A blog about hip-hop, rap music, its trends, and an overall thought about the music an culture, without indulging in gossip. A real set of opinions and discussions, not based on the popular sentiment, but examining and challenging it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Independent Wednesday

Razook sent me this song I'm starting off with this week the day after Boosie was released from jail. This is ironic because the voice and song remind me exactly of the infamous rapper. The beat is produced by Cardiak who is well known and the hook and cadence are all what's hot right now. This song isn't great to me but if you're a fan of certain trap style rap music then this is right in your lane.

My next submission is from Chicago female emcee Henny B. and produced by King Mickey. At first listen I get the feel of a female Common. She has the poetic delivery but it's a solid one, not a struggling one that is all vocal art over being musical at the same time. In other words she fits in with the track which is laid back and jazzy. Some of her other songs aren't as smooth and an overwhelming amount of subject matter is in the Curren$y vein of getting high and drinking. They weren't really songs I was feeling but she should have a solid career if Tyga can be a success. Young Hipsters, should go to soundcloud and give her a spin.

Third this week is an artist called OCS who submitted a video from his "scene" series. This was a simple backdrop but it allowed OCS to get deep with his lyrics and really let his words shine as he told a story through his lyrics. This isn't the most polished song I have ever heard but it is extremely heartfelt so that trumps a lot of things. Some times it isn't about being the best with metaphors and similes if you can use your voice to convey true emotions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Independent Wednesdays

Let me say this, one of the best new young guys producing right now has got to be Myles Williams. If you look the as couple of weeks he has something done that I have posted. He has got to be ripe to blow because everything I have heard thus far is banging. This week he produced a track for Jay watts of New Jersey called "Younger". It's hot. just check it. Hit up Jay's soundcloud because he has a bunch of other content that's worth listening to.

Let's take a minute to get more into the content and message in music with Devine Carama who reminds me of Talib Kweli a whole lot. his style is street based but still about substance and dropping some knowledge and improvement. He has the NY voice and the beats he has chosen are all pretty decent and not overly "soul" based which can get annoying at make the artist seem preachy at times.

I'll finish up with week with Adam Reverie and this joint "Black Boy Out In Poverty". This is a song with a strong message and statement about the state of hip-hop today and Adam brings a serious flow to this energetic track. Then he brings in a play on a catchy Future style hook to tie it all together. Now This is a guy who has tremendous skill but he will always find himself in a certain box because h can't be consumed easily. Now he does have a lot of variety in his flows and styles which could also be a distraction because it is so extra varied. Hopefully you won't find him as too preachy if you like the less substantive style of rap but Adam did his thing on several of his songs.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Independent Wednesday

This week I have an aggressive MC named Mirage the Illusionist from Philly. He isn't exceptionally a lyrical or street rapper but he fits nicely into what is the listenable range of artists. he is well balanced in other words. He has some good material and I suggest you check him out he has an above average range of different sounding songs which is what I always like to hear from break beats to smoothed out tracks he can give you most of what you might be looking for.

From the midwest ir Neko has an interesting name and sometimes that doesn't lead me to expect solid material and more experimental music, but I was pleasantly surprised with some straight up  heavy spitting. It wasn't a unique type of concept but the beat on this joint was mean and Neko did a good job of spitting over it. now a couple of his other songs don't strike me the same way and seem a bit more fitting in what I expect from a midwest artist but you should give him a listen and see what you think.

Finishing up this week, Timmy Titus who I think I may have featured on the blog before and Myles Williams with Tovs Lo - Habits (Myles Williams Remix). The beat is ferocious and fast with energy and the flows are on point. The sample and hook are on point as well as the mixing to bring the beat down at good spots so it doesn't get annoying as they spit about getting high. This is a good hip-pop song definitely.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Album Review- Schoolboy Q- Oxymoron

After Kendrick blew up the West Coast and seemingly put T.D.E. on his back, his fellow label mates seemed to be getting overlooked. Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q had, up until that point, been known as the leaders of the collective. Now in the aftermath, there has been some rumblings of people, namely Q, feeling some kind of way about being considered part of 'Kendrick's Group' and disrespected by an industry that overlooked his skills and merits. Industry BS not withstanding, Schoolboy Q still has had a nice buzz in the West Coast circles with fans who were waiting for him to come out and drop in the wake of the West's newfound attention. Even as the South dominates headlines (see Boosie's release as evidence) and the East still fights to cling to some sort of relevancy, the California Coast has moved into a default second place position. It's in this atmosphere that Schoolboy Q releases his new album "Oxymoron".

