production skills, it set him apart from being known as Steezy's sidekick to being his own artist. With VIGILANTE Rashad set out not only to improve once again but establish his own sound and for the most part he does. 

VIGILANTE is definitely an improvement over last year's SOAR 2, overall better rapping, production and little nuances such as track placement set it ahead of his previous effort. VIGILANTE feels like a more complete project due to all of these reasons, while I felt SOAR 2 had more of a mixtape feel. Rashad made strides in improving his subject matter with a much mature and dark sound featured on this tape think "Carnage II" from SOAR 2. Which was probably the best track on SOAR 2 due to its subject matter that dealt with Rashad's various personal issues. VIGILANTE does have it's "Bxtch I Think I'm Yeezy" moments but they are far and few compared to the much more personal material.

When I spoke with Rashad during our interview last year, he spoke about VIGILANTE and how he wanted to find his sound. I don't necessarily think he does on this project but he comes damn near close. Due in part to better production choices to fit his voice and flow and an overall more consistent quality verse wise. Over the 12 track project you'll learn about Rashad the man and the artist. I think with his next project if he continues on the path he established with this and SOAR 2 he'll definitely find his niche. 

One of the main highlights of the tape is the various artists featured on the tracks. All do an excellent job in not only contributing to the track but improving it as well. However, I definitely think we can all agree that Akoko's Sugg Savage stole the show on many of her appearances on the project. Kudos to her. Also, gotta give credit to Rashad for putting together a nice list of guest artists. A few of my favorites being "GODS" the spiritual successor to "Chrono Triggers", both which feature MiggFAM and Mike of Doom to "All Black Susanoo'" featuring EZITO and the aforementioned Sugg Savage. Credit to all who were featured really.

Overall VIGILANTE impresses for the most part, there was little I could find wrong with it. I could do without the 12 track one hour duration and the sometimes over the top anime references and lines but those are more of personal issues than actual detriments to the project. As of now VIGILANTE is a career best for Rashad, who continues to improve with each tape and come closer to finding that sound that he can call his own. 

Standout Tracks: GODS, All Black Susanoo', Just Hold Me, & Real Nigga Anthem 

+ More mature/personal subject matter
+ Excellent features
+ Coehisive sound
+ Improved lyrical and production skill

- Over the top lines/references 
- Short track list, long duration
- No track featuring me


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sophisticated - Coup De Grace

Fresh off his last project VXXIXCIII,  Sophisticated recently stated he had been the studio experimenting with new flows and sounds, "Coup De Grace" is the product of that experimentation. Starting off slow, Sophisticated slowly picks up the pace as does the beat and homie proceeds to blackout over the duration of the track. The production switch up was nice and the new flows worked well over both beats. Successful experiment I guess. Be sure to check out my write-up for his VXXIXCIII project as well.

GodFlow - Resurrection

The duo of KoolKluxKlan members Cal Rips and Loui J come together to make GodFlow and that's exactly what they do on their track "Resurrection", with some ill production from SNB's Rashad Stark the two absolutely go in definitely one of my favorite tracks so far this year.

Iceburg Jettson - 92' Ric Flair ft Aceology

The artist formally known as Willie Jetts has been reborn as Iceburg Jettson and is back with a new track "92' Ric Flair" to signify his rebirth. Featuring a smooth sample from "The Mack" by Willie Hutch (ironic huh?), that most will remember from Three 6 Mafia's "Poppin' My Collar", Iceburg and Ace go in and trade bars about the Nature Boy over the Blvckspvce production. Wouldn't mind hearing more collaborations between these two in the future. Be sure to look for Jettson's The Peoples Champ mixtape later this year.


I was recently introduced to The SNB's own Day X, after hearing his production on various DMV artists projects I decided to see if the man himself had a project. That is when I discovered DON'T WORRY released back in June it is Day's most recent work to date. Initially I only knew of his production skills and that's what I mostly expected a instrumental tape, little did I know Day actually raps and does it quite well.

One of the things I noticed of the course of my listen was that his subject matter was rather mature compared to the other SNB members I know of. It was a nice change and helped to set him apart from his fellow group members. The production is the main highlight of the tape for sure as Day is already ahead of most in that category. Lyrically he does well as I stated earlier, a high point being "TheDayIShine" where I found him most impressive. Only thing I can knock is that the vocals could've been mixed better but I understand the quality issue that most indie artists have, it definitely doesn't take away from the project itself though. Other than that DON'T WORRY is another impressive project in the growing catalog of the SNB.

Check out the tape below.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

[Video] Earl Sweatshirt - Hive ft Casey Veggies & Vince Staples

In his latest video Earl Sweatshirt takes us for a trip through a dark and desolate cul-de-sac (imagine Ed, Edd & Eddie on an Acid trip). "Hive" is reminiscent of that grunge/grime sound that catapulted Earl and OF into fame way back in 2010. With Casey handling the hook, Earl and Vince give you the narration for the creepy visuals. Doris available August 20th.

Nomad - Living Myths

After originally scrapping his EP Mythos, lyrical wordsmith Nomad is back with a new single "Living Myths" from the newly revived project. As per the norm with him everything from the production to the engineering was all handled by No' himself. With all the Greek mythology references in this track it's almost as Nomad is giving you a history lesson. Better study up, because Mythos drops July 30th. #Unsung.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Denzel Curry - Live This Shit (prod. by SpaceGhostPurrp)

The Aquarius Killa Denzel Curry unleashes a flurry of rhymes over some menacing production from SGP. One of my favorite tracks to drop this year, loads of lines/references to catch! Hopefully Curry and Purrp can work out their differences so the two can get back to working together. Look for Curry's Nostalgic 64 to drop later this year on September 3rd.

Tia Nomore - MONDAY ft SIR E.U & Cal Rips

Oakland's Tia Nomore has been on my radar for sometime now, after hearing her impressive project 13TH GRADE earlier this year, it only cemented the good things I've heard about her. "Monday" her latest track featuring the Klan's SIR E.U and Cal Rips, sees the trio going in over Danny Brown's "Outer Space" the three do well in matching the original track's energy while creating something unique of their own. 

Also be sure to check out Tia's 13TH GRADE I never got around to posting it but I definitely recommend it.

[Video] Yung Simmie - Lean With The Sprite

Raider Klan standout Yung Simmie dropped some visuals a while back for the first single from his upcoming project Shut Up and Vibe due out July 16th.

[Video] A$AP Ferg - Shabba ft A$AP Rocky

Trap Lord August 20th. Shabba!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

[Mixtape] Amber London - Tru 2 Tha Phonk

Recently Raider Klan's first lady Amber London dropped her massive 26 track project Tru 2 Tha Phonk and aside from the length issue I thoroughly enjoyed the tape. It's apparent that London has been influenced by her homestate of Texas and her mentor SGP. Over the course of the tape, Amber London proves she isn't your average female rapper coming through with some of the hardest bars I've heard this year. 

Her true talent shines on tracks such as "Back Bussin $$$" "Servin Fiendz" "Swangin & Bangin 95'" "Get Respect" "Smokin x Chokin" and the hardest track of 2013 by far "Choppa Got Dat Ass Shakin Like A Hoe On Da Flo Nigga". You can essentially listen to these few tracks and grasp the vibe from the whole project but if you like what you hear I'd definitely recommend a full listen. 

Chick Gaynor - Sophistirachet ft Cal Rips (prod. by Clayt Da Great)

Moving on from his last project Chick Gaynor is back with the first single "Sophistirachet" from his upcoming The Beloved EP. Backed by groovy production from Clayt Da Great, Chick and Cal spit that new gospel about these hoes. Good vibes from this track. Good shit Slug Gawd.