The album opens with the West Coast funk fueled "Gangsta" with its brooding drums and bass and repetitive hook with the high pitched and almost helium-like voice. The bars and flow are unique and take some getting used to and the lyrics aren't spectacular but I like the song. "Hoover Street" has a live Wale type feel to the track as Q talks about being a real dude from the street and reps for his colors. The beginning two minutes of the song drag on before the beat changes up and gets more simple and hardcore and Q actually goes and spits that hardcore real street shit that some find popular as he talks about sticking up the ice cream truck. "Prescription/Oxymoron" has a heavy bass track where Q starts describing the feeling of being high on prescription drugs. The song then switches again and Q then goes to the other side of the equation as he raps about no longer selling crack and getting into the prescription drug game.

The initial single was "Collard Greens" with Kendrick Lamar. I can tell you this, I'm not sure what the song is about and the beat is aight, but I'm more familiar with it from watching Reality Star Deelishis dance to it on instagram (don't judge me). 2 Chainz is the feature on "What They Want" which is what I take as Q's attempt to simplify and mimic the southern style that's popular. At times the bass line bangs seriously but 2 Chainz should have done the hook. I just do not like the feel of "Los Awesome" with Jay Rock. "Blind Threats" featuring Raekwon is a solid if not spectacular track. "The Purge" features Tyler the Creator and Kurupt as a throwback song for the lyricists to just go in on a beat and rip shit but I expected to hear Tyler get to spit some bars. What should be out as a general radio friendly single is "Studio" with BJ the Kid where Q tells a woman he is trying to get to her but the song he's making is too much fire to leave.

"Break The Bank" is kind of the struggle song as Schoolboy tells us all he is about to blow and break the bank. "Man of the Year" is ok as is "Hell of a Night" which reminds me of one of Big Boi's old solo songs in the way it sounds. I'm not a fan of "Grooveline Pt. 2" with Suga Free that much but it does have a nice jazzy song. I could also do without "His or Her Fiend" with Sza. The album ends with "Fuck L.A.".

Schoolboy Q did nothing to make me feel like he could be more than a niche artist with this album. His intent seemed to be to show he is indeed a street certified rapper where he is to LA what Jeezy is to Atlanta. To an extent he is successful. The album is totally West Coast but it is less accessible than Kendrick Lamar though his flow is much easier to understand. Some of his cadences are awkward and he leaves weird spaces. While some of the new rap fans find that kind of stuff endearing and unique I find it corny and an attempt to try a bit too hard to force differences. I would have preferred more conventional moments though when he does have those they are alright. Songs where I was expecting a little more like with Raekwon became just plain. What I did notice was that Q is not a lyrical rapper. In the hierarchy I would put him behind Jay rock at this point. Overall I think fans will be satisfied though skeptics will still wonder why he is so beloved by some fans. Schoolboy served to create more questions than he answered with Oxymoron.

Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Independent Wednesday

This week first up we have Jared Xavier a Stateb Island rapper who is coming with the gangstarr and slightly tribe-esque feel to him. If you look at the trend toward the young hip rapper with a mellow track that is somewhat simple, then you will have Jared's feel. I listened to a couple of tracks and he delivers with a classic NY voice and feel and has a decent dose of lyrics. The one issue was that everything was somewhat monotone, which today can be good if you can find that core group of fans. One thing I like to see is or hear is an artist that has something that's a little different that may not seem to be so comfortable from a song construction and feel standpoint. Of my first attempts today, Jared was by far the first out of 5 or 6 that was worthy of a spotlight this week.

Lyriqs da Lyraciss is back on the blog with a new song for the ladies called High Heels. This is a smooth jazzy groove that is for the poetry and soul music crowd. If you or your lady are more into Gucci and trap rap I suggest this probably isn't your speed. This is kind of funky and better than I expected though the beat and the sample are chopped up kind of awkwardly during the hook. Lyriqs also just released an independent street album which is hosted by Mickey Factz and you can go over here to check that out as well. Go check it out and follow him on twitter for more.

Third up is Detroit rapper B-Free. It gets kind of odd when someone describes themself as someone who seems kind of new and trendy and you wonder if they really have found themselves or are just looking for a lane that seems like it's moving. This new rapper describes himself as something similar to Childish Gambino, Big Sean, and Eminem and I hear them as well as a little bit of Danny Brown. He is unique but it is a good mix of personality and ability. He is naturally talented because it can be difficult to not go too far on what some would call flow and style gimmicks and still have lyrics so that he isn't a style over substance artist, but B-Free is right in that sweet spot. Now I do wonder if he will be able to sustain content but right now, I think he has some good music and talent. His mixtape is available on Datpiff at this link here